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« on: March 06, 2010, 12:40:03 PM »

Wish we could bottle the stuff this guy is made of.

Wounded war hero visits Capitol Hill, advocates for orthopaedics
By Jamie A. Gregorian, Esq., and Andrew N. Pollak, MD

Soldier’s story underscores importance of orthopaedic research

Nine months after captivating the attendees at the Extremity War Injuries IV symposium (See “EWI-IV highlights advances in combat care,” AAOS Now, March 2009), Capt. Ray O’Donnell returned to Washington, D.C., to share his story with members of Congress.

Capt. O’Donnell and his wife Kelly flew in from their home in Mililani Town, Hawaii, to help make the case for increased funding and support of orthopaedic research and care in meetings with Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-Md.) and Sens. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), and Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii). As the AAOS manager of research advocacy and the chair of the AAOS Extremity War Injury and Disaster Preparedness Project Team, we were proud to accompany them.

A routine patrol ends badly
The recipient of a Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Capt. O’Donnell was injured during a routine combat patrol in August 2007 in Afghanistan. A roadside bomb threw Capt. O’Donnell approximately 80 feet from his vehicle.

Capt. O’Donnell sustained several severe injuries, including a left hip dislocation that also fractured his pelvis and hip joint, a fracture and dislocation of his right wrist, a bladder rupture, several facial bone fractures, and a collapsed lung. Tragically, two close friends were killed when his vehicle was destroyed.

Capt. O’Donnell had already experienced the deep cost that U.S. soldiers paid in recent conflicts. In 2005, his best friend 1st Lt. Nainoa K. Hoe was killed in Mosul, Iraq, and Capt. O’Donnell escorted the body home for burial.

“Nainoa’s men were the most important thing to him,” said Capt. O’Donnell in a 2005 interview with the Honolulu Advertiser. “He never asked his men to do something he wouldn’t do himself.”

For his own injuries, Capt. O’Donnell was initially treated in Bagrum, Afghanistan, and, after initial resuscitation, was rapidly transferred to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. He next flew to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for further stabilization and care and finally to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio for definitive treatment of his injuries. He ultimately recuperated at the Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, Fla.

Capt. O’Donnell discussed the frustration he experienced during his recuperation. Although he did not sustain the loss of any limbs, his left leg was completely paralyzed from the knee down, leaving him unable to walk on his own. Meanwhile, he watched fellow patients who had lost limbs begin to run and jump with the help of prosthetics. So disheartening was the experience that Capt. O’Donnell asked to have his leg amputated so he too could enjoy the mobility that amputee patients were experiencing.

Ultimately, as Capt. O’Donnell explained, he accepted the counsel of his physicians, and opted to rehabilitate his injured leg. After returning to Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, he was fitted for a custom orthotic device that now allows him to walk without assistance, despite significant paralysis of his left leg below his knee. Now, after training and rehabilitation, he walks with only a slight limp, runs regularly, and recently completed a biathlon.

Orthopaedic research made it possible
In sharing his story, Capt. O’Donnell highlighted two important points: first, that without the groundbreaking research of the orthopaedic community, he would not be walking on his own right now, let alone running, and second, that all members of the Armed Forces deserve treatment as good as his.

Further research is clearly needed to improve the care that military physicians are able to deliver to wounded soldiers. Effective treatments such as those that enabled Capt. O’Donnell to return to high levels of physical activity are still lacking for many wounded soldiers who sustain high-energy open extremity injuries.

“I can’t ask my men to charge through that door, if I don’t know that they’re going to get the best possible medical care if they get hurt,” a passionate Capt. O’Donnell said.

Kelly O’Donnell provided the unique perspective of a young military wife dealing with a severely injured husband. They had been dating when Capt. O’Donnell was hurt, and he proposed while in the hospital. When the hospital’s chaplain refused to officiate, Capt. O’Donnell’s father, himself a veteran, performed the ceremony. Today, Mrs. O’Donnell is an outspoken advocate for providing soldiers with the kind of medical care they deserve and performing the necessary orthopaedic research to make that care possible.

“We need to provide all of our soldiers with the care that they need,” said Mrs. O’Donnell, after her husband told Rep. Ruppersberger that, although he was confident that, as a captain, he would get the orthopaedic care that he needed, he was less confident that lower-ranked troops would receive similar care.

Meeting with the home team
We then joined the O’Donnells in visiting Sens. Inouye and Akaka. The meeting with Sen. Inouye was particularly poignant, because Capt. O’Donnell served in the same battalion that Sen. Inouye served in during World War II.

