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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 Patron  

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    Not really "History" but these are my guys and it's my thread!
    Actually I'm more of a mongrel mutt who they felt sorry for and made me a semi/quasi-member.

    "" KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Dec. 28, 2012) -- Christmas is often a difficult time to be separated from loved ones during a combat deployment. This year the chaplains of 3rd Brigade Combat Team "Rakkasans," 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), sought to bring the Christmas spirit to the Soldiers of Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan.

    "We usually expect to see an increase in family and relationship problems following the holidays," said Capt. Justine Majeres, the brigade psychologist. "The stress of being away from family is only compounded by our environment."

    This is an issue that the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, or BCT, religious support teams were keenly aware of as they prepared for the holiday season.

    "The message of Christmas is extremely relevant to our lives right now," said Capt. Jeffery Crispin, Battalion chaplain, 626th Brigade Support Battalion.

    "Our Soldiers need peace and hope now more than ever," said Capt. Willie Newton, battalion chaplain, 3rd Special Troops Battalion. "That's what we're here to give them. We need to be a calming presence in the midst of the storm."

    The chaplains of the 3rd BCT collaborated together in four different services to mark the holiday, including two Catholic masses, a Protestant candlelight Christmas Eve service, and a Protestant Christmas morning service.

    These worship opportunities were open for anyone who wanted to celebrate.

    "Getting a chance to go to midnight mass in Afghanistan was very meaningful to me," said Sgt. Michael Mason, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment. "It brought a lot of comfort and encouragement."

    All of the services were well attended. In particular the candlelight service had more than 80 Soldiers present, filling the small chapel.

    "Out of all the holiday events I've helped with, this one had the best response," said Spc. Erika Espeseth, chaplain's assistant, 3rd STB. "I think the service went really well."

    Emotions ran deep throughout the congregations as the Christmas story was told through the reading of scripture and the singing of carols. Many Soldiers found tears in their eyes.

    "Being deployed could easily make Christmas Eve feel like just another day," said Spc. Jeffery Rebo, 3-187. "But, tonight, coming here and singing these carols and hearing the word reminded me that I'm not alone. It helped me a lot."

    During the final songs the congregation lit small handheld candles as they sang Silent Night.

    At the conclusion, one of the chaplains offered a short reflection: "The good news of Christmas is 'Emmanuel,' God is with us, we don't have to be alone."

    As the service ended, those in attendance walked into the cold winter night with the warmth of Christmas in their hearts.

    Although the long-term impact of the services and celebrations cannot be seen, yet. The efforts and contributions to the welfare of the Soldiers by the chaplains of Salerno could not go unnoticed. ""

    Ne Desit Virtus
     
  2. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Soldier posthumously awarded Distinguished Service Cross | Article | The United States Army

    FORT CAMPBALL, Ky. (Jan. 16, 2013) -- Gen. David M. Rodriguez, commander of U.S. Forces Command, awarded the Distinguished Service Cross to the widow of Staff Sgt. Eric B. Shaw, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), during a somber ceremony, Jan. 16, at Liberty Chapel, here.

    Audrey R. Shaw accepted the award, along with his Eric's mother, Michelle Campbell. Shaw died in combat, June 27, 2010, while assisting others to safety during a firefight in Afghanistan. Only the second Screaming Eagle Soldier to earn the honor since the Vietnam War, Shaw is remembered for "acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty" according to the award citation.

    He served as a squad leader with "No Slack" in Marawara District, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, during 1st BCT's deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

    The award citation explains Shaw encountered enemy fire while his squad attempted to seize the village of Daridam. He gave his own life after coming to the aid of a 12 Afghan National Army soldiers who got cut off from the 1st BCT squad and led them back to U.S. forces when enemy fire struck him.

    Shaw's actions that day are "an inspiration to us for how he lived his life and sacrificed it for his country," Rodriguez said. The incident occurred during the 31-year-old's third deployment. Shaw joined the Army in October 2004 -- at a time when U.S. forces remained on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    "Eric wanted to be part of that military -- to make a difference," Rodriguez said.

    Family, friends and Shaw's fellow Soldiers packed into the sanctuary of Liberty Chapel, all to honor the Soldier whose selfless and heroic actions will be remembered in the weeks and years to come.

    "I'm very proud and I'm very happy to be here," Campbell said. "Obviously, I'm very saddened by my son's death, but I know that he's a hero."

