Thursday, April 17, 2014

Former Army Sgt. Kyle J. White To Receive Medal of Honor; Hero NYPD Officer Dennis Guerra Laid To Rest; Medal Of Honor Dinner For Retired Sgt. Melvin Morris

Army Sgt. Kyle J. White To Be Awarded Medal of Honor

On May 13, 2014, former Army Sgt. Kyle J. White will be receive the Medal of Honor.

On Nov. 9, 2007, serving as his platoon Radio Telephone Operator, his team of U.S. and Afghan National Army soldiers were ambushed by a larger and more heavily armed Taliban force.

After being briefly knocked out by a rocket-propelled grenade, Sgt. White immediately went to the aid of several fallen U.S. troops. In one instance, White noticed severely wounded U.S. Marine Phillip Bocks lying out in the open. Under a hail of fire, White made four attempts to drag Bocks to safety. He finally succeeded but Sgt. Bocks later succumbed to his wounds. He also went to the assistance of several of the other wounded soldiers.

Later in the battle, as he used his radio to bring in more artillery and mortars, he received his second concussion, this time from friendly fire.  After nightfall, White marked the landing zone and assisted the medics in hoisting wounded Americans and Afghans into the chopper. He did not allow himself to be evacuated until everyone else was in the position to leave.

Six other Americans died in the battle. White's father served in Special Forces in Vietnam. He will be the seventh living recipient to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Stars & Strips

Thousands Attend NYPD Hero Police Officer Dennis Guerra's Funeral

On April 6, 2014, NYPD Police Officer Dennis Guerra and his partner, Officer Rosa Rodriguez, responded to a Coney Island arson fire. Both officers were overcome by carbon monoxide and smoke. Guerra died from his injuries three days later. As of earlier this week, Officer Rodriguez was still being treated for her injuries. She was listed in critical, but stable condition.

Guerra was the first NYPD officer to die in the line of duty since Dec. 12, 2011, when NYPD Officer Peter Figoski died from his wounds after being shot.
CBS News, NY Daily News

Honor Dinner For Medal of Honor Recipient Melvin Morris

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Soldiers Killed At Fort Hood Identified, Two Boston Firefighters Killed Mourned By Thousands Of U.S. Firefighters

Soldiers Killed At Ft. Hood Identified

The following is a little background on the soldiers killed at Ft. Hood this week:

  • Sgt. Danny Ferguson enlisted in the service in 1993. He was a Florida native. His job was transportation management coordinator. He also served in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, he had just returned from Afghanistan.  Sgt. Ferguson was killed trying to save others as he tried to hold a door shut.
  • Sgt. Timothy Owens enlisted in 2004. He was an Illinois native. Owens was a counselor. He also served in Iraq.
  • Sgt. Carlos Lazaney-Rodriguez enlisted in 1995. Rodriguez was from Puerto Rico. He was planning to retire in the near future. He had two deployments to Iraq.
Sixteen other soldiers were wounded in the attack. Three were critical but have been upgraded to fair condition as of this writing.

Funerals Held For Two Boston Firefighters

Boston firefighters Lt. Ed Walsh and Michael Kennedy were mourned by their colleagues, families and the people of Boston earlier this week.

Walsh and Kennedy died on March 26, 2014, while fighting a fire in an apartment in the historic Back Bay section of Boston.  Kennedy was a Marine Sergeant and an Iraq war veteran.

Sixteen other firefighters were injured fighting the blaze of the 150 who responded.  None of the apartment tenants were injured.

During Ed Walsh's wake, his wedding ring was returned to his wife. Earlier in the day, fellow firefighters worked for hours sifting through debris to find it.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

"Band Of Brothers" Bill "Wild Bill" Guarnere Dies At 90; Twenty-Four Army Veterans To Receive The Medal of Honor

Bill "Wild Bill" Guarnere WWII Vet Dies At 90

It was in the Spring of 2009 when I had the pleasure of meeting Edward "Babe" Heffron (at right above with Bill Guarnere), of "Band Of Brothers" fame, at a small diner across the street from Independence Hall Park in Philadelphia. I would go to that diner every morning for breakfast. On one of those mornings, this small, stocky elderly man walks in, sits down and just starts talking to several patrons. He was obviously the center of attention. I knew I recognized him as my mind was searching for an answer. Frustrated, I turned to the waitress and asked her who he was. She replied with obvious pride, "That's 'Babe' Heffron one of the Band of Brothers."

