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Didn't Make The Front Page News

Discussion in 'Military History' started by Biak, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    We've mentioned before of stories that are either buried between the ads or 'just not that important to make the National News media. SO, I'm kicking this off with something that I'll bet no one has heard of and hope everyone will dig around for other articles about today's true Hero's.
    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (AFNS) - By the time Merryl Tengesdal graduated from the Navy’s flight aviation program in 1994, the early women aviation pioneers like Bessie Coleman, Janet Bragg, Willa Brown and Mae Jemison had pretty much broken the barriers for race and gender.
    But after the Bronx native switched to the Air Force a decade later, she helped rewrite the aviation and Air Force history books by becoming the first African-American to fly the U-2 reconnaissance plane.
    Inspired as a young girl by the Star Trek movies of the 1970s and ’80s, Tengesdal went on to excel in math and science in high school and took that interest into college where she earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of New Haven, Conn.
    After graduating from college, Tengesdal traveled to San Diego where she applied for and was accepted into the Navy’s flight aviation program and would spend the next 10 years as a helicopter pilot flying the SH-60B Sea Hawk on missions in the Middle East, South America and throughout the Caribbean.
    In 2004 Tengesdal switched to the Air Force where she made a dramatic change from helicopters to flying at altitudes of as much as 70,000 feet for hours at a time flying the U-2 reconnaissance plane. “I was one of five women in my class and the only female that graduated,” said Tengesdal. “I just stayed focused as I went through the training process.”

    Tengesdal said the U-2 is one of the more difficult aircraft to fly, and is designed for high altitude, with a long wingspan and a landing gear with two wheels rather than three. “When you land, you actually have to stall the aircraft at two feet because of the wings.” Tengesdal said that some of her best moments as a U-2 pilot have come during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, along with Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa where she was able to provide troops on the ground with information obtained from her flights.
    Tengesdal is a senior pilot with more than 3,200 flying hours, with more than 330 of those in combat. She is currently a lieutenant colonel assigned to Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.


    Star Trek Fan Becomes First African-American Female to Fly U-2*|*DoDLive
     
    Kendusimmus and fruiniulk like this.
  2. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    You had me at Star Trek Fan!
     
  3. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    U2....Prepare to meet your scrapmerchant....I'll give you 150 quid for scrap value..

    Not being pedantic..good on em...but uav is the future...u2 is the past.
    The hidden story there is the bit that your going to lose 50,000 army guys and gals while you invest in uav and Rpas technology. Thats the real story missing there.
     
  4. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    But good idea for a forum theme Biak...Needs pinning somewhere and hidden stories can be posted in thread...Belsar???? Member of staff needs to push upwards to OKF?
     
  5. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I've made it a sticky. This is the kind of stuff I love too.
     
  6. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    Thanks urghy, With each advance in technology situations change, sometimes for the better. I'm heartbroken the SR-71 is only a museum piece now. Then again does NASA still fly theirs? Whoops, another post idea. Be right back.
     
  7. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    I'm back!

    SR-71 Blackbird Simulator Leaves NASA Dryden for New Home

    By Jay Levine
    Editor, NASA Dryden X-Press

    One of the last vestiges of the SR-71 high-speed flight project at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center was hauled away on a flatbed truck in early July, destined for a new home at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas.

    Developed in the 1970s to support training of the Blackbird spy plane crews at Beale Air Force Base near Marysville some 45 miles north of Sacramento, the SR-71 simulator was the only one of its kind.

    The trainer's analog computers underwent an extensive upgrade in 1987. But priorities change, and when the simulator was finally ready for reinstallation at Beale, it was left in limbo in Binghamton, N.Y., after the Air Force decided to retire the Blackbirds in 1989.

    Dryden was the destination for three of the Mach 3-plus reconnaissance aircraft being retired. As a result, the simulator – and its dozens of upgraded components – found a home at the NASA center as well.

    The task of moving the simulator to Dryden and returning it to operational status was far more complex than anticipated. The simulator and its components filled an entire 1,800-square-foot area in Dryden's hangar 4801. Eleven engineers from Link Simulation and Training, of Arlington, Texas, took six months to reassemble and reactivate it.

    The upgrades were impressive, according to Joseph Ciganek, a NASA electronics technician who oversaw the operation and maintenance of the equipment. Prior to the system's extensive overhaul, training, mission planning and emergency situations were set up for pilots using patch cords, switches and dials. The upgrades incorporated displays, computer keyboards and joysticks to select and monitor pre-programmed modes representing a wide variety of flight systems and integrated avionics systems for emergency and malfunction situations used to challenge flight crews.

    After the Link engineers left and Dryden personnel became familiar with the simulator's operation, several intermittent hardware and software bugs had to be resolved. Although refurbished with state-of-the-art equipment, there was "quite a bit of troubleshooting to resolve the intermittent problems based on the new configuration," said Ciganek.

    In 1995 the Air Force reactivated the SR-71 for a second tour of duty per Congressional direction, reclaiming one of the three that had been loaned to Dryden for research purposes as one of two Blackbirds brought back to military operational status. Air Force officials had considered returning the simulator to Beale before learning of the complexity of the move and the time that reconstructing the system there would require.

    A compromise resulted in the simulator remaining at Dryden, with crews from the NASA center and the Air Force sharing it. Air Force reconnaissance control panels for morning training sessions were swapped out in the afternoons with NASA instrumentation and controls, Ciganek recalled.

    "When we received the SR-71s in 1990, it was the center's intent to use them as research platforms for (aeronautical) science experiments – real-time wind tunnels, if you will," he said.

    Over the course of almost a decade, Dryden's SR-71A and SR-71B trainer version, bearing tail numbers 844 and 831, were flown in a variety of high-speed research experiments — aerodynamics, propulsion, structures, thermal protection materials, high-speed and high-temperature instrumentation, atmospheric studies and sonic boom characterization, even serving as a test platform for Lockheed-Martin's linear aerospike rocket engine experiment, or LASRE. The "hot fire" of the subscale aerospike engine never took place, however, and the X-33 single-stage-to-orbit technology demonstration project that was to use full-sized versions of the linear aerospike engine was cancelled.

    Following a series of four research flights by Dryden's SR-71A in 1999 to evaluate stability and handling characteristics at speeds of about Mach 3 with the 41-foot-long LASRE test fixture mounted on top, the Blackbirds never flew another research mission. The very last SR-71 flight, flown by NASA 844, occurred in October of that year, not for military reconnaissance or aeronautical research, but for the crowd at the annual Edwards Air Force Base open house and air show. The retired Blackbird is now on display at NASA Dryden.

