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Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler » Archive for American Heroes
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Archive for the “American Heroes” Category

Since the time of Imperial Rome man has gone to war with dogs by his side. In those barbaric days war dogs were unleashed to thin the enemy line and strike fear in their hearts. There was no thought to the dogs well being or to his other innate abilities, only the strength of is jaws, the sharpness of his teeth, and the viciousness of his heart.

Today we have a different relationship with our war dogs. They are valued as fellow soldiers and Marines, as special warriors with exceptional and unique skills. Their wounds are tended and their futures provided for. And it is an investment well worth the expense. Since WWII, war dogs have demonstrated their invaluable skills and devotion to their handlers. Their keen sense of smell could detect an ambush or sniper, and they could actually hear the wind “singing” across booby trap trip wires. Being more in tuned with their instincts, the could sense things that even the most combat experienced grunt would miss. There is the story of the Army dog handler in Viet Nam who received a new war dog, a rambunctious and stubborn German Shepherd. War dogs were in constant demand and the handler found his self on point with a dog who seemingly refused to listen to his commands. Moving through a field the dog would guide left, then right, going his own direction and ignoring the handler, who found his self along for the ride, as was the platoon following them. When they had crossed the field the platoon commander called a halt and approached the dog handler, who braced himself for an ass chewing of monumental proportions. Instead, the Lieutenant praised him and his dog for avoiding all of the mines and booby traps that his men had found at every “undisciplined” turn the dog had made. Later in his tour the same handler lay exposed and wounded in the middle of a firefight. The rambunctious Shepherd grabbed his LBE gear with his teeth and pulled him to safety. He then covered the handler with his own body and took five rounds that would have hit him instead. That kind of bond is as deep as any bond shared between men in combat. One such bond has come full circle this week.

Give us more, O Emperor! »

Comments 15 Comments »

In Unsung Glory #3 you read the story of Lt. Michael Murphy receiving the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during an ambush of his SEAL team in Afghanistan. Of his four man team, only one man, Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Marcus Luttrell survived the firefight and began an amazing journey of escape and evasion until he was finally rescued on the night of July 2, 2005 with the help of some Afghani villagers. But it was not just the Afghanis who helped him that dark and moonless night.

The United State is somewhat unique in the way it values it’s fighting men. Most have probably heard the phrase “No man left behind”, but it is truly a catechism of the American Military that we will do what ever we can to bring a warrior home, dead or alive. So much so that an entire science of Combat Search And Rescue has been developed.

When it was learned that Petty Officer 1st Class Luttrell, who is now called “The One” in the SEAL community, was still alive, a full court press to rescue him was launched, the largest CSAR mission ever launched in the Afghanistan Campaign. As has been done so often in the past air crews sprang into action determined to bring him home.

Give us more, O Emperor! »

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Having a rough day? Christmas shopping getting to you? Boss on your back? Well, things could be a lot worse. Read these Marines stories and put your own problems in a little bit better perspective.

A few snippets.

It’s been a tough year: His father died, and his mother’s been sick. And some jerk stole the sergeant’s truck, which had been parked back home in Houston.

So what does he worry about? The other Marines wounded in the blast - and, especially, his Navy corpsman. The medic’s still in a coma down in Tampa Bay and may never come out of it. He’s never seen the child his wife delivered a few months ago.

Gunny Scott was burned over 40 percent of his body. He’s been in rehab for 16 months, with “too many operations to count.” Despite reconstructive surgery, his face still tells of wounds.

Fire shot through the vehicle. He suffered third-degree burns over 56 percent of his body, along with bone exposure. He looks fine now - but, under his garments, he has to keep his skin moisturized at all times.

Sgt. Martinez took shrapnel in his eyes. The retinal damage to his left eye limits him to three inches of vision. The right eye’s stronger, but his peripheral vision is gone and the discrepancy between his eyes prevents him from wearing corrective lenses as he walks. He’s at a point where further operations would only risk the vision that remains.

