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On the night of March 10, 1945. Pfc. Thomas Atkins and two other soldiers were manning a foxhole on the outer perimeter of a hill near Luzon, Philippines when 2 Companies of Japanese attacked with rifle & MG fire, grenades and TNT, severely wounding Atkins and killing both of his buddies.
Bleeding profusely from his hip, leg, back and with no fucks insight, Atkins would single handedly hold back wave after wave of Japanese attacks for 4 hours straight; firing all of his ammo, his buddies ammo and 3 rifles until they became unusable.
With scores of dead bodies in front of his position, he made his way back to gather more firepower, but was ordered to stay put for medical treatment. While waiting, he saw Japanese soldiers entering the perimeter, so he casually grabbed a rifle and killed them.
As medics loaded him on a stretcher, he noticed more enemy, so Atkind simply set up and killed a few more until they withdrew.
Atkins single handedly protected the entire defensive line and would subsequently receive the Medal of Honor.
After the war, he became a farmer, living a very quite life of anonymity until his death in 1999 from congestive heart failure.
 

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On Oct. 17, 2005, near Samarra, Iraq, Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe's armored carrier was hit by an IED. The explosion hit the fuel tanks and the vehicle caught fire. Cashe was able to get out but quickly realized that 6 of his soldiers were trapped inside.
Disregarding his own safety and under enemy fire, he ran towards the back door trying to open it from the outside. Despite the fact that his uniform was soaked in fuel and was literally burning alive, he still continued his selfless act and managed to get his men out; all 6 of them.
Suffering severe 3rd and 4th degree burns all over, he was quickly med evac. Upon waking up in the hospital, he's first words to his mother were: "How are my boys?" And then he began weeping, she said. He told her: "I couldn't get to them fast enough."
SFC Cashe died Nov. 8, 2005 due to his extensive injuries.
For his actions, he was awarded the Silver Star (the chain of command at the time, didn't know the full details of the event.) Upon realizing the true bravery displayed on that day, his family, his soldiers, his unit and above have requested his award to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor. To this day, it has yet to be approved.
Lt. Gen. William G. Webster, Cashe's division commander, said: "The pain he suffered must have been unimaginable, and yet he continued to suffer in the name of saving others. I cannot remember a story that is its equal."
 

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Sgt. Franklin Simmons
2nd Battalion, 7th Marines
Farah, Afghanistan, Aug. 8, 2008
Award: Silver Star

In August 2008, then-Cpl. Franklin Simmons was serving in Afghanistan with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines as a Force Recon platoon team leader and designated marksman. While conducting clearing operations in the village of Shewan, Cpl. Simmons’ platoon was ambushed by a numerically superior enemy force. Volleys of intense rocket propelled grenade and machine gun fire disabled one of the platoon’s vehicles and trapped several Marines in the kill zone. Without regard for his own safety, Cpl. Simmons exposed himself to intense enemy rocket propelled grenade and machine gun fire as he crawled to the top of a berm to locate targets with his Mark 11 sniper rifle. He resolutely ignored enemy machine gun rounds impacting within a foot of his position as he calmly employed his weapon to kill the enemy firing at his fellow Marines in the kill zone. Remaining in this exposed position to get the necessary observation of his targets, he killed an estimated 18 enemy fighters and wounded at least two others. Cpl. Simmons’ devastating fires during an 8-hour battle in oppressive heat were critical in saving the lives of his fellow Marines
785726
 

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This hardcore charger is South Carolina's finest: Michael E. Thornton.
Enlisting in the Navy in 1967, Michael underwent BUD/S training and was deployed to SE Asia in early 1970 with SEAL Team 1. By 1972, Petty Officer Thornton was one of only a dozen "Men with green faces" remaining in Vietnam.
On Oct. 31 1972, PO Thornton led a small team deep behind enemy lines in the Quang Tri Province. Part of his team consisted of 3 Vietnamese SEALs and Lt. Thomas R. Norris (US SEAL) and their mission was to gather information and capture prisoners in an enemy-occupied naval river base. Launched from a Vietnamese Navy junk in a rubber boat, the patrol reached land and was continuing on foot toward its objective when it suddenly came under heavy fire from a numerically superior force. The patrol called in naval gunfire support and then engaged the enemy in a fierce firefight, accounting for many enemy casualties before moving back to the waterline to prevent encirclement.
Upon learning that Lt. Norris had been hit by enemy fire and was believed to be dead, PO Thornton returned through a hail of fire to the lieutenant's last position; quickly killed 2 enemy soldiers who were about to overrun the position, and succeeded in removing the seriously wounded and unconscious Lieutenant to the water's edge. He then inflated the lieutenant's lifejacket and towed him and another wounded Vietnamese SEAL seaward for approximately 2 hours until picked up by support craft.
PO Thornton was awarded the Medal of Honor and he's one of only 3 SEALs to have received it during the Vietnam War.
This event is also the only event were a Medal of Honor recipient saved the life of another Medal of Honor recipient (Lt. Norris).
 

