Lt Tammie Jo Shults

U.S. Navy photo of Southwest Airlines pilot Tammie Jo Shults photo in 1992

Passengers aboard the tumultuous Southwest Airlines flight — during which one passenger was killed after nearly being ripped from the plane — are crediting pilot Tammie Jo Shults’ quick thinking with saving their lives.

The former Navy fighter pilot safely brought the plane down in Philadelphia after one of its engines exploded shortly after taking off from New York City.

“This is a true American Hero,” passenger Diana McBride Self said in a Facebook post about Shults, adding the pilot went back and personally spoke with passengers after the ordeal. “A huge thank you for her knowledge, guidance and bravery in a traumatic situation. God bless her and all the crew.”

But long before her quick-thinking maneuvers softly landed the damaged Southwest plane, Shults was a pioneer among female fighter pilots and faced resistance to even enlist.

Shults, raised on a New Mexico ranch, grew up dreaming of being a pilot as she watched planes fly overhead from the nearby Holloman Air Force Base, she recalled in a passage for the 2012 book “Military Fly Moms,” which profiled the careers of female pilots.

When she went to a retired military pilots lecture on career day her senior year of high school, the former colonel asked if she was lost.

“I mustered up the courage to assure him I was not and that I was interested in flying,” she wrote in a passage for the book. “He allowed me to stay but assured me there were no professional women pilots.”

A meeting with a female pilot while she was a junior at MidAmerican Nazarene University inspired her to keep at it.

“My heart jumped. Girls did fly!” she wrote in the book. “I set to work trying to break into the club.”

The Air Force rejected Shults, however — but wanted her brother. Shults toiled for a year until a recruiter processed her Navy application.

She met her husband — Dean Shults, who’s now also a Southwest pilot — during that time, who she described as her “knight in shining airplane.”

While Shults became one of the first women to fly the F/A-18, she recalled being relegated to support roles because female pilots couldn’t fly combat missions, she wrote in the book.

She retired in 1993, and lives with her husband and two children in San Antonio.

We honor you, Tammie Jo Shults.

(#Repost @American Military News)

LT Garnett Bailey Moneymaker

2018-4-13 Moneymaker

Born in 1918 in Clifton Forge, VA to Reginald Clyde and Florence Opal (Baker) Moneymaker, he grew up in rural Virginia with two siblings, John and Rosemary, on the Cow Pasture River. Sounds idyllic and it was. After high school he joined the Navy in 1937 and was assigned to the Electrical Division on the Light Cruiser U.S.S. Boise. The family wants to thank all the men and women who serve and have served in the military because we know the sacrifice that is made.

Mon’s world changed in 1941, with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. At the end of his four-year tour of duty, he was re-enlisted for another four, very trying years of WWII. He was in charge of the searchlights in the Battle of Guadalcanal and later in the invasion of Sicily and Italy. The diary he kept at that time is now part of the Library of Congress. During the last year and a half of the war Mon had several stateside postings. The last was with the Scouts and Raiders, forerunners of the Navy SEALS, where he learned guerilla warfare tactics and rudimentary Mandarin Chinese. His children still remember him saying “ni hao” (hello) with just the right intonation, his blue eyes twinkling.

We honor you, Garnett Moneymaker.


PhM3c John Andrew Haskins

2018-3-27 Haskins

Sailors at the Port Chicago Magazine, circa 1944.

Located on the southern banks of Suisun Bay, just over six miles outside of Martinez, California, Port Chicago was one of the Navy’s busiest and most vital munitions magazines during the Second World War.  Each day, tons of munitions destined for the Pacific Theater were received in Port Chicago by rail and packed aboard ships moored pierside.

This was grinding and hazardous duty for the Sailors attached to the ordnance battalions at Port Chicago, most of who were African-Americans in a still segregated Navy. And this danger would be realized in the summer of 1944.