    Ciganek and retired Dryden software engineer Tom Wolf managed the simulator's use for NASA while two Link engineers assisted Ciganek with Air Force use of the simulator until the service's two operational SR-71s were again retired in 1997.

    With no aircraft to support, the SR-71 simulator was just taking up space — much of it needed for relocation of the Dryden Model Shop. The unit was first offered to the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum and then to the U.S. Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Neither had adequate space available to house the equipment.

    Conversations then began with the former SR-71 simulator contractor, Link, which proposed that the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, an affiliate of the U.S. Air Force Museum, acquire the simulator. Working with Link and Air Force representatives, Ciganek and Dryden's Mike Relja, a former SR-71 test engineer, developed a plan to relocate and restore the simulator at the Texas museum, a plan the Air Force accepted.

    A new generation of visitors to the museum will now be able to "fly" the same simulator as the pilots of the storied SR-71 Blackbird did during its heyday as the fastest, highest-flying production aircraft ever built.

    Photo Editors: Photos EC99-44962-4 and EC90-275-1 to support this release are available in high resolution on the NASA Dryden web site at: NASA Dryden SR-71 Blackbird Photo Collection under reference to news release # 06-30. Numerous SR-71 aircraft photos are also available on that site.
    - end -

    damn!
     
  8. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Here's something in a similar vein-
    "The American military's technology research division Darpa is to investigate hi tech 'battlefield illusions' designed to baffle enemy troops, according to budget figures announced this week.

    The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency is investing $4 million in the project, which includes research into causing 'auditory and visual' hallucinations in enemy troops.
    The technologies could be similar to current measures designed to confuse radar systems, but applied to human beings."
    Ghost warriors? U.S. military to research 'battlefield illusions' to baffle enemies | Mail Online
     
  9. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    When I read this it reminded me of my two Uncles who were able to visit each other in Japan in 1945. Uncle Russ was in the Navy, Merle in the AAF and close enough to fly over to see his younger brother. A lieutenant noticed the name in a report/roster? and asked if Merle was related to a Russell which led to the family reunion :)


    2/11/2012 - KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- (Editor's note: The interviewees' names are exactly the same, but Airman 1st Class Walter Josephs Jr. is referred to as Josephs Jr. on second reference for clarity purposes in this article.)

    It isn't every day that a father has a chance to observe his son at work, especially if that son is in the Air Force and deployed to Afghanistan.

    While Army 1st Sgt. Walter Josephs Jr. is on his sixth deployment, his son, Airman 1st Class Walter Josephs Jr., is on his first.

    For Josephs, a field artillery instructor deployed from Fort Hood, Texas, to Kabul, Afghanistan, deployments are nothing new, especially after 25 years in the Army. When he found out he would be deployed to Afghanistan at the same time as his son, who is a 451st Air Expeditionary Wing services journeyman deployed here from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., Josephs couldn't resist checking in.

    "I know the Air Force will take care of him, but nothing short of a presidential order could keep me from visiting my son to see him settling in," Josephs said.

    Going the extra mile, quite literally, is the norm for Josephs, whether it's for his family or the Army. While Josephs was stationed in South Korea and Josephs Jr. went through basic training and technical training, Josephs flew out not once, but twice, to attend both graduations. Seeing his son's shocked expression on basic training graduation day was worth the 16-hour flight, said Josephs, but visiting his son while deployed is even more special.

    "That God gave me the opportunity to be with him means more to me than winning $100 million dollars," he said. "It's truly priceless."

    For Josephs Jr., he considers himself lucky to be able to see his father down range.

    "Everyone around me is missing their family, so seeing my dad here is great," Josephs Jr. said.

    Family isn't the only thing Josephs Jr. appreciates at Kandahar Airfield.

    "This deployment has helped me realize how fortunate we are in the States," he said. "We have so many luxuries that most people don't have."

    Josephs knows something about not having enough. He grew up in Panama and immigrated to the U.S. a in 1980. He even remembers the exact day he entered the U.S.

    "(It was) Sept. 6, 1980," Josephs said. "I decided to leave and do something better with my life."

    Six years later, his dreams of citizenship and serving in the Army were realized. Since then, he has risen through the ranks and has been selected for sergeant major, a rank very few achieve. Josephs attributes his successful career to keeping a focused but helpful attitude.

    "You should be like a racehorse with blinders on -- just watch your lane," he said. "Don't worry about what others do. As long as you do what is right, you can make a difference."

    Both father and son share a drive, attention to detail and willingness to help others.

    "My dad taught me to give 110 percent in whatever I do," Josephs Jr. said.

    Giving it his all is what Josephs Jr. does at home station and here.

    "I'm in school for a medical career, but with services I'm a cook," he said. "I hate to cook, but I don't just throw things together. I try and do it right."

    At Kandahar Airfield, Josephs Jr. works at the morale, welfare, and recreation building at Camp Samek. A chief at the MWR even complimented Josephs on raising such a nice, respectful son. Josephs said that makes him feel good.

    "I'm so proud of the young man he's become and how he's contributing," Josephs said. "Watching him help provide a place for service members to eat, play games, rest and forget about their jobs for a little while is amazing."

    Josephs said he's proud to explain to people what his son does in the Air Force. He tells people all the time, especially service members who might not feel their job is critical, that whether you are a cook or a pilot, everyone's role is important to the mission.

    "Without cooks, the pilots wouldn't eat," he said.

    Josephs Jr. doesn't plan to stay in one area of services for his entire enlistment, though. Once his education is complete, he hopes to be transferred to the gym where he can be an athletic trainer.

    "I like a challenge," Josephs Jr. said. "I'm bored if things are simple. You don't improve that way."

    Both father and son are driven to improve their lives. Josephs Jr. continues to challenge himself through education and Josephs hopes that by attaining a higher rank, he can continue to give back and make a difference. They are both examples of how exerting willpower helps not only their lives but others as well.

    But even an energetic and committed person like Josephs experiences fatigue occasionally. After staying up on the night shift to be with Josephs Jr., he called his wife and explained he was having a hard time staying awake.

    "She told me I could sleep later and that I should be cherishing this time with my son!" Josephs said.

    Josephs's cherished albeit quick visit with his son had to come to an end. He was needed back at Kabul, where he continues doing what he's done throughout his career: taking care of Soldiers.

    "Parents entrusted us to do that," he said.

    Josephs said he realizes that just as he's watching over his Soldiers, the Air Force is watching over his son.

    "I need to remember that he's an Airman," he said. "He's not a kid anymore."
     
  10. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    by Don Branum
    Air Force Academy Public Affairs

    2/17/2012 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AFNS) -- Test pilots are no strangers to tragedy. Few other careers subject men and women to such risk while expecting them to fly in such an exacting manner and to recover in a moment's notice from anything that may go wrong in midair.