    Campbell remembers her son as a brave man, who "didn't want anybody to hurt" and concentrated on the good of others above his own needs.

    The Exeter, Maine, native came to Fort Campbell in March 2005. He chose to enlist as an infantryman, just as his father had been during the Vietnam War.

    "He wanted to experience combat as his father had," Audrey explained, who first met her husband when enrolled at the University of Southern Maine.

    Audrey recalls her husband as a humble man, who became a Soldier not for glory or fame. She said he would be humbled to receive the Distinguished Service Cross, which is second only to the Medal of Honor.

    "I don't do it so people can recognize me; I do it because it's what I love," Audrey remembered him telling her once as she affixed a 101st Airborne sticker to their vehicle.

    As the third anniversary of Shaw's death approaches, Audrey keeps the memory of the man she loved alive for their three daughters: Madison, 7; Victoria, 5; and Julia, 2½. When thinking about him, Audrey remembers the Soldier's love for comedian Chris Farley and his affinity for a good joke.

    "He was probably the funniest man with the biggest heart that I've ever met," she said. "He would always have a joke; usually it was making fun of himself."

    Shaw, who also wrestled through high school and college, remained dedicated to his band of brothers.

    "His Soldiers were everything to him," Audrey said. "They were his family. He was more worried about them not coming home than himself."

    The Distinguished Service Cross is the nation's second highest award for valor, bestowed on someone who exhibits extraordinary heroism while engaged in military actions against an enemy of the United States. The heroism must be notable and involve risk of life that sets the person apart from others.

    "His Soldiers knew him as a fantastic leader," Rodriguez added. "He spent an enormous amount of time training them, not only on the physical stress and strain of war, but the emotional toll war takes on a Soldier. [Staff] Sergeant Shaw did everything he could to prepare his Soldiers for what they were facing every day. His superiors considered him a professional warrior."

    Shaw is the 166th Screaming Eagle Soldier to receive the Distinguished Service Cross.

    "Do I wish he had been able to be here today to accept his award?" Audrey asked, her voice wavering. "I would give every single thing that I have right now so that he could be here and that he could be with our girls and watch them grow."
     
  3. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany (Jan. 23, 2013) -- On a serene Sicilian hillside, an American Soldier recently placed a small flower bouquet beside the name of a fallen German soldier.

    An emotional family journey brought Maj. Nik Guran, a 19th Battlefield Coordination Detachment Soldier, from his post at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to Motta - St. Anasastasia, Italy.

    Amid olive trees, with Mount Etna looming nearby, several thousand German soldiers who were killed during the allied invasion of Sicily in World War II, rest in peace.

    One of them, Jakob Nikolaus Forell, is Guran's grandfather.

    Guran and his wife, Michelle, recently paid respects to a man he never met, but heard many stories about. Along with the bouquet, they placed American and German flags

    "I never thought I would be there," said Guran, the only blood relative to visit his grandfather's grave. "It was always just stories before."

    Born in July 13, 1916 in Bad Krueznach, Forell joined the German Army during the 1930's. He lived on Heidelberg's Haupstrasse, now the city's pedestrian shopping zone. When World War II started, the family story goes, Forell and his two brothers were sent to fight on the Eastern front, Guran said.

    Wounded there, Forell returned to Germany to convalesce with his wife, Anneliese, and his young son Claude, Guran's father. Photos from that time show Claude with his father, in dress uniform, in Heidelberg. After recovering, Forell was sent to Sicily. U.S. forces landed at Gela, along Sicily's southern coast on July 10, 1943. Forell was killed July 12, the day before his 27th birthday.

    After the war, Forell's widow and son emigrated to America. She remarried and her new husband adopted Guran's father.

    "It's always been a mystery who my grandfather was," Guran said. "It has always been a bit of a touchy subject based on the fact that my dad wanted us to be American and never taught us the (German) language."

    Serving in uniform was a theme that resonated within his Guran's family. His father served in the U.S. Air Force. In the 1970's, during a tour in Germany, Claude rediscovered his German roots, Guran said. Unfortunately, at that time, he couldn't find more information about his father.

    A couple years ago, when the Gurans moved to the Kaiserslautern Military Community, they renewed the search. Armed with historical documents that Guran's family kept, they found some clues. Still, they couldn't pinpoint Forell's grave.

