Sunday, June 11, 2017

Extraordinary Men...

1LT John R. Fox, United States Army, Medal of Honor
For extraordinary heroism against an armed enemy in the vicinity of Sommocolonia, Italy on 26 December 1944, while serving as a member of Cannon Company, 366th Infantry Regiment, 92d Infantry Division. During the preceding few weeks, Lieutenant Fox served with the 598th Field Artillery Battalion as a forward observer. On Christmas night, enemy soldiers gradually infiltrated the town of Sommocolonia in civilian clothes, and by early morning the town was largely in hostile hands. Commencing with a heavy barrage of enemy artillery at 0400 hours on 26 December 1944, an organized attack by uniformed German units began. Being greatly outnumbered, most of the United States Infantry forces were forced to withdraw from the town, but Lieutenant Fox and some other members of his observer party voluntarily remained on the second floor of a house to direct defensive artillery fire. At 0800 hours, Lieutenant Fox reported that the Germans were in the streets and attacking in strength. He then called for defensive artillery fire to slow the enemy advance. As the Germans continued to press the attack towards the area that Lieutenant Fox occupied, he adjusted the artillery fire closer to his position. Finally he was warned that the next adjustment would bring the deadly artillery right on top of his position. After acknowledging the danger, Lieutenant Fox insisted that the last adjustment be fired as this was the only way to defeat the attacking soldiers. Later, when a counterattack retook the position from the Germans, Lieutenant Fox's body was found with the bodies of approximately 100 German soldiers. Lieutenant Fox's gallant and courageous actions, at the supreme sacrifice of his own life, contributed greatly to delaying the enemy advance until other infantry and artillery units could reorganize to repel the attack. His extraordinary valorous actions were in keeping with the most cherished traditions of military service, and reflect the utmost credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
One thing which has often struck me when reading stories of heroism, valor, and sacrifice is that duty, honor, and courage know no color, no race, no religion, no creed. The willingness to lay down one's life for one's fellows is an extraordinary thing.

When it is done in service to a nation which treated you as a second-class citizen, a being somehow not worthy of respect nor honor, I cannot for the life of me fathom the depth of that individual's personal sense of honor and loyalty. It had to have been instilled by their elders, folks who grew up in perhaps even harsher times.

While we have made great strides in this country to fight the heinous sin of racism, we have not yet reached Dr. King's standard -
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
There is more work to be done, while some would use race to color everything, we must look beyond the color of a person's skin, we must look to the soul and the character of that person above all. First, last, always. For that is the only way we can honor those who gave their lives for us, even when the country treated them poorly.

