CAPT Thomas J. Hudner, Jr.

2018-9-19 Hudner

Thomas Hudner had no particular interest in airplanes when he graduated from the Naval Academy in 1946. He wanted only to serve aboard a ship. But in 1948, after he had been at sea for several months and had worked as a communications officer at Pearl Harbor for a year, he was ready for a new challenge and volunteered for flight training. He was briefly stationed in Lebanon before being assigned to the carrier USS Leyte as an F4U Corsair pilot.

By the fall of 1950, Lieutenant Hudner was flying combat missions in Korea. On December 4, he was one of a flight of six fighters sent out on an armed reconnaissance mission over North Korea. Hudner was wingman for a Navy flier named Jesse Brown, the son of a Mississippi sharecropper who had attracted a good deal of attention—and some discrimination—as the Navy’s first black pilot.

While strafing enemy positions at a low altitude, Brown’s plane was hit by antiaircraft fire. Smoking badly and without power, the aircraft was too low for Brown to bail out or clear the snow-covered mountains. Hudner followed Brown down, calling off a checklist to help prepare him for the crash landing.

Brown put his plane down in a wheels-up landing in a clearing below. The impact buckled the fuselage at the cockpit, and Hudner was certain that Brown was dead. To his amazement, Brown opened the canopy and waved weakly, but he appeared to be unable to free himself. Knowing that rescue helicopters had a long distance to travel, Hudner decided to help Brown get out of the plane himself. He didn’t ask permission from the flight leader because he knew it would be denied.

Hudner radioed, “I’m going in,” then dumped his ordnance, dropped his flaps, and landed wheels up, hitting the hilly area hard. He got out and struggled through the snow to get to the downed plane. Hudner saw that Brown’s right leg was crushed by the damaged instrument panel, and he was unable to pull him out of the wreckage.

Hudner kept packing snow into the smoking engine and talking to Brown as he drifted in and out of consciousness. When a U.S. helicopter arrived, the pilot worked with Hudner for forty-five minutes trying to get Brown out. They hacked at the plane with an ax, and even considered amputating Brown’s trapped leg with a knife. The snow packed on the bottom of their boots prevented them from getting any firm footing on the plane’s wing. As nightfall approached, bringing temperatures as low as thirty degrees below zero, it was clear that Brown was dead. Hudner hated to leave the body behind, but the helicopter pilot couldn’t fly in the mountainous terrain after dark. Reluctantly, the two men returned to base camp.

The next morning, reconnaissance showed that Brown’s body, still in the cockpit, had been stripped of clothing during the night by enemy soldiers. Because of the hostile forces in the area, it was impossible to retrieve it. The following day, the commander of the Leyte ordered four Corsairs to napalm the downed plane so that Brown could have a warrior’s funeral.

By February 1951, the Leyte was back in port in the United States. In mid-March, Hudner found out that he was to be the first American serviceman in the Korean War to receive the Medal of Honor. Daisy Brown, the widow of Jesse Brown (who had been posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross), was present when President Harry Truman put the medal around Thomas Hudner’s neck on April 13, 1951.

We honor you, Thomas Hudner Jr.

(#Repost @Medal of Honor Speakout)

MM3 Doris Miller

2018-9-18 Miller

Doris Miller is credited with shooting down several Japanese planes with a machine gun from the deck of the U.S.S. West Virginia during the attack on Pearl Harbor. When news of his actions reached the public, the African-American community saw him as their symbol of patriotism and pride. They wanted him to give speeches, named Boys Clubs after him, and started a write-in campaign to have President Roosevelt admit him to the Naval Academy. Although he did not attend the Naval Academy, Miller was decorated for bravery and continued to serve on active duty. Miller lost his life in the explosions and subsequent sinking of the Liscome Bay early on the morning of November 24, 1943.

We honor you, Doris Miller.

(#Repost @A People at War)

YN3 Melissa Rose Barnes

2018-9-11 Barnes

Melissa Rose Barnes was the family clown, no doubt about it. When her sister, Jennifer, was sick with lupus, for instance, she dressed up in disco clothes and jumped around the house doing John Travolta imitations — just like a kid, except that she was 25 at the time.

