EVERYDAY HEROES: A MONTHLY BLOG FROM AUTHOR JOSEPH BADAL

 

Joseph Badal is an Amazon #1 Best-Selling author of 11 suspense novels, including The Pythagorean Solution, the Danforth Saga thrillers (Evil Deeds, Terror Cell, The Nostradamus Secret, The Lone Wolf Agenda, Death Ship, and SDins of the Fathers coming in Fall 2017), Shell Game, Ultimate Betrayal, the Lassiter/Martinez Case Files series (Borderline and Dark Angel), and the Cycle of Violence series (The Motive and Obsessed (coming in 2018)).

He is a decorated Vietnam veteran.

Everyday Hero: George "Bud" Day

 

May 1, 2017

 

I often wonder how the "snowflakes" on  college campuses react to stories like this one about George Day. I wonder if they would be inspired by men like Day, or if they would scoff at Day's memory and consider him a relic. I wonder if they feel any7 sense of patriotism when they read stories about people like Day.

But then I stopped wondering because there is little chance that a snowflake will ever read this blog.

 

George “Bud” Day was one of the most highly decorated service members in U.S. military history. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in Vietnam, but that came toward the end of an already storied career.

During 35 years in the military, Day served with various service branches during three major wars – World War II, Korea and Vietnam – and spent nearly six years as a prisoner during the latter conflict.

Day was only 17 when he entered the Marine Corps at his hometown of Sioux City, Iowa, in 1942. He spent nearly three years fighting the Japanese in the South Pacific during World War II before returning home. He joined the Army Reserve during that time, went to college and got a law degree.

In 1950, Day joined the Air National Guard and was called up to active-duty service a year later, where he trained to be a fighter pilot during the Korean War. From that time on, he worked his way up the ranks in the Air Force.

The pinnacle of Day’s career came during Vietnam. On Aug. 26, 1967, Day – now 43 years old and a major – was in command of a squadron of F-100s, famously known as the Misty forward air controllers, who were flying a top-secret mission over North Vietnam and Laos.

His plane was shot down by ground fire and, as he ejected, he broke his right arm in three places. The second airman in the plane with him was rescued, but enemy forces were waiting for Day when he landed. He was questioned and tortured – a process that would happen continually over the next several years.

Five days into his initial imprisonment, Day managed to escape the camp at which he was being held. Despite injuries and a lack of boots, he managed to evade enemy patrols for days by hiding in the dense jungle and eating berries and frogs.

Day made it about 25 miles from the camp – even crossing the demilitarized zone back into South Vietnam – before he was discovered by Viet Cong, shot in the thigh and hand, and recaptured. At the time, he was only about two miles from the Marine base at Con Thien.

Day was taken back to the camp from which he’d escaped and further tortured before being sent to the infamous “Hanoi Hilton,” a prison for American POWs that was known for its inhumane conditions and treatment. For more than five years, Day was singled out and tortured. His wounds were never treated and his weight went down to about 100 pounds, but he never gave up any useful information to the enemy.

During one now-famous incident, when guards with rifles burst into an area where the Americans were holding a forbidden religious service, Day started down the barrel of one of the guard’s rifles and began to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The other POWs joined in.

On March 14, 1973, after the U.S. agreed to withdraw from the war, Day was released. He had spent 67 months in captivity and had even been promoted to colonel while he was there.

Despite the physical devastation of his imprisonment, Day fought hard to get well. A year after his release, he was back on flight status, having qualified as an F-4 pilot. He became the vice commander of the 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

In March 1976, three years after his release from prison, Day was presented with the Medal of Honor by President Gerald Ford. He retired from active service about a year later and spent the rest of his life advocating for military medical benefits.

Day died in July 2013. U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who shared a cell with Day during their POW days in Vietnam, spoke at the colonel’s funeral.

“I had the privilege of being Bud’s friend for almost five decades of his 88 years,” McCain said. “He was a hard man to kill and expected the same from his subordinates, but more than that, he taught me how to save my self-respect and my honor, and that is a debt I can never repay.”

Having received nearly 70 military decorations and awards throughout his career – more than 50 of which were earned during combat – Day is often cited as being the most decorated U.S. service member since World War II’s Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur. He is still the only person to have been awarded both the Medal of Honor and Air Force Cross.

 

Thanks to Katie Lange

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

Everyday Heroes: 58,267 On the Wall

 

April 1, 2017

 
I usually focus on an individual in my monthly Everyday Hero blog. But this month, I decided to highlight the 58,267 Americans whose names are on the Vietnam Memorial. The Wall. I found the following statistics on the Internet and decided to share them with the followers of this blog. I suspect that most Americans remember that over 50,000 Americans died in the Vietnam War. But that's about all they remember, except, perhaps, that social unrest and demonstrations occurred during that period. However, when you read the information below, I hope you realize the sacrfifices made by so many of our countrymen and women.
 
Did you know that one out of every 10 Americans who served in Vietnam was a casualty. 58,267 were killed and over 304,000 wounded, out of 2.7 million who served. 75,000 Vietnam veterans are severely disabled.

The names on the Vietnam Memorial are arranged in the order in which they died by date
and within each date the names are alphabetized. It's difficult to believe it is
36 years since the last casualties.
The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth ,
Massachusetts. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June
8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps
Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.

There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.

39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.

8,283 were just 19 years old.

The largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old.
12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.

5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.

One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock, was 15 years old.

997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam ..

1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam ..

31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.

Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.

54 soldiers attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia . 

8 Women are on the Wall. 

244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of
them are on the Wall.

Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.

West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There
are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.

The Marines of Morenci - They led some of the scrappiest high school
football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci
(pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In
quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in
the Apache National Forest . And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of
Morenci's mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a
group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966.
Only 3 returned home.

The Buddies of Midvale - LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all
boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on
Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They
played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam
. In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy
was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F.
Kennedy's assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving
Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor
Remembrance Day.

The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245
deaths.

The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 - 2,415 casualties
were incurred.

Many Americans who read this  will only see the numbers that the
Vietnam War created. To those who survived the war, and to the
families of those who did not, we see the faces, we feel the pain that these
numbers created. We are, until we too pass away, haunted with these numbers,
because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters.
You don't have to be a Vietnam Vet or a family member of someone who was killed or wounded to honor the ultimate sacrifice that so many people made. You can honor those who served and sacrificed by thanking a vet.
There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.

Everyday Hero: Joseph Vittori

February 1, 2017

Joseph Vittori was born in 1929 in Beverly, Massachusetts. He worked on his father’s farm until he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1946, shortly after his eighteenth birthday.

When you read about this Everyday Hero, you will surely be shocked at the number of occasions when he could have avoided danger. But Joseph Vittori kept stepping up, to serve his country, to be with his mates, to protect the members of his unit. This was not a man who shied away from danger. This was not a man who took lightly his commitment to his fellow Marines.

I never cease to be amazed at the bravery and dedication that Everyday Heroes exhibit, especially when their teammates’ lives are in danger.

