MM3 Doris Miller

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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)

PVT Kenneth Brown Hart

2018-9-13 Hart

From Bunker Hill to Baghdad, the citizen soldier has played a vital role in our military history. These patriots laid down their plow shares and took up the sword when our nation called. Many gave their lives on foreign soil to preserve our freedom here at home.

One such citizen soldier was Kenneth B. Hart of Knoxville. Quiet and of a slender build, he was an unlikely warrior. He wore wire-rimmed glasses; loved to play his clarinet; and had an aptitude for math. Kenneth was a ’38 graduate of Knoxville High where he was a member of the band. He completed 2 years at the University of Tennessee as engineering major. As a member of the UT marching band he participated in the Orange Bowl an Rose Bowl parades. In 1940, he joined the Tennessee National Guard. One year later he married his high school sweetheart, Hazel.

Assigned to the 191st Field Artillery Band, he continued to play his clarinet. Kenneth and Hazel spent 2 years together at an Army Post in California where he trained for combat. Their final good-bye was in the spring of ’44 in New York as Kenneth shipped out for Germany. By June, he had entered the European Theater and had been reassigned to the 1st Infantry Division, 18th Regiment, 1st Battalion Company C. The “Big Red One” helped to chase the retreating Germans across France to the Siegfried line.

Control of the Dams of the Roer River Valley was a major objective of the allies. All that stood between them and the Dams was 70 square miles of dense fir trees and rough terrain known as the Huertgen Forest. It was infested with determined German troops that were intent on repelling the Americans. The Germans had reinforced this natural barrier with concrete bunkers, pillboxes, and heavy artillery. Often overshadowed in history by Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge, the Huertgen Forest has been referred to as a m”meat grinder”. The records show that for every yard gained, it took more lives than any other American objective in Europe.

Against this backdrop, Kenneth’s unit fought through the Huertgen Forest. November 22, 1944 was cold and rainy, mixed with intervals of snow. Company C was trying to take Hill #203 according to battle reports. The Germans had the high ground and launched a deadly barrage of mortar and artillery and almost decimated Company C. Kenneth Hart died instantly that day from artillery shrapnel while taking shelter in a foxhole. Company C fought on despite the losses. On November 27th, a platoon from that company charged that hill. After 10 minutes of savage hand-to-hand fighting, the hill was in American hands. Only 2 American officers and 6 enlisted men were left of that platoon. Hill 203 has been described by members of the 1st Battalion as the fiercest fight they encountered in the war. The Americans finally took the Huertgen Forest and the Roer Valley. The final butcher’s toll was over 24,000 American dead, killed or missing. Another 9,000 were victims of frostbite, trenchfoot, and battle fatigue. It took 5 months, 9 divisions, a parachute regiment, and a Ranger battalion to take the Huertgen Forest.

We honor you, Kenneth Hart.

(#Repost @National Purple Heart Hall of Honor)

TSgt John “Chappy” Chapman

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John A. Chapman was born on July 14, 1965 in Massachusetts but spent most of his young life in Connecticut, graduating from Windsor Locks High School in 1983. At the age of 20, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, as an Information Systems Operator. He later volunteered to be a Combat Controller, where he was tasked to solve air and ground problems in different conflict and crisis situations.

He had assignments stationed in Colorado, North Carolina, and Okinawa where he became an expert in reconnaissance operations, air traffic control, and terminal attack control operations. In addition to his mental agility, he has had also mastered the physical demands of combat as an experienced static line and military free fall jumper, combat diver, and earned jumpmaster and dive supervisor qualifications.

He was then selected for a special duty assignment with the 24th Special Tactics Squadron. As a team leader, he worked with personnel training them for their roles as special tactics operators, prepared them to conduct precision strike, personnel recovery, and special operations missions around the world. While deployed, Sergeant Chapman directed close air support aircraft, delivering destructive ordnance on enemy targets in non-permissive environments.

On March 4, 2002, Sergeant John A. Chapman was in Afghanistan as part of Operation Anaconda. Sergeant Chapman’s helicopter was hit with heavy fire from al Qaeda, one member of the team, Neil Roberts, fell from the back of the aircraft, and the helicopter ended up crash landing in a valley below the Takur Ghar mountain. Sergeant Chapman and the rest of the special operations team, including fellow Medal of Honor recipient Britt Slabinksi, volunteered to return to the enemy filled, snowy mountaintop in an attempt to rescue their fallen teammate.

Sergeant Chapman charged into the enemy forces seizing their bunker and killing the forces inside. He then moved from the bunker, completely revealing himself, to engage an enemy machinegun firing at his team. It was at this point he was severely injured, presumed dead, and his teammates evacuated the mountaintop. Chapman regained consciousness and continued to fight, engaging with multiple enemy forces before making the ultimate sacrifice.

