Al Vise

2017-12-07 Vise

Al Vise was born in Knoxville, Tennessee on April 29, 1919. He met his wife, Etta, in Ireland while serving in the U.S. Army. While serving in the Army during WWII, he went to Africa, Italy, England, Belgium, Holland, Ireland, and France. While Al was in England, he prepared to invade France. He landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day at 5:00pm. In Belgium, Al liberated those in concentration camps. Al recalled when General Patton delivered his “Miracle Prayer” in Germany and it was then that Al felt that “God was on his side.” After the war, Al moved to Bountiful, Utah. Later, he met up with his wife in New York and they had four children.

On November 14, 2017, I had the honor of interviewing Al Vise. In his own words, these are his recollections of D-Day: (FYI – “During World War II (1939-1945), the Battle of Normandy, which lasted from June 1944 to August 1944, resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control. Codenamed Operation Overlord, the battle began on June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, when some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region. The invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history and required extensive planning. Prior to D-Day, the Allies conducted a large-scale deception campaign designed to mislead the Germans about the intended invasion target. By late August 1944, all of northern France had been liberated, and by the following spring the Allies had defeated the Germans. The Normandy landings have been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe.” (History Channel, www.history.com)

“Thank you for inviting me here to share a couple of my memories of June 6, 1944, D-Day. At that time, I was a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army, 7th Field Artillery, First Division, known as the BIG RED ONE. Our earlier fighting had included chasing Rommel (Erwin Rommel (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was a German general and military theorist. Popularly known as the Desert Fox, he served as field marshal in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II, Wikipedia) across Northern Africa, and a 37-day campaign in Sicily.”

“We prepared for invasion at Lyme Regis, England. We boarded our ships and transferred to the LST’s at sea, heading to Omaha Beach. We landed about five in the afternoon.”

“The beach was filled with live fire from missiles fired from miles away. I jumped off the LST with my rifle and pack into chest-high water. I think we stayed wet for several days from the ocean water and the rain.”

“We secured a beach head to prepare for the landing of troops, tanks, and trucks following us. We then pushed past the beach and through the hedge rows toward the town of St. Lo.”

“St. Lo became our base to prepare for the big Break Out towards Berlin. We set up the town to handle the huge number of tanks, trucks and tons of material that would be needed for us in the coming weeks.”

“In the Big Break Out from Normandy to Berlin, we liberated Liege, Bastogne and many smaller towns. We crossed the fortified Siegfried Line twice and won the Battle of the Bulge. This broke the back of the Nazis.”

“My strongest memories of that day were these:

Number 1: We must get off the beach or we will be killed.
Number 2: I must get my troops to St. Lo.
Number 3: I must protect my troops, and those to follow.
Number 4: The hedge rows were beautiful but deadly. They were perfect hiding places for the Nazis.
Number 5: We threw grenades inside of the bunkers to kill the Nazi soldiers firing the cannons”

“Our motto always played in my head:

First in War
First in Peace
No mission to difficult
No sacrifice to great
Nothing this side of Hell
Shall stop the First Division
THE BIG RED ONE”

We honor you, Al Vise.

(Submission written by: Ninzel Rasmuson)

George Skypeck

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I was that which others did not want to be.
I went where others feared to go, and did what others failed to do.
I asked nothing from those who gave nothing, and reluctantly accepted the thought of eternal loneliness … should I fail.
I have seen the face of terror; felt the stinging cold of fear; and enjoyed the sweet taste of a moment’s love.
I have cried, pained, and hoped … but most of all, I have lived times others would say were best forgotten.
At least someday I will be able to say that I was proud of what I was … a soldier.

SKY, a native of Massachusetts, is one of America’s most prominent military-historical commemorative artists. His name is a registered trademark.