A service-disabled war hero, Sen. Inouye won the Medal of Honor after being critically injured as the Allies fought in Italy. Prior to the war, he had been a premedical student at the University of Hawaii, with hopes of becoming an orthopaedic surgeon. After losing his right arm in combat, Sen. Inouye changed his career plans but continued to be active, learning to play the piano with one hand and entering politics.

“While I was in the hospital, you were my inspiration,” Capt. O’Donnell told him.

“You are too kind,” replied Sen. Inouye.

After meeting with Sen. Inouye, Capt. O’Donnell met Sen. Akaka, with whom he shares a familial connection. He again praised the military orthopaedists who helped him to walk again.

“They’re now a part of our ohana,” said Capt. O’Donnell, using the Hawaiian term for extended family.

http://www.aaos.org/News/aaosnow/dec09/reimbursement1.asp
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2010, 12:44:47 PM »

He is going to have get in line way in back of Acorn, SEIU, AFL/CIO, AFT, CSEA, et al. 

Obama will tell him to take a pain pill instead. 
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2010, 05:53:11 PM »

Read "Never Surrender" a couple months ago by retired Lt. Gen. William Boykin.  Another great American.  One of the founding members of Delta Force.  http://www.amazon.com/Never-Surrender-Soldiers-Journey-Crossroads/dp/0446582158

Very entertaining read about how an American patriot kicked butt and took names, all in the name of Jesus.   Smiley  Seriously, interesting to see how someone in his position balanced faith and service.  Highly recommend it to anyone in the military who is also a person of faith.
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2010, 06:02:15 PM »

Politicians tend to think soldiers are disposable.
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2010, 10:40:32 PM »

I know a way the US government could save millions on Orthopedics!







Stop sending our soldiers off to be maimed in senseless wars!







 Tongue
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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2010, 11:21:23 AM »

Politicians tend to think soldiers are disposable.


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wo135x0oXo8" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wo135x0oXo8</a>
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« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2010, 01:29:37 PM »

I know a way the US government could save millions on Orthopedics!







Stop sending our soldiers off to be maimed in senseless wars!







 Tongue

Won't happen.
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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2010, 02:20:15 PM »

Won't happen.

Yeah, I just wish there was a little honesty about the real "objective"...  Undecided
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2010, 02:29:15 PM »

Quote
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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2010, 02:30:25 PM »

Post of the month Beach Bum!!!
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« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2010, 10:06:57 AM »

Pearl Harbor survivor's ashes laid to rest in USS Arizona
Remains of ensign interred on ship where he rescued wounded
By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Though he was was loath to discuss the subject, what Anthony Schubert saw from the deck of the USS Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941, would color the way he saw the world for the next 68 years of his life.

 
Yesterday, amid a small gathering of friends, comrades and officers, Schubert's remains were returned to the sunken battleship where 1,117 of Schubert's fellow sailors lost their lives during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Schubert, one of a dwindling number of surviving crew members from the Arizona, died in Hutchinson, Kan., on Aug. 12 at the age of 90. His family arranged to have his remains interred on the ship, a privilege extended to all surviving crew members.

Schubert's daughter Tonay Hayward said she and her family only learned of the option after her father had passed.

"He didn't know about this," said Hayward, who attended the service with her husband, John, daughter Jacky and Jacky's friend Willi Schrom. "He wanted to be buried in Kansas. He wanted a naval funeral. And I would not have discussed this with him. The Arizona was a taboo subject when I was growing up."

Still, Hayward said she had no doubt that her father would have been pleased and honored to be interred with the more than 900 Arizona crewmen whose remains were never recovered from the ship.

DAY OF THE ATTACK

Schubert, a native of Lagmond, Kan., graduated from the Naval Academy in 1940 and was quickly assigned to the USS Arizona.

According to a report he filed with the Navy about his experience on Dec. 7, 1941, Schubert, then an ensign, was in a bathroom shaving shortly before 8 a.m. when he heard an air raid siren, then the sound of scattered gunfire.

He went to his quarters and saw "several low-winged monoplanes at low altitude flying away from the line of moored battleships, apparently having finished a bombing or torpedo attack."

Schubert donned dungarees and a pair of slippers and headed to his designated station. By this time, the ship was being rocked by explosions and its bow was sinking so quickly that the mooring lines were snapping.

Under the direction of Lt. Cmdr. Samuel Fuqua, who would later be awarded a Medal of Honor for his work that day, Schubert opened hatches and helped load wounded sailors onto rescue boats sent by the USS Solace.

