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Interesting story


Sisco
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Hero:
A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life.

The Medal of Honor Recipient Gary G. Wetzel:
After losing his arm with severe wounds to his right arm, chest, and left leg, Wetzel returned to his gun-well and took the enemy forces under fire. His machinegun was the only weapon placing effective fire on the enemy at that time saving numerous lives!

“Sp4c. Wetzel, 173d Assault Helicopter Company, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life. above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Wetzel was serving as door gunner aboard a helicopter which was part of an insertion force trapped in a landing zone by intense and deadly hostile fire. Sp4c. Wetzel was going to the aid of his aircraft commander when he was blown into a rice paddy and critically wounded by 2 enemy rockets that exploded just inches from his location. Although bleeding profusely due to the loss of his left arm and severe wounds in his right arm, chest, and left leg, Sp4c. Wetzel staggered back to his original position in his gun-well and took the enemy forces under fire. His machinegun was the only weapon placing effective fire on the enemy at that time.

“Through a resolve that overcame the shock and intolerable pain of his injuries, Sp4c. Wetzel remained at his position until he had eliminated the automatic weapons emplacement that had been inflicting heavy casualties on the American troops and preventing them from moving against this strong enemy force. Refusing to attend his own extensive wounds, he attempted to return to the aid of his aircraft commander but passed out from loss of blood. Regaining consciousness, he persisted in his efforts to drag himself to the aid of his fellow crewman. After an agonizing effort, he came to the side of the crew chief who was attempting to drag the wounded aircraft commander to the safety of a nearby dike.

“Unswerving in his devotion to his fellow man, Sp4c. Wetzel assisted his crew chief even though he lost consciousness once again during this action. Sp4c. Wetzel displayed extraordinary heroism in his efforts to aid his fellow crewmen. His gallant actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.”

“After Wetzel and the other survivors were rescued the next morning, he spent a week on the critical list. His arm was amputated in a field hospital, but he had to undergo another surgery in a Tokyo hospital because of infection. After about five months in hospitals, Wetzel began to learn how to live a productive civilian life with a prosthetic arm. …

“When asked what the medal means to him, Wetzel replied, ‘When I was in the Tokyo hospital, where the doctors took out more than four hundred stitches, some of the guys I pulled out who were recovering from their wounds found out I was there. They would walk up to my bed and ask, “Are you Gary Wetzel?” And I’d say, “Yeah,” and they would pull out pictures of their wives, kids, or girlfriends and say, “Hey, man, because of you, this is what I’ve got to go back to.” And then Wetzel would reply, “I’m not Superman. I was just a guy doing his job.”‘

GARY GEORGE WETZEL
DETAILS
RANK: PRIVATE FIRST CLASS (RANK AT PRESENTATION: SPECIALIST FOURTH CLASS; HIGHEST RANK: SPECIALIST FOURTH CLASS)
CONFLICT/ERA: VIETNAM WAR
UNIT/COMMAND: 
173D ASSAULT HELICOPTER COMPANY, 11TH COMBAT AVIATION BATTALION, 
1ST AVIATION BRIGADE

 

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The Victoria Cross was introduced during the reign of Queen Victoria and remains the highest award for military valour in Britain and much of the Commonwealth including Canada, which created its own version of the Victoria Cross in 1993. The Victoria Cross is awarded “for the most conspicuous bravery, a daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty, in the presence of the enemy.”

Company Sergeant Major Frederick William Hall received the medal for his actions during the 2nd Battle of Ypres, infamous as the site of the first German gas attack on the western front. Hall was shot in the forehead and killed during a prolonged and valiant attempt to rescue a wounded comrade. The posthumous award was presented to his mother. Corporal Clarke received his medal for valour in the face of the enemy at the Somme Front on September 9, 1916, while Lieutenant Shankland received his Victoria Cross for actions during the Battle of Passchendaele in October 1917.

 Several things make this story interesting.

First of all three lived in the 700 block of Pine St later renamed Valor Rd. and Only 96 Victoria Crosses were awarded to Canadians in the medal’s 156-year history

Frederick Hall joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in 1914 and served in the 8th Battalion. On the night of 24 April 1915, during the Second Battle of Ypres, Hall was fatally shot while trying to rescue a badly wounded soldier from no man’s land. He was nominated posthumously for the Victoria Cross.

