Browsing: Hero of the week

On June 30, 1863, 170,000 men approached a quiet Pennsylvania town called Gettysburg, having no idea that one of the bloodiest and most important battles in American history would begin within twenty-four hours. 75,000 of them – the Army of Northern Virgina – were under the command of General Robert E. Lee. They were being pursued by 95,000 Union troops under Major General George Meade, who was careful to keep his army positioned between the rebels and Washington, D.C. The South’s goal was to force an engagement against the Army of the Potomac and win, then sue for peace with…

The Korean War began on June 25, 1950 and officially continues to this day. It is the story of a lightning fast surprise invasion by more than 100,000 North Korean soldiers that engulfed almost all of South Korea within a few days. It is also the story of a stubborn and desperate resistance in the southern tip of South Korea – the Puson Perimeter – after the initial invasion. The refusal to surrender prevented the North Koreans from consolidating their hold on the country, and kept the door open for the Inchon invasion in September. Other storylines emerged too. One…

The word passed quickly among old shipmates today that our Captain, Michael B. Ferguson, had passed away on Saturday. He died where he loved to spend time, on the sands of Dam Neck, Virginia. He was my first Commanding Officer. He took command of USS COOK (FF1083) right after her collision with USS MARS (AFS 1) in the summer of 1979 – one of the most challenging situations a ship’s Captain can inherit, since he would not only have to ensure major repairs were completed on time, but also heal the morale of a crew that invariably would suffer after…

It has been seventy-two years since over 150,000 men conducted an assault on the coastline of France against an entrenched and experienced German military. Known as Operation Overlord then, it has become known to today’s generations as D-Day. Much has been written about the assault. The Americans suffered 9,000 casualties, with the worst conditions experienced by those on Omaha Beach – where some companies in the first wave suffered more than 50% casualties. Casualties were high among airborne forces from the 82nd and 101st as well. It is humbling to hear the stories of those who were there on D-Day,…

The United States had no business winning the Battle of Midway. Its three carriers – ENTERPRISE, HORNET and YORKTOWN – were outgunned by four Japanese carriers Akagi, Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu, and a huge fleet of battleships, cruisers, destroyers and light carriers. To make matters worse, YORKTOWN had been damaged so severely at the Battle of Coral Sea a month earlier that she was barely able to get back to Pearl Harbor for repairs. She was presumed to be out of commission. American presence on the island itself consisted of a hodgepodge of discarded aircraft, new arrivals and hastily built…

Sometimes life just works out the way it should. Last Saturday I had the honor of presenting a special award to a colleague for his work over the last decade supporting the troops. The award is called the Silver T-Square, and the recipient was Army veteran and fellow cartoonist Bruce Higdon (also known as Foghorn because of his easy country charm). Bruce served his country in uniform, then served the troops as a cartoonist with the USO for over a decade. Here is Bruce at Ramstein AFB in Germany. Here he is returning from Afghanistan in a C-17. He is…

I am not talking about me. While it is true that I am preparing for a gravel race, it is only a hundred miles long. A hundred mile race is peanuts. Let me tell you about a guy named Joe Welker. Joe is an Army veteran and is a crazy psycho because in a few weeks he will ride his bike along the Continental Divide for 2768 off road miles from Canada to Mexico. I used to live in Colorado. Tackling the Continental Divide is no Sunday drive, I can assure you. You know how they always talk about the…

The media brushed by the news. Another American killed. A Sailor. A SEAL. Killed in Iraq. Despite the cursory mention, despite the chaff from political contests that demanded attention, the nation noticed and paused. His family was notified. His new bride of only a few months, a vibrant and lovely girl with an infectious optimism and ready smile, was notified too. The utter sadness of it all overwhelmed everyone. The tragic news spread across his town, and people who had never met any of them sprang into action. On Friday the city of Coronado will line the streets to honor…

While browsing through the Mother’s Day greetings on social media after celebrating with my wife and calling my own mom, I stumbled across this famous story and immediately realized it should be shared again, especially on this special day. The words have been pulled directly from the Naval History and Heritage Command’s website. News of the deaths of all five brothers became a rallying point for the war effort, with posters and speeches honoring their sacrifice. Extensive newspaper and radio coverage of the incident made the loss of the brothers a national story, producing “a wave of humility and sympathy…”…

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