LTG Julius Wesley Becton, Jr.

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Military Officer and federal government administrator Julius W. Becton, Jr. was born on June 29, 1926 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania to Julius Wesley and Rose Banks Becton. He joined the Army Air Corps in July 1944 and graduated from Infantry Officer Candidate School in 1945. While on active duty, Becton graduated from Prairie View A & M College in 1960 with his B.S. degree in mathematics and the University of Maryland in 1966 with his M.A. degree in economics. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the Armed Forces Staff College and the National War College. Post his military service, Becton has received honorary doctorate degrees from Huston-Tillotson College, Muhlenberg College, Prairie View A & M University, The Citadel, Dickinson College, and American Public University System.

Becton joined the 93rd Infanry Division in the Pacific at the end of World War II and was separated from the Army in 1946, but returned to active duty after President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981 to desegregate the military in 1948. Rising to the rank of Lieutenant General in 1978 he commanded the 1st Cavalry Division, the United States Army Operations Test and Evaluation Agency, and the VII Corps – the Army’s largest combat corps in Europe during the Cold War. Becton also served in the Korean War and the Vietnam War, and retired from the U.S. Army in 1983 after nearly 40 years of service. However, his public service career was far from over.

From 1984 to 1985, he served as the director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance in the United States Agency for International Development. He then served as the third director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency from 1985 to 1989 under President Ronald Reagan. In his mid-sixties, Becton began a new career, that of education administrator. From 1989 to 1994, he was the fifth president of Prairie View A & M University, his alma mater – becoming the first graduate of Prairie View A & M University to attain flag rank in the military. In 1996, he became the superintendent of the Washington, D.C. public school system.

We honor you, Julius Becton.

(#Repost @The History Makers)

COL Alexander Standish

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At the not-so-tender age of 42, businessman Alexander Standish joined the war effort, recruited by the Army Air Corps to interview pilots just returned from missions for intelligence information. He was old enough to be the father of many GIs he served with, but his experience and poise proved invaluable in intelligence work. After an uneventful stint in New York City on anti-submarine command, Standish was assigned to London, where D-Day preparations were underway. Nearby, in Bletchley Park, British intelligence was cracking the Enigma code used by the Germans. Standish followed General Omar Bradley across Europe, relaying to him the latest inside information. He worked with Generals Eisenhower and Bradley in planning the D-Day invasion and subsequent strategy for taking back Europe from the Nazis. British intelligence was able to decode German messages, whose contents were often passed directly to Standish to relay to Bradley. “[Eisenhower] said, ‘My job is to stage this invasion, as you know. Your job is to keep me informed.'”

We honor you, Alexander Standish.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)

 

Col Gail S. Halvorsen

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Colonel Gail S. Halvorsen, or, “The Berlin Candy Bomber” served as a catalyst for this operation. As America geared up for the looming world war, Halvorsen was awestruck with the planes he saw flying while he labored on his father’s sugar beet farm in Tremonton, Utah. With a dream for flight, Halvorsen applied for and was accepted into a pilot-training program. The attack on Pearl Harbor prompted him to join the Army Air Corps, and he trained on fighters with the Royal Air Force. Reassigned to military transport service, Halvorsen remained in the service at war’s end. He was flying C-74 Globemasters and C-54 Skymasters out of Mobile, AL, when word came in June 1948 that the Soviet Union had blockaded West Berlin.

During the 15-month airlift (Operation Vittles), American and British pilots delivered more than 2 million tons of supplies to the city. But it was Halvorsen’s decision to airdrop candy to children (Operation Little Vittles) that clinched an ideological battle and earned him the lasting affection of a free West Berlin. Today, Halvorsen is affectionately known by Berliners and many around the world as as the Candy bomber (“Rosinenbomber”), Uncle Wiggly Wings (“Onkel Wackelflugel”) and the Chocolate Pilot.