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In the 1950s, the Philippines were a primary asset to the U.S. during the Cold War, and with a growing communist influence spreading through out the country, the CIA sent one of their most effective officers to stop it: Edward Lansdale
Lansdale was an expert in psychological warfare and believed that the best psychological warfare methods must be based on the socio-cultural beliefs of the chosen target.
When the he learned that the local communist fighters were superstitious and believed in a shapeshifting vampire known as the "asuang," he came up with a plan.
First, he had friendly locals spread a rumor that an asuang was living in the hills. Then, the Americans and their allies set up an ambush in the hills, waited for the last man in a patrol to pass them, and abducted him. They poked two holes in his neck, hung him upside down, drained him of his blood, and put his body back on the trail.
The very next day, the frightened rebels fled their hilltop position, losing one of their greatest advantages.
In May 1954, the rest of the rebels surrendered and the rebellion was over, and Edward Lansdale is largely credited with putting an end to it.
 

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On October 25, 1942, 1st Lt. Jack Conger shot down three A6M Zeros during a dogfight over Guadalcanal. He then pursued a fourth Zero, piloted by flying ace Petty Officer Second Class Shiro Ishikawa.
Expending the last of his ammunition and determined to knock the plane out of the sky, Conger attempted to use his propellor to chop the tail rudder off Ishikawa's plane. Conger, misjudging the distance between his and Ishikawa's plane, rammed into it and ripped the entire tail off. Both planes then began falling out of the sky, and both pilots bailed out and parachuted into the sea.
A Marine rescue boat picked Lieutenant Conger up out of the water, and Conger convinced the Marines not to shoot Ishikawa.
Conger reached his hand out to pull Ishikawa aboard the boat, but Ishikawa attempted to shoot Conger with his Nambu pistol. When the waterlogged pistol misfired, Conger threw himself backward and injured his back. Ishikawa then attempted to shoot himself and the pistol misfired again. Conger hit Ishikawa over the head with a gas can and pulled him into the boat.
He was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions, and in 1990, Conger met with Ishikawa at the National Museum of the Pacific War at Fredericksburg, Texas. Ishikawa thanked Conger for saving his life 48 years earlier at Guadalcanal, which allowed him to raise a family.
 

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"When Soldier of Fortune Magazine came on the scene, vets like me knew we had a friend. Communism, which we fought in Vietnam at a great cost, was eating Africa alive.
I had to go.
I sorted out my affairs, sold my car, and bought my ticket to Rhodesia in '79.
I took my AR15 w/Leatherwood Scope/MT, a case of .223, my Browning Hi Power, my old web gear from Nam into a duffle bag alongside my guitar.
When I arrived in Johannesburg, two custom guys carried my gear and took me to the Air Rhodesia area. With a thick English accent, one of the guys noted that my suitcase was heavy.
"Tools" I said.
"I understand", he smiled, shook my hand and wished me good luck." – Buddy Lilley, US Marine, Mercenary, Adventurer.
 

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Not sure if this has been posted before, but I know it has been discussed.

This combat controller is a B.A.M.F.!

 

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What the Navy did to him after that was pretty disgusting.
 
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T/Sgt. Frank Kwiatek, the Sniper Exterminator, was the oldest soldier in his outfit (2nd ID) at 46 years old, having been in the same platoon since 1924 and having a deep hatred for Nazis.
After his 2 brothers were killed in action in Italy, he vowed revenge.
During his first four weeks in France Kwiatek killed 22 German Snipers, 20 with his Remington, two with hand grenades and another unconfirmed dozen with his Thompson.
On his downtime, he would carve out notches on his rifle to represent his kills.
"Three more to go and I’ll have settled a promise I made when they killed my brother Ted. Then I’ll kill 25 more for my brother Jerry. After that I’m going to kill as many Germans as I can because I hate the whole Nazi system.
You see, when I kill a German I like to look right into his eyes. I like to see them drop. When they drop I can almost see a picture of my brothers smiling at me. And I’m particularly happy to shoot snipers because they’re so sneaky.
The only trouble is I want to finish off the war by myself. I think I'm going to be a very sad man when this war’s over and there are no more snipers to kill.”
 

