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Author Topic: Great Americans  (Read 21882 times)
Dos Equis
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« Reply #200 on: October 20, 2014, 02:12:46 PM »

Sunday, October 19th, 2014 | Posted by Duane Vachon
William T. Perkins, Jr. Corporal United States Marine Corps - A NEW KIND OF HERO

Cpl. William T. Perkins, Combat Photographer, Medal of Honor, Vietnam

BY DUANE ALLEN VACHON PH.D.  For many years prior to my retirement I worked at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.  My job as the cemetery representative was to help the families organize the committal service for their loved one.   Meeting  with the family I would  help organize the service.  This involved coordinating with the funeral director, organizing military honors and, if requested, a representative from the religion the family requested.  Most of all I tried to make the service as painless and dignified as possible.  We conducted as many as seven services a day, five days a week.  Even though it was emotionally draining, two things kept me going. I have a strong faith, and I was mindful that I was responsible for giving these veterans the last benefit they would receive for the service they gave to their country.  It was a privilege and honor to be able to do this for my fellow veterans.

Despite my faith and my deep sense of service, at times I was touched and profoundly moved.  At times  it could be difficult not to be overwhelmed by the pain of the mothers and fathers, wives and children, sisters and brothers that were left behind.

To this day I still find myself at times being deeply moved when I am doing the research for these articles.  This is one of those articles that moved me. Perkins was only 20 years old when he gave up his life.  Not old enough to buy a beer in his home state. He was a Marine and every Marine is a rifleman first. However, his job was a combat photographer.  Despite this he gave up his life to save his fellow Marines.  Perkins is the only combat photographer to have received the Medal of Honor. Secondly, when searching to locate where he was buried, I saw a picture of his grave marker.  He was buried with his younger brother Robert who died in 1978.  His parents suffered the pain of having to bury two sons.

There are 58,282 names on the Vietnam Wall.  It’s impossible to imagine how much collateral damage is associated with those names.  As you read these articles, spare a thought for the hero, but also a thought and, if you are so inclined, a prayer for all of those who were left behind.

William (Bill) T. Perkins, Jr. was born August 10, 1947 in Rochester, New York to William and Marilane Perkins. The family moved to Los Angeles, California and he attended Sepulveda Jr. High and graduated from James Monroe High School in 1965. He received many drama awards and was a member of the swim team and the Photography Club. He also became certified in Scuba diving and spent many hours diving off the coast of California and Catalina Island. While attending Pierce College, he was an apprentice at the Valley Music Theater and appeared at the Century City Playhouse.

Perkins and Jim Priddy joined the Marines on the “buddy system”  on April 27, 1966. He completed his infantry training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego and Camp Pendleton, California. His interest in photography and cinema led him to the Photography School at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey. Perkins arrived in Vietnam on July 12, 1967 and was killed in action exactly three months later October 12, 1967.

Perkins was given a chance to take the US Army's Motion Picture Photography course. The only caveat: those attending the school had to put their new skills to use in Vietnam. Perkins willingly agreed and - after training - arrived in Vietnam in July of 1967. Exactly three months later, he would prove himself a new kind of hero.

Once in country, Perkins quickly earned a reputation as a gifted combat cameraman. Shooting both stills and film, the Southern Californian captured both the mayhem and the monotony of modern warfare. Reticent in the beginning, Perkins' fellow grunts accepted him as one of their own - even if he did go into battle with one eye plastered to a viewfinder. What they never fathomed was the young cameraman's commitment to them. In October of 1967, that became painfully clear. A reconnaissance mission in the Hai Lang forest, Operation MEDINA devolved into a battle of hand grenades. Perkins was in the thick of it, shooting film as he and his buddies found themselves . Perkins did the unthinkable. After yelling 'Incoming!', William T. Perkins, Jr. crawled on top of the grenade, and absorbed its deadly blast.  Saving at least three of his friends' lives, Perkins died with a Eymo motion picture camera in his hand. To this day, he is the only combat photographer to ever receive the Medal of Honor.


Medal of Honor citation
 
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to
CORPORAL WILLIAM T.. PERKINS, JR.
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a combat photographer attached to Company C, First Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division, in the Republic of Vietnam on 12 October 1967. During Operation MEDINA, a major reconnaissance in force, southwest of Quang Tri, Company C made heavy combat contact with a numerically superior North Vietnamese Army Force estimated at from two to three companies. The focal point of the intense fighting was a helicopter landing zone which was also serving as the Command Post of Company C. In the course of a strong hostile attack, an enemy grenade landed in the immediate Carea occupied by Corporal Perkins and three other Marines. Realizing the inherent danger, he shouted the warning, "Incoming Grenade" to his fellow Marines, and in a valiant act of heroism, hurled himself upon the grenade absorbing the impact of the explosion with his own body thereby saving the lives of his comrades at the cost of his own. Through his exceptional courage and inspiring valor in the face of certain death, Corporal Perkins reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave histhe San Fernando Mis  life for his country.