At about 10:18 p.m. on July 17, 1944 disaster struck the naval magazine when more than 4,600 tons of high explosive and incendiary bombs, depth charges, and ammunition ignited.  Instantly the night sky was lit up by a succession of orange and red flashes set to earth rattling, cacophonous booms.

Five miles away one individual reported that the resulting concussion pushed his car over to the “wrong side of the highway” batting him around like a toy. Twenty miles away a massive fireball could be seen rising upwards of 12,000 feet leading many in neighboring towns to think that the Japanese Navy had executed a second surprise attack on American soil. Seismic shocks could be felt some 576 miles away in Boulder City, Nevada.

At the time of the blast, Pharmacist’s Mate Third Class John Andrew Haskins, Jr., was based at the nearby Naval Ammunition Depot in Mare Island, California. The 21-year old Sailor from Alexandria, Virginia, had only enlisted a year earlier and was part of the first class of African- American hospital corpsmen to serve in World War II.

Haskins would be among the first responders to see the devastated remains of Port Chicago. It was said that upon his arrival, Haskins “immediately” and “unhesitatingly” rushed through the dangerous gasses and flaming ammunition box cars seeking out survivors, providing first aid and, as it was later reported, “working tirelessly and with cool courage in bringing the flames under control” while minimizing any further loss of life.

With more than 320 reported deaths, the incident at Port Chicago would go down as one of the deadliest events in naval history. Today, a National Historic Memorial marks the site of the old naval magazine memorializing the many lives lost that day. For his actions, Haskins was bestowed the Navy and Marine Corps Medal in October 1944, becoming the first African-American hospital corpsman to be honored for a wartime act of heroism.

Haskins would continue to serve in the Navy until 1946, two years before the service was finally desegregated. Dying prematurely in his hometown of Alexandria on March 12, 1969 at the age of 47, Haskins would be survived by his wife and daughter. He was laid to rest at Coleman Cemetery in Fort Hunt, Virginia.

MAJ Katherine Mary Doody

2018-3-18 Doody

Katherine was raised on a rural Maryland farm, went to nursing school and landed a job at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. She had hopes of joining the Army to see the world, but was one inch too short for Army standards, so she joined the Navy.

Soon after, the Army lowered their height standards, she transferred in and was assigned to Tripler Army Hospital in Hawaii in September 1941. She was among 82 nurses on the base when Pearl Harbor was attacked and as a nurse, she worked 24 straight hours.

By 1944, the Army assigned her to Germany where she earned a Bronze Star for valor. In late 1950, she went to the 8063 Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, the first MASH in Korea. Kathryn retired from the Army in July of 1966 after 28 years of service.

We honor you, Katherine Doody.

(#Repost @The Chattanoogan)

PO1 Leonardo Lucio

2018-3-10 Lucio

Leonardo Lucio was born September 11, 1972 in Chicago Heights, Illinois. His family had a history of working with the railroad: his father worked for the Union Pacific Railroad, and his grandfather and younger brothers also both worked for the railroad. Coming from a big family—his father was the oldest of 13 kids; his mother the youngest of 8— Mr. Lucio remembers fondly his father taking him and his siblings to Mexico every couple of years to get to know their extended family and to learn the language—and these visits may be one reason Mr. Lucio had learned to love to travel. Mr. Lucio attended Bloom High School, where he participated in tennis, swimming, and was a member of the Glee club. Because he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after he graduated, he listened to the different military recruiters that came to his school, only to find that the Navy offered him something he really wanted. “Key word: Travel. That’s what I wanted to do; I wanted to see the world.” Identifying a career path was something else Mr. Lucio remembers about his recruiting experience: he didn’t really know what he wanted to do in the Navy.

