SN James Lawrence Blaskis

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James Blaskis was one of the 134 men killed in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire. It was a devastating fire and series of chain-reaction explosions on 29 July 1967, that not only killed 134 sailors, but injured 161 on the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal (CVA-59), after an electrical anomaly discharged a Zuni rocket on the flight deck. Forrestal was engaged in combat operations in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam War at the time.

Blaskis was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal (Posthumously) for his heroism that day. Seaman Blaskis was manning the port steering area in the extreme port quarter of the ship when fire broke out on the flight deck causing several explosions. One of the initial explosions hurled shrapnel into the port compartment, killing one man and seriously wounding Seaman Blaskis and his other shipmate. Despite his wounds, he administered first aid to his companion until he succumbed to his own wounds.

We honor you James Blaskis.

(#Repost @Together We Served)

ADM Edwin John Roland

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Edwin John Roland was born on 11 February 19O5, at Buffalo, NY. where he graduated from Canisius High School and attended Canisius College. Appointed a Cadet in 1926, he graduated from the U. S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering and with a commission of Ensign on 15 May 1929.

He served his earliest assignments as Gunnery Officer on board the destroyers USCGC SHAW (1929-30), and the USCGC WILKES (1930-31), which were part of the old Destroyer Force operated by the Coast Guard between l924 and 1934 in an all-out attempt to suppress smuggling. He won a commendation for being instrumental in capturing the gunnery trophy for both vessels.

In 1932 he was in charge of target observation and repair for the Destroyer Force Target Practice in the Gulf of Mexico and for Cutter Target Practice off Norfolk, VA. In September he was assigned as Navigator and Gunnery Officer on board the USCGC ESCANABA, based at Grand Haven, MI. Detached in l934, he spent the next four years at the Coast Guard Academy as an Instructor in Physics and Mathematics and an Assistant Coach for football, basketball, and baseball. During the summer cadet practice cruise of 1936 on board the USCGC CAYUGA, he participated in the evacuation of Spanish Civil War refugees.

During World War II he served as Chief, Enlisted Personnel Division at Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, DC from May 1942 to October 1943. He next served as Commander, Escort Division a unit of Task Force 60, which escorted convoys from the United States to Mediterranean ports. His, flagship was the Coast Guard-manned destroyer escort, USS VANCE (DE-387). For meritorious performance of that duty he was awarded the Navy Commendation Ribbon.

In December 1944 he became the first Commanding Officer of USCGC MACKINAW (WAGB-83), the first heavy duty U. S. icebreaker ever built. Especially designed for work in the Great Lakes, her homeport was at Cheboygan, MI. For meritorious service while commanding that ship, he received a Coast Guard Commendation Letter. The letter cited him for icebreaking on an unprecedented scale in the Great Lakes. This permitted tidewater Navy and Army vessels and merchant vessels to pass through the ice and deliver urgently needed supplies essential to the war effort.

After completing one year of student work at the National War College in June l955, he returned to Coast Guard Headquarters to serve in the Office of the Chief of Staff. On March 16, 1956, he was assigned as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Coast Guard. With his nomination by the President and with the approval of the Senate, he was advanced to the rank of Rear Admiral effective 1 July 1956. He was subsequently assigned as Commander, First Coast Guard District, Boston. On 1 July 1960 he assumed the dual post of Commander, Eastern Area and Commander, 3d Coast Guard District, New York. With the approval of the President and the Senate, he was appointed Assistant Commandant of the U. S. Coast Guard with rank of Vice Admiral effective from 12 February 1962. He assumed the duties of that office at Headquarters on 1 February.

On 23 April 1962 he was appointed Commandant of the U. S. Coast Guard with rank of Admiral. He succeeded the retiring Admiral Alfred C. Richmond on 1 June 1962. He was relieved by Admiral Willard J. Smith and retired from the USCG on 1 June 1966 with various awards.

On July 9, 1963, ADM Roland received the Legion of Merit from the Secretary of the Treasury C. Douglas Dillon in recognition of his outstanding record in maintaining a military readiness posture “unparalleled in the peacetime history of the Coast Guard.” On 21 January 1966 ADM Roland received the Distinguished Service Medal for the service’s swift response to the Navy’s request for patrol craft to assist in coastal surveillance in South Vietnam. His also skillfully guided the handling of the Cuban Exodus operations in the Straits of Florida in 1965. ADM Roland also went to Saigon during the summer of 1965 to confer with the Naval Coastal Surveillance Forces shortly after the arrival of the 82-foot cutters in South Vietnam. Based at Danang these 82-footers constituted Coast Guard Squadron One.

It was during ADM Roland’s administration that the Coast Guard’s long sought program for modernization of its fleet with medium and high endurance cutters got underway with the launching and christening of the first major cutter built since World War II. Mrs. Roland sponsored this first vessel, the 210-ft. Medium Endurance Cutter RELIANCE (WMEC-615) at Todd Shipyards, Houston, Texas, on May 11, 1963.

ADM Roland received The American Legion Distinguished Service Medal from the Robert L. Hague Merchant Marine Industries Post No. 12142, Department of New York, on 6 November 1965. He was cited for outstanding contributions to the American Merchant Marine and Safety of Life at Sea while chairing the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Subcommittee of the Shipping Coordinating Committee. He also received recognition for being the U. S. Delegate to the Maritime Safety Committee of the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) and for encouraging the inauguration and expansion of the Automated Merchant Vessel Report (ANVER ) System to both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

We honor you, Edwin Roland.

