Maj Kurt Chew-Een Lee

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Major Kurt Chew-Een Lee is the first Chinese-American officer in the history of the United States Marine Corps. Honored for his heroic performance during the Korean War, Lee is a recipient of the Navy Cross, the second highest honor a marine can receive for valor.

Born and raised in northern California, Lee is the first-born son of Chinese immigrants. As a first-generation American, Lee says he and his siblings “grew up in an American way, but kept Chinese customs.” As a high school student, Lee witnessed the events of World War II and-determined to become an honored American soldier-joined the Junior ROTC. During a time when very few minorities were in command, Private Lee rose through the ranks to become a First Lieutenant. Blowing past cultural barriers, he became Commanding Officer of a Machine-Gun Platoon of Company B, First Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division. His opportunity to earn the respect of his troops and prove his solidarity as an American citizen would soon arise on the rugged mountain ranges of northeast Korea.

Outnumbered by Communist Chinese forces and facing temperatures 20 degrees below zero, Lee boldly exposed himself to enemy fire as he braved the enemy-held slope. His audacious one-man attack forced the Chinese to fire and reveal their battle stations, which gave his platoon the opportunity to capture the base. Despite injuries sustained on the battlefield, Lee went on to lead 500 marines on a grueling night mission to save their fellow soldiers, the Fox Company, at the battle of Chosin Reservoir. In a mission unprecedented in Marine Corps history, Lee’s company fought for every inch of ground and safely evacuated Fox Company to the Port City of Hungnam. As the first officer of Asian descent to be commissioned in the United States Marine Corps, Lee is not only a pioneer but also a shining example of resolve and courage.

We honor you, Kurt Lee.

(#Repost @Smithsonian Channel)

1LT Richard Thomas Shea Jr

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USMA Class of 1952, First Lieutenant Shea was the executive officer of Company A, 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. On July 8, 1953 his company was attacked at night by overwhelmingly superior forces at “Pork Chop Hill” near Sokkogae, North Korea. He voluntarily organized a group to defend the most threatened area, and held off repeated attacks. Later, he singlehandedly assaulted a machine-gun emplacement and fought hand to hand until mortally wounded. He lived in Norfolk County and graduated from Churchland High School in Norfolk County. He was Class of 1948 at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and entered West Point.

We honor you, Richard Shea Jr.

(#Repost @Korean War Project Remembrance)

BM1 Edgar A. Culbertson

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Born on October 13,1935, Edgar Culbertson left Lincoln High School in November 1952 to join the Coast Guard. He served on active military duty for 14 years. From 1952 to 1956, and 1958-1967 he was on active duty, and from 1956 to 1958 he was on reserve service. In early 1960, Edgar reenlisted in the United States Coast Guard and was stationed in Duluth, Minnesota.

It was during Edgar’s second enlistment period that tragedy struck. On April 30, 1967 during a major storm, he and two other guardsmen volunteered to go out and search for 3 missing brothers that were seen on a pier and it was reported that one of the brothers disappeared. During the search, a wave caught and swept Edgar off the pier. Edgar, at the age of 32, died in the rescue effort, and the three missing brothers’ bodies have never been found. Edgar A. Culbertson was posthumously awarded the Coast Guard medal for his bravery in the rescue attempt.

Edgar A. Culbertson during his service had received the National Defense Service medal with 1 bronze service star, the United Nations Service medal, the Korean Service medal, the Coast Guard Good Conduct with 2 bronze service star in 1956 and 1961, the Coast Guard Unit Commendation ribbon, and the Coast Guard medal.

We honor you, Edgar Culbertson.

(#Repost @Ferndale Historical Society)

 

1stLt Baldomero Lopez

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One of the Korean War’s most recognized images is that of a young Marine scaling a wall during the invasion of Inchon on Sept. 15, 1950.

Stepping over the seawall on the northern side of Red Beach, Marine Corps 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez is the picture of courage.

Lopez, the son of Spanish immigrants, grew up in Tampa, Florida, and enlisted in the Navy in 1943, but was soon tapped to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. He joined the Marines after graduation. Today, a picture of Lopez and a citation hang outside his academy room. Lopez’s actions immediately after the photograph at Inchon was taken are why his picture will always have a place of honor in that hallway.

Just a few months into the Korean War, Lopez and his platoon were engaged in the reduction of immediate enemy beach defenses after landing with the assault waves. Exposing himself to hostile fire, Lopez moved forward alongside a bunker and prepared to throw a hand grenade into the next pillbox from which fire was pinning down that sector of the beach.

Taken under fire by an enemy automatic weapon and hit in the right shoulder and chest as he lifted his arm to throw, Lopez fell backward and dropped the deadly grenade. After a moment, he turned and dragged his body forward in an effort to retrieve the grenade and throw it. In critical condition from pain and loss of blood, and unable to grasp the hand grenade firmly enough to hurl it, he chose to sacrifice himself rather than endanger the lives of his men, and with a sweeping motion of his wounded right arm, cradled the grenade under him and absorbed the full impact of the explosion. He did not survive the blast.

President Harry S. Truman presented the Medal of Honor posthumously to Lopez’s parents in a ceremony at the White House in 1951. Lopez is the only Hispanic-American graduate of the academy to receive the Medal of Honor.

We honor you, Baldomero Lopez.

(#Repost @DoD live)

Betty Sutton White

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Recruiting women had been a constant challenge for the military during World War II. Mobilizing women to meet the demand for personnel became even more difficult during the Korean War. To attract women recruits, the Department of Defense (DoD) launched a nationwide recruiting campaign including newspaper stories and media events glamorizing the image of women in the military. Betty (Sutton) White of Pennsylvania was one of the first group of women from all service branches to recruit for Women Officer Procurement. She served with Headquarters Marine Corps Northeastern Recruiting, out of the recruiting office in Boston, MA.

We honor you, Betty White.

(#Repost @Women’s Memorial)

CPT Russell M. Nelson

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As a boy, Russell Nelson had many interests, but in college he decided to study medicine. By the time he received his degree in June 1945, he was already well into his first year of medical school, and he completed the four-year course in three years. In August 1947, he was a full-fledged M.D. at age 22, having graduated with highest honors.

In the meantime he met and married Dantzel White. Russell had been persuaded to participate in a play at the university, and she was a lead soprano in the play. When he met her and heard her sing, he was smitten. He needed no further motivation to perform in the play, and they were married three years later in August 1945 in the Salt Lake Temple. They had 10 children. Sister Nelson passed away in February 2005. In April 2006, he married Wendy L. Watson. Today she often accompanies him on his Church assignments.

After his internship at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Nelson worked on a team that made medical history: After three challenging years, they developed the first machine that performed the functions of a patient’s heart and lungs during open-heart surgery.

Before returning to Salt Lake City, he enlisted to serve a two-year term of medical duty in the U.S. Army during the Korean War; he served in Korea and Japan and at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Later he worked for a year at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, then returned to the University of Minnesota for a year and received his PhD in 1954.

Over the years, he literally touched the hearts of thousands of patients, including top Church and civic leaders. In 1972 he performed heart surgery on Elder Spencer W. Kimball. Following the surgery he received a personal witness that his patient would someday become President of the Church.

On Tuesday, January 16, 2018, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints announced that Russell Nelson would be it’s next president and prophet. He has previously served as an apostle since 1984.

We honor you, Russell Nelson.

(Submission by: Ninzel Rasmuson #Repost @LDS.org)

BGen Joseph Jacob “Joe” Foss

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Joe Foss was born 17 April 1915 on a farm near Sioux Falls, South Dakota. When he was 12, he saw Charles Lindbergh on tour. He took his first flight when he was 16 in a Ford Tri-Motor. Just before Joe’s 18th birthday, his father was killed by a downed power line leaving Joe to help care for his family: odd jobs, schooling & the occasional flying lesson followed. When he was 25 he graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

With that in hand, he joined the Marines with a wish to fly. He was winged in Miami on 29 March 1941. He served as an instructor in Pensacola & was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on 10 April 1942. He joined VMF-121 & was promoted to Capt., 11 Aug 1942. VMF-121 sailed to Guadalcanal on board the USS Copahee, their Wildcats landing at Henderson Field, 9 October 1942.

For the next 3 months, “Joe’s Flying Circus” helped defend the island from extensive Japanese counter-attacks. On 7 November, he was shot down (in F4F-4 02147 or 03453 in USN/USMC AC loss list) by enemy fighters (bullets just missing his head) while strafing Japanese ships 240 kilometers north of Guadalcanal. He struggled in his life-jacket for five hours in a storm with sharks circling until members of a Catholic mission from the island of Malaita, who happened to be paddling by in canoes, rescued him. In his autobiography he said he broke a chlorine capsule to keep the sharks away. “It’s a good thing I didn’t know, as would later be proven, that chlorine doesn’t protect swimmers from shark attacks,” Sick with malaria, he was evacuated along with the rest of 121 on 19 November. He returned on 1 January 1943.

On 15 January 1943, he had matched Eddie Rickenbacker’s record of 26 planes destroyed.
He left the Island on 26 January. On 8 May 1943 he received the Medal of Honor from President Roosevelt during a special ceremony at the White House.

Promoted to Major, 1 June 1943, he became CO of VMF-115 on 17 July 1943. He held that post until 20 September 1944 when a recurrence of Malaria forced him to relinquish command. He returned to Sioux Falls, where he and a friend ran the Joe Foss Flying Service, building it into a venture with 35 airplanes.

In 1946, he left the Marine Corps to accept a Commission in the South Dakota National Guard as a Lt. Colonel. In 1948 he was elected to the South Dakota House of Representatives where he served a two-year term.

When the Korean War broke out, the Marines recalled him, and he directed training. He was promoted to Colonel in 1950 & then to Brigadier General in 1954. In 1954 he was elected Governor of South Dakota (The youngest Governor the the history of the state). He was re-elected in 1956.

We honor you, Joe Foss.

(#Repost @acesofww2)