After enlisting in the Marine Corps, Joseph Vittori was sent to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina where he graduated in December 1946. He served briefly at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia and Brooklyn Navy Yard in Brooklyn, New York before being attached to the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Portsmouth from April to June 1947. After sea duty, he was then stationed at the Philadelphia Navy Yard until May 1948, when he joined the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. From January to May 1949, he served with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean area and again served at Camp Lejeune, until October 3, 1949, when he was discharged.

With his service to the Marine Corps over, Joseph returned to his hometown of Beverly, Massachusetts and worked for a year as a plasterer and bricklayer until enlisting in the Marine Corps Reserve on September 26, 1950 for an indefinite tour of active duty. He was sent back to Camp Lejeune for training until January 1951, when he arrived in Korea to join Company F, Second Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced). He participated in the South and Central Korean campaign, receiving a promotion to corporal on June 15, 1951. On June 9, 1951, he earned his first Purple Heart when was wounded near Yanggu and, after leaving the field hospital, was assigned a position as a property sergeant. After a week at the new job, he asked to rejoin his buddies in his old infantry platoon.

On September 16, 1951, during the Battle of the Punchbowl his company was assaulting Hill 749, where the Korean People's Army had established several entrenched positions. A vicious enemy counter-attack drove back a forward platoon with heavy casualties, and along with two other volunteers from his reserve platoon, he dashed into hand-to-hand combat in the midst of the swarming enemy to give the Marine company time to consolidate its positions. Later, when a call went up for an automatic rifleman to defend an isolated heavy machine gun position on the flank of his company’s sector, he again volunteered. With heavy casualties leaving a 100-yard gap in the Marine lines at the position, he fought a single-handed battle to prevent an enemy breakthrough. Leaping from one side of the position to the other, he kept up a withering fire of over 1,000 rounds in three hours. He made repeated trips through heavy shellfire to replenish his ammunition, manned a machine gun after its gunner fell and, despite enemy penetration to within feet of his position, kept the enemy out of the breach in his company’s lines until he was killed. The next morning the Marines counted almost 200 enemy dead in the area.

He was killed in action on September 16, 1951, two months after being allowed to return to his unit. He posthumously received the Congressional Medal of Honor on September 7, 1952.

Thanks to Wikipedia for its post about Joseph Vittori.

Everyday Heroes: Marine Corporal Jonathan Yale and Marine Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter

January 1, 2017

 

The two young Marines featured in this month’s Everyday Heroes blog were mentioned in a speech presented by Marine Corps Lt. General John Kelly in 2010. The first link below includes that part of Kelly’s speech that concerns Yale and Haerter. The second link below will take you to a video from the security camera that captured Yale and Haerter’s last six seconds of life.

I will let Lt. General Kelly’s words stand. I can’t improve on his portrayal of what happened that day. My only two comments are: First, at no time during his speech does he mention the fact that his own son, Marine 2nd Lieutenant Robert Kelly was killed just a couple weeks before the general gave this speech. At no time during the speech does he mention the death of his son fromm the detonation of an IED in Afghanistan. Imagine the pain Kelly was experiencing and the grit he had to be able to present this speech under those circumstances. Second, note Kelly’s comments at the end of the speech which I copy here: “Rest assured our America, this experiment in democracy started over two centuries ago, will forever remain the "land of the free and home of the brave" so long as we never run out of tough young Americans who are willing to look beyond their own self-interest and comfortable lives, and go into the darkest and most dangerous places on earth to hunt down, and kill, those who would do us harm.”

The point Kelly makes is the reason I write this monthly blog about Everyday Heroes. It is the Everyday Hero who inspires us, rescues us, sacrifices for us.

 

http://www.wearethemighty.com/articles/everybody-should-read-general-john-kellys-speech-about-two-marines-in-the-path-of-a-truck-bomb

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfT-EgCF-Tc

 

Joseph Badal is a decorated Vietnam veteran and the award-winning and best-selling author of 11 suspense novels, including Dark Angel, which will be released on January 24, 2017. He is the two-time recipient of the Tony Hillerman Award for Best Fiction book and the recipient of the Military Writers Society of America’s Gold and Silver Medals in the Mystery/Thriller category.

 

 

Everyday Hero: Jacklyn Harold “Jack” Lucas

December 1, 2016

 

Jacklyn Harold "Jack" Lucas was born in Plymouth, North Carolina on February 14, 1928. After his father, a tobacco farmer, died when he was ten, his mother sent him to nearby Edwards Military Institute. Lucas was only 14 years of age when he enlisted in 1942 in the Marine Corps Reserve without his mother's consent. He gave his age as seventeen and forged his mother's name, and was sent to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina.

He was next assigned to the Marine Barracks at Naval Air Station JacksonvilleFlorida. In June 1943, he was transferred to the 21st Replacement Battalion at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, and one month later he went to the 25th Replacement Battalion, and successfully completed schooling at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina which qualified him as a heavy machine gun crewman. He was next sent by train to San Diego with his unit. He left the continental United States on November 4, 1943, and the following month joined the 6th Base Depot of the V Amphibious Corps at Pearl HarborHawaii. On January 29, 1944, he was promoted to private first class.

On January 10, 1945, according to statements he made to his comrades, Lucas walked out of camp to join a combat organization wearing a khaki uniform and carrying his dungarees and field shoes in a roll under his arm. He was declared UA (Unauthorized Absence) when he failed to return that night and a month later he was reduced to the rank of private. He stowed away on board the USS Deuel which was transporting the 1st Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment of the 5th Marine Division to Iwo Jima. On February 8, the day before he would have been placed on the Marine Corps "deserter list", he turned himself in to Marine Captain Robert Dunlap, Commanding Officer of C Company. He was taken by Captain Dunlap to the battalion's commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Pollock, and was assigned to Dunlap's rifle company as a rifleman. On February 14, Lucas reached his seventeenth birthday while at sea five days before the invasion of Iwo Jima began.

On February 19, Lucas made the 5th Division's landing on Iwo Jima with C Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Marines. On February 20, Lucas and three Marines who were members of a 4-man fire team from one of C Company's platoons were creeping through a twisting ravine towards an enemy airstrip when they spotted an enemy pillbox and got into a trench for cover. They then spotted eleven Japanese soldiers in a parallel trench and opened up on them with rifle fire. The Japanese also opened fire and threw two grenades inside the Marine's trench. Lucas spotted the grenades on the ground in front of his comrades and yelled "grenades", he then jumped over a Marine and dove toward the grenades, jamming one of them into the volcanic ash and soft sand with his rifle and covering it with his body while reaching out and pulling the other one beneath him. The first of the two grenades exploded, tossing Lucas on his back, severely wounding him in the right arm and wrist, right leg and thigh, and chest. He was still conscious and barely alive after the blast, holding in his left hand the other grenade, which did not explode. His three comrades were unharmed due to Lucas' actions, and the Japanese soldiers in their trench were all killed and the three Marines continued on away from the trench, leaving Lucas behind for dead.