With the ship rapidly sinking and oil burning on the surface of the water, Schubert and other survivors transported two boatfuls of wounded to Ford Island. Only after he had completed his duties did Schubert seek medical care for a cut on his head and burns to his hands and arms.

"He saw his young comrades destroyed in an instant and he never got over that," Hayward said. "Today, they do a lot of counseling, but he never had that."

Hayward said what little she knew of her father's experiences that day came via her mother, Edythe. Still, Hayward said, the events of that day haunted her father for the rest of his life.

Schubert served in the military for 13 years, retiring as a lieutenant commander to join the Arabian American Oil Co. He later taught at the University of Virginia.

"He was always aware of the fleeting nature of life," Hayward said. "He took advantage of opportunities and he was very achievement-oriented, but he also knew that he wasn't going to be mired in materialism. He wasn't concerned with conspicuous consumption because he knew it could all be taken away in an instant."

'HE'D BE VERY PROUD'

Jacky Hayward, who lives in San Francisco, remembers her grandfather as somewhat withdrawn but very intelligent. She recognized his love and concern in his admonitions to drink more milk and to be careful of traveling on the Bay Bridge.

Hayward said she was moved by yesterday's service and a bit daunted by her family's direct connection to one of the pivotal moments of American history.

The ceremony included a two-bell ceremony by the Fleet Reserve Association, a rifle salute from the Navy Region Hawai'i Ceremonial Guard and the playing of "Taps."

Schubert was also honored in remarks by speakers Paul DePrey, the national park superintendent of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, and Capt. Lawrence Scruggs.

With a massive American flag set at half-staff whipping in the breeze overhead, Hayward transferred her father's remains to a quartet of Navy divers, who held the urn above water as they positioned themselves above the open barbette of the ship's gun turret No. 4. The divers then slowly descended beneath the choppy water to place the urn into a large open slot in the ship.

Schubert was the 32nd surviving crew member to be interred on the ship.

Of the 300 Arizona crew members who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, roughly 20 are still alive.

"The ceremony was enormously touching and moving and I know my father was watching down upon it," Tonay Hayward said. "I know he'd be very proud."

http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/20100508/NEWS08/5080346/Pearl+Harbor+survivor+s+ashes+laid+to+rest+in+USS+Arizona
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2010, 12:43:53 PM »

I encourage you to watch this.  It's ten minutes long.  Incredible story. 

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2010/05/13/army_captain_flatlined_for_15_minutes_shares_amazing_story.html
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« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2010, 09:59:13 AM »

Soldier Blinded in Iraq Won't Stop Serving His Country
Associated Press
   
WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Since a car bomb blinded Capt. Scott Smiley in Iraq, he has skied Vail, climbed Mount Rainier, earned his MBA, raised two young boys with his wife, won an Espy award and pulled himself up from faith-shaking depths.

Smiley, 30, has snagged attention for his big accomplishments. But the daily ones are telling, too, including the recent tour he gave of his staff's offices at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he plans to watch President Barack Obama address the Class of 2010 on Saturday.

Unable to see the path around the workers' cubicles, Smiley stepped forward with a joke to the camouflage-clad officers he was showing around: "I walk around, and when I hit things, I move," he said.

An aide trailing him said softly, "Turn right, sir," at a doorway. Smiley turned.

Smiley, of Pasco, Wash., is one of only a handful of soldiers who chose to remain on active duty after being blinded by fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, a practice that's rare but one that military officials say benefits both parties.


Though unable to return to his old infantry duties in Iraq, Smiley has thrived in stateside postings such as his latest at West Point, from which he graduated in 2003. He now commands the Warrior Transition Unit at West Point for ailing or wounded soldiers.

Voice software allows Smiley to listen to e-mails, books and pamphlets. Aides help him navigate and tell him what order he's signing. It's a little like changing his son's diapers at home: He's fine as long as he knows where everything is.

His resiliency and energy helped him earn the 2007 Soldier of the Year commendation from the publication Army Times, as well as an ESPN Espy award in 2008 for best outdoor athlete.

He earned his master's of business administration at Duke University and has spoken to the Olympic and Duke teams coached by Mike Krzyzewski, a fellow West Point alum. He has a memoir coming out this year titled "Hope Unseen."

Smiley said he's not trying to prove anything with his exploits.

"In terms of getting an MBA, climbing Mount Rainier, it's what I always wanted to do," he said. "Why should I stop that?"

Smiley was injured April 6, 2005, six months into a deployment to Iraq. He led patrols through Mosul, a dangerous city where a too-high pile of garbage could be hiding explosives and the enemy blended in with the populace.

