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Note From the Editor
Greetings! This issue of Dispatches includes the tragic story of "The Fighting Sullivan Brothers" and their lasting legacy. We also include a story of SSgt William H. Pitsenbarger, an Air Force Pararescueman, who was awarded the Medal of Honor.
We hope you enjoy them.
Please let me know your comments regarding your Dispatches - things you like and things you like less. Also please contact me with any stories or articles you would like considered for publishing. I can be reached at Mike.Christy@togetherweserved.com.
1/ View Your Entry in Our Roll of Honor!
2/ Military Myths & Legends: The Fighting Sullivan Brothers
3/ Preserve Your Old Photos: Let Us Help for Free!
4/ Marine to be Awarded Medal of Honor for Hue City Heroism
5/ Do You Still Have Your Boot Camp/Basic Training Photo?
6/ Profiles in Courage: William H. Pitsenbarger
7/ Have A Military Reunion Coming Soon?
8/ Frank Kiss-From Saving Lives on the Battlefield to VSO
9/ New Together We Served Military Store
10/ Battlefield Chronicles: Was Pickett's Charge Necessary?
11/ TWS Person Locator Service
12/ TWS Bulletin Board
13/ Book Review: An Airman's Journey
14/ Letter's to the Editor
View Your Entry in Our Roll of Honor!
As a fitting tribute to our Members of Together We Served, your service to our country is now honored in our Roll of Honor, the most powerful online display of Living, Fallen and Deceased Veterans existing today. Our 1.67 million Veteran Members, who served from WWII to present day, now have a dedicated entry displaying a brief service summary of their service and their photo in uniform if posted.
You can find your Roll of Honor entry easily - click on the graphic below and select your service branch. Then enter your Last Name in the search window at top right and scroll down. Please check your entry for accuracy and Log in to TWS to update any information on your Profile Page, such as your Last Unit, and add your service photo for completeness if you haven't already done so.
If you have any questions regarding your entry in our Roll of Honor, please don't hesitate to contact us at Admin@togetherweserved.com or contact our Live Help Desk at the bottom left of your TWS website.
Military Myths & Legends: The Fighting Sullivan Brothers
The dramatic story of Steven Spielberg's award-winning 1998 film "Saving Private Ryan" was loosely based on the Niland brothers' story and the tragic tales of other American brothers who served and died in World War II.
Upon joining the military, the four Niland brothers-Robert, Preston, Edward and Fritz- of Tonawanda, New York, were spread out amongst various units with Fritz and Robert in the 501st and 505th Parachute Infantries, respectively, and Preston in the 22nd Infantry and Edward in the Air Force. All four were supposedly killed in action. Fritz, however, was alive in France.
When George Marshall General of the Army, Army of the United States, heard three Niland brothers were dead and Fritz still fighting in France, he ordered Fritz to be shipped home so the Niland and other families with sons severing in the war wouldn't lose all their sons.
Fritz was shipped to England, then back home to New York, where he served as an M.P for the remainder of the war. Back at home, Fritz and his family grieved over the loss of his brothers, but then they got one piece of good news; Edward, presumed dead, had in fact been found alive in a Japanese POW camp where he'd been held until Burma was liberated. Now, a second Niland brother was on his way home.
This loss of family members such as the Niland's serving in war zones helped established the creation of the Sole Survivor Policy or DoD Directive 1315.15 "Special Separation Policies for Survivorship" describes a set of regulations in the Military of the United States that are designed to protect members of a family from the draft or from combat duty if they have already lost family members in military service.
Among the families that lost loved ones serving in World War II was the Sullivan family who lived in Waterloo, Iowa, population 50,000 in 1942.
Thomas F. Sullivan, the head of the family, worked for the Illinois Central railroad. He was named after his grandfather who had been born in Ireland. Tom Sullivan married Alleta Abel in 1914 at St. Joseph's Catholic church. As was typical of Irish-Catholic families of that generation, they lost no time in starting a large family.
The Sullivan family led lives much like other middle-class families of the 1920s and 1930s. It was Depression time and Tom Sullivan was fortunate that he had a job. Not all his children were able to finish high school. A few of the boys found it necessary to help meet the household expenses. Most of the family found work at the Rath meat packing plant. When the two oldest, George and Frank, returned home from a hitch in the Navy, all five Sullivan brothers were working together again, just as they were when playing sports on that lot next door to their home.
The youngest, Albert was the first to get married. He and his wife Mary became parents when their son, James Thomas, was born on May 11, 1940. The other brothers would probably have done the same, but World War II got in the way.
When reports were received about the death of their friend, Bill Ball, who was on the battleship Arizona when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the five brothers-George, Frank, Joe, Matt, and Al Sullivan-all joined the Navy on the same day shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. As they signed up, they stated that they had just one stipulation: If they were going to serve, the requested the Navy to allow them to stay together throughout their service. The Navy agreed.
On January 3, 1942, less than a month after Pearl Harbor, they were sworn in at Des Moines and left for Great Lakes Training Center. Following their training, all five were assigned to the light cruiser USS Juneau, which was part of a large U.S. Navy task force operating in the waters around New Caledonia. By August 1942, the USS Juneau was participating in the months-long Guadalcanal Campaign.
On the evening of November 12th, air reconnaissance discovered the approach of a large Japanese task force approaching Guadalcanal. The engagement began about 1:45 am of November 13, 1942. There was no moon that night and there was instant chaos as searchlights suddenly illuminated the two adversaries at close range to one another. All ships unleashed their barrage of heavy armaments at point blank range. Within 30 minutes the engagement was essentially over.
The Japanese lost a battleship and two destroyers. Five of the 13 U.S. ships had been sunk or were heavily damaged. Many men were lost, including the task force commander, Rear Admiral Callaghan. The USS Juneau had just barely survived, having received a torpedo hit on its port side which left a gaping hole and an almost severed keel, forcing the ship to withdraw.
Later that day, as it was leaving the Solomon Islands' area for the Allied rear-area base at Espiritu Santo with other surviving U.S. warships from battle, the USS Juneau was struck again, this time by a torpedo from Japanese submarine I-26. The torpedo likely hit the thinly armored light cruiser at or near the ammunition magazines and the ship exploded and in a large cloud of black, yellow black, and brown smoke. Debris showered down among ships of the formation for several minutes after the explosion to such an extent as to indicate erroneously, a high-level bombing attack.
The captain of the USS San Francisco, H.E. Shonland, reported that: "It is certain that all on board perished." Captain Shonland was wrong-there were survivors from the Juneau. It was not known exactly how many made it into life rafts; there were at least 80. Among them was George Sullivan, the oldest brother, and Al, who drowned the next day. Frank, Joe and Matt had been killed instantly when the ship exploded.
Captain Gilbert C. Hoover, commanding officer of the light cruiser USS Helena and senior officer present in the battle-damaged US task force, was also skeptical that anyone had survived the sinking of the Juneau and believed it would be reckless to look for survivors, thereby exposing his wounded ships to a still-lurking Japanese submarine.
Hoover ordered his ships to continue towards Espiritu Santo and signaled a nearby U.S. B-17 bomber on patrol to notify Allied headquarters to send aircraft or ships to search for USS Juneau's crew that may have survived the torpedo attack and the sinking of their ship and were left in the water.
The B-17 bomber crew, under orders not to break radio silence, did not pass the message about searching for survivors to their headquarters until they had landed several hours later. The crew's report of the location of possible survivors was mixed in with other pending paperwork actions and went unnoticed for several days. It was not until days later that headquarters staff realized that a search had never been mounted and belatedly ordered aircraft to begin searching the area. In the meantime, USS Juneau's survivors, many of whom were seriously wounded, were exposed to the elements, hunger, thirst, and repeated shark attacks.
Gunner's Mate Allen Heyn was one of the survivors that was finally rescued from the sinking of the Juneau. He reported that there were 10 days of intense suffering as, one by one, the men succumbed to the intense heat, their wounds, and sharks. Many were badly burned and died a painful death. They became delirious from hunger and thirst. Heyn recalled how George Sullivan decided to take a bath one night. He took off all his clothes and swam around the raft. His movement attracted a shark and that was the last Heyn saw of him. Only ten men survived the ordeal.
Security required that the Navy not reveal the loss of Juneau or the other ships so as not to provide information to the enemy. Letters from the Sullivan sons stopped arriving at the home and the parents grew worried, which prompted Alleta Sullivan to write to the Bureau of Naval Personnel in January 1943, citing rumors that survivors of the task force claimed that all five brothers were killed in action.
This letter was answered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 13, 1943, who acknowledged that the Sullivan's were missing in action, but by then the parents were already informed of their fate, having learned of their deaths on January 12. 1943. That morning, the boys' father, Tom, was preparing for work when three men in uniform - a Lieutenant Commander, a doctor and a Chief Petty Officer - approached his door. "I have some news for you about your boys," the naval officer said. "Which one?" asked Tom. "I'm sorry," the officer replied. "All five."
