Col Harold E. Fischer

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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)

PFC Henry Harrison Ford Jr.

- - Ford

“I remember a young kid with a big smile and a fun loving nature. I served too. Thanks Henry.” – James Logan.

US Marine Private First Class Henry Harrison Ford Jr was a casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Marine Corps Selective Service and a Draftee, PFC Ford served our country until December 12th, 1966 in Quang Nam, South Vietnam. He was 20 years old and was married. It was reported that Henry died from artillery fire. His body was recovered. PFC Ford is on panel 13E, line 037 of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. He served our country for less than a year.

He served with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, 3rd MAF.

He was awarded The Combat Action Ribbon(CAR), The Purple Heart Medal for his combat related wounds, The Vietnam Service Medal, The Republic of Vietnam Campaign Service Medal, The National Defense Service Medal and The Good Conduct Medal.

We honor you Henry Ford Jr.

(#Repost @Find A Grave)

George Skypeck

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I was that which others did not want to be.
I went where others feared to go, and did what others failed to do.
I asked nothing from those who gave nothing, and reluctantly accepted the thought of eternal loneliness … should I fail.
I have seen the face of terror; felt the stinging cold of fear; and enjoyed the sweet taste of a moment’s love.
I have cried, pained, and hoped … but most of all, I have lived times others would say were best forgotten.
At least someday I will be able to say that I was proud of what I was … a soldier.

SKY, a native of Massachusetts, is one of America’s most prominent military-historical commemorative artists. His name is a registered trademark.

Among nations and places displaying his original artworks and prints are the French Airborne Museum at Ste-Mer-Eglise, Normandy; the Pentagon in Washington; the Korean War Veterans Commission and Ministry of Defense in Seoul, Republic of Korea; Luxembourg; Canberra, Australia, Returned Servicemen’s League Headquarters; the U.S. Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, West Point; the Soldier & Sailors Museum, Buffalo, NY; Arlington National Cemetery; and many military stations at home and abroad. His famous poem Soldier graces several state monuments to honor veterans of all wars and conflicts. His latest painting, Assured Victory… A 09-11-2001 And War On Terrorism Memorial, was loaned for display at Arlington National Cemetery since December, 2001, in honor of the American sacrifices on that day at the Pentagon and New York City World Trade Center terrorists’ attacks and the War on Terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq and worldwide by U.S. military and civilian forces.

SKY has received several awards and commendations for his military service, and for his artwork from various public, private and governmental sectors, the most prestigious being the award of the Military Order of the Purple Heart’s George Washington Medallion of Merit, joining such recipients as Presidents Johnson, Reagan, George Bush Senior, Senator Bob Dole and actor Bob Hope.

SKY is a combat-wounded and disabled Vietnam Veteran having risen to the rank of Captain from Private in the U.S. Army and holds the coveted Combat Infantryman’s Badge, two Bronze Stars, Meritorious Service Medal, three Air Medals, Purple Heart and several foreign awards to include the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry medal, Wound medal and Honor medal (First Class). He served two combat tours as a special warfare and senior intelligence advisor from 1967-71 in isolated outposts. During the Tet Offensive of 1968 battle in Ben-Tre, his outpost coined the famous quote “We had to destroy the town to save it… !” His last assignment on active duty with the Army Recruiting Command in Boston, Massachusetts, was to design and conduct John Wayne’s internationally famous arrival into Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, atop an M-113 armored personnel carrier as a public support event with the Harvard’s Lampoon and Hasty Pudding Club. After release from active duty, he attended the University of Massachusetts at Boston and Amherst earning a Bachelor in Political Science and a Master in Public Administration and attended MIT for special graduate studies in Arms Control and Defense Planning. He studied art at the Corcoran Museum in Washington and had a studio in the Stars & Stripes newspaper building. He is the creator of the Coors Combat Art collection, co-creator of the Coors Scholarship Fund for veterans’ dependents and the newly published Coors book of his artworks, The Defenders Of Freedom. He is a resident artist member of the famous Society of Illustrators of New York City.

Mr. Skypeck was recently presented with the Blinded American Veterans Foundation Communications and Media award at a reception in Congress’ Committee on Veterans Affairs Committee room. Mr. Skypeck was inducted into the US Army Field Artillery Officer Candidate School Hall Of Fame in 2006 for his veterans’ work and artwork contributions to America. He is also a recipient of the University of Massachusetts’ “125 Alumni to Watch” Award.

We honor you, George Skypeck.

(#Repost @International War Veterans Poetry Archives)

 

 

SPC Karen Irene Offutt

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In the late 1960s, Karen Offutt was a teenager and considered herself very patriotic. She got chills whenever she heard “The Star-Spangled Banner.” At 18, she dropped out of nursing school and enlisted in the Army and was deployed to Vietnam.

“I felt real proud to have the uniform on,” Offutt, 68, told her 42-year-old daughter Kristin Glasgow at StoryCorps. “I was an executive stenographer. I had top secret ‘eyes only’ clearance. And a lot of times they would call me in the middle of the night to come in — if we were gonna do an airstrike on a certain village,” Offutt says.