Sgt. 1st Class Mike Branham, who served as a squad leader under Smiley, said his fellow serviceman was a topflight officer, one who stood out for his deep Christian faith and detailed knowledge of his soldiers.

"He knew their names, he knew their wives' names, he knew their likes and dislikes," Branham said.

Smiley was leading a patrol in an armored Stryker vehicle when, from his perch in the forward hatch, he spotted a silver Opel that matched intelligence descriptions of a potential car bomb. The trunk appeared to be weighed down and the driver acted as though he didn't understand Smiley, who fired warning shots at the ground when it looked as if the driver was going to pull forward.

The driver raised his hands, and the car went up in a fireball.

Shrapnel tore through Smiley's left eye and lodged in his frontal brain lobe; another fragment the size of a pencil lead pierced his right eye.

Slumped unconscious in the Stryker hatch, Smiley was rushed to a medical center, where he briefly flatlined as friends prayed at his bedside.

Branham recalls, "I didn't think he was going to make it past that day at all."

He was left permanently blinded and temporarily paralyzed on his right side.

Stabilized and shipped stateside, Smiley struggled with his fate. He had vowed at his wedding to take care of his wife, Tiffany, and there she was, taking care of him. The exertion of wiggling his big toe required a three-hour nap.

He received his Purple Heart on his hospital bed. A video posted on YouTube of the ceremony shows his brother Neal struggling to maintain composure as he reads the citation. Smiley, looking beaten and uncomfortable in his bed, turns his head away.

"When I got to the hospital and I finally realized what happened, what my life was going to be like, I didn't believe in God. I questioned my faith. I questioned everything that was ever said to me before," Smiley said. "Because in my mind, why would God allow something like this to happen to me?"

Smiley credits his wife, family and faith for helping him accept his condition. Ultimately, he decided he didn't want to be like the Lt. Dan character played by Gary Sinise in "Forrest Gump," the officer who wants to be left to die when he loses his legs in Vietnam. He would push on. And if his path kept him in the Army, that was fine.

"I was totally prepared to get out," he said. "But still in the back of my mind, it was: 'I still have so much to give. I love serving my country."'

The Army says at least four other totally or partially blind soldiers have remained on active duty since Iraq and Afghanistan.

Capt. Ivan Castro lost his sight and suffered other serious injuries in a 2006 mortar attack in Iraq and is now stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., with the Special Operations Recruiting Battalion. Castro, a 42-year-old who runs marathons and 50-mile races, appears to share some personality traits with Smiley -- and says he also felt he still had something to serve after being injured.

"I've been doing this for over 18 years," Castro, who was born in Hoboken, N.J., and grew up in Puerto Rico, said in a phone interview. "This is all I know. This is what I love. This is what I live for."

Castro's commander, Lt. Col. Fredrick Dummar, said the continued service by blind soldiers fits with the military philosophy that everyone has unique abilities and that "there's always somebody on the team that can accomplish a mission."

Smiley was at first posted at Accessions Command, which oversees recruiting, and later earned his MBA. He returned to West Point last year to teach and took command this year of the Warrior Transition Unit here this year. He lives on post with Tiffany and their two young boys. After the West Point graduation ceremony Saturday, he plans to pin lieutenant bars on one of the roughly 1,000 cadets who will become new Army officers.

Smiley conceded that he might have a better understanding of the ailing soldiers under his command but is quick to add that his overriding concern is maintaining Army standards -- for his soldiers and for himself.

"I still want to be the person I always wanted to be," he said.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/05/21/soldier-blinded-iraq-wont-stop-serving-country/?test=latestnews
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« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2010, 11:20:13 AM »

John Finn, Medal of Honor recipient for heroism on Dec. 7, dies at 100
Advertiser Staff


In a 1942 Navy photo, then-Chief Ordnanceman John W. Finn is congratulated by his wife Alice after he was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism at Kaneohe Naval Air Station during the Dec. 7, 1941 attack.


Last December, at the age of 100, John Finn attended a memorial ceremony at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

John Finn, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Hawaii on the day the United States was plunged into World War II, died today at his Southern California home at the age of 100.
 
Finn, a retired Navy lieutenant, was stationed at Kaneohe Bay Naval Air Station on Dec. 7, 1941.

As Japanese planes strafed the base, Finn took up a .50-caliber machine gun in defense.

Firing from an exposed position, Finn was wounded several times during the first wave of the attack. Still, he refused to be evacuated, and his actions were credited with rallying other sailors to take up weapons.

On Sept. 15, he received the Medal of Honor from President Franklin D. Roosevelt for his actions.