Lucas was found by Marines from another unit passing by who called for a navy corpsman who attended to his wounds and protected him with a carbine from being shot and killed by another Japanese soldier in the trench. He was evacuated by stretcher-bearers to an LST and then to a cargo ship used as a hospital, and then to the hospital ship Samaritan. He was treated at various field hospitals prior to his arrival in San Francisco, California on March 28, 1945. He eventually underwent 21 surgeries. For the rest of his life, there remained about 200 pieces of metal, some the size of 22 caliber bullets, in Lucas' body. In August, the mark of desertion was removed from his record while he was a patient at the U.S. Naval Hospital at Charleston, South Carolina. On September 18, he was discharged from the Marine Corps Reserve because of disabilities resulting from his wounds.

On October 5, 1945, Lucas was presented the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House.

 Lucas died on June 5, 2008 at the age of eighty.

Just before I sat down to write this blog, I read a news article about a university that had established safe zones for students. A “safe space” was created for Brown University students. The space included cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets, and a video of puppies. I can only imagine how Jack Lucas would have reacted had he been alive to read that same article. At 14 years of age, Lucas enlisted in the Marine Corps. At 17, he was in combat, gravely wounded, and presented the Congressional Medal of Honor. Here was a man who showed courage, character, and selflessness. He was an Everyday Hero. America’s “snowflakes” who are cuddled on college campuses today dishonor his memory.

 

Joseph Badal is the author of 10 award-winning novels, including The Motive, which earned the Tony Hillerman Prize for Best Fiction Book in November 2016. His next novel, Dark Angel, will be released on January 24, 2017.

www.josephbadalbooks.com

 

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Joseph+Badal&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3AJoseph+Badal

 

Everyday Heroes: American Veterans

November 1, 2016

 

The subject of my monthly Everyday Heroes blog has usually been an individual who demonstrated courage and selflessness under the most challenging, trying circumstances. This month, especially because November is the month that Americans celebrate Veterans Day, I’ve decided to recognize all those men and women who have served their country as members of the Armed Forces of the United States.

The video at the link below is a fitting tribute to all veterans and a reminder to all my fellow citizens of the sacrifices made by those who have served. I ask you to take just a few minutes to watch this video and then to pass it on to all your friends, family members, and associates. At a time when politics has created a void between many of us, this video reminds each of us that regardless of our political affiliation, we are all citizens of one country who value freedom above everything else.

Thanks for your continued support of this blog and of my writing. I appreciate your friendship.  

http://www.youtube.com/embed/rKsW6c_CgFY?feature=player_detailpage

Joseph Badal is the author of 10 suspense novels and many short stories and articles. His 11th novel, Dark Angel, the second book in his Lassiter/Martinez Case Files series, will be released on January 24, 2017.

http://www.josephbadalbooks.com

 

Everyday Hero: Henry “Red” Erwin

October 1, 2016

 

 

The story about Red Erwin is available at the YouTube link below. Thanks to my friend Steve Getzoff for highlighting Red Erwin's story in his Active Military and Veterans E-Zine which is available for download:

Henry “Red” Erwin is an example of what all Everyday Heroes seem to have in common: courage and commitment to their friends, family, and/or comrades based on selflessness. Heroes don’t start out with the intention of performing heroic acts. They are created by circumstances beyond their control and react in ways that are impossible to understand. Red Erwin was just such a hero. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzx8BkSwwWk

 

 Everyday Hero: Henry “Red” Erwin

 

 

 

Everyday Hero: Desmond Thomas Doss

September 1, 2016

Desmond Thomas Doss was born on February 7, in Lynchburg, Virginia, son of William Thomas Doss, a carpenter, and Bertha E. (Oliver) Doss. Enlisting voluntarily in April 1942, Doss refused to kill an enemy soldier or carry a weapon into combat because of his personal beliefs as a Seventh-day Adventist. He became a medic and, while serving in the Pacific theatre of World War II, helped his country by saving the lives of his comrades, at the same time adhering to his religious convictions. Doss was wounded three times during the war, and shortly before leaving the Army was diagnosed with tuberculosis, which cost him a lung. Discharged from the Army in 1946, he spent five years undergoing medical treatment for his injuries and illness.

Desmond Doss died in 2006 at his home in Piedmont, Alabama.

Doss is the subject of The Conscientious Objector, an award-winning documentary. A feature film, Hacksaw Ridge, is based on his life and will be released nationwide in the US on November 4, 2016.

Below is the Medal of Honor citation. Please read it slowly and carefully and think about what Doss did, under fire, and unarmed.

Medal of Honor citation

Image result for Desmond Doss

Citation

Image result for Desmond Doss

He was a company aid man when the 1st Battalion assaulted a jagged escarpment 400 feet high. As our troops gained the summit, a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar and machinegun fire crashed into them, inflicting approximately 75 casualties and driving the others back. Pfc. Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying all 75 casualties one-by-one to the edge of the escarpment and there lowering them on a rope-supported litter down the face of a cliff to friendly hands. On May 2, he exposed himself to heavy rifle and mortar fire in rescuing a wounded man 200 yards forward of the lines on the same escarpment; and 2 days later he treated 4 men who had been cut down while assaulting a strongly defended cave, advancing through a shower of grenades to within eight yards of enemy forces in a cave's mouth, where he dressed his comrades' wounds before making 4 separate trips under fire to evacuate them to safety. On May 5, he unhesitatingly braved enemy shelling and small arms fire to assist an artillery officer. He applied bandages, moved his patient to a spot that offered protection from small arms fire and, while artillery and mortar shells fell close by, painstakingly administered plasma. Later that day, when an American was severely wounded by fire from a cave, Pfc. Doss crawled to him where he had fallen 25 feet from the enemy position, rendered aid, and carried him 100 yards to safety while continually exposed to enemy fire. On May 21, in a night attack on high ground near Shuri, he remained in exposed territory while the rest of his company took cover, fearlessly risking the chance that he would be mistaken for an infiltrating Japanese and giving aid to the injured until he was himself seriously wounded in the legs by the explosion of a grenade. Rather than call another aid man from cover, he cared for his own injuries and waited 5 hours before litter bearers reached him and started carrying him to cover. The trio was caught in an enemy tank attack and Pfc. Doss, seeing a more critically wounded man nearby, crawled off the litter; and directed the bearers to give their first attention to the other man. Awaiting the litter bearers' return, he was again struck, by a sniper bullet while being carried off the field by a comrade, this time suffering a compound fracture of one arm. With magnificent fortitude he bound a rifle stock to his shattered arm as a splint and then crawled 300 yards over rough terrain to the aid station. Through his outstanding bravery and unflinching determination in the face of desperately dangerous conditions Pfc. Doss saved the lives of many soldiers. His name became a symbol throughout the 77th Infantry Division for outstanding gallantry far above and beyond the call of duty.

 

While remaining true to his religious principles, Doss also remained true to his love of country. He didn’t flee the United States to avoid service, as so many did during the Vietnam War; rather, he volunteered to serve as best he could.