Among nations and places displaying his original artworks and prints are the French Airborne Museum at Ste-Mer-Eglise, Normandy; the Pentagon in Washington; the Korean War Veterans Commission and Ministry of Defense in Seoul, Republic of Korea; Luxembourg; Canberra, Australia, Returned Servicemen’s League Headquarters; the U.S. Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, West Point; the Soldier & Sailors Museum, Buffalo, NY; Arlington National Cemetery; and many military stations at home and abroad. His famous poem Soldier graces several state monuments to honor veterans of all wars and conflicts. His latest painting, Assured Victory… A 09-11-2001 And War On Terrorism Memorial, was loaned for display at Arlington National Cemetery since December, 2001, in honor of the American sacrifices on that day at the Pentagon and New York City World Trade Center terrorists’ attacks and the War on Terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq and worldwide by U.S. military and civilian forces.

SKY has received several awards and commendations for his military service, and for his artwork from various public, private and governmental sectors, the most prestigious being the award of the Military Order of the Purple Heart’s George Washington Medallion of Merit, joining such recipients as Presidents Johnson, Reagan, George Bush Senior, Senator Bob Dole and actor Bob Hope.

SKY is a combat-wounded and disabled Vietnam Veteran having risen to the rank of Captain from Private in the U.S. Army and holds the coveted Combat Infantryman’s Badge, two Bronze Stars, Meritorious Service Medal, three Air Medals, Purple Heart and several foreign awards to include the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry medal, Wound medal and Honor medal (First Class). He served two combat tours as a special warfare and senior intelligence advisor from 1967-71 in isolated outposts. During the Tet Offensive of 1968 battle in Ben-Tre, his outpost coined the famous quote “We had to destroy the town to save it… !” His last assignment on active duty with the Army Recruiting Command in Boston, Massachusetts, was to design and conduct John Wayne’s internationally famous arrival into Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, atop an M-113 armored personnel carrier as a public support event with the Harvard’s Lampoon and Hasty Pudding Club. After release from active duty, he attended the University of Massachusetts at Boston and Amherst earning a Bachelor in Political Science and a Master in Public Administration and attended MIT for special graduate studies in Arms Control and Defense Planning. He studied art at the Corcoran Museum in Washington and had a studio in the Stars & Stripes newspaper building. He is the creator of the Coors Combat Art collection, co-creator of the Coors Scholarship Fund for veterans’ dependents and the newly published Coors book of his artworks, The Defenders Of Freedom. He is a resident artist member of the famous Society of Illustrators of New York City.

Mr. Skypeck was recently presented with the Blinded American Veterans Foundation Communications and Media award at a reception in Congress’ Committee on Veterans Affairs Committee room. Mr. Skypeck was inducted into the US Army Field Artillery Officer Candidate School Hall Of Fame in 2006 for his veterans’ work and artwork contributions to America. He is also a recipient of the University of Massachusetts’ “125 Alumni to Watch” Award.

We honor you, George Skypeck.

(#Repost @International War Veterans Poetry Archives)

 

 

Col William C. McChord

2017-12-05 McChord

During his lifetime, William Caldwell McChord witnessed and took part in the birth of military aviation. Colonel McChord was born 29 December 1881, in Lebanon, Kentucky. He attended the United States Military Academy, where he earned a commission as a second lieutenant in the cavalry, on 14 June 1907. He received his flying training at Rockwell Field, California, and was rated a Junior Military Aviator on 31 May 1918. After completing a course in Bombardment Aviation at Ellington Field, Houston, Texas, and commanding for brief periods of time at Park Field, Tennessee, and Gerstner Field, Louisiana, he was transferred in March, 1919, to the Office of the Director of Air Service, Washington, D.C. There he served in various capacities; duty in the Finance Section of the Supply Group, a member of the Air Service Claims Board, assistant to the Chief of the Materials Disposal and Salvage Division of the Supply Group, and Assistant to the Chief of the Property Division of the Supply Group.

In July, 1920, Colonel McChord served as Air Officer of the Central Department (later the 6th Corps Area), for two years. He then completed the Air Corps Tactical, and Command and General Staff School courses of instruction. He went on to command Chanute Field, Illinois, and was Commandant of the Air Corps Technical School at the field until early in 1928 when he was transferred to the Advanced Flying School, Kelly Field, Texas. There, he completed the Special Observers course, and received the rating of “Airplane Observer” as of 25 June 1928. Following his graduation from the Army War College, Washington, D.C., Colonel McChord served as instructor at the Command and General Staff School for four years. He was then transferred to the Panama Canal Department for duty as Commanding Officer of the 19th Composite Wing. In October 1935, upon completion of his foreign service tour, he was assigned to duty in the Plans Division, Office of the Chief of the Air Corps, Washington, D.C. Later, he was assigned duty as Chief of the Training and Operations Division.