TSgt Ted. T. Tanouye, United States Army, Medal of Honor
Technical Sergeant Ted T. Tanouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 7 July 1944, near Molino A Ventoabbto, Italy. Technical Sergeant Tanouye led his platoon in an attack to capture the crest of a strategically important hill that afforded little cover. Observing an enemy machine gun crew placing its gun in position to his left front, Technical Sergeant Tanouye crept forward a few yards and opened fire on the position, killing or wounding three and causing two others to disperse. Immediately, an enemy machine pistol opened fire on him. He returned the fire and killed or wounded three more enemy soldiers. While advancing forward, Technical Sergeant Tanouye was subjected to grenade bursts, which severely wounded his left arm. Sighting an enemy-held trench, he raked the position with fire from his submachine gun and wounded several of the enemy. Running out of ammunition, he crawled 20 yards to obtain several clips from a comrade on his left flank. Next, sighting an enemy machine pistol that had pinned down his men, Technical Sergeant Tanouye crawled forward a few yards and threw a hand grenade into the position, silencing the pistol. He then located another enemy machine gun firing down the slope of the hill, opened fire on it, and silenced that position. Drawing fire from a machine pistol nest located above him, he opened fire on it and wounded three of its occupants. Finally taking his objective, Technical Sergeant Tanouye organized a defensive position on the reverse slope of the hill before accepting first aid treatment and evacuation. Technical Sergeant Tanouye's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army. (Source)
PFC Anthony T. Kahoʻohanohano, United States Army, Medal of Honor
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty Private First Class Anthony T. Kaho'ohanohano, Company H, 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy in the vicinity of Chupa-ri, Korea, on 1 September 1951. On that date, Private First Class Kaho'ohanohano was in charge of a machine-gun squad supporting the defensive positioning of Company F when a numerically superior enemy force launched a fierce attack. Because of the enemy's overwhelming numbers, friendly troops were forced to execute a limited withdrawal. As the men fell back, Private First Class Kaho'ohanohano ordered his squad to take up more defensible positions and provide covering fire for the withdrawing friendly force. Although having been wounded in the shoulder during the initial enemy assault, Private First Class Kaho'ohanohano gathered a supply of grenades and ammunition and returned to his original position to face the enemy alone. As the hostile troops concentrated their strength against his emplacement in an effort to overrun it, Private First Class Kaho'ohanohano fought fiercely and courageously, delivering deadly accurate fire into the ranks of the onrushing enemy. When his ammunition was depleted, he engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat until he was killed. Private First Class Kaho'ohanohano's heroic stand so inspired his comrades that they launched a counterattack that completely repulsed the enemy. Upon reaching Private First Class Kaho'ohanohano's emplacement, friendly troops discovered 11 enemy soldiers lying dead in front of the emplacement and two inside it, killed in hand-to-hand combat. Private First Class Kaho'ohanohano's extraordinary heroism and selfless devotion to duty are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 7th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.
LCpl Emilio A. De La Garza, Jr. United States Marine Corps, Medal of Honor
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a machine gunner with Company E. Returning with his squad from a night ambush operation, L/Cpl. De La Garza joined his platoon commander and another marine in searching for 2 enemy soldiers who had been observed fleeing for cover toward a small pond. Moments later, he located 1 of the enemy soldiers hiding among the reeds and brush. As the 3 marines attempted to remove the resisting soldier from the pond, L/Cpl. De La Garza observed him pull the pin on a grenade. Shouting a warning, L/Cpl. De La Garza placed himself between the other 2 marines and the ensuing blast from the grenade, thereby saving the lives of his comrades at the sacrifice of his life. By his prompt and decisive action, and his great personal valor in the face of almost certain death, L/Cpl. De La Garza upheld and further enhanced the finest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. (Source)
A salute goes out to Carl, an old squadron mate of The WSO - he inspired this post with a link he provided over at koobecaF to War History Online. The story of First Lieutenant Fox should be known by all Americans. As well as the stories of all who served valiantly and gave the last full measure of devotion. Regardless of color...
When we heard the words, duty, honor and country, no more needed to be said. But that is a bygone era. Today we rarely hear of our personal responsibility in discussions of broad notions such as freedom or liberty. It is as if freedom and liberty exist wholly independent of anything we do, as if they are predestined. - Clarence Thomas (Source)


  1. Unusually high quantity of pollen in Philly this morning.

    Very good post.

  2. My first thought on seeing the photo of Lt. Fox was "Wow. what a handsome young man. Musta been a real lady killer." When I got to your line about duty, honor, and courage knowing no color I had to scroll back up.

    Maybe it is where I grew up, what at the time was the small town of Vista, CA, but I wouldn't have noticed the race/color/ethnicity of any of those men. Granted, not many blacks there at that time, but lots of Japanese, Samoans (generic for any Pacific Islander since they were the largest group), and people with surnames like Lopez, Aguilarra, Marron, Garcia, Cruz, and Padillo. At the VFW Post my dad was a member of men with names* like "Dutch" Jurgensmeier, "Frenchie" Fecto, Juan Lopez, Jack Opunui, and Issac Inouye all rubbed shoulders, traded beers, and swapped lies without regard for color. They all wore green and bled red. They were brothers.

    *(I think I got the spelling right on the names)

  3. Thank you for making known to me these outstanding Americans. Such Americans stand as an example for all of us to follow.

    Paul L. Quandt

  4. Fox's response to the incredulous "you know that's your own position, right?" was simply "Fire it."

    Which in my mind, sounds something like:

    "Yes, I understand I'm calling for artillery on my own position. But these huge brass ones won't fit through the door, so I'm kinda stuck in here - and the Germans ain't gonna kill themselves."

    It's a shame it took fifty years for him to get his medal, but sometimes the righteous outcome takes time.

  5. Here is another.

    My only reason for picking this one is that 711 was my dad's squadron.

  6. We are strong, for we are preceded by great men.

  7. All too frequently we remind ourselves that we are a citizenry not deserving such sacrifice. Thank God that our nation produces such individuals. respectfully, Alemaster

  8. It is heartening - always - to read of these heroes. Thanks for posting them in times like these. The saddest words of the post are "But that is a bygone era." I pray that that is not rue.


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