#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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#MilitaryMonday: Iwo Jima Survivors Mark WWII Battle

Raising the US Flag on Mount Suribachi. The Pulizer Prize winning photograph of the Iwo Jima Flag Raising was shot by AP Photographer Joe Rosenthal.

Raising the US Flag on Mount Suribachi. The Pulizer Prize winning photograph of the Iwo Jima Flag Raising was shot by AP Photographer Joe Rosenthal.

“Do not expect to return home alive.”

Letters from Iwo Jima

Capt. Larry Snowden led a company of 230 Marines that landed on the beach of a small Japanese island on Feb. 19, 1945. Five weeks later, when Iwo Jima fell to U.S. forces after one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific during World War II, his unit’s losses reflected the steep cost of an historic victory.

LVTs on Iwo Jima

LVTs on Iwo Jima

American supplies being landed at Iwo Jima  a few hours after the Marines had wrested their foothold on the vital island via the US Navy and Coast Guard.

American supplies being landed at Iwo Jima a few hours after the Marines had wrested their foothold on the vital island via the US Navy and Coast Guard.

“When we walked off the island, 99 of us remained,” said Snowden, 93, the senior ranking survivor of the invasion, who retired from the Marines as a lieutenant general in 1979. “That’s a pretty high casualty rate.”

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Snowden spoke Thursday in Washington at a gathering of Iwo Jima survivors who marked the 70th anniversary of the start of the siege. Over the decades, the battle’s prominence has persisted, owing to a photograph that shows five Marines and a Navy corpsman raising an American flag on Mount Suribachi, the island’s highest point.

Yet it is the ferocity of the fighting that lingers in the memories of the men sent to Iwo Jima.

“The battle of Iwo Jima has become part of the very ethos of the Marine Corps. Your legacy transcends the capture of a faraway island in the Pacific long ago.”

– Gen. Joseph Dunford,

Commandant, US Marine Corps

Snowden’s company belonged to the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment of the 4th Marine Division. His unit went ashore the first day, part of the initial push of 30,000 U.S. troops, most of whom were Marines.

The Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia

The Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia

An additional 40,000 men later joined the struggle against 22,000 Japanese soldiers, who hid among an intricate network of tunnels and caves spanning the volcanic island 750 miles from mainland Japan. U.S. forces advanced as little as 50 yards a day in the early stages as both sides suffered massive casualties.

By the time combat ended on March 26, 1945, almost 7,000 American troops had been killed and more than 19,000 wounded. Almost 19,000 Japanese soldiers were killed as they followed the orders of Gen. Tadamichi Kuribayashi to fight to the death.

A monument on Mount Suribachi commemorates the Feb. 23, 1945 flag raising during the battle of Iwo Jima.

A monument on Mount Suribachi commemorates the Feb. 23, 1945 flag raising during the battle of Iwo Jima.

U.S. commanders realized only after the battle that they had overrated the strategic importance of the eight-square-mile island and its three airstrips. Iwo Jima nonetheless produced an incalculable morale boost to the American war effort when the photo of the six men raising the flag appeared in newspapers across the country.

Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal captured the moment on Feb. 23, 1945, the battle’s fourth day, and the image endures as a symbol of American resolve in wartime. Gen. Joseph Dunford, commandant of the Marine Corps, told the survivors that their triumph has reverberated across the generations.

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“The battle of Iwo Jima has become part of the very ethos of the Marine Corps,” he said. Dunford added that their example inspired Marines who fought in America’s most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Your legacy transcends the capture of a faraway island in the Pacific long ago.”

Kenichiro Sasae, the Japanese ambassador to the United States, extolled the sacrifice of U.S. and Japanese soldiers alike. Referring to Japanese troops who defended the island as they moved underground, he said, “Mount Suribachi must have felt like a tomb waiting to be closed.”

Captain Snowden (2nd from right) and his Recon Team.

Captain Snowden (2nd from right) and his Recon Team.

Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz remarked in 1945 that, among U.S. troops on Iwo Jima, “uncommon valor was a common virtue.” Snowden, who led his company even after shrapnel from a mortar blast wounded him in the neck and head, described overcoming his injuries in more modest terms.

“Part of the game,” he said.

On the Web: Battle of Iwo Jima

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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)