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Old 04-20-2016, 03:35 PM   #121
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22, of Brentwood, N.Y.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.; killed March 18 when his team came under small-arms fire while clearing a village in Dehrawood, Afghanistan.
Funeral held for first Long Island soldier killed in Afghanistan

By Frank Eltman

The Associated Press

BRENTWOOD, N.Y. — Two weeks after he telephoned his mother to warn her he was going out on a “bad mission,” Army Sgt. Michael J. Esposito Jr. was remembered at his funeral Monday as a fiercely loyal soldier who had already served in Kuwait when he re-enlisted after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Esposito, 22, was the first soldier from Long Island to be killed in the fighting in Afghanistan; two other Long Islanders — also from the Brentwood-Bay Shore community — have died in the war in Iraq.

“Both Mike and his family knew why he was there,” the Rev. Gerry Twomey told hundreds of mourners at St. Luke’s Catholic Church. Citing a conversation with Esposito’s father, Michael Sr., Twomey added: “They’re there because of what happened on 9/11. They’re there, and they know why they’re there.”

Esposito and Staff. Sgt. Anthony S. Lagman, 27, of Yonkers, died when their unit came under fire on March 18 in the Hindu Kush mountains. Both men belonged to the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, stationed at Fort Drum in upstate New York. They were participating in a mission to drive out remnants of Taliban and al-Qaida forces in the area.

‘These soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who are deploying are making an extreme sacrifice,” Brig. Gen Byron Bagby, assistant division commander for the 10th Mountain Division, said after the funeral Mass. “They are in danger each and every day and they are doing an absolutely phenomenal job.”

Twomey explained that Esposito announced to his parents a month before his 18th birthday that he had enlisted in the Army. He served three years, including a six-month stint in Kuwait, and was eligible to spend three years in the reserves, but decided to re-enlist because of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“Michael found himself cast in a drama of good and evil,” Twomey said. “He faced the hard, clean questions. He chose good over evil and did well. He was well-loved, and we feel his loss profoundly.”

Cathy Heighter, whose son, Cpl. Raheen Tyson Heighter, was killed in northern Iraq last July, noted that both her son and Esposito were graduates of Brentwood High School.

Pfc. Jacob Fletcher, of nearby Bay Shore, was killed Nov. 13.

“It’s always important for me to be at any soldier’s funeral service that I’m able to be at,” Heighter said after the service. “My heart goes out to each and every family. I try to understand, only from my own experience, what they are going through because of what I have gone through.”

Heighter, who wore a photograph of her son on her lapel, added ominously: “As I sat this morning ... it kept coming to me that more will die, more will continue to die, and what is there that we can do about it as a people of our nation?”

Hard to believe it's been a little over 12 years...

Deeds Not Words.
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Old 04-21-2016, 03:29 PM   #122
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Pat Tillman was KIA in Afghanistan 22 April 2004. I was about 100 miles west of his location when this happened. We were going on a long range patrol to stop the Taliban from attacking the Greek road workers who were working on the Afghan highway system between Kabul and Kandahar.

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Old 04-21-2016, 09:33 PM   #123
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Old 04-24-2016, 06:45 PM   #124
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Sergeant Stubby
Born 1916 or 1917
Died March 16, 1926 (aged 9–10)[1]
Place of display Smithsonian - "The Price of Freedom" exhibition
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Sergeant
Unit 102nd Infantry Regiment 26th (Yankee) Division
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Humane Education Society Gold Medal
Wound stripe
Other work Hoyas' mascot

This WWI war dog fought in 17 battles and was wounded twice and captured a German soldier. An amazing dog for sure.
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Old 04-29-2016, 10:32 AM   #125
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just like a bear Wojtek which during the Second World War during the battle of Monte Cassino bear Wojtek helped soldiers carry boxes of ammunition animal well understood issued his commands.
* Syrian brown bear found in Iran and Adopted by soldiers of the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps
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What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity
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Old 05-02-2016, 07:17 PM   #126
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John William Vessey
Date of birth: June 29, 1922
Place of Birth: Minnesota, Minneapolis
Home of record: Minneapolis Minnesota

John Vessey began his military career in the Minnesota National Guard in 1939 when he was still 16. He received a battlefield commission during the Battle of Anzio in World War II. He served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, earning the Distinguished Service Cross in Vietnam. As a Lieutenant Colonel, he graduated from college in 1963 at the age of 41. From 1979 to 1982 he was the 17th Vice Chief of Staff of the Army. He served as the 10th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from June 18, 1982 to September 30, 1985. When he retired in 1985 at the age of 63, he was the last four-star World War II combat veteran on active duty and the longest serving active duty member in the United States Army.


