Showing posts with label WWII veterans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WWII veterans. Show all posts

Monday, February 3, 2020

Super Bowl Military moments

Demi Lovato Sings the National Anthem | Super Bowl LIV Pregame
Four 100-year-old World War II veterans honored at Super Bowl coin toss
MIAMI, Fla. (WZTV) — Four veterans who fought for their country in World War II received a special honor at Super Bowl LIV. It happened just before the coin toss Sunday night. Each veteran in 100 years old and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he wanted to honor them as the league celebrates its 100th year.
Riding Shotgun in a F-16 Super Bowl Flyover

The Art of the Flyover: U.S. Navy Blue Angels at the Super Bowl

Friday, August 30, 2019

Navajo Code Talker Thomas H. Begay survived WWII and PTSD

Navajo Code Talker Thomas H. Begay wanted to be a gunner. Here's how he became a Code Talker

Arizona Republic
Shondiin Silversmith
Aug. 29, 2019

Ronald said his father suffers from a post-traumatic stress disorder and has flashbacks of his time during his service at Iwo Jima. "It's still with him," Ronald said. "He still thinks about it."

Navajo Code Talker Thomas H. Begay (right) before the start of the Navajo Nation Code Talkers Day parade on Aug. 14, 2018, at the Navajo Nation Fairgrounds in Window Rock. (Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic)
About a month after the battle of Iwo Jima in 1945, Navajo Code Talker Thomas H. Begay was flown to Pearl Harbor for a week. He wasn't told why and he didn't ask questions.

He was taken to the United State Naval base on Pearl Harbor with fellow Navajo Code Talker Wilson H. Price. Once they arrived, they met a Navy lieutenant at the communication center. He led Begay and Price to a round building filled with various vaults.

The vaults were opened. From inside, wagons full of paper were brought to the Code Talkers.

"It was all the messages sent (and received) on Iwo Jima," he said.
Begay said the lieutenant kept an eye on them and took notes of the entire process. After hundreds of messages, they were told the purpose of their task: to determine if there were any mistakes in any of the messages the Navajo Code Talkers sent and received throughout the Iwo Jima operation.

"800 messages we went through," Begay said. "There were no mistakes."
read it here

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

D-Day and the heroes who were there

101st Airborne Division in History: D-Day June 6, 1944
June 6, 2018
Clarksville NowGen. Dwight Eisenhower gives the order of the day “Full victory – Nothing else” to paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division at the Royal Air Force base in Greenham Common, England, on June 5, 1944, just hours before the men board their planes to participate in the first assault wave of the invasion of the continent of Europe. (Photo: AP)
The Invasion of Normandy started as a landing operation on June 6, 1944 on the beaches of Normandy, France by Western Allied forces during World War II against German-occupied western Europe. 

The initial assault was marked as D-Day, the largest amphibious invasion in history. 

A staggering 156,000 British, American, and Canadian forces landed on the five beaches of the Normandy region. The Battle of Normandy lasted from June to mid-July 1944, resulting in the liberation from Nazi Germany.
read more here

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Beyond The Call Of Duty WWII Veterans "Titanic Sacrifices" and PTSD

Beyond the call of duty

The Augusta Chronicle
Editorial Staff 
August 19, 2017
“Many of the stories have such great impact that I would reread them again and again during the editing process even when I didn’t have to. These were not extraordinary people. They were ordinary folk who accomplished extraordinary things.”

A World War II veteran Gehle went to interview in a motel room had hung sheets on the wall. Some 70 years after imprisonment and torture by the Japanese, the veteran still wet his bed at night.
This is the Grand Canyon of awareness looming between generations. The younger may have little conception of the great struggle to defeat tyranny on two sides of the world and the titanic sacrifices made to do it. The older lived it.
We need to make sure members of the Greatest Generation lay down their often agonizing memories before they’re gone completely, so that present and future generations, like them, never forget.
Problem is, back in the days before we knew anything about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – back when a general like George Patton might slap a “shell-shocked” soldier for supposedly being a coward – you didn’t talk out your trauma. You buried it with the honored fallen, came home and quietly tried to somehow integrate back into a civil society where the guy around the corner wasn’t out to get you and the customer walking in a restaurant wasn’t looking to shoot you.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Harry Colmery Left More Than a Legacy For Veterans

Editorial: Colmery’s legacy of serving veterans

Topeka Capital Journal
Editorial Board
August 18, 2017

Last summer, the Harry Colmery Plaza was dedicated in downtown Topeka exactly 72 years after President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944 — legislation more commonly known as the GI Bill.