The Navy named two destroyers 'The Sullivans' to honor the brothers: The Sullivans (DD-537) and The Sullivans (DDG-68). DD-537 was the first American Navy ship ever named after more than one person. The motto for both ships is "We Stick Together."
The issue that gave rise to the regulations first caught public attention after the five Sullivan brothers were all killed when the USS Juneau was sunk in the waters off Guadalcanal. The policy was enacted as law in 1948. No nominally peacetime restriction was in place until 1964 during the Vietnam War; in 1971, Congress amended the law to include not only the sole surviving son or daughter but also any son or daughter who had a combat-related death in the family. Since then, each branch of the military has made its own policies regarding separating immediate family members.
A museum wing has been built in honor of their service in World War II. The museum is in downtown Waterloo, Iowa, their hometown. It was completed in 2008. The grand opening occurred on November 15, 2008. The $11.5 million, state-of-the-art facility aims to play a role in preserving the history and service of Iowa veterans and serve as a facility for research and genealogy studies.
The brothers' story was filmed as the 1944 movie "The Sullivans" (later renamed "The Fighting Sullivans") and inspired, at least in part, the 1998 film "Saving Private Ryan."
On St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2018, the discovery of the long-lost wreckage of the USS Juneau by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen off the coast of the Solomon Islands.
Previously, Allen's research vessels also identified the wreck of the WWII Italian naval destroyer IT Artigliere, sunk in 1940, and the remains of the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Lexington, sunk in 1942. The Lexington was dubbed "The Ship That Saved Australia" after helping to defeat Japanese forces during the Battle of the Coral Sea.
Preserve Your Old Photos: Let Us Help for Free!
Do you have old photos from your service days stashed away in a drawer or in a shoe box in your attic? Old photos fade with time and if they are not scanned and preserved digitally, they risk eventually being lost forever.
This is where TWS can help. We have just invested in a high quality Fujitsu book and photo scanner that can scan any size of photo or yearbook. As a service to our members, we would like to offer you a free photo scanning service for your most significant photos from your service which we will then return to you, in original condition, along with a CD containing your photo files.
In addition, we can upload your photos for you to your Photo Album on your TWS Service Profile which will also appear in your Shadow box and available to you to access or download at any time.
Marine to be Awarded Medal of Honor for Hue City Heroism
A retired Sergeant Major credited with saving scores of Marines during one of the Vietnam War's deadliest battles will receive the Medal of Honor.
Retired SgtMaj John Canley, 80, of Oxnard, California, learned he'll receive the nation's highest award for valor during a July 9 phone call from President Donald Trump. It was first reported Thursday by the Ventura County Star.
"He told me that it was OK to let my Marines know that I would be receiving the Medal of Honor," Canley told Military.com. "He thanked me for my service and also wanted to thank my Marines for their service."
The fight to see Canley's Navy Cross upgraded to the Medal of Honor has been a years-long effort. The former company gunnery sergeant with 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, is recognized with leading more than 140 men through an intense week-long battle to retake Hue City from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, 1968.
Canley, who's from El Dorado, Arkansas, repeatedly braved heavy enemy fire to bring several wounded Marines to safety. When his company commander was seriously injured, Canley sprang into action, reorganizing his Marines by moving from one group to another to advise and encourage them, his Navy Cross citation states.
Former Pfc. John Ligato was one of those men. Ligato has spent the last 15 years making calls, taking Marines' statements and writing letters to see his gunny get the recognition he deserved.
"The Medal of Honor was rejected 10 times - never on the merits of what he did, it was always procedural," Ligato said. "There were times I gave up. But the irony is he's one of the most deserved Medal of Honor recipients ever in the history of our country."
Canley said his Marines were his only concern during the brutal battle. The average age of those fighting in the Vietnam War was just 19, he said, and they were looking for leadership.
"I'm just happy that I could provide that," he said. "It was an honor."
Ligato said Canley's actions far exceeded expectations. There were 147 Marines facing off against about 10,000 North Vietnamese troops. Canley not only led them from the front, but also with love, he said.
"I know this sounds strange, but he wasn't one of these gruff, screaming guys. You did stuff for him because you didn't want to disappoint him," he said. "You followed him because he was a true leader - something you need in life-and-death situations.
"He was totally fearless," Ligato added. "He loved his Marines, and we loved him back."
A date has not yet been set for the White House ceremony, but Ligato said Canley has asked him to speak about his company's Marines. Many of them went back to their communities one-by-one, he said, speaking little about the horrors they saw in Vietnam.
When they did talk about it, though, there was always one common thread.
"We all had a Gunny Canley story," Ligato said. "They were all different, but they all involved tremendous acts of valor."
That's why Ligato and some of his comrades have fought doggedly to have this honor bestowed, something Canley said has humbled him. From talking to members of Congress to Pentagon officials, they were determined to see this day come.
Canley's Medal of Honor citation will be read by Marines for generations. The retired sergeant major, who's battled prostate cancer since leaving Vietnam, said he hopes that those who go on to become staff noncommissioned officers or officers take away one simple message.
"That leadership is all about taking care of your people," he said. "If you do that, then you basically don't have to worry about the mission."
This Medal of Honor will help fill in the blanks of one of the most important Marine Corps battles in history, Ligato said. The actions Canley showed on the battlefield 50 years ago epitomize what it means to be a Marine, he added.
"Marines have been doing this since 1775," Ligato said. "Every once in a while, you have a Chesty Puller, a John Basilone or a John Canley. I think Marines reading his citation can take away that the Marine Corps is timeless."
Do You Still Have Your Boot Camp/Basic Training Photo?
Together We Served has a growing archive of more than 10,000 Boot Camp/ Basic Training Graduation Photos which we now display on your Military Service Page and Shadow Box. We also have a growing collection of Yearbooks which we will be making available on the site shortly.
We are still searching for Boot Camp/ Basic Training Photos and Yearbooks. So if you have yours available, please contact us at Admin@togetherweserved.com or call us on (888) 398-3262.
Either you can send us a scanned file of your photo or you can send it to us for scanning. We will add this for you to the Recruit/ Officer Training section of your Military Service Page.
All photos and yearbooks will be returned to you in original condition along with a CD containing your scanned photo.
Profiles in Courage: William H. Pitsenbarger
Born in 1944 in Piqua, Ohio, William H. Pitsenbarger was an ambitious only child. He wanted to quit high school to join the U.S. Army Special Forces' "Green Berets," but his parents convinced him to stay in school. After graduating in 1962, Pitsenbarger decided to join the Air Force and on New Year's Eve 1962, he was on a train bound for basic training in San Antonio, Texas.
During his basic training in early 1963, "Pits" - as he was known to his friends - learned his military skills in a series of demanding schools. After Air Force basic training, he volunteered for pararescue work and embarked on a rigorous training program, which included U.S. Army parachute school, survival school, a rescue and survival medical course, and the U.S. Navy's scuba diving school. More Air Force rescue training and jungle survival school followed. His final training was in air crash rescue and firefighting.
His first assigned was to the Rescue Squadron assigned to Hamilton AFB California. He was later sent on TDY (Temporary Duty) to Vietnam. Upon completing his first TDY assignment, he volunteered to return and received orders in 1965 to report to Detachment 6, 38th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron at Bien Hoa Air Base near Saigon. His unit was composed of five aircrews that flew three HH-43F Kaman Huskie helicopters, His commander, Maj. Maurice Kessler called him "One of a special breed, alert and always ready to go on any mission."
Arriving in Vietnam in August 1965, Pitsenbarger completed more than 250 missions, including one in which he hung from an HH-43's cable to rescue a wounded South Vietnamese soldier from a burning minefield. This action earned him the Airman's Medal and the Republic of Vietnam's Medal of Military Merit and Gallantry Cross with Bronze Palm.
On April 11, 1966, in the thick jungle near Cam My, Republic of Vietnam an infantry company on 134 soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division (the "Big Red One") was surrounded by a Viet Cong battalion of approximately 500 troops. In a fierce firefight, the North Vietnamese surrounded and pinned down the Americans. As the battle went on, the number of U.S. casualties grew steadily.
Detachment 6 of the USAF's 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron received an urgent call to evacuate the wounded. Army helicopters could not land in the battle zone because there were no clearings in the tall, dense "triple canopy" forest. The tallest trees rose 150 feet, and a second layer stood at about 100 feet, with a third layer below. Only U.S. Air Force HH-43 Huskie helicopters with cables and winches could hoist the injured from the jungle.
