BGen Carol A. Mutter

2018-10-10 Mutter

Lieutenant General Carol A. Mutter was the first woman to receive the rank of Lieutenant General in the United States Marine Corps.  Lieutenant General Mutter served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower and Reserve Affairs at Headquarters Marine Corps.

The road to this important position began when she received her second lieutenant bars in 1967 after graduating from the University of Northern Colorado with a B.A. degree in Mathematics Education. Since then General Mutter has received her M.A. degree in National Security and Strategic Services from the Naval War College and has both an M.S. degree and an honorary doctorate. She also attended the Amphibious Warfare School and the Marine Corps Command and Staff College.

Capitalizing on her knowledge and expertise in both data processing and financial management, General Mutter was assigned as program manager for the development of new Marine Corps automated pay and personnel systems for active duty, retired and reserve Marines.

She then joined the U.S. Space Command becoming Division Chief responsible for the operation of Commander in Chief’s Command Center.

In 1990, General Mutter was assigned to the III Marine Expeditionary Force on Okinawa, Japan as the assistant Chief of Staff, Comptroller. In 1991, she assumed duties as Deputy Commanding General, Marine Corps Systems Command and the Program Manager for Marine Air Ground Task Force Command and Control, Quantico, Virginia. She returned to Okinawa to command 3rd Force Service Support Group, U.S. Marine Forces, Pacific. Upon advancement to Lieutenant General on September 1, 1996, she resumed her [last] position.

Her medals and decorations include: the Defense Superior Service Medal, National Defense service Medal with bronze star, and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with four bronze stars.

Obviously, education, leadership, vision, and daring epitomize the life and career of this remarkable individual. Women’s International Center proudly salutes the woman and the Maine, Lieutenant General Carol A. Mutter and all the exceptional women of the United States Marine Corps with the 1998 Living Legacy Patriot Award. OUTSTANDING !

We honor you, Carol Mutter.

(#Repost @WIC)

CAPT Thomas J. Hudner, Jr.

2018-9-19 Hudner

Thomas Hudner had no particular interest in airplanes when he graduated from the Naval Academy in 1946. He wanted only to serve aboard a ship. But in 1948, after he had been at sea for several months and had worked as a communications officer at Pearl Harbor for a year, he was ready for a new challenge and volunteered for flight training. He was briefly stationed in Lebanon before being assigned to the carrier USS Leyte as an F4U Corsair pilot.

By the fall of 1950, Lieutenant Hudner was flying combat missions in Korea. On December 4, he was one of a flight of six fighters sent out on an armed reconnaissance mission over North Korea. Hudner was wingman for a Navy flier named Jesse Brown, the son of a Mississippi sharecropper who had attracted a good deal of attention—and some discrimination—as the Navy’s first black pilot.

While strafing enemy positions at a low altitude, Brown’s plane was hit by antiaircraft fire. Smoking badly and without power, the aircraft was too low for Brown to bail out or clear the snow-covered mountains. Hudner followed Brown down, calling off a checklist to help prepare him for the crash landing.

Brown put his plane down in a wheels-up landing in a clearing below. The impact buckled the fuselage at the cockpit, and Hudner was certain that Brown was dead. To his amazement, Brown opened the canopy and waved weakly, but he appeared to be unable to free himself. Knowing that rescue helicopters had a long distance to travel, Hudner decided to help Brown get out of the plane himself. He didn’t ask permission from the flight leader because he knew it would be denied.

Hudner radioed, “I’m going in,” then dumped his ordnance, dropped his flaps, and landed wheels up, hitting the hilly area hard. He got out and struggled through the snow to get to the downed plane. Hudner saw that Brown’s right leg was crushed by the damaged instrument panel, and he was unable to pull him out of the wreckage.

Hudner kept packing snow into the smoking engine and talking to Brown as he drifted in and out of consciousness. When a U.S. helicopter arrived, the pilot worked with Hudner for forty-five minutes trying to get Brown out. They hacked at the plane with an ax, and even considered amputating Brown’s trapped leg with a knife. The snow packed on the bottom of their boots prevented them from getting any firm footing on the plane’s wing. As nightfall approached, bringing temperatures as low as thirty degrees below zero, it was clear that Brown was dead. Hudner hated to leave the body behind, but the helicopter pilot couldn’t fly in the mountainous terrain after dark. Reluctantly, the two men returned to base camp.