Harry Colmery’s niece, Jean Roberts, left, and granddaughter, Mina Steen, inspect the statue of their family member after it’s unveiling Tuesday afternoon in downtown Topeka. The new plaza is dedicated to Harry Colmery, a Topekan who is responsible for the creation of the GI Bill. (2016 file photograph/The Capital-Journal)

After serving in World War I, Colmery became a tireless advocate for veterans, and his involvement with the American Legion culminated in his appointment as national commander in 1936. He was also a member of the organization’s national legislative committee, and during World War II, he wrote a draft that eventually became the GI Bill.

Colmery witnessed the awful treatment of American veterans when they returned from World War I. After enduring unimaginable horrors on the battlefield, they were thanked with abject poverty, a lack of basic health care, no job prospects and no chance to pursue an education. Many of them suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder — a condition that wasn’t well-understand and for which treatments were still in the early stages of development — and other devastating war wounds. This made finding a job, paying for a home and caring for a family even more difficult. Then the Great Depression came.
read more here

Harry Colmery also left a history report of how Congress has failed veterans ever since.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Montford Point Marines Honored at MacDill Air Force Base

Medal honors black Marines who served despite discrimination in WWII
Tampa Bay Times
Howard Altman, Times Staff Writer
Friday, January 27, 2017
"When they would go out on furlough, the black Marines couldn't go certain places," she said. "There was an incident on a train to New York. They were trying to put out my father, but the white Marines all stood up and said, 'No, we are all Marines, stay right here.'"
TAMPA — In 1943, as the Marines were slogging through a bloody Pacific island-hopping campaign, two good friends from Nyack, New York, showed up at a recruiting station to join the fight.

David Knight was given orders to report to boot camp within a week. His friend, Charles Robert Fountain, passed the physical too, but then had to undergo questioning about his personal life, education and marital status. It would be seven months before the corps would accept him.

The difference?

Knight was white, Fountain black.

Friday at noon, Fountain's service as one of the first black Marines was honored during a ceremony at MacDill Air Force Base presided over by the commander of Marine Corps Forces Central Command, Lt. Gen. William Beydler. Fountain's daughter, Kim Fountaine of Ruskin, received a Congressional Gold Medal, awarded to those black Marines stationed at the Camp Montford Point — a rundown barracks outside of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where some 20,000 were housed in substandard, segregated quarters between 1942 and 1949.
read more here
Feb 12, 2012
Last night at the Orlando Nam Knights there was a surprise guest. Charles O. Foreman, a WWII veteran, member of the Montford Point Marines came. He is part of the group of Marines receiving the Congressional Gold Medal. At 87 he is just amazing. No matter what he had to go through because of the color of his skin, he'd do it all over again. He credits the Marines with making him the man he is today.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Texas Female Veterans Celebrated on Honor Flight to DC

Texas' First All-Female Honor Flight Takes Off From Austin
TWC News
By LeAnn Wallace
Saturday, October 8, 2016

AUSTIN, Texas - An honor guard and an appreciative crowd are symbols of respect that go with every well-deserved honor flight.

But this trip was different.

It was the first all-women’s veterans honor flight in Texas and the third ever nationally.

"It feels wonderful. I never thought I'd be honored at my age, 93," said B.J. Garner, a WWII veteran.

For others, the honor flight brings back powerful memories, such as “Clark Air Base, triage, blood (and) bullets” for Frankie Dawson who was a Vietnam War medic.

