What Women Veterans Need To Know About Breast Cancer

 

 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! It is important to keep up to date with current events about the disease and get checked every so often by health professionals. Veterans, active service members, and our supporters should learn more about this problem that can be fatal to anyone. Studies show about 1 in 8 U.S women will develop breast cancer over the course of their lifetime1. Certain lifestyles bring a higher risk of getting cancer. Studies now show that if you’re a woman in the military, you are more likely to get breast cancer due to exposure to chemicals and radio emissions if your duties require you to work with either. Luckily, there are people who want to keep current and past service members aware of this and push for action to be able to get more accessible screenings while in the military. Purple Heart Foundation believes everyone should keep an eye on their health to prevent any illnesses such as Breast Cancer that can lead to death.

 

What Is Breast Cancer

It is important to understand at the basic level what breast cancer is and what to look out for. Breast cancer is a disease that occurs when changes take place in a person’s genes that control cell growth in the body. This mutation advances the multiplication of cells in your body with no control. When this mutation occurs in breast cells, it can form in different parts of the breast. This includes the fatty tissue, lobules, or ducts of the breast. Some symptoms of breast cancer include continuous pain in the breasts, redness of the skin on the breast, or rashes2. There are stages of breast cancer which define how big the tumor is and whether it is spreading. The stages are from 0-4. The evaluation by a doctor determines what stage the person is in. It is important to get checked and prevent cancer from spreading.

  

 

Service Members And Breast Cancer

Although both men and women can get breast cancer, it is more likely to occur in women. According to a study by the CDC, breast cancer is the second most common cancer in all women. The disease is estimated to be up to 40 percent higher in women veterans and service members than in the general population3. This is an alarming rate for women in uniform. Breast cancer for active-duty women is seven times higher compared to the average rate of fifteen other types of cancer for all service members4. One reason breast cancer affects service members and veterans is likely because of higher levels of stress, exposure to toxic chemicals from working industrial jobs, and other factors. Another reason is radio emissions, women that work as radio operators, electricians, and other jobs dealing with exposure to electromagnetic radiation are at a greater risk5. Veteran Kate Hendricks Thomas got a screening done at 38 years old and found out she had three different cancers. She says, “Now that I am a few years out, I tell everybody to get it checked. The enemy is lurking in our bodies6.” Doctors and women veterans are advocating for the younger demographic to get screened.

 

What Can Be Done?

The key is to be able to detect the disease as early as possible through regular health screenings and  check-ups by health professionals. Early detection can lead to getting early treatment. You can also check for any abnormalities that may show up through a self examination. Currently in congress, there is action being taken to push access for military women to have wider access to mammograms. It is a proposal that would allow breast cancer screenings for women in the U.S. military. The good news is it has passed through the Senate this year. If the bill passes, The Department of Veterans Affairs will be required to screen women who have served in areas where there were burn pits. The bill is now in the U.S. House and up for consideration7. We are a step closer to ensuring veterans have preventative care to live long and healthy lives. This is a good step toward helping military servicewomen get the help they need, and deserve

 

The military community has a responsibility to help our women, active members, and veterans, because of their sacrifice for our country. They have put their bodies on the line, so we must assure that they get the help they need to live a long and healthy life.

 


_1 https://www.voice4vet.org/breast-cancer-your-va-rating/

_2 https://www.voice4vet.org/breast-cancer-your-va-rating/

_https://reporter.nih.gov/project-details/10009841

_4 https://cdmrp.health.mil/bcrp/pbks/bcrppbk2021.pdf

_https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/10/02/breast-cancer-troops/1608293 /

_https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2021/10/17/the-enemy-is-lurking-in-our-bodies-women-veterans-say-toxic-exposure-caused-breast-cancer/

_7 https://oregoncapitalchronicle.com/briefs/wyden-pushes-proposal-to-expand-breast-cancer-screenings-for-women-in-military/


Home Buying Advice For Veterans

Our nation’s veterans receive some specific financial benefits upon their discharge from the military. It's crucial they recognize and receive the advice needed to take full advantage of these offers. Veterans can receive benefits ranging from social security to home buying perks. Below are a few important tools and strategies veteran homebuyers can familiarize themselves with to make homeownership easier.

Utilize a VA Loan

When looking to purchase a home as a veteran, accessing Veteran Affairs (VA) loan is a great place to start the process. VA loans are filled with wonderful benefits that you can take advantage of. Purchasing a home with no down payment, lower credit score requirements to be eligible for a loan, and the access to lifetime benefits are just a few of the multiple great benefits you can receive from a VA Loan.

To qualify for a VA loan from a mortgage lender, you must be a veteran, an active duty service member, or a military spouse. But those are not the only eligibility requirements to determine if you will receive a VA loan or not.

If you’re hoping to acquire a loan, some other requirements include serving 90 consecutive days during wartime or 181 days during peacetime as an active duty service member, you have served in the National Guard or Reserves for six years, or you’re the spouse of a service member who suffered a service-related disability or has died in the line of duty.

There is more than one type of VA loan that you can choose from if you meet the eligibility requirements to qualify for one. Each different type of loan depends on certain criteria including credit score, income, and other factors. Bringing in a VA loan savvy real estate agent and completing a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) online are great ways to help you determine what loan type you should go for.

Get the Proper Paperwork in Order

There is plenty of information needed to get your VA loan process underway. The previously mentioned COE, form DD-214, and other general information will be needed during the loan acquisition process.

The COE is a document created by veteran affairs that provides information that proves that you are eligible for a VA loan. It is important to complete this certificate early on in your process as it will help move everything as long as smoothly as possible. A COE can be obtained through eBenefits online.

Form DD-214 is another required document you will need to obtain in the process of acquiring a VA loan if you are currently a military veteran. It shows proof of your discharge from the military. Acquiring your DD-214 form is a straightforward process that you can do yourself or have someone else do for you.

Other common documents needed during the process include a government-issued ID, your W-2 and tax returns from the previous two years, and most recent bank statements and pay stubs. Getting all of these documents together ahead of time will help reduce the stress of the process. To further reduce any financial anxieties and streamline your search, we suggest getting pre-approval on your mortgage. The sooner the paperwork and logistics are taken care of, the sooner you can begin your search for the perfect home.

Searching for Your Home

Once you create your budget, get your loan and mortgage approved, and have all your paperwork in order, you can finally begin the house-hunting process. It’s important to take care of all of the logistical aspects of the process before beginning to look at homes to ensure that you do not fall in love with any homes that you may prove to not be a realistic purchase for you later in the process.

You must consider things such as the school district if you have kids and any taxes that come along with the school district you are located in. Depending on what state you’re looking to live in, there are some different veteran housing benefits in each state. So make sure you familiarize yourself with any potential benefits the state you are looking to live in may offer to you.

Homebuying is a very exciting process, but could also be stressful. It’s important for veterans, active military members, and their families to be informed of the benefits they may be eligible for so they can utilize them to the fullest. Purchasing a home is a huge undertaking and accomplishment, and should be treated as such.


Many Veteran Women may be long overdue a Purple Heart Medal!

Women have only been active in the military for 70 years, but in each of those years they have joined in a significant amount, increasing every year. Compared to 1973, where enlistment of women soldiers was approximately 70,000, there are more than 200,000 women in active duty today serving in every branch of the U.S. military. Given the number of servicewomen, including having courage for being on the front lines and getting hurt, why do so few women actually receive their Purple Heart Medal? As you know, The Purple Heart is the only medal awarded to service members when they have greatly sacrificed themselves and have been injured in the line of duty. It has been known throughout history that men are usually the ones out fighting since the earliest wars. It is possible that the sheer number of men compared to women in the military today can still overshadow the many contributions that women have made. But that is unfair. With this in mind, we want to call attention to and highlight the disparities, share their stories, and acknowledge the contributions of our women vets.  Based on the sheer quantity of women service members and no short supply of accomplishments and sacrifice, there should be more that have received the medal. All veterans deserve to be recognized for their sacrifices, especially from the physical, mental, and emotional scars that they will carry for the rest of their lives.

Women and the Purple Heart Medal

Women began to join the military in 1948, just three years after the end of World War II. President Harry S. Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act into law, officially allowing women to serve as permanent members of all branches of the Armed Forces. Surprisingly, there have only been approximately 500 women that have been awarded the Purple Heart medal in the entire history of the military. There is no doubt that there are more women who are eligible for the award, but either they have not applied or have not been recognized. It is extremely important to recognize the sacrifice of their bodies and minds on the battlefield because each woman in active duty has given up some important qualities of their lives for our country, including time away from their families, losing physical abilities they once had, and losing their sanity . The medal is an example of the honor that the United States bestows upon them and all of our veterans deserve this respect.

Antoinette Scott’s Story

She was actually the first woman from Washington D.C. to have received the Purple Heart. She served eight years in the D.C Army National Guard and was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. She recalls the time her injuries happened during her mission driving a truck with soldiers to Baghdad Airport while being under attack. She managed to get the entire group to safety. She says, “There was so much going on, I didn’t have a chance to think about myself until I touched my face and I thought it was sweat and I saw blood. At that moment, I’m like, ‘Someone is bleeding,’ it wasn’t happening to me in my mind.” The truck was hit by an explosive device that led to shrapnel going through the left side of her face, breaking her jaw and a main blood vessel to her brain. She sustained life-threatening injuries, but the team she drove was able to evacuate her on time to save her life.

Marlene Rodriguez Story

She served three tours in Iraq before she had to retire and come back home. Marlene retired in 2009 due to experiencing two roadside bomb explosions and a firefight during her time in Iraq. She was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which left her disabled. She says, “I miss it so much. Just the structure, the discipline, the leadership,The honor.” As a result of her time in war, Marlene suffers from seizures, is unable to walk far due to back problems, and cannot express herself how she wants. Today, Marlene is frustrated with all the problems that will plague her for the rest of her life.

Conclusion

Antoinette and Marlene’s stories are just two stories of many in combat that still suffer from physical and mental injuries sustained in the battlefield. We salute and honor these two heroes, as well as countless others affected. What we are witnessing with these women is history in the making. Even today women can still become some of the first of 1,000 women to ever receive the medal, compared to more than 1 million men who have received it. These women throughout history have been soldiers, leaders and have sacrificed for the essential freedoms that we enjoy today. But unfortunately, most of them won’t receive a ticker tape parade, let alone the Purple Heart Medal. We want to encourage those who have not received the medal to apply if eligible. If you believe you know someone that does not have the medal and could be a candidate, recommend them to apply as it’s never too late to do so. Here is a website that shows the documents, resources, and examples of what needed to apply for the Purple Heart Medal.


Could Golf Help Survivors Suffering from PTSD?

Did you know that when a service member goes through a traumatizing event, likely caused in battle, it can leave behind harrowing mental and emotional scars? What we now know as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder forms as a result and creates problems for our veterans, the most common symptoms are anxiety and depression. Because PTSD is an unseen condition where the symptoms can get worse and affect everyday life, many of our nation’s veterans must find a way to cope and deal with the stress of trauma related PTSD, by finding support. Surprisingly, one good way that helps veterans is through recreational therapy. More specifically, golf.

It’s been proven that a consistent physical regiment can help decrease the impact of PTSD over time. According to one study, “A 12-week exercise program that included three 30-minute resistance training sessions a week, as well as walking, was found to lead to a significant decrease in PTSD symptoms, depression, and better sleep quality after the program ended.”

It was very helpful to learn that veterans can treat PTSD by playing golf because it helps take their mind off things, it brings physical exercise from playing, and they can meet new peers while sharing 18 holes. Remember, golf is a lengthy game and full of competitiveness, making it easy to get distracted  from your problems, thus acting like a therapy for PTSD.

For the past six years, many veterans have participated in a joint program with the Purple Heart Service Foundation and the local VA Hospital to participate in the 6th Annual Purple Heart Open as a part of their therapy. Vets take the opportunity to not only relieve stress, but also to talk with other veterans who can relate to their experiences . Matthew Levine, a retired U.S. Army Veteran, says “Golf has been a way to reduce stress and get back to normal.” Another veteran, Ed Afanador, says “It gives you a common ground if you’ve been injured, and you have someone to talk to that has that commonality between each other.”

As the weather is heating up, we hope more veterans will take the opportunity to get outside and get active. The Purple Heart Open may only come once a year, but the golf course will be open all summer long.

 

 


4 Ways Veterans Can Take Control Of Their Finances

Taking control of your finances can be trying for anyone, but for struggling veterans, this issue may feel impossible to tackle. Luckily, there are lots of resources available, and the Purple Heart Foundation prides itself on helping military veterans and recognizing the sacrifices they’ve made. We would like to extend some information on how veterans can take control of their own finances on an individual basis.


1. Check Your Credit Score

Credit scores may not be the first thing on your mind when checking your bank accounts, but they are an extremely important tool that is needed when making big-ticket purchases. For example, buying a home will require a credit score check before you are able to take out a loan. Although VA loans offer flexibility to veterans, it’s still a great idea to first understand what credit score is needed to buy a home. Checking your credit score is free and won’t impact your credit. Plus, just this small step will allow you to gain a clearer picture of your financial situation.


2. Have a Plan to Pay Off Your Debts

Anyone struggling with debt understands the burden it can have. However, it’s crucial that big and small debts alike come with a plan for paying them off. Some of the more important factors to consider when creating a debt payoff plan that financial experts recommend is to include what your baseline budget will be and how much you’re going to allocate each month toward your debt payoff. Having an idea of how you’re going to pay your debts on time and eventually living debt free will be a huge weight off your shoulders and allow you more flexibility in your finances.


3. Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions and Limit Overspending

Overspending is a common problem for many. There’s a reason such a thing as “retail therapy” exists! But that joy from buying a fancy back scratcher will quickly fade once you do the math on how much these unnecessary wants are costing you. Ways to combat emotional spending may include window shopping instead of buying so you can learn to understand what triggers your desire to overspend. Even taking a look at your monthly subscriptions, such as streaming services, and cutting back on those can help you increase your budget and improve your ability to meet long-term financial goals.


4. Save Up Toward Retirement

Lastly, retirement should be a huge consideration and part of your overall financial plan. Whether it’s through a 401(k) plan or savings account, having money set aside specifically for your retirement is a great way to start. Consider also speaking with a financial advisor to see exactly how much you and your family should save up to retire, and what your individual options are.

Taking control of your finances is no small task, and with the COVID-19 pandemic, this task may become that much more difficult. The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to helping veterans in whatever way possible, so we hope these steps will help you take control of your finances. If you would like to help veterans who are struggling financially, please be sure to check out our Veterans Critical Assistance Grant and make a donation today. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of our nation’s veterans.

 


Recognizing Our Veterans This Mesothelioma Awareness Day

This September 26th marked the 17-year anniversary of Mesothelioma Awareness Day. This is a day devoted to spreading awareness about this rare and extremely aggressive form of cancer. What many do not know is that mesothelioma is one of the few non-genetic forms of cancer and is usually spoken in tandem with asbestos. Asbestos is the only known culprit of mesothelioma and was heavily used throughout the military from the early 1900s up until the 1980s. Unfortunately, its past use in the military has led to emerging mesothelioma cases today, with roughly 900 new mesothelioma diagnoses annually among our veteran population.

Exposure In The Air Force

For veterans of the Air Force, exposure to asbestos most likely happened on actual Air Force bases. Insulation, wall board, piping, plumbing, sealers, and adhesives were known to contain this carcinogen. Servicemen and women most at risk of exposure were the ones who lived on these bases with their families.

Planes used by the Air Force also contained asbestos in some parts, such as the heat shield, engine, and brake pads. Aircraft mechanics were put at risk as these parts began to wear down and fibers were released into the air. Secondhand exposure was also a risk, as asbestos fibers cling to the clothes. This means that mechanics could have been carrying asbestos off the job site, unknowingly exposing their families when they came home from work for the day.

Exposure In The Coast Guard

Those who served in the Coast Guard were mostly likely to come into contact with asbestos while on shipyards and on ships. Coast Guard Cutters were likely to be harboring asbestos in many different areas of the ship. Pump rooms, boiler rooms, sleeping quarters, and mess halls all could have had asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) present. The close quarters type of living on these vessels allowed for asbestos fibers to travel easily to other areas of the ship, potentially exposing everyone on board. The height of exposure for Coast Guard personnel was during World War II, where usage and production of asbestos was at its peak.

Exposure In The Army

Similar to the Air Force, Army personnel had a high risk of exposure when on Army bases. Insulation, floor tiles, roofing, and cement incorporated this carcinogenic mineral not only because of its fire-resistant qualities, but because it was so cheap. Off-site locations known as Army reserves were also prone to the usage of asbestos. In 2005, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that there were still ACMs that needed to be abated from these locations.

Army vehicles also utilized asbestos in some parts that would experience high temperatures and friction. This posed a risk to Army mechanics whose job required them to repair brake pads, gaskets, and clutch plates on vehicles used in combat and transport.

Exposure In The Navy

Navy veterans are the most likely of all military personnel to develop an asbestos-related disease. This is due to the fact that asbestos was most heavily used among this branch of the military. Cruisers, destroyers, aircraft carriers, submarines, and more were often built with ACMs. Asbestos was primarily used in the insulation of these vessels and was also favored because it does not deteriorate easily when in contact with water. The servicemen and women involved in the building, repairing, and retiring of these ships were the ones who most likely were exposed, as the ACMs would degrade overtime.

Exposure In The Marines

Much like the Navy and Coast Guard, veterans of the Marines were also put at risk by being on and working with ships. Marines are often aboard Navy ships being transported to and from conflict areas. While being transported, they carry out maintenance tasks the same as any Navy member would. These duties may involve repairing gaskets or removing insulation, which can disturb and release asbestos. Unfortunately, many of the high-risk ships used throughout World War II and the Vietnam War are still a part of the Navy’s fleet today.

Spreading Awareness

With mesothelioma continuing to affect so many veterans every year, the Purple Heart Foundation believes it is imperative to increase awareness of this disease. This cancer could be diagnosed less, or even disappear, if we are vigilant in protecting ourselves and our military population from asbestos exposure.

 


4 Ways to Give Back

 

There are a few days throughout the year when we think about or officially recognize veterans and service men and women. But there are ways to give back to current and former members of our military every day of the year.

Say thank you.

When you see a service man or woman in uniform, or a person wearing something that identifies them as a veteran, take a minute to say hello and thank you. You don’t need to make a big, dramatic gesture; just let them know you appreciate their service. If they feel like talking, take the time to listen to their stories.

Hire a vet.

Do you own a business? Consider hiring a veteran. You can work with the United States Department of Labor’s VETS Program, or similar nonprofit organization that helps vouch for and place qualified veterans in businesses.

Stay informed.

Only a fraction of U.S. citizens currently serve, and few Americans have personal contact with members of our military, causing a disconnect between the military and the civilian worlds. Take some time to get informed about the issues facing our troops and veterans. Follow veteran organizations on social media, and learn about how you can help.

Make a donation.

When you donate to the Purple Heart Foundation, your generous gift helps us to support veterans and their families during their transition from the battlefield to the home front.

Our programs and those to which we award grants support hundreds of thousands of our nation’s heroes. There are many ways you can make a tax-deductible donation.

We often get asked how we use your donations. Here is a snapshot. If you want more information, give us a call; we would be happy to share it with you.

We use your generous donations

  • To help fund research and assistance that tackle the unseen wounds impacting veterans, things like Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI); suicide, and sexual abuse
  • To fund Purple Heart’s Service Officers, who are stationed throughout the country to work with veterans informing them about education opportunities, scholarships, disability compensation, employment training, hospitalization and rehabilitation benefits, pensions, and more
  • To employ a full-time attorney dedicated to protecting the interests of wounded servicemen and women and presenting veterans’ claims before a court

 


The Real Story of Veteran’s Day

…The 11th hour…

…On the 11th day…

…Of the 11th month…

Hostility ceased in this moment back in 1918 marking the end of World War I.

Armistice Day was then celebrated on the 11th day of November to commemorate the beginning of this peaceful era. Nationwide there were celebrations, parades, public meetings and suspension of business for two minutes at 11am. Over the years, Congress has changed the date on which Armistice Day was celebrated, but in 1975 President Ford returned Armistice Day to November 11th, due to the significance and importance of that date.

Over 116,000 Americans defended the lives and freedom of our European allies during World War I. However, it was only after World War II and the Korean War that the commemoration of this day become known as “Veterans Day”, honoring the more than 1 million Americans who have died in all US wars.

Unlike Memorial Day which honors those members who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country; Veterans Day honors all veterans – those deceased and those living, regardless of whether they served in wartime or peace. Currently there are 1.3 million active duty service men and women, with an additional 800,000 serving in the reserves. There are approximately 21 million American veterans alive today. Many of them are like you and I…they are grandparents, parents, friends, neighbors, brothers, and coworkers. For some, there are physical signs of their sacrifice, but for others their wounds are on the inside. It is not easy coming home after everything a servicemember sees and endures. Due to the effects of Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, Military Sexual Trauma and more, an average of 22 veterans per day commit suicide.

This Veterans Day, we ask you to honor all of our veterans for their patriotism, service, sacrifice, and love of country. Make a donation to the Purple Heart Foundation!

Your contribution will help all veterans from all wars with all types of injuries. They will receive the benefits they have earned and deserve. Your contribution will fund grants, academic scholarships and so much more.

If you’re enjoying your freedom, thank a veteran by making a contribution today. The Purple Heart Foundation, honoring their sacrifice with our service.

 


The Final Goodbye

A teary-eyed, George W. Bush, said his final goodbye to his father, George H.W. Bush Sr. and former 41st President of the United States, while giving his eulogy at the National Cathedral last Wednesday, December 5th.  The former President passed away at his home in Houston, Texas on November 30, 2018.  On this day, he took his final flight to reunite with his wife (Barbara Bush) and his 3-year-old daughter (Robin Bush).

President Bush’s casket was visited at the US Capitol Rotunda for 3 days by family, friends and thousands of citizens who admired and loved him. During the state funeral, former Presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama and current President Donald Trump were present along with their wives to pay their respects and say their final goodbyes to their dear old friend.

 

Known as a man with a good heart, charisma, and an impressive life story… George H. W. Bush, Sr. was born on June 12, 1924 to a wealthy and politically active family in Milton, Massachusetts. He attended Phillips Academy, an elite boarding school. Then at 18, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, making him the youngest pilot during WWII. As a combat pilot he flew 58 combat missions and had a close encounter with death when his plane was hit in the Pacific. Shortly after, he met 16-year-old Barbara Pierce, a teenage romance that would eventually result in a beautiful 73-year marriage, the longest presidential marriage in American history. After the war ended, George H.W. Bush, Sr. graduated from Yale University with a major in Economics and moved to Texas to enter the oil business making him a millionaire by the age of 40.

In 1963, George H.W. Bush, Sr. became chairman of the Harris County Republican Party, and was later elected to the House of Representatives. He held various elected roles…

  • 1971 – U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
  • 1973 – Head of the Republic National Committee (during Watergate Scandal)
  • 1974 – U.S. Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China
  • 1976 – Director of the CIA in 1976
  • 1977 – Chairman: Executive Committee of the First International Bank (Houston)
  • 1979 – Director of Council on Foreign Relations Foreign Policy Organization

With a very impressive resume, former George H.W. Bush, Sr. decided to run for President… but failed to win against Ronald Reagan. Instead, Ronald Reagan honored him with the Vice Presidency during his two terms in office.

George H.W. Bush, Sr. believed he was finally ready for the Presidency and ran once again in the 1988 election against Democratic Nominee, Michael Dukakis. George H.W. Bush, Sr. was elected 41st President of the United States of America. During that time he successfully handled various foreign affairs. He dissolved the Soviet Union and removed the Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, but his greatest presidential success was handling the invasion in Kuwait. He was a global success for these accomplishments but there were problems with the economy back home.

After his Presidential term, George H.W. Bush, Sr. made appearances in support of his son, George W. Bush, Jr. during his terms as 43rd President of the United States of America. He also appeared at events for several political causes and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.  He even joined forces with former presidential rival, Bill Clinton, to help Hurricane Katrina victims.

Barak Obama once said “his life is a testament that public service is a noble calling” while honoring George H.W. Bush, Sr. with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, an award bestowed by the President to recognize people who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States”.

In the coming years, George H.W. Bush, Sr. had several setbacks with his health and spent his time in and out of the hospital. After losing his wife in April, George H.W. Bush, Sr. got Sully, a service dog who became his best friend and companion. Over the 6 months that they spent together they built an unbreakable bond, which left a huge impression on Sully. Sully was at the funeral, next to his owners’ side until the very end.

Former President George H.W. Bush, Sr. headed back to Houston to be buried at home, close to his ranch. Our condolences go out to the entire Bush Family. This country thanks him for his lifelong service to this country.

George H. W. Bush

June 12, 1924 – November 30, 2018

 

 


The Honor of a Warrior – Staff Sgt. Edward Allen Carter, Jr.

Edward Allen Carter, Jr.

1916 – 1963

As Black History Month comes to an end, the Purple Heart Foundation honors the exemplary heroism, unmatched determination and commendable bravery of a young African American soldier. His actions were profound for a soldier of any race, religion, gender or creed but to happen during a time of segregation and discrimination, they are especially praiseworthy.

Lets begin at the beginning….Edward Allen Carter, Jr. was born on May 26, 1916, in Los Angeles California, but was raised in Shanghai, China. Carter knew he was destined to join the military from a young age. He attended military grade-school in Shanghai and studied languages until he became fluent in Hindi (his mother’s native tongue), Mandarin (the language of Shanghai), as well as English and German which he would later use in his military career. He began that career at the young age of 15, enlisting in the Chinese Nationalist Army. He rose to the rank of lieutenant before it was uncovered that he was underage and was discharged.

Once he turned 18, Carter attempted to join the U.S. Army but was not accepted due to discrimination. So Carter remained in Europe in the late 1930s, fighting for the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War. He fought as a Corporal in the Lincoln Brigade until they were forced to flee to Paris in 1938. Upon his return to the United States in 1941, Carter once again attempted to join the U.S. Army and was finally accepted. He was quickly promoted to staff sergeant because of his extensive military experience.

During training in the segregated state of Georgia, Carter witnessed violence and discrimination upon African American soldiers. Many of whom were dishonorably discharged when they fought back. In order to remain in the military, Carter accepted multiple demotions in an era when African Americans were rarely allowed to be officers or even participate in combat. Racism proved to be a hindrance in Carter’s journey to follow his destiny. He volunteered to go into combat but was denied because at the time, African Americans were considered unsuitable for battle.

In 1945 however, replacements were desperately needed, so Carter once again gave up his staff sergeant stripes to volunteer as a Private and was assigned to the 56th Armored Infantry Battalion of the 12th Armored Division. Company commander, Captain Floyd Vanderhoff, recognized Carter for his experience and leadership by restoring his staff sergeant stripes and making him an infantry squad leader.

While fighting with the 12th Armored, Carter became a member of General Patton’s “Mystery Division”. He served as Patton’s personal bodyguard in the push into Germany where his actions in battle earned him a recommendation for the Medal of Honor, the highest award for valor, on March 23, 1945. Carter received the Combat Action Ribbon, the Purple Heart for the wounds he sustained in action, but due to his race he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the country’s second highest military honor, instead of the Medal of Honor.

After the war, Carter was promoted to sergeant first class, but his enlistment was near expiration. During this time the Red Scare was in full effect, and therefore Carter’s request for re-enlistment had been denied due to fear that he may have communist ties from his exposure in China. He received an honorable discharge in October 1949 and lived out the remainder of his life as a family man until he passed away on January 30, 1963 at the age of 46.

Three decades later, a commission was assigned to identify unrecognized African-American heroes from World War II. Ten men were cited to receive the Medal of Honor. Edward Allen Carter Jr. was identified and recommended for honors for his actions fifty-two years after voluntarily leading a three-man group across an open battlefield. Edward Allen Carter, III received the Medal of Honor on behalf of his grandfather from President Bill Clinton on January 13, 1997.  His citation read…

 “For extraordinary heroism in action on 23 March 1945, near Speyer, Germany. When the tank on which he was riding received heavy bazooka and small arms fire, Sergeant Carter voluntarily attempted to lead a three-man group across an open field. Within a short time, two of his men were killed and the third seriously wounded. Continuing alone, he was wounded five times and finally forced to take cover. As eight enemy riflemen attempted to capture him, Sergeant Carter killed six of them and captured the remaining two. He then crossed the field using as a shield his two prisoners from which he obtained valuable information concerning the disposition of enemy troops, in their native tongue. Staff Sergeant Carter’s extraordinary heroism was an inspiration to the officers and men of the Seventh Army Infantry Company Number 1 (Provisional) and exemplify the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.”

Against all odds, Edward Allen Catrer, Jr. fought for what was right and followed his destiny. The Purple Heart Foundation Salutes Staff Sgt. Edward Allen Carter, Jr. for service and sacrifice. This Black History Month join us in honoring all service men and women who bravely follow their destiny in the eyes of discrimination and adversity.