Thursday, September 29, 2011

TFH 5 Year Special: MA2(SEAL) Michael A. Monsoor, USN

Five years ago today, Navy SEAL Michael Monsoor exhibited courage above and beyond the call of duty, saved his comrades from grievous injury or death, made the ultimate sacrifice, and received our Nation's highest honor.

From Medal of Honor Citations for Iraq:


Rank and Organization: Master-At-Arms Second Class (Sea, Air And Land), United States Navy
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as automatic weapons gunner for Naval Special Warfare Task Group Arabian Peninsula, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 29 September 2006. As a member of a combined SEAL and Iraqi Army Sniper Overwatch Element, tasked with providing early warning and stand-off protection from a rooftop in an insurgent held sector of Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Petty Officer Monsoor distinguished himself by his exceptional bravery in the face of grave danger. In the early morning, insurgents prepared to execute a coordinated attack by reconnoitering the area around the element's position. Element snipers thwarted the enemy's initial attempt by eliminating two insurgents. The enemy continued to assault the element, engaging them with a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire. As enemy activity increased, Petty Officer Monsoor took position with his machine gun between two teammates on an outcropping of the roof. While the SEALs vigilantly watched for enemy activity, an insurgent threw a hand grenade from an unseen location, which bounced off Petty Officer Monsoor's chest and landed in front of him. Although only he could have escaped the blast, Petty Officer Monsoor chose instead to protect his teammates. Instantly and without regard for his own safety, he threw himself onto the grenade to absorb the force of the explosion with his body, saving the lives of his two teammates. By his undaunted courage, fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death, Petty Officer Monsoor gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

My original tributes to MA2(SEAL) Michael A. Monsoor, USN are found here and here.

The future USS Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) is under construction for the United States Navy in Pascagoula, MS.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

TFH 9/20: Unbelievable Courage - Infiltrating Auschwitz

This is a story that after I first read it, I could hardly believe it.

Witold Pilecki was born to Polish parents on May 13, 1901. Pilecki's family had been exiled to Olonets, Russia by the Tsarist armies that put down a Polish uprising in 1863-1864.

At age 17 in the waning days of World War I, he served in a Polish self-defense unit - a militia - until his home was overrun by the Bolshevik army from the east. He continued waging Poland's struggle for freedom as a partisan guerilla fighting behind enemy lines. He entered the regular Polish Army in 1919 and fought into 1920 in the Polish-Soviet War, being twice decorated for gallantry with the Krzyz Walecznych, or "Cross of Valor" - roughly equivalent to the US decorations of the Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, or Air Force Cross, just one notch beneath the Medal of Honor.

Pilecki then found peace. He married in 1931 and he and his wife Maria had two children. Their son was born in 1932, a daughter in 1933. Witold Pilecki farmed and worked within his community. Sadly, the clouds of war would return.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Solyndra Cronyism in Plain Sight?

I've been following the coverage of the Solyndra scandal, particularly from Michelle Malkin and HotAir. I'd like to make one observation of the Obama administration's corrupt entanglement with this "green jobs" and taxpayer-dollar sinkhole that I don't believe I've seen anywhere else.

There have been brief mentions of Solyndra's products during the firestorm over the bankruptcy, FBI raids, and ensuing investigations. One thing that I thought I had heard about their solar cells sparked a memory of Obama regime past, so today I took a look at Solyndra's website, which is still up, to see if my recollections were correct. Turns out, they were.

TFH 9/16: Corporal Joseph Vittori, USMCR

Joseph Vittori was born on August 1, 1929 in Beverly, MA. While in high school he also worked on the family farm until enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1946. From 1946 to 1949, he served in a variety of roles until being discharged. He reenlisted on September 26, 1950 to serve his country during the Korean War.

Corporal Vittori was first wounded in combat on June 9, 1951. After recuperating, he refused to be left in a non-combat role and asked to be returned to his comrades with F Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines.

During the assault on Hill 749 on September 15-16 - sixty years ago today - he held off the counter-attack of a battalion-strength enemy force almost alone. His finest hour is a story of what one determined American patriot can do in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. For his heroism, he received our Nation's highest honor.