But she also experienced degrading treatment as a woman in the Army. “I had to look ‘cutie,’ you know, with my hair and my lipstick or whatever — and serve tea,” she tells her daughter. “Whatever was needed to be done I did it. Including having to pose as a ‘Bunker Bunny.’ ” Offutt says she had to do what she was told, “or you didn’t last long in the service.”

As a woman, she also didn’t get the same recognition that a man would get for helping save lives. Karen Offutt was awarded a Certificate of Achievement for her heroic acts in Vietnam in 1970. It wasn’t until 2001 that she was awarded a Soldier’s Medal for Valor.

The citation for her medal records the event as follows: “Observing a fire in Vietnamese dwellings near her quarters, she hurried to the scene to provide assistance. Without regard for her personal safety and in great danger of serious injury or death from smoke, flames, and falling debris, she assisted in rescuing several adults and children from the burning structures. Without protective clothing or shoes she repeatedly entered the buildings to lead children that had reentered their homes to safety. She continued to assist the Vietnamese residents in removing personal property and livestock, although danger increased until fire-fighting equipment and personnel arrived.”

Offutt says she went to the Moving Wall, the traveling half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, in 1986. “I remember standing there, staring at those names because I knew some of those guys on the wall. This man came up and put his arm around me and he said, ‘Welcome home, sister.’ And I just started bawling because nobody had ever welcomed me home.”

We honor you, Karen Offutt.

(Submission by Ninzel Rasmuson. #Repost @Hall of Valor and @npr storycorps)

RDML Burton Hale Shepherd

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Rear Admiral Burton H. Shepherd, who during his military career, as a commander, was strike leader of Attack Carrier Air Wing 16.

Oct. 26, 1967, 18 aircrafts set out on a mission to destroy a heavily defended thermal power plant in Hanoi. For this and other acts of bravery during this mission, Shepherd received the Navy Cross.

That citation was read at Monday’s Glenmoor salute by Shepherd’s son, Michael, a resident of Ponte Vedra Beach. In part, it states: “After proceeding expeditiously to the coast to refuel, Commander Shepherd returned to an area south of the target to search for one of his missing strike pilots. Continuing the search for over an hour over enemy terrain in the face of the most concentrated enemy fire in North Vietnam, he finally returned to the coast after reaching a low fuel state.”

The missing pilot who had been shot down was John McCain, now a U.S. senator.

We honor you, Burton Shepherd.

(#Repost @The St. Augustine Record)

1LT Diana J. Ramsey

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Diana J. Ramsey was born on June 21, 1945 in Kingston, Jamaica prior to the island’s independence from the United Kingdom. In 1955, at the age of 10, her family immigrated to the United States so that the kids could receive a good education. They relocated to Connecticut, joining family already established there. The education Ms. Ramsey recieved was part of the reason she was compelled to go to school to be a Nurse. In 1963, she graduated high school and enrolled in the Nursing Program at St. Francis College in New York. After completion of the program, she joined the Army–following in the footsteps family that served in the British Military, and an older sister who had already joined the U. S. Army.

Ms. Ramsey reported to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, for Basic Officer Training in 1966. Upon completion of Basic, she was assigned to Letterman Army Hospital in San Francisco for Advanced Operating Room Nurse Training. While she was slated to be stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas, after that training, she was actually mobilized to the 67th EVAC Hospital in Qui Nhon, Vietnam as an Operating Room Nurse in 1967.

During her time there, Lt. Ramsey was promoted to the Assistant Head Operating Room Nurse. She also assisted the 67th EVAC Hospital in Pleiku, Vietnam. In the OR, she assisted in countless surgeries for the causalities that were brought to the Hospital, tending to wounds sustained in battle.

After Vietnam, she was transferred to the Army Hospital at Fort Belvoir, VA, where she worked as a Nurse at the Pediatric Unit before being discharged from the Army in 1968. In 1969, she married her husband, who she met while stationed at Qui Nhon. Her husband was one of the Anesthesiologists based there as well. They settled in Kansas City, MS, where he completed his OB/GYN residency and she continued to work as an Operating Room Nurse. They would later settle permanently in the Houston, Texas area, were she would continue to work in the Operating Room and assist her husband in his OB/GYN practice. She used the skills she learned in the most extreme of environments to ccontinue to show the compassion for her patients at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

We honor you, Diana Ramsey.

(#Repost @Pritzker Military Museum & Library)

Jose “Joe” Manalisay

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Jose J. Manalisay was born in Merizon, Guam in 1941. Joe joined to US Army as a young man and served 22 adventurous years, of which included serving in the Vietnam War. During on of his military tours, he met his wife, June at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. In July of 2015 they celebrated their 50th Wedding anniversary. After becoming a retired veteran, Joe kept himself busy with odd jobs until he found his ideal work cooking for others in a local senior residence care home. He loved it, and they loved him.

Joe was also active with the American Legion , Guam Club of the State of Washington and many other organizations. He enjoyed cooking for these members also. No one leaves hungry under his watch.

We honor you, Jose Manalisay.

(Submission by: American Legion post 138)