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On Feb.1, 1944 near Cisterna di Littoria (Italy) ,a heavy German counterattack was launched against the men of the 30th IR, 3rd ID.
Pfc. Alton Knappenberger aka Knappie crawled to an exposed knoll and went into position with his BAR in order to lay down some hate.
He single handedly took out 2 MG positions from 100 yards out and killed scores of enemy soldiers who had crawled up to a few yards of his position.
Shortly thereafter, an enemy 20mm. antiaircraft gun directed fire at him, and that too was destroyed.
The Germans began pounding his position with tank and artillery shellfire, but Knappie stood his ground a continued his one man stand.
In a span of two hours, Pfc. Knappenberger, a 20 year old farm boy from PA who was only 5'6" and 118lbs, held off 2 German infantry companies and killed over 60 of the enemy with his BAR; the only injury he sustained was a blister on his foot.
After only spending a total of 11 days in combat, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
 

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Long Dangerous Beer Run for Friends by MARINE Veteran

 

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Emailed to me from a friend, Mike was a Combat MARINE in Vietnam. He received this from a close friend of his.

by Lt. Col. George Goodson, USMC (Ret)

In my 76th year, the events of my life appear to me, from time to time, as a series of vignettes. Some were significant; most were trivial.

War is the seminal event in the life of everyone that has endured it. Though I fought in Korea and the Dominican Republic and was wounded there, Vietnam was my war.

Now 42 years have passed and, thankfully, I rarely think of those days in Cambodia , Laos , and the panhandle of North Vietnam where small teams of Americans and Montangards fought much larger elements of the North Vietnamese Army. Instead I see vignettes: some exotic, some mundane:

*The smell of Nuc Mam.
*The heat, dust, and humidity.
*The blue exhaust of cycles clogging the streets.
*Elephants moving silently through the tall grass.
*Hard eyes behind the servile smiles of the villagers.
*Standing on a mountain in Laos and hearing a tiger roar.
*A young girl squeezing my hand as my medic delivered her baby.
*The flowing Ao Dais of the young women biking down Tran Hung Dao.
*My two years as Casualty Notification Officer in North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland .

It was late 1967. I had just returned after 18 months in Vietnam. Casualties were increasing. I moved my family from Indianapolis to Norfolk, rented a house, enrolled my children in their fifth or sixth new school, and bought a second car.

A week later, I put on my uniform and drove 10 miles to Little Creek, Virginia. I hesitated before entering my new office. Appearance is important to career Marines. I was no longer, if ever, a poster Marine. I had returned from my third tour in Vietnam only 30 days before. At 5'9", I now weighed 128 pounds - 37 pounds below my normal weight. My uniforms fit ludicrously, my skin was yellow from malaria medication, and I think I had a twitch or two.

I straightened my shoulders, walked into the office, looked at the nameplate on a Staff Sergeant's desk and said, "Sergeant Jolly, I'm Lieutenant Colonel Goodson. Here are my orders and my Qualification Jacket."

Sergeant Jolly stood, looked carefully at me, took my orders, stuck out his hand; we shook and he asked, "How long were you there, Colonel?" I replied "18 months this time." Jolly breathed, "You must be a slow learner, Colonel." I smiled.

Jolly said, "Colonel, I'll show you to your office and bring in the Sergeant Major. I said, "No, let's just go straight to his office." Jolly nodded, hesitated, and lowered his voice, "Colonel, the Sergeant Major. He's been in this job two years. He's packed pretty tight. I'm worried about him." I nodded.

Jolly escorted me into the Sergeant Major's office. "Sergeant Major, this is Colonel Goodson, the new Commanding Officer." The Sergeant Major stood, extended his hand and said, "Good to see you again, Colonel." I responded, "Hello Walt, how are you?" Jolly looked at me, raised an eyebrow, walked out, and closed the door.

I sat down with the Sergeant Major. We had the obligatory cup of coffee and talked about mutual acquaintances. Walt's stress was palpable. Finally, I said, "Walt, what the hell's wrong?" He turned his chair, looked out the window and said, "George, you're going to wish you were back in Nam before you leave here. I've been in the Marine Corps since 1939. I was in the Pacific 36 months, Korea for 14 months, and Vietnam for 12 months. Now I come here to bury these kids. I'm putting my letter in. I can't take it anymore." I said, "OK Walt If that's what you want, I'll endorse your request for retirement and do what I can to push it through Headquarters Marine Corps."

Sergeant Major Walt Xxxxx retired 12 weeks later. He had been a good Marine for 28 years, but he had seen too much death and too much suffering. He was used up.