    "I just couldn't believe, in this day and age, there wasn't a way we couldn't find if he was actually buried somewhere," Michelle Guran said.

    During one late-night research session, where Michelle Guran used computer translating services and the German War Graves Commission's site, she found what they had been searching for. Guran's grandfather's gravesite was at Motta - St. Anasastasia, on the island of Sicily.

    "When I finally found it, I started crying," Michelle said. "We have been looking for so long."

    She called her husband, who was training elsewhere in Germany, with the news. Thrilled, Guran began planning to visit the cemetery, which he expected to be in disrepair.

    "It's probably dilapidated and grown over," Guran thought. "The tomb markers (are) probably knocked over, if there are any still there."

    When the Gurans arrived at the cemetery, just eight kilometers from Catania, they were amazed at how well-preserved the cemetery was. The Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgraverfursorge e. V., a private organization that is responsible for the maintenance and care of German graves worldwide, maintains the cemetery in Sicily, the final resting place of 4,552 German troops.

    Guran paid his respects and to put closure to his search.

    "It was very moving," Guran said. "Truth is, if he hadn't died in Sicily and the Germans hadn't lost the war, I wouldn't be here. So, he sacrificed for me in that way. I was instilled with an obligation to serve our nation. I was raised that way. My father was raised that way. He wanted me to be an American, but that all stems from his German upbringing."

    Guran's father died in 2009. Visiting his grandfather's final resting place also honored his father, who never got to pay his respects to his father.

    "That is why it was important for Nik to put both a German flag and an American flag at the grave," Michelle Guran said. "It all came full circle."
     
  4. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    One more for today.

    LATHAM, N.Y. (Dec. 26, 2012) -- The New York Army National Guard's Honor Guard will perform about 10,200 military funerals by the time 2012 ends at midnight, Dec. 31.

    This is 500 fewer than the 10,752 military funerals the Honor Guard conducted in during 2011, but isn't unexpected, said Honor Guard Coordinator Don Roy.

    The number of World War II veterans whose families were taking advantage of the Honor Guard services peaked a couple of years ago, Roy explained. So the overall number of funerals for that era's veterans is declining.

    In 2010 the Honor Guard performed 10,415 military funerals, and has been conducting more than 10,000 funerals annually since 2007.

    The numbers have stayed above 10,000 in New York because the state is home to a large number of Korean War and Vietnam War veterans, Roy explained. The veterans of these wars are also starting to age and pass on, so that keeps the demand for funeral services high, Roy added.

    According to the United States Census Bureau there are 950,000 veterans in New York. Almost half are age 65 or older, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    Of these New York veterans 306,000 served in the Vietnam War era and 170,000 have served in the Persian Gulf region since 1990.

    The 50 New York Army National Guard Soldiers who work full-time with the Honor Guard, along with 40 who perform duty on a part-time basis, work from nine offices located across New York.

    Currently the Honor Guard conducts about 850 funerals monthly, Roy said.

    The Honor Guard conducted the funerals of the 32 New York Army National Guard Soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. There were no military funerals for New York National Guard Soldiers killed in combat in 2011 and in 2012.

    Another reason the number of funerals has remained high, is that more people realize that their deceased family member is entitled to military honors at their funeral, Roy said.

    Any veteran, with an honorable discharge, whether they served during peacetime or wartime, whether they retired or not, is entitled to military honors at their funeral.

    Since the program started in 1999, the New York Military Forces Honor Guard has provided services at more than 100,000 military funerals.

    Federal law requires that at least two Honor Guard members, from the parent service of the deceased, be present to play taps, fold and present a flag to the next of kin for all former Soldiers when requested by the family or a designated representative.

    For most of those funerals, the Honor Guard sends three members whenever possible. Soldiers killed in action, general officers, retired general officers, retired sergeants major and Medal of Honor holders require many more Soldiers.

    The Honor Guard's primary function is to provide military honors at the funerals of Army, Army Reserve, Army Air Corps, and National Guard Veterans, Roy said. The Honor Guard will fill in when the other services cannot provide military honors if time permits, he said.

    Honor Guard Soldiers go through a week-long training program before they go out into the community to represent the Army and the Army National Guard.

    New York's Military Forces Honor Guard was established as a state-financed program in 1999 by then Governor George Pataki. Soldiers who participated in funerals were paid by state active duty dollars.

