Heroes

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Heroes

Postby GreatCarouser » Sat Jan 14, 2006 1:09 pm

We do a lot of ranting and arguing on these threads. I came upon the news that a real hero of the Viet Nam war died last week and it hit me that we all have heroes and the barracks might be just the spot to retell their tales....certainly there are heroes in all walks of life but I'll open with this:

Hugh Thompson Jr.
While a U.S. Army helicopter pilot in Vietnam, on March 16, 1968, Chief Warrant Officer Thompson witnessed U.S. troops shooting and killing unarmed civilians. To stop the carnage, he landed his aircraft between the troops and the civilians. Then, covered by his crew chief, Glenn Andreotta, and his door gunner, Lawrence Colburn, Thompson got out and confronted the troops' commanding officer. Then, he helped evacuate the injured civilians to hospitals. He was just 24 years old. "These people were looking at me for help and there was no way I could turn my back on them," he said years later.

What he stopped is now simply known as the My Lai Massacre; more than 500 civilians died. Yet Thompson was pilloried for his actions: he was shunned by fellow officers, told by a U.S. Congressman that only one soldier deserved to be punished for My Lai -- Thompson himself -- and saw the murderers' commanding officer serve just three years in prison. It wasn't until 1998 that the Army, under public pressure once Thompson's role became clear, decorated Thompson, Andreotta and Colburn, awarding them the Soldier's Medal, the highest honor for bravery not involving enemy conflict. Andreotta died in combat shortly after My Lai. Thompson died from cancer on January 6 at age 62.
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Re: Heroes

Postby lliam » Sun Jan 15, 2006 7:26 am

Siegfried Sassoon, Suicide in the Trenches (1917)
===============================================

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you'll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.
Lliam.

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Re: Heroes

Postby lliam » Sun Jan 15, 2006 7:28 am

Siegfried Sassoon, Glory of Women (1917)
============================================

You love us when we're heroes, home on leave,
Or wounded in a mentionable place.
You worship decorations; you believe
That chivalry redeems the war's disgrace.
You make us shells. You listen with delight,
By tales of dirt and danger fondly thrilled.
You crown our distant ardours while we fight,
And mourn our laurelled memories when we're killed.
You can't believe that British troops 'retire'
When hell's last horror breaks them, and they run,
Trampling the terrible corpses - blind with blood.
O German mother dreaming by the fire,
While you are knitting socks to send your son
His face is trodden deeper in the mud.
Lliam.

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Re: Heroes

Postby lliam » Sun Jan 15, 2006 8:03 am

Awards of the Victoria Cross
=============================

The Falkland Islands conflict saw two awards of the Victoria Cross. They were both posthumous awards and were made to Lieutenant Colonel H. Jones, OBE and Sergeant I. J. McKay. The soldiers were members of the 2nd and 3rd battlaions The Parachute Regiment respectively.

Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Jones, VC, OBE:
The following citation appeared in the London Gazette dated 11 October 1982.

On 28th May 1982 Lieutenant Colonel JONES was commanding 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment on operations on the Falkland Islands. The Battalion was ordered to attack enemy positions in and around the settlements of Darwin and Goose Green.

During the attack against an enemy who was well dug in with mutually supporting positions sited in depth, the Battalion was held up just South of Darwin by a particularly well-prepared and resilient enemy position of at least eleven trenches on an important ridge. A number of casualties were received. In order to read the battle fully and to ensure that the momentum of his attack was not lost, Colonel Jones took forward his reconnaissance party to the foot of a re-entrant which a section of his Battalion had just secured. Despite persistent, heavy and accurate fire the reconnaissance party gained the top of the re-entrant, at approximately the same height as the enemy positions. From here Colonel Jones encouraged the direction of his Battalion mortar fire, in an effort to neutralise the enemy positions. However, these had been well prepared and continued to pour effective fire onto the Battalion advance, which, by now held up for over an hour and under increasingly heavy artillery fire, was in danger of faltering.

In his effort to gain a good viewpoint, Colonel Jones was now at the very front of his Battalion. It was clear to him that desperate measures were needed in order to overcome the enemy position and rekindle the attack, and that unless these measures were taken promptly the Battalion would sustain increasing casualties and the attack perhaps even fail. It was time for personal leadership and action. Colonel Jones immediately seized a sub-machine gun, and, calling on those around him and with total disregard for his own safety, charged the nearest enemy position. This action exposed him to fire from a number of trenches. As he charged up a short slope at the enemy position he was seen to fall and roll backward downhill. He immediately picked himself up, and again charged the enemy trench, firing his sub-machine gun and seemingly oblivious to the intense fire directed at him. He was hit by fire from another trench which he outflanked, and fell dying only a few feet from the enemy he had assaulted. A short time later a company of the Battalion attacked the enemy who quickly surrendered. The devastating display of courage by Colonel Jones had completely undermined their will to fight further.