Over the next 16 months, I made 28 death notifications, conducted 28 military funerals, and made 30 notifications to the families of Marines that were severely wounded or missing in action. Most of the details of those casualty notifications have now, thankfully, faded from memory. Four, however, remain.

MY FIRST NOTIFICATION
My third or fourth day in Norfolk, I was notified of the death of a 19 year old Marine. This notification came by telephone from Headquarters Marine Corps. The information detailed:
*Name, rank, and serial number.
*Name, address, and phone number of next of kin.
*Date of and limited details about the Marine's death.
*Approximate date the body would arrive at the Norfolk Naval Air Station.
*A strong recommendation on whether the casket should be opened or closed.

The boy's family lived over the border in North Carolina, about 60 miles away I drove there in a Marine Corps staff car. Crossing the state line into North Carolina, I stopped at a small country store/service station/Post Office. I went in to ask directions.

Three people were in the store. A man and woman approached the small Post Office window. The man held a package. The store owner walked up and addressed them by name, "Hello John. Good morning Mrs. Cooper."

I was stunned. My casualty's next-of-kin's name was John Cooper!

I hesitated, then stepped forward and said, "I beg your pardon. Are you Mr. and Mrs. John Cooper of (address)?

The father looked at me - I was in uniform - and then, shaking, bent at the waist, he vomited. His wife looked horrified at him and then at me. Understanding came into her eyes and she collapsed in slow motion. I think I caught her before she hit the floor.

The owner took a bottle of whiskey out of a drawer and handed it to Mr. Cooper who drank. I answered their questions for a few minutes. Then I drove them home in my staff car. The store owner locked the store and followed in their truck. We stayed an hour or so until the family began arriving.

I returned the store owner to his business. He thanked me and said, "Mister, I wouldn't have your job for a million dollars." I shook his hand and said; "Neither would I."

I vaguely remember the drive back to Norfolk. Violating about five Marine Corps regulations, I drove the staff car straight to my house. I sat with my family while they ate dinner, went into the den, closed the door, and sat there all night, alone.

My Marines steered clear of me for days. I had made my first death notification.

THE FUNERALS
Weeks passed with more notifications and more funerals. I borrowed Marines from the local Marine Corps Reserve and taught them to conduct a military funeral: how to carry a casket, how to fire the volleys and how to fold the flag.

When I presented the flag to the mother, wife, or father, I always said, "All Marines share in your grief." I had been instructed to say, "On behalf of a grateful nation..." I didn't think the nation was grateful, so I didn't say that.

Sometimes, my emotions got the best of me and I couldn't speak. When that happened, I just handed them the flag and touched a shoulder. They would look at me and nod. Once a mother said to me, "I'm so sorry you have this terrible job." My eyes filled with tears and I leaned over and kissed her.

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION
Six weeks after my first notification, I had another. This was a young PFC. I drove to his mother's house. As always, I was in uniform and driving a Marine Corps staff car. I parked in front of the house, took a deep breath, and walked towards the house. Suddenly the door flew open, a middle-aged woman rushed out. She looked at me and ran across the yard, screaming "NO! NO! NO! NO!"

I hesitated. Neighbors came out. I ran to her, grabbed her, and whispered stupid things to reassure her. She collapsed. I picked her up and carried her into the house. Eight or nine neighbors followed. Ten or fifteen minutes later, the father came in followed by ambulance personnel. I have no recollection of leaving.

The funeral took place about two weeks later. We went through the drill. The mother never looked at me. The father looked at me once and shook his head sadly.


ANOTHER NOTIFICATION
One morning, as I walked in the office, the phone was ringing. Sergeant Jolly held the phone up and said, "You've got another one, Colonel." I nodded, walked into my office, picked up the phone, took notes, thanked the officer making the call, I have no idea why, and hung up. Jolly, who had listened, came in with a special Telephone Directory that translates telephone numbers into the person's address and place of employment.

The father of this casualty was a Longshoreman. He lived a mile from my office. I called the Longshoreman's Union Office and asked for the Business Manager. He answered the phone, I told him who I was, and asked for the father's schedule.

The Business Manager asked, "Is it his son?" I said nothing. After a moment, he said, in a low voice, "Tom is at home today." I said, "Don't call him. I'll take care of that." The Business Manager said, "Aye, Aye Sir," and then explained, "Tom and I were Marines in WWII."

I got in my staff car and drove to the house. I was in uniform. I knocked and a woman in her early forties answered the door. I saw instantly that she was clueless I asked, "Is Mr. Smith home?" She smiled pleasantly and responded, "Yes, but he's eating breakfast now. Can you come back later?" I said, "I'm sorry. It's important. I need to see him now."