    In 2000 federal law changed to mandate military honors for all former Soldiers and the federal government began funding the Honor Guard as well. Now the Honor Guard is funded entirely with federal tax dollars.

    Notice this is for one State; New York
     
  5. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    by Capt. Ashley Conner
    477th Fighter Group Public Affairs

    1/28/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF RICHARDSON, Alaska (AFNS) -- MacAidan "Mac" Gallegos was only 5 when his father, Army Sgt. Justin Gallegos, was killed in Afghanistan in 2009. Not a day goes by that he doesn't think about him. On days like Jan. 24, his father's 31st birthday, he has found a special way to celebrate his birthday and honor his memory.

    "I wanted to write my dad a letter and get it as close to heaven as possible," said Mac.

    Mac and his mother Amanda Marr discussed ways to get the letter to heaven but ultimately decided that having someone fly it would be the best.

    "I posted on Facebook that we were looking for a pilot who could fly the letter for Mac," said Marr. "Kyle Moxley from HAVE Alaska contacted me and said he would coordinate and try to make it happen."

    Helping American Veterans Experience Alaska, or HAVE Alaska, was stood up in 2010 by Moxley and his wife Carla to provide opportunities for Veterans to experience hunting and fishing excursions in Alaska.

    A few emails and phone calls later Mac, his mother and his step-father, Army Master Sgt. Jeremy Marr, were meeting Senior Airman Jennifer Dunham, 90th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief who gave them a tour of the Raptor.

    Before stepping to fly Lt. Col. Brian Baldwin, a Reserve F-22 pilot assigned to the 302nd Fighter Squadron, met Mac at his F-22 where the little boy handed over the letter to his father written on red construction paper, his dad's favorite color.

    "It is an honor to fly with Mac's letter," said Baldwin. "His father gave the greatest sacrifice to our country and I am humbled to be able to do something for him and his family."

    Mac and his family have baked cupcakes and said they look forward to taking time out to remember Gallegos on his birthday.

    "Over the years we would have a party for Justin on his birthday," said Marr, who grew up in Palmer, Alaska but now resides in Anchorage. "As Mac has gotten older we have turned it into a day where we do "Acts of Service" for others. It is important for us to remember Justin and celebrate his life."
    F-22 pilot flies boy's letter 'closer to heaven'
     
  6. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Feb. 1, 2013) -- Pizza is at the top of the Super Bowl party list for a non-profit organization sending a slice of home to deployed Soldiers.

    Thousands of pies were delivered to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Jan. 21, thanks to retired Air Force Master Sgt. Mark Evans, who started 'Pizza 4 Patriots' in July 2008.

    With the help of the 3rd Sustainment Brigade, the deep dish "pies" will touchdown at forward operating bases throughout Southern Afghanistan in time for the NFL's biggest game.

    "We have been coordinating with the organization for about three months now to make sure that everything runs smoothly and the troops get the pizzas for the Super Bowl," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Luis Pineo, a Fitchburg, Mass., native, and the Class I (food) supply officer for the 3rd Sustainment Brigade.

    Pineo, who has been deployed with the 'Providers' since December 2012, said he's teamed up with international shipper, DHL-Express and DynCorp International, a global government services provider, to ensure Pizza 4 Patriots' continued success.

    "As a former Marine, it means a lot to me that I can bring this to them," said Vince Crook, the commercial manager for DHL Express-Afghanistan, and native of Seattle, Wash. "I remember when it was just little things like this that made all the difference in the world while deployed."

    Jaclyn Lockette, the manager for the Class I yard at Kandahar Airfield, said that DynCorp is also happy to assist with the program that sends a growing number of pizzas to deployed Soldiers twice a year.

    "We're here to support the warfighter," said Lockette. "There is not a lot we can do, but I do know when those Soldiers get off from their missions one of the first things they want is a hot meal. Delivering supplies to the Soldiers is the least we can do. The Pizza 4 Patriots is a great morale booster for the Soldiers. It can't get much better than eating pizza while watching the Super Bowl over here."

    Pizza 4 Patriots has delivered more than 50,000 pizzas, which has fed more than 200,000 deployed service members. There are more than 30,000 pizzas on order to Afghanistan to help Soldiers kick off the championship game.
     
  7. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    This may have made the News and I just didn't see.