Desmond Doss was a man of character, principle, and courage: an Everyday Hero whose story will forever live in the annuls of the greatest heroes of all time.

 

Joseph Badal is an award-winning author who has written ten suspense novels, including The Motive, which was released on July 19, 2016. His next book, Dark Angel, the sequel to Borderline, will be released later this year.

 

http//www.josephbadalbooks.com

josephbadalbooks@aol.com

 

 

 

Everyday Hero: Charles Kettles

August 1, 2016

 

The story behind my August 2016 Everyday Heroes blog was decades in the making—86 years after this month’s Everyday Hero was born and nearly 50 years before he was recognized for acts performed in Vietnam in 1967. 

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Charles S. Kettles was born in Ypsilanti, Mich., Jan. 9, 1930. The son of a World War I Royal Air Force (Canadian) and World War II Air Transport Command (U.S. Army Air Corps) pilot, Kettles had aviation in his blood. While attending the Edison Institute High School in Dearborn, Michigan, Kettles honed his love of flying on the Ford Motor Company Flight Department simulator.

Following high school graduation, Kettles enrolled in Michigan State Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University), where he studied engineering. Two years later, Kettles was drafted into the Army at age 21. Upon completion of basic training at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky, Kettles attended Officer Candidate School at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and earned his commission as an armor officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, Feb. 28, 1953. Kettles graduated from the Army Aviation School in 1953, before serving active duty tours in Korea, Japan and Thailand.

Kettles returned in 1956 and established a Ford Dealership in Dewitt, Michigan, with his brother, and continued his service with the Army Reserve as a member of the 4th Battalion, 20th Field Artillery.

He answered the call to serve again in 1963, when the United States was engaged in the Vietnam War and needed pilots. Fixed-wing-qualified, Kettles volunteered for Active Duty. He attended Helicopter Transition Training at Fort Wolters, Texas in 1964. During a tour in France the following year, Kettles was cross-trained to fly the famed UH-1D “Huey.”

Kettles reported to Fort Benning, Georgia, in 1966 to join a new helicopter unit. He was assigned as a flight commander with the 176th Assault Helicopter Company, 14th Combat Aviation Battalion, and deployed to Vietnam from February through November 1967. His second tour of duty in Vietnam lasted from October 1969, through October 1970.

Kettles’ awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with Numeral “27”, the Army Commendation Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster, the National Defense Service Medal with one bronze service star, the Korean Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one silver service star and one bronze service star, the Korea Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with bronze hourglass device, the Master Aviator Badge, Marksman Badge with carbine bar, the Valorous Unit Citation, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with bronze star, the United Nations Service Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with “60” Device, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with palm device.

 

On July 18, 2016, Kettles was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Obama for conspicuous gallantry in combat operations near Duc Pho, Republic of Vietnam, on May 15, 1967, where he is credited with saving the lives of 40 soldiers and four of his own crew members. (See the following link):

https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/07/18/president-obama-awards-medal-honor-lt-col-charles-kettles

President Obama described Lt. Colonel Kettles' heroic acts that day:

"May 15, 1967, started as a hot Monday morning. Soldiers from the 101st Airborne were battling hundreds of heavily armed North Vietnamese in a rural riverbed. Our men were outnumbered. They needed support fast -- helicopters to get the wounded out and bring more soldiers into the fight. Chuck Kettles was a helo pilot. And just as he’d volunteered for active duty, on this morning he volunteered his Hueys -- even though he knew the danger …

 "Around 9 a.m., his company of Hueys approached the landing zone and looked down. They should have seen a stand of green trees; instead, they saw a solid wall of green enemy tracers coming right at them. None of them had ever seen fire that intense. Soldiers in the helos were hit and killed before they could even leap off. But under withering fire, Chuck landed his chopper and kept it there, exposed, so the wounded could get on and so that he could fly them back to base."

 Then-Major Kettles returned to the riverbed several times to retrieve his fellow soldiers, all while facing intense enemy fire and severe damage to his helicopter.

As President Obama said, Lt. Colonel Kettles' selfless acts of repeated valor represent not only the highest traditions of our military, but also one of the fundamental values of this nation:

"So the Army’s warrior ethos is based on a simple principle: A soldier never leaves his comrades behind. Chuck Kettles honored that creed –- not with a single act of heroism, but over and over and over. And because of that heroism, 44 American soldiers made it out that day -- 44 ...

 "And that’s one more reason this story is quintessentially American: Looking out for one another; the belief that nobody should be left behind. This shouldn't just be a creed for our soldiers –- it should be a creed for all of us. This is a country that's never finished in its mission to improve, to do better, to learn from our history, to work to form a more perfect union. And at a time when, let's face it, we've had a couple of tough weeks, for us to remember the goodness and decency of the American people, and the way that we can all look out for each other, even when times are tough, even when the odds are against us -- what a wonderful inspiration. What a great gift for us to be able to celebrate something like this."

It took nearly 50 years to officially and formally recognize Chuck Kettles for his actions in Vietnam in 1967. Chuck Kettles is a shining example of a man who dedicated years of service to the United States of America, often serving in harm’s way. He is a true Everyday Hero.

Joseph Badal is an award-winning suspense author who has written 10 published novels, including The Motive, which was released on July 19, 2016.

 

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Everyday Heroes: The Signers of the Declaration of Independence

July 1, 2016

 

I couldn’t think of a better subject for my July 2016 Everyday Heroes blog than the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. We are about to celebrate the July 4th holiday, which has become, for many Americans, nothing more than a vacation and barbecue day. I watched a “man in the street” interview segment on a television news program yesterday and was shocked that none of the people questioned could answer any of the following questions: What do we celebrate on July 4? From what country did the United States win its independence? What was the date of the Declaration of Independence?

July 4 is so much more than a holiday. It is representative of a freedom movement that changed the world.

I thought about who I wanted to spotlight in my July blog and came up with plenty of possibilities. But just as I sat down to write this monthly blog, I received a newsletter from John Trudel (https://t.co/MGstHb4xBs), a  fellow thriller writer. John’s post highlighted the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, their professions, and the price that many of them paid for having stood up for freedom and independence.

I try to keep my Everyday Heroes blog posts brief, so I will not go into detail about the pain and suffering that many of the signers endured. I highly recommend you read about these men. There are many history books that deal with their lives. Suffice it to say, that some were captured and tortured by the British. Others had their homes ransacked and burned. Many were wealthy and knew the price they might pay for standing up for freedom. Many paid a heavy price. But think about the legacy they left us all. Can you put a price on that?

After I researched what these signers did, I was even more amazed at what so many men and women risked and accomplished to give us a system of government that was the first of its kind and has helped to make the United States of America a place for freedom-loving people. Not only must we honor the deeds and courage of the founders, but we must never forget the price that many Americans have paid in the 240 years since July 4, 1776. This is a reminder that freedom is not free and that many Americans paid a high price—and still do today—to allow us to have a vacation day. What will you do to preserve freedom?

I hope you enjoy this Everyday Heroes post and that you will share it with your friends and family members.