“She’d make her sister die laughing,” said Barnes’s mother, Linda Sheppard, from her Redlands, Calif., home. “She was really outgoing and bubbly, always up for a good time.”

Barnes, who was known as Mel, was scheduled to leave her posting at the Naval Command Center at the Pentagon in October for her first seaborne assignment. The 27-year-old was killed when hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11.

“She was proud to serve her country and proud to wear her uniform,” Sheppard said. “If she had lived, she would have been a lifer.”

When Barnes wasn’t making her sister laugh or dressing up as a tarot card reader for Halloween, she was likely to be at the beach or dancing and having a little wine with friends, Sheppard said. Sitting still was not part of her repertoire.

Barnes counted many people on the East and West coasts as friends, including her stepfather, Jim.

“She was a person not easy to forget,” her mother said. “So beautiful, so vibrant. You could not ignore her.”

We honor you, Melissa Barnes.

(#Repost @The Washington Post – Sacred Ground: Remembering the Victims)

CAPT John McCain

2018-8-28 McCain

When John McCain made his first bid for public office in 1982, running for a House seat in Arizona, critics blasted him as a carpetbagger, pointing out that he’d only lived in the state for 18 months.

“Listen, pal, I spent 22 years in the Navy,” the exasperated candidate reportedly shot back at one event. Then, after explaining that career military people tend to move a lot, he delivered a retort that made the attacks against him seem ridiculously petty: “As a matter of fact… the place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi.”

McCain won the election, launching a political career that earned him two terms in the House, six in the Senate, and his party’s presidential nomination in 2008. But even after four decades in public life, McCain’s experience as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam continued to define him in the minds of many Americans, admirers and detractors alike. While he ultimately made his name on the national political stage, the scion of two four-star admirals was, at his core, a lifelong military man. He followed into the family business, becoming a decorated, if at times reckless, fighter pilot who conducted nearly two dozen bombing runs in Vietnam before being shot down, captured and tortured.

In both his military and political careers, McCain earned a reputation for being feisty and combative. “A fight not joined is a fight not enjoyed,” he declared in his 2018 memoir The Restless Wave, written with his longtime collaborator Mark Salter, and published after he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer that took his life on August 25, 2018.

Below, a timeline of his military life [selected segments, see for the full account]:

John Sidney McCain III is born on August 29 at a U.S. Navy base in the Panama Canal Zone. His father, John S. McCain, Jr., is a submarine officer who will later rise to the rank of admiral and become commander in chief of U.S. forces in the Pacific during much of the Vietnam War. His grandfather, John S. McCain, Sr., also an admiral, would come to command the Navy’s Fast Carrier Task Force in the Pacific during World War II. “They were my first heroes, and earning their respect has been the most lasting ambition of my life,” McCain would later write in a 1999 memoir, Faith of My Fathers.

John McCain enters the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, in 1954 and graduates with the class of 1958. He’s the third generation in his family to attend the Academy; his father had been class of 1931; his grandfather, class of 1906.

By all accounts, especially his own, the young McCain is an indifferent and rambunctious student, prone to pranks and occasional disobedience to authority. He graduates fifth from the bottom of his class. “My four years here were not notable for individual academic achievement but, rather, for the impressive catalogue of demerits which I managed to accumulate,” he admitted to the graduating class of 1993 in a commencement speech.

After graduation, McCain goes on to flight school in Pensacola, Florida, and later Corpus Christi, Texas, to train as a pilot. “I enjoyed the off-duty life of a Navy flyer more than I enjoyed the actual flying,” he will remember. “I drove a Corvette, dated a lot, spent all my free hours at bars and beach parties, and generally misused my good health and youth.”

In late 1966, he joins a squadron of A-4E Skyhawk pilots that will deploy on the U.S.S. Forrestal, a carrier that soon heads to the Tonkin Gulf, off the coast of North Vietnam. They arrive at the peak of President Lyndon Johnson’s Operation Rolling Thunder campaign of massive sustained aerial bombardment.

