100 Years Later: The Selective Service Act of 1917

A century has passed since The Selective Service Act of 1917 allowed the government to rapidly grow the Army to enter World War I. The Act stated that all males 18 to 45 were required to register for the draft lottery. By the end of the war, over 2 million men volunteered and 2.8 million had been drafted to serve.

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Due to the previous issues with the Draft Act of 1863, the government changed the option of draft buy-outs, and hiring substitutes for the 1917 Act. These changes were easily accepted by the population because of the high spirit of patriotism during World War I.

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Since Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States of America in 1898, Congress also opened the draft to Puerto Ricans as part of the Jones-Shafroth Act. The Act granted all residents of the island U.S. citizenship and allowed them to reject it voluntarily within the first six months. Of the almost 1.2 million residents on the island, only 288 rejected it. Even though the United States did not enter the war until 1917, the United States’ first shot was fired in the Odenwald incident in 1915 by the Puerto Rican regiment. It is estimated that 235,000 Puerto Ricans registered for the World War I draft and that 18,000 served in the war. However, it is possible that more served, because the Hispanic population was not counted separately in the U.S national census at the time.

 

Here were the different draft categories for the Selective Service Act 1917:

  • Class I.  Eligible and liable for military service
    • Unmarried registrants with no dependents
    • Married registrants with independent spouse and / or one or more dependent children over 16 with sufficient family income if drafted
  • Class II. Temporarily deferred, but available for military service
    • Married registrants with dependent spouse and / or dependent children under 16 with sufficient family income if drafted
  • Class III. Temporarily exempted, but available for military service
    • Local officials
    • Registrants who provide sole family income for dependent parents and / or dependent siblings under 16
    • Registrants employed in agricultural labor or industrial enterprises essential to the war effort
  • Class IV. Exempted due to extreme hardship
    • Married registrants with dependent spouse and / or dependent children with insufficient family income if drafted
    • Registrants with deceased spouse who provide sole family income for dependent children under 16
    • Registrants with deceased parents who provide sole family income for dependent siblings under 16
  • Class V. Exempted or ineligible for induction into military service
    • State or Federal officials
    • Officers and enlisted men in the military or naval service of the United States
    • Licensed pilots employed in the pursuit of their vocation
    • Members of the clergy
    • Students who on or before May 18, 1917 had been preparing for the ministry in a recognized theological or divinity school
    • Registrants who were deemed either medically disabled (permanently, physically, and / or mentally unfit) or “morally unfit” for military service
    • Registrants shown to have been convicted of any crime designated as treason or felony, or an “infamous” crime
    • Enemy aliens and resident aliens

The United States military has changed tremendously since World War I. One the biggest changes occurred in 1973 when the Selective Service announced there would be no more draft calls, and the military would be an all-volunteer force. Today, over a million men and women have and are currently volunteering to protect our country. The United States maintains nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad. Due the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, the U.S. military continues to be the world’s strongest military.

 

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.

Ending the Korean War: The Armistice Agreement

The end of World War II marked a turning point in American history. While many Americans moved forward and focused on having peace in the nation, tensions were growing between the Soviet Union and the US. At the conclusion of WWII, the Korean Peninsula was divided into two zones by the 38th parallel. The northern part was occupied by the Soviet Union and the southern part belonged to the United States. Under the presidency of Harry S. Truman, some Americans feared the Soviet Union would move into other nations and try to take over. Truman wanted to contain communism in not only the US but in foreign countries as well.

On June 25, 1950 the Korean War began when the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) crossed the 38th parallel and invaded the Republic of Korea (South Korea). President Truman feared this was the Soviet Union’s attempt to take over the world so he gave the orders for American troops to join the rest of the United Nations military to help South Korea,  “If we let Korea down the Soviets will keep right on going and swallow up one place after another.”

