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)

CPT Florent “Flo” Groberg

2018-2-9 Groberg

Retired U.S. Army Capt. Florent “Flo” Groberg was born in Poissy, France, May 8, 1983. Groberg became a naturalized U.S. citizen, Feb. 27, 2001, and graduated from Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Md., in June of the same year.

In May 2006, Groberg graduated from University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice. Groberg entered the Army in July 2008 and attended Officer Candidate School and received his commission as an infantry officer, Dec. 4, 2008.

In November 2009, he deployed to Afghanistan as part of Task Force Lethal, with responsibility for the Pech River Valley in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province. Upon returning home in June 2010, he continued serving as a platoon leader until he was reassigned as an infantry company executive officer from October 2010 to November 2011. He was then assigned as the brigade personal security detachment commander for 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. He deployed again to Kunar Province, Afghanistan, in February of 2012, with Task Force Mountain Warrior. He was promoted to captain in July 2012.

On the morning of Aug. 8, 2012, U.S. Army Capt. Florent Groberg served as a personal security detachment (PSD) commander for Task Force Mountain Warrior in Asadabad, Afghanistan. As the patrol advanced toward the governor’s compound, they reached the choke point along the route, a small bridge spanning a canal feeding the Kunar River. The patrol halted near the bridge as two motorcycles approached from the opposite direction. The motorcyclists began crossing the bridge, but stopped midway before dismounting and retreating in the opposite direction.

As the patrol observed the motorcyclists, Groberg also spotted a lone individual near the left side of the formation, walking backwards in the direction of the patrol. The individual did not cause immediate alarm as there were other local civilians in the area.

However, when the individual made an abrupt turn toward the formation, Groberg rushed the suspect and shoved him away from the patrol. Groberg then immediately confirmed the individual was wearing a suicide vest, and with the help of Sgt. Andrew Mahoney, a fellow Soldier with the PSD, grabbed the suicide bomber, physically driving him away from the formation and down to the ground.

While on the ground, the bomber’s explosive vest detonated. The explosion caused a second suicide bomber, who remained hidden behind a small structure near the road, to detonate his vest prematurely. Most of the blast of the second bomber’s suicide vest went straight into a building, adjacent to the patrol.

Groberg’s actions disrupted both bombers from detonating as planned, saving the majority of lives he was charged with protecting. As a result of his actions, Groberg sustained the loss of 45 to 50 percent of his left calf muscle with significant nerve damage, a blown eardrum, and a mild traumatic brain injury. Groberg spent his recovery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center from August 2012 through May 2015. He was medically retired from Company B Warriors, Warrior Transition Battalion, as a captain, July 23, 2015.

We honor you, Florent Groberg.

(#Repost @army.mil)

 

LTG H. Steven Blum

2018-2-3 Blum

Lieutenant General (Ret.) H STEVEN BLUM served over 42 years in uniform, capping a dynamic career as the first National Guardsman to serve as a Deputy Combatant Commander. As Deputy Commander, U.S. Northern Command, he fundamentally reshaped how Americans and the U.S. military think about, prepare for, and conduct operations for homeland defense, homeland security, and defense support of civil authority. In two terms as Chief, National Guard Bureau, he transformed the National Guard from a Cold War strategic reserve into an agile, 21st century operational force capable of joint and expeditionary warfare and flexible response to a broad range of civil and humanitarian contingencies. He was responsible for deploying over 50,000 National Guardsmen in response to Hurricane Katrina, the largest, fastest, and most effective military response to a natural disaster in U.S. history. Lieutenant General (Ret.) Blum has commanded a Special Forces Detachment, an Infantry Battalion, and two brigades. As Commanding General, 29th Infantry Division, he deployed over 6,500 citizen-soldiers from 21 states to Bosnia-Herzegovina. He simultaneously served as Commanding General—Multinational Division (North) in Operation JOINT FORGE, leading a Russian airborne brigade, a Turkish Army brigade, and a Multinational Nordic-Polish brigade. Lieutenant General (Ret.) Blum currently serves as Executive-in-Residence at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, Division of Public Safety and Leadership. He is also Managing Director and Practice Lead for Sitrick & Company, a world-renowned crisis communications organization. Lieutenant General (Ret.) Blum is a frequent consultant for private and government organizations on planning, training and disaster response.

We honor you, Steven Blum.

(#Repost @US Army War College)

CPL Charles F. Bahde

2018-1-22 Bahde

Decorated World War II veteran, industrial designer, builder, real estate investor/entrepreneur, world traveler, artist, philanthropist, devoted husband and family man.