(#Repost @The Patriot Files)

 

Capt Paul M Bayliss

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Paul Bayliss served in the Air Force for 6 years. He served with the 7th Air Force, 606th Air Control Squadron Special Operations Squadron. On November 7, 1966, he died in a non-hostile air crash in Thailand.

We honor you, Paul Bayliss.

(#Repost @HonorStates.org)

PFC Victor Johnson Jr

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Victor Johnson served in the US Army during the Vietnam war. He was a Armor Reconnaissance Specialist with the 3rd Squadron, 4th US Cavalry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division (Tropic Lightening Division). Victor was killed in action in Hau Nghia on March 7, 1969.

We honor you, Victor Johnson Jr.

(Source: @Together We Stand)

Col John Howard LaVoy

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December 7, 1941 shocked the nation, and he immediately drove to San Francisco to enlist in Naval Aviation Training…after a short wait he was told to report to Pre-Flight School at St. Mary’s in Moraga, CA as a Seaman Second Class and later as a Cadet. He moved to E Base at Livermore, CA…The E stood for Elimination and the Indoctrination Officer informed the Cadets that they’d either leave by the front gate as pilots, or the back gate in a casket. Corpus Christi, TX, and training at Cudahy Field, and fighter training at Kingsville followed. In May 1943, he graduated as a 2nd Lt., choosing USMC aviation. Following receiving his Gold Wings, he went to Great Lakes Naval Station for carrier training and to Jacksonville, FL for combat training.

Overseas orders soon followed, and he arrived in American Samoa to fly SBD’s in VMSB-151. This tour flew patrol around the Ellis Islands and moved with the fighting to the Gilbert and Marshall Islands and raids on the Carolina Islands.

Returning to the U.S., he married Marian Hennen La Voy on September 26, 1944 at St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral with their dear friend, Rev. Luigi Roteglia officiating. They had been married 9 months and were living at Cherry Point, NC when overseas orders arrived to report to Malabang (Mindanao) Phillipines to do air support of both Army and Navy ground forces. Flying SB2C’s, the squadron moved to Okinawa to prepare for the invasion of Japan. The war ended and VMSB/244 moved to Tsingtao, China where pilots flew the China Wall patrol and bombed railroads to check Mao Tse-Tung’s moves on Chiang Kai-shek forces. Returning to the states, “Big John”, as he was fondly known decided to make the Marine Corp his career. He was stationed at MCAS El Toro-MB Quantico and MB Camp Lejeune where he was sent to Ellingson Field at Pensacola FL for helicopter training. Shortly thereafter, he received orders to Korea and joined VMO-6 and spent a year on the front lines evacuating wounded Marines and Soldiers.

Returning to El Toro for four months, he was deployed to Gifu, Japan for over a year as there was a fear that Chinese troops would once again be deployed to Korea.

Kaneohe MCAS was next and he was CO of Headquarters Sqdn. The Honolulu newspaper honored him with a headline that referred to him as “Mr. Rescue” for all the downed pilots and civilians that he rescued off the coast of Oahu. Sikorsky Corp. also honored him for his bravery.

Edenton MCAS and Cherry Point found him back in fixed wing aircraft. He next “Bootstrapped” at The University of Nebraska at Omaha, receiving flight time at Offutt AFB. He graduated in 1962 with a BS in Military Science and moved on to Senior Officer School in Quantico, VA.

Vietnam beckoned, and as CO of HMM-364, he took a squadron of young helicopter pilots to Da Nang. Their heroics are legendary and not one man in the squadron was lost. The Legion of Merit with combat V was presented to him by USMC Commandant Major General Wallace Greene at the historic H and I base in Washington DC. He ended his career at the Pentagon where he worked for the Secretary of the Navy in The Office of Program Appraisal until 1969, and then became President of The Naval Examining Board. He retired in 1970.

We honor you, John LaVoy.

(#Repost @Reno Gazette-Journal)

CDR Willard W. Bartlett

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Willard Bartlett had a long career in the military, divided into two terms of service. As a teenager, he joined the Merchant Marines late in World War II. After the war, he finished his studies at the Merchant Marine Academy, sailed for a year, then decided to become a minister. After the Korean War began, he enlisted in the Navy as a chaplain instead of a seaman. He preached not only to his fellow Christians but also to Jews (though he once mistakenly put a cloth with a cross on it over his pulpit for a service). He even invited his ship’s atheists to a meeting to compare beliefs. According to Bartlett, “This is the unique ministry of the chaplaincy… When you become a chaplain, everybody in your outfit is your responsibility, regardless of their religion.” Bartlett was attached to a Marine Corps unit in Vietnam, where he had to answer the eternal question, “Hey Chaplain, did Jesus ever have to go to the bathroom?”.

We honor you, William Bartlett.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)

EM Frank Aceves

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Enlisting in the Navy in 1966, Frank Aceves made it his goal to become an electrician and move up the ranks as quickly as possible. Following a stint working on a tugboat in the Midway Island harbor, he was assigned to serve with the Mobile Riverine Force in Vietnam. Stationed at Dong Tam, he was responsible for the upkeep of boats that would patrol the Mekong Delta rivers and canals. Despite having to contend with mortar attacks and a constant lack of adequate sleep, his time in the service was a rewarding experience that paved the way for his future career as an electrician.

We honor you, Frank Aceves.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)