In the beginning of the war, the Americans and the rest of the Allies’ tactics were to defend South Korea and drive out the communists. North Korea pushed their way into Seoul the capital of South Korea which forced the Allies backwards. In order to regain control of the Capital, the Allies decided to change their war plan. North Korea was pushed out of Seoul with an assault at Inchon that drove them back to their side of 38th parallel. The fighting in the war was now pushed to the North Korean side which worried their bordering country, China. The Chinese began to fear for their territory being invaded by the Allies, so they joined the Korean War when they sent troops to North Korea to help them fight off the Allies.

After a year of fighting in the Korean War, President Truman wanted to end the war and he began the talk of finding peace between the countries. Neither side could all agree on an agreement so the fighting continued for another two years. In 1952, during the US presidential election, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected president. Eisenhower was determined to establish peace in Korea and end the Korean War. He picked up where Truman left off and continued to negotiate for peace between the countries. Finally, on July 27, 1953 the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed.  After 3 years of fighting, the United States, the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, and South Korea all signed the Armistice in Panmunjom. The US Army Lieutenant General William Harrison Jr. represented the United Nations Command (UNC) and signed for the United States, South Korea, and the Allies. Peng Dehuai signed the Armistice for the Chinese and Kim II-sung signed for the North Koreans.

The Armistice Agreement:

  • Suspended open hostilities
  • Withdrew all military forces and equipment from a 4,000-meter-wide zone, establishing the Demilitarized Zone as a buffer between the forces
  • Prevented both sides from entering the air, ground, or sea areas under control of the other
  • Arranged the release and repatriation of prisoners of war and displaced persons
  • Established the Military Armistice Commission (MAC) and other agencies to discuss any violations and to ensure adherence to the truce terms

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The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ):

Immediately after the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed, the Korean Demilitarized Zone went into effect. The DMZ is a border barrier that runs across the Korean Peninsula and divides North and South Korea. In the Armistice, both North and South Korea agreed to move their troops back 2,000 meters from the 38th parallel; this created the buffer zone. Located within the DMZ is the village of Panmunjom where the Armistice was signed. Panmunjom is considered to be the “truce village” because this is the central location of conferences that take place when issues arise between North and South Korea, their allies, and the United Nations.  

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The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to honoring the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country while serving in the Korean War. Nearly 90% of all 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 every day. 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.

Symbols of Freedom

The United States of America was founded 241 years ago. Over the almost two and a half centuries that we have called the United States of America home, this country has changed vastly. One thing that has not changed is the pride we have in our country. Pride in the USA comes in the form of many symbols and icons. We salute the American Flag, visit historical sites, and and use these symbols and icons on many items today. These symbols have transcended time and allow us to show future generations how our nation has stayed strong for over two centuries.

American Flag

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The American Flag is a quintessential piece of our nation’s history. It has gone through many variations over the years to become the Stars and Bars we know today. Until 1912, there was no set design and because of the different variations, there are believed to be hidden messages. From 13 stars representing the 13 original colonies to 15 stars and stripes being the inspiration for our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, the flag has shown our nation’s history and flown proudly since its inception.

Statue of Liberty

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Lady Liberty has been greeting immigrants and citizens to the United States for over 130 years. She was a gift of friendship from France and is a universal symbol for democracy and the knowledge that in times of peril, Americans will defend their right to freedom. On October 28, 1886, “The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World” was dedicated.In 1924, it was dedicated as a national monument, and since 1933, the National Park Service has been taking care of the copper work to keep it a sight worth seeing for tourists and United States residents alike.

Liberty Bell

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“Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.” The Liberty Bell, originally called the State House bell was used in the tower of the Pennsylvania State House, now known as Independence Hall. The large crack in the bell is believed to be because of 90 years of being rung, but there is no account of when it happened. Today, tourists flock from all parts to take a look at this piece of history.

The Independence Hall was where major decisions were made. The Assembly Room saw George Washington appointed the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army in 1775 and the Declaration of Independence was signed here one year later. The design of the American flag was decided on here in 1777, the Articles of Confederation were ratified in 1781 and the US Constitution was drawn up in the Assembly room in 1787. While the District of Columbia may be where the government is housed now, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is where the country got its start.