“Tech. Sgt. John Chapman earned America’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor, for the actions he performed to save fellow Americans on a mountain in Afghanistan more than 16 years ago,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said in a statement. “He will forever be an example of what it means to be one of America’s best and bravest Airmen.”

On August 9, 2018, the Air Force released overhead footage of the final moments of Tech Sgt. John Chapman’s heroic life. This is the first Medal of Honor to be awarded using surveillance footage rather than eye witness accounts.

“Chappy” as his teammates called him, was always a team oriented and humble man. Chappy’s commander at the time of his final actions had this to say

“John was always selfless – it didn’t just emerge on Takur Ghar – he had always been selfless and highly competent, and thank God for all those qualities,” said retired Air Force Col. Ken Rodriguez, Chapman’s commander at the time. “He could have hunkered down in the bunker and waited for the (Quick Reaction Force) and (Combat Search and Rescue) team to come in, but he assessed the situation and selflessly gave his life for them.”

Technical Sgt. John Chapman [was] posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in a ceremony at the White House on August 22, 2018. President Donald Trump [presented] the Medal to Chapman’s wife, Valerie Nessel, and their families commemorated his life and his actions that were above and beyond the call of duty.

John Chapman’s story and spirit will live on in the lives of his family, friends and teammates. His wife, Valerie has said, “[John] would want to recognize the other men that lost their lives. Even though he did something he was awarded the Medal of Honor for, he would not want the other guys to be forgotten – that they were part of the team together. I think he would say that his Medal of Honor was not just for him, but for all of the guys who were lost.”

We honor you, John Chapman.

(#Submission by: Miah Parry. #Repost @MOH Museum)

SSG David William “Ozzy” Osborne

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Staff Sergeant David William Osborne of Route 1, Hudson, was on patrol August 17, 1970 in what he thought was friendly territory in Vietnam. However, as he and 30 other men in his Army patrol approached a group of Vietnam troops, they were fired upon, and within minutes, all were dead from Viet Cong inflicted wounds. Sgt Osborne was serving his third tour of duty in Vietnam and had been counting the days until his tour of less than three months was up. In fact, the day before his death, his daughter, Teresa Lynn had celebrated her seventh birthday with her little brother, David Eric, 4, and her mother, the former Jewel Duncan, at the family home near South Caldwell High School. And, just a few days before that, Sgt Osborne had spent some time making tape recordings to send his family, with several of the tapes containing his views on the war in Vietnam.

When his funeral service was held eight days after his death at Center Grove Baptist Church, the Tapes that he had made were played, but were barely audible to those attending. The afternoon of his funeral, the weather was humid and stuffy, and the buzz of bees and flies entering the open church door seemed to serve as a stark reminder of the jungles of Vietnam, where the serviceman had spent three tours of duty. A veteran of 14 years service in the Army, SSgt Osborne had volunteered each time he served in Vietnam. During his second tour of Southeast Asia in 1967, he was wounded during a conflict and was awarded a Silver Star Medal, his second. He had also been awarded a Bronze Star Medal with V for Valor. A few days before her husband’s funeral, Mrs. Osborne sat in the kitchen at the home of her mother, Mrs Boyd Duncan, receiving visitors and attempting to make some sense of the strange war that had claimed the father of her two children.

At that point, she admitted she found it hard to accept his death, but said he had always taken a special pride in serving his country. Since the children had eagerly been awaiting his homecoming, they too, found it impossible to understand all the unusual happenings. SSgt Osborne was buried in the church cemetery with full military honors, including an honor guard representing each branch of the armed services and a 21-gun salute. As the 21-gun salute echoed in the valley of the cemetery, cows grazed peacefully in the background as a reminder of life continuing. Yet, the pain on the faces of a bewildered family left memories that will endure for those attending the rites. Sgt. Osborne was 30 years old, the oldest of Caldwell County’s men to give his life in service in Vietnam. His death was also the last of the war .for a Caldlwellian.

We honor you, David Osborne.

(Submission written by: Nell Greene. #Repost @Together We Served)

MSG Richard Davis

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Army Master Sgt. Richard Davis, 30, of Black Lick, Pennsylvania, will be buried June 24 in Blairsville, Pennsylvania. In early November 1950, Davis was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, near Unsan, North Korea, when Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces attacked the regiment, and forced the unit to withdraw. Many soldiers became surrounded and attempted to escape and evade the enemy, but were captured and marched to POW camps. Davis was declared missing in action as a result of the battle that occurred between Nov. 1 and 2, 1950.

In 1953, during the prisoner of war exchange historically known as “Operation Big Switch,” nine repatriated American soldiers reported that Davis was held at POW Camp 5 and died in February or March 1951. Additionally, Davis’ name appeared on a POW list compiled by the Chinese, dated April 8, 1951. Based on this information, a military review board amended Davis’ status to deceased in 1951.

Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea returned to the United States 208 boxes of commingled human remains, which when combined with remains recovered during joint recovery operations in North Korea between 1996 and 2005, included the remains of at least 600 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war. North Korean documents included in the repatriation indicated that some of the remains were recovered from the vicinity where Davis was believed to have died.

To identify Davis’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched a niece and great niece, Y-Short Tandem Release DNA analysis, which matched a nephew and a sister; dental comparison analysis, which matched Davis’ records; and circumstantial evidence. On June 17, 2016, his remains have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Today, 7,812 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously returned by North Korean officials or recovered from North Korea by American recovery teams.

We honor you, Richard Davis.

(#Repost @DoD POW/MIA accounting Agency)

 

 

Cpl Stephen E. Austin

2018-7-27 Austin

On June 8, 1968, a young Marine corporal was in the fight of his life with fellow Marines in an operation just south of Da Nang, Vietnam. A half century later he would be awarded the nation’s second highest award for combat bravery for his heroic actions that fateful day.

On Saturday, the Commandant of the Marine Corps General Robert B. Neller awarded the Navy Cross posthumously to Cpl. Stephen E. Austin during a reunion held in Alexandria, Virginia, for 1st Battalion, 27th Marines — the unit Austin served as a squad leader with. The award was presented to Austin’s daughter, Neily Esposito.

Austin gave his life in Vietnam on June 8, 1968, when he single-handedly took on a bunker firing on his unit.

The young corporal convinced his platoon leader not to pull back his unit that was taking heavy fire from a bunker. The platoon leader wanted to withdraw and destroy the bunker with an airstrike.

But there was fear that the unit could take heavy casualties if they retreated, the Fresno Bee reported.

Austin maneuvered his squad to a point where they could provide cover fire on the bunker.

“With complete disregard for his own safety, Corporal Austin single-handedly assaulted the bunker and destroyed it with a grenade,” his award citation reads.

Austin was mortally wounded in the attack on the bunker, but his unit prevailed because of his selfless actions. For nearly two weeks leading up to June 8, 1968, Austin’s company with 1/27 had been in the field in an operation dubbed Allen Brook just south of Da Nang.

On June 5, 1968, Austin’s unit suffered heavy casualties, 28 wounded and six dead, according to the final letter he wrote home to his parents.

“I am so sick of fighting I’ve seen and helped to[o] many boys my age or younger that was wounded or dead,” Austin wrote in his letter.

Friends and some of the men from Austin’s unit pushed an effort to award Austin a citation for his heroic deeds, which took several years to get approved, the Fresno Bee reported. Originally, the men had submitted Austin for the Silver Star but it was upgraded to the Navy Cross, according to the Fresno Bee.

“Honored to present the Navy Cross medal to the family of Cpl Stephen E. Austin, who was killed in 1968 while saving members of his platoon in Vietnam,” Neller said in a posting on Twitter. “He demonstrated ‘Semper Fidelis’ through the very end. Proud to wear the same cloth as American heroes like Cpl Austin.”

We honor you, Stephen Austin.

(#Repost @Marine Times)

CPL Jessica Ellis

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Jessica Ellis was born in Burley, Idaho on June 26, 1983. She graduated from Lakeview (Oregon) High School in 2002, where she was active in cross country, track and field, and the swim team. After high school graduation she attended Central Oregon Community College in Bend, while working summers as a US Forest Service firefighter on the Fremont National Forest in southern Oregon.

In September 2004, Jessica entered the US Army with the goal of becoming a Medic. After successful completion of basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, and the Combat Medic training program at Ft. Sam Houston, TX, she was assigned to the Army’s 101st Airborne Division. CPL Ellis completed her first 12-month combat tour in Iraq in 2006. She earned the Combat Medic Badge on this first tour for treating a wounded buddy under direct enemy fire. She left for a second Iraq tour in October 2007. She served both tours as a Combat Medic with the 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Fellow soldiers called her “Doc” Ellis.

In April, 2008 CPL Ellis and four other soldiers escaped serious injury during a night time “road clearing” operation in Baghdad when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb. They were riding in a “Buffalo”, a heavily armored vehicle that is primarily used by combat engineers to clear roadside bombs. Jessica sustained superficial injuries in the attack which wrecked the armored vehicle. She returned to the road clearing duties because she didn’t want “her guys” to be out on missions without a Medic.

Her combat engineer unit was attacked again while on combat patrol in NW Baghdad the evening of May 11, 2008 (Mother’s Day). The Buffalo armored vehicle in which Jessica was riding was struck by at least one EFP (explosively formed penetrator) warhead. Jessica died in the attack. She was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

CPL Ellis was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. Her courage, cheerful spirit, and devotion to fellow soldiers were noted many times to her parents and family by the 101st Airborne Division. She is honored at the Division’s memorial at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. CPL Ellis’s name is also engraved on the Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial in Salem, Oregon where more than one hundred of Oregon’s fallen veterans are honored.

We honor you, Jessica Ellis.

(#Repost @Fallen Heroes Project)