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Lest We Forget

Michael Eastes

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Charles King Sargent, lost 10 Apr 2010.


RIP, Sir.


Michael, I thought it happened April 11, not 10th???? Your initial post was dated the 11th and you said he passed away the day (of the posting it?) Can someone please verify the correct date for me? Thank you. I don't want to have that wrong :( FYI, I'm back in disbelief. Keeps swinging for me.

Edited by VenerableDamePW
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Michael, I thought it happened April 11, not 10th???? Your initial post was dated the 11th and you said he passed away the day (of the posting it?) Can someone please verify the correct date for me? Thank you. I don't want to have that wrong :( FYI, I'm back in disbelief. Keeps swinging for me.


My bad. It was the 11th. For some reason I remembered it being Saturday, not Sunday.

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My bad. It was the 11th. For some reason I remembered it being Saturday, not Sunday.


Thanks Michael. The news of Kings passing was pretty mind boggling. We're clear now ;)

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Another of the great ones passes. From the "Patriot Post":


We at The Patriot Post frequently honor America's heroes. Accordingly, we mark the passage of retired Colonel Walker "Bud" Mahurin with both thankfulness and mourning. Col. Mahurin, a fighter pilot who shot down more than two dozen planes in two wars and three theaters, died last week. Bud was 91. The first American pilot to become a double ace in the European Theater, and the only ace to shoot down enemy planes in both European and Pacific Theaters as well as the Korean War, Col. Mahurin was unique among U.S. combat aviators.


Bud joined the Army Air Forces in September 1941 -- just three months prior to Pearl Harbor -- fully anticipating the conflict America faced. Having downed enemy aircraft in every plane he flew -- the P-47 Thunderbolt, the P-51 Mustang and the F-86 Sabre -- today Bud is revered by America's fighter community as one of its all-time top aces. His unrivaled dedication, perseverance and integrity earned him the call sign "Honest John."


Twice shot down in World War II and once during the Korean War, Bud's 16-month captivity and torture during the latter especially tested his call sign, but he would nonetheless live up to it. Subjected to extensive physical and psychological torture by North Korean communists (read: Red Chinese), Col. Mahurin was coerced into signing a "confession" that was wrought with falsehoods. Bud's brutal P.O.W. experiences, however, would shape future generations of fighter aviators through incorporation of Survival-Evasion-Resistance-Escape (SERE) training. That training would later prove invaluable to downed aviators in Vietnam.


Of course, we can never repay Col. Mahurin for his selfless service and heroism. We can and should, however, honor heroes like him by pausing to remember him and by simply saying, "Thank you, Col. Mahurin. Your nation owes you a debt we can never repay -- well done."

Edited by Michael Eastes
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I never knew this man but I've known those who have, and he was a fine gentleman. May he Rest In Peace.


BTW, for those of you unfamiliar with him, check out Lovat's piper in The Longest Day. He was every bit that man.


August 19, 2010

D-Day bagpiper dies at 88

By QMI Agency


The Scottish bagpiper who played as soldiers swarmed the beaches on D-Day has died of a stroke. He was 88.


Bill Millin, 22 when the allies landed at Normandy in France on June 6, 1944, was ordered to keep playing in order to boost the morale of his fellow troops, even as they were being mowed down all around him. Millin's commanding officer defied an order when he instructed Millin to perform.


"Lord Lovat [Millin's commanding officer] said this was going to be the greatest invasion in the history of warfare and he wanted the bagpipes leading it. He said I was to play and he would worry about the consequences later," Millin told the Daily Mail newspaper before he died.


The French government, which has previously awarded him the Croix d'Honneur, unveiled a statue in his honour in June.


Millin's funeral will be a private affair.

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One of the four crewmembers killed in the crash of an experimental Gulfstream 650 was my squadron commander, Lt. Col Kent R. Crenshaw, USAF (retired). A fine leader, an excellent test pilot and engineer, a gentleman and a scholar, somebody who contributed to his country in war and peace, in uniform and as a civilian. RIP.

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One of the four crewmembers killed in the crash of an experimental Gulfstream 650 was my squadron commander, Lt. Col Kent R. Crenshaw, USAF (retired). A fine leader, an excellent test pilot and engineer, a gentleman and a scholar, somebody who contributed to his country in war and peace, in uniform and as a civilian. RIP.


