Archive for the ‘Heroes’ Category

Army Pilot, Retired Marine Father Receive Silver Star Awards During Special Ceremony.

By Spc. George Welcome
101st Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (29 Nov. 2008) — Thirty years separate the conclusion of the Vietnam War and the start of the Global War on Terrorism. While time, tactics and technology have made today’s military vastly different from the one which fought in the jungles of Vietnam, the common denominator in the two conflicts is the American service member, whose bravery and sacrifices secure peace and freedom for America and its allies.

Spc. George Welcome, 101st Combat Avation Brigade Public Affairs.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan Harris receives a handshake from Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, after being presented the Silver Star during an award ceremony at Combined Joint Task Force-101 Headquarters on Nov. 28, 2008. Photographer: Spc. George Welcome, 101st Combat Avation Brigade Public Affairs.

It is a rare occurrence when a Soldier receives a Silver Star for courage under fire. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan Harris became one of the few Soldiers to receive the prestigious award on the evening of Nov. 28, during a ceremony at Combined Joint Task Force-101 Headquarters. But the fact that his father, Retired Staff Sgt. Gary Harris, was also presented with a Silver Star made the event all the more special.

Through the magic of video teleconferencing, the Harris family got to watch as the younger Harris was presented the Silver Star by Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, CJTF-101 commanding general, from the conference room at Fort Campbell, Ky. Meanwhile, Soldiers from CJTF-101 watched the video screen, as the elder Harris was pinned with not only the Silver Star, but a Bronze Star he earned as a Marine serving in Vietnam, which were never formally presented to him.

“It’s very rare that we present the Silver Star,” Schloesser explained to those in attendance at both Fort Campbell and Afghanistan. “We have a very high standard and we make sure that the few who do earn it have done so through selfless sacrifice. It’s clear that Mr. Harris did that, and it is also clear that the nation owes a debt to Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Gary Harris, it was almost 40 years ago that he earned it, and I hope in some small way that we can pay back that debt by presenting him his award with his son’s today.”

Personal courage and selfless service run deep in the Harris family bloodline, as both father and son reacted similarly in their encounters with enemy forces, by risking their lives to ensure the safety of their comrades.

The elder Harris displayed this courage on Aug. 15, 1969 when as a squad leader in Vietnam, his company which was patrolling the outer perimeter near Gol Ree, was attacked with mortar and rocket fire. He quickly directed the members of his squad to return fire on the enemy. As the attack died down, he moved his squad closer to the perimeter, which had been weakened during the barrage. As the enemy resumed its assault, he directed his squad to return fire once again, breaking the enemy attack. During the engagement, he risked his life by helping medics aid wounded Marines and helped bring them to safety.

The younger Harris also displayed bravery in the face of danger by exposing himself to enemy fire. On July 2, 2008, Harris, who is a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot assigned to Company C, 5th Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, landed his helicopter at a landing zone near Gardez, Afghanistan, to pick up infantry Soldiers for transport, when his aircraft came under attack by enemies using rocket propelled grenades, a heavy machine gun and various assault rifles.

With the aircraft on fire, Harris and crew manage[d] to fly it a short distance before putting it down again. After safely exiting the burning helicopter, the entire crew took up a defensive posture. They managed to contact a CH-47 Chinook, which was in the area to help extract them from the battlefield. As the Chinook landed, the enemy resumed fire. It was then that Harris, who was helping one of his wounded crew chiefs to the helicopter, exposed himself to fire by engaging and killing an approaching enemy combatant. He entered the helicopter only after ensuring that the members of his crew, the ground forces and the quick reaction force were safely aboard.

“Mr. Harris has been great since the incident,” said Sgt. DeeJay Norby, a crew chief who was also involved in the action at Gardez. “He didn’t get down or anything afterward; he went right back to business doing his job. It’s really awesome getting to fly with a great group of pilots and crew chiefs.”

This was not the first award that Harris received during the deployment; he was also presented with the Air Medal with Valor device.

In his short address, Harris thanked his flight crew and the crew of the Chinook that performed the rescue operation. “I’m so lucky to serve with so many great heroes,” said Harris. “Without them, the outcome might not have been so good.”