Thereafter the momentum of the attack was rapidly regained, Darwin and Goose Green were liberated, and the Battalion released the local inhabitants unharmed and forced the surrender of some 1,200 of the enemy.

The achievements of 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment at Darwin and Goose Green set the tone for the subsequent land victory on the Falklands. They achieved such a moral superiority over the enemy in this first battle that, despite the advantages of numbers and selection of battle-ground, they never thereafter doubted either the superior fighting qualities of the British troops, or their own inevitable defeat.

This was an action of the utmost gallantry by a Commanding Officer whose dashing leadership and courage throughout the battle were an inspiration to all about him.
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Re: Heroes

Postby lliam » Sun Jan 15, 2006 8:08 am

Sergeant Ian John McKay, VC:
=================================

The following citation appeared in the London Gazette dated 11 October 1982.

During the night of 11th/12th June 1982, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment mounted a silent night attack on an enemy battalion position on Mount Longdon, an important objective in the battle for Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. Sergeant McKay was platoon sergeant of 4 Platoon, B Company, which, after initial objectives had been secured, was ordered to clear the Northern side of the long East/West ridge feature, held by the enemy in depth, with strong, mutually-supporting positions. By now the enemy were fully alert, and resisting fiercely. As 4 Platoon's advance continued it came under increasingly heavy fire from a number of well-sited enemy machine gun positions on the ridge, and received casualties. Realising that no further advance was possible the Platoon Commander ordered the Platoon to move from its exposed position to seek shelter among the rocks of the ridge itself. Here it met up with part of 5 Platoon.

The enemy fire was still both heavy and accurate, and the position of the platoons was becoming increasingly hazardous. Taking Sergeant McKay, a Corporal and a few others, and covered by supporting machine gun fire, the Platoon Commander moved forward to reconnoitre the enemy positions but was hit by a bullet in the leg, and command devolved upon Sergeant McKay.

It was clear that instant action was needed if the advance was not to falter and increasing casualties to ensue. Sergeant McKay decided to convert his reconnaissance into an attack in order to eliminate the enemy positions. He was in no doubt of the strength and deployment of the enemy as he undertook this attack. He issued orders, and taking three men with him, broke cover and charged the enemy position.

The assault was met with a hail of fire. The Corporal was seriously wounded, a Private killed and another wounded. Despite these losses Sergeant McKay, with complete disregard for his own safety, continued to charge the enemy position alone. On reaching it he despatched the enemy with grenades, thereby relieving the position of beleagured 4 and 5 Platoons, who were now able to redeploy with relative safety. Sergeant McKay, however, was killed at the moment of victory, his body falling on the bunker.

Without doubt Sergeant McKay's action retrieved a most dangerous situation and was instrumental in ensuring the success of the attack. His was a coolly calculated act, the dangers of which must have been too apparent to him beforehand. Undeterred he performed with outstanding selflessness, perseverance and courage. With a complete disregard for his own safety, he displayed courage and leadership of the highest order, and was an inspiration to all those around him.
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Re: Heroes

Postby lliam » Sun Jan 15, 2006 8:29 am

Nelson- the British Hero
=========================
Britons have every right to make October 21st a date in the diary as one of reflection and commemoration. It was the day, 198 years ago which witnessed the greatest achievement of one of our nation's greatest heroes. Trafalgar and Nelson, until a generation ago, were names that inspired every schoolchild and enthused them with patriotic pride.

The story of Horatio Nelson and his achievements is a truly inspiring one. He was a leader of men, a brilliant strategist, a tireless and selfless worker to a noble cause, indeed one worthy of the label "a hero".

He was born in Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk to the Reverend Edmund Nelson and Catherine Suckling Nelson on the 29th September 1758. His mother died when Nelson was nine. He learnt to sail on Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads, and by the time he was twelve, he had enrolled in the Royal Navy. His naval career began on January 1, 1771, when as a 12 year old midshipman he reported to the warship Raissonable, commanded by his maternal uncle. In 1777 he was a lieutenant, assigned to the West Indies, during which time he saw action on the British side of the American Revolution. By the time he was 20, in June 1779, he made captain; the frigate Hitchenbroke was his first command.