    President Barack Obama signed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 into law on Monday, providing a wide-ranging package of benefits to military personnel and enacting new restrictions on protests of service member funerals.
    "We have a moral sacred duty to our men and women in uniform," Obama said before signing the bill, according to a pool report. "The graves of our veterans are hallowed grounds."
    The new law will have strong implications for the Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas-based organization which the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have labeled a hate group. Westboro Baptist Church has drawn media attention for its brand of protest, which frequently links the deaths of soldiers to America's growing acceptance of gays.
    Under the new legislation, protests must be held at least 300 feet from military funerals and are prohibited two hours before or after a service. The law counters a 2011 Supreme Court ruling, which found that displays such as Westboro's were protected under the First Amendment.
    Members of the church responded defiantly to a Huffington Post report following Congress' passage of the bill, claiming that the law's restrictions could also have an effect on counter-demonstrations organized in response to Westboro's attempts to disrupt military services.
    Two of these counter-efforts drew national attention last month, when large groups of people turned out in both Missouri and in Texas in an attempt to create "human walls" to shield attendees of military funerals from Westboro's demonstrations.
    (Photos of the Texas event below)
    In an interview over the weekend, Westboro spokesman Steven Drain told CNN that the new law was "not going to change our plans at all."
    According to the Army Times, future violations of The Honoring America’s Veterans Act would include the possibility of $50,000 in statutory damages.
     
  8. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    This may have made the News and I just didn't see.

    President Barack Obama signed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 into law on Monday, providing a wide-ranging package of benefits to military personnel and enacting new restrictions on protests of service member funerals.
    "We have a moral sacred duty to our men and women in uniform," Obama said before signing the bill, according to a pool report. "The graves of our veterans are hallowed grounds."
    The new law will have strong implications for the Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas-based organization which the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have labeled a hate group. Westboro Baptist Church has drawn media attention for its brand of protest, which frequently links the deaths of soldiers to America's growing acceptance of gays.
    Under the new legislation, protests must be held at least 300 feet from military funerals and are prohibited two hours before or after a service. The law counters a 2011 Supreme Court ruling, which found that displays such as Westboro's were protected under the First Amendment.
    Members of the church responded defiantly to a Huffington Post report following Congress' passage of the bill, claiming that the law's restrictions could also have an effect on counter-demonstrations organized in response to Westboro's attempts to disrupt military services.
    Two of these counter-efforts drew national attention last month, when large groups of people turned out in both Missouri and in Texas in an attempt to create "human walls" to shield attendees of military funerals from Westboro's demonstrations.
    (Photos of the Texas event below)
    In an interview over the weekend, Westboro spokesman Steven Drain told CNN that the new law was "not going to change our plans at all."
    According to the Army Times, future violations of The Honoring America’s Veterans Act would include the possibility of $50,000 in statutory damages.
     
  9. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Written by Rear Adm. Steven E. Day, acting director of Reserve and Military Personnel.
    The Coast Guard Reserve has been a flexible, responsive and cost-effective workforce that has maintained its primary purpose of providing surge capacity for Coast Guard missions for 72 years.
    The Coast Guard Reserve was established Feb. 19, 1941. Of the 214,000 personnel serving in the Coast Guard during World War II, nine out of 10 were reservists. Another 125,000 members served in the Temporary Reserve, which consisted of volunteers and Auxiliary members whose paid and unpaid services were needed in a military capacity for coastal and port security details.

    Today, the Coast Guard Reserve consists of nearly 8,000 dedicated men and women who support the Coast Guard roles of maritime homeland security, national defense – domestic and expeditionary – and response to natural and man-made domestic disasters. Reservists are always ready to mobilize with critical competencies in boat operations, contingency planning and response, expeditionary warfare, marine safety, port security, maritime law enforcement and mission support.

    Reservists bring a unique blend of civilian and military experience and proficiency to the Coast Guard. On any given day you will find members of this locally trained and ready force supporting a variety of Coast Guard missions across the country and overseas. And, as we have seen during surge events like Deepwater Horizon and more recently, Hurricane Snady, this investment in time and training has an impact far beyond the local command’s area of responsibility and provides the nation with greater capacity and capability.