Joseph Badal is a decorated Vietnam veteran who has written 10 published novels, including The Motive, which will be released on July 19, 2016.

 

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http://www.josephbadalbooks.com

 

Everyday Heroes: Those Who Serve

June 1, 2016

 

The link below honors all those who served to preserve our freedoms. It addresses the Everyday Heroes of the past, the present, and the future. But it does so in a way that is poignant, accurate, and thought-provoking. At a time when the American people are disgruntled--to say the least--about government, politicians, and bureaucrats, the narration and photographs found in the link are as timely as anything ever written or performed on the subject of military members as juxtaposed with the political class.

 

I wish every American would watch the enclosed video. We are supposed to be a people who value fairness, who believe in rewards to those who work the hardest, who put a premium on sacrifice, yet, those who work the hardest and sacrifice the most are treated unfairly, especially when compared to the members of the political class.

 

But I write this month to recognize and honor not just the men and women who have served their country through military service, I want to recognize and honor their spouses, children, and parents who also sacrificed for their country. They lived under the oppression of worry about and fear for their loved ones who served; they suffered the emotional pains of wounds and death; and they sacrificed wealth and health as they supported their loved ones who wore the uniform.

 

I wrote this post in anticipation of Memorial Day and posted it so that those who read it will have the opportunity to share it with their family members, friends, and the general public on Memorial Day. I hope the readers of this blog do just that. It would be a wonderful way to thank Those Who Serve and those who supported them.

 

https://www.youtube.com/embed/eEs4ke7cdNQ?feature=player_detailpage%25

 

Joseph Badal is the award-winning author of 9 acclaimed novels, including The Pythagorean Solution, Evil Deeds, Terror Cell, The Nostradamus Secret, The Lone Wolf Agenda, Death Ship, Shell Game, Ultimate Betratyal, and Borderline. His 10th novel, The Motive, will be released on July 19, 2016.

 

April 1, 2016

Everyday Hero: Bennie Adkins

 

 

I have read and I have seen acts of heroism and gallantry that have always amazed me. But every once in a while an individual seems to break the definition of “Hero” in such a way as to make the word insufficient to describe who he is and what he has done. Bennie Adkins is just that sort of individual. After fifty years, Adkins was finally recognized for his service in Vietnam; service that will go down in history as not just heroic, but also almost super-human.

The following article was originally publishes on Yellow Hammer News and is written by Cliff Sims. I humbly ask you to read this story and to share it with all your friends. It is a story that needs to be shared and should become part of the lore of American heroism. Benny Adkins is my Everyday Hero this month:

“Bennie Adkins turned 82 on Feb. 1. Exactly 50 years ago, Mr. Adkins was in the jungles of Vietnam. He returned to the United States a legend among Army Rangers, and almost a half-century later was awarded the Medal of Honor for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty during the Vietnam War.

So numerous and heroic were Adkins’ battlefield exploits that President Obama started his remarks at the White House Medal of Honor ceremony by saying that there was no way there would be enough time to describe them all. At another point he paused to simply say, “you can’t make this stuff up.”

Here’s a lightly edited transcript of the official citation, which details a portion of Adkins’ incredible story:

When Adkins’ camp was attacked by a large North Vietnamese and Viet Cong force in the early morning hours of March 9, 1966, Sergeant First Class Adkins rushed through intense enemy fire and manned a mortar position continually adjusting fire for the camp, despite incurring wounds as the mortar pit received several direct hits from enemy mortars.

Upon learning that several soldiers were wounded near the center of camp, he temporarily turned the mortar over to another soldier, ran through exploding mortar rounds and dragged several comrades to safety. As the hostile fire subsided, Adkins exposed himself to sporadic sniper fire while carrying his wounded comrades to the camp dispensary.

When Adkins and his group of defenders came under heavy small arms fire from members of the Civilian Irregular Defense Group that had defected to fight with the North Vietnamese, he maneuvered outside the camp to evacuate a seriously wounded American and draw fire all the while successfully covering the rescue.

When a resupply air drop landed outside of the camp perimeter, Adkins, again, moved outside of the camp walls to retrieve the much needed supplies.

During the early morning hours of March 10, 1966, enemy forces launched their main attack and within two hours, Adkins was the only man firing a mortar weapon. When all mortar rounds were expended, Adkins began placing effective recoilless rifle fire upon enemy positions. Despite receiving additional wounds from enemy rounds exploding on his position, Adkins fought off intense waves of attacking Viet Cong.

Adkins eliminated numerous insurgents with small arms fire after withdrawing to a communications bunker with several soldiers. Running extremely low on ammunition, he returned to the mortar pit, gathered vital ammunition and ran through intense fire back to the bunker. After being ordered to evacuate the camp, Adkins and a small group of soldiers destroyed all signal equipment and classified documents, dug their way out of the rear of the bunker, and fought their way out of the camp.

While carrying a wounded soldier to the extraction point he learned that the last helicopter had already departed. Adkins led the group while evading the enemy until they were rescued by helicopter on March 12, 1966.

During the thirty-eight hour battle and forty-eight hours of escape and evasion, fighting with mortars, machine guns, recoilless rifles, small arms, and hand grenades, it was estimated that Adkins killed between 135 and 175 of the enemy while sustaining eighteen different wounds to his body.

When that last line was read aloud, there was a collective, audible gasp throughout the assembled crowd of friends, family, press and members of the military in the East Room of the White House.

Every member of Adkins’ unit was either killed or wounded during the 48-hour ordeal detailed above. Two of the men he saved were able to attend the event. After the ceremony, Adkins’ thoughts quickly turned to the other heroes with whom he served.

“This Medal of Honor belongs to the other 16 Special Forces soldiers with me,” he said.

Medal of Honor recommendations usually must be made within two years of the act of heroism and must be presented within three years. Adkins received his some 48 years after the fact.

So why did it take so long for Adkins to be recognized?

“In 2009, Command Sergeant Major Adkins’ family contacted my office and told us that they were going to try to get this wrong righted,” U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, Adkins’ congressman, told Yellowhammer.

From that moment forward, Rogers made it his personal mission to make sure Adkins received the honor he was due.

Rogers immediately moved for there to be a review of Adkins’ records. Fortunately, all of the documentation the Army compiled after Adkins’ heroic efforts — including first-hand accounts from American soldiers who are still alive — had been preserved by the Pentagon.

According to the documentation, Adkins was nominated for the Medal of Honor shortly after the battle by his chain of command. In doing that, his commanding officer, who was in the battle with him, wrote a five-page narrative detailing what had happened. The Army then took statements from every soldier who was with him and documented all of the communications that took place during the battle.

But as the recommendation worked its way up the chain of command to the general officer level, they inexplicably decided Adkins’ actions merited the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest military honor, rather than the Medal of Honor.

When Congressman Rogers’ office started pushing for the Army to revisit Adkins’ story, there was a treasure trove of original battlefield information still intact.

