Archive for Military

South Carolina ranked #1 in Most Patriotic States

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Movoto (via The State) ranks the 10 Most Patriotic States:

  1. South Carolina
  2. Maine
  3. North Carolina
  4. Wyoming
  5. Virginia
  6. Florida
  7. Georgia
  8. Alaska
  9. Alabama
  10. Arizona

Maryland ranks 30th.

The criteria used for the rankings:

  • National Historic Landmarks per Capita
  • Veterans per Capita
  • Money Spent to Fund Veterans
  • Percent of Residents That Voted in the Last Presidential Election
  • People Who Google For American Flags to buy
  • People Who List America as an Interest on Facebook

Report: Email may exist proving Bergdahl swap driven by VA scandal

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Shannon Grady of Politichicks (Hat Tip: Young Cons) reports on a recent town hall held by Congressman Mick Mulvaney in South Carolina:

According to Congressman Mulvaney, there is believed to be an email from officials inside the White House exclaiming, “The VA scandal is killing us and we need to move on the Bergdahl trade without going through Congress.” If this email exist and can be brought forward as evidence it will certainly eliminate the President’s claim that he acted in the event of an emergency. Given the bi-partisan furor which ensued after he took such unilateral action, it seems clear that this would be the best path for impeachment.

Could this lead to impeachment if this email does exist?

7 Facts you should know about the U.S. Army on its 239th Birthday

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Saturday (June 14, 2014) is the 239th Army Birthday (and it’s also Flag Day.) Here are some facts about the United States Army that you may or may not know already.

  1. Almost 70% of all Medals of Honor have been awarded to soldiers in the U.S. Army. Figures from August 2013 show that 2,403 Medals of Honor had been awarded to soldiers while 3,468 had been awarded to service members in all branches combined. 1198 of the Army Medal of Honor recipients were awarded the medal for actions during the Civil War.
  2. The youngest officer to become a General in the Army was only 20 years old. Galusha Pennypacker, of Pennsylvania, enlisted in the Army at the age of 16 in 1861. He received a brevet promotion in January 1865 to Brigadier General after the Battle of Fort Fisher. He received a full promotion to that rank a month later and also received the Medal of Honor for those actions. After the war, he continued in the regular Army as a Colonel. George Armstrong Custer was also one of the youngest officers promoted to general during the Civil War. He was promoted from Captain to Brigadier General only three days before the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.
  3.  Henry “Hap” Arnold was the only person to hold the rank of five-star general in two branches of the military. Arnold became a five-star general (General of the Army) and was only behind Marshall, MacArthur, and Eisenhower in seniority at that rank. He retired in 1946 and a law passed by Congress in 1949 made his last rank General of the Air Force – since the Air Force didn’t exist as a separate branch until 1947.
  4. The oldest active duty regiment in the Army is the Old Guard. The Old Guard has been designated as the 3rd Infantry Regiment since 1815. Before that, it was organized as the First American Regiment in 1784. There have been five Medal of Honor recipients who served in the 3rd Infantry Regiment – the last was during Vietnam. In addition to the ceremonial units at Fort Myer adjacent to Arlington Cemetery, 2nd Battalion of the 3rd Infantry Regiment is at Fort Lewis, Washington. That battalion is equipped with Stryker armored fighting vehicles (wheeled) and is part of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 2nd Infantry Division. UPDATE: One highly-knowledgeable reader points out that the “oldest continuously-serving unit in the Regular Army is D Battery, 1st Bn, 5th Field Artillery” that was formed as Alexander Hamilton’s Battery during the Revolution.
  5. The earliest actions that an African-American soldier received the Medal of Honor for resulted in William H. Carney receiving the MOH. While he actually received the Medal in 1900, the actions he earned it for took place on July 18, 1863 at Battery Wagner on Morris Island in South Carolina. Carney served in the 54th Massachusetts, the unit immortalized in the movie Glory.
  6. The Lewis and Clark Expedition was an Army operation. Captain Meriwether Lewis and Lieutenant William Clark could choose any member of the Regular Army or the Militia to be a member of their Corps of Discovery. The expedition was funded by the War Department and the Army Quartermaster procured supplies for it. The soldiers were split into squads and were in uniform for the whole expedition.
  7. The Army Astronaut Badge is said to be the rarest badge issued by the U.S. Army. As of 2008, around 15 soldiers had earned it. Most of them have been graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

