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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

SFC Josh Olsen, Paralympics Competitor

This week I'm stealing the Hero of the Week from the super cool guys over at Ranger Up's blog Rhino Den. Levi Newman interviewed SFC Olsen and did one fine job of it.

SFC Olsen is an International Rifle Shooter for the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, Fort Benning, CA.  He is the only competitor in the Paralympics in London who is classified as active duty.

SFC Olsen is a Hero not only because of his service, but also because of his determination and drive since becoming a wounded warrior. His story is a must read. Hit the link!

To read about SFC Olsen's shooting accomplishments go to the official Army Olympian Biography page. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Jacklyn H. Lucas- 17 Year Old Medal Of Honor Recipient From The Battle Of Iwo Jima

Image courtesy of the US Marines

Jacklyn H. Lucas is the youngest Medal Of Honor recipient since the Civil War. At the stubborn age of 14 his mature build of 5 foot 8 inches tall and 180 pounds allowed him to enlist in the Marine Corps Reserve. Determined to fight Japanese, Jacklyn eventually went AWOL stowing away on the USS Deuel to pursue his goal of making it to the Pacific front. Five days after his 17th birthday, Jacklyn landed on Iwo Jima.

It was D-Day plus one, when Jacklyn just barely 17 years old preformed the self sacrificing act, which resulted in the Medal Of Honor.

Jacklyn's citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the First Battalion, Twenty-sixth Marines, Fifth Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands 20 February 1945. While creeping through a treacherous, twisting ravine which ran in close proximity to a fluid and uncertain front line on D-plus+1 Day, Private First Class Lucas and three other men were suddenly ambushed by a hostile patrol which savagely attacked with rifle fire and grenades. Quick to act when the lives of the small group were endangered by two grenades which landed directly in front of them, Private First Class Lucas unhesitatingly hurled himself over his comrades upon one grenade and pulled the other one under him, absorbing the whole blasting force of the explosions in his own body in order to shield his companions from the concussion and murderous flying fragments. By his inspiring action and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice, he not only protected his comrades from certain injury or possible death, but also enabled them to rout the Japanese patrol and continue the advance. His exceptionally courageous initiative and loyalty reflect the highest credit upon Private First Class Lucas and the United States Naval Service. Harry S. Truman
The island of Iwo Jima is made from volcanic rock and sand. Jacklyn's quick thinking to bury one grenade in the sand with his rife as he laid his body over the second saved his life, and the lives of his Brothers. The volcanic ash absorbed much of the blast of the first grenade, while the second grenade was a dud. Jacklyn had extensive damage to his body, resulting in his eventual discharge from the Marines.

When discharged Jacklyn was the recipient of the Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic- Pacific Campaign Medal with one Bronze Star, and the World War II Victory Medal.

After recovering from his wounds, Jacklyn enrolled in high school, graduated, and proceed in his education until he graduated from college. After college he joined the Army, becoming a Paratrooper to conquer his fear of heights. Jacklyn even survived a jump where both of his parachutes failed to open.

It is clear Jackyn Lucas was made from a special breed of man. The kind of man who went after what he wanted with the tenacity of a Bull Shark, never letting little things like age, logistics, or fear stand in his way. At the adventure filled age of 80, Jacklyn died of leukemia surrounded by his friends and family, something not every Hero gets to experience.

Monday, July 16, 2012

John "Doc" Bradley

John Bradley in front a war bond picture depicting the Flag Raising.
Image curtsey of US Marine Corps
John "Doc" Bradley was a Pharmacist's Mate 2nd Class in the US Navy during World War II. Doc Bradley was one of six men in the iconographic picture of the second flag raising on Iwo Jima. Doc's constant assertion that the true Hero's of Iwo Jima were the men who never came home, fit my description of a Hero.

Because of Doc Bradley many lives were saved. He received the Navy Cross with the following citation for his actions on Iwo Jima:

"For extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy at Iwo Jima on Feb. 21, 1945 as a hospital corpsman attached to a Marine Rifle platoon. During a furious assault by his company upon a strongly defended enemy zone at the base of Mt. Suribachi, Bradley observed a Marine infantryman fall wounded in an open area under a pounding barrage by mortars, interlaced with a merciless crossfire from Machine guns.
With complete disregard for his own safety, he ran through the intense fire to the side of the fallen Marine, examined his wounds and ascertained that an immediate administration of plasma was necessary to save the man's life. Unwilling to subject any of his comrades to the danger to which he had so valiantly exposed himself, he signaled would-be assistants to remain where they were. Placing himself in a position to shield the wounded man, he tied a plasma unit to a rifle planted upright in the sand and continued his life saving mission.
The Marine's wounds bandaged and the condition of shock relieved by plasma, Bradley pulled the man thirty yards through intense enemy fire to a position of safety. His indomitable spirit, dauntless initiative, and heroic devotion to duty were an inspiration to those with who he served and were in keeping with the highest tradition of the United States Naval Service."
At the time of Doc's discharge from the Navy he had the following decorations:

  • Navy Cross
  • Purple Heart
  • Combat Action Ribbon
  • Presidential Unit Citation
  • America Campaign Medal
  • Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
  • World War II Victory Medal 

Doc was an amazing man and I highly recommend you read his son's book Flags Of Our Fathers by James Bradley. It was a very well written book which covered the lives and actions of all six Flag Raisers, as well as other Marines and the scarifies they made on Iwo Jima. 

I know Doc would have given anything to save more lives, especially that of his best friend Iggy. He is a man who's ethics, humility, and compassion should be aspired to for all future generations. 

Joe Rosenthal's famous photograph of the second Flag Raising on Iwo Jima.
If you would like a quick history on the cost and strategy of taking Iwo Jima the Marine Gazette has this excellent piece.

Weekly Heros

I am pledging to write weekly about a Hero. Some of these Heroes will be living heroes, and some will have made the ultimate sacrifice. My goal is to write about one person who preformed an extraordinary action; in writing about such a person I will be honoring them, their friends, their actions, their families the only way I know how.

If you have a Hero who has impacted your life, please contact me. I would love to write about someone you care about.

Send email to

Remember.... Their Sacrifice. Our Freedom.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Valour-IT, Who's going to win this year?

Well folks it's Valour-IT time again. If you don't know about Valour-IT and how they use technology to assist our Wounded Warriors heal.... THEN GET WITH IT! To donate and keep up with who's winning check out the official Valour-IT blog at

As of this post the Marines are on top!
Will they keep the lead?
Or will Army take over like last year?
Is the Navy and Air Force out of the fight?