#WarriorWednesday

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Warrior Wednesday is a weekly feature dedicated to honoring and remembering the men and women, past and present, of the US Armed Forces and its Allies.

Marvin Shields

Marvin Shields

U.S. Navy Seabee Museum honors the first and only U.S. Navy Seabee ‬to receive the Medal of Honor Construction Mechanic 3rd Class Marvin G. Shields. Shields was also the first ‪‎US Navy‬ ‪‎Sailor‬ to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for action in Vietnam‬. (Link for more about Shields appears at the end of this post).

Midshipman Thomas O. Selfridge, Jr., Daguerreotype. He graduated first in the U.S. Naval Academy class of 1854. USN Photo Collection.

Midshipman Thomas O. Selfridge, Jr., Daguerreotype. He graduated first in the U.S. Naval Academy class of 1854. USN Photo Collection.

1854, the first formal graduation exercises are held at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. Previous classes had graduated without a ceremony. Rear Adm. Thomas O. Selfridge and Rear Adm. Joseph N. Miller, are two of the six graduates that year.

Eight members of the Class of 1861, including Midshipman George M. Bache (3rd from left). Among the others present are (based on other photos) are: Midshipman William F. Stewart (bearded, 2nd from left); Midshipman John F. McGlensey (4th from right); and Midshipman Richard F. Armstrong (2nd from right). Collection of Commander George M. Bache. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph

Eight members of the Class of 1861, including Midshipman George M. Bache (3rd from left). Among the others present are (based on other photos) are: Midshipman William F. Stewart (bearded, 2nd from left); Midshipman John F. McGlensey (4th from right); and Midshipman Richard F. Armstrong (2nd from right). Collection of Commander George M. Bache. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph

U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland. Photograph of the “Old Quarters” with the Recitation Hall on the extreme left, circa the 1860s, possibly taken by Fischer and Brothers., Baltimore. Collection of Commander George M. Bache.

U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland. Photograph of the “Old Quarters” with the Recitation Hall on the extreme left, circa the 1860s, possibly taken by Fischer and Brothers., Baltimore. Collection of Commander George M. Bache.

U.S. Naval Academy, as it is today.

U.S. Naval Academy, as it is today.

1869, Secretary of the Navy Adolph E. Borie, ordered the construction of the first torpedo station on Goat Island, Newport, Rhode Island. During the establishment, the station experimented with torpedoes and trained sailors in the use technology of the weapons. Functions of the station were incorporated in the Naval Undersea Warfare Center.

Mark VII Bliss-Leavitt Torpedo, outside Torpedo Factory on Goat Island, Newport, Rhode Island, August 1913. Copied from an original negative held by Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport, Rhode Island.

Mark VII Bliss-Leavitt Torpedo, outside Torpedo Factory on Goat Island, Newport, Rhode Island, August 1913. Copied from an original negative held by Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport, Rhode Island.

MARK III Whitehead Torpedo, fired from East Dock, Goat Island, 1894. USS Cushing (TB #1) is in the background. Copied from an original negative held by Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport, Rhode Island.

MARK III Whitehead Torpedo, fired from East Dock, Goat Island, 1894. USS Cushing (TB #1) is in the background. Copied from an original negative held by Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport, Rhode Island.

Tug Leyden and three early torpedo boats. Torpedo Station's Ferry Launch at East Dock on Goat Island, 1899. Copied from an original negative held by Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport, Rhode Island.

Tug Leyden and three early torpedo boats. Torpedo Station’s Ferry Launch at East Dock on Goat Island, 1899. Copied from an original negative held by Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport, Rhode Island.

Soldiers assigned to various units throughout Europe, rappel from a UH-60 Black Hawk during an air assault course at the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command's Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, June 9.  Markus Rauchenberger/Army

Soldiers assigned to various units throughout Europe, rappel from a UH-60 Black Hawk during an air assault course at the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, June 9. Markus Rauchenberger/Army

Sailors assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1 Explosive Ordnance Detachment recover the test vehicle for NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) on June 8 off the coast of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.  John Hageman/Navy

Sailors assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1 Explosive Ordnance Detachment recover the test vehicle for NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) on June 8 off the coast of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. John Hageman/Navy

A Marine assigned to Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Maritime Raid Force, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), conducts a nighttime high altitude high opening (HAHO) jump during category 3 sustainment training in Louisburg, N.C., June 5.  Cpl. Andre Dakis/Marine Corps