From Medal of Honor Citations for the Korean War:


Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Company F, 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.). Place and date: Hill 749, Korea, 15 and 16 September 1951. Entered service at: Beverly, Mass. Born: 1 August 1929, Beverly, Mass. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an automatic-rifleman in Company F, in action against enemy aggressor forces. With a forward platoon suffering heavy casualties and forced to withdraw under a vicious enemy counterattack as his company assaulted strong hostile forces entrenched on Hill 749, Cpl. Vittori boldly rushed through the withdrawing troops with 2 other volunteers from his reserve platoon and plunged directly into the midst of the enemy. Overwhelming them in a fierce hand-to-hand struggle, he enabled his company to consolidate its positions to meet further imminent onslaughts. Quick to respond to an urgent call for a rifleman to defend a heavy machine gun positioned on the extreme point of the northern flank and virtually isolated from the remainder of the unit when the enemy again struck in force during the night, he assumed position under the devastating barrage and, fighting a single-handed battle, leaped from 1 flank to the other, covering each foxhole in turn as casualties continued to mount manning a machine gun when the gunner was struck down and making repeated trips through the heaviest shellfire to replenish ammunition. With the situation becoming extremely critical, reinforcing units to the rear pinned down under the blistering attack and foxholes left practically void by dead and wounded for a distance of 100 yards, Cpl. Vittori continued his valiant stand, refusing to give ground as the enemy penetrated to within feet of his position, simulating strength in the line and denying the foe physical occupation of the ground. Mortally wounded by the enemy machine gun and rifle bullets while persisting in his magnificent defense of the sector where approximately 200 enemy dead were found the following morning, Cpl. Vittori, by his fortitude, stouthearted courage, and great personal valor, had kept the point position intact despite the tremendous odds and undoubtedly prevented the entire battalion position from collapsing. His extraordinary heroism throughout the furious nightlong battle reflects the highest credit upon himself and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country. 

Corporal Vittori's parents received his Medal of Honor from President Truman on September 7, 1952. In 1952, Joseph Vittori's remains were returned from a temporary cemetery in Korea to lie at rest in his home town.

Joseph Vittori, I salute and honor you. Thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Nation and the cause of Liberty.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

TFH 9/15: The Royal Air Force

What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. -- Winston Churchill, June 18, 1940.
Throughout the summer of 1940, the Battle of Britain raged over the skies of our mother nation. Hitler's goal was to destroy what remained of Britain's defenses after the disaster in France, particularly the Royal Air Force.

On September 15, 1940, Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe launched a massive air attack on London with the goal of drawing out the fighters of the Royal Air Force, destroying them, and establishing air superiority over the British Isles in preparation for invasion.

1,120 Nazi aircraft - 500 bombers and 620 escorting fighters - stormed the skies. All that stood before them were 630 fighters of the RAF's Fighter Command.

TFH Special: Sergeant Dakota Meyer, USMC

Today at the White House, President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Sergeant Dakota Meyer, USMC for his heroism in Afghanistan. Sergeant Meyer is the first living member of the Marine Corps to receive our Nation's highest honor since the Vietnam War.

Sergeant Meyer's Medal of Honor Citation:


For service as set forth in the following

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Marine Embedded Training Team 2-8, Regional Corps Advisory Command 3-7, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on 8 September 2009. Corporal Meyer maintained security at a patrol rally point while other members of his team moved on foot with two platoons of Afghan National Army and Border Police into the village of Ganjgal for a pre-dawn meeting with village elders. Moving into the village, the patrol was ambushed by more than 50 enemy fighters firing rocket propelled grenades, mortars, and machine guns from houses and fortified positions on the slopes above. Hearing over the radio that four U.S. team members were cut off, Corporal Meyer seized the initiative. With a fellow Marine driving, Corporal Meyer took the exposed gunner’s position in a gun-truck as they drove down the steeply terraced terrain in a daring attempt to disrupt the enemy attack and locate the trapped U.S. team. Disregarding intense enemy fire now concentrated on their lone vehicle, Corporal Meyer killed a number of enemy fighters with the mounted machine guns and his rifle, some at near point blank range, as he and his driver made three solo trips into the ambush area. During the first two trips, he and his driver evacuated two dozen Afghan soldiers, many of whom were wounded. When one machine gun became inoperable, he directed a return to the rally point to switch to another gun-truck for a third trip into the ambush area where his accurate fire directly supported the remaining U.S. personnel and Afghan soldiers fighting their way out of the ambush. Despite a shrapnel wound to his arm, Corporal Meyer made two more trips into the ambush area in a third gun-truck accompanied by four other Afghan vehicles to recover more wounded Afghan soldiers and search for the missing U.S. team members. Still under heavy enemy fire, he dismounted the vehicle on the fifth trip and moved on foot to locate and recover the bodies of his team members. Corporal Meyer’s daring initiative and bold fighting spirit throughout the 6-hour battle significantly disrupted the enemy’s attack and inspired the members of the combined force to fight on. His unwavering courage and steadfast devotion to his U.S. and Afghan comrades in the face of almost certain death reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Sergeant Meyer left the Marine Corps and now works in construction in his home state of Kentucky. We all have much to thank this gallant American for, including his finest hour on September 8, 2009.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hedging PA's Presidential Bet

Recent polls have shifted Pennsylvania into the competitive column for whoever winds up being the 2012 GOP nominee. I have my doubts. This is, after all, the state that went for Al Gore in 2000 with 50.6 percent (46.4% for Bush) while at the same time reelecting Rick Santorum to the US Senate with 52.4 percent. 2004 was closer, with John Kerry only winning with 50.4 percent over Bush's 48.4 - a two-point margin narrowing. 2004 also featured a flip-flop Senate election (appropriate since Kerry was the Dem's POTUS candidate) where then-Republican Arlen Specter was returned with 52.6 percent of the vote.