Sincere condolences for the loss of your friend and his crew.


IIRC, you've lost a good many friends/ colleagues in flight testing. That has to be hard, no matter how many times you tell yourself, on an intellectual level, how dangerous the business inherently is.

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I dunno where to post this, so I figured here instead since it's somewhat related....


I just learned via email that some US Marines (who were here on a training exercise) went on a tour of Corregidor most recently. They were hosted an American couple (Steve and Marcia) who live on the island. One of the Marines was carrying something. Below are excerpts of the email:


The 4th Marines had been in China so long (15 years) before the outbreak of WW II that they became known as the China Marines. In late November, 1941, only 10 days before the outbreak of WW II, most of the 4th Marine Regiment was shipped out of Shanghai and sent to the Philippines. They started in Olongapo, 750 of them, but were later strengthened to 1,600 men. Just before bombs began falling on Corregidor (December 29) the 4th Marines were moved to the island. They were assigned to quarters in Middleside Barracks, but were almost immediately deployed to their defensive positions. The 1st battalion was assigned to the tail of the island, while the 2nd and 3rd were positioned around the head of the island. Only the 1st, along with American Army and Filipino Scouts, were in position to take on the Japanese landing barges during the assault. It is said that members of the other Marine battalions were greatly upset to have missed the opportunity to kill any Japanese before the surrender.


Colonel Howard, upon receiving the command, “Execute Pontiac,” which was the code to surrender, he is quoted as saying, “My God, I had to be the first Marine officer ever to surrender a regiment.”


On Sunday Steve led a tour bus that included 16 U.S. Marines who were in the Philippines for a “balikatan” (shoulder-to-shoulder) exercise with Filipino soldiers. Throughout the entire trip one marine carried a long, thin canvas bag with him; he appeared to be on a mission. Steve eventually asked and was told, “I’m carrying the 4th Marine Colors. We believe that it will be the first time that they are unfurled on Corregidor since the war.” Certainly these men were but a few, and they were very proud, so we guess that makes them U.S. Marines.

Edited by TomasCTT
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I dunno where to post this, so I figured here instead since it's somewhat related....


I just learned via email that some US Marines (who were here on a training exercise) went on a tour of Corregidor most recently. They were hosted an American couple (Steve and Marcia) who live on the island. One of the Marines was carrying something. Below are excerpts of the email:


I had an uncle, Maj. Paul Brown, USMC, who was captured there. He lived until 1944 in Japanese captivity.


God bless those guys who took the colors back with them.

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The last WW1 combat veteran died this morning:


Article follows.


HE Royal Australian Navy is mourning the loss of the world's last veteran who saw combat in World War I.



Last WWI combatant dies in Australia


Last WWI combatant dies in Australia

Briton Claude Choules, the final World War I combat veteran, has died aged 110 in Australia.


Sky News5 May 2011



Last WWI combatant dies in Australia

Briton Claude Choules, the final World War I combat veteran, has died aged 110 in Australia.


5 May 2011Sky News






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Claude Stanley Choules was the last survivor of 70 million men who fought in the 1914-18 conflict, which his generation called the Great War.


Mr Choules passed away quietly at his nursing home in Perth this morning, aged 110.


Although he never wanted the attention he got as the last living link to WWI, he remained to the end a proud navy man.


HMAS Stirling Commanding Officer Captain Brett Wolski said Mr Choules was an inspiration to members of the navy which he considered "his second family".


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"The passing of Claude Choules is the final break in the historic link that we had with Claude," Captain Wolski told reporters in Perth.


"Because, as a surviving member of the Royal Navy for World War I, he saw many momentous events both from the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy point of view, and he was a witness to significant maritime history throughout the 20 century."


British-born Mr Choules, nicknamed "Chuckles" by comrades, joined the British Navy at the age of 14.


He served on the battleship HMS Revenge in 1917 and watched the 1918 surrender of the German High Seas Fleet.


He moved to Australia in 1926 as an instructor on loan from the British navy but never returned and later transferred to the RAN.


He was a commissioning crew member of the HMAS Canberra and served with her until 1931 when he discharged from the RAN before rejoining as a torpedo and anti-submarine instructor in 1932.