The next morning, reconnaissance showed that Brown’s body, still in the cockpit, had been stripped of clothing during the night by enemy soldiers. Because of the hostile forces in the area, it was impossible to retrieve it. The following day, the commander of the Leyte ordered four Corsairs to napalm the downed plane so that Brown could have a warrior’s funeral.

By February 1951, the Leyte was back in port in the United States. In mid-March, Hudner found out that he was to be the first American serviceman in the Korean War to receive the Medal of Honor. Daisy Brown, the widow of Jesse Brown (who had been posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross), was present when President Harry Truman put the medal around Thomas Hudner’s neck on April 13, 1951.

We honor you, Thomas Hudner Jr.

(#Repost @Medal of Honor Speakout)

CAPT John McCain

2018-8-28 McCain

When John McCain made his first bid for public office in 1982, running for a House seat in Arizona, critics blasted him as a carpetbagger, pointing out that he’d only lived in the state for 18 months.

“Listen, pal, I spent 22 years in the Navy,” the exasperated candidate reportedly shot back at one event. Then, after explaining that career military people tend to move a lot, he delivered a retort that made the attacks against him seem ridiculously petty: “As a matter of fact… the place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi.”

McCain won the election, launching a political career that earned him two terms in the House, six in the Senate, and his party’s presidential nomination in 2008. But even after four decades in public life, McCain’s experience as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam continued to define him in the minds of many Americans, admirers and detractors alike. While he ultimately made his name on the national political stage, the scion of two four-star admirals was, at his core, a lifelong military man. He followed into the family business, becoming a decorated, if at times reckless, fighter pilot who conducted nearly two dozen bombing runs in Vietnam before being shot down, captured and tortured.

In both his military and political careers, McCain earned a reputation for being feisty and combative. “A fight not joined is a fight not enjoyed,” he declared in his 2018 memoir The Restless Wave, written with his longtime collaborator Mark Salter, and published after he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer that took his life on August 25, 2018.

Below, a timeline of his military life [selected segments, see History.com for the full account]:

John Sidney McCain III is born on August 29 at a U.S. Navy base in the Panama Canal Zone. His father, John S. McCain, Jr., is a submarine officer who will later rise to the rank of admiral and become commander in chief of U.S. forces in the Pacific during much of the Vietnam War. His grandfather, John S. McCain, Sr., also an admiral, would come to command the Navy’s Fast Carrier Task Force in the Pacific during World War II. “They were my first heroes, and earning their respect has been the most lasting ambition of my life,” McCain would later write in a 1999 memoir, Faith of My Fathers.

John McCain enters the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, in 1954 and graduates with the class of 1958. He’s the third generation in his family to attend the Academy; his father had been class of 1931; his grandfather, class of 1906.

By all accounts, especially his own, the young McCain is an indifferent and rambunctious student, prone to pranks and occasional disobedience to authority. He graduates fifth from the bottom of his class. “My four years here were not notable for individual academic achievement but, rather, for the impressive catalogue of demerits which I managed to accumulate,” he admitted to the graduating class of 1993 in a commencement speech.

After graduation, McCain goes on to flight school in Pensacola, Florida, and later Corpus Christi, Texas, to train as a pilot. “I enjoyed the off-duty life of a Navy flyer more than I enjoyed the actual flying,” he will remember. “I drove a Corvette, dated a lot, spent all my free hours at bars and beach parties, and generally misused my good health and youth.”

In late 1966, he joins a squadron of A-4E Skyhawk pilots that will deploy on the U.S.S. Forrestal, a carrier that soon heads to the Tonkin Gulf, off the coast of North Vietnam. They arrive at the peak of President Lyndon Johnson’s Operation Rolling Thunder campaign of massive sustained aerial bombardment.

On the morning of July 29, 1967, McCain has another brush with death. As he awaits his turn for takeoff from the USS Forrestal, for a bombing run over North Vietnam, another plane accidentally fires a missile. It strikes either his plane or the one next to him (accounts differ), igniting a raging fire on the ship’s deck. McCain manages to extricate himself from his plane, only to be hit in the legs and chest by hot shrapnel.

“All around me was mayhem,” he would recall years later. “Planes were burning. More bombs cooked off. Body parts, pieces of the ship, and scraps of planes were dropping onto the deck. Pilots strapped in their seats ejected into the firestorm. Men trapped by flames jumped overboard.” By the time it’s over, more than 130 crew members are dead.

Three months later, on October 26, McCain takes off on his 23rd bombing run over North Vietnam, reportedly on a mission to destroy Hanoi’s thermal power plant. Just as he releases his bombs over the target, a Russian-made surface-to-air missile, described as looking like “a flying telephone pole,” strikes his plane, ripping off its right wing. McCain ejects, breaking both arms and one knee, and parachutes into a shallow lake.

After briefly losing consciousness, he wakes up to find himself “being hauled ashore on two bamboo poles by a group of about 20 angry Vietnamese. A crowd of several hundred Vietnamese gathered around me as I lay dazed before them, shouting wildly at me, stripping my clothes off, spitting on me, kicking and striking me repeatedly…. Someone smashed a rifle butt into my shoulder, breaking it. Someone else stuck a bayonet in my ankle and groin.”

Soon, an army truck arrives, taking McCain as a prisoner of war. He will remain one for five and a half years.

McCain remains a prisoner until the U.S. and North Vietnam sign a peace accord in late January 1973, ending the conflict. He is released in March, along with 107 other POWs, and boards a U.S. transport plane headed to Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines.

After his return to the States, and while he’s still undergoing therapy for his injuries, McCain requests assignment to the National War College in Washington, D.C. “By the time my nine months at the War College ended, I had satisfied my curiosity about how Americans had entered and lost the Vietnam War,” he later wrote. “The experience did not cause me to conclude that the war was wrong, but it did help me understand how wrongly it had been fought and led.”

In late 1974, after he manages to pass the physical exam to qualify for flight status, he’s sent to Cecil Field, a naval air station in Jacksonville, Florida. A few months later, he’s promoted to commanding officer of a replacement air group, responsible for training carrier pilots.

McCain’s third and final assignment, however, may be the most influential in setting his future course. In 1977, he’s assigned to a liaison office in the United States Senate in Washington, where he serves as the Navy’s lobbyist and gets to see the workings of Congress from the inside. The job marked “my real entry into the world of politics and the beginning of my second career as a public servant,” he later recalls.

In 1981, McCain retires from the Navy with the rank of captain. His decorations include, among others, a Silver Star, three Bronze Stars and a Distinguished Flying Cross.

We honor you, John McCain.

(#Repost excerpts @History.com)

RDML William “Bill” E. Newman

2018-7-10 Newman

Rear Admiral Bill Newman, a 1961 Naval Academy graduate, retired from active duty in 1996, culminating 35 years of commissioned service.

Primarily an aircraft carrier-based naval aviator, he served as attack pilot, experimental test pilot, and flight demonstration pilot as leader of the Navy’s Blue Angels. Bill logged 950 carrier landings and 5200 pilot hours in 53 types of U.S. and British military aircraft. During 1965 combat operations in Vietnam, Bill’s A-4 “Skyhawk” was hit by enemy ground fire on several missions. He was shot down and rescued on a Friday-the-13th–a not-too-unlucky day.

During 1978/79, as Commanding Officer/Flight Leader of the Navy’s Blue Angels, Bill led the team in 200+ air shows throughout the USA and Canada flying the A-4 “Skyhawk II”.
Along the way, Bill had the following sea commands: Attack Squadron-195 flying the A-7 “Corsair II”, the 90 aircraft comprising Carrier Air Wing NINE onboard the aircraft carrier Constellation, and the USS White Plains, a 17,000-ton combat stores ship operating in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

During the last ten years of his career, Bill served in the Naval Air Systems Command as a Materiel Professional. His responsibilities included major acquisition program management, engineering oversight of naval aviation development programs, and flag command of the Naval Air Warfare Centers’ research and test activities performed on 53,000 square miles of test ranges in southern California.

We honor you, William Newman.

(#Repost @Angels and British Photo from: Aloft Magazine)

LtGen Frances C. Wilson

2018-6-8 Wilson

Wilson was born in Nassau County, in Long Island, New York to Frances and John Wilson, a United States Air Force officer.

Wilson grew up in Arlington County, Virginia and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in social sciences from Michigan State University. Wilson later earned Master degrees in education from Pepperdine University, psychology from the University of Northern Colorado, business management from Salve Regina College, National Security and Strategic Studies from Naval War College, and a Doctor of Education from The University of Southern California.

She also completed the U.S. Army Basic Airborne Course, Armed Forces Staff College’s Joint and Combined Staff Officer School, National Defense University’s CAPSTONE and PINNACLE courses, Naval Postgraduate School’s Revolution in Business Practices, and Harvard University’s JFK School of Government’s Senior Executive Course in National and International Security.

Wilson’s sister, Mary O’Donnell is a retired U.S. Coast Guard rear admiral, who in 2000 became the first woman to become a reserve rear admiral in the Coast Guard. At the time of O’Donnell’s retirement in 2004, Wilson and her sister were the highest ranking sisters in the U.S. Military.

Commissioned a second lieutenant in November 1972, she was the Honor Graduate and recipient of the Leadership Award from the United States Marine Corps Women Officer Basic School.

As a company grade officer, Wilson served as an Air Traffic Control Officer at Yuma and Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Stations and as an Instructor at Marine Corps Development and Education Center’s Instructional Management School. Following graduation from Amphibious Warfare School in 1980, she served as Staff Secretary, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Amphibious Force.

As a field grade officer she was a Company Officer, Brigade of Midshipmen, and an Assistant Professor in the Professional Development Department at the United States Naval Academy. After graduating with the 1985 class of the College of Naval Command and Staff, Naval War College, she reported to the Manpower Plans, Manpower and Reserve Affairs Department, Headquarters Marine Corps as a manpower management analyst. She then served as Special Assistant for General and Flag Officer Matters, Joint Staff, and as Executive Assistant to the Vice Director, Joint Staff.

Wilson commanded the Fourth Recruit Training Battalion at Parris Island Recruit Depot from 1988 to 1990. She then participated in a Federal Executive Fellowship with the Brookings Institution before reporting to the Marine Forces Pacific staff as Requirements and Programs Officer. In July 1993, she assumed command of Camp H. M. Smith and the Headquarters and Services Battalion, Marine Forces Pacific. Returning to Washington, D.C., in 1995, she participated on Roles and Missions Coordination Group, Requirements and Plans, Headquarters Marine Corps before being assigned as Secretary, Joint Staff.

Wilson commanded Marine Corps Base Quantico and the 3rd Force Service Support Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force. She then directed Manpower Management Division, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Headquarters Marine Corps and was the Marine Corps representative to the Secretary of Defense’s Reserve Force Policy Board.

From 2003 to 2006, she served as Commandant of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University. In 2006, she was appointed president of the National Defense University. On July 14, 2006 Wilson was promoted to lieutenant general and assumed her post as the 12th president of the university, succeeding U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael M. Dunn. In March 2009, she was awarded the French Legion of Honor in a ceremony presided by French Defense Minister Hervé Morin at the French Embassy in Washington, DC.

We honor you, Frances Wilson.

(#Repost @Military Wiki)

GySgt Derik R. Holley

2018-4-17 Holley

Derik was born at Andrews Air Force Base, Camp Springs, MD on September 27, 1984 to Richard and Sylvia (Rockwell) Holley. He was a 2002 graduate of Westlake High School in Waldorf, MD. He joined the United States Marine Corps in November 2003, serving as a CH-53E Super Stallion crew chief his entire career. Derik deployed twice to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, once to Japan as part of the Unit Deployment Program, and once with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. He died in a Marine Corps helicopter crash Tuesday, April 3, 2018 near El Centro, CA.

We honor you, Derik Holley.

(Submission by: Ninzel Rasmuson. #Repost @Dayton Daily News)