Col Harold E. Fischer

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Fischer grew up on a farm in Iowa and enlisted in the U.S. Army after two years at Iowa State University. He transferred to the Air Force in 1950 and achieved a remarkable combat record during 105 missions. He was credited with shooting down 10 Soviet-made MiG-15 fighters, enough to qualify him as a double ace.

In his last dogfight before his F-86 Sabre Jet was downed by a Chinese fighter pilot, Fischer chalked up his 11th MiG.

Fischer parachuted into enemy territory just north of the Yalu River, which separates North Korea from China, on April 7, 1953.

Fischer, a captain at the time, was taken by Chinese soldiers to a prison outside Mukden, Manchuria, where he spent the next 25 months. Three other American pilots from the Korean War were being held in the same prison. The four made headlines across the United States as a symbol of Cold War tensions, their imprisonment continuing months past the signing of the armistice and cease-fire that stopped the fighting July 27, 1953.

Nine months into his captivity, Fischer said, he used a nail to dig a hole through the wall of his cell and escaped. Intent on stealing a MiG, he was deterred by a guard and then tried to reach a railway station, where he was recaptured.

He and the other pilots were released May 31, 1955, after being tried by the Chinese in a mock trial in which they were found guilty of participating in germ warfare. They were then deported to the United States.

The release of the aviators may have been a strategic move by China to reduce tensions with the United States, which had risen sharply during a crisis over the Taiwan Straits, said Doug Lantry, a research historian at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

Fischer “not only survived an incredible and strange ordeal but went on to pass his knowledge of what he learned on to future airmen,” Lantry said. “That is one of the reasons he’s so important to the Air Force. He gathered an awful lot of knowledge of how to fly, how to fight and how to survive.”

Later in life Fischer learned that Chinese ace Han Decai was credited with shooting him down in 1953.

“When I found out that Han had been given credit for me, I tried to contact him through Chinese embassies,” Fischer said. “In 1996, I joined a group of [ World War II-era] Flying Tiger pilots who had been invited to visit China. There, I met Gen. Han and presented him with an F-86 model. We’ve met again since then. And we have become friends.”

Harold Edward Fischer Jr. was born May 8, 1925, on a farm outside Lone Rock, Iowa. From a young age, he had an interest in aviation and often spent his 10-cent allowance to buy issues of Flying Aces, a magazine about World War I. He later accumulated model airplanes and launched them from a windmill on his family’s farm.

After his release from the Chinese prison in 1955, Fischer returned to Iowa State University to pursue a master’s degree in industrial administration. During the Vietnam War, he flew 200 missions, primarily in helicopters. His final active-duty assignment, in 1978, was with the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

His decorations included the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Legion of Merit and Distinguished Flying Cross.

We honor you, Harold Fischer.

(#Repost @LA Times)

2LT Robert “Bob” Dole

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There is no doubt that Senator Bob Dole will always be known for his service to his country; however, most only consider the work he has done through various levels of Government, not realizing that Senator Dole also served in the U.S. Army during WWII, fighting in Italy with the 10th Mountain Division, where he was severely wounded by the Germans.

Senator Bob Dole’s lifetime of public service began with his enlistment in the United States Army during World War II. He was born in Russell, Kansas, on July 22nd, 1923. He graduated from Russell High School in 1941, and enrolled into the University of Kansas to pursue an undergraduate career on the pre-medical path. His university studies, however, were interrupted by his military service during WWII.

After training for nearly ninety days at from Fort Benning, Senator Dole left for Europe from Fort Meade in Maryland. Dole served mostly in Italy as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 10th Mountain Division. Senator Dole served under a group of experienced superiors, and cites in his oral history interview that it was these friendships formed during his service which helped build trust and alleviate intimidation. One individual specifically mentioned is Frank Carafa who rescued Senator Dole from danger after he was hit by a German.  Senator Dole also recalls being marked with an “M” on his forehead— with his own blood—by a fellow GI to signify to the medics who later found him that he had already received one dose of morphine. Senator Dole was shot in the shoulder, suffered from spinal cord bruising, and lost a kidney. He was hospitalized for over a year, and during this time met future Senators Dan Inouye and Phil Hart.

In his interview, Senator Dole describes Eisenhower as a hero and comments on mourning the loss of President Franklin Roosevelt from overseas. Senator Dole served in the Army from 1942 until 1948, receiving the Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his service, in addition to the American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, and the WWII Victory Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB). Senator Dole recounts his WWII experience in this oral history interview, but also goes into much more detail in his 2005 autobiography One Soldier’s Story: A Memoir.

After ending his military career, Senator Dole began his public service as a legislator. He ran and was elected first to the Kansas House of Representatives in 1950. This began a long career in governmental work, including service in the United States House of Representatives from 1961-1969, as well as the U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1996, where he was both the Senate minority and majority leader. Dole also ran for Vice President with President Gerald Ford in 1976 and for President in 1980, 1988, and 1996.

In addition to his military honors, Senator Dole is a highly decorated citizen. In 1989, he received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Ronald Reagan, the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton, and numerous other honors.

We honor you, Robert Dole.