    But while tragedy was not in the forefront of Lt. Col. Ryan Osteroos' mind on a sunny Friday afternoon in Reno, Nev., the aeronautics instructor and test pilot nonetheless found himself on the front lines of a frantic effort to save lives after a modified P-51 Mustang crashed into a crowd of air race enthusiasts.

    The Colorado Springs Red Cross recently named Osteroos its Military Hero of 2011, an award it will present to him in Colorado Springs, Colo., March 8. But against the backdrop of the Reno Air Race crash, the award is bittersweet. For Osteroos, it is a cause to remember both those who died and the responders, including Osteroos, the cadets in his aeronautical engineering class and local responders, who kept the death toll from climbing even higher.

    Field trip

    The Academy's Aeronautical Engineering 456 course, "Flight Test Techniques," covers fundamental flight test methods for determining performance and flying qualities characteristic of fixed-wing aircraft, according to the Air Force Academy's Fall 2011 Curriculum Handbook. Cadets fly sorties in T-41 Mescalero aircraft here and T-38 Talons at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to learn how to collect flight data.

    Cadets who take the course in the fall semester also take a field trip to the Reno Air Races, which are held annually in September. That gives them the chance to interact with the crews responsible for customizing and maintaining the planes that fly at speeds close to 500 mph.

    "They like to see us out there, because they know we know what they're talking about," Osteroos said.

    It was 3:15 p.m. Osteroos had just cut the cadets loose to tour the "pits" and joined an acquaintance, retired Lt. Col. Carl Hawkins, in the stands to watch the races. The gentlemen watched as the "Galloping Ghost," a customized P-51, began another lap in the race.

    "Out of the corner of my eye, I saw it climbing," he recalled. "I watched it for a second, and Hawkins said, 'What is that guy trying to do?' Then we saw it roll over onto its back, and I said, 'Is that guy going to try to pull through?'"

    The Galloping Ghost apparently lost its elevator trim tab in the middle of a steep left turn after hitting a spot of turbulence, according to a preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report. The plane, originally designed with a top speed of 360 mph, was flying at least 50 mph above that limit.

    "The airplane suddenly banked momentarily to the left before banking to the right, turning away from the race course and pitching to a steep nose-high altitude," the report states. The resulting climb would have inflicted at least 10 Gs of acceleration on the pilot, 80-year-old Jimmy Leeward. (actually he was 74)

    After the roll, the Galloping Ghost descended toward the ground, headed directly for Osteroos.

    War zone

    The plane pitched over, nose low. Osteroos said he remembers thinking, "That's right on us. There's nowhere to go."

    But the plane picked up speed as it angled toward the ground. The lift along the top of its wings pulled it away from the center of the stands, toward the tarmac.

    When the plane hit the ground, pieces of the aircraft spread in all directions. When the debris settled, Osteroos checked Hawkins and the other spectators around him to make sure they were OK. After making sure no one in his vicinity was seriously hurt, he moved for the tarmac to see how he could help.

    "I walked up to it and thought, 'Oh, my,'" he said. "I thought I could help by providing self-aid and buddy care, but that's not what I saw."

    What he saw, according to his after-action report, was an "area of carnage" in a 50-foot radius centered around the impact site, with about 30 people in "various conditions of trauma."

    "I thought to myself, 'Are you going to do this? Yes, you're going to do this. Take a step. Take another step.' It was kind of overwhelming." But once he had taken those first steps toward the accident scene, he was committed.

    The first two victims Osteroos tried to help were already dead. The third died in his arms. Nine people total died that day, and two more died later in the hospital from their injuries. He and other volunteers provided the best medical care they could using belts as tourniquets and plastic sheet protectors to treat sucking chest wounds. As trained EMTs and other volunteers arrived, Osteroos continued to help as best he could.

    "The ambulances and helicopters that arrived on the scene were bringing enough people to ensure medical attention was at hand for everyone," Osteroos wrote in his report. A triage response was set up, with red, yellow and green response areas that allowed victims to be cared for and transported to hospitals in an orderly fashion.

    An EMT placed Osteroos in charge of coordinating transport for victims in the yellow zone. Meanwhile, cadets helped behind the scenes. After rallying at the military appreciation tent and trying to contact their instructor, they provided logistical and security support.

    "We were asked to set up a security cordon around the debris about an hour or so after the crash," Cadet 1st Class Bryan Rhoades wrote in his after-action report. Another group provided transportation for the medics who had arrived with the ambulances so that they could return to the local hospitals.

    Looking back

    The next day, Osteroos talked with Col. Martin Sellberg, the state air surgeon for the Kansas Air National Guard, who had helped him stabilize victims at the scene.

    "We lost 11, but he said, 'Think of all the people we did help. Because if you think about the people we didn't help ...,'" Osteroos said.

    "I didn't sleep that night," he continued. "I tried to sleep with the lights off that night, but I just couldn't. I kept seeing all the faces of the victims in my mind."

    Osteroos remembers the names and stories of those who died that sunny Friday afternoon in September. One, he said, was a custodian working at the event. Another was a first-time race watcher.

    He said he was concerned about the cadets' state of mind in the wake of the accident. He asked them repeatedly if they had been exposed to anything that might cause them mental trauma.

    "It gave me something to focus on," he said. "I still had a group of cadets that I needed to get safely back to the Academy."

    In light of the victims' deaths, the Red Cross award is not a celebration; instead, it is a call to action.

    "I intend to take some time and take EMT classes because I want to be better prepared for situations like these," Osteroos said, adding that people should take their self-aid and buddy care training seriously, as it may be the only thing they have to rely upon during a medical emergency.

    Feature - Red Cross award serves as solemn reminder
     
  11. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    Another story buried;


    2/18/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska (AFNS) -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz helped dedicate the new Alaska Fisher House in a ceremony here Feb. 17.

    The 56th Fisher House to be built, it is the only one of its kind in Alaska, and has already hosted a military family from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, whose newborn is in the intensive care unit in an Anchorage hospital. "Sometimes you get lost with the metrics," said Fisher House Foundation president Dave Coker.

    "It's important not to forget that every number is a person, a family." The Alaska Fisher House has been the work of three years of planning, which had to take into account Alaska's short building seasons, coordination and timing.

    Zachary Fisher, prominent in New York real estate, was a benefactor of the U.S. Armed Forces throughout his life. Ken Fisher, chairman and CEO of the Fisher House foundation and Zachary Fisher's nephew, was on hand for the celebration, and related some of his uncle's story.