On the morning of July 29, 1967, McCain has another brush with death. As he awaits his turn for takeoff from the USS Forrestal, for a bombing run over North Vietnam, another plane accidentally fires a missile. It strikes either his plane or the one next to him (accounts differ), igniting a raging fire on the ship’s deck. McCain manages to extricate himself from his plane, only to be hit in the legs and chest by hot shrapnel.

“All around me was mayhem,” he would recall years later. “Planes were burning. More bombs cooked off. Body parts, pieces of the ship, and scraps of planes were dropping onto the deck. Pilots strapped in their seats ejected into the firestorm. Men trapped by flames jumped overboard.” By the time it’s over, more than 130 crew members are dead.

Three months later, on October 26, McCain takes off on his 23rd bombing run over North Vietnam, reportedly on a mission to destroy Hanoi’s thermal power plant. Just as he releases his bombs over the target, a Russian-made surface-to-air missile, described as looking like “a flying telephone pole,” strikes his plane, ripping off its right wing. McCain ejects, breaking both arms and one knee, and parachutes into a shallow lake.

After briefly losing consciousness, he wakes up to find himself “being hauled ashore on two bamboo poles by a group of about 20 angry Vietnamese. A crowd of several hundred Vietnamese gathered around me as I lay dazed before them, shouting wildly at me, stripping my clothes off, spitting on me, kicking and striking me repeatedly…. Someone smashed a rifle butt into my shoulder, breaking it. Someone else stuck a bayonet in my ankle and groin.”

Soon, an army truck arrives, taking McCain as a prisoner of war. He will remain one for five and a half years.

McCain remains a prisoner until the U.S. and North Vietnam sign a peace accord in late January 1973, ending the conflict. He is released in March, along with 107 other POWs, and boards a U.S. transport plane headed to Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines.

After his return to the States, and while he’s still undergoing therapy for his injuries, McCain requests assignment to the National War College in Washington, D.C. “By the time my nine months at the War College ended, I had satisfied my curiosity about how Americans had entered and lost the Vietnam War,” he later wrote. “The experience did not cause me to conclude that the war was wrong, but it did help me understand how wrongly it had been fought and led.”

In late 1974, after he manages to pass the physical exam to qualify for flight status, he’s sent to Cecil Field, a naval air station in Jacksonville, Florida. A few months later, he’s promoted to commanding officer of a replacement air group, responsible for training carrier pilots.

McCain’s third and final assignment, however, may be the most influential in setting his future course. In 1977, he’s assigned to a liaison office in the United States Senate in Washington, where he serves as the Navy’s lobbyist and gets to see the workings of Congress from the inside. The job marked “my real entry into the world of politics and the beginning of my second career as a public servant,” he later recalls.

In 1981, McCain retires from the Navy with the rank of captain. His decorations include, among others, a Silver Star, three Bronze Stars and a Distinguished Flying Cross.

We honor you, John McCain.

(#Repost excerpts

George H. Horton

Branches of Military Service I Served In:

U.S. Navy Serial Number 202-04-66, U.S. Army & Massachusetts National Guard Serial Number 21295699, U.S. Air Force Serial Number AF21295699.  Also sailed ships in Merchant Marines.

My Naval service ships I served on:  USS San Diego CL-53, a Light Cruiser 9 Battle Stars, USS LST 970 1 Battle Star, USS Midway CV41 Aircraft Carrier, USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CV42 Aircraft Carrier, USS Lake Champlain CV39 Aircraft Carrier, USS Leyte CV32 Aircraft Carrier, USS Pocono AGC16 Communications Ship, USS Missouri BB63 Battleship, Bombing and Fighting Squadron 74 (VBF74) Fighting Squadron Two Baker (VF2B) plans were F4U4 Corsairs, Utility Squadron Four (VU4) planes were Culver Cadet (Drone) PBY Flying Patrol Bomber.

