War Stories by Preston Stewart

By Preston Stewart

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Description

"War Stories" is conversational military history hosted by Preston Stewart. Storytelling military and historical events from WWI to WWII, Korea to Vietnam, and Iraq to Afghanistan, we bring on varied guests to help continue to document our warriors, both past and present.

Episode Date
172: MG (Ret) John Raaen Part II - First Hand Accounts From a Ranger at Normandy, Brest, and the Battle of the Bulge
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Sayre and I are honored to be joined again by MG (Ret) John Raaen.  MG Raaen graduated from West Point in the January class of 1943 as an engineer.  Before long he volunteered for the Rangers and became a company commander in the 5th Ranger Battalion.  In this episode we pick up where we left off last time, June 6th 1944. 

 MG Raaen talks about the first link up with the 1st Infantry Division behind Omaha Beach, the quality of the German soldier, and much more.

Nov 26, 2021
171: Peter Cozzens "Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation"
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Sayre and Preston are joined today by author Peter Cozzens to talk about his most recent book, "Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation".

Peter Cozzens is the international-award winning author or editor of seventeen books on the American Civil War and the American West. Cozzens retired after a thirty-year career as a Foreign Service Officer, U. S. Department of State. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he served as a captain in the U. S. Army.  Cozzens's most recent book, Tecumseh and the Prophet, published by Alfred A. Knopf in October 2020, was awarded the Western Writers of America Spur Award and was a finalist for the George Washington Prize. It has also been published in the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy.  

His book The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West was published by Alfred A. Knopf in October 2016. It received the 2017 Gilder Lehrman Prize for the best work in Military History published in the English language, the Caroline Bancroft Prize in Western History, and--in translation--the 2018 HisLibris Award (Spain) for the best non-fiction work of history. The Earth is Weeping was chosen by Smithsonian Magazine as one of the top ten history books of 2016. It also made several other best books of the year lists, including Amazon, the San Francisco Chronicle, the London Times, and Newsday. The Earth is Weeping was also published in Italian, Spanish, United Kingdom, and Dutch editions.  

All of Cozzens' books have been selections of the Book of the Month Club, History Book Club, and/or the Military Book Club. Cozzens’ This Terrible Sound: The Battle of Chickamauga and The Shipwreck of Their Hopes: The Battles for Chattanooga were both Main Selections of the History Book Club and were chosen by Civil War Magazine as two of the 100 greatest works ever written on the conflict.  

In 2002 Cozzens received the American Foreign Service Association’s highest award, given annually to one Foreign Service Officer for exemplary moral courage, integrity, and creative dissent. He has also received an Alumni Achievement Award from his alma mater Knox College, from which he graduated summa cum laude.

Peter Cozzens: https://www.petercozzens.net

Nov 22, 2021
170: MG (Ret) John Raaen - From West Point to Omaha Beach with the Rangers
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Sayre and I are honored to be joined by MG (Ret) John Raaen.  MG Raaen graduated from West Point in the January class of 1943 as an engineer.  Before long he volunteered for the Rangers and became a company commander in the 5th Ranger Battalion.  We talk through his experiences at West Point when he learned of the attack at Pearl Harbor, the rigors of Ranger training and coming ashore on Omaha Beach on June 6th, 1944.


Nov 18, 2021
169: Only Time Will Tell - Generation Kill 7
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We're back today to discuss episode seven of Generation Kill (The Bomb in the Garden).  This wraps up our discussion of this series on the invasion of Iraq in 2003. We get into the challenges of leadership determining when someone needs to be fired, if the Marines were set up for success when they entered the Iraqi cities and how to decide what 'hill you're going to die on'.



Nov 16, 2021
168: Baghdad to Kandahar - Army veteran Garth Landis
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What better way to kick off Veteran's Day than to catch up with an old buddy.  Garth Landis was in basic training on 9/11, finding out from his drill sergeants that he was now in an Army at war.  He took part in the invasion of Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division and went back to Iraq a few short years later.  He then deployed twice to Kandahar, Afghanistan.  Once with Sayre and I in 2010 and then a few years later to help tear down some of the facilities there.

Nov 11, 2021
167: Ron Hudnell and the WWII Rangers
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We're joined today by Ron Hudnell, who after graduating from West Point in 1969 completed Ranger School and went through Special Forces training before heading to Vietnam.  Ron's father, James Hudnell, served with the storied 2nd Ranger Battalion during WWII.  Ron is helping lead the effort to award to get the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the WWII Rangers which today is closer than it's ever been to becoming a reality.

If you'd like to assist in seeing these heroes recognized, please consider contacting your Representative and ask them to cosponsor the House Bill H.R.3577 for the award of the Congressional Gold Medal to WWII Rangers!


Ron Hudnell: ronhudnell@gmail.com

WWII Ranger Database: www.rangerroster.org

WWII Rangers and Descendants Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/294642590651711

WWII Ranger official organization:  www.wwiirangers.org

Nov 06, 2021
166: The Mission & The Men - Generation Kill Episode 6
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Talking through episode six (Stay Frosty) of Generation Kill, Sayre and I get into the conversation around the men versus the mission.  Col Joe Dowdy's removal from command of the 1st Marine Regiment was highlighted in this episode by General Mattis.  We get into the 'no right answer' topic of how and when to choose aggressiveness over caution on the battlefield and just how important it is to trust in your junior leaders.



Nov 04, 2021
165: JD Huitt of The History Underground
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Joined today by JD Huitt, the man behind The History Underground YouTube channel.  I've been a fan of JD's work for a long time and it was an absolute honor to chat with him for a bit.  If you haven't checked out his videos, they're worth a watch, link is below.  JD travels to historical locations and brings his viewers along with him in a way that makes you feel as though you're getting a personal tour from an old friend.  

We talk about how his channel grew to the over 200k subscribers he has today, how the show has evolved and some plans going forward.  JD is just back from a trip to Normandy so we got to talk a bit about what he covered while he was there and what we all can expect in the coming weeks and months on his channel.

This conversation was a lot of fun for me, hope you enjoy as well!

The History Underground on YouTube

Oct 26, 2021
164: Just Get It Done - Generation Kill Episode 5
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Today we talk about the fifth episode of Generation Kill (Burning Dog).  We talk about the civilian casualties in any conflict, especially this period in Iraq from 2003 to today and the absolute chaos that suicide bombers brought to the modern battlefield.  

Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.

Oct 23, 2021
163: Almost Home, But So Far To Go: Finishing Up In Afghanistan
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John Wagner joined us a few weeks ago to talk about the issue of getting interpreters out of Afghanistan.  Some of his personal stories in that episode really brought forward a different side of the war that we thought we'd try to expand on.

He and I started at West Point together in the same 10-person squad, spent four years in the same company, before graduating and going off to Ft. Sill together.  From there we found ourselves in the same battalion in the 101st Airborne Division and deployed together twice.  In this and following episodes, we'll be telling the normal stories we do when we're together.  Joking about problems at West Point, feelings around the deployment, and struggles through both.  Hopefully this can present another side of the 20+ year Global War on Terror.

John was a Ranger-qualified Artillery Officer who served as a platoon leader and a fire support officer during a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.  He also served as an artillery advisor to the Afghan National Army in the Kunar River valley for most of 2012.  He now works in medical device manufacturing with a startup called GT Medical Technologies, whose mission is to improve the lives of patients with brain tumors.

Oct 19, 2021
162: Between a Rock and a Hard Place - Generation Kill Episode 4
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Today we talk about the fourth episode of Generation Kill (Combat Jack).  We get into the always complex dynamic of gathering feedback in a leadership position but having to be ready when it isn't positive, giving pump up speeches ahead of an operation and the tough spot civilians find themselves in during war.  

Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.

Oct 15, 2021
161: Remembering Todd Weaver
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In today's episode, I'm joined by Jacob Ivey, Bryson Shipman and Kyle Snook to talk about their friend, Todd Weaver.  Jacob, Kyle, Bryson and Todd were all platoon leaders together in D/2-502IN before splitting off to different companies just ahead of a deployment to Afghanistan in 2010.  They share some awesome parts of Todd's story from his writing letters to the families of his Soldiers to the deep conversations had right when they arrived in country.

Early in the deployment, Todd and Jacob were sent to support 1-320FA in the Arghandab River Valley just outside Kandahar.  They talk about Todd taking on the new mission and how much he enjoyed being able to mentor and lead a new group of Soldiers in this challenging environment.  

Todd was killed in action on September 9th, 2010, but it's clear in talking with his friends that he left quite the legacy and is still making an impact today.


Jacob Ivey was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader in the Arghandab River Valley with B/1/320 during the 2010-2011 deployment to Afghanistan by 2IBCT, 101st Airborne Division. Jacob ultimately served for 10 years before moving on to the civilian sector where he lives in Gainesville, FL with his wife and children.

Bryson Shipman was an Company Executive Officer in Zhari District, Kandahar Province with D/2-502 Parachute Infantry Regiment during the 2010-2011 deployment to Afghanistan in support of OEF X-XI. Bryson is still serving in the United States Army.

Kyle Snook served 5 years as an Infantry officer with a deployment as a platoon leader to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment in 2010. He now works in healthcare entrepreneurship and lives in Denver, CO with his wife, dog and 1-year-old daughter.

Oct 12, 2021
160: Fire Support Base Ripcord - Vietnam Veteran Bob Leibecke
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Was fortunate to be able to chat with Vietnam veteran Bob Leibecke to hear about his experiences leading up to and in the Vietnam War.  Bob graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1969 knowing that he was headed off to war shortly after he commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.  After Ranger School and Jungle Warfare Training, Bob headed to Vietnam where he was assigned to C/2-506 IN, part of the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division.

Bob's unit was at the center of an incredibly hard fought fight known as the Battle of FSB Ripcord that he gets into during the episode.


Books referenced in today's show

"Ripcord: Screaming Eagles Under Siege, Vietnam 1970" by Keith Nolan

"Hell on a Hill Top: America's Last Major Battle in Vietnam" by Ben Harrison

"Remembering Firebase Ripcord" by Christopher Brady

Oct 06, 2021
159: War is Nasty - Generation Kill Episode 3
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Today we talk about the third episode of Generation Kill (Screwby).  We talk about how the fog of war is everywhere and even avoiding friendly fire can be a real challenge on a kinetic battlefield.  We get into how to break the tension during moments of high stress and how to work with a Soldier or Marine who maybe got a little trigger-happy.

Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.

Oct 03, 2021
158: A Scout in Afghanistan - Conversation with Gabriel Taylor
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We're joined today by Gabriel Taylor who served as a scout in the US Army from 2017-2020 including a deployment to eastern Afghanistan.  We get into his hearing for the first time that he was going to deploy, the oddities of traveling around Afghanistan on civilian helicopters and getting used to the regular rocket attacks at his base.  

Sep 30, 2021
157: From Fallujah to TikTok - A Marine's Story That's Just Getting Started
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Joined today by Terry Kim, a Marine combat veteran who is creating some really cool military tribute videos on TikTok.  We get into his background and what led him into the military as well as his time in Fallujah and how that impacted who he is today.  Terry gets into why he's spending his time focused on telling stories of our fallen servicemembers and why he thinks that's such an important topic today.

Terry Kim is a US Marine combat veteran and content creator. He is known for his TikTok tribute videos for service members and their actions.

The conversation was a lot of fun, hope you enjoy!



Sep 27, 2021
156: A Deadly Fight in a Confusing War - Hamburger Hill
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Today I'm joined by Leon Schwartz to talk broadly about the Vietnam War and more specifically the Battle of Hamburger Hill.  Leon helps provide some insight into the history of Vietnam that is hard to find when just studying it from military history perspective here in the US.  We talk about the Soldiers interactions with locals, some terms they may have picked up along the way, how the war is viewed in Vietnam today and a quite a bit more.  

- Brief background on Vietnam pre-1969

- NVA vs. VC

- Body count strategy

- Devastation on both sides on Hill 937 (Hamburger Hill)

- Walking away, giving the hill back after that victory

- Public perception changing in the US


Leon was a History and English teacher for 10 years in Asia and the United States. He lived and taught in South Korea and Vietnam from 2011-2016.  After teaching, Leon has  worked in the maritime industry as a stevedore. Although he no longer works as a teacher, he maintains a strong interest and passion in all things history. He is from Baltimore County, MD but currently resides in Smithfield, VA.

Sep 23, 2021
Into the Fight: Generation Kill Episode 2
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Today we talk about the second episode of Generation Kill (The Cradle of Civilization).  We talk about the challenges of walking the line between scaring your men and holding on a healthy amount of fear,  the challenge of identifying fighters on this new battlefield and the crazy high that comes after a firefight.

Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.

Sep 21, 2021
Excited For War - Generation Kill Episode 1
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Today we talk about the first episode of Generation Kill (Get Some).  We talk about how unique this invasion was as the Marines faced a relatively modern enemy force.  How to empower those around you to bring forward ideas that can benefit the whole group and the awkwardness of having a reporter embedded in a combat unit.  A few other areas we hit on below:

- Empowering your people to make suggestions

- Getting ready for war not knowing if it's going to happen

- How do reporters fit into combat?

- The details they get right, sleeping during an invasion, downtime between spikes of activity

Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.

Sep 17, 2021
Simple Living at an Afghan Strong Point
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John Wagner joined us a few weeks ago to talk about the issue of getting interpreters out of Afghanistan.  Some of his personal stories in that episode really brought forward a different side of the war that we thought we'd try to expand on.  

He and I started at West Point together in the same 10-person squad, spent four years in the same company, before graduating and going off to Ft. Sill together.  From there we found ourselves in the same battalion in the 101st Airborne Division and deployed together twice.  In this and following episodes, we'll be telling the normal stories we do when we're together.  Joking about problems at West Point, feelings around the deployment, and struggles through both.  Hopefully this can present another side of the 20+ year Global War on Terror.  

John was a Ranger-qualified Artillery Officer who served as a platoon leader and a fire support officer during a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.  He also served as an artillery advisor to the Afghan National Army in the Kunar River valley for most of 2012.  He now works in medical device manufacturing with a startup called GT Medical Technologies, whose mission is to improve the lives of patients with brain tumors.

Sep 15, 2021
Forged in Combat: American and Australian Troops at the Battle of Hamel
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Joined today by Ross Manuel to talk about the Battle of Hamel, a unique fight in WWI where U.S. Soldiers fell under Australian command as innovative combined-arms warfare was being implemented on the battlefield.  We get into the background of the battle as well, some items below and more.

- Why was Hamel strategic?

- U.S. getting experience with Australian units

- Success in combined-arms tactics

- Private Henry Dalziel (Victoria Cross)

- Corporal Thomas Pope (Medal of Honor)


Ross Manuel is an avid Military History Enthusist who chronicles Australia’s Military History through his podcast ‘I Was Only Doing My Job’ as well as videos on TIkTok

Sep 12, 2021
Getting Them Out: Coordinating Evacuations From Afghanistan
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Chatting today with Sayre Payne.  Sayre has been working hard over the last few months to coordinate flights out of Afghanistan for many interpreters and their families.  Started speeding up in July, got chaotic in August and now it's a totally different game.  He gets into the background of why so many civilians and veterans no longer associated with the US government jumped in to help, the challenges they ran into on the ground and where he thinks this is going from here.

Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.

Sep 09, 2021
Good Times & Bad - Zhari District, Afghanistan
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John Wagner joined us a few weeks ago to talk about the issue of getting interpreters out of Afghanistan.  Some of his personal stories in that episode really brought forward a different side of the war that we thought we'd try to expand on.  

He and I started at West Point together in the same 10-person squad, spent four years in the same company, before graduating and going off to Ft. Sill together.  From there we found ourselves in the same battalion in the 101st Airborne Division and deployed together twice.  In this and following episodes, we'll be telling the normal stories we do when we're together.  Joking about problems at West Point, feelings around the deployment, and struggles through both.  Hopefully this can present another side of the 20+ year Global War on Terror.  

John was a Ranger-qualified Artillery Officer who served as a platoon leader and a fire support officer during a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.  He also served as an artillery advisor to the Afghan National Army in the Kunar River valley for most of 2012.  He now works in medical device manufacturing with a startup called GT Medical Technologies, whose mission is to improve the lives of patients with brain tumors.

Aug 31, 2021
Welcome to Afghanistan: First Days In Country
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John Wagner joined us a few weeks ago to talk about the issue of getting interpreters out of Afghanistan.  Some of his personal stories in that episode really brought forward a different side of the war that we thought we'd try to expand on.

He and I started at West Point together in the same 10-person squad, spent four years in the same company, before graduating and going off to Ft. Sill together.  From there we found ourselves in the same battalion in the 101st Airborne Division and deployed together twice.

In this and following episodes, we'll be telling the normal stories we do when we're together.  Joking about problems at West Point, feelings around the deployment, and struggles through both.  Hopefully this can present another side of the 20+ year Global War on Terror.

John was a Ranger-qualified Artillery Officer who served as a platoon leader and a fire support officer during a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.  He also served as an artillery advisor to the Afghan National Army in the Kunar River valley for most of 2012.  He now works in medical device manufacturing with a startup called GT Medical Technologies, whose mission is to improve the lives of patients with brain tumors.

Aug 25, 2021
Band of Brothers Discussion: Episode 10 (Points)
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Today we talk about the tenth episode of Band of Brothers (Points).  We talk about the interesting aspect of going from intense combat to peace in a matter of days or weeks and how some can handle that when others can't.  We also spend some time talking about the idea of legacy and how these elite warriors went home and picked up life right where they left off. A few other areas we hit on below:  

- Emotions when they hear the war in Europe and then the Pacific is over 

- MAJ Winters volunteering to fight in the Pacific 

- Losing confidence after leaving the military 

- Serving in a company of heroes  

Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.

Aug 21, 2021
What Happened? First thoughts on the fall of Afghanistan
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Conor McNamara, John Wagner and I chat about the fall of Afghanistan.  We recorded this on the evening of August 16th, 2021 going off the information we had available at the time.   

Each of us spent time in Afghanistan between 2010-2012 in a variety of roles all across the country. Between the three of us we worked with units from the platoon to brigade size, helped train the Army and Police, interacted with countless locals, and managed interpreters.

This is a challenging topic with a wide range of emotions hit on in this episode.  From anger to sadness, frustration to confusion, there's a lot to unpack.  I think each of us are still figuring out our exact thoughts and hopefully talking through some of them helped a bit.    

- Should the Afghan military had fought harder, could they have? 

- Is this the Afghan people choosing their future? 

- How were we so wrong in their fighting capabilities? 

- Was leaving the right move?

Conor was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer who served as a platoon leader during a twelve month deployment to Zabul, Afghanistan with the 25th Infantry Division’s 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment during 2011-2012. He is now an attorney who has volunteered with the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) for the past seven years, assisting former interpreters and Afghan support personnel with immigrating to the United States.

John was a Ranger-qualified Artillery Officer who served as a platoon leader and a fire support officer during a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.  He also served as an artillery advisor to the Afghan National Army in the Kunar River valley for most of 2012.  He now works in medical device manufacturing with a startup called GT Medical Technologies, whose mission is to improve the lives of patients with brain tumors.

Aug 17, 2021
Band of Brothers Discussion: Why We Fight (Episode 9)
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Today we talk about the ninth episode of Band of Brothers (Why We Fight).  We've entered the point in the series where the combat dies down in favor of some deeper topics around the overall war.  

- Looting happening all over.  Is this different if it's a civilian or military installation? 

- Casualty notes for Operation Varsity, was it needed?  How they're still heroes. 

- Thinking about the future, it's always sunshine and roses.  Anything is better than war. 

- Finding the concentration camp.  Did the US Soldiers know what to expect?  Did the local citizens really not know?  

Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.  

Aug 15, 2021
From West Point to Kandahar: Preparing For War
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John Wagner joined us a few weeks ago to talk about the issue of getting interpreters out of Afghanistan.  Some of his personal stories in that episode really brought forward a different side of the war that we thought we'd try to expand on.

He and I started at West Point together in the same 10-person squad, spent four years in the same company, before graduating and going off to Ft. Sill together.  From there we found ourselves in the same battalion in the 101st Airborne Division and deployed together twice.

In this and following episodes, we'll be telling the normal stories we do when we're together.  Joking about problems at West Point, feelings around the deployment, and struggles through both.  Hopefully this can present another side of the 20+ year Global War on Terror.

John was a Ranger-qualified Artillery Officer who served as a platoon leader and a fire support officer during a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.  He also served as an artillery advisor to the Afghan National Army in the Kunar River valley for most of 2012.  He now works in medical device manufacturing with a startup called GT Medical Technologies, whose mission is to improve the lives of patients with brain tumors.

Aug 10, 2021
Band of Brothers Discussion: The Last Patrol (Episode 8)
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Today we talk about the eighth episode of Band of Brothers (The Last Patrol).  We get into the challenge of someone coming back into a tight-knit group.  The mix of those wanting to see combat and those who have had enough.  And the act of Winters placing his men above the mission as well as his own career.  A few other areas we hit on below:

- Rejoining a unit is never easy, no matter how much you were a part before.

- How do you balance risk late in a conflict?

- Does the mission make sense?  This isn't what the 101st had been used to in this war.

- Winters making up that a mission went as planned so his men could get some rest and stay safe.

Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.

Aug 06, 2021
Band of Brothers Discussion: Breaking Point (Episode 7)
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Today we talk about the seventh episode of Band of Brothers (The Breaking Point).  This episode is leadership heavy, providing both stellar and poor examples throughout.  A few topics we dive into below: - Where's Dike?  A leader does have to be in multiple places, but he seems to always get it wrong. - When do officers shoot?  Lots of ways an officer is supposed to supplement the fight, but usually it's not with their own weapon. - Violence of action in the attack of Foy. - Commander's Intent and how the military executes operations. - Value in the men thinking LT Spears is the baddest dude in Europe. Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.
Aug 02, 2021
Band of Brothers Discussion: Bastogne (Episode 6)
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Today we talk about the sixth episode of Band of Brothers (Bastogne).  Talk about a slugfest in the cold, hard to imagine the misery these warriors went through.  This episode is unique in that it focuses on a medic Eugene Roe, something that really brings to the front the suffering all around the small town.   

- Dike: where's my foxhole?  

- Doc yells at a guy for his arm wound, don't yell if it's not that bad  

- "This is a combat patrol Doc, why don't you stay back"  

- Seems like Roe never sleeps, always someone needing help in Bastogne  

- Wounded seems positive (didn't die), but they'll live with that rest of their life   

Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.

Jul 28, 2021
A Life or Death Issue: Helping Interpreters To Exit Afghanistan. Personal Stories From Volunteers
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Pulling in a few old friends today to talk about a topic that's been a major news item recently; getting former interpreters out of Afghanistan.  John Wagner, Conor McNamara and I were roommates at West Point and each spent time in Afghanistan.  Over the past 10 years, both John and Conor have worked to help get some of their former interpreters here to the US under the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program. 

We hit on a few topics 

-International Refugee Assistance Project 

-Special Immigrant Visa Program 

-Why there is a sense of urgency to getting these folks out 

-What you can do to help 

-Touching base and running into interpreters once they're here in the US 


International Refugee Assistance Project 

https://refugreerights.org 

No One Left Behind  

https://nooneleft.org/   

Association of Wartime Allies 

https://www.wartimeallies.co/ 

https://www.facebook.com/USwartimeallies


Conor was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer who served as a platoon leader during a twelve month deployment to Zabul, Afghanistan with the 25th Infantry Division’s 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment during 2011-2012. He is now an attorney who has volunteered with the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) for the past seven years, assisting former interpreters and Afghan support personnel with immigrating to the United States. 

John was a Ranger-qualified Artillery Officer who served as a platoon leader and a fire support officer during a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.  He also served as an artillery advisor to the Afghan National Army in the Kunar River valley for most of 2012.  He now works in medical device manufacturing with a startup called GT Medical Technologies, whose mission is to improve the lives of patients with brain tumors.

Jul 22, 2021
Band of Brothers Discussion: Crossroads (Episode 5)
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Today we talk about the third episode of Band of Brothers (Crossroads).  This episode revolves around a fight that could have well wiped out much of Easy company.  Instead, after prevailing, Winters is promoted to take over as Battalion Executive Officer.    - Life as an officer - paperwork from all directions   - Leading the charge, fix bayonets    - Going from PL to BN XO in 4 months   - Winters giving directions to his replacement   - Would a short R&R help?   Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.
Jul 17, 2021
Cold War - The End?
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This is part four of a series on the Cold War, diving into topics around the world to help tell this story of this complicated time in history.  Ian Richardson joins again with a focus this time on the Soviet-Afghan war and how that's viewed as a sort of book end to the history of the Soviet Union.   Ian is a Captain in the Army Reserve and formerly served as a Logistics Officer in Iraq in 2020. He is a published museum professional with nearly a decade of experience and a focus in 20th century warfare. He formerly served as the Historic Vehicle Coordinator for the First Division Museum in Wheaton, IL. Ian also runs an Instagram account displaying his collection of militaria, check it out when you get a chance @ivy_vine_militaria
Jul 12, 2021
Cold War - Around The World (1962-1979)
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This is part three in our series on the Cold War and joined again  by Ian Richardson.  Today's episode looks around the world during a time the US is heavily focused on Vietnam.  We get into the Sino-Soviet split and how that impacted decisions from Asia to Africa.  Ian gets into how close the world was to a nuclear war during border disputes between the USSR and China as well as many of the lesser known conflicts in Africa.     Ian is a Captain in the Army Reserve and formerly served as a Logistics Officer in Iraq in 2020. He is a published museum professional with nearly a decade of experience and a focus in 20th century warfare. He formerly served as the Historic Vehicle Coordinator for the First Division Museum in Wheaton, IL.   Ian also runs an Instagram account displaying his collection of militaria, check it out when you get a chance @ivy_vine_militaria
Jul 12, 2021
Band of Brothers Discussion: Replacements (Episode 4)
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Today we talk about the fourth episode of Band of Brothers (Replacements).  This episode really focuses on a few days worth of fighting in and around the critical French town. -New guys are never good enough  -"could end the war by Christmas"  -Imagine being stuck in a war zone like these civilians  -101st is elite but tanks mean get out  -SGT Bull Randleman building his team Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.
Jul 10, 2021
Band of Brothers Discussion: Carentan (Episode 3)
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Today we talk about the third episode of Band of Brothers (Carentan).  This episode really focuses on a few days worth of fighting in and around the critical French town.  