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Leo Clarke joined the CEF in 1915 and served in the 2nd Battalion. On 9 September 1916, during the Battle of the Somme, Clarke single-handedly defended a captured trench, fighting off a group of 22 Germans and killing 18 men. He died 40 days later and never learned of his Victoria Cross.

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Robert Shankland joined the CEF in 1915 and served overseas in the 43rd Battalion. In June 1916, he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. On 26 October 1917, during the Battle of Passchendaele, Shankland led a successful attack against strong enemy positions. A few weeks later, he was awarded the Victoria Cross in person by King George V. Shankland was the only one of the three to survive the war and attended the 1925 renaming ceremony. He also served during the Second World War.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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No. 10119 Rifleman Tulbahadur Pun, 6th Gurkha Rifles, Indian Army.

In Burma on 23 June 1944, a Battalion of the 6th Gurkha Rifles was ordered to attack the Railway Bridge at Mogaung. Immediately the attack developed the enemy opened concentrated and sustained cross fire at close range from a position known as the Red House and from a strong bunker position two hundred yards to the left of it.

The cross fire was so intense that both the leading platoons of 'B' Company, one of which was Rifleman Tulbahadur Pun's, were pinned to the ground and the whole of his Section was wiped out with the exception of himself, the Section commander and one other man. The Section commander immediately led the remaining two men in a charge on the Red House but was at once badly wounded. Rifleman Tulbahadur Pun and his remaining companion continued the charge, but the latter too was immediately wounded.

Rifleman Tulbahadur Pun then seized the Bren Gun, and firing from the hip as he went, continued the charge on this heavily bunkered position alone, in the face of the most shattering concentration of automatic fire, directed straight at him. With the dawn coming up behind him, he presented a perfect target to the Japanese. He had to move for thirty yards over open ground, ankle deep in mud, through shell holes and over fallen trees.

Despite these overwhelming odds, he reached the Red House and closed with the Japanese occupants. He killed three and put five more to flight and captured two light machine guns and much ammunition. He then gave accurate supporting fire from the bunker to the remainder of his platoon which enabled them to reach their objective.

His outstanding courage and superb gallantry in the face of odds which meant almost certain death were most inspiring to all ranks and beyond praise.

Fast forward to 2010

His grandson 

On the evening of the day in question [17 September 2010], Sergeant Pun was one of four men left in the southern compound because the platoon had pushed out a patrol to dominate the road to the east in readiness for the next day’s parliamentary elections. All were taking turns to man a single sangar position on the roof in the centre of the compound.

Sergeant Pun was on duty when he heard a clinking noise to the south of the checkpoint:

"I thought at first maybe it was a cow," he said, "but my suspicions soon built up, and I saw Taliban digging to lay down an IED in front of our gate".

Sergeant Pun had the presence of mind to gather up two radios, which would enable him to both speak to his commander and to call in artillery support, his personal weapon, and a general-purpose machine gun.

Realising that he was about to be attacked, he quickly informed his commander on one of the radios and launched a grenade at the enemy. Sergeant Pun single-handedly fought off an enemy attack on his lightly manned position. In the dark he tackled the enemy head-on as he moved around his position to fend off the attack from three sides, killing three assailants and causing the others to flee.

In doing so he saved the lives of his three comrades and prevented the position from being overrun. Sergeant Pun couldn’t know how many Taliban were attempting to overcome his position, but he sought them out from all angles despite the danger, consistently moving towards them to reach the best position of attack:

"I thought there might have been around 20 to 30, but later locals told me it was probably about 15. The firing went on continually for about 17 minutes", said Sergeant Pun.

"At first I was a bit scared, and I thought definitely they are going to kill me. But as soon as I started firing, that feeling went away".

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A Choctaw Warriors story.

Van T. Barfoot's Medal of Honor citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 23 May 1944, near Carano, Italy.

With his platoon heavily engaged during an assault against forces well entrenched on commanding ground, 2d Lt. Barfoot (then Tech. Sgt.) moved off alone upon the enemy left flank.

He crawled to the proximity of 1 machinegun nest and made a direct hit on it with a hand grenade, killing 2 and wounding 3 Germans.

He continued along the German defense line to another machinegun emplacement, and with his tommygun killed 2 and captured 3 soldiers.

Members of another enemy machinegun crew then abandoned their position and gave themselves up to Sgt. Barfoot.

