To encourage and fortify relationships between military service members, veterans, their families, their friends, and their Country; to nurture the path of communication for everyone, ensuring that no one is alone or left behind; and proving that we have not, are not, and will never forget the nobility of their sacrifices.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Castra Praetoria is a blog I read frequently, and the 1st Sgt's memories of a True Marine, Corporal Joe Wrightsman, who gave the ultimate sacrifice is a story everyone should read. Please read it here, because the best way to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice is to remember.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
After Relay, I will be turning off all electronics for two weeks to spend some quality time with my family before school starts. I will miss you all. However, if you email Ben perhaps he will post some of his thoughts in my absence.
I hope everyone spends the rest of the summer with good friends and family. I have some BIG plans coming up for Words For Warriors this Fall, so stay tuned!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I see the public disassociating with the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. People are becoming more and more apathetic as they walk through their daily business. Here are some facts I hope will shake off the blindfold of apathy and help people remember the Tragedy that started it all. Honor the Heros who lost their lives that September day. Honor the families who lost a Hero. Honor the Heros who have fought, and are still fighting for us. NEVER FORGET.
- 247 people on 4 planes
- American Airlines Flight 11 flown into the North Tower with 87 passengers and crew members on board.
- United Airlines Flight 175 flown into the South Tower with 60 passengers and crew members on board.
- American Airlines Flight 77 flown into the Pentagon building with 64 passengers and crew members.
- United Flight 93 crashed in Shankville PA with 36 passengers and crew members who lost their lives stopping the 4 hijackers.
- 343 NYFD Firefighters and Paramedics
- 23 NYPD Police Officers
- 47 Port Authority Workers
- 37 Port Authority Police Officers
- 1,434 people in the North Tower
- 599 people in the South Tower
- 1 NYFD Firefighter killed by a man jumping off the top floors of the Twin Towers
- 327 Foreign Nationals
Note: The number of the lost do not include the deaths of the 19 hijackers.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
On Friday, July 16, 2010 Marine Corporal Daniel Dambrowski accompanied Lance Corporal Tyler A. Roads from Dover Air Force Base, Delaware home to Burney, California. More than 200 people met the plane at Redding Airport. Approximately 200 vehicles followed the hearse for as the procession drove 90 minutes down Highway 299 to Burney. Law enforcement officers estimated the crowd along Burney's Main Street at 2,500, many of whom held flags and signs of support for the Roads family. You can see footage of Burney welcoming home their Son and Hero here. You can see a wonderful slide show here. The Marine Vigil can be seen here and the service can be viewed here.
Lance Corporal Roads sacrifice, and that of his family will never be forgotten. Thank you for your service.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
First Lieutenant Vernon J. Baker the last surviving Black Medal of Honor recipient died in his home near St. Maries Idaho. He was 90 years old.
In 1945, First Lt. Baker was the only Black Officer in his company in charge of a weapons platoon. On April 5, 1945 his squad was ordered to assault Castle Aghinoifi, a German stronghold. The Washington Post has a detailed account of his actions:
Two hours after starting their mission on April 5, Lt. Baker and his men came within 300 yards of the castle. While attempting to find a suitable place for a machine gun, Lt. Baker observed two rifle barrels hanging out of a concealed slit in some rocky earth.After stealthily crawling to the opening, he popped up and emptied the clip of his M-1 rifle into the observation post, killing two sentries.While searching for more camouflaged emplacements, Lt. Baker spotted a machine-gun nest occupied by two soldiers distracted by their breakfast. He shot and killed them both.A German soldier then hurled a grenade that landed at Lt. Baker's feet. Undeterred, he fired two fatal rounds at the fleeing German, while the grenade by Lt. Baker's boots failed to explode.
He found the door to another bunker and blasted it open with a grenade. A wounded German soldier stumbled out in confusion, and Lt. Baker shot him. After tossing in a second grenade, he raided the bunker with a submachine gun blazing, killing two more Germans.On the way back to his men, Lt. Baker saw that his platoon's position had come under heavy machine gun and mortar fire. He watched in despair as 19 of his men were cut down by bullets or wounded by shrapnel.
