BGen Joseph Jacob “Joe” Foss

2018-1-15 Foss

Joe Foss was born 17 April 1915 on a farm near Sioux Falls, South Dakota. When he was 12, he saw Charles Lindbergh on tour. He took his first flight when he was 16 in a Ford Tri-Motor. Just before Joe’s 18th birthday, his father was killed by a downed power line leaving Joe to help care for his family: odd jobs, schooling & the occasional flying lesson followed. When he was 25 he graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

With that in hand, he joined the Marines with a wish to fly. He was winged in Miami on 29 March 1941. He served as an instructor in Pensacola & was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on 10 April 1942. He joined VMF-121 & was promoted to Capt., 11 Aug 1942. VMF-121 sailed to Guadalcanal on board the USS Copahee, their Wildcats landing at Henderson Field, 9 October 1942.

For the next 3 months, “Joe’s Flying Circus” helped defend the island from extensive Japanese counter-attacks. On 7 November, he was shot down (in F4F-4 02147 or 03453 in USN/USMC AC loss list) by enemy fighters (bullets just missing his head) while strafing Japanese ships 240 kilometers north of Guadalcanal. He struggled in his life-jacket for five hours in a storm with sharks circling until members of a Catholic mission from the island of Malaita, who happened to be paddling by in canoes, rescued him. In his autobiography he said he broke a chlorine capsule to keep the sharks away. “It’s a good thing I didn’t know, as would later be proven, that chlorine doesn’t protect swimmers from shark attacks,” Sick with malaria, he was evacuated along with the rest of 121 on 19 November. He returned on 1 January 1943.

On 15 January 1943, he had matched Eddie Rickenbacker’s record of 26 planes destroyed.
He left the Island on 26 January. On 8 May 1943 he received the Medal of Honor from President Roosevelt during a special ceremony at the White House.

Promoted to Major, 1 June 1943, he became CO of VMF-115 on 17 July 1943. He held that post until 20 September 1944 when a recurrence of Malaria forced him to relinquish command. He returned to Sioux Falls, where he and a friend ran the Joe Foss Flying Service, building it into a venture with 35 airplanes.

In 1946, he left the Marine Corps to accept a Commission in the South Dakota National Guard as a Lt. Colonel. In 1948 he was elected to the South Dakota House of Representatives where he served a two-year term.

When the Korean War broke out, the Marines recalled him, and he directed training. He was promoted to Colonel in 1950 & then to Brigadier General in 1954. In 1954 he was elected Governor of South Dakota (The youngest Governor the the history of the state). He was re-elected in 1956.

We honor you, Joe Foss.

(#Repost @acesofww2)

LTG Julius Wesley Becton, Jr.

2018-1-06 Becton

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 Ronald Scott

2018-1-03 Scott

The remains of Air Force officer, Col Ronald Scott, declared missing in action after a 1966 mission over North Vietnam have been identified and his remains were returned to Claremore, Oklahoma in September of 2017, where he was honored with graveside services.

The Oklahoma native was the aircraft commander and wingman of an F-4C Phantom II as part of a two-aircraft reconnaissance mission on March 15, 1966, the Defense POW and MIA Accounting Agency said in an August release announcing the identification of Scott’s remains. The pilot of Scott’s aircraft radioed the other plane to say he was about to strafe two trucks in the target area; the pilot in the other plane saw an explosion near the target shortly thereafter, and no trace of Scott’s aircraft.

Fighting in the area made a search impossible, per the agency’s release, and Scott was declared missing in action later that year.

A mission the month before would earn Scott a posthumous Silver Star. On Feb. 25, 1966, near Hanoi, then-Capt. Scott “flew his aircraft at levels of twenty-five to fifty feet with unerring accuracy through extremely heavy and accurate anti-aircraft fire over forbidding and hostile terrain to two different targets” as a member of 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, according to his Silver Star citation. “Despite the extreme hazards involved, the mission was executed exactly as planned.”

Scott’s remains were identified through DNA analysis, dental analysis and other circumstantial evidence.

We honor you, Ronald Scott.

(#Repost @Military Times)

SFC Jorge Otero Barreto

2017-12-27 Barreto

Jorge Otero Barreto (born 7 April 1937), a.k.a. “the Puerto Rican Rambo”, is a retired United States Army soldier. He earned 38 military decorations during his career, and has been called the most decorated U.S. soldier of the Vietnam War.  Due to his multiple awards he has received recognition from numerous organizations and has had buildings named after him. He is also the main subject of Brave Lords, a documentary which tells the story of the Puerto Rican experience in the war in Vietnam.

