Vietnam War Hero: The Untold Story of Army Capt. Ed W. Freeman

A true hero is recognized by the strength of his character and actions in times of life-threatening situations. A true hero goes above and beyond the call of duty to serve his country by demonstrating superb courage, bravery, and leadership. The late Army helicopter pilot and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Army Capt. Ed W. Freeman was a true hero.

Capt. Ed W. Freeman was born on November 20, 1927 in Neely, Mississippi and was the sixth of nine children growing up. As a young teenager, Freeman saw thousands of military personnel pass by his small Mississippi hometown. Inspired by their call to duty, Freeman decided to enlist in the Navy at age 17 and served on the USS Cacapon for two years.

After World War II, Freeman graduated from high school and enlisted in the Army. Not only did he serve in World War II, but Freeman also served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He became a Master Sergeant in the Army Corps of Engineers. Specifically, he fought in the Battle of Pork Chop Hill during the Korean War and was later awarded Battlefield Commission, which gave him the opportunity to apply for flight school.

Freeman earned the nickname “Too Tall” because his 6’4” height was considered too tall to fly helicopters for the Army. The Army’s height restriction at that time was 6’2”.

He first flew fixed-wing aircraft and later switched to helicopters, having logged thousands of hours in chopper flight training.

In 1955, the Army’s height regulations changed to allow Freeman to fly. During the Vietnam War in 1965, Freeman was assigned to the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division.

Freeman’s life is most remembered for the events that occurred on November 14, 1965. At the time, he was a flight leader and second in command of a 16-helicopter lift unit of the 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion with the 1st Cavalry Division.

Bruce_Crandall___Ed_Freeman_fly_rescue_mission_in_Vietnam (1)The brutal fight on November 14, 1965 was the first major confrontation between the large American and North Vietnamese forces. The fighting was so fierce that medevac units refused to step in and help rescue other soldiers because the battle was too dangerous.  

Freeman’s unit was almost out of ammunition after fighting off the enemy. He risked his own life by flying his unarmed helicopter through a gauntlet of enemy fire. He made 14 rescue mission trips to save roughly 30 wounded soldiers. He also delivered ammunition, water and medical supplies to other engaged units at Landing Zone X-Ray in the la Drang Valley of Vietnam.    

All of Freeman’s flights were made into a small emergency landing zone only a couple of hundred yards away from the defensive perimeter, where other engaged units were holding off enemy fire.

One of Freeman’s rescued survivors on that day was U.S. Senator John McCain from Arizona.

Freeman’s wingman was Lt. Col. Bruce P. Crandall during this incredible rescue mission. Collectively, Crandall and Freeman saved 70 soldiers’ lives.  

Freeman was later promoted to the rank of Major, designated as Master Army Aviator, and sent home from Vietnam in 1966. He retired from the Army in 1967. After retirement, he continued to work as a pilot and flew helicopters for another 20 years while serving the U.S. Department of Interior to fight against wildfires, herd wild horses, and conduct animal censuses. Altogether, by the time Freeman retired in 1991, he clocked 22,000 total hours in flying helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

On July 16, 2001, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by former president George W. Bush. Freeman was also awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his act of bravery.

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Among his many numerous awards and decorations, Freeman was a Purple Heart recipient. His Army wingman Lt. Col. Crandall is also a Purple Heart recipient.   

The 2002 film We Were Soldiers is based on the 1st Cavalry Division’s battle against the enemy in the La Drang Valley of Vietnam, where Freeman and Crandall rescued soldiers from disaster.

On August 20, 2008, Freeman passed away from complications of Parkinson’s disease in Boise, Idaho at the age of 80. He was buried with full military honors at Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise, Idaho.  

In March of 2009, Congress passed an amendment to name the U.S. Post Office in Freeman’s hometown of McLain, Mississippi in honor of him, the “Major Ed W. Freeman Post Office”.

The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to telling the stories of America’s heroes and heroines who have demonstrated bravery, courage and sacrifice in the fight for keeping the republic standing. The Purple Heart Foundation remains committed to assisting all veterans in all aspects of their lives. Nearly 90% of cash donations fund programs and services that support all veterans and their families, including the National Service Officer Program, National Scholarship Program, service dog and other recreational and rehabilitative programs. It is the goal of the Purple Heart Foundation to make the transition from the battlefield to the home front as smooth as possible for all veterans.

The Purple Heart Foundation takes pride in being the the only veteran service organization with an entire membership that was wounded in combat. You can show your support for these brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for the United States of America by making a one-time or monthly pledge to ensure veterans continue to receive the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.

Military Appreciation Month: Remembering the Fallen on Memorial Day

As a day to remember those who fought and died in service to our country, Memorial Day was originally called “Decoration Day.” Waterloo, New York, was declared by President Lyndon B. Johnson to be the birthplace of Memorial Day back in May of 1966.

