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Friday, July 21 2017 @ 05:42 pm PDT

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Wednesday Hero (catch-up)

Wednesday Hero Blogroll*****
This post was suggested by Michael

Cpt. Joseph O'Callahan

Cpt. Joseph O'Callahan

58 years old from Worcester, Mass

Naval Reserve Chaplain Corps, USS Franklin

May 14, 1905 - March 18, 1964

U.S. Navy

From Cpt. O'Callahan's Medal Of Honor citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as chaplain on board the U.S.S. Franklin when that vessel was fiercely attacked by enemy Japanese aircraft during offensive operations near Kobe, Japan, on 19 March 1945. A valiant and forceful leader, calmly braving the perilous barriers of flame and twisted metal to aid his men and his ship, Lt. Comdr. O'Callahan groped his way through smoke-filled corridors to the shells, rockets, and other armament. With the ship rocked by incessant explosions, with debris and fragments raining down and fires raging in ever-increasing fury, he ministered to the wounded and dying, comforting and encouraging men of all faiths; he organized and led firefighting crews into the blazing inferno on the flight deck; he directed the jettisoning of live ammunition and the flooding of the magazine; he manned a hose to cool hot, armed bombs rolling dangerously on the listing deck, continuing his efforts, despite searing, suffocating smoke which forced men to fall back gasping and imperiled others who replaced them. Serving with courage, fortitude, and deep spiritual strength, Lt. Comdr. O'Callahan.

You can read more about Cpt. O'Callahan here

*****
This post was suggested by Michael

Maj. Charles Watters

Maj. Charles Watters

40 years old from Jersey City, New Jersey

Army Chaplain Corps, 173rd Support Battalion

January 17, 1927 - November 19, 1967

U.S. Army

From Maj. Watters's Medal Of Honor citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Chaplain Watters distinguished himself during an assault in the vicinity of Dak To. Chaplain Watters was moving with one of the companies when it engaged a heavily armed enemy battalion. As the battle raged and the casualties mounted, Chaplain Watters, with complete disregard for his safety, rushed forward to the line of contact. Unarmed and completely exposed, he moved among, as well as in front of the advancing troops, giving aid to the wounded, assisting in their evacuation, giving words of encouragement, and administering the last rites to the dying. When a wounded paratrooper was standing in shock in front of the assaulting forces, Chaplain Watters ran forward, picked the man up on his shoulders and carried him to safety. As the troopers battled to the first enemy entrenchment, Chaplain Watters ran through the intense enemy fire to the front of the entrenchment to aid a fallen comrade. A short time later, the paratroopers pulled back in preparation for a second assault. Chaplain Watters exposed himself to both friendly and enemy fire between the two forces in order to recover two wounded soldiers. Later, when the battalion was forced to pull back into a perimeter, Chaplain Watters noticed that several wounded soldiers were lying outside the newly formed perimeter. Without hesitation and ignoring attempts to restrain him, Chaplain Watters left the perimeter three times in the face of small arms, automatic weapons, and mortar fire to carry and to assist the injured troopers to safety. Satisfied that all of the wounded were inside the perimeter, he began aiding the medics ... applying field bandages to open wounds, obtaining and serving food and water, giving spiritual and mental strength and comfort. During his ministering, he moved out to the perimeter from position to position redistributing food and water, and tending to the needs of his men. Chaplain Watters was giving aid to the wounded when he himself was mortally wounded. Chaplain Watters' unyielding perseverance and selfless devotion to his comrades was in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.

You can read more about Maj. Charles Watters here

*****
This post was suggested by SJ

George H. Kirk, Sr.

George H. Kirk, Sr.

82 years old

3rd Marine Division

May 25, 1917 - October 28, 1999

George Kirk, Sr. was a Marine and a Navajo Code Talker who passed away in 1999. Recently his uniform was set to go up for auction but thankfully Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly heard about it and was able to get it returned to the tribe.

You can read more about this story here

*****
This post was suggested by Kathi

Sgt. Maj. Jon Cavaiani

Sgt. Maj. Jon Cavaiani

70 years old from Stanford, California

August 2, 1943 - July 29, 2014

U.S. Army

When Sergeant Cavaiani and the remaining platoon members could not halt the enemy advance, he ordered his men to escape while he laid down covering fire. As they ran, the citation said, he "recovered a machine gun, stood up, completely exposing himself to the heavy enemy fire directed at him, and began firing the machine gun in a sweeping motion." Most of his men escaped. Sergeant Cavaiani was severely wounded. He told the PBS series "American Valor" that he had "almost 120 shrapnel holes in me, and a couple of bullet holes." He said he had played dead when enemy soldiers took the hill and then hid in the jungle for more than 10 days before he was captured. He spent 23 months as a prisoner of war, much of that time in solitary confinement. He was released in March 1973.