A Marine assigned to Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Maritime Raid Force, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), conducts a nighttime high altitude high opening (HAHO) jump during category 3 sustainment training in Louisburg, N.C., June 5. Cpl. Andre Dakis/Marine Corps

Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel Dailey greets recipient Specialist Spencer Jacobsen of the Bravo Troop, 1st Squadron, 33rd Calvary Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (AASLT) of Fort Campbell in Kentucky, after a Purple Heart ceremony June 9 at George Washington's Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel Dailey greets recipient Specialist Spencer Jacobsen of the Bravo Troop, 1st Squadron, 33rd Calvary Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (AASLT) of Fort Campbell in Kentucky, after a Purple Heart ceremony June 9 at George Washington’s Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit sprint to an MV-22B Osprey aircraft during a Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP) exercise, aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., June, 5.  Cpl. Shawn Valosin/Marine Corps

Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit sprint to an MV-22B Osprey aircraft during a Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP) exercise, aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., June, 5. Cpl. Shawn Valosin/Marine Corps

Army Secretary John McHugh lays a wreath at George Washington's tomb June 9 at Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia. The U.S. Army held celebration for its 240th birthday.

Army Secretary John McHugh lays a wreath at George Washington’s tomb June 9 at Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia. The U.S. Army held celebration for its 240th birthday.

Navy Capt. William Koyama, commander of Carrier Air Wing 5, prepares to make an arrested landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington in an F/A-18E Super Hornet after completing his 4000th flight hour near Guam, June 8. The Super Hornet is assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron.  Bryan Mai/Navy

Navy Capt. William Koyama, commander of Carrier Air Wing 5, prepares to make an arrested landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington in an F/A-18E Super Hornet after completing his 4000th flight hour near Guam, June 8. The Super Hornet is assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron. Bryan Mai/Navy

Allied leaders salute the 9th Air Force Memorial, which commemorates fallen U.S. service members, in Picauville, France, June 4, during a D-Day ceremony.  Nicole Sikorski/Air Force

Allied leaders salute the 9th Air Force Memorial, which commemorates fallen U.S. service members, in Picauville, France, June 4, during a D-Day ceremony. Nicole Sikorski/Air Force

Bryan County High School, Ga., JROTC cadet Dikenya Dukes, a rising 11th grader, climbs through a wall on an obstacle course as her classmate and "battle buddy" Mitchell Miller watches, June 9, at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. The Savannah Army post is hosting about 200 JROTC cadets from southeast Georgia high schools this week during its Junior Cadet Leadership Challenge Summer Camp led by the Hunter-based 6th ROTC Brigade.  Corey Dickstein/Savannah Morning News

Bryan County High School, Ga., JROTC cadet Dikenya Dukes, a rising 11th grader, climbs through a wall on an obstacle course as her classmate and “battle buddy” Mitchell Miller watches, June 9, at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. The Savannah Army post is hosting about 200 JROTC cadets from southeast Georgia high schools this week during its Junior Cadet Leadership Challenge Summer Camp led by the Hunter-based 6th ROTC Brigade. Corey Dickstein/Savannah Morning News

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry O. Spencer throws the first pitch of the 3rd annual Amputee Warrior Softball Classic June 6, at Prince George's Stadium in Bowie, Md.  Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie/Air Force

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry O. Spencer throws the first pitch of the 3rd annual Amputee Warrior Softball Classic June 6, at Prince George’s Stadium in Bowie, Md. Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie/Air Force

Marines and sailors with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, escort a simulated isolated person onto an MV-22 Osprey during a tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel training exercise on May 29 in Southwest Asia.   Lance Cpl. Garrett White/Marine Corps

Marines and sailors with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, escort a simulated isolated person onto an MV-22 Osprey during a tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel training exercise on May 29 in Southwest Asia. Lance Cpl. Garrett White/Marine Corps

George Shenkle, World War II veteran and former Army Soldier with the Easy Company, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, reacts as soldiers parachute over the historic La Fiere drop zone near Sainte Mere Eglise, Normandy, France, on Sunday to commemorate the 71st Anniversary of D-Day.   Master Sgt. Brian Bahret/Air Force

George Shenkle, World War II veteran and former Army Soldier with the Easy Company, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, reacts as soldiers parachute over the historic La Fiere drop zone near Sainte Mere Eglise, Normandy, France, on Sunday to commemorate the 71st Anniversary of D-Day. Master Sgt. Brian Bahret/Air Force