Last December, when he was in Hawaii for a memorial event at what is now called Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay, Finn told The Advertiser he would never forget the attack.

"I grew up thinking the Navy, Marines and Army were invincible," he said, "and here we were, getting our clocks cleaned.

"We got caught so flat-footed. ... They really kicked the living hell out of us."

The event at Kaneohe honored the 18 sailors and two civilians who lost their lives in the attack.

Finn, who regularly returned to Hawaii for Dec. 7 commemorations, was born July 23, 1909, in Los Angeles.

He was the oldest of the 97 Medal of Honor recipients still living.

http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/20100527/BREAKING/100527021/Medal-of-Honor-recipient-John-Finn-dies-at-100
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« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2010, 11:28:03 PM »

1,000th GI killed in Afghan war was on 2nd tour

PAUL J. WEBER, Associated Press Writer 


Jonathan Leicht, left, and Jesse Leicht, right, pose with a photo of their brother, Marine Cpl. Jacob Leicht, Saturday, May 29, 2010, in Kerrville, Texas. Cpl. Jacob C. Leicht, 24, was killed while on patrol in Afghanistan Thursday, May 27, 2010, making him the 1000th U.S. serviceman killed in the Afghan conflict. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

KERRVILLE, Texas (AP) — The 1,000th American serviceman killed in Afghanistan had already fallen once to a hidden explosive, driving his Humvee over a bomb in Iraq in 2007. The blast punched the dashboard radio into his face and broke his leg in two places.

Marine Cpl. Jacob C. Leicht didn't survive his second encounter with a bomb this week. The death of the 24-year-old Texan born on the Fourth of July marks a grim milestone in the Afghanistan war.

Leicht, who spent two painful years recovering from the Iraq blast, was killed Thursday when he stepped on a land mine in Helmand province that ripped off his right arm. He had written letters from his hospital bed begging to be put back on the front lines, and died less than a month into that desperately sought second tour.

An Associated Press tally shows Leicht is the 1,000th U.S. serviceman killed in the Afghan conflict. The first death — nearly nine years ago — was also a soldier from the San Antonio area.

"He said he always wanted to die for his country and be remembered," said Jesse Leicht, his younger brother. "He didn't want to die having a heart attack or just being an old man. He wanted to die for something."

The AP bases its tally on Defense Department reports of deaths suffered as a direct result of the Afghan conflict, including personnel assigned to units in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Uzbekistan.

Other news organizations count deaths suffered by service members assigned elsewhere as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, which includes operations in the Philippines, the Horn of Africa and at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Leicht's brothers told the AP that the military also told the family that his death put the toll at 1,000.

When military officers went to tell Leicht's parents that their adopted son had died in combat, sheriff's deputies had to help navigate them to the 130-acre family ranch tucked impossibly deep in the Texas Hill Country.

It was here that Jacob Leicht chopped thick cedar trees and hiked the rugged limestone peaks, growing up into an imposing 6-5, 200-pound Marine with a soft heart. He watched "Dora the Explorer" with his brother's children and confided to family that he was troubled by the thought of young civilians being killed in battle.

But for Leicht, born in a Lemoore, Calif., Navy hospital, the battlefield was the destination. He threw away a college ROTC scholarship after just one semester because he feared it would lead away from the front lines.

"His greatest fear was that they would tell him he would have to sit at a desk for the rest of his life," said Jonathan Leicht, his older brother.

When Jacob Leicht's wish finally came true, it didn't last long.

His first deployment was to Iraq in 2007, but he was there just three weeks when Jesse Leicht said his brother drove over two 500-pound bombs hidden beneath the road.

One detonated, the other didn't. The blast tore through the Humvee, shooting the radio into Leicht's face and knocking him unconscious. He felt something pinch his thumb, and the gunner's face was filleted so badly by shrapnel that medics couldn't keep water in his mouth.

None of the five people were inside the vehicle died. Jesse Leicht said an Iraqi interpreter, the only one on board who wasn't seriously injured, dragged his brother from the mangled vehicle. The blast snapped Jacob Leicht's fibula and tibula, and the recovery was an agonizing ordeal of pins and rods and bolts drilled into his bones.

But all Jacob Leicht could think about was going back. He launched a campaign for himself at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, writing letters and making phone calls about returning to combat. More than two years later, he was finally healthy enough to serve again.

Nine days before his brother stepped on a bomb in Afghanistan, Jesse Leicht enlisted in the Marines. Using Facebook to reach a friend stationed at a base not far from his brother, Jesse asked the soldier a favor: If you see Jacob, let him know I signed up like him.

