MSG Richard Davis

2018-7-31 Davis

Army Master Sgt. Richard Davis, 30, of Black Lick, Pennsylvania, will be buried June 24 in Blairsville, Pennsylvania. In early November 1950, Davis was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, near Unsan, North Korea, when Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces attacked the regiment, and forced the unit to withdraw. Many soldiers became surrounded and attempted to escape and evade the enemy, but were captured and marched to POW camps. Davis was declared missing in action as a result of the battle that occurred between Nov. 1 and 2, 1950.

In 1953, during the prisoner of war exchange historically known as “Operation Big Switch,” nine repatriated American soldiers reported that Davis was held at POW Camp 5 and died in February or March 1951. Additionally, Davis’ name appeared on a POW list compiled by the Chinese, dated April 8, 1951. Based on this information, a military review board amended Davis’ status to deceased in 1951.

Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea returned to the United States 208 boxes of commingled human remains, which when combined with remains recovered during joint recovery operations in North Korea between 1996 and 2005, included the remains of at least 600 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war. North Korean documents included in the repatriation indicated that some of the remains were recovered from the vicinity where Davis was believed to have died.

To identify Davis’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched a niece and great niece, Y-Short Tandem Release DNA analysis, which matched a nephew and a sister; dental comparison analysis, which matched Davis’ records; and circumstantial evidence. On June 17, 2016, his remains have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Today, 7,812 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously returned by North Korean officials or recovered from North Korea by American recovery teams.

We honor you, Richard Davis.

(#Repost @DoD POW/MIA accounting Agency)

 

 

SSgt Daniel Acosta

2018-7-30 Acosta.png

Staff Sergeant Daniel Acosta (USAF, Ret.) is one of the relatively few wounded veterans who did not serve in the Army or Marine Corps. A native Chicagoan, Dan joined the Air Force right out of high school in 2002 where a combination of natural skills and opportunity led him into a highly charged career path – explosive ordnance disposal.

Daniel’s training in explosive ordnance disposal included 11 months of technical school at Elgin Air Force Base in Florida, and was assigned his first duty station for three months pre-deployment training at the Utah Test and Training Range at Hill AFB in Utah, about 30 miles north of Salt Lake City.

Daniel was assigned to the 775th Civil Engineer Squadron at Hill Air Force Base. From there he was dispatched to Iraq in 2006 as a member of the 447th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron. Explosive ordnance disposal specialists were in high demand, then and later. Daniel underwent nearly three weeks additional training in Kuwait before deploying to Sather Air Force Base at Baghdad International Airport. He had been in Iraq performing missions for three months when he was injured.

On December 7, 2006 he was sent to disarm hidden improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and had disarmed two when the third one got him. “I stepped on a pressure plate,” he recalled. “It wasn’t detected (by the metal detection device) because it was wood.”

The IED that nearly claimed his life contained two 122 mm projectiles, Daniel said. His left arm was blown off in the blast and he received third degree burns to his legs. He also sustained arterial injuries to his leg and heart.

“In the back of my head I always knew something could happen,” Daniel said. But he and his fellow airmen on his team had undergone combat life-saving training at Ft. Carson, Colorado, and he attributed that training applied by his teammate Staff Sgt. Joe Upton to his survival. The first tourniquet Upton used did not stop the bleeding from his severed arm so Upton took a water tank strap off a Humvee and was able to use that as a tourniquet. Also, Daniel said there was a Medic on the scene. “They (the doctors) gave me a 25 percent chance of living,” Daniel said. “They said if I made it through surgery, I would have a 50 percent chance.”

Later Daniel’s marriage broke up as he was in the process of leaving the military, but he does not attribute that to his injury. “It was not related to that,” he said. “It was a communications issue.” Daniel said the wives of injured veterans do have a difficult job. “Spouses have the harder job,” he said. “We’re prepared for things like this, but they aren’t.”

It is unusual for an Air Force guy to get blown up, Daniel said, but the Air Force still gets its fair share of casualties. “In the hospital, I was the only Air Force guy there,” he said. “I ended up with 100 percent disability because of the loss of my arm. I did not have to wait very long to get my benefits perhaps because I was the only Air Force guy there.”

Daniel said he has avoided the perils of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). “The Veterans Administration rated me a minor case of PTSD. But I accepted the reality of my injury early on. I get around well. The injuries are there, sure, but I am capable of doing a lot. I play different sports. I am enjoying life.”

Daniel was not one of the many who received financial aid from the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes when he returned from the battlefield. “I received no direct financial assistance,” he said. “I didn’t need it. My benefits came through fairly quickly. I am a modest guy. I don’t ask for help if I don’t need it.”