- Luz kicks in door and sees a family, the potentially nasty side of war

- Blythe freezes

- Winters hit in the foot, the role chance plays in war

- The line between tough and stupid

- Spears: Accept that you're already dead

- Different roles in the firefight 

- Welsh asking for volunteers then one gets shot

Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.

Jun 23, 2021
Band of Brothers Discussion: Day of Days (Episode 2)
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Diving into episode two of Band of Brothers (Day of Days) Sayre and I again focus on a few key points in an episode that is largely combat focused.  

-First time into the fight was D-Day, no ramping up

-Landing and not knowing who's alive

-Guarnere opening fire before Winter's order

-Brecourt Manor assault, are leaders always out front?

-Winters taking a drink with Guarnere, pros and cons

Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.

Jun 17, 2021
Band of Brothers Discussion: Curahee (Episode 1)
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Diving into episode one of Band of Brothers (Curahee).  Sayre and I get into a few key points, listed below, as well as how the series impacted us to the leadership lessons still applicable today.

-"it was a different time" people signed up and wanted to fight.

-The hatred of LT Sobel in training

-NCO's signing a letter saying they won't serve with Sobel

-LT Winters to Compton, "never put yourself in a position to take from these men"

-LT Winters helping his men into the aircraft ahead of D-Day

Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.

Jun 09, 2021
The Cold War: Turning hot (1949-1963)
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Joined today by Ian Richardson to talk about the Cold War.  We talk about the first time the Cold War goes hot in Korea, overall US plans in the Cold War with NSC 68 and how the world may have been saved from nuclear armageddon by one Soviet officer during the Cuban missile crisis.  

Ian is a Captain in the Army Reserve and formerly served as a Logistics Officer in Iraq in 2020. He is a published museum professional with nearly a decade of experience and a focus in 20th century warfare. He formerly served as the Historic Vehicle Coordinator for the First Division Museum in Wheaton, IL.

Ian also runs an Instagram account displaying his collection of militaria, check it out when you get a chance @ivy_vine_militaria

Jun 04, 2021
The Cold War: The Early Years
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Joined today by Ian Richardson to talk about the Cold War.  We hit on a few topics from the time US forces fought Russians after WWI all the way through the USSR acquiring atomic weapons in 1949.  

Ian is a Captain in the Army Reserve and formerly served as a Logistics Officer in Iraq in 2020. He is a published museum professional with nearly a decade of experience and a focus in 20th century warfare. He formerly served as the Historic Vehicle Coordinator for the First Division Museum in Wheaton, IL.

Ian also runs an Instagram account displaying his collection of militaria, check it out when you get a chance @ivy_vine_militaria 

May 28, 2021
Afghanistan troop withdrawal
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A lot of questions recently around President Biden's decision to withdraw all remaining US troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021.  That's a complicated topic with a lot of emotion mixed in so thought it would be a fun conversation to pull my buddy Sayre Payne into.

Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.

Apr 27, 2021
Live Q&A 4/12/2021
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This was a live Q&A on TikTok where I took questions in the chat.  We hit on a wide range of topics with a few WWII 'what-ifs', dazzle camo in WWI and more.  

Apr 13, 2021
Pfc William Soderman (9th IN, 2nd ID) Battle of the Bulge 17-18DEC1944
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17DEC1944: As his unit moved to reinforce the lines, Pfc William Soderman headed to the woods with an armful of munitions.  Carrying a bazooka, several rockets, grenades and his rifle, Soderman hid in the dark as he waited for the coming German attack.

Before long, a column of German tanks was coming up on his position.  Soderman waited until the last minute, stepped out and fired a round at point blank range, destroying one of the tanks.  Before he could reload, the remaining tanks powered past him to continue their advance.  Staying in his position all night through enemy artillery and machine gun fire, Soderman once again faced down a tank advance.  Running to get into position, Soderman stepped into the road fired once more and destroyed his second German tank, blocking the pass for the others.

As Soderman moved back to resupply, he came across a platoon of German infantry.  Firing his bazooka once more, he killed three and wounded many more, forcing their retreat.  At this point, his unit began to withdraw but just then, another wave of armor pushed through the forest.  

Soderman grabbed his bazooka and went forward to meet the threat.  He quickly fired another round destroying his third tank in 24 hours.  As he turned, he was hit and severely wounded by enemy fire.  After crawling back to friendly lines he was treated, evacuated and would survive the war. 

For his actions in single handedly destroying three German tanks, Pfc William Soderman was awarded the Medal of Honor.   

Mar 18, 2021
TSgt Vernon McGarity (393rd IN, 99th ID) Battle of the Bulge, Krinkelt, Belgium 16DEC1944
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16DEC1944: They didn't know it, butTSgt Vernon McGarity and his men of the 99th Infantry Division were about to face down the last major German counter-attack of the war.

With temperatures hovering around zero degrees, the sky opened up and artillery fire rained all around McGarity and his men.  Wounded in the initial barrage, he moved back to the aid station for treatment but refused evacuation to get back to his men, who found themselves in a fight.  With their communications cut off, McGarity and the 393rd Infantry Regiment were facing the brunt of the German attack outside the town of Krinkelt, Belgium.  

As the waves came on, TSgt McGarity braved the enemy fire to rescue multiple Soldiers, wounded and cut off from friendly lines.  After a day of fighting, he saw German tanks advancing to his position.  Taking a bazooka and running forward, McGarity fired at close range, destroying the lead tank and forcing the other three to withdraw.  

Now running low on ammunition, McGarity ran through fire to a nearby ammunition dump.  Grabbing as much as he could carry to bring back to his men, some on their last rounds as the Germans continued to attack.  Noticing an enemy machine gun setting up to their rear, McGarity assaulted the position.  He quickly killed the crew and stayed in a position preventing anyone else from manning the automatic weapon.  

Outnumbered in some cases five to one, McGarity and his men were eventually overrun and captured.  TSgt Vernon McGarity would spend the next four months in a POW camp before being liberated in April of 1945.  He would survive the war and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions right at the start of the Battle of the Bulge.  

Mar 15, 2021
PltSgt Mitchell Paige (2/7 Marines) Battle of Henderson Field, Guadalcanal 26OCT1942
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26OCT1942: PltSgt Mitchell Paige was leading a machine gun platoon on Guadalcanal with the 2/7 Marines when they were tasked with reinforcing a portion of the westernmost lines.  Moving into position, Paige had his men dig in and prepare to head off any Japanese attack that was expected to kick off any moment. Late on the 25th, Paige noticed enemy lights in the distance.  He notified his men and readied for the attack.  It kicked off in the early morning hours of the 26th as Japanese soldiers charged their position.  As his machine guns hammered the enemy, some overheated and created temporary gaps in the line.  Some attackers made it through and were eventually killed in hand to hand combat. PltSgt Paige did all he could to keep his men in the fight and before long found himself manning an gun.  He was so focused on the attacking enemy fighters that it wasn't until his gun was shot out from underneath him that he realized he was the only Marine not dead or wounded from his section of the line.  He quickly ran back to his sister company to pick up another machine gun and returned to the line. Again laying fire into the enemy, Paige had wounded Marines help him with loading ammo and changing barrels.  Finally, recognizing a break in the attack, Paige seized the opportunity to end the fight.  He ordered the men around him to fix bayonets and he led a charge down the hill into the Japanese staging area.  Killing at least one with his MG that he carried, Paige and his team quickly found themselves without targets.  They had repulsed the attack, nearly 1,200 strong. For his actions that day, PltSgt Paige would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  He would earn a battlefield commission and retired as a Colonel in 1959. 
Mar 04, 2021
Sgt John Basilone (1/7 Marines) Battle of Henderson Field, Guadalcanal 24-25OCT1942
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24OCT1942: During the Battle for Henderson Field on Guadalcanal, Sgt John Basilone and his unit came under attack from a 3,000 strong enemy force.  Commanding a section of heavy machine guns, Sgt Basilone held off the enemy attackers until on he and two Marines were left standing.  With enemy forces on all sides, Basilone was forced to fight through Japanese attackers in order to pick up ammunition resupplies to keep his guns in the fight. Despite the extremely close range fighting, Sgt Basilone kept up continual, lethal fire even repairing a machine gun in the midst of battle to keep the enemy at bay.  When he finally ran out of ammunition, Sgt Basilone used his pistol and machete to hold back the final Japanese troops until Marine reinforcements arrived.   As morning came, nearly all of the 3,000 enemy Soldiers had perished.  Likely over 200 of those coming at the hands of Sgt John Basilone.  For his bravery and determination in the face of the heavy enemy assault, Sgt John Basilone would be awarded the Medal of Honor.   Continuing service during the war and promoted to Gunnery Sergeant and was in the initial landings at Iwo Jima where he would again be decorated for heroism, this time with the Navy Cross.  GySgt Basilone would be killed during the assault on Iwo Jima at the age of 28.
Mar 01, 2021
Ltc Merritt Edson (1st Marine Raider Battalion) Battle of Lunga Ridge, Guadalcanal 12-13SEPT1942
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12-13SEPT1942:  Commanding the 1st Marine Raider Battalion, Ltc Merritt Edson learned of a coming attack against the US lines.  Anticipating that it would come near an area known as Lunga Ridge, he petitioned his commander to reinforce.  The two disagreed so in turn, Edson asked that his men move to that sector for a little rest from the main lines.  

Arriving on September 11th, he had his men start to dig in and prepare their defense.  Just as they were doing so, Japanese soldiers were making their way through the thick undergrowth in preparation for their attack.

As the battle kicked off on the 12th, Edson moved back and forth amongst his lines, motivating his men, assigning sectors of fire and doing all he could to hold the lines.  If his men failed, Henderson Field could fall and with it, the entire US presence on Guadalcanal.

As the sun rose after hours of deadly combat, Edson had his men reinforce their positions and prepare for what they all knew was coming, a second wave that night.  Just after 2100 on the 13th it kicked off, with nearly 3,000 Japanese attacking Edson's 830 Marines.  

With some Marines falling back or being overrun, Edson consolidated their position and directed danger close artillery right against their position.  By morning, the ridge was covered with dead Japanese soldiers.  The Marines had held.

For his actions during the fight that would come to be known as Edson's Ridge, Ltc Merritt Edson was awarded the Medal of Honor. 

Feb 22, 2021
Pvt Al Schmid (2/1 Marines, 1st Marine Division) Battle of the Tenaru, Guadalcanal 21AUG1942
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21AUG1942: Serving in a machine gun section on Guadalcanal, Pvt Al Schmid and his team were called forward when word spread of an expected Japanese attack.  Schmid, suffering from a foot infection he didn't tell anyone about, moved into the defensive position in the late hours of 20AUG and waited. The Japanese began their attack shortly after midnight and as they began to cross the Tenaru (also known as Alligator Creek), Schimd's gunner opened fire.  As the Japanese poured over their position, the primary gunner was killed and Schmid stepped into his place, firing for the next four hours.    With his assistant gunner seriously wounded, Schimd loaded the machine gun himself and focused on keeping the weapon from overheating despite the constant need for its use.  Eventually a Japanese soldier lobbed a grenade into their position.  As it detonated, it wounded Schmid in the shoulder, arm, hand and face. Despite being blinded by the blast, Schmid continued to fire.  Guided by his wounded assistant gunner, Schimd continued to keep the charging Japanese at bay.  By morning, over 200 dead Japanese soldiers were found in front of his position.   For his actions that night, Pvt Al Schmid would be awarded the Navy Cross. 
Feb 18, 2021
Pfc. Edward Ahrens (1st Raider BN, 1st Marine Division) Battle of Tulagi, 07AUG1943
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07AUG1942: Landing with A Co of the 1st Raider BN, Pfc Edward Ahrens was at the tip of the spear of the Allied offensive in the Pacific.  While his fellow 1st Division Marines landed across the channel on Guadalcanal, Ahrens and his brothers were tasked with taking the island of Tulagi.

Coming ashore on Blue Beach, Ahrens and his men swept right to clear their half of the island.  Encountering minimal enemy resistance, they fought until nightfall when they set in their defense.  

Around 2230 that night, the Japanese attacked.  Charging Ahrens position head on, they came, one after another.  As the Marine lines began to buckle, Ahrens held on.  Pulling enemy soldiers in to hand to hand combat, he fought throughout the night.  

By morning, his commander began to survey the lines and came across Ahrens.  He was slumped in his foxhole, covered in blood with 13 dead Japanese fighters splayed around him.  Mortally wounded, the 22 year old Ahrens looked to his commander and said, "the idiots tried to come over me last night.  I guess they didn't know I was a Marine."  Ahrens died of his wounds shortly therafter.

For his actions that night, Pfc Edward Ahrens was awarded, posthumously, the Navy Cross. 

Feb 15, 2021
LTC James Rudder (2nd Ranger BN) Point Du Hoc, D-Day 06JUN1944
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06JUN1944:  Leading what many thought to be a suicide mission, LTC James Rudder and the men of the 2nd Ranger Battalion headed towards Pointe Du Hoc.  Allied planners expected a battery of 155mm cannons to sit atop the pointe, able to range the American beaches at Omaha and Utah.  It had to be taken out. Realizing they were headed to the wrong cliffs, LTC Rudder changed course but the delay would mean their coming ashore late.  Not only did that give the German defenders time to regroup after the naval bombardment but it also meant the reinforcements wouldn't be signaled in time and would instead head to Omaha beach.  Rudder and his 225 men were on their own. Firing their rope ladders and grappling hooks over the cliffs edge, the waterlogged mean began to climb.  Under fire, they pressed on until reaching the top of the 100' cliffs.  Backs to the wall, they pushed forward, clearing enemy positions at close range. At this point, Rudder realized the guns had been moved and in their place, sat telephone poles.  As they set in their defense, a few Rangers pushed out.  They found the guns just a short ways inland and quickly destroyed them before linking back up with Rudder and the main force The Rangers would be counterattacked multiple times over the coming hours but would valiantly hold on until reinforcements arrived on June 8th.  By that point, they had suffered over 75% casualties with fewer than 100 men able to continue the fight. For his leadership in this impossible task, LTC James Rudder was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.  
Feb 11, 2021
CPT Ralph Goranson (C Co. 2nd Rangers) Charlie Sector, Omaha Beach 06JUN1944
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06JUN1944: Tasked with clearing German defenses in the Charlie Sector of Omaha Beach, CPT Ralph Goranson and C Company of the 2nd Ranger BN headed to shore.  Told by LTC James Rudder that his was the toughest job on the whole beach, Goranson had a decision to make. If Dog Green was cleared, he would move up the Vierville draw and loop west to attack the German defenses before linking up with the Rangers at Point du hoc.  If that sector wasn't cleared, he would be forced to scale the cliffs overlooking Charlie sector. With Dog Green still heavily contested, Goranson and his men took to the cliffs, reaching the beach at 0645.  The two LCA's carried 68 Rangers and they came under fire as soon as they landed.  His unit already reduced to about 30 fighting men, Goranson directed his men to climb the nearly 100 foot cliffs.  As the first reached the top, they right away began their attack as more and more Rangers followed behind. Recognizing the damage WN 73 was causing on Omaha, Goranson made the decision to attack east rather than west towards his fellow Rangers.  Goranson found a fortified house that was hammering the beach.  He led his men in clearing the house and surrounding trenches.  Eventually they were joined by men from the 29th Infantry Division who had come ashore at Dog Green. For his heroic actions that day in helping to open the Dog Green sector, CPT Ralph Goranson would be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. 
Feb 08, 2021
A/116th at Dog Green on Omaha Beach (06JUN1944)
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06JUN1944: Set to land in the first wave, A Company of the 116th Infantry Regiment was tasked with taking the critical D-1 draw in the Dog Green sector of Omaha Beach.  The draw was the only paved exit off Omaha beach and well protected by three concrete strongpoints.

A National Guard unit, much of the 116th came from Virginia, many having trained together well before the war broke out.  Additionally, A Co contained 35 members from Bedford, a small VA down of just 4,000.

As A company sped towards shore, they watched rockets land nearly 1,000m from shore.  Add that misstep to the naval gunfire that didn't penetrate the German defenses and the bomber runs that dropped their payload too far inland.  The result?  A Co would come ashore on a near-pristine beach into the fields of fire of the waiting German defenders.

Nearing the beach, the men of A Co felt the brunt of years of defensive preparations.  Multiple landing craft were destroyed with their entire crews aboard.  Those that did reach shore lowered ramp into devastating German fire.  Men jumped overboard to avoid the gunfire forcing many to quickly drown without firing a shot.

The chaos of D-Day and Omaha Beach specifically makes casualty tallies difficult but it's estimated that within 7-10 minutes of landing, A Co was almost entirely wiped out.  By the end of the day, only 18 of 230 Soldiers from the company were not casualties.  19 Bedford men were killed in the opening minutes of the battle, a staggering figure for a town that size.

In recognition of their sacrifice, the national D-Day memorial was placed in Bedford, VA.  



Feb 04, 2021
BG Norman Cota (29th ID) Dog White Sector, Omaha Beach 06JUN1944
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06JUN1944:  Coming ashore with the second wave, BG Norman Cota landed in the Dog White sector of Omaha Beach on D-Day.  Rather than staying back and coordinating from the ships, Cota wanted to be front and center with his men, leading from the front.

Once on land, and now pinned down by German fire, Cota famously declared to the commander of the 5th Rangers, "if you're Rangers, then get up there and lead the way!"  A phrase that would become the motto of the 75th Ranger Regiment to this day.  

Throughout the morning, Cota led from the front, first through a breach in the wire, assaulting German positions, and motivating at every turn.  Despite at 51 years old being one of the oldest to land that day, Cota pushed inland, up the steep cliffs and through the German lines.

By the end of the day, BG Cota had consolidated his team in Vierville and had helped lead the opening of the Dog White sector.  For his actions that day, BG Norman Cota would be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. 

Feb 01, 2021
2LT John Spalding (E/2-16 IN, 1st ID) Easy Red Sector, Omaha Beach D-Day 06JUN1944
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06JUN1944:  Headed towards Easy Red sector on Omaha Beach, 2LT John  Spalding and his men were dropped 200 yards offshore.  Wading ashore under fire, Spalding led his men to the relative cover just off the beach and quickly recognized the rest of his company was nowhere to be seen.  Fortunately for Spalding, he had landed on target and not in front of WN 62 where the rest of E/2-16 IN came ashore.

Spalding identified a ravine leading inland that provided relative cover from the nearby defenders.  He led his men through the wire and minefields before destroying a German machine gun position.  From there he headed west towards WN 64, thought to overlook the E-1 draw.

Again negotiating minefields, Spalding and his men attacked the outposts and by early afternoon had overrun the position.  Spalding's platoon of less than 30 had breached the German lines, knocked out a German strongpoint, and taken 17 prisoners.  Their work opened up the Easy Red sector for follow on waves.

Spaldings route can today be traced right along the American cemetery on Omaha Beach.

For his actions that day, 2LT John Spalding would be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.  

Jan 28, 2021
SSG Raymond Strojny (F/2-16IN, 1st ID) Fox Green Sector, Omaha Beach 06JUN1944
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06JUN1944:  Coming ashore at the Fox Green sector of Omaha Beach, SSG Raymond Strojny of F/2-16IN, 1st ID wasn't where he expected.  Planning to assault the Easy Red sector, Stronjy and his men exited their craft face to face with strongpoint WN-61 in the heart of Fox Green sector.

With his brothers falling all around, Strojny charged ahead to accomplish his new objective of clearing this beach.  Fortunatley a few tanks had knocked out a German 88mm gun in the strongpoint but a 50mm anti-tank gun remained.  That cannon quickly knocked out multiple American tanks and was devastating landing craft as they attempted to bring in reinforcements.  

SSG Strojny had enough.  With his bazooka crew knocked out, he ran the beach to find another team.  Pressing them to fire, the reluctant gunner missed twice before being targeted and wounded by mortar fire.  Strojny picked up the damaged bazooka and ran ahead.

Finding a suitable area to fire from, he loaded the bazooka himself, no small feat, and sent six total rounds in and around the 50mm gun position  Eventually an ammunition dump was hit and the ensuing explosion killed the crew.  This drew the enemy attention and Strojny was shot in the helmet.  Miraculously, the round traced the inside of his helmet and exited the rea, barely wounding Strojny.

He continued to lead the attack, knocking out two more machine gun positions that morning.  With the two major weapon systems removed from WN-61, SSG Strojny had played a major role in opening Fox Green on Omaha Beach.  For his actions, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.  

Jan 25, 2021
1LT Jimmie Monteith (L Co. 1-16IN, 1st ID) Fox Red Sector, Omaha Beach 06JUN1944
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06JUN1944: A platoon leader with L Company, 1-16IN, 1LT Jimmie Monteith was scheduled to land on Omaha Beach in the first wave.  His company was hammered on their way in and by the time they got ashore, were operating at close to 50% strength.

Monteith quickly took charge and organized the remaining men behind a seawall where they had relative cover from the direct fire aimed their way.  Realizing they came ashore at the Fox Red sector, well off from their intended target, Monteith seized the initiative and got to work.

He led his men across the open beach to the next covered position through machine gun, mortar and artillery fire.  From there they were pinned down by the German strongpoint WN-60, a heavily fortified bunker system with artillery pieces, mortars, machine guns and even a tank turret.  Recognizing it had to go, Monteith ran back through the open to link up with the few tanks that had come ashore.

He escorted the tanks through a minefield until they were within range of the strongpoint.  He coordinated their fire with his maneuvering infantry until two machine guns were knocked out.  This allowed his men to move around the side and eventually overtake the position by 0900 that morning.  

Advancing inland, Monteith and his men were hit by a German counterattack. He began organizing their defense and consolidating the position when he was struck and killed by enemy fire.  At the age of 26, 1LT Jimmie Monteith would give his life on Omaha Beach.  He would be awarded posthumously the Medal of Honor, one of only four that day. 

Jan 21, 2021
CPT Leonard Schroeder (F/2-8IN, 4th ID) Utah Beach, D-Day 06JUN1944
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06JUN1944: Commanding F Company, 2-8 Infantry of the 4th Infantry Division, CPT Leonard Shroeder had long been preparing for the eventual assault on fortress Europe.  His battalion was tasked with leading the first wave onto Utah Beach, one of five key beaches of Operation Overlord.  

Making their way across the English Channel, Shroeder and his men climbed down into their assault craft in the dark morning hours of June 6th.  As the naval and air bombardment finished, Shroeder's craft made a beeline for shore and at 6:28 a.m., two minutes ahead of schedule, his craft was the first to disembark on Utah Beach.

Dropped with over 100 yards of water to wade through before dry land, Shroeder held his weapons high and charged ahead, moving as quickly as possible under enemy fire.  By the time he reached the sand, Schroeder was the first Allied Soldier to come ashore on D-Day.

Leading from the front all morning, Shroeder was shot twice in the left arm but he didn't realize it until much later when he nearly passed out from blood loss.  He was evacuated for treatment and would survive the war.

Shroeder went on to serve in the Army for 30 years, retiring in 1971 at the rank of Colonel.   

Jan 18, 2021
PVT John Steele (505th PIR, 82nd ABN DIV) D-Day 06JUN1944
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06JUN1944: Jumping with the 505th PIR of the 82nd Airborne Division on D-Day, PVT John Steele found himself coming down near the middle of St. Mere-Eglise.  As a nearby fire burned, his fellow paratroopers were cut down helplessly as he neared the ground.  Working to avoid landing in the fire, his chute became tangled on the church steeple in town Steele dropped his knife when trying to cut himself down and entered a waiting game, would the Americans or Germans find him first?  A few hours later, two German soldiers found Steele, cut him down and took him prisoner.  After a few days in captivity he escaped and made his way back to American lines where he was evacuated for treatment of wounds sustained on D-Day. Steele would rejoin his unit, jump into Holland during Operation Market Garden and fight with his brothers through the end of the war.   In a wonderful tribute to the Allied forces, if you visit St. Mere-Eglise today, you will find a parachute with a mannequin paratrooper hanging from the church, just as Steele did the morning of June 6th, 1944. 
Jan 14, 2021
CPT Frank Lillyman (Pathfinder, 101st Airborne Division) D-Day, 06JUN1944
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06JUN1944: CPT Frank Lillyman boarded his aircraft in late on the night of June 5th, 1944.  In a few short hours, he would be the first American Soldier to land in France, kicking off Operation Overlord.

