29-year-old US Army Sergeant 1st Class Daniel T. Metcalfe, from New York was killed on 29th September 2012 when his unit came under fire from enemy forces at Sayyid Abad, Afghanistan. He served with the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, based in Italy.
Sergeant Metcalfe joined the Army when he was 18 and had served one tour in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan prior to this deployment. He first joined his unit in Vicenza, Italy, in January 2002 and it was here that he met his Italian wife Vesna. He later became a drill instructor at Fort Benning, Georgia., before returning to Vicenza in 2011.
Sergeant Metcalfe’s father said this about his son in an interview with local press: “He was always positive, always the one taking the lead, a little mischievous. The Army took that leadership and put it into proper use. To watch his maturity after he joined the service made me as proud as I could be.”
We honor you, Daniel Metcalfe.
Captain Linda Bray was the first woman to lead US troops into battle, during the invasion of Panama in 1989. In 1982, she joined the ROTC. In 83, she was assigned to duty in Germany, where she guarded the Special Weapons Depot as a military policewoman. After she came back to the States, in 1988, Bray took command of her Military Police Company. In 1989 they were deployed to Panama. While there, she led a force of 30 MPs through a firefight to capture a kennel holding Panamanian Defense Force guard dogs and, it was discovered, a cache of enemy weapons. This groundbreaking event led to a big debate at the time. Congress questioned whether women should be allowed to take leadership positions (or do anything, for that matter) on the battlefield. With Bray’s performance under fire as an example, Congresswoman Pat Schroeder introduced a bill that would officially allow U.S. military women to serve in combat roles. The bill died when top generals lobbied against it, arguing that female soldiers couldn’t handle the physical challenges of combat. But in January 2013, the Pentagon’s prohibition against women serving in ground combat finally ended, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta admitted women were integral to the military’s success.
We honor you, Linda Bray.
USMA Class of 1952, First Lieutenant Shea was the executive officer of Company A, 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. On July 8, 1953 his company was attacked at night by overwhelmingly superior forces at “Pork Chop Hill” near Sokkogae, North Korea. He voluntarily organized a group to defend the most threatened area, and held off repeated attacks. Later, he singlehandedly assaulted a machine-gun emplacement and fought hand to hand until mortally wounded. He lived in Norfolk County and graduated from Churchland High School in Norfolk County. He was Class of 1948 at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and entered West Point.
We honor you, Richard Shea Jr.
Sergeant Martin served with the A Battery, 5th Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Division during the Vietnam War. While serving as a sentinel guarding the Đắk Pôko River Bridge, Sergeant Martin and his comrades were attacked by a North Vietnamese Army force. During the action, Sergeant Martin received wounds when an enemy hand grenade exploded in his position. Although injured, he continued to lay down a heavy volume of fire until the enemy was driven off.
We honor you, Douglas Martin.
Shoshana Johnson was an Army cook who was captured along with 5 other soldiers and held as a prisoner of war during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Johnson was shot in the ankles and held for 22 days before being rescued. Upon retirement from the Army, she went on to tell her experience and try to help others
Johnson was part of the 507th Maintenance Company from Fort Bliss that was ambushed on March 23, 2003, in Nasiriyah, Iraq. Her convoy came under heavy attack from Fedayeen paramilitaries and Iraqi soldiers after the unit made a wrong turn into an enemy urban stronghold.
The now retired Army specialist had turned 30 on March 18, 2003, five days before her convoy was attacked. Johnson and her fellow soldiers had joined the march into Iraq for the U.S. ground offensive, and soon they found themselves in the middle of a fierce firefight they never expected. Johnson was a cook in the support unit. Neither she nor the others were combat soldiers.
The former Army specialist, who prefers to describe herself as Panamanian-American, is the first African-American woman POW. She suffered incapacitating injuries after a single shot from an Iraqi passed through both of her ankles. “I was bleeding and my boots filled up with blood,” she said. “After my boots were removed, I couldn’t believe that the raw wounds with all the gore were really mine.”
On April 13, 2003, the Marines arrived on a rescue mission. “They showed up like in those action movies. They broke down the door and busted inside with their weapons aimed,” Johnson said. “They had everyone get down on the floor. They asked us to stand up if we were Americans. I knew then that we were going home.”
We honor you, Shoshana Johnson.
Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills served two deployments to Afghanistan without suffering anything close to a major injury. Then, in a second, everything changed.
On patrol during his third tour in April, Mills put his bag down on an improvised explosive device, which tore through the decorated high school athlete’s muscular 6-foot-3 frame. Within 20 seconds of the IED explosion, a fast-working medic affixed tourniquets to all four of Mills’ limbs to ensure he wouldn’t bleed to death.
“I was yelling at him to get away from me,” Mills remembers. “I told him to leave me alone and go help my guys.
“And he told me: ‘With all due respect, Sgt. Mills, shut up. Let me do my job.'”
The medic was able to save Mills’ life but not his limbs. Today, the 25-year-old Mills is a quadruple amputee, one of only five servicemen from any military branch to have survived such an injury during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Maria Tolleson, a spokeswoman at U.S. Army Medical Command. And instead of serving alongside his unit, he has been spending his days based at Walter Reed Medical Center, working on rehabilitation after the accident that dramatically altered the trajectory of his life.
“Just because stuff happened to me, I don’t think it makes me a hero,” he said. “I think it just makes me a guy that did his job, knew the consequences of what could happen and something happened.”
We honor you, Travis Mills.
Richard Overton is a former American World War II vet who, at 111 years old, is the oldest war veteran and living man in the United States.
Born on May 11, 1906, Richard Overton is a World War II veteran who served in the U.S. Army. On May 3, 2016, he became the oldest living American war veteran after fellow World War II veteran Frank Levingston of Louisiana died. Overton became a supercentenarian on May 11, 2016.
Overton began his military career with the U.S. Army on September 3, 1940 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He arrived at Pearl Harbor with his black segregated unit immediately after the bombing by the Japanese. Between 1940-1945, he toured the South Pacific — the last three of those years with the 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion — and achieved a technician fifth grade rank by the end of his military service.
After the war, Overton returned to Texas and established his life in Austin where he worked in a variety of furniture stores before finding employment at the Texas Department of the Treasury. He has been married twice, never had children and has outlived his closest relatives.
We honor you, Richard Overton.
(Submission by: Rob Prokop. #Repost @Biography.com)