Marine Corps Hospital Corpsman Melissa Irvin, a 1st Dental Battalion dental corpsman, from Camp Pendleton, Calif., carries a box of medical supplies to Unggai Primary School, where medical professionals set up during Pacific Angel 15-4 at Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea, on May 29.  Staff Sgt. Marcus Morris/Air Force

Marine Corps Hospital Corpsman Melissa Irvin, a 1st Dental Battalion dental corpsman, from Camp Pendleton, Calif., carries a box of medical supplies to Unggai Primary School, where medical professionals set up during Pacific Angel 15-4 at Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea, on May 29. Staff Sgt. Marcus Morris/Air Force

Sailors man the rails as the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson returns to homeport on Thursday at Naval Air Station North Island.   MC3 Jacob G. Kaucher/Navy

Sailors man the rails as the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson returns to homeport on Thursday at Naval Air Station North Island. MC3 Jacob G. Kaucher/Navy

Army Staff Sgt. Thomas Worley examines a puppy during a Continuing Promise 2015 veterinary event in Colon, Panama, on Tuesday.   Andrew Schneider/Navy

Army Staff Sgt. Thomas Worley examines a puppy during a Continuing Promise 2015 veterinary event in Colon, Panama, on Tuesday. Andrew Schneider/Navy

Visitors stand among a display of 120 American flags, representing the 120 Wyoming soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who died during the Vietnam War, at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery on Sunday in Evansville, Wyo.   Alan Rogers/The Casper Star-Tribune

Visitors stand among a display of 120 American flags, representing the 120 Wyoming soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who died during the Vietnam War, at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery on Sunday in Evansville, Wyo. Alan Rogers/The Casper Star-Tribune

Soldiers from NATO countries attend an opening ceremony of military exercise Saber Strike 2015 at the Gaiziunu Training Range in Pabrade about 38 miles north of Vilnius, Lithuania, on Monday.  Mindaugas Kulbis

Soldiers from NATO countries attend an opening ceremony of military exercise Saber Strike 2015 at the Gaiziunu Training Range in Pabrade about 38 miles north of Vilnius, Lithuania, on Monday. Mindaugas Kulbis

On the Web:

Ceremony to mark 50th anniversary of Seabee’s heroism

HONORING SHIELDS, SEABEE HISTORY

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#RedFriday: 14 Ways to Thank a Soldier by a (real) President who does it the BEST!

Military thank you

The following was compiled from “How to thank a soldier, by George W. Bush.” Here are a few of the best photos:

red friday thank you

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#MilitaryMonday: Showing What Cannot Be Spoken

warrior-wednesday

Wars end, soldiers return. Uniforms are folded and pictures placed on the mantle. And though new lives begin, veterans carry their service with them long after they return home.

For many, reintegration is coming to terms with those two halves: the veteran and the civilian made anew.

Marine Cpl. Brad Ivanchan lost both his legs when he stepped on an improvised explosive device in Sangin, Afghanistan.  (Picture 13/Courtesy Devin Mitchell)

Marine Cpl. Brad Ivanchan lost both his legs when he stepped on an improvised explosive device in Sangin, Afghanistan. (Picture 13/Courtesy Devin Mitchell)

That bifurcated existence is the basis for the Veteran Art Project, a captivating visual experiment by a 27-year-old photographer who is exploring a part of the veteran’s experience that is sometimes difficult to articulate.

The idea is simple enough: Devin Mitchell, a junior at Arizona State University, finds a room, a mirror and a subject, and then takes two pictures. One is a picture of the subject in uniform, the other in civilian attire. Afterward, Mitchell uses Photoshop to combine the two.

One of the images from the Veteran Art Project, which relies on trick photography and seeks to capture the experience of service members who have returned home. (Picture 62/Courtesy Devin Mitchell)

One of the images from the Veteran Art Project, which relies on trick photography and seeks to capture the experience of service members who have returned home. (Picture 62/Courtesy Devin Mitchell)

The first of the project’s 63 numbered photos, which was taken this past August, shows a man staring into his bathroom mirror and adjusting his suit. Staring back is the same man, Lt. Ricky Ryba, in blue Navy fatigues. The resulting image transcends time and place.

“I’m not a veteran,” Mitchell, who currently lives in Los Angeles and completes his studies remotely, said in a recent interview. “I specialize in trick photography…and it wasn’t until I started building my photo essay for my grad school application that I figured I would look at a sociological issue … which is the double life that a lot of [veterans] live.”

The photos are published on Instagram for ease of access. Mitchell calls his work “artistic journalism,” and notes that the only prerequisites for his subjects are that they are veterans and that they can still fit into their uniforms.