Leaving the prisoners for his support squad to pick up, he proceeded to mop up positions in the immediate area, capturing more prisoners and bringing his total count to 17.

Later that day, after he had reorganized his men and consolidated the newly captured ground, the enemy launched a fierce armored counterattack directly at his platoon positions.

Securing a bazooka, Sgt. Barfoot took up an exposed position directly in front of 3 advancing Mark VI tanks.

From a distance of 75 yards his first shot destroyed the track of the leading tank, effectively disabling it, while the other 2 changed direction toward the flank.

As the crew of the disabled tank dismounted, Sgt. Barfoot killed 3 of them with his tommygun.

He continued onward into enemy terrain and destroyed a recently abandoned German fieldpiece with a demolition charge placed in the breech.

While returning to his platoon position, Sgt. Barfoot, though greatly fatigued by his Herculean efforts, assisted 2 of his seriously wounded men 1,700 yards to a position of safety.

Sgt. Barfoot's extraordinary heroism, demonstration of magnificent valor, and aggressive determination in the face of point-blank fire are a perpetual inspiration to his fellow soldiers."

This 1944 Medal of  Honor citation, listed with the National Medal of Honor Society, is for Second Lieutenant  Van T. Barfoot, 157th Infantry, 45th Infantry.

As a Native American Indian recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, Mr. Barfoot is one of only five American Indians that have been distinguished by receiving the United States' highest military honor (the Medal of Honor) during the 20th century.

Awarded by the United States Congress for military heroism "above and beyond the call of duty," these American Indian warriors exhibited extraordinary bravery in the face of the enemy and, in two cases, made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

WAR RIBBONS

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15 minutes ago, Magwa said:

A Choctaw Warriors story.

Van T. Barfoot's Medal of Honor citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 23 May 1944, near Carano, Italy.

With his platoon heavily engaged during an assault against forces well entrenched on commanding ground, 2d Lt. Barfoot (then Tech. Sgt.) moved off alone upon the enemy left flank.

He crawled to the proximity of 1 machinegun nest and made a direct hit on it with a hand grenade, killing 2 and wounding 3 Germans.

He continued along the German defense line to another machinegun emplacement, and with his tommygun killed 2 and captured 3 soldiers.

Members of another enemy machinegun crew then abandoned their position and gave themselves up to Sgt. Barfoot.

Leaving the prisoners for his support squad to pick up, he proceeded to mop up positions in the immediate area, capturing more prisoners and bringing his total count to 17.

Later that day, after he had reorganized his men and consolidated the newly captured ground, the enemy launched a fierce armored counterattack directly at his platoon positions.

Securing a bazooka, Sgt. Barfoot took up an exposed position directly in front of 3 advancing Mark VI tanks.

From a distance of 75 yards his first shot destroyed the track of the leading tank, effectively disabling it, while the other 2 changed direction toward the flank.

As the crew of the disabled tank dismounted, Sgt. Barfoot killed 3 of them with his tommygun.

He continued onward into enemy terrain and destroyed a recently abandoned German fieldpiece with a demolition charge placed in the breech.

While returning to his platoon position, Sgt. Barfoot, though greatly fatigued by his Herculean efforts, assisted 2 of his seriously wounded men 1,700 yards to a position of safety.

Sgt. Barfoot's extraordinary heroism, demonstration of magnificent valor, and aggressive determination in the face of point-blank fire are a perpetual inspiration to his fellow soldiers."

This 1944 Medal of  Honor citation, listed with the National Medal of Honor Society, is for Second Lieutenant  Van T. Barfoot, 157th Infantry, 45th Infantry.

As a Native American Indian recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, Mr. Barfoot is one of only five American Indians that have been distinguished by receiving the United States' highest military honor (the Medal of Honor) during the 20th century.

Awarded by the United States Congress for military heroism "above and beyond the call of duty," these American Indian warriors exhibited extraordinary bravery in the face of the enemy and, in two cases, made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

WAR RIBBONS

Native Americans have made an outsized contribution to America’s armed forces. And continue to do so.

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11 minutes ago, Cunuckgaucho said:

The expression IT’S NOT THE SIZE OF THE DOG IN THE FIGHT, BUT THE SIZE OF THE FIGHT IN THE DOG pretty much describe Gurkas.

 

Exactly. If they draw that knife, someone is getting cut, badly.  They fornicate around, not. 