    The son of Russian immigrants, Zachary Fisher felt that there was no more underappreciated group than the military, his nephew said. Although he could not serve in World War II due to a leg injury, he dedicated his life to the service of service members. He wanted his legacy of Fisher Houses to be not only livable, but as nice as his own home.

    "He wanted to give (service members) something he'd want to stay in," Ken Fisher said. "The philosophy is very simple behind the Fisher House. It began with my uncle's desire to give back to the nation that allowed him to prosper.

    "Family members of those who are sick or wounded can stay free of charge for as long as the hospital stay dictates. It eases the financial burden they don't need right now. The houses form a support system - they might be 12 families, and the 12 families become one. They share the joy of the good days, and the sorrow of the bad days." While each guest room has a private bath so families can also be alone, the living and kitchen areas are shared.

    "The most important thing is the financial burden," Ken Fisher said. "Bills still come, children still need to be raised. They don't need to wonder how they're going to pay for (lodging)." While the homes use one designer, they're each decorated with a local theme, said Jody Fisher, senior vice president of the Fisher House Foundation's public relations firm.

    Each house is entirely built and stocked by the foundation, then turned over to the government, where service members, families and civilians maintain it, she said. "It's something tangible, you can touch and see and take pride in," said Ken Fisher. "You only have to come here to see what the impact is."

    The JBER Fisher House has some unique features - not including the moose that browse the landscaping. "When I saw pictures of the house in progress, I was struck by the beauty and the background, and the colors - and that there's no snow on the walkways," Ken Fisher said.

    "There are heated sidewalks; you'll never have to shovel a bit of snow away from that Fisher House." Col. Robert Evans, 673d Air Base Wing and JBER commander, spoke at an official ceremony inside the JBER Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs Joint Venture Hospital. "We're thrilled to have a Fisher House on JBER," he said.

    "There are no words, only grateful hearts. The generosity and compassion of the Fisher family is evident in the Alaska Fisher House." Evans also mentioned the newly-opened Lynx wing of the hospital, which offers pain management, neurology and behavioral health clinics, as well as a traumatic brain injury clinic - all frequently used by service members wounded in battle.

    Service members can, when medically appropriate, bypass major military treatment centers and come home, Evans said. "These families now have a home," he said, pointing out that the Fisher House is on the grounds of the hospital.

    "They can provide an additional measure of peace of mind and physical comfort." Fisher Houses in the U.S. and Germany provided 17,000 families last year with more than 14 million nights of lodging, said Ken Fisher.

    "This is the first Fisher House in the Pacific area," Schwartz said. "We're eternally grateful for what this home represents. It's so important that we offer support to families when they're most in need, and few people are as willing and ready to do this as Ken Fisher and the Fisher House Foundation."

    Ken Fisher said it is not uncommon to hear people thank service members in airports and train station. "But often forgotten are those who stand beside them, their families," he said. "Deployment does not bring the world to a grinding halt. They sacrifice too."

    The foundation plans to build 24 more houses in the next five years. They also fund the Hero Miles program, which helps bring other family members to Fisher Houses to help relieve the primary caregivers, and sponsor a scholarship fund.

    On April 23, they will break ground for Fisher House U.K., for British servicemembers. A plaque was presented to Jeffrey Temple, manager of the house, by retired Medal of Honor recipient Army Maj. Drew Dix.

    "I'm proud to present this to the Fisher House, on behalf of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and the other 82 living recipients," Dix said. "The Fisher House Foundation and corporate donors do far more than provide resources - they provide a way for citizens to honor service members." Ken Fisher said it all comes back to honoring the military and honoring families. "Saying 'Thank you for your service' is no longer enough," he said.

    CSAF helps dedicate Alaska's first Fisher House
     
  12. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Some damn good stuff in here so far.
     
  13. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    Former 82nd paratrooper returns to Fort Bragg to see final jump

    FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Feb. 17, 2012) -- As Robert "Bobby" Ricketson looked out over Sicily Drop Zone, Wednesday, he ruminated what it was like to have been a paratrooper 37 years ago.
    "They were the best years of my life," he said.
    Ricketson, who served in Company A, 82nd Signal Battalion, and the battalion's Headquarters Company, from 1975 to 1978, came back to Fort Bragg to fulfill a dying wish -- to see paratroopers jump from their aircraft one last time.
    "I came back just to say goodbye," said Ricketson, 54, who has been diagnosed with terminal esophageal and lymphatic cancer and traveled from his home in Homosassa, Fla.
    By Wednesday, he hadn't eaten or drank anything in days, said his wife, Susan. But, airborne means so much to him, she explained.
    "He'd cut out our roof for a drop zone if he could do it," she said.
    Pierre Bouthiller agreed.
    He and Ricketson were roommates when they served in the 82nd Sig. Bn. It was Bouthiller who contacted Frank Hanan, Fort Bragg Community Relations chief Feb. 1, when he learned that his friend wanted to see a jump. Although there wasn't much time to plan, Hanan said there was no question about supporting the request.
    "How can you not support this (event)? He's one of ours," said Hanan.
    "It's important because he's my best friend," Bouthiller said. "My sacred and solemn duty is to fulfill his last wishes," said Bouthiller who traveled from his home in Maine to be by Ricketson's side and to capture the moment on video. "I know that he would do the same for me."
    Long before the paratroopers landed, Ricketson did something he had not done in 34 years. He raised the beret to this head, adjusted it and donned its maroon color.
    "It feels good, wish I could still wear it all the time," Ricketson said. "This is a badge of honor."
    Ricketson was a senior in a Florida high school when he decided to join the Army, choosing to become a paratrooper because, from an early age, he liked a rush of adrenaline.
    In retrospect, Ricketson said he often wishes he had stayed in the Army, and is proud to have served honorably as a United States paratrooper.
    Ricketson remembered his first jump. It was from a C-123 Boxcar, also known as "the Flying Brick," he said.
    "It was the first time I'd ever flown in my life. The adrenaline was rushing and I loved it," he recalled.
    Ricketson logged in 20 static line and five free-fall jumps during his Army career, and even remembered his last jump.
    "The last one was a C-130 static line and I loved it."
    After leaving the Army, Ricketson packed his parachute and stepped into the next stage of his life -- building two companies (one in construction and another in auto repair).
    "He always said that the Army gave him structure and discipline to succeed in life," Susan said.
    It also gave Ricketson something he said he has never lost -- "you never lose the brotherhood," he said, as illustrated by the fact that Bouthiller temporarily relocated to Florida for a month last October to take Ricketson back and forth to chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
    Pfc. Sarah Adams, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, stood nearby and watched paratroopers make their descent. A military brat who joined the service 14 months ago, Adams said she understood the significance of Ricketson's return.
    "I think it's awesome that he's doing it," she said. "In a way, 82nd becomes people's lives."
    What advice does Ricketson have for Adams and other young Soldiers like her?
    "Do what your superiors tell you to do and you'll get out okay," he said. "You do in life what you can do and you don't step on anybody while you're doing it."