    Through forward-leaning program initiatives and prudent budget management we are ensuring that our Reserve force is staffed, trained and supported to remain agile and ready to mobilize. In 2012 we completed the implementation of the Reserve Force Readiness. This initiative has achieved notable efficiencies in the management of reservists assigned to drill at active duty units and made full-time support billets more closely focused on Reserve training requirements. In addition, the Concept of Reserve Employment initiative ensures training is better aligned to deliver the specific competencies required by the evolving manner in which operational commanders employ the Coast Guard Reserve.
    As we celebrate this 72nd anniversary of the Coast Guard Reserve, it should be emphasized that mobilization is the Coast Guard Reserve’s primary purpose and function; and every day, through training and augmentation, reservists provide the vital surge capability that the citizens of our nation expect from the United States Coast Guard. As tightening budgets and increasing workloads continue to squeeze the active component’s capacity, the Coast Guard Reserve will continue to fill a vital role in the Commandant’s overall strategy to meet current mission requirements as well as the challenges and opportunities the future will bring.

    http://coastguard.dodlive.mil/2013/02/coast-guard-reserve-72-years-of-service-to-america/
     
  10. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Okay this may have made the news;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=cK1gvYdpnGo



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=llwVm7NTIJU
     
  11. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron  

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    Haven't seen it if it did. Nice touch though.
     
  12. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    We Shall Never Forget Nor Stop

    [​IMG]

    Photo Credit: DOD photo by Jason Kaye, U.S. Navy
    Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command members prepare a transfer case for a repatriation ceremony, April 20, 2012, at the airport in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Three recovery and investigation teams deployed to Papua New Guinea in search of unaccounted-for Americans from World War II.

    http://www.army.mil/
     
    urqh likes this.
  13. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Nephew thanks U.S. Army for liberating his Uncle

    AUCKLAND, New Zealand (June 25, 2013) -- The nephew of a World War II prisoner of war thanked Eighth Army for rescuing his uncle from a Japanese prisoner of war camp, in 1945.

    John "Jack" Rix survived four brutal years in Imperial Japanese captivity before Eighth Army liberated him from a prisoner of war, or POW, camp in Osaka, Japan, in September 1945.

    Nick Dooner, his nephew from Auckland, New Zealand, received a 66-year-old small brown suitcase from his cousin Russell Rix, in 2011. In it, his Uncle Jack had chronicled his harrowing tale of survival as a POW, and his subsequent rescue.

    Dooner, a senior photographer with Auckland's One News-Television New Zealand, pored over the documents, letters and diary in the old suitcase to discover the story that his uncle had kept to himself after returning from the war.

    While serving as a Royal New Zealand Navy Telegraphist, Jack Rix was taken captive during the Battle of Hong Kong, in 1941.

    In his diary and letters, Rix recalled his struggles to overcome inhumane conditions, diseases and malnutrition. Jack Rix also survived many near misses while in captivity, including the sinking of the Japanese transport ship Lisbon Maru off the coast of Shanghai.

    "I had to take the bombs, torpedoes, dive bombers, and starvation, along with the enemy," wrote Rix in a letter to his family on his journey home. "Sometimes I nearly lost hope.

    "Many times I had one foot in the grave and the other on a bar of soap," Rix wrote.

    Dooner discovered that the suitcase also contained a letter from then-Eighth Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger, the first commanding general of Eighth Army.

    Called the Pacific Victors, Eighth Army has served in the Pacific since it was established in 1944. Eighth Army liberated more 60 islands in the Pacific during World War II, served in the occupation force in Japan and then commanded all ground forces in the Korean War.

    In his letter, Eichelberger thanked Rix for volunteering to stay at the camp and help with the evacuation of his fellow POWs following the war. Rix also volunteered to serve as a driver for U.S. forces at the camp.

    "As commander of the United States Eighth Army, it is my privilege to extend to you the heartfelt thanks of your American allies for the splendid spirit of generosity and unselfishness you have displayed these past two weeks," wrote Eichelberger in the letter to Rix.

    "You have proved again that the strength of the United Nations is built on that most solid of foundations - fellowship of men," wrote Eichelberger. "We of Eighth Army are proud to be your liberators."

    Since 2011, Dooner has made it his mission to tell the story that the suitcase contained, the story of his Uncle Jack's unbreakable spirit.