The purpose of Memorial Day sprung from wanting to honor the dead during the Civil War. General John Logan first proclaimed that a day would be set aside in the month of May to honor those who died in service:

“The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

May 30 as a date was chosen at the time because no specific battle was commemorated on that day. Currently, the last Monday in May holds the honor of being Memorial Day.

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A woman holding a folded American flag at a funeral.

It is important that we remember those who fought for our country and paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe here in the United States. There are many ways you can pay your respects to those who fought and died for us. For example, you can help arrange official color guard ceremonies for Memorial Day events and year-round for church services, athletic events and school programs.

The National Moment of Remembrance resolution was passed back in 2000, and asks all Americans on Memorial Day at 3 p.m. to “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.’”

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Veteran’s Saluting in Front of US Flag

If you are going to be in the Washington, DC, or New York areas for Memorial Day, there are activities to help honor your veterans throughout the weekend:

May 27 – World War II Memorial, Washington, DC:

There will be a free Ranger Talk from 2:00-2:45 p.m. and 4:00-4:45 p.m.

May 28 – National Memorial Day Concert, Washington, DC:

From 8-9 p.m., PBS will sponsor a free concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. General Admission gates for the event will be open starting at 5 p.m.

May 29 – Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade, New York:

The parade will take place at 11 a.m. and will follow a route from 78th St and Third Ave., along Third Ave. to Marine Ave. up to Fourth Ave. and over to John Paul Jones Park to 101st St. and Fourth Ave. for a memorial service.

May 29 – National Memorial Day Parade, Washington, DC:

The parade will take place at 2 p.m. starting at the Constitution Ave. and 7th Streets, NW and ending at 17th Street.

The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to honoring our heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country. Nearly 90 percent of cash donations the Purple Heart Foundation receives provide funds for programs that help the National Service Officer Program, the Scholarship Program, as well as other programs. It is our goal to help make the transition from the battlefield to the home front a smooth one for all of our men and women in uniform who defend our freedom. Show your support for them by making a one-time or monthly pledge to make sure they continue to receive the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.

Military Appreciation Month: Remembering Afghanistan and Iraq War Heroes

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Afghanistan War Hero: Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti

Jared Christopher Monti was born on September 20, 1975 in Abington, Massachusetts. He was the son of Paul and Janet Monti. Under the delayed entry program, he enlisted in the National Guard in March of 1993. Monti attended basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri during the summer before his senior year of high school. He graduated from Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School in 1994. After graduation, he switched to active duty and was sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

His first deployment sent him to Kosovo, where he served as a staff sergeant. While in Kosovo, Monti was injured in skydiving accident and was offered a medical discharge from the Army. However, he turned down the medical discharge and reenlisted. In 2006, he deployed to Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division and was assigned to Task Force Spartan.

In June of 2006, Staff Sgt. Monti and his 16-man patrol went on Operation Gowardesh Thrust in the Gremen Valley, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan in an attempt to disrupt enemy operations. For three days the patrol moved throughout the mountain observing the enemies known locations. The patrol became low on supplies and a re-supply was scheduled to take place on June 21st. In order to keep the patrol’s location a secret, the re-supply was suppose to take place in conjunction with an air assault into the Gremen Valley. However, The air assault was rescheduled for a different day, but Monti and his team could not wait a few more days for their supplies. The squad was in desperate need of water so the re-supply was scheduled to take place as planned. Monti and the majority of his team went to retrieve the supplies at the drop location and a few others stayed behind on patrol. When Monti and the other staff sergeant returned to their position, they were informed of a man watching them through binoculars in the distance.

On June 21st, Staff Sgt. Monti and his team were ambushed with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns by enemy fighters. They took cover between rocks near them and defended themselves. In the midst of the battle, one of the men for Monti’s team was wounded. Monti was not willing to leave his soldier wounded and exposed to the enemy so he made three attempts to rescue him. On the first two attempts Monti was able to dodge the enemy’s fire to come within meters of his soldier. However, each time he was forced back by grenades. On his third and final attempt, Monti weaved in and out of enemy fire before a grenade exploded in his path. Monti was severely wounded and died moments later from his injuries.

Staff Sgt. Jared Monti was posthumously promoted to Sgt.1st Class on June 22, 2006. He was buried at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, Massachusetts. On July 24, 2009, President Obama made the authorization for Monti to receive the Medal of Honor for his brave actions to save his soldier. His family was presented with the award on September 17, 2009 in a formal ceremony at the White House.