"Hopefully," Jesse Leicht said, "he got the word."

http://hosted2.ap.org/HIHAD/d9e770efdd4b467dbf1c088dc48d0192/Article_2010-05-29-US-Afghan-1000th-Death/id-84eca6ce5de44ef69236d605d7750016
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« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2010, 08:44:00 PM »

Ms Moya has the distinction of being the oldest newest great American.   Smiley

106 year-old sworn in as U.S. Citizen
Posted: July 19th, 2010

From CNN's Jillian Harding

(CNN) - The journey was long for Ignacia Moya, but on July 19, at the age of 106, she was finally able to attain a dream that she has been working toward for years: becoming a citizen of the United States.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois, assisted Moya in her quest to attain citizenship.

At the Chicago ceremony where Moya was sworn in, Gutierrez said she had two reasons for wanting to be a citizen.

"She said because all of her children were U.S. citizens, and she wanted to be just like them." Gutierrez said.

Moya's second reason, according to Gutierrez, was to "do something she hasn't been able to do in 106 years, and that is vote in an election in the United States."

Moya was originally denied citizenship because her English was not good enough to pass the civics and language exams. However, Moya recently received a waiver due to hearing and eyesight impairments.

When she was administered the oath of citizenship on Monday, Moya told the clerk, "Accepto," over cheers and applause from her family.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/07/19/106-year-old-sworn-in-as-u-s-citizen/?fbid=54YJ106g8kS#more-113996
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« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2010, 01:10:08 PM »

Paratrooper to get Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan
By the CNN Wire Staff
September 10, 2010


Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta is being awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in battle in Afghanistan in October 2007.


(CNN) -- An Army paratrooper who risked his life to save fellow soldiers will become the first living service member to receive the Medal of Honor for service in Iraq or Afghanistan, the White House said Friday.

Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, 25, will receive the honor for "acts of gallantry at the risk of his life" during combat in Afghanistan in October 2007, the White House said in a written statement.

President Barack Obama called Giunta, a native of Hiawatha, Iowa, on Thursday to inform him of the honor and to thank him for "extraordinary bravery in battle," the statement said. Giunta will receive the medal at a later date.

On Thursday, the White House announced that Obama will award the Medal of Honor posthumously to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller for "conspicuous gallantry" and "heroic actions" in Afghanistan in January 2008. Miller sacrificed his life "to save the lives of his teammates and 15 Afghanistan National Army soldiers," the White House said.

The White House announced last week that Obama also intends to award the Medal of Honor to Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Richard Etchberger for his valor in saving the lives of three wounded comrades at a then-secret base in Laos in 1968. Enemy fighters shot and killed Etchberger after he saved his fellow airmen.

Giunta was an Army specialist and rifle team leader with Company B, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment when an insurgent ambush split his squad into two groups on October 25, 2007, the White House statement said.

He "exposed himself to enemy fire to pull a comrade back to cover," it said.

"Later, while engaging the enemy and attempting to link up with the rest of his squad, Specialist Giunta noticed two insurgents carrying away a fellow soldier," the statement said. "He immediately engaged the enemy, killing one and wounding the other, and provided medical aid to his wounded comrade while the rest of his squad caught up and provided security."

Fewer than 3,500 Medals of Honor have been awarded since the medal was established during the Civil War.

Giunta, who was recently married, is currently with the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry based in Vicenza, Italy. "He is responsible for the health, morale, welfare, training and accountability of all assigned personnel," the Army said. He has served two combat tours in Afghanistan.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/09/10/medal.of.honor.recipient/index.html?hpt=T2
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« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2010, 11:21:38 AM »

Nine years after 9/11, a photo provides some peace
By Jesse Solomon, CNN
September 11, 2010 7:50 a.m. EDT


A Danish businessman took this photo of Gary Box as he rushed toward the attacks on the World Trade Center.

New York (CNN) -- Judson Box has never known exactly how his son, Gary, died on September 11, 2001. But an unexpected find nine years later has given him a glimpse into his son's final hours.

Gary, then 35, had been working as a firefighter in Brooklyn for roughly five years when the terrorists attacked. He did not speak to his father the day of the attack and his body was never recovered, leaving the circumstances of his death a mystery.

On September 11, 2009, Gary's sister, Christine, was visiting the Tribute Center when an employee asked her if she was looking for someone specifically. She mentioned her brother Gary, and the employee showed her to a picture of a firefighter in the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel that had a caption bearing Gary's name.