    Former 82nd paratrooper returns to Fort Bragg to see final jump | Article | The United States Army
     
  14. Biak

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    Soldiers are trained to save lives also;

    by Stefan Bocchino
    377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

    2/19/2012 - KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFNS) -- Seven Airmen from the 898th Munitions Squadron witnessed a car crash, recently, on Interstate 40 near Amarillo, Texas, and put their self-aid and buddy care training to the test.

    They were returning from an assignment at the Pantex Plant near Amarillo when they saw a car lose control and get clipped by a semitrailer. Tech. Sgt. Shawn Piel said the car then hit the concrete center divider on the highway, flipped over and skidded along the road, and then was hit again by the semitrailer.

    The Airmen quickly got out of the van to see if they could render any assistance. Piel was the main liaison with local responders during the event.

    "Immediately when our van stopped, everybody ran out," said Airman 1st Class Anne Price.

    By then, Staff Sgt. David Henke, Airman 1st Class Nathaniel Iverson and the wife of the truck driver were pulling the victim out of the car, said Price. She was the only person in the car. They pulled her away from the car because it was smoking and in danger of catching fire.

    "We decided that we needed to get her on the ground and treat her for shock," said Price. "We put her on the ground and Airman Carl Krejci held her legs. Sergeant Henke and Airman Iverson were talking to her trying to calm her. We tried to keep her awake because she'd hit her head."

    After the initial assessment, Henke started directing both the Airmen and civilians coming to help with needed tasks. At the same time, he said that he continued to verify the alertness of the victim and reassure her that she would be all right.

    People from nearby houses and cars brought blankets to put around her because of the cold temperatures, said Price. While some Airmen were helping to stabilize the victim, Senior Airman Ryan Dearth and Airman 1st Class Marshall Bowland directed traffic.

    "Through boot camp, you learn all about these lifesaving skills," said Price. "Thinking back while you're in this situation it's like, 'Oh my gosh, this is what we learned.' It's very helpful."

    The Airmen had been up since early in the morning and were looking forward to a long but uneventful drive back to Kirtland AFB, said Piel.

    "All of a sudden, it was like 110 miles an hour instant activity," said Piel. "Everything was working like it was practiced. None of us work together on a regular basis, but it all came together in that instant, thanks to all the training we receive as Airmen. All these Airmen displayed very good understanding of the situation and reacted superbly."

    Airmen put response skills to the test
     
  15. Biak

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    Alaska Air Guard members rescue head-on collision victims


    Alaska National Guard Courtesy report





    CAMP DENALI, Alaska (2/17/12) — In a joint effort with the Coast Guard, the Alaska Air National Guard successfully rescued two injured men after their vehicles collided head-on Wednesday.

    At 2:45 p.m. Alaska Standard Time Wednesday, the 11th Air Force Rescue Coordination Center received a request for assistance from the Coast Guard in rescuing two 61-year-old men who had multiple life-threatening injuries, to include one with a fractured pelvis, said Air force Maj. Alex Lang.
    At 3:42 p.m. Alaska Standard Time, an Alaska Air National Guard HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter from the 210th Rescue Squadron and an HC-130 “King” aircraft from the 211th Rescue Squadron, both with “Guardian Angels” from the 212th Rescue Squadron on board, launched from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, tasked with transporting the victims from the Providence Seward Medical & Care Center to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.
    “We spoke with the doctors at the hospital in Seward, validating the need for immediate transport to Anchorage,” Lang said. “We were the only ones who had the capabilities to fly in the adverse weather at the time.”
    According to the RCC, LifeMed Alaska launched its helicopter in an attempt to pick up the second patient but returned to base within the hour because of the white-out conditions.
    “Our helicopters have more capabilities, to include two engines and air-refueling, that gives us the ability to fly confidently in more severe weather,” Lang said. “And because of that, we were able to successfully complete the mission.”

    National Guard News - Alaska Air Guard members rescue head-on collision victims
     
  16. Biak

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    One more for today;

    [h=1]Unit honors fallen corpsman[/h] 2/17/2012 By Capt. Roger Hollenbeck , 11th MEU

    ARABIAN SEA — All hands celebrated the life and service of Petty Officer 3rd Class Kyler L. Estrada during a memorial service aboard USS Makin Island Feb. 17. Salt dried on once-moist cheeks, but from others the tears kept flowing. Solemn tones complemented a poignant quiet throughout the ship.
    The men of India Company – reinforced by Marines and sailors from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and USS Makin Island – gathered to honor their corpsman, Doc Estrada, a Fleet Marine Force sailor who died during live-fire training in Djibouti on Valentine’s Day.
    A display of more than 700 men and women pressed shoulder to shoulder and filled the ship’s aircraft hangar with heavy hearts.
    “Doc died in the company of his brothers – brothers who trained and sweat with him, brothers who rushed to his side and would not give up on him after he fell,” said Capt. Matthew McGirr, commanding officer of India Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/1, Estrada’s company.
    McGirr thanked everyone in the hangar for being at the service and said, “We will honor Doc by keeping faith in him in the manner that we have honored every single Marine and doc that has lived, trained, fought and died next to us and underneath our guidon. We are going to pick up our swords; we are going to lock our shields together, and we are going to step forward, together as one.”
    One of Estrada’s squad mates, Cpl. David Zochol, took to the podium and spoke: “From my time in the Marine Corps, I have come to realize there are two types of docs. The first is a corpsman in a Marine uniform; the second is a Marine in a corpsman uniform. All those that knew Doc Estrada would agree that he was the latter.”
    Zochol said the loss will be felt in India Company for a long time. He said, “No matter how terrible and long-lasting the pain, it pales in comparison to the pain felt by his wife and family back home.”
    Eleventh MEU chaplain Lt. Cmdr. Jon Conroe said Estrada was “a young man full of life and humor and devotion to his family, to his fellow sailors and Marines, to his country and to his god.”
    Said Conroe, “Doc Estrada’s presence in our life was truly a gift – a gift with which we will be forever blessed.”
    A detail of seven Marines who served with Estrada fired rifle volleys in his honor and a Navy bugler sounded taps.
    On his Facebook page, Estrada summed up his job: “Fix broken Marines.” The eulogies attested to his skill in just that.



