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(Washington Post)   "Lieutenant Durkee, who's buried over there, he yelled to fix bayonets and let's go." Remember the sacrifices of our Veterans today   ( ) divider line
    More: Hero  
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8575 clicks; posted to Main » on 11 Nov 2008 at 8:09 AM (8 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2008-11-11 09:23:15 AM  
Just one story...

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, 30th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near St. Die, France, 28 October 1944. Entered service at: Port Arthur, Tex. Birth: Port Arthur, Tex. G.O. No.: 20, 29 March 1945. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 28 October 1944, near St. Die, France. When his company was stopped in its effort to drive through the Mortagne Forest to reopen the supply line to the isolated third battalion, S/Sgt. Adams braved the concentrated fire of machineguns in a lone assault on a force of German troops. Although his company had progressed less than 10 yards and had lost 3 killed and 6 wounded, S/Sgt. Adams charged forward dodging from tree to tree firing a borrowed BAR from the hip. Despite intense machinegun fire which the enemy directed at him and rifle grenades which struck the trees over his head showering him with broken twigs and branches, S/Sgt. Adams made his way to within 10 yards of the closest machinegun and killed the gunner with a hand grenade. An enemy soldier threw hand grenades at him from a position only 10 yards distant; however, S/Sgt. Adams dispatched him with a single burst of BAR fire. Charging into the vortex of the enemy fire, he killed another machinegunner at 15 yards range with a hand grenade and forced the surrender of 2 supporting infantrymen. Although the remainder of the German group concentrated the full force of its automatic weapons fire in a desperate effort to knock him out, he proceeded through the woods to find and exterminate 5 more of the enemy. Finally, when the third German machinegun opened up on him at a range of 20 yards, S/Sgt. Adams killed the gunner with BAR fire. In the course of the action, he personally killed 9 Germans, eliminated 3 enemy machineguns, vanquished a specialized force which was armed with automatic weapons and grenade launchers, cleared the woods of hostile elements, and reopened the severed supply lines to the assault companies of his battalion.
2008-11-11 09:23:46 AM  

Office Ninja: Uh, read your history. JFK and LBJ got us into Vietnam. Nixon got us out.

It took him 2 terms, but he got us out.....
2008-11-11 09:26:26 AM  
My father-in-law was on Tinien in July and August of 1945. B-29 copilot. Remembers the group over on the side with the new planes. He says they did not know what they were doing. They would fly out every day with no bomb loads for practice missions. He only found out after the war what was really going on. Brave men one and all regardless of what shiatheads like Bill Maher says about pilots. To all those who have served and who are currently serving, in any branch of the services, my family and I wish to say thanks. No words can ever make up for the sacrafice.
2008-11-11 09:26:28 AM  
To my Uncles: Hank, Fritz, John, Joe who all served in WWII and by the graces, all made it home but are gone now.
To my sons' childhood friends who are like sons to me as well:
Charles - Iraq, back home!
Jerry - Afghanistan, just picked him up at the airport last Sunday!
Thank you and every service man and women who have risked everything and are risking everything now.
There are no words.

/So may of the posts made me tear up.
2008-11-11 09:28:18 AM  
And I can't help but wonder, no Willie McBride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you "The Cause?"
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,
For Willie McBride, it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.

Sad but true. That's what depresses me about Remembrance Day. Soldiers serve for a lot of different reasons: conscripted, volunteered, wanted to learn a trade, etc. Who knows how men like these ended up on the battlefield:

One for a "just" cause, one for a very "unjust" and hateful cause. You'd think these lessons would not be that forgettable. But still so often, the reason they're sent to war is a gut-wrenching combination of stupid, stupid politics, ethnic prejudice, and simple economics.
2008-11-11 09:31:50 AM  
I'm something silly like 4th generation military. Great-grandfathers in WWI, my Papa was in WWII and Korea, my other Grandfather was in the Navy, 2 of my Uncles, my Father and some cousins all also served. I was in for a very very short time but medically that didn't work out.

None of them ever really talked about what they did. Papa would tell me he was in Czechoslovakia(taught me to spell it too) and that he was part of the very end of D-Day at Normandy, but I never knew until after he passed away that he was in Korea. I guess there are some things you just can't share.

I am thankful everyday for the people who defend our country, even more so for those who voluntarily enlist, knowing they will probably end up in a war zone. That takes a sacrifice that many people will never understand.
2008-11-11 09:32:24 AM  
Halfway down the trail to Hell,
In a shady meadow green
Are the Souls of all dead troopers camped,
Near a good old-time canteen.
And this eternal resting place
Is known as Fiddlers' Green.

Marching past, straight through to Hell
The Infantry are seen.
Accompanied by the Engineers,
Artillery and Marines,
For none but the shades of Cavalrymen
Dismount at Fiddlers' Green.

Though some go curving down the trail
To seek a warmer scene.
No trooper ever gets to Hell
Ere he's emptied his canteen.
And so rides back to drink again
With friends at Fiddlers' Green.

And so when man and horse go down
Beneath a saber keen,
Or in a roaring charge of fierce melee
You stop a bullet clean,
And the hostiles come to get your scalp,
Just empty your canteen,
And put your pistol to your head
And go to Fiddlers' Green.

2008-11-11 09:33:48 AM  
Here's to my grandfather, who earned a Purple Heart thrice in the Korean War. To my other grandfather I never met who served in WWII. To my uncle, the Marine in Vietnam, and to my father, serving aboard a destroyer in Grenada and Beirut. And finally to Brian Chevalier and Jesse Williams, two of my friends we wanted to bring back alive, but proud to bring home in peace.

Veterans, leave your favorite stories here, of war and peace (new window).
2008-11-11 09:34:29 AM  
I have no family members who've fought in the World War. Or in any war for that matter (now, the Revolution? A couple of great great uncles did fight).

However, I'd like to point out that Mexico did serve in World War II in the fighting field, but only as a single bomber squad: The Squadron 201.

Before serving, Mexico gave oil and other essentials to the US and other allied countries, but in no way was in the war effort. The Axis sunk a mexican tanker, and Mexico demanded an apology from them. The response was the sinking of two more. That's when we begun to fight against the Axis.

Here's a coulpe (new window) of more info.
2008-11-11 09:36:18 AM  
Thank you veterans. Bless you and yours. Enjoy your day.
2008-11-11 09:42:34 AM  
Seaman 1st Class John R. Weglein, USNR 1943-46, USS Jenks DE-665,
Presidential Unit Citatation, Task Group 22.3, Captured the U-505
on 4 June, 1944.
Dad was an aircraft manufaturer in Middle River,MD, building B-26 Medium Bombers (the "Baltimore Whore") and PBM Mariner Seaplanes.
Never said much about what he saw during the war, but I remember his pride when, I, a child of 10 was watching a re-run of "Victory at Sea" on TV one night, and they ran the episode about U-505. He comes into the room, sees a shot of DE and goes "That's my ship! You can tell by the Mast!"
2008-11-11 09:42:39 AM  
In case you had trouble reading the story, as I did:

Veteran Recounts Battles, Both Past and Ongoing

By John Kelly
Tuesday, November 11, 2008;

A perfect wind blew at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday, a crisp breeze that caused the flags to flutter cinematically.

Tourists walked about, taking in the grid of gravestones through the eyepieces of their camcorders. Teenagers hunched their shoulders and thrust their hands into sweat shirt pockets to fend off the chill. Veterans squinted into the sunlight. No longer the slim, uniformed warriors of their youth, they showed their allegiance mainly through their hats: baseball caps embroidered with the battalion or unit, ship or squadron with which they'd served.

You could have asked any one of them to tell you his story -- what had brought him to this garden of stone, what he remembered about the mess hall or the battlefield -- and he (or she) would have been happy to oblige.

I happened to ask Col. Douglas Dillard, 83, U.S. Army, retired and living in Bowie with his wife of 63 years, Virginia. He had on a brown leather jacket and a hat that read "551st Parachute Infantry Battalion." His eyes were behind aviator sunglasses, and when he spoke there was a hint of his native Georgia in his voice.

"I joined the Army when I was 16 and jumped over France when I was 17," Col. Dillard told me.

His mother had signed the papers allowing him to enlist on July 3, 1942. "She was kind of upset about it, but I'd really been bugging her about letting me join." And since her husband -- his stepfather -- was an Army sergeant deployed to North Africa, it wasn't as if she could say she didn't know what he was getting into.

Then-Pvt. Dillard was assigned to the 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion, becoming one of those soldiers who is able to suppress the understandable reluctance humans have to throw themselves out of perfectly good airplanes.

On Aug. 15, 1944, he stepped into the air above southern France. His unit fought in the Battle of the Bulge in conditions so brutal and quarters so tight that at one point, Col. Dillard said, "Lieutenant Durkee, who's buried over there, he yelled to fix bayonets and let's go."

That was Jan. 4, 1945, in Dairomont, Belgium, one of the last bayonet charges of the war.

Col. Dillard didn't have a bayonet -- he had a Thompson submachine gun that was frozen and useless -- so he pulled out his .45-caliber sidearm and used it instead.

"I can remember that as if it happened yesterday, the Germans lying there with their breath coming out like it was steam."

In the next war -- Korea -- Col. Dillard received a commission and worked on clandestine missions that sent men behind enemy lines into North Korea and Manchuria.

And in Vietnam?

"I ran the Phoenix Program for the CIA in the Delta."

He probably saw my eyes widen.

"I tell you what, we never tortured anyone when I ran it, in '69 and '70. I said, 'If I ever find that anyone has used torture, I will have you court-martialed and I will personally file the papers.' "

Col. Dillard retired in September 1977 after 35 years in the Army. For the last 15 years, he has been fighting the military bureaucracy almost as much as he fought the Germans.

In 1993 he started lobbying the Pentagon to award a Distinguished Service Cross to a Ranger named Sgt. William T. Miles, who disappeared in Korea in 1951.

Sgt. Miles had been among a group of allies who parachuted behind enemy lines. When their positions were discovered by the Chinese, "Miles called on the radio and said, 'I'll try and hold them off until you can get away.' "

He did and they did, but Sgt. Miles was never seen again. Col. Dillard compiled reams of documents on the episode and has for years been writing to the chief of staff's office. He keeps getting the same letter back.

"The application is 'pending' or 'under review' or some damn thing," he said. "How long can it pend? Maybe it's too political. Maybe they don't want to act on this thing for fear of annoying the North Koreans."

It is clear that annoying the North Koreans is not something that much troubles Col. Dillard.

I asked what brought him to Arlington. "To remember the history of our unit and to remember the people who were killed or maimed for life," he said.

So, when the time comes, will he be laid to rest among the rows of plain white markers?

"I've got so many friends -- not just from World War II but Korea and Vietnam -- buried all over this place. That's what we decided we'd like to do."
2008-11-11 09:44:25 AM  
Here's to my Grandfather, also a Veteran of World War II. He was shot and captured in the Arden Forest during the Battle of the Buldge. German surgeons saved his life. I have them to thank as well. He was a prisoner of war the rest of the way. Came home all of 100 pounds, and then got busy baby boomin.
2008-11-11 09:48:50 AM  
Both grandfathers served in WW2, but I don't know any details on either. Dad was an army vet, served in Germany during the 60s.

Best wishes to all in uniform, past or present.
2008-11-11 09:49:42 AM  
To those who died for others to live free - you have my eternal respect and gratitude.

I salute you and all your brothers in arms - regardless of when and where they served.

/The expensive scotch always comes out for a toast on days like this. Rest in peace, gentlemen.
2008-11-11 09:59:26 AM

Remember boys, flies cause disease, so keep yours closed.

Thanks vets!
2008-11-11 09:59:45 AM  
My neighbor, who has been married for some 70+ years, lost a brother 17 years older than him, in France in 1918. I need to go put my flag up, for him and all others who served. Thanks for reminding me.

Fark, you are in all too rare form today.
2008-11-11 10:00:06 AM  
16 years old when I went to war,
To fight for a land fit for heroes,
God on my side,and a gun in my hand,
Counting my days down to zero,
And I marched and I fought and I bled
And I died & I never did get any older,
But I knew at the time, That a year in the line,
Is a long enough life for a soldier,
We all volunteered,
And we wrote down our names,
And we added two years to our ages,
Eager for life and ahead of the game,
Ready for history's pages,
And we fought and we brawled
And we whored 'til we stood,
Ten thousand shoulder to shoulder,
A thirst for the Hun,
We were food for the gun,and that's
What you are when you're soldiers,
I heard my friend cry,
And he sank to his knees,coughing blood
As he screamed for his mother
And I tell by his, side,
And that's how we died,
Clinging like kids to each other,
And I lay in the mud
And the guts and the blood,
And I wept as his body grew colder,
And I called for my mother
And she never came,
Though it wasn't my fault
And I wasn't to blame,
The day not half over
And ten thousand slain,and now
There's nobody remembers our names Í
And that's how it is for a soldier.

(Motorhead, 1916 - you wouldn't think Lemmy could lay down a gentle, touching song, but there it is)
2008-11-11 10:00:15 AM  
specialk111: My dad served in the Navy on the George C. Marshall

It so happens that I did too only from 83-86. Did you ask him (or did he tell you) about the incident in the Med in 69? He must have heard about it. I did and it was 14 years later.
2008-11-11 10:01:25 AM  

cynispasm: but don't you think that people who volunteer to fight are, well, more part of the problem than the solution?

No way in Hell.

Every man and woman that volunteers with in the armed forces writes a check to his country in the amount of "everything, up to and including my life". Greater love hath no man than this...

The signature on my 2Lt officer's commission is Clinton's, and I had more than few little adventures under his watch where I didn't know what country I would be sleeping in next, although I never had the bullets whizzing over my head. I got promoted to Mister halfway through Bush's watch, with the proviso that I could be busted back down to Captain if my country needed me. I don't support Obama, but I'm not turning in my commission just because he' next in line to be the most responsible person for defending the USA from all enemies foreign and domestic.

Some may sign up to fight. I trust to the drill instructors to knock that nonsense out of a recruit's head. What you end up doing is serving, doing whatever needs doing: cooking, building, repairing, healing, organizing, moving, thinking, planning, watching, waiting, waiting, waiting, and sometimes, fighting, dying. All for a reason.

...that a man lay down his life for his friends.
2008-11-11 10:06:07 AM  
Thank you Dad, 28 missions in a B-17 over Germany. Then a stint in Korea, then two stints in 'Nam.

Thank you Son, serving now.

Thank you all who have serverd, and are serving now.

I fear most of this generation have no clue.
2008-11-11 10:06:30 AM  
My grandfather, Joe Yinger, served on USS DAUPHIN at Okinawa and during the Occupation of Japan. After he died a few years back, we found his ships tour book. He had pictures of kamikaze planes diving on the fleet during the invasion. Fortunately they made it through untouched.

Navsource (new window)
2008-11-11 10:06:47 AM  
Perhaps today is also a day to read this...

2008-11-11 10:08:42 AM  
Well, then. An early beer for myself, having served as one of Uncle Sam's misguided children. For my father, who ran a brown-water boat in Vietnam. For my uncle, who landed at Normandy, and his sisters, who flew planes across the sea so men could fly them into combat. Hell, one for their parents, who sent all their children to fight for our new country.
2008-11-11 10:09:28 AM  
Am I the only one getting asked for registration?
2008-11-11 10:12:43 AM  
My grandfather was a Commander in the Royal Navy. He was CO of the 6th Destroyer flotilla and was involved in the hunting and sinking of the Bismarck. Unfortunately I never got to meet him. I'll be raising a glass to him tonight.

I just finished reading "Sniper One" by Dan Mills. I tend to read fiction and SF, but made an exception and am so glad I did. If anybody doubts what soldiers (of all nationalities, not just British) are enduring, whether or not they believe in the political motivations, I implore you to read this book. Anybody who risks their lives for their country in such terrible, hostile conditions is a hero. I wish them all well, past and present.
2008-11-11 10:12:48 AM  

BetaFlame: Am I the only one getting asked for registration?

No, that's why navyjeff pasted the story in the thread. Look about ten posts or so up.
2008-11-11 10:13:19 AM  
You're welcome.

/8 year veteran
2008-11-11 10:15:16 AM  
Having met many people from both sides of the war I would praise each and every one of them for what they did. I especially want to salute the "Axis" vets who went against orders they didn't believe in and believed to be vile.

There are no winners in war, only losers.
2008-11-11 10:15:36 AM  
Here's to you, Grandad (Royal Air Force, Bomber Command, NCO aircrew 39-45).
2008-11-11 10:17:34 AM  
The only difference between a hero and a moron is a uniform.

Fark veterans. There's nothing honorable about war.
2008-11-11 10:21:43 AM  

RanDomino: The only difference between a hero and a moron is a uniform.

Fark veterans. There's nothing honorable about war.

1/10 WAYYYYYYYYY to obvious.
2008-11-11 10:22:33 AM  
I went to Arlington with my uncle who served in WW2. He told me a few stories about being over in Europe fighting.

When we got to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier he didn't talk. So I'd like to give my thanks to all my relatives, and friends who have served, and special thanks to the families of those that never got to see their loved ones return home.
2008-11-11 10:23:50 AM  

Seacop: RanDomino: The only difference between a hero and a moron is a uniform.

Fark veterans. There's nothing honorable about war.

1/10 WAYYYYYYYYY to obvious.

Yep... and somewhere, a veteran died for his right to be an internet troll...
2008-11-11 10:24:24 AM  

RanDomino: The only difference between a hero and a moron is a uniform.

Fark veterans. There's nothing honorable about war.

Nice. Really nice. Does your mother know you skipped school to post this? What, do tell, have you done today/yesterday/this week/this year/in your lifetime, that qualifies as honorable?

/Commie Troll
2008-11-11 10:26:21 AM  

RanDomino: The only difference between a hero and a moron is a uniform.

Fark veterans. There's nothing honorable about war.

You mom says your Che T-shirt is clean and ready for school.
2008-11-11 10:26:57 AM  
Poppies on grow in profusion in Flanders Field when all other vegetation has been blasted out of existence and they have no competition for nutrients -- or so I have been told.
2008-11-11 10:27:25 AM  
God bless our soldiers and bring them home safe.

Thank you for shouldering our burdens and serving with honor whether you agree with the war or not.

Come home soon.
2008-11-11 10:29:25 AM  
RanDomino: Fark veterans. There's nothing honorable about war.

This post was brought to you by... 100 dead veterans who died to preserve the rights of others to speak freely...

We now continue our scheduled thread...
2008-11-11 10:30:38 AM  
If you see a veteran or anyone else out there today with a little red flower asking for a donation, please donate. The flower is a poppy that you will receive for your donation to show your support to help veterans.

The money raised from "selling" poppies goes directly to aid in veteran needs. The money goes toward the needs of veterans in hospitals or nursing homes.

Link (new window)

/Served in Iraq 03-04
//Feels guilty for not going over with her old unit to Afghanistan
///Come home safe 333rd
2008-11-11 10:30:48 AM  

added to Ignore list, asshole
2008-11-11 10:31:48 AM  

RanDomino: The only difference between a hero and a moron is a uniform.

Fark veterans. There's nothing honorable about war.

You think you'd be a hero if you put on a uniform?
2008-11-11 10:39:25 AM  
That_One_Girl: The money raised from "selling" poppies goes directly to aid in veteran needs. The money goes toward the needs of veterans in hospitals or nursing homes.

I make it a point to buy at least one every year (last year it was a $20 poppy). The AL and VFW deserve mad props for doing this.
2008-11-11 10:41:10 AM  
Thank you Dad. Marine fighter pilot in WWII. Flew a Corsair, if you don't know much about the Vought F4U Corsair, it was nicknamed "Whistling Death" by the Japanese for the sound it made and enormity of death and devastation it could deliver. He shot down a Zero in a dogfight, ripped the hell out of enemy installations, fuel and ammo dumps, covered numerous beach assaults, destroyed bridges, trains, basically anything that needed a good ol' fashioned devastation.

I told him he was a hero once, without batting an eye, he said "No, I'm no hero, those boys on the ground were the heroes. I had a Corsair, I was clean, dry, slept in a bunk every night. Those boys down below, they were the real heroes."

/He's 85 and still with us.
//Don't tell him I said this... I still think he's a hero. shhhh...
2008-11-11 10:41:17 AM  

Billy Ligue: Thanks, Dad

95th Divsion, 378th Infantry, Co. D

Mr. Ligue,

Here's to your Dad, one of the Iron Men of Metz.
2008-11-11 10:42:27 AM  
Soldiers continue to be one of The Us' biggest sacred cows. Please watch "All Quiet on the Western Front" and "Johnny Got his Gun".

Soldiers are firewood for the engine of empire. As long as the ruling class thinks we'll put up with it, they'll keep shoveling young men into the furnace.
2008-11-11 10:43:09 AM  
Have an uncle who was on Normandy and in the Battle of the Bulge, I keep trying to get information out of him about what he saw. All he will sasy is that he was the Great Retreater. Those who really fought won't talk about it. And we back home glorify it. Thank you Ridley Scott and Steven Speilberg for showing us some approximation of what it was truly like. Love Band of Brothers.

Good day to watch Gallipoli or The Lost Battalion.
2008-11-11 10:44:19 AM  
The Envoy
You think you'd be a hero if you put on a uniform?

Of course not. You also have to kill people in large numbers to the sound of trumpets.
2008-11-11 10:45:05 AM  

BetaFlame: Am I the only one getting asked for registration?

No, we all have to do that when we turn 18.
2008-11-11 10:46:28 AM  
"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

(*After a pause.*) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits!"

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said
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