From Sgt. Maj. Cavaiani's Medal Of Honor citation:

S/Sgt. Cavaiani distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action in the Republic of Vietnam on 4 and 5 June 1971 while serving as a platoon leader to a security platoon providing security for an isolated radio relay site located within enemy-held territory. On the morning of 4 June 1971, the entire camp came under an intense barrage of enemy small arms, automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenade and mortar fire from a superior size enemy force. S/Sgt. Cavaiani acted with complete disregard for his personal safety as he repeatedly exposed himself to heavy enemy fire in order to move about the camp's perimeter directing the platoon's fire and rallying the platoon in a desperate fight for survival. S/Sgt. Cavaiani also returned heavy suppressive fire upon the assaulting enemy force during this period with a variety of weapons. When the entire platoon was to be evacuated, S/Sgt. Cavaiani unhesitatingly volunteered to remain on the ground and direct the helicopters into the landing zone. S/Sgt. Cavaiani was able to direct the first 3 helicopters in evacuating a major portion of the platoon. Due to intense increase in enemy fire, S/Sgt. Cavaiani was forced to remain at the camp overnight where he calmly directed the remaining platoon members in strengthening their defenses. On the morning of 5 June, a heavy ground fog restricted visibility. The superior size enemy force launched a major ground attack in an attempt to completely annihilate the remaining small force. The enemy force advanced in 2 ranks, first firing a heavy volume of small arms automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade fire while the second rank continuously threw a steady barrage of hand grenades at the beleaguered force. S/Sgt. Cavaiani returned a heavy barrage of small arms and hand grenade fire on the assaulting enemy force but was unable to slow them down. He ordered the remaining platoon members to attempt to escape while he provided them with cover fire. With one last courageous exertion, S/Sgt. Cavaiani recovered a machine gun, stood up, completely exposing himself to the heavy enemy fire directed at him, and began firing the machine gun in a sweeping motion along the two ranks of advancing enemy soldiers. Through S/Sgt. Cavaiani's valiant efforts with complete disregard for his safety, the majority of the remaining platoon members were able to escape. While inflicting severe losses on the advancing enemy force, S/Sgt. Cavaiani was wounded numerous times. S/Sgt. Cavaiani's conspicuous gallantry, extraordinary heroism and intrepidity at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.

You can read more about Jon Cavaiani here

*****

 Admiral Oscar Badger II

Admiral Oscar Badger II

68 years old from Washington, D.C.

June 26, 1890 - November 30, 1958

U.S.
Navy

During his 41 years of service, Admiral Oscar Badger II saw action in the U.S. occupation of Veracruz as well as both World Wars. He was awarded four Legion of Merit awards, the Navy Cross as well as the Medal Of Honor.

You can read more about Oscar Badger II here and here

*****

 Spc. 4 Donald Sloat

Spc 4 Donald Sloat

20 years old from Coweta, Oklahoma

3rd Platoon, Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 196th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division

February 1949 - January 17, 1970

U.S. Army

On September 15, Spc. 4 Donald Sloat was posthumously awarded the Medal Of Honor for his actions in 1970 in Vietnam:

Specialist Four Donald P. Sloat distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, while serving as a machine gunner with 3rd Platoon, Company D, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 196th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in the Republic of Vietnam, Jan. 17, 1970. D Company operated out of Fire Support Base Hawk Hill in an area of I Corps. They were located south and southwest of Danang providing security for local villages and conducting regular searches for NVA units. The territory they patrolled stretched from the coastal lowlands to the mountains and jungle. North Vietnamese and Viet Cong activity was common in the area, and D Company suffered regular casualties from snipers and booby traps. On the morning of Jan. 17, 1970, Sloat's squad was conducting a patrol, serving as a blocking element in support of tanks and armored personnel carriers from F Troop in the Que Son valley. As the squad moved through dense up a small hill in file formation, the lead Soldier tripped a wire attached to a hand grenade booby-trap set up by enemy forces. When the grenade rolled down the hill toward Sloat, he had a choice. He could hit the ground and seek cover, or pick up the grenade and throw it away from his fellow Soldiers. After initially attempting to throw the grenade, Sloat realized that detonation was imminent, and that two or three men near him would be killed or seriously injured if he couldn't shield them from the blast. In an instant, Sloat chose to draw the grenade to his body, shielding his squad members from the blast, and saving their lives. Sloat's actions define the ultimate sacrifice of laying down his own life in order to save the lives of his comrades. Specialist Four Donald P. Sloat's extraordinary heroism and selflessness are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service, and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