He also gave a heartfelt thank you to his father, whose life and service set the example for him. “Every time people thank us for our service, I tell them to thank a Vietnam vet; so dad I want to thank you today.”

Source: DVIDSHub. (You must be registered.)

Simply AWESOME! Thank you both! And thanks to all the other people who helped. Godspeed.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary’s Thoughts. Trackback URI. Digg! Digg!


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The group of Vets For Freedom is very actively trying to get their message to public so you can know the truth the dinosaur media refuses to tell. They have news reports, actions that you may participate in to help, videos, and a special section for American Patriot Heroes. Today I will share with you one of those Heroes. (The writing below is done by Vets For Freedom.)

Joe Dan “Doc” Worley.

On September 17, 2004, while on patrol with Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, in Fallujah, Iraq, an IED exploded into a humvee killing a Marine and an Iraqi Interpreter. Not even 10 days prior, his former platoon had seven Marines killed in action when a vehicle borne IED drove into their patrol. The attrition from the blast was so severe that the platoon, known as Pale Rider Three, would be disbanded and the surviving Marines sent to other platoons in Fox Company.

Immediately reacting to the explosion, Doc Worley went into automatic pilot. No one needed to explain to this Corpsman the importance of his job after an enemy attack. Worley grabbed his aid bag and took off toward the thick smoke, preparing himself for the worst-case scenario of this close quarters explosion.

As Worley sprinted across a bridge, a secondary IED exploded only a few feet away from him, ripping off his left leg instantly. Experiencing mind-numbing pain throughout his entire body, Worley began to assess his own condition, something he had done countless times for others. He put himself through the life saving aid procedures as he had so many other times to others, when there were too many injured for one Corpsman to handle. Worley applied a tourniquet just above his own left knee, an extremely painful procedure that was vital in saving his own life. [Continue reading at the Veterans For Freedom.]

Also read more about Doc Worley’s story here on CBS News.

For more patriots’ stories, please read more at Vets For Freedom: American Patriots. Here is a list of some of them.

Read About Other American Patriots:

1st Sgt Brad Kasal, Brian Chontosh, Chris Neidziocha, Cpl. Carlos Gomez-Perez, JC Matteson, Joe Dan “Doc” Worley, Josh Glover, Juan Rubio, Juanita Wilson, LCpl Ben Gonzalez, Leigh Ann Hester, Nathan and Jared Hubbard, Sean A. Stokes, Sgt. Anthony Viggiani, USMC, Staff Sergeant Michael Dickinson.

American Patriot Profiles are posted frequently. Please check back often for updates. If you know of a patriot you would like to see profiled, please let us know.

These are truly remarkable men and women, and we owe them more than we could ever repay. That is why we must do everything in our power to help by volunteering at the Veterans Administration Hospitals in our area, and we must prevent the wacked out nuts who would rather destroy our country and turn it over to al Qaida than to stand up and fight for their rights themselves. Shameful, but true. We must not fret, however. We must decide to take a stand, and stand. Have a nice day.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ The Talon and Rosemary’s Thoughts.

Trackback URI for Rosemary’s Thoughts for the OTB today.

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It was another hot day in July. Life was being lived as if nothing was happening, nothing was more important than getting to the beach, the barb-e-que, the shopping mall; but not so for an Army Captain and his team on 27 July 2008. No, they were geared up for a mission that no one noticed, but one mission that would change the lives of several people. The mission: Operation VOLCANO II.

Operation VOLCANO II was an operation with the desired outcome of capturing (or killing) a senior leader of the Mahdi Army, Mukkie’s insurgency which is run from Iran. This is a bunch of crazy Shi’ites located in Karbala, Iraq. Cpt. Solheim’s team and he “fast roped” into their Area of Operation (AO) and quickly set up their position near the target building.

While we were out swimming to relieve the heat, they were faced with a situation where they were three cubed in between some of the meanest insurgents in Iraq. As soon as they hit the ground, they found themselves cubed. A vicious attack against the American Forces persued. Those cretons were using rocketpropelled grenades (RPGs) and AK-47s. It was necessary to call in the air support to eliminate these scumbags, because…well, besides the fact they are the enemy…it was a very fierce fire fight.