As the acting torpedo officer at Fremantle in WWII, Mr Choules disposed of the first German mine to wash up on Australian soil during WWII, near Esperance, on WA's south coast.


He was also tasked with destroying harbour and oil storage tanks at the Fremantle port in case of a Japanese invasion.


Mr Choules remained in the RAN after WWII, spending his final working years at the Naval Dockyard Police and joining the crayfishing industry, at Safety Bay, south of Perth.


In all, he served for more than 40 years.


Mr Choules' daughter Anne said her father was proud of his navy service.


"We're grateful for the navy's continued association with the family and their recognition of our father's life," she said.


As the last living combat veteran from WWI, Mr Choules was also the last to have fought in both World Wars.

However, Mr Choules' son Adrian has said he hated war.


"He just saw it as a job," he told AAP on his father's 110th birthday in March this year.


"He never marched in an Anzac parade. He wasn't ordered to."


While Mr Choules was the last surviving WWI fighter, the last veteran is believed to be a 110-year-old British woman, Florence Green, who, as a teenager, was an RAF officer's mess waitress.


Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Mr Charles' passing marked the end of a significant chapter in world history.


It also strengthened Australia's commitment to honour those who had served in the world wars.


"Mr Choules and his generation made a sacrifice for our freedom and liberty that we will never forget," she said in a statement.


Mr Choules released his autobiography in 2009 titled The Last of the Last, depicting his childhood and move to Australia, as well as his times at war.


He and his wife, to whom he was married for more than 70 years and who passed away at the age of 98, had two daughters and a son.


Mr Choules also had 13 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.



Read more: http://www.news.com.au/national/claude-stanley-choules-the-last-know-wwi-combat-veteran-dies-aged-110/story-e6frfkvr-1226050510324#ixzz1LTymWYAe


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As previously noted elsewhere:


"Hunnicutt, Richard Pearce 84 June 15, 1926 April 29, 2011 Our Dad, Richard Pearce Hunnicutt was born amidst the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains in Asheville, N.C., to James Ballard Hunnicutt and Ida Belle Black. During the Great Depression the family lost their home and had to move in with relatives. Despite the hardships, Dad excelled in school, especially chemistry. When World War II came, he altered his birth certificate and enlisted in the U.S. Army in September 1943. In October 1944 he joined the 7th Infantry Division and participated in the invasion of Leyte where he witnessed the filming of one of Gen. Douglas MacArthur's famed "returns" to the Philippines. April 1945 found him at Okinawa's Kadena Field where he met Ernie Pyle, who singled him out for a photograph because of his boyish appearance. On April 30, 1945, Private First Class Hunnicutt, acting leader of an infantry machine gun squad, dug his guns in along a rocky escarpment known as Hacksaw Ridge. That night the squad helped repulse multiple Japanese attacks. Enemy fire killed three squad members and Dad had an eardrum shattered and took mortar fragments to his arms, but the American defenders held. The next morning, May 1, 1945, the Tenth Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Simon Buckner, unexpectedly arrived at the ridge and questioned the 18 year-old soldier on what had transpired. Lt. Gen. Buckner ordered Dad promoted to sergeant and personally pinned the Silver Star on his chest. Dad almost never spoke of his war experiences. He always insisted he was just "war time help" and had no desire to become a "professional veteran." Following the end of the war, Dad did occupation duty in Frankfurt, Germany, and then attended Stanford University under the GI Bill. He went on to earn a master's degree in engineering from Stanford and then took a job at General Motors working under the legendary Charles "Boss" Kettering. While in Detroit, Dad met and married Susan Haight, who would be his wife for 57 years. Dad's career eventually led him to partner in an engineering firm, ANAMET Laboratories, in Berkeley, Calif. His work involved analytical testing and consulting, though he was occasionally hired as an expert witness in court cases involving metal fatigue. In one notable civil case his testimony led to the largest monetary award in the world at that time. In addition to being one of the most highly respected metallurgists in the state of California, Dad researched and wrote a 10-volume history of the development and employment of American armored fighting vehicles. The series is the definitive work on this subject and he is widely regarded as one of the nation's leading experts in this field. He is also one of the founders of the U.S. Army Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and has been a close friend and frequent contributor to the Patton Museum at Fort Knox, Ky. Dad had two groups of acquaintances: His professional engineering colleagues, and his "tank buddies" who included much of the senior leadership of the U.S. Army. Few knew the other existed. To his four children he was a loving father who would do anything to help us out. Though he was not a spiritual man, he was an extraordinary role model in moral and ethical behavior. During the recession of the early 80s he and his two partners secretly took no pay for over a year so none of their 40 employees at the lab were laid off. We never knew of the stress and enormous pressures he often dealt with. A profanity or complaint never left his lips in our presence. He was always modest, sincere and generous in his actions, both public and private. Simply put, he was a man of enormous dignity, who never forgot his mountain roots. Selfless in all things, he was blessed with a wonderful sense of humor and gratitude for all that life had given him. We are profoundly grateful to have had such a man in our lives. Richard Hunnicutt is survived by his wife, Susan; sister, Barbara Cleveland; children, Barbara Marshall, Beverly Olson (Jay), Geoff Hunnicutt (Sandy) and Anne Millar (Alan); 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 7, 2011, at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, 2201 S.W. Vermont St., Portland, OR 97219. Arrangements by Autumn Funerals, Cremation & Burial. "