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Starbucks manager reportedly told employees to throw away military hats from display

Starbucks-Logo

WIS reports on something quite disturbing that reportedly took place at a Starbucks in Columbia, South Carolina:

Dan Ramsey noticed something was different about the Starbucks in Trenholm Plaza in Forest Acres. Military hats that used to hang on a wall in the store, were no longer there.

“One in particular is someone I know, and that person is no longer with us,” said Ramsey, a medically retired Marine.

According to a spokeswoman for Starbucks, the hats were taken down during renovation and intended to be put back up.

Two former employees, Stephanie Campbell and Andrew Moseley, said that they originally understood that the hats would be put back up too.

However, they soon found out otherwise:

Until, they say, the general manager asked employees to get rid of the hats.

“They told us to throw them away,” said Moseley. “I just took them with me. I wasn’t going to let somebody else throw them away.”

Campbell and Moseley gave the hats to Ramsey earlier this week, but Starbucks wants them back now:

The spokeswoman says the company recognizes “how meaningful the hats are to customers” and would like them to be put back on the wall.

According to the spokeswoman, they are working internally to determine what may have happened at the Starbucks branch in Trenholm Plaza.

This Starbucks location is just over a mile or so from Gate 2 at Fort Jackson, which is the most heavily trafficked entrance to the Army post. It’s already on Starbucks’ radar screen now and they are scrambling to try to fix the situation. However, if you feel the need, you can email them.

Kudos to Stephanie Campbell and Andrew Moseley for saving the hats from being thrown away.

May 27, 1942: Dorie Miller received Navy Cross for Pearl Harbor heroism

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From the AP’s Today in History article for May 27:

In 1942, Navy Cook 3rd Class Doris “Dorie” Miller became the first African-American to receive the Navy Cross for his “extraordinary courage and disregard for his own personal safety” during Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.

Dorie Miller was born in 1919 in Waco, Texas. Miller dropped out of school and was turned down for the Civilian Conservation Corps. He worked on the family farmer until his enlistment. He enlisted in the Navy in 1939 and became a Mess Attendant, 3rd Class. That was one of the only ratings open to African-Americans at the time.  After his training, he was assigned to the ammunition ship Pyro before being assigned to the USS West Virginia and eventually being promoted to Ship’s Cook, Third Class.

On December 7, 1941, Miller served breakfast and then was collecting laundry when the first Japanese torpedo hit the ship. Miller’s battle station had been destroyed so he aided officers in moving the wounded Captain and then helped man an anti-aircraft machine gun.  He also helped move wounded shipmates to the quarterdeck before eventually abandoning ship as West Virginia sank.

About a week later, he was transferred to the USS Indianapolis. A list of commendations released in January 1942 included “an unnamed Negro” and the NAACP asked President Franklin D. Roosevelt to award that unnamed man a Distinguished Service Cross. When Miller’s identity was discovered, there was legislation suggesting he be given the Medal of Honor and a newspaper pushed for him to be sent to the U.S. Naval Academy. 

On May 27, 1942, aboard the USS Enterprise, Admiral Chester Nimitz awarded the Navy Cross to Dorie Miller.

From the citation:

For distinguished devotion to duty, extraordinary courage and disregard for his own personal safety during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941. While at the side of his Captain on the bridge, Miller, despite enemy strafing and bombing and in the face of a serious fire, assisted in moving his Captain, who had been mortally wounded, to a place of greater safety, and later manned and operated a machine gun directed at enemy Japanese attacking aircraft until ordered to leave the bridge.

Miller came back to the U.S. and went on a war bond speaking tour. He was also featured on recruiting posters. On May 15, 1943, he was promoted to Petty Officer and assigned to the USS Liscome Bay. A Japanese submarine sank the ship in November 1943 and Miller was declared missing action. A year later he was officially presumed to be dead.