Even though he'd been shot in the hand, Lt. Baker led the evacuation of his remaining men, helping to eliminate two machine-gun nests and four more German troops.
In the midst of the retreat, Lt. Baker's platoon came across German soldiers wearing helmets painted with red crosses carrying litters covered with blankets.
His shellshocked men urged him to let them fire, but Lt. Baker refused. When the platoon came within 50 yards of the supposed medics, the Germans dropped their stretchers and picked up machine guns.
"Hit the bastards!" Lt. Baker instructed his men, according to his 1997 memoir "Lasting Valor." "Our riflemen cut loose with a vengeance. . . . The enemy platoon dissolved."Lt. Baker received the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and The Distinguished Service Cross for his actions. Because of the racial elements at the time, it took 52 years for Lt. Baker to be nominated and presented with the Medal Of Honor for his actions. You can read his citation here.
Lt. Baker retired from the Army in 1968. He started a second career working more than 20 years with the Red Cross.
When speaking about the Medal Of Honor, Lt. Baker is quoted as saying, "I'm not a hero. I am a soldier that did a good job. I think the real hero's are the men I left behind on that hill that day." Well Lt. Baker, I would like to thank you for your service, your sacrifice and for being a teacher in the art of Valor. You are MY hero.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The Redding Record Searchlight and the L.A. Times report on Roads life, friends, and family.
For you close readers, I will be posting updates as information comes in regarding services. It is my understanding the Patriot Guard will be present.
I humbly extend my thanks for the Roads family in making the ultimate sacrifice. My Flag is flying half mast in honor of Lance Corporal Roads, as is the Burney Lions Club Flag, and the Huge flag on North Bechelli Lane of the Enterprise Lions Club in Redding California.
Friday, July 9, 2010
The heartfelt love and support shines brightly through these messages.
I would like to Thank each and every person who is helping ensure that no solider is forgotten.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Being well-adjusted to the 21st century, I Googled Chosin, yet I still didn't "get it." I was unable to understand how or why Chosin was important.
Shortly after my conversation with SSGT Kraus, I discovered the documentary made by Brain Iglesias from first-hand accounts of Marines who survived Chosin. Watching the documentary, I was speechless. After watching it a second time, I was humbled not only by the human spirit, but the Marine spirit. The "Esprit de Corps." The experiences recounted in the documentary were simultaneously amazing, intense, heartbreaking, and shocking. I was beginning to understand the importance of Chosin.
The Korean conflict (a declaration of war was never issued) began June 25th, 1950 when Communist North Korea invaded South Korea. By November 1950, in the frigid 25 below temperatures, 15,000 Soldiers and Marines were in position for battle at Chosin. They had not anticipated the 120,000 Chinese soldiers who had entered into the conflict on the North Korean side.
Hearing the survivors speak, their voices full of emotion as they remember what they lived through, and the names of those who didn't make it home, is not something one easily forgets. I could never find the words to properly portray the experiences of the men who where there, which is why this documentary is a beautiful and critical contribution to American history. Showing true perseverance, duty and honor, approximately 50% of the men fighting were casualties. Some had rifles (their ammo long since expended) strapped to their legs for splints. Out of the original 15,000 men, 3,000 were killed in action and another 6,000 wounded, and 12,000 sustained frostbite of varying degrees to their hands and feet.
The memories and experiences shared in this documentary are not toned down or censored in any way. There were many stories that left me absolutely speechless. Many were sufficiently graphic that I will wait before I share this program with my sons. But I guarantee you I will share it. I encourage you to see this powerful documentary and to share it with everyone you know.
Please visit www.frozenchosin.com for purchase and a preview of the 2010 GI Film Festival Winner "Chosin." It is well worth mentioning that a portion of the proceeds from each DVD purchased goes to the Wounded Warrior Project and the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.