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Iraq War Hero: Specialist Ross McGinnis

Ross Andrew McGinnis was born on June 14, 1987 in Meadville, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Romayne and Tom McGinnis and the only son of 3 children. As a young boy he was involved in sports such as basketball, soccer, and baseball. His family moved to Knox, Pennsylvania when he was young and he graduated from Keystone Junior/Senior High School in 2005. At a young age he knew that he wanted to be a soldier when he was older. He joined the Army on his 17th birthday through the delayed entry program on June 14, 2004.

McGinnis completed his basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was then assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment in Schweinfurt, Germany. He was known for his genuine personality and his ability to light up a room with laughter.

In August of 2006, McGinnis and his unit were deployed to Eastern Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom. For three months, McGinnis and his platoon served in operations against Taliban insurgents in the Baghdad district of Adhamiyah. He served as a machine gunner during this operation and managed an M2 .50 caliber machine gun. On December 4th, McGinnis and his unit were on patrol to prevent the movement of the enemy and control the violence around them when a grenade was thrown into the Humvee. To protect his team and the people around them, McGinnis threw himself on top of the grenade. Pinning the grenade between his body and the Humvee he received the majority of the explosion. He died instantly at the age of 19. His selfless act of heroism saved the lives of the four men on his patrol team. His body was returned to the US and was buried at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Private McGinnis was posthumously promoted to specialist and he was awarded the Medal of Honor. In a ceremony on June 2, 2008 at the White House, his family was presented with the medal by President George W. Bush. In addition to the Medal of Honor McGinnis was also awarded a Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and a number of other medals for his service.

The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to honoring our heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country. Nearly 90% of cash donations the Purple Heart Foundation receives provide funds for programs that help the National Service Officer Program, the Scholarship program, as well as other programs. It is our goal to help make the transition from the battlefield to the home front a smooth one for all of our men and women in uniform who defend our freedom. Show your support for them by making a one-time or monthly pledge to make sure they continue to receive the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.

 

Military Appreciation Month: Remembering Vietnam War Heroes

The Vietnam War (1954-1975) was known to be one of the longest and most controversial wars that Americans watched from their living rooms. The United States government justified its involvement as a prevention of a communist takeover of South Vietnam, but failed to achieve its objectives. Out of the  2.7 million Americans that fought, 58,000 selflessly paid the ultimate price for their country and fellow comrades.

The Vietnam War was America’s first racially integrated conflict and coincided with the protests of the Civil Rights Movement. Many service men of different ethnicities and backgrounds believed that if they defended democracy abroad they would receive it at home. Unfortunately that was not always the case, and many of them were not honored for their actions until years later. The Hispanic population was not counted separately in the U.S national census until five years after the war ended; however, over 170,000 Hispanics fought and sacrificed their lives for this country. The Defense Authorization Act of 2014 reviewed records of all Jewish and Hispanic American veterans who received a Distinguished  Service Cross during or after World War II. The review was to ensure that no prejudice was shown to those deserving the Medal of Honor.

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One of those recipients was Staff Sergeant Félix Conde Falcón who was born in Juncos, Puerto Rico, and enlisted in the United States Army in 1963. He served in the Vietnam War with the 82nd Airborne Division, 505th Infantry Regiment, 1st Platoon, Delta Company, 1st Battalion. Falcón showed extraordinary heroism during a sweep operation near Ap Tan Hoa, Vietnam, when his platoon encountered an enemy battalion command post.

Ordered to assault and clear the bunker, Falcón fearlessly moved ahead of his platoon and threw grenades towards the enemy while being under heavy hostile fire, and destroyed three bunkers. He rejoined his platoon to continue moving forward when they came under another attack. Single-handedly with a machine gun, Falcón destroyed the enemy’s defense wall before running out of ammunition. Grabbing another weapon, he was on to his next bunker when he was shot and killed by an unseen assailant 10 meters away from his goal. Falcón was later recognized for his bravery in 2014 when President Obama presented the Medal of Honor to his son.

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Private First Class Milton L. Olive III was the first African-American to receive the Medal of Honor award out of the 258 Vietnam War Recipients. The Chicago native enlisted in the United States Army in 1964 and served in the Vietnam War in the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade. Olive had only been serving for a year when he was moving through the Vietnamese jungle and a grenade was thrown towards him and four other soldiers. Unhesitatingly, Olive threw himself upon the grenade absorbing with his body the full force of the explosion and sacrificed his own life for his comrades. Two of the four men whose lives were saved by Olive’s actions were present when President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded the Medal of Honor to Olive’s family in 1966.

No matter the difference in backgrounds, all those that fought in the Vietnam War had a common goal. Men like Falcón and Olive did not fight thinking about skin color, they simply fought for the guys to their left and right.