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13 hours ago, Sisco said:

Native Americans have made an outsized contribution to America’s armed forces. And continue to do so.

Too true

Probably the most famous to serve in the Canadian army was Tommy Prince.He first joined up in 1940 with the Royal Canadian Engineers, then in 1942 to the Canadian Parachute Battalion. From there became a member of the famed 1st Special Service Force aka The Devil's Brigade.

Prince distinguished himself with the 1st SSF in Italy and France, using the skills he'd learned growing up on the reserve. He displayed his covert abilities in a celebrated action near the front line in Anzio, Italy. In February 1944, he volunteered to run a communication line 1,400 metres out to an abandoned farmhouse that sat just 200 metres from a German artillery position. He set up an observation post in the farmhouse and for three days reported on German movements via a communication wire.

When the wire was severed during shelling, he disguised himself as a peasant farmer and pretended to work the land around the farmhouse. He stooped to tie his shoes and fixed the wire while German soldiers watched, oblivious to his true identity. At one point, he shook his fist at the Germans, and then at the Allies, pretending to be disgusted with both. His actions resulted in the destruction of four German tanks that had been firing on Allied troops.

In France in the summer of 1944, Prince endured a gruelling trek across rugged terrain to locate an enemy camp. He travelled without food or water for 72 hours. He returned to the Allied position and led his brigade to the German encampment, resulting in the capture of more than 1,000 German soldiers.

When the fighting ended in France, Prince was summoned to Buckingham Palace, where King George VI decorated him with the Military Medal (MM) and, on behalf of the American president, the Silver Star with ribbon. He would also receive the 1939-1945 Star, the Italy Star, the France and Germany Star, the Defence Medal, the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Clasp and the War Medal.

Prince was one of 59 Canadians who were awarded the Silver Star during the Second World War, only three of whom also possessed the Military Medal. Tommy Prince was honourably discharged on 15 June 1945 and returned to Canada.

He then re enlisted  with the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI). resumed his former rank and began training new recruits for the Korean War. He was then part of the first Canadian unit to land in Korea, where he served with a PPCLI rifle platoon. In Korea, Prince led many “snatch patrols,” where a small group of soldiers would travel into enemy territory and launch sneak attacks before retreating. One overnight raid led to the capture of two enemy machine guns.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Turns out Hoss fought on Pork Chop Hill

God Bless Korean War Hero Bobby Blocker:
Bobby Dan Davis Blocker was born in De Kalb, Bowie County, Texas. Blocker was drafted into the United States Army during the Korean War. He had basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana and served as an infantry sergeant in F Company, 2nd Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division in Korea, from December 1951 to August 1952. 

On the TV show “Bonanza,” Bobby changed his name to Dan Blocker played the large but affable Eric “Hoss” Cartwright. At 6’4” and 320 pounds, and by all accounts “the most likable cast member” on the show, Blocker fit the part perfectly.

But less than a decade before the show debuted on NBC, some North Korean soldiers near Hill 223 were watching a very different man. They saw 1st Sgt. Blocker, who was defending the area along with other members of the “Thunderbirds” of the famed 45th Infantry Division.

Blocker was always a big, soft-hearted guy. He was a star football player in his native Texas during his college years. After finishing a master’s degree in drama in 1950, he was drafted into the Army and was fighting in Korea the next year.

He was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division. Blocker landed at Inchon and was on the front lines by Christmas Day, 1951.

Blocker and his men took positions in Chorwon, in what is today North Korea. They were manning the Jamestown Line as the war settled into a virtual stalemate of taking and retaking hills, static fortifications and trenches along the line.

For 209 days, Blocker and the 179th Infantry Regiment were in heavy fighting, and during that time, he was wounded in action while coming to the rescue of his fellow soldiers -- something good ol’ Hoss Cartwright might do.

Between December 1951 and June 1952, the 179th and 180th Infantry Regiments fought over Pork Chop Hill, a key piece of terrain that was critical to holding Old Baldy, which overlooked the entire area. By summer 1952, the fighting heated up, along with the weather.

The 179th was taken off the line in July 1952, and Blocker finally was sent to the hospital to recover from his wounds. His unit went into reserves and by August of that year he was headed home with a Purple Heart.

After returning to the U.S., acting wasn’t the first job he considered going into, but moving to Los Angeles was part of his plan. He pursued a doctorate at UCLA, and one day, acting found him. While standing in a phone booth, dressed like the big Texan he was, he was “discovered” by people looking to cast television westerns, which were wildly popular at the time.