There have been several pieces of popular culture focused on Miller. In 2010, he was featured on a postage stamp and in 2007 a new biography of Miller was published. In 2001, Cuba Gooding, Jr. portrayed Miller in the movie Pearl Harbor.

Watch Video of the 2014 Warriors to Lourdes Pilgrimage

lourdes-grotto

New Advent embeds the Catholic News Agency video below showing veterans and military personnel making a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes:

I previously wrote about this pilgrimage.

From the pilgrimage website:

The 2014 Warriors to Lourdes Pilgrimage for Wounded or Disabled Military Personnel for the 56th Annual International Military Pilgrimage will take place on May 13-19, 2014.

The pilgrimage, sponsored by the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA and the Knights of Columbus, is the latest event in a long history of both organization’s involvement in Lourdes and in service to the military.

Wounded or disabled military personnel and their essential companion-caregivers will travel to the Marian shrine for a time of resting, praying, and healing. The five-day pilgrimage will consist of a number of spectacular and spiritual events, including: a war memorial ceremony, special Masses and events for the American pilgrims, Eucharistic procession and benediction, and a grand closing ceremony that draws tens of thousands to the sacred shrine.

2014 Memorial Day Weekend Wrap-Up

gold-star
A recap of my Memorial Day Weekend posts:

  • There are a lot of people who either don’t know the difference (or don’t want to know) between Veterans Day and Memorial Day. I addressed that issue, and since then there have been a couple of people in the comments insisting the holidays are the same. I’ll be nice and not say what I really think of that.
  • I did also write about one blogger who apparently didn’t know the difference between the two holidays and then promptly politicized it.
  • One person who got it right for Memorial Day was Senator John Cornyn.
  • I wrote about the service and sacrifice of Neil J. Damato and Anthony P. Damato. The Damato brothers were my wife’s great-uncles who gave their lives in World War II. Neil was bombardier on a B-17 that was shot down in November 1943. Anthony threw himself onto a grenade to save his fellow Marines in February 1944. He posthumously received the Medal of Honor.
  • I also wrote about Medal of Honor Recipient Emil Kapaun. Father Kapaun was a Chaplain who died as a prisoner of war in Korea. He has been declared a Servant of God by the Catholic church – which means he is at the first step of the journey to sainthood.
  • Clemson University has 448 fallen alumni on its Scroll of Honor. Iwrote about some of those men, including Rudolf Anderson and Jimmy Dyess. Dyess was a Medal of Honor recipient who died in the Battle of Kwajalein. Anderson was the first recipient ever of the Air Force Cross and died when the U-2 he was piloting was shot down over Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • I previewed the National Memorial Day Parade and the celebrities participating in it. I also wrote about the Grand Marshal of the parade, Dick Cole, who was Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot on the Doolittle Raid.
  • I also offered a prayer for Memorial Day.

Memorial Day: Clemson’s Scroll of Honor includes Rudolf Anderson and MOH recipient Jimmie Dyess

Scroll of Honor

484 Clemson alumni gave their lives in service of the United States military. Clemson was  second only to Texas A&M in the number of commissioned officers provided (6,475) during World War II. Three alumni received the Medal of Honor, including one who was killed.  All 484 of the fallen alumni are listed in the Scroll of Honor. Memorial Park honoring them is behind Memorial Stadium.

Here’s the breakdown by war or conflict:

  • WW I – 27; Nicaraguan Campaign – 1
  • WW II – 376; Korean War -19
  • Cuban Missile Crisis – 1
  • Vietnam War – 31
  • The Cold War – 26
  • Global War on Terrorism – 3

Taking a closer look at some of the facts related to the Scroll of Honor:

  • The whole Class of 1917 volunteered en masses for WWI.
  • 12 of the 27 WWI deaths were of Spanish influenza or pneumonia.
  • Five alumni (out of eight forced to participate) died as a result of the Bataan Death March during WWII.
  • Aubrey Rion,  starting quarterback from the 1939 football team that went to the Cotton Bowl (Clemson’s first bowl game), was killed defending Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944.
  • Major Malcomb Edens, Class of 1947, was a pilot and a POW in the Korean Conflict.
  • Colonel Wesley Platt had been a prisoner of the Japanese in WWII and died in the Korean Conflict.
  • Colonel Albert Smarr served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. He was a POW after the B-17 he was gunner on was shot down by the Germans. He was freed by the Soviets during the liberation of Berlin.  He graduated Clemson after the war in 1950 and was assigned to a Tank Battalion in Korea. He was killed in a helicopter crash in Vietnam in 1972.

