SN1 William Bruesewitz

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(Originally posted 06 December 2018) Navy Seaman 1st Class William Bruesewitz, killed at the Pearl Harbor attack, will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery Dec. 7 on the 77th anniversary of the incident.

Bruesewitz, 26, of Appleton, Wisconsin, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma (BB 37) moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft Dec. 7, 1941. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced in November that Bruesewitz was accounted for March 19 this year and his remains were being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Assistant Secretary of the Navy Greg Slavonic who will be at the interment ceremony said he is honored to attend the ceremony for Bruesewitz.

“As battleship USS Oklahoma, which on December 7, 1941 sustained multiple torpedo hits and capsized quickly, Petty Officer 1st Class Bruesewitz and other sailors were trapped below decks. He was one of the 429 Sailors who were killed that fateful day,” Slavonic said.

“Breuesewitz and his shipmates are remembered at the USS Oklahoma Memorial on Ford Island which was dedicated in their honor December 7, 2007. Sailors like Bruesewitz who represent the ‘Greatest Generation’ gave so much and asked so little but when the time came to serve their Navy and nation, they answered the call.”

After Bruesewitz was killed in the attack, his remains were recovered from the ship, but they could not be identified following the incident. He was initially buried as an unknown at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Forensic developments, like DNA analysis, allowed reexamination and eventual identification of his remains. Bruesewitz is the 118th crew member to be identified by the DPAA’s USS Oklahoma project. There were 388 personnel unaccounted for from the ship and 187 Sailors have been identified so far.

Renate Starck, one of Bruesewitz’s nieces, told us from Maryland that after Bruesewitz was identified and interment plans have started, the family requested that it be Dec. 7.

“Because we’ve been aware of loss of our uncle. Since he died, the family remembered him on this day. This is also easy for the young ones to remember. It gives us peace and forgiveness for his loss,” she said during a phone interview.

About 60 people, most of whom are family members and some close friends, will be attending the funeral ceremony at the Arlington National Ceremony which will begin at the administration building at 1 p.m.

A funeral service for him will be held earlier in the day starting at 7:50 a.m. at Salem Lutheran Church, Catonsville, Maryland, after which a procession to Arlington will take place. The Hopkins Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore, dedicated their Dec. 1 and 2 performances of W. A. Mozart’s Requiem to Bruesewitz.

Explaining the historical process, a DPAA statement says that from December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries. In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Bruesewitz.

In April 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a policy memorandum directing the disinterment of unknowns associated with USS Oklahoma. On June 15, 2015, DPAA personnel began exhuming the remains from the Punchbowl for analysis. To identify Bruesewitz’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA analysis, anthropological and dental analysis, along with circumstantial evidence.

USS Oklahoma crew members have been honored Dec. 7 each year with a ceremony held on Ford Island at the USS Oklahoma Memorial to include, post of the colors, principle speaker, honoring those who served on the USS Oklahoma, 21-gun salute and taps. Leis are placed on some white standards in honor of each crew member where a picture is placed on a standard when they are identified.

Additionally, there is a USS Oklahoma Memorial in Oklahoma, which has a listing of the crew members lost, near the Oklahoma Capitol honoring 429 Sailors who were killed on USS Oklahoma during the Pearl Harbor attack.

We honor you, William Bruesewitz.

(#Repost @Navy.mil)

CPL Earl Boyce Clark

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Mrs. Boyce Clark clasped her husband’s right hand this morning, pressing the wedding ring he first wore 16 months ago. 15 months before he lost his left hand fighting with the 1st Marine Division in Korea.

“I’m doing fine,” the blond, 21-year-old marine corporal told her, “I can see and I can walk, and that’s more than a lot of guys who got it can do.”

“We’re both doing fine,” Mrs. Clark said, exuding sheer, simple happiness with every word, “We just couldn’t do any better.”

Their expressions left no doubts that this was the case.

The corporal arrived this morning at Seattle-Tacoma Airport to begin a 30-day leave from Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, Oakland, Calif.