Lillyman commanded the Pathfinder Company of the 101st Airborne Division.  His daunting task was to lead a team that would land nearly 30 minutes before the main assault and mark the drop zones for the inbound pilots.  Entering enemy airspace, Lillyman's plane dropped low and at only 450 feet elevation, he and his men exited the craft into the dark Normandy sky.

Landing at 12:15 on the morning of June 6th, Lillyman and his men got right to work.  Recognizing they were dropped nearly a mile from their intended target, they improvised.  Finding a suitable location, he and his pathfinders went about marking the DZ in the little time that they had.  A nearby church steeple caught his eye as a great location for their Eureka homing beacon.  After breaking the incredible news to the priest that he had been liberated, Lillyman's team set up the beacon and began their wait.

The team then learned of an enemy 20mm antiaircraft gun near their landing zone that could devastate the incoming paratroopers.  Lillyman moved to the farm where a Frenchman pointed inside to the enemy location.  After eliminating the soldier, the sound of American aircraft could be heard in the distance.

Lillyman and his pathfinders turned on their lights to guide the aircraft in and at 12:57 the first wave landed, the invasion of Normandy was underway.  

CPT Frank Lillyman would be called upon later that day to again mark landing zones for the much needed glider troops and their supplies.  During these landings, Lillyman was wounded and sent back to England, ending his D-Day.  

Lillyman would work his way back to the front lines and survived the war.  He stayed in the Army retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 1968 and passed away in 1971.  

Jan 11, 2021
SFC Christopher Speer (1st SFOD-D) 27JUL2002, Khost, Afghanistan
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27JUL2002: Serving as a medic with the Army's 1st SFOD-D in Afghanistan, SFC Christopher Speer was forward deployed as the hunt for Taliban and al-Qaeda leadership continued.  Just days prior to this mission, Speer walked into a minefield to rescue two wounded Afghan children.  After applying tourniquets, he hailed a military vehicle and got them to a hospital, saving both of their lives.

Roughly a week later, Speer and his team were called to investigate a compound of interest.  The Americans were dressed in traditional Afghan garb to better blend with the population and decrease their odds of being detected.  As they neared the building, their interpreters went ahead to sort of 'call out' to those inside, hopefully securing a surrender.  Instead, the enemy opened fire and cut down the two interpreters.

As they returned fire, a US Soldier ran forward to pull the two wounded interpreters to safety.  As grenades landed all around, Speer and his men poured down fire into the compound.  Over the next 45 minutes, they coordinated attacks from Apache's, A-10s and eventually ended the engagement with two 500-pound bombs from an F-18.  

Speer and team moved forward to conduct a battle damage assessment and collect any available intelligence.  As they entered the bombed out compound a lone enemy survivor appeared and threw a grenade.  The detonation sent shrapnel across the room and severely wounded Speer in the head.  The medics got to work on both Speer and the attacker.

Sent to Bagram and eventually Germany for treatment, SFC Christopher Speer would die of his wounds on 06AUG2002 at the age of 28.  


Jan 07, 2021
TSgt John Chapman (24th Special Tactics Squadron) 04MAR2002 Battle of Takur Ghar
1489

04MAR2002:  Planning to insert on a mountaintop in support of Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan,  TSgt John Chapman's aircraft was hit by enemy fire.  Buckling from the explosion, PO1 Neil Roberts was thrown from the aircraft, landing near al-Qaeda positions while the Chinook was forced to land four miles away.

Coordinating their pick up and reinsertion to the top of Takur Ghar, TSgt Chapman volunteered for the mission to rescue their stranded comrade.  As soon as they landed on the mountaintop, the entire seven man team came under heavy enemy fire.  Without regard for his own safety, T/Sgt Chapman charged forward, with Senior Chief Britt Slabinski close behind, and cleared the nearest bunker killing two enemy fighters in the process.  Now with a little breathing room for their SEAL team, Slabinski and Chapman began their assault towards the second bunker.  At this point, TSgt Chapman was shot twice and presumed dead by his teammates.  As enemy fire intensified, Slabinski made the call to begin movement back down the hillside to a more tenable position.

Approximately 30 minutes after his team moved down the mountaintop, Chapman regained consciousness and began his one man stand against at least twenty al-Qaeda fighters.  For nearly an hour, Chapman engaged the enemy positions, fending off multiple charges and engaging in hand to hand combat.  With his SEAL team still sustaining casualties and heavy enemy fire, Chapman stayed out front providing cover as best he could.  

Suffering from multiple wounds, Chapman's final act was to stand and suppress the enemy positions as reinforcements were nearly shot down and landed mere meters behind his position.  TSgt Chapman's sacrifice and continued determination allowed for the survival of his SEAL team as well as countless Rangers that landed with the QRF.  Without him bearing the brunt of the enemy attack, American casualties likely would have been substantially worse that day.  

For his actions Technical Sergeant John Chapman would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the first in the war in Afghanistan. 

Jan 04, 2021
MSG Anthony Pryor (5th SFG) 23-24JAN2002
1037
23-24JAN2001: As American special operations forces continued their search for al-Qaeda and bin Laden in Afghanistan, one target after another was hit.  Having already conducted their fair share of missions, MSG Anthony Pryor and his fellow Soldiers from Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces were tasked clearing a site in Oruzgon, just outside of Kandahar. As MSG Pryor and his men approached one of the two target compounds they received enemy fire.  Quickly moving through the gunfire to cover, MSG Pryor and his men began clearing rooms, quickly eliminating enemy threats at every turn.  As Pryor and a fellow Soldier started to enter a room, an enemy fighter ran out, pulling the attention of Pryor's partner.  Now in the room himself, Pryor saw three enemy fighters firing out windows to his men outside. Working methodically, Pryor engaged the three men before a fourth was on his back.  The enemy broke his night vision goggles off, dislocated his shoulder, and was clawing at his eyes.  Without hesitation, Pryor grabbed the man and threw him to the ground, disabling him quickly in hand to hand combat.  As the enemy fighter continued to resist, Pryor pulled his sidearm and eliminated the threat. MSG Pryor recovered his equipment scattered in the fight and returned to his men to continue the mission at hand.  The raid resulted in 16 enemy fighters killed, 27 captured and a trove of valuable intelligence.  For his actions in single-handedly eliminating four enemy fighters at close range, MSG Anthony Pryor was awarded the Silver Star.  
Dec 31, 2020
T/Sgt Michael Stockdale (24th Special Tactics Squadron) 06DEC2001, Battle of Tora Bora
1344
06DEC2001: Serving as a combat controller with the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, T/Sgt Michael Stockdale was working with teams from the U.S. Army SFOD-D in Afghanistan.  With word that bin Laden had moved into a mountain range bordering Pakistan, Stockdale's team along with their Afghan allies moved in. Holed up in what's known as Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan, bin Laden and al-Qaeda had built a substantial defensive network amidst what was already a formidable natural fortress.  In order to assault the defenders, American air power would be critical. The first three days of the fight would see T/Sgt Stockdale masterfully employing close air support in a devastating manner.  As the fight raged, Stockdale moved to the front lines to gain a better view of the enemy positions and started servicing one after the other. Working non-stop for days on end, T/Sgt Stockdale was regularly coordinating between multiple aircraft, sending targets, and aligning attack headings all while more aircraft came on and off station.  An incredible feat from a secure environment, Stockdale accomplished this in the midst of a deadly close-range fight. Over a three day span, T/Sgt Stockdale averaged 13 hours a day of uninterrupted air support, directing over 300 missions and 600,000 lbs of munitions.  This overwhelming firepower had bin Laden so shaken that he notated a last will and testament, found later by US forces. For his incredible skill in the midst of the deadly fight, T/Sgt Michael Stockdale was awarded the Silver Star.
Dec 28, 2020
Mike Spann (CIA) 25NOV2001, Battle of Qala-i-Jangi, Afghanistan
1634

25NOV2001:  Johnny 'Mike' Spann was working in the CIA when al-Qaeda terrorists conducted their attacks on September 11, 2001.  Before long, Spann, a prior Marine, found himself on the ground in Afghanistan, searching for these killers.

Spann was one of the first Americans on the ground in Afghanistan and immediately set about tying in with local forces from the Northern Alliance.  Spann focused on building relationships with local military leaders, specifically General Dostum, in preparation for the arrival of American Special Forces units that would hopefully turn the tide in the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Spann helped coordinate resources and relayed critical intelligence from the front lines as Dostum and his US advisors took the critical city of Mazar-i-Sharif in early November.  As the first major victory over the Taliban, this battle saw quite a few enemy fighters offer to surrender.  Of the new prisoners, Spann and his team pulled aside nearly 600 with suspected ties to al-Qaeda for further questioning to be done at a fortress known as Qala-i-Jangi.

The prisoners were quickly moved during the night and placed in a cellar to be interrogated the following morning by Spann and his colleague.  However, in the chaos, many prisoners were able to sneak weapons in with them.  

The following day, as Spann worked through the prisoners, asking where they were from, why they were in Afghanistan and more, shots rang out.  The armed prisoners were staging an uprising and Spann was caught right in the middle.  Fighting for his life, Spann emptied his pistol and rifle at close range before engaging dozens of al-Qaeda fighters in hand to hand combat.  Overwhelmed and outnumbered, Spann was quickly killed, the first American killed in combat during the war in Afghanistan.

The Northern Alliance guards locked down the fort and as US and British special operators arrived on scene, the retaking of the fort began.  After a few days, with the help of American airpower, only a few dozen holdouts remained holed up in a cellar.  General Dostum ordered the cellar flooded with cold water, forcing their final surrender.  In all, barely 80 of the initial 600+ prisoners would survive the uprising.  

Dec 24, 2020
Christmas Truce of 1914 - Western Front, WWI
1550

25DEC1914:  Just a few months into the First World War, something beautiful happened.  Amidst the chaos, death and destruction, soldiers from opposing sides made time to celebrate Christmas.  With no formal ceasefire declared, the soldiers in the trenches took it up on themselves.  They began singing to one another and before long had exited the trenches to share gifts with their adversaries.  

The unofficial truce lasted in some places a day, in others into the new year but  not everyone was happy.  Many higher headquarters, upon learning of the fraternization put a quick stop to it and even ordered Christmas offensives in follow on years to prevent such a thing from happening again.  

The Christmas Truce of 1914 is one of the bright lights in the First World War, a sign of humanity amidst the horrible backdrop of war. 

Dec 21, 2020
SGT James Robinson - Battle of Cam My, Vietnam 11APR1966 (C/2-16 IN, 1st ID)
1382

11APR1966: Serving as a rifle team leader, SGT James Robinson and the rest of Charlie Company, 2-16IN were serving as Viet Cong bait during Operation Abilene in Vietnam.  The goal was to lure out the crack Viet Cong D800 battalion that was expected to be hiding in the area and when they were attacking Robinson's unit, the rest of the US, New Zealand, and Australian units would pounce.

As Charlie company moved through the rubber plantations, they quickly found themselves face to face with the VC headquarters and fire erupted from all directions.  As his men began to fall, Robinson kept his cool.  He organized his men into a defensive perimeter and assigned sectors of fire.  After knocking out an enemy sniper with his grenade launcher, Robinson noticed two wounded Soldiers cut off from American lines.  He ran into the fire, treated the two, and helped them to safety.

Again seeing a wounded Soldier, Robinson ran out into the fire to rescue him but was hit in the shoulder and leg in the process.  While patching his own wounds, he identified a nearby machine gun position that was hammering his men.  Now out of ammunition, he grabbed two grenades and charged.  He was quickly hit in the leg by a tracer round that caught his pants on fire. Robinson ripped off the pants and kept going, being hit twice more in the chest.  Before he fell, mortally wounded, Robinson lobbed the two grenades into the enemy position, destroying it.  With the machine gun silent, a helicopter lowered an Air Force Pararescueman to help with the wounded, A1C William Pitsenbarger.  

Robinson's repeated actions across the battlefield that day saved countless American lives in a fight that would produce 80% US casualties.  SGT James Robinson would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  

Dec 17, 2020
Part V - 2003 Invasion of Iraq (SGT Troy Jenkins, Dora, Baghdad)
1410
19APR2003: About a month after crossing the berm into Iraq, SGT Troy Jenkins and his fellow Soldiers in B/3-187 IN were on a dismounted patrol working to provide security in the gap created after the fall of Saddam's regime.  SGT Jenkins had the difficult task of keeping his men focused and alert while presenting a welcoming face to the local Iraqis. On his second deployment after serving in Afghanistan, Jenkins was a seasoned combat veteran and knew well the dangers the lurked nearby.  Not much earlier, Jenkins had told his father he planned to exit the military because he felt his luck was running out.  With that in mind, one could expect Jenkins to hold back and play it safe, but that wasn't how he operated. As his unit moved through the Iraqi streets, a young girl approached them and began to turn something over.  SGT Jenkins noticed immediately that it was a unexploded cluster bomb.  These munitions are extremely volatile and the girl was on the verge of accidently detonating the device.  Without hesitation, Jenkins yelled a warning to his men and ran to push the girl away from the bomb.  Just as he did so, it detonated.   Miraculously, Jenkins was alive.  The blast had severed one of his legs and several fingers, but his men, alive because he shielded them from the blast, were able to treat him and get him out on a MEDEVAC.  As he was being loaded, some of his last words were to ask if any of his guys were wounded.   SGT Troy Jenkins would pass away five days later, a result of the wound suffered in the explosion.  His valiant act saved the life of the Iraqi girl as well as some of his fellow Soldiers.  
Dec 14, 2020
Part IV - 2003 Invasion of Iraq (PVT Dwayne Turner, Baghdad)
1311

13APR2003:  Having fought with the 3rd BN 502nd Infantry all the way to Baghdad, PVT Dwayne Turner, a medic was serving on a work detail in a newly established operations center during the Battle of Baghdad.  As he and his fellow Soldiers worked, the enemy attacked.  

At close range, enemy fighters lobbed grenades into the American position and opened fire with automatic weapons.  A blast from one of the grenades wounded Turner and threw him into a nearby vehicle.  Ignoring his own wounds, Turner leapt back into the fight and began searching for any wounded Soldiers.  PVT Turner quickly found one of his brothers with an eye injury and moved him to makeshift casualty collection point.  

Rather than stay and treat the wounded, Turner handed them off to other medics and ran back into enemy fire, despite already having been wounded.  As he moved out from their covered position he was hit by enemy fire that broke his right arm but continued to bring in the wounded.  Now with the wounded Soldiers consolidated, Turner shifted to treatment and during this process was shot again, this time in the leg.  

Now with multiple shrapnel wounds and having been shot twice, Turner continued to provide care for his wounded brothers until another medic sat him down to treat the wounds.  Turner would survive the deployment and be awarded the Silver Star for treating at least 16 American Soldiers in the midst of the deadly Baghdad fight.  

Dec 10, 2020
Part III - 2003 Invasion of Iraq (Sgt Scott Montoya, Battle of Baghdad)
1598

08APR2003: Entering the third week of the war, Sgt. Scott Montoya and 2/23 Marines began their assault on Baghdad.  Montoya and his team moved up to support Fox company just as they were coming under intense enemy small arms fire from a sizeable enemy force.

Taking charge and deploying the Marines, Montoya noticed a vehicle caught in the crossfire with a wounded Iraqi civilian inside.  Running through the deadly fire, Montoya reached the civilian and brought him to safety.  He then noticed a wounded Marine stuck in that same street.  For a second time, Montoya disregarded his own safety and ran into the enemy fire to pull the wounded Marine out.

Twice more, in short order, Sgt. Montoya ran into the kill zone to pull wounded and dazed Marines to safety.  His daring actions that day saved countless lives as he moved between assaulting the enemy positions and pulling his wounded brothers out of the line of fire.  For his actions, Sgt Scott Montoya would be awarded the Navy Cross.  

Dec 07, 2020
Part II - 2003 Invasion of Iraq (1stLt Brian Chontosh, Al Diwaniyah Ambush)
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25MAR2003:  Pushing north to Baghdad, 1stLt Brian Chontosh and the Marines in his CAAT platoon were leading the charge along Highway 1.  Expecting enemy resistance, Chontosh's platoon as well as Marine tanks, stepped out ahead of RCT-5 to clear the path.  

Nearing Ad Diwaniyah, the Marines focused on a berm alongside the road.  Before long, the enemy attacked.  An estimated battalion sized enemy force opened fire at close range with RPGs, machine guns, and small arms.  All up and down the line, RCT-5 was engaged in close combat.  

Positioned right behind friendly tanks, 1stLt Chontosh and his HMMWV were stuck in the kill zone and couldn't maneuver out.  Instead, Chontosh ordered his driver to push directly into the enemy fire coming from a nearby trench.  As the truck hit the berm, the .50 caliber gunner, Cpl. Thomas Franklin, began hammering enemy positions up and down the line.  Chontosh and two Marines leapt from truck and began clearing the enemy trench.

Firing and maneuvering down the trench, Chontosh exhausted all of his rifle ammunition before switching to his sidearm.  When that was rounds complete he ran through two more AK-47s picked up from dead enemy combatants so he could continue to clear the Iraqi fighting positions.  After firing a captured RPG, Chontosh noticed an enemy soldier playing dead while trying to pull the pin on a grenade.  Noticing some unspent rounds on the ground, Chontosh picked one up, loaded into his rifle and killed the would-be attacker.

With the trench cleared and over 20 enemy killed, Chontosh moved back to his truck to continue their advance to Baghdad.

For his actions that day, 1stLt Brian Chontosh would be awarded the Navy Cross.  

Dec 03, 2020
Part I - 2003 Invasion of Iraq (HA Luis Fonseca, Battle of Nasiriyah)
1644

23MAR2003: Serving as a corpsman with 1/2 Marines during the invasion of Iraq, Hospital Apprentice Luis Fonseca and his men were tasked with moving through Nasiriyah and taking the Saddam Canal Bridge.

Having faced little enemy resistance in the first few days of the invasion, the Marines RCT-2 found themselves in a pretty steady fight as soon as they entered Nasiriyah.  Rather than turning to run, the Iraqi military and paramilitary units here decided to fight.  The city was divided by three bridges along the critical highway 7.  Despite the enemy resistance, the Marines cleared the first and second bridge and set their sights on the Saddam Canal.  

Now between two bridges in an urban environment, the enemy sprung their trap.  Firing from all directions, Iraqi fighters hammered the Marines with machine gun fire as mortars and artillery rounds found their mark.  Armed with heavy machine guns and tanks, the Iraqi units held their ground and quickly began destroying American armored vehicles.  Soon, the call went out, 'Corpsman up!'.

Without hesitation, HA Luis Fonseca ran to a burning vehicle that had been struck by enemy fire.  Under fire, he administered aid two the five wounded Marines, two of which were amputees.  He organized their movement to a casualty collection vehicle and stabilized the patients until that truck was disabled by enemy fire.  Fonseca again organized their movement and under continual fire, directed patient care and helped to load the casualties into a new vehicle.  Not able to carry all five, Fonseca stayed behind keeping his fellow Marine alive until someone could return to take him to the aid station.  

Fonseca returned to his unit and continued to treat the wounded all the while, eventually making yet another trip with a casualty to the rear before moving back into the fire to be with his fellow Marines.

For his bravery under fire, HA Luis Fonseca would be awarded the Navy Cross.  

Nov 30, 2020
PFC John Barnes (C/1-503IN, 173rd ABN BDE) Battle of Dak To, 12NOV1967
1739
12NOV1967:  Serving as a grenadier, PFC John Barnes and his unit were attacked by a battalion-sized enemy force.  Outnumbered and taking casualties, Barnes noticed that a machine gun crew had all been killed.  Recognizing the importance of that weapon system in the fight, he ran through the kill zone, reloaded and began pouring fire into the advancing enemy.   In short order, Barnes killed nine enemy soldiers before having to pause to reload.  As he was doing so, he noticed an enemy grenade that entered their lines and came to a rest by a group of wounded American Soldiers.  Without hesitation, Barnes threw himself on the grenade and absorbed the full blast, killing him instantly.   In recognition of this brave act that saved the lives of his fellow Soldiers, PFC John Barnes would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  
Nov 25, 2020
1stLt Alexander Bonnyman (2/8 Marines) Battle of Tarawa, WWII 20-23NOV1943
1292

20-23NOV1943:  Serving as an executive officer for a shore party during the assault on Tarawa, 1stLT Alexander Bonnyman found his fellow Marines pinned down by heavy Japanese fire on the beaches.  Despite the volume of fire, Bonnyman traversed the open beaches to acquire flame throwers and demo equipment, organize his men, and lead attacks into the Japanese positions.

By the third day of the attack, Bonnyman and his fellow Marines were held up by a strongly fortified bunker holding an estimated 150 Japanese fighters.  This strong point was inflicting heavy casualties on the Marines and had to be destroyed.  1stLt Bonnyman led multiple attacks to try to overrun the position, returning only to replenish his ammunition.  Finally reaching the structure, Bonnyman placed explosive charges at two entrances as well as the roof.  

This act flushed out nearly 100 enemy fighters that were engaged by nearby Marines.  Having placed the last charges himself, Bonnyman was right on top of the enemy as they fled.  He held his ground and killed three before falling to a volley of enemy fire.  With this final structure cleared, Bonnyman's fellow Marines were able to finally break the enemy resistance.  


For his heroic actions on the beach and clearing the path inland on Tarawa, 1stLt Alexander Bonnyman would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  

Nov 23, 2020
Lucca (USMC Service Dog) Iraq & Afghanistan 2006-2012
1682
In the face of a growing IED threat in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US military turned to man's best friend.  Working dogs have served throughout history but quickly became a key enabler for the troops on the ground in the Global War on Terror.   One of the most famous working dogs was named Lucca.  Lucca was born in the Netherlands and trained in Israel by the IDF before joining the United States Marine Corps.  Lucca was trained to operate off leash, ahead of her handler, to identify weapons and explosives before American Soldiers or Marines were in harms way.   Lucca deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan, running point on over 400 patrols.  A testament to her skill, not a single American servicemember was killed while she was on watch.  In 2012, Lucca identified a 30lb IED, notified her handler (Cpl Juan Rodriguez) and then continued her search for secondary devices.  In that subsequent search, she detonated an IED and was severely wounded.  Rodriguez ran to her side, applied a tourniquet and helped her into the MEDEVAC bird that was called. Lucca would lose one of her front legs to amputation but survived the blast.  With Rodriguez by her side, Lucca made a full recovery and was walking again a mere ten days after the explosion.   Shortly thereafter, Lucca was retired and adopted by her original handler, Sgt Chris Willingham.  In April of 2016, Lucca was awarded the Dicken Medal, considered the equivalent of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for valor in the British Armed Forces.  
Nov 19, 2020
Pfc Charles Roan (2/7 Marines) Battle of Peleliu 18SEPT1944
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18SEPT1944:  Having landed with the 7th Marines a few days prior, Pfc Charles Roan was fighting his way across the island of Peleliu.  With his unit tasked to clear out any remaining Japanese soldiers from the southern portion of the island, Roan and his men got to work.

His squad moved quickly through the dangerous terrain and found themselves a little cut off from the rest of the company.  As they began to withdraw back to friendly lines, they came under attack from multiple, dug-in enemy positions.  Roan and his squad took whatever cover they could find while the enemy rained down fire from above and behind them.  Early in the fight, Roan was injured by an enemy grenade but kept up the fight.  

As the squad held on, Roan noticed another enemy grenade that landed amidst his men.  Without hesitation, Pfc Charles Roan threw himself on the grenade, covering it with his body and absorbing the full blast.  This selfless act would cost Roan his life but saved the lives of at least four of his fellow Marines.  For his actions that day, Pfc Charles Roan would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  


Nov 16, 2020
2LT Raymond Zussman (756th Tank Battalion) Noroy-le-Bourg, France 12SEPT1944
1317

12SEPT1944: Leading two tanks in support of an infantry attack in Noroy le Bourg, France, 2LT Raymond Zussman's command tank broke down.  Zussman, without hesitation, ran ahead of all US forces to identify enemy locations and designate targets for his two tanks.  Despite enemy fire focusing on his position from close range, Zussman continued to advance alongside the tanks on foot to help identify targets.

Time and again, Zussman took off to recon the area ahead of their advance.  This incredibly risky gambit allowed him to relay the positions of enemy strongpoints and roadblocks that could be destroyed before inflicting maximum harm to his men.  

Under Zussman's heroic leadership, 18 enemy soldiers were killed and 92 captured, many of those taken in by Zussman himself.   Nine days later, 2LT Raymond Zussman would be killed in a German mortar attack at the age of 27.  For his actions at Noroy le Bourg, Zussman would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  

Nov 13, 2020
Frank Buckles & an ask of all veterans
1467

The last surviving American World War I veteran, Frank Buckles passed away at the age of 110 in 2011 after an incredible life.

Attempting to enlist in the military as the US entered the First World War, Buckles was turned away by the Marines for being too small, the Navy for being flat-footed but accepted by the Army.  Only 16 years old, Buckles incredibly convinced recruiters he was older despite looking young for his age, convincing a captain that he didn't have a birth certificate.   