 “You’ve got to get the documentation that supports the review,” Rogers said, explaining the process. “Then the Secretary of Defense has to review it and decide that he would like to see it recommended to the president. After that happened, we had to go back and get an exception to the law, which says that the Medal of Honor must be awarded within three years of the event. So we had to get Congress to pass a law to say this deserves an exception.”

Rogers lobbied his colleagues incessantly.

“There was a lot of resistance, surprisingly,” he said. “But one thing that really helped was that Secretary (of Defense) Hagel was asking for this. He had reviewed it and felt like it was an injustice that needed to be remedied. It finally got passed, but it took several months.”

In addition to lobbying Congress, Rogers also had to make his case to the White House, who would not normally be receptive to the requests of a Republican congressman from Alabama.

“We spent several months pestering the president’s office,” Rogers laughed. “Fortunately they did the right thing.”

“Sometimes even the most extraordinary stories can get lost in the fog of war or the passage of time,” President Obama said. “When new evidence comes to light, certain actions can be reconsidered for this honor, and it is entirely right and proper that we have done so.”

As for the reason why Adkins and other deserving soldiers were not properly honored initially upon their return, Rogers said he was not exactly sure, but believes it could have been a combination of the post-war political climate, as well as prejudice.

“There were clearly some prejudices involved when you look at who was and wasn’t recognized after Vietnam,” he said. “Some folks were of a different race, some folks were a certain religion, and some folks were from the South. So there was some of that involved. It may have been because Bennie was a southern boy. You never know.”

In late September of 2014, all of the efforts of Adkins’ family and Rogers’ office came to fruition. Four of the five living men whose lives were saved by Adkins between March 9 and March 12, 1966 joined him at the White House in a scene that had been a half-century in the making.

Adkins, who usually walks with a cane, rose unassisted and stood at attention as the President of the United States bestowed upon him his nation’s highest military honor. Adkins’ chin quivered ever so slightly as President Obama placed the medal around his neck. His wife of 60 years, Mary, beamed with pride on the front row, smiling as she wiped tears from her eyes.

Adkins snapped off a perfectly formed salute to the crowd before exiting the stage.

“This Medal of Honor belongs to the other 16 Special Forces soldiers with me,” he would later say with genuine humility.

And as the Army Chaplain led the audience in a closing prayer, Bennie G. Adkins of Opelika, Ala., stood once more to honor the One who had always been with him, from the jungles of Vietnam to the East Room of the White House and everywhere in between."


Joseph Badal is the award-winning, best-selling author of nine suspense novels, including The Pythagorean Solution, Shell Game, Ultimate Betrayal, Borderline, and the 5-book Danforth Saga(Evil Deeds, Terror Cell, The Nostradamus Secret, The Lone Wolf Agenda, and Death Ship). His next novel, The Motive, is the first in a new series—Cycle of Violence—and will be released on July 19, 2016.

Badal is a member of the Military Writers Society of America, International Thriller Writers, Southwest Writers Workshop, and Sisters in Crime.

 

MARCH 1, 2016

Everyday Heroes: Those Who Served In Vietnam

Although the below video narrated by actor Sam Elliot, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, is a bit dated, I thought you might enjoy it for several reasons. For those of you who served, it is a fitting tribute to your courage and willingness to do so. For those of you who were unable or unwilling to serve, it provides information which you probably were unaware of. It presents statistics that will shock you about the number of Americans—and foreign military personnel—who served in Vietnam, and details about those who served. It reminds us that the U.S. military never lost a major engagement in the war, despite the fact that most Americans think the military lost in Vietnam. There are many other facts that come out in this video, but you can find them by viewing it at the link below.

I mean no disrespect when I say that I have always found it unfair to characterize the WWII generation as “The Greatest Generation.” What that generation accomplished—both military and civilian elements of that population—was extraordinary. But the military members of that generation had an advantage over those who served during the Vietnam War: they had the unmitigated support of the civilian population. Not only did a vast number of Americans not support our involvement in the Vietnam War, they often treated those who served with disrespect, distain, and outright hostility. To go to war and to return home to be treated as many were was demoralizing. Young men and women who should have been honored were often treated as pariahs.

This hideous treatment of returning veterans also extended, in many instances, to their families who suffered through long separations from their loved ones, all the while racked with fear as to whether their Soldier, or Sailor, or Airman, or Marine, or Coast Guardsman would return to them. I remember the conversation I had with my wife the day before I left for Vietnam. I warned her to tell no one that her husband served in Vietnam out of fear that she might become the target of anti-war activists.

It has never made sense to me how individual Americans could be targeted by their fellow Americans for doing their duty. Many of the men and women who served in Vietnam neither wanted to be there, nor supported the war, but they went because that was their duty. How could American citizens who opposed their government’s actions dishonor other Americans who stepped up when their government called on them? And how could Americans mistreat the families of those who served? Weren’t those families suffering enough?

I was in a retail store last week and saw an exchange between a wizened man who wore a Vietnam Veteran baseball cap and an equally elderly man who said to that veteran, “Welcome home. Thanks for your service.”

After the two men separated, I approached the second man and asked him if he had served in the military. He answered, “No, but I wish I had. You see,” he said, “I avoided the draft and demonstrated against the war.” He pointed at the gentleman with the ball cap, who had walked down an aisle. “Now I feel like I made a terrible mistake, and I envy that man his service.”

It’s been fifty-two years since the Vietnam War began, and forty-one years since the Vietnam Era ended. Perhaps it’s time for the wounds of that era to finally heal. You can do your part, whether you served or not, by telling a Vietnam Vet “Welcome home. Thanks for your service.” I guarantee that you will make their day.

  https://www.youtube.com/embed/aVeBtnfAxP8

For more facts about the Vietnam War:

http://www.uswings.com/about-us-wings/vietnam-war-facts/

Joseph Badal is the award-winning, best-selling author of nine suspense novels. His most recent thriller, Death Ship, was released on November 17, 2015, in print and eBook formats. His next novel, The Motive, will be released this coming May.

amzn.com/B016APTJAU

You can contact Joe at josephbadalbooks@aol.com

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Everyday Hero: Charles Martland

May 1, 2016

Charles Martland grew up in Milton, Massachusetts. He played high school football and went on to play for Bobby Bowden at Florida State. When Pat Tillman, a former NFL football player who volunteered for the Army Rangers, was killed in Afghanistan in 2004, Martland saw Tillman's sacrifice as motivation to apply for military service.

Martland dropped out of college and graduated in 2006 from Special Forces Qualification Course, one of the U.S. military's toughest training programs. Over the years he became a jumpmaster, combat diver, and sniper. 

After a deployment to Iraq in 2008, he deployed to Afghanistan in January 2010 as part of a 12-man unit. He and his team found themselves fighting large numbers of Taliban militants in volatile Kunduz Province. But then Martland came up against the bureaucrats at the Pentagon.  

What would you do if a distraught mother came to you for help because a local policeman had repeatedly raped her 12-year-old son, and then you learned that the same policeman assaulted the woman in retaliation for her reporting him? I hope to God that your answer is not: Nothing. I suspect you would take action.

