SFC Jose Rodela

2018-10-18 Rodela

Medal of Honor recipient Jose Rodela was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, June 15, 1937.

He entered the U.S. Army in September 1955, at the age of 17.

Rodela is being recognized for his valorous actions on Sept. 1, 1969, while serving as the company commander in Phuoc Long Province, Vietnam. Rodela commanded his company throughout 18 hours of continuous contact when his battalion was attacked and taking heavy casualties. Throughout the battle, in spite of his wounds, Rodela repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to attend to the fallen and eliminate an enemy rocket position.

Rodela retired from the Army in 1975. He currently resides in San Antonio, Texas.

Rodela received the Medal of Honor, March 18, 2014; Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with “V” Device, Army Commendation Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal with Silver Clasp and one Loop, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with one Silver Service Star, Korea Defense Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Expert Marksmanship Badge with Rifle Bar, Special Forces Tab, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with “60” Device, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm Device, Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Honor Medal Unit Citation First Class, Republic of Vietnam Special Forces Honorary Jump Wings, Columbian Army Parachutist Badge.

We honor you, Jose Rodela.

(Submission by: Miah Parry. #Repost @Army.mil)

CSM Basil L. Plumley

2018-10-9 Plumley.jpg

Night had fallen as American and North Vietnamese soldiers exchanged sheets of gunfire during Operation Landing Zone X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley in November 1965. Illumination flares attached to parachutes floated from American aircraft.

One parachute failed to open, and the flare plummeted into stacks of ammunition crates near the command post of the First Battalion, Seventh Cavalry Regiment, one of several American units engaged in the Vietnam War’s first major battle with North Vietnamese regulars.

Sgt. Maj. Basil L. Plumley jumped to his feet, reached into the pile, grabbed the burning flare and tossed it into a clearing. For that unhesitating action, he earned the Silver Star. It was one of more than 30 decorations he would receive; among the others were the rare honor of a Combat Infantryman’s Badge with two stars, signifying that he had fought in three wars.

“It’s very rare for someone to have served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam,” said retired Col. Greg Camp, executive vice president of the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, Ga., near Fort Benning. Only 325 soldiers have ever received what is known as the “Triple C.I.B.”

Sergeant Major Plumley, who died at 92 on Wednesday, [October 12, 2012,] at a hospice in Columbus, Ga., also has the distinction of having received the Master Combat Parachutist Badge with a gold star, indicating that he had leapt into battle five times during his 32-year military career.

“In World War II, he made four combat jumps into hostile fire: at Sicily, Salerno, on D-Day in Normandy and in Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands,” Colonel Camp said. “To have then made a fifth jump in Korea would make him one of a very few to have earned a gold star on his jump wings.”

Sergeant Major Plumley received wider prestige after the 1992 publication of “We Were Soldiers Once …and Young,” an account of the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley, and the 2002 release of the movie based on the book, “We Were Soldiers.” The book was written by Joseph L. Galloway and Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore, who as a lieutenant colonel at the time was commander of the First Battalion, Seventh Cavalry. The movie starred Mel Gibson as the colonel and Sam Elliott as Sergeant Major Plumley.

Mr. Galloway was a United Press International correspondent attached to the battalion during the Ia Drang battle in the remote Central Highlands of Vietnam. “This was a cliffhanger situation, 450 Americans in an understrength battalion surrounded by more than 2,000 North Vietnamese regular troops,” Mr. Galloway said in an interview on Thursday. “In four days, 234 Americans were killed.” (Colonel Camp of the Infantry Museum said the North Vietnamese lost many more troops.)

At 6-foot-2, Sergeant Major Plumley was a no-nonsense, almost monosyllabic leader, Mr. Galloway said, even to a civilian. On Day 2, he recalled: “This battle blew up and I hit the ground. I’m laying as flat as I can and Plumley walks up, kicks me in the ribs and hollers, ‘Can’t take no pictures laying there on the ground, sonny!’ ”

To the troops, he was “Iron Jaw.”

Basil Leonard Plumley was born in Blue Jay, W.Va., on Jan. 1, 1920, one of six children of Clay and Georgia Plumley. His father was a coal miner. After two years of high school and work as truck and tractor driver, he enlisted in the Army in 1942.

His daughter, Debbie Kimble, said he died within two weeks of being told he had colon cancer, and four months after his wife of 62 years, the former Deurice Dillon, died. Besides his daughter, he is survived by a granddaughter and two great-grandsons.

After retiring from the Army in 1974, he worked for 15 years as an administrative assistant at the Martin Army Community Hospital at Fort Benning.

In his later years, particularly after “We Were Soldiers” was released, Sergeant Major Plumley was frequently invited to speak at officer and noncommissioned officer courses. “He was a terror in insisting on hard, realistic training, the highest possible standards, because he knew that saves lives in combat,” Mr. Galloway said.

But when his phone rang and an interviewer asked him to tell war stories, he would hang up.