/S/ RICHARD M. NIXON
Corporal William T. Perkins is buried at San Fernando Mission Cemetery Hills Los Angeles County California, USA.
President Nixon presenting Medal of Honor to parents of Cpl. William Perkins

Gravestone for William Perkins and his brother Robert
 
http://www.hawaiireporter.com/william-t-perkins-jr-corporal-united-states-marine-corps-medal-of-honor-vietnam-a-new-kind-of-hero/123
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« Reply #201 on: October 24, 2014, 12:16:24 PM »

70 years after death, Tenn. soldier buried at Arlington
Mary Troyan, The Tennessean, Nashville 1:55 a.m. EDT October 23, 2014


Army Pvt. 1st Class Cecil Harris received full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. (Photo: Evan Eile, USA TODAY)

WASHINGTON — Almost 70 years after he died battling German troops in northeastern France, Army Pvt. 1st Class Cecil Harris of Shelbyville was buried Wednesday with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

"In life, he honored the flag, and in death, the flag will honor him," U.S. Army Chaplain Capt. Ted Randall said during the graveside service.

Harris was killed Jan. 2, 1945, but his remains weren't found until last year, by French hikers.

In a cold, soaking rain, about 15 family members from Tennessee and several others followed the horse-drawn caisson carrying Harris' flag-draped casket down McClellan Drive at the cemetery while the U.S. Army Band, known as "Pershing's Own," played "Onward Christian Soldiers."

"I'm just proud I got to follow him before they put him in the resting place," said William Edwin "Eddie" Harris, who was an infant the only time he met his father.

Cecil Harris was 19 when he left Shelbyville and his pregnant wife, Helen, to fight in World War II. Helen Harris Cooke, 90, was unable to travel to northern Virginia for the burial, Eddie Harris said. Janice Carlton, who was 10 when her brother died, was among the mourners Wednesday.

"I feel relieved that we got him back and buried with honors where he deserved," Eddie Harris said after the services. "I wondered for 70 years whatever happened to him."

Harris qualified for full military honors, a crisp, dignified ceremony performed by the Army's 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as The Old Guard. The services include a caisson, an escort platoon, a colors team, a casket team, three rifle volleys from a firing team and a band.

The bugler, Army Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Northman, played "Taps" after the chaplain's remarks.

"PFC Cecil Edwin Harris served our nation with honor and distinction," the chaplain said. "He earned his place on these hallowed grounds."

Harris was a member of the rifle platoon with Company D, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division. He received the Combat Infantryman Badge, the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

While the band played "America the Beautiful" and the rain fell harder, the Old Guard soldiers folded the U.S. flag that had been covering the casket. The flag was presented to Eddie Harris by retired Lt. Gen. Bill Phillips of Bell Buckle, Tenn., near where Cecil Harris grew up.

Eddie Harris has a frame for the flag at his home in Mountain City, Tenn., and plans to hang it on the wall near his bed.

"I never did think this day would come," he said.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/10/23/tennsoldier-buried-at-arlington/17761145/
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« Reply #202 on: October 24, 2014, 02:11:14 PM »

70 years after death, Tenn. soldier buried at Arlington
Mary Troyan, The Tennessean, Nashville 1:55 a.m. EDT October 23, 2014


Army Pvt. 1st Class Cecil Harris received full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. (Photo: Evan Eile, USA TODAY)

WASHINGTON — Almost 70 years after he died battling German troops in northeastern France, Army Pvt. 1st Class Cecil Harris of Shelbyville was buried Wednesday with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

"In life, he honored the flag, and in death, the flag will honor him," U.S. Army Chaplain Capt. Ted Randall said during the graveside service.

Harris was killed Jan. 2, 1945, but his remains weren't found until last year, by French hikers.

In a cold, soaking rain, about 15 family members from Tennessee and several others followed the horse-drawn caisson carrying Harris' flag-draped casket down McClellan Drive at the cemetery while the U.S. Army Band, known as "Pershing's Own," played "Onward Christian Soldiers."

"I'm just proud I got to follow him before they put him in the resting place," said William Edwin "Eddie" Harris, who was an infant the only time he met his father.

Cecil Harris was 19 when he left Shelbyville and his pregnant wife, Helen, to fight in World War II. Helen Harris Cooke, 90, was unable to travel to northern Virginia for the burial, Eddie Harris said. Janice Carlton, who was 10 when her brother died, was among the mourners Wednesday.

"I feel relieved that we got him back and buried with honors where he deserved," Eddie Harris said after the services. "I wondered for 70 years whatever happened to him."

Harris qualified for full military honors, a crisp, dignified ceremony performed by the Army's 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as The Old Guard. The services include a caisson, an escort platoon, a colors team, a casket team, three rifle volleys from a firing team and a band.

The bugler, Army Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Northman, played "Taps" after the chaplain's remarks.