That’s exactly what Sgt 1st Class Charles Martland and his team commander did when an Afghani woman in Kunduz Province told them that a local Afghani police commander had repeatedly raped her 12-year-old son and then beat her up for reporting him. When the man laughed off the incident, they shoved him to the ground.

The action they took was to push the man to the ground. Really! They pushed a serial child molester and woman beater to the ground. Wow, what a terrible response!

Martland and his team leader were later removed from the base and eventually sent home from Afghanistan. The U.S. Army has not confirmed the specifics of Martland's reason for proposed separation from service citing privacy reasons, but a “memorandum of reprimand” from October 2011 makes clear that Martland was criticized by the brass for his intervention after the alleged rape. Asked for comment in September 2015, an Army spokesman reiterated, "the U.S. Army is unable to confirm the specifics of his separation due to the Privacy Act." 

In a stunning reversal, the U.S. Army decided on April 28, 2016 to retain Martland, a decorated Green Beret it had planned to kick out for physically confronting a local Afghan commander accused of raping a boy over the course of many days. I repeated this because I am having a difficult time reconciling the Army’s action with Martland’s action. 

"I am real thankful for being able to continue to serve," said Martland when reached on the telephone by Fox News.  

An Army spokesman said that Martland's status has been changed, allowing him to stay in the Army. 

"In SFC Martland’s case, the Army Board for Correction of Military Records determination modified a portion of one of SFC Martland’s evaluation reports and removed him from the QMP list, which will allow him to remain in the Army," said Lt. Col. Jerry Pionk. 

Martland's former Special Forces team leader, now out of the Army and living in New York, said the Army is a better place with Martland in its ranks. 

"This is not just a great victory for SFC Martland and his family- I’m just as happy that he can continue to serve our country and inspire his peers, subordinates and officers to be better soldiers.  Charles makes every soldier he comes in contact with better and the Army is undoubtedly a better organization with SFC Martland still in its ranks," said Martland's former team leader Danny Quinn when reached by Fox News Thursday.

Quinn is a 2003 graduate of West Point.

"I am thrilled beyond words that my brother is able to continue his career of service to country. The relentless defense of Charles as a soldier and a man of integrity by his friends, family and colleagues sent a clear message that abhorrent decision making made in the interest of self promotion and lacking common sense will not be tolerated. Charles is where he belongs. He is an elite warrior. He belongs on the front lines. Our enemies’ last vision in this life should be of Martland's face. They have earned that right," said Casey a former Special Forces teammate of Martland's who asked that only his first name be used due to the sensitive nature of his current work. 

The American Center for Law and Justice, which was involved with a writing campaign to keep Martland in the Army, called the decision a “significant victory."

“The decision by the Army to retain this hero is long overdue and represents a significant victory for SFC Martland,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ.  “Justice has been served. The U.S. military has a moral obligation to stop child sexual abuse and exonerate SFC Martland for defending a child from rape. The Army finally took the corrective action needed and this is not only a victory for SFC Martland, but for the

So, let me get this straight. Sgt. Martland stood up for an abused little boy and his mother, received a reprimand in October 2011, was told he would be separated from the service involuntarily last August, had to appeal that separation, and finally learned on April 28 he would be allowed to continue to serve. His former commander, a West Point graduate, separated from the service years ago (probably saw the handwriting on the wall.) And the Army only took action to reinstate Martland after lobbying by a U.S. Congressman and by the American Center for Law and Justice. Does anyone see the sense in this? How many other Everyday Heroes have been kicked out of the military for doing something that was right and brave?

I am thrilled that Sgt. Martland will continue to serve in the U.S. Army. I am horrified that he had to go through this experience because of an absence of common sense at the Pentagon. I have a sinking feeling that the warriors are no longer in charge, having been replaced by politicians.

This post was excerpted from a report written by Lucas Tomlinson, Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. FoxNews.com's Judson Berger contributed to the report.

Joseph Badal is the author of 9 suspense novels, including The Pythagorean Solution, Evil Deeds, Terror Cell, The Nostradamus Secret, The Lone Wolf Agenda, Death Ship, Shell Game, Ultimate Betrayal, and Borderline. His next novel, The Motive, will be released on July 19, 2016. He is a decorated Army veteran who served in Greece, Vietnam, and CONUS.

josephbadalbooks.com

josephbadalbooks@aol.com 

 

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February 1, 2016

Everyday Heroes: 9/11/12 Revisited

 

The subjects of my November 1, 2012 Everyday Heroes blog post were Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, two of the heroes of the terrorist attack against the United States' embassy annex and CIA compound in Benghazi, Libya. I wrote about those two courageous men because they died in that attack while risking their lives to protect employees of the U.S. government, including Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, and Foreign Service information

Management Officer, Sean Smith, who also died that day.

 

If you’ve been following my blog for these past several months, you know what I write about and why. For those of you who are new to this blog site, I will briefly mention that Everyday Heroes is all about those who inspire the rest of us through selfless, courageous actions. I use the term Everyday Heroes because I have always believed that every person has the potential to be a hero under the right circumstances. Many of my monthly blogs have been about Everyday people who stepped up and did the right thing.

 

Almost three-and-a-half years have gone by since that fateful day in Benghazi. We have been bombarded with rhetoric about what happened or didn't happen on 9/11/12, mostly from politicians with an ax to grind.

A lot more information has come out about what happened that day and one thing is very important to note: in addition to Doherty and Woods, there were incredible acts of courage performed by many people. Many were wounded, some horribly. Dozens of people were at risk of losing their lives. Yet, against overwhelming odds, many stepped up that day and etched their names in the annals of history.

 

Their actions while under fire to rescue others were astounding. They could have delayed taking action, but didn’t. They could have made excuses to not take action, but didn’t. Even when they were ordered to “stand down,” they didn’t. They stepped up and did the right and courageous thing to save the lives of others.

 

I recommend to every one of my readers that you read the book 13 Hours. I also recommend the movie by the same name. You can't read the book or view the movie without marveling at the stupendous courage displayed by Everyday Heroes who put other lives ahead of their own. You might or might not question the decisions, actions, or lack of action of political and military leaders during the Benghazi battle. You might wonder if the full story will ever be told.

 

There is no question that a dearth of leadership was apparent that day. But you can't possibly question the warrior hearts and souls of those men or their selfless commitment to save others.

Joseph Badal is the award-winning, best-selling author of nine suspense novels. His most recent thriller, Death Ship, was released on November 17, 2015, in print and eBook formats. CLICK HERE for more information.

Contact Joseph Badal at:
josephbadalbooks@aol.com

 

MARCH 1, 2016

EVERYDAY HEROES: THOSE WHO SERVED IN VIETNAM

 

Although this video narrated by actor Sam Elliot, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, is a bit dated, I thought you might enjoy it for several reasons. For those of you who served, it is a fitting tribute to your courage and willingness to do so. For those of you who were unable or unwilling to serve, it provides information which you probably were unaware of. It presents statistics that will shock you about the number of Americans—and foreign military personnel—who served in Vietnam, and details about those who served. It reminds us that the U.S. military never lost a major engagement in the war, despite the fact that most Americans think the military lost in Vietnam. There are many other facts that come out in this video, but you can find them by viewing it at the link below.