Corporal Clark, leader of a rifle team, saw five others in his unit wounded in the same action which cost him his hand. The outfit was hit hard by Communist mortar fire near the IIwachon Reservoir June 2. The wounded men were members of the 2n Battalion, 7th Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

Three days after he was hit, Clark was aboard the Haven, a hospital ship.

“The medics told me my hand was gone,” he recalled, “I can’t tell how I felt, but they seemed to feel so bad about it that it seemed to make it easier.

“They were wonderful to me on that ship, and at Tripler Hospital in Hawaii, and at Oak Knoll. All along the line, people have wanted to do things for me.”

After his leave, the marine will return to Oak Knoll to begin a long course of rehabilitation.

“People ought to see what goes on down there,” Clark said, “Boys arrive in pretty rough shape, and pretty low in their minds. Well, those medics have all the patience in the world, and they keep pegging away until the guys decide getting well might pay off.”

Clark was graduated from O’Dea High School and attended Seattle University before he was called to active duty in September. The corporal’s mother, Mrs. Ruth Clark and his sister, Mrs. Fred Dennis, joined in the simple homecoming today. The tension of separation and the events of the past ten months rapidly dissolved in the reunion of a close-knit family.

Everybody agreed with the corporal, that he was doing “just fine.”

We honor you, Earl Clark.

(#Repost @National Purple Heart Hall of Honor)

Arthur Barriett Cornwall III

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I was wounded on Feb. 22, 1968. We had come to a clearing divided by a stream. The APC stopped, we dismounted and checked for land mines. It appeared clear and after boarding the APC we drove 5 feet and ran over a land mine. The investigation afterwards indicated it was an American bomb used as a booby trap which lifted and flipped our APC two and two and one half times in the air. I remember being thrown through the air thinking I had lost my legs. When I landed on the ground my legs were paralyzed and gave orders to set up a perimeter. I was put on medical helicopter and sent to Da Nang’s medical triage hut. I was awarded the Purple Heart.

We honor you Arthur Cornwall III.

(#Repost @National Purple Heart Hall of Honor)

PVT Jack Murphy Ackerman

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Private Ackerman was a member of the 29th Infantry Regiment. He was taken prisoner at Hadong, South Korea on July 27th. With several hundred other Prisoners of War, he was marched north to Sunchon where he was murdered on October 20th, 1950. His remains were returned in Operation Glory, September 1954. Just recently, his grand-daughter found his burial site just north of Flint, Michigan.

We honor you, Jack Ackerman.

(#Repost @Korean War Project)

PFC Ersol J Salyer

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He had been wounded July 28 in France and returned to duty. Private Salyer, before his induction in August 1943, had been employed at the Spicer Mrg. Corp. An infantry man, he trained at Camp Blanding, Fla., and went overseas last May. Enlisted 4 Sep 1943 – Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana.

We honor you, Ersol Salyer.

LCpl William “Billy” Hodges Bazemore

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This originally was written for Thanksgiving Day 2005

Although I frequently lecture and write about the Vietnam War, and my book Masters of the Art is based on my service there, I don’t have a repository of dates locked in my mind that steadily surfaces like a mental file folder reminding me of long ago battles and death.

But on Thanksgiving Day every year I make it a point to stop for a moment and remember one day, and one comrade. On that special day in 1968 I volunteered to fly gunner as helicopters from my squadron, HMM-161, delivered hot turkey dinners to our Marine infantry in outposts and firebases all over northern I Corps.

There was little action to speak of that day, and I was not involved in any firefights, so no flights were classified as combat missions. Just a long, long day delivering canisters of turkey, potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and even cases of beer, to give the grunts a brief respite from the war.

I held no animosity about spending my entire day in a series of flights under leaden monsoon season skies. I knew what the grunts faced every day of that war and anything we could do to give them even the slightest break was fine by me.

After a day of seeing and smelling all that food, I was truly ready for a meal of my own by the time we returned to the air strip at Quang Tri. But a Thanksgiving dinner was not to be, at least not one prepared in a mess hall.

