Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day Stats 'n' Stuff

This week, in honor of Memorial Day, we thought we'd present to you some little known facts about our Armed Forces and the heroic actions of its members past and present. Enjoy!

US Army
"This we'll defend"
  • Nation's oldest and largest military service established as the Continental Army June 14, 1775 to fight the Revolutionary War with George Washington in command.
  • While ten companies of riflemen were established by the Continental Congress in 1775, the oldest Regular Army infantry regiment, the 3rd Infantry Regiment, was constituted June 3, 1784, as the First American Regiment.
  • Private 1st Class, Stephen C. Sanford, U.S. Army received a citation for the following: "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with the 2d Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 172d Stryker Brigade Combat Team, on 19 November 2005, during combat operations against an armed enemy of the United States, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Private Sanford displayed extraordinary courage during the evacuation of casualties from a home in Mosul, Iraq, while under intense enemy fire. Although shot through the leg during his squad’s initial assault attempt, he accompanied his squad during their second assault. Once inside the house, he provided a heavy volume of suppressive fire while the casualties were evacuated. He continued to engage the enemy while escorting the wounded Soldiers from the house. He returned to the house a second time to provide vital covering fire and security for the final withdrawal of the casualties. When the last Soldier leaving the house was shot in the neck, Private Sanford, with complete disregard for his own safety, moved to the Soldier and began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation. While attempting to revive the other Soldier, he was shot twice more in the back. Protecting the fallen Soldier, Private Sanford returned fire and killed an insurgent while receiving two more potentially fatal gunshot wounds. He continued to return devastating fire on the enemy while helping his wounded comrade until he was incapacitated by his own loss of blood. Private Sanford’s gallant deed was truly above and beyond the call of duty and is in keeping with the finest traditions of the military service, reflecting great credit upon himself, Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry, the United States Army, and the United States of America."
  • Famous soldiers include Mel Brooks, Art Carney, Julia Child, Tony Randall, Jackie Robinson, Rocky Marciano, Henry Kissinger and Elvis Presley.

US Marines
"Semper Fidelis"
  • Formed as two battalions by Captain Samuel Nicholas on November 10, 1775 in Philadelphia as naval infantry.
  • Conducted America's first amphibious assault landing during the Revolutionary War gaining control of a British ammunition depot and naval port in New Providence, Bahamas.
  • Developed helicopter insertion doctrine and were the first branch to widely adopt maneuver-warfare principles emphasizing low-level initiative and flexible execution.
  • Vietnam was the longest war for Marines with 13,091 being killed in action, 51,392 wounded, and 57 Medals of Honor awarded. Due to policies concerning rotation, more Marines were deployed for service during Vietnam than World War II.
  • Famous Marines include Don Adams, Glen Bell (Taco Bell founder), Drew Carey, David Dinkins, "Nate Dogg", Steve McQueen, Felix Rigau Carrera (1st Puerto Rican pilot and 1st Hispanic fighter pilot in the U.S.M.C), and Shaggy.

US Coast Guard
"Semper Paratus"
  • Established August 4, 1790 by US Congress as the Revenue Cutter Service and is the nation's oldest seagoing service.
  • Has been involved in every American military conflict since the War of 1812
  • Revenue Service Cutter, the Harriet Lane, fired the first naval shot of the Civil War
  • The US Coast Guard Women's Reserve, or SPARS, was created on November 23, 1942 by Franklin D. Roosevelt to free Coast Guardsmen from stateside service in order to fight overseas. Coast Guard cutter Spar (WLB-206) is named in honor of these women and one of the new Legend class ships, the USCGC Stratton in honor of first director Capt. Dorothy C. Stratton, is forthcoming.
  • Douglas Albert Munro is the only Coastie to recieve the Medal of Honor "For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action above and beyond the call of duty as Officer-in-Charge of a group of Higgins boats, engaged in the evacuation of a Battalion of Marines trapped by enemy Japanese forces at Point Cruz, Guadalcanal, on September 27, 1942. After making preliminary plans for the evacuation of nearly 500 beleaguered Marines, Munro, under constant risk of his life, daringly led five of his small craft toward the shore. As he closed the beach, he signaled the others to land, and then in order to draw the enemy's fire and protect the heavily loaded boats, he valiantly placed his craft with its two small guns as a shield between the beachhead and the Japanese. When the perilous task of evacuation was nearly completed, Munro was killed by enemy fire, but his crew, two of whom were wounded, carried on until the last boat had loaded and cleared the beach. By his outstanding leadership, expert planning, and dauntless devotion to duty, he and his courageous comrades undoubtedly saved the lives of many who otherwise would have perished. He gallantly gave up his life in defense of his country."
  • Famous Coasties include Jeff Bridges, Nathan Bruckenthal (first Coastie KIA since Vietnam), Marlene Dietrich, Blake Edwards, Alex Haley, Bruce Melnick (first Coastie Astronaut), Cesar Romero, Mel Torme, Rudy Vallee, Victor Mature and Gig Young.