Washington Monument

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Decades in the making, when the Washington Monument was finished, it has invited visitors from around the world to learn more about the city that holds the seat of our government. The 555-foot marble obelisk was built to honor our nation’s first president, George Washington. Construction on the Washington monument was halted due to funds as well as the Civil War. the two-tone color is because of a change in marble and was designed by Robert Mills. The monument gives views of numerous locations in the District of Columbia including the US Capitol, National Cathedral, and the US Marine Corps Memorial.

Great Seal of the United States

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It was on July 4, 1776 that the Continental Congress passed this resolution,

“Resolved, that Dr. Franklin, Mr. J. Adams and Mr. Jefferson, be a committee, to bring in a device for a seal for the United States of America.”

These three Founding Fathers worked for six years in two more committees and with the help of a total of 14 men, they created the Great Seal of the United States on June 20, 1782. The seal’s printing has gone through many changes, but the current version has symbols of our great nation, including the bald eagle. The obverse side of the seal has,

“The most prominent feature is the American bald eagle supporting the shield, or escutcheon, which is composed of 13 red and white stripes, representing the original States, and a blue top which unites the shield and represents Congress. The motto, E Pluribus Unum (Out of many, one), alludes to this union.The olive branch and 13 arrows denote the power of peace and war, which is exclusively vested in Congress.The constellation of stars denotes a new State taking its place and rank among other sovereign powers.”

The reverse side of the seal has,

“The pyramid signifies strength and duration: The eye over it and the motto, Annuit Coeptis (He [God] has favored our undertakings), allude to the many interventions of Providence in favor of the American cause.The date underneath is that of the Declaration of Independence, and the words under it, Novus Ordo Seclorum (A new order of the ages), signify the beginning of the new American era in 1776.”

Our nation has a rich history that shows our strength, tenacity, and independence. Every day, members of our nation’s military put their lives on the line to defend these freedoms. With all of these national symbols across the country, the military itself is a symbol of how individuals band together in times of need to defend what is rightfully ours and keep our nation free for generations to come.
Our military men and women selflessly fight to protect our country and they will always be  remembered for their bravery, just as we have monuments and symbols to honor what they have done throughout the centuries. 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.

Patton & York: Heroes from the Meuse-Argonne Offensive

Of the 4.7 million soldiers to fight in World War I, few may be more famous than Alvin C. York and George S. Patton Jr. Although they came from different backgrounds, jobs, and ranks they came together on the same battlefield. York was born in Pall Mall, Tennessee to a family of blacksmiths and farmers with limited education.  York initially opposed his draft into the United States Army, stating his faith prohibited violence. Patton, on the other hand, was born in San Gabriel, California to a family with an extensive military background. He followed their footsteps and attended the Virginia Military Institute and the U.S Military Academy at West Point. Despite the difference in backgrounds, York and Patton became two of the most decorated soldiers in World War I, eventually sharing battle space during one of the largest and bloodiest offensives in American history, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

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General George S. Patton (left) and Major Alvin C. York (right)

On September 26, 1918, Patton led a troop of tanks in an attack on German machine guns. During combat he was severely injured but still commanded the battle before being evacuated, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions. He later received the Purple Heart for his wounds upon the creation of the award in 1932.

During the second phase of the Offensive, York and thirteen privates were ordered to invade German lines and silence a machine gun position. Six were killed and three were wounded leaving York the highest ranking soldier. Courageously, he exchanged shots with 30 machine guns and six German soldiers charging him with bayonets. Once German First Lieutenant Paul Vollmer realized the number of men he was losing, he surrendered his unit. York captured 132 German soldiers that day which enabled the U.S to capture Decauville Railroad. He was later awarded with the Medal of Honor for his bravery.  