Distinguished Service Cross


Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War


The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Lieutenant Colonel (Field Artillery) John William Vessey (ASN: 0-65047), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with 2d Battalion, 77th Artillery, 3d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. Lieutenant Colonel Vessey distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 21 March 1967 while serving as a Battalion Commander during a combat mission near Suoi Tre. During the early morning hours, Colonel Vessey's battalion received a massive assault by a Viet Cong regiment. Although more than 200 mortar rounds fell, Colonel Vessey fearlessly moved through his unit area, first to alert his men, then to direct various phases of the defense. When vital howitzer positions were destroyed by hostile fire, he rallied men from other sections to man the guns, and he himself assisted as a cannoneer. He was wounded during this action, but continued to lead and fire the artillery pieces. At one point, he spotted Viet Cong rocket launchers that were placing devastating fire into the battery perimeter. He seized a grenade launcher, moved into an open area and knocked out three of the insurgents' weapons. When an enemy tracer round ignited a drum of diesel oil and threatened to set off two drums of explosives nearby, Colonel Vessey ran to that highly dangerous point and helped move the drums to safety. His professional command and courageous fighting throughout the battle were instrumental in turning back the numerically superior enemy force and killing more than 600 Viet Cong. Lieutenant Colonel Vessey's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 4206 (August 18, 1967)

Action Date: March 21, 1967

Service: Army

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Battalion: 2d Battalion

Regiment: 77th Artillery, 3d Brigade

Division: 4th Infantry Division
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R.I.P. my Bros from the 1st MAR DIV, 3rd MAR DIV, 25th I.D., 10th MTN DIV, V Corps, 170th IBCT who gave their lives in the Cold War, Marines we lost in Korea during Team Spirit '89 & Okinawa '89- bodies never recovered, Panama, 1st Gulf War, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq...



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Old 06-21-2016, 10:29 PM   #127
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Heroic Huey pilot to receive Medal of Honor five decades later


WASHINGTON — The details of the heroism that will see Charles Kettles awarded the Medal of Honor at the White House come back clearly and quickly even five decades later.

The White House announced Tuesday afternoon that Kettles would receive the award from President Obama on July 18.

Kettles, 86, recalls the events of May 15, 1967: flying his UH-1 helicopter time after time after time into dizzying, withering fire to save the lives of dozens of soldiers ambushed by North Vietnamese troops in the Song Tau Cau river valley; nursing the shot-up, overloaded bird out of harm’s way with the final eight soldiers who’d been mistakenly left behind.

“With complete disregard for his own safety …” the official narrative of that day reads. “Without gunship, artillery, or tactical aircraft support, the enemy concentrated all firepower on his lone aircraft … Without his courageous actions and superior flying skills, the last group of soldiers and his crew would never have made it off the battlefield.”

Kettles, born and bred and retired in Ypsilanti, Mich., remembers how he felt after he touched down nearly 50 years ago for the last time, finally safe. Unrattled and hungry.

“I just walked away from the helicopter believing that’s what war is,” Kettles told USA TODAY. “It probably matched some of the movies I’d seen as a youngster. So be it. Let’s go have dinner."



Kettles’ actions were documented and saluted long ago. He was awarded the second-highest award for bravery, the Distinguished Service Cross. And that, he thought, was that. Kettles completed another tour in Vietnam, retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel and opened an auto dealership with his brother.

That's where the story would end, if not for William Vollano, an amateur historian who was interviewing veterans for the Veterans History Project. Vollano's prodding led the Army to reopen Kettles’ case and determine that his actions merited the Medal of Honor. Coincidentally, the military is also reviewing the actions of hundreds more troops in the post-9/11 era to see if they, too, should receive upgrades of their service crosses and Silver Stars.



May 15, 1967


On that May morning in Vietnam, Maj. Kettles’ and several other helicopter pilots ferried about 80 soldiers from the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division to a landing zone near the Song Tra Cau River. The river, just eight or 10 feet above sea level, drifted past a 1,500-foot hill.

“Very steep, which set them up for an ambush,” Kettles recalls. “Which did happen.”

Hundreds of North Vietnamese soldiers, dug into tunnels and bunkers, attacked the Americans with machine guns, mortars and recoilless rifles.

“Two or three hours after they were inserted, they had been mauled over and the battalion commander called for reinforcements,” Kettles says.

Kettles volunteered to fly in reinforcements and to retrieve the wounded and dead. As they swooped in to land, the North Vietnamese focused their fire on the helicopters. Soldiers were killed before they could leap from the aircraft, according to the official account of the fight.

Air Force jets dropped napalm on the machine gun positions overlooking the landing zone, but it had little effect. The attack continued, riddling the helicopters with bullets. Kettles refused to leave, however, until the fresh troops and supplies had been dropped off and the dead and wounded crowded aboard to be flown out.

Kettles ran the gantlet again, bringing more reinforcements amid mortar and machine gun fire that seriously wounded his gunner and tore into his helicopter. The crew from another helicopter reported to Kettles that fuel was pouring from his aircraft. Kettles wobbled back to the base.

"Kettles, by himself, without any guns and any crew, went back by himself," said Roland Scheck, a crew member who had been injured on Kettles' first trip to the landing zone that day. "Immediately, all the pilots and copilots in the company decided, 'This is Medal of Honor material right there.'"

"I don’t know if there's anyone who's gotten an Medal of Honor who deserved it more," he said. "There's no better candidate as far as I'm concerned."