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Stumbled over this report somehow while looking for the stories of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Leach. She deserves to be remembered as much as he does; she may not have lived long enough to achieve as much, but she gave more to her country.



Captain Lisa Jade Head dies of wounds sustained in Afghanistan


A Military Operations news article

20 Apr 11


It is with regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Captain Lisa Head from 321 Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Squadron, 11 EOD Regiment RLC, died on 19 April 2011 in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Birmingham, of wounds received in Afghanistan.


Captain Lisa Head deployed to Afghanistan on 27 March 2011 as an Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEED) (Neutralise) Operator with the Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) Task Force. She was based in Patrol Base 4 in the Nahr-e-Saraj district of Helmand province, Afghanistan.


On 18 April 2011, Captain Head deployed with her team to dispose of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) found by B Company, 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (2 PARA), in an alleyway frequently used by Afghans and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops alike. After rendering safe the initially identified IED, Captain Head was severely injured while dealing with a second IED.


Immediate first aid was provided and a helicopter Medical Emergency Response Team recovered the casualty to the military hospital in Camp Bastion.


Surgeons stabilised Captain Head sufficiently for a Critical Care Air Support Team to conduct a medical evacuation from Camp Bastion to the Queen Elizabeth NHS Hospital in Birmingham, where she succumbed to her injuries.


Captain Head was born on 30 November 1981, in Huddersfield. She studied Human Biology at Huddersfield University before attending the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst from 2004 – 2005.


Captain Head commissioned into the Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) and initially trained as an Air Transport Liaison Officer, deploying to Iraq in 2006 and Afghanistan in 2007. She was selected to attend the Ammunition Technical Officers (ATO) course, and on passing was posted to 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Regiment RLC. She served with distinction as an ATO in Northern Ireland with 321 EOD Squadron (Sqn), and while there she attended the High-Threat Operators Course. After successfully completing the High-Threat Course as an IEDD (Neutralise) Operator she joined the C-IED Task Force for Op HERRICK 14.


Captain Head was an exemplary member of the Joint Force EOD Group within the C-IED Task Force. She was a popular and respected member of her parent Regiment and Squadron. A gifted Troop Commander, she had earned the respect of all ranks.


Captain Head had a bright future ahead of her – her professionalism, leadership and unswerving sense of duty would have carried her far. She will, justly, be remembered among the ranks of the bravest of the brave.


Her family made the following statement:


"We wish to say that we are extremely proud of Lisa. Lisa always said that she had the best job in the world and she loved every second of it. Lisa had two families - us and the Army. Lisa had a fantastic life and lived it to the full. No-one was more loved."

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The generosity of "ordinary" Americans never ceases to amaze me - there are pages of donations from the US, presumably sourced from that article and others like it.

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The Whie Mouse, Nancy Wake, has passed away.


Probably not widely known about in the USA, this woman should have her story related here:


I have highlighed in bold two ecerpts in the second article that are worth highlighting. This woman was a warrior, in every sense of the word.