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Returning home from the war, York was an international celebrity for his distinguished service, but did not want to profit from his actions. Instead, he wanted to improve educational opportunities for children in rural Tennessee. He started the Alvin C. York Foundation as well as an interdenominational Bible School. Patton’s legacy on the other hand, had just begun to develop as he eventually became a top general and key leader in World War II.

On December 21, 1945, at age 60 Patton passed away due to injuries from a car accident. He was buried abroad at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg as a request to be buried with his men. On September 2, 1964, York passed away at the Veterans Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee at age 76, and was buried in Wolf River Cemetery in Pall Mall. Patton and York’s actions have impacted American history and will always be remembered.

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.

PTSD Therapy: Healing the Invisible Wound

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects many of our veterans when they make the transition from the battlefield to the home front. It is considered an invisible wound that affects the mental state of soldiers and makes it difficult for them to live a normal life. There are many forms of therapy that are used to help veterans battle PTSD.

Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT) is one form of counseling that the VA provides for veterans with PTSD. CBT has two forms that the VA uses to help veterans. They are the Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and the Prolonged Exposure (PE) Therapy.

  • Cognitive therapy is used to help veterans make changes on how they perceive their trauma and the aftermath. The goal of cognitive therapy is to get veterans to see how certain thoughts about their trauma can cause them to stress and make matters worse. Therapists are also used to help veterans expose the things that make them feel afraid and how to overcome the feeling.
  • Exposure therapy is used to help veterans create less fear about their memories. This form of therapy positions that people will learn to fear the thoughts, situations, and feelings that remind them of the specific traumatic event and will try to avoid the things that may remind them of the event. To combat this, therapists are used to help veterans talk about the trauma so eventually they will be able to control their thoughts and feelings toward the event or events that led to the trauma. Through desensitization veterans focus first on the memories that are less upsetting and eventually work themselves up to the worst memories to help them deal with their entire trauma a little bit at a time. Another coping mechanism that is used in exposure therapy is different types of breathing exercises that can help veterans with PTS relax.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is another form of therapy that is used to help veterans with PTS. This form of therapy is used to give veterans something to focus on while they are thinking or talking about their traumatic memories.

Group therapy is another form of treatment for PTSD. Veterans who have PTSD are more willing to talk about their trauma with people who also share some of the same experiences. The focus of this therapy is to allow veterans to build self-confidence and move forward with their life while focusing on the future and not the past.

Brief psychodynamic psychotherapy is another form of therapy that VA recognizes as a treatment for PTS. With this therapy, veterans learn the ways in which their past traumatic events affect the way they feel now. Therapists are used to help veterans identify the things that may trigger their memories, find the ways in which they can cope with their feelings, recognize their feelings and thoughts so they can change their reactions to them, and raise their self-esteem.

Family therapy is also a form of therapy that can be beneficial to veterans who are battling about PTSD and its effects. Family therapy helps veterans connect with their family and help families gain insights on how to better help their relatives battling PTSD.

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Medication is used to help veterans deal with the stress they may be experiencing when they think about their trauma. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are medications that are used that help control the effects of PTSD.

Among these researched forms of therapy for the treatment of PTSD, there are many other activities veterans do to help them with their PTSD. Some of these have not been clinically tested but come from the personal stories of veterans who have shared the mechanisms they use such as:

Service dogs and other animals, such as horses, have also been used to treat PTSD. Service dogs have become one of the most known forms of emotional support for veterans. Some of the benefits dogs provide for veterans are their ability to provide companionship, allow veterans to express their feelings of love, they can reduce stress, and they can also help veterans build relationships with the people around them.

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The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to offer assistance to our service men and women who are battling PTSD. It is our mission 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 have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Individuals can find numerous resources on our website, and it is with the generous contributions of our supporters that we are able to make all of our service men and women our priority. You can show your support for all of our servicemen and women by making a one-time or monthly pledge to ensure they continue to receive the support they need and deserve by donating here.