Two years later, while piloting a Northrop A-17 single engine attack bomber from Bolling Field, District of Columbia, to Randolph Field, Texas, Colonel McChord crashed near Maldens, Virginia, on 18 August 1937. Apparently, he was trying to land his malfunctioning aircraft. Colonel McChord died in the crash. His name was proposed for memorialization, and on 5 May 1938, Tacoma Field was officially designated McChord Field in his honor.

We honor you, William McChord.

(#Repost @McChord Air Museum)

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)

William “Bill” Mauldin

2017-12-03 Mauldin

William Mauldin (1921-1993) had seen war. As such, he knew how to portray soldiers. Serving as an infantryman, Mauldin traveled with the U.S. Army as it advanced through fascist occupied Europe during the Second World War. As a cartoonist for Stars and Stripes, Mauldin created a series of comics that were quickly adopted by the American soldier and public alike. Willie and Joe, his two stoic yet weary GIs, faced the grim realities of war that thousands of Americans were confronting across the continent. In 1945, Mauldin won a Pulitzer Prize for his work, commemorating the resonance of his cartoons with the American people.

Yet while Mauldin is best remembered for his World War Two comics, he continued to work prolifically after the war. Working first with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mauldin would win a second Pulitzer in 1959. From 1962 until 1991, Mauldin worked for the Chicago Sun-Times, where he continued to produce a number of cartoons each year. Starting his work in Chicago during the 1960s would give him plenty of material, especially as the United States began to increase its involvement across the Pacific in Vietnam.

Although Mauldin supported the policies of Democratic President Lyndon Johnson, he found himself in disagreement with American policy in Vietnam. In 1965, Mauldin visited Vietnam – where his eldest son was serving – and sent back a number of cartoons on the war. After returning to the U.S., he continued to produce cartoons about Vietnam through 1975, when Saigon finally fell to North Vietnamese forces. In these cartoons, Mauldin addressed issues of voting rights, civilian casualties, and the rationale behind American involvement in Vietnam. His cartoons provide an entertaining yet sympathetic view of the U.S. soldier, and offer a critical look at American policy.

We honor you, William Mauldin.

(#Repost @Pritzker Military Museum & Library)

Lt Col George J. Laben

2017-12-02 Laben

In seventeen months stationed in India and Burma during World War II, George Laben flew 245 missions in a C-47 transport plane, an aircraft he still praises for its maneuverability and general ease of flying. He dodged Japanese planes by flying low enough to the ground to be mistaken for ground cover, and never lost a plane or a crew member, even though the overall losses in his squadron were enormous. Occasionally, he flew night missions undercover for the OSS, dropping off men (in parachutes) and supplies, and on one memorable flight, a half-dozen unauthorized bombs. Laben readily admits he never took off without feeling some discomfort, though he always believed he would make it back home from every flight.

We honor you, George Laben.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)

Emmy Lu Daly

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Emmy Lu Daly spent two years in the Navy surrounded by ship parts, but she never saw a ship. Or the ocean, for that matter. She worked at a naval supply depot in Clearfield, Utah, checking inventory and shipping out materials during and after World War II.

She joined the Navy at 21, largely because everyone else around her was doing something to help the war cause. She wanted to contribute, too. She trained to be a yeoman, or Navy secretary, but she never did do clerical work, which she says she didn’t mind. When the war ended and she left the military, she attended school on the GI Bill. She went on to work as a legal secretary, then got into the insurance business.

While living in the Armed Forces Retirement Home, she has met a number of people who spent their lives in the military, and the weight of their service and sacrifice strikes her.

“A whole lot of the people here are career people, people who’ve been in it, and I’m humbled before them with my two years,” she said. “And I’ve only been here six months, and I’m deeply grateful to be here. I’ve learned a whole lot at 94.”

We honor you, Emmy Lu Daly.

(#Repost @WHYY.org)