As an aside, I had the privilege of being honored with Gail at the Utah State Capitol for the Cold War Victory Medal on August 29, 2017.  Gail’s first reaction when this photo was taken as his signature was to do a “thumbs up!”  So, that’s what we did!

We honor you, Gail Halvorsen.

(Submission by: Ninzel Rasmuson and #Repost @wigglywings)

GEN Ann Elizabeth Dunwoody

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The first woman to serve as a four-star general in both the Army and the U.S. armed forces, Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody joined the Army in 1974, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Women’s Army Corps in 1975. Her first assignment was as supply platoon leader, 226th Maintenance Company (Forward, Direct Support), 100th Supply and Services Battalion (Direct Support), Fort Sill, Okla. Her biggest impact was as commander of the Army Materiel Command, or AMC, one of the largest commands in the Army, employing more than 69,000 employees across all 50 states and 145 countries. “It was Ann’s most recent role, as commander of the AMC, in which she unified global logistics in a way [that has never] been done,” said Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno . “She capitalized AMC’s fundamental logistics functions to maximize the efficiency and services they provided of supply, maintenance, contact support, research and development, base and installation support, and deployment and distribution. She connected AMC not only to the Army, but ensured the joint force was always ready and supplied as well.” “From the very first day that I put my uniform on, right up until this morning, I know there is nothing I would have rather done with my life,” she said. “Thank you for helping me make this journey possible.”

At her retirement ceremony in 2012, Dunwoody said, “Over the last 38 years I have had the opportunity to witness women Soldiers jump out of airplanes, hike 10 miles, lead men and women, even under the toughest circumstances,” she said. “And over the last 11 years I’ve had the honor to serve with many of the 250,000 women who have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan on battlefields where there are no clear lines, battlefields where every man and woman had to be a rifleman first. And today, women are in combat, that is just a reality. Thousands of women have been decorated for valor and 146 have given their lives. Today, what was once a band of brothers has truly become a band of brothers and sisters.”

We honor you, Ann Dunwoody.

(#Repost @Military.com)

Col Harold E. Fischer

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Fischer grew up on a farm in Iowa and enlisted in the U.S. Army after two years at Iowa State University. He transferred to the Air Force in 1950 and achieved a remarkable combat record during 105 missions. He was credited with shooting down 10 Soviet-made MiG-15 fighters, enough to qualify him as a double ace.

In his last dogfight before his F-86 Sabre Jet was downed by a Chinese fighter pilot, Fischer chalked up his 11th MiG.

Fischer parachuted into enemy territory just north of the Yalu River, which separates North Korea from China, on April 7, 1953.

Fischer, a captain at the time, was taken by Chinese soldiers to a prison outside Mukden, Manchuria, where he spent the next 25 months. Three other American pilots from the Korean War were being held in the same prison. The four made headlines across the United States as a symbol of Cold War tensions, their imprisonment continuing months past the signing of the armistice and cease-fire that stopped the fighting July 27, 1953.

Nine months into his captivity, Fischer said, he used a nail to dig a hole through the wall of his cell and escaped. Intent on stealing a MiG, he was deterred by a guard and then tried to reach a railway station, where he was recaptured.

He and the other pilots were released May 31, 1955, after being tried by the Chinese in a mock trial in which they were found guilty of participating in germ warfare. They were then deported to the United States.

The release of the aviators may have been a strategic move by China to reduce tensions with the United States, which had risen sharply during a crisis over the Taiwan Straits, said Doug Lantry, a research historian at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

Fischer “not only survived an incredible and strange ordeal but went on to pass his knowledge of what he learned on to future airmen,” Lantry said. “That is one of the reasons he’s so important to the Air Force. He gathered an awful lot of knowledge of how to fly, how to fight and how to survive.”

Later in life Fischer learned that Chinese ace Han Decai was credited with shooting him down in 1953.