Asking to get to the front lines as soon as possible, he was told that being an ambulance driver would get the job done.  He went through basic training at Fort Riley, KS and quickly shipped out to Europe.  After a few months in England, he was sent over to France where he was assigned to escort an American dentist.  He was in that job when the war ended in 1918.

After returning home, Buckles worked in a few jobs before landing a gig with a shipping company called the American President Lines.  In 1941 he found himself running the Manila office in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked.  Quickly, Buckles was taken prisoner and would serve 39 months in captivity.  After three long years, he and his fellow prisoners were liberated on 23FEB1945 and sent home.  

After the war, Buckles purchased some land in rural West Virginia to farm and raise a family.  Buckles would stay involved in veterans affairs, especially those around WWI throughout his life.   When he passed away at the age of 110 in 2011, Fred Buckles was the last surviving US WWI veteran.  His death marked the end of an era.  

Nov 11, 2020
Pfc Hector Cafferata (F Co. 2/7 Marines) Battle of Chosin Reservoir 28NOV1950
1708

28NOV1950: Serving as a rifleman with the First Marine Division in Korea, Pvt Hector Cafferata found himself facing the brunt of a Chinese attack at the Chosin Reservoir.  Early in the fight, his entire fire team became casualties, leaving Cafferata to fend off the waves of enemy attackers on his own.

Holding the line, Cafferata ran up and down the perimeter, under intense enemy fire lobbing grenades and firing his rifle into the attackers.  Bounding across the hillside to distract enemy machine gunners, Cafferata killed at least 15 attackers and wounded many more, forcing the first wave to withdraw.  At this point, reinforcements arrived at his position.  

Despite fighting without his boots or coat in the below zero temperatures, Cafferata used his entrenching tool to bat back enemy grenades as they entered his fighting position.  Eventually, one landed a short distance away but near some wounded Marines.  Without hesitation, Cafferata ran to the grenade, picked it up and threw it away, saving the lives of the men around him.  The grenade detonated in the air and seriously wounded him in the arm and hand.   

Refusing evacuation, Cafferata continued to fight until he was struck by a snipers bullet and forced to receive medical attention.  Pvt Hector Cafferata would survive the war and in 1952 was awarded the Medal of Honor for valiantly holding the line during this, the opening phase of the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir.  

Nov 09, 2020
PFC Silvestre Herrera (E/2-142IN, 36th ID) 15MAR1945, WWII
1284

15MAR1945: Moving with his unit through a forest near Mertzwiller, France, PFC Silvestre Herrera and his men were pinned down by German machine gun fire. The enemy position was dug in and protected behind a minefield.  

Seeing that his men were stuck, Herrera got up and charged, throwing grenades and firing his rifle as he went.  Herrera came upon the emplacement and quickly captured 8 German soldiers by himself.  Returning with his prisoners, his unit continued mission.

Later that day, his men were again pinned down.  Once more, Hererra charged as he had done previously.  This time he stepped on a mine, shattering his leg.  Standing back up and continuing to advance on his one good leg, he shortly thereafter stepped on a second mine severing his other leg below the knee.  Despite his wounds and now bleeding out, Herrera laid in the prone position and began laying down fire towards the enemy.  Herrera suppressed the enemy position long enough for his unit to maneuver around and overrun the emplacement.  

Evacuated that day, Herrera would survive the war and be awarded the Medal of Honor in August of 1945.  

Nov 06, 2020
PFC John Barkley (K Co. 4th IN, 3rd ID) WWI, 07OCT1918
1393

07OCT1918: Serving as a scout with K Co. 4th IN, 3rd ID, PFC John Barkley was set forward of friendly lines, less than a kilometer from enemy forces.  Noticing that his communication wire had been severed just as a German attack materialized, PFC Barkley took it upon himself to halt the advance.

Moving forward, Barkley picked up an enemy machine gun and moved into an abandoned, burned out French tank.  He gathered as much ammunition as possible and waited.  As the German artillery fire lifted, he watched as the enemy forces advanced all around him.  Waiting until the enemy forces were directly to each side, Barkley opened fire, completely halting portions of the attack.

As soon as he opened fire Barkley gave his position away and that prompted a response from a German 77mm artillery piece at point blank range.  Miraculously, Barkley survived and waited once more as the next wave of attackers reached his position before again opening fire.  

In stopping this second wave of attackers, PFC John Barkley allowed his unit to reinforce his position and hold the line.  For his actions that day, Barkley would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Nov 04, 2020
SP6 Lawrence Joel (1-503IN, 173rd ABN BDE) Vietnam War, 08NOV1965
1361

08NOV1965:  Serving as a medic with 1-503IN during the Vietnam War, SP6 Lawrence Joel and his fellow paratroopers were in search of Viet Cong fighters when they were ambushed by a sizeable enemy force.  Outnumbered 6 to 1, the entire first squad was either killed or seriously wounded early in the engagement.  Without regard for his own safety, Joel crawled into the barrage of enemy fire to begin treating his brothers.

Moving from one wounded Soldier to the next, Joel was struck in the leg by machine gun fire.  He quickly bandaged his leg and got back to work.  The fire was so intense that he was forced to lie prone while treating Soldiers, only his arm holding a plasma bag exposed to the deadly onslaught.  Struck again in the thigh, Joel continued to crawl forward, treating American Soldiers one by one.  Joel assisted at least 13 Soldiers before his medical supplies ran out.  When that happened, he made due and used a plastic bag to seal a chest wound, saving the wounded Soldier's life.

Resupplied and ignoring directives for his own evacuation, Joel continued to treat his brothers until the 24 hour fight came to a close.  As the fighting stopped, Joel was ordered to seek treatment and was loaded on a medical evacuation helicopter.  He would survive the war and make it home to his family.  

For his brave actions that day, SP6 Lawrence Joel would be awarded in 1967 the Medal of Honor, the first living black American Soldier to receive the medal since 1898.  


Nov 02, 2020
SGT John McVeigh (G/23rd IN, 2nd ID) Battle of Brest, WWII 29AUG1944
1163

29AUG1944: Serving as a squad leader during the assault on Brest, France, SGT John McVeigh and his men were hit by a German counter-attack.  Having just started to dig in, his unit was starting to fall back as they came under intense fire from enemy small arms and flak guns.  The attack was so quick that the Germans were quickly right on top of the US positions and the American Soldiers, pinned down, were at risk of being wiped out.  

The attackers were about to overrun two machine gun positions, the only things keeping the US in the fight.  SGT McVeigh, without regard for his own life, stood up and began directing his men's fire into the advancing enemy fighters, stalling the attack and keeping the machine guns operational, at least for the moment.  Seeing more German attackers almost on top of his men, McVeigh drew his trench knife and charged.  He quickly killed one enemy soldier and turned his attention to three more when he was shot and killed.

SGT McVeigh's actions allowed the two machine guns to stay firing and were the only reason the German attackers were not able to overrun the position that day.  For his bravery and sacrifice, SGT John McVeigh would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  

Oct 30, 2020
LTJG John Koelsch (Helicopter Squadron 2) 03JUL1951 Korean War
1359

03JUL1951:  Serving as a pilot in Helicopter Squadron 2 during the Korean War, LTJG John Koelsch got the call that an American pilot was shot down behind enemy lines and needed rescue.  Taking off, Koelsch saw that the low cloud cover meant that he would be without air support if he wanted to actually find the pilot.  To see the ground, he had to move under the clouds.  That meant the fixed wing support would be unavailable if needed.

Moving ahead anyways to save the pilot, Koelsch began taking enemy fire once he made it below the clouds.  Moving at slow speeds and unarmed, Koelsch and his craft made for an easy target for the enemy forces dotting the hillsides all around.  Eventually spotting the pilot, Koelsch set the craft down and began loading the wounded American.  

In this process, the helicopter was struck again and was forced to crash into the hillside.  Fortunately, all three on board survived.  Helping his men from the wreckage, Koelsch led them into the hills where they evaded capture for three days.  He then led them towards American lines for six days before they were eventually captured and sent to a POW camp.  After being beaten and tortured for months, LTJG John Koelsch would die in captivity on October 16th, 1951.  

For his brave rescue attempt and will to hold out during captivity, LTJG John Koelsch would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  

Oct 28, 2020
SGT William Seay (62nd Trans. Co., 48th Trans. Grp.) Tay Ninh, Vietnam 25AUG1968
1572

25AUG1968: Serving in the 62nd Transportation Company of the 7th Transportation Group, SGT William Seay and his men took off with a convoy of 81 trucks  to resupply the American units at Tay Ninh Combat Base in Vietnam.  In the midst of the route, the enemy struck, ambushing the column with machine gun fire and rockets.  

As vehicles at the head and rear of the convoy were disabled, Seay and many others found themselves trapped with nowhere to go.  Their only option to fight it out until help arrived, SGT Seay dismounted his vehicle and took cover.  In short order, the enemy began movement through the kill zone to wipe out Seay and his men.  As they did so, a grenade was thrown that landed next to Seay under an ammunition trailer.  Without hesitation, Seay picked it up and threw it back, killing four enemy soldiers and saving the lives of the men nearby.  Seay did this once more that day before being severely wounded in the right arm.

Continuing to fight and motivate his men to hold on, Seay noticed a group of enemy soldiers maneuvering on his position.  Although unable to use his right arm, Seay attacked, firing with his left as he went.  After killing the three attackers, Seay returned to American lines where he was later killed by enemy fire.  

For his bravery that day in helping hold off the enemy attack until reinforcements could arrive, SGT William Seay would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  

Oct 26, 2020
SGT Charles Wyckoff (C/1-508 PIR) Helmand, Afghanistan 06JUN2007
1361

06JUN2007: Serving with 3rd Platoon Charlie Company, 1-508 PIR, SGT Charles Wyckoff and his men were on patrol in Afghanistan's deadly Helmand province right in the midst of the fighting season.  In the middle of the patrol, Taliban fighters opened fire on the exposed American element forcing Wyckoff and his men to take cover.

From a covered position, Wyckoff identified a source of enemy fire from behind a nearby wall.  These walls in southern Afghanistan are thick and easily able to stop bullets.  If they were going to destroy the enemy fighters and be able to safely exit the area, someone would have to get behind that wall.  

Without regard for his own safety, SGT Wyckoff ran across an open field to maneuver behind the enemy.  Turning the corner, he found himself mere feet from two Taliban fighters.  One was aiming an RPG at his men about to pull the trigger and the other turned to face Wyckoff with an AK-47.  Rather than save himself, Wyckoff ignored the fighter just feet in front of him to shoot the enemy with the RPG, killing him before he could fire it at his men.  Simultaneously, Wyckoff was shot and killed by the second Taliban fighter.

Putting his men before himself, SGT Charles Wyckoff gave his life so that his brothers may live.  For his brave actions that day, Wyckoff would be awarded, posthumously, the Distinguished Service Cross.  

Oct 22, 2020
Cpl Anthony Casamento (D Co. 1/5 Marines) Battle of Guadalcanal 01NOV1942
1442

01NOV1942: Serving as a machine gun squad leader during the Battle of Guadalcanal, Cpl Anthony Casamento and his men came under heavy fire as they held the line near the Matanikau River.  Moving his element forward, Casamento set in his machine guns to most effectively provide covering fire for his advancing company, just a short distance behind him.  

The Japanese fire was intense and accurate and before long the entire element, with the exception of Casamento were killed or seriously wounded.  Despite being wounded himself, Casamento took over the guns and continued to lay down devastating fire as the nearby Japanese forces concentrated on his position.  Casamento stayed on these weapon systems, destroying one enemy machine gun and suppressing another despite the overwhelming volume of fire aimed in his direction.  

Eventually, the main body of the attacking force arrived to reinforce Casamento and push the fight into the enemy lines.  Casamento would be evacuated for his wounds and survived the war.  However, as there were thought to be no survivors from the engagement, Casamento's bravery went without recognition until 1964 when it was discovered that two Marines from that fight had survived and provided eyewitness accounts of what Casamento had done.  In turn, in 1980, Anthony Casamento was awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Oct 19, 2020
Sgt Alfredo Gonzalez (A Co. 1/1 Marines) Battle of Hue, Vietnam 31JAN-04FEB1968
1647

31JAN-04FEB1968: Leading a platoon in Vietnam, Sgt Alfredo Gonzalez and the men of A Co. 1/1 Marines were called upon as the Tet Offensive kicked off and the city of Hue fell.  Asked to move to Hue to reinforce and clear out NVA and VC elements, Sgt Gonzalez and his men took off, headed for their first taste of urban combat.  

Entering the city from the south, Sgt Gonzalez and his men were quickly attacked by an entrenched enemy raining down a heavy volume of rocket and small arms fire.  Without missing a beat, Gonzalez lept from his truck and began organizing his men to assault and clear the nearby buildings that were crawling with enemy fighters.  After opening a path for the vehicles, Gonzalez then saw a wounded Marine exposed in the street.  Running through enemy fire, Gonzalez picked up the Marine and returned him to friendly lines, himself being wounded in the process.

Refusing medical evacuation, Gonzalez stayed with his men and went on to assault and destroy yet another enemy machine gun bunker that day.  Gonzalez would stay with his men and continue the fight for four more days before he was hit and killed by enemy fire on 04FEB1968.  For his incredibly heroic acts during the Battle of Hue, Sgt Alfredo Gonzalez would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  

Oct 16, 2020
SSG Stevon Booker (A/1-64 AR, 3rd ID) Thunder Run, Battle of Baghdad, Iraq 05APR2003
1564

05APR2003: Serving as a tank commander with A/1-64 Armor during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, SSG Stevon Booker and his unit were tasked with conducting a raid to test the remaining enemy defenses.  

The attack, later known as the "Thunder Run" began south of Baghdad with aims of moving through main roads until they reached the newly secured airport.  SSG Booker and his crew were in the midst of this operation when they were engaged on multiple sides by enemy small arms and RPG fire.  Booker opened the hatch and began firing his mounted machine gun at the numerous dismounted enemy elements at close range.  Before long, his machine gun malfunctioned as the enemy forces pushed closer.

Without hesitation, SSG Booker crawled out of his hatch, laid on top of the tank and began engaging targets with his rifle.  As enemy elements attempted to maneuver into striking position, SSG Booker destroyed one after the other, helping to protect his column of tanks.  As the column continued forward, SSG Booker remained in the prone position, completely exposed to the steady stream of enemy fire in order to ensure any dismounted targets were destroyed.  

After fighting this way for five miles, SSG Stevon Booker was struck and killed by enemy fire but his heroic act helped to ensure the armored element was able to complete the raid and link up with friendly units at the airport.  For his actions that day, SSG Stevon Booker would be awarded, posthumously, the Distinguished Service Cross.  

Oct 14, 2020
LTC Don Faith Jr. (1-32IN, 7th ID) Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, 27NOV-01DEC1950
1734

27NOV-01DEC1950: Serving as the battalion commander for 1-32 Infantry, LTC Don Faith and his mean were spearheading the advanced through North Korea when Chinese troops entered the fight.  As they prepared for further advanced, they were hit by a sizeable enemy force, in what would come to be some of the deadliest fighting during the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir.  

Set up on the east side of the reservoir, LTC Faith and his battalion fought hard for two days before being ordered back to tie in with the rest of Regimental Combat Team 31 to strengthen their defenses.  From the start, Faith continued to place himself in the most dangerous positions in order to best lead and motivate his men.  Just after linking up, the regimental commander was killed and LTC Faith took command of the 2,500 man force facing extermination in the brutal winter conditions.

Recognizing they were surrounded, Faith organized a breakout in hopes of reaching the Marine lines west and south of their position.  The going was slow and deadly.  In order to push the advance, Faith's men had to clear the hillsides ahead of the element so as to not walk into an ambush.  Time and again, Faith led the charge up these hills into enemy fire to clear them out and make way for his men.  Rather than sitting in the relative comfort of his jeep, set back from the rear, LTC Faith refused to be anywhere but on the front lines, taking the same risks he was asking of his men.

During one of these charges up a steep hillside, Faith was seriously wounded by an enemy grenade.  Refusing evacuation ahead of his men, Faith sat in a truck cab and maintained command as his unit continued their breakout.  As fighting continued, Faith was struck and killed when the vehicle approached an enemy roadblock.  Unable to recover his body, Faith was listed as missing in action and his family was awarded the Medal of Honor on his behalf in 1951.  In 2004 a US Army recovery team identified and repatriated the remains of LTC Don Faith and laid him to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. 

Oct 12, 2020
SSG Eric Shaw (C/2-327IN, 1-101 ABN DIV) Kunar, Afghanistan 27JUN2010
1508

27JUN2010: Serving as a squad leader with C/2-327IN, SSG Eric Shaw and his men stepped out of FOB Joyce early in the morning kicking off Operation Strong Eagle.  With a goal of disrupting insurgent activity in the Ghaki valley, Shaw and his men were assisting the Afghan forces in what would be the clearance of a village called Daridam.  

Moving on foot with a line of vehicles a distance behind them, SSG Shaw and his men moved into the deadly valley with their Afghan partners.  The Ghaki was known to be an enemy stronghold with estimated enemy fighters numbering in the hundreds.  As expected, as they neared the outskirts of the city, the Taliban opened fire.  

The initial volley of small arms and RPGs seriously wounded one Afghan Soldier while Shaw and his men sprang into action.  As they sat in the open, Shaw directed his men to move back to the cover of the armored vehicles and ran forward, under fire, to pass directions to his Afghan partners.  As enemy fire intensified, Shaw and his squad regrouped behind the relative cover of the vehicles when he noticed that some of the Afghans were still caught in the open.

 This handful of Afghan soldiers were caught in the open and taking fire from multiple sides, confused and not knowing where to go.  Without hesitation, Shaw jumped up in an effort to move through the wall of enemy fire to rescue the cut off Afghan platoon.  During this act, SSG Eric Shaw was hit and killed by enemy fire but his valiant effort saved the lives of that cut off Afghan platoon.  

For his heroic act that day, SSG Eric Shaw would be awarded, posthumously, the Distinguished Service Cross, the first in the 101st Airborne Division since the Vietnam war.   

Oct 09, 2020
PVT Marcario Garcia (B/1-22 IN, 4th ID) Grosshau, Germany WWII
1401

27NOV1944: Serving as an acting squad leader with B Co. 22nd Infantry Regiment, PVT Marcario Garcia and his men found themselves pinned down by enemy fire near Grosshau, Germany.  In short order, the enemy opened up with mortars and artillery inflicting substantial casualties on the trapped American forces.

Although wounded in the initial barrage, Garcia crawled forward on his own initiative until within short distance of an enemy emplacement.  From there, he hurled multiple grenades and assaulted the position, destroying the gun and killing three enemy combatants.  Still under fire, Garcia moved back to friendly lines and linked back up with his company.  Just then, a second machine gun opened fire, again pinning down Garcia's unit.  

For a second time that day, Garcia assaulted through enemy fire to destroy the position, killing three and capturing four prisoners.  PVT Marcario Garcia would continue to fight with his unit and refused medical treatment for his wounds until the final objective that day was taken.

PVT Marcario Garcia would survive the war and in 1945 became the first Mexican immigrant to be awarded the Medal of Honor.  Garcia became an American citizen in 1947 and passed away in 1972 at the age of 52. 

Oct 07, 2020
CM3 Marvin Shields (Seabee Team 1104) Battle of Dong Xoai, Vietnam 10JUN1965
1406

10JUN1965: CM3 Marvin Shields and Navy Seabee Team 1104 was helping to construct a remote Special Forces base in an area of Vietnam known as Dong Xoai in summer of 1965.  On June 10th, while the base was still under construction, a large Viet Cong element struck, attacking on all sides.

Heavily outnumbered, many American and South Vietnamese troops, including Shields were wounded in the initial engagement.  Without missing a beat, Shields stepped in wherever needed.  For the first three hours of the fight, Shields ferried the much needed ammunition through deadly enemy fire to the various defensive positions keeping the Viet Cong at bay.  Shields was wounded a second time as the enemy mounted a close range assault with grenades and flame throwers. 

After four more hours of moving ammunition and wounded Soldiers across the battlefield, Shields volunteered to help one of the Special Forces Soldiers to knock out an enemy machine gun position.  After destroying the enemy team, Shields was killed as he returned to the safety of the US defensive position.  

After placing himself in harms way time and again to keep his men in the fight, CM3 Marvin Shields would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.   To date, CM3 Shields is the only Navy Seabee to have been awarded this honor.  

Oct 05, 2020
1SG Aaron Jagger (C/1-37AR, 1st AD) Ramadi, Iraq 09AUG2006
1505

09AUG2006: Serving as the First Sergeant for Cobra Company, 1-37 Armor, 1SG Aaron Jagger and his team found out in the summer of 2006 that their Iraq deployment was about to change.  Currently serving in a relatively calm area of the country, 1SG Jagger and his men were now tasked with reinforcing ongoing operations in the deadly city of Ramadi.

Entering the fight in south-central Ramadi, 1SG Jagger and his men placed themselves directly in the insurgent path into and out of the city.  Engaged in near daily fights, 1SG Jagger and his men established a series of combat outposts to help secure the volatile city.  A major part of this initiative was called a census patrol where a units from 1-37 AR would focus on face-to-face meetings with the citizens of Ramadi to reinforce the Iraqi and US understanding of the human terrain and hopefully build trust with the local citizens.  

These census patrols were conducted in the midst of a heavily kinetic environment.  While trying to win the support of the local population, 1SG Jagger and his men were always on the lookout for an enemy ambush or IEDs designed to kill American Soldiers in one of the deadliest cities in Iraq.

On August 9th, headed back to COP Spear, the convoy passed through an intersection and a large IED was detonated under 1SG's vehicle.  The blast killed 1SG Aaron Jagger, SPC Ignacio Ramirez and SPC Shane Woods.  

Oct 03, 2020
SFC Junior Edwards (E/2-23IN, 2nd ID) Battle of Wonju, Korean War 02JAN1951
998

02JAN1951: His platoon responsible for holding a strategic hill, SFC Junior Edwards and his men found themselves in the midst of a vicious enemy attack.  Taking heavy machine gun fire from a nearby hill, SFC Edwards grabbed a handful of grenades throwing them as he charged the position.  Buckling under the daring assault, the enemy team retreated and Edwards moved back with his men.

Shortly thereafter, the enemy again occupied the hillside so SFC Edwards once more picked up a supply of grenades and charged the position destroying the machine gun and killing the crew.  Just as he finished his assault, he was quickly driven back by small arms fire from nearby enemy fighters.  

Once more, the enemy moved another machine gun into that advantageous position and began laying fire down into Edwards and his men.   SFC Edwards again resupplied on grenades and charged, destroying the second machine gun of the day and killing it's crew.  During this his third charge into a wall of enemy fire, SFC Junior Edwards was struck and killed at the age of 24.  

His bravery in taking out multiple enemy positions that day saved the lives of his men who were in turn able to hold on and repel the ongoing assault.  For this selfless act, SFC Junior Edwards would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  

Sep 30, 2020
PFC John Magrath (G Co. 85th IN, 10th MTN DIV) Italy, WWII 14APR1945
1095

14APR1945:  Pushing ahead in what would be the last major Allied offensive in Italy, PFC John Magrath and his unit were pinned down by multiple German defensive positions just outside of Castel d'Aiano.  Armed with only a rifle, Magrath volunteered to assault the nearest bunker to buy his company room to maneuver.

Charging through the gunfire, Magrath overran the position, killing two, wounding three and capturing a German machine gun.  He then took the machine gun and moved over open terrain to engage and destroy two further machine gun positions.  Continuing his one man assault, he identified a group of four enemy soldiers firing on his men.  Working his way behind the group, he cut all four down in rapid bursts.  From there, he was spotted by a final machine gun position.  Kneeling and firing his machine gun, Magrath destroyed this final position as well before moving back to American lines.  

Having eliminated the forces that had kept them pinned down, Magrath and his company advanced forward.  Soon, they came under a heavy artillery barrage and quickly began taking casualties.  Again volunteering, Magrath ran into the storm of steel to collect casualties.  While he was doing so, PFC John Magrath was hit by enemy fire and killed.

For playing such a pivotal role in the battle that day, PFC John Magrath would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  

Sep 29, 2020
SSG Robert Miller (ODA 3312, 3rd SFG) Kunar, Afghanistan 25JAN2008
1275

25JAN2008: Serving as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant, SSG Robert Miller and his team were conducting a patrol through the Gowardesh Valley in eastern Afghanistan when they came into contact with 15-20 Taliban fighters.  Miller, manning a Mk-19 automatic grenade launcher, engaged the enemy forces and assisted in directing air strikes to eliminate the threat.

Following the engagement, Miller set off on foot as point man for a small element to conduct a battle damage assessment from the strike.  As the group, moving through a deep valley, neared the strike location, enemy forces all along the hillside opened fire.  Caught in an ambush from upwards of 100 Taliban fighters shooting down from covered positions, Miller and his team were stuck in the kill zone.  