Though the air support relieved them of most of the cretons, many did manage to remain hidden beneath the dust from the assault force’s helicopter. They were to the north of Captain Solheim and his unit.

The insurgents started to target one certain area of soldiers, so Captain Solheim swiftly and aggressively managed to move his team over to their area for reinforcements. He did this to protect those soldiers who were deleaguered and trapped.

As he did this, he took note of an armed creton with an RPG less than ten meters from him. Without regard for his own safety, he charged this bastard, shot and killed him. This action alone saved many American Forces just in time.


Hometown: Oregon City, OR.
Awarded: Silver Star.
Interview: June 18, 2008 — ABC (935 KB).
Download this hero’s story: Right click and “Save Target As…” to download.

At this time he turned his sights on the building and realizing his troops were in imminent danger from insurgents, Captain Solheim left himself exposed to the enemy once again so that he get better positioned to act as a cover for his team. Now he was in place to limit the enemy’s attacks on his team and himself.

But the fight was still going, they do not give up that easily. The only mistake they made was thinking that Captain Solheim and his team would! One of those creeps tried to sneak up on him with an AK-47. He WAS a Mahdi Army soldier, but that was the last day he would hurt or intimidate anyone else. Captain Solheim made a split second decision as he turned to see him there, and he fired at his weapon at him, killing him. Unfortunatelly, however, this creton did manage to get off one final round of his AK-47 which caught Captain Solheim in his legs and back.

“Thanks to Captain Solheim’s selfless and heroic actions, dozens of American lives were saved. His actions demonstrated how he placed the lives of his men over that of his own, earning him the Silver Star.”

That’s my kind of Hero! Thank God he lived through this. I pray his injuries were not so severe as they sound. Do you like to know more the people who are risking it all so that you can do the things you choose to do? Would you like to become a part a messanger?

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives
so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday.
For that, I am proud to call them Hero.

We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams.
Those Who Say That We’re In A Time When There Are No Heroes,
They Just Don’t Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for all that you do. Even the telephone operators who think they are doing nothing, if it were not for you, how would I find anyone? And let us not forget those who are seldom remembered by the public…the families who sacrice too. I have no words to let you know how grateful I am for your selflessness other than a simple ‘Thank you’. God bless you all. 😉

Cross-posted @ The Talon and Rosemary’s Thoughts.

Update: I have been writing what I thought to be the Wednesday Hero blogburst, but it appears as though I have been mistaken. While it is true that I post my hero articles on Wednesday, they are not the one specified by the blogroll. I would like to offer my sincere apologies, I am wrong. I will continue to write in this fashion, but not under the guise of Wednesday Hero. I will, however, begin to write the proper Wednesday Hero! I don’t give up that easy! 😉

Posts I’ve trackbacked to:Right-Wing & Right-Minded: Wednesday Hero.
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Today we are honoring Lt. Scott Sparrow. He is a remarkable young man, and I am proud to share him with you.

Hometown: Layton, UT
Awarded: Bronze Star
External Links: The Martha Zoller Show story.
Interview: Jun. 6, 2008 – ABC (7.7MB).
Download this hero’s story: Right click and “Save Target As…” to download.

Please take some time and read the materials provided. It is important that we know not only the number of people who are risking their lives for us, but it is also important that we know who they are. They have families, they came from somewhere, they had lives other than fighting wars. We owe them as least this much respect, especially when it is provided to us. Thank you so much, and God bless you!

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary’s Thoughts.

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Today’s Wednesday Hero is a young lady whose life was changed forever on that September 12, 2006, night in Iraq. Her convoy of 17, she was driving in the lead, was somewhere in the quiet of an Iraqi night. Suddenly they were under ambush in all directions, and her truck took the brunt of an explosively formed penetrator (EFP) – the most dangerous kind of improvised explosive device.

After realizing her Commanding Officer, Lt. Emily Perez, was killed in the blast, she realized it was up to her to take charge. She quickly turned to the gunner who had first pulled her from the truck, Specialist Truesdell, to rescue their translator from inside the Humvee. Shortly after they rescued him through the flames, the ammunition caught fire and started firing in every which direction.