She nodded, stepped back into the beach house and said, "Tom, it's for you."

A moment later, a ruddy man in his late forties, appeared at the door. He looked at me, turned absolutely pale, steadied himself, and said, "Jesus Christ man, he's only been there three weeks!"


Months passed. More notifications and more funerals. Then one day while I was running, Sergeant Jolly stepped outside the building and gave a loud whistle, two fingers in his mouth....... I never could do that..... and held an imaginary phone to his ear.

Another call from Headquarters Marine Corps. I took notes, said, "Got it." and hung up. I had stopped saying "Thank You" long ago.

Jolly, "Where?"

Me, "Eastern Shore of Maryland . The father is a retired Chief Petty Officer. His brother will accompany the body back from Vietnam ...."

Jolly shook his head slowly, straightened, and then said, "This time of day, it'll take three hours to get there and back. I'll call the Naval Air Station and borrow a helicopter. And I'll have Captain Tolliver get one of his men to meet you and drive you to the Chief's home."

He did, and 40 minutes later, I was knocking on the father's door. He opened the door, looked at me, then looked at the Marine standing at parade rest beside the car, and asked, "Which one of my boys was it, Colonel?"

I stayed a couple of hours, gave him all the information, my office and home phone number and told him to call me, anytime.

He called me that evening about 2300 (11:00PM). "I've gone through my boy's papers and found his will. He asked to be buried at sea. Can you make that happen?" I said, "Yes I can, Chief. I can and I will."

My wife who had been listening said, "Can you do that?" I told her, "I have no idea. But I'm going to break my ass trying."

I called Lieutenant General Alpha Bowser, Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, at home about 2330, explained the situation, and asked, "General, can you get me a quick appointment with the Admiral at Atlantic Fleet Headquarters?" General Bowser said, "George, you be there tomorrow at 0900. He will see you."

I was and the Admiral did. He said coldly, "How can the Navy help the Marine Corps, Colonel." I told him the story. He turned to his Chief of Staff and said, "Which is the sharpest destroyer in port?" The Chief of Staff responded with a name.

The Admiral called the ship, "Captain, you're going to do a burial at sea. You'll report to a Marine Lieutenant Colonel Goodson until this mission is completed..."

He hung up, looked at me, and said, "The next time you need a ship, Colonel, call me. You don't have to sic Al Bowser on my ass." I responded, "Aye Aye, Sir" and got the hell out of his office.

I went to the ship and met with the Captain, Executive Officer, and the Senior Chief. Sergeant Jolly and I trained the ship's crew for four days. Then Jolly raised a question none of us had thought of. He said, "These government caskets are air tight. How do we keep it from floating?"

All the high priced help including me sat there looking dumb. Then the Senior Chief stood and said, "Come on Jolly. I know a bar where the retired guys from World War II hang out."

They returned a couple of hours later, slightly the worse for wear, and said, "It's simple; we cut four 12" holes in the outer shell of the casket on each side and insert 300 lbs. of lead in the foot end of the casket. We can handle that, no sweat."

The day arrived. The ship and the sailors looked razor sharp. General Bowser, the Admiral, a US Senator, and a Navy Band were on board. The sealed casket was brought aboard and taken below for modification. The ship got underway to the 12-fathom depth.

The sun was hot. The ocean flat. The casket was brought aft and placed on a catafalque. The Chaplain spoke. The volleys were fired. The flag was removed, folded, and I gave it to the father. The band played "Eternal Father Strong to Save." The casket was raised slightly at the head and it slid into the sea.

The heavy casket plunged straight down about six feet. The incoming water collided with the air pockets in the outer shell. The casket stopped abruptly, rose straight out of the water about three feet, stopped, and slowly slipped back into the sea. The air bubbles rising from the sinking casket sparkled in the sunlight as the casket disappeared from sight forever....

The next morning I called a personal friend, Lieutenant General Oscar Peatross, at Headquarters Marine Corps and said, "General, get me out of here. I can't take this anymore." I was transferred two weeks later.

I was a good Marine but, after 17 years, I had seen too much death and too much suffering. I was used up.

Vacating the house, my family and I drove to the office in a two-car convoy. I said my goodbyes. Sergeant Jolly walked out with me. He waved at my family, looked at me with tears in his eyes, came to attention, saluted, and said, "Well Done, Colonel. Well Done."

I felt as if I had received the Medal of Honor!

'A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America ' for an amount of 'up to and including their life.'

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.'

I am honored to pass this on and I hope you feel that way too.
 
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