Our military men and women selflessly fight to protect our country and they will always be  remembered for their bravery. The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to helping provide assistance to ALL members of the military, veterans, and families. Nearly 90% of cash donations the Purple Heart Foundation receive provides funds for programs that help the National Service Officer Program, the Scholarship program, as well as other programs. It is our goal to help make the transition from the battlefield to the home front a smooth one for our men and women in uniform who have sacrificed for our freedom. Show your support for them by making a one-time or monthly pledge to make sure they continue to receive the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.

Military Appreciation Month: Remembering Korean War Heroes

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Korean War Hero: Sgt. Cornelius H. “Connie” Charlton

Cornelius H. “Connie” Charlton was born on July 24, 1929 in East Gulf, West Virginia as the 8th of seventeen children to parents Van and Clara Charlton. In 1944, Van Charlton became an apartment building superintendent and moved the family to The Bronx in New York City, New York.

From a young age, Charlton wanted to join the Army. As a student at James Monroe High School, Charlton asked his parents to let him drop out of high school and enlist, citing a desire to fight in World War II. His parents refused and when he graduated in 1946, his parents allowed the 17-year-old to enlist after seeing his commitment to the Army was still present.

Charlton started basic training later in 1946 in November. The Army was still segregated when Charlton, an African-American, joined. Two years later, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981, desegregating the US military. Many units still remained segregated at this time and African-Americans were placed in service units as well as in non-combat roles.

Charlton was sent to Allied-occupied Germany after completing basic training and when his enlistment finished, he re-enlisted and was sent to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Maryland as part of the engineering battalion. Charlton was assigned to an administrative position in Okinawa, Japan in 1950 working with Eighth United States Army engineers.

He requested to fight in the Korean War on the front lines and was assigned to C Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, which was part of the 25th Infantry Division. This regiment, was made up of solely African-Americans. When Charlton arrived in 1951, he was ranked a Sergeant. While his commanding officers were suspicious about Charlton when he arrived, he quickly won them over with his leadership abilities and made a platoon sergeant with a recommendation for a battlefield commission by May of 1951.

Charlton earned his Medal of Honor and Purple Heart for his heroism in Korea. During Operation Piledriver, Charton’s platoon was under attack by Chinese infantrymen near Chipo-ri, a village northeast of Seoul. When the unit’s leader was evacuated due to injuries, Charlton assumed command and using a rifle and grenades, he destroyed two hostile positions as well as take out six enemy soldiers before his unit was driven back due to grenades.

Charlton sustained a chest wound but refused medical attention. He moved his unit up the ridge and spotted a Chinese bunker. He sent orders to destroy the bunker and went ahead of his soldiers to destroy two machine guns the Chinese were using as well as force them back. He was hit by a second grenade at this time and died on the battlefield at the age of 21 on July 2, 1951, nine days before his 22nd birthday.

Charlton was awarded the Korean Service Medal in addition to the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart for his heroic actions in saving his platoon. His body was returned to the US and buried in the family plot before being re-interred at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA in 2008.

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Korean War Hero: Pfc. Lavern C. Ullmer

Pfc. Lavern C. Ullmer was born the middle of three children to John and Helen Ullmer in 1928 and grew up in Riverdale, Ohio. Not much is known about his life prior to his military service, but the most interesting anecdote is that he was not buried until 2016, even though he died in a North Korean Prisoner of War camp during the Korean War, “It’s an amazing story that our family can have such closure,” said, Cathy Summerfield, Ullmer’s niece, 60, of Spartanburg. S.C.

The Department of Defense was recently able to identify his remains recently through DNA analysis. Ullmer was part of Company B, 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division while overseas. His unit specifically fought in heavy combat in North Korea in 1950 against the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces. Half of his unit was killed within a few days as they battled the enemy in an area known as “the Gauntlet” between Junru-ri and Sunch between November 25 and December 1, 1950.

During the battle, Ullmer was declared missing in action on Nov. 30, 1950. When cross-referenced on Prisoner of War lists that were released by Chinese military personnel and the North Korean People’s Army, Ullmer’s name was not listed. Ullmer was listed as deceased after two repatriated Americans, who were also Prisoners of War at the same time, reported back that on Jan. 21, 1951, Ullmer died in Hofong Camp at age 23.

Decades later in April 2005, a Joint Recovery team of American archaeologists and anthropologists were excavating in Unsan County in South Pyongan Province, North Korea when they stumbled upon the remains. They were then flown to Dayton International Airport from a laboratory in Hawaii that specializes in military identification.

When his family found out that Ullmer’s remains had been identified, they were happy to be able to lay to rest their beloved family member, even those who never met him, “I was in awe,” said Charles Lavern Aleshire, 63, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who was named after the uncle he never met. “I was really in awe. But I was also grateful and thankful that they were able to do that research and make the findings. Honestly speaking, I didn’t think it was possible through all of those soldiers who were lost and I didn’t think it would ever happen. But when I did find out it was like a big sigh of relief.”