“I don’t interview them, all I ask is if they’re veteran and if I can come and take their picture,” Mitchell said. “This is an opportunity for people to speak without having to say something.”

“It seems almost therapeutic for them… I feel like they’re showing other veterans they’re not alone, that there’s other people like them,” he added.

Initially, Mitchell had a difficult time finding people interested in being photographed, but after picture 13, he says, his inbox was flooded.

That picture shows Marine Cpl. Brad Ivanchan, a machine gunner with 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, who lost both his legs in June 2013 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan.

His back is to the camera, his carbon-fiber prosthetics visible under hiked khakis, while in his reflection, he is wearing Marine dress “Charlies.” Ivanchan’s tattooed arms extend downward, hands affixed to the counter. But it is his face that resonates — that seems to be staring at the wounded Ivanchan saying, “Get up.”

Marine Cpl. Daphne Bye and her now ex-husband, Marine Staff Sgt. David Bye, were featured in the Veteran Art Project series. (Picture 61/Courtesy Devin Mitchell)

Marine Cpl. Daphne Bye and her now ex-husband, Marine Staff Sgt. David Bye, were featured in the Veteran Art Project series. (Picture 61/Courtesy Devin Mitchell)

“People connected with that picture because it showed something physical, visceral,” Mitchell said. “After that I didn’t have a problem finding veterans who wanted to be a part of the project.”

Marine Cpl. Daphne Bye was among the veterans who saw Mitchell’s photos and who contacted him about photographing her and her husband, Marine Staff Sgt. David Bye.

The two had met before Daphne joined the Marines, when David was stationed in Hawaii and Daphne was attending college there.

Sgt. Joanna Ellenbeck,  wearing her Army uniform in the mirror. (Picture 62/Courtesy Devin Mitchell)

Sgt. Joanna Ellenbeck, wearing her Army uniform in the mirror. (Picture 62/Courtesy Devin Mitchell)

Daphne, who says she was the victim of sexual harassment by one of her senior non-commissioned officers, and Bye, who served as an infantryman in the battles of Fallujah in 2004 and 2007, were both diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder around the same time in 2011. The couple shared the burdens of post-traumatic stress and their treatment together, but a few years after their daughter Sophie was born, they both realized that it was no longer healthy for them to stay married. In August they divorced.

Kevin Wesolowski, wearing Army uniforms in two mirrors. (Picture 62/Courtesy Devin Mitchell)

Kevin Wesolowski, wearing Army uniforms in two mirrors. (Picture 62/Courtesy Devin Mitchell)

Leonard Cataudella, a Navy veteran. (Picture 62/Courtesy Devin Mitchell)

Leonard Cataudella, a Navy veteran. (Picture 62/Courtesy Devin Mitchell)

Sgt. Trevor Scott, a member of the 101st Airborne Division. (Picture 62/Courtesy Devin Mitchell)

Sgt. Trevor Scott, a member of the 101st Airborne Division. (Picture 62/Courtesy Devin Mitchell)

“When I saw Devin doing the project I was really excited. I figured why not,” Daphne Bye said. “When you’re in the military a lot of marriages break…and a lot of people don’t understand what the reason for it is and I thought it was important for me to say something.”

She explained her reasons to her ex-husband, who agreed to do the picture even though the couple had started living apart.

“I think it’s important for everybody to understand that even though we looked happy on the outside and that we truly did try for us and our daughter there’s only so much you can do when the issues are within yourself.”

Cody Gere, who left active-duty as a Marine Corps corporal. (Picture 62/Courtesy Devin Mitchell)

Cody Gere, who left active-duty as a Marine Corps corporal. (Picture 62/Courtesy Devin Mitchell)

Mitchell has no plans to end the project anytime soon. He said the more pictures he takes, the more issues, like PTSD, he hopes to explore through his photography.

“I don’t mind if it takes me 10 years,” Mitchell said. “As time changes, so might the photos and what they are reflecting. We can only wait and see.”

On the Web: Veteran Art Project

On Istagram: @vetranartproject

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(Note:  Can also be reposted, reblogged and tweeted by others as #WarriorWednesday)

#MilitaryMonday: US Army’s Mighty 8th, Savannah, GA

In the month after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US Army’s 8th Air Force is established in Savannah Georgia.

It has seven men and no planes.