He was the rescue and survival specialist aboard "Pedro 73," one of the two Huskies on the mission. The Huskies were to take turns hoisting litters with critically wounded patients through the forest canopy and delivering them to a nearby airfield. Pedro 73's crew, while under fire and hovering in a hole in the forest below the tallest trees and barely large enough for the Huskie, saw that the ground troops desperately needed help loading wounded into the litter. Pitsenbarger volunteered to be lowered to the ground to help. He descended a hundred feet into the firefight with a medical bag, a supply of splints, a rifle and a pistol.
On the ground, he organized and speeded the evacuation, enabling the Huskies to rescue nine soldiers on several trips. Normally, pararescuemen return to the helicopter, but Pitsenbarger chose to stay and help the beleaguered troops. As the fight continued, Pedro 73 was badly damaged by ground fire and forced to withdraw. Rather than escape with the last Huskie, Pitsenbarger chose to stay on the ground and aid the wounded. Soon the firefight grew too intense for the helicopters to return.
For the next couple of hours, Pitsenbarger crouched and crawled through the thick jungle in search of wounded soldiers. He dragged them to the middle of the company's perimeter, hiding them behind trees and logs for shelter.
The circumstances deteriorated, forcing him to take up arms and fight the Viet Cong for an hour and a half, repeatedly exposing himself to heavy enemy fire while he did his utmost to make improvised splints and stretchers from the surrounding flora.
Ammunition running low, he darted around the battlefield, risking life and limb to collect leftover ammunition and distribute it to those still fighting. For his troubles, he sustained three wounds doing this. Yet, ignoring his wounds, he kept fighting.
He did his utmost to repel the attack and treat the wounded until the American perimeter was finally breached, and he took four shots while on his way to treat another wounded man, with the fourth hitting him between his eyes and killing him instantly.
As darkness fell, Pitsenbarger not only cared for the wounded but also collected and distributed ammunition to the surviving soldiers several times under enemy fire. In the early evening, he took four shots while on his way to treat another wounded man, with the fourth hitting him between his eyes and killing him instantly.
Viet Cong withdrew during the night, and the following morning U.S. forces were able to recover survivors and the fallen. Charlie Company had suffered 80 percent casualties.
For coordinating the successful rescues, caring for the wounded and sacrificing his life while aggressively defending his comrades, William H. Pitsenbarger received the Air Force Cross on June 30, 1966. After review, the original award was upgraded, and on Dec. 8, 2000, the Medal of Honor was presented to his family in a ceremony at the U.S. Air Force Museum. Airman Pitsenbarger is the 59th Medal of Honor recipient, and sixth enlisted recipient, from the Air Force and its predecessor organizations.
William H. Pitsenbarger was only 21 years old when he was killed in action. But in his short life and valorous Air Force career, he was an example of dedication, compassion, and tenacity for all those with whom he served. In his work, and especially on his final mission, Airman 1st Class Pitsenbarger embodied the Pararescueman's motto: "That Others May Live."
Pitsenbarger's heroism inspired a motion picture. "The Last Full Measure," will be released later this year, and will star Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Fonda, William Hurt, Diane Ladd, Alison Sudol and Christopher Plummer, and Jeremy Irvine will play Pits himself.
Have A Military Reunion Coming Soon?
TWS has nearly 1.7 million members who served in a wide range of units, ships, squadrons and duty stations. Get more people to your Reunion by sending your Reunion information to us in the following format and we will post it for free in our Reunion Announcements on Together We Served, in emails that go to our members and in our Newsletters.
Your Reunion Name:
Associated Unit or Association:
Place Where Held:
Contact Phone Number:
Contact Email Address:
Frank Kiss - From Saving Lives on the Battlefield to VSO
Although you may not recognize the name, countless Veterans throughout the years came to their local VA hospital at Northport asking to meet with Frank Kiss. They came seeking assistance from the one man they knew would help them file their service-connected compensation claims.
Frank Kiss was a United States Marine, who was awarded the Silver Star and a Purple Heart for his selfless and heroic acts during the Korean War. An entire chapter is dedicated to Frank's exploits in the book, "Why Marines Fight" by James Brady.
As a tank commander, Frank drove behind enemy lines on a self-appointed rescue mission to save as many Marines as he could. He loaded wounded Marines onto his tank and rode back on the outside of the tank, positioning himself with the wounded to keep them from falling off and to shield their bodies from enemy fire.
On the harrowed trip back to safety, Frank was wounded by three bullets to both of his legs and as well as multiple fragmentation injuries to his arms and chest. He walked with the aid of leg braces ever since. The most devastating wound of all came when he had to be discharged from his beloved Corps due to those injuries.
For months, he tried to convince leadership that he was still able to fight and honorably serve as a Marine. Unfortunately, it didn't work. He was awarded his medals and later discharged, which to Frank was a fate worse than death.
Frank was able to find a replacement career for the one denied him by the Marine Corps, working with Veterans to make sure they painlessly navigated the "red-tape" of the compensation claims process. For nearly 20 years, Frank got up at the crack of dawn just like any other Marine. He put on his heavy metal leg braces, and at least one garment or accessory bearing the iconic eagle, globe and anchor, and came to work as a volunteer Disabled American Veterans service officer at the Northport VA Medical Center, in New York.
Throughout his service, Frank never once stopped coming to the aid of those who served, and he never asked for anything in return. His service and dedication to duty embodied the ideals that are emblematic of the finest traditions of the Marine Corps.
After a long illness, Frank recently passed away in February at the Northport VA Medical center, at the age of 84.
If there is any truth to the last stanza of the Marine Corps Hymn:
"If the Army and the Navy, ever look on heaven's scenes: They will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines."
New Together We Served Military Store
By popular request, we are pleased to offer our Members your very own Together We Served Military Store with a whole range of items to peak your interest including custom shirts and caps, jackets, decals, badges, automotive and items for the home.
Now you can also purchase custom Together We Served branded merchandise. Please check out our range of ball caps, polo shirts, T-shirts, jackets and windbreakers HERE.
Our Store is offered in cooperation with Military Best, one of the most trusted suppliers in the United States, who offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee on all items purchased. Many items are made in the USA and a proportion of the proceeds from your purchase help support our military's underfunded MWR programs.
We appreciate your feedback at email@example.com your comments regarding what you like, what you like less and if there are any additional items you would like us to stock.
Battlefield Chronicles: Was Pickett's Charge Necessary?
What had been a three-day showdown between the Union Army under the command of Major General George G. Meade and General Robert E. Lee's Confederate forces reached its peak on the third and final day of the battle, July 3, 1863, at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Pickett's Charge was one of the most devastating infantry attacks recorded during the American Civil War. The charge led by George Edward Pickett, Confederate States Army general is best known for leading his division into the center of the Union lines.
The previous fighting which had transpired on July 1st-2nd left neither the Union or Confederate armies significantly better off.
General Lee's military secretary gave the following description of Lee's plan for the attack on July 3rd:
"There was a weak point, where Cemetery Ridge, sloping westward, formed the depression through which the Emmitsburg road passes. Perceiving that by forcing the Federal lines at that point and turning toward Cemetery Hill, Hays' Division would be taken in flank and the remainder would be neutralized. Lee determined to attack at that point, and the execution was assigned to Longstreet."
George Pickett was one of the three division commanders under General Lee's "Old War Horse" James Longstreet. Pickett's division consisted of three brigades as General Montgomery D. Corse's Brigade was ordered to remain in the region of Taylorsville. However, all these units were fresh having arrived late on the previous day.
On July 2nd, just two hours past midnight, the Soldiers started their twenty-five-mile march to Gettysburg, arriving late in the evening.
In a council of war held by Union forces on the eve of July 2nd, Major General George G. Meade speculated about Lee's line of attack to engage the center of his defenses. He correctly surmised that Lee would challenge the center of his lines had failed on both his flanks on preceding days.
General Lee's initial plan on the 2nd day was to send General Longstreet to attack the left flank of the Union forces with Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell leading the attack on Culp's Hill on the Union right.
However, while Longstreet was gathering his men, Union forces started a massive military bombardment against Ewell's troops at Culp's Hill and after a gruesome seven hours of battle, the Union Army had managed to hold their positions. Despite the early engagement by Ewell's forces and their failure to take Culp's Hill, Lee continued his offensive strategy to strike right at the center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge.
Brigadier General Henry J. Hunt came up with a brilliant idea to hold fire from their center lines when the Confederates carried out an artillery bombardment against their position early in the afternoon. This led the Confederates to believe that their enemy's batteries had been knocked out.
This further encouraged Lee's decision to attack there and around 3 p.m., when the firing had died down, 12,500 Confederate Soldiers in nine infantry brigades came tearing down the 1300 yards that led to the Cemetery Ridge.
Pickett commanded his three brigades on the right while Joseph Pettigrew with his four brigades and Trimble's two brigades were on the left. As the infantry advanced, Union Soldiers began hailing "Fredericksburg!" referring to a previous charge which they, the Union forces attempted and failed in the 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg.