The final run

At about 6 p.m., the infantry commander radioed for an immediate, emergency evacuation of 44 soldiers, including four from Kettles’ unit whose helicopter was destroyed at the river. Kettles volunteered to lead the flight of six evacuation helicopters, cobbled together from his and another unit.

“Chaotic,” Kettles says. “The troops simply went to the first helicopter available.”

Just one soldier scrambled into his helicopter. Told that all were safe and accounted for, Kettles signaled it was time to return to base.

“The artillery shut down, the gunships went back,” Kettles said. “No reason for them to stay anymore. The Air Force shut down. We climbed out to about 1,400 feet, a 180-degree turn back toward base camp and the hospital.”

That’s when word reached Kettles that eight soldiers had been left behind.

“They had been down in the river bed in a last ditch defensive effort before the helicopters loaded,” Kettles said. “I assured the commander I would go back in and pick them up.”

Kettles took control of the helicopter from the co-pilot and plummeted toward the stranded soldiers.

The North Vietnamese trained all their fire on Kettles. As he landed, a mortar round shattered the windshields and damaged the tail and main rotor blade. The eight soldiers piled on board, raked by rifle and machine-gun fire. Jammed beyond capacity, the helicopter “fishtailed” several times before Kettles took the controls again from his co-pilot. The only way out, Kettles recalls, was to skip along the ground, gaining enough speed to get the helicopter in the air.

“If not we were going to go down the road like a two-and-a-half ton truck with a rotor blade on it,” Kettles says.

After five or six tries, Kettles got off the ground. Just then, a second mortar round slammed into the tail.

“That caused the thing to lurch forward,” he says. “I don’t know if that helped much. I still had a clean panel, that is, the emergency panel. There weren’t any lights.

The helicopter was still doing what it was supposed to do even though it was, I guess, pretty badly (damaged). We got out of there.”



The Medal of Honor

Kettles acknowledges it was an extraordinary day, one that he thinks about but doesn’t dwell on. He and the other helicopter pilots and crew performed as they were trained, followed orders, completed their mission. Simple as that.

The Medal of Honor, he says, “belongs to them certainly as much as myself. I just happened to be the lead position where the decisions were mine, properly so.

“For them, unfortunately all they could do was follow. And they did. They did their jobs. They’re as deserving as I am certainly. That’s what it means to me.”

For dozens of soldiers, especially the last eight, Kettles' decision kept their names from being etched on the black granite wall of the Vietnam War memorial here in Washington with the 58,000 others who died in the war.

“The eight who got out of there who aren’t on that wall,” Kettles says. “That’s what matters.”


This is one amazing story on bravery. Thanks for your service Charles Kettles. You are a great American.
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Old 08-05-2016, 04:56 PM   #128
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Michael Patrick Murphy
Date of birth: May 7, 1976
Date of death: June 28, 2005
Burial location: Calverton, New York
Place of Birth: New York, Smithtown
Home of record: Patchogue New York
Status: KIA




Medal of Honor


Awarded for actions during the Global War on Terror


The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Michael Patrick Murphy, United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a member of SEAL Deliver Vehicle Team ONE and the leader of a special reconnaissance element with Naval Special Warfare Task Unit Afghanistan on 27 and 28 June 2005. While leading a mission to locate a high-level anti-coalition militia leader, Lieutenant Murphy demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan. On 28 June 2005, operating in an extremely rugged enemy-controlled area, Lieutenant Murphy's team was discovered by anti-coalition militia sympathizers, who revealed their position to Taliban fighters. As a result, between 30 and 40 enemy fighters besieged his four-member team. Demonstrating exceptional resolve, Lieutenant Murphy valiantly led his men in engaging the large enemy force. The ensuing fierce firefight resulted in numerous enemy casualties, as well as the wounding of all four members of the team. Ignoring his own wounds and demonstrating exceptional composure, Lieutenant Murphy continued to lead and encourage his men. When the primary communicator fell mortally wounded, Lieutenant Murphy repeatedly attempted to call for assistance for his beleaguered teammates. Realizing the impossibility of communicating in the extreme terrain, and in the face of almost certain death, he fought his way into open terrain to gain a better position to transmit a call. This deliberate, heroic act deprived him of cover, exposing him to direct enemy fire. Finally achieving contact with his headquarters, Lieutenant Murphy maintained his exposed position while he provided his location and requested immediate support for his team. In his final act of bravery, he continued to engage the enemy until he was mortally wounded, gallantly giving his life for his country and for the cause of freedom. By his selfless leadership, courageous actions, and extraordinary devotion to duty, Lieutenant Murphy reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Action Date: June 27 & 28, 2005

Service: Navy

Rank: Lieutenant

Company: SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1

Division: Naval Special Warfare Task Unit
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Old 08-07-2016, 07:49 PM   #129
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Old 08-12-2016, 01:19 AM   #130
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Marine who has done more for her Country than some POS liberal scumbag will ever do.