Long story short. I got up and went over to introduce myself and thank him for his service. A breakfast that normally lasted 30 minutes morphed into almost an hour. To say"Babe" liked to talk would be an understatement. Nevertheless, I  literally hung on every captivating word he spoke. I left the diner that morning knowing I had just met a genuine American hero. Edward "Babe" Heffron left us last year. He was 90.

I bring this story to your attention because of passing this week of Bill "Wild Bill" Guarnere, another member of the "Band of Brothers." Guarnere also died at 90 years of age. 

Guarnere's commendations included the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. He lost a leg during the Battle of the Bulge while trying to help another wounded soldier.

Guarnere, like Heffron, lived in South Philly. In 2007, he helped write the best-selling memoir called, "Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends," with Babe Heffron. Both men remained life-long friends.

Twenty-Four Army Vets To Be Awarded The Medal of Honor

On March 18, 2014, twenty-four Army veterans will be awarded the Medial of Honor. Most of the veterans to be honored are of Hispanic or Jewish heritage. All have already been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second highest military honor. Only three of the recipients are still living. 

Of the 24, seven fought in WWII, nine in Korea and eight in Vietnam. The three living are Vietnam Veterans.   The 24 include:

  • Spc. 4 Santiago J. Erevia, Vietnam
  • Sgt. 1st Class Jose Rodela, Vietnam
  • SSgt. Melvin Morris, Vietnam
Posthumous Recipients:
  • Sgt. Candelario Garcia, Vietnam
  • Spc. 4 Leonard Alverado, Vietnam
  • SSgt. Felix Conde-Falcon, Vietnam
  • Spc 4 Ardie Copas, Cambodia
  • Spc 4 Juesus Duran, Vietnam
  • Cpl. Joe Baldonado, Korea
  • Cpl. Victor Espinoza, Korea
  • Sgt. Eduardo Gomez, Korea
  • Pfc. Leonard M. Kravitz, Korea
  • Msgt. Juan Negron, Korea
  • Msgt. Mike Pena, Korea
  • Pvt. Demensio Rivera, Korea
  • Pvt. Miguel Vera, Korea
  • Sgt. Jack Weinstein, Korea
  • Pvt. Pedro Cano, WWII-Germany
  • Pvt. Joe Gandaara, WWII-France
  • Pfc. Salvador Lara, WWII-Italy
  • Sgt. William Leonard, WWII-France
  • SSgt. Manuel Mendoza, WII-Italy
  • Sgt. Alfred Nietzel, WII-Germany
  • 1st Lt. Don Schwab, WWII-France

Thursday, February 20, 2014

SSgt. Walter Ehlers, Medal Of Honor Recipient On D-Day, Died Today; This Week We Honor The Heroes Of Iwo Jima, Tuskegee Airmen Honored

SSgt. Ehlers, Medal Of Honor Recipient, Dies At 92

SSgt. Walter Ehlers, the last living Medal of Honor recipient who stormed Omaha Beach on D-Day, died today at 92.

Ehlers earned his Medal of Honor "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty" on June 9 and 10, 1944.  SSgt. Ehlers was also awarded three Purple Hearts and a Silver Star during his service with the 3rd Infantry Division and the 1st Infantry Division. 

Ehlers is survived by his wife, three children and 11 grandchildren.

Iwo Jima: 69 Years Ago This Week

The Battle of Iwo Jima took place 69 years ago this week from February 19-26 March 1945.  We suffered approximately 7,000 casualties and 19,000 wounded. We honor them in the following images:

Portion Of I-80 Honors Tuskegee Airmen

Starting this week, a 17 mile portion of Interstate 80 will be dedicated to honoring the Tuskegee airmen as the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Highway.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Honoring Our Military Families On This Valentine's Day

On this Valentine's Day, we will like to take the opportunity to honor our military families. Take a moment to view some of the families who serve us each and every day.