The following year, Nelson was once again responsible for a great victory over the French. The Battle of the Nile took place on August 1, 1798, and as a result, Napoleon's ambition to take the war to the British in India came to an end. The forces Napoleon had brought to Egypt were stranded, and Napoleon himself had to be smuggled back to France. For his efforts, Nelson was granted the title of Baron. Not content to rest on his laurels, he then rescued the Neapolitan royal family from a French invasion in December. During this time, he fell in love with Emma Hamilton -- the young wife of the elderly British ambassador to Naples. She became his mistress, returning to England to live openly with him, and eventually they had a daughter, Horatia.

Unlike many of his naval predecessors Nelson was keen to experiment and test new ideas of naval engagement. He rehearsed his battle plans rigorously, often challenging a century of naval tradition which was fast becoming outdated as ships themselves were changing. He rose rapidly up the ranks of the Senior service and in 1799 he was promoted to Rear Admiral of the Red, the fifth highest rank in the Royal Navy. Two years later on January 1, 1801, he was promoted to Vice Admiral of the Blue (the fourth highest rank).

Within a few months he was involved in the Battle of Copenhagen (April 2, 1801), which vanquished the fleet of the Danes, in order to break up the armed neutrality of Denmark, Sweden and Russia. The action was considered somewhat underhanded by some, and in fact Nelson had been ordered to cease the battle by his commander Sir Hyde Parker. In a famous incident, however, he claimed he could not see the signal flags conveying the order, pointedly raising his telescope to his blind eye. His action was approved in retrospect, and in May he became commander-in-chief in the Baltic Sea, and was awarded the title of Viscount by the British crown.

Napoleon was amassing forces to invade England, however, and Nelson was soon placed in charge of defending the English Channel to prevent this. The armistice of the Peace of Amiens was not to last long though, and Nelson soon returned to duty. He was appointed commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean, and assigned to the HMS Victory. He joined the blockade of Toulon, and would not again set foot on dry land for more than two years. After the French fleet slipped out of Toulon and headed for the West Indies, a stern chase failed to turn them up and Nelson's health forced him to retire to Surrey.

On September 13, 1805 he was called upon to oppose the French and Spanish fleets, which had managed to join up and take refuge in the harbour of Cadiz, Spain.

On October 21, 1805, Nelson engaged in his final battle, the Battle of Trafalgar. Napoleon Bonaparte had been massing forces once again for the invasion of the British Isles. On the 19th, the French and Spanish fleet left Cadiz, intent on clearing the Channel for this purpose. Nelson, with twenty-seven ships, engaged the thirty-three opposing ships.

His last dispatch, written on the 21st, read:

At daylight saw the Enemy's Combined Fleet from East to E.S.E.; bore away; made the signal for Order of Sailing, and to Prepare for Battle; the Enemy with their heads to the Southward: at seven the Enemy wearing in succession. May the Great God, whom I worship, grant to my Country, and for the benefit of Europe in general, a great and glorious Victory; and may no misconduct in any one tarnish it; and may humanity after Victory be the predominant feature in the British Fleet. For myself, individually, I commit my life to Him who made me, and may his blessing light upon my endeavours for serving my Country faithfully. To Him I resign myself and the just cause which is entrusted to me to defend. Amen. Amen. Amen.
As the two fleets moved towards engagement, he then ran up a thirty-one flag signal to the rest of the fleet which spelled out the famous phrase "England expects that every man will do his duty".

After crippling the French flagship Beaucentaure, the Victory moved on to the Redoutable. The two ships entangled each other, at which point snipers in the rigging of the Redoutable were able to pour fire down onto the deck of the Victory. Nelson was one of those hit: a bullet entered his shoulder, pierced his lung, and came to rest at the base of his spine. Nelson retained consciousness for some time, but died soon after the battle was concluded with a British victory. The Victory was then towed to Gibraltar, with Nelson's body on board preserved in a barrel of brandy. Upon his body's arrival in London, Nelson was given a state funeral and entombment in St. Paul's Cathedral. According to legend, the rum ration used to preserve his body was given to naval men and came to be known as "Nelson's Blood", a possibly deliberate echo of the Communion ritual.