Welcome home, Marine. Semper Fidelis.
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Old 08-16-2016, 08:20 PM   #131
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Wayne Forrest Black
Date of birth: May 29, 1927
Date of death: MIA: October 23, 1951
Home of record: Murfreesboro Tennessee
Status: POW


Although officially listed as "Missing in Action," the Air Force concluded "All of the crew had time to clear the aircraft. The fact that five other crewmen were captured indicates a strong possibility that others were, too," and the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office carries him as Missing in Action as a Prisoner of War.


Prisoner of War Medal

Awarded for actions during the Korean War


Captain Wayne Forrest Black (AFSN: AO-590031), United States Air Force, was captured by communist forces after he was shot down over North Korea on 23 October 1951, and was held as a Prisoner of War until his death while still in captivity.
General Orders: Air Force Manual No. 200-25, Department of the Air Force (January 16, 1961) & Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office

Action Date: October 23, 1951 - Died in Captivity

Service: Air Force

Rank: Captain

Battalion: 372d Bombardment Squadron

Division: Prisoner of War (North Korea)
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Old 08-25-2016, 09:43 PM   #132
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Rest in peace, soldier, you earned it.

U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan was an ‘exceptional Green Beret’


The service member killed in Afghanistan’s restive Helmand province earlier this week has been identified as Staff Sgt. Matthew V. Thompson, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Thompson’s patrol triggered a roadside bomb Tuesday, wounding another American and six Afghan soldiers.

Army Staff Sgt. Matthew V. Thompson was killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 23. (Army photo) Army Staff Sgt. Matthew V. Thompson was killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 23. (Army photo)

According to a statement released by the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan, U.S. troops were accompanying their Afghan counterparts near the province’s capital of Lashkar Gah when their unit came under attack.

Thompson, 28, of Irvine, Calif., was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces group, according to an Army release. The incident is under investigation.



“He was an exceptional Green Beret, a cherished teammate, and devoted husband. His service in Afghanistan and Iraq speak to his level of dedication, courage, and commitment to something greater than himself,” said Lt. Col. Kevin M. Trujillo, the commander of the U.S. Special Operations task force in Afghanistan.

According to the Army release, Thompson enlisted in the Army in 2011 and reported as a medical sergeant to 1st Special Forces Group in 2014. He was on his first stint in Afghanistan when he was killed and had previously deployed to Iraq in support of the U.S.-led war against the Islamic State there.

Thompson was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, a Bronze Star with a V for valor in combat and the Combat Infantry Badge.



Helmand province has been the site of heavy fighting in recent weeks as Taliban forces have used the summer months to launch multiple offensives across the country. The group is estimated to control well over 50 percent of Helmand, and its pressure on the provincial capital has forced U.S. and NATO troops to shuttle resources to help prop up the embattled Afghan security forces. Despite their gains around the periphery of Lashkar Gah, the Taliban has been unable to enter the city limits in the face of near-constant U.S. and coalition airstrikes.


On Monday, the NATO-led mission announced that 100 U.S. troops had been moved to Lashkar Gah to primarily advise Afghan police in the area.


Col. Mike Lawhorn, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said Thompson was not a part of the 100-troop detachment. U.S. Special Operations forces have been operating in and around the city since the Taliban began its offensive in the province earlier this summer.


Thompson’s death marks the second combat death in Afghanistan this year. In January, Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Matthew McClintock was killed in a pitched firefight alongside Afghan commandos in Marjah, a city in a fertile area just west of Lashkar Gah.

Helmand province, known as the birthplace of the Taliban and nicknamed Marine-istan following President Obama’s 2009 surge into the country, is an opium-rich area that has been the scene of some of the most intense fighting of the nearly 15-year-old war.

While conflict continues unabated in Helmand province, Taliban forces have also recently made gains in the northern part of the country. In the last few days, Kunduz — the city that briefly fell to the Taliban in October 2015 — has been the site of combat between Afghan security forces and the Taliban.


U.S. helicopter gunships and the small prop-driven aircraft of the fledgling Afghan air force have since helped repulse attacks on the city, and officials from the NATO-led mission were optimistic that the Afghan forces would be able to hold their ground.
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R.I.P. my Bros from the 1st MAR DIV, 3rd MAR DIV, 25th I.D., 10th MTN DIV, V Corps, 170th IBCT who gave their lives in the Cold War, Marines we lost in Korea during Team Spirit '89 & Okinawa '89- bodies never recovered, Panama, 1st Gulf War, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq...



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Old 09-03-2016, 08:13 PM   #133
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Thanks for your service.

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Old 09-06-2016, 07:45 PM   #134
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Unhappy WW II Codetalker passes away

A WW II Codetalker passes away.


Semper Fi, Marine.

Friends,
With great sadness we announce the passing of famed Navajo Code Talker, Private Joe Hosteen Kellwood. He was 94.
In World War II, young Marine Joe Hosteen Kellwood protected vital military messages with his native Navajo language.
He protected himself with sacred corn pollen hidden in chewing gum. Kellwood of Phoenix, was one of the famed Navajo Code Talkers and In 1942, at age 21, he joined the Marines leaving behind the Navajo Nation and the dusty trails of home.
He told his sister, Da'ahijigaagoo deya, or, "I'm going to war."
He did, but stopped first at the Navajo Talkers' School at Camp Elliott in San Diego, where he was trained. Navajo Code Talkers confounded the enemy by transmitting coded messages in their native, unwritten language, creating a double code that Japanese listeners couldn't crack.
The code was so secretive that it was not declassified until 1968.
As of 1945, about 540 Navajos served as Marines, according to the Naval Historical Center in Washington, D.C. About 400 of those trained as Code Talkers.
Although many young Navajo recruits came straight from the reservation, Kellwood had worked as a civilian at Fort Wingate, a New Mexico Army depot. Security measures like tall chain-link fences weren't new to him.
But other young recruits "saw the fences and said, 'Oh no! We're headed to prison,' " he recalled.
Kellwood also remembers a religious dilemma the day he boarded a transport ship headed for Melbourne, Australia, where he joined members of the 1st Marine Division, 5th Marine Regiment.
He needed to stand by the shore, place a dab of corn pollen in his mouth, drop a speck on top of his head, sprinkle the powder into the air and pray to the Holy People.
His uncle had given Kellwood the corn pollen telling him, Choidiil'iil, "Use it during your journey." Give tadidiin, corn pollen, to the Pacific Ocean because that is your mother, his uncle advised.
Kellwood was wary of asking for permission. So, instead, he changed his style of prayer.
The Marines allowed him to chew gum, so he mixed a little gum and corn pollen, chewed it into a ball and spat it into the Pacific.
Hozhoogo ndeeshdaal, "I shall return safely," he said in Navajo as he watched the sea swallow the gum and his prayer and then boarded.
"I was never scared during battles because I told Mama Water to take care of me," Kellwood said. "We had to feel like we were bigger than the enemy in battle. I had my prayer and my chewing gum."
On behalf of a grateful nation, we salute Navajo Code Talker, Private Joe Hosteen Kellwood for his dedication and service to our nation.
Remember Those Who Served
Via The Greatest Generations Foundation


NSB
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R.I.P. my Bros from the 1st MAR DIV, 3rd MAR DIV, 25th I.D., 10th MTN DIV, V Corps, 170th IBCT who gave their lives in the Cold War, Marines we lost in Korea during Team Spirit '89 & Okinawa '89- bodies never recovered, Panama, 1st Gulf War, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq...



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Old 09-14-2016, 08:33 PM   #135
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I found the photo of the MWD that rolled with my platoon in Iraq 2005. MWD is, Military Working Dog. He was an awesome dog. He was KIA in December 2005. by an IED near Route Michigan in Baghdad, Iraq.

RIP King
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R.I.P. my Bros from the 1st MAR DIV, 3rd MAR DIV, 25th I.D., 10th MTN DIV, V Corps, 170th IBCT who gave their lives in the Cold War, Marines we lost in Korea during Team Spirit '89 & Okinawa '89- bodies never recovered, Panama, 1st Gulf War, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq...



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Old 09-20-2016, 09:13 PM   #136
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Unknown For 75 Years, Pearl Harbor Sailor’s Remains Finally Laid To Rest



Unknown For 75 Years, Pearl Harbor Sailor’s Remains Finally Laid To Rest



The sailor was listed as missing after USS Oklahoma capsized in Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack.




Nearly 75 years after Lewis Lowell Wagoner was declared missing following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, his remains have been identified.

The Navy seaman, who served aboard the USS Oklahoma, will soon be coming home to be buried next to his brothers at the Whitewater cemetery after his remains were identified using DNA technology.


The announcement was made Sunday at the Haysville Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6957.

Wagoner’s family, who is from Haysville, and Sedgwick County leaders gathered at the local VFW on Sunday.

Lewis Wagoner was born on Kansas Day – Jan. 29 – in 1921 in Missouri. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Whitewater. He was the oldest of eight boys.


Merle Wagoner, one of Lewis’ brothers, died three years ago. On hand Sunday were Merle’s wife, Doris; his son, Ron; and two daughters, Brenda Leis and Becky Wagoner. Through the years, the Wagoners had become friends with two other Wichita-area Pearl Harbor survivors and shipmates from the USS Oklahoma, Arthur Dunn and Paul Aschbrenner, both of whom have since died.


Through the years, the family said, it was always a mystery what had happened to Lewis Wagoner, who was 20 when he died. His picture was always on display at his parents’ house and, later, at his youngest brother’s house.


A surviving brother, Carl Wagoner, lives in Utah but was not at the service on Sunday.

‘This issue is not over’

“When we get through a conflict or war and we clean up the battlefields, we need to do everything within our power for the fullest possible accounting of our missing in action and those held as prisoners of war,” a tearful Jim Denison told those gathered at the VFW. Denison is the district POW/MIA chairman. “When I am gone, I want this to carry on. This issue is not over.”

As Denison spoke on Sunday, members of the VFW had 50 black and white helium-filled balloons they were scheduled to release honoring the post.