Because he didn’t know anyone in the service prior to joining, he didn’t have any previous exposure to military occupations. As a result, he signed up to be a deck seaman. After basic training, Mr. Lucio went straight to his first ship the USS Oldendorf (DD-972) as an undesignated seaman—only to find himself being sent to the middle of a war zone. The USS Oldendorf, home ported in Yokosuka, Japan was forward deployed as part of the Midway Battle Group in preparation for Operation Desert Storm. Mr. Lucio recalls patrolling the waters of the Persian Gulf with the Midway Battle Group. “It was in the height of the war so when the Iraqis were burning the Kuwaiti oil fields we could see the oil fields burning. We could smell it. We could see it in the water. We were that close.” As an 18 year-old deck seaman he remembers his thinking at the time: “…I do not want to be here and I do not believe in war. But I had no choice. I signed up. I raised my hand and I had to fulfil my duty.” It wasn’t until later in his tour onboard the Oldendorf that Leo was allowed to “strike” for a rating outside of the arduous deck department. As a deck seaman in 1st division he was exposed to various jobs in the Navy and he got lucky in discovering the rate of Postal Clerk. It was in this rate where Mr. Lucio found his calling in the Navy.

Today Mr. Lucio is part of the Navy Funeral Honor Guard, after Congress passed legislation providing every U.S. military veteran the ability to receive a funeral with military honors in 1999. Mr. Lucio performs 3 to 4 funerals per week on average. Over the last 14 years he has performed close to 2,000 funerals with honors. He loves doing it and considers it not only a part of his naval career, but part of who he is – it has been a truly rewarding experience.

We honor you, Leonardo Lucio.

(#Repost @Pritzker Military Museum & Library)

LTJG Robert A. Huttemeyer

2018-2-28 Huttemeyer

Brooklyn-born Robert Huttemeyer followed the advice of his father, a veteran of World War I, by choosing the Navy (“they feed you and you sleep in a clean dry bed”) over the Army when he enlisted to serve in World War II. He got into an officers’ program and on D-Day he was commanding an LST that was flagship of her group. Not only did he deliver American troops to the beach, but in the next few days, he ferried Canadian and British officers, including General Bernard Montgomery, to and from shipboard conferences.

We honor you, Robert Huttemeyer.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)

CDR Lyndon B. Johnson

2018-2-19 Johnson

On June 21, 1940, Lyndon Johnson was appointed Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve (USNR). Reporting for active duty on Dec. 10, 1941, three days after Pearl Harbor, he was ordered to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, D.C., for instruction. He began working on production and manpower problems that were slowing the production of ships and planes, and he traveled in Texas, California, and Washington, assessing labor needs in war production plants. In May 1942, he proceeded to headquarters, Twelfth Naval District, San Francisco, California, for inspection duty in the pacific. Stationed in New Zealand and Australia, he participated as an observer on a number of bomber missions in the South Pacific. He was awarded the Army Silver Star Medal by General Douglas MacArthur and it was cited as follows:

For gallantry in action in the vicinity of Port Moresby and Salamaua, New Guinea, on June 9, 1942. While on a mission of obtaining information in the Southwest Pacific area, Lieutenant Commander Johnson, in order to obtain personal knowledge of combat conditions, volunteered as an observer on a hazardous aerial combat mission over hostile positions in New Guinea. As our planes neared the target area they were intercepted by eight hostile fighters. When, at this time, the plane in which Lieutenant Commander Johnson was an observer, developed mechanical trouble and was forced to turn back alone, presenting a favorable target to the enemy fighters, he evidenced marked coolness in spite of the hazards involved. His gallant actions enabled him to obtain and return with valuable information.

In addition to the Army Silver Star Medal, Commander Johnson has the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.

On July 16, 1942, Johnson was released from active duty under honorable conditions. (President Roosevelt had ruled that national legislators might not serve in the armed forces). On Oct. 19, 1949, he was promoted to Commander, USNR, his date of rank, June 1, 1948. His resignation from the Naval Reserve was accepted by the Secretary of the Navy, effective Jan. 18, 1964.

We honor you, Lyndon Johnson.

(#Repost @JBJ Library)