SGT Christopher Higginbotham

2018-5-2 Higginbotham

Christopher was born on January 24, 1990, the son of Jeanette Higginbotham. Christopher was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army where he served two tours in Afghanistan. Throughout his military career, he was a recipient of the following awards: 3 Army Commendation Medals, 2 Army Achievement Medals, 2 Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, 2 Afghanistan Campaign Medals with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Medal, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, and an Air Assault Badge. He currently served with the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

He passed away on Saturday, April 25, 2015 in Colorado Springs, at 25 years old.

We honor you, Christopher Higginbotham.

(#Repost @Clarksville Now)

MSG Jonathan J. Dunbar

2018-4-4 Dunbar

A special operations soldier assigned to Fort Bragg was killed in Syria on Friday, March 30, according to the Department of Defense.

Master Sgt. Jonathan J. Dunbar, 36, of Austin, Texas, died from wounds received near Manbij, Syria, officials said.

Dunbar, assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, and a British soldier, officials said, were killed by an improvised explosive device while on patrol.

A spokesman for USASOC said Dunbar joined the Army in 2005, six years after he graduated from John B. Connally High School in Austin.

His first assignment was with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division as a machine gunner, fire team leader and squad leader. He deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq with that unit before transferring to Fort Hood in 2009 to join a long range surveillance battalion and again deploy to Iraq.

Dunbar was assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Army Special Operations Command in 2013. He served as a team leader and deployed three times in support of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We honor you, Jonathan Dunbar.

(Submission by: Miah Parry. #Repost @The Fayette Observer)

1LT Thomas Martin

2018-3-30 Martin

First Lieutenant Thomas Martin died during combat operations October 14, 2007, while serving his country in Iraq.

Tom was born October 10, 1980, in Huron, South Dakota. He left South Dakota as a very young boy, went to school for a short time in San Marcos, Texas, and then graduated from high school in Cabot, Arkansas in 1998. That same year he enlisted in the United States Army completing Basic Training and AIT as a Field Artilleryman at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. In 2000, after an assignment to Camp Stanley in Korea, Tom was accepted for admission to the United States Military Academy. After attending the United States Military Preparatory School, Tom entered West Point in the fall of 2001. As a West Point Cadet, Tom started on the Rugby team, was a member of the Military Tactics Team, and earned his Parachutist Badge by graduating from Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Tom majored in Military Science and graduated with his class in May 2005. He was commissioned as an Armor Officer and completed the Armor Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Tom volunteered for Ranger School and graduated earning his Ranger tab in May 2006. He reported to the 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Richardson, Alaska in June 2006. Upon arrival, Tom was assigned as the Sniper Platoon Leader in Crusader Troop and deployed with the unit in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in October 2006.

He will forever be remembered as a man with undaunted determination who was fiercely dedicated to his men, his mission, and his country.

We honor you, Thomas Martin.

(#Repost @Pritzker Military Museum & Library)

MSG Roy P Benavidez

2018-3-29 Benevidas

Today, I am remembering and honoring my dad on National Medal of Honor Day. The Medal of Honor is our nation’s highest award given in the military. It is EARNED, not won.

My dad was often asked if he would do it all over again and his answer was always this, “There will never be enough paper to print the money or enough gold in Fort Knox for me to have, to keep me from doing what I did. I’m proud to be an American and even prouder that I earned the privilege to wear the Green Beret. I live by the motto: Duty, Honor, Country.”

Thank YOU, to all who served and continue to serve. YOU are what makes America great! My dad stood along side you, and kneeled for the cross.

His Medal of Honor official citation reads:

“On the morning of 2 May 1968, a 12-man Special Forces Reconnaissance Team was inserted by helicopters in a dense jungle area west of Loc Ninh, Vietnam to gather intelligence information about confirmed large-scale enemy activity. This area was controlled and routinely patrolled by the North Vietnamese Army. After a short period of time on the ground, the team met heavy enemy resistance, and requested emergency extraction. Three helicopters attempted extraction, but were unable to land due to intense enemy small arms and anti-aircraft fire. Sergeant Benavidez was at the Forward Operating Base in Loc Ninh monitoring the operation by radio when these helicopters returned to off-load wounded crewmembers and to assess aircraft damage.

Sergeant Benavidez voluntarily boarded a returning aircraft to assist in another extraction attempt. Realizing that all the team members were either dead or wounded and unable to move to the pickup zone, he directed the aircraft to a nearby clearing where he jumped from the hovering helicopter, and ran approximately 75 meters under withering small arms fire to the crippled team. Prior to reaching the team’s position he was wounded in his right leg, face, and head. Despite these painful injuries, he took charge, repositioning the team members and directing their fire to facilitate the landing of an extraction aircraft, and the loading of wounded and dead team members.

He then threw smoke canisters to direct the aircraft to the team’s position. Despite his severe wounds and under intense enemy fire, he carried and dragged half of the wounded team members to the awaiting aircraft. He then provided protective fire by running alongside the aircraft as it moved to pick up the remaining team members. As the enemy’s fire intensified, he hurried to recover the body and classified documents on the dead team leader. When he reached the leader’s body, Sergeant Benavidez was severely wounded by small arms fire in the abdomen and grenade fragments in his back. At nearly the same moment, the aircraft pilot was mortally wounded, and his helicopter crashed. Although in extremely critical condition due to his multiple wounds, Sergeant Benavidez secured the classified documents and made his way back to the wreckage, where he aided the wounded out of the overturned aircraft, and gathered the stunned survivors into a defensive perimeter.

Under increasing enemy automatic weapons and grenade fire, he moved around the perimeter distributing water and ammunition to his weary men, re-instilling in them a will to live and fight. Facing a buildup of enemy opposition with a beleaguered team, Sergeant Benavidez mustered his strength, began calling in tactical air strikes and directed the fire from supporting gunships to suppress the enemy’s fire and so permit another extraction attempt. He was wounded again in his thigh by small arms fire while administering first aid to a wounded team member just before another extraction helicopter was able to land. His indomitable spirit kept him going as he began to ferry his comrades to the craft.

On his second trip with the wounded, he was clubbed from additional wounds to his head and arms before killing his adversary. He then continued under devastating fire to carry the wounded to the helicopter. Upon reaching the aircraft, he spotted and killed two enemy soldiers who were rushing the craft from an angle that prevented the aircraft door gunner from firing upon them. With little strength remaining, he made one last trip to the perimeter to ensure that all classified material had been collected or destroyed, and to bring in the remaining wounded.

Only then, in extremely serious condition from numerous wounds and loss of blood, did he allow himself to be pulled into the extraction aircraft. Sergeant Benavidez’ gallant choice to join voluntarily his comrades who were in critical straits, to expose himself constantly to withering enemy fire, and his refusal to be stopped despite numerous severe wounds, saved the lives of at least eight men. His fearless personal leadership, tenacious devotion to duty, and extremely valorous actions in the face of overwhelming odds were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.”

We honor you, Roy Benavidez.

(Submission by: Miah Parry. Written by: Yvette Benavidez Garcia. #Repost @Hall of Valor)

 

CW4 John William Engeman

2018-3-9 Engeman

In August of 1978 John entered the U.S. Army as an enlisted mechanic. He was selected as a warrant officer (ordinance/maintenance) in 1988. He was promoted to chief warrant officer four on March 1, 2002.

John met and married his wife, Donna, while the two were stationed in Würzburg, Germany. They have a son and daughter-in-law, First Lt. Patrick and Mary Kirk Engeman and a daughter, Nicole Engeman.