He became an Eagle Scout and when he was 16. He was an “all-city” running-guard on his Milwaukee high school football team. Bahde began taking flying lessons with the Civil Air Patrol, in the hope of becoming a fighter pilot. World War II was raging in the Pacific and Europe.

When he was 17 and still in high school, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps as an Air Cadet – only to learn afterwards that he had been offered an athletic scholarship for football and track at the University of Wisconsin.

He ended up training as a belly-gunner. Instead of being assigned to a bomber, he was sent on an invading convoy to Iwo Jima, a Japanese-held volcanic island where some of the fiercest fighting in the Pacific took place.

It was unique for a member of the Air Force to wade ashore off a landing barge with Marines following the initial assault. On Iwo Jima, Bahde, a corporal and Armorer, was assigned to servicing and loading the .50 caliber guns on P-51 fighter planes.

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and a Presidential Citation for pulling four survivors out of a burning B-29 bomber that had crash-landed on the field where he was working. He himself was badly burned. His honorary plaque is at the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial in La Jolla.

We honor you, Charles Bahde.
(#Repost @sdnews.com)

CW3 Doris “Lucki” Allen

2018-1-14 Allen

CW3 Doris “Lucki” Allen served as a WAC during the Vietnam War. Early in her military career, she asked for a transfer out of a dead end job in public relations at Ft. Monmouth, NJ, and went to the Army Language School in California because “it was the only place they would send me.” CW3Allen had encountered a typical problem women faced in the workplace during the 1960s. She was good at her job, so her supervisors did not want to lose her; however, they did not want to promote her either. “Had I gone out with my boss,” she said later, “I might have been promoted.” But because she spoke a foreign language (Spanish) and the Army needed linguists, she was able to devise an escape route that did not compromise her dignity.

Allen left the Army Language School with a working knowledge of French, trained in military intelligence, and ultimately ended up in Vietnam stationed at Long Binh from 1967-70. She recalled, “As a senior intelligence analyst in Vietnam, I was recognized for having been responsible through production of one specific intelligence report, for saving the lives of ‘at least’ 101 U.S. Marines fighting in Quang Tri Province.” In an interview, she said that she initially had difficulty getting her chain of command to take her report seriously. If she had not been persistent and pushed her report forward, it would have been buried.

We honor you, Doris Allen.

(#Repost @The Women’s Memorial)

SFC Jorge Otero Barreto

2017-12-27 Barreto

Jorge Otero Barreto (born 7 April 1937), a.k.a. “the Puerto Rican Rambo”, is a retired United States Army soldier. He earned 38 military decorations during his career, and has been called the most decorated U.S. soldier of the Vietnam War.  Due to his multiple awards he has received recognition from numerous organizations and has had buildings named after him. He is also the main subject of Brave Lords, a documentary which tells the story of the Puerto Rican experience in the war in Vietnam.

Otero Barreto was born in the town of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, the son of Eloy Otero-Bruno and Crispina Barreto-Torres. His father named him “Jorge”, Spanish for George, after George Washington whom Otero-Bruno admired. In Vega Baja, Otero Barreto received his primary and secondary education. He attended college for three years, studying biology until 1959 when he joined the U.S. Army. After his basic training, he attended the Army’s Air Assault School, graduating in 1960. He was the first Puerto Rican to graduate from the U.S. Army Air Assault School.

From 1961 to 1970, Otero Barreto served five tours in Southeast Asia, starting as an advisor who helped train Vietnamese troops. According to the documentary “Brave Lords”, Otero Barreto served in various military units during his military career. He served in the 101st Airborne Division and the 25th Infantry Division “Tropic Lightning”. He also served in the 82nd Airborne Division, an active airborne infantry division of the United States Army specializing in parachute landing operations and in the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. He participated in 200 combat missions, was wounded five times in combat, and was awarded 38 military decorations, making him “the most decorated soldier of the Vietnam War.” Among his many decorations are 3 Silver Stars, 5 Bronze Stars with Valor, 4 Army Commendation Medals, 5 Purple Hearts and 5 Air Medals (one each for every 5th mission which involved a helicopter).

Otero Barreto has been called “the most decorated Puerto Rican veteran,” and the news media and various organizations have called him “the most decorated soldier in the Vietnam War.” Whatever the case, Otero Barreto remains one of the most decorated Vietnam War veterans, and possibly the most decorated U.S. soldier in the Vietnam War living today.

We honor you, Otero Barreto.

(#Repost @Revolvy)