Less than a year later it is tasked with defeating the most powerful Air Force in the world – the German Luftwaffe.
This is their story in six high-definition videos…
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#WarriorWednesday: US Army Nurse Capt. Jennifer M. Moreno

Captain Jennifer Moreno

In her last moments of life, Army nurse Capt. Jennifer Moreno heard two orders: One was a call to help a wounded soldier struck by a blast in a booby-trapped killing field at an Afghanistan bomb-making compound, the other was a command to stay put lest she strike another mine in the bomb belt.

The nurse from Madigan Army Medical Center chose to help the wounded soldier, and gave her life trying.

In the words of her commander, Moreno ran “into hell” to rescue a comrade on the night she was killed. Newly released narratives of the October 5, 2013 battle reveal the kind of hell Moreno and dozens of Army special operators found while trying to disrupt a plot to kill civilians in the city of Kandahar.

A total of 12 bombs exploded that night — a chain reaction that took the lives of four U.S. soldiers and wounded at least 25.

The fifth bomb killed Moreno, 25, of San Diego who volunteered for a dangerous assignment supporting special operators in combat. The 11th bomb wounded three soldiers trying to recover her body.

Moreno is Madigan’s only fatal casualty from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though the hospital south of Tacoma has continuously deployed soldiers to medical facilities in combat zones.

Moreno “sacrificed her life so others could live,” her Bronze Star commendation reads.

The News Tribune previously reported Moreno’s death and covered her memorial service at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. But her award commendation, which the newspaper obtained recently, sheds more light on that chaotic day, and on the heroic steps that were taken to honor the Soldiers Creed: “I will never leave a fallen comrade.”

BREAKING UP A PLOT

Moreno is one of only 11 women from Lewis-McChord to die in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and one of only two women from the local base who were commissioned officers when they were killed.

Moreno died with Sgt. Patrick Hawkins and Spc. Cody Patterson of the Georgia-based 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment and special agent Joseph M. Peters of a military police unit based in Italy.

The Army says their sacrifices stymied an attack “that would have resulted in the deaths of unknown multitudes of innocent civilians.” At least two insurgents died in the compound; two of them were wearing suicide vests.

The narratives were written to support military honors several soldiers received for their actions in the fight. Moreno posthumously received a Bronze Star. So did Hawkins and Patterson.

Spc. Samuel Crockett, who survived that bloody day, received a Silver Star for risking his life over a two-hour rescue. He played a key role in recovering Moreno’s body after the 11th blast, and in providing life-saving medical aid to a wounded soldier.

He also set off the 12th and final bomb, but it had a low detonation that did not injure him.

The battle began as the soldiers approached the compound in Kandahar’s Zhari district and called out for its occupants to surrender.

None of the insurgents inside would be taken alive.

WOMAN IN SUICIDE VEST

The first to die was an Afghan woman walking out of the compound wearing a suicide vest.

She detonated the explosive, killing herself, wounding six troops and setting off a second blast nearby. Two soldiers rushing to help troops wounded in the first blast hit the third bomb. A second enemy fighter died in those early blasts, too.

An Afghan insurgent who ran away from the building detonated the fourth explosive, another suicide vest. The bomb killed him and a military working dog named Jani.

Moreno heard a call from a staff sergeant to help a wounded soldier. At the same time, the battle’s ground commander told all of the soldiers to stay where they were.

Her Bronze Star commendation uses dry, formal military language to describe the decision she faced.

“Disregarding her own well-being,” it reads, “Moreno unhesitatingly moved to assist (the soldiers) upon realizing the severity of the wounds sustained by her fellow teammates.”

“While in transit, Moreno detonated Device No. 5 and was killed in action.”

Few could make the same choice.

“None of us would have done what you did, running into hell to save your wounded brothers, knowing full well you probably wouldn’t make it back,” the commander of Moreno’s female Special Operations support team in Afghanistan, Capt. Amanda King, later wrote in a eulogy.

“FOLLOW ME”

The battle did not end with Moreno’s sacrifice.

“Follow me,” Hawkins told Patterson as they made their move to reach the wounded.

Patterson stepped on a mine, the sixth detonation. He stumbled and hit the seventh, delivering fatal wounds to both him and Hawkins.

Peters, the military police officer, set off explosions No. 8 and No. 9 after working to clear a helicopter landing zone for medical evacuations.

Crockett arrived with a 20-soldier force dispatched to clear the area of mines and rescue the wounded. He was trained for the job as a soldier in a North Carolina-based explosives command.

He cleared space for medics to work on casualties and made his way to isolated Rangers, escorting them through the mine belt to safety. He managed to retrieve Hawkins, the fallen military dog and various pieces of sensitive military equipment without detonating more bombs.