On Veterans Day 2016, Ullmer’s family and friends gathered at the SouthBrook Christian Church in Miami Township, Ohio to honor their fallen family member. At the memorial service, his family was presented with his combat medals, including a Purple Heart.  A burial with full military honors followed at Willow View Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio. Ullmer was laid to rest between his parents.
The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to honoring our heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country. Nearly 90% of cash donations the Purple Heart Foundation receives provide funds for programs that help the National Service Officer Program, the Scholarship program, as well as other programs. It is our goal to help make the transition from the battlefield to the home front a smooth one for all of our men and women in uniform who defend our freedom. Show your support for them by making a one-time or monthly pledge to make sure they continue to receive the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.

Military Appreciation Month: Remembering WWI and WWII Heroes

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World War I Hero: Sgt. Matej Kocak

Matej Kocak was born on December 3, 1882 in Egbell, Kingdom of Hungary. His family emigrated to the US in 1906. A year later, Kocak enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and he was sent to League Island, Pennsylvania. His first enlistment ended in 1911 and he reenlisted and was sent to the Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, New York. He spent most of his time in New York while he was in the Marines, however, he also spent some time with the U.S. Army in Vera Cruz, Mexico in 1914. He was discharged a second time, and just like before, he reenlisted with the Marines for a 3rd time and was sent to New Orleans, Louisiana.

During his 3rd enlistment he was sent to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, During his time in the Dominican Republic, he helped fight off the native bandits. He was promoted to Corporal on March 23, 1917 and went back to join the 12th Company in Quantico, VA.

As WWI went on, Kocak was needed overseas again. This time he was sent to St. Nazaire, France. Soon after he arrived, he joined a new Company and was promoted to Sergeant. One of Kocak’s first battles in France was the attack against Bois De Belleau.

On July 18, 1918 while participating in the attack at Villers Cotteret Wood south of Soissons, France he was able to perform an act of heroism that ultimately earned him two Medals of Honor, for both the Army and the Navy. During this battle, Kocak and his battalion were struck by a hidden machine gun nest. He went to the front of the line, alone and unprotected, and worked his way between the Germans and the positions they were facing. The Germans were attacking heavily and Kocak was able to drive off the crew with a bayonet. On this same day, Kocak lead French soldiers in an attack on another machine gun nest from the Germans and put them out of action.

Sergeant Kocak continued to fight in WWI after his brave actions. On October 4, 1918, Kocak was killed in action. He was participating in the Argonne Forest in the Allies’ attempt to drive the enemy away and the attack in the St. Mihiel sector of the Thiaucourt, France when he died. He was buried in Romagne, France in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery. In addition to the two Medals of Honor, Kocak was also awarded two Silver Stars and a Purple Heart.

 

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World War II Hero: Capt. John Cromwell

John Phillip Cromwell was born in Henry, Illinois on September 11, 1901. He graduated from the U.S Naval Academy in 1924 and he went on to serve aboard the USS Maryland battleship. A few years after that Cromwell went to submarine school and was assigned to the USS S-24 . For the next 3 years, he served as a diesel engineering instructor.

 

In the beginning of WWII, Cromwell served on the staff of command and was in charge of running different submarine divisions. In 1939, he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and spent 2 years in Washington, D.C. where he worked with the Bureau of Engineering and Bureau of Ships. Cromwell then went on to be the Engineer Officer of the Pacific Fleet submarine force and the commander of the Submarine Divisions 203, 44, and 43.

In 1943 on November 5th, Cromwell, a newly promoted Captain, departed Pearl Harbor on the USS Sculpin. The Sculpin was on its ninth patrol as a part of Operation Galvanic, which was the invasion of the Gilbert Islands.

Captain Cromwell had formed a wolf pack with 2 other submarines due to the position of the Sculpin in the Pacific. On November 18, 1943, the Sculpin came into contact with one of the Japanese convoy. As the Sculpin began to move in to attack, the periscope was spotted by the Japanese lookouts and this started the battle. After several attempts to lay low and strike the Japanese when they least expected it, the Sculpin was spotted each time and continued to receive damage.On one attempt, the depth gauge became stuck at 125 feet. This confused the diving officer and landed the boat in plain view of the Japanese’s Yamagumo. The Japanese struck the Sculpin with 18 charges causing the ship to experience a series of leaks and causing it to lose depth control. Due to the ship losing control, the ship came to the surface and the deck was taken over. The senior ship officer ordered the crew to abandon the ship.

Captain Cromwell was left with a few options, since he had knowledge of multiple secrets. Instead of being taken as a prisoner of war, he made the ultimate decision to protect the vital secrets he knew and he gave his life to avoid being captured. For the sacrifice he made, Cromwell was deemed a hero and was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. He also received the Legion of Merit and a Purple Heart.