The women are all World War II, Korean and Vietnam War veterans. They're off on an all-expenses paid trip to see the war memorials in Washington DC.
read more here

Friday, August 26, 2016

WWII Navy Photographer Shares Images From USS Astoria

Navy photographer wanted his work to be shared
Jay Levin, The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record
August 25, 2016

Fewer than 700,000 of the nearly 16 million Americans who served in World War II are alive today, according to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. More than 400 veterans of that era die every day, almost 160,000 this year.
HACKENSACK, N.J. — Herman Schnipper, a mild-mannered Navy photographer who chronicled the danger and drudgery of war while on board the light cruiser USS Astoria, died Wednesday at his home here, where his vast trove of World War II images is stored.

He was 92.

Herman Schnipper of Hackensack, N.J., was a Navy photographer aboard the USS Astoria during World War II, shown Dec. 9, 2014. He made copies of every picture he took and categorized them.
(Photo: Mitsu Yasukawa, The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record)
“I don’t want them to be put in a box and forgotten. I want to show people the war,” Schnipper told The Record in 2014, referring to the black-and-white prints he has held on to since his military discharge a few months after the war’s end.

At the time of the interview, Schnipper was in declining health and his family felt an urgency to decide what to do with the photographs, which they want to be accessible to the public.
read more here

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Senior Wives Fighting The Worst Part of PTSD

Older Veteran Spouses Suffer More With Suicides
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 10, 2016

Capt. Elizabeth Schloemann is dealing with the loss of her husband Andres to suicide. She wrote about it on Army Times. This widow's story will break your heart, and compel the Army to change and she still serves at Fort Bliss. Yes, that Fort Bliss.
“It’s going to be okay.” No it isn’t. Not for a long time.

“It’s not your fault.” Are you sure? Were you there in that moment in his head? Can you really know that?

“There’s nothing you could have done.” Don’t get me started. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone over and over in my head what I could have and should have done. Don’t make me tell you all of them. I know it won’t change anything. I’m the one living with it.

How many times have those thoughts run through our own minds? How many hours have we spent wondering if we were going to get a knock on door or a phone call telling us our husbands and wives were not coming home? The rest of the country simply assumes that we are all ok.  After all, our spouses have been home from war for decades.  Why should we need anything?

The facts have been the facts since the 90's and nothing has changed.  Our veterans were committing suicide at a rate of 20 a day in 1999 according to the VA. As of the latest report from the VA on suicides it is still at 20 but there are almost 7 million less veterans in the country.

The 2000 US Census had 26.4 million veterans and in 2013 we were down to 19.6 million. Yes, I know, we are all talking about what the states report with veterans outnumbering civilians at double their numbers.  How the VA got to the 20 is a mystery when the CDC says that there are over 41,000 Americans committing suicide.

The other thing is that in the new report, veterans over the age of 50 are 68% of the veterans committing suicide.  Yes, our generation but no one is talking about us.  What makes all this worse is that they are not talking to us.

Too many have been there, done that and lost far too many.  On the flip side, a lot of us have been there, done that and learned how to not lose this battle after war. We made mistakes when we had to learn on our own.  We made miracles happen when we got out of the darkest journey no one warned us about.

I've been married almost 32 years. Not bad considering I was only 23 when I met my husband.  Some of us have been married over 40 years and most of us are living with PTSD.  That is the most important thing of all in all of this. LIVING WITH PTSD.

None of this is hopeless.  So why haven't the majority of our older veterans got that message? Why hasn't the younger generation gotten that message?

I think is high time the rest of you started to deliver it!  Get busy! Don't make the same mistakes all the new groups are making just jumping into all of this. First learn what you do not know and then put that with what experience has taught you.

Go to the VA and offer to help support groups.  Go to the VFW, DAV, American Legion and spread the message that none of this is hopeless.

Write opinions to the editor of your local paper and get them to start telling our stories. Not just of the losses we suffer but the ones offering glimmers of hope that tomorrow can in fact be better.

If we don't start getting active, then we are going to let down far too many who should have survived being home with us.

