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.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Five Days of Remembrance to Honor Memorial Day

The purpose of Five Days of Remembrance is to honor the sacrifice, service, and memory of those who have protected our great nation.  Beginning May 25th, leave a comment below with the name, rank, country, and service branch of the person, or military working dog whose sacrifice and service is to be remembered and honored. Share as much as you're comfortable about your service member, be it their story, a memory, or just tell us who you're remembering these next few days.

Please only honor one person per comment, but feel free to honor as many people as you wish.  All Americans have our honored dead to remember this holiday weekend. Connections need not come from personal relationships, but can also be born of touching stories shared on the news, from friends, and from family. Looking over the Medal of Honor Citations will yield stories of heroism and dedication to duty like none you've seen before.

Please leave your email, or other contact information in with your comments because at 6pm PST all comments will be given a number, and using one entry will be issued a $25 gift card courtesy of 

Remember and Honor Their Sacrifices for our Freedom. 

Click here to see more

Update: The winner of the Medals Of America $25 gift card is Daniel who shared Sgt Erwin's story with us. Thanks to all of you who took the time to participate. For those of you readers who contacted me to say you just weren't ready to share those you've lost, no worries.  Take your time. I'm not going anywhere.


The Sniper said...

Army Staff Sgt. Craig W. Cherry

39, of Winchester, Virginia.
Cherry died in Ghazikel, Afghanistan, when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 29th Infantry Division (Light Infantry), Winchester, Virginia. Died on August 7, 2004.

Thank you for asking me to only post one. Seriously.

Kristina Divine said...

Sniper~ I know you have many souls to honor, they are all in my thoughts. Thank you for sharing Staff Sgt. Cherry with us.

Love Struck said...

I cant begin to imagine all the struggles and impact that families of military persons go threw. I also cant imagine what our military go threw on a daily basis. What I can tell you is that I am one proud American Woman, not for any other reason than our military forces. I honestly owe you all everything I have. And will do all I can to remember all whom have fallen and pray for those still in service with all of my heart. God Bless You and keep you safe! One special Marine in mind, The one who keeps me sane even so far away. He truly is a Marine that does his job and does it well and has every reason to hold his head up high. He carries my heart with him.

j3maccabee said...

KD - if I understand you said we could post several if they were done as separate posts?
If I am correct, let me submit the first one here:

Father Vincent Capodanno,
served 1st / 7 Marines, 1st / 5th Marines
KIA September 4 1967

Having been shot and grievously wounded during Op. Swift, under heavy communist machine gun fire, Fr. Capaodanno crawled from place to place ministering to wounded / dying Marines, giving Last Rites to those who were Catholic. While comforting one final Marine, placing his own body between the wounded man and the VC, Father Vincent was hit numerous times in the back, spine and neck by the communists who targeted him particularly because he was a Chaplain.
Never in any of his time in VN, did he abandon a soldier, sailor or marine in spiritual need.

Congressional Medal of Honor
Bronze Star
Purple Heart
Vietnam Gallantry Cross
and others.

j3maccabee said...

My second and third - KD, if you wish to separate them feel free - I only did it this way because they were killed within a few feet of one another, giving the last full measure for their brother Marines.

Lance Corporal Jordan Christian Haerter and
Corporal Jonathan T Yale
KIA April 22 2008 Ramadi, Iraq

A suicide truck bomber with approx. 2000 pounds of explosive was speeding through barricades, toward the marine barracks. Several Iraqi soldiers fired AKs at the truck and then ran as the truck continued.
Two men did not run. They continued firing until the truck exploded, shattering houses and buildings for hundreds of yards. The two young Marines, giving their lives without hesitation, saved the lives of at least 150 of their brothers by stopping the truck. When every human instinct told them to run, they stood their ground rather than allow the deaths of those sleeping inside the building behind them.

RIP. And Semper fi.

Lance Cpl. Haerter and Cpl. Yale were each posthumously awarded:

the Purple Heart Medal
Combat Action Ribbon
Iraqi Campaign Medal
Iraqi Service Medal,
National Defense Medal,
- and the Navy Cross -

j3maccabee said...

Hope I am not overflowing your bog today - and BTW, you DO know that this is the J from bellsouth dot net, right? I often just assume that people I correspond with know my identity. anyway - one more, if I may:

Erin Doyle,
M. Corporal,
3rd Battalion, Princess Patrica's Canadian Light Infantry
KIA August 11 2008
Panj. Dist., Afghanistan

Natural leader, huge in physical size and Viking spirit, generous of heart, prankster extraordinaire - warrior, husband, father - please read the tribute article for the story.
One excerpt -
" Three rockets fired from point-blank range slammed into the tower and Doyle died that day.
“When he got killed we all said ‘Well, if he had to die, that’s the way he wanted to die,’” said McMichael, choking back tears. “He died pulling the trigger. He died screaming into the face of the enemy. He died doing what every soldier wants to do. If he had to go, that’s how he’d want to go, defying the enemy to the last.