Without hesitation or regard for his own safety, SSG Miller moved to an exposed location to lay down suppressive fire, allowing his team to exit the ambush.  Maneuvering to engage the dug-in enemy forces, Miller was hit in the torso but wouldn't stop.  He continued firing and pushing forward, killing at least ten enemy fighters and drawing fire from the entire force.  As US and Afghan forces moved to a more defensible position, SSG Robert Miller was struck and killed by enemy fire.

For sacrificing himself to allow his men to exit the kill zone, SSG Robert Miller would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  

Sep 25, 2020
Pfc Jack Lucas (1/26 Marines, 5th Marine Division) Battle of Iwo Jima, 20FEB1945
1635

20FEB1945:  After lying about his age to enlist in the Marines at 14, Pfc Jack Lucas went AWOL from his unit in Hawaii in hopes of making his way to a combat unit.  After stowing away on a transport ship, Lucas made himself known and rather than face a court-martial, he was attached to Marine infantry unit set to go ashore in the coming days at Iwo Jima.

Just barely 17 when he landed on Iwo Jima, Lucas survived day one of the deadly battle and was with four other men maneuvering through an enemy trench system when they were spotted.  As his rifle jammed, Lucas dropped to a knee to correct the malfunction and was the only man in the group to spot a grenade land in their midst.  Without hesitation, Lucas jumped past a fellow Marine to shove the grenade into the sand and cover it with his body.  As he did so, a second grenade landed nearby which he grabbed and pulled under his body as well.  

The ensuing blast threw him into the air and peppered him with over 250 pieces of searing hot shrapnel.  His fellow Marines were sure he was dead and continued their mission but miraculously, Lucas survived the blast.  Shortly, as they were passing by, another group of Marines noticed Lucas and alerted a stretcher team to take him to the rear for treatment.  

After 20+ surgeries and as full a recovery as was possible, the 17-year old Lucas was presented the Medal of Honor by President Truman.  Jack Lucas became the youngest service-member in WWII to receive the honor and the youngest Marine in history.  

Sep 23, 2020
Spec/4 Al Rascon (1-503IN, 173rd ABN BDE) Vietnam War, 16MAR1966
1114

16MAR1966: Serving as a medic to a recon platoon in Vietnam, Spec/4 Al Rascon and his men took off to reinforce a sister unit under attack.  On their way, they were ambushed by a numerically superior enemy force that inflicted heavy casualties right away.  

As the first few men fell, Spec/4 Rascon ignored requests to wait for suppressive fire and manuevered into the kill zone to treat a wounded Soldier, a machine gunner.  Placing his body between the Soldier and the enemy, Rascon suffered multiple shrapnel wounds as he treated and moved the patient to safety.  Hearing that the other machine gunner was running low on ammunition, Rascon again redistributed ammo and moved forward to retrieve the weapon and spare barrels left by the wounded Soldier. In the process, Rason was wounded again in the face and torso by grenade fragments but kept on moving. He recovered the equipment and handed it off to another Soldier that helped keep their unit in the fight.

Disregarding his wounds, Rascon continued to search the kill zone for wounded Soldiers.  Twice more, he found Soldiers and used his body to shield them from incoming grenades, suffering more wounds himself.  Rascon refused aid until all of his men had been treated and evacuated.  It wasn't until he was placed on a MEDEVAC chopper that he finally allowed someone to treat his countless wounds.  

Spec/4 Al Rason would survive the day and be recommended for the Medal of Honor. However, the citation would be lost and instead he would receive the Silver Star.  In 2000, after members of his unit lobbied for the correction, Rascon, now a MAJ in the Army Reserve, would be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Sep 21, 2020
Cpl Dakota Meyer (ETT 2-8) Kunar, Afghanistan 08SEPT2009
1549

08SEPT2009: Serving as a part of an embedded training team in Afghanistan, Cpl. Dakota Meyer was tasked with maintaining security by a rally point as other members of his team pushed into a village named Ganjgal.  Expecting to meet with village elders, the element of US and Afghan forces quickly came under intense enemy fire from an estimated 50 Taliban fighters.

Hearing that the US team was cut off, Meyer and another Marine took off in a vehicle to assist.  As their vehicle drew fire, Meyer manned the machine gun and hammered enemy positions despite rounds impacting all around him.  Each trip into the fight, Meyer identified and helped evacuate groups of wounded or trapped Afghan soldiers.  During these movements, he was in constant contact with the enemy, engaging some at point blank range.  

After the vehicle took too much damage to return, Meyer swapped for a new truck and went back into the fight two more times.  Having already been wounded in the army, Meyer dismounted the vehicle near where he expected his cut off Marines to be.  As he neared the position, he spotted a Taliban fighter attempting to drag the bodies away.  After killing that fighter, Meyer began the recovery of his four fallen brothers.  

For saving the lives of so many Afghan and American warriors during that six hour fight, Cpl Dakota Meyer would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Sep 18, 2020
SFC Thomas Payne (1st SFOD-D) Hawija, Iraq 22OCT2015
1195

22OCT2015:  SFC Thomas Payne and his fellow warriors of the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Delta Force), were deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve when they were tasked with a hostage rescue mission.  An estimated 70+ Kurdish hostages were being held by Islamic State fighters in the town of Hawija, Iraq.  

The mission was moved to a top priority after freshly dug graves were identified in the immediate area.  Knowing they had to act or all 70 would be executed, SFC Payne and his men linked up with their Kurdish partners and began an assault on the compound.

SFC Payne was leading one of the teams with the responsibility of securing the hostages from one of two target compounds.  Quickly moving through intense enemy fire, Payne reached the first compound and cut the locks to the door holding the hostages.  As the 40 hostages began movement to the evacuation helicopters waiting, Payne got a call that a man was down and an intense fight was raging next door. Without hesitation, he moved to assist.

Climbing to the roof, Payne and his men engaged multiple enemy fighters before one detonated a suicide vest in an attempt to cave in the building.  With the remaining hostages now at risk of being trapped in the burning building, Payne made his move.  Despite heavy enemy fire, Payne twice pushed through the smoke and fire to cut the lock and free the remaining hostages.  As everyone exited the burning and collapsing building, Payne made multiple trips back inside to ensure that no man was left behind.  

For continually risking his own life to save over 70 Kurdish and Iraqi prisoners in one of the largest hostage rescue missions in American history, SFC Thomas Payne would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Sep 17, 2020
PFC Desmond Doss (B/1-307IN, 77th ID) Battle of Okinawa, 29APR-21MAY1945
1538

29APR-21MAY1945:  Serving as a medic with Bravo Company, part of 1-307 IN, PFC Desmond Doss had distinguished himself during the combat in Guam and Leyte before his men landed on Okinawa.  Doss was unique in that as a conscientious objector he refused to carry a weapon into battle.  Most medics would at least carry a sidearm to be used in strictly defensive means if necessary.  

At the start of May, Doss and his unit were sent up to relieve a battalion that had suffered heavy casualties trying to take an area that became known as Hacksaw Ridge.  Having to scale a cliff to reach the dug in Japanese defenders, Bravo company climbed ropes and ladders before reaching the peak.  At that point they came under withering enemy fire, nearly decimating the entire unit.  As what was left of the company began a retreat down the cliff, their many wounded were stranded, unable to fall back.

Rather than leave the wounded, Doss stayed behind and over the course of the next few hours, treated casualties, moved them to the edge of the cliff and lowered them down one by one.  Doss is credited with saving at least 75 American Soldiers that day.  As the fight raged for a few more days, Doss repeatedly placed himself in harms way in order to treat as may Soldiers as possible.  

A few weeks later, on May 21st, Doss was ahead of friendly lines continuing to treat wounded that were a little cut off.  While there, he was wounded by a Japanese grenade but rather than call a stretcher team forward, he treated the wounds himself and sat tight for five hours until it was safe for them to advance.  While being moved back to the rear, Doss noticed another Soldier that was in worse shape than he was.  He quickly rolled off the stretcher to make room for the casualty.

Shortly thereafter, Doss was struck by a snipers bullet that broke his arm.  Creating a quick splint with a rifle stock, Doss then crawled more than 300 yards back to the aid station where he was treated and evacuated.  

For his incredible actions throughout the Battle of Okinawa, now CPL Desmond Doss would be awarded the Medal of Honor, the only conscientious objector in the war to do so.  Doss would live until the age of 87 when he would pass away in 2006. 

Sep 16, 2020
SGT Gordon Roberts (B/1-506IN, 101st Airborne) Vietnam War, 11JUL1969
1223

11JUL1969: SGT Gordon Roberts was a rifleman when his platoon was called upon to help relieve one of their sister companies that was pinned down nearby.  As his platoon approached the enemy controlled hillside, they too were attacked by those same positions and were quickly immobilized by the volume of enemy machine gun fire.

Seeing his men pinned down and recognizing that unless they reduced the threat, his sister company could be wiped out, SGT Roberts picked up and charged towards the first closest enemy bunker.  Firing as he ran, he overcame the position and killed the two defenders.  

As he was alerting his men that the position was cleared, a second machine gun opened up with a round striking and destroying his rifle.  Without hesitation, Roberts picked up an enemy AK-14 and continued his assault towards the second bunker.  With rounds impacting all over, Roberts destroyed his second bunker of the day.  

From there he pushed further into the deadly enemy fire to destroy a third emplacement with grenades before linking up with the adjoining company they were tasked with assisting.  As enemy fire continued to rain down all around, Roberts stayed with this unit to help evacuate casualties before making his way back to his platoon.

For taking out the fortified enemy positions that were about to wipe out his platoon and a sister company, SGT Gordon Roberts would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  Roberts would survive the war and would exit the service after three years in 1971.   He would earn a direct commission in 1991, return to service and retired from active duty in 2012.

Sep 15, 2020
CPL Hiroshi Miyamura (2-7IN, 3rd ID) Korean War, 24-25APR1951
1372

24APR1951: Manning a defensive position near Taejon-ni in South Korea, CPL Hiroshi Miyamura and his company were hit by a large Chinese attack that threatened to overrun their lines.  With the enemy already inside the wire, Miyamura quickly killed ten enemy soldiers with his bayonet before moving to one of his machine gun positions.  

Once there, he administered first aid to his wounded men and coordinated their evacuation.  As a second wave of the attack struck, Miyamura manned the machine gun and laid down heavy fire into the advancing Chinese troops until he had expended all ammunition.  About to be overrun, he ordered his men to fall back while he destroyed the machine gun.

Moving to a secondary machine gun position, he helped that crew until his unit was ordered to withdraw.  To cover his men's movement, Miyamura stayed on the gun and killed at least 50 Chinese troops before he was seriously wounded, the position overrun, and he was taken prisoner.  

CPL Hiroshi Miyamura was submitted and approved for the Medal of Honor but the news was classified as Top Secret.  With Miyamura in Chinese captivity, there was a concern that if it became known how much devastation he had caused in their ranks, he may not make it home from the POW camp.  

Released after 28 months of captivity in August of 1953, Miyamura was presented the Medal of Honor by President Eisenhower in October of that year.  

Sep 14, 2020
LTJG Nathan Gordon (Patrol Squadron 34) 09FEB1944, Bismarck Sea
1152

15FEB1944: Serving with Patrol Squadron 34 based out of New Guinea, LTJG Nathan Gordon and his men were regularly tasked with the challenging mission of rescuing downed American pilots in the vast Pacific Ocean.  

During an attack on the island of Kavieng on February 15th a handful of A-20's and B-25's had been shot down and the call went out for a potential rescue mission.  LTJG Gordon and his crew, flying the 'Arkansas Traveler' PBY Catalina, took off in hopes of saving the downed American pilots.  

Escorted by a group of fighters, Gordon landed between waves nearly 20 feet tall to search the first pile of wreckage for survivors.  Unsuccessful and taking on water, he took back off but was quickly notified that some survivors had been found a short distance away.  Within range of enemy fire, Gordon twice landed and pulled aboard the surviving airmen.  In both instances, having to shut off his engines to complete the rescue.

Taking off with a full load and low on fuel, a call came in that an additional life raft had been spotted, a mere 600m from the Japanese gun positions.  Without hesitation, Gordon spun his aircraft around, buzzed the enemy position at low altitude, landed and picked up an additional six airmen.  Now overweight with 24 men on board, Gordon successfully fought the plane to get airborne and not crash into the oncoming waves.  

LTJG Gordon and his crew were able to save 15 downed airmen that day that would have otherwise perished at sea or been taken prisoner by the Japanese.  For his incredible bravery in rescuing those men, LTJG Nathan Gordon would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  Gordon would survive the war and go on to serve as Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas for twenty years.

Sep 12, 2020
Spec/4 Danny Peterson (B/4-23IN, 25th ID) Vietnam War 09JAN1970
1066

09JAN1970: Commanding an armored personnel carrier, Spec/4 Danny Peterson and his company found themselves up against an estimated battalion sized enemy force.  As the enemy opened fire, the lead personnel carrier was disabled and the men inside pinned down by machine gun and RPG fire.

To provide the disabled crew cover and time to repair the vehicle, Peterson maneuvered his APC directly between the disabled vehicle and the enemy position.  Now firing point blank into the entrenched enemy fighting positions, Peterson's vehicle was soon hit and the driver wounded.  

Exiting the APC, Peterson carried his wounded driver 45m across open terrain to the casualty collection point for treatment.  His vehicle badly damaged and the company preparing to withdraw, Peterson could have stayed out of the fight.  

Instead he ran right back in and began laying down covering fire for his men as they attempted to exit the kill zone.  Alone and taking fire from three sides, Spec/4 Danny Peterson was shortly killed as he manned the position.  For his selfless act that day, Peterson would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Sep 11, 2020
SPC Ty Carter (B/3-61 CAV, 4th ID) Battle of Kamdesh, Afghanistan 03OCT2009
1793
03OCT2009: Waking up to an overwhelming enemy assault, then SPC Ty Carter and his men found themselves on the receiving end of a deadly Taliban attack.  With 300 fighters covering the nearby hillsides, looking down into COP Keating, the Taliban began the attack at dawn, laying down a not-before-seen volume of fire into the American outpost.   Quickly recognizing the severity of the situation, then SPC Carter gathered ammunition and twice moved through a hail of gunfire to begin delivering the much needed supplies to the heavy weapons crews.  Once at the fighting positions, Carter never stopped engaging the enemy fighters as they moved down the hillsides in an attempt to overrun the base.   Soon, SPC Carter learned that one of his men was wounded and stranded in the open.  Without regard for his own safety, Carter ran through the same withering enemy fire in order to reach the Soldier.  Once there, he provided immediate first aid to stop the bleeding and moved the Soldier to a more covered position.  Carter then picked up the wounded Soldier, and moved over 100m to the aid station under devastating, close range enemy fire.   Once the wounded Soldier was delivered the to aid station, SPC Carter went right back out into the fight where he spent the next few hours pushing the Taliban fighters back and retaking COP Keating.   For his heroic actions that prevented the enemy from overrunning the outpost and helped to save the lives of his fellow Soldiers, SPC Ty Carter would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  
Sep 10, 2020
CPT Ben Salomon (2-105IN, 27th ID) Battle of Saipan, 07JUL1944
1419

07JUL1944: Serving as a regimental dentist during the deadly Battle of Saipan, CPT Ben Salomon was tending to wounded Soldiers when the Japanese launched the largest suicide attack of the war.  

At dawn, 4,000 enemy fighters charged forward in a last ditch effort to stop the American advance.  The large force surged through the American lines and engaging in fierce hand to hand combat.  With his aid station a bit behind the front lines, CPT Salomon quickly saw men coming his way for treatment.  As he was working on the casualties, Salomon looked up to see a Japanese soldier in the tent bayoneting the wounded Americans.  Picking up a weapon, Salomon shot the man dead then went back to treating his patients.

Shortly after, enemy soldiers began crawling under the tent.  CPT Salomon noticed and repelled their assault before ordering the wounded, at least those who could, to evacuate the aid station.  As the wounded began to move, Salomon stood his ground to cover their movement.  Seeing a nearby machine gun crew that had just been killed, CPT Salomon got behind the weapon system and opened up on the attacking Japanese.  

Later that morning, the attack died down and the Americans rebuilt their lines.  CPT Salomon was found at the machine gun position, with 98 dead enemy soldiers laid out in front of him.  For his valiant effort in holding the enemy at bay, CPT Ben Salomon would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.   Salomon is one of only three dental officers to have received the award.  

Sep 09, 2020
SSG Travis Atkins (D/2-14IN, 2-10 Mountain) Abu Samak, Iraq 01JUN2007
1071

01JUN2007: As they were conducting a route clearance patrol just outside of Baghdad, Iraq, SSG Travis Atkins and his unit were notified of a group of possible insurgents nearby.  They changed course to interdict.

Arriving on scene, Atkins noticed two men acting strangely and stepped from his vehicle to approach them on foot.  Moving towards the men with three additional Soldiers, SSG Atkins began yelling directions and closed the distance to search the two men.  The two men were giving signs of resisting from the start and as the Soldiers closed the distance, they became aggressive.  As the encounter began to turn violent, SSG Atkins noticed one of the men reaching for something under his clothing.  Alarm bells went off.

Recognizing the man was reaching to trigger a suicide vest, SSG Atkins acted.  He bear hugged the man and tackled him to the ground away from his Soldiers.  Once on the ground, Atkins pinned him down to shield his men from the potential danger.  At that moment, the vest detonated, killing Atkins instantly but saving the lives of his three men.  

During that momentary chaos, the second man attempted to detonate his vest but Atkins' men, on high alert, gunned him down before he could complete the act.

For his incredibly selfless action that saved the lives of three of his men, SSG Travis Atkins would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  

Sep 08, 2020
SSG Charles Morris (A/2-503 IN, 173rd Airborne) Vietnam War, 29JUN1966
1094

29JUN1966: On a patrol with his platoon in the jungles of Vietnam, SSG Charles Morris thought there may be enemy in the area, so he pushed ahead to confirm.  During the course of his recon, Morris came within 20m of an enemy machine gun position when it opened fire and wounded him in the chest.  Morris quickly returned fired and killed the enemy troops before returning to friendly lines to pass along what he'd seen.

Just then, his entire platoon came under heavy fire.  Refusing medical aid so that he could help in the defensive efforts, Morris organized his men for what would end up being a deadly 8 hour fight.  

With so many wounded in the initial engagement, the platoon couldn't leave the area without abandoning many of their own.  Instead, they called for reinforcements and did their best to hold on.  SSG Morris was instrumental in this effort, and despite an enemy grenade nearly destroying his hand, continued to move among his men offering encouragement, treating the wounded, and delivering deadly fire into the enemy ranks whenever the opportunity arose.  Realizing an enemy machine gun team was moving behind his men, SSG Morris assaulted and destroyed the position, despite only being able to use one hand to fire his weapon.  

For the next few hours, SSG Morris, wounded four times, led his men in the defense of their small, surrounded position until reinforcements arrived and put a stop to the fight.   For his brave and valiant leadership, SSG Charles Morris would be awarded the Medal of Honor in 1967.  He would stay in the Army until 1981 reading the rank of Sergeant Major and would pass away in 1996.  

Sep 07, 2020
Matt1c Doris Miller (USS West Virginia) Pearl Harbor, HI 07DEC1941
1453

07DEC1941: Mess Attendant 1st Class Doris Miller was below deck working when he heard alarms sound.  Rushing to his battle station, he found his designated anti-aircraft battery had been destroyed in the initial Japanese attack that morning on Pearl Harbor.  Without hesitation, he rushed forward and offered to help in any way he could.

With the commanding officer mortally wounded, Miller was tasked with pulling him from the bridge to a more secure location.  Despite the challenges of moving the seriously wounded man, Miller completed this and was then sent to assist two officers in getting machine guns up and firing back into the attacking Japanese planes.

The two officers expected Miller to help load ammunition since he had never been trained on the .50 caliber weapon system (or any weapon for that matter, black Sailors were considered support rather than combat troops and didn't go through the same training).  Instead, as one officer turned around briefly, Miller jumped on the machine gun and started laying down fire into the attacking Japanese.  In the non-stop action of the next fifteen minutes, Miller is estimated to have shot down between 2-5 Japanese aircraft.  

As he expended the last of his ammunition, Miller began to evacuate wounded Americans from the craft.  Regularly moving through waist deep water and oil, Miller saved countless lives before he himself was ordered to evacuate as well.

For his actions that day, Doris Miller would be awarded the Navy Cross, the first black Sailor to receive the award.  Continuing service through the war, Miller would unfortunately be killed two years later when his ship, the USS Liscome Bay was sunk during the Battle of Makin.  

Sep 06, 2020
2ndLt John Bobo (I Co. 3/9 Marines) Quang Tri, Vietnam 30MAR1967
998

30MAR1967: Serving as a platoon leader with I Co. 3/9 Marines, 2ndLt John Bobo and his men were on a routine patrol near the North Vietnam border when they set in for the night on Hill 70.  As the platoons moved out from the main company element, a larger enemy force watched and prepared their attack.

Soon, the NVA soldiers attacked the now dispersed Marine force.  Using the tall elephant grass as cover, they were able to get within close range as their mortars and machine guns kept the US forces pinned down.  Recognizing the immediate risk to his men, Bobo began moving around the lines, setting in a hasty defense and leading his men in pushing back the enemy force.  

As he was moving among his men, an enemy mortar round landed nearby and severed his leg just below the knee.  Refusing to be evacuated, Bobo had the medic tie a tourniquet with a web belt, pushed his stump into the dirt to slow the bleeding and was propped up against a tree.  With weapon in hand, he aimed to provide a rear guard action as his men moved back to a more defensible position.  

Firing point blank into the attackers, Bobo is credited with killing at least five enemy fighters before he was hit once more and killed on the battlefield.  His selfless act of covering his men at risk of this own life, allowed his Marines to consolidate and hold on through the rest of the deadly fight.  For his brave act, 2ndLt John Bobo would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor. 

Sep 05, 2020
SFC Jared Monti (3-71 CAV, 10th Mountain) Nuristan Province, Afghanistan
1199

21JUN2006: Setting in with his team on a mountaintop in Nuristan province Afghanistan, SFC Jared Monti and his men were tasked with serving as a forward observer for a large operation in valley below.  Hiking to the top of the mountain to avoid enemy detection, Monti and the 16-man team set in on the peak and waited for the operation to kick off.  However, as the mission was delayed, Monti and his men soon ran low on critical supplies.  A resupply helicopter was sent in but would in turn, give away their position to enemy fighters nearby.

Just before dusk, the sky lit up with enemy fire.  A force of at least 50 hit their position from an elevated position taking deadly aim on the American Soldiers below.  Quickly recognizing the severity of the attack, Monti, a forward observer, got on the radio and began coordinating air and artillery strikes to push back the enemy attackers.  Despite the heavy, accurate barrage of fire, Monti passed along missions that would be designated 'danger close' due to their proximity to friendly forces.

As the Soldiers fell back to a consolidated position, PVT Brian Bradbury was hit by enemy fire and fell, wounded.  Recognizing that Bradbury was on the brink, his fellow Soldiers began calling out, trying to keep him talking until the MEDEVAC aircraft arrived.  

SFG Jared Monti sprang into action, despite the overwhelming volume of enemy fire, he began to push forward to rescue his wounded brother.  Twice he tried but was quickly pushed back.  Finally, Monti went for it and as he neared Bradbury was hit and killed by enemy fire.  


For his incredibly brave and selfless act, giving his life to try to save a brother, SFC Jared Monti would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Sep 04, 2020
SGT Joe Hooper (D/2-501 IN, 101st ABN DIV) Tet Offensive, Vietnam
1157

21FEB1968: A one man wrecking crew, SGT Joe Hooper wouldn't stop when his unit became pinned down during the Tet Offensive in Vietnam.  As one of his company mates commented, "he did more in one day, wounded, than I thought could have been done in a month."

Assaulting an enemy position, Hoopers unit became pinned down by machine gun fire from a series of bunkers across a small stream.  Taking the initiative, Hooper jumped up and assaulted across the creek taking out all five bunkers.  The act motivated his men and they jumped up and followed suit, pressing the attack forward in a fight that would rage for seven hours.  

Always moving into enemy fire to retrieve wounded Soldiers, SGT Hooper was hit early and severely wounded.  Paying no attention to his wounds, Hooper quickly identified and destroyed three more enemy bunkers in short order.  Seeing two enemy fighters attacking a US chaplain, Hooper moved over to kill the two before again identifying a series of fighting positions set up in nearby buildings.  Assaulting the buildings, he knocked out all three before starting to return to his lines.

Running out of ammunition in the assault, Hooper was headed to resupply when an enemy officer jumped out and fired his weapon point blank, but it misfired.  Turning to run, Hooper chased the enemy down and killed him with his bayonet.  Going on to resupply, Hooper then went and cleared yet another bunker before his unit was once more pinned down.

Seeing a trench system connecting the bunkers laying fire into his men, Hooper grabbed a bag of grenades and ran into the trench.  As he sprinted the length, he lobbed grenades into each enclosure, destroying all four.    Still refusing medical aid until all of his men were taken care of, SGT Hooper would pass out from blood loss the following morning and be evacuated.  

He would survive the war and be awarded the Medal of Honor in 1969.  After commissioning as an officer, Hooper would continue to serve until 1978 and would unfortunately pass away at the age of 40 in 1979.  