John McCain was supposed to be a stronger candidate than Bush here - and was supposedly competitive down to the wire - because he's a "moderate"... and got absolutely demolished by Barack Obama, 54.5-44.2. In other words, given PA's electoral schizophrenia I'm not going to hold my breath for us to wind up in the GOP column next year.

Pennsylvania should certainly be strongly contested by the GOP in this cycle, but it's going to take a lot of work if the game for the Electoral College is winner takes all. This story from yesterday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette gives we conservatives something to rally behind.

TFH 9/14: One on the Ground, One in the Skies

Sixty years ago today, two gallant Americans gave their lives for our Nation while demonstrating indomitable courage in the face of our enemies.

The first, a 19-year old Marine Corps reservist who smothered a hand grenade. The second, a 31-year old Air Force pilot who, when his ammunition ran out, guided other attackers to destroy vital enemy supplies.

From Medal of Honor Citations for the Korean War, here are their stories of supreme sacrifice and bravery:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

TFH 9/13: Private Richard Kelliher, Australian Army

Here at Their Finest Hour, we regularly recognize the incredible heroism of the United States Armed Forces and their members. While the accounts of American courage are numerous and readily available, we must also pause to recognize that it isn't just Americans who have opposed tyranny and oppression with great courage.

The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for heroism to service members of the United Kingdom and her once empire, now commonwealth. On September 13, 1943 one brave Australian had his finest hour during the New Guinea campaign:

QX20656 Private Richard KELLIHER
2/25 Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF
13th September 1943, near Nadzab, New Guinea

During an attack by this soldier's platoon on an enemy position at Nadzab, New Guinea, on the morning of 13th September 1943 the platoon came under heavy fire of a concealed enemy machine gun post approximately 50 yards away. Five of the platoon were killed and three wounded and it was found impossible to advance without further losses. In the face of these casualties Private Kelliher suddenly, on his own initiative, and without orders dashed towards the post and hurled two grenades at it killing some of the enemy, but not all. Noting this, he then returned to his section, seized a Bren gun, again dashed forward within 30 yards of the post, and with accurate fire completely silenced it.

Returning from his already gallant action Private Kelliher next requested permission to go forward again and rescue his wounded section leader. This he successfully accomplished, though under heavy fire from another position. Private Kelliher, by these actions, acted as an inspiration to every one in his platoon and not only enabled the advance to continue, but also saved his section leader's life. His most conspicuous bravery and extreme devotion to duty in the face of heavy enemy fire resulted in the capture of this strong enemy position.

Richard Kelliher was born in Ireland on September 1, 1910 and emigrated to Australia in 1929. He suffered throughout his life from illness, which eventually led to his release from the army in 1944. He passed away at age 52 in 1963 about two weeks after suffering a stroke.

Monday, September 12, 2011

TFH 9/12: 2nd Lieutenant J. Hunter Wickersham, USA

Medal of Honor Citations from World War I tend to be shorter than those from later years. Their brevity does not diminish the heroism, service, and sacrifice of their subjects.


Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 353d Infantry, 89th Division. Place and date. Near Limey, France, 12 September 1918. Entered service at: Denver, Colo. Birth: New York, N.Y. G.O. No.: 16, W.D., 1919. Citation: Advancing with his platoon during the St. Mihiel offensive, he was severely wounded in 4 places by the bursting of a high-explosive shell. Before receiving any aid for himself he dressed the wounds of his orderly, who was wounded at the same time. He then ordered and accompanied the further advance of his platoon, although weakened by the loss of blood. His right hand and arm being disabled by wounds, he continued to fire his revolver with his left hand until, exhausted by loss of blood, he fell and died from his wounds before aid could be administered.

The day before Lieutenant Wickersham was mortally wounded during his finest hour, he wrote a letter to his mother in Denver, CO that contained the following poem:

The mist hangs low and quiet on a ragged line of hills,
  There's a whispering of wind across the flat,
You'd be feeling kind of lonesome if it wasn't for one thing—
  The patter of the raindrops on your old tin hat.

An' you can't help a-figuring—sitting there alone—
  About this war and hero stuff and that,
And you wonder if they haven't sort of got things twisted up,
  While the rain keeps up its patter on your old tin hat.

When you step off with the outfit to do your little bit
  You're simply doing what you're s'posed to do—
And you don't take time to figure what you gain or lose—
  It's the spirit of the game that brings you through.