The Birth of America: Celebrating Independence Day

A day for grilling outside, watching fireworks, and paying tribute to the anniversary of our nation’s birth. Independence Day is celebrated on the Fourth of July to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence almost 241 years ago. At that time, the Continental Congress declared the original thirteen American colonies as its own nation and no longer under British rule.

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As early as 1777, Americans have been celebrating the birth of our great nation. On July 4th of that year, thirteen gunshots were fired once in the morning as well as at night in Bristol, Rhode Island. Philadelphia residents celebrated in a similar manner and ships in port were decked out in red, white, and blue bunting we still see in Independence Day decorations today.

Americans nationwide take the day to celebrate through fireworks, baseball games, fairs, and other activities as well volunteer, hold public and private events, and share their patriotism in numerous other ways.  There will be a Macy’s fireworks display in New York City that has been televised across the nation since 1976 on NBC and on the Capitol lawn in Washington, DC, there will be the annual A Capitol Fourth concert, which is broadcast and free to the public.

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On Independence Day, we also celebrate those who have fought to give us the very independence we are celebrating: our nation’s men and women in uniform. This year, the NASCAR industry salutes the military this weekend. NASCAR will continue their efforts to show appreciation for members of the military through their NASCAR Salutes Refreshed by Coca-Cola, NASCAR XFINITY Series. Drivers will have the names of various US active military units and installations displayed on their windshields during the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway tonight.

Driver Matt Tifft will honor the 3rd Infantry Division based out of Ft. Stewart, GA; Brennan Poole will have “1BCT, 10TH MTN DIV” in honor of the 10th Mountain Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team stationed out of Fort Drum, New York; and Harrison Rhodes will pay tribute to the “56TH CIVIL ENGINEER SQ” based out of Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. In addition, three Medal of Honor recipients will also be recognized at Daytona.

Celebrating Independence Day can also come in the form of words. The Military Order of the Purple Heart recently held an essay writing contest in the state of Michigan on Americanism. Isabella Rosenthal was selected the third place winner with her essay on “Why We Celebrate Independence Day” at Central Middle School in Iron Mountain, MI.

Art exhibits, such as one in Santa Clarita, CA, concerts, and parades are also prominent ways to display patriotism and love of country. Other ways to show patriotism include going to visit VA medical centers for wounded veterans, visiting war memorials across the country, and writing letters to those who are serving our nation abroad and are not able to spend time at home enjoying the freedoms they are fighting for.

No matter how you choose to spend your Independence Day, be sure to thank a servicemember or veteran for their service to our great nation. Without their devotion to our country, we would not be able to live lives of choice and freedom within the United States of America.

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We at the Purple Heart Foundation are committed to offer assistance to those men and women who have served our country since its inception in 1776. It is our mission 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. 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 they deserve by donating here.

PTSD Awareness Month: You Are Not Alone

June is also known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness (PTSD) Month, and PTSD Awareness Day is recognized on June 27th. In 2010, Congress designated June 27 as PTSD Awareness Day to promote visibility and effective treatment for the affliction. Four years later, Congress set aside the entire month of June for National PTSD Awareness. The goal is to increase knowledge among the public about issues related to PTSD, to encourage those suffering from this affliction to seek help, and to provide insights into caring for family members coping with PTSD.

PTSD is a mental health problem that anyone can develop after experiencing a life-threatening event. The symptoms vary from person to person but can start right after the trauma or come up months, sometimes years later. Unfortunately this can be common in our military men and women who have volunteered to protect our country. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the following are statistics are the number of veterans who suffer with PTSD from each service era:

  • Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF): Between 11-20% of veterans have PTSD in a given year.
  • Gulf War (Desert Storm): About 12% have PTSD in a given year.
  • Vietnam War: About 15% were currently diagnosed with PTSD at the time of the most recent study in the late 1980s, the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS). It is estimated that about 30% of Vietnam Veterans have had PTSD during their lifetime.

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These statistics only account for those who have come out with their symptoms. Sadly it is far more common for our heroes to feel ashamed and embarrassed of their issues and at least 50% of those with PTSD do not seek treatment.

