BG Joseph V. Medina

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Since the days of the American Revolution, the Armed Forces have served as a place in which conflicts of race could be put aside for the protection of the nation and its people. Through a career that spanned 31 years, Brigadier General Joseph V. Medina served his country with both dignity and honor.

General Medina is one of four Hispanic officers to ever obtain a rank of Brigadier General or higher in the United States Marine Corps, and was the first Marine to take command of a naval flotilla. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal for his command skills, as well as for the tremendous responsibilities Medina took on throughout his career.

During his service, General Medina was a vocal proponent of the recruitment of Hispanics into the Marine Corps. As of 2013,  approximately 157,000 armed servicemen – 11.4 percent of active duty members and 18 percent of the total Marine population – were of Latin-American descent. While debate rages on about immigration reform and national languages, it’s important to remember the role proud Hispanic Americans take in the defense of their home, be it adopted or not. General Medina is testament to that much.

We honor you, Joseph Medina.

(#Repost @Chambers Primary School Hispanic Month Appreciation wall)

 

CPL Paul Alexander Steppe, Jr.

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War:  Korean War, 1950-1953
Branch:  Marine Corps
Unit: 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division
Service Location:  Camp Pendleton, California; Korea

Paul Steppe, a Marine infantry corporal serving in Korea, saw fierce action, punctuated by long nights when he and his foxhole buddies alternated two-hour watches. Wounded by a grenade on Christmas Eve 1951, Steppe was evacuated to a hospital, narrowly escaping death when his transport plane lost its landing gear on takeoff. In his memoirs, An Everlasting Watch, Steppe notes that American troops are still “on watch” in the Korean peninsula, his war’s resolution still incomplete.

We honor you, Paul Steppe.

(#Repost @http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/vhp-stories/loc.natlib.afc2001001.04941/)

Luke McDermott

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2018 Paralympic Winter Games, Marine Corps, sled hockey

  • First-time Paralympian
  • Served two tours in Afghanistan

Luke McDermott was injured by an IED while on patrol in Afghanistan in June 2010 with the 1st Battalion 6th Marines. He began his sled hockey career while being rehabilitated at the Center for the Intrepid when his physical therapist asked if he would be interested in playing. He made his U.S. national  team debut in 2015.

We honor you, Luke McDermott.

(#Repost @https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/46026/meet-18-veterans-competing-2018-paralympic-winter-games/)

PFC Robert Dale Gregg

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I was hit by a hand grenade shrapnel during assault on an enemy bunker to my immediate front. The bunker was about 1/4 of the way down a hill which we were attempting to take and later in the day it was taken by the platoon (Baker Co. 1st Platoon). The shrapnel damaged my left eye and I was evacuated to a field hospital then to hospital ship USS Haven then to Japan and the U.S.

We honor you, Robert Gregg.

(#Repost @National Purple Heart Hall of Honor)

Norma Rambow

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“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

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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

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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)