Brothers in Arms-Friends in life and death.

 

Angelo P. Marcaletti and Charles James Jr, who were they?

To be honest I don’t know who they were. However I do know they both lived in New Philadelphia,Ohio, and they both had attended the Dover High school in Tuscarawas County,Ohio.

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I also know they were buddies when they both were inducted to the US Army on October 27th 1942.

And I know they were still friends when they were killed on April 7 1944.

The question really shouldn’t be who they were but what they were. That is an easier question to answer for they both were Heroes. Heroes who sacrificed their lives to afford me the freedom to live my life any which way I wish.

Dear Sirs, I salute you.

Angelo P. Marcaletti

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Angelo P. Marcaletti entered the Army from Ohio. He married Vera Dindo on 18 December 1943 at the Sacred Heart church.

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He was stationed at  Camp Breckinridge in Kentucky at the time of his marriage.His parents and his brother were immigrants from Italy.

Charles James Jr.

Charles James.

Charles James Jr. was a veteran of the US 9th Army’s campaigns in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

He had been awarded the Infantry Man’s medal and the Good Conduct medal. He was born and raises in New Philadelphia, Ohio.

Prior to joining  the US  Army he had been employed at the Robinson Clay Products Co. at Parral.

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He graduated from High school in 1939 and was a member of the Catholic Church.He married Louise Martinelli in June 1942.

Both Angelo and James were killed when a land mine exploded under them while they were laying communication lines.

They are both buried in the American War Cemetery,Margraten in the Netherlands.

 

 

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Heroes of Pearl Harbor

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2,335 service men & 68 civilians killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Those two numbers,2,335 & 68, are just statistics and mean nothing without the stories behind them.

For none of these casualties were just numbers. They were someone’s son,father,husband,wife, daughter and sister each of them heroes. These are just the stories of 2 of those heroes.

Robert R. Scott

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Robert Raymond Scott was born in Massillon, Ohio on July 13, 1915 and enlisted in the United States Navy on April 18, 1938. Machinist’s Mate First Class Scott was assigned to USS California when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941.

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At the age of 26, Robert Raymond Scott went down in history as an American hero, having served aboard the California when the Japanese fighters bombed Battleship Row. Like many of the soldiers that morning, Scott didn’t waiver in his duty as a sailor of the United States Navy. Even as chaos erupted around him, as battleships nearby were struck time and time again by incoming enemy fire, as his own vessel took multiple hits, he remained dedicated to the cause he’d signed up for: to protect his country and fight alongside his Navy brothers.

It was this dedication to service that cost Robert Scott his life,

During the incoming fire, the California took a direct torpedo hit, which caused flooding in the compartment where Scott was stationed. It was his duty to attend to the air compressor, to ensure the California received the air it needed for a variety of functions. While the rest of the crew stationed along with him evacuated, the determined sailor stayed behind.

“This is my station and I will stay and give them air as long as the guns are going,” Scott Moh_rightexclaimed to those who implored him to evacuate. Knowing the danger this decision posed to his life, he stayed behind, and that was the last time Robert R. Scott would be seen.

He was posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his heroism.”For conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage and complete disregard of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. The compartment, in the U.S.S. California, in which the air compressor, to which Scott was assigned as his battle station, was flooded as the result of a torpedo hit. The remainder of the personnel evacuated that compartment but Scott refused to leave.”

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Born in St. Lucas, Iowa, Schmitt studied at Columbia College (now Loras College) in Dubuque, Iowa and graduated in 1932. He then studied in Rome for the priesthood. He was ordained on December 8, 1935. Father Schmitt was first assigned as an associate at Saint Mary’s Church in Dubuque. He was also assigned to St. Mary’s Cathedral in Cheyenne, Wyoming. After four years, he received permission to become a chaplain, and joined the United States Navy. He was appointed Acting Chaplain with rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade (LTJG) on June 28, 1939.

On December 7th, 1941, Fr. Schmitt was serving on board the battleship, USS Oklahoma when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

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He had just finished saying Mass when the call went out for “general quarters”. A Japanese hit caused the ship to capsize. A number of sailors, including Fr. Schmitt, were trapped in a compartment with only a small porthole as the means of escape. Fr. Schmitt helped a number of men through this porthole. When it came his time to leave, he declined and helped more men to escape. In total, he helped 12 men to escape.

Fr. Schmitt died on board the Oklahoma. He was the first chaplain of any faith to have died in World War II. His example inspired a number of other priests to become chaplains.