Nelson was noted for his considerable ability to inspire and bring out the best in his men, to the point that it gained a name: "The Nelson Touch". Famous even while alive, after his death he was lionized like almost no other military figure in British history. The monumental Nelson's Column and the surrounding Trafalgar Square are notable locations in our capital to this day, and Nelson lies buried in St. Paul's Cathedral. The Victory is in existence, and is in fact still kept on active commission in honour of Nelson it is the flagship of the Second Sea Lord; she can be found in Number 2 Dry Dock of the Portsmouth Naval Base, in Portsmouth.
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Re: Heroes

Postby Shapley » Mon Jan 16, 2006 9:13 am

Sorry, GC. I know lots of heroes in my everyday life, but none that will be recognized by anyone but me. Teachers, Doctors, neighbors, & friends that have done heroic (to me) things of the type they don't give medals for.

I think Haggis started a thread on Veteran's day in which we posted our military service, as well as that of our families. I posted a brief obit for CWO Thompson there, as well. I'm glad his passing didn't go unnoticed.

I've read conflicting reports of where Lt. Calley is now, everything from a practicing lawyer to a used car salesman. It's a pity his name is better known than Mr. Thompson's.

V/R
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Re: Heroes

Postby piqaboo » Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:30 am

Shap,
tell us about those personal heroes, if you are willing.

i read this weekend about a man who holds Xmas parties every year in Tijuana orphanages. In addition, he has the local fire and police identify ~ 100 kids living in the hills,for whom Santa does not come. On Epiphany, he has a party for those kids.
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Re: Heroes

Postby Shapley » Mon Jan 16, 2006 12:45 pm

Piq,

I would hardly know where to begin. I think I've already mentioned my brother in these pages somewhere. I've also talked about the surgeon, whose name I do not know, that slept at night on a cot in the emergency room next to the little girl he had performed heart surgery on, until he was satisfied that her condition was stable enough. That was at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital. There are the nurses at Cardinal Glennon that, in addition to the duties of treating the many children brought there, and dealing with the family feuds and custody battles and abandoned children that fill the halls and waiting rooms there, always seem to have a smile and a kind word the worried parents of the children being treated there. I've watched them go about their duties while feuding families go to fisticuffs (or worse) in the passages outside their wards, or even in the patient's rooms.

There are numerous doctors at St. Jude's Children's Hospital that serve the children, many of whom they know they cannot save, day in and day out. They do more than treat the ill, they befriend them, they give them hope, and, all too often, they see them buried. My cousin's doctor traveled two and a half hours to attend his funeral. I believe that goes beyond the requirements of normal doctor-patient relationships.

V/R
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Re: Heroes

Postby Haggis@wk » Mon Jan 16, 2006 3:24 pm

To me, the uplifting simple truth of the matter is that there are more heroes and potential heroes than villains and potential villains.

From the military/policeman/fireman heroes that automatically leap to mind when we discuss heroes to the doctors and nurses and the two guys who stopped to help the MRHYN change a tire and refused to take any money; they are all heroes in varying degrees. It’s somewhat a joke but there’s a list of things that let you know you’re in the South and one of them is

If you run your car into a ditch, don't panic. Four men in a four-wheel drive pickup truck with a tow chain will be along shortly. Don't try to help them, just stay out of their way. This is what they live for.”

That’s actually pretty accurate.

I think Shapley and I are optimistic about the goodness of people, but then we’re conservatives who believe that most people can take of themselves and help their neighbors better than the government :D

P.S. that flat tire incident FINALLY was the cincher in my several years attempt to get her to buy and carry a cel phone. She doesn't use all her minutes and I still can't get her to take it with her when she's walking, but baby steps....
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: Heroes

Postby BigJon@Work » Mon Jan 16, 2006 3:26 pm

How quaint. A land battle of taking real estate against an entrenched enemy. Could the Falklands possibly be the last the world will see of this type of warfare?

<small>[ 01-16-2006, 03:27 PM: Message edited by: BigJon@Work ]</small>
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Re: Heroes

Postby OperaTenor » Mon Jan 16, 2006 3:56 pm

"I think Shapley and I are optimistic about the goodness of people, but then we’re conservatives who believe that most people can take of themselves and help their neighbors better than the government :D "

Though it can't be considered "taking care of ourselves" to use the government as the vehicle for ALL to contribute to taking care of EVERYONE, thereby leaving no one behind?!!

Sheesh.
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Re: Heroes

Postby Shapley » Mon Jan 16, 2006 4:10 pm

If the government is the vehicle you're wanting us to ride in, I'd prefer to walk, thank you.
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Re: Heroes

Postby Shapley » Tue Jan 17, 2006 10:01 am

OT,

I think the point is this: I give to a variety of charities because I support the work they do. If they cease to do work I support, or they do it inefficiently, or they otherwise fail to use my donations properly, I stop giving to them.

On the other hand, when the 'donations' are taken from me in the form of taxes, and given at the discretion of the governmental beaurocracy, I have no means to punish inefficency or corruption, and I cannot 'opt out' as far as my contributions are concerned. I can add my letters to the pile on my representative's desk, but that is the extent of my ability to influence the operation of governmental 'charity'.

V/R
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Re: Heroes

Postby lliam » Fri Jan 27, 2006 8:08 am

Christopher Reeve 1952 - 2004
================================

My hero Christopher Reeve was born September 25, 1952, in New York City.

After successful master's degree performances at London's Old Vic and at the ComTdie Frantaise, Reeve returned stateside, where his first role, in a TV soap opera called Love of Life, earned him a 1976 Broadway debut in A Matter of Gravity. He played opposite Katharine Hepburn. Not a bad start.

Tragedy visited the actor in May of 1995 at the spring horse trials of the Commonwealth Dressage and Combined Training Association in Virginia, when his horse, Eastern Express, balked at a three-foot-high rail jump and sent him pitching over the thoroughbred's neck. Reeve's hands were tangled in the horse's bridle, and he struck first the jump and then the turf with his head; he fractured two cervical vertebrae and was rendered paralyzed from the neck down. Unable to move his limbs and confined to a wheelchair that he operated by sipping or puffing on a straw, Reeve continued to fight with incredible strength of will and optimism — bolstered by the loving support of his family and fans — and remained convinced that he would walk again. Reeve believed that there is a cosmic purpose to his accident, and he has been quite successful in his efforts to lobby in Washington for increased funding for spinal cord research.

Sadly, Christopher passed away on October 11, 2004. He suffered cardiac arrest while at his Pound Ridge home in New York then fell into a coma and died at a hospital surrounded by his family. Although Mr. Reeve never achieved his goal of walking again, it is certain that he is now walking with angels in heaven and soaring higher than he ever did as the Man of Steel.
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Re: Heroes

Postby Haggis@wk » Mon Oct 15, 2007 5:25 pm

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: Heroes

Postby Haggis@wk » Tue Oct 16, 2007 8:26 am

Famous Flying Tiger ace dies

SAN ANTONIO (AFRNS) -- Famous Flying Tigers ace and Texas Air National Guardsman Brig. Gen. David Lee "Tex'' Hill died Oct. 11 of congestive heart failure at his home here. He was 92. The general is scheduled for burial at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

General Hill flew with Gen. Claire Chennault as a member of the Flying Tigers, a volunteer group of American aviators who flew during World War II to defend China, which had no air force of its own.

He served as both flight leader and then squadron leader of the 2nd Squadron, flying the Curtis P-40 fighter with the distinctive shark's teeth paint scheme on the nose of the plane. During his time as a Flying Tiger pilot, he was credited with 12 aerial victories.

When the Flying Tigers were disbanded in July, 1942, General Hill continued to fly, eventually commanding the 23rd Fighter Group. By the time he left active duty, he was a triple-ace, credited with some 18 confirmed aerial victories.

In 1946, he joined the Texas Air National Guard as the youngest brigadier general in the history of the Air Guard. He was 31.

"Tex Hill has forgotten more about leadership and what's important than most of us will ever know," said Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force chief of staff.
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Re: Heroes

Postby Haggis@wk » Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:13 am

Do you remember this? I do

Image

I remember being mad and puzzled at the same time. There was no war to protest, Nixon was gone, Ford was controversial only for falling down, My sons were born, it was the bi-centennial and these two idiots wanted to burn a flag….why?
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Re: Heroes

Postby piqaboo » Mon Apr 28, 2008 11:47 am

I doubt I even heard of it at the time. Thanks for bringing it up. I think it should not be illegal to burn the flag, and I also think that one should save such a powerful symbol for a very very important message. Its not something appropriate for run of the mill protests. Its an extreme statement. Flags are semi-magic.
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Re: Heroes

Postby barfle » Mon Apr 28, 2008 12:59 pm

As far as I'm concerned, the only issues with someone burning a flag is "Who owns the flag?" and "Will the fire spread to things that are owned by others?"

I believe the flag-burners' only crime was trespass, which I believe they were arrested for. The freedom to protest is an important freedom, even if I happen to think the protest is idiotic.
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