She started applying life-saving first aid on this man, and when back-up came, she continued her work. When the back-up did arrive, then Corporal Johnson refused medical attention until everyone else attended to, and she also helped in this area. She had received shrapnel and burns from the VFP.

While they were out there alone, Specialist Truesdell stood fighting the terrorists that were still threatening them. They had only one gun, and as you know, the other ammo had already gone off in the fire.

This was a turning point for then-Colornal Johnson. She discovered something deep within her. She had found her calling. She extended her deployment to become to a full fledged Army Medic! For her actions that day, she earned a Purple Heart and the Army’s Commendation Medal with “V”.

I thank God everyday for special people such as Sgt. Crystal C. Johnson. What an Honor it is to have people like her in our midst.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives
so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday.
For that, I am proud to call them Hero

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

Here is some more information:

Hometown: Glendale, CA
Awarded: Army Commendation Medal
External Links: Sgt. Crystal Johnson – Remembers Lt. Emily Perez.
Download this hero’s story: Right click and “Save Target As…” to download.

You may also hear her interview on The Martha Zoller Show.

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There are many unsung heroes these days, and that is the shame this press will have to bear. As for us, we shall continue to bring you true Heroes each Wednesday. Trust me, there are way more than I bring to your attention. They are the heroes that everyday go above and beyond the call of duty. It makes one wonder, is the call of duty just to stay alive (to kill the enemy) or be willing to risk or even lay down one’s life for the cause of freedom and the life of one’s team? I believe most servicepeople would say it is the second.

This week’s Hero is Master Sergeant Brendan O’Connor. He is an extraordinary 47 year old man (in 2006) who saved the life of one man while in the attempt to save both men under enemy fire in the hellish lands of Afghanistan. Below is an account of some of that day. I’m quite sure there is much more to it than is being released, but I’ll be happy with whatever news I can get about our Heroes.

Here is some background about MSgt Brendan O’Connor:

Hometown: Moorestown, N.J.
Awarded: Distinguished Service Cross.
Download this hero’s story: Right click and “Save Target As…” to download.

There he saw two wounded men – and save wounded comrades in a hellish two-day firefight in a lawless part of Afghanistan. Master Sergeant Brendan O’Connor earned the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions.

Surrounded on all sides by hardened Taliban fighters, a vastly outnumbered force of Americans and Afghans fought nearly to the last bullet. In June 2006, 47-year-old Master Sergeant Brendan O’Connor of the 7th Special Forces Group – the Army’s elite Green Berets – was the team’s medic during Operation Kaika. The Taliban believed this isolated group of Americans and Afghans, numbering less than 70, would be an easy target. They were gravely mistaken.

When the terrorists sprang their trap, the sky exploded with the thunder of rifle, machine-gun, and grenade fire from both sides. The main group was separated by more than 100 yards, and the situation at both positions was dire.

O’Connor heard over the radio that several wounded men ahead of a forward position could be overrun at any moment. Leading a team of eight, he quickly traversed the distance between the two positions and took stock of the situation.

Staff Sergeant Matthew Binney and Staff Sergeant Joseph Fuerst – farther ahead and knew he had to reach them. Disregarding three enemy machine-guns, O’Connor dropped to his stomach and began an arduous crawl to the wounded troops. Restricted in his movements by his protective armor, O’Connor paused and removed the only shield he had from the hostile onslaught, his Interceptor bullet proof vest. He traded his armor for a cloth sign that he pinned to his back to alert the close-air support attack helicopters that he was friendly.

The 200 foot crawl was nearly an hour and a half of constant enemy fire directed at the brave American. Reaching a compound to which he could pull the wounded, he singlehandedly moved the two soldiers there and performed emergency first-aid. As night fell, O’Connor made several trips to move the Binney and Fuerst back to the advanced position. From there, they were able to medevac the injured, and begin their own exfiltration to the security of the patrol base.