My Combat history:  While aboard the Light Cruiser USS Sand Diego CL-53 I was in the following Battles and Campaigns:

With Task Force 61 during torpedo attack by enemy submarine 31 Aug 1942.  6 Sep 1942 with Task Force 17 during enemy submarine attach at Guadalcanal.  7 Sep 1942 attacked by enemy submarine.  15 Sep 1942 submarine attack by enemy submarine 3 ships of task force sunk or damaged Aircraft Carrier USS Wasp was sunk.  5 Oct 1942 with Task Force 17 during air attack on enemy shipping in Buin-Faisi-Shortland area, two enemy planes were shot down.  16 Oct 1942 attacked enemy vessels in Solomon Islands area.  26 Oct 1942 Battle of Santa Cruz Islands, we shot down two torpedo planes and three Horizontal Bombers.

This was a sad day for us.  The Famed Aircraft Carrier USS Hornet CV-8 was sunk.  This is the ship that Colonel Jimmy Doolittle Raiders bombed Tokyo from.  My ship the USS San Diego CL-53 took Hornet Survivors from the Destroyer Hughes and took them to Noumea New Caledonia in the French Loyalty Islands.  22 Jan 1943 enemy bombing raid at night on Espiritu Santos in New Hebrides Islands.

26 Jan 1943 enemy night bombing raid at Espiritu Santos in New Hebrides Islands.  30 Jan 1943 with Task Force 16 during enemy air attack.  27 Jun to 23 Jul 1943 supported the occupation of New Georgia Island and Munda Air Fields.  14 Sep 1943 present in harbor during night bombing raid on Espiritu Santos in the New Hebrides Chain.  1 and 2 Nov 1943 made strikes on Buka Island in Northern Solomons.  5 Nov 1943 launched first strike against Japanese base at Rabul.  5 Nov 1943 launched second strike at Rabul New Britain.  11 Nov 1943 launched heavy strike at Rabul.  19 Nov 1943 made airstrikes on Japanese held island of Nauru.  24 to 29 Nov 1943 assault and occupation of Japanese held islands of Makin and Tarawa Atolls in the Gilbert Islands.  4 Dec 1943 launched attacks against Japanese bases Gilbert Islands.  4 Dec 1943 launched attacks against Japanese bases Kwajalein and Wotje in Marshall Islands.  4 to 5 Dec 1943 we were attacked by 7 Japanese torpedo planes, 6 of them were shot down by ships gun fire.  We were again attacked at night by Japanese aircraft that were based at Wotje and two more were shot down during this 7 1/2 hour attack.  29 Jan to Feb 4 attacked the enemy strongholds of Kwajalein Roi in the Marshall Islands.  16 to 17 Feb 1944 first penetration of Caroline Islands by American Naval Forces on the fortress of Truk.  Severe loss to enemy shipping planes and installations we were under Japanese night air attack.  20 Feb 1944 attacked enemy held island of Jaluit in Marshall Islands.  19 to 21 May 1944 made offensive sweep north of Marcus Island.  23 May 1944 made strikes on enemy held Wake Island.  11 to 13 Jun 1944 attacked Saipan and Pagan Islands in the Marianas 7 enemy planes shot down.  15 Jun 1944 attacked Japenese base in Bonin Islands.  16 Jun 1944 attacked Japanese held island of Iwo Jima.  19 Jun 1944 attacked island of Guam.  We were attacked repeatedly by Japanese torpedo planes and bombers.  19 to 30 Jun 1944 attackes against Marianas Islands Guam, Rota, and Pagan Islands.  Participated in occupation of Tinian Islands.

While on the LST (Landing Ship Tank) 970 I was in the following battles:  1 July 1945 participated in operations at Kerama Retto and Okinawa in the Ryukyus Islands in action against enemy planes.  On Okinawa on night of 24 May 1945.  15 Oct 1945 participated in the initial invasion and occupation of Japan at Wakayama Island of Honshu from 25 Sep 1945 to 1 Oct 1945.  30 Oct to 2 Nov 1945 landed Army troops and vehicles at Nagoya, Japan.

