MajGen Charles F. Bolden, Jr.

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Aerospace engineer and Major General (ret.) Charles F. Bolden, Jr. was born on August 19, 1946 in Columbia, South Carolina. He graduated from C.A. Johnson High School in 1964. Both of his parents, Charles and Ethel Bolden, were teachers and stressed the importance of education. Bolden received his B.S. degree in electrical science from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968, and earned his M.S. degree in systems management from the University of Southern California in 1977. He then accepted a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps following graduation from the Naval Academy and underwent flight training at Pensacola, Florida, Meridian, Mississippi, and Kingsville, Texas.

Between June 1972 and June 1973, Bolden flew more than 100 combat missions into North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in the A-6A Intruder while stationed in Nam Phong, Thailand. After returning to the United States, Bolden served in a variety of positions in the Marine Corps. He was then assigned to the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland, where he completed his training in 1979. While working at the Naval Air Test Center’s Systems Engineering and Strike Aircraft Test Directorates, he tested a variety of ground attack aircraft until his selection as an astronaut candidate in 1980. Bolden’s NASA astronautical career included technical assignments. He served as pilot on the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1986. In the wake of the Challenger disaster, he was assigned as the chief of the Safety Division. In 1990, he piloted the Space Shuttle Discovery during its mission to deploy the Hubble Space Telescope. Bolden served as the Mission Commander for Space Shuttle Atlantis in 1992 and the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1994. He logged more than 680 hours during these four flights. Bolden left NASA and returned to the U.S. Marine Corps in 1997, and was assigned as the Deputy Commandment of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy. During Operation Desert Thunder-Kuwait in 1998, he was assigned as the Commanding General of the Marine Expeditionary Force. He was promoted to Major General in 1998. In 2003, Bolden retired from the Marine Corps and served as president of the American PureTex Water Corporation. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Bolden as the top NASA administrator, making him the second astronaut and the first African American to serve in this position.

Bolden’s military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. NASA awarded him the Exceptional Service Award in 1988, 1989, and 1991. In May of 2006, he was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

We honor you, Charles Bolden Jr.

(#Repost @History Makers)

PVT Donald Rose

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U.S. Army Specialist Five Don Rose of Wichita Falls was a Huey helicopter crew chief serving with the 176th Assault Helicopter Company in Vietnam when he was Killed In Action on December 15th 1969. Rose was set to return home the next day when he volunteered to take one last flight on a night flare mission in support of ground troops.

The aircraft in which Rose was working, UH-1H tail number 68-16206, inadvertently went into instrument flight conditions in foul weather and the aircraft crashed before the crew could gain visual orientation. All five soldiers aboard were killed, including another Texan, Chief Warrant Officer Dee Hyden of Amarillo.

Because he was due to return, when the knock came at the Rose home, Donald’s mother assumed it was him. Instead, she was met by a U.S. Army representative who had come to deliver the worst possible news.

Donald Rose was 19 years old when he perished in service to his country. He is remembered at Panel 15, Line 60 on the National Vietnam War Memorial Wall.

The UH-1 “Huey” helicopter and its crew provided critical support to ground troops. Aircraft like Rose’s were known as “slicks,” and were used for troop transport and extraction, resupply and other support missions like the flare illumination request to which this crew was responding. As the aircraft’s crew chief, Rose was responsible for the maintenance and repair of his helicopter.

More than 7,000 Huey helicopters were used in Vietnam. Half were destroyed. The four-man crews of Huey helicopters were fearless in their commitment to helping the “grunts” on the ground, and many were shot down or, like Rose’s helicopter, crashed in bad weather conditions.

Photos and story submitted by his brother, Lester Rose.

We honor you, Donald Rose.

(#Repost @http://tcvvm.org/project/donald-rose/)

CPL Frank Buckles

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Washington (CNN) — Frank Buckles, the last living U.S. World War I veteran, has died, a spokesman for his family said Sunday. He was 110.

Lawmakers Monday began to move ahead with proposed resolutions that would allow his casket to be displayed at the Capitol Rotunda, and plans were already in the works for his burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Buckles “died peacefully in his home of natural causes” early Sunday morning [27 Feb 2011], the family said in a statement sent to CNN late Sunday by spokesman David DeJonge.

Buckles marked his 110th birthday on February 1 [2011], but his family had earlier told CNN he had slowed considerably since last fall, according his daughter Susannah Buckles Flanagan, who lives at the family home near Charles Town, West Virginia.

Buckles, who served as a U.S. Army ambulance driver in Europe during what was then known as the “Great War,” rose to the rank of corporal before the war ended.