Otero Barreto was born in the town of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, the son of Eloy Otero-Bruno and Crispina Barreto-Torres. His father named him “Jorge”, Spanish for George, after George Washington whom Otero-Bruno admired. In Vega Baja, Otero Barreto received his primary and secondary education. He attended college for three years, studying biology until 1959 when he joined the U.S. Army. After his basic training, he attended the Army’s Air Assault School, graduating in 1960. He was the first Puerto Rican to graduate from the U.S. Army Air Assault School.

From 1961 to 1970, Otero Barreto served five tours in Southeast Asia, starting as an advisor who helped train Vietnamese troops. According to the documentary “Brave Lords”, Otero Barreto served in various military units during his military career. He served in the 101st Airborne Division and the 25th Infantry Division “Tropic Lightning”. He also served in the 82nd Airborne Division, an active airborne infantry division of the United States Army specializing in parachute landing operations and in the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. He participated in 200 combat missions, was wounded five times in combat, and was awarded 38 military decorations, making him “the most decorated soldier of the Vietnam War.” Among his many decorations are 3 Silver Stars, 5 Bronze Stars with Valor, 4 Army Commendation Medals, 5 Purple Hearts and 5 Air Medals (one each for every 5th mission which involved a helicopter).

Otero Barreto has been called “the most decorated Puerto Rican veteran,” and the news media and various organizations have called him “the most decorated soldier in the Vietnam War.” Whatever the case, Otero Barreto remains one of the most decorated Vietnam War veterans, and possibly the most decorated U.S. soldier in the Vietnam War living today.

We honor you, Otero Barreto.

(#Repost @Revolvy)

Col Thomas George Lanphier, Jr.

2017-12-19 Lanphier

He was born on November 27, 1915 in Panama City, Panama. He married Phyllis of Boise, Idaho and had 5 children. He studied journalism at Stanford University and graduated in January 1941.

He completed his pilot training at Stockton Army Air Field, California on October 30, 1941, and was assigned to the 70th Pursuit Squadron, 35th Pursuit Group at Hamilton Field in Novato, California. Until December 1942 he served in Fiji then his squadron was moved to Guadalcanal and he joined the 347th Fighter Group. He scored his first aerial victory on Christmas Eve in 1942 when he shot down an A6M Zero. Lanphier was promoted to captain in March 1943. The next month he destroyed three A6M Zeros over Cape Esperance on April 7, 1943. By the end of his tour, he flew 97 combat missions out of Guadalcanal in P-39s and P-38s.

Following World War II, he was one of the founding members of the Idaho Air National Guard, eventually retiring as a Colonel.

During World War II, Colonel Lanphier was credited with downing nine Japanese planes, damaging eight on the ground, and sinking a destroyer. He received the Navy Cross, Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross.

We honor you, Thomas Lanphier Jr.

(#Repost @Fandom: Military)

SGT Ronald Alan Kubik

2017-12-15 Kubik
Sgt. Ronald Alan Kubik, 21, was a rifleteam leader assigned to 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga. He was born on June 22, 1988 in Point Pleasant, N.J.
Kubik was seriously wounded in an engagement with an enemy force in Logar Province, Afghanistan. He later succumbed to his wounds. He was on his third deployment in support of the War on Terror with one previous deployment to Iraq and one to Afghanistan.
After graduating from high school, Kubik enlisted in the U.S. Army from his hometown of Manchester, N.J. in March 2007. He completed Infantry One Station Unit Training, the Basic Airborne Course and the Ranger Indoctrination Program at Fort Benning, Ga.
After graduating from the Ranger Indoctrination Program, he was then assigned to Company D, 3rd Battalion, and 75th Ranger Regiment in October 2007 where he served as an assistant machine gunner and a team leader. His military education includes the Basic Airborne Course, Ranger Indoctrination Program and the U.S. Army Ranger Course.
His awards and decorations include the Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Parachutist Badge. He has also been awarded the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, two Afghanistan Campaign Medal, two Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Army Service Ribbon.
He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, and the Meritorious Service Medal.
As a Ranger, Sgt. Ronald Kubik selflessly lived his life for others and distinguished himself as a member of the Army’s premier light-infantry unit, continuously deployed in support of the Global War on Terror, and fought valiantly as he served his fellow Rangers and our great Nation.
We honor you, Ronald Kubik.
(#Repost @75th Ranger Regiment Biographical Sketch)

Col Harold E. Fischer

2017-12-14 Fischer

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)