Union forces reigned artillery fire from the flanks of Cemetery Hill, and heavy musket and canister fire came from Hancock's II Corps. As Pickett and the others drew closer, the Union forces unleashed a heavy fire on their attackers, much to the surprise of the Confederate commanders and General Lee.
The charge only got as far as the low stone wall that acted as a shield for the Union Soldiers, breaching it and temporarily breaking the U.S. lines; Confederate and Union Soldiers battled and brawled, clawing at each other in an urgent attempt to hang on to their positions, one side advancing and the other defending until reinforcements were sent in, breaking off the Confederates' short contact with the opposing forces and pushing them back.
Massive casualties were sustained on the side of the Confederates; a hailstorm of projectiles was fired at Pettigrew's men, while the other divisions also encountered heavy fire, sustaining losses too great to continue the march further.
General Lee's army was exhausted and depleted both in ammunition and in physical condition. He thereafter ordered the retreat of his men and the three-day battle was finally over, resulting in a huge number of casualties on both sides.
During the three days of fighting, over 560 tons of ammunition were fired resulting in over 50,000 casualties almost equally shared by the Confederate and Union Armies, making this one of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War.
General Pickett's Virginian brigades went furthest in the assault, making a turn in what is called "the Angle" at the edge of the stone wall. Their position marks what is called the "High-water mark of the Confederacy," arguably representing the closest the Confederates ever got to achieving independence from the Union through military action.
General Lee gathered his wounded and exhausted Army, taking a whole day to prepare his retreat. However, Meade's army did not try to pursue giving the reason that his army was also too battered and exhausted. Having had his own fill of bloodshed for the day, he allowed the Confederates to make their exit without further contact.
Pickett remained embittered long after the war, recounting in his memory the massive number of men he lost that day.
TWS Person Locator Service
Available for Together We Served members only! Together We Served has two hard working marines that devote their time and energy to help our members find long lost friends that are not yet members of our site.
If you have someone you are looking for, please send name, age they would be now and where they were from to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get them on the case for you.
TWS Bulletin Board
If you wish to make a post to our new Bulletin Board - People Sought, Assistance Needed, Jobs Available in Your Company, Reunions Pending, Items for Sale or Wanted, Services Available or Wanted, Product or Service Recommendations, Discounts for Vets, Announcements, Death Notices - email it to us at email@example.com.
Service Reflections Video of the Month
Marines Together We Served is saddened to report the passing of GySgt Paul Moore. Gunny Moore served in WWII, Korea and in Vietnam. After he retired, he served as an aviation advisor for several years in Vietnam. This interview is but a small part of the heritage he leaves behind here on TWS.
Behind the Scenes at TogetherWeServed
TWS has recently added to our small little family of Admins. I'd like to introduce you to our newest Admin Kim Craft. Kim is a navy veteran who served from 1981 to 1994 as a DP1. (That's an E-6 Data Processor to you non-navy types). Kim will be assisting with the day to day running of TWS. She's still in the training stage, so be gentle with her.
If you would like to visit her page, you can find it here.
Have a great month!
TWS Chief Admin
Are You a Writer?
As you know, TogetherWeServed is always looking for interesting articles to post to our forums and in this newsletter. Have you written any military related articles you would like to share to a broader audience? Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org and you may see it in an upcoming issue.
Looking for Army and Marine Corps Volunteers Memorial Team
Do you have a passion for making sure that all of our Fallen are not forgotten? This is the team for you. We have Fallen profiles that have either been orphaned or created by someone who has not been online for a very long time and there is nothing in those profiles. TWS is working to make sure that all of our Fallen profiles are as complete as possible.
TWS Brochures Available
Do you have a reunion coming up and would like to spread the word about Together We Served? We now have brochures available that helps explain a little bit about who we are and what we do.
NEW TWS Invite Cards
Did you know we have Together We Served invite cards that you can hand out to any veteran you meet? It even has a place to put your name, service branch and member number so you get credit for the invite.
If you would like some cards, email us your name and address to email@example.com and we will get them in the mail to you.
Add Your Boot Camp and Have Your Book Scanned
We recently received this email from LtCol Davies that we thought we would pass on. It comments on two projects of TWS that has helped find faces on the Wall.
TWS recently started gathering members boot camp group photos along with scanning members books to add to their page. Through these projects, at least 5 more faces have been added that we may not have had without your help!
Do You Have a Reunion Planned for the Norfolk Area?
If you do, please contact Diane Short at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss doing a presentation for your reunion.
VA and Other News
He's 63, Just Joined the Navy and Says 'I'm in My Prime'
When most people enter their 60's, they start thinking about retirement.
But Dr. Tyrone Krause decided it was the perfect time to start a new career.
At 63, the heart surgeon from Skillman, N.J., joined the Navy after receiving a waiver that permitted him to enter the Reserves a year past the typical age limit because people with his skills are in demand.
"Sometimes I say to myself, 'How did I get into this? Why don't I just relax and sit in my backyard and drink some beer?' But that's not my style. I've always been on the move. And hopefully I'll always be on the move," Krause said.
"I feel, surgically, I'm in my prime. I could still operate very well, and if I can give back and help some of our young men and women in the military, that's what I want to do."
Krause was commissioned as a commander Friday aboard the destroyer USS Ramage, where his 27-year-old daughter, Laura, is an ensign and performed the ceremony.
She was the first person he saluted.
"I can't even describe to you what this means right now," she said.
The two have always shared a close bond that has included climbing Mount Kilimanjaro together and watching sports. He was inspired to join the Navy after speaking with his daughter's recruiter, who was in the medical corps and mentioned that the Navy had a shortage of surgeons.
He saw it as one more way to connect with his daughter while also helping others.
"I don't ever see this man ever retiring," Laura Krause told her shipmates on the Ramage's flight deck.
She has good reason to believe that.
After all, her father had already worked in private medical practice for decades when he earned a law degree at night after his hospital shifts while he was in his 50's. He also moonlighted as a philosophy professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Krause said he doesn't have any plans to slow down. He notes that in his own practice, people who come to him with heart problems are often recent retirees and those who live to 100 tend to stay active.
"That's a good motto," he said. "Just don't stop."
He wants to help young hospital corpsmen learn about treating patients with trauma and is excited about the possibility of working aboard a hospital ship, like the USNS Comfort, which is home ported in Norfolk.
For now, he'll serve once a month at a Navy clinic in Sandy Hook, N.J. But just minutes after he was commissioned, he started serving in another way: by doing a bit of recruiting of his own to let others know it's never too late to try something new.
"A lot of people don't even you know you can join the Reserves and contribute. A lot of people in the private sector have a lot of skills they can bring to the Navy and military in general," he said. "You can be 40 years old, 50 years old and your profession may be something that's necessary in the military. You can certainly give back by joining the Reserves."
House, Senate Push Measures to Fund Defense Plan, Boost Military Pay
The full House and a Senate panel on Thursday approved massive appropriations measures to fund the next defense policy plan, bringing a 2.6 percent military pay raise, boosts to troop levels as well as new weapons and equipment closer to reality.
Both chambers are already headed into conference committee to hash out a final version of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which directs policy and spending plans for the Defense Department.
Thursday's actions will bring the NDAA even closer to garnering funding for its plans, which includes the highest military pay raise in nine years.
Members have produced "one of the best defense bills since I've been here," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who has served on the Hill since 1995, said during the Senate Appropriations Committee's markup of its defense funding measure. This is "long overdue for the men and women who are fighting these wars and serving our nation. This is a terrific markup."
With a deal to lift budget spending caps already in place, midterm elections approaching this fall and a more experienced administration, lawmakers are poised to pass the defense policy measure earlier and in smoother fashion this year. At this time last year, the Senate was yet to even approve its version of the NDAA, much less reach an appropriations deal.
Earlier this year, a two-year budget caps deal raised spending for defense to $716 billion this year.
"The bill before us today sustains force structure and improves military readiness," said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "It also recommends significant investments in future technology needed to defend our nation in an increasingly complex and competitive national security environment."
In recent months, House and Senate committees held dozens of hearings to discuss the 2019 spending and policy priorities for each of the branches as well as a wide-ranging list of challenges facing the military.
The defense plan looks to build on momentum to grow the size and might of the military in response to China and Russia's growing capabilities as laid out in President Donald Trump's $686.1 billion Pentagon budget proposed earlier this year. Trump's proposal was poised to get a receptive response on Capitol Hill with Congress invested in military improvements during an election year.
The request for fiscal year 2019, which begins Oct. 1, sought an increase of more than 15,000 active-duty troops.
This year's House and Senate NDAA versions authorize the pay raises, troop level increases, purchases of aircrafts, ships, submarines and weapons and a series of new policy initiatives. And the NDAA legislation could win final congressional passage this summer, experts have said.