Now I’m not posting any of this to give you all a guilt trip. In fact, quite the opposite. Listen to how these Marines are dealing with their injuries.

His chief ambition is still to become a drill sergeant. Missing a leg, he arranged for the Marine Corps logo to be painted on his prosthesis. “I was back on my feet in three months,” he says proudly - but he still faces all-day therapy.

But this Marine’s Marine is 1,000 miles away from self-pity: “Hey, this is what I do for a living, this is what I chose.”

He’s come a long way, though. His parents had been at his bedside for two weeks before he “really” woke up in the burn center. Now he’s determined to move on: “For a long time, I was pretty depressed . . . for four or five months . . . but over time I came to grips with it: This is my new body.”

He was a police officer back home in Arkansas (the chief and his fellow officers came down to visit). That’s over now - but Traxson, who holds a degree in criminal justice, intends to go to law school. And he’s really looking forward to going home for Christmas.

The sergeant calls himself lucky: Others died. He’s alive, with a girlfriend he adores and college ahead. “Whatever I decide to do, I’ll get it done,” the Marine said.

Do not pity them. Do not feel guilt because you are whole while they are not, or that you allow your daily inconveniences to overwhelm you at times. Thats human after all. Instead use these mens bravery and fortitude as examples of true strength in facing real adversity. And while you are in the giving spirit this Christmas season, consider maybe plinking a little change towards the Fisher House or to the Warrior and Family Support Center by calling 1-888-343-HERO.

They gave for us after all.

Comments 11 Comments »

“Corpsman Up!”

Those two words have saved more Marines lives than can be counted. Fleet Marine Force Corpsmen, Navy “Docs” who serve with Marine units, are a platoons most valued asset. When called, no matter how precarious the firefight, the “Docs” are there, tending to “Their Marines” with a level of devotion that can not be adequately described by mere words alone.

On February 2nd 2006 Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Joshua Chiarini, a native of Coventry R.I., was assigned to 1st Battalion 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division on his second tour in Anbar Province and was riding in the third vehicle of a four humvee patrol. He joined the Navy straight out of high school in 2000 and estimates that he has since been in at least 20 firefights, ridden in 30 convoys hit with IED’s and three suicide bombers, and has treated over 100 wounded Marines, never losing one.

At 1100 that morning the lead humvee of his patrol was engulfed in a dust cloud from a roadside bomb. Undamaged, the truck sped out of the kill zone and stopped to engage insurgents firing at them 400 meters away. Four of the five occupants, three Marines and an Iraqi interpreter called Kenny, set up defensive positions, while the fifth man stayed in the turret to provide cover with the vehicles machine gun. That was when the second, more powerful IED detonated. Kenny’s arm was nearly severed by the blast and all four of the dismounted men were wounded. The enemy fire intensified, pinning them down.

Doc Chiarini was unaware of this however. Dust and distance had kept him from seeing the humvee speed ahead and get hit by the second blast. After the first hit the convoy had become separated and the second humvee in the column and the thick black smoke from the first blast blocked his view. The radio was silent and all he could here was the bang of grenades and the staccato pop of small arms fire. After the second blast the inexperienced driver of Chiarini’s vehicle balked at moving forward into the fight. Chiarini said “Screw it, I’m going forward”, grabbed his M3 medical bag and M-16 and bolted out the door.

Ducking enemy fire he ran the 200 meters to the wounded Marines. Kenny looked at him through trauma shocked eyes and asked if his arm was still there. “Some of it” he said and pointed Kenny towards the relative cover of the rear of the burning humvee. A Marine who had been blinded was busy firing wildly at the sounds of the enemy weapons. Doc Chiarini pointed him in the right direction and began tending to the other wounded men. Often times working on the wounded men with one hand and retuning suppressive fire with the other, the doc tended to his Marines.