The newly minted actor was cast in a slew of western shows, including small parts on episodes of “Gunsmoke” and and “Colt .45.” His biggest break came when he was cast to play the regular role of Hoss Cartwright on “Bonanza.”

“Hoss” is a nickname for both the character, and a general term for big, friendly guys in the rural areas of the Rocky Mountains. Since “Bonanza” took place in an area near Lake Tahoe, the moniker was perfect for a man of Blocker’s size.

Blocker, 43, suddenly died of a pulmonary embolism after gallbladder surgery in May 1972. He was on the show for 13 of its 14 seasons.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

They would want you to barbecue.
They would want you to go to the beach.
They would want you to pop your feet up open a cold
one and watch your kids play.
They would want you to rock out to some live music.
They would want you to camp.
They would want you to watch a parade.
They would want you to have a picnic in the park.
They would want you to go on a bike ride.
They would want you to go fishing.
They would want you to laugh.
They would want you to sing.
They would want you to be with friends.
They would want you to bake a pie
They would want you to be with family.
They would want you to fly our flag.
They would want you to be free.

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men that died.
Rather we should thank God such Men lived."

-General George S. Patton

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  • 2 weeks later...

Army Ranger Captain Kris Kristofferson

Country music legend and Army vet Kris Kristofferson has a list of accomplishments so long, it might be faster to list off things he hasn't done.

He was an Army brat and brother to a naval aviator, so it was only natural that Kristofferson would find himself in the military. But his life both before and after the military has been more than interesting -- it's downright legendary.

 In his younger years, Kristofferson was an accomplished athlete, skilled at rugby and American football. He also was a Golden Gloves amateur boxer. Pretty much anything that required giving or taking a beating, he was up to it.

For anyone who might be thinking he was a dumb young jock-turned country star, think again. Kristofferson studied literature at California's Pomona College, where he became a Rhodes Scholar. He carried on his literature studies at Oxford's Merton College, where he continued boxing. Upon graduating from college, he joined the U.S. Army.

Joining the Army in 1960, Kristofferson earned his Ranger tab before becoming a helicopter pilot, which was critical in getting his country music career off the ground (more on that later). He would reach the rank of captain during his service. In the meantime, he was making music and formed his own band while stationed in Germany.

Kristofferson was offered the prestigious position of teaching literature at West Point in 1965, but turned it down and left the Army. It was a move that caused his family, full of veterans, to disown him. His first wife divorced him four years later, which is some prime country music songwriting fodder.

It was finally time for Kristofferson to focus on music. He moved to Nashville, where he worked as a janitor and flew helicopters for oil rigs. He also worked in construction and fought forest fires in Alaska, anything he could do to keep focused on the music. It also was good experience from which to draw country music inspiration.

As he turned 30 years old, he was still moonlighting as a janitor in Nashville recording studios, strategically dropping demo tapes onto desks and hoping they would get into the hands of some of the biggest names in country music. ... also at Johnny Cash's house. By now, we know Kristofferson learned to fly helicopters in the Army and ran into financial trouble while trying to make it in country music. In a big gamble, he stole a helicopter, flew to Cash's house and landed on the Man in Black's front lawn.

In retrospect, Kristofferson admits he's lucky Cash didn't try to shoot him down with a shotgun. Instead, the icon listened to his demo for "Sunday Morning Coming Down." Cash liked it so much, he recorded it, and Kristofferson took the first step toward becoming a country music legend.

Now "lifted from obscurity" (as Kristofferson puts it), he wrote some of his biggest hits, including "Vietnam Blues," "Help Me Make It Through the Night" and "Me and Bobby McGee." Later, he would form The Highwaymen, a country music supergroup comprised of himself, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash.

There are few country music stars that Kristofferson hasn't worked with or influenced during his career, even to this day. His music fame led him to the silver screen, where he appeared in 119 roles, including the "Blade" trilogy, the third remake of "A Star Is Born" and the History Channel miniseries "Texas Rising."

Kristofferson was inducted into the songwriter's Hall of Fame in 1985 and has earned more than 48 different BMI Country and Pop awards. In 2004, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and received the Veteran of the Year Award at the American Veteran Awards in 2011, with fellow country legend and vet Willie Nelson presenting the honor.

 

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