“His focus on retrieving teammates from stranded positions ultimately preserved their lives,” his Silver Star commendation reads.

11TH EXPLOSIVE

Moreno’s body remained on the field. Three soldiers from Crockett’s unit tried to retrieve her, but struck the 11th explosive. Crockett ran to them, halting at the edge of his cleared path. He saw his platoon sergeant injured but standing. Crockett guided him back to safe ground.

With no clear path to his two newly wounded teammates, Crockett got down to the ground and swept the earth for mines with his own hands.

He reached a private first class who lost his right leg to the bomb. Crockett applied a tourniquet and “single-handedly dragged him to an area where medics could safely render treatment.”

There was one more injured teammate left to recover from the 11th explosion. Crockett set off the final blast as he stepped to the wounded sergeant.

It didn’t kill him, so he continued with the rescue. He chose a different path, again swept the ground with his hands, and brought his teammate back to safety.

Still, Moreno’s body remained where she fell. Crockett got as close as he could to the fallen nurse, attached a drag line to her and pulled her to the safe area.

With Moreno recovered, the operators made the call to leave the compound. Finally, they got out of hell. They did not leave one of their own behind.

Captain Moreno disregarded her own safety and died trying to help others. She was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for Valor.

On the Web: Army Capt. Jennifer M. Moreno

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#WarriorWednesday: April 1945, Operation Iceberg – Okinawa Invasion

On April 1, 1945, under heavy naval gunfire and aircraft support, U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps troops began the invasion of Okinawa, the last major amphibious assault of World War II. To Japan, the island was the barrier to a direct invasion of its homeland. To the Allies, once the island was in their control, it would clear the path for a planned final invasion of Japan. When the island was finally declared secure on 21 June after 82 days being bitterly fought, the campaign ended up being the largest, and one of the most costly, battles in the Pacific.

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USS Idaho (BB-42). Bombarding Okinawa with her 14″/50 main battery guns, 1 April 1945. Photographed from USS West Virginia (BB-48). Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-K-3829 (Color).

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USS West Virginia (BB-48). Crewmen on watch on a 40mm Quad. Gun Mount, while their ship was supporting the Invasion of Okinawa, 1 April 1945. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-K-4707 (Color).

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USS Indiana (BB-58). Chaplain serves Holy Communion while holding Mass on the quarterdeck, during the Okinawa operation, 1 April 1945. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-325209. Note: The landings on Okinawa on 1 April happened to fall on Easter Sunday.

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D-Day Plus One, Green Beach, Okinawa. Artwork Mitchell Jamieson. Courtesy of the Navy Combat Art Collection. National Archives photograph, KN 21276 (Color).

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Okinawa Beachhead, Ryukyus Island, April 1945. In the background, part of the huge invasion armadea is busy offloading supplies to support the forces ashore. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 91387.

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Underwater Demolition Teams at Work. In their mission at Okinawa, UDT member daubed aluminum paint on their bodies as camouflage to throw off Japanese marksmen. Photographed on the fantail of a fast transport (APD), circa Spring 1945. National Archives photograph, 80-G-274695

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Okinawa Invasion, April 1945. LVTs and other landing craft head for the Okinawa landing beaches on 1 April 1945. USS LCI(G)-809 is partially visible at left, helping to cover the assault, with another LCI beyond her. Photographed from USS West Virginia (BB-48). Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-K-3848 (Color).

On the Web:  Battle of Okinawa on Wikipedia

Operation Iceberg – US Army Center Of Military History

Operation Iceberg: The Assault on Okinawa – The Last Battle of World War II

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2 Sept 1945: Japanese Surrender on board USS Missouri (BB 63)

On 2 September 1945, more than two weeks after accepting the Allies terms, Japan formally surrendered, marking the end of World War II. The ceremonies, lasting less than 30 minutes, took place on board the U.S. Navy Battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) , anchored with other United States and British ships in Tokyo Bay.

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Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945. Surrender ceremonies in progress, as seen from USS Missouri’s foredeck, with the Marine guard and Navy band in the center foreground and the ship’s embarkation ladder at lower left. The backs of the Japanese delegation are visible on the 01 level deck, to the left of 16-inch gun turret # 2. Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives: SC 210628

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Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945. Japanese representatives on board USS Missouri (BB-63) during the surrender ceremonies, 2 September 1945. Standing in front are: Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu (wearing top hat) and General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff. Behind them are three representatives each of the Foreign Ministry, the Army and the Navy. They include, in middle row, left to right: Major General Yatsuji Nagai, Army; Katsuo Okazaki, Foreign Ministry; Rear Admiral Tadatoshi Tomioka, Navy; Toshikazu Kase, Foreign Ministry, and Lieutenant General Suichi Miyakazi, Army. In the the back row, left to right (not all are visible): Rear Admiral Ichiro Yokoyama, Navy; Saburo Ota, Foreign Ministry; Captain Katsuo Shiba, Navy, and Colonel Kaziyi Sugita, Army. (Identities those in second and third rows are from an annotated photograph in Naval Historical Center files.) Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives, USA C-2719 (Color).

