Muriel Kupersmith

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Muriel Kupersmith was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her first memories are of sitting on her father’s lap while he played songs on his mandolin. As a teenager, she had the job of air raid warden turning street lights off at dawn if a siren went off. This was done with a special key and she never remembers being afraid of walking around the city in the early morning. Later in life, she wanted to join the U.S. Marines because both her fiancé and future brother-in-law were Marines, but she was too young. So when she turned 20 Muriel went to enlist, but she was underweight, only 89 pounds! She was told to eat bananas and drink milkshakes, but her mother had a better idea. Taking a cup full of pennies, tying them in a handkerchief and wearing them discreetly, Muriel now at “98” pounds was able to enlist! The physical aspect of boot camp at Camp Lejeune was not difficult for her. Muriel didn’t mind the hot weather and was good at all the obstacle courses. However, when it came to performing indoor duties like making the bed, she did not do well. And when she had mess duty, the pot Muriel had to clean was bigger than her! After boot camp, Muriel was stationed at the all-female Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia. One of the women she met was a future actress named Bea Arthur. It was very strict at Henderson Hall and if any male was coming in, an announcement would be made on the intercom. Muriel’s job was to notify the family of deceased Marines. She had to go through their personal effects and pull out anything that would upset the family. One day, she got word that her fiancé, Bud, had been wounded at Okinawa and would be coming home. A few days later, Muriel was told to go and see the Colonel. Everyone was quiet around her as she walked to the office. Rather than hearing the good news about Bud, she was told that he had been killed on the hospital ship. Greatly saddened, Muriel was granted leave to go home. But after a few days, she was back to work for, what she felt, was a very good cause. A short time later she would also hear that her brother-in-law was killed at Iwo Jima.

One benefit that Muriel and her friends had was the ability to use free hops on planes to go to various places. Once they went to Florida for a weekend. Muriel ended up getting sunburned and on the way back home the plane experienced turbulent weather. It was so bad everyone had to wear the very heavy life preservers. After a rough landing and a visit from the ambulance staff to make sure everyone was alright, Muriel and friends were able to make it back to the barracks with a half hour to spare. On inspection the next day, she was asked by the Lieutenant where she got the sunburn and Muriel said “at the St. George’s hotel pool in Brooklyn.” At that point, Muriel swore off taking the hops…until the following weekend, when she got a chance to go to Chicago. Even though they had no money, the girls, wearing their Marine Corps uniforms, got to ride the L train to Wrigley Field and see a Cubs game all for free.

After the war, Muriel was getting ready to get discharged. She was given money to buy civilian clothes and found a great unknown store called “Copycat.” Some of the other women asked her where she got her outfits and Muriel said “Copycat.” “No, no,” one replied “We don’t want to copycat your outfits, just tell us where you got them.” “Copycat” Muriel replied. “Really we won’t buy the same outfits!” another exclaimed. Muriel laughed and explained about the name of the store. Now a civilian, and a few years later, the Marines wanted her back. But she was married now and not eligible to return to duty. Muriel worked in a bank in Brooklyn and she and her husband raised a son and a daughter. She likes to tell the story of her son’s birth. While waking up after the very difficult delivery of over five days, Muriel heard the Marine Corps song being played. Is it any wonder that her son became a Marine who would serve for 26 years?

We honor you, Muriel Kupersmith.

(#Repost @AFRH.gov)

PFC Henry Harrison Ford Jr.

- - Ford

“I remember a young kid with a big smile and a fun loving nature. I served too. Thanks Henry.” – James Logan.

US Marine Private First Class Henry Harrison Ford Jr was a casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Marine Corps Selective Service and a Draftee, PFC Ford served our country until December 12th, 1966 in Quang Nam, South Vietnam. He was 20 years old and was married. It was reported that Henry died from artillery fire. His body was recovered. PFC Ford is on panel 13E, line 037 of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. He served our country for less than a year.

He served with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, 3rd MAF.

He was awarded The Combat Action Ribbon(CAR), The Purple Heart Medal for his combat related wounds, The Vietnam Service Medal, The Republic of Vietnam Campaign Service Medal, The National Defense Service Medal and The Good Conduct Medal.

We honor you Henry Ford Jr.

(#Repost @Find A Grave)

Bea Arthur

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Best known for her roles on the popular television shows “Maude” and “The Golden Girls,” the late Bea Arthur was also once a truck driver in the Marine Corps. She was one of the first members of the Women’s Reserve and aside from driving military trucks, she was also a typist. Arthur enlisted at the age of 21 in early 1943 under her original name, Bernice Frankel. Appraisals from her her enlistment interviews described her conversation as “argumentative” and her attitude and manner as “over aggressive” — fitting, given the cantankerous characters she would play later in life. In a handwritten note, the Marine interviewer remarked, “Officious–but probably a good worker — if she has her own way!”