A female relative of mine was at the Australian Defence Force Academy when this impressive woman spoke to her class back in the late 1980s. My relative was, to say the very least, highly impressed and humbled, as well as being inspired.




Australia's most decorated World War II servicewoman Nancy Wake has died.


Wake, known as the White Mouse, died on Sunday in a hospital in London, where she had lived since 2001. She was 98.



A close friend confirmed Ms Wake's death early today. Tributes have flowed in the hours that followed.


The fearless WWII French resistance fighter and leader had lived in a London nursing home for retired veterans since suffering a heart attack in 2003. Her health deteriorated recently after she was admitted to hospital with a chest infection.


After a typical fighting recovery late last week, her condition worsened over the weekend and she passed away peacefully at the Kingston Hospital.


When France was occupied by the Nazis in 1940 she and her French husband Henri Fiocca became active in the resistance movement. Ms Wake saved thousands of Allied lives by setting up escape routes and sabotaging German installations. Trained as a spy by the British, she led 7000 resistance fighters in D-Day preparations and was on top of the Gestapo's most wanted list.


Called the White Mouse by the Germans because of her ability to evade capture, Ms Wake learnt at the end of the war that her husband was tortured and killed in 1943.


Prime Minister Julia Gillard today described Ms Wake as a person of exceptional courage whose action saved hundreds of lives.


''Nancy Wake was a woman of exceptional courage and resourcefulness whose daring exploits saved the lives of hundreds of Allied personnel and helped bring the Nazi occupation of France to an end,'' Ms Gillard said.


''Today our nation honours a truly remarkable individual whose selfless valour and tenacity will never be forgotten.


''Nancy Wake will remain an abiding inspiration to generations of Australians.''


RSL national president Rear Admiral Ken Doolan said Ms Wake was a great heroine of World War II.


''She was an extraordinarily brave person who did an enormous amount behind enemy lines, avoiding the Gestapo, standing up in a most courageous way against an awful regime, and setting a fine example for all of us,'' he said.


Rear Admiral Doolan said Ms Wake was an enormously important figure.


''What she did for the Allied cause was remarkable,'' he said.


''She wasn't of course the only one. There were many others who equally behaved impeccably and with great courage, but she certainly stands out as one of those who we should remember especially.


''To be a young woman behind enemy lines, doing what she did, having the courage of her convictions, it's not something that most people could do. What she did was remarkable.''


Acting Opposition Leader Warren Truss said all Australians could be proud of Ms Wake.


''It's remarkable that after all the dangers, all the help that she gave to other people in the most difficult circumstances, all of the horrors of war, that she was able to die peacefully after 98 years,'' he told reporters in Canberra.


''(It's) a wonderful tribute to a marvellous woman and a person of whom all Australians feel very proud.''


Wake's life was chronicled in three books, one an autobiography, and inspired Australian actor Cate Blanchett's role in the film Charlotte Gray.


Australian director Bruce Beresford is making a feature film about the war heroine, taking the title The White Mouse.


A statement issued today said casting and financing was underway, with production expected in the second half of 2012.


New Zealand's Veterans Affairs Minister Judith Collins said Ms Wake was an inspirational and courageous woman.


''Nancy Wake was a woman of exceptional courage and tenacity, who cast aside all regard for her own safety and put the cause of freedom first,'' Ms Collins said.


Ms Collins said Ms Wake would have known that her chances of survival were remote when she chose to return to France during the war as a resistance leader.


''Her work setting up vital escape routes while being hunted by the Gestapo helped save the lives of thousands of Allied servicemen,'' she said.


Ms Wake was born in the New Zealand capital Wellington in 1912 but grew up in Sydney after her family moved to Australia when she was a year old.


She is regarded as a heroine in France, which decorated her with its highest military honour, the Legion d'Honneur, as well as three Croix de Guerre and a French Resistance Medal.


She was also awarded Britain's George Medal and the US Medal of Freedom and was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2004.


The NSW branch of the Liberal Party, of which Wake was once a member, also expressed its heartfelt condolences to her family.


''Nancy will be remembered for her great tenacity and courage during the darkest hours of World War II,'' NSW Liberal Party president Arthur Sinodinos said in a statement.


''Members of the Liberal Party will also remember Nancy as a great servant of our cause.''