Read the Captain's article and then know, we have a lot to do and it is time we actually did it!

Capt. Andres Schloemann committed suicide in December. His wife, Capt. Elizabeth Schloemann, hopes their story will prevent future soldiers from taking their own lives. (Photo: Courtesy Capt. Elizabeth Schloemann)
I wanted everyone to read it. I wanted people to see that we are only human. I made mistakes, too. As a leader, a Soldier, I felt like a failure. How often is it that we’re trained on suicide prevention? Were there things I should have known, should have looked for? Did I use all the resources I had available?

I wanted to revolt against being a widow. I am many things, and I didn’t want being a widow of a suicide to be the one that defined me. I am a woman, a warrior, and a mother. I am strong and fierce, proud of everything I have accomplished, but suddenly found myself an unwilling victim of something I couldn’t control. The temptation to stare everyone down and force them to look me in the eyes and see me instead of my burden was overwhelming.
If we do not, then as bad as the numbers are for us, for these young ones, it will be worse. It has been a decade of everyone doing the wrong things including military training and folks running around the country raising awareness about the problem they know little about. The results have shown no change for the better and we'll keep fighting the worst!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Three Veterans Graduated High School A Little Late

World War II Veterans to Finally Graduate From High School at 90 Years Old
NBC Los Angeles

By John Cádiz Klemack
June 13, 2016

"So we can go to college," one 90-year-old veteran laughed. "I'm looking for a job!"
They have waited 71 years for this moment.

"I'm more nervous than when they drafted me!" retired U.S. Navy veteran Julian Lopez said as he anticipated something he had been wishing to receive for decades.

Julian Lopez, Tony Romero and Lupe Malacate were each drafted in 1944 to serve in World War II, forcing them to drop out of Abraham Lincoln High School in Los Angeles in their senior year.

On Monday, more than seven decades after enlisting and a year and a half of fighting to be recognized as graduates by the Los Angeles Unified School District, they were to walk the stage as high school graduates.
read more here

Monday, June 6, 2016

WWII D-Day Veteran Proves PTSD Far From New

Las Vegas D-Day veterans will never forget June 6, 1944
June 5, 2016

Firecrackers on the Fourth of July or even the smell of diesel fuel is enough to trigger horrible flashbacks that have been etched in Onofrio Zicari’s mind since June 6, 1944.

World War II veteran Milton Duran holds up the front page of the Onaway newspaper at the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center on Friday, June 3, 2016.
(Loren Townsley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
An Army private in the 5th Amphibious Brigade, he landed in the fifth wave on Omaha Beach during that deadly Tuesday on France’s Normandy coast.

“The last man off the boat got hit. The boat got knocked out. Three sailors and my buddy got killed,” he said Friday, during one of his regular post-traumatic stress disorder classes at the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center.

“I was scared, man. I was scared,” he said.

Those from his outfit who made it through nearly neck-high water to reach “Red Easy” beach were pinned down for five hours by machine-gun fire from a German pillbox on a cliff.

“I said a confession and said, ‘Lord, take me, take me,’” he said. “I wasn’t afraid to die, But I was scared.”

Bleeding from shrapnel wounds in his knee and shoulder, he “looked over and saw this G.I. sitting on his helmet,” Zicari recalled.

“And he’s just holding his guts … He kept laughing at me and saying, ‘I’m going home! I’m going home!’ I don’t know if he ever made it. He was a redhead. I’ll never forget him,” said Zicari, a draftee from Geneva, New York.
read more here

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Colorado WWII Veteran Meets Holocaust Survivor He Rescued

ABC 11 News
May 18, 2016

A World War II veteran from Colorado was reunited with a Holocaust survivor whom he set free from a concentration camp seven decades ago -- and the emotional moment was captured on camera.

Sid Shafner, 94, is back in the U.S. after a stirring eight-day trip to Israel and Poland last week. He was honored at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony for his hand, as a young troop, in helping to liberate some 30,000 prisoners from the Dachau Concentration Camp in southern Germany in 1945.