On Thursday, the House passed its defense appropriations measure, H.R. 6187, in a vote of 359 to 49, in its last vote ahead of July 4th recess. The House is slated to return July 10.
The Senate Appropriations Committee also approved its version of a defense funding measure ahead of its upcoming holiday break.
Lawmakers aren't facing a long list of major issues on this year's defense plan before reaching an agreement on funding and policy, experts have said. And with large margins of passage in both houses so far, the measures appear to be "veto proof," even if Trump disagrees with the plan.
However, there are separate concerns that could derail the smooth process so far. For example, there have been threats from the White House that funding could face roadblock and face a government shutdown if Trump doesn't get his border wall.
The House and Senate defense policy plans also expand efforts to respond to and combat military-related child abuse and sexual misconduct among its ranks.
The Senate seems to take a more aggressive stance than the House NDAA proposal on issues such as reforming the "up or out" military promotion system, addressing opioid addiction among servicemembers and veterans, and tackling the sexual misconduct, abuse and domestic violence concerns. For example, the Senate proposal would make domestic violence a crime under the Uniformed Crime Military Justice, or UCMJ, a complaint raised in several Senate committee hearings this past year.
Legend of Ted Williams, Marine Pilot Recounted in PBS Show
After awaiting an assignment to the Pacific theater in World War II that would never come, Marine Corps fighter pilot Ted Williams relieved his exasperation by hitting baseballs in Ewa.
So many - and so far, - legend has it that they fashioned a major league-proportioned baseball field, Pride Field, at what was then Marine Corps Air Station Ewa in large part to accommodate the man who would go on to become the sport's premier hitter.
"He was like a god," said Ewa historian John Bond.
To this day, 16 years after his death, Williams remains something of an enigma, a man whose other-worldly talent was quickly evident but who was a complex riddle in so many other facets, as an exceptional chapter "Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived" in PBS TV's "American Masters" series.
Memories of Williams help rekindle a time when Hawaii was a gathering place for a series of major leaguers in military service, including Johnny Mize, Pee Wee Reese, Joe Gordon and Williams' long-time rival, Joe DiMaggio, of the New York Yankees.
Williams, for all the brevity of his multiple stays here across two wars, has some intertwined history. His parents, Sam Williams, a corporal stationed at Schofield Barracks, and May Venzo, a Salvation Army worker, met here in 1911, according to the biography, "The Kid."
Some of the fields where he pounded baseballs for the Third Marine Wing remain, including Pride Field, named after Admiral Alfred Pride, which has been reconfigured and used for youth league games, including the 2005 Little League World Series champion West Oahu team.
Begun as a Navy field for airships in the 1920s, Ewa became an airfield for the Marine Corps in 1941.
In 1945, with the war against Japan winding down and eventually over, Bond theorizes that many who followed Williams' remarkable start in baseball before military service and wanted to see him be able to pick up where he left off when the 1946 season rolled around, were behind fixing up Pride Field. "I'm pretty sure they built it for him, he was held in that high of a regard," Bond said.
Williams had hit .327 with 31 home runs as a rookie for Boston in 1939. By 1941 he upped it to .406 - the last major leaguer to reach the milestone - and 37 homers.
In 1942 he achieved the first of his two triple crowns, leading the American League in home runs, batting average and runs batted before entering military service the following spring, the start of a three-year separation from the Red Sox.
After advanced flight training, Williams was posted to Ewa, where he awaited orders as a replacement pilot. A perfectionist who saw hitting as a science, the future Hall of Famer sought to keep his well-crafted, fluid batting stroke sharp.
"The Marines just loved him," said Bond, who paints a picture of them quickly snaring balls as souvenirs that Williams smashed over the fence.
Williams was shipped back to the mainland in December 1945 and discharged in late January. He quickly regained his batting form, hitting. 342 with 38 home runs in 1946.
Less than eight years later, he was back in Hawaii again - a 33-year-old jet pilot recalled to duty and awaiting assignment to Korea. Once he got there, Williams flew a total of 39 combat missions in the Korean War.
Women Veterans and Traumatic Brain Injury
Navy Veterans Bridget Dolan and Amanda Burrill, along with Army Veteran Elana Duffy, are among other Veterans who shared their experience with traumatic brain injury (TBI) at #Not Alone Brain Injury Awareness event on April 16th at VA's Manhattan campus. The program highlighted these Veterans and members of New York VA Polytrauma/TBI team who treat them. Also, featured was Monica Aksamit, who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, Brazil, as a member of the U.S. Fencing Team.
Duffy, Dolan and Burrill shared their stories to bring awareness to the event, to women Veterans, where TBI has been less studied. Aksamit is committed to bringing attention to TBI, a signature injury of recent wars.
The following are symptoms of TBI:
People may experience:
Cognitive: amnesia, inability to speak or understand language, mental confusion, difficulty concentrating, difficulty thinking and understanding, inability to create new memories, or inability to recognize common things
Behavioral: abnormal laughing and crying, aggression, impulsivity, irritability, lack of restraint, or persistent repetition of words or actions
Whole body: balance disorder, blackout, dizziness, fainting, or fatigue
Mood: anger, anxiety, apathy, or loneliness
Eyes: dilated pupil, raccoon eyes, or unequal pupils
Gastrointestinal: nausea or vomiting
Sensory: sensitivity to light or sensitivity to sound
Speech: slurred speech or impaired voice
Also common: persistent headache, a temporary moment of clarity, bleeding, blurred vision, bone fracture, bruising, depression, loss of smell, nerve injury, post-traumatic seizure, ringing in the ears, or stiff muscles
Studies have shown that there are differences between the way males and females experience and recover from TBI.
Here's what some of the research has found:
Women who experienced worse outcomes than men following a TBI also had higher BMIs than men
In a study comparing men and women with mild TBIs, women experienced worse symptoms than men three-months post injury, especially women in their childbearing years
Three-years after their injuries, women with mild TBIs had worse outcomes than men in terms of symptoms and disability.
Post-concussion females have significantly slower reaction times and perform more poorly on visual memory tests compared to their male equivalents.
Female TBI survivors tend to outperform male survivors on tests of verbal memory and executive functions, including planning, initiating, and problem solving.
Women are less likely to have a caregiver and are particularly vulnerable to isolation, disempowerment and abuse.
Male survivors are more likely to be successfully employed, receive vocational rehabilitation services, and less likely to have vocational services prematurely terminated than women.
"I was hit by the concussive blast at close range from a large roadside bomb in central Iraq during my 2005 deployment. The blast blew me backwards and my head slammed into a metal plate, knocking me out for a short time, but not long enough that I couldn't push through the mission. I had no memory, knew no one's name, and I couldn't walk straight."
"The Army wasn't studying TBI at the time, so misdiagnosed symptoms like decreased visual fields, migraines and memory loss and anxiety for two years until they finally did an MRI and discovered I'd had an apoplexy during the explosion leaving a residue of coagulated fluids over my pituitary and in my cavernous sinus. I had surgery to reduce the pressure on my ocular nerve in 2008 at Walter Reed and was awarded the Purple Heart for my injury.
"As for care at VA, it's positive. The TBI, whiplash and other issues are complex and can sometimes be frustrating because of the rotation schedule of residents, but most of the doctors and residents I see appear to care very much about their job and seeking treatment options for my ongoing issues. There are no days where I am pain-free, but they do their best to reduce and manage what cannot be directly treated."
"I got my initial TBI at the age of 13 when doing gymnastics. I fell on concrete while doing a no-handed backflip. I was unconscious for 10-15 minutes and had a seizure. This was 1995, so at the time, they didn't have the imaging or knowledge they have now on TBI. I was sent home the next day and never treated for the injury until this past year. In the subsequent years, I had at least 3 known concussions, 2 while I was serving in the Navy. The first one was the result of physical assault in SERE school. The second was from domestic abuse from a fellow sailor I was in a romantic relationship with. After the military, I injured myself rollerblading and got a concussion when I fell and hit my head on concrete.
"I am new to the TBI clinic and it's taken me a while to get here. I have had a difficult time with doctors at VA. Many treating me as if I'm making my symptoms up or that it's psychosomatic. I've been diagnosed with everything from anxiety/depression to a personality disorder and fibromyalgia. It wasn't until I saw neuro-ophthalmology that the doctor noticed something was off. I had already been seeing the neurology department, but they were not too concerned with me and said it was anxiety. They knew about the head injury and said that the lesion on my MRI was likely from that, but not concerned and no mention of treatment. He referred me to vestibular rehab which is how I met Malou. When she heard my story, she knew right away that I needed to be under the care of the TBI clinic. So far, Malou and this clinic has been the only ones to listen to me about my symptoms and take it seriously. I have yet to see the doctors beyond my initial evaluation, but Malou and Roxanne (both VA employees) in occupational therapy have been tremendously supportive and helpful."