US Navy
"Non sibi sed patriae"

  • After a brief stint as the Continental Navy during the Revolutionary War and disbanded by Congress due to budget cuts, the US Navy was re-established in 1797.
  • The navy conducted the U.S. military's first ever large-scale amphibious joint operation during the Mexican-American War by successfully landing 12,000 Army troops with their equipment in one day at Veracruz, Mexico.
  • During the Civil War, both American Navies were the first in the world to use ironclad warships in combat. The Battle of Hampton Roads in 1862, which pitted USS Monitor against CSS Virginia, became the first engagement between two steam-powered ironclads.
  • James Lawrence, captain of the frigate USS Chesapeake, is better known for his famous battle cry. While engaged the blockading Royal Navy frigate HMS Shannon in a fierce battle June 1, 1813, accurate gunfire from the British ship disabled the Chesapeake within the first few minutes. Captain Lawrence, mortally wounded by small arms fire, ordered his officers to "Don't give up the ship. Fight her till she sinks!" as he was carried below. His crew, however, was overwhelmed by a British boarding party shortly afterwards and James Lawrence died of his wounds on 4 June 1813, while Chesapeake was being taken to Halifax, Nova Scotia, by her captors.
  • Famous sailors include Cesar Chavez, Harvey Milk, Jesse Ventura, Bob Barker, Harry Belafonte, Tony Curtis, L. Ron Hubbard, Paul Newman, MC Hammer, Montel Williams and Regis Philbin.

US Air Force
"Above All"

  • Initially part of the United States Army, it was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 and is the youngest branch of the US military.
  • The Tuskegee Airmen, formally known as the 332nd Fighter Group of the U.S. Army Air Corps, were the first African American military aviators in the United States armed forces. By the end of WWII, they were credited with shooting down 112 Luftwaffe aircraft, sinking the German-operated Italian destroyer TA-23 by machine-gun fire, and the destruction of numerous fuel dumps, trucks, and trains. Their squadrons flew more than 15,000 sorties on 1,500 missions and the unit received a Distinguished Unit Citation for a mission flown March 24, 1945, escorting B-17s to bomb the Daimler-Benz tank factory at Berlin, Germany.
  • The Airmen of Note is the jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force and one of the few remaining big bands touring the US. It was originally created in 1950 to carry on the tradition of Major Glenn Miller's Army Air Corps dance band and has attracted 18 professional jazz musicians from across the United States.
  • Famous Airmen include Buzz Aldrin, Sunny Anderson, Charles Bronson, George Carlin, Dr. Seuss, Morgan Freeman, Clark Gable, Marvin Gaye, Charleton Heston, DeForest Kelley, and Chuck Norris.
So while you're enjoying the smell of juicy meat grilling beneath the hot sun in a bright blue sky, lounging on a raft with cool water lapping at your toes and an old song from way back when playing on the radio or you're at the mall hunting for the latest holiday bargains this weekend, just take a moment to remember those who have come before you to fight for the freedom you enjoy today and those who continue to do so. Happy Memorial Day everyone!

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful tribute to our men in uniform. Great job!!