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Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945. The Japanese delegation receives honors as they depart USS Missouri (BB-63) at the conclusion of the surrender ceremonies, 2 September 1945.
General Yoshijiro Umezu is in the center, saluting. Photographed by Lieutenant Barrett Gallagher, USNR, from atop Missouri’s forward 16-inch gun turret. Note photographers on platforms in the background, band in the lower left and “seahorse” insignia on the shoulder by the Marine in lower right. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives: 80-G-472629.

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Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945. U.S. Navy carrier planes fly in formation over USS Missouri (BB-63) during the surrender ceremonies, 2 September 1945. Photographed by Lieutenant Barrett Gallagher, USNR, from atop Missouri’s forward 16-inch gun turret. Aircraft types include F4U, TBM and SB2C. Ship in the right distance is USS Ancon (AGC-4). Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-472630.

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Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945. Spectators and photographers crowd USS Missouri’s superstructure to witness the formal ceremonies marking Japan’s surrender, 2 September 1945. The framed flag in lower right is that hoisted by Commodore Matthew C. Perry on 14 July 1853, in Yedo (Tokyo) Bay, on his first expedition to negotiate the opening of Japan. It had been brought from its permanent home in Memorial Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy for use during the surrender ceremonies.
Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives, SC 210644.

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Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945. Japanese Foreign Ministry representatives Katsuo Okazaki and Toshikazu Kase, and Lieutenant General Richard K. Sutherland, U.S. Army, correcting an error on the Japanese copy of the Instrument of Surrender, at the conclusion of the surrender ceremonies, 2 September 1945. Photographed looking forward from USS Missouri’s superstructure.
Note the relaxed stance of most of those around the surrender table. The larger ship in the right distance is USS Ancon (AGC-4). Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives: USA C-4626 (Color).

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Instrument of Surrender of Japan, 2 September 1945, page 1. Image courtesy of the National Archives.

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Instrument of Surrender of Japan, 2 September 1945, page 2. Image courtesy of the National Archives.

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Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945. Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signs the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the Japanese Government, on board USS Missouri (BB-63), 2 September 1945. Lieutentant General Richard K. Sutherland, U.S. Army, watches from the opposite side of the table. Foreign Ministry representative Toshikazu Kase is assisting Mr. Shigemitsu.
Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives, SC 213700.

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Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander, reading his speech to open the surrender ceremonies, on board USS Missouri (BB-63). The representatives of the Allied Powers are behind him, including (from left to right): Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser, RN, United Kingdom; Lieutenant General Kuzma Derevyanko, Soviet Union; General Sir Thomas Blamey, Australia; Colonel Lawrence Moore Cosgrave, Canada; General Jacques LeClerc, France; Admiral Conrad E.L. Helfrich, The Netherlands and Air Vice Marshall Leonard M. Isitt, New Zealand. Lieutenant General Richard K. Sutherland, U.S. Army, is just to the right of Air Vice Marshall Isitt. Off camera, to left, are the representative of China, General Hsu Yung-chang, and the U.S. representative, Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN. Framed flag in upper left is that flown by Commodore Matthew C. Perry’s flagship when she entered Tokyo Bay in 1853. Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives, USA-2717 (Color).

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Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945. General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff, signs the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, on board USS Missouri (BB-63), 2 September 1945. Watching from across the table are Lieutenant General Richard K. Sutherland and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. Representatives of the Allied powers are behind General MacArthur. Photographed from atop Missouri’s 16-inch gun turret # 2. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-332701.

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Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur signs the Instrument of Surrender, as Supreme Allied Commander, on board USS Missouri (BB-63), 2 September 1945. Behind him are Lieutenant General Jonathan M. Wainwright, U.S. Army, and Lieutenant General Sir Arthur E. Percival, British Army, both of whom had just been released from Japanese prison camps. Identifications of many other senior officers present will be found in USA C-4627 (Complete Caption). Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives, USA C-4627 (Color).