"PFC Cecil Edwin Harris served our nation with honor and distinction," the chaplain said. "He earned his place on these hallowed grounds."

Harris was a member of the rifle platoon with Company D, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division. He received the Combat Infantryman Badge, the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

While the band played "America the Beautiful" and the rain fell harder, the Old Guard soldiers folded the U.S. flag that had been covering the casket. The flag was presented to Eddie Harris by retired Lt. Gen. Bill Phillips of Bell Buckle, Tenn., near where Cecil Harris grew up.

Eddie Harris has a frame for the flag at his home in Mountain City, Tenn., and plans to hang it on the wall near his bed.

"I never did think this day would come," he said.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/10/23/tennsoldier-buried-at-arlington/17761145/

Did he join the Army voluntarily? 

Seems like a 19-year old having a pregnant wife should have been able to receive a draft deferment.  And if he left his pregnant wife by joining the army voluntarily, then he's not a great anything in my book. 
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« Reply #203 on: October 27, 2014, 10:02:25 AM »

Sunday, October 26th, 2014 | Posted by Duane Vachon
Jimmy Wayne Phipps PFC USMC


Jimmy Wayne Phipps
LEST WE FORGET

BY DUANE ALLEN VACHON, PH.D. Jimmy Wayne Phipps was born on November 1, 1950, in Santa Monica, California. He attended Marina Del Ray Junior High School in Culver City, California and Venice High School in California.  He left high school to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve on January 3, 1968 and was discharged on January 7, 1968 to enlist in the Regular Marine Corps.

He completed recruit training with the 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California on March 14, 1968. Transferred to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, he underwent individual combat training with Company L, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Training Regiment, followed by basic infantry training which he completed in May 1968.

From June until August 1968, he was a student with the Marine Aviation Detachment, Naval Air Technical Training Command, Memphis, Tennessee. Transferred to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, he attended the Marine Corps Engineer Schools, until the following October. He was promoted to private first class on October 1, 1968.

In December 1968, he was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam where he served as a combat engineer with Company B, 1st Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division. He was initially attached to Company C, 1st Battalion 5th Marines (C/1/5) as its combat engineer. He was then detached and returned to Company B, but in late May, volunteered to return to the field with C/1/5. While participating in combat in what was referred to as the "Arizona Territory," located in the vicinity of An Hoa on May 27, 1969, he was killed in action during the combat action for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. His Medal of Honor Citation tells the rest:
 

Medal of Honor citation
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to
PRIVATE FIRST CLASS JIMMY W. PHIPPS
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a combat Engineer with Company B, First Engineer Battalion, First Marine Division in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 27 May 1969, Private First Class Phipps, was a member of a two-man combat engineer demolition team assigned to locate and destroy enemy artillery ordnance and concealed firing devices. After he had expended all of his explosives and blasting caps, Private First Class Phipps discovered a 175mm high explosive artillery round in a rice paddy. Suspecting that the enemy had attached at the artillery round to a secondary explosive device, he warned other Marines in the area to move to covered positions and prepared to destroy the round with a hand grenade. As he was attaching the hand grenade to a stake beside the artillery round, the fuse of the enemy's secondary explosive device ignited. Realizing that his assistant and the platoon commander were both with a few meters of him and that the imminent explosion could kill all three men, Private First Class Phipps grasped the hand grenade to his chest and dived forward to cover the enemy's explosive and the artillery round with his body, thereby shielding his companions from the detonation while absorbing the full and tremendous impact with his own body. Private First Class Phipp's indomitable courage, inspiring initiative and selfless devotion to duty saved the lives of two Marines and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

/S/ RICHARD M. NIXON  President
 
Eleven years of combat left their imprint on a generation.  Thousands returned home bearing shrapnel and scars; still more were burdened by the invisible wounds of post-traumatic stress, of Agent Orange, of memories that would never fade.  More than 58,000 laid down their lives in service to our Nation.  Now and forever, their names are etched into two faces of black granite, a lasting memorial to those who bore conflict's greatest cost.  They didn’t all receive a Medal of Honor like Phipps, but they were all heroes.

Our veterans answered our country's call and served with honor, and on March 29, 1973, the last of our troops left Vietnam.  Yet, in one of the war's most profound tragedies, many of these men and women came home to be shunned or neglected -- to face treatment unbefitting their courage and a welcome unworthy of their example.  We must never let this happen again.  Today, we reaffirm one of our most fundamental obligations:  to show all who have worn the uniform of the United States the respect and dignity they deserve, and to honor their sacrifice by serving them as well as they served us.
PFC Jimmy W. Phipps is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Santa Monica California Plot: Block 18.
 

Gravesite for PFC Jimmy W. Phipps

The information in this article was sourced from a variety of sources both internal and external. Every effort was made to ensure that the information is current and correct. These articles are presented to honor the heroes they are written about.

If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a veteran.

http://www.hawaiireporter.com/jimmy-wayne-phipps-pfc-usmc/123
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