    "During my journey of the last two years, I have been privileged to view an exquisite and comprehensive collection that Jack saved for a reason -- to tell the world of his experience of survival against all odds," said Dooner. "Thank you for saving the life of my Uncle Jack."

    http://www.army.mil/article/106305/Nephew_thanks_U_S__Army_for_liberating_uncle_in_1945/
     
  14. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Prisoners of the Japanese were indeed special people..I tend to gush up on reading of the camp liberations etc...one poignant story I have somewhere is just before the signatures of the Japanese official surrender...and a pow ship sailed out of harbour...every ship in sight saluted and the noise apparantly was bethunderous as the prisoners went sailing through.
     
  15. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    FORT KNOX, Ky. (Army News Service, Oct. 23, 2006) - Before he left for war, Jim Magellas entered the Army at Fort Knox as a fresh-faced ROTC lieutenant.

    That was 64 years ago, the war was World War II, and Magellas (or "Maggie," as he eventually came to be known) was on his way to becoming a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division.

    He visited Fort Knox Oct. 20 to speak to troops gathered in Haszard Auditorium and sign copies of his new book, "All the Way to Berlin: A Paratrooper at War in Europe."

    Magellas left the Army after the war, but returned as a colonel during the Vietnam War, when he served as a civil affairs battalion commander.

    Now, he speaks to veterans' groups and Soldiers around the world.

    "The reason I intended to write a book was because I felt I had a story to tell," said the veteran of Operation Market Garden.

    A recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, Magellas is still the 82nd's most decorated Soldier, and the division presents its "most outstanding" lieutenant with the Jim Magellas Award yearly.

    Magellas visited Soldiers in Holland, where he fought during World War II, and recently in Afghanistan. He said he believed he recognized the people he found there on Army posts and forward operating bases.

    "I felt we were cut from the same cloth," he said. "There's the same mission, the same devotion to the job."

    Magellas said he doesn't subscribe to Tom Brokaw's idea of a "greatest generation."

    "Every generation produces great men and women," he said to the gathered Fort Knox Soldiers. "In order to protect those things we hold dear, we answered the call, just as you are doing today."

    He recounted some of his memories from his campaign in Europe, particularly a brutal encounter with a German unit across a river.

    "If there is such a thing as hell on Earth, that'd be pretty close," he said. "They were shooting at us with grazing fire, maybe a foot and a half off the ground. The Germans were laying everything they had on us."

    His unit was to cross the river in 26 boats, none of which had a motor. The paddles hadn't shown up. Magellas used the buttstock of his Thompson machine gun as a paddle when his turn came to cross.

    "I was careful, though," he said. "I didn't want to get anything messed up, because if I did make it across, I had some business to take care of."

    The action that night was dramatized in the book "A Bridge Too Far," by Cornelius Ryan, and eventually made into a film starring Robert Redford.

    Magellas said he was shocked by the war movies playing in theaters when he returned from Europe.

    "When I came back, I was appalled by what I saw about war in the movies," he said. "It was glorified.

    "War is not to be glorified," he said. "War is the most brutal form of human endeavor. Those who glorify a war dishonor the men who fought and died in it."

    http://www.army.mil/article/399/82nd-airbornes-most-decorated-visits-knox/
     
  16. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Okay so this one Did make the Front Page but I thought it was worthy of posting here too;

    http://www.stripes.com/news/special-reports/medal-of-honor/obama-to-award-24-medals-of-honor-1.269228

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to 24 Army veterans for conspicuous gallantry, correcting what was in some cases decades of discrimination.
    These veterans will be honored for their valor during major combat operations in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, the White House announced late Friday.
    Among the recipients will be 19 Hispanic, Jewish and African-American veterans overlooked previously because of their racial or ethnic backgrounds.
    They will be honored in a ceremony at the White House on March 18.
    Each had previously been recognized with the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest military award; that award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor in recognition of their gallantry, intrepidity and heroism above and beyond the call of duty.
    In 2002, Congress, through the Defense Authorization Act, called for a review of Jewish-American and Hispanic-American veteran war records from these wars, to ensure those deserving the Medal of Honor were not denied because of prejudice.
    During the review, records of several white soldiers were also found to display criteria worthy of the Medal of Honor. The 2002 Act was amended to allow these soldiers to be honored with the upgrade — in addition to the Jewish and Hispanic American Soldiers.
    Such upgrades are not without precedence; in 1998, Army historians completed a review of the records of Asian-Americans or Native American Pacific Islanders who served during World War II. Former Sen. Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii was among those who had his award upgraded to a Medal of Honor.
     

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