"I was a rescue swimmer in the Navy and competed on a professional level as a marathoner and Ironman triathlete. More recently, I'm challenging myself as a high-alpine mountaineer."
"My first TBI was a blow to the head sustained on a deployment. It was grossly misdiagnosed. For better or worse, it was a fall into a second TBI that eventually led to a proper diagnosis.
"Malou started as my foot physical therapist and saw firsthand how my situation unfolded. I struggled, as I didn't fully understand TBI or post-concussive syndrome, so it was hard to articulate what I needed. I eventually got outside insurance and did a full-time course of rehab at NYU Rusk, to include vision, speech, cognitive rehab and vestibular. Looks can be deceiving: I truly needed help.
"Because she is an excellent vestibular therapist and earned my trust, I agreed to return to the VA and work with Malou on continued therapy. There is no program to restore me to what I was, but she understands my desire to keep working for it. My case and ability to point out holes in the system, coupled with her ability to act, will help people. I've been to programs outside of VA that have helped me; some we found and applied to together. Since my return to the VA, I have been satisfied with my vestibular and interventional pain therapy.
"Three years ago, I would have walked right by a brain injury awareness presentation because I didn't know that was what I was dealing with. Going through the motions of fixing the damage as best I can have been the easy part. Awareness has to start with getting people diagnosed as soon as possible."
Potent New Auto Rifle for Close-Combat Troops
The Army wants to start fielding its Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle as early as 2022, but the Cold War-era M249 Squad Automatic Weapon could remain in the arsenal for decades to come.
Army weapons officials recently awarded contracts to five firms to develop prototypes of the NGSAR. It will have to be five pounds lighter than the full-size M249 and fire ammo that's lighter and more potent than the service's current 5.56mm round.
But "this is not for every soldier," Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski, principal military deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, told Military.com on Wednesday. "We are looking at it for 100,000 close-combat soldiers."
Right now, the NGSAR program - a top priority for the Soldier Lethality cross-functional team - is on target to be ready for initial fielding beginning in late 2022 or early 2023 at the latest, Ostrowski said.
One of the challenges facing manufacturers is the requirement for ammo that's more potent than the M855A1 5.56mm Enhanced Performance round and 20 percent lighter than traditional brass-cased ammunition.
Last year, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told Congress that the M855A1 will not defeat enemy body armor plates similar to the U.S. military-issued Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert, or ESAPI.
"We know that the 5.56mm is not going to be the round of the future because we have issues associated with adversaries' body armor," Ostrowski said.
The solution will likely be a cartridge that uses lighter material than brass for the casing.
Textron has been working for more than a decade on next-generation light machine guns that fire polymer case-telescoped ammunition in its Lightweight Small Arms Technology program.
Other companies have found that standard cartridge designs made completely from polymer are not strong enough and are prone to damage during the extraction process. One solution has been to use brass at the base and polymer for the majority of the case.
"Some will probably come with a polymer case that looks just like a current 5.56mm round except there won't be as much brass; some will come with a polymer case that is of the non-traditional form ... We don't know. We are allowing [companies] to make that decision," Ostrowski said.
"We have given them our priorities and said 'innovate,' and these companies are doing it," he added.
The NGSAR prototypes are scheduled to be delivered by early next summer. From there, Army officials plan to evaluate the designs and refine the service's requirement for the new weapon. Companies will then compete to make the NGSAR for the Army.
Soldiers in non-combat arms units will likely continue to use standard 5.56mm weapons such as the M4 and the M249, Ostrowski said.
"Our 5.56mm is going to be in our inventory for a long time," he said.
Changes to Expert Infantryman Badge Testing
Army officials at Fort Benning, Georgia, are rewriting the requirements infantry soldiers must meet when they test for the Expert Infantryman Badge.
Each year, infantry soldiers who have not earned the distinctive badge, consisting of a silver musket mounted on a blue field, must go through EIB testing, a series of 30 infantry tasks, ranging from land navigation to completing a 12-mile road march in under three hours.
Soon, EIB testing will feature more up-to-date tasks to reflect the modern battlefield, according to a recent Army news release.
Infantry officials recently conducted a modernized EIB pilot with multiple infantry soldiers, Master Sgt. Charles Evans, from the office of the Chief of the Infantry, said in the release.
"Their feedback was really essential to rolling out this new standard, making sure it was validated," Evans said. "Just working out all the kinks and making sure that all the tasks were applicable, realistic and up-to-date with the latest doctrine."
Many of the changes in the manual are designed to standardize options for units in how to conduct the testing, but "there will be significant changes to some of the tests themselves," according to the release.
"Indirect fire, move under fire, grenades, CPR and care under fire are all being reworked," the release states.
The results of the pilot will soon be put into an updated training manual for EIB testing.
"The reason we did this event was to make sure it wasn't just written from a single perspective, that it had feedback from all the different types of units across the Army," Evans said.
The Army also is updating infantry training for new recruits. Fort Benning just started a pilot program to extend One Station Unit Training for infantry from 14 to 22 weeks to ensure soldiers spend more time mastering infantry skills such as land navigation and fire and maneuver techniques.
VA Seeking Gulf War Vets for Sleep Study
The VA is looking for Persian Gulf War veterans who have sleep problems, and they are willing to pay them $355 to participate in a study designed to help them sleep better.
Specifically, the VA is looking for Persian Gulf War veterans who deployed from 1990 - 1991, with problems falling asleep or staying asleep. The veterans also must have Gulf War Illness (GWI) symptoms.
If that is you, you may be eligible for a non-medication insomnia treatment study for improving sleep and managing GWI symptoms. The therapy is known as Cognitive Behavior Therapy or CBTi.
CBTi is an approved method for treating insomnia without sleeping pills. Its goal is to improve sleep by changing sleep habits and misconceptions about sleep and insomnia.
CBTi has been shown to be very effective in improving sleep and in helping people sleep longer. Research has shown CBTi to be at least as effective as sleep medications for insomnia in short term, and usually more effective in the long term.
Clinical research suggests that sleep quality affects pain, fatigue, mood, cognition, and daily functioning. VA would like to find out if helping veterans with GWI to sleep better will also alleviate their other GWI symptoms.
This study will involve a clinical screening interview to determine eligibility, self-report questionnaires, eight weekly CBTi sessions by phone, and keeping track of your sleep/wake routine and habits in a sleep diary.
If you are selected by the VA to participate in the study, you will receive up to $355 in compensation (and you might be able to sleep a little better).
You don't even have to visit a VA facility to participate in the study, you can participate in the study from anywhere because of the use of telephone meetings and mail-in assessments.
Army Guard, Reserve Soldiers Have a New Way to Buy the OCP
U.S. Army National Guard and Reserve soldiers are now authorized to buy the service's new Operational Camouflage Pattern uniform online through the Army & Air Force Exchange Service website.
"The Army & Air Force Exchange Service has been temporarily authorized by the Army Clothing Services Office (CSO) to offer the Operational Camouflage Pattern Army Combat Uniform and related accessories to Army National Guardsmen and Army Reservists - regardless of rank or active-duty status - at ShopMyExchange.com," according to a recent AAFES press release.
The authorization comes a little more than a year before the Oct. 1, 2019, deadline when all soldiers must wear the OCP uniform.
"This temporary exception allows the exchange to bring the convenience of online uniform shopping to Guardsmen and Reservists," Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Luis Reyes, the exchange senior enlisted adviser, said in the press release.
The Army announced its plan to field the new camouflage pattern, which is very similar to MultiCam, in June 2015 after a multi-year effort to find a more effective pattern than the digital Universal Camouflage Pattern, or UCP, which soldiers criticized for being ineffective in war zones.
The new OCP uniforms became available in military clothing stores in July 2015, and the Army began issuing the uniforms to new recruits in early 2016.
In addition to the OCP blouse and trousers, the uniform includes a 499 tan T-shirt and belt and coyote brown boots. Soldiers are authorized to wear the desert sand T-shirt, belt and boots - designed for the Universal Camouflage Pattern uniform - with the OCP until Sept. 30, 2019.
The Army's pattern has proven so effective that the Air Force announced in May that it is also adopting the OCP and plans to have all airmen wearing the uniform by April 2021.
General Views Taliban Cease-Fire with 'Cautious Optimism'
The head of U.S. Central Command said Thursday that the recent cease-fire between Afghan forces and the Taliban may be a signal both sides are ready for peace.
Although fighting continues, "there is cause for cautious optimism and evidence that the president's South Asia strategy is working," U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, told reporters Thursday at the Pentagon.
"The most dramatic evidence of this manifested recently when our conditions-based approach allowed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces to set up the conditions for the first-ever nationwide cease-fire," he said. "Although the cease-fire was temporary, all parties respected the terms, and there were no reported breaches."