Places I have been on USS San Diego CL-53:  Boston, MA, Norfolk, VA, Portland, ME, Cape Cod Canal, Annapolis, MD, Panama Canal, San Diego, CA, Efate New Hebride, Majuro Atoll Marshall Islands, Vajello, CA, Marianas Islands, Crossed Equator several times, Iwo Jima, Pearl Harbor, HI, Noumea New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal, Santa Cruz Islands, Espiritu Santos, Auckland, New Zealand, San Francisco, CA, Wake Island, Eniwetok Atoll.  Left ship in Aug 1944 for rehabilitation to leave to the States.

Places I have been on LST 970:  Pearl Harbor, HI, Eniwetok Marshalls, Guam Marianas, Ulithi Atoll, Kerama Retto Okinawa, Okinawa, Leyte Phillipines, Wakayama and Nagoya Japan.

My duties aboard the USS Sand Diego CL-53 Light Cruiser.  Assigned 3rd Division work area starboard side topside.  Mess Cook, Compartment Cleaner, Captain of the Head Boat Crew Whaleboat and Motor launch.  Special Cleaning Station.  Ships Painter.  Admirals Orderly.  Shell handler lower handling room Turret 8.  Shell handler upper handling room Turret 8.  Shell loader port 5 inch gun Turret 8.  Gun Captain port gun Turret 8.  During this time Turret 8 was awarded the Navy E for efficiency in gunnery on the 5 inch gun.  In Turret 8 we were allowed to wear the Navy E for one year with 5 dollars a month added to our pay.  Stood depth charge watches for 300 and 600 pounders.  Special Sea Detail.  Stood watch on torpedo tubes.

My duties on LST 970 (Landing Ship Tank).  Coxswain on Port (LCVP) Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel.  Paint Locker.  Helmsman (Steered ship).  Deck Maintenance.  Load and unload cargo and ammunitions.  Make spoke by taking my LCVP about 100 yards in front of ship so that Kamakaze planes could not spot us.  Made mail runs and Guard mail runs to the beach.  Take wounded and deceased military hospital ship.  Took liberty parties ashore and returned them to shop.  Sentry duty all types for underwater swimmers and enemy boats loaded with explosives.  Took Army troops in my boat to make landings on beaches.

My duties while assigned to VBF 74 Fighting and Bombing Squadron 74 while stationed at Oceana Naval Station Virginia and while aboard USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CV42 and USS Midway CV41.  Worked on Flight Line that had 32 F4U4 Corsairs.  Drove gas and oil truck fueled aircraft 3 times a day when flying.  Had to remove and put in 32 parachutes in planes on flying days.  Was a member of the Crash Crew.  Was responsible for getting 4 aircraft ready for flight, untie them run up engines and for securing them at night.  On carriers I was a plane captain and got planes ready for flight.  Was responsible for the hurricane locker.  Did statistical studies on aircraft as to how much fuel they were using.  On land towed aircraft and taxied same to bore sight range.

The following ships I served on when I was on Admiral Mark A. Mitschers Staff as part of the boat crew for the Admirals Barge.  Also we had a 25 foot plane personnel boat called a Skimmer that the Admirals Chief of Staff Commodore Arleigh Burke better known as 31 Knot Burke used it was faster that the Admirals Barge.  Other than keep the boats clean and take the Admiral and Commodore where they wanted to go we would make on guard mail trip a day excluding Sundays.  Real rough duty.  When we went to New York on the FDR Carrier I was one of the side boys who rode in the Admirals car and opened the door and saluted when he go in or out of the staff car.  USS Leyte CV32, USS FDR CVB42, USS Missouri BB63, USS Pocono AGC 16, USS Lake Champlain CV39.  On the Admirals Barge I was Bow Hook on the Skimmer I was the Coxswain.

While with the Massachusetts National Guard.  I was a Scout Sergeant with the 211th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron.  I was Motor Sergeant with the 126th Heavy Tank Battalion, 26th Yankee Division.  My duties were to take care of 7 heavy tanks, 4 jeeps, 42 1/2 ton trucks and 2 half trucks.  Instructed on maintenance and care of vehicles, firing of small arms, mortars and tank weapons.  Was in charge of convoys and readying vehicles for parades.  Went on active duty to Fort Knox Kentucky armored school for 6 months.  Was selected by Charlie Company to carry the Field Expedience Cup in all parades.  Left the 126th Heavy Tank Battalion Yankee Division to join the Army Air Force.