Sep 03, 2020
SSG Michael Ollis (2-22 IN, 10th Mountain) FOB Ghazni, 28AUG2013
1107

28AUG2013: With American, Polish, and Afghan Soldiers inside, Taliban fighters kicked off a deadly attack on FOB Ghazni.  Initiating the fight with a massive car bomb at the gate, the insurgents opened fire from multiple directions with RPG, machine gun, and mortar fire into the base.  Having opened a hole in the outer wall, ten Taliban fighters wearing suicide vests poured in, hoping to inflict as many casualties as possible.

Hearing the blast, SSG Michael Ollis got moving.  First checking on his men to ensure they were all alive and not wounded, he took off towards the sound of gunfire.  In the process, he came across a Polish officer and a team of Special Forces Soldiers who had already killed eight of the attackers.  Shortly thereafter, a ninth attacker was identified and killed, leaving only one remaining in the base.

Just then, an insurgent wearing a suicide vest stepped out from behind a container, right next to Ollis and the Polish officer.  Without hesitation, Ollis stepped in front of his Polish brother and engaged the fighter.  As the vest detonated, Ollis was killed instantly but saved the Polish officer by shielding him from the blast.  

For his brave and selfless sacrifice, SSG Michael Ollis would be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.  And to add a beautiful ending to the tragic story, the Polish officer who's life Ollis saved, returned home and named his first son 'Michael'.  

Sep 02, 2020
Pvt Franklin Sigler (2/26 Marines, 5th Marine Division) Battle of Iwo Jima, WWII 14MAR1945
1128

14MAR1945: Fighting during the deadly battle of Iwo Jima, Pvt Franklin Sigler and his company had been held up by an enemy machine gun position for days.  As his unit began, once more, to attack the position, his squad leader was hit and wounded.  Without hesitation, Sigler took command of the squad and moved forward.

Leading the charge against the enemy position, Sigler was first to reach the dugout at which point he destroyed the entire Japanese crew with hand grenades.  Right then, Sigler and his men started to take fire from multiple directions as Japanese soldiers emerged from additional cave entrances and tunnels across the hillside.  

Climbing directly at the Japanese soldiers, Sigler reached their position and again destroyed multiple positions.  Severely wounded in the attack, Sigler moved back to his men where he refused evacuation and instead directed machine gun and rocket fire into the cave entrances.  Refusing to stop, Sigler then moved three of his wounded brothers away from the front lines before he was finally ordered to seek medical treatment for himself.  

For his heroic assault into the Japanese attack and never stopping to care for his men, Pvt Franklin Sigler would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Sep 01, 2020
PFC Melvin Brown (D Co. 8th EN BN) Battle of Pusan Perimeter, 04SEPT1950
1061

04SEPT1950:  Taking place in the critical Battle of the Pusan Perimeter, PFC Melvin Brown moved with his team to take Hill 755 where they prepared for an enemy counterattack.  Leading with heavy machine gun fire, the counterattack quickly materialized with Brown and his men doing their best to hold on.

Brown moved atop a wall where he could identify enemy soldiers moving to attack.  From there, he laid down deadly fire and began lobbing grenades into the advancing foe.  As he was in the most forward position, Brown's fellow Soldiers began bringing grenades close to his position as a resupply.  Out of ammunition and having just thrown his last grenade, PFC Brown picked up his entrenching tool and waited.  

As the next 10+ enemy Soldiers attempted to scale the wall at his position, Brown killed each in deadly hand to hand combat.  His valiant effort so inspired his men that they held the line, starting what would eventually turn the tide of the war.  In the deadly close quarters combat of these few days, PFC Melvin Brown was declared missing and later, killed in action during the battle.

In recognition of his brave sacrifice, PFC Melvin Brown, killed at the age of 19, would be awarded posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  

Aug 31, 2020
Capt Richard Gannon (L Co. 3/7 Marines) Husaybah, Iraq 17APR2004
1034

17APR2004: As the Battle of Husaybah raged, Capt Richard Gannon got the call that his Lima Company was needed to reinforce a sniper outpost coming under intense enemy fire.  Without hesitation, Gannon led his men into the mean streets filled with enemy fighters.

Shortly, his team came under fire from multiple directions as the enemy poured down effective small arms and RPG fire.  Capt Gannon organized an attack on an estimated enemy squad sized element and as his team was moving forward, the assault section leader was wounded.  The wounded Marine was pulled from the deadly streets to a compound courtyard in order to be treated.

Capt Gannon, moving forward to his wounded Marine, entered a courtyard and found himself face to face with nine enemy fighters.  In a brief and vicious fight that included grenades and rifle fire, Capt Gannon was hit and mortally wounded.  For his brave act of pushing through the deadly fire to retrieve his wounded Marine, Capt Richard Gannon would be awarded, posthumously, the Silver Star.  

Aug 30, 2020
CPT Robert Foley (A/2-27 IN, 25th ID) Vietnam War 05NOV1966
1008

05NOV1966: Commanding Alpha Company, 2-27IN, CPT Robert Foley and his men were tasked with moving to the aid of a surrounded American unit to pull them to safety.  The unit was involved in Operation Attleboro, a search and destroy mission that came under heavy contact all across their positions early in the mission.  With the company commander killed and taking heavy casualties, Foley and his men were called upon to reinforce.

Moving through friendly lines to reach the cut off unit, Foley and his men were barely 40m into the patrol when they came under intense enemy fire.  With the incredibly dense jungle canopy, it was hard to see very far in any direction which gave the dug in enemy an advantage.  Quickly, both of Foley's radio operators were wounded.  He moved both through the hail of gunfire back to a covered area to have their wounds treated.  

Moving back forward to assess the situation, Foley watched as one of his machine gunners was hit and fell.  Now angered that his men were being killed and he was at risk of being pinned down, the company commander grabbed the machine gun and assaulted forward.  Having linked as much ammunition as he could together, Foley rushed towards multiple enemy positions and fired inside at point blank range.  Continuing the assault until three bunkers were cleared, Foley looked back to see his men pressing forward with the attack.

Shortly, Foley and his men would break through the enemy lines and reach the stranded Americans.  Due in large part to his assaulting through the enemy ambush, Foley's unit was able to rescue the Americans and bring them back to base.  

For his brave and selfless act, CPT Robert Foley was awarded the Medal of Honor.  He would continue to serve a total of 37 years, reaching the rank of Lieutenant General and retiring in 2000.  

Aug 29, 2020
SSG Leroy Petry (D/2-75 Ranger Regiment) Paktia, Afghanistan 26MAY2008
856

26MAY2008: With his unit tasked with the kill or capture of a high value target, SSG Leroy Petry and his men exited the aircraft and almost immediately came under fire.  Quickly neutralizing one target, Petry moved to one of the target compounds and staged with one of his men to enter.

Stepping into the courtyard, Petry and one other Ranger were hit and wounded by enemy fire.  Quickly, the two moved to a covered position behind a small building.  Shortly joined by another Ranger, the three prepared for the enemy to round the corner at any moment.  Instead, they were knocked to the ground by a blast of a grenade that was lobbed over the wall.  Sitting up, Petry noticed a second grenade that had just come to rest behind his two Soldiers.  

Without hesitation, Petry lunged forward and picked up the grenade to throw it away from his guys.  Just as he did so, it detonated, severing his hand at the wrist.  Administering self-aid, Petry continued the mission until he was brought to a casualty collection point and evacuated for medical treatment.  

For his selfless act in saving the lives of his two Soldiers, SSG Leroy Petry would be awarded the Medal of Honor in 2011.  Rather than medically retire, he would re-enlist, deploy again to Afghanistan and stay in service until 2014.  

Aug 28, 2020
Cpl James Day (2/22 Marines) Battle of Okinawa, WW2
983

14-17MAY1945: Fighting during the brutal Battle of Okinawa, Cpl James Day was stationed on Sugar Loaf Hill as the Japanese prepared to take back the position.  Hanging on and fighting for his life, Day and a dwindling number of his squad held their position through three days of brutal fighting.

Recognizing that Day was holding the line, the Japanese attackers zeroed in on his position, attempting to overrun his squad through a series of brutal night attacks.  Day, breaking up each with small arms, grenades and his bare hands, also spent the night shuttling wounded back to friendly lines.  Eventually wounded by fragmentary and phosphorus grenades, Day cut down over 100 enemy soldiers during the three day fight, many mere feet from his position.  Finally called back, Day moved off the line so American airpower and artillery could hammer the hillside in preparation for a follow on attack.

Staying in the Marines until 1986, Day would serve in Korea and Vietnam and would be promoted to Major General.  As his paperwork was lost, it wouldn't be until 1998 that now MG James Day would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Aug 27, 2020
1LT John Fox (598th FA, 92nd ID) Sommocolonia, Italy 26DEC1944
1264

26DEC1944: Serving as a forward observer, 1LT John Fox and his men were in Sommocolonia, Italy as German forces began to recapture the city.  Holding their position overnight, German troops began movement into the city on Christmas Day and early the next morning, launched their attack.

US forces, outnumbered and outgunned, began their retreat from the town but Fox and his team of observers stayed behind to slow the enemy advance.  For the next few hours, Fox brought down artillery strikes all across the town, causing massive losses among the attacking Germans. 

By 0800 that morning, as enemy forces approached his position, he began calling in strikes dangerously close to his location.  With a recent strike landing a mere 60 yards away, Fox radioed to the guns to bring it in closer still as the Germans were right on top of him.  His commander intercepted the call, protesting that the following barrage would be right on top of Fox.  In response, Fox yelled, "Fire it!  Give them hell!"

1LT John Fox was killed in the ensuing artillery barrage but his selfless act slowed the German advance allowing his men to retreat and reorganize for a follow on offensive.  For his actions, Fox would be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.  

After a U.S. Army study in the early 1990's determined racial discrimination played a part in the award criteria for certain Soldiers, Fox's award was upgraded to the Medal of Honor and presented to his widow in 1997.

Aug 26, 2020
LCpl Jordan Haerter (1/9 Marines) & Cpl Jonathan Yale (2/8 Marines) Ramadi, Iraq
1063
22APR2008: As one Marine unit arrived, and the other prepared to leave Iraq, members of the two units began working alongside each other for the hand off.  As a part of that task, LCpl Jordan Haerter and Cpl Jonathan Yale assumed a guard position at the gate guarding a joint American/Iraq outpost in Ramadi. Tasked with guarding the main entrance, the two Marines stood in a position outside the main gate facing a serpentine of barriers designed to slow any approaching vehicles.  Early in their shift that morning, a suspicious truck swerved quickly around the corner and sped into the serpentine, rapidly approaching the gate.  In a split second decision, the two Marines recognized instantly what this was, a vehicle borne suicide attack aimed at killing as many of their brothers as possible. As Iraqi soldiers recognized the pending attack, they took the few seconds they had to run but the Marines stood firm.  Rather than escape the expected blast, LCpl Haerter and Cpl Yale opened fire and poured all they had into stopping the vehicle.  Their shots found their target, knocking out the windshield and killing the driver just short of the main gate but in the attackers last act, he detonated the massive 2,000lb bomb mere feet from the two Marines. The devastating explosion left a deep crater, leveled buildings around the block, and killed the two Marines instantly.  Had the truck made it through the gate, dozens of Americans and Iraqis would have been killed.  Instead, because LCpl Haerter and Cpl Yale stood their ground, in the face of certain death, their brothers lived.   For their heroic sacrifice and placing the lives of their brothers above their own, LCpl Jordan Haerter and Cpl Jonathan Yale would be awarded, posthumously, the Navy Cross.   Video footage: 6 seconds in Ramadi
Aug 25, 2020
SGT Sylvester Antolak (B Co. 15th IN, 3rd ID) Anzio Breakout, Italy WW2
969

24MAY1944:  His unit tasked with leading the breakout from the Anzio beach head, SGT Sylvester Antolak and his men were engaged in fierce combat with German troops.  On the second day of the attack, Antolak and his men were pinned down by two German machine gun positions that risked wiping out his entire unit.

Without regard for his own safety, SGT Antolak jumped up and charged into the deadly fire aiming to knock out the first of the two positions.  On three occasions, Antolak was hit and fell to the ground and each time he got back up and continued the assault.  The third wound would shatter his right arm in such a way that he had to transfer his sub-machine gun to his left.  Approaching the German position, he opened fire at close range, killing two and capturing ten prisoners.  

Consolidating his men, Antolak refused medical attention and set his sights on the second machine gun.  Again charging forward through intense enemy fire, SGT Sylvester Antolak was struck a fourth time and killed.  

For bravely leading the assaults that would facilitate the Anzio Breakout, SGT Sylvester Antolak would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Aug 24, 2020
A1C William Pitsenbarger (38th Rescue and Recovery) 11APR1966 Cam My, Vietnam
893

11APR1966:  Serving as a pararescueman in Vietnam, A1C William Pitsenbarger and his unit got a call that an American unit was under heavy fire and taking casualties in need of support.  Arriving on scene, Pitsenbarger was lowered through the jungle canopy to assist in the medical treatment of the wounded.

Under intense enemy fire, Pitsenbarger got to work.  He treated casualty after casualty and began packaging them to be lifted to the waiting helicopters.  After the first six had been evacuated, the helicopters left with a full load.  As the aircraft was lowering it's basket, it came under intense enemy fire and had to pull out.  The crew stayed overhead, telling Pitsenbarger to climb into the hoist to move out of the deadly battlefield.  Instead, Pitsenbarger waved off the crew, opting to stay on the ground with the beleaguered unit.  

For the next few hours, Pitsenbarger alternated between fending off enemy attacks and treating and consolidating the wounded Americans.  Despite being wounded three times, he continued to move out in the face of enemy fire to retrieve fallen Soldiers and pull them back into the relative safety of American lines.  Throughout the battle, Pitsenbarger never stopped treating the wounded or doing anything else needed to help keep the men alive.

Before the end of the battle, A1C William Pitsenbarger would be hit and killed by an enemy sniper.  His selfless acts having saved countless american lives, Pitsenbarger would be awarded, posthumously, the Air Force Cross.  After review, his award would be upgraded to the Medal of Honor and presented to his family in 2000.  

Aug 23, 2020
CPT Florent Groberg (4th BCT, 4th ID) Asadabad, Afghanistan 08AUG2012
730

08AUG2012:  Serving as Personal Security Detachment Commander for TF Mountain Warrior, CPT Florent Groberg was responsible for the safety of a group of key US and Afghan leaders.  In early August, the brigade commander along with additional US and Afghan military leadership traveled to Asasadabad where they were scheduled to meet with the provincial governor at his compound.

Taking a helicopter to FOB Fiaz, CPT Groberg led the dismounted patrol through the densely populated city of Asadabad for the short movement to the meeting.  Nearing a choke point, things started to look off and CPT Groberg and his men noticed an individual walking towards their formation but moving backwards.  Groberg moved towards the man to investigate and as he approached, the man turned, displaying a strange bulge in his clothing.  Groberg ran forward and when he reached the suspect, identified a suicide vest.

Without regard for his own safety, CPT Groberg aggressively ran the man away from the formation tackling him into the street.  As he hit the ground, the vest detonated, away from the middle of the formation but severely wounding Groberg and throwing him 20 feet.  In the chaos of the situation, a second would-be attacker detonated his vest prematurely, away from any US or Afghan troops.

Four Americans would be killed in the attack but if it weren't for CPT Groberg's heroic act, that number would have been far higher.  Groberg survived the blast and in recognition of his selfless act, would be awarded the Medal of Honor in 2015.

Aug 22, 2020
PVT Marcelino Serna (B Co. 355th IN, 89th ID) WW1, 12SEPT1918
682

12SEPT1918:  Emigrating from Mexico to the US in 1916, Marcelino Serna enlisted in the Army as he faced deportation.  

Fighting with the 89th Division in the Meuse-Argonne offensive of WWI, PVT Serna spotted a German sniper engaging his unit.  Risking his life by placing himself in range of the sniper, Serna took up his rifle and began firing back at the sniper, wounding him after a few shots.  The enemy sniper ceased firing and started to maneuver back to German lines for medical treatment.  

Quietly following the wounded sniper, Serna crept along as the sniper entered the nearest German trench, giving away their position.  Moving right up against the trench, Serna began lobbing grenades into the enemy position and in short order killed 26 German soldiers.  Seeing the damage being done to their peers, another 24 Germans promptly surrendered.

Serna marched his German prisoners back to American lines and for this action would be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the first Mexican-American to receive the award.  

Aug 21, 2020
T/Sgt Donald Rudolph (E/2-20IN, 6th ID) Battle of Luzon, WWII 05FEB1945
772

05FEB1945: Serving as a platoon leader during the Battle of Luzon in the Philippines, T/Sgt Donald Rudolph was tending to wounded Soldiers when he noticed a few enemy fighters firing on his position.  He maneuvered under fire to where he could assault the three fighters set back in a culvert and destroyed all three with rifle fire and grenades.  He then noticed a series of enemy bunkers that had pinned down his entire company.

Crawling under fire to the first location, Rudolph charged and threw a grenade into the firing port.  Once detonated, he moved to the top of the bunker and ripped the steel covering off in order to drop another grenade inside, silencing the position.  From there, with covering fire from his men, he moved to the second bunker.  At that point, he acquired a pick axe and once at the bunker, broke through the top cover and dropped more grenades inside, killing all and neutralizing the position.  T/Sgt Rudolph went on to clear six more bunkers in short order.

Later that day, as his unit came under fire from enemy armor.  Rudolph charged a Japanese tank and climbed on top under fire the entire time.  He then forced open the turret and dropped a white phosphorus grenade inside, killing the crew and ending the threat.  

Rudolph would be promoted to second lieutenant, would survive the war and was presented the Medal of Honor by President Truman eight days after the Japanese surrender.  

Aug 20, 2020
PFC Ross McGinnis (C/1-26 IN, 1st ID) Adhamiyah, Iraq 04DEC2006
984

04DEC2006: Serving as a .50 cal machine gunner, PFC Ross McGinnis and his unit left COP Apache for a short patrol through the deadly streets of Adhamiyah, Iraq.  Shortly into the movement, an insurgent dropped a grenade from above that went through the gunner's hatch and landed inside of McGinnis' vehicle.  

As trained, McGinnis alerted his team to the grenade and began to exit the vehicle to safety.  Sitting in the turret, McGinnis was already halfway out and was just a second or two from being clear of the blast.  However, his teammates in the vehicle were strapped in and couldn't move as easily.  They also couldn't see the grenade.  

Rather than save himself, PFC McGinnis removed his harness and dropped through the gunner's hatch to cover the grenade with his back.  The ensuing blast killed him instantly but saved the lives of all four crew members in the vehicle.  For his incredible sacrifice to save his brothers in arms, PFC Ross McGinnis would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  

Aug 19, 2020
CPL Tibor Rubin (I Co. 8th CAV, 1st CAV DIV) Korean War, 23JUL1950-20APR1953
1355

23JUL1950-20APR1953:  Having survived the Holocaust after being interned at the Mauthausen concentration camp, Tibor Rubin emigrated to the Untied States in 1948 and began looking into joining the Army.  Passing the exams in 1950, now PFC Rubin quickly found himself headed to combat in South Korea.

Early in the war, as his unit retreated to the Pusan Perimeter, Rubin was noted to have held a sizable enemy force at bay for over 24 hours.  His one-man stand allowed for the organized retreat of his unit, saving countless lives.  For this, Rubin would be recommended for the Medal of Honor but the citation would never be submitted.

A few months later, as the first Chinese troops crossed into North Korea, CPL Rubin's unit was at risk of being surrounded and cut off.  Without regard for his own safety, he manned a machine gun where the three previous gunners had been hit.  Keeping pressure on the advancing enemy, Rubin allowed for his unit to retreat and link back in with UN forces.  Wounded himself, Rubin was captured by the approaching Chinese forces.

For the next two and half years, Rubin would be held in a Chinese POW camp in horrible conditions.  Due to his Hungarian descent, he was offered, but refused to be repatriated to the communist run country on multiple occasions.  Rubin was said to have saved the lives of upwards of 40 American POWs as they looked to him for inspiration and hope in such a perilous time.  On countless occasions, Rubin would sneak out of camp to gather food for his fellow prisoners, understanding he would be shot on sight if caught.  

At the end of the war, Rubin came home but it wasn't until a review in 1993 and then 2001 that his case was flagged for feeling the effects of anti-antisemitism in the Armed Forces.  In 2005, Tibor Rubin was awarded the Medal of Honor for his incredibly brave and heroic actions during the Korean War.  

Aug 18, 2020
COL Robert Howard (5th Special Forces Group, MACV-SOG) Vietnam War, 30DEC1968
1219

30DEC1968:  Acting as a platoon sergeant for a Hatchet platoon in Vietnam, SFC Robert Howard was inserted behind enemy lines to search for a missing American Soldier.  Coming under fire almost immediately from a force five times their size, Howard was wounded by an explosion that destroyed his weapon.  

Noticing his platoon leader had also been wounded, Howard crawled under enemy fire to recover and drag the wounded PL back to friendly lines.  He then spent the next 3 1/2 hours of the fight treating the wounded, organizing the defense, and calling in airstrikes to keep the enemy at bay.  Finally, US helicopters were able to enter the LZ.  Howard oversaw the evacuation of all of his men before loading himself.

For his actions that day, SFC Howard would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  Maybe the most decorated Soldier since WWII, Howard was also awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and Silver Star to go with his eight Purple Hearts during his time in Vietnam.  

Aug 17, 2020
CPO Edward Byers (US Navy SEAL Team 6) Laghman, Afghanistan 08-09DEC2012
1026

08DEC2012: Tasked with rescuing an American hostage held in eastern Afghanistan, CPO Edward Byers and team were inserted a few hours away in Laghman Province late on the night of December the 8th.  Moving over four hours to the target compound, the team was within 75 feet when a sentry noticed them.  Attempting to run inside to warn the others, Byers and PO1 Nicolas Checque sprinted forward, killing the guard and staging to enter the compound.

As point man, Byers was clearing a path through a series of heavy blankets that were drawn over an entryway as bullets ripped through.  Once inside the compound, Checque was shot and Byers, without hesitation entered the room where fire originated and killed the gunman.  Seeing someone run across the room but unsure if it was an enemy fighter or the hostage, Byers tackled the man to the ground.  Upon identifying him as a hostile, Byers neutralized the target and heard an American voice yell out.

Running across the room, with enemy fighters all around, Byers threw himself on the hostage to shield him from the ongoing fight.  At the same time, Byers with his bare hands, grabbed and held down an enemy fighter until a fellow SEAL could engage.  

For risking his life to save the hostage CPO Edward Byers would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  He would go on to serve 21 years in uniform and would retire at the rank of Command Master Chief Petty Officer in 2019.  

Aug 16, 2020
SM1 Douglas Munro (US Coast Guard) Battle of Guadalcanal, 27SEPT1942
986

27SEPT1942:  In charge of a series of landing craft during the Battle of Guadalcanal, Signalman First Class Douglas Munro was tasked with dropping three companies of US Marines behind enemy lines early on the 27th.  Soon after arriving back at the fleet, Munro was notified that the Marines were at risk of being overrun at which point he volunteered to go back in and pull them out.  

As enemy fire raked the beach, Munro led his team forward.  As enemy fire intensified, Munro maneuvered his craft forward and as he manned a machine gun, and placed himself directly in the line of fire.  Now attracting the bulk of the enemy attack, Munro allowed a window for the Marines to evacuate to his waiting ships.  As he returned fire into the Japanese positions, Munro was struck and fatally wounded.

As his craft backed away from the island, Munro's last words were, "Did they get off?"  Succumbing shortly thereafter to his wounds, SM1 Douglas Munro would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for saving upwards of 400 Marines that day.  He is the only member of the Coast Guard to have received the award.  

Aug 14, 2020
1stLt Travis Manion (MiTT, RCT 6, II MEF) Fallujah, Iraq 29APR2007
1060

29APR2007: Serving as an advisor to the newly formed Iraqi Army, 1stLt Travis Manion set out on patrol into the ever volatile city of Fallujah, Iraq.  Shortly into the mission, an enemy sniper opened fire and hit and critically injured the unit's corpsman.  1stLt Manion quickly moved out and pulled the wounded Marine to cover.  Just then, a second Marine was wounded by the same sniper.  Again pulling him to cover, 1stLt Manion recognized they were in for a fight.

That's when the enemy opened fire from multiple locations, suppressing the Marines with accurate rifle and machine gun fire.  As they continued to treat the wounded, 1stLt Manion took action to ensure the enemy couldn't maneuver on their position.  Exposing himself to enemy fire, he laid down fire in all directions to keep the enemy at bay.  

As the supporting Iraqi forces hit an IED that stalled their advance, the insurgents were able to mass on 1stLt Manion and his position.  As insurgent elements appeared on the rooftops overhead, 1stLt Manion moved from position to position to gain a better firing position as well as to draw fire away from the wounded Marines.  As he was doing so, he was struck and killed by a an enemy sniper.  

For his selfless acts that day in working to save the lives of his fellow Marines, 1stLt Travis Manion would be posthumously awarded the Silver Star.  


As mentioned in the show, check out the Travis Manion Foundation.  