One black balloon gently floated down from the ceiling and toward Denison at the podium – he said “hello” to it – and then the balloon floated and stayed next to Wagoner’s family for the duration of the service.

It was a sign, Brenda Leis said afterward – perhaps of her uncle’s or father’s spirits.

Her mother thought otherwise.

“It was odd, I think, that was the one that didn’t have enough helium; it was weird how it floated over and in front of us,” Doris Wagoner said.

As far as her husband and Lewis?

“I think they are up there having the time of their life,” she said. “It was always something my husband looked forward to and thought he would be here for.”

Three months after Merle Wagoner died in 2013, Doris Wagoner said, she received a phone call saying there was a possibility the remains might be identified. Her husband, she said, was only 7 when the Pearl Harbor attack occurred on Dec. 7, 1941, and did not have any significant memories of his oldest brother.

Wagoner’s remains will be flown to Wichita on Oct. 7. A memorial service is scheduled for Oct. 8 at Smith Mortuary in Haysville, with interment scheduled later that day in Whitewater.

“I’ve practically lost all my Pearl Harbor survivors,” said Denison, an honorary member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, whose 75th anniversary is this year. “So I have families. We still have close to 1,800 people still missing from Pearl Harbor.”

In search of DNA

The USS Oklahoma was in berth F-5 of Battleship Row on Dec. 7, 1941. The ship took three torpedo hits within minutes after the attack began shortly before 8 a.m. In all, it took nine torpedo blows.

In less than 12 minutes, the ship rolled over, trapping many of the sailors.

In recent years, advances in DNA research have enabled military authorities to identify remains of the long-dead, many from mass graves.

Since the early 1990s, the Department of Defense DNA Registry has conducted a massive program to catalog the DNA of current and past members of the armed forces.

The remains of 35 crew members were positively identified in the years immediately following the attack. But 429 sailors and Marines were listed as killed or missing. In 1949, a military board classified their remains as nonrecoverable.

But in May, Navy Seaman 2nd Class Dale Pearce, who was serving on board the USS Oklahoma when the attack occurred, had his remains identified and returned home to Dennis, about 8 miles from Parsons in Labette County. There may be more remains to come, Denison said.

Wagoner family members say Lewis Wagoner will receive full military honors.

“It was a hard-working family. I think it is great he is finally coming home,” said Ron Wagoner.



Fair Winds and following seas, Sailor. Welcome Home. Rest in peace.
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Old 09-29-2016, 08:11 PM   #137
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John A. Chapman
Date of birth: July 14, 1965
Date of death: March 4, 2002
Burial location: Windber, Pennsylvania
Place of Birth: Massachusetts, Springfield
Home of record: Windsor Locks Connecticut
Status: KIA



John Chapman became the first U.S. Air Force Combat Controller to earn the Air Force Cross in any war in history. During the 17-hour engagement called the "Battle of Robert's Ridge," he was one of TWO Airmen posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross. Eight other Airmen received Silver Stars for this action. The battle was so-named because it followed an incident in which Navy Seal Neil Roberts fell from a helicopter as it attempted to land on a mountaintop controlled by al Qaeda fighters, initiating an intense and heroic rescue effort.


Air Force Cross

Awarded for actions during the Global War on Terror


The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pride in presenting the Air Force Cross (Posthumously) to Technical Sergeant John A. Chapman, United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operation against an armed enemy of the United States as a 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Combat Controller in the vicinity of Gardez, in the eastern highlands of Afghanistan, on 4 March 2002. On this date, during his helicopter insertion for a reconnaissance and time sensitive targeting close air support mission, Sergeant Chapman's aircraft came under heavy machine gun fire and received a direct hit from a rocket propelled grenade which caused a United States Navy sea-air-land team member to fall from the aircraft. Though heavily damaged, the aircraft egressed the area and made an emergency landing seven kilometers away. Once on the ground Sergeant Chapman established communication with an AC-130 gunship to insure the area was secure while providing close air support coverage for the entire team. He then directed the gunship to begin the search for the missing team member. He requested, coordinated, and controlled the helicopter that extracted the stranded team and aircrew members. These actions limited the exposure of the aircrew and team to hostile fire. Without regard for his own life Sergeant Chapman volunteered to rescue his missing team member from an enemy strong hold. Shortly after insertion, the team made contact with the enemy. Sergeant Chapman engaged and killed two enemy personnel. He continued to advance reaching the enemy position then engaged a second enemy position, a dug-in machine gun nest. At this time the rescue team came under effective enemy fire from three directions. From close range he exchanged fire with the enemy from minimum personal cover until he succumbed to multiple wounds. His engagement and destruction of the first enemy position and advancement on the second position enabled his team to move to cover and break enemy contact. In his own words, his Navy sea-air-land team leader credits Sergeant Chapman unequivocally with saving the lives of the entire rescue team. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, and the dedication to the service of his country, Sergeant Chapman reflects the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Action Date: March 4, 2002

Service: Air Force

Rank: Technical Sergeant

Battalion: 24th Special Tactics Squadron

Division: Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina
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Fred Cherry, Vietnam POW for seven years, dies at 87

Fred Cherry, Vietnam POW for seven years, dies at 87

Fred V. Cherry, an Air Force fighter pilot, was downed by enemy fire over North Vietnam in 1965, and he spent more than seven years as a prisoner of war.