    Unit honors fallen corpsman
     
  17. Biak

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    Your Momma wears combat boots!
    Yeah, And she can kick your arse too!

    FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Feb. 17, 2012) -- At 9 o'clock this morning, Sgt. Sandra Coast will graduate from Basic Combat Training on Fort Leonard Wood, officially beginning her Army career - at 51 years old.

    According to the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, the average age for an Army Reserve recruit is about 23, making Coast one of the oldest people to go through Basic Combat Training.

    "Everybody in the world thinks I am a total nutcase," Coast said. "I just want to support our troops. I love all of them."

    From 1982 to 1993, Coast devoted her life to the U.S. Navy. She gave up her lifestyle as a Sailor to raise her son, Jeff, who ironically led her back to the military she left behind years ago.

    "When Jeff graduated high school, he joined the Marine Corps. When I was at the recruiter's office with my son, I walked into the Army recruiting office and said 'I want to join,'" Coast said.

    Her previous years of military service allowed her to join the Army Reserve well past the age someone without prior service could join.

    For as long as she can remember she has had a special place in her heart for troops and a hunger to serve.

    "I have a friend in the Navy that was emailing me from Afghanistan. It's his third combat tour in seven years. I don't know, I can't explain it, I just had this overwhelming desire to give back to the military somehow. I was doing the same job day after day after day. I can't live my life that way," Coast said. "There is more to life than this, so I ended up in basic training."

    She was stunned to learn that as a paralegal specialist she would have to go back to basic training -- this time, Army-style.

    "I wasn't quite expecting to be running around with an M16 and all of this gear," Coast said. "This is nothing even remotely similar to being a Sailor. I was blown away by the total difference of it. We carried M16s during Navy Boot Camp, but we never shot them. Here we are shooting several times a week. Shooting this weapon with all of the gear on takes a toll on me."

    Coast started preparing for Basic Combat Training months prior to stepping foot on Fort Leonard Wood.

    "Before the recruiters would even talk to me I had to lose 30 pounds. I went from sitting at home every night eating ice cream to exercising and watching what I ate. I also started getting up at 4 o'clock in the morning to exercise and tried to go to bed early at night. I knew I needed every advantage I could have to get through this," Coast said.

    Her 10-week journey from civilian to Soldier was spent in Company B, 2nd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Chemical Brigade. Her first sergeant said when he first heard he had a 51-year-old headed his way he was perplexed, "Wow, that's strange," he said.

    Now, 1st Sgt. John Byars has a new perception of his elders.

    "I was impressed because she can do everything the younger Soldiers do," Byars said. "She never expected us to feel sorry for her. She even got one of the highest Army Physical Fitness Test scores in the company. She is a prime example that age is just a number. She ran faster than Soldiers young enough to be her kids."

    Coast even amazed herself when she came in second place during the PT test.

    "I am still kind of blown away by that. I even ran faster than all but one female," Coast said.

    The APFT may have been a breeze for Coast, but she said one of the hardest things for her to adjust to was the divide in life stages between her and her fellow roommates.

    "Everything about basic training is pretty tough, but living with more than 30 teenage females is one of the hardest things," Coast said.

    Despite the age gap, Byars said Coast was treated just like every other Soldier in training.

    "We don't treat her any different, and we don't see the privates treat her any different," Byars said.

    Coast agreed.

    "They treat me as an equal. The males especially have the utmost respect. They will do little things that they probably aren't supposed to do, like give me their seat on the bus and hold the doors for me. It's the little things that mean so much," she said.

    Although, Coast recalls an instance during hand-to-hand combat training that was particularly tough for one of her battle buddies.

    "We had to slap each other in the face. The poor guy that was up against me said 'I cannot do this. I cannot slap her.' I told him I would pay for his counseling when we were done. I was slapping him -- he finally slapped me," Coast said.

    The thing Coast is looking forward to the most today is wrapping her arms around her son.

    "I am thrilled to wear the title of sergeant in the U.S. Army, but the title that is also very near and dear to my heart is Marine mom. You can't beat that. I feel totally blessed," Coast said.

    Pfc. Jeff Coast didn't think his mother was serious when she expressed interest in joining the Army, but recently he started seeing a side of her that was new to him.

    "She is doing what most people her age would consider crazy," Jeff said. "I think she is hardcore. I hope when I get older I am still active and do all kinds of cool stuff."

    Sgt. Sandra Coast feels like she made it through basic training because of the support family, friends and even outsiders expressed to her.

    "It blows my mind that I am able to accomplish this," she said. "I couldn't have done it without the support of my Marine mom friends. I get more mail from them than anybody. That support keeps me going. They are constantly cheering me on. Even random people around here will tell me they are cheering for me."

    "At the dining facility the workers walk up and tell me they are cheering for me," Coast said. "I cry pretty much every day. Not a lot, because it's not an Army thing to do I know, but it's mind boggling to me how supportive strangers can be."

    She is delighted to be at the end of her basic training adventure, and thankful for all of the new experiences she had.

    "This has been very challenging. It makes me realize that I can do all of this. I got to do some really fun things. After the repelling tower, I decided to start rock climbing when I get out of basic training," Coast said.

    Coast is also looking forward to her life in the Army Reserve. She said she enlisted hoping to work directly with active-duty troops, but instead was attached to a reserve unit. On the plus side, she will be able to work near her son's reserve unit.

    "I wanted to go active duty, but they are not taking people as old as me for active duty. So, I got attached to a virtual unit. Everything I do will be by the Internet and phone," Coast said.

    Being in Army Basic Combat Training left Coast with a new respect for combat Soldiers -- and a new respect for herself.

    "Their gear is heavy and they are doing this constantly. We have some really awesome troops out there," Coast said. "I am 51-years-old, and I can do this."

    51-year-old mom holds her own during Basic Combat Training | Article | The United States Army
     
  18. Biak

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    JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. (Feb. 6, 2012) -- More than 60 Army Reserve Soldiers attended a meet-and-greet here with a local member of the Second World War's famed Tuskegee Airmen Jan. 27.

    Retired Tech. Sgt. George Watson Sr., a 91-year-old veteran who served in the African-American fighter group during World War II, shared his experiences and life lessons with the 411th Engineer Brigade Soldiers, who are preparing for deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

    "He is a true American hero, and he and his fellow Tuskegee Airmen overcame huge adversity to get into the fight," said Brig. Gen. David L. Weeks, commanding general of the 411th Engineer Brigade. "Right now, every one of us are volunteers, every one of us wants to be here."

    Watson, who spent his childhood in Asbury Park, Neptune and Lakewood, N.J., volunteered for service in the Army in February 1942 at Fort Dix. He had originally planned on joining the Infantry but, to his surprise, was instead assigned to the Army Air Corps.