The cease-fire, which began June 9 and concluded June 30, did have a few breaches according to Air Force Brig. Gen. Lance Bunch, assistant to the Deputy Commander for Air, and Vice Commander, 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Afghanistan Resolute Support.
Bunch told reporters at the Pentagon in late June that the Afghan air force had to conduct several self-defenses strikes during the designated cease-fire period in response to Taliban hostility.
"There have been 38 instances where the Afghan air force has been airborne and has conducted self-defense strikes in support of their ANA partners on the ground - 38 instances where the Taliban did not honor the ceasefire," Bunch said.
Following the cease-fire, U.S. and coalition forces conducted "increased kinetic strikes in support of the Afghan National Security Forces' targeting of Taliban revenue-generation mechanisms," Votel said.
Votel stressed that "much work and fighting" lie ahead, but "the cease-fire demonstrated the increased desire for peace not only from the Afghan people but also from the belligerents in the conflict."
"We saw numerous instances of this during the cease-fire, and we have seen many since its conclusion, even in the midst of ongoing combat operations," he said.
The New York Times reported Sunday that U.S. officials are open to holding direct talks with the Taliban, according to an article by The Associated Press.
Votel, however, stressed that U.S. and coalition forces so far have been a "supporting element to that overall reconciliation effort."
"This is an Afghan-owned and led process," he said.
The Taliban have continued to refuse to participate in direct talks with the Afghan government, demanding instead to negotiate with Washington, according to the AP.
Ghani's orchestration of the three-day cease-fire may change the Taliban's stance, Votel said.
"His offer to move forward with the cease-fire and to meet with the Taliban under a no-conditions-based approach is very courageous," he said.
How American Patriots Handled Negative Comments About Our Great Country
Once upon a time when our politicians did not tend to apologize for our country's prior actions, here's a refresher on how some of our patriots handled negative comments about our great country. Here are five examples.
JFK'S Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60's when DeGaulle decided to pull out of NATO. DeGaulle said he wanted all U.S. military out of France as soon as possible. Rusk responded, "Does that include those thousands of Americans who are buried here?"
When in England, at a large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of 'empire building' by George Bush.
Powell answered by saying, "Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return."
There was a conference in France where several international engineers were taking part, including French and American. During a break, one of the French engineers came back into the room saying, "Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intend to do, bomb them?"
A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: "Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?"
A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies.
At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of officers that included personnel from most of those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks, but a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, "Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?"
Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied, "Maybe it's because the Brit's, Canadians, Aussie's and Americans arranged it, so you wouldn't have to speak German."
Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 89, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on. "You have been to France before, monsieur?" the customs officer asked sarcastically. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously. "Then you should know enough to have your passport ready."
The American said, "The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it."
"Impossible. Americans always have to show their passports on arrival in France!" Whiting gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then, he quietly explained, "Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find a single Frenchman to show a passport to."
CMSGT Gus White
I served with CMSGT White at Udorn RTAFB , 432 Avionics Sq in 1969-1970. We became lifelong friends and he retired from Beale AFB. After visiting the AF museum at Wright Patterson AFB, I saw a number of firsts people highlighted in a display. My plea is to request help in recognizing CMSGT White as the first African-American Airman who made CMSGT E-9. Gus was on the groundfloor of the SR-71 program. His service deserves to be recognized at the museum.
My name is Xanthe Pajarillo. I am a USAF veteran, CalArts graduate and incoming USC Film & TV Production MFA Student for Fall 2018.
I created a web series titled AIRMEN -- it's a dramedy about a group of eclectic Air Force troops navigating life and career during peacetime operations. In 2017, it received an Honorable Mention for the Tim Disney Prize for Excellence in the Storytelling Arts. Veterans are cast in the lead roles to lend authenticity to the storytelling. We just launched a Seed&Spark crowdfunding campaign for AIRMEN to help finance the project: http://www.seedandspark.com/fund/airmen
I would like to ask for your support by sharing our campaign link to our campaign with your email list and/or posting a link on your social media. We want to involve as many veterans as possible and appreciate how Together We Served cultivates a community for us vets to stay in touch.
Honor Flight is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America's Veterans for all their service and sacrifices. We transport our heroes to Washington, D.C. to tour, experience and reflect at their memorials. Top priority is given to our most frail veterans - terminally ill veterans of all conflicts and World War II survivors. Korean and Vietnam Veterans are also transported on a first-come, first-served, space-available basis.
Of all the wars in recent memory, it was World War II that truly threatened our very existence as a nation - and as a culturally diverse and free society. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 600 WWII Veterans die every day. Our time to express our thanks to these most senior heroes is rapidly running out.
There are over 150 regional hubs across the United States who transport our veterans to Washington DC, free of charge, to see all the service memorials.
Go to honorflight.org to find the nearest hub in your state. Applications are available at those locations.
Exposure to Military Direct Microwave Beams
Months ago we discussed announcing a registry for microwave beam exposed injured veterans. The nascent symptoms are only now beginning to present and these veterans have no safety net at the VA. I have been working hard on establishing a presumptive illness category at the VA for microwave injured veterans. I started a website as a resource for veterans who suspect that they may have been exposed to direct microwave beam to determine the likelihood of injury. There is strength in numbers and we need as many veterans as possible to use the online tool. The website is microwavedvets.com. The tools are complimentary as a thank you for their service. we do not charge a penny.
OCS Heritage Center Proposed for Fort Benning Museum
Tampa, Florida - The U. S. Army Officer Candidate Schools Alumni Association (USOCSAA) announced plans to build a Heritage Center that will be constructed within the confines at Wigle Hall, at Fort Benning, Georgia. This new "Heritage Center" will celebrate and recognize the history and traditions of OCS since its inception prior to World War II.
The new OCS Heritage Center will feature displays and information covering:
World War II
Women's Army Corps
America's Volunteer Army
Army of Excellence
Global War on Terrorism
There will be galleries honoring fallen OCS graduates and Medal of Honor recipients. Interactive Kiosks will feature OCS Hall of Fame Honorees, Distinguished OCS Graduates plus Patterson and Nett Awardees.
OCS "Success Stories" will be highlighted along with biographies and personal glimpses into individuals who have excelled in both the military and commercial worlds.
"The OCS Heritage Center will be the only place honoring what Officer Candidate Schools have meant to the U.S. Army and America," said COL John Ionoff (Ret), OCS Alumni Association President. "It's how we plan to preserve the legacy of the more than 250,000 OCS graduates regardless of their school or training location."
Ionoff continued, "Whether you were in the Infantry, Armor, Artillery, Engineering or Transportation, all will be honored at the Heritage Center at Fort Benning."
The completion date and unveiling is projected at April 28, 2019 at Fort Benning, Georgia. A dedication ceremony is planned.
The Heritage Center will be funded primarily through donations and contributions by OCS graduates, sponsors and others interested in preserving military history.
To contribute, please visit www.ocsalumni.org/donate or call 813-505-8335.
About OCS: The Officer Candidate School started at Fort Benning, Georgia in 1941, when the first Infantry OCS class graduated 171-second lieutenants from the 17-week course. General Omar Bradley is credited with establishing the format, discipline, and code of honor still used in OCS today; General Bradley emphasized rigorous training, strict discipline and efficient organization.
The OCS mission is: to train selected personnel in the fundamentals of leadership; basic Military skills; instill professional ethics; evaluate leadership candidates potential; and commission those who qualify as second lieutenants in all sixteen branches of the United States Army.
About the OCS Alumni Association: The United States Army Officer Candidates Schools Alumni Association (TUSAOCSAA) is the Alumni Association for the United States Army Officer Candidate Schools (OCS). Begun in 1986, the mission of the Alumni Association is serving and honoring the OCS program and preserving the legacy of its graduates.
Please Help Me!
My name is Lydia Williams. I am Eric Williams widow. My husband, Eric Williams passed away on May 27, 2017. He had Multiple Myeloma, COPD, Congestive Heart Failure and Renal Failure. Two days before he died the VA sent me a letter that they are working on his claim. We have fought and were denied his benefits for two years. Now, he has passed on at the age of 54. I told Eric, I would fight for him when he was alive. I still plan on fighting for him. I am trying to find some people from his unit as well to help put all the pieces together.
Add Your Platoon Number!