I mean no disrespect when I say that I have always found it unfair to characterize the WWII generation as “The Greatest Generation.” What that generation accomplished—both military and civilian elements of that population—was extraordinary. But the military members of that generation had an advantage over those who served during the Vietnam War: they had the unmitigated support of the civilian population. Not only did a vast number of Americans not support our involvement in the Vietnam War, they often treated those who served with disrespect, distain, and outright hostility. To go to war and to return home to be treated as many were was demoralizing. Young men and women who should have been honored were often treated as pariahs.

This hideous treatment of returning veterans also extended, in many instances, to their families who suffered through long separations from their loved ones, all the while racked with fear as to whether their Soldier, or Sailor, or Airman, or Marine, or Coast Guardsman would return to them. I remember the conversation I had with my wife the day before I left for Vietnam. I warned her to tell no one that her husband served in Vietnam out of fear that she might become the target of anti-war activists.

It has never made sense to me how individual Americans could be targeted by their fellow Americans for doing their duty. Many of the men and women who served in Vietnam neither wanted to be there, nor supported the war, but they went because that was their duty. How could American citizens who opposed their government’s actions dishonor other Americans who stepped up when their government called on them? And how could Americans mistreat the families of those who served? Weren’t those families suffering enough?

I was in a retail store last week and saw an exchange between a wizened man who wore a Vietnam Veteran baseball cap and an equally elderly man who said to that veteran, “Welcome home. Thanks for your service.”

After the two men separated, I approached the second man and asked him if he had served in the military. He answered, “No, but I wish I had. You see,” he said, “I avoided the draft and demonstrated against the war.” He pointed at the gentleman with the ball cap, who had walked down an aisle. “Now I feel like I made a terrible mistake, and I envy that man his service.”

It’s been fifty-two years since the Vietnam War began, and forty-one years since the Vietnam Era ended. Perhaps it’s time for the wounds of that era to finally heal. You can do your part, whether you served or not, by telling a Vietnam Vet “Welcome home. Thanks for your service.” I guarantee that you will make their day.

  https://www.youtube.com/embed/aVeBtnfAxP8

For more facts about the Vietnam War:

http://www.uswings.com/about-us-wings/vietnam-war-facts/

Joseph Badal is the award-winning, best-selling author of nine suspense novels. His most recent thriller, Death Ship, was released on November 17, 2015, in print and eBook formats. His next novel, The Motive, will be released this coming May.

amzn.com/B016APTJAU

You can contact Joe at josephbadalbooks@aol.com

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January 1, 2016

Everyday Heroes: Those Who Protect & Serve

 

I happened to read a blog post that was in response to the question: "How many police officers are killed in the United States?" The blog poster responded to this question with: "Not enough."

 

Not only is this posting uncivilized, it is just plain moronic. How any American could ignore the fact that policemen and women risk their lives every day to protect and serve Americans is beyond me. 2015 seemed to be the year to denigrate those who wear or carry a badge. Mass media and other organizations focused on a few instances of bad behavior by police officers, carried stories of "racist actions" that later proved to be untrue, and ignored stories that demonstrated the courage and selfless behavior of law enforcement personnel.

 

What would the cop haters like to see? Do they want our cities devoid of all police? Do they want the police disarmed? Do they want rules put in place that cause the police to second-guess every decision they make before they make it? Any one of these "solutions" will only jeopardize the police and the American citizen.

 

Is language that calls for the assassination of police officers helpful in any sense? Of course not. Yet, morons employ just that sort of language. And it gets police officers murdered.  That's what happened on December 20, 2014 when New York police officers Wenjian Liu (left), 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40, were shot and killed while on duty in Brooklyn, New York.

 

Just as with the general population, there are police officers who make bad decisions, who are wrongly motivated, who shouldn't be in their jobs. But they are the minority. The vast majority of police officers are amazing individuals who go to work every day to protect & serve. It's you and me they do that for. They put on bullet proof vests and strap on pistols, because their working conditions are often extremely dangerous. How would you like to do what they do? Would you have the nerve and the commitment?

 

Every man and woman who assumes the responsibility of protecting me and my family members is a valuable resource who I respect and honor. Ask yourself what life would be like without them. For every wrong-headed act by a cop, there are thousands of acts  every day by police officers that show the character, training, and self-sacrifice of these men and women.

 

Do yourself a favor. Thank a policeman today for doing something that I, for one, do not want to do: risk my life every day for some stranger.

 

Joseph Badal is the award-winning, best-selling author of nine suspense novels. His most recent thriller, Death Ship, was released on November 17, 2015, in print and eBook formats. CLICK HERE for more information.

 

Contact Joseph Badal at:

josephbadalbooks@aol.com

 

 

EVERYDAY HERO: FLORENT GROBERG

DECEMBER 1, 2015

 

I have published my EVERYDAY HEROES stories for over three years and continue to be amazed at the self-sacrifice and nobility displayed by the subjects of this monthly blog. Florent Groberg is no exception.

Florent, an Army captain who survived attacks by two suicide bombers moments apart but was badly wounded as he saved his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan received the Medal of Honor on November 12, 2015.

The Medal of Honor is the nation's highest military honor and is given for "meritorious conduct involving great personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life.

President Barack Obama awarded Army Captain (Ret.)  Florent Groberg the Congressional Medal of Honor for "his selfless service" during a deadly attack in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, in August 8, 2012.

The president said, "He deployed to Afghanistan twice. First as a platoon leader, and a couple of years later when he was hand-picked to head up a security detail."

"Training. Guts. Teamwork. What made Flo a great runner also made him a great soldier," Obama said during the White House ceremony.

Groberg and five other soldiers provided a security detail for senior U.S. military leaders as they moved down a street toward the provincial governor's compound when an ambush occurred.

"August 8, 2012 was the worst day of my life," Groberg told CNN. "Things just felt different that day. I switched everything in regards to the way we position ourselves. I had a weird feeling inside. Spidey senses are ticking and you're kind of like, 'Alright, I don't like this.' "

Groberg, 32, said he saw an Afghan male in dark clothing exit a building and move backward toward his group.

"As soon as he was moving towards our patrol, I left my position to go meet him because he's a threat . . . ,” he said.

"So I hit him with my rifle and that's when I felt I hit a vest under his clothing. So at this point all I could do was just get him away as far as we could," Groberg said. "So I grabbed him by his vest and tried to push him down and throw him."

Groberg said his platoon sergeant pushed the man to the ground.

"And then he detonated at my feet," he said. "And then after that I was thrown 15 to 20 feet, unconscious ... you come back, and I wasn't hearing anything. I had a blown ear drum that took me a couple seconds to come back to reality."

And then a second suicide bomber appeared and blew himself up, killing four of Groberg's fellow soldiers.

"I couldn't remember what happened. I thought I had stepped on an IED (improvised explosive device). My fibia was sticking