I decided to take a closer look at Rudolf Anderson, who was shot down over Cuba in 1962, and Jimmie Dyess, who posthumously received the Medal of Honor.

rudolf-andersonMajor Rudolf Anderson, Jr. was the only death of the Cuban Missile Crisis caused by enemy fire. He was born in Greenville, South Carolina, in 1927. He graduated from Greenville High School and was an Eagle Scout. Anderson graduated Clemson in 1948 and was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Air Force.

He flew RF-86 Sabres in Korea and received two awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross during that conflict. He then transitioned to the U-2 in 1957 and had over 1000 hours in that aircraft. On October 27, 1962, Anderson took off from McCoy AFB near Orlando to fly a mission over Cuba. He was shot down by a surface-to-air-missile (SA-2) near Banes, Cuba. President John F. Kennedy ordered that Anderson be given the first award ever of the Air Force Cross. He also received the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, a Purple Heart, and the Cheney Award.

Anderson is buried in Woodlawn Memorial Park in Greenville (Shoeless Joe Jackson is also buried there.) A memorial to Anderson (consisting of a F-86) is located in Greenville’s Cleveland Park.

jimmie-dyessAquilla James Dyess was born in Andersonville, Georgia in 1909. He was an Eagle Scout. He graduated Clemson College in 1932, so he was a rat the same year my grandfather graduated. Dyess was commissioned an infantry officer in the U.S. Army Reserve after his graduation. In 1936, he became an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

On February 2, 1944, Lt. Colonel Dyess was killed during the Battle of Kwajalein on the island of Namur in the Kwajalein Atoll.   He led from the front as his men were under heavy automatic fire. Dyess was initially buried in the 4th Marine Division Cemetery on Roi-Namur, Kwajalein Atoll. He was reinterred in Augusta, Georgia in 1948.

Dyess was awarded the Medal of Honorfor his actions at Kwajalein. He is the only American to receive the Carnegie Medal for heroism and a Medal of Honor. He received the Carnegie Medal in 1929 for saving two swimmers off the SC coast.

In 1945, the USS Dyess (DD-880) was named for him. It was a Gearing-class destroyer, the same as the USS Damato. The Naval & Marine Corps Reserve Center in Augusta was named for him in 1998.

From his Medal of Honor citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the First Battalion, Twenty-Fourth Marines, Reinforced, Fourth Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the assault on Namur Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, February 1 and 2, 1944. Undaunted by severe fire from automatic Japanese weapons, Lieutenant Colonel Dyess launched a powerful final attack on the second day of the assault, unhesitatingly posting himself between the opposing lines to point out objectives and avenues of approach and personally leading the advancing troops. Alert, and determined to quicken the pace of the offensive against increased enemy fire, he was constantly at the head of advance units, inspiring his men to push forward until the Japanese had been driven back to a small center of resistance and victory assured. While standing on the parapet of an antitank trench directing a group of infantry in a flanking attack against the last enemy position, Lieutenant Colonel Dyess was killed by a burst of enemy machine-gun fire. His daring and forceful leadership and his valiant fighting spirit in the face of terrific opposition were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

David Hood also wrote a piece on the sacrifice of Clemson alumni.

Memorial Day: Remembering the Damato brothers who both gave their lives in WWII

Cemetery marker for Neil J. Damato and Anthony P. Damato

The above marker memorializing Neil J. Damato and Anthony P. Damato is at a cemetery in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. They were both my wife’s great-uncles on her mother’s side of the family. Both gave their lives four months apart in 1943 and 1944.