Chiarini then walked each of the wounded Marines to the protection of the second armored humvee, providing cover fire as they moved. He made three 100 meter trips across the bullet swept battlefield retrieving his Marines. The severely wounded Kenny still remained and weak from blood loss and shock could no longer walk. With one hand Doc Chiarini carried Kenny back while he fired his M-16 with the other.

Once he had all four wounded men behind the humvee he began treating them in earnest. “I felt like corpsmen that had gone before me in earlier wars were there. I could feel their hands on my shoulders as I worked.”

After about five minutes a QRF arrived and its corpsmen took over care for his wounded. Doc Chiarini then joined the firefight, killing several insurgents, including a twelve year old boy with a detonator for yet a third IED.

“It was a pretty crazy day.” he would say later.

The Marine Corps agreed. On October 22, 2007 Doc Chiarini was presented with the Silver Star for his heroism on that “Crazy Day”.

“He reacted the way he did for one simple reason: to take care of the Marine at his right and the Marine to his left,” said Brig. Gen. David Berger, 2nd Marine Division’s assistant division commander when he presented the Silver Star to Chiarini. “He would not let his fellow warriors down. He used himself to protect his comrades. We can not ask anything more.”

All four men survived thanks to Doc Chiarini and earning the Silver Star was a special recognition for him. But he received the best tribute several weeks after returning to Camp Lejeune when he ran into one of them at 8 Ball Pizza, a corporal nicknamed Redhead.

“Doc, I knew everything was going to be OK when I saw you come through the smoke,” the Marine told him.


Comments 30 Comments »

[”Stickied” to the top of the page because it’s bloody well needs to be. The usual incoherent rants from yours truly will appear below this post for today — Emp. Misha]

I promised Joe D a story about a paratrooper many weeks ago. Well, better late than never.

Heroism comes in many forms. Often times it involves saving your buddies lives while under fire, other times it is one courageous act which turns the tide of battle, maybe even the war. All of our warriors are doing their part to win the war, and much of the time the impact of their individual service can not be seen. It is easy to tell that you have won an engagement, you possess the field of battle and the only enemy remaining are the corpses bleaching in the sun. That is a visible indicator of progress. Other signs of victory are harder to immediately see. The candy bar you give to a child today may only bear fruit when he becomes of voting and military age and decides whose side he is on.

Sometimes though just a soldiers natural love for children in a war zone can transcend even his death and continue to have a positive impact on the real future of Iraq, the children watching our soldiers everyday.

Give us more, O Emperor! »

Comments 25 Comments »

So I’m sitting here watching Navy trounce Army in the 108th game of the most intense rivalry in college football (Go Navy! Beat Army!), getting my yearly football fix. One of the things I love about the game (besides it being the hardest fought game you will ever watch), is the tradition and history behind it.

Then I come across this on Blackfive, an even more powerful reminder of tradition and history. Each year at the Marine Corps Birthday Ball any Marine who has ever served may once again put on the uniform. This is the story of a WWII Marine who had never worn the Dress Blues until this year.

As a proud Second Lieutenant, wearing his Dress Blues with a bold strut and a confidence that could be seen by a blind man, I just stood there, humbled and crushed, feeling unworthy to wear the same uniform as this former Private First Class. I failed to remember that the only reason this uniform that I was wearing is distinguished is because of men like PFC Uncle Al. I just casually put it on and thought to myself, “Wow, this is the best looking uniform in the world!” I was definitely proud to put it on, yet I neglected to acknowledge its blood-stained legacy. I got a glimpse that night of what it really means to bear the title of a United States Marine.

Go read the whole thing. It’s worth your time.

Comments 13 Comments »

I’ve been fighting a nasty bug all weekend so I did not do any research on this weeks intended Unsung Glory and I was tempted to skip it for this week. But seeing as I’ve been told that there are people who actually look forward to this feature I decided against it.