While Fuerst did not survive his severe injuries, Binney lived because of the bold decision made by a 47-year-old-medic more concerned with the lives of his friends than his own. For his actions, O’Connor was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the first time a member of the 7th Special Forces Group was awarded this honor since July of 1964.

These men and women impress me so much, and I am so very grateful to them. I pray for their families and them to have success and know His Peace.

There is just one last thing I must say. I am very upset with the press. We are winning this war, and there are so many more heroes than I could possibly know about to write their stories. The press, on the other hand, has total access to this information. I can only find the reports that are listed at www.DefenseLink.mil. This leaves me to believe there is only one reason for this. This does not reflect well upon their true agenda. What is their agenda? Surrender at all costs. Shame on you!

I would like to end this post with edification. Many of men have gone before us, many will go after us. What we do with our lives, as it concerns our gratitude them, matters. It matters that we pray for their families and them. It matters that we focus on them, and not on what is wrong with the rest of the world. My God, I’d be writing forever! lol. Please remember them in your thoughts, when you awake, when you lay down your head to sleep, and all the time in between. They ask so little. They just want us to care, to be behind them, to remember them. We do. We love each and every one of you, and we pray for your success and victory so that you may come home when the time is right. Stay safe, sweet friends. God bless you and walk with you.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives
so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday.
For that, I am proud to call them Hero

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

Source(s): DefenseLink and Profiles of a Hero.

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Today we honor a wonderful man by the name of 2nd Lt. Philip D. Palmer from Charleston, South Carolina. This Marine earned the Silver Star for exceptional leadership while under fire and the ability to guide his young Soldiers through some very fierce fire fights in Iraq. Here is a little summary of one of them.

2nd Lieutenant Palmer.

Unshakable leadership under fire and the ability to guide young soldiers through fierce fighting defined Second Lieutenant Philip D. Palmer’s mission as a combat advisor to the Iraqi Army.

Days after the “troop surge” was announced, a young second lieutenant would persevere under fire to lead a burgeoning Iraqi Army unit to victory. Second Lieutenant Philip D. Palmer of the United States Marine Corps was assigned to a Military Transition Team working with the 1st battalion of the Iraqi Army during operations in the Ma’Laab district in Ramadi, Iraq. The morning of January 14th, 2007, would serve as a defining moment in his life and the lives of all the Iraqi troops he shepherded through danger.

The Iraqi platoon, led by Iraqi Lieutenant Allah, worked its way through the dangerous city streets, unaware of what was ahead. As the patrol bounded ahead, gunfire erupted from nearby positions hitting Lieutenant Allah squarely in his armor. While the rounds were stopped by his layers of armor, he was shell-shocked and stunned by the near-death experience. With Allah paralyzed by fear and incapable of leading his men under such hectic conditions, Palmer seized the initiative.

Seeing that words alone would not be enough to organize this nascent Iraqi unit, Palmer knew he must act. Standing like a monolith in the face of incoming enemy fire, Palmer took command of the broken unit, rallying them through his bold example. Taking point, he pushed forward towards the attacking insurgents with his newly inspired Iraqi unit who followed close through the chaotic streets.

Palmer kept in mind the mission and the 13 Iraqis he was attached to as he led the fight against the insurgent forces. At the end of the day, he successfully concluded the operation and brought every one of the Iraqi soldiers back to base alive. His heroic assumption of command and leadership under intense attack earned him the Army Commendation Medal with Valor. [Source: DefenseLink.mil. (.pdf)]

He is amazing, and we all thank him. Especially the families of those 13 Iraqi Soldiers and his own family! Well, we Americans thank you also. We are proud of you, and God bless you.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives
so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday.
For that, I am proud to call them Hero

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

Correction: I have made an error as to which medal he was honored to receive. He actually received the Army Commendation Medal with Valor, not the Silver Star. You would think I would know that, since it’s right there in front of me! D’oh!

My apologies 2nd Lt. Palmer. Maybe it was just me thinking I would have given you a Silver Star. It has been explained to me, however, that this medal is reserved for Marines who do heroic acts. What do you call what you did? I know. Your job. I call it brave and absolutely great. I think no less of you now than I did then. As a matter of fact, I think more of you for correcting me. Godspeed, friend.

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