There had been a dinner. But it was consumed in its entirety by the troops who stayed back on the base that day. Little more than crumbs were left for those who had been flying. I returned to my hooch totally dejected, ready to curse out any and all who crossed my path and not at all looking forward to a meal of C-rations.

Enter a new guy, Billy Bazemore, only recently arrived from the states, who like me was a helicopter electrician, and like me volunteered to fly gunner. New guys had little to no status in Vietnam, and usually deferred to the veterans on virtually all matters. But seeing the look on my face prompted Billy to question its origin, and then to offer a solution.

Reaching triumphantly under his cot, Billy dragged out a box that had arrived in the mail from home, containing a canned turkey, potatoes, carrots, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. To add to my amazement, I also had received a package, bearing a Sara Lee chocolate cake that had survived the voyage from The World intact.

Billy could have kept his stash secret. He could have squirreled it away and hoarded it for himself. But he was a Marine and believed in the Marine code of sharing the contents of food packages from home. We spread the food out on boxes and proceeded to divvy it up among several other crewmen who also had returned to Quang Tri to discover there would be no dinner for them that day.

In short order, the dismal grayness of a monsoon day was forgotten, and probably for the first time in my life I completely understood the meaning of Thanksgiving.

Billy Bazemore’s life ended a few short months later, in a vicious firefight with the North Vietnamese. I know the exact date, but I would rather celebrate his life than his death.

So this Thanksgiving, as our troops are once again fighting what has become yet another ‘unpopular’ war, I will remember where they are and what they are enduring for those of us back home who will be warm, and secure and well fed because of their sacrifices.

I’ll offer a toast to my fellow Americans and all other freedom-loving troops who are fighting the terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Because I know that out there somewhere, it is very likely that two Marines will straggle back to their base from a long day that held only harshness and death, only to find that there will be no traditional meal waiting for them.

But they will pull together, as we did 38 years ago, and will find a way to salvage their day. And a bond of brotherhood that can not be duplicated under any other circumstances will be forged, and it will endure. I will say a silent prayer for them, and ask that this time they both make it back home, safe and sound, to enjoy other Thanksgiving Days in the warmth and comfort of their homes, with families that may even make an effort to understand why this day has such meaning for their returned warriors.

And although I won’t share it with my family and friends because it is just too personal and private, I will find a moment to remember Thanksgiving Day, 1968, Quang Tri, Vietnam, and I’ll raise my glass to toast Billy Bazemore, a new guy who long ago taught a lesson in Marine brotherhood to a veteran.

We honor you, William Bazemore.

(#Repost @Winter’s Soldier Story. Picture @Honor States)

CPT Jennifer Moreno

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In her last moments of life, Army nurse Capt. Jennifer Moreno heard two orders.

One was a call to help a wounded soldier struck by a blast in a booby-trapped killing field at an Afghanistan bomb-making compound.

The other was a command to stay put lest she strike another mine in the bomb belt.

The nurse from Madigan Army Medical Center chose to help the wounded soldier, and gave her life trying.

In the words of her commander, Moreno ran “into hell” to rescue a comrade on the night she was killed. Newly released narratives of the Oct. 5 battle reveal the kind of hell Moreno and dozens of Army special operators found while trying to disrupt a plot to kill civilians in the city of Kandahar.

A total of 12 bombs exploded that night – a chain reaction that took the lives of four U.S. soldiers and wounded at least 25.

The fifth bomb killed Moreno, 25, of San Diego who volunteered for a dangerous assignment supporting special operators in combat.

The 11th bomb wounded three soldiers trying to recover her body.

Moreno is Madigan’s only fatal casualty from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though the hospital south of Tacoma has continuously deployed soldiers to medical facilities in combat zones.

Moreno “sacrificed her life so others could live,” her Bronze Star commendation reads.

We honor you, Jennifer Moreno.

(Submission by: Miah Parry. #Repost @The Washington Times)