He was honored posthumously by the U.S. government when it awarded him the Navy and Marine Corps Medal on 23 October 1942 for “distinguished heroism and sublime devotion to his fellow man.” He also received the Purple Heart.

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The unknown soldier-known Hero

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A white cross made of marble or wood is all that is there to remember you by. Unknown, known but to  God

The fate that awaited you, to you was unknown.

You mother,father,sister brother,wife,son or daughter, unknown

Your name, your rank, your unit, unknown

Your favorite,actor,singer,movie and song. unknown

Where you were born, the name of your school and the name of your high-school sweetheart, unknown.

What drink you drank, what food you ate, what book you read,unknown.

You see it is not just you but it is your whole life that is unknown.

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That you were a hero,known.

You selflessly sacrificed your life for others,known.

Because of you I grew up a free man,known.

Your spirit lives on in the memories of those  you saved,known.

We all owe you our respect and gratitude.known.

An honorable man was lost to the world when you closed your eyes forever,known.

You made the world a better place,known.

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You may be the unknown soldier but to me you will always the known Hero, for it is not always needed to know someones name to realize he was a Hero.

RIP,Friend,Soldier,Hero.

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When Heroes weren’t so Heroic

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We all have heroes and that is important, you need someone to look up to. But Heroes are human beings like anyone else and sometimes they say or do things that are not so heroic.

Following are some examples where some heroes said something very un-heroic.Some of these will really surprise you.

John Lennon, on his son

“I can’t stand the way you fucking laugh! Never let me hear your fucking horrible laugh again.” — Lennon screaming at his son, Julian, while the latter was a boy and helping his mother make pancakes

“I’m not going to lie to Julian. Ninety percent of the people on this planet, especially in the West, were born out of a bottle of whiskey on a Saturday night, and there was no intent to have children. So 90 percent of us — that includes everybody — were accidents…Julian is in the majority, along with me and everybody else. Sean is a planned child, and therein lies the difference.” — Lennon, describing the difference between his first son, Julian, and his second son, Sean

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Abraham Lincoln, on racial equality

“And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races.”

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Roald Dahl, on Jewish people

“There is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity; maybe it’s a kind of lack of generosity towards non-Jews. I mean there is always a reason why anti-anything crops up anywhere; even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason.”
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Martin Luther King Jr., on domestic abuse

“I would suggest that you analyze the whole situation and see if there is anything within your personality that arouses this tyrannical response from your husband.” — King’s advice for a woman who asked him for help because her husband was abusive to her and their kids

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Mahatma Gandhi, on black Africans

“Ours is one continual struggle against a degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the Europeans, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw Kaffir [a slur for black Africans that is now classified as hate speech and generally considered to be the equivalent of “nigger” in the United States] whose occupation is hunting, and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with and, then, pass his life in indolence and nakedness.”

“Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilised—the convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty and live almost like animals.”

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4th of May-Honoring the Heroes.

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Every 4th of May at 20.00 PM, 2 minutes of silence is observed in the Netherlands to remember those who died in WWII and other military conflicts.

Today I want to honor those who died for my freedom. It is impossible to honor them all for there were so many. The ones I selected are buried only a few miles from where I was born in the War Cemetery of Sittard.

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The Fallen Hero

 

Thank you soldier for setting my country free.

You did not want to die but yet you gave your life.

It was for strangers you sacrificed yourself, who weren’t even family.

Your ambitions were cut short never again did you see your wife.

 

Thank you, young man to liberate my land.

Your youth stolen from you by a violent act of hate.

A picture of a young girl you held in your hand

The blood drenched battlefield sealed both your fate

 

Thank you proud parents for sending us your son.

The pain you feel is something I will never be able to comprehend

But know this your child did not die in vain, his memory will go on

Even if everyone else forgets, I will remember until my end.

Pvt John Bowles

Died Jan 23 1945 -Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment), 6th Bn. Age 21

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Dennis Donnini

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Birth: Nov. 17, 1925. County Durham, England. Died Jan. 18, 1945,Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany.