“He stood against it though, you know what I mean? How many guys do you know have actually stood against evil people?” asked McMichael, gently. “He paid the ultimate sacrifice for it, but didn’t he give the rest of us hope in doing that?”

It was Aug. 11, 2008. Doyle was 32.

Kristina Divine said...

J- I know who you are, and this is exactly what I wanted. No limit to honoring our brave warriors this Memorial Day!

Patrick Nelson said...

Army Cpl. Emmanuel Hernandez

KIA 08 June 05. OEF V, FOB Shkin, Afghanistan.

Rest easy brother...never forgotten.

Kristina Divine said...

There is a currently a Warrior who would like to honor HM3 John D. House. She didn't know him personally but does know he was a proud FMF Corpsman who was KIA 1 month before she transferred to NHCH.

Because of her unreliable internet connection I'm posting for her. Thank you CharPrincessa for serving our Country and sharing your fallen brother with us.

And thank you HM3 John D. House... you're not forgotten.

Miss Ladybug said...

Lt(jg) Charles A. Carpenter was my grandfather. He was a naval aviator in the Pacific during WWII as part of Carrier Air Group Nine. He passed away my sophomore year of college (10/18/89) from lung cancer.

Miss Ladybug said...

PFC Floyd Bonn was my great uncle. He served with the 7th Infantry Division during WWII. Dad says he was in the Aleutians, Kwajalein, the Philippines and Okinawa. John over at Castle Argghhh! was kind enough to post an old newspaper clipping I had emailed him about Uncle Floyd. He passed away 12-8-94 at the age of 77.

Miss Ladybug said...

My great-grandfather enlisted in the Army in 1885. He served five years as a teamster. I know he was stationed at Fort Clark near Bracketville, Texas. He passed away 3-9-50 at the age of 86.

Miss Ladybug said...

1LT Kile Grant West was killed in action in Iraq on Memorial Day, May 28, 2007. I didn't know him, but I was able to attend his funeral in Killeen to include the part of the service at the Central Texas Veterans Cemetery where he is now buried.

Marcus said...

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Staff Sgt. Christopher W. Eckard, 30, of Hickory, N.C., died Feb. 20 2010 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

I served in Iraq with SSgt Eckard and I remember him this weekend.

Kristina Divine said...

Because CI Roller Dude has retired and is too... um... retired to do it himself with his permission I'm attaching a small portion and a link to two of his friends that deserved to be honored this Memorial Day.

Mike Ottoline & Robert Arizola, KIA in Iraq
From the Soldier side: Every year on Memorial day I usually ask good citizens if they know what this holiday is for. They usually say something like: “to have a bar b q?”
Maybe before I was exposed to war, I might have thought the same thing. I lost two friends in Iraq. One was killed before I got there, the other I made friends with in Iraq. Both were really good people.

Read the specifics of these two honorable men and their lives here

soniaroads said...

what a nice way to honor just a few of the many, its amazing how much it impacts your life after you lose a child or loved to war, the impact it makes on our children. seeing these posts gives me a warm feeling of pride that only a gold star mama can be given only to us, by our brave children. i hope after the first memorial day without my brave warrior, i will have a better understanding instead of anger & selfishness on my part to be able to help others be aware of the severity of sacrifices our soldiers make for our freedom. thank you to everyone who ever put on a uniform for our country! god bless america land of the free because of our brave! semper fi

Daniel said...

Sergeant Erwin & the Blazing Bomb: A story of a night when the Congressional Medal of Honor seemed to be a modest award

by: Corey Ford

If I hadn't read Sarah Palin: America by Heart, I never would've known of this story. Please share this with anyone you wish. Men such as these need to be remembered. This is the true embodiment of Some gave all. God bless all our Veterans; not just today, or Memorial Day, or Veterans Day, but everyday.


Sometimes I'm asked which I like best of all the pieces I've written. I guess the answer is something I wrote one night back in 1945, on the island of Guam. It was never published; I didn't even sign it; but it was more rewarding than anything else I've ever done.

Guam was our base in the Marianas from which the B-29's took off for their nightly incendiary raids on Japan. As an Air Force colonel, I had flown with them, and I knew what those missions were like. The seven endless hours over the Pacific to the hostile coastline. The wink of ack-ack guns and the flack bursts all around us, the ground searchlights that lighted up our cabin as though an auto had parked beside us in the sky, and, after our bomb run, the red ruin of an enemy city burning. We would throttle down to cruising speed; there were 1500 miles of empty ocean between us and home.

Daniel said...

This particular night I was not flying. I sat in the Group headquarters tent with Col. Carl Storrie, waiting for the mission's strike report. Storrie, a lean tough Texan, was the Group Commander, and he paced up and down the tent, restless as a caged animal, as the fist news filtered in. The lead plane, commanded by Capt. Tony Simeral, had been forced to turn away from the target, and had to make an emergency landing at Iwo Jima. It was on it's way back to Guam now.