*****
A quick note about this weeks post. Below is all the information that could be found about Airman Second Class Gordon Thayer. Not everyone who has served goes into the history books. The majority simply return home and live their lives.

Airman Second Class Gordon Thayer

U.S. Air Force

From Airman Second Class Thayer's Silver Star citation:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 8, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Airman Second Class Gordon C. Thayer, United States Air Force, for gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force near Phouc Vinh, Republic of Vietnam on 25 August 1966. On that date, Airman Thayer was a Pararescueman aboard a Rescue Helicopter, which was shot down and forced to crash-land while attempting to evacuate wounded Army personnel. Shaking off the effects of shock of the extremely hard landing and with complete disregard for personal safety, Airman Thayer tended to the Army wounded while subjecting himself to intense hostile fire. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Airman Thayer has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

From Airman Second Class Thayer's Distinguished Flying Cross citation:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Airman Gordon C. Thayer, United States Air Force, for heroism involving aerial flight as para-rescueman on an unarmed and unarmored CH-3C helicopter over North Vietnam on 27 July 1965. On that date, Airman Thayer's aircraft penetrated the surface-to-air missile envelope surrounding Hanoi, North Vietnam, to successfully recover a pilot who had abandoned his crippled aircraft in that area. This recovery operation involved flight in excess of 300 miles over hostile territory under marginal weather conditions and without navigational aids. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty demonstrated by Airman Thayer reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so that we may get to enjoy our freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.

Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

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Hey, look, the blog is back online!

General NewsI'm still not sure of what happened with my hosting service these last few months, but thankfully it is sorted out and the old posts are back, so I might dare to write a new one or two someday.

Life has changed. The Great Move has been accomplished, although we still have crazy amounts of boxes to still unpack. We love our new house and moving back to an old haunt feels right. But it has been more than ten years since I've had any kind of residence here, so it's an odd experience. We're planning to stay for at least five years. Still, I wonder if I'm jinxing myself by throwing away the boxes and the bubble wrap.

Politics... I'm fed up and and yesterday's election showed that most of the country is fed up too. We'll see if the new government can do any better.

I'll do some mass postings of Wednesday Hero to catch up and then I'll try to work through all the things I flagged for attention these last couple months. Thanks for sticking around.
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13 years

9/11Remembering...

13 years. It doesn't seem possible that so much time has passed, except that most of us are becoming "former" to whatever we were back then. Yet the fight continues. In 13 more years, will it be our children doing the fighting?

Will they see that diplomacy and hatred and warfare all have limits?

Will they learn from the Greatest Generation and go all-in to stop the evils of terrorism and the devaluation of human life, a devaluation that is not limited to the Middle East?

For those of us who were adults on 9/11/01, our role is changing. I think we're feeling our age this year. We're becoming the teachers, the foundations for those who will carry on this fight. A lot of moms talk about how they still see their sons as little boys when they go off to war. I look at my little boy and see the man he will become. I have my work cut out for me in directing his iron will, but he's fearless. He loves a challenge. He barely notices pain. And he tries to make everyone his friend. He amazes and scares me because he has so much potential.

Thirteen years is nothing in the Middle East. Neither is sixteen years.

So let's get smart about finishing this fight. Our memories should fuel us to new strategies and greater self-denial. We want our kids to be ready to serve, but maybe, just maybe, it will be less necessary.