Arthur was stationed at Marine Corps and Navy air stations in Virginia and North Carolina during her career, and was promoted from corporal to sergeant to staff sergeant. She was honorably discharged in September 1945, married a fellow Marine (Private Robert Aurthur) shortly afterwards, and changed her name to Bea Arthur before enrolling in the Dramatic Workshop of the New School in New York in 1947. After a successful Broadway career that included a Tony award, Arthur made a splash as “Cousin Maude” in the classic TV series “All in the Family” in the early ’70s, and went on to star in her own sit-com, and cement her celebrity fame in the long-running “Golden Girls.”

We honor you, Bea Arthur.

(#Repost @Military.com)

MSgt William H. Cox

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On New Year’s Eve 1968, just before the dawn of 1969, Master Sgt. William H. Cox and his buddy First Sgt. James T. Hollingsworth were holed up in a bunker in the Marble Mountains of Vietnam. Rockets and mortars were raining down all around them, or as Cox puts it, “Charlie (the nickname for the North Vietnamese) was really putting on a fireworks show for us.” As they hunkered down, the two Marines made a pact: “If we survived this attack, or survived Vietnam, we would contact each other every year on New Year’s,” Cox recalled.

For nearly five decades, Cox, who lives in Piedmont, and Hollingsworth, whose nickname was Hollie, kept their promise to each other. And earlier this year, Cox kept another promise: He stood guard at Hollingsworth’s casket and then delivered the eulogy at his funeral. Standing guard, without the cane that the 83-year-old normally uses, Cox was paying tribute, one Marine to another. But in giving the eulogy, he fulfilled his final vow to his friend.

When he learned that Hollingsworth was terminally ill, Cox went to visit, and his old friend Hollie asked Cox to give the eulogy at his funeral. “I said, ‘Boy, that’s a rough mission you’re assigning me to there,’” Cox said.

The military forges strong bonds among the men and women who serve, but for Marines, that connection is even stronger. “There’s a bond between Marines that’s different from any other branch of service. We’re like brothers,” he said. The two men met on their way to Vietnam in 1968. After his service Hollingsworth settled in Georgia, while Cox spent 20 years in the Marine Corps and went on to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service.

They served in VMO-2, a Marine helicopter squadron, where Hollingsworth was a mechanic and a door gunner, and Cox was an ordnance chief and a door gunner. They flew many combat missions together, and at the end of each mission, they had a saying, which Cox repeated at the close of Hollingsworth’s eulogy: “Hollie, you keep ‘em flying, and I’ll keep ‘em firing.”

We honor you, William Cox.

(Submission by: Ninzel Rasmuson. #Repost @11Alive.com)

PO2 James Nappier Jr.

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James Nappier’s persistence and devotion to serving his country resulted in the improbable scenario of a man in his 40s with a grown child enlisting in–and being accepted by–the Navy’s Seabees. By virtue of his six years in the Marines beginning when he had dropped out of high school, Nappier’s real age was knocked down to just under the upper limit for eligibility. This was in 2000, when no one had any idea of military deployments to a war in the Middle East. In Iraq, Nappier kept volunteering for the most dangerous missions, figuring he was saving one younger man with young children from harm’s way.

We honor you, James Nappier Jr.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)

PFC Gary Ogle Seabaugh

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For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Corpsman with Company H, Second Battalion, Fifth Marine Division in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On the morning of 26 February 1968, during Operation Hue City, Company H suddenly came under a heavy volume of small arms, automatic weapons and mortar fire from a large North Vietnamese Army force. During the attack, numerous casualties were sustained, including Hospitalman [Seabaugh]. Although unable to walk due to his serious leg wound, he disregarded the enemy rounds impacting around him and fearlessly crawled about the fire-swept terrain from one casualty to another, skillfully administering first aid. As he was treating an injured Marine, he sustained a gunshot wound in the arm. Steadfastly ignoring his additional injury, he resolutely continued to crawl about the hazardous area, ably treating his wounded comrades until he was medically evacuated. His heroic actions and sincere concern for the welfare of his wounded comrades inspired all who observed him and were instrumental in the expeditious medical treatment of fourteen injured Marines. By his courage, bold initiative and selfless devotion to duty in the face of great personal danger, Hospitalman [Seabaugh] upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

Gary Seabaugh was awarded the silver star and a purple heart for this incident. He was additional wounded two other times, receiving another two purple hearts.

We honor you, Gary Seabaugh.

(#Repost @National Purple Heart Hall of Honor)

 

Cpl Robert G. Geisler, Jr.

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Writing to his parents from Vietnam in 1966 and 1967, Marine Corps Corporal Robert G. Geisler, Jr., offered up all of the brutal details of his combat experiences, describing the high incidence of booby traps, mines, and casualties, and the impact that witnessing such violence has on his state of mind. His correspondence gives the sense of a very young man (he was 19 when he departed for Vietnam) who coped with the horrors of war by sharing them with his family. Despite all that he sees in country, his commentary also hints at a spirit that remains hopeful, such as when he describes the camaraderie between members of his unit. Eight weeks before he was scheduled to leave Vietnam, he was seriously wounded while on patrol; though he never saw combat again, he survived, and returned home to his family.

We honor you, Robert Geisler Jr.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)