John served on active duty for over 28 years. He deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm, Hurricane Andrew relief, Kosovo/Bosnia Peacekeeping, an assignment to Nigeria, and to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

He served multiple tours in Germany and Korea, and at Fort Knox, Fort Drum and most recently, West Virginia. At the time of his death, John was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 312th Training Support Battalion, 4th Brigade, 78th Division, based at Fort Bragg, and was serving on the Military Transition Team assisting the Iraqi people in establishing their own security forces.

Engeman was sent to Iraq in February as part of an embedded special transition and advise security forces for one year.

By 4pm Sunday, Engemen said she knew something was amiss: “He usually called by 1 o’clock my time, but I figured because it was Mother’s Day there was a backup.”

Later that night, when she heard news reports that two soldiers had been killed in southern Iraq, she pushed the thought out of her head that it could be John and went to bed. At 6:15 am Monday, she got the news when soldiers arrived at her home.

“John was dedicated to his career; he had done it for 28 years. It was what he did,” Donna Engeman said. Although she said her husband had contemplated retiring before being deployed to Iraq, he always was ready to serve.

“His unit needed him. He would never shirk from anything. He would never leave his unit in a lurch,” she said proudly.

We honor you, John Engeman.

(#Repost @Northpoint Patch and  Arlington National Cemetery)

 

CPT Linda Bray

2018-2-22 Bray

Captain Linda Bray was the first woman to lead US troops into battle, during the invasion of Panama in 1989. In 1982, she joined the ROTC. In 83, she was assigned to duty in Germany, where she guarded the Special Weapons Depot as a military policewoman. After she came back to the States, in 1988, Bray took command of her Military Police Company. In 1989 they were deployed to Panama. While there, she led a force of 30 MPs through a firefight to capture a kennel holding Panamanian Defense Force guard dogs and, it was discovered, a cache of enemy weapons. This groundbreaking event led to a big debate at the time. Congress questioned whether women should be allowed to take leadership positions (or do anything, for that matter) on the battlefield. With Bray’s performance under fire as an example, Congresswoman Pat Schroeder introduced a bill that would officially allow U.S. military women to serve in combat roles. The bill died when top generals lobbied against it, arguing that female soldiers couldn’t handle the physical challenges of combat. But in January 2013, the Pentagon’s prohibition against women serving in ground combat finally ended, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta admitted women were integral to the military’s success.

We honor you, Linda Bray.

(#Repost @Makers.com)

SPC Shoshana Johnson

2018-2-16 Johnson

Shoshana Johnson was an Army cook who was captured along with 5 other soldiers and held as a prisoner of war during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Johnson was shot in the ankles and held for 22 days before being rescued. Upon retirement from the Army, she went on to tell her experience and try to help others

Johnson was part of the 507th Maintenance Company from Fort Bliss that was ambushed on March 23, 2003, in Nasiriyah, Iraq. Her convoy came under heavy attack from Fedayeen paramilitaries and Iraqi soldiers after the unit made a wrong turn into an enemy urban stronghold.

The now retired Army specialist had turned 30 on March 18, 2003, five days before her convoy was attacked. Johnson and her fellow soldiers had joined the march into Iraq for the U.S. ground offensive, and soon they found themselves in the middle of a fierce firefight they never expected. Johnson was a cook in the support unit. Neither she nor the others were combat soldiers.

The former Army specialist, who prefers to describe herself as Panamanian-American, is the first African-American woman POW. She suffered incapacitating injuries after a single shot from an Iraqi passed through both of her ankles. “I was bleeding and my boots filled up with blood,” she said. “After my boots were removed, I couldn’t believe that the raw wounds with all the gore were really mine.”

On April 13, 2003, the Marines arrived on a rescue mission. “They showed up like in those action movies. They broke down the door and busted inside with their weapons aimed,” Johnson said. “They had everyone get down on the floor. They asked us to stand up if we were Americans. I knew then that we were going home.”

We honor you, Shoshana Johnson.

(Submission by: Ninzel Rasmuson. #Repost @WomensMilitaryMemorial and Military.com)