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Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945. Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN, signs the Instrument of Surrender as United States Representative, on board USS Missouri (BB-63), 2 September 1945. Standing directly behind him are (left-to-right): General of the Army Douglas MacArthur; Admiral William F. Halsey, USN, and Rear Admiral Forrest Sherman, USN. Many of the other officers present are identified in 80-G-701293 (Complete Caption)”. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-701293.

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Following Signing of Surrender Documents, 2 September 1945.
Standish Backus # 11L
Pen, ink and felt tipped pen on paper, 1945
88-186-W
Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, NHHC.

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Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945. Japanese representatives on board USS Missouri (BB-63) during the surrender ceremonies, 2 September 1945.
Standing in front are:
Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu (wearing top hat) and General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff.
Behind them are three representatives each of the Foreign Ministry, the Army and the Navy. They include, in middle row, left to right:
Major General Yatsuji Nagai, Army;
Katsuo Okazaki, Foreign Ministry;
Rear Admiral Tadatoshi Tomioka, Navy;
Toshikazu Kase, Foreign Ministry, and
Lieutenant General Suichi Miyakazi, Army.
In the the back row, left to right:
Rear Admiral Ichiro Yokoyama, Navy;
Saburo Ota, Foreign Ministry;
Captain Katsuo Shiba, Navy, and
Colonel Kaziyi Sugita, Army.
NHHC Photograph Collection: NH 96808.

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Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945. The Japanese delegation receives honors as they depart USS Missouri (BB-63) at the conclusion of the surrender ceremonies, 2 September 1945.
General Yoshijiro Umezu is in the center, saluting. Photographed by Lieutenant Barrett Gallagher, USNR, from atop Missouri’s forward 16-inch gun turret. Note photographers on platforms in the background, band in the lower left and “seahorse” insignia on the shoulder by the Marine in lower right. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives: 80-G-472629.

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Surrender of Japan, 2 September 1945. Navy carrier planes fly in formation over the U.S. and British fleets in Tokyo Bay during surrender ceremonies. USS Missouri (BB-63), where the ceremonies took place, is at left. USS Detroit (CL-8) is in the right distance. Aircraft include TBM, F6F, SB2C and F4U types. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archive: 80-G-421130.

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USS Missouri (BB 63), plaque on board, 21 October 1945. US Navy photograph now in the collections of the National Archives: 80-G-437905.

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Naval Gun Factory, Washington Navy Yard, D.C. Finishing two bronze plaques commemorating the surrender of Japan, circa late September 1945. They were made in the Gun Factory’s Pattern Shop, which had also made hundreds of the seals that adorn Washington’s public buildings. Copies of these plaques were mounted on board USS Missouri (BB-63). NHHC Photograph Collection: NH 93364.

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Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (left) and Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz walk past Turret Number Two to take their places for the surrender ceremonies, on board USS Missouri (BB-63), 2 September 1945. Collection of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN. NHHC Photograph Collection: NH 49707.

On the Web:

View a rare color film of the Japanese surrender ceremony on board the
Battleship USS Missouri filmed by Commander George F. Kosco on NHHC’s YouTube Channel:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5MMVd5XOK8

Battleship Missouri Memorial Page on Facebook

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The US Army Aviation Museum

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The United States Army Aviation Museum, located in South-central Alabama, maintains a collection of over 160 military aircraft, including one of the largest collections of military helicopters in the world. Public galleries represent the Army’s involvement in aviation from the beginning days of the Wright brothers and early combat aircraft from World War I, to the highly technological machines flown by Army Aviators today.

Cobra

Corsair

US Army Aviation Museum
6000 Novosel Street
Fort Rucker, AL, USA 36362
1-334-598-2508

On the Web: http://www.armyavnmuseum.org/

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The Bravest of the Brave

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The 95th Infantry Division suffered over 10,000 casualties during World War II, and its soldiers were awarded one Medal of Honor and 18 Distinguished Service Crosses. They are portrayed in the 1962 Steve McQueen movie “Hell is for Heroes.”
One of those soldiers was the father of former State Rep. Jim Trakas (R-OH), who recounted the events of this week in 1945:
“My father lead a 378th Regiment platoon of the 95th Infantry Division. On April 7th they liberated the concentration/slave labor camp at Weryl, Germany.
My father helped to capture the SS guards who fled, and supervised operations to provide food and medical care for the survivors, French officers and Jewish people.
His heroics are recognized in the U.S. Holocaust Museum where the 95th Flag flies in the Hall of Liberators. We the children of the liberators must also never forget.”

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