 

The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to honoring our heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country. Nearly 90% of cash donations the Purple Heart Foundation receives provide funds for programs that help the National Service Officer Program, the Scholarship program, as well as other programs. It is our goal to help make the transition from the battlefield to the home front a smooth one for all of our men and women in uniform who defend our freedom. Show your support for them by making a one-time or monthly pledge to make sure they continue to receive the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.

 

Military Appreciation Month: Remembering the Fallen

May is also known as National Military Appreciation Month, and Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday of the month. Its origins stem from the Civil War taking so many lives in combat, forcing the United States to establish national cemeteries. Individuals all across the country began to honor the fallen soldiers by decorating their grave stones in the springtime.

In 1968, May 30th was officially declared a nationwide day of remembrance for all the service members that have died fighting for our country’s freedom. It was in 1999 when Senator John McCain introduced legislation to designate the entire month of May as National Military Appreciation Month. Today, the tradition has evolved with cities such as New York, Chicago, and Washington D.C. hosting parades that incorporate veterans and current military personnel.

The Purple Heart Foundation recognizes this day of remembrance and will be bringing to light individuals who have made an impact in our nation’s history, by paying the ultimate price for our freedom. Purple Heart Foundation will highlight individuals who have fallen in action, earning the Purple Heart Medal from each of the following wars:

 

  • World War 1: July 28, 1914 – November 11, 1918
  • World War 2: September 1, 1939 – Sep 2, 1945
  • Korean War:  June 25, 1950 – July 27, 1953
  • Vietnam War: November 1, 1955 – April 30, 1975
  • Iraq War: September 22, 1980 – August 20, 1988
  • Afghanistan War: October 7, 2001 – December 28, 2014

 

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Our military men and women selflessly fight to protect our country and they will always be  remembered for their bravery. The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to helping provide assistance to our members of the military, veterans, and families. Nearly 90% of cash donations the Purple Heart Foundation receive provides funds for programs that help the National Service Officer Program, the Scholarship program, as well as other programs. It is our goal to help make the transition from the battlefield to the home front a smooth one for our men and women in uniform who have sacrificed for our freedom. Show your support for them by making a one-time or monthly pledge to make sure they continue to receive the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.

228th Anniversary of George Washington’s Inauguration: A Look Into His Life

George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. Washington’s father died when he was eleven years old leaving most of his property to Washington’s half brother Lawrence. Lawrence took over the family’s Little Hunting Creek Plantation until his death in 1748, after which Washington took over the estates. Little Hunting Creek Plantation was later renamed Mount Vernon. After a few years in the farming industry, Washington grew his land to around 8,000 acres. Washington’s formal education ended when he was 15  and after that he became a surveyor in Virginia.

Washington joined the military shortly after Lawrence’s death. He was appointed a Major in the Virginia militia.  In the fall of 1753, he was sent to deliver a message to the French during the French and Indian War. Eventually, Washington was given command of the entire Virginia military force and peace was finally returned to Virginia. At the end of the French and Indian War, Washington decided to resign his position and return to his home at Mount Vernon. Shortly after, he married Martha Dandridge Custis on January 6th, 1759. Martha had two children from a previous marriage, Patsy and Jacky. Patsy died as a teenager and Jacky died of camp fever when he was 27. Martha and George took in Jacky’s two children after his death. Martha also brought in more land when they got married, which made Washington a wealthy landowner in the state of Virginia.

After the French and Indian War, Washington used his time to focus on his house and his plantation. He built 5 farms on his plantation and he planted tobacco and wheat as cash crops. Along with his cash crops, he experimented with new crops and livestock breeding. He expanded the work on the plantation by including flour milling and commercial fishing. He moved into making whiskey and would eventually create one of the largest distilleries in America.

In March of 1775, Washington was called in again to provide service to our country when he was selected as a delegate to the First Continental Congress. Soon after he was appointed Major General and Commander-in-Chief of the colonial forces in the war against Great Britain. After many battles, Washington finally lead the Colonists to their independence and he resigned his position as Commander-in-Chief on December 23, 1783. Once again, Washington moved back home to Mount Vernon and went back to work on his farming.

In February of 1789 during the first U.S. presidential election, Washington was elected president after receiving every vote from the Electoral College. On April 30th of that same year Washington traveled across the Hudson River to New York, for the first U.S. Presidential inauguration. Surrounded by a large crowd of people cheering him on, Washington took the oath of office and became the first President of the United States of America. After he read his inaugural address to Congress inside the Federal Hall, the evening came to a close with 13 cannons and skyrockets.