His assignments included that of an escort for German prisoners of war. Little did he know he would someday become a prisoner of war during World War II.

He came to prominence in recent years, in part because of the work of DeJonge, a Michigan portrait photographer who had undertaken a project to document the last surviving veterans of that war.

As the years continued, all but Buckles had passed away, leaving him the “last man standing” among U.S. troops who were called “The Doughboys.” His death leaves only two verified surviving WWI veterans in the world, both of whom are British.

President Obama issued a statement Monday on Buckles’ passing, saying he and first lady Michelle Obama were “inspired” by Buckles’ story.

Frank Buckles lived the American Century,” Obama’s statement said. “Like so many veterans, he returned home, continued his education, began a career, and along with his late wife Audrey, raised their daughter Susannah. … We join Susannah and all those who knew and loved her father in celebrating a remarkable life that reminds us of the true meaning of patriotism and our obligations to each other as Americans.”

Buckles told CNN in 2007 he accepted the responsibility of honoring those who had gone before him, and to be their voice for permanent, national recognition after he was gone.

DeJonge found himself the spokesman and advocate for Buckles in his mission to see to it that his comrades were honored with a monument on the National Mall, pushing for improvements to a neglected, obscure city memorial nearly in the shadow of the elaborate World War II memorial.

Buckles wanted national status granted to the D.C. War Memorial, a marble gazebo built in the 1930s that, for now, honors only his comrades from the District of Columbia. His call was to elevate the designation of the site to join U.S. honors accorded to those who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

“We have come to the end of a chapter in history,” said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, a House sponsor of legislation to upgrade the DC War Memorial. “Frank was the last American Doughboy — a national treasure,” Poe said in a statement provided to CNN.

The “Frank Buckles WWI Memorial Act” passed the House but had not cleared the Senate before Congress adjourned. Poe on Monday restated his support for a House resolution that would allow a public display for Buckles in the Capitol Rotunda. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia is a co-sponsor of the Senate proposal.

Buckles, at the age of 108, came to Capitol Hill from West Virginia in 2009 to testify before a Senate panel on behalf of the D.C. War Memorial bill. He sat alongside Rockefeller and fellow proponent Sens. John Thune, R-South Dakota, and Jim Webb, D-Virginia.

“I have to,” he told CNN when he came to Washington, as part of what he considered his responsibility to honor the memory of fellow veterans.

Rockefeller praised Buckles in a statement Monday, calling him “a unique American, a wonderfully plain-spoken man, and an icon for the World War I generation.”

“His life was full and varied and an inspiration for his unbridled patriotism and enthusiam for life,” the statement said.

Buckles, after World War I ended, took up a career as a ship’s officer on merchant vessels. He was captured by the Japanese in the Philippines during World War II and held prisoner of war for more than three years before he was freed by U.S. troops.

Never saying much about his POW experience, Buckles instead wanted attention drawn to the plight of the D.C. War Memorial. During a visit to the run-down, neglected site a few years ago, he went past the nearby World War II memorial without stopping, even as younger veterans stopped and saluted the old soldier in his wheelchair as he went by.

Renovations to the structure began last fall, but Buckles, with his health already failing, could not make a trip to Washington to review the improvements. The National Park Service is overseeing efforts that include replacing a neglected walkway and dressing up a deteriorated dome and marble columns.

Details for services and arrangements will be announced in the days ahead, the family statement said.

Flanagan, his daughter, said preliminary plans began weeks ago, with the Military District of Washington expressing its support for an honors burial at Arlington, including an escort platoon, a horse-drawn casket arrival, a band and a firing party.

“It has long been my father’s wish to be buried in Arlington, in the same cemetery that holds his beloved General (John) Pershing,” Flanagan wrote as she began to prepare for the inevitable in a letter she sent to home-state U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia.

“I feel confident that the right thing will come to pass,” she said.

Manchin issued a statement Monday that read, in part, “He lived a long and rich life as a true American patriot, and I hope that his family’s loss is lightened with the knowledge that he was loved and will be missed by so many.”

Buckles in 2008 attended Veterans Day ceremonies at the grave of Pershing, the commander of U.S. troops during World War I. He also met with then-President George W. Bush at the White House, and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the Pentagon.

“The First World War is not well understood or remembered in the United States,” Gates said at the time. “There is no big memorial on the National Mall. Hollywood has not turned its gaze in this direction for decades. Yet few events have so markedly shaped the world we live in.”

Buckles’ family asks that donations be made to the National World War I Legacy Project to honor Frank Buckles and the 4,734,991 Americans with whom he served.