    "Prior to World War II, there was prejudice," he explained. "Negroes couldn't get in the Air Corps."

    Watson, who received the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in 1944 during a German air raid, explained that this restriction was largely the result of a 1925 study by the U.S. Army War College that found African-American Soldiers less-than-capable on the battlefield.

    "They said we're dumb, we panic under combat conditions, that negroes could never fly a technical thing like an aircraft," Watson said of the study's findings, which are summarized in the "Memorandum for the Chief of Staff regarding Employment of Negro Man Power in War, Nov. 10, 1925."

    These findings were challenged by both "the negro press and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People," according to Watson. This pressure led to the formation of an African-American fighter group based at the Army's flight-training area in Tuskegee, Ala., in 1941.

    By all accounts, this "Tuskegee Experiment" was a success. The 450 Tuskegee pilots who served overseas flew more than 1,500 missions, destroying or disabling more than 400 enemy aircraft and safely escorting hundreds of U.S. bombers. The Airmen received three Distinguished Unit Citations, eight Purple Heart Medals, 14 Bronze Star Medals, 95 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 744 Air Medals.

    While the Tuskegee Airmen unquestionably contributed to the overall military success of the Allied Forces during World War II, their greatest achievement may have been in dispelling the myth that African Americans could not successfully serve their country in uniform. They, along with the other 50,000 African-American troops who saw combat during World War II, helped make it possible for President Harry S. Truman to end segregation in the military in 1948.

    "I feel very proud to hear from him today," said Master Sgt. Henry Mack, noncommissioned officer in-charge of maintenance for the 411th Engineer Brigade. "I'm inspired by what he's done."

    "It was a privilege to hear from him, to hear from those who paved the way for us and made it possible for us to have the careers in the military and really support our country," said 1st Lt. Nixon, Gessy, strength manager for the 411th Engineer Brigade.

    "It makes me feel empowered and enlightened," added Tangalayer Lowe, a civilian employee with the Army Reserve's 99th Regional Support Command and sergeant in the 412th Theater Engineer Command.

    In addition to their meet-and-greet with Watson, the 411th Engineer Brigade Soldiers are scheduled to see "Red Tails," executive producer George Lucas' new film about the Tuskegee Airmen.

    The 411th Engineer Brigade has a proud history spanning almost 80 years. It was first constituted as the 355th Engineer Regiment in 1921. During World War II, the Regiment saw action in the European Theater of Operations undertaking numerous bridging and mobility missions in Normandy, Northern France, the Rhineland and the Ardennes area. The Regiment was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for service in World War II.

    In 1948, the unit was reactivated, reorganized and redesignated as the 411th Engineer Brigade. The Brigade was again recalled to active duty in 1990 during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. It also provided engineer support to Operation Joint Endeavor/Guard by augmenting the 412th ENCOM staff and by the deployment of the 139th and 141st TC Detachments, which were under the Brigade's peacetime command and control.

    Tuskegee Airman shares history with deploying Soldiers | Article | The United States Army
     
  19. Biak

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    [h=1]Preserving legacy of African-American Soldiers
    [/h]WASHINGTON (Feb. 15, 2012) -- Much of our military history is lost in anonymity. Unless a person was a leader or played some pivotal role in a battle or event, his name is lost in the tide of greatness. Though standout individuals shape history, their contributions may never have been possible without the support of lesser-known people.

    The Army was segregated during World War II, and as Americans we hear many stories about famous segregated units like the Tuskegee Airmen and the 761st Tank Battalion, as well as individuals like Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Jr., who served as commander of the Tuskegee Airmen. But the legacy of the individual Soldier was often lost when he returned from war.

    Luckily, there are people like George Hardy Jr., who makes it his business to collect and preserve as much "anonymous" history as possible. About seven years ago, Hardy started collecting World War II memorabilia associated with African-Americans. His collection began with a few items his father, George Hardy Sr., had brought home from the war.

    The collection evolved from a few personal items to a dedicated room in his basement containing hundreds of photographs, three distinct uniform displays, Soldiers' personal effects and even a replica radio playing 1940s-era music.

    "I started to gather up some of his things -- pictures he had of World War II, experiences he had in (the war) -- and then I discovered many of his friends who used to come to our house when I was a kid were actually World War II veterans as well," Hardy said. He asked his father where those friends served and discovered they had been in different theaters across the globe.

    "It kind of peaked my interest because there is so much information on African-Americans that were Tuskegee Airmen, or the 761st Tank Battalion or even perhaps the 92nd Division that fought in Italy. So the perception was that either you're in one of these three units or you were just generically in a service unit, and what I sought to do in creating this museum was to dispel the myth that we were sort of kept in a box," he explained.

    FAMILY TIES

    Hardy and his wife, Rochelle, have been married for 23 years, living in their Maryland home for 20 of those years. They met at Howard University through a mutual friend, and are focused on family: their two grown children and two granddaughters.

    "His mother and father have been married for 56 years and they are an amazing couple, still very much in love after those 56 years, and they are really an example of what married life is all about," Rochelle said, explaining that Hardy is a product of his parents.

    He and his father are very close, she added, and that closeness helped to spark his World War II collection.

    George Hardy Sr. served in the Pacific during World War II, and had left active duty by the time the younger Hardy was born. However, he kept his field jacket and combat boots in a utility room and his son would wear them to take out the trash in bad weather.

    "As a kid, I was really into World War II movies and I really, really thought that those items he brought home from the war were precious items," Hardy said. "Somehow or another, that interest waned, and it picked back up again about six or seven years ago."

    Hardy's collection started with family memorabilia: a picture of his father in uniform and a picture of Rochelle's uncle, also in uniform. From there, Hardy began to scour eBay and flea markets for collectible items tied to African-American Soldiers. He bought and traded for photographs, distinct unit insignias, uniform pieces, unit yearbooks and day-to-day items that would have been found inside a footlocker, like shoe polish and pipe tobacco.

    "When I started out, of the things I thought were interesting were the different patches, the unit patches that the pictures would show," Hardy explained. "So I would take a magnifying glass whenever I acquired a picture and look very closely to see if I could identify the unit that these guys were associated with. Subsequently, I would buy the patch and put it underneath the glass."

    As the collection grew, family friends and members of their church offered up memorabilia to donate.

    "Several deacons in our church were Soldiers in World War II, and when they knew of George's collection, they shared with us (some photos they had)," Rochelle said.

    One person donated a picture of her father in uniform, as well as his dog tags. Hardy conducted some research for her and found out her father was part of an aviation crew that flew cargo over the Himalayas.