But even so he has developed a close working relationship with the Coalition. “Early on in my recovery I learned about the Coalition through one of their reps at the hospital,” he said. “My initial involvement was to attend the Road to Recovery Conference in 2008. That was a positive experience that helped me get moving in a positive direction. I enjoyed the time with other wounded veterans and benefitted from it, sharing our experiences, talking to other people who have been through the same thing. I wanted to be an active member of society and continue with my rehabilitation.

“I support the Coalition through being an ambassador for the program and doing things on their behalf,” Daniel said. “I come into contact with many guys who are in a much worse situation than I am. I have seen them dealing with their injuries first-hand, physical and psychological. A lot of guys cannot handle it and it’s easy for me to see why. When (Coalition President and CEO) David Walker asked me to help host a fund-raising event in California, I was glad to participate.

“The Coalition’s primary role is to provide direct financial aid to wounded veterans returning from the war zone who have to wait a long time for their benefits, sometimes for months,” Daniel said. “In the meantime they have bills to pay and are unable to work. The Coalition helps fill that gap. Every veteran has a unique situation. When they are severely injured the transition time is difficult and financial aid is vitally important. Our veterans are not prepared for what they encounter. I don’t believe the military does a very good job of preparing personnel for that situation.

“It is important to wounded veterans to feel that they are part of a larger community,” Daniel said. “They want to know the community supports them. The Coalition fills that role and it is an important one.”

We honor you, Daniel Acosta.

(#Repost @https://saluteheroes.org/daniel-acosta/)

Norma Rambow

2018-7-29 Rambow.png

“It was just the thing to do.”

Norma Rambow, now 94, saw no option other than joining the military after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. She said she would have reported for duty the day after the attack on the American naval base, but at 18, she wasn’t old enough.

Almost two years later, when she was eligible, she quit her factory job and joined the Marine Corps in 1943. She spent the next two years working in a mess hall where she cooked for women Marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

“I had just been an Indiana farm girl, and to visit with all the women from all over the country, it was special,” she said.

She left the service shortly after the war, in November 1945, and went back to school, but adjusting to life after service was difficult. She couldn’t quite connect with her classmates like she could with women in the Marines. She had lived side by side in barracks with those women; they had all endured the same female sergeant barking at them at boot camp; they leaned on each other when they were homesick. Many of Rambow’s female classmates couldn’t relate.

“The girls were much younger, and they were just ordinary girls. They hadn’t been away from home. We just felt different,” she said. “It was difficult to get back in civilian life, it really was.”

We honor you, Norma Rambow.

(#Repost @https://www.npr.org/2017/11/11/563064990/6-women-veterans-recall-their-military-service-it-was-just-the-thing-to-do)

SGT Charlie Linville

2018-7-28 Linville.png

As an explosive ordnance disposal technician, Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Charlie Linville would defuse as many as 40 bombs on a typical day on duty in Afghanistan. In January 2011, he and his team were conducting a routine sweep when Sgt. Linville was struck by a device and he was blasted into the air. He was immediately evacuated and then treated in several hospitals, ending up at Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego. His wife, Mandi (his high-school sweetheart), and their two daughters, Taylor and Dylan, moved there to be with him as he underwent a dozen surgeries.

Despite all of their intervention, doctors realized that they would need to remove the Marine’s foot, a decision that Sgt. Linville and his family accepted with grace and a sense of humor. One day, Taylor and her mother were at Party City, waiting for the store to open. When a woman asked Taylor, “What are you celebrating?” Taylor, then 4, explained that her father was having his foot amputated and they were having a “going away-foot” party.

Sgt. Linville has since mastered walking with a prosthetic foot, and he plans to climb Mt. Everest as part of the Heroes Project in the spring 2015. Here, he poses with his younger daughter, Dylan.

We honor you, Charlie Linville.

(#Repost @https://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/veterans-stories-returning-home/)

Cpl Stephen E. Austin

2018-7-27 Austin

On June 8, 1968, a young Marine corporal was in the fight of his life with fellow Marines in an operation just south of Da Nang, Vietnam. A half century later he would be awarded the nation’s second highest award for combat bravery for his heroic actions that fateful day.

On Saturday, the Commandant of the Marine Corps General Robert B. Neller awarded the Navy Cross posthumously to Cpl. Stephen E. Austin during a reunion held in Alexandria, Virginia, for 1st Battalion, 27th Marines — the unit Austin served as a squad leader with. The award was presented to Austin’s daughter, Neily Esposito.

Austin gave his life in Vietnam on June 8, 1968, when he single-handedly took on a bunker firing on his unit.

The young corporal convinced his platoon leader not to pull back his unit that was taking heavy fire from a bunker. The platoon leader wanted to withdraw and destroy the bunker with an airstrike.