My duty with the U.S. Air Force.  23 Sep 1949 went to Lackland Air Force base for Basic Training.  Went to Automotive school at Atlanta Gen Depot Atlanta, Georgia.  Next went to Kelly AFB, Texas 25th Vehicle Repair Squadron as a Classification Specialist.  Then went to Hill AFB Utah with the 25th Veh Rep Sq as a Classification Specialist.  Was advanced to Sr Career Guidance Specialist.  Was transferred to 2949th Maint Gp at Hill AFB Utah.  Was transferred to HQ OOAMA Hill AFB and was assigned the following assignments.  Assignment Clerk, Shipment and Assignment Clerk and Assignment Supervisor.  Transferred to 2949th Aircraft Repair Squadron as First Sgt.  Was then transferred to HQ OOAMA in the position of Administrative Supervisor and Personnel Supervisor.  Transferred to 2922 Area Maintenance Group as Group Sgt Major.  Was then transferred to the 3rd Material Recovery Squadron as First Sgt Personnel Supervisor and whenever a group or squadron was having problems I was sent in to get the unit straightened out.  The 3rd Material Recovery Squadron was scheduled to go to Korea.  The men did not like their present First Sergeant and went to the Base Commander to see if I would go with them to Korea.  The base commander authorized it and I could not return down such a request.  We went to Okinawa instead of Korea, we were then transferred to FEACOM Air Base, Japan.  I was then transferred to HQ 6400 Supply Group at FEACOM APO 323 as a Personnel Supervisor and later as Personnel Sgt Major.  I returned from overseas and was assigned as First Sgt of 502nd Material Squadron, Youngstown Municipal Airport, Ohio.  I was transferred to 4670th Ground Observer Corps New Haven, Conn as First Sgt and Education Specialist.

NOTE:  While at Kadena AFB on Okinawa I was awarded the Amy Commendation Medal for:  While assigned to the 3rd Material Recovery Squadron even thought the Squadron was assigned housing in various units off base because of scarcity of housing, their mission was rather nebulous in that the groups were assigned various duties about the base that split them up.  Dependent travel was not authorized for dependents and members of the squadron were in constant expectation of movement orders.  TSgt Horton has a much greater morale problem than a normal organization at this station because of the above other than normal problems.

Places I have been with the U.S. Air Force:  San Antonio, TX, Kelly AFB, TX, Atlanta General Depot (school) Atlanta, GA, Hill AFB, UT, Kadena AFB, Okinawa, Tachikawa Air Base, Japan, Youngstown Municipal Airport, OH, Ground Observer Corps, New Haven, CT, Denver, CO Electronic School, Carswell AFB, TX, McConnell AFB, KS, England Greenham Common Brie Norton Upper Heyford RAF Bases, Fairbanks AK, Anchorage, AK, Lincoln AFB, BNebraska Jet Bailout School and Rapid Decompression.

NOTE:  29 Nov 1950 Corporal Geroge H Horton was named Airman of the Month at Hill AFB, UT.

While member of the 126th Heavy Tank Battalion I was assigned Military Police duties for the peacetime draft and was in charge of the Riot Control and Protection of government property.

In 1947 I was assigned to Utility Squadron four VU4 at Chincoteague Naval Air Station Virginia.  Drove gas truck prepared drones for flight and wnet in PBY to tow socks for the fleet to shoot at.  When I left there for Norfolk, VA for separation the twin engine plan I was flying I was flying in lost one engine.  We made an emergency landing the Port tire blew out and the nose wheel collapsed.  When I got on the the concrete ramp my legs collapsed.  A chief put me in a jeep and took me to the Chief’s Club and bought me two drinks of whiskey and then I was alright.