    "It was a way of bringing a story together for her and connecting the dots so she would have a better remembrance of her father," Hardy said.

    PRESERVING HISTORY

    Hardy's passion for his collection is not only based on preserving family histories, be it his own or that of other's, but also on ensuring the public at large has a comprehensive and detailed look at African-American military history. As large as Hardy's collection is, he is always interested in what may have been destroyed during family moves, or forgotten with time.

    "As a part of our culture, we don't often assign real value to military memorabilia or our service in the military, or things that are historic so a lot of that stuff was discarded. So, to have this kind of a collection that is evidence of our service is vitally important," he explained.

    Rochelle agrees that it is a significant collection, especially for young people to see, because it represents the struggles and obstacles African-Americans had to overcome, in particular the Soldiers who fought in World War II. They were battling two wars: one overseas against the enemy, another at home against prejudice.

    "Many of us have achieved success in our lives and many of those successes have been (due) in part to the contributions that our ancestors have made for us," Rochelle said.

    When the men came back from the war, they left a legacy of strength with their families and communities, Hardy said, embodying the values they learned in the service.

    "They were good citizens, they took care of their families, they were pillars in the community, they were serious about discipline," Hardy said, recalling the character of his father and other veterans, who he considered role models.

    "As I began to hear stories about black men not working, or negative stories about what black men can or cannot do, I would recall those images of strong black men who were serious about taking care of their families and about keeping the communities together," he said.

    Hardy developed a "no excuses" philosophy from those examples and hopes his collection will inspire others in a similar way.

    "I think it's important for us to all recognize that wherever we are, it didn't start with us, it started with somebody before us," Hardy said. "Look backwards and try to see what your real basis is, and I think that will be inspiring to you because you recognize that some folks had to deal with some incredible things and (overcome) some incredible odds and hardship in order for us to be where we are."

    Preserving legacy of African-American Soldiers | Article | The United States Army
     
  20. Biak

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    Unbelievable! Checked multiple sites and didn't see any reference to today's significance .

    The portrait of a generation: Old Glory rose over Iwo Jima 67 years ago today 2/23/2012
    By Lance Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki , Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

    MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. (Feb. 23, 2012)
    — Five Marines and a Navy corpsman were etched into American history Feb. 23, 1945, when they raised the American flag over Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima. The prevailing hoist, captured by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal, became one of the most reproduced and recognizable photographs of all time.
    It wasn’t the only flag raising during the war or even the only flag raising during the battle. However, people remember the Mt. Suribachi’s flag raising before any other because of the perfectly captured moment.
    “The photograph depicts the potential of victory about to be fulfilled,” said Daniel Kariko, an assistant professor of photography at East Carolina University. “The flag is taking air and is about to unfurl, and the pole is about to become vertical, symbolizing triumph.”
    Triumph for a future of freedom, fought for by thousands of young Americans, many of whom have since passed away.
    “We lost our whole platoon,” said Iwo Jima veteran, Lester Fabisch, 88, who was a paratrooper with 5th Marine Division. “We stepped off, and I was in water up to my chest.”
    The flag raising was the first time an American flag was raised over Japanese soil.
    “The faces of the Marines raising the flag are invisible, making them appear as a team, rather than as individuals, therefore becoming symbols of all men fighting for the common cause,” said Kariko. “Rosenthal’s image has undeniable power in its composition and depiction of the struggle.”
    Kariko went on to say it was the right photo at the right time as the Allies and Russia were pushing the Axis powers back on most fronts. Germany just lost the Battle of the Bulge and wouldn’t launch another major offensive for the rest of the war. The Marines were invading Iwo Jima, the first part of the Japanese homeland controlled by America.
    “It was perfect timing as far how long we had been in the war and progressing to the point where we were beating them all the way back to Tokyo,” said Sgt. Alan J. Stinar, an assistant historical officer with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing’s Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252. “People seeing an American flag raised over enemy territory can lift up an entire nation.”
    VMGR-252 took part in the battle as Marine Utility Squadron 252. Stinar said being part of a historical unit is a source of pride for Marines who can trace their heritage back to battles like Iwo Jima.
    “We carry on a legacy,” Stinar said. “Being able to look back and seeing how they accomplished travelling across an ocean and take the fight to the enemy without the technology we have right now just instills pride. All you need is to put a rifle in a Marine’s hand, give him orders, and he’ll take care of business.”
    Today, World War II veterans are often referred to as the ‘The Greatest Generation,’ said Kariko.
    For a farm boy it was something different, said Fabisch, a Beaver Dam, Wis., native. But when it was done, everybody went back about living their lives.
    Rosenthal’s photograph became the quintessential portrait of that generation and the admirable struggle they endured, said Kariko.
    “The name of one tiny island became synonymous with sacrifice, patriotism and ultimate triumph,” he said.

    [​IMG]





    67th anniversary flag raising over Iwo Jima: honoring our fallen Marines 2/23/2012
    By Sophia E. Piellusch, Headquarters Marine Corps

    WASHINGTON
    — The American flag waved high over the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va. Feb. 23, as one did in 1945 on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Many gathered at the memorial to honor those killed in battle 67 years ago with a wreath-laying ceremony. The ceremony is not only for the Marines who fought and died at Iwo Jima, but for all those who have died since 1775, said James Donovan, Marine Corps War Memorial Foundation founder and president.It was two gunnery sergeants from Headquarters and Service Battalion and myself, said Donovan. The ceremony is powerful in its simplicity. He added, We said a prayer and placed the wreath.The wreath-laying is an opportunity for past and present Marines and civilians to reflect and honor the servicemembers who lost their lives in the line of duty, said Col. Ira M. Cheatham, Commander of the H&S Bn., Headquarters Marine Corps, Henderson Hall. They should be remembered for fighting for our country with courage and dignity, he said. Sixty-seven years ago this week, on Iwo Jima, which translates to Sulfur Island, the Marines and Navy paid a high price in heavy casualties to capture the island. According to the Navy History Library, the 36-day assault resulted in more than 26,000 American casualties, including 6,800 dead. Of the 20,000 Japanese defenders, only 1,083 survived. The Marines efforts, however, provided a vital link in the U.S. chain of bomber bases. The island became strategically important as an air base for fighter escorts supporting long-range bombing missions against mainland Japan. Iwo Jima provided an emergency landing strip for U.S. aircraft returning from bombing runs. The battle of Iwo Jima embodies the Marine Corps core values of honor, courage and commitment, said Cheatham. The image of the Marines raising the flag is the most widely recognized and significant to the Marine Corps. The Battle of Iwo Jima is one of many battles, but one that certainly defines what is a Marine.
     

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