But there was fear that the unit could take heavy casualties if they retreated, the Fresno Bee reported.

Austin maneuvered his squad to a point where they could provide cover fire on the bunker.

“With complete disregard for his own safety, Corporal Austin single-handedly assaulted the bunker and destroyed it with a grenade,” his award citation reads.

Austin was mortally wounded in the attack on the bunker, but his unit prevailed because of his selfless actions. For nearly two weeks leading up to June 8, 1968, Austin’s company with 1/27 had been in the field in an operation dubbed Allen Brook just south of Da Nang.

On June 5, 1968, Austin’s unit suffered heavy casualties, 28 wounded and six dead, according to the final letter he wrote home to his parents.

“I am so sick of fighting I’ve seen and helped to[o] many boys my age or younger that was wounded or dead,” Austin wrote in his letter.

Friends and some of the men from Austin’s unit pushed an effort to award Austin a citation for his heroic deeds, which took several years to get approved, the Fresno Bee reported. Originally, the men had submitted Austin for the Silver Star but it was upgraded to the Navy Cross, according to the Fresno Bee.

“Honored to present the Navy Cross medal to the family of Cpl Stephen E. Austin, who was killed in 1968 while saving members of his platoon in Vietnam,” Neller said in a posting on Twitter. “He demonstrated ‘Semper Fidelis’ through the very end. Proud to wear the same cloth as American heroes like Cpl Austin.”

We honor you, Stephen Austin.

(#Repost @Marine Times)

Emmy Lu Daly

2018-7-27 Daly.png

Emmy Lu Daly spent two years in the Navy surrounded by ship parts, but she never saw a ship. Or the ocean, for that matter. She worked at a naval supply depot in Clearfield, Utah, checking inventory and shipping out materials during and after World War II.

She joined the Navy at 21, largely because everyone else around her was doing something to help the war cause. She wanted to contribute, too. She trained to be a yeoman, or Navy secretary, but she never did do clerical work, which she says she didn’t mind. When the war ended and she left the military, she attended school on the GI Bill. She went on to work as a legal secretary, then got into the insurance business.

While living in the Armed Forces Retirement Home, she has met a number of people who spent their lives in the military, and the weight of their service and sacrifice strikes her.

“A whole lot of the people here are career people, people who’ve been in it, and I’m humbled before them with my two years,” she said. “And I’ve only been here six months, and I’m deeply grateful to be here. I’ve learned a whole lot at 94.”

We honor you, Emmy Lu Daly.

(#Repost @https://www.npr.org/2017/11/11/563064990/6-women-veterans-recall-their-military-service-it-was-just-the-thing-to-do)

WASP Betty Pfister

2018-7-26 Pfister

Betty started flying while a freshman at Bennington College in Vermont. She
graduated with a degree in Marine Biology and immediately went to Texas to enter
Class 43‐4. While there, her brother, a Navy pilot, was killed due to a catapult failure
on take‐off. She went home to be with her family for a month. When she returned, she was moved back to Class 43‐5.

After graduation she was stationed at New Castle Army Air Base, New Jersey and ferried aircraft, primarily training aircraft, for the Ferry Command. After WASP deactivation, she worked as a flight instructor and then flew as a co‐pilot for several nonscheduled
airlines, flying DC‐3 type aircraft. At on time she owned and raced a P‐39 Bell Aircobra.

She married and had three daughters. Her after‐WASP accomplishments in the world of
aviation are amazing. In 1963 she received her commercial rotorcraft rating, and in 1966 she planned and supervised the construction of the Aspen Valley Hospital Heliport. This was the first hospital heliport in Colorado.

In 1968 she founded the Pitkin County Air Rescue Group and remained president
until retiring in 1991. This volunteer organization of local pilots initiated searches
for downed aircraft in the Aspen area, which had saved 32 lives by 2001.

Betty was also instrumental in getting the FAA to provide and staff a control tower at
the Aspen Airport, even though the airport did not meet normal FAA tower criteria. After receiving her balloon rating, she organized the Snowmass Hot Air Balloon Races from 1976 to 1993. In 1973 and 1978 she was a member of the US Helicopter Team, competing in the World Championships.

She was the founder and first chapter member of the Aspen Chapter of the Ninety
Nines, International Women Pilots, and in 1984 was inducted into the Colorado
Aviation Hall of Fame. She has received many other awards and has memberships in many organizations. To me, her most important contributions to society
came after the WASP. I believe she would tell you that it was because of her WASP
experiences that she received the opportunities to accomplish so much in the world of aviation after the WASP were disbanded.

We honor you, Betty Pfister.

(#Repost @Wings Across America)