We could make out the drone of it's engines, see the red flares that signaled distress, and hear the fire trucks rumbling out to meet it as it touched down. A few moments later Captain Simeral entered the tent. His face was white; he seemed to be in a state of shock. He fumbled for a cigarette with his left hand, and I saw that the back of his right hand was pockmarked with deep ugly holes that had burned clear to the bone. He took several drags before he could trust himself to talk.

It had happened as they approached the enemy coast, he said. They were flying the pathfinder plane, which drops a phosphorus smoke bomb to assemble the formation before proceeding to target. On a B-29 this task is performed by the radio operator, back in the waist of the plane. At a signal from the pilot, he releases the bomb through a narrow tube.

The radio operator on Simeral's plane was a chunky, red-haired youngster from Alabama, Staff Sgt. Henry Erwin. His crewmates liked to mimic his soft southern drawl, and he was always with a grin, always quiet and courteous. He received the routine order from Simeral, triggered the bomb, and dropped it down the tube.

There was a malfunction. The bomb exploded in the tube and bounced back into Erwin's face, blinding both eyes and searing off an ear.

Daniel said...

Phosphorus burns with a furious intensity that melts metal like butter. Now the bomb at Erwin's feet was eating it's way rapidly through the deck of the plane, toward the full load of incendiaries in their racks below. He was alone; the navigator had gone up to the astrodome to get a star shot. There was no time to think. He picked up the white-hot bomb in his bare hands, and started forward to the cockpit, groping his way with elbows and feet.

The navigators folding table was down and latched, blocking the narrow passageway. Erwin hugged the blazing bomb under an arm, feeling it devour the flesh on his ribs, unfastened the spring latch and lifted the table. (We inspected the plane later; the skin of his entire hand was seared onto the table.)

He stumbled on, a walking torch. His clothes, hair, and flesh were ablaze.

The dense smoke had filled the airplane, and Simeral had opened the window beside him to clear the air. "I couldn't see Erwin," he told us, "but I heard his voice right at my elbow. He said --" Simeral paused a moment to steady his own voice. "He said, 'Pardon me, sir,' and reached across to the window and tossed out the bomb. Then he collapsed on the flight deck." A fire extinguisher was turned on him, but the phosphorus still burned.

Simeral's instrument panel was obliterated by the smoke, and the plane was out of control. It was less than 300 feet off of the water when he righted it. He called to the formation that he was aborting, jettisoned his bombs and headed back to the field hospital at Iwo, three hours away. The crew applied first aid to Erwin, gave him plasma, smeared grease on his smoldering flesh. "He never lost consciousness, but he spoke only once the whole way back. He asked me --" Simeral took another drag on his cigarette. " 'Is everybody else all right, sir?' "

Daniel said...

At Iwo, he was still exhaling phosphorus smoke from his lungs, and his body had become so rigid that he had to be eased out through the window like a log. They carried him to the hospital. When they removed the unguent pads there and exposed his flesh to air, it began to smolder again. The airplane flew on to Guam -- with 11 men who would not be living save for the one they left behind.

Simeral finished talking. A young lieutenant looked at the holes in his right hand, where the phosphorus had splattered, and said tactlessly, "You ought to put in for a Purple Heart, Captain." Simeral, his control snapping, took a wild swing at him. Then the flight surgeon arrived and gave him a sedative, and led him away to have his burns treated.

We spent the rest of the night writing up a recommendation for the Congressional Medal of Honor. It was simply worded. There was no need to speak of heroism and sacrifice; the facts were enough. It ended with the conventional military phrase: "Above and beyond the call of duty," but that seemed to express it pretty well. At five in the morning Colonel Storrie carried the single typewritten page to Air Force headquarters. General Curtis LeMay was awakened. He read and signed it and the recommendation was flashed to Washington. The reply arrived in record time: Approved.

Iwo reported that Sergeant Erwin was still alive, but no one could say how much longer he would survive. There was no Congressional Medal of Honor on Guam; the nearest was in Honolulu, and a special B-29 was dispatched to fly the Pacific to Hawaii.

The medal was in a locked display case in Gen. Robert C. Richardson's headquarters, and the key was missing. They smashed the glass, took the medal from the case and sped back to Guam. General LeMay flew to Iwo and personally presented it to Sergeant Erwin, in a ceremony at his bedside. He repeated the final line about the call of duty, and Erwin said, "Thank you, sir."

Several years after the war I heard that Erwin was back in Alabama, happily married; he had regained the use of his hands and partial vision in one eye. I hope he can read over his citation now and then. I hope it gives him as much satisfaction as it gave me to write it.

CI-Roller Dude said...

CI Roller Dude (Danny)

ajlounyinjurylaw said...

Very thoughtful comments about these warriors that are remembered.

Miss Ladybug said...

Wow, Daniel. What an incredible story. Thanks for sharing.