Instead I will relate a story I read many years ago about heroism which can come in some unsuspecting packages. I am writing from pure memory here so I do not have names, dates or places, for which I apologize. If any of the fine LC’s are familiar with the story and can fill in the blanks please do so.

Give us more, O Emperor! »

Comments 14 Comments »

I am sneaking in here while the Emperor is still sleeping because I feel the need urge to write this post. Sitting here watching the MACY’S Thanksgiving Day Parade with the boys, I just thought how THANKFUL I am to have my family and how much I love them. Then I got to thinking about our Troops and all our wonderful “Rotties”.

So I thought…. why not write a post and wish everyone a happy, healthy, and SAFE THANKSGIVING. Soooo… here goes, but first I would like to take this opportunity to list the reasons I am giving thanks this year! (Ok hold on to your hats and please be patient with me!)

First, I am thankful for my family because they are so awesome and love me for who I am. They support me and comfort me when I need it, they brighten my day, and they give me a reason to get up every day. The heirs are so adorable and say the cutest things, they make me smile everyday. I love them with all my heart and can never tell them enough how much I love them.

Second, I am thankful for all our friends both local and far away. These wonderful people have enriched our lives and given us support and comfort in times of need, and just generally made our world a better place to live! We love you all more than words can ever say. (Well more than my words can ever say, Misha on the other hand has a bizzillion words and can adequately express how much y’all mean to us-although he will never admit it!)

Last but not LEAST, I am thankful for our men and women of the armed services. I am thankful for all that they sacrifice so that the people I love can live free in this beautiful country. I am thankful for all the things they do and all that they give. In my opinion they are HEROES!!! They take time away from their families so that I can live happily with mine. They miss Christmas’s and Thanksgivings with their loved ones so that I can celebrate these holidays in the manner that I choose to. They give the ultimate sacrifice for their country. They are selfless to give so much for people like me that they may or may not know. Also, let me not forget their families… the wives and children, mothers and fathers of these HEROES. They sacrifice too. They are also HEROES, only they don’t get the attention or gratitude that the soldiers do. So I would like to take this opportunity to THANK the families of our soldiers for loving and supporting their loved ones and sacrificing time with them so that this wonderful country can be free and safe.

I have gotten a bit emotional sitting here thinking about all of these wonderful people and how much I am thankful for them. Good thing this isn’t on camera, y’all would all see the tears in my eyes! Just a lil embarassing. I never used to be this emotional until I became a MOM and then it all changed. Seems that now I have alot more appreciation of things these days.

In closing,.. I would like to wish EVERYONE a Happy, Healthy, and SAFE Thanksgiving!! I love all of you from the bottom of my heart!!!


Comments 27 Comments »

So far Unsung Glory has been dedicated solely to heroes from The Long War since their stories have largely been ignored. But recently I came across a story of heroism from Viet Nam that needed to be told.

Last Sunday at Mass a visiting priest (whom I believe was his self a vet) beautifully wove the Gospel reading into the service of veterans. He spoke eloquently of service to causes greater than ones self, commitment, duty, sacrifice; words which seek to define the ideals that so many vets have dedicated their lives to.

Then he had all of the veterans attending the mass stand to be recognized. After such an eloquent homily, there was a bit of hesitation, and quite a few elbows nudged into quite a few ribs (including Bangie Things into mine), but eventually we all rose. So there I stood with a dozen or so vets while the congregation applauded us. It was a humbling and moving experience and I was actually somewhat embarrassed by the accolades. After mass I made it a point to thank the priest, and as I shook his hand he reminded of my old Battalion Chaplain from 3rd Bn. 8th Marines, Father Dennis Rocheford.