World War II Victoria Cross Recipient. He received the award posthumously from British King George VI (presented to his father) at Buckingham Palace in London, England for his actions as a fusilier in the 4th/5th Battalion, Royal Scot Fusiliers, British Army on January 18, 1945 near Stein, Germany during Operation Blackcock in World War II. Born in Easington, Durham, England, his father emigrated from Italy during World war I and owned an ice cream shop and billiards establishment in Easington. During World War II he was placed in an internment camp because of his connection to a country that was at war with England. Shortly after his older brother was killed in combat in May 1944, he enlisted in the Royal Scot Fusiliers and following his training, he was sent to the European Theater of Operations where he was killed in combat at the age of 19 near Stein, Germany. His Victoria Cross citation reads: “In North-West Europe, on 18th January 1945, a Battalion of The Royal Scots Fusiliers supported by tanks was the leading Battalion in the assault of the German positions between the rivers Roer and Maas. This consisted of a broad belt of minefields and wire on the other side of a stream. As the result of a thaw the armour was unable to cross the stream and the infantry had to continue the assault without the support of the tanks. Fusilier Donnini’s platoon was ordered to attack a small village. As they left their trenches the platoon came under concentrated machine gun and rifle fire from the houses and Fusilier Donnini was hit by a bullet in the head. After a few minutes he recovered consciousness, charged down thirty yards of open road and threw a grenade into the nearest window. The enemy fled through the gardens of four houses, closely pursued by Fusilier Donnini and the survivors of his platoon. Under heavy fire at seventy yards range Fusilier Donnini and two companions crossed an open space and reached the cover of a wooden barn, thirty yards from the enemy trenches. Fusilier Donnini, still bleeding profusely from his wound, went into the open under intense close range fire and carried one of his companions, who had been wounded, into the barn. Taking a Bren gun he again went into the open, firing as he went. He was wounded a second time but recovered and went on firing until a third bullet hit a grenade which he was carrying and killed him. The superb gallantry and self-sacrifice of Fusilier Donnini drew the enemy fire away from his companions on to himself. As the result of this, the platoon were able to capture the position, accounting for thirty Germans and two machine guns. Throughout this action, fought from beginning to end at point blank range, the dash, determination and magnificent courage of Fusilier Donnini enabled his comrades to overcome an enemy more than twice their own number.” He was the youngest soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross during World War II.

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Major Magnus Vivian Gray

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Died January 22 1945. Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

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Trooper Alfred Thomas Heath

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Birth:Dec. 26, 1924, Staffordshire, England. Died Nov. 21, 1944, Germany.Royal Armoured Corps

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Gunner Robert R McCOLLESTER

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Birth 1940:Burnley, Died December 20,1944.Royal Horse Artillery.

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Andrew Churchill

Birth unknown. Died February 6 1945. Gunner, Royal Artillery, 59 (Newfoundland) Heavy Regt. Age 32..

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Nearer my God to thee-And the band played on.

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105 years ago today as the Titanic was sinking,band leader Wallace Hartley decided to stay on the ship together with his fellow musicians.

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Why I don’t really know but I think it was to give that glimmer of hope to those who were facing their last minutes before their mortal coils would give up.What is even more amazing is the fact that the piece of music they played was “Nearer my God to thee” these are the heroes who are often forgotten.

After the Titanic hit an iceberg and began to sink, Hartley and his fellow band members started playing music to help keep the passengers calm as the crew loaded the lifeboats. Many of the survivors said that he and the band continued to play until the very end. None of the band members survived the sinking, and the story of them playing to the end became a popular legend. One survivor who clambered aboard ‘Collapsible A’ claimed to have seen Hartley and his band standing on the boat deck, near the entrance to the grand staircase, near the base of the second funnel. He went on to say that he saw three of them washed off while the other five held on to the railing on top the Grand Staircase’s deckhouse, only to be dragged down with the bow, as Hartley exclaimed, “Gentlemen, I bid you farewell!” A newspaper at the time reported “the part played by the orchestra on board the Titanic in her last dreadful moments will rank among the noblest in the annals of heroism at sea.”

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Many of the survivors said that Hartley and the band continued to play until the very end. One second class passenger said:

“Many brave things were done that night, but none were more brave than those done by men playing minute after minute as the ship settled quietly lower and lower in the sea. The music they played served alike as their own immortal requiem and their right to be recalled on the scrolls of undying fame”

This is my salute to those who kept faith until the last moment.

Elise and Otto Hampel-Defiant heroes

Like in so many other conflicts often the inhabitants of the aggressor nation are also victims as was the case in Germany. Many defied the Nazi regime and paid the ultimate price for it.

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Otto and Elise Hampel were a working-class couple who created a simple method of protest while living in Berlin during the early years of World War II. They composed postcards denouncing Hitler’s government and left them in public places around the city. They were eventually caught, tried, and beheaded in Berlin’s Plötzensee Prison in April 1943.

