CPL Joe R Baldonado

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Medal of Honor recipient Joe R. Baldonado was born in Colorado, Aug. 28, 1930.

He joined the U.S. Army as a light weapons infantryman (parachutist) during the Korean War.

Baldonado distinguished himself on Nov. 25, 1950, while serving as a machine-gunner in the vicinity of Kangdong, Korea. Baldonado’s platoon was occupying Hill 171 when the enemy attacked, attempting to take their position. Baldonado held an exposed position, cutting down wave after wave of enemy troops even as they targeted attacks on his position. During the final assault by the enemy, a grenade landed near Baldanado’s gun, killing him instantly. His remains still have not been found.

Baldonado’s acts of bravery were briefly described in a book, “Disaster in Korea: The Chinese Confront MacArthur.”

Baldonado received the Medal of Honor, March 18, 2014; Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, United Nations Service Medal, Republic of Korea-Korean War Service Medal.

We honor you, Joe Baldonado.

(#Repost @https://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/valor24/recipients/baldonado/?f=recipient_list)

 

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)

 

 

PFC Charles Heyward Barker

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Charles Heyward  Barker was born in Pickens County, South Carolina, on April 12, 1935.  He joined the Army in 1952 and after completing basic training and infantry training was posted to the 7th Infantry Division, Company K of the 17th Infantry Regiment.  In June of 1953 Barker and his platoon were engaged with the rest of the 17th Infantry Regiment in one of the most well-known and hardest fought battles of the Korean War, The Battle of Pork Chop Hill.

Barker, who was a Private at the time, was on patrol with his platoon outside the Pork Chop outpost when they came across a large group of Chinese soldiers digging entrenchments. Barker and another soldier provided covering fire with their rifles and grenades while the rest of the platoon moved to a better position on higher ground. As the fight intensified and ammunition ran low, the platoon was ordered to withdraw to the outpost.

Pfc. Barker moved to an open area firing his rifle and hurling grenades on the hostile positions. As enemy action increased in volume and intensity, mortar bursts fell on friendly positions, ammunition was in critical supply, and the platoon was ordered to withdraw into a perimeter defense preparatory to moving back to the outpost.

Voluntarily electing to cover the retreat, Barker maintained a defense and undoubtedly was responsible for saving the lives of many of his comrades. He was last seen in close hand-to-hand combat with the enemy. Pfc. Barker’s unflinching courage, consummate devotion to duty, and supreme sacrifice enabled the patrol to complete the mission and effect an orderly withdrawal to friendly lines, reflecting lasting glory upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the military service.

Barker was posthumously promoted to private first class and, on June 7, 1955, awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on Pork Chop Hill.

We honor you, Charles Barker.

(#Repost @Hawaii Reporter)

 

MAJ Donald G. Carr

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Army Maj. Donald G. Carr, 32, of San Antonio, accounted for on Aug. 19, 2015, will be buried May 11, at San Antonio National Cemetery. On July 6, 1971, Carr was assigned to the Mobile Launch Team 3, 5th Special Forces Group, as an observer in an OV-10A aircraft that supported an eight-man Special Forces reconnaissance team. During his mission, his aircraft encountered bad weather. Shortly afterward, the ground team heard an explosion to their northeast, which they believed to be that of an OV-10A. They failed to locate the crash site, however, and Carr was declared missing in action.

Between September 1991 and March 2014, joint U.S./Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic teams conducted more than 25 investigations and site surveys, but could not locate his remains.

In April 2014, a Vietnamese citizen contacted American officials, claiming to know about possible American remains in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Wreckage, photos, personal effects, and remains were located and transferred to DPAA, and later identified as Carr’s.

To identify Carr’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used circumstantial evidence and DNA analysis, including mitochondrial DNA.

The support from the government and the people of Vietnam was vital to the success of this recovery.

Today there are 1,598 American servicemen and civilians still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Carr’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with others unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

We honor you, Donald Carr.

(Submission by: Miah Parry #Repost @powmiafamilies)

LT John A. Pritchard

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John A. Pritchard, Jr., was born on 12 January 1914 at Redfield, South Dakota.  He graduated from Beverly Hills High School, California, in 1931 and continued with a postgraduate course the following term.  Meanwhile he was employed as a district collector for the Los Angeles Times newspaper. 

Searching for a career, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy from 1 March 1932 until 17 August 1934.  While attending the Naval Academy Prep School, he was honorably discharged in order for him to accept an appointment to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on 20 August 1934.  He graduated from the Academy on 2 June 1938. 

In February 1942 he was temporarily assigned as the aviation officer aboard CGC Northland on the war-time Greenland Patrol.  After returning to Air Station Miami for a brief period, rejoined the Northland.  He was promoted to Lieutenant on 15 June 1942.  While with Northland only a short time, Pritchard performed his first heroic rescue on 23 November 1942, only a few days before another daring rescue was to take his life.  This first rescue involved saving three members of the Royal Canadian Air Force who had been stranded on the Greenland ice cap for 13 days.  He was posthumously awarded the Navy & Marine Corps Medal for this rescue.  Five days later he volunteered to attempt the rescue of the crew of a B-17 that had crashed on the treacherous ice cap on the west side of Greenland, about 40 miles from Comanche Bay, using Northland’s J2F-4 Grumman amphibian.  Accompanied by Radioman First Class Benjamin A. Bottoms, they landed near the crash site without mishap, the first successful landing on the 2,000 foot ice cap.  After recovering two injured survivors, Pritchard and Bottoms took off safely and returned to Northland.  They volunteered to fly out to the crash site again the following day, 29 November.  After again landing safely and recovering another survivor, they took off but were never heard from again.  The wreckage of their amphibian was later spotted from the air but a rescue party could get no closer than 6 miles.  LT Pritchard was declared as missing in action as of 29 November 1942 and was declared dead as of 30 November 1943.  For his heroism on this last rescue he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

In addition to the Navy & Marine Corps Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross, LT Pritchard had earned the American Defense Service Medal with Sea Clasp, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

LT Pritchard’s classmate, VADM Thomas R. Sargent, III, USCG (Ret.), remembered Pritchard as:

 . . .not only my Classmate but he was my room mate for our last year at the Academy. . .John was unique–he was the happiest man I have ever known.  At reveille, he would practically jump out of his bunk and, in spite of rain, snow or darkness, he would say “Good morning Tom, what a great day” and break out in song.  He had a good singing voice and his favorite rendition was “The Grandfather’s Clock”-he knew all the verses.  At first, starting the day like this was a little wearing but, his enthusiasm for life was so infectious, I actually looked forward to reveille!!!  John was an outstanding seaman and a Coast Guardsman of the highest order.  During that last year at the Academy, we became as close as brothers but, unfortunately, after graduation, I never saw him again.  I received word of his death while I was Commanding Officer of the USS PC-469 based in Trinidad–[his death] was a real shock to me.  The man with the incredible zest for life was gone.  He was our only war casualty [Class of 1938].  At Coast Guard Air Station Mobile there is a barracks and BOQ called the Pritchard-Bottoms Hall and I had the great privilege of presiding at the dedication in 1971.  John and RM1c Benjamin Bottoms were kindred spirits so the building, housing both enlisted men and officers, is very aptly named.  John’s mother attended and unveiled the dedication plaque.  The last words of the chorus of John’s song are “and the clock stopped, never to run again when the old man died.”  John, the clock stopped too soon for you.

We honor you, John Pritchard Jr.

(#Repost @USCG)