"Live each day like he or she deploys tomorrow." Author unknown

Happy Valentine's Day And Thank You Military Families One And All!!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Former Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleader Saluted For Her Military Service; Want To Enlist? Questions For Your Recruiter; National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

"She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails."...Elizabeth Edwards

1st Lt. Rachel Washburn, Former Eagles Cheerleader, Honored For Her Service

1st. Lt. Washburn, 25,  traded in her cheerleader uniform for an Army uniform after cheerleading for the Philadelphia Eagles from 2007-2009. The change in careers was not a difficult one for Washburn. Her father was a Army chopper pilot and an Air Force fighter pilot. One can confidently say her career choice is part of her DNA.

After graduation, Washburn became a commissioned second lieutenant in the Army. She went through paratrooper training and now works in military intelligence. She served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. During her second deployment, she served as a platoon leader.

Her military citations and awards include the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal, Combat Action Badge and Air Assault Badge.

It's clear Lt. Washburn feels safer carrying a military assault rifle instead of pom-poms.

USA Today, UK Daily Mail

What To Ask Your Recruiter

Anyone planning on enlisting in the military has many questions. Just as any job interview, most people think of questions they should have asked during the interview. The same phenomena occurs after an interview with a recruiter. Let's review several questions one should always ask of their military recruiter.

  • When do I take the ASVAB---the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery? Timing is important. Most recruits should set aside enough time to prepare for this test.
  • How soon will I leave for basic training? Remember, you won't leave for basic training after you enlist. In addition to the test, you must also qualify medically. It's important you let your recruiter know when you can leave for basic training, e.g., after graduation.
  • When will I get my job assignment? This usually depends on the branch of service.
  • What documents do I need when starting the recruitment process? This list will include, but not be limited to, your driver's license, Social Security card, birth certificate, transcripts, marriage license, medical documents and court documents. You will be asked for a complete medical and legal history. Be honest with your recruiter regarding both.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation was founded in 1992 to lead a nationwide effort to honor fallen firefighters. The Foundation also provides resources to assist their survivors including a variety of support programs and scholarships.

Consider donating by contacting: 301.447.1365 or go to their website:


Friday, December 6, 2013

Pearl Harbor--"A Date Which Will Live In Infamy;" America's Two Oldest WWII Vets Meet For The First Time, PD Line Of Duty Deaths

"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve,' attributed to Japanese Admiral Yamamoto

Remembering Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941

On December 7, 1941, 353 Japanese fighters, bombers, torpedo planes and mini-subs attacked the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The Japanese attacked in two waves from six aircraft carriers. American casualties and losses included 2,402 killed and 1,247 wounded. Of the American casualties, nearly half the total were on the battleship Arizona. Nineteen ships were either sunk or destroyed including four battleships. In addition, 3476 aircraft were either destroyed or damaged.

The following day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the attack on Pearl Harbor "a date which will live in infamy."

WWII Vets, Both 107 Years Of Age, Meet For The First Time

Richard Overton, considered the oldest living U.S. military veteran in the United States, and Elmer Hill, also 107, lived four hours from each other in Texas but never met. They will meet on Saturday, National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

Overton volunteered for service in 1941. He joined the Army's 188th Aviation Engineer Battalion. He saw action in Guam and in other areas of the Pacific theatre.

Hill was drafted into the Navy in 1942. He served as a gunner aboard the USS Saginaw Bay aircraft carrier.

Of their approaching meeting, Hill said, "It'll be nice to see what we have in common."

Of the 16 million Americans who served in WWII, approximately 1 million survive today. Over 1.2 million African Americans served during WWII.
 USA Today, Stars + Stripes

Officer Line Of Duty Deaths

While Line of Duty Deaths in November were not as high as other months, there were still five deaths reported in the Gainesville PD Texas, Oregon City PD, Delaware County Park Police (PA), NY State Police and Florence County SC.  To date, we've lost 93 police officers throughout the country. Last February and September were particularly disturbing with 14 recorded in February and 13 in September.  Deaths due to gunfire accounted for a majority of the deaths followed by automobile accidents.  Eighty-nine of the officers were male and four female. Average age was 42 with an average tour of duty at 13 years, 8 months.
Officer Down Memorial Page