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Neil J. Damato was born in 1918 in Shenandoah, which is in Schuylkill County.

His initial military service was in the U.S. Army as a Lieutenant in M Company of 157th Regiment in the 45th Infantry Division. He enlisted in the Army Air Forces in Philadelphia on February 4, 1942 for the duration of the war.

In 1943, Captain Neil Damato was the bombardier on a B-17F in in 8th Air Force. Specifically, he was in the 332nd Bomber Squadron of the 94th Bomber Group (Heavy.)

On November 5, 1943, the crew of aircraft 42-31066 took off from Bury St. Edmunds (RAF Station Rougham there was used by the USAAF during the war)  in England. The assigned target for the bombing mission was a synthetic oil refinery north-west of Gelsenkirchen, a German city that was a center for oil refinery and coal production. The aircraft was hit and eventually “[w]ent down from 27,000ft under control and exploded from fighter attacks. Crashed into the North Sea 300 yards west off Haamstede on Schouwen Island, Holland, at 1353hrs.” Two members of the crew were captured and the other eight crew members were classified as missing in action until a finding of death was made. Neil Damato’s body was never found.

His decorations included a Purple Heart and the Air Medal with three oak leaf clustrs. He is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten.

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Anthony P. Damato was born in 1922 in Shenadoah, Pennsylvania. He delivered the Evening Herald and worked as a truck driver for a local coal dealer. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Marine Corps in January 1942. He completed boot camp and then went to Derry, Ireland. He volunteered for special invasion duty in the North African campaign and was promoted to corporal after meritorious action during the invasion of Arzew, Algeria in November 1942. Starting in March 1943, he spent three months in the United States before sailing for the Pacific theater. He served there with 2nd Battalion, 22nd Marines, 5th Amphibious Corps. During a fight on Engebi Island (Eniwetok Atoll) in the Marshall Islands he died after throwing himself on a Japanese grenade that had been tossed into the fighting position he shared with fellow Marines. He was originally buried on Kiririan in the Marshall Islands until his body was reinterred at Section A, Grave 334 in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii.

On April 9, 1945, his mother was presented his Medal of Honor at  a ceremony in Shenandoah.

From Anthony Damato’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 with an assault company of the Second Battalion, Twenty-Second Marines, Fifth Amphibious Corps, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Eniwetok Atoll Marshall Islands, on the night of February 19,-20, 1944. Highly vulnerable to sudden attack by small, fanatical groups of Japanese still at large despite the efficient and determined efforts of our forces to clear the area, Corporal Damato lay with two comrades in a large foxhole in his company’s defense perimeter which had been dangerously thinned by the forced withdrawal of nearly half of the available men. When one of the enemy approached the foxhole undetected and threw in a hand grenade, Corporal Damato desperately groped for it in the darkness. Realizing the imminent peril to all three and fully aware of the consequences of his act, he unhesitatingly flung himself on the grenade and, although instantly killed as his body absorbed the explosion, saved the lives of his two companions. Corporal Damato’s splendid initiative, fearless conduct and valiant sacrifice reflect great upon himself and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his comrades.

After the war, in November 1945, the U.S.S. Anthony Damato (DD-871) was launched and later commissioned in 1946. Also after the war, a trophy given to the winner of the Mahanoy-Shenadoah high school football game was named for Anthony Damato and Jerome Szematowicz, who was stationed at Hickam Field and died in the attack on Pearl Harbor. The trophy was given to the winner of the game from 1945-1958 and then again since 1995.

American Legion Post 792 in Shenandoah is named for Anthony Damato and on Memorial Day 2012 they dedicated this mural:

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Brave men and women who gave their lives like Neil and Anthony Damato are why we are free and able to observe the solemn occasion of Memorial Day in 2014.

Prayer for Memorial Day

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God of power and mercy,
you destroy war and put down earthly pride.
Banish violence from our midst and wipe away our tears,
that we may all deserve to be called your sons
and daughters.
Keep in your mercy those men and women
who have died in the cause of freedom
and bring them safely
into your kingdom of justice and peace.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

—from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers