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(Some Guy)   50 of 95 living recipients of Medal of Honor gather for convention in Chicago, say anyone can be a hero given the right circumstances and enough alcohol   (chicagotribune.com) divider line 50
    More: Hero, medal of honor, Chicago, Medal of Honor recipients, medical attention, heroism, battlefields, Peoria, Midwest  
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6369 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Sep 2009 at 3:44 PM (5 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2009-09-12 11:35:21 AM  
Woah, when they all meet that room'll have more awesome per square inch than anywhere else in the world.
 
2009-09-12 12:28:36 PM  
Barakku: Woah, when they all meet that room'll have more awesome per square inch than anywhere else in the world.

lots of awesome there, but i think these guys would probably argue the point.

api.ning.com

/omaha beach
 
2009-09-12 01:20:33 PM  
Got something in my eye
 
2009-09-12 02:21:05 PM  
img33.imageshack.us

Sgt. Gary B. Beikirch

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Beikirch, medical aidman, Detachment B-24, Company B, distinguished himself during the defense of Camp Dak Seang. The allied defenders suffered a number of casualties as a result of an intense, devastating attack launched by the enemy from well-concealed positions surrounding the camp. Sgt. Beikirch, with complete disregard for his personal safety, moved unhesitatingly through the withering enemy fire to his fallen comrades, applied first aid to their wounds and assisted them to the medical aid station. When informed that a seriously injured American officer was lying in an exposed position, Sgt. Beikirch ran immediately through the hail of fire. Although he was wounded seriously by fragments from an exploding enemy mortar shell, Sgt. Beikirch carried the officer to a medical aid station. Ignoring his own serious injuries, Sgt. Beikirch left the relative safety of the medical bunker to search for and evacuate other men who had been injured. He was again wounded as he dragged a critically injured Vietnamese soldier to the medical bunker while simultaneously applying mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to sustain his life. Sgt. Beikirch again refused treatment and continued his search for other casualties until he collapsed. Only then did he permit himself to be treated. Sgt. Beikirch's complete devotion to the welfare of his comrades, at the risk of his life are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.


Free beer for all of them, for life.
 
2009-09-12 03:47:18 PM  
The sounds of "Stormy Weather" must be as deafening as the lightning is blinding.
 
2009-09-12 03:49:05 PM  
Reading some of the stories, its more likely they're completely f*cking insane than courageous.

/either way, still heroes.
 
2009-09-12 03:49:07 PM  
my eye, I think there's some dust in it.
 
2009-09-12 03:51:41 PM  
Nescio quid dicas: Reading some of the stories, its more likely they're completely f*cking insane than courageous.

/either way, still heroes.


I am sure there is a very thin line between heroism and insanity. Of course, being a hero oftentimes means overcoming fear, or doing something completely counter-intuitive to survival.

All that being said, my hat is off to these gents. Definitely model citizens.
 
2009-09-12 03:53:25 PM  
The "Hero" tag is overused on Fark but really applies here.
 
2009-09-12 03:53:39 PM  
Really, subby? I'm half way there already!
 
2009-09-12 03:53:47 PM  
Ya know, its guys like this that almost make me wish I had joined the military, just so I could salute them...
 
2009-09-12 03:57:01 PM  
How is the effort going to get a medal of honor for Dick Winters?
 
2009-09-12 03:58:21 PM  
This is posthumous MOH citation for Sargean Sylvest Antolak killed trying to open a way out of the Anzio beachhead.

Near Cisterna di Littoria, Italy, he charged 200 yards over flat, coverless terrain to destroy an enemy machinegun nest during the second day of the offensive which broke through the German cordon of steel around the Anzio beachhead. Fully 30 yards in advance of his squad, he ran into withering enemy machinegun, machine-pistol and rifle fire. Three times he was struck by bullets and knocked to the ground, but each time he struggled to his feet to continue his relentless advance. With one shoulder deeply gashed and his right arm shattered, he continued to rush directly into the enemy fire concentration with his submachinegun wedged under his uninjured arm until within 15 yards of the enemy strong point, where he opened fire at deadly close range, killing 2 Germans and forcing the remaining 10 to surrender. He reorganized his men and, refusing to seek medical attention so badly needed, chose to lead the way toward another strong point 100 yards distant. Utterly disregarding the hail of bullets concentrated upon him, he had stormed ahead nearly three-fourths of the space between strong points when he was instantly killed by hostile enemy fire. Inspired by his example, his squad went on to overwhelm the enemy troops. By his supreme sacrifice, superb fighting courage, and heroic devotion to the attack, Sgt. Antolak was directly responsible for eliminating 20 Germans, capturing an enemy machinegun, and clearing the path for his company to advance.
 
2009-09-12 03:58:25 PM  
7wolf: Really, subby? I'm half way there already!

Same! I have a feeling I might do something heroic later today...

/\Heroic is a relative term.
 
2009-09-12 03:59:23 PM  
So strange to see the tag used for actual heroes and not "this person made a point that I agreed with".
 
2009-09-12 03:59:38 PM  
Sorry, that's Sylvester
 
2009-09-12 04:00:09 PM  
I know some guys with medals from the first row, and have met guys with the top ones from a couple countries. They're pretty modest about them. They consider that they were just doing their jobs. They are of course, to the man, a little bit nuts. Awesome guys.
 
2009-09-12 04:01:20 PM  
Anastacya: I am sure there is a very thin line between heroism and insanity. Of course, being a hero oftentimes means overcoming fear, or doing something completely counter-intuitive to survival.

All that being said, my hat is off to these gents. Definitely model citizens.


You can be insane and heroic, they all did. (seriously, read the stories and tell me they're not nuts without lying)

i.r.id10t: Ya know, its guys like this that almost make me wish I had joined the military, just so I could salute them...

You still can, you'll just look retarded.
 
2009-09-12 04:07:16 PM  
Free beer for life, indeed. Well applied use of the tag.
 
2009-09-12 04:13:38 PM  
Salute, sirs.
 
2009-09-12 04:19:55 PM  
I got Medal of Honor: Airborne for about $9.95. Big deal.
 
2009-09-12 04:22:28 PM  
i.r.id10t: Ya know, its guys like this that almost make me wish I had joined the military, just so I could salute them...

Jazz hands is the civilian equivalent of a military salute. I implore the next time you meet any military personal you should greet them this way.
 
2009-09-12 04:28:25 PM  
Alcohol, is there anything it can't do?
 
2009-09-12 04:38:09 PM  

One of my personal favorites... (No longer with us, but this guy was amazing.)

img27.imageshack.us


Citation: Master Sergeant (then Staff Sergeant) Roy P. Benavidez United States Army, who distinguished himself by a series of daring and extremely valorous actions on 2 May 1968 while assigned to Detachment B56, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, Republic of Vietnam. On the morning of 2 May 1968, a 12-man Special Forces Reconnaissance Team was inserted by helicopters in a dense jungle area west of Loc Ninh, Vietnam to gather intelligence information about confirmed large-scale enemy activity. This area was controlled and routinely patrolled by the North Vietnamese Army. After a short period of time on the ground, the team met heavy enemy resistance, and requested emergency extraction. Three helicopters attempted extraction, but were unable to land due to intense enemy small arms and anti-aircraft fire. Sergeant Benavidez was at the Forward Operating Base in Loc Ninh monitoring the operation by radio when these helicopters returned to off-load wounded crewmembers and to assess aircraft damage. Sergeant Benavidez voluntarily boarded a returning aircraft to assist in another extraction attempt. Realizing that all the team members were either dead or wounded and unable to move to the pickup zone, he directed the aircraft to a nearby clearing where he jumped from the hovering helicopter, and ran approximately 75 meters under withering small arms fire to the crippled team. Prior to reaching the team's position he was wounded in his right leg, face, and head. Despite these painful injuries, he took charge, repositioning the team members and directing their fire to facilitate the landing of an extraction aircraft, and the loading of wounded and dead team members. He then threw smoke canisters to direct the aircraft to the team's position. Despite his severe wounds and under intense enemy fire, he carried and dragged half of the wounded team members to the awaiting aircraft. He then provided protective fire by running alongside the aircraft as it moved to pick up the remaining team members. As the enemy's fire intensified, he hurried to recover the body and classified documents on the dead team leader. When he reached the leader's body, Sergeant Benavidez was severely wounded by small arms fire in the abdomen and grenade fragments in his back. At nearly the same moment, the aircraft pilot was mortally wounded, and his helicopter crashed. Although in extremely critical condition due to his multiple wounds, Sergeant Benavidez secured the classified documents and made his way back to the wreckage, where he aided the wounded out of the overturned aircraft, and gathered the stunned survivors into a defensive perimeter. Under increasing enemy automatic weapons and grenade fire, he moved around the perimeter distributing water and ammunition to his weary men, reinstilling in them a will to live and fight. Facing a buildup of enemy opposition with a beleaguered team, Sergeant Benavidez mustered his strength, began calling in tactical air strikes and directed the fire from supporting gunships to suppress the enemy's fire and so permit another extraction attempt. He was wounded again in his thigh by small arms fire while administering first aid to a wounded team member just before another extraction helicopter was able to land. His indomitable spirit kept him going as he began to ferry his comrades to the craft. On his second trip with the wounded, he was clubbed from additional wounds to his head and arms before killing his adversary. He then continued under devastating fire to carry the wounded to the helicopter. Upon reaching the aircraft, he spotted and killed two enemy soldiers who were rushing the craft from an angle that prevented the aircraft door gunner from firing upon them. With little strength remaining, he made one last trip to the perimeter to ensure that all classified material had been collected or destroyed, and to bring in the remaining wounded. Only then, in extremely serious condition from numerous wounds and loss of blood, did he allow himself to be pulled into the extraction aircraft. Sergeant Benavidez' gallant choice to join voluntarily his comrades who were in critical straits, to expose himself constantly to withering enemy fire, and his refusal to be stopped despite numerous severe wounds, saved the lives of at least eight men. His fearless personal leadership, tenacious devotion to duty, and extremely valorous actions in the face of overwhelming odds were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflect the utmost credit on him and the United States Army.
 
2009-09-12 04:39:13 PM  
This is what the fark img1.fark.net tag was designed for.

img1.fark.netimg1.fark.netimg1.fark.netimg1.fark.net
 
2009-09-12 05:00:24 PM  
"True heroism is something that is a lifelong thing that you don't get written up about, and that's probably going to make some people angry, but I'm sorry," says Allen Lynch, who earned his Medal of Honor in Vietnam on Dec. 15, 1967.

I don't think he has anything to be sorry for:

In Vietnam, "disregarding his safety in the face of withering hostile fire," Lynch's citation reads, "he crossed 70 meters of exposed terrain five times to carry his wounded comrades to a more secure area."
 
2009-09-12 05:15:34 PM  
Here representing MEDDAC:

upload.wikimedia.org

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1963, has awarded in the name of the Congress the Medal of Honor to

CAPTAIN BEN L. SALOMON
UNITED STATES ARMY


for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Captain Ben L. Salomon was serving at Saipan, in the Marianas Islands on July 7, 1944, as the Surgeon for the 2d Battalion, 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division. The Regiment's 1st and 2d Battalions were attacked by an overwhelming force estimated between 3,000 and 5,000 Japanese soldiers. It was one of the largest attacks attempted in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Although both units fought furiously, the enemy soon penetrated the Battalions' combined perimeter and inflicted overwhelming casualties. In the first minutes of the attack, approximately 30 wounded soldiers walked, crawled, or were carried into Captain Salomon's aid station, and the small tent soon filled with wounded men. As the perimeter began to be overrun, it became increasingly difficult for Captain Salomon to work on the wounded. He then saw a Japanese soldier bayoneting one of the wounded soldiers lying near the tent. Firing from a squatting position, Captain Salomon quickly killed the enemy soldier. Then, as he turned his attention back to the wounded, two more Japanese soldiers appeared in the front entrance of the tent. As these enemy soldiers were killed, four more crawled under the tent walls. Rushing them, Captain Salomon kicked the knife out of the hand of one, shot another, and bayoneted a third. Captain Salomon butted the fourth enemy soldier in the stomach and a wounded comrade then shot and killed the enemy soldier. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Captain Salomon ordered the wounded to make their way as best they could back to the regimental aid station, while he attempted to hold off the enemy until they were clear. Captain Salomon then grabbed a rifle from one of the wounded and rushed out of the tent. After four men were killed while manning a machine gun, Captain Salomon took control of it. When his body was later found, 98 dead enemy soldiers were piled in front of his position. Captain Salomon's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.


Full story of awesome, here. (new window)
 
2009-09-12 05:19:35 PM  
Wow, you could corner the brass ball market by taking over that convention. However, who would be stupid enough to try to take over a building filled with these guys?

To misquote Shakespeare, I hold my manhood cheap when compared against these heroes.
 
2009-09-12 05:24:56 PM  
My Uncle Archie:

Colonel Archie Van Winkle (March 17, 1925-May 22, 1986) was a United States Marine who was awarded Medal of Honor for his heroic actions as a United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant during the Korean War.
During the night of November 2, 1950, near Sudong, Korea, SSgt Van Winkle, an infantry platoon sergeant, led a charge through withering enemy fire. A bullet shattered his arm and he was seriously wounded in the chest by a direct hit from an enemy hand grenade. Even then, he refused to be evacuated and continued to shout orders and encouragement to his men while lying on the ground, weak from loss of blood. His heroic leadership enabled the outnumbered platoon to repulse an enemy attack.
President Harry S. Truman presented Van Winkle the United States' highest military decoration during ceremonies at the White House on February 6, 1952.[1] The following day he was sworn in as Second Lieutenant by General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., Commandant of the Marine Corps, having qualified under the "meritorious noncommissioned officer" program.
A combat veteran of World War II, he was called to active duty with the Marine Corps Reserve after the outbreak of hostilities in Korea and was released to inactive duty on July 16, 1951. Van Winkle again returned to active duty and served in combat during the Vietnam War.

Also won 2 bronze stars, an air medal and the distinguished flying cross

/Rip Uncle Archie
//Thank you for your service
 
2009-09-12 05:38:14 PM  
ace in your face: My Uncle Archie:

Colonel Archie Van Winkle (March 17, 1925-May 22, 1986) was a United States Marine who was awarded Medal of Honor for his heroic actions as a United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant during the Korean War.
During the night of November 2, 1950, near Sudong, Korea, SSgt Van Winkle, an infantry platoon sergeant, led a charge through withering enemy fire. A bullet shattered his arm and he was seriously wounded in the chest by a direct hit from an enemy hand grenade. Even then, he refused to be evacuated and continued to shout orders and encouragement to his men while lying on the ground, weak from loss of blood. His heroic leadership enabled the outnumbered platoon to repulse an enemy attack.
President Harry S. Truman presented Van Winkle the United States' highest military decoration during ceremonies at the White House on February 6, 1952.[1] The following day he was sworn in as Second Lieutenant by General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., Commandant of the Marine Corps, having qualified under the "meritorious noncommissioned officer" program.
A combat veteran of World War II, he was called to active duty with the Marine Corps Reserve after the outbreak of hostilities in Korea and was released to inactive duty on July 16, 1951. Van Winkle again returned to active duty and served in combat during the Vietnam War.

Also won 2 bronze stars, an air medal and the distinguished flying cross

/Rip Uncle Archie
//Thank you for your service


Your Uncle isn't dead he's just waiting (Chuck Norris didn't deserve this meme). Seriously that story gave me chills. Imagine facing death with such a fark you attitude and you just keep moving forward. Amazing...
 
2009-09-12 05:50:06 PM  
All of these are wonderful stories. I don't think people realize how rare these medals are earned, and even when they are given, the person is often not alive to receive it.

Some who knew they wouldn't survive.:

upload.wikimedia.org
Randy Shughart (new window)


Gary Gordon (new window)

upload.wikimedia.org
Michael Monsoor (new window)

On September 29, 2006, Monsoor's platoon engaged four insurgents in a firefight, killing one and injuring another. Anticipating further attacks, Monsoor, three SEAL snipers and three Iraqi Army soldiers took up a rooftop position. Civilians aiding the insurgents blocked off the streets, and a nearby mosque broadcast a message for people to fight against the Americans and the Iraqi soldiers. Monsoor was protecting other SEALs, two of whom were 15 feet away from him. Monsoor's position made him the only SEAL on the rooftop with quick access to an escape route.[2][3]

A grenade was thrown onto the rooftop by an insurgent on the street below. The grenade hit Monsoor in the chest and fell onto the floor. Immediately, Monsoor yelled "Grenade!" and jumped onto the grenade, covering it with his body. The grenade exploded seconds later and Monsoor's body absorbed most of the force of the blast. Monsoor was severely wounded and although evacuated immediately, he died 30 minutes later. Two other SEALs next to him at the time were injured by the explosion but survived.[1][2]
 
2009-09-12 05:51:34 PM  
And to think that not a one of these stories begins with "Hold my beer and watch this"
 
2009-09-12 06:04:30 PM  
I think HBO should do a mini-series of 1/2 segments of these MOH winners.

Sure, sex, nudity, and drugs are fun subjects, but I'd like to see their storytelling talents do something a little more important.

Guess I'll have to wait for Band of Brothers: Pacific
 
2009-09-12 06:10:14 PM  
nuclear_asshat: I think HBO should do a mini-series of 1/2 segments of these MOH winners.

I'd be on board for that. Finding financing for the project would be pretty easy, too.
 
2009-09-12 06:48:33 PM  
soupbone: ace in your face: My Uncle Archie:

Colonel Archie Van Winkle (March 17, 1925-May 22, 1986) was a United States Marine who was awarded Medal of Honor for his heroic actions as a United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant during the Korean War.
During the night of November 2, 1950, near Sudong, Korea, SSgt Van Winkle, an infantry platoon sergeant, led a charge through withering enemy fire. A bullet shattered his arm and he was seriously wounded in the chest by a direct hit from an enemy hand grenade. Even then, he refused to be evacuated and continued to shout orders and encouragement to his men while lying on the ground, weak from loss of blood. His heroic leadership enabled the outnumbered platoon to repulse an enemy attack.
President Harry S. Truman presented Van Winkle the United States' highest military decoration during ceremonies at the White House on February 6, 1952.[1] The following day he was sworn in as Second Lieutenant by General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., Commandant of the Marine Corps, having qualified under the "meritorious noncommissioned officer" program.
A combat veteran of World War II, he was called to active duty with the Marine Corps Reserve after the outbreak of hostilities in Korea and was released to inactive duty on July 16, 1951. Van Winkle again returned to active duty and served in combat during the Vietnam War.

Also won 2 bronze stars, an air medal and the distinguished flying cross

/Rip Uncle Archie
//Thank you for your service

Your Uncle isn't dead he's just waiting (Chuck Norris didn't deserve this meme). Seriously that story gave me chills. Imagine facing death with such a fark you attitude and you just keep moving forward. Amazing...


Thanks. He passed when I was just over a year old so I never got to know him (he was actually a great uncle). Too bad too, not that many guys fought all three of those wars, I am sure he had some great stories to tell. Most of that side of the family died in those years so I never really got any info on it. I have some really cute old childhood pics though.
 
2009-09-12 06:53:58 PM  
Nescio quid dicas: Reading some of the stories, its more likely they're completely f*cking insane than courageous.

/either way, still heroes.


Not mutually exclusive; in fact, probably courage=f*cking insanity about 99% of the time.

Would still buy them all a beer and listen to their stories for as long as they want to talk.
 
2009-09-12 07:09:16 PM  
All of these men deserve all the booze, cigars, and hookers they should want for the remainder of their lives. My hat is definitely off to each and every one of them
 
2009-09-12 08:53:10 PM  
These guys are so awesome they make Chuck Norris cry.

I have been lucky enough to share a beer with a few of them. Never forget any of them- they are truly special men.
 
2009-09-12 10:41:21 PM  
 
2009-09-12 10:50:42 PM  
If that convention center has a lawn, you better get the hell off of it. Now!
 
2009-09-12 11:06:29 PM  
The onlytime that an officer has to salute an elisted is when they have the medal...'nuff said
 
2009-09-13 12:33:27 AM  
I recall becoming visibly upset reading an article where a TSA "officer" wouldn't allow a MoH recipient onto a plane with the medal. I don't recall if it was too late to check it or if he simply wasn't going to entrust something such as that to the fine people in baggage, but I recall the suggestion being that he 'mail it home'.
 
2009-09-13 12:58:48 AM  
itsdan: I recall becoming visibly upset reading an article where a TSA "officer" wouldn't allow a MoH recipient onto a plane with the medal. I don't recall if it was too late to check it or if he simply wasn't going to entrust something such as that to the fine people in baggage, but I recall the suggestion being that he 'mail it home'.

Why would they do that? They never ask women to check their jewelry. Or belts. Or even metal lunch boxes (I have traveled with all of these). The only way this is even plausible is if the issue was that he wouldn't take it off to go through the security line. In that case he was probably being trivial about it. Everyone has to take off belts and and large metal objects. But I know how TSA can be farking ridiculous so I won't out and out call bullshiat on you.

/Its not like they are any good anyway, I walked through with a knife, and a zippo and didn't realize I even had them with me until I was midflight.
//lucky too... They were my grandpas and I wouldn't have left them behind.
 
2009-09-13 01:07:28 AM  
itsdan: I recall becoming visibly upset reading an article where a TSA "officer" wouldn't allow a MoH recipient onto a plane with the medal. I don't recall if it was too late to check it or if he simply wasn't going to entrust something such as that to the fine people in baggage, but I recall the suggestion being that he 'mail it home'.

I looked it up and stand corrected. My apologies. What farking horsehiat. It sounds like they were more in the jewelry stealing business than anything. I farking hate TSA.

/In your honor next time I question something I will be sure not to instantly react but research first. Carry on good man.
 
2009-09-13 02:03:08 AM  
i287.photobucket.com

The Navy rejected him. The Marines rejected him. Even after he got in the Army the airborne wouldn't take him. He's from fark's most hated state. Don't fark with Audie. (Damned if he doesn't look like he's about 14)
 
2009-09-13 02:28:08 AM  
Red Shirt Blues: The Navy rejected him. The Marines rejected him. Even after he got in the Army the airborne wouldn't take him. He's from fark's most hated state. Don't fark with Audie. (Damned if he doesn't look like he's about 14)

The balls were so big they stunted his growth.
 
2009-09-13 03:07:17 AM  
I got my fanciest medal just getting my fire hose loose on the Lincoln in 93
 
2009-09-13 08:36:36 AM  
Claudia Chafer: Here representing MEDDAC:



The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1963, has awarded in the name of the Congress the Medal of Honor to

CAPTAIN BEN L. SALOMON
UNITED STATES ARMY

for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:


There were seventy-six bullet holes in Salomon's body. When we called a doctor over to examine him, we were told that twenty-four of the wounds had been suffered before Salomon died. There were no witnesses, but it wasn't hard to put the story together. One could easily visualize Ben Salomon, wounded and bleeding, trying to drag that gun a few more feet so that he would have a new field of fire. The blood was on the ground, and the marks plainly indicated how hard it must have been for him, especially in that last move.

/Damn.
 
2009-09-13 12:41:32 PM  
Just wondering if all of the Medal of Honor recipients made it through security o.k.

tyronetakesamerica.com
 
2009-09-13 12:42:52 PM  
Decorated WWII veteran detained, searched at airport
February 27, 2002 Posted: 12:37 PM EST (1737 GMT)

Retired U.S. Gen. Joe Foss

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

PHOENIX, Arizona (CNN) -- Retired Gen. Joe Foss, 86, one of the most highly decorated U.S. war veterans, recently was detained at a security checkpoint at the Phoenix, Arizona, airport because he was carrying an item with sharp edges.

The sharp object turned out to be the Congressional Medal of Honor, which he had received in 1943 from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. CNN's Jack Cafferty spoke Tuesday with Foss about his airport experience and career.

CAFFERTY: General, Franklin Roosevelt, the president of the United States, awarded you the Congressional Medal of Honor, and your picture was on the cover of Life magazine on June 7, 1943. For what did you receive the medal and what can you tell us about the day you were given the medal by the president?

FOSS: Well, actually, I was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for action over Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. ... See, I was the top ace during that time.

CAFFERTY: You shot down 26 enemy aircraft, is that right, general?

FOSS: That is correct.

CAFFERTY: That is amazing.

FOSS: We were the decoys over the enemy fleet a number of times flying over them at 12,000 feet and having everyone shoot at you. They try to get you, and then you dive -- take a vertical dive on the warship -- in the middle of the thing -- to draw fire so the torpedo planes could get in.

CAFFERTY: Unbelievable.

FOSS: I was on my way -- after a National Rifle Association board of directors meeting -- to go up to West Point and speak to the sophomore class there.

CAFFERTY: And you were going to take the medal and show the cadets up at West Point. You got to the airport, what happened?

FOSS: Well, you see, when I got to the airport, I planned on just going through as I normally have in the past. But they had this mass of checkers back there that seemed to hone in on me.

I had on a Western hat, which I normally wear, and this tie, which is known as a bolo tie, and a belt buckle that says, "Dakota Gun Collectors," on it and Western boots.

CAFFERTY: They eventually wound up taking the Congressional Medal of Honor away from you, didn't they, at the airport?

FOSS: Well, the whole deal was the medal and this little thing that was with it, which has a little fingernail file on it, and it has the Congressional Medal Society insignia on this thing -- I've carried it for years -- and that set off the thing when I threw my jacket in there.

They said, "Take everything out of your jacket," and I thought I had. I'm just not used to carrying a medal in my pocket here. So I threw the whole thing in a basket, and when that set that off, they said, "We thought you emptied the jacket."

And now it came back. And that started the fracas, and they said, "Off with your boots. Off with your belt. Off with your tie. Off with your hat."

CAFFERTY: Were they nice to you at this time? I mean, were they polite?

FOSS: No, they were very nasty. It was a nasty group of individuals that I couldn't seem to make understand. And I was trying to show them this medal, that it had all the inscription on the back there. About me receiving it from the president of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and so forth.

But no one seemed to know what was going on. And then I said, "What happens to the stuff you take from me?" And they said, "Oh, it's destroyed." And I said, "Well, you aren't taking that medal, that's for sure. Or this other thing." And so then the next number on the program, I had some keys and stuff that I -- and an imitation bullet thing -- it never was a bullet -- but it looked like a bullet that President Charlton Heston of the NRA gave me. And they took that.

I said, "What happens to all of that?"

"It's destroyed."

So then I said, "Can I keep any of it?"

And they said, "No, unless you go over there, write that desk right there and mail it back to yourself."

"Well OK." What happens, I step over there, and they say, "Off with your boots. Off with your belt. Off with your hat."

I said, "You just checked me."

And, of course, then in the meantime, my jacket gets lost in the back, and we horse around. And all of this operation took about 45 minutes or so.

Finally, I get out of here, and I get to the gate. And as the passengers pile on, I had a first-class pass to get on -- not pass, we paid for the ticket -- and they take me out of line, and the lady says, "Off with your boots. Off with your belt. Off with your tie."

CAFFERTY: This is the third time?

FOSS: That's the third time. And by that time, I was fairly warm.

CAFFERTY: I bet you were at that, general.

FOSS: And, of course, the questions that they asked and all -- it was so nonsensical, the whole thing. There's no way you could catch a terrorist. In fact, you'd be -- while you were looking at some clown like me, the terrorist would go by.

CAFFERTY: Now you talked to the officials at America West, the airline that was involved in this.

FOSS: They've been very nice.

CAFFERTY: There's been a visit arranged. Tell us about the visit that's upcoming here.

FOSS: Well the airline, America West, has been very nice. The vice president called me, and I personally talked to him. And the public relations director talked to me. And I'm going to have them out to the house to meet my wife and the rest of the tribe and let them know that we are not terrorists. We're just ordinary citizens trying to get on an airline to go someplace and back home.

CAFFERTY: General, let me thank you so much for a very entertaining and interesting, if unfortunate, story.

Let me also thank you for what you and your buddies did all those many years ago. Because I've got a hunch, without the likes of you back there during World War II, the likes of me wouldn't be sitting here right now talking to the likes of you.
 
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