In his first term as President, Washington’s primary goal was to organize the executive branch of the new government. He sought to create administrative procedures that he believed could withstand the test of time. He appointed Alexander Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury, Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State, and Henry Knox as Secretary of War. Thomas Jefferson said “his integrity was most pure, his injustice the most flexible I have ever known. No notice of interest of consanguinity, friendship, or hatred, being able to bias his decision.” With the assistance of Alexander Hamilton, Washington was able to resolve some of America’s escalating debt from war, he created a peace treaty with the southeastern Indian tribes, and established the permanent capital of the US.

Washington reluctantly accepted his second term as President on the eve of the French Revolution, “[O]ne of Washington’s most important accomplishments was keeping the United States out of the war, giving the new nation an opportunity to grow in strength while establishing the principle of neutrality that shaped American foreign policy for more than a century.”  In his farewell speech, he reiterated his beliefs on what it will take to continue to grow America.

After his second term was over, Washington and his wife returned to Mount Vernon. Shortly after on December 14, 1799 after falling ill, George Washington passed away. He was 67 years old. Three days later on December 18, 1799 a funeral was held for him at Mount Vernon. George Washington set the tone as the first President and to this day he is still an important part of the United States history. His legacy lives on in numerous ways including being a part of Mount Rushmore, American currency, the Washington Monument, and several others. Washington envisioned an America built with a solid foundation on strength and integrity.

The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to helping provide assistance to our members of the military, veterans, and Commander-in-Chief, in numerous ways. Nearly 90% of cash donations we receive provides funds for programs that help women, the National Service Officer Program, the Scholarship program, as well as other programs. It is our goal to help make the transition from the battlefield to the home front a smooth one for our men and women in uniform who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Show your support for them by making a one-time or monthly pledge to make sure they continue to receive the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.

Semper Fidelis: The Story of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Since World War II, the United States Marine Corps has deployed protection forces, organized into Marine Air Ground Task Forces (MAGTF) with a combination of air, ground, and support assets. These forces later became established as seven different Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU). Today, the 26th MEU currently exists as one of seven different MEUs out of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

In April of 1967, the 26th MEU was formed and quickly deactivated later that year, which was a norm during that time. The 26th MEU was re-activated in 1975 as the 36th Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU). It was redesignated as the 26th Marine Amphibious Unit later in 1982. It was the first of the MAUs to undergo Special Operations Capability training. In 1988, the unit was redesigned as the 26th MEU.     

The 26th MEU consists of four elements–a Command Element, Aviation Combat Element, Ground Combat Element and a Logistics Combat Element. These elements make up the smallest MEU of the MAGTFs with around 2,400 Marines and Sailors.

The Ground Combat Element (GCE) is the largest element of the MEU, consisting of approximately 1,200 Marines and Sailors and is built around an infantry battalion. It is designated as a Battalion Landing Team and uses medium and heavy machine guns, scout snipers, combined anti-armor teams and mortars.

The Logistics Combat Element (LCE) consists of about 300 Marines and Sailors. It provides supply, maintenance, explosive ordnance disposal, military police, transportation, engineering, fuel storage and distribution, water production and distribution, medical and dental services, fuel storage and distribution, and other services. The LCE gives MEU support for 15 days in austere expeditionary environments.

The Aviation Combat Element (ACE) is a composite squadron. This squadron has been given the nickname “Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron.” Approximately 500 Marines and Sailors work in the Aviation Combat Element. They consist of air traffic control, aviation logistics/supply capabilities, and aircraft maintenance/support.

The Command Element (CE) consists of the Commanding Officer and about 200 Marines and Sailors. The Commanding Element is responsible for overall command and control for effective planning and execution of operations. It also synchronizes the actions of each element within the MEU.

Colonel Farrell J. Sullivan is the commanding officer of the 26th MEU. Col. Sullivan was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on May 26, 1993. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Col. Sullivan is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. He possesses multiple Master’s degrees in Military Studies, Operational Studies, and Strategic Studies from the Marine Corps University.

In September 2001, the 26th MEU was one of the first U.S. forces into Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

During Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003, Marine Corps KC-130s traveled 1,100 miles and delivered more than 1,000 Marines directly to the battlefield in Mosul, Iraq, a feat that had never been attempted before. The unit received Meritorious Unit Commendation with two Bronze Stars in 2003 from their operations in Liberia.

One of the 26th MEU’s most recent activities was a training with Portuguese Marines during Trident Juncture 15 in November 2015. Trident Juncture was an exercise training designed to work with allied forces in order to maintain high-end warfighting readiness across NATO. This training was designed to develop and increase interoperability among other partner nations with NATO.

In 2017, the 26th MEU celebrated its 50th anniversary on April 25. On the 46th anniversary of the MEU in 2013, Col. Sullivan stated, “…Our nation may need us when our nation is least ready and we are most ready. We are that certain force in an uncertain world.”