(#Repost @Pritzker Military Museum & Library)

1LT Geraldine Lillian Edwards Boock

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Geraldine “Gerry” Boock graduated from nursing school in 1944, and she and several of her classmates decided to join the war effort. One of her friends volunteered the two of them for overseas duty, and after six weeks at sea, she landed in Calcutta, where she worked with patients wounded or taken ill in the China-Burma-India Theater. She wasn’t immune to an occasional bout of dysentery; she also encountered a shifty snake charmer, and, on a moonlight visit to the Taj Mahal, an amorous British soldier. After the war ended, she stayed on in India until spring 1946 and in the Army until December of that year. Her last assignment was in a California hospital obstetrics ward, as different an experience as possible from her sojourn in India.

We honor you, Geraldine Boock.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)

SFC Richard L. Schild

2017-12-09 Schild

Richard L. Schild loved Christmas so much that some of his friends had to tell him to cool it. “He was always looking for new ways to decorate,” said Merlin Goehring, a co-worker. “He always wanted the Christmas tree up before Thanksgiving, and I would tell him, ”You can”t light it up until Friday.”” Schild, 40, of Tabor, S.D., was killed Dec. 4 in a roadside bomb in Baghdad. He graduated from Mount Marty College and was assigned to Yankton. Schild was the office manager for the Bon Homme-Yankton Rural Electric Association and was trying to turn a portion of the local elementary school into a daycare run by a nonprofit organization. “Rich was one of those guys who, when he was lined up to do something, was committed and took it very seriously,” said elementary principal Mike Duffek. “I think of his personality as like a bulldog _ ”If I”m supposed to do something when I said I would, I would go do it.”” Ron Koupal, who hired Schild, said he enjoyed football and golf. “He loved the Minnesota Vikings and the Nebraska Cornhuskers,” Koupal said.

We honor you, Richard Schild.

(Submission by: Miah Parry. #Repost @The Washington Post)

Al Vise

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Al Vise was born in Knoxville, Tennessee on April 29, 1919. He met his wife, Etta, in Ireland while serving in the U.S. Army. While serving in the Army during WWII, he went to Africa, Italy, England, Belgium, Holland, Ireland, and France. While Al was in England, he prepared to invade France. He landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day at 5:00pm. In Belgium, Al liberated those in concentration camps. Al recalled when General Patton delivered his “Miracle Prayer” in Germany and it was then that Al felt that “God was on his side.” After the war, Al moved to Bountiful, Utah. Later, he met up with his wife in New York and they had four children.

On November 14, 2017, I had the honor of interviewing Al Vise. In his own words, these are his recollections of D-Day: (FYI – “During World War II (1939-1945), the Battle of Normandy, which lasted from June 1944 to August 1944, resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control. Codenamed Operation Overlord, the battle began on June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, when some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region. The invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history and required extensive planning. Prior to D-Day, the Allies conducted a large-scale deception campaign designed to mislead the Germans about the intended invasion target. By late August 1944, all of northern France had been liberated, and by the following spring the Allies had defeated the Germans. The Normandy landings have been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe.” (History Channel, www.history.com)

“Thank you for inviting me here to share a couple of my memories of June 6, 1944, D-Day. At that time, I was a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army, 7th Field Artillery, First Division, known as the BIG RED ONE. Our earlier fighting had included chasing Rommel (Erwin Rommel (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was a German general and military theorist. Popularly known as the Desert Fox, he served as field marshal in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II, Wikipedia) across Northern Africa, and a 37-day campaign in Sicily.”

“We prepared for invasion at Lyme Regis, England. We boarded our ships and transferred to the LST’s at sea, heading to Omaha Beach. We landed about five in the afternoon.”

“The beach was filled with live fire from missiles fired from miles away. I jumped off the LST with my rifle and pack into chest-high water. I think we stayed wet for several days from the ocean water and the rain.”

“We secured a beach head to prepare for the landing of troops, tanks, and trucks following us. We then pushed past the beach and through the hedge rows toward the town of St. Lo.”

“St. Lo became our base to prepare for the big Break Out towards Berlin. We set up the town to handle the huge number of tanks, trucks and tons of material that would be needed for us in the coming weeks.”

“In the Big Break Out from Normandy to Berlin, we liberated Liege, Bastogne and many smaller towns. We crossed the fortified Siegfried Line twice and won the Battle of the Bulge. This broke the back of the Nazis.”

“My strongest memories of that day were these:

Number 1: We must get off the beach or we will be killed.
Number 2: I must get my troops to St. Lo.
Number 3: I must protect my troops, and those to follow.
Number 4: The hedge rows were beautiful but deadly. They were perfect hiding places for the Nazis.
Number 5: We threw grenades inside of the bunkers to kill the Nazi soldiers firing the cannons”

“Our motto always played in my head:

First in War
First in Peace
No mission to difficult
No sacrifice to great
Nothing this side of Hell
Shall stop the First Division
THE BIG RED ONE”

We honor you, Al Vise.