But it was not Gary. It was a photo of Brian Bilcher, another member of Gary's fire squad who also perished on 9/11.

The discovery compelled Gary's father to dig deeper, clinging to the possibility that there could be a similar picture of his son out there.

Box scoured photo archives of the National 9/11 Museum and the memorial's website, which allows users to upload photos from 9/11 directly to the site.

After searching one night for more than five hours, Box went to sleep, physically and emotionally exhausted. The next morning, his wife, Helen, called him into the living room as he was eating breakfast.

She showed him a photo of a firefighter running through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel toward the Towers alongside cars stuck in traffic.
This time, it was Gary.

"I was out of out control, emotionally," Box said. "Thanking God, being so happy that I had something to see."

Eager for more answers, Box contacted the National 9/11 Museum and Memorial in an attempt to track down the photographer. Several months later, the museum gave him the e-mail address of Erik Troelson, a Danish businessman who was stranded in the tunnel on his way to a meeting when he snapped the picture of Gary.

Having entered the tunnel before the first plane hit, Troelson was unaware of the tragedy that was taking place outside.

"Suddenly, the girl in the car in front of us got out crying," he said. "Then we turned on the radio and heard the events as they unfolded."

Soon after, firetrucks started racing through the tunnel, but a car with blown-out tires jammed traffic, he said.

"Some of the bigger trucks got stuck, so the guys started walking briskly past us," Troelson said. "Gary Box was one of the guys."

Box and Troelson corresponded via e-mail for months, with Troelson doing his best to recall the day's timeline of events.

On Tuesday, the National 9/11 Museum and Memorial foundation arranged for a surprise rendezvous between the men at their annual fundraiser.
They shared an emotional moment onstage. Afterward, they spoke at length, with Box expressing his gratitude.

"I think I said about 300 times thank you and God bless you, that's all I could say," Box said. "I think I told him I love you, and I don't tell anybody that."

Nine years after September 11, Box said he still feels the pain of that day. He doesn't have the means to make large donations to the museum, but has sought to promote their cause through his story.

"We need that in this country because too many people forget," Box said of the museum.

"I wish everybody could get what I got."

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/09/10/september.11.photo/index.html?iphonefb
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« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2010, 01:01:10 PM »

Honor 'bittersweet' for rare living Medal of Honor recipient
By Jennifer Rizzo and Larry Shaughnessy, CNN
September 15, 2010

Washington (CNN) -- The first living Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War says his receiving the prestigious award is bittersweet.

"All of this is great," U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta said during a teleconference Wednesday. "But it does bring back a lot of memories of people that I would love to share this moment with. And I am just not going to have this opportunity because they are no longer with us."

Giunta said the day his unit came under attack was quiet and started out like any other day in Afghanistan.

"We are all soldiers and we are all out on a mission," he said.

Giunta, 25, was a specialist serving with the Airborne 503 Infantry Regiment on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan when his unit was attacked on the night of October 25, 2007. He recalls himself as an average soldier, saying he didn't do anything that someone else wouldn't have done.

According to Defense Department documents seen by CNN, Giunta and his fellow soldiers were walking back to base along the top of a mountain ridge when the enemy attacked from their front and their left. Taliban fighters barraged the Americans with AK-47s, rocket propelled grenades and Soviet era large machine guns.

Giunta saw several of his fellow soldiers go down. He ran forward throwing grenades and returning enemy fire to help one soldier who had been shot but was still fighting. Then he noticed one of the wounded soldiers was missing.

He ran over a hill where moments before Taliban fighters where shooting at him to find his wounded friend, Sgt. Josh Brennan. But now he was alone, out of sight of his fellow soldiers, in an area that the Taliban had controlled just moments before.

Giunta saw two Taliban fighters dragging Brennan away. He ran after them, killing one Taliban and wounding the other, who ran away.

He instantly started providing first aid to Brennan, who had been shot at least six times. Brennan was later evacuated by a helicopter to a hospital, but he died of his wounds.

Giunta himself was shot twice in the incident, with one round hitting his body armor and the second destroying a weapon slung over his back. He was not seriously hurt.

His quick response to the Taliban attack helped his unit repulse the enemy fighters before they could cause more casualties, the Defense Department documents note.

Giunta said his actions were not something he thought about but something he was trained to do.

"After the medevac bird comes in and starts picking people up, it's not over, you're not out of Afghanistan, you're not off the side of the mountain, you're just minus some buddies and there's no time to talk, you still have to complete the mission," he said.