Vietnam War veteran Warren suffered with nightmares and substance abuse when he returned home from the war. After years of struggling with his symptoms he decided to seek help and went to Veterans Affairs for primary care. He received alcohol and drug treatment and was assigned to a therapist that helped him in his recovery. Warren now thanks his therapist who taught him how to face PTSD with the right tools, “You never get rid of PTSD but you know how to handle it, you know how to face it, you let it know you aren’t afraid anymore.”

See Warren’s story here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZzbT2jL4jw

Our men and women selflessly fight for our freedom and need to be our number one priority when they come home. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can happen to anyone, and for those that are suffering need to know it is not a weakness, and it is not something you have to live with. If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD, don’t hesitate to get help.

We at the Purple Heart Foundation are committed to offer assistance to those men and women who have served our country and struggle with PTSD. It is our mission 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. Individuals can find numerous resources on our website, and it is with the generous contributions of our supporters that we are able to make ALL veterans our priority. 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 they deserve by donating here.

The Battle of Gettysburg: The Civil War’s Most Famous Battle

The Battle of Gettysburg was fought from July 1 to July 3 in 1863 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle was fought between the Union and the Confederate forces in the American Civil War. It is known throughout history as the most famous battle of the Civil War due to the cost and the high number of casualties from both sides.

The Union’s Army of the Potomac was commanded by General George G. Meade. He replaced Joseph Hooker after President Abraham Lincoln was not satisfied with the way in which he was leading the Union Army. General Meade’s first order of business when he was named commander was to stop the Confederate forces as they had forced their way into the Union’s territory.

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The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia was commanded by General Robert E. Lee. Right before the Battle of Gettysburg, he led his army to success in another major battle which provided him with confidence to march into the Union’s territory. Lee commanded his army across the Potomac River into Maryland and they eventually landed in southern Pennsylvania.

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Battle of Gettysburg Day 1

The first day of the Battle of Gettysburg began on July 1st.  The Confederate Army made plans a few days earlier to settle in the town of Gettysburg and wait for the opportunity to attack the Union Army. However, when they reached Gettysburg they found the Union Army already there. The Confederacy had about 25,000 soldiers and the Union had less than 20,000, so they attacked the Union. After an intense battle with heavy casualties from both sides, the Confederate Army was able to push the Union back into the town of Cemetery Hill. General Lee saw this as an opportunity to attack the Union again before they were able to accumulate more troops. However, Richard Ewell, who was in charge of the Army of Northern Virginia’s Second Corps, declined to order the attack. He believed the position the Union had was too strong and eventually the opportunity vanished. By nightfall, the Union Army increased the number of Union soldiers and extended their position along Cemetery Ridge to a hill known as the Little Round Top.       

Battle of Gettysburg Day 2

On July 2nd Confederate General James Longstreet examined the position of the Union Army and suggested to General Lee that they hold off on attacking the Union. Longstreet was the second- in- command behind General Lee and he believed the Confederate Army should move to the east of the Union and wait for them to attack. At approximately 10 am, General Lee ordered Longstreet to attack. Since Longstreet did not agree with the command, he took his time in ordering his army and it took them until the latter part of the afternoon to finally open fire on the Union. By this time, the Union was able to grow even stronger and better their position. For several hours, Longstreet and his troops battled the Union in a brutal fight. After a few hours, General Ewell was ordered by General Lee to attack the Union from the north and the east. By 10:30 pm, the battle stopped as both sides needed time to regroup and take care of the wounded. The combined casualties between both sides had created one of the largest on any two-day war at nearly 35,000.

The Union suffered some loss in their positions, but at the end of the night they were still able to hold a strong defense against the Confederates. General Lee and General Meade both met with their teams to plan their actions for the next day. Union Commander Meade wanted his army to keep their position and wait for the Confederate Army to attack them first as they had done in the previous days. On the other side, General Lee again wanted to attack the Union and drive them further out despite the Union having the better defensive position.