(One of the Hampels’ postcards; in the middle is a postage stamp bearing Hitler’s face, scrawled with the words “worker murderer“)  Hampel_postcard

On this day in 1943, a working-class German couple were executed for treason and sedition in Berlin, Germany: Otto and Elise Hampel’s reign of postcard-writing terror had finally come to its conclusion.

Elise Lemme married Otto Hampel in 1935.

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She was a domestic servant and a member of the National Socialist Frauenschaft (Women’s League). Otto had served in WWI and was a factory worker. After the death of Elise’s brother, a soldier killed during the German assault on France, she and her husband decided to oppose the Nazi regime in their own way. They had handwritten  about 200 postcards and leaflets anonymously which called upon people not to buy Nazi papers, to refuse to serve in the war and to overthrow Hitler.

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Their campaign lasted for two years before they were eventually betrayed and arrested.

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What actually happened was that almost all the cards were delivered to the authorities immediately. Nobody wanted to be caught in possession of such dangerous words.

Because of the sheer number of postcards and the long duration of their distribution, the Gestapo at first thought they were dealing with a much larger group of traitors. Doubtless they were frustrated that this riffraff, who couldn’t even write properly (the postcards were full of grammatical errors and misspellings), were able to evade them for so long.

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But the Hampels’ resistance activities eventually caught up with them.

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They were unrepentant after their arrests in October 1942, and had little to say for themselves, beyond Otto’s statement that he was “happy” about protesting against Hitler. Roland Freisler‘s People’s Court duly condemned them to die for “preparation for high treason” and “demoralizing the troops.” They were executed by guillotine in the Plötzensee Prison.

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For some reason, unlike their equally courageous, naive and doomed counterparts in the White Rose, the Hampels’ story didn’t really catch on with historians.They were saved from oblivion by the dangerously unstable, drug-addicted author Rudolf Ditzen, aka Hans Fallada, who came upon their Gestapo file after the war.

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His 1947 novel,”Every man Dies Alone, written in just 24 days, is closely based on Elise and Otto’s story. This book was Fallada’s swan song; he died weeks before its publication.

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It’s time we started honouring real heroes again-Part 2

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The world has gone crazy honouring ‘Heroes’ whose only achievement is being famous for the sake of being famous. It is time to start honouring the real heroes again. The men and women who sacrificed their lives so that we can live in freedom.

Cpl. Patrick Mazzie, who is buried in Netherlands American Cemetery, died April 11, 1945

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1st Lt. Paul Donald Meyer met his wife 2nd Lt. Elaine Gardner Mitchell during World War II. Paul was killed on February 25, 1945, and he’s buried in Netherlands American Cemetery.55 PDM

Sgt. John K Barry, he was a Tail Gunner of B-17G 42-32213 “”Pistol Packin Mama”” plane crashed Near Nordhausen Germany.

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Dorothy J. Burdge was a school teacher before going overseas as a Red Cross worker. She was sent overseas by the Red Cross in September 1943 and served in England and followed the American troops to Normandy, through France and Belgium and finally to Germany. She operated a Red Cross clubmobile with her sister Grace. She was killed in a plane crash in Germany.

Pvt Frederick Bryan Coldicott Oct. 22, 1921, England,Oct. 22, 1944.

He was born in England and came to America with family at age of 3.
He lived in Roseville, Michigan USA. He was married to Elizabeth and left a daughter, Sandra and a Son Frederick.

He recieved the Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge 10233138_123738070160

PFC Aston Hugh Morgan, III,Oct. 3, 1925, USA,Apr. 5, 1945, Germany

From Aston’s obituary in newspaper:
Pfc Aston H. Morgan III
Killed in Germany, April 5, while serving with field artillery of the Ninth Army.
Entered service in Feb 1944.
Trained at Fort Benning, Ga; Fort Bragg, NC; Fort Wood, Mo.
Stationed in England, France, and Belgium before joining Ninth Army in Hurtgen Forest.
Graduated from Kingston High School in 1943; member of National Honor Society.
Member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (president of Young People’s Society).
Employed by Craftsmen Engravers before entering service.
Grandfather: Dr. Aston H. Morgan.
Father: Mr. Aston H. Morgan Jr, proprietor of Morgan Drug Store, 361 East Market Street, Kingston.

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William G. Walsh and Ross F. Gray two selfless heroes of Iwo Jima.

In these days when we have very few heroes left it is good to be reminded of some real heroes who made a difference by selfless actions and not self promotion.