Wake was a member of the party's NSW executive and stood as a candidate at the historic 1949 federal election.


She contested the seat of Barton, held by the Chifley Labor government External Affairs Minister Dr Herbert (Doc) Evatt, in the poll.


She was unsuccessful but in 1951 stood against Dr Evatt - who was by then deputy opposition leader - for the second time.


After a period living overseas, Wake later unsuccessfully contested the seat of Kingsford Smith for the Liberals at the 1966 federal election.





Read more: http://www.smh.com.a...l#ixzz1UbzdnhZ2


From a 2004 article:



Overdue honour for one of the bravest

August 8, 2011 This article, by Nancy Wake's biographer Peter FitzSimons, first appeared on March 5, 2004


And so it is done. All these years on, after decades of pleas, plaints and petitions, Nancy Wake has accepted this nation's highest honour, the Companion of the Order of Australia.


It brings to a close a campaign that started almost immediately after World War II, when, despite the fact that the governments of the United States, Britain and France pinned to her lapel their highest honours for her wartime exploits fighting with the French Resistance against the Nazis, the Australian Government had never so much as given her an official pat on the back.


By the time she turned 60, in the early 1970s, on the occasions she returned to Paris the gendarmes would the instant they spied the rosette of her Officier de Legion d'Honneur salute and stop traffic for her to cross the road, while she was all but forgotten in Australia.


To be fair, in latter years this lack of recognition was in part caused by her refusal to accept any such honours. Twice she stood unsuccessfully for the Liberal Party in federal elections, and her overall view was that she wouldn't trust most politicians as far as she could kick them, which she'd like to do.


When I first met her for the Herald at her Port Macquarie apartment in April 2000, I raised the subject of whether she would accept an honour from the Australian Government. "No," she said with a ferocity that shocked me. "The last time there was a suggestion of that I told the government they could stick their medals where the monkey stuck his nuts. The thing is, if they gave me a medal now, it wouldn't be given with love, so I don't want anything from them."


The lesson for me when I came to write her biography was that the spirit which propelled her up the steps of the Gestapo headquarters at Montlucon in June 1944, rolling grenades like bowling balls and spraying German officers with machine-gun fire, was absolutely intact six decades on, even though the flesh had become weaker.


At the biography's launch Lieutenant-General Peter Cosgrove made a wonderful speech, concluding with: "Nancy Wake, you are a wonderful woman; you have been a great warrior for a great cause, and you have always done this country proud. I am deeply honoured to launch this book."


He bowed low, and some 250 people gave thunderous applause as Wake stepped up to the microphone. The crowd fell respectfully silent.


"I have only one thing to say," she rasped. "I killed a lot of Germans, and I am only sorry I didn't kill more." Stunned silence, followed by more thunderous applause.

She now lives in an absolutely first-class London nursing home reserved for distinguished war veterans. When I visited her late last year making my way past a man on the reception desk who was the closest Adolf Hitler lookalike I have ever seen it seemed she really had mellowed. This time when I asked whether she would accept an honour, she said she would, and I, for one, say bravo to those who have organised it. One thing though . . .


In his just released book on the New Guinea campaign of WWII, A Bastard of a Place, Peter Brune made a wonderful point. He noted a great arbitrariness to which soldiers we honour. If they fell in a famous place like Gallipoli, the Western Front, Tobruk or Kokoda then the nation accords them an automatic reverence denied those who, while equally brave, died in a nameless ditch in some place that history soon forgets. But it shouldn't be like that.


So, too, with Nancy Wake. Her exploits were extraordinary, and she fully deserves her honour. But beyond what the Federal Government has done for her in recent weeks I cite the medal and that it has paid for a carer to help look after her much more important is its initiative to put another $300 million towards all veteran entitlements. It is still only a down payment on the debt, but it is something.



Read more: http://www.smh.com.a...l#ixzz1UbyxGOnf


Lest we forget

Edited by DougRichards
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  • 3 months later...

In memory of 3 great uncles and my name sake on this day of Remberance.






7th Bn., Gordon Highlanders

who died on Tuesday 20th November 1917. Age 21.






1st R.M. Bn. R.N. Div. , Royal Marine Light Infantry


who died on Saturday 28 April 1917 . Age 22 .