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Wednesday Hero

Wednesday Hero BlogrollThis Post Was Suggested By Mike

Technician 5th Grade Robert
Maxwell

Technician 5th Grade Robert Maxwell

93 years old from Boise, Idaho

3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division

U.S. Army

From Technician 5th Grade Maxwell's Medal Of Honor citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 7 September 1944, near Besancon, France. Technician 5th Grade Maxwell and 3 other soldiers, armed only with .45 caliber automatic pistols, defended the battalion observation post against an overwhelming onslaught by enemy infantrymen in approximately platoon strength, supported by 20mm. flak and machinegun fire, who had infiltrated through the battalion's forward companies and were attacking the observation post with machinegun, machine pistol, and grenade fire at ranges as close as 10 yards. Despite a hail of fire from automatic weapons and grenade launchers, Technician 5th Grade Maxwell aggressively fought off advancing enemy elements and, by his calmness, tenacity, and fortitude, inspired his fellows to continue the unequal struggle. When an enemy hand grenade was thrown in the midst of his squad, Technician 5th Grade Maxwell unhesitatingly hurled himself squarely upon it, using his blanket and his unprotected body to absorb the full force of the explosion. This act of instantaneous heroism permanently maimed Technician 5th Grade Maxwell, but saved the lives of his comrades in arms and facilitated maintenance of vital military communications during the temporary withdrawal of the battalion's forward headquarters.

You can read more about Technician 5th Grade Maxwell here and here

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.

Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

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A word of explanation

General NewsI don't want to waste your time with ongoing apologies in lieu of posts, but I feel a brief explanation is in order.

I have a 2 year old. We're selling our current house. We're buying a new one in another town. There's also a possible job change in the works.

And for the moment, it's next to impossible for me to give the critical issues of our world the deep attention they require. I'm reading what I can, but I don't feel ready to write about them yet. But I intend to revive this blog just as soon as I can. Thanks for sticking with me.
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Good stuff

General NewsNavy Vet Creates His Own Prosthetic
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Wednesday Hero

Wednesday Hero BlogrollThis Post Was Suggested By Mike

Ens. John Parle

Ens. John Parle

23 years old from Omaha, Nebraska

USS LST-375

May 26, 1920 - July 10, 1943

U.S.
Navy

From Ens. Parle's Medal Of Honor citation:

For valor and courage above and beyond the call of duty as Officer-in-Charge of Small Boats in the USS LST-375 during the amphibious assault on the island of Sicily, 9-10 July 1943. Realizing that a detonation of explosives would prematurely disclose to the enemy the assault about to be carried out, and with full knowledge of the peril involved, Ens. Parle unhesitatingly risked his life to extinguish a smoke pot accidentally ignited in a boat carrying charges of high explosives, detonating fuses and ammunition. Undaunted by fire and blinding smoke, he entered the craft, quickly snuffed out a burning fuse, and after failing in his desperate efforts to extinguish the fire pot, finally seized it with both hands and threw it over the side. Although he succumbed a week later from smoke and fumes inhaled, Ens. Parle's heroic self-sacrifice prevented grave damage to the ship and personnel and insured the security of a vital mission. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.

You can read more about Ens. Parle here

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.

Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

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Those 40 virgins weren't quite what you expected...

General NewsA Woman's Job: Kurdish Female Fighters on the Front Lines in Iraq
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Wednesday Hero

Wednesday Hero BlogrollThis Post Was Suggested By Mike

1st Lt. Vernon Baker

1st Lt. Vernon Baker

90 years old from St. Maries, Idaho

370th Infantry Regiment, 92nd Infantry Division

December 17, 1919- July 13, 2010

U.S. Army

From Lt. Baker's Medal Of Honor citation:

For extraordinary heroism in action on 5 and 6 April 1945, near Viareggio, Italy. Then Second Lieutenant Baker demonstrated outstanding courage and leadership in destroying enemy installations, personnel, and equipment during his company's attack against a strongly entrenched enemy in mountainous terrain. When his company was stopped by the concentration of fire from several machine gun emplacements, he crawled to one position and destroyed it, killing three Germans. Continuing forward, he attacked an enemy observation post and killed two occupants. With the aid of one of his men, Lieutenant Baker attacked two more machine gun nests, killing or wounding the four enemy soldiers occupying these positions. He then covered the evacuation of the wounded personnel of his company by occupying an exposed position and drawing the enemy's fire. On the following night Lieutenant Baker voluntarily led a battalion advance through enemy mine fields and heavy fire toward the division objective. Second Lieutenant Baker's fighting spirit and daring leadership were an inspiration to his men and exemplify the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.

You can read more about Lt. Baker here

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.

Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

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3 Years

General News

Memory Eternal. 3 years ago this tragedy hit and I had to take a hard look at my life. Now, I'm still not entirely where I want to be but I've made good strides. I've moved forward and built something. May we continue to embrace the gift of life in the face of so much death.