Admin, let me give you an example of why every Marine on TWS should add their Boot Camp PLATOON number. Finding each other is but one example of its importance. I am working with the Vietnam Wall of Faces which seeks to find a photo of EVERY US Serviceman/woman so those on the Vietnam Memorial Wall will not be just a name etched in granite. There will be a face and a story for each one. I am the "Marine Corps" Rep on the Florida Group. I have 3 photos left to find. We have almost exhausted every route we can take which has included professional genealogists searching public records; high school yearbooks; County and Town Offices; etc. to locate surviving family members who might have a picture. For the Marines, every one of the Marines who went through boot camp received a platoon graduation book in which their picture was documented. However, the Marine Corps back in the 60's did not record the platoon number in their military records. Also, the Recruit Depots did not retain a copy of each platoon book. I knew that if I could find a Marine's platoon number I could go onto TWS and hope to find members of that platoon who would help me find his picture. I solved two of our cases this way. I continue to seek platoon graduation books for the remaining three by identifying the time period when their platoon would have been formed and blasting out this information to a wide variety of USMC sources. So, when I find these platoon numbers, and, by God, I will! I can then come on to TWS and find members of that platoon and get my last pictures. So, thank you for publishing this. I hope that hundreds of your members put their platoon numbers in so we can leave no Marine's picture behind.
These are the three Marines from the State of Florida for which we haven't been able to locate a picture:
1. PFC Wayne C. Kurlin, arrived in the 1st Recruit Battalion PISC on 5 January 1967. He would have been in a platoon that was formed within 3 to 4 days after that. The Platoon would be been a 1xx number.
2. PFC Ruben Bell. He arrived at PISC during August, 1967 (Don't have date or Battalion)
3. PFC Joe Lewis Lee. He arrived at PISC during April, 1966 (Don't have date or Battalion)
I have asked our guys to get copies of Bell and Lee's SRB so I can get more granular with the date and Battalion.
Any needles that can be pulled out ancient haystacks are much appreciated.
Platoon 2203 Dec 1979-Mar 1980
I'm looking for a buddy statement from anyone who remembers me and the following incident. I've been trying to find my drill instructors and fellow recruits. I am totally disabled now from injuries from boot camp at Parris Island. The first night of boot camp, one of the instructors threw a foot locker and impaled me on a wall breaking a splintered into my spine. I have since had to have spinal fusion. At ICT I dislocated my right jnee and have had to have surgery on it. The VA will do nothing for me and the DAV is at a crawl again. I was the only meritorious Pfc in the entire training Battalion.
Air Force Veteran Raybon
I came across a military Air Force camo shirt. The last name is Raybon and a patch that says Air Training Command. I was interested to see if we could find the family. Maybe it would mean something to them and I would give it to them.
I just lost my dad 10 months ago and if someone contacted me and said they had one of my dads Coast Guard shirts it would mean so much.
Recognition for Jackie Robinson
July 26, 2018
The Honorable Gen. James Mattis, USMC, Ret. Secretary of Defense 1000 Defense Pentagon Washington, DC 20301-1000
Dear Secretary' Mattis,
When you delivered your 2011 (commencement address at Central Washington University, you shared the following with the graduating class:
"You need to write your own code; no one can write it for you. It will help you make a positive impact on the lives of others and help you overcome mental and physical scrapes and bruises. "
In doing so, you communicated your core value and code, which is in complete alignment with another great American - Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson. One of his most beloved, impactful, and oft-quoted sayings is the following:
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives""
We write to urge you to exercise your authority in regard to publicly take notice of the 70th anniversary' of President Harry' S. Truman signing Executive Order 9981. And to publicly acknowledge the tremendous contribution of Rachel Robinson and the Jackie Robinson family to America, and to the United States Army.
We (Carl and Mae Gordon, the first stew ards of University of the "Hood*) are reaching out to you to share a few important American historical facts that unquestionably reinvented, and strengthened America's core values. And the accentuation and illumination of the beautiful strands of the American tapestry', in all its glory', and shimmering colors.
Today is the 70th anniversary of President Harry S. Truman's signing of Executive Order 9981,which abolished racial discrimination and segregation in the United States armed forces.
One week ago today, on July 19, 2018, Mrs. Rachel Annetta Robinson, the widow of baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, celebrated her 96th birthday. Mrs. Robinson is a civil rights icon, educator, and philanthropist in her own right.
Forty-five years ago, in 1973, together with her and Jack's dear friend Marty Edelman, Esq., Mrs. Robinson formed the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Mrs. Robinson is still leading a team of men and women dedicated to the mission of equipping minority students with the tools needed to succeed in life, and in higher education, by mentoring them and providing them with full-tuition scholarships.
Mrs. Robinson is also among a few living American women who are daughters, wives, and mothers of United States Army veterans of the 20th century.
She is the daughter of an American veteran of World War I, who served in the segregated U.S. Army during the war to end all wars.
She is the daughter of an American veteran of World War I, who served in the segregated U.S. Army during the war to end all wars.
She is the wife of an Army officer who served in that same, segregated U.S. Army during World War II and who courageously stood up by sitting down and fought segregation and discrimination in that Army in 1944. His stand as a United States Army officer eventually helped lead to President Truman's executive order abolishing racial discrimination and segregation in that Army.
She is a mother whose first-born son was an Army veteran who fought in a desegregated U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.
General Mattis, as the Secretary of Defense of these United States, would you please acknowledge the Robinson family with a special commendation for their contributions and steadfast fidelity to America and its core values on this Veterans Day, November 11, 2018, the 70th anniversary of President Harry S. Truman's signing of Executive Order 9981 liberating the United States armed forces?
Thank you for your consideration. Please feel free to reach out to me if 1 can ever be of assistance.
MPA, University of Southern California
Co-founder and first steward of University of the 'Hood' email@example.com
3rd Marine Division
The 3rd Marine Division Association is looking for any nurses who served in Vietnam at any time and in any location. We are inviting you to join us at our banquet on Saturday evening September 15 at the Hotel Elegante in Colorado Springs. I will pay for dinner. You can contact me at the following:
1st LAR Bn Association
We are trying to get the word out about the association to members who served in 1st LAV Bn., 1st LAI Bn., 1st RLA Bn., and now called 1st LAR BN. The Battalion had four name changes from 85-93. The association just stated last year and we are looking for Marines and Sailors who served. The web site is: 1stlarbnassoc.org. If you need any other information please let me know.
From the Korean War to the Vietnam War era, the author shares his memories and provides photos of his service with the U.S. Army and with his career the U.S. Air Force.
Covered in the early part of the book are details of how he is exposed to military life, the drudgery of barracks duties, like cleaning latrines, and the kitchen police, overcoming all of those to become a surgical technician, and getting assigned to different air bases to finally reach a forward station in South Korea.
He recounts the many instances of near-fatal attacks during his stint in South Korea during the Korean War, along with a tour of Japan. His long list of adventures includes returning from Japan to do a tour in Germany.
The book is replete with humorous experiences like guarding the Commander's dog or inventing a real 'sob story' to arrange a compassionate transfer, or his escapades with girls nationally as well as abroad. The memoir has a very good collection of photographs of people, events, and celebrations of those days. He seems to have taken special care to bring the enjoyable facets of barracks life to the forefront while making efforts to downplay all the routine chores that need not be of great interest to the public.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
I love this book! As a family history buff, and Robert Fletcher Sr. happens to be my great uncle, I loved hearing about his journey thru the Air Force. I never knew that he had traveled to so many places! And he was always ready to go! Uncle Robert was determined to be successful and he was! ~Dana Hadwiger
Wonderful story, evocative pictures. It makes me wish I had thought of doing this for my own dad. ~AF Guy
A personal account by a USAF airman's journey from an Army Buck Private to USAF Major. A good account of what military life was like from 1947 to 1972. He gives a good account of what was unusual duties in the Cold War, Korean War, and the Vietnam War and many assignments all over the U.S. and around the world. ~Robert
About the Author
From enlistment at Fort Benning, Georgia in 1947 to Las Vegas, Warner Robins, post-war Japan, to Korea, Germany, and Okinawa, Robert Fletcher rose through the ranks of the US Air Force and proudly retired as a Major with full honors and four college degrees. His chosen field was meteorology and he later became a high school physics teacher. Truly "a life well lived."
Letters to the Editor
I write today after reviewing the latest addition to TWS. I have been a member for many years and continue to be both impressed and amazed at the content and quality of the site. It is difficult, complex and extraordinary administration for you, and I'm sure, a limited staff. Thank you is simply not adequate appreciation for your continued service. As a proud veteran, please know that thousands of veterans share your patriotism and love of this great country and our military. ~Paul J. Pederson
The Heroes of "Ol' 666"
In 1943, several U.S. Airmen went on a suicide mission. Two men on the mission were awarded a Medal of Honor - the only time in WWII that two men received the same award for the same engagement. Interestingly, their careers didn't start out well.
Please note that on the Ploesti Low-Level Mission of 1 August 1943, B-24 "Hell's Wench" of the 93rd Bomb Group was lost. The pilots on that crew, Lt Col Addison Baker and Maj John Jerstad were both awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously. ~Bill Saavedra
Colonel, USAF (Ret)
Volunteer, USAF History Office