38th Bn., Canadian Infantry (Eastern Ontario Regt.)


who died on Monday 16th April 1917. Age 26.




Pilot Officer


429 Sqdn., Royal Canadian Air Force


who died on Monday 23rd October 1944. Age 22.

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POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 12, 2011 StarAdvertiser.com


An Oklahoma woman learns her father commanded nisei soldiers in the 100th Infantry


By Dan Nakaso



Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Vikki Powell arrives on Oahu Thursday to fill in the gaps about the father she never knew — a soldier who Powell only recently learned had been awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart for leading Japanese-American soldiers into battle in World War II.


Powell's entire picture of her late father — Army Capt. James Clyde Vaughn — pivoted into a decidely different perspective two months ago when she discovered the citation that accompanied her father's Silver Star in the face of machine-gun and mortar fire in Italy on October 1943 when he was a second lieutenant with the famed 100th Infantry Battalion:


"When the time came for withdrawal, Lt. Vaughn, although wounded, remained behind until certain that all of his platoon had safely withdrawn," according to the citation. "Seeing some of his men pinned down by an enemy machine-gun, he personally accounted for the enemy gunner with his pistol, thus silencing the gun and enabling the men to withdraw. Lt. Vaughn's courage and leadership under fire was highly meritorious and a credit to the Armed Forces of the United States."


For Powell, a 20-year veteran of the Air Force, the discovery that the father she grew up not knowing had won the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts with the 100th Infantry Battalion changed her opinion and made her want to fly from her home in Oklahoma City to Hawaii for the first time to honor him.


"You have absolutely no idea what this did to me, having served 20 years in uniform myself," Powell said on Sunday via telephone amid tears. "To see that my dad did this heroic thing …"


Nisei soldiers from the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service were presented with the Congressional Gold Medal in Washington on Nov. 2, and Powell will be among those honoring the veterans at a Waikiki parade at 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by a banquet at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.


She plans to bring pictures of her father — who died in Tucson, Ariz., in 1990 at the age of 71 — to jog the soldier's memories and to learn more about the man she never knew.


Powell also plans to write a letter to her father and place it before his ashes at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.


"I've gone 57 years with having half of me that I know nothing about," Powell said. "I never had anybody to call Dad. I grew up thinking he was probably not a good person. In the past two months I found out that he was a hero. … It's been an emotional journey."


Powell's search for answers about her father might reveal more details about one of the lesser-known aspects about the storied nisei 442nd, 100th Battalion and MIS units: the Caucasian officers who led their platoons.


"I know there were a lot of people who did tremendous things during the war," Powell said. "But to me my father was John Wayne."


It's a new point of view for Powell.


She was raised in a military family by a stepfather — and a mother who had served in Britain's Royal Air Force during World War II. Her mother died in 2001 after offering little information for Powell about her biological father.


"I always knew that I was adopted, but my mother was very private and didn't share a lot," Powell said.


In 1992, Powell's half sister was doing her own genealogical research when she discovered that Powell's biological father had died two years before in Tucson.


"When I 38 years old, I finally started to find out some information about my father," Powell said.


She was stationed at Nevada's Nellis Air Force Base at the time and drove to Tucson to meet with Capt. Vaughn's widow. There she saw photos of a 6-foot-tall, blue-eyed man in an Army uniform.


"I'm 5-10, so I knew where I got my height," Powell said. "My mother had blue eyes and I had blue eyes. I could see the resemblance."


Among the widow's photos was the only picture known to exist of Powell as a baby.


"I happened to have that photo, as well," Powell said.


Vaughn's widow told Powell that he had been stationed in Hawaii during the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941. But she provided no information about what happened next to Vaughn's Army career.


The photos also offered another puzzle.


In some of the pictures, Vaughn wears the stripes of an Army staff sergeant. In others he's wearing captain's bars.


Years passed before Powell learned that her father had served with the 100th Infantry Battalion.


Now she's boning up on the history and nomenclature of the nisei units and has asked the Army for all of her father's war records.


But the richest information might come from the veterans she'll meet this week who served with her father in combat in Europe.


"Who are these nisei soldiers?" Powell asked rhetorically. "What is this all about? So far, with what I've learned, I'm

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