In 1968 Fr. Rocheford was Lance Corporal Rocheford with Company A, 1st Bn. 1st Marines fighting in Hue City, Republic of Viet Nam during the Tet Offensive. He was wounded twice in Viet Nam, one bullet passing clean through his torso with out hitting any vital organs. The wound was scrubbed with surgical soap and bandaged, and LCpl Rocheford continued the march. During Tet Father Rocheford was the radio operator for Capt. Ray L. Smith, A Company commander. Capt. Smith had earned the nick name of “E-tool Smith” for killing three (some say five) NVA soldiers in hand to hand combat with an entrenching tool at Hue. Capt. “E-tool” Smith later became Col. “E-tool” Smith and was the regimental commander of the 8th Marines. When we pestered Father Rocheford about the veracity of our CO’s nick name, he just smiled and confirmed the details, elevating the Colonel to mythical status in our young eyes.

It was a status Father Rocheford shared as well. He was constantly in the field with us, joining us on every hump. Anytime there was a break, as we sat on our packs and nursed sore shoulders and even sorer feet, there was the ubiquitous Father Rocheford walking up and down our ranks, handing out candy from his cargo packets, bucking up our spirits, easing the pain of the welts left by 80 pound packs. His long suffering chaplains assistant (personal body guard is a better term, since he was armed whilst the priest wasn’t) kept pace, longing to join us sitting on the side of the road, resting our aching brogans. Despite the exhaustion on his face, he kept pace with the indefatigable Father. Although he was at least 20 years our senior, he routinely out marched us. We held him in awe, not only because he was a Viet Nam vet and former infantryman, nor because of his physical endurance and stamina, or even because of the solemnity with which he ministered to our spiritual needs. We were in awe because he was one of us when he didn’t need to be. He could have stayed at Battalion HQ and no one would have thought any less of him. But instead he chose to be in the field with us grunts. He left the service in the early 90’s after The Gulf War. He rejoined on September 12th 2001 and is currently deployed in Iraq, his third war.

All of these memories of one of the finest men I have ever known came flooding back to me after that mornings mass and as I surfed the net that night I came across the story of Father Vincent Capodanno, Lt. USNR Chaplain Corps, and Viet Nam Medal of Honor recipient. The coincidence was to much, and Father Capodanno’s story to compelling to ignore.

Give us more, O Emperor! »

Comments 12 Comments »

The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest award for valor that the U.S. Army can bestow for battlefield heroics. Only the Medal of Honor ranks higher in precedence. Since the Viet Nam War ended in 1975, only six have been awarded. At a presentation in the Pentagons Hall of Heroes on Friday November 2nd the total was raised to seven.

Secretary of the Army Peter Geren presented the DSC to 1st Lt. Walter B. Jackson for actions while he was a 2nd Lt. serving in Al Anbar Province with Company A, 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry. On September 27th 2006 his unit was engaged in fierce combat when one of his vehicles was disabled. While attempting to retrieve it he and his soldiers came under intense machine gun fire and several of his men were wounded.

2nd Lt. Jackson, a West Point graduate from Oak Harbor Washington, began treating the most severlely wounded of his men until he himself was hit in the thigh. Temporarily knocked unconscious from the blood loss, when he came to he alternated between returning fire and tending to the wounds of his soldiers.

He was hit again while helping to carry one of his men to safety. Despite his own grave wounds, 2nd Lt. Jackson’s first concern remained with his men,  and he refused medical attention until he was sure they had been properly cared for.

After receiving the  DSC 1st Lt. Jackson humbly thanked his West Point classmates and the soldiers he has served with. Stereotypically modest about his own heroics, 1st Lt. Jackson simply said “I believe I just had to do what I had to do in that situation… I think many soldiers would have done the same thing.”.

1st Lt. Jackson has undergone more than a dozen surgeries while recovering from his wounds at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He is currently awaiting orders to assume command of an MLRS platoon with the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea.

 walterbjacksondsc.jpg                            dsc.jpg            

With the plethora of media outlets feigning righteous indignation anytime some peasant dares to question their support of our troops, one would be inclined to think that a soldier receiving the nations second highest award for valor would be all over the pages of the media right?

Well, outside of the blogosphere, exactly one media outlet carried the story. The Army Times.

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