One of those prisoners was 19-year-old Marcel Levy, now 90.
read more here

Thursday, February 4, 2016

WWII Veteran Scared Ax Carrying Burglar at 92!

92-year-old WWII veteran scares off ax-wielding would-be burglar, authorities say 
Los Angeles Times Veronica Rocha February 2, 2016
“I let off a shot and he took off,” Milspaugh told the news station with a laugh. “He left his ax. He left his hat and everything else after that.”
A 92-year-old homeowner armed with a handgun fired a shot and scared off an ax-wielding man trying to break into his San Jacinto residence Sunday, authorities said. World War II veteran Joseph Milspaugh told KNBC-TV he heard a noise coming from his backdoor and quickly armed himself with his handgun. 

When he went to investigate he saw a man smashing an ax through one of his windows. read more here

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Florida Veterans Unclaimed Remains from 4 Wars Laid to Rest

Unclaimed remains of war veterans laid to rest at Lake Worth cemetery
Sun Sentinel
Erika Pesantes
December 6, 2015
On Saturday, laid to rest were: Jack Legan, Frank H. Vadurro, Charles J. Valkenburg, Carol Andre Shepherd, Jacob S. Cohen, Ignatius Patrick Crisci, John Joseph Fitzgerald, Wayne Andrew Ludwig, Frank Wilfred O' Hara Jr., John Edward Lee, Charles William Morton, James Edward Sullivan, William Vaselekos and Louis Walter Harvey, Jr.
Army Major Michael Flynn inters the remains of U.S. Army Corpral Jack Legan as Marshall Murphy of the South Florida National Cemetary looks on. Veterans and volunteers were on hand at the South Florida National Cemetery in Lake Worth to take part in the burial ceremony for the Missing in America Project. The nonprofit locates, identifies and inters the unclaimed cremated remains of veterans, spouses and dependents that have sat on funeral home shelves for decades. During the ceremony the unclaimed remains of 14 veterans and seven veterans' spouses were interred. December 5, 2015. Jim Rassol, Sun Sentinel.
(Jim Rassol / Sun Sentinel)
The mahogany urns bore gold plaques that read: "You are not forgotten." On Saturday, they were remembered for their heroic acts.

Up to a quarter century after their deaths, the cremated remains of 14 war veterans and the spouses of another seven service members were finally given a dignified burial under stormy skies.

Those veterans, who served in World War I and II, and the Korean and Vietnam wars, were laid to rest at the South Florida National Cemetery in Lake Worth thanks to volunteers from the non-profit, Missing in America Project.

"Each one that we lay to rest today is a hero. You, men, who we bury today, we say goodbye to you with thankful hearts because you've embodied heroism," guest speaker Brian Mast said. "And because you've embodied bravery on our behalf and on behalf of your own families and on behalf of our grateful nation."
read more here
Linked from Stars and Stripes

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Camp Pendleton Marines Honor Navajo Code Talkers

Navajo Code Talkers return to the Blue Diamond 
Story by Cpl. Demetrius Morgan
October 2, 2015
Major Gen. Daniel O’Donohue, commanding general, 1st Marine Division, pays respect to retired Navajo Code Talkers during a tour with the Navajo Nation aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 28, 2015. Navajo Code Talkers were first put into action during World War II in early 1942 to establish an undecipherable code which could be used in combat environments to communicate sensitive information. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Demetrius Morgan/RELEASED)
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Retired Marines who served as Navajo Code Talkers during World War II and members of the Navajo Nation visited the 1st Marine Division during a tour aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Sept. 28, 2015.

Marines with the division hosted a ceremony to honor the code talkers for their pivotal service World War II.

“It’s an honor to have you here today,” said Maj. Gen. Daniel O’Donohue, the commanding general of the division. “The Navajo nation provided a duty that no one else could at that time. You humble us by returning to the division. The sacrifices you made we can’t even imagine and your legacy and your spirit live on.”

Navajo Code Talkers were first put into action in early 1942 to establish an undecipherable code, which could be used in combat environments to communicate sensitive information.