We honor you, Basil Plumley.

(#Repost @The New York Times)

SGT Kyle Jerome White

2018-8-14 White

Sgt. Kyle Jerome White joined the Army in 2006, from Washington State. He attended basic training, advanced individual training, and U.S. Army Airborne School consecutively, at Fort Benning, Ga., before being assigned to the 2-503rd, at Camp Ederle, Italy, from 2006 to 2008. While assigned to the 2-503rd, White deployed to Aranas, Afghanistan, in spring 2007, where he served as a platoon radio telephone operator. He was assigned to the 4th Ranger Training Battalion, at Fort Benning, from 2008 to 2010. White departed the active-duty Army in May 2011.

His civilian education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he majored in finance. He currently resides in Charlotte, where he is an investment analyst with the Royal Bank of Canada.

His military education includes the Combat Life Saver Course, U.S. Army Airborne School, U.S. Army Air Assault School, the Infantryman Course (One-Station Unit Training), the Primary Leadership Development Course, and the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leaders Course.

White’s awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster and “V” device, the Army Achievement Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one campaign star, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon with numeral 2 device, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Parachutists Badge, the Air Assault Badge, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Valorous Unit Award.

His Medal of Honor citation reads as following:

“Specialist Kyle J. White distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a radio telephone operator with Company C, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade during combat operations against an armed enemy in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on 9 November 2007. On that day, Specialist White and his comrades were returning to Bella Outpost from a shura with Aranas village elders. As the soldiers traversed a narrow path surrounded by mountainous, rocky terrain, they were ambushed by enemy forces from elevated positions. Pinned against a steep mountain face, Specialist White and his fellow soldiers were completely exposed to enemy fire. Specialist White returned fire and was briefly knocked unconscious when a rocket-propelled grenade impacted near him. When he regained consciousness, another round impacted near him, embedding small pieces of shrapnel in his face. Shaking off his wounds, Specialist White noticed one of his comrades lying wounded nearby. Without hesitation, Specialist White exposed himself to enemy fire in order to reach the soldier and provide medical aid. After applying a tourniquet, Specialist White moved to an injured Marine, providing aid and comfort until the Marine succumbed to his wounds. Specialist White then returned to the soldier and discovered that he had been wounded again. Applying his own belt as an additional tourniquet, Specialist White was able to stem the flow of blood and save the soldier’s life. Noticing that his and the other soldiers’ radios were inoperative, Specialist White exposed himself to enemy fire yet again in order to secure a radio from a deceased comrade. He then provided information and updates to friendly forces, allowing precision airstrikes to stifle the enemy’s attack and ultimately permitting medical evacuation aircraft to rescue him, his fellow soldiers, Marines, and Afghan army soldiers. Specialist Kyle J. White. Extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Company C, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, and the United States Army.”

In reflection of the event, he shared his thoughts in the moment: “It’s just a matter of time before I’m dead. I figured, if that’s going to happen, I might as well help someone while I can.”

We honor you, Kyle White.

(#Repost @Army.mil)

BG Hazel W. Johnson-Brown

2018-5-24 Johnson

When Hazel Johnson, an operating room nurse who graduated from the Harlem Hospital School of Nursing, joined the Army in 1955, she thought it would be an opportunity that would allow her to explore the world and hone her nursing skills. She had no idea she would become a part of military history — which she did in 1979 when she became the first African-American female general officer and the first African American appointed as chief of the Army Nurse Corps.

Timing had much to do with Johnson’s success in the military as she entered the Army shortly after President Harry Truman banned segregation and discrimination in the armed services. And like most good Soldiers, Johnson was rewarded with promotions and posts of responsibility during her service in the Army. She was also afforded educational opportunities in the Army and she would earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Villanova University, a master’s degree in nursing education from Columbia University, and a Ph.D in education administration from Catholic University.

As chief of the Army Nurse Corps, Gen. Johnson commanded 7,000 male and female nurses, including those in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve. She also set policy and oversaw operations in eight Army medical centers, 56 community hospitals, and 143 free-standing clinics in the United States, Japan, Korea, Germany, Italy, and Panama.

The list of awards and recognition throughout her military career includes: the 1972 U.S. Army Nurse of the Year, honorary doctorates from Villanova University, Morgan State University, University of Maryland, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster. Her responsibilities left little time to pursue other avenues of life, including marriage. However, two years before retiring from the Army, Johnson married David Brown, and the 16th chief of the Army Nurse Corps became Brig. Gen. Hazel W. Johnson-Brown.”

Following her retirement, Johnson-Brown enjoyed a distinguished “second” career in academia. She served as professor of nursing at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and finally at George Mason University in Virginia. At George Mason University, she was instrumental in founding the Center for Health Policy, designed to educate and involve nurses in health policy and policy design. Johnson-Brown retired from teaching in 1997.

We honor you,  Hazel  Johnson-Brown.

(#Repost @The Rocks Inc.)

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)