Thursday, October 27, 2011

Black WWII Marines Finally Honored; VA To Tackle Gulf War Illness; Officer Michael Neal: 2011 International Officer of the Year; Heroic Firefighter Honored

"The safest place in Korea was right behind a platoon of Marines. Lord! How they could fight."---Major Gen. Frank Lowe, U.S. Army

Black Marines Finally Honored After More Than 60 Years

It took more than 60 years, but the approximately 19,000 black Marines who served in World War II will finally be honored by Congress with The Congressional Gold Medal. Marine Corps commander, James Amos, ordered the Marine Corps to teach all Marine recruits the history of the Montford Point Marines. Montford Point Camp in Camp Lejune, N.C., was specifically set up for black Marines after Pres. Roosevelt desegregated the Marine Corps. "We're going to anchor the rich history of Montford Point in the 236-year history of the United States Marine Corps," declared Amos.

"It's a long time coming...something you look forward to, wonder if you're going to live long enough to see it, " said 86 year old retired Sgt. Ruben McNair.

Approximately 75% of the Montford Marines served overseas during World War II, and they still experienced racism. For example, the Montford Marines were not allowed to visit Camp Lejune unless they were escorted by a white officer. They were also not permitted to eat meals with other white Marines. However, color was not always an issue when they faced the enemy. Black Marines fought on Iwo Jima. Their job was to supply ammunition and other supplies to combat units. They also took part in evacuating the dead and wounded during combat.

In 1949, Pres. Truman issued an executive order barring segregation in all American forces. In 1974, Montford was renamed  Camp Johnson after Sgt. Major Gilbert "Hashmark" Johnson.

"My promise to that your story will not be forgotten. It will take its rightful place, and it will be forever anchored in the rich history of the United States Marine Corps," said Amos.

Semper Fi Montford Marines!!!
(Sources: USA Today and ABC News)

VA To Improve Treatment of Gulf Illness

Two decades after the Gulf War,  the VA will begin a pilot program in Salt Lake City specifically targeting the care of Gulf War veterans who suffer from the multi-symptom illness. The VA also promised to improve data collection, research and training.

The program will finally go beyond the mistaken diagnoses of stress. The research will focus on the connection between Gulf War veteran illness and the use of pesticides and anti-nerve agent pills. A recent study showed antioxidant coenzyme Q10 as responsible for better outcomes in treatment. ( permit an editorial comment: It's about time).
(Sources: AF Times and USA Today)

2011 International Officer of the Year

Dedicated to Heroes congratulates and honors Officer Michael Neal of the Arkansas Game & Fish Wildlife for being recognized as the 2011 International Officer of the Year.

On May 20, 2010, Officer Neal confronted two cop killers, Jerry Kane and his 16 year old son, Joe, at a shopping center approximately 90 minutes after they had killed Officers Paudert and Evans during a traffic stop on I 40. The two cop killers were armed with an AK-47 and handguns. Officer Neal, observing a fire-fight with two other police officers rammed the Kane's vehicle with his patrol car and engaged the driver first with his own patrol rifle. His action stopped that threat. He then exchanged fire with the 16 year old. The boy was using an AK-47 at a range of seven feet until Neal also stopped that threat.

Officer Neal was not struck by gunfire, but he did suffer some shrapnel wounds. He was attended to at the ER and then sent home. In addition to his patrol duties, Officer Neal also conducts police officer training.
(Source: Police One)

Heroic Chicago Firefighter Honored

Chicago Fire Lt. Andre Raiford was honored for rescuing an 80 year old woman from a burning building in 2010. Thanks to his heroic efforts, the woman survived.  He was bestowed the Lambert Tree Award.
(Source: ABC News)

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