He had grown up in the Jim Crow South, and his captors made it clear that he could mitigate the harshness of his incarceration, including routine torture, and improve his living conditions by speaking out against the racial injustice and discrimination he had faced as an African American in the United States.

When beatings failed to bring him around, his jailers tried another tactic. They assigned a self-described “Southern white boy” as his cellmate, hoping that racial antipathy between the two men would weaken his resolve and produce a propaganda triumph for North Vietnam.

The plan failed.

Instead, the two men, Col. Cherry and a Navy fighter pilot, then-Ensign Porter Halyburton, became fast and lifelong friends. Each would credit the other with having saved his life.




Col. Cherry died Feb. 16 at a hospital in Washington. He was 87. The cause was heart ailments, said his companion of 24 years, Deborah Thompson.


He was a major and had more than 100 combat missions in Korea and Vietnam behind him on the day — Oct. 22, 1965 — that his F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bomber was hit by enemy antiaircraft fire.

“The plane exploded and I ejected at about 400 feet at over 600 miles an hour,” Col. Cherry wrote in a 1999 collection of war stories by POWs and Medal of Honor recipients. “In the process of ejection, I broke my left ankle, my left wrist, and crushed my left shoulder. I was captured immediately upon landing by Vietnamese militia and civilians.”

“I spent 702 days in solitary confinement,” he added, with the longest period lasting 53 weeks. “At one time I was either tortured or in punishment for 93 straight days.”

Early in his captivity, Col. Cherry was matched with Halyburton, a North Carolinian who had been shot down Oct. 17, 1965. For eight months, they would live together. But whatever mutual animosity their captors may have hoped for never materialized.




“I guess they thought if they had a Southern white boy taking care of a black man, it would be the worst place for both of us,” Halyburton said in a telephone conversation from North Carolina. “It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.”

For eight months, Halyburton changed the dressings on his cellmate’s infected wounds, fed him, bathed him and watched over him. “He said I saved his life, and he saved my life. . . . Taking care of my friend gave my life some meaning that it had not had before.”


The two men lived in a succession of fetid 10-by-10-foot cells, sleeping on straw mats, benches or the floor.

“I was so inspired by Fred’s toughness,” Halyburton said. “He had grown up in the racial South [and] undergone a lot of discrimination and hardship. But he was such an ardent patriot. He loved this country. It inspired me, and it inspired a lot of others.”

For 2,671 days, Col. Cherry was held in captivity before his release on Feb. 12, 1973, with the first group of U.S. prisoners of war to come home.

Fred Vann Cherry Sr. was born in Suffolk, Va., on March 24, 1928. His parents were farmers. He attended racially segregated public schools and graduated in 1951 from Virginia Union University, a historically black college in Richmond.

He then joined the Air Force and, during the Korean War, flew more than 50 combat missions over North Korea.

In the summer of 1966, after eight months of sharing a cell, Col. Cherry and Halyburton were separated. Halyburton remembers it as “one of the saddest days of my life.” They did not see each other again until 1973, when they met at a military hospital at Clark Air Base in the Philippines after their release from captivity.

Col. Cherry, who later attended the National War College and the Defense Intelligence School in Washington, retired from the Air Force in 1981 as a joint staff officer assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency. He was a resident of Silver Spring, Md.

His medals included the Air Force Cross, awarded, according to the citation, for “extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as a Prisoner of War . . . extremely strong personal fortitude and maximum persistence in the face of severe enemy harassment and torture, suffering critical injuries and wounds.”



But Col. Cherry’s homecoming was painful. His wife, the former Shirley Brown, reportedly deserted him soon after he was declared missing, cleaned out his life savings and had a child with another man. The officer endured years of legal proceedings and negotiations with the military over issues involving back salary, child-support payments and allowances.

Survivors include his companion, of Silver Spring; four children from his marriage, Deborah Cherry-Jones and Donald Cherry, both of Norfolk, Va., Cynthia Cherry-Leon of Woodbridge, Va., and Fred V. Cherry Jr. of Springdale, Md.; a son from another relationship, Frederick Stein of Los Angeles; 14 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Col. Cherry and Halyburton, who retired from the Navy at the rank of commander, gave joint talks at military institutions and colleges. In 2004, they toured to promote a book about their story, “Two Souls Indivisible: The Friendship That Saved Two POWs in Vietnam,” by James S. Hirsch.

Col. Cherry also was featured in a public television documentary narrated by Tom Hanks, “Return With Honor,” about Vietnam fighter pilots held as POWs.

“I know that the faith in God, love and respect for my fellow man that my parents and family instilled in me during my youth carried me through some very difficult years as prisoner-of-war in Vietnam,” Col. Cherry wrote in the 1999 collection of POW war stories.