But back at home she's waiting, writing cheerful little notes,
  And every night she offers up a prayer
And just keeps on a-hoping that her soldier boy is safe—
  The Mother of the boy who's over there.

And, fellows, she's the hero of this great, big ugly war,
  And her prayer is on the wind across the flat,
And don't you reckon maybe it's her tears, and not the rain,
  That's keeping up the patter on your old tin hat?

We thank all the heroes who have given their lives for our Nation, and we thank the mothers who have given our Nation their sons and daughters. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The First Victory

United Airlines Flight 93 backed away from its gate at Newark International Airport at 8:01 AM. Morning congestion at the airport caused the takeoff to be delayed until 8:42.

Four minutes later, American Airlines Flight 11 struck One World Trade Center.

At 9:28, the four Islamofascist terrorists aboard the Boeing 757 struck. A few minutes later, passengers and crew began using the onboard Airfones and their cell phones to contact loved ones. The terrorists had told the passengers that there was a bomb on board and they were returning to the airport. They had lied.

United Airlines 757-222, N591UA, was the bomb.

The passengers and crew were told by their loved ones about the World Trade Center. They were told about the Pentagon. They looked at each other, and came to a decision:

Revisit - 1 of 2,996: Firefighter Gregory M. Stajik

Five years ago, I participated in the "2,996 Project" - an Internet effort to insure that every victim of 9/11 had a memorial blog posting.

I was honored that day to be able to memorialize Firefighter Gregory M. Stajik of the New York City Fire Department.

Please visit the link for the post of five years ago.

As We Ran Out, They Ran In...

...So That Others May Live.

Beginning at 8:46 AM, September 11, 2001 with the impact of American Airlines Flight 11 at the hands of Islamofascist terrorists, hundreds of personnel from the New York City Fire and Police Departments and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police responded to the World Trade Center. Hundreds of those who responded lost their lives. Every one of them is listed here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

On September 10th

"Where were you when...?" It's a common question asked about traumatic events whether one was present personally for the trauma or not. Hearing about them or watching them through mass media is enough. Tomorrow there will be many conversations like that all across America, and for that matter, the world.

For me, the "where was I?" starts with the day before. I remember pretty much my whole day of Monday, September 10, 2001. I had woken up and left early to drive to Cleveland for a sales meeting with a customer. It was a beautiful late summer/early fall day, just as the next day would turn out to be.

Friday, September 09, 2011

How'd this get past the editors... The New York Times?

Anand Giridharadas' "Some of Sarah Palin's Ideas Cross the Political Divide"

The NYT sees a "permanent political class" as a problem? That "corporate crony capitalism" corrupts both Republicans and Democrats? Who'd have thought!

Mr. Giridharadas observes the following:

The political conversation in the United States is paralyzed by a simplistic division of labor. Democrats protect that portion of human flourishing that is threatened by big money and enhanced by government action. Republicans protect that portion of human flourishing that is threatened by big government and enhanced by the free market.
What is seldom said is that human flourishing is a complex and delicate thing, and that we needn’t choose whether government or the market jeopardizes it more, because both can threaten it at the same time.        
Well, DUH! That is the essence of the Tea Party Movement you dolt!

TFH 9/9: Sergeant James M. Logan, USA

On September 9, 1943 the US Army's 36th Infantry Division, Texas National Guard was first ashore during the invasion of mainland Italy at Salerno, Operation "Avalanche". In order to achieve surprise, there was no preparatory air or naval bombardment. The Nazi Germans defending the shore weren't fooled. The 36th Division faced its first combat test.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

TFH 9/8: To Boldy Go

Their Finest Hour celebrates greatness and innovation wherever it's to be found. Today, we return 45 years exactly to September 8, 1966.

The US/USSR Space Race, driven by the Cold War, captured headlines in the news and the imagination of Americans. We looked to the skies and heavens, and on our television screens, we watched Star Trek!

On this day in 1966, Star Trek first aired.

How Conservatives Need to Respond to Climate Change

Three Simple Points to combat Enviro-Statists:

SECOND - we are not arguing that climate change does not occur. During the last glacial maximum about 20,000 years ago, "essentially all of Canada and extended roughly to the Missouri River and Ohio Rivers [sic], and eastward to New York City" was covered by ice. It's not now. Why? Climate change, stupid! We are only contending that the human race and human activity does not have a significant impact on global climate. This is a good point to get in a jab that Halliburton must be really destructive if they managed to change the climate 20,000 years ago.

THIRD - it is absurd and illogical to think that human activity is a large contributor to climate change because of the relative amounts of human energy expenditure into the environment and the amount of energy that we're bombarded with by the SUN. In one year, the Sun delivers 3,850,000 exajoules (EJ) that is absorbed by the Earth. If you're not familiar with the SI prefix "exa", the entire joule count written out is 3,850,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. For debate purposes, that's 385 with 22 zeros after it. In 2005, "Primary Energy Use" by the human race was a mere 487 EJ. What does this mean?

It takes the Sun a mere 66 MINUTES to deliver the same amount of energy to the Earth that the entire human race expended in ONE YEAR (2005).

In ONE YEAR, the Sun delivers more energy to the Earth than the human race will EVER EXTRACT from all non-renewable resources: coal, oil, natural gas, and mined uranium (i.e. nuclear power).

Those facts, naturally, will cause an Enviro-Statist to start screaming, "Solar power! Solar power!". It is then time to mention Solyndra.

(Edit: 1:44 PM - cleaned up the lead in to point 3. Apologies for the poor sentence I originally wrote)

Quick Thoughts on 9/7 GOP Debate

Here's my takeaways from last night's Republican Presidential Candidate debate at the Reagan Library:

Michele Bachmann - on the way down. I like her a lot, and certainly the amount of time given to her during the debate reflects her falling star. While I think the $2/gallon gas price is attainable, she's foolhardy to promise it.

Herman Cain - I like his 9-9-9 plan. That's 9% personal income tax, 9% corporate income tax, 9% national sales tax as a complete redo of the entire tax code. It's really too bad Cain can't get more play.

Newt Gingrich - great job blasting the media. I think he knows he's not going to be the nominee. We do need him though as an educator for the electorate. He was as articulate as ever.

Jon Huntsman - as if I didn't know I'd never vote for him to be the nominee, last night just reemphasized that. Who picked that tie? He looked awful. The media will try, but he'll never get above 1%. If we needed a designated loser, he'd be perfect.

Ron Paul - same as Huntsman, he just confirmed why I'd never vote for him. Mark Levin is right; Ron Paul would like to have the Articles of Confederation back instead of the Constitution we have.

Rick Perry - grand slam home run with the response to the query on capital punishment. Disappointed at some of his waffles, particularly when global warming/climate change came up. I also think it's a grand slam to call Social Security for what it is: a Ponzi scheme and a fraud. Liked him before the debate, and don't see any reason yet to stop liking him.

Mitt Romney - no gaffes, surprised he came out as much on the attack against Rick Perry as he did. Don't think he'll be gaining any ground back. He's also done nothing to soften my one main gripe against him: he lost to McCain, King of the RINOs, four years ago.

Rick Santorum - it's not a social issues election, Rick. Your campaign to be Attorney General though looks to be on the rise.

Next out of the race will come from Bachmann, Huntsman, or Santorum. Huntsman is banking entirely on making a splash in New Hampshire, so he's more likely to stick around. Plus, I assume he's got a lot of the non-Romney establishment donors. Santorum is running out of cash, and Bachmann's donations are probably way down now that Perry is in.

It's still a Perry/Romney race.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

TFH 9/7: Three Grenades, Two Heroes, 60 years ago

Sixty years ago today, two courageous Americans - one 18 years old, one 20 - sacrificed their own bodies to save the lives of their comrades. One gave his life, the other survived.

From Medal of Honor Citations for the Korean War:


Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, Company I, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Pyongyang, Korea, 7 September 1951. Entered service at: Poplar Bluff, Mo. Born: 26 June 1931, Poplar Bluff, Mo. G.O. No.: 57, 13 June 1952. Citation: Pvt. Kanell, a member of Company I, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. A numerically superior hostile force had launched a fanatical assault against friendly positions, supported by mortar and artillery fire, when Pvt. Kanell stood in his emplacement exposed to enemy observation and action and delivered accurate fire into the ranks of the assailants. An enemy grenade was hurled into his emplacement and Pvt. Kanell threw himself upon the grenade, absorbing the blast with his body to protect 2 of his comrades from serious injury and possible death. A few seconds later another grenade was thrown into the emplacement and, although seriously wounded by the first missile, he summoned his waning strength to roll toward the second grenade and used his body as a shield to again protect his comrades. He was mortally wounded as a result of his heroic actions. His indomitable courage, sustained fortitude against overwhelming odds, and gallant self-sacrifice reflect the highest credit upon himself, the infantry, and the U.S. Army.

It's awe inspiring to read the stories of brave men who smother one grenade...but two? 20-year old Private Billie G. Kanell rests in Fairdealing Cemetery in Fairdealing, MO.


Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company L, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Chorwon, Korea, 6 and 7 September 1951. Entered service at: Forest City, N.C. Born: 18 February 1933, Charlotte, N.C. G.O. No.: 68, 11 July 1952. Citation. Cpl. Crump, a member of Company L, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. During the night a numerically superior hostile force launched an assault against his platoon on Hill 284, overrunning friendly positions and swarming into the sector. Cpl. Crump repeatedly exposed himself to deliver effective fire into the ranks of the assailants, inflicting numerous casualties. Observing 2 enemy soldiers endeavoring to capture a friendly machine gun, he charged and killed both with his bayonet, regaining control of the weapon. Returning to his position, now occupied by 4 of his wounded comrades, he continued his accurate fire into enemy troops surrounding his emplacement. When a hostile soldier hurled a grenade into the position, Cpl. Crump immediately flung himself over the missile, absorbing the blast with his body and saving his comrades from death or serious injury. His aggressive actions had so inspired his comrades that a spirited counterattack drove the enemy from the perimeter. Cpl. Crump's heroic devotion to duty, indomitable fighting spirit, and willingness to sacrifice himself to save his comrades reflect the highest credit upon himself, the infantry and the U.S. Army. 

We live in the land of the free because of the brave. As Francis Scott Key wrote, "O! Thus be it ever when freemen shall stand between their lov'd homes and the war's desolation..."

For Jerry Crump and Billie Kanell, September 7th 1951 was their finest hour and we are forever in awe and thankful for their service and sacrifice to our great Nation and the cause of Liberty.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Your Government at Work

Were you aware that there is an entire web site dedicated to documenting the daily encroachment of our Federal government on our daily lives? It's even done by the USG itself:!

Here's a great one that really shows our government focusing in like a laser beam on what is important to our daily lives and livelihoods: "Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedures for Residential Clothes Washers".

The available SNOPR document (that's a "Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" for the uninitiated) shows how busy and productive the bureaucrats at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy have been in consuming your tax dollars. This supplemental notice is 36 pages long and contains things like the approved procedure of the United States Government for setting a washing machine dial (page 12):
The current test procedure specifies the wash time setting to be used in the energy test cycle....[F]or certain clothes washers equipped with an electromechanical dial to control wash time, the dial may yield different results for the same setting depending on the direction in which the dial is turned to reach the desired setting. DOE believes that consistency in setting the wash time in such cases may be achieved by resetting the dial to the minimum wash time and then turning it in the direction of increasing wash time to reach the desired setting. If the desired setting is passed, the dial should not be turned in the direction of decreasing wash time to reach the setting. Instead, the dial should be returned to the minimum wash time and then turned in the direction of increasing wash time until the desired setting is reached. DOE, therefore, proposes to add these clarifications to the wash time setting provisions in both appendix J1 and appendix J2.
Thirty-six pages detailing proposed changes to rules and regulations that cite other rules and regulations issued by a laundry list (pun intended) of other agencies and offices throughout the USG - not to mention the pages that list how this SNOPR complies with laws, rules, and regulations itself.. DOE helpfully estimates on page 17 that the current energy consumption testing costs for a washing machine manufacturer is only $2,300 per particular model and that the new rules will only increase that by $75. I seriously doubt the costs of actually complying with all the regulations is factored in.

We can, however, be assured and thankful that this particular DOE SNOPR does not endanger the family (page 18):
Section 654 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999 (Pub. L. 105-277) requires Federal agencies to issue a Family Policymaking Assessment for any rule that may affect family well-being. This rule would not have any impact on the autonomy or integrity of the family as an institution. Accordingly, DOE has concluded that it is not necessary to prepare a Family Policymaking Assessment.
Yeah, we can all breathe easier now...

TFH 9/6: Sergeant Rodney Maxwell Davis, USMC

Rodney Davis was born on April 7, 1942 in Macon, Georgia. After high school, he entered the United States Marine Corps. In the years prior to Vietnam, his service included a three-year tour as a U.S. Embassy guard in London, United Kingdom.

In August of 1967 Sergeant Davis deployed to Vietnam with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. About one month later, he gave his life in service to our Nation with an awesome act of heroism and self-sacrifce.

From Medal of Honor Citations for the Vietnam War:


Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam, 6 September 1967. Entered service at: Macon, Ga. Born: 7 April 1942, Macon, Ga. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as the right guide of the 2d Platoon, Company B, in action against enemy forces. Elements of the 2d Platoon were pinned down by a numerically superior force of attacking North Vietnamese Army Regulars. Remnants of the platoon were located in a trench line where Sgt. Davis was directing the fire of his men in an attempt to repel the enemy attack. Disregarding the enemy hand grenades and high volume of small arms and mortar fire, Sgt. Davis moved from man to man shouting words of encouragement to each of them while firing and throwing grenades at the onrushing enemy. When an enemy grenade landed in the trench in the midst of his men, Sgt. Davis, realizing the gravity of the situation, and in a final valiant act of complete self-sacrifice, instantly threw himself upon the grenade, absorbing with his body the full and terrific force of the explosion. Through his extraordinary initiative and inspiring valor in the face of almost certain death, Sgt. Davis saved his comrades from injury and possible loss of life, enabled his platoon to hold its vital position, and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country. 

The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG-60) was named in his honor.

Rodney Maxwell Davis, our Nation is forever grateful for your service, heroism, and sacrifice. September 6, 1967 was your finest hour.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

TFH 9/3: Lieutenant Colonel Matt Louis Urban, USA

Born Matty Louis Urbanowitz on August 25, 1919 in Buffalo, NY, this great American exhibited indomitable courage over a three-month period in 1944. He landed with the US Army's 9th Infantry Division on Utah Beach, four days after D-Day on June 10, 1944.

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II:


Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel (then Captain), 2d Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, World War II. Place and date: Renouf, France, 14 June to 3 September 1944. Entered service at: Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 2 July 1941. Date and place of birth: 25 August 1919, Buffalo, New York. Lieutenant Colonel (then Captain) Matt Urban, l 12-22-2414, United States Army, who distinguished himself by a series of bold, heroic actions, exemplified by singularly outstanding combat leadership, personal bravery, and tenacious devotion to duty, during the period 14 June to 3 September 1944 while assigned to the 2d Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division. On 14 June, Captain Urban's company, attacking at Renouf, France, encountered heavy enemy small arms and tank fire. The enemy tanks were unmercifully raking his unit's positions and inflicting heavy casualties. Captain Urban, realizing that his company was in imminent danger of being decimated, armed himself with a bazooka. He worked his way with an ammo carrier through hedgerows, under a continuing barrage of fire, to a point near the tanks. He brazenly exposed himself to the enemy fire and, firing the bazooka, destroyed both tanks. Responding to Captain Urban's action, his company moved forward and routed the enemy. Later that same day, still in the attack near Orglandes, Captain Urban was wounded in the leg by direct fire from a 37mm tank-gun. He refused evacuation and continued to lead his company until they moved into defensive positions for the night. At 0500 hours the next day, still in the attack near Orglandes, Captain Urban, though badly wounded, directed his company in another attack. One hour later he was again wounded. Suffering from two wounds, one serious, he was evacuated to England. In mid-July, while recovering from his wounds, he learned of his unit's severe losses in the hedgerows of Normandy. Realizing his unit's need for battle-tested leaders, he voluntarily left the hospital and hitchhiked his way back to his unit hear St. Lo, France. Arriving at the 2d Battalion Command Post at 1130 hours, 25 July, he found that his unit had jumped-off at 1100 hours in the first attack of Operation Cobra." Still limping from his leg wound, Captain Urban made his way forward to retake command of his company. He found his company held up by strong enemy opposition. Two supporting tanks had been destroyed and another, intact but with no tank commander or gunner, was not moving. He located a lieutenant in charge of the support tanks and directed a plan of attack to eliminate the enemy strong-point. The lieutenant and a sergeant were immediately killed by the heavy enemy fire when they tried to mount the tank. Captain Urban, though physically hampered by his leg wound and knowing quick action had to be taken, dashed through the scathing fire and mounted the tank. With enemy bullets ricocheting from the tank, Captain Urban ordered the tank forward and, completely exposed to the enemy fire, manned the machine gun and placed devastating fire on the enemy. His action, in the face of enemy fire, galvanized the battalion into action and they attacked and destroyed the enemy position. On 2 August, Captain Urban was wounded in the chest by shell fragments and, disregarding the recommendation of the Battalion Surgeon, again refused evacuation. On 6 August, Captain Urban became the commander of the 2d Battalion. On 15 August, he was again wounded but remained with his unit. On 3 September, the 2d Battalion was given the mission of establishing a crossing-point on the Meuse River near Heer, Belgium. The enemy planned to stop the advance of the allied Army by concentrating heavy forces at the Meuse. The 2d Battalion, attacking toward the crossing-point, encountered fierce enemy artillery, small arms and mortar fire which stopped the attack. Captain Urban quickly moved from his command post to the lead position of the battalion. Reorganizing the attacking elements, he personally led a charge toward the enemy's strong-point. As the charge moved across the open terrain, Captain Urban was seriously wounded in the neck. Although unable to talk above a whisper from the paralyzing neck wound, and in danger of losing his life, he refused to be evacuated until the enemy was routed and his battalion had secured the crossing-point on the Meuse River. Captain Urban's personal leadership, limitless bravery, and repeated extraordinary exposure to enemy fire served as an inspiration to his entire battalion. His valorous and intrepid actions reflect the utmost credit on him and uphold the noble traditions of the United States. 

Lieutenant Colonel Urban was originally recommended for our Nation's highest award for courage by his battalion commander in 1944. Unfortunately and tragically, his superior was killed in action before the Medal of Honor recommendation made it all the way through the chain of command. Thanks to an inquiry to the Army launched by a representative of the Disabled American Veterans in 1979, Matt Urban was decorated with his 36-year overdue honor by President Carter in 1980.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Lieutenant Colonel Urban also received two Silver Star medals, the Legion of Merit, and three Bronze Star Medals for action in combat, and seven Purple Hearts for wounds received.

Matt Urban died of natural causes at age 75 in 1995. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

We thank him for his outstanding service to our Nation in the face of evil and tyranny. June 14 to September 3, 1944 was his finest hour!

Mother lets her child go

228 years ago today our mother nation, the then Kingdom of Great Britain, recognized the independence of the United States of America when the Treaty of Paris was signed, officially ending the American Revolution!

Three great American statesmen - John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay - signed the instrument of peace for our fledgling country.

Thanks Mom, for coming to your senses!

Friday, September 02, 2011

PA Senate Race, 2012

Democrat Bob Casey has to defend his Senate seat next year along with the POTUS election. There are only two declared GOP candidates so far.

Laureen Cummings, a Tea Party activist
Marc Scaringi, attorney and former aide to Sen. Rick Santorum

Not much available on Mrs. Cummings' positions. Mr. Scaringi doesn't have a whole lot of details on his website as to specific legislative or policy proposals yet, but what's there is what one would expect from a former Santorm staffer.

Between the two, I'd be more ready to support Mr. Scaringi as he has a record of performance both in government and business. I'm surprised that more hats haven't been thrown into the ring as yet.

Mike Turzai? Glen Meakem? We shall see...

Rick Perry on the Mark Levin Show

If you're not a regular listener to the Mark Levin Show (as I am), I encourage you to get a copy of the podcast for last night's (9/1) broadcast and listen to his interview with Texas Governor Rick Perry. The interview starts at 1:31:58.

Don't believe the conventional wisdom on Rick Perry from the MSM. I don't hear a single tinge of W listening to him, and there's no way a reasonable person can come away from listening to him being down on his intelligence or competency.

I also think he did a great job of answering Texas' passing of in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants vs. the Federal government doing the same thing via the DREAM act. He's very strong in where he draws the Federalist boundary between the role of the States and the role of Uncle Sam.

I'm not ready to stick a Perry bumper sticker on my Colorado yet, but he's rapidly gotten to the top of the heap, and IMO, deservedly so.

I suggest you check out his book too.

Their Finest Hour 9/2: They Served in Silence

On September 2, 1958 a USAF C-130A configured for signals intelligence gathering took off from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey to conduct electronic reconnaissance on our Soviet enemy. Flight 60528 was to stay at least 100 miles away from the USSR's border flying a racetrack pattern. It isn't certain, but it's suspected that Soviet radio beacons on competing frequencies with the navigational aids the plane should have been using caused the crew to fly off course.

Shortly after 1:00 PM local time, the C-130 accidentally crossed the Soviet border, was engaged by the Soviet Air Force, and destroyed with no survivors. We only learned after the Cold War ended that the 17 brave Americans who crewed Flight 60528 were all killed in the attack.

Flight 60528's mission was secret, as are most intelligence activities. In 1996, the National Security Agency (responsible for cryptography/cryptanalysis and all forms of signals intelligence) established the National Cryptographic Memorial to honor those who gave their lives in classified intelligence duties to our Nation. To signify the hidden nature of their bravery and sacrifice, the memorial is headlined by the words "THEY SERVED IN SILENCE".

Eleven of the 17 crew members are honored. All are enlisted members of the United States Air Force:

Airman 2nd Class Archie T. Bourg
Airman 2nd Class James E. Ferguson
Airman 2nd Class Joel H. Fields
Airman 2nd Class Harold T. Kamps
Airman 2nd Class Gerald C. Maggiacomo
Airman 2nd Class Clement O. Mankins
Airman 2nd Class Gerald H. Medeiros
Technical Sergeant Arthur R. Mello
Airman 2nd Class Robert H. Moore
Airman 1st Class Robert J. Oshinke
Master Sergeant George P. Petrochilos

The identities of the six remaining crew members are still classified, and those brave Americans continue to serve in silence. May they rest in peace, assured that a grateful Nation will never forget their sacrifice.

We at Their Finest Hour will not be silent however. To all of the brave men and women of the National Security Agency and the cryptographic and communications, electronic, and signals intelligence personnel of our armed forces - living or dead - we thank you for all you have done to keep our Nation safe.

2012 Republican POTUS Candidates

In the right sidebar, you'll find links to all of the current, declared 2012 Republican Presidential candidates. My personal opinion is that, at this stage, it is absurd to discount any candidate from the selection process including the media-sponsored debates. Who knows, Representative Thaddeus McCotter could be the best candidate, but good luck to him getting any exposure to build his campaign. In this link list, I'll be all equal time.

The candidates are listed alphabetically; no preference should be inferred from their order. I have my preferences, which will come clear from future posts, and certainly there's one on the list who I don't support and never will.