Assigned to 28 Munitions Maintenance Squadron Carswell AFB Texas loading munitions and nuclear weapons on B-47, B-52 and B-58 bombers.  In charge of convoys taking weapons from base to storage area.  Was small arms instructor squadron.  Transferred from Carswell AFB, TX to McConnell AFB, KS and was assigned to SAC MEST (Munitions Evaluation Standardization Team) and elite outfit we went anywhere in the world to check out the B-47, B-52 and B-58 bombers.  Attended Nuclear Weapons Safety Course.  Went to scenes of bomber crashes to remove nuclear remnants prior to aircraft crash investigation for safety.

Supervisor for loading and unloading nuclear weapons.  Did maintenance and loading of 20mm Gatling guns.  Was munitions line chief on B-58 Bomber.  Was discharged from McConnell AFB, KS.

Military Schools I went to:  Boot Camp, Newport, RI, Basic Training, San Antonio, TX, Auto Body Repairman, Atlanta, GA, Motor and Tank Vehicle Course, Fort Knox, KY, Combat and Patrolling of Individual Soldier, OH, Leadership 1, Carswell AFB, TX, Military Justice Course, New Haven, CT, Nuclear Weapons and Safety Course, McConnell AFB, KS, Basic Vehicle Maintenance Course, Fort Knox, KY, Senior NCO Academy, Ayer, MS, Fire Control Systems Mechanic, Lowry AFB, CO, Ground Observer Course, Tyndal AFB, FL, Weapons Mechanic, Carswell AFB, TX, Rapid Decompression and Bailout from Ejection Seat, Lincoln AFB, NE, Lincoln Institute of Practical Nursing, CA.

Civilian Honors Bestowed:  Admiral Nebraska State Navy, Admiral State of Kentucky, Key to City of Boston Massachusetts, Kentucky Colonel State of Kentucky, Member of Combined Veteran Honor Guard, Humanitarian Award Ogden Utah, Diploma from the French Embassy for helping France regain its liberty, and Awarded the Chinese War Memorial Medal.

We honor you, George Horton.

(Submission by:  Ninzel Rasmuson; autobiography provided to Ninzel Rasmuson by George Horton at George’s veteran home; photo taken by Ninzel Rasmuson on August 3, 2018).

LTJG Neil Armstrong

2018-8-22 Armstrong

Born on the family farm in northwest Ohio on August 5, 1930, Neil Armstrong attended Blume High School in Wapakoneta before entering aeronautical engineering studies at Purdue University in 1947. His education was paid for by the Holloway Plan, under which he committed to four years of study and three years of active-duty service in the Navy. His studies were interrupted in January 1949, however, when the Navy called him up to report to Pensacola for 18 months of flight training. He became a fully qualified Naval aviator just a week after his 20th birthday. His first assignment was to Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron 7, at NAS North Island, San Diego, California.

It wasn’t until August 1951, that Armstrong saw action in the Korean War from the cockpit of his F9F-2 Panther. While making a bombing run, he took anti-aircraft fire near Wonsan, North Korea. Though he was able to pilot the jet back to friendly territory, he was forced to eject from the damaged aircraft.

Armstrong flew 78 missions over Korea, for a total of 121 hours, earning 3 Air Medals and the Korean Service Medal and Engagement Star.

Later that year, at the age of 22, he returned to Purdue to complete his studies and joined a Naval Reserve fighter squadron at NAS Glenview, Illinois, where he was promoted to lieutenant jg.

After graduation, Armstrong decided to become a test pilot and sent an application to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics High-Speed Flight Station at Edwards Air Force Base, which had no open positions. The application was forwarded to the NACA Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory in Cleveland, where Armstrong began working in February of 1955.

He began by piloting chase planes on drops of experimental aircraft from converted bombers and research flying in the early supersonic fighters. His first flight in a rocket plane came in 1957, in a Bell X-1B. Three years later, he began flying the X-15 hypersonic rocket research aircraft.

In 1962, the X-15 took him to an altitude of 207,000 feet, the highest he flew before participating in the Gemini 8 space mission. That X-15 flight was the longest in both time and distance of the ground track.

That same year, after having been chosen as part of the pilot consultant group for the X-20 Dyna-Soar military space plane, Armstrong was moved to astronaut status.