(Submission written by: Ninzel Rasmuson)

George Skypeck

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I was that which others did not want to be.
I went where others feared to go, and did what others failed to do.
I asked nothing from those who gave nothing, and reluctantly accepted the thought of eternal loneliness … should I fail.
I have seen the face of terror; felt the stinging cold of fear; and enjoyed the sweet taste of a moment’s love.
I have cried, pained, and hoped … but most of all, I have lived times others would say were best forgotten.
At least someday I will be able to say that I was proud of what I was … a soldier.

SKY, a native of Massachusetts, is one of America’s most prominent military-historical commemorative artists. His name is a registered trademark.

Among nations and places displaying his original artworks and prints are the French Airborne Museum at Ste-Mer-Eglise, Normandy; the Pentagon in Washington; the Korean War Veterans Commission and Ministry of Defense in Seoul, Republic of Korea; Luxembourg; Canberra, Australia, Returned Servicemen’s League Headquarters; the U.S. Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, West Point; the Soldier & Sailors Museum, Buffalo, NY; Arlington National Cemetery; and many military stations at home and abroad. His famous poem Soldier graces several state monuments to honor veterans of all wars and conflicts. His latest painting, Assured Victory… A 09-11-2001 And War On Terrorism Memorial, was loaned for display at Arlington National Cemetery since December, 2001, in honor of the American sacrifices on that day at the Pentagon and New York City World Trade Center terrorists’ attacks and the War on Terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq and worldwide by U.S. military and civilian forces.

SKY has received several awards and commendations for his military service, and for his artwork from various public, private and governmental sectors, the most prestigious being the award of the Military Order of the Purple Heart’s George Washington Medallion of Merit, joining such recipients as Presidents Johnson, Reagan, George Bush Senior, Senator Bob Dole and actor Bob Hope.

SKY is a combat-wounded and disabled Vietnam Veteran having risen to the rank of Captain from Private in the U.S. Army and holds the coveted Combat Infantryman’s Badge, two Bronze Stars, Meritorious Service Medal, three Air Medals, Purple Heart and several foreign awards to include the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry medal, Wound medal and Honor medal (First Class). He served two combat tours as a special warfare and senior intelligence advisor from 1967-71 in isolated outposts. During the Tet Offensive of 1968 battle in Ben-Tre, his outpost coined the famous quote “We had to destroy the town to save it… !” His last assignment on active duty with the Army Recruiting Command in Boston, Massachusetts, was to design and conduct John Wayne’s internationally famous arrival into Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, atop an M-113 armored personnel carrier as a public support event with the Harvard’s Lampoon and Hasty Pudding Club. After release from active duty, he attended the University of Massachusetts at Boston and Amherst earning a Bachelor in Political Science and a Master in Public Administration and attended MIT for special graduate studies in Arms Control and Defense Planning. He studied art at the Corcoran Museum in Washington and had a studio in the Stars & Stripes newspaper building. He is the creator of the Coors Combat Art collection, co-creator of the Coors Scholarship Fund for veterans’ dependents and the newly published Coors book of his artworks, The Defenders Of Freedom. He is a resident artist member of the famous Society of Illustrators of New York City.

Mr. Skypeck was recently presented with the Blinded American Veterans Foundation Communications and Media award at a reception in Congress’ Committee on Veterans Affairs Committee room. Mr. Skypeck was inducted into the US Army Field Artillery Officer Candidate School Hall Of Fame in 2006 for his veterans’ work and artwork contributions to America. He is also a recipient of the University of Massachusetts’ “125 Alumni to Watch” Award.

We honor you, George Skypeck.

(#Repost @International War Veterans Poetry Archives)

 

 

William “Bill” Mauldin

2017-12-03 Mauldin

William Mauldin (1921-1993) had seen war. As such, he knew how to portray soldiers. Serving as an infantryman, Mauldin traveled with the U.S. Army as it advanced through fascist occupied Europe during the Second World War. As a cartoonist for Stars and Stripes, Mauldin created a series of comics that were quickly adopted by the American soldier and public alike. Willie and Joe, his two stoic yet weary GIs, faced the grim realities of war that thousands of Americans were confronting across the continent. In 1945, Mauldin won a Pulitzer Prize for his work, commemorating the resonance of his cartoons with the American people.

Yet while Mauldin is best remembered for his World War Two comics, he continued to work prolifically after the war. Working first with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mauldin would win a second Pulitzer in 1959. From 1962 until 1991, Mauldin worked for the Chicago Sun-Times, where he continued to produce a number of cartoons each year. Starting his work in Chicago during the 1960s would give him plenty of material, especially as the United States began to increase its involvement across the Pacific in Vietnam.

Although Mauldin supported the policies of Democratic President Lyndon Johnson, he found himself in disagreement with American policy in Vietnam. In 1965, Mauldin visited Vietnam – where his eldest son was serving – and sent back a number of cartoons on the war. After returning to the U.S., he continued to produce cartoons about Vietnam through 1975, when Saigon finally fell to North Vietnamese forces. In these cartoons, Mauldin addressed issues of voting rights, civilian casualties, and the rationale behind American involvement in Vietnam. His cartoons provide an entertaining yet sympathetic view of the U.S. soldier, and offer a critical look at American policy.

We honor you, William Mauldin.

(#Repost @Pritzker Military Museum & Library)