Aug 13, 2020
SGT Louis Van Iersel (M Co. 9th IN, 2nd ID) WWI, Mouzon, France 09NOV1918
1066

09NOV1918: Just two days before the end of WWI, SGT Louis Van Iersel was tasked with killing two enemy sentries and conducting reconnaissance of enemy positions around a bridge that his unit was having difficulty crossing.  All previous attempts had come under such fire as they neared the water's edge that nobody had even yet laid eyes on the bridge.  

SGT Van Iersel grabbed a team of Soldiers and went off into the night for his mission.  He made it to the river bank only to see that the bridge was destroyed and sat in a logjam in the river.  Still planning to complete his mission, SGT Van Iersel began sneaking across the piles of rubble in the darkness.  Right about at the midpoint, a piece of wood gave way, and making a spash, Van Iersel fell into the water.  The sound caused German machine guns on the banks to open fire for fear that an enemy attack was starting.  With bullets landing all around, Van Iersel decided to go ahead with his task.  He maneuvered to the German held side of the river and began looking around to identify defensive positions. 

So close to the enemy positions that he could hear them call for an artillery barrage, Van Iersel began his movement back to US lines.  Again crossing the destroyed bridge, he was almost across when the Germans fired a flare silhouetting him entirely against the night sky.  As the machine guns opened up, Van Iersel sprinted away unharmed back to American lines.  He relayed the information about the incoming artillery barrage to his commander and US troops were pulled back just ahead of the deadly strike.

For his actions that night, just days before the end of the war, SGT Louis Van Iersel would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  He would return to the United State, be granted citizenship and would reenlist during WWII seeing combat with the Marines during the Bougainville Campaign in the Pacific Theater.  

Aug 12, 2020
PO Michael Thornton (US Navy SEAL, MACV-SOG) 31OCT1972, Vietnam War
920

31OCT1972:  Launching from sea in a rubber boat, Navy SEAL Petty Officer Michael Thornton was leading a small team of one other US and three Vietnamese SEALS on a dangerous reconnaissance mission.  Tasked with gathering intelligence near an enemy held base right near the DMZ, Thornton and team came ashore under the cover of darkness and began their mission.  

After a few hours, the team realized they were actually behind enemy lines.  When an enemy soldier spotted them all hell broke loose.  At least fifty NVA fighters swarmed the small team of five and a brutal fight took hold.  Over the next four hours, PO Michael Thornton, Lt. Thomas Norris and their Vietnamese partners held upwards of 150 enemy fighters at bay.  As daylight approached, the team began moving towards the waters edge to avoid being encircled.  

As they began to execute their withdrawal, Lt. Norris was shot in the head and reported dead by the Vietnamese SEALs.  Hearing the news, and despite already having been wounded by a grenade in the back, Thornton ran through 500 yards of open terrain, under constant enemy fire, to recover Norris who was just barely alive.  Picking up Norris, he ran to the beach just as a shell from a US destroyer providing fire support landed nearby, throwing Thornton 20 feet in the air.  Back on the ground, he picked up Norris, attached a life vest and began swimming.  Pulling Norris and a wounded Vietnamese SEAL for more than two hours, Thornton and team were pulled from the water.

For saving the lives of every member of his team that day, Petty Officer Michael Thornton would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Aug 11, 2020
CPL Charles 'Commando' Kelly (L/143IN, 36th ID) Altavilla, Italy WWII, 13-14SEPT1943
1019

13-14SEPT1943: Volunteering to scout ahead to determine location of enemy and friendly units, CPT Charles Kelly moved ahead under enemy artillery and sniper fire.  Making it the full mile to the hill in question, Kelly then returned under the same barrage of fire to report his findings.  He then volunteered to lead a group of three Soldiers to attack a machine gun position that was holding up US forces.

Moving ahead with his small team, Kelly assaulted one position after another, methodically destroying countless German positions.  When the attack died down, his fellow Soldiers estimated Kelly had killed 40 enemy fighters himself.  Now running low on ammunition, Kelly returned to an ammo supply point but found that location under intense enemy attack.

As the attack died down for the night, Kelly assumed a guard position in the second story of the building and awaited the morning.  Just as the sun began to rise, the Germans attacked with a focus on the supply point Kelly was defending.  Utilizing everything at his disposal, Kelly fired two Browning Automatic Rifles until the barrels turned red hot and jammed.  He then alternated between a Thompson sub-machine gun, an M1 Garand and even a M1903 Springfield bolt action rifle.  

As enemy element neared his position, he began throwing phosphorus and incendiary grenades, forcing the enemy to abandon nearby houses as they burned.  At one point, Kelly even armed a series of 60mm mortars and began throwing them like grenades where they would detonate on impact among the charging Germans.  Before the attack was over, Kelly would fire multiple rounds from a bazooka and even utilize a 37mm towed anti-tank gun to knock out a German sniper position.  

Estimates are that he may have killed upwards of 200 enemy fighters by himself that morning.  For his action in holding the position against all odds, CPL Charles Kelly would earn the nickname of Commando Kelly and be awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Aug 10, 2020
Bataan Death March (10-16APR1942) Philippines, WWII
1561

Joined again by Sayre Payne a business litigation attorney from Cincinnati.  In the episode you'll hear Sayre reference a book that he recommends, Flyboys: A True Story of Courage.  

10APR1942:  Having held out against all odds, nearly 75,000 American and Filipino Soldiers surrendered to Japanese forces after months of brutal fighting with their backs against the wall in the Bataan peninsula.  The Japanese forces organized their captives and began to move them north to designated prison camps. 

The subsequent six days would come to be known as the Bataan Death March.  

Stripped of all personal belongings, the POWs were marched in the intense heat with little to no water.  As prisoners would fall from exhaustion they could expect to be bayoneted or shot on the spot.  No meals were offered and beatings were expected at every turn.  By the time the element finally reached their camps, nearly 20,000 had perished.  

The Bataan Death March is a dark time in American and Filipino history, a great sacrifice made by many in the opening months of the second world war.  

Aug 09, 2020
1SG David McNerney (A/1-8IN, 4th ID) Polei Doc, Vietnam 22MAR1967
1105

22MAR1967: 1SG David McNerney was on patrol with his company near Polei Doc, Vietnam when they came under intense enemy fire from an enemy force about three times their size.  As the engagement kicked off, 1SG McNerney ran towards the heaviest point of contact to check on his men and assess the situation.  In the process, he identified an enemy machine gunner who he killed before a grenade detonated, wounding McNerney and blowing him off his feet.

Moving back to the center of the formation, 1SG McNerney learned that all officers were either killed or incapacitated and he was now in command of the unit, originally numbering 108 men.  He immediately went about calling in air strikes and artillery fires, some as close as 20m from friendly positions to help push the enemy back.  Due to the dense jungle canopy, helicopter gunships circling overhead were unable to identify friendly lines and in turn couldn't engage.  Without concern for his own safety, 1SG McNerney climbed a tree, fully exposed to enemy fire, in order to place a signal panel top the highest branch so incoming aircraft could identify their position.  

Continuing to move among his men, 1SG McNerny began to coordinate the evacuation of their wounded Soldiers but was in need of a landing zone.  He then moved out past friendly lines to obtain demolition charges that had been dropped in the initial assault and used those to blow a clearing for the inbound birds.  

Refusing medical evacuation himself, despite being seriously wounded, 1SG McNerney stayed with his men and led them through the vicious attack until a new commander arrived the following day.  For his leadership and bravery in the face of overwhelming odds, 1SG David McNerney would be awarded the Medal of Honor in 1968 before volunteering for a fourth deployment to Vietnam in 1969.  McNerney would survive the war and passed away at the age of 79 in 2010.

Aug 08, 2020
The crash of Extortion 17 (Wardak, Afghanistan) 06AUG2011
1060

06AUG2011: Late on the evening of 05AUG2011, two US CH-47 Chinook helicopters transported members from the US Army's 75th Ranger Regiment to a target location in Wardak Province, Afghanistan.  After a successful insertion, both aircraft returned to base.

As Rangers approached the compound, several possible enemy fighters fled, potentially including the main target of the attack.  Helicopters and UAVs moved between supporting the Rangers on the target compound and the group of fleeing enemy fighters.  Considering the target of the raid may have been in the group fleeing, the call was made to interdict with a second group of US forces.  A group comprising members of the Naval Special Warfare Developmental Group and their supporting attachments, on standby at a nearby base, were selected to reinforce.  

Loaded up with 30 US service members, 7 Afghan commados, and a service Dog the CH-47, call sign Extortion 17 took off at 0223 on the 6th of August to reinforce the Rangers.  Approaching the landing zone from the northwest, Extortion 17 descended to 100-150 ft off the ground and slowed to 50 mph.  As they were doing so, a group of Taliban fighters stepped out from the cover of a compound and fired 2-3 RPGs at the approaching aircraft.  One of the shots found its target and tore off the aft rotor assembly causing the helicopter to crash, killing all aboard.

The event marks the United States' greatest single-incident loss of life in Operation Enduring Freedom.  

Aug 07, 2020
SSgt Alec Haralovich (E, 4th Recon BN, 4th Marine Division) Helmand, Afghanistan 04OCT2011
893

04OCT2011: Leading a patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, SSgt Alec Haralovic and his team of dismounted Marines knew they could expect contact with the enemy at any moment.  Shortly, the Taliban began their attack, more effectively and accurately than expected with two of the first rounds striking SSgt Haralovic and knocking him to the ground.

Checking himself for wounds, SSgt Haralovic realized the enemy fire had struck his body armor.  Cpl. Matthew Chen, a medic, was moving to treat what he thought was a wounded Marine when SSgt Haralovic waved him off.  As the enemy fire intensified, SSgt Haralovic took it upon himself to end the fight.  He grabbed an M74 Light Anti-Tank Weapon (LAW) and, without concern for his own well being, ran through an open field completely exposed to enemy fire, in order to find a suitable attack position.  

With some of his Marines exposed and taking effective enemy fire, SSgt Haralovic fired the LAW.  The shot destroyed the enemy position and stopped the attack, preventing any of his Marines from being seriously wounded or killed.  The ambush broken up, SSgt Haralovic then led his Marines for the rest of the patrol, over two more hours in contested enemy territory.  

For his bravery in destroying an enemy strong point after taking two rounds to his body armor, SSgt Alec Haralovic would be awarded the Silver Star.  

Aug 06, 2020
Capt Donald Ross (USS Nevada) Pearl Harbor, HI 07DEC1941
947

07DEC1941: Donald Ross was serving on the USS Nevada docked at Pearl Harbor when the world would change on the morning of 07DEC1941.  As Japanese planes entered the harbor conducting a surprise attack, the Nevada was quickly hit and at risk of sinking.  As she continued to burn and take successive hits from Japanese aircraft, the crew worked to save her.

Working to navigate to shallower water, keeping the power running became a major task amidst the flames and smoke engulfing the ship.  Machinist Donald Ross, stationed in the ship's dynamo, recognized the risk and ordered his men to evacuate while he began conducting all tasks himself.  Ensuring the power stayed on, Ross refused to leave his post.  Due to the smoke and heat, Ross was temporarily blinded and twice found unconscious.  In both instances, after being resuscitated, Ross went right back to work, refusing to leave his post until the ship was saved.

Due in large part to his efforts, the USS Nevada was able to be salvaged and would go on to play a key role in some of the most significant action of WWII from Operation Overlord to the landings at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.  Ross would serve the rest of the war on the Nevada and would eventually be promoted up the ranks to Captain where he would retire in 1956 after twenty seven years of service.  

Aug 05, 2020
SSgt Scott Sather (24th Special Tactics Squadron) Iraq War, 08APR2003
953

08APR2003:  Serving as a Close Combat Controller with the Air Force's 24th Special Tactics Squadron, SSgt Scott Sather was working with the Army's 75th Ranger Regimental Reconnaissance Detachment during the initial invasion of Iraq.  Serving as the key link between ground troops and American airpower, SSgt Sather's job was to provide targeting information in support of a few critical missions.

First, his unit was tasked with capturing any HVTs attempting to flee Iraq west into Syria.  Second, he was responsible for creating a diversion convincing the Iraqi military that an American division was approaching Baghdad from the west.  The intent of the diversion was to fix Iraqi units in and around Baghdad so the main thrust of the American advance could push up from the south.

SSgt Sather and his unit were successful and on April 6th American units entered Baghdad as many Iraqi forces stayed to the west expecting an assault that never came.  On April 8th, as US forces shifted to assault Tikrit,just north of Baghdad, SSgt Scott Sather was killed at the age of 29.  SSgt Sather would be awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star posthumously.  

Aug 04, 2020
Pfc Daniel Bruce (3/5 Marines, 1st Marine Division) Firebase Tomahawk, Vietnam War
990

01MAR1969: Pfc Daniel Bruce, having just arrived in Vietnam a few months prior, found himself manning a fighting position at Fire Support Base Tomahawk in Quang Ngai province.  Tasked with keeping watch and protecting all Marines inside the wire, Pfc Bruce was alerted when he heard rustling in the brush to his direct front.  Soon, an enemy explosive charge was thrown in the darkness and landed next to Bruce.

The charge was designed to blow a hole in the US perimeter, allowing enemy forces to charge through and attack the unsuspecting Marines asleep in their bunks.  The charge couldn't be allowed to go off anywhere near Bruce's position.  Not knowing how far away he needed to get the device and not wanting to risk another Marine being wounded, Bruce grabbed the explosive, held it close to his chest and alerting his fellow Marines to the danger took off running away from the perimeter.  

Shortly thereafter, the device detonated, killing Pfc Bruce but saving the lives of the men in his fighting position and maybe preventing a much deadlier attack on the entire position.  For his sacrifice and incredible bravery, Pfc Daniel Bruce would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Aug 03, 2020
MSG Gary Gordon & SFC Randy Shughart (1SFOD-D) Battle of Mogadishu "Blackhawk Down" 03OCT1993
1979

Joined again by Sayre Payne a business litigation attorney from Cincinnati.  Sayre and I worked together during our time in 2nd BCT, 101st Airborne Division and I think he added some great context to the story of the Battle of Mogadishu.  

03OCT1993: While serving as a sniper with Special Operations Command, part of Task Force Ranger, MSG Gary Gordon and SFC Randall Shughart were tasked with providing precision fires in support of Operation Gothic Serpent.  

The operation soured when a Blackhawk was shot down over Mogadishu, forcing a change in mission to defend and recover the crew.  Learning that ground forces would not be on site for some time, the two men volunteered to be set down to help secure the crash site.  Denied twice due to the incredible risk that they were asking to take, they continued to push and were finally granted permission to land.  

On the ground, the two men went about securing the wounded and dead and established a defensive perimeter as the hostile crowds closed in.  In the ensuing battle, both MSG Gordon and SFC Shughart killed a substantial amount of enemy fighters are they traversed the area protecting the vulnerable crew.  They continued to fire until all ammunition was expended and both were fatally wounded.   Their actions saved the life of Chief Warrant Officer Michael Durant.

MSG Gary Gordon and SFC Randall Shughart would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor for their actions in what would come to be called the Battle of Mogadishu.  

Aug 02, 2020
Cpl Hershel Williams (1/21 Marines, 3rd Marine Division) Battle of Iwo Jima, WWII 23FEB1945
1000

23FEB1945:  Landing just a few days prior during the initial invasion, Cpl Hershel Williams and his team were working alongside American tanks, trying to clear a path forward during the Battle of Iwo Jima.  As the column was stopped by countless reinforced enemy positions, Cpl Williams picked up a flame thrower, and with a few other Marines moved forward.

Braving the intense Japanese fire, Cpl Williams was quickly the last man standing and he began his relentless assault.  Repeatedly moving within yards of enemy positions, Cpl Williams destroyed one bunker after another with demolition charges and his flame thrower.  Through an intense four hour fight, Cpl Williams would exhaust his flame thrower in the face of enemy fire, return to friendly lines to pick up another then move back into the fight.  

On the search for more entrenched enemy fighters, Cpl Williams even climbed upon an active bunker in order to fire his flamethrower down into the air vent, neutrazlizing all inside.  In a desparate attempt to stop his progress, Japanese soldiers charged Williams with bayonets drawn.  Turning his flame thrower forward, Cpl Williams met and destroyed the threat.  

For his incredible bravery in taking out one bunker after another on Iwo Jim, Cpl Hershel Williams would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  Today, at age 96,  he is the only surviving recipient from the Pacific theater of the war.  

Aug 01, 2020
LCpl Kyle Carpenter (F Co. 2/9 Marines) Marjah, Afghanistan 21NOV2010
1149

21NOV2010:  His unit having recently established Patrol Base Dakota in Marjah, Afghanistan, LCpl Kyle Carpenter was tasked with providing rooftop security.  In his position with a fellow Marine, the unit came under small arms fire from enemy elements.  Unexpectedly, multiple enemy grenades came over the side of the building with one landing between Carpenter and another Marine.

Without hesitation, LCpl Carpenter lunged at the grenade to shield his brother and in doing so absorbed the full force of the detonation.  The resulting blast blew holes in his helmet, melted his gear, and blew away his kevlar vest.  Carpenter was severely wounded from head to toe but his selfless action saved the life of his fellow Marine, an action for which he would be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Following the blast, LCpl Carpenter spent five weeks in coma and more than two and a half years in the hospital.  In that time he underwent nearly 40 surgeries that did everything from repairing a collapsed lung, to repairing an arm broken in more than 30 places, to helping with a new prosthetic eye, a new jaw and new teeth.  Since leaving the hospital and in spite of his wounds, Kyle Carpenter has run multiple marathons and continues to be an incredible inspiration across the country.  

Jul 31, 2020
CPL Alvin York (G/328th IN, 82nd ID) Meuse-Argonne Offensive, WWI 08OCT1918
1090

08OCT1918: In the midst of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of World War I, CPL Alvin York and a small team of American Soldiers were tasked with taking out a series of German machine gun positions that were causing problems up and down the line.  Infiltrating the German lines, CPL York and his team quickly overran a headquarters unit where they captured about 30 prisoners.  As they were reorganizing, a series of German machine guns opened up on their position. 

The initial barrage killed all in the patrol who outranked York so he quickly found himself in charge of the remainder and he went on the attack.  Alternating between a prone, kneeling and standing position, York utilized his incredible marksmanship skills to neutralize one enemy machine gunner after another.  Every time one would pop his head above the parapet to see where to shoot, York was there to knock him down.  

Just as he was running out of ammunition, six German soldiers charged York with bayonets drawn.  Pulling his sidearm, York shot and killed all six before they reached him.  Throughout the engagement, York was yelling for the German enemy to surrender and was finally taken up on it.  Assuming they were under a barrage from a much larger force, nearly 90 German prisoners walked down the hill to surrender to York and his 8 able bodied Soldiers.  

CPL York assembled the prisoners and marched all 132 back to American lines where he would be promoted to Sergeant, awarded the Medal of Honor, and would survive the war.

Jul 30, 2020
1LT Derek Hines (B/2-503IN, 173d ABN BDE) Baylough, Afghanistan 01SEPT2005
947

01SEPT2005: Graduating and commissioning out of West Point in 2003, 1LT Derek Hines went through Field Artillery training and Ranger school before arriving at his unit, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, in the fall of 2004.  A few months later he deployed to Afghanistan where he would serve as a fire support officer.  

1LT Hines was working to pacify a region of Zabul province in southern Afghanistan.  In the area, hotly contested by Taliban fighters, Hines and his unit would alternate between meeting locals and setting up projects and fighting back enemy attacks at their outposts or while on patrol.  After a few months, Hines became known for his willingness to run towards the sound of gunfire to help his brothers.

On August 21, 2005 an improvised explosive device was detonated near one of his company's vehicles, killing all four Soldiers inside.  Hines, risking his life, attempted to pull the Soldiers from the vehicle to no avail.  A few days later, he and his unit learned the location of the enemy fighter responsible for that attack.  

Surrounding the suspected enemy fighter's home in the early morning hours of September 1st, Afghan and US forces called out and began discussing who would make the arrest.  As expected, 1LT Derek Hines was at the front, helping to lead the assault.  Just then, the Taliban fighter came out firing an assault rifle in all directions.  He was immediately cut down but not before 1LT Derek Hines was hit and killed at the age of 24.

Derek's leadership and example live on in many ways, one of which is the Derek Hines Unsung Hero award presented to an NCAA Division 1 hockey player each season.  



Jul 29, 2020
SP4 Jesus Duran (E/2-5 CAV, 1st CAV DIV) Vietnam War, 10APR1969
770

10APR1969:  Serving as a M-60 machine gunner in Vietnam, SP4 Jesus Duran and his unit came across an elaborate set of enemy bunkers.  Shortly upon entering the complex, the unit came under heavy enemy fire from all sides.  With the command post at risk of being overrun, SP4 Duran ran forward and stood tall in a defensive position, firing from the hip.  With rounds and grenades impacting all around him, SP4 Duran stayed on his machine gun pouring deadly fire into the rapidly advancing enemy fighters.  

Learning that two American Soldiers were seriously wounded and pinned down, SP4 Duran pushed forward into the teeth of the enemy ambush firing his machine gun as he ran.  Eventually reaching an enemy position, he jumped on top of a fallen log and fired directly into the emplacement, killing all inside.  Due in large part to his fearless stand, the enemy assault soon dissipated.  

After a congressional review, SP4 Jesus Duran would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2014.  

Jul 28, 2020
PFC Noah Knight (F/7th IN, 3rd ID) Korean War 24NOV1951
932

23-24NOV1951: Holding the line against a concerted enemy attack, PFC Noah Knight was set in a key position as an artillery barrage opened up.  With enemy troops right on the other side of the wall of steel, and himself wounded in the process, Knight had mere moments after the fire lifted to begin his defense.

Moving from position to position to better engage the attacking forces, PFC Knight succeeded in momentarily halting the vicious attack.  As the enemy pushed on, Knight noticed an entire enemy squad moving to infiltrate his position.  Without regard for his own personal safety or concern for being outnumbered, Knight attacked the group, killing or wounding all.  

As the fight raged on and Knight expended the last of his ammunition, he identified three enemy soldiers with demolition charges attempting a breach.  .  Fearlessly charging, Knight disabled two with the butt of his rifle before the charge went off killing all three and mortally wounding Knight.  

For his continued, valorous defense of the position as well as his sacrifice to ensure the friendly perimeter would not be breached, PFT Noah Knight would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. 

Jul 27, 2020
PFC Juan Restrepo (2/B/2-503IN, 173d ABN BDE) Korengal, Afghanistan 22JUL2007
971

22JUL2007: Serving as a medic with 2nd Platoon, Battle Company, 2-503IN, 173d ABN BDE, PFC Juan Restrepo deployed with his unit to the Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan in May of 2007.

PFC Restrepo and his unit quickly understood they had landed in the heart of enemy country where firefights would become a daily part of life.  As a medic, PFC Restrepo was tasked with looking after his platoon both on combat patrols as well as during down time on base.  In turn, his job never really stopped, just changed forms.  

A few months into his deployment, on 22JUL2007, PFC Restrepo was on a patrol when enemy fire erupted all around.  Instinctively going to ground for cover, PFC Restrepo then did what a great medic does, he raised his head to see if any of his brothers were hit.  In doing so, he was struck by enemy fire and mortally wounded.  As his brothers gathered to provide medical aid, PFC Restrepo did his best to relay what these men needed to do to treat him, the normal roles now reversed.  

PFC Juan Restrepo, age 20,  would pass away that day on the MEDEVAC flight.  For continually going above and beyond to care for his men, PFC Juan Restrepo would be awarded, posthumously the Bronze Star.  

Jul 26, 2020
PO Michael Monsoor (US Navy SEAL Team 3) Battle of Ramadi, 29SEPT2006
1097

29SEPT2006: Petty Officer Michael Monsoor was serving as a machine gunner as a member of a joint Navy SEAL and Iraqi sniper unit during the Battle of Ramadi, Iraq.  Established in a rooftop perch and tasked with over watch of friendly forces on the streets below, his element became the focus of an enemy attack.  Assaulting the position with RPGs and smalls arms, the enemy moved within close range of the building as PO Monsoor re-positioned his machine gun to keep them at bay.

As the fight raged on, an insurgent fighter threw a grenade which hit PO Monsoor in the chest, falling to his feet.  Without hesitation, PO Michael Monsoor fell on the grenade, absorbing the full force of the explosion, in order to save the lives of his teammates.  For giving his life in order to save his brothers, Petty Officer Michael Monsoor would posthumously be awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Jul 25, 2020
SSgt William Bordelon (1/18 Marines, 2nd Marine Division) Battle of Tarawa, 20NOV1943
833

20NOV1943: Serving in an assault engineer platoon, SSgt William Bordelon's unit was heading towards the beaches of Tarawa, set to land in some of the first waves.  With the heavy enemy fire raining down, only four from his craft would actually land able to move forward.  Recognizing that Marines were pinned down on the beach, SSgt Bordelon quickly made some demolition charges and promptly destroyed two enemy bunkers.

Moving to a third bunker, SSgt Bordelon was hit and severely wounded by enemy machine gun fire, but he wouldn't stop.   Looking back, SSgt Bordelon identified wounded Marines in the surf at risk of drowning or being hit by further enemy fire.  Without regard for his own personal safety, he ran out into the exposed area and pulled some of these men to shore.