The Navajo code was selected because of its difficulty and obscurity and was deciphered by enemies of that time. This allowed commanders to issue out commands securely in the heat of battle against the imperial Japanese enemies. The code remained secret until it was declassified in 1968.
read more here

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Documentary Shows PTSD Decades of Grief and Healing

Film about veterans' trauma to make Maine debut 
The Forecaseter
By Colin Ellis
September 30, 2015
Searching For Home

PORTLAND — The University of Southern Maine will host the state premiere of a documentary detailing soldiers’ wartime trauma and their struggles to transition home.

The documentary, titled “Searching for Home: Coming Back from War,” will premiere Oct. 3 at the university’s Hannaford Hall, located in the Abromson Community Education Center on 88 Bedford St. An invitation-only reception will be held at 6:30 p.m.; the film will be screened at 7:30 p.m. and a question and answer session with the filmmakers will follow.

Eric Christensen, the director of the 106-minute documentary, said he has made documentaries about individual trauma in the past, which eventually led him to the topic of wartime trauma. The documentary, portions of which were filmed in Maine, features veterans who survived injuries in war and their attempts to transition to life back home, as well as their family members.

The documentary looks at veterans suffering grief and trauma and spans multiple decades, from World War II to modern day conflicts.

Christensen, who lives in Burbank, California, said he hopes the message people take from the film is that recovering from trauma is a process.

“I want people to take away hope from the film and relate it their own traumas,” Christensen said.

He said military trauma is an acute example of trauma, and it is a good analogy that people who are suffering from their own trauma can relate to.
read more here

"Home is not home anymore" - Searching for Home: Coming Back from War - W/ Anthony Edwards from Eric Christiansen on Vimeo.

Built on the pillars of the truth, the healing and the hope, SEARCHING FOR HOME: COMING BACK FROM WAR is an emotional and unflinching look at returning veterans and their search for the“home” they left behind, physically, mentally and spiritually.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

WWII Iwo Jima Pilot Takes Seat on Honor Flight

Fate leads to vet's first Honor Flight
Ex-fighter pilot met city man on Iwo Jima
Journal Gazette
Washington editor
September 24, 205
He said Yellin and Hawkins became friends in part through their shared interest in helping veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Yellin co-wrote “The Resilient Warrior,” a 2011 book about PTSD, in which he said he suffered for 30 years before he began practicing Transcendental Meditation.

An ex-fighter pilot who flew the last U.S. combat mission of World War II has never boarded an Honor Flight for a group visit to war memorials in Washington, D.C.
That should change on the morning of Oct. 7, when retired Army Air Corps Capt. Jerry Yellin is scheduled to be a passenger on the Honor Flight Northeast Indiana jet that will depart from Fort Wayne International Airport carrying 85 other veterans.

It’s not as if Yellin, 91, rarely leaves his home in Fairfield, Iowa. He makes public appearances around the country for Spirit of ’45, a nonprofit organization that honors the achievements and sacrifices of the WWII generation. He attended the V-E Day flyover in Washington in May. And the author of four books returned in March to the Japanese island of Iwo Jima, where he and other fighter pilots were based in 1945 for missions escorting U.S. warplanes that bombed mainland Japan.

It was during a 2010 trip to Iwo Jima that Fort Wayne resident Dennis Covert met Yellin while both were riding an elevator at a hotel in Guam.

The next day, Covert took a photograph of Yellin near where Marines had raised the American flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

“One of the questions we ask: Can you walk the distance of a football field without assistance? And he said, ‘I can run it if you want me to,’” Covert said Wednesday in a telephone interview. “He’s in pretty good shape.”

The flight will depart Fort Wayne International at 8:30 a.m. and return about 9 p.m. Passengers will include 62 Korean War veterans and 24 WWII veterans, according to Bob Myer, president of the Honor Flight board. Two female veterans will be among the group.

