Maj Kurt Chew-Een Lee

2018-2-24 Lee

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

2018-2-19 Shea

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)

SGT Douglas Ray Martin

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Sergeant Martin served with the A Battery, 5th Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Division during the Vietnam War. While serving as a sentinel guarding the Đắk Pôko River Bridge, Sergeant Martin and his comrades were attacked by a North Vietnamese Army force. During the action, Sergeant Martin received wounds when an enemy hand grenade exploded in his position. Although injured, he continued to lay down a heavy volume of fire until the enemy was driven off.

We honor you, Douglas Martin.

(#Repost @National Purple Heart Hall of Honor)

SPC Shoshana Johnson

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Shoshana Johnson was an Army cook who was captured along with 5 other soldiers and held as a prisoner of war during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Johnson was shot in the ankles and held for 22 days before being rescued. Upon retirement from the Army, she went on to tell her experience and try to help others

Johnson was part of the 507th Maintenance Company from Fort Bliss that was ambushed on March 23, 2003, in Nasiriyah, Iraq. Her convoy came under heavy attack from Fedayeen paramilitaries and Iraqi soldiers after the unit made a wrong turn into an enemy urban stronghold.

The now retired Army specialist had turned 30 on March 18, 2003, five days before her convoy was attacked. Johnson and her fellow soldiers had joined the march into Iraq for the U.S. ground offensive, and soon they found themselves in the middle of a fierce firefight they never expected. Johnson was a cook in the support unit. Neither she nor the others were combat soldiers.

The former Army specialist, who prefers to describe herself as Panamanian-American, is the first African-American woman POW. She suffered incapacitating injuries after a single shot from an Iraqi passed through both of her ankles. “I was bleeding and my boots filled up with blood,” she said. “After my boots were removed, I couldn’t believe that the raw wounds with all the gore were really mine.”

On April 13, 2003, the Marines arrived on a rescue mission. “They showed up like in those action movies. They broke down the door and busted inside with their weapons aimed,” Johnson said. “They had everyone get down on the floor. They asked us to stand up if we were Americans. I knew then that we were going home.”

We honor you, Shoshana Johnson.

(Submission by: Ninzel Rasmuson. #Repost @WomensMilitaryMemorial and Military.com)

SSG Travis Mills

2018-2-15 Mills.jpg

Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills served two deployments to Afghanistan without suffering anything close to a major injury. Then, in a second, everything changed.

On patrol during his third tour in April, Mills put his bag down on an improvised explosive device, which tore through the decorated high school athlete’s muscular 6-foot-3 frame. Within 20 seconds of the IED explosion, a fast-working medic affixed tourniquets to all four of Mills’ limbs to ensure he wouldn’t bleed to death.

“I was yelling at him to get away from me,” Mills remembers. “I told him to leave me alone and go help my guys.

“And he told me: ‘With all due respect, Sgt. Mills, shut up. Let me do my job.'”

The medic was able to save Mills’ life but not his limbs. Today, the 25-year-old Mills is a quadruple amputee, one of only five servicemen from any military branch to have survived such an injury during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Maria Tolleson, a spokeswoman at U.S. Army Medical Command. And instead of serving alongside his unit, he has been spending his days based at Walter Reed Medical Center, working on rehabilitation after the accident that dramatically altered the trajectory of his life.

“Just because stuff happened to me, I don’t think it makes me a hero,” he said. “I think it just makes me a guy that did his job, knew the consequences of what could happen and something happened.”

We honor you, Travis Mills.

(#Repost @

ENS George H. Gay

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As a 25-year-old Navy pilot, Mr. Gay flew a Douglas Devastator torpedo plane in an attack on Japanese warships near Midway Island on June 4, 1942.

All the planes in his squadron were shot down, and he was the only one of 30 men in Torpedo Squadron 8 to survive. Historians have credited the attack by his squadron as clearing the way for an attack by American dive bombers that eventually resulted in victory in the battle.

Wounded and wearing a life jacket, Mr. Gay watched the American dive bombers hurtle out of the clouds to attack Japanese aircraft carriers and found himself “cheering and hollering with every hit.”

After he was rescued by American forces, Mr. Gay made personal appearances for the Navy, spreading the news of the victory at Midway. That victory — achieved by an American fleet with only three heavy carriers against four heavy Japanese carriers and three light ones — was a turning point in the war in that theater.

Mr. Gay was a Trans World Airlines pilot for 30 years after the war. He also spoke to civic groups around the country, telling of his Midway experiences and calling for greater military preparedness.

In 1975, he was a consultant for the movie “Midway.” Kevin Dobson played his part. Mr. Gay toured the country with the film’s stars, Charlton Heston and Henry Fonda, to promote the film.

We honor you, George Gay.

(#Repost @The NY Times)

CPT Florent “Flo” Groberg

2018-2-9 Groberg

Retired U.S. Army Capt. Florent “Flo” Groberg was born in Poissy, France, May 8, 1983. Groberg became a naturalized U.S. citizen, Feb. 27, 2001, and graduated from Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Md., in June of the same year.

In May 2006, Groberg graduated from University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice. Groberg entered the Army in July 2008 and attended Officer Candidate School and received his commission as an infantry officer, Dec. 4, 2008.

In November 2009, he deployed to Afghanistan as part of Task Force Lethal, with responsibility for the Pech River Valley in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province. Upon returning home in June 2010, he continued serving as a platoon leader until he was reassigned as an infantry company executive officer from October 2010 to November 2011. He was then assigned as the brigade personal security detachment commander for 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. He deployed again to Kunar Province, Afghanistan, in February of 2012, with Task Force Mountain Warrior. He was promoted to captain in July 2012.

On the morning of Aug. 8, 2012, U.S. Army Capt. Florent Groberg served as a personal security detachment (PSD) commander for Task Force Mountain Warrior in Asadabad, Afghanistan. As the patrol advanced toward the governor’s compound, they reached the choke point along the route, a small bridge spanning a canal feeding the Kunar River. The patrol halted near the bridge as two motorcycles approached from the opposite direction. The motorcyclists began crossing the bridge, but stopped midway before dismounting and retreating in the opposite direction.

As the patrol observed the motorcyclists, Groberg also spotted a lone individual near the left side of the formation, walking backwards in the direction of the patrol. The individual did not cause immediate alarm as there were other local civilians in the area.

However, when the individual made an abrupt turn toward the formation, Groberg rushed the suspect and shoved him away from the patrol. Groberg then immediately confirmed the individual was wearing a suicide vest, and with the help of Sgt. Andrew Mahoney, a fellow Soldier with the PSD, grabbed the suicide bomber, physically driving him away from the formation and down to the ground.

While on the ground, the bomber’s explosive vest detonated. The explosion caused a second suicide bomber, who remained hidden behind a small structure near the road, to detonate his vest prematurely. Most of the blast of the second bomber’s suicide vest went straight into a building, adjacent to the patrol.

Groberg’s actions disrupted both bombers from detonating as planned, saving the majority of lives he was charged with protecting. As a result of his actions, Groberg sustained the loss of 45 to 50 percent of his left calf muscle with significant nerve damage, a blown eardrum, and a mild traumatic brain injury. Groberg spent his recovery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center from August 2012 through May 2015. He was medically retired from Company B Warriors, Warrior Transition Battalion, as a captain, July 23, 2015.

We honor you, Florent Groberg.

(#Repost @army.mil)