Approaching a fourth bunker, SSgt Bordelon prepped a charge and began his assault.  In the process, he was hit and killed by enemy fire at the age of 22.  For his actions in opening up the Tarawa beachhead, SSgt William Bordelon would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Jul 24, 2020
PFC Shawn Falter (2-377FA, 4-25ID) Karbala Provincial HQ Raid 20JAN2007
899

20JAN2007:  His unit tasked with keeping the peace ahead of the coming Ashura festival in Karbala, Iraq, PFC Shawn Falter was at his post the evening of 20JAN2007.  Although just outside Baghdad, Karbala hadn't yet seen the spike in violence that Baghdad or Anbar Province had.  

Just before 1800 that night, at least five SUV's moved through the outpost checkpoints and parked near the provisional coordination center.  Not unusual for American or Iraqi VIPs to travel in this manner, seeing this would not have been out of the ordinary for PFC Falter.  However, this wasn't a group of friendly visitors but enemy commandos in disguise.

Exiting the vehicles, approximately ten enemy fighters stormed the building where a small US force was working and sleeping.  Caught off guard, one American Soldier was killed and three wounded in the brazen attack.  Less than 15 minutes after the ambush began, the enemy left the compound having captured four American Soldiers.  

Their convoy now being tracked by American forces, the enemy executed their four American prisoners.  The surprise attack on the US compound in Karbala is widely considered the most sophisticated enemy attack during the Iraq war.  

CPT Brian Freeman (31)

1LT Jacob Fritz (25)

SPC Johnathan Chism (22)

PVT Johnathon Millican (20)

PFC Shawn Falter (25)


Jul 23, 2020
SGT Ryan Pitts (2/C/2-503IN, 173d ABN BDE) Battle of Wanat, Afganistan
1109

13JUL2008: Tasked with setting up a new outpost in the Waygal district of Nuristan province, SGT Ryan Pitts and his platoon made their way the district center of Wanat.  Arriving on 08JUL2008, the platoon went about building the outpost but due to construction delays and logistics restrictions, progress was slow and far from complete after a few days.

On the morning of the 13th, a group of approximately 200 enemy fighters assaulted the position from multiple directions.  Starting the engagement with a concentration of RPG fire, the enemy force knocked out a few heavy weapons and hammered a small outpost, OP Topside, that protected the eastern edge of the new base.  Sitting in OP Topside, SGT Pitts, along with the others alongside him, was wounded in the initial assault.

Despite his wounds, SGT Pitts quickly got on with his defense of the American position.  SGT Pitts responded with rifle fire, lobbing grenades as fighters came within mere yards of his position and helped to coordinate indirect strikes just outside the friendly lines.  Seriously wounded, SGT Pitts held the position through a half hour of intense, close range combat.  

By holding his ground, SGT Pitts prevented the enemy from overrunning OP Topside and likely taking American prisoners in the process.  For his actions, SGT Ryan Pitts would be awarded the Medal of Honor. 

Jul 22, 2020
LCpl Joshua Mooi (2/1 Marines, 2nd Marine Division) Operation Steel Curtain, Ubaydi, Iraq 16NOV2005
850

16NOV2005: Clearing buildings during Operation Steel Curtain in New Ubaydi, Iraq, LCpl Joshua Mooi found himself engaged in a vicious, close range fight with a sizable enemy force.  Maneuvering through town, approximately 21 insurgent fighters engaged his squat with accurate small arms fire and grenades landing at their feet.  With multiple members of his squad wounded immediately, LCpl Mooi made every effort to suppress the enemy fighters and move the wounded Marines to cover.  

Six times over the course of the fight, LCpl Mooi entered the kill zone, fired on enemy positions and assisted his fellow Marines to seek cover.  Over and again he stepped forward killing at least four enemy fighters himself and saving the lives of ten Marines.  For his brave and courageous act, LCpl Joshua Mooi would be awarded the Navy Cross.  

Jul 21, 2020
GySgt John Basilone - Part II (1/27 Marines, 5th Marine Division) Battle of Iwo Jima, 19FEB1945
799

24OCT1942: During the Battle for Henderson Field on Guadalcanal, Sergeant John Basilone and his unit came under attack from a 3,000 strong enemy force.  Commanding a section of heavy machine guns, SGT Basilone held off the enemy attackers until on he and two Marines were left standing.  With enemy forces on all sides, Basilone was forced to fight through Japanese attackers in order to pick up ammunition resupplies to keep his guns in the fight.

Despite the extremely close range fighting, SGT Basilone kept up continual, lethal fire even repairing a machine gun in the midst of battle to keep the enemy at bay.  When he finally ran out of ammunition, SGT Basilone used his pistol and machete to hold back the final Japanese troops until Marine reinforcements arrived.  

As morning came, nearly all of the 3,000 enemy Soldiers had perished.  Likely over 200 of those coming at the hands of SGT John Basilone.  For his bravery and determination in the face of the heavy enemy assault, SGT John Basilone would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Continuing service during the war and promoted to Gunnery Sergeant and was in the initial landings at Iwo Jima where he would again be decorated for heroism, this time with the Navy Cross.  GySgt Basilone would be killed during the assault on Iwo Jima at the age of 28.  



Jul 20, 2020
GySgt John Basilone - Part I (1/7 Marines, 1st Marine Division) Battle of Guadalcanal, 24OCT1942
989

24OCT1942: During the Battle for Henderson Field on Guadalcanal, Sergeant John Basilone and his unit came under attack from a 3,000 strong enemy force.  Commanding a section of heavy machine guns, SGT Basilone held off the enemy attackers until on he and two Marines were left standing.  With enemy forces on all sides, Basilone was forced to fight through Japanese attackers in order to pick up ammunition resupplies to keep his guns in the fight.

Despite the extremely close range fighting, SGT Basilone kept up continual, lethal fire even repairing a machine gun in the midst of battle to keep the enemy at bay.  When he finally ran out of ammunition, SGT Basilone used his pistol and machete to hold back the final Japanese troops until Marine reinforcements arrived.  

As morning came, nearly all of the 3,000 enemy Soldiers had perished.  Likely over 200 of those coming at the hands of SGT John Basilone.  For his bravery and determination in the face of the heavy enemy assault, SGT John Basilone would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Continuing service during the war and promoted to Gunnery Sergeant and was in the initial landings at Iwo Jima where he would again be decorated for heroism, this time with the Navy Cross.  GySgt Basilone would be killed during the assault on Iwo Jima at the age of 28.  



Jul 19, 2020
CPO John Finn (Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay) Oahu, Hawaii 07DEC1941
805

07DEC1941:  As Japanese plans attacked in the early morning, Chief Petty Officer John Finn hurried to the airfield where he was responsible for maintaining the weapons of naval aircraft.  As the American planes were shot up on the runway, Finn and his men began salvaging machine guns from the burning craft to provide some sort of defense.

Finding a rolling platform used for training, CPO Finn attached a .50 caliber machine gun and positioned himself out in the open where he had the best view of enemy aircraft.  For the next two hours, CPO Finn fired his weapon, offering resistance as the enemy fighters continued their attack.  Only after being wounded 21 times and being ordered to receive medical attention did CPO Finn leave his weapon.  

Quickly treated, CPO Finn made his way back to the airfield where he helped to rearm the surviving aircraft to get back into the fight.  For his brave and selfless acts that day, CPO John Finn would be awarded the first Medal of Honor in WWII.  

Jul 18, 2020
SGT Thomas Baker (A/1-105 IN, 27th ID) Battle of Saipan 19JUN-07JUL1944
815

19JUN-07JUL1944:  For continually taking on and destroying sizable enemy forces during the Battle of Saipan, SGT Thomas Baker would be awarded the Medal of Honor.

With his unit hung up during on offensive, SGT Baker found a bazooka and crawled to within 100 yards of the enemy emplacement.  Without regard for his own safety, SGT Baker stood, fired, and destroyed the bunker allowing US troops to continue on.  A few days later, while protecting his unit against a surprise attack from the rear, SGT Baker came across twelve enemy soldiers hiding in wait.  Without hesitation and despite being heavily outnumbered, SGT Baker attacked and destroyed the entire group.  Not finished for the day, SGT Baker then stumbled across another group of six enemy soldier who he again attacked and destroyed himself.

In the early morning of 07JUL1944, SGT Baker was manning the American lines when they were hit and overrun by 4,000 enemy fighters and civilians in the largest bonzai attack of the war.  Severely wounded, SGT Baker continued to engage the enemy in hand to hand combat until his weapon was battered to the point of being unusable.  As a fellow Soldier evacuated Baker, he demanded to be put down, stating that he would rather be left for dead than risk the lives of those carrying him out.  Handed a pistol with eight rounds, SGT Baker propped himself against a tree directly in the line of the enemy assault.

After the attack, SGT Thomas Baker was found propped against the same tree having been killed in the assault.  Around his body were eight dead enemy soldiers.  

Jul 17, 2020
1LT Roger Smith (B/1-4 Marines) Battle of Guam, 21JUL1944
566

21JUL1944: Serving as a mortar platoon, 1LT Roger Smith hit the beach with his mortar platoon right behind the advancing infantrymen.  Identifying a wounded Marine lying close to a hostile pillbox, he stopped his men and began working a rescue plan to pull him back to friendly lines.  Alternating between his rifle, grenades and a flame thrower, LT Smith did all he could to suppress the enemy strong point, being wounded in the process.  Continuing to push forward, LT Smith silenced the enemy position, saving the wounded Marine but himself dying from his wounds.  

For his sacrifice and bravery, 1LT Roger Smith would be posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.  

Jul 16, 2020
LT Michael Murphy (U.S. Navy SEALs) Kunar, Afghanistan 28JUN2005
1001

28JUL2005: LT Michael Murphy was leading his team of four Navy SEALS as Operation Red Wing kicked off.  Inserted deep into enemy territory, LT Murphy and his team were tasked with surveillance and reconnaissance of a series of buildings thought to house Taliban leadership ahead of Marine movement into the area.  

After a successful insertion, LT Murphy's team was discovered by a goat herder.  Hoping for the best, the team released the Afghan male who promptly reported their position to the local Taliban leadership.  Before long, the entire SEAL team was under heavy fire from a numerically superior enemy force.  

LT Murphy led his team in a valiant defense, being wounded multiple times in the process.  Due to the rugged terrain, the team was unable to call for reinforcements or even alert American units of their dire situation.  As enemy forces closed in on the SEALS, LT Murphy made a decision to risk his life in order to save his men.

Recognizing that reinforcements were needed or they would be overrun, LT Murphy moved to an exposed position in the hopes his radio calls would be transmitted.  He was right.  Despite being shot multiple times while making the call, LT Murphy stayed on the line even signing off with a 'thank you'.  Now mortally wounded but with reinforcements on the way, LT Michael Murphy would continue to fight until he died of his wounds.

For giving his life in an attempt to save his brothers, LT Michael Murphy would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  

Jul 15, 2020
2LT Audie Murphy (B/1-15 IN, 3rd ID) Holtzwihr, France 26JAN1945
1015

26JAN1945: His unit's strength dropping from 235 to 18, 2LT Audie Murfphy found himself the only officer in Bravo Company, 1-15IN as a German counterattack unfolded near Holtzwihr, France. 2LT Murphy, having been wounded in both legs a few days prior, took command of the company and set in for the defense.

As the enemy tanks approached his position, a US tank destroyer was hit and set ablaze, forcing the crew to evacuate.  Ordering his men to fall back to the cover of a wood line, 2LT Murphy began his defense of the position.  Alternating between firing his rifle at the advancing infantry and calling in artillery strikes, the German attackers zeroed in on Murphy's position.  Facing the full brunt of the German attack, 2LT Murphy made his way atop the tank destroyer where he manned the .50 caliber machine gun and continued his one man defense of the American position.  

For nearly an hour, 2LT Murphy manned the machine gun, fully exposed to enemy fire, and repelled the attacking German forces only stopping when he ran completely out of ammunition having killed upwards of 50 enemy fighers by himself.  Wounded again in his leg, 2LT Murphy rejoined his men and led them on a successful counterattack that pushed the Germans out of the immediate area.  

For his brave and selfless actions that day, 2LT Audie Murphy would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  The medal would add to his collection of a Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, a Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, and three Purple Hearts, a record that would make him the most decorated American Soldier of WWII.  Audie Murphy would survive the war and go on to have a successful movie career before he tragically died in a plane crash in 1971 at the age of 45.  



Jul 14, 2020
SSG David Bellavia (A/2-2IN, 1st ID) Fallujah, Iraq 10NOV2004
943

10NOV2004: Serving as a squad leader during the Second Battle of Fallujah, SSG David Bellavia's unit was tasked with clearing a series of fortified enemy positions within the city.  As his squad entered to clear a building, they came under intense enemy fire from close range.  Having a round damage his rifle, SSG Bellavia picked up a Squad Automatic Weapon, or M249, and pushed into the building by himself to silence the enemy fire.

The fire suppressed for the time being, SSG Bellavia continued in the building until he came upon an insurgent loading an RPG to be fired against American forces.  Bellavia fired and killed the RPG gunner while wounding another that exited to another room.  Continuing through the building, SSG Bellavia cleared room after room killing another two insurgents in the process.

Finally, having reached the rooftop of the second floor, an insurgent jumped from the third floor surprising Bellavia but not for long.  A quick reaction allowed SSG Bellavia to train his weapon on the insurgent and wound him in the back and legs, falling off the roof.

For clearing an entire enemy filled house and protecting his men in the process, SSG David Bellavia would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Jul 13, 2020
CPL Jason Dunham (K/3-7 Marines, 1st Marine Division) Husaybah, Iraq 14APR2004
688

14APR2004: Serving as a rifle squad leader in Husaybah, Iraq, CPL Dunham's team was called upon when his battalion commander's convoy was ambushed.  As the approached the scene, CPL Dunham dismounted his vehicle and with a fire team, moved towards the engagement area.

Enroute, CPL Dunham's team came across a series of suspicious vehicles attempting to flee the scene.  Stopping these vehicles, the Marines began a search quickly identifying AK-47 assault rifles.  At that point, the driver of the vehicle attacked the Marines in an attempt to escape.  CPL Dunham tackled the man to the ground and watched as he dropped a live grenade among the Americans.  

Without hesitation, CPL Dunham yelled a warning to his teammates and threw his body on the grenade, absorbing the full brunt of the explosion.  On 22APR2004, CPL Jason Dunham died of his wounds sustained from the grenade blast.  His selfless act saved the lives of at least two fellow Marines that day, an action for which he would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. 

Jul 12, 2020
PVT Rodger Young (148th IN, 37th ID) New Georgia, Solomon Islands 31JUL1943
737

31JUL1943: PVT Rodger Young, serving as an infantryman during the Battle of Munda Point in the New Georgia Campaign, was on a patrol when his platoon came under intense from an enemy machine gun emplacement.

Firing from a mere 75 yards away, the initial burst killed two Soldiers and wounded Young.  With two more killed attempting to flank the machine gun, the patrol leader ordered a withdrawal.  At this point, Young spoke up that he could see the enemy emplacement and began moving towards it despite the heavy volume of accurate fire.  

Nearing the machine gun nest, PVT Young was wounded a second time but continued his advance.  Returning fire as he moved, Young made it close enough to begin throwing grenades into the position, killing or wounding all inside.  At this point, PVT Young was hit again and killed by the enemy defenders but his actions allowed his platoon to disengage and exit the kill zone.  

For his actions, PVT Rodger Young would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Jul 11, 2020
PVT Wilburn Ross (G/2-30IN, 3rd ID) St. Jacques, France 30OCT1944
736

30OCT1944: His unit suffering 55 casualties during an attack on an entrenched German position near St Jacques, France, PVT Wilburn Ross dug in an prepared for a counter attack.  Manning a machine gun, Ross placed himself a few yards ahead of American lines in order to take on the full force of the enemy attack.

Despite small arms fire and grenades impacting all around his position, PVT Ross repelled seven consecutive enemy attacks over the course of the afternoon.  As the eight assault was launched, most of PVT Ross's supporting riflemen were out of ammunition and an order came to fall back.  With his unit already weakened, the exposed retreat could have cost many more their lives.  In turn, Ross stayed at his position and held out for more machine gun ammunition.

As the enemy was about to swarm over his position, new ammunition founds its way to Ross and he opened fire at close range, mowing down the attacking soldiers forcing the Germans to withdraw.  Having killed at least 58 enemy attackers that day, PVT Ross almost single-handedly repelled the counter attack efforts.  

For his actions that day, PVT Ross would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  He would go on to serve a total of 20 years in service to include seeing combat during the Korean War.  He retired in 1964 at the rank of Master Sergeant.  

Jul 10, 2020
SGT John Holcomb (D/2-7CAV, 1st CAV DIV) Quan Loi, Vietnam 03DEC1968
877

03DEC1968: Serving as a squad leader with Delta Company, 2-7 CAV, part of the 1st Infantry Division, SGT John Holcomb was leading his men during a recon-in-force mission during Operation Sheridan Sabre.  As soon as his company landed they came under intense fire from an estimated battalion sized enemy force attacking from three sides.  

SGT Holcomb's squad found itself in the path of the main enemy attack.  Despite heavy fire, SGT Holcomb moved among his men and directed fields of fire to keep the charging enemy at bay.  When his machine gunner fell, SGT Holcomb assumed the weapon and picked right back up laying into the attacking enemy fighters.  As the first wave died off, SGT Holcomb treated and moved his wounded and reestablished their defensive perimeter, just in time for the second wave to kick off.

Again manning the machine gun, SGT Holcomb forced the enemy to again withdraw but was severely wounded by a rocket in the process.  Despite his wounds, SGT Holcomb crawled through a grass fire with rockets and mortars landing all around him, to consolidate what remained of his squad into a defensive position.  

The last surviving leader of the platoon, SGT Holcomb, in one of his last acts, took the radio and called in friendly artillery that broke up the final enemy attack.  His fighting spirit and inspiring leadership saved the lives of countless American Soldiers that day. 

SGT Holcomb would die of his wounds suffered that day and would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Jul 09, 2020
SPC Salvatore Giunta (B/2-503IN, 173rd ABN) Korengal Valley, Afghanistan 25OCT2007
1074

25OCT2007: Serving as a team leader with Company B, 2-503IN, SPC Salvatore Giunta and his squad began a patrol that would take them back to the relative safety of their nearby outpost.  Shortly after leaving their overwatch position, SPC Giunta's squad became the focus of a near ambush initiated by 10-15 Taliban fighters.

Armed with assault rifles, machine guns, and RPGs, the enemy force initiated contact with a heavy barrage of close range fire.  The two elements were so close that attack aviation overhead was unable to differentiate between friend and foe.  Almost instantly, the two men at the head of the column were hit and fell wounded.  In reflexive response, SPC Giunta fired into the enemy attackers as he fell back a few feet to consolidate his fire team.  

The volume of fire only intensifying and now coming from two sides, SPC Giunta led a counterattack to break up the ambush.  Leading with grenades, SPC Giunta and his men pushed into the teeth of the enemy ambush, recovering one of the wounded US Soldiers to whom they began providing medical aid.  However, SGT Joshua Brennan wasn't lying where he fell.

Despite the continued enemy fire, SPC Giunta pushed forward in search of his fallen brother.  Cresting the hill he spotted two Taliban fighters carrying a wounded SGT Brennan away.  Without hesitation, Giunta took aim and charged ahead killing one enemy fighter and wounding the other causing them to drop SGT Brennan.  His team consolidated and held on for reinforcements as the battle dissipated. 

For his selfless act of courage in breaking up the enemy ambush and rescuing a wounded American from being taken captive, SPC Salvatore Giunta would be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Jul 08, 2020
CPL John Kelly (314th IN, 79th ID) Cherbourg, France 25JUN1944
675

25JUN1944: His unit pinned down near Fort du Roule in Cherbourg, France, CPL John Kelly volunteered to reduce the enemy position causing them so much trouble.  Procuring a pole charge, a long stick with an explosive charge on one end, CPL Kelly climbed a slope under intense machine gun fire to within 10 feet of the entrenched enemy.  

His first attempt unsuccessful, CPL Kelly returned to friendly lines, reequipped, and made his way back up the slope again under intense fire.  This time, his charge blew the front off of the enemy guns, rendering them useless.  He then returned a third time to blow a gap in the bunker entrance large enough to throw grenades in.  His action forced the surrender of the enemy gun crew that could have inflicted heavy losses on his fellow Americans.  

For his brave and selfless act, CPL John Kelly would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Jul 07, 2020
SFC Paul Smith (B/11 EN, 3rd ID) Baghdad, Iraq 04APR2003
833

04APR2003: Two weeks into the invasion of Iraq, SFC Paul Smith was found himself just outside Saddam International Airport tasked with setting up a hasty enemy prisoner of war detention area.  His team found a triangular shaped courtyard that would do the trick and they set about checking for enemy soldiers in the area.

One end of the courtyard had a metal gate and as soon as some of Smith's Soldiers neared the gate they noticed a substantial enemy force moving on their position.  Fire erupted as they notified the rest of their team who were now running to take up defensive positions.  Identifying upwards of 100 Iraqi soldiers, SFC Smith called on a nearby Bradley Fighting Vehicle to ram the gate and begin engaging targets.  

Three M113 Armored Personnel Carriers arrived and joined in the fight with their .50 caliber machine guns to support Smith and his men.  Before long, one APC was hit wounding the crew of three.  Running low on ammunition, the Bradley was forced to disengage in order to resupply away from the fight.  The damaged APC now served as the only heavy machine gun to defend the position.  

With Iraqi fighters occupying and firing from a nearby tower, Smith's men now faced fire from at least three directions.  Recognizing that a retreat could roll up the larger American position, SFC Smith manned the APC machine gun and directed the driver to position the vehicle so he could alternate fire between three enemy strongholds.  From the tower to the gate to the walls and back, SFC Smith stood steady at his machine gun repelling an enemy force of over 100.   As the battle ended, Smith's machine gun fell silent and he was found dead at his position having suffered thirteen separate bullet wounds in the engagement.

SFC Paul Smith's actions allowed his team to hold on in the face of an overwhelming enemy force.  His continuous machine gun fire stopped a strong enemy attack in their tracks and saved the lives of countless American Soldiers.  For this, SFC Smith would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.  



Jul 06, 2020
2LT David Kingsley (341st Bombardment Squadron, 15th Air Force) 23JUN1944
607

23JUN1944: Serving as a bombardier on a B17, 2LT David Kingsley was on a mission near Ploesti, Romania when his aircraft was hit by enemy flak.  Shortly thereafter, a series of enemy fighters engaged his craft wounding the tail gunner.  His task of dropping the bombs complete. 2LT Kingsley made his way to the tail gunner to begin providing medical treatment.  To best treat his wounds, he was forced to remove the gunners parachute harness and a few layers of clothing.

As enemy attacks continued, 2LT Kingsley was again called upon to treat his crew as the ball turret gunner was struck by enemy fire.  As he was treating his wounds, the order was given to bail out of the severely damaged aircraft.  In the chaos of the battle, the tail gunner's harness was presumed damaged and lost.  

Without hesitation, 2LT David Kingsley took off his parachute and attached it to the tail gunner.  He then watched as his crew left the doomed craft.  Shortly after, the plan crashed killing 2LT Kingsley at the age of 25.  His brave and selfless act saved the life of his friend and crewmate.  For his actions he would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  

Jul 05, 2020
T/SGT John Meagher (E/2-305 IN, 77th ID) 19JUN1945
793

19JUN1945: Working to clear out some of the final Japanese positions on Okinawa, Technical Sergeant John Meagher found himself in pitched battle with an entrenched enemy.  Working with a group of tanks, T/SGT Meagher noticed a Japanese soldier with an explosive charge attempting to throw himself under the tread.  Leaping from the tank, T/SGT Meagher bayoneted the soldier at the last minute, saving the tank and it's crew.

His rifle now broken, T/SGT Meagher picked up a machine gun and assaulted directly into the dug in Japanese positions.  Firing from the hip with bullets tearing through his clothing, Meagher charged the nearest pillbox killing all six inside.  Continuing on to the next position, he found himself out of ammunition just as he reached the bunker.  Without hesitation, Meagher began swinging the machine gun violently killing the entire Japanese crew himself.  

For his fearless assault and incredible courage, T/SGT John Meagher would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Jul 04, 2020
PVT Pedro Cano (8th IN, 4th ID) 02-03DEC1944
769

02-03DEC1944:  PVT Pedro Cano was fighting with the 4th Infantry Division when they found themselves leading an assault against German forces in the Hurtgen Forest.  Before long, his unit was pinned down by enemy machine gunners set in behind a defensive perimeter covered with mines.  

Without regard for his own safety, PVT Cano crawled forward through a minefield to within ten yards of the first machine gun nest and destroyed it with his bazooka, killing an estimated seven enemy fighters.  He then fired into the second position, killing two and forcing five to flee.

Noticing that the company to their flank was experiencing the same issues, PVT Cano took off in their direction.  He crawled through another minefield to again destroy two enemy machine gun emplacements with his bazooka.

The following day seemed to match the previous.  PVT Cano's unit was pinned down, he again crawled through a minefield and from close range, went on to destroy three additional enemy machine gun nests in short order.  

For his incredible bravery in knocking out seven German positions, PVT Pedro Cano would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Jul 03, 2020