The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to telling the stories of America’s heroes and special combat teams who have demonstrated bravery, courage and sacrifice in the fight for keeping the republic standing. The Purple Heart Foundation remains committed to assisting all veterans in all aspects of their lives. Nearly 90% of cash donations fund programs and services that support all veterans and their families, including the National Service Officer Program, National Scholarship Program, service dog and other recreational and rehabilitative programs. It is the goal of the Purple Heart Foundation to make the transition from the battlefield to the home front as smooth as possible for all veterans.

The Purple Heart Foundation takes pride in being the the only veteran service organization with an entire membership that was wounded in combat. You can show your support for these brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for the United States of America by making a one-time or monthly pledge to ensure veterans continue to receive the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.

“All Men Are Created Equal”: A Look at the Life of Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was born the third of ten children in his family home on April 13, 1743 in Shadwell in the Virginia Colony. His father was a planter and surveyor who passed away when he was fourteen years old. After his father’s death, Peter Jefferson’s estate was divided among Jefferson and his brother Randolph. Thomas Jefferson inherited 5,000 acres of land, including the Monticello plantation.

Jefferson had tutors when he was a child living at the Tuckahoe plantation, among others. When he was 16, he started school at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA to study mathematics, philosophy, and metaphysics. Jefferson graduated two years later in 1762 and was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1767. He practiced law and was a representative in the Virginia House of Burgesses for Albemarle County. During his time in the House of Burgesses, he wanted to reform slavery and took seven cases for slaves seeking freedom. This idea that everyone has a sense of personal liberty and should be afforded opportunities became an integral part of the Declaration of Independence. His statement that “all men are created equal” is one of the most widely-known sentences with “the most potent and consequential words in American history.”

In 1768, Jefferson started work on his family estate, Monticello. He married his third cousin Martha Wayles Skelton on January 1, 1772 and had six children. Only two of his children lived for more than a few years.

Thomas Jefferson was the primary writer of the Declaration of Independence. During his time at the second Continental Congress in 1775, he was one of the youngest delegates. He chose his words to help invoke the sense of independence that the settlers in colonies across the New World had been feeling. At the start of the American Revolution, Jefferson was a Colonel in the Continental Army and on September 26, 1775, he was named Commander of the Albemarle County militia. He also served in the Virginia House of Delegates and completed two one-year terms as governor of Virginia in 1779 and 1780. During his governorship, he moved the state capital from Williamsburg to Richmond.

Jefferson also served as a Virginia delegate to the Congress of the Confederation after the Revolutionary war and was a Minister to France along with Benjamin Franklin and John Adams. After returning from France, George Washington invited Jefferson to become Secretary of State in Washington’s new Cabinet to which Jefferson accepted.

After campaigning for president in 1976, Jefferson lost to John Adams by three electoral college votes and was named the Vice President. During the Election of 1800, the Republicans gathered more electoral college votes but a tie emerged between Jefferson and Aaron Burr, his vice presidential candidate. The tie was broken and Jefferson was elected on February 17, 1801. The transition proved to be a landmark event, “it was one of the first popular elections in modern history that resulted in the peaceful transfer of power from one ‘party’ to another.”

In his inaugural address, Jefferson asked for reconciliation and freedom with rights to minorities and the ability to practice free speech, religion, and have a free press. Jefferson tackled the enormous amount of debt he inherited as well as attempted to eliminate the national bank. While freedom was part of his platform, Jefferson did own slaves. He advocated on their behalf while a part of the Virginia bar, but he would be criticized for keeping slaves later on in life.

He also felt the nation needed a military university and created the United States Military Academy at West Point on March 16, 1802. Jefferson’s presidency also included the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark expedition, and changes to how American Indians were treated. Jefferson also completed a second presidential term.

After his last presidency, Jefferson retired to Monticello and founded the University of Virginia as a way to pursue his academic interests further. In July 1825, his health began to worsen and a year later he was bedridden. On July 4, 1826 Thomas Jefferson died at age 83 on the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson was held to high esteem and has been memorialized numerous ways, including the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC being a part of Mt. Rushmore, currency, and others. He envisioned an America that had individual liberties, democracy, and republicanism.

The Purple Heart Foundation remains committed to helping assisting our active-duty members of the military and veterans, and Commanders-in-Chief, in a variety of ways. Nearly 90% of cash donations we receive fund programs that help women, the National Service Officer Program, the Scholarship program and others as well as other recreational and rehabilitative programs. It is our goal to help make the transition from the battlefield to the home front as smooth as possible for our men and women in uniform. You can show your support for these brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country by making a one-time or monthly pledge to ensure veterans continue to get the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.