Battle of Gettysburg Day 3

On the third and final day of the Battle of Gettysburg, General Lee wanted to take a risk and win the entire battle. On the morning of July 3rd the Union used cannons to try to remove the Confederates from the nearby trenches. This started a 3 hour battle with the Confederates charging at the Union. Around 11 am, all fire stopped as both sides needed time to come up with a new plan. At about 1 pm, the Confederate Army opened fire with cannons aimed at the Union’s position on Cemetery Ridge. In return, the Union also used cannons to drive the Confederates back causing the battlefield to succumb to big clouds of smoke. General George Pickett and about 12,000 men were ordered to advance toward the Union in what was later known as the “Pickett’s Charge”. They made their way to the Union Army a mile away on Cemetery Ridge. When they came in range, the Union soldiers quickly greeted them with cannons and rifles. Both sides engaged in a bloody battle that would ultimately end the battle of Gettysburg. Only one-third of the Confederate men survived the attack as they made their way back to their own territory after the failed attack. The Confederates lost the battle of Gettysburg as General Lee commanded the remaining survivors to make their way back to the South. General Meade and the Union helped turn the tide of the Civil War in favor of the Union. It has been reported that the Confederates suffered more than 28,000 casualties while the Union suffered close to 23,000 in what would be known as one of the greatest battles of the Civil War.

On November 19, President Abraham Lincoln went back to the Gettysburg battlefield where he delivered the Gettysburg Address and set the tone for a “government of the People, by the People, for the People” which has become a representation of our democracy.

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The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to telling the stories of how our military helped shape our country today. 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, 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. You can show your support for our 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.

Happy Birthday, Doc: 119 Years of the Hospital Corpsmen

Today marks 119 years since the Hospital Corps of the United States Navy was started. Prior to its establishment, medical support in the form of enlisted members of the Navy was scarce. The Army established a Hospital Corps in 1887 and with the Spanish-American War coming soon, Congress passed a bill establishing the US Navy Hospital Corps, which was signed into law by Pres. William McKinley on June 17, 1898. Three rates were created: Hospital Apprentice, Hospital Apprentice First Class (a Petty Officer Third Class), and Hospital Steward, which was a Chief Petty Officer. The Hospital Corps during World War II was the only corps in the US Navy to have a speech delivered by Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal after the war ended.

Early on, medical personnel were assigned to a ship’s company at random and duties included keeping items, such as sand and irons, at the ready in the operating area and surgeons conducted amputations.

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Currently, Navy Hospital Corpsmen treat sailors as well as Marines. They serve as assistants to physicians and dentists; specialize in radiology, search and rescue, and preventive medicine; and transportation of the sick. Key responsibilities for Corpsmen include:

  • Serve as an operating room technician for general and specialized surgery
  • Work in the field with Navy SEALs or Seabees or be assigned to Fleet Marine Force
  • Deliver emergency medical or dental treatment to Sailors and Marines in the field
  • Help administer a wide range of preventive care  
  • Perform clinical tests
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020418-N-7463C-001 Rota, Spain (Apr. 18, 2002) — Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Robert Blaasch draws blood from a patient as part of his duties as an independent duty Corpsman. U.S. Navy photo by PhotographerÕs Mate 2nd Class Amy Celentano. (RELEASED)

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A corpsman with Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune performs an intubation procedure on a dummy head for medical soldiers with the Bermuda Regiment during Exercise Bermuda Warrior aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, May 9. Approximately 180 Bermuda Regiment soldiers conducted a two-week training exercise aboard the base in a multitude of operation areas, part of their annual abroad training.

Corpsmen serve in a variety of capacities including recompressing divers through Hyberbaric Oxygen chambers and battlefield medicine in war zones. To become a Hospital Corpsman, a high-school diploma or equivalent is required as well as good communication skills, a good memory, among other qualifications. Qualifications also vary on if you have never served, are currently serving, or served previously. Basic Training for corpsmen is conducted at the Medical Education and Training Campus at Joint Base Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. The 18-week course goes through a variety of training modules in emergency medicine, disease and pathology, and nursing.

Hospital Corpsmen come from a variety of backgrounds. Hospital Corpsman Second Class Carloconrado Limos comes from a family of military members who served in the Philippines. Limos immigrated to the United States and enlisted as a Hospital Corpsman when he was 22 years old.

My first duty station was in Iwakuni, Japan, where I worked as the lead emergency medical technician. Part of my responsibilities was to instruct and aid in certifying other hospital corpsmen and Marines,” said Limos. “I enjoyed influencing my Sailors and being a part of their lives. It was an amazing opportunity to help maximize their talents and goals while ensuring the Navy’s mission was met to the highest standards.” Almost six years later, Limos is working towards an associate’s degree in general studies at Vincennes University.

Whether it be Marine Corps combat units, reservist installations, or recruitment offices, Hospital Corpsmen is the most decorated corps in US military history and the most decorated in the United States Navy. The accolades, as of 2016, include:

  • 22 Medals of Honor
  • 179 Navy Crosses since World War I
  • 31 Navy Distinguished Service Medals
  • 959 Silver Stars
  • More than 1,600 Bronze Star Medals with Combat “V”’s since World War II
  • 20 Naval ships named after Hospital Corpsmen

 

The Purple Heart Foundation would like to wish a Happy 119th Birthday to Hospital Corpsmen around the world who help to keep us healthy at home and abroad. 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. 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 they deserve by donating here.

 

242 Years of Being Army Strong: Happy Birthday to the United States Army

Today the U.S. Army celebrates its 242nd birthday of defending the nation against all enemies foreign and domestic. With more than 500,000 soldiers serving all over the world, the U.S. Army is the largest and oldest military branch in the United States. The force was founded on June 14, 1775, by the second Continental Congress to fight the British in the American Revolutionary War. It consisted of troops from all 15 colonies, and was led by George Washington as Commander-in-Chief. Prior to the formation of the army, the colonies relied on the militia consisting of part-time civilian soldiers.

U.S. ArmyThe U.S. Army is older than the country it serves and has gone through numerous transitions throughout the years. For instance, the Vietnam War was a pivotal moment for the U.S. Armed Forces. With the lack of support from the citizens, there was controversy as to why our servicemen were fighting in the war, and many protests broke out. In 1973, the Selective Service announced there would be no more draft calls, and the military would be an all-volunteer force.

Today, the Army as well as other branches use incentives such as education, careers, and bonuses to attract recruits. When it came to assignments, recruits had no say as to where they would be located or what their job would be. The Army decided for them based on their results from the Armed Forces Aptitude Battery Test. Whereas now, recruits still take the annually updated test but the individual gets a number of options on their assignments and location based on the test results and openings.

Gender equality has made a tremendous impact on the military especially the Army. Prior to the women’s rights movement, women only served as support roles such as nurses, secretaries, and administration. As the years passed, laws began to change allowing women to serve in all positions except infantry, armor, and field artillery, which are considered to be combat arms branches. However, that also changed on  May 19, 2017 when Fort Benning graduated the first gender integrated infantry class with 18 women.

The U.S. Army has made incredible strides and continue to do so. In light of the Army’s 242nd birthday here are some fun facts:

  • The Army is the second largest employer.
  • The Army owns so much land that of it were a state, it would be larger than Hawaii and Massachusetts combined.
  • If the Army were a city, it would be the 10th largest city in the U.S.
  • 30/45 presidents served in the Army.
    • 24 Served during time of war.
    • 2 Ranked 5 star general (Washington and Eisenhower).
    • 1 Received the Medal of Honor (Roosevelt).

The Purple Heart Foundation wants to thank all of the soldiers and guardians of freedom for dedicating their lives to protecting our nation. We also want to wish you all a very Happy 242nd Birthday. 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. 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 they deserve by donating here.