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12 November: Today in U.S. military history

An SBD-5 Dauntless aircraft flies over USS Washington and USS Lexington in the Pacific Ocean en route to the Gilbert Islands on this date in 1943.

1944: On this date, two 90th Infantry Division soldiers earned the Medal of Honor — just miles apart from each other.

“When German tanks and self-propelled guns penetrated his left flank and overwhelming infantry forces threatened to overrun the 1 remaining machinegun in that section,” Tech. Sgt. Forrest E. Everhart, commanding a platoon during a desperate German counterattack near Korling, France, “ran 400 yards through woods churned by artillery and mortar concentrations to strengthen the defense. With the 1 remaining gunner, he directed furious fire into the advancing hordes until they swarmed close to the position. He left the gun, boldly charged the attackers and, after a 15-minute exchange of hand grenades, forced them to withdraw leaving 30 dead behind. He re-crossed the fire-swept terrain to his then threatened right flank, exhorted his men and directed murderous fire from the single machinegun at that position. There, in the light of bursting mortar shells, he again closed with the enemy in a hand grenade duel and, after a fierce 30-minute battle, forced the Germans to withdraw leaving another 20 dead. The gallantry and intrepidity of T/Sgt. Everhart in rallying his men and refusing to fall back in the face of terrible odds were highly instrumental in repelling the fanatical enemy counterattack directed at the American bridgehead across the Moselle River.” Continue reading “12 November: Today in U.S. military history”

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Honoring a soldier killed on the eve of the Armistice

This Veteran’s Day we remember 1st Lt. Louis K. Juden, 28 of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who died 101 years ago after being gassed during the closing days of World War I. From the Cape Girardeau Tribune:

Lieut. Louis K. Juden, grandson of Mrs. Louis F. Klostermann, died in a hospital in France on October 27, according to a letter received by Mrs. Klostermann yesterday morning. The news of his death prostrated Mrs. Klostermann.

He died in the army hospital at Streteit, and was buried in a military cemetery nearby. A photograph of the cemetery was sent to Mrs. Klostermann.

Lieut. Juden, who had been fighting with Gen. Pershing’s army, was severely gassed at St. Mehiel by the Germans. He was hurried to the hospital at Streteit, where he died 4 days later, according to the letter received by Mrs. Klostermann.

The letter was written by Miss Alice G. Fields, an American nurse, who was in charge of Lieut. Juden during his confinement at the hospital. She wrote that everything possible had been done to save the life of the lieutenant, but to no avail. Continue reading “Honoring a soldier killed on the eve of the Armistice”

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7 November: Today in U.S. military history

Today’s post is in honor of Spc. Dale J. Kridlo, who was one of two U.S. soldiers killed by small-arms fire on an observation post in Afghanistan’s Kunar province. Kridlo, 33, of Hughestown, Pa., was assigned to the 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps.


1811: At the confluence of the Wabash and Tippecanoe Rivers, William Henry Harrison’s 1,000-man force of militia and regular infantry soldiers clash with American Indian warriors led by Tenskwatawa (known as “The Prophet”). Although outnumbered by the Americans, the Indians charge multiple times into Harrison’s lines, inflicting serious casualties on the defenders. The Prophet’s force withdraws once the sun rises and Tecumseh’s confederacy abandons the area. Harrison – destined to become a brigadier general during the War of 1812 and ultimately president of the United States – will forever be known as “the hero of Tippecanoe.”

1861 (featured image): A Naval force under Flag Officer Samuel F. DuPont boldly steams into Port Royal Sound (S.C.) as Union gunners pour heavy fire into Confederate-held Forts Walker and Beauregard. Marines and sailors land and occupy the forts, giving the Union a crucial supply base for their Naval blockade.

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Never forgotten: Remains of over 200 Pearl Harbor sailors, Marines identified

On the morning of 7 December 1941, nine Japanese torpedoes struck the battleship USS Oklahoma, anchored on Battleship Row during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The massive ship capsized in just 15 minutes, trapping hundreds of sailors and Marines inside.

Crews worked feverishly to rescue the survivors, which could be heard tapping the inside of the ship’s hull for the next three days. Unsung heroes like civilian dock worker Julio DeCastro raced against the clock, cutting through sections of the hull to pull out dozens of men.

Two Oklahoma sailors earned the Medal of Honor: Seaman James Ward and Ensign Francis Flaherty both sacrificed their lives so their comrades could escape their battle stations. Chief John Austin posthumously earned the Navy Cross for assisting 15 of his fellow sailors out of a flooded compartment. Boatswain Adolph Bothne braved enemy fire and the hazardous waters, picking up boatload after boatload of survivors and ferrying them to Ford Island. Lt. (j.g.) Aloysius H. Schmitt assisted in evacuating a dozen trapped sailors through an opening, but when it was his turn to escape, he declined so that several other sailors that showed up as he about to be rescued appeared. Schmitt gave up his chance of survival so that others may live, becoming the first American chaplain to die in World War II. Continue reading “Never forgotten: Remains of over 200 Pearl Harbor sailors, Marines identified”

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31 October: Today in U.S. military history

Today’s post is in honor of 1st Lt. Todd J. Bryant, who was killed by an improvised explosive device during a patrol in Fallujah, Iraq on this day in 2003. The 23-year-old native of Riverside, Calif. was assigned to 1st Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Infantry Division and is one of nine graduates of the U.S. Military Academy’s Class of 2002 who gave their lives in Iraq or Afghanistan.


1941: Although the United States has not yet entered the war, U.S. Naval vessels are serving as convoy escorts. When a German U-boat wolfpack attacks an Allied convoy near Iceland, the American destroyer USS Reuben James places itself between an incoming torpedo and an ammunition ship. The torpedo detonates the destroyer’s magazine, blowing the Reuben James in half. 115 sailors perish in the first sinking of a U.S. warship in World War II.

1943: Lt. Hugh D. O’Neill, flying at night in a specially modified F4U Corsair, shoots down a Japanese Betty bomber over Vella Lavella, scoring the first kill for the radar-equipped night fighters.

1966: While on a patrol mission of the Mekong Delta, two patrol boats of the Brown Water Navy are fired upon by Vietnamese sampans. When Petty Officer First Class James E. Williams gives chase, he discovers a hornet’s nest of enemy activity in the isolated section of the delta. During a three-hour battle with enemy boats and fortifications, Williams and his crew, supported by helicopter gunships, destroy 65 vessels and kill hundreds of the enemy force. For his role in the engagement, the Navy’s most-decorated enlisted sailor (having already received two Silver Stars and three Bronze Stars – all for valor – in addition to the Navy Cross) is awarded the Medal of Honor.

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