William G. Walsh

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Gunnery Sergeant William Gary Walsh (April 7, 1922 – February 27, 1945) was a United States Marine who heroically sacrificed his life to save the lives of his fellow Marines during the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. For his actions on February 27, 1945, he posthumously received the Medal of Honor.

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William Walsh was born on April 7, 1922, in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He attended public schools in Boston before enlisting in the United States Marine Corps in April 1942. He went to boot camp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, and advanced training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

From Camp Lejeune, he went to Samoa and was assigned to a unit of Marine scouts. His next assignment was with the 2nd Marine Raider battalion, the famed Carlson’s Raiders. During the United States’ war with Japan in the Pacific, he saw action at Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Tarawa, and in the Russell Islands.

Following two years of service in the Pacific theatre, he returned to the United States. He returned overseas later with the 5th Marine Division in time for the Iwo Jima invasion

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It was at Iwo Jima, while leading his men against a fortified hill on February 27, 1945, he threw himself on a hand grenade, sacrificing his life to save the lives of fellow Marines. For this heroic act, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Initially buried in the 5th Marine Division Cemetery on Iwo Jima, GnySgt Walsh’s remains were later reinterred in Arlington National Cemetery on April 20, 1948.

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Ross F. Gray

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Sergeant Ross Franklin Gray (August 1, 1920 – February 27, 1945) was a United States Marine who posthumously received the Medal of Honor — the highest military honor of the United States — for his heroic service in the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II — he single-handedly disarmed an entire mine field while under heavy enemy fire. He was killed in action six days later.

Gray enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in Birmingham, Alabama on July 22, 1942, and was assigned to active duty the same day. After receiving his recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina, he went to New River, North Carolina, and in September joined the 23rd Marines, 4th Marine Division. Promoted to private first class in April 1943, he was transferred to Company A, 1st Battalion 25th Marines, a month later.

Private First Class Gray left for overseas duty on January 13, 1944 and landed at Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands where he took part in the Roi-Namur campaign.

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He was made an engineering corporal in March and in June made another assault landing — this time at Saipan. At the conclusion of the fighting at Saipan, Cpl Gray took part in the landing on Tinian Island, also in the Marianas.

Promoted to sergeant in August, he attended the 4th Marine Division Mine and Booby Trap School, upon completion of which he was rated qualified to instruct troops in the laying of mine fields; the reconnaissance of enemy minefields, day and night; the location, neutralization, disarming, and removal of mines; the neutralization of booby-trapped mines; and the day and night clearance of lanes through minefields. Examined and found qualified for promotion to the rank of staff sergeant, Sgt Gray, due to the lack of openings for that rate in his organization, was never promoted to the third pay grade.

On February 21, 1945, two days after the initial landing on Iwo Jima,  Gray was acting platoon sergeant of one of Company A’s platoons which had been held up by a sudden barrage of Japanese hand grenades in the area northeast of Airfield No. 1.

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Gray withdrew his platoon out of range of the grenades and moved forward to get a better look at the situation.. He saw his platoon was held up by several Japanese bunkers connected by covered communication trenches  with a mine field in front of them.

With typical Gray tenacity and in spite a hail of enemy small arms fire, Gray cleared a path through the mine field up to the mouth of one of the fortifications, then returned to his own lines, where with three volunteers, he went back to the battalion dump and acquired twelve satchel charges. Placing these in a defiladed area within his platoon that was protected from immediate enemy fire, he took one weighing twenty-four pounds. Under covering fire from the three volunteers, Gray advanced up the path he had cleared and threw the charge into the enemy position in order to take it out of action.

Gray came under fire from a machine gun in another opening of the same position,  Gray returned to the defiladed spot, obtained another charge, returned to the position and this time completely destroyed it. Spotting another emplacement, he went through the mine field for the seventh and eighth time to get another charge and destroy another enemy stronghold.

He continued this one-man attack, all the time under heavy small arms fire and grenade barrage, until he had destroyed six enemy positions.  During Gray’s attack on the enemy positions , he was unarmed so that he could more easily carry the charges and accessories.

After he had eliminated all six Japanese bunkers, Gray disarmed the whole mine field before returning to his platoon.

For his personal valor, daring tactics, and tenacious perseverance in the face of extreme peril on February 21, Sgt Gray was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman

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The coveted award was presented to the hero’s father by Rear Admiral A. S. Merrill, United States Navy, then Commandant of the Eighth Naval District, at the football field at Centreville High School in the presence of the Governor of the State of Alabama, Chauncey Sparks, on April 16, 1946.