“I was always taught to love and respect others and forgive those who mistreat, scorn or persecute me. . . . [This] allowed me overcome the damages of discrimination, Jim Crow, and the social and economic barriers associated with growing up a poor dirt farmer. . . . My standard for making decisions is based on doing what is right.”


Rest in peace.


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R.I.P. my Bros from the 1st MAR DIV, 3rd MAR DIV, 25th I.D., 10th MTN DIV, V Corps, 170th IBCT who gave their lives in the Cold War, Marines we lost in Korea during Team Spirit '89 & Okinawa '89- bodies never recovered, Panama, 1st Gulf War, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq...



Come on Rez Dawg, you can make it, just another step to go....
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Matthew Loren Rierson
Date of birth: September 29, 1960
Date of death: October 4, 1993
Place of Birth: Iowa, Nevada
Home of record: Nevada Iowa
Status: KIA

Matthew Rierson was subsequently killed on October 6, two days after the "Black Hawk Down" mission, when a stray mortar shell landed near him as he chatted with other soldiers near the airport hangar.



Silver Star

Awarded for actions during the United Nations Operations in Somalia II


The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Sergeant First Class Matthew Loren Rierson, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against hostile enemy forces while serving with the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta, Task Force RANGER, Special Operations Command, during combat operations in Mogadishu, Somalia, on 3 and 4 October 1993. Sergeant Rierson was part of the assault force which conducted an air assault raid deep into the enemy sector. Following the successful apprehension of two key militia officials and twenty-two enemy soldiers, Sergeant Rierson accompanied the detainees and wounded personnel to his base in the vehicular convoy. This convoy came under intense enemy fires, during which time, numerous friendly casualties were suffered. With total disregard for his own personal safety, Sergeant Rierson repeatedly dismounted his vehicle, exposing himself to enemy fire, in order to direct the drivers through enemy roadblocks and ambushes. It was due in part to his exceptional leadership that the convoys were able to reach the base safely. Sergeant Rierson then immediately accompanied the relief element headed for two downed helicopters. Once again, Sergeant Rierson demonstrated calm, effective leadership under fire that allowed the stalled convoy to fight its way to the crash site. At the crash site, Sergeant Rierson directed his team in a security position while the body of the pilot was recovered. His team provided security throughout the night as the enemy repeatedly tried to overrun the site. Sergeant First Class Rierson's heroic actions saved the lives of fellow comrades and reflect great credit on himself and the United States Army.
Action Date: October 3 - 4, 1993

Service: Army

Rank: Sergeant First Class

Company: 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta

Regiment: (Task Force Ranger)

Division: Special Operations Command
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R.I.P. my Bros from the 1st MAR DIV, 3rd MAR DIV, 25th I.D., 10th MTN DIV, V Corps, 170th IBCT who gave their lives in the Cold War, Marines we lost in Korea during Team Spirit '89 & Okinawa '89- bodies never recovered, Panama, 1st Gulf War, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq...



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Camp Pendleton unveils Staff Sgt Reckless monument

Camp Pendleton unveils Staff Sgt Reckless monument


CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Camp Pendleton hosts a ceremony unveiling a statue dedicated to Staff Sgt. Reckless, the famous Korean War pack horse, at the Pacific Views Event Center, Oct. 26, 2016.

Brig. Gen. Kevin Killea, Commanding General, Marine Corps Installations West – Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, as well as many Marines who served in the Korean War with Reckless, attended the ceremony.

“I never expected to see a horse in the middle of the chaos in Korea,” said Harold Wadley, a Korean War veteran who served with Reckless. “Reckless supplied about 9-thousand pounds of ammo while receiving heavy artillery fire.”

Reckless’ finest hours came at the Battle of Outpost Vegas in March of 1953, where she made 51 solo trips in a single day, transporting 386 recoilless rifle rounds to the front lines. As Reckless took care of the Marines, the Marines took care of her, shielding the war horse with their flak jackets to protect her from heavy enemy fire.



“She was a herd animal and the Marines became her herd,” said Jocelyn Russell, sculpture of the Staff Sgt Reckless monument. “For her to be turned loose and to walk across mine fields and heavy enemy fire all on her own I learned a lot about her loyalty to the Marines.”

Reckless was awarded two purple hearts, a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, a Presidential Unit Citation with a bronze star, the National Defense Service Medal, a Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Korea Medal, a Navy Unit Commendation, a Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation and, posthumously, was awarded the Dickin Medal.

After serving in the Korean War, Reckless’ final duty station was Camp Pendleton where she stayed until her death in 1968. Reckless was buried with full military honors.
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R.I.P. my Bros from the 1st MAR DIV, 3rd MAR DIV, 25th I.D., 10th MTN DIV, V Corps, 170th IBCT who gave their lives in the Cold War, Marines we lost in Korea during Team Spirit '89 & Okinawa '89- bodies never recovered, Panama, 1st Gulf War, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq...



Come on Rez Dawg, you can make it, just another step to go....
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