Honor Flight participants fly for free but must be accompanied by volunteer guardians, who pay $400. Yellin’s guardian in Washington will be New York actress and film producer Diane Hawkins, a friend to both Yellin and Covert.
read more here

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

WWII Veteran Robbed Twice Just For Asking For Help

WWII veteran asked for help after getting lost. They stole his wallet. He asked another group for help and they stole his car. They did all this to a 93 year old veteran!

Why didn't his life matter or the fact that he was part of history matter at all? Any clue what the Tuskegee Airmen put up with yet still put their lives on the line during WWII?
The Tuskegee airmen were the first black servicemen to serve as military aviators in the U.S. armed forces, flying with distinction during World War II. Though subject to racial discrimination both at home and abroad, the 996 pilots and more than 15,000 ground personnel who served with the all-black units would be credited with some 15,500 combat sorties and earn over 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses for their achievements. The highly publicized successes of the Tuskegee Airmen helped pave the way for the eventual integration of the U.S. armed forces under President Harry Truman in 1948.
Tuskegee Airman, 93, carjacked after being robbed, stopping for help Sunday
By Stephanie Baumer, Online News Producer
August 18, 2015

Authorities are currently searching for the victim’s vehicle, a maroon 2012 Honda Accord Sedan with Missouri license plate AA2 K8R.

ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( – A 93-year-old Tuskegee Airman was robbed and carjacked while attempting to visit his daughter Sunday.

Around 11 a.m., the man was driving to his daughter’s home and got lost. When he stopped at McPherson and Sarah to call her, a suspect got into his car, grabbed money from his pocket and left. The suspect then entered a black, older model four-door vehicle and drove away, police said.

read more here

Thursday, July 16, 2015

WWII Veterans Still FIghting Congress For Exposure to Mustard Gas

Can The Agent Orange Act Help Veterans Exposed To Mustard Gas?
Caitlin Dickerson
JULY 16, 2015
NPR reported that some of the few World War II veterans who are still alive — now in their late 80s and early 90s — are still fighting for disability benefits because the VA says they don't have enough proof.

To understand the predicament of World War II veterans exposed to mustard gas, take a look at what happened to another set of American veterans who were exposed to a different toxic chemical.

Last month, NPR reported that some of those World War II vets are still fighting for disability benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs because the agency says they don't have enough proof to substantiate their claims.

Alan Oates says that's the same response Vietnam War veterans started receiving from the VA in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

As a young Army private during the war, Oates was providing security for an engineering outfit in the jungle when he first noticed three planes flying overhead spraying something.

"I asked the engineers: What are they doing?" Oates says. "And [one] said: They're spraying herbicides to kill the vegetation, so that the enemy couldn't hide in it."
read more here

Saturday, June 27, 2015

NPR Located More Veterans Exposed To Mustard Gas

Senators Call For VA To Explain Why It Couldn't Find Mustard-Gassed Veterans
How NPR Located More Veterans Exposed To Mustard Gas Than The VA
Caitlin Dickerson
JUNE 26, 2015

Working through the alphabetical list, Van Woerkom discovered that about 95 percent of the test subjects had died.

This week, NPR reported that the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to live up to a promise to contact 4,000 veterans who were exposed to mustard gas in secret military experiments. In 1993, the VA promised it would reach out to each of those veterans to let them know that they were eligible for disability benefits. Instead, over the past 20 years, the VA reached out to only 610.

Brad Flohr, a VA senior adviser for benefits, told NPR the agency couldn't find the rest of the test subjects, because military records of the experiments were incomplete. "There was no identifying information," Flohr said. "No Social Security numbers, no addresses, no ... any way of identifying them. Although we tried."

That response from the VA surprised NPR Investigations Research Librarian Barbara Van Woerkom, who spends a lot of time tracking down sources for NPR stories.

"It just struck me as such a low number, knowing all the ways that I look for information to try and locate an individual," she says.
Family members of veterans are sometimes eligible for benefits as well. In February 1993, VA Secretary Jesse Brown told the Richmond Times-Dispatch his agency would reach out to living veterans and their surviving spouses.
read more here