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Sergeant Gray was initially buried in the 4th Marine Division Cemetery on Iwo Jima, but later his remains were returned to the United States for private burial in Woodstock, Alabama.

The frigate USS Gray (FF-1054) was named after Sergeant Gray.

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The Four Chaplains-Heroic sacrifice

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The Four Chaplains, also sometimes referred to as the “Immortal Chaplains” or the “Dorchester Chaplains”, were four United States Army chaplains who gave their lives to save other civilian and military personnel as the troop ship SS Dorchester sank on February 3, 1943, during World War II. They helped other soldiers board lifeboats and gave up their own life jackets when the supply ran out. The chaplains joined arms, said prayers, and sang hymns as they went down with the ship.

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It was the evening of Feb. 2, 1943, and the U.S.A.T. Dorchester was crowded to capacity, carrying 902 service men, merchant seamen and civilian workers.

Once a luxury coastal liner, the 5,649-ton vessel had been converted into an Army transport ship. The Dorchester, one of three ships in the SG-19 convoy, was moving steadily across the icy waters from Newfoundland toward an American base in Greenland. SG-19 was escorted by Coast Guard Cutters Tampa, Escanaba and Comanche.

Hans J. Danielsen, the ship’s captain, was concerned and cautious. Earlier the Tampa had detected a submarine with its sonar. Danielsen knew he was in dangerous waters even before he got the alarming information. German U-boats were constantly prowling these vital sea lanes, and several ships had already been blasted and sunk.

The Dorchester was now only 150 miles from its destination, but the captain ordered the men to sleep in their clothing and keep life jackets on. Many soldiers sleeping deep in the ship’s hold disregarded the order because of the engine’s heat. Others ignored it because the life jackets were uncomfortable.

On Feb. 3, at 12:55 a.m., a periscope broke the chilly Atlantic waters. Through the cross hairs, an officer aboard the German submarine U-223 spotted the Dorchester.
The U-223 approached the convoy on the surface, and after identifying and targeting the ship, he gave orders to fire the torpedoes, a fan of three were fired. The one that hit was decisive–and deadly–striking the starboard side, amid ship, far below the water line.

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Captain Danielsen, alerted that the Dorchester was taking water rapidly and sinking, gave the order to abandon ship. In less than 20 minutes, the Dorchester would slip beneath the Atlantic’s icy waters.

Tragically, the hit had knocked out power and radio contact with the three escort ships. The CGC Comanche, however, saw the flash of the explosion. It responded and then rescued 97 survivors. The CGC Escanaba circled the Dorchester, rescuing an additional 132 survivors. The third cutter, CGC Tampa, continued on, escorting the remaining two ships.

Aboard the Dorchester, panic and chaos had set in. The blast had killed scores of men, and many more were seriously wounded. Others, stunned by the explosion were groping in the darkness. Those sleeping without clothing rushed topside where they were confronted first by a blast of icy Arctic air and then by the knowledge that death awaited.

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Men jumped from the ship into lifeboats, over-crowding them to the point of capsizing, according to eyewitnesses. Other rafts, tossed into the Atlantic, drifted away before soldiers could get in them.

Through the pandemonium, according to those present, four Army chaplains brought hope in despair and light in darkness. Those chaplains were Lt. George L. Fox, Methodist; Lt. Alexander D. Goode, Jewish; Lt. John P. Washington, Roman Catholic; and Lt. Clark V. Poling, Dutch Reformed.

Quickly and quietly, the four chaplains spread out among the soldiers. There they tried to calm the frightened, tend the wounded and guide the disoriented toward safety.

Witnesses of that terrible night remember hearing the four men offer prayers for the dying and encouragement for those who would live,says Wyatt R. Fox, son of Reverend Fox

According to some reports, survivors could hear different languages mixed in the prayers of the chaplains, including Jewish prayers in Hebrew and Catholic prayers in Latin. Only 230 of the 904 men aboard the ship were rescued. Life jackets offered little protection from hypothermia, which killed most men in the water. The water temperature was 34 °F (1 °C) and the air temperature was 36 °F (2 °C). By the time additional rescue ships arrived, hundreds of dead bodies were seen floating on the water, kept up by their life jackets.

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“As I swam away from the ship, I looked back. The flares had lighted everything. The bow came up high and she slid under. The last thing I saw, the Four Chaplains were up there praying for the safety of the men. They had done everything they could. I did not see them again. They themselves did not have a chance without their life jackets.”

— Grady Clark, survivor
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