More than 116,000 Americans were killed, and more than 204,000 wounded, in the 19 months of U.S. involvement in the war, according to the Congressional Research Service. The overall death toll of the 1914-18 conflict was more than 16.5 million, including nearly 7 million civilians, and more than 20 million wounded.

Details can be found at: http://www.frankbuckles.org.

We honor you, Frank Buckles.

(#Repost @cnn.com)

SP4 Raymond Rocha

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I was only 8 years old when my big brother Raymond passed away.  After 45 years I still miss him dearly and think of him everyday.  I am very proud of him. Of the letters I read that he had written, I know he was proud to serve his country.

Your little brother Salvador.

We honor you, Raymond Rocha.

(#Repost @http://tcvvm.org/project/raymond-rocha/)

SPC Blake W. R. Lee

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On July 24th 2006, a seemingly calm afternoon in the often Volatile Al Anbar Province, Ramadi, Iraq, my platoon who had been attached to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment was tasked with a mission to link back up with our parent company, Bravo company, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment to conduct a raid on a suspected improvised explosive device assembly location. Shortly after a happy reunion with our fellow soldiers of B Co 1-6 at their combat outpost, Warrior Strong Hold, we came under heavy rocket, mortar, and machine gun fire, unbeknownst to us as where multiple locations in a planned attack by Al Qeada forces throughout the area. An Iraqi Army Combat outpost bordering the west side of warrior strong hold came under machine gun fire first sending the Iraqi soldiers scrambling for cover in a fortified watch tower on the roof. The members of B CO 1-6 INF immediately took up defensive positions throughout the strong hold returning a heavy volume of fire in defense.

During the defense of the strong hold, while directing my saw gunners field of fire and returning fire, I was struck in the right knee by incoming enemy fire and was med-evacuated to camp Ramadi, where I was air lifted to Baghdad to receive an operation to clean the wound out.

The .30 caliber bullet had bounced around after striking causing multiple fractures, traveling up my right femur and finally coming to a rest just below my greater trochanter , where it remained until causing complications later in the year and was removed at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

We honor you, Blake Lee.

(#Repost @National Purple Heart Hall of Honor)

Capt Mark Weber

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Seven U.S. Armed Forces members — including one whose parents live in southern Denton County — were when a military helicopter crashed in western Iraq, according to information from Moody Air Force Base and Bartonville Mayor Bill Scherer.

Bartonville residents Ron and Margaret Weber lost their son, Air Force Capt. Mark Weber, 29, in the crash on March 15, 2018, according to the news releases.

A graduate of the US Air Force Academy, Capt. Weber is survived by his parents, according to Scherer, as well as four siblings: Leah Weber, currently serving overseas in the U.S. Air Force; Kathrine Weber, serving in the U.S. Coast Guard; Lori Weber, a nurse; and Kristen Weber, a writer and Christian stand-up comedian.

Capt. Weber was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force in 2011 and served as a Combat Rescue Officer, according to Scherer’s statement. Capt. Weber was assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron, 23rd Wing, Moody AFB, Georgia, and was serving in Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) pilots and crews face the most highly dangerous and hazardous missions risking their lives going into combat zones in an effort to rescue the wounded and downed pilots.

Capt. Weber also did rescue work in the United States during the hurricanes just last year.

“We are indebted to Capt. Weber’s service, commitment, and sacrifice to our nation,” Scherer’s statement said. “Because of his bravery and selflessness, we enjoy daily freedom and security. It is our duty to honor and never forget the sacrifice that Capt. Weber made.

“The Town of Bartonville extends heartfelt prayers and condolences to the Weber family and all affected by this tragedy.”

We honor you, Mark Weber.

(#Repost @Cross Timbers Gazette)

CAPT Margaret R. Riley

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On 8 June 1973, OCS Class 2-73 graduated from their training at Yorktown, Virginia.
The entire class was twenty-nine strong. In their ranks at graduation for the first time were five women. One of those women graduates was Margaret R. Riley. During
her thirty-year career CAPT Riley served as the Executive Officer of the Integrated
Support Command, Boston, Massachusetts and was later assigned to the Coast
Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC. She also served as the Commanding Officer
of the Supply Center, Baltimore, Maryland; and the Commanding Officer of the
Integrated Support Command, Boston and retired in 2003 as Director of the
Leadership Development Center at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London,
Connecticut.

CAPT Riley died in January 2008 following a long illness.

We honor you, Margaret Riley.

(#Repost @Coast Guard Women in History)