Giunta's wife, Jenny, sat beside him during the teleconference from the base Giunta is stationed at in Vicenza, Italy. She said she is proud of her husband. The two married last November and are unsure about what the future will bring. Jenny Giunta said she hopes her husband does not deploy again.

"Having your husband ... your loved one get deployed and knowing that they're going to be somewhere that's dangerous .... It's an awful feeling," she said.


http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/09/15/medal.of.honor.recipient/index.html?hpt=T1
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« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2010, 01:07:48 PM »

Beach that story just brought tears to my eyes about that firefighter
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« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2010, 01:14:51 PM »

Beach that story just brought tears to my eyes about that firefighter

Yeah.  I get chicken skin looking at the photo.  He was a great American. 
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« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2010, 01:00:00 PM »

Fallen hero receives Medal of Honor
By Mark K. Matthews, Orlando Sentinel Washington Bureau
2:42 p.m. EDT, October 6, 2010
 
WASHINGTON -- Calling his sacrifice the "true meaning of heroism," President Barack Obama on Wednesday presented the Medal of Honor to the Oviedo family of Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, who gave his life in 2008 to protect a patrol of American and Afghan soldiers.

"It has been said that courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point," said Obama, addressing a solemn crowd in the East Room of the White House. "For Rob Miller, the testing point came nearly three years ago, deep in a snowy Afghan valley. The courage he displayed reflects every virtue that defined his life."

On hand to accept the military's highest award for valor were his parents, Phil and Maureen Miller, who stood stoically as the decoration was present and their son's heroism was recounted.

He is buried in Central Florida; his family moved to Oviedo. soon after Robert Miller graduated from high school in Illinois.

Miller, who died at 24, is only the third service member from the Afghanistan conflict to receive the Medal of Honor. The Green Beret earned the rare distinction in January 2008 when his team of about 20 U.S. Special Forces and Afghan troops was caught in a ferocious ambush by insurgents.

His side outnumbered by as many as 12-to-1, Miller held his ground against a barrage of fire -- calling out positions and helping his fellow soldiers find cover. Then, making himself a target, Miller charged the insurgents with gunfire and grenades in a rush that ultimately cost the life.

The military credits Miller with saving his patrol, as well as killing at least 10 insurgents and wounding many more.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/os-obama-medal-honor-20101006,0,388733.story
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« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2010, 03:58:59 PM »

Hero pilot of United Flight 811 dies at age 81
By Gregg K. Kakesako
POSTED: 12:37 p.m. HST, Oct 06, 2010

Dave Cronin, the hero pilot who successfully landed a crippled United Airlines Boeing 747 in Honolulu 21 years ago, died Monday at his home in Minden, Nev. He was 81.

Cronin was the captain on United Flight 811, which left Honolulu bound for Auckland, New Zealand, on Feb. 24, 1989. The 747 was 22,000 feet over the Pacific when a forward cargo door blew out, creating a gaping hole in the side of the aircraft.

The explosion knocked out two of the plane's four engines. Nine passengers seated in business class died when their seats were sucked out of the plane.

Despite the damage, Cronin and his crew was able to reduce altitude and land the 747 safely in Honolulu about 22 minutes later. There were 336 passengers and 18 crewmembers on the flight.

"He not only brought the plane back safely, but he invented many of the safety procedures used today," said Ben Mohide, a passenger on the flight, during a phone interview today. "He was a remarkable man."

He and his wife, Barbara, also was a passenger, learned of Cronin's death from a woman who was a purser on Flight 811.

Cronin, who joined United Airlines as a pilot in 1954, was 59 and on his second-to-last flight before mandatory retirement when he captained Flight 811.

Cronin's ability to land the plane safely prompted a discussion over raising the mandatory retirement age. The Federal Aviation Administration raised the age to 65 in 2007.

Mohide, who kept in touch with Cronin over the past two decades, once asked him how he handled the situation with so many emergencies taking place at the same time.

"I just prayed," Mohide said was Cronin's reply. "I just prayed and got on with it."

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that a mechanical failure caused the cargo door to separate from the aircraft.

In 1993, Mohide consulted with Cronin before writing the book "Hawaiian Nightmares" about the air disaster.

"He helped me get the terminology and details correctly," he said.

Funeral services will be held at Hilltop Community Church in Carson City, Nev., on Monday.

http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/104448194.html
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« Reply #23 on: October 06, 2010, 09:18:28 PM »

Franklin


* -FDR_in_1933.jpg (39.65 KB, 509x599 - viewed 902 times.)
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« Reply #24 on: October 06, 2010, 10:03:30 PM »

.

No, the thread is titled "Great Americans."
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