In March of 1966, he made his first trip into orbit as command pilot for the Gemini 8 mission, during which he performed the first successful docking of two vehicles in space.

Armstrong made his second space flight in 1969, this time as the commander of Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing mission. He became the first man to step foot onto the moon’s cratered surface.

Returning to Earth, Armstrong was appointed NASA’s Deputy Associate Administrator for Aeronautics where he served until 1971 when he resigned from NASA to accept a teaching position with the University of Cincinnati as a professor of aerospace engineering. He had completed a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California in 1970.

Neil Armstrong is a fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the Royal Aeronautical Society, and an honorary fellow of both the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the International Astronautics Federation. Armstrong also served on the National Commission of Space. He has been decorated by 17 countries and is the recipient of numerous honors including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, among others.

We honor you, Neil Armstrong.

(Submission by: Isabella Parry. #Repost @USO)

CRM Lillian L. “Fraz” Fravell


Lillian L. “Fraz” Fravell was born in the small town of Orient, IL to a coal miner and housewife. She was the sixth sibling of nine brothers and eight sisters. She enjoyed having fun with her seventeen siblings and liked growing up in a small town. Fraz especially loved school. By the time she was 11, she knew that she wanted to go to college. To get a college education, she planned to join the Navy when she was old enough. After high school she moved to Peoria, IL and began working at the Caterpillar Tractor Co. It was during her time at this company that she was given the name “Fraz.”

At the age of 20, Fraz decided to follow her dream and joined the Navy. Amazingly, eight of her brothers also joined the military. This made nine full-blooded siblings from her family, with her being the only girl, to serve. She began her basic training in Great Lakes, IL. She was trained and placed in communications to work as a cryptographer deciphering codes. Her first duty station was Washington, DC. Her next duty stations included Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, Boston, MA, and Brunswick, ME. While at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was not a state yet so her assignment was considered overseas shore duty. After she left Brunswick, she was sent to Norfolk, VA for instructor school. She instructed for radioman school and also for recruit training for women. During her military career, Fraz worked during some momentous occasions. She was Chief in Charge in Washington, DC at the Communication Station during the Cuban Missile Crisis and also when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. She was stationed at Pearl Harbor during the Korean War. According to her, these were all turbulent times. After 20 years of service, she retired from the military as Chief Radioman and went back home to Orient.

Fraz became employed by the state of Illinois to work with selective service. She switched jobs and began working for the Veterans Hospital in Marion, IL. She finally made the decision to fulfill her dream of a college education. She enrolled in John A. Logan Junior College. Majoring in social work, she finished her Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Illinois University at the age of 49. It was during these college years that she made great friends and thoroughly enjoyed learning.

Upon graduating, she began working as a social worker in oncology with nursing home programs. Her first job was in a veteran’s outpatient clinic in Las Vegas, NV. Her next job took her to Tampa, FL to work at James A. Haley Veterans Medical Center. At the age of 54, she finally retired completely. She moved from Florida back home to Orient. She enjoyed her retired life by golfing, playing softball, and bowling. She said she had to be athletic growing up with nine brothers. She also drove from Orient to Mobile, AL to work women’s professional golf tournaments. Working with the LPGA, she kept score and drove the golfers around.

Fraz had known about the Naval Home in Gulfport from teaching naval history in recruit training. In 1992 she decided to move back down south to live at the Home. Because she enjoyed visiting and helping her fellow Residents, Fraz became the first Resident Ombudsman. After living at the Naval Home for about eight years, she decided to move back to Orient. She fixed up her grandmother’s house and lived with her pets. She spent her time doing church and family activities. After a while, she decided to move back to the Home, which had changed to the Armed Forces Retirement Home. She asked for the assignment of Resident Ombudsman again since she enjoyed it so much the first time. Fraz still serves under AFRH-G’s Ombudsman, Master Chief Wise, as the Resident Ombudsman. She’s always visiting with Residents and using her helpful temperament to aid in any way she can. Always a pleasure, Fraz is such a great Resident to have around AFRH-G!

We honor you, Lillian Fravell.