“When I found out that Han had been given credit for me, I tried to contact him through Chinese embassies,” Fischer said. “In 1996, I joined a group of [ World War II-era] Flying Tiger pilots who had been invited to visit China. There, I met Gen. Han and presented him with an F-86 model. We’ve met again since then. And we have become friends.”

Harold Edward Fischer Jr. was born May 8, 1925, on a farm outside Lone Rock, Iowa. From a young age, he had an interest in aviation and often spent his 10-cent allowance to buy issues of Flying Aces, a magazine about World War I. He later accumulated model airplanes and launched them from a windmill on his family’s farm.

After his release from the Chinese prison in 1955, Fischer returned to Iowa State University to pursue a master’s degree in industrial administration. During the Vietnam War, he flew 200 missions, primarily in helicopters. His final active-duty assignment, in 1978, was with the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

His decorations included the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Legion of Merit and Distinguished Flying Cross.

We honor you, Harold Fischer.

(#Repost @LA Times)

RDML Burton Hale Shepherd

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Rear Admiral Burton H. Shepherd, who during his military career, as a commander, was strike leader of Attack Carrier Air Wing 16.

Oct. 26, 1967, 18 aircrafts set out on a mission to destroy a heavily defended thermal power plant in Hanoi. For this and other acts of bravery during this mission, Shepherd received the Navy Cross.

That citation was read at Monday’s Glenmoor salute by Shepherd’s son, Michael, a resident of Ponte Vedra Beach. In part, it states: “After proceeding expeditiously to the coast to refuel, Commander Shepherd returned to an area south of the target to search for one of his missing strike pilots. Continuing the search for over an hour over enemy terrain in the face of the most concentrated enemy fire in North Vietnam, he finally returned to the coast after reaching a low fuel state.”

The missing pilot who had been shot down was John McCain, now a U.S. senator.

We honor you, Burton Shepherd.

(#Repost @The St. Augustine Record)

RDML Annie Andrews

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Rear Adm. Annie Andrews assumed command of Navy Recruiting Command Aug. 29, 2013.

As a Navy Human Resources officer her assignments have been in the areas of manpower, personnel, training and education. Andrews began her career at Naval Station Whiting Field, Milton, Florida, with assignments to Training Air Wing 5, as assistant admin officer, and Helicopter Training Squadron 8, as Flight Simulator coordinator. Her next assignment was at the Joint Intelligence Center Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii, as an intelligence analyst. Other assignments and staff assignments included director, Counseling and Assistance Center, Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland; officer-in-charge, Navy Personnel Support Activity Detachments Subic Bay and Cubi Point, United States Forces Philippines, Republic of the Philippines; branch head, Deserter Branch/Deserter Apprehension Program (PERS-842), Washington, D.C.; and chief, Requirements Branch and Joint Manpower Planner, Manpower and Personnel Directorate Joint Staff, J-1 in Washington, D.C. She served as executive assistant and naval aide to the assistant secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserves Affairs in Washington, D.C., and was a senior fellow on the chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group (SSG XXX) at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. Andrews most recently served as the director of Total Force Requirements Division (OPNAV N12).

Andrews served as commanding officer of: Boston Military Entrance Processing Station Navy Recruiting District San Francisco, and Recruit Training Command (RTC), Great Lakes. During her tour at RTC, she led the training efforts of over 100,000 Sailors for duty in the Fleet and was instrumental in the commissioning of the Navy’s only immersive simulator trainer, the USS Trayer also known as Battle Stations 21.

Andrews earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Savannah State University, and a Master of Science Degree in Management from Troy State University. She has been conferred an honorary doctorate degree in Humane Letters from Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Her military education includes a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the College of Naval Command and Staff, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, and she is a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk. She is designated as a joint qualified officer.

Andrews’ decorations include: the Legion of Merit (three awards); Defense Meritorious Service Medal (two awards); Meritorious Service Medal; Joint Service Commendation Medal; Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards); Joint Service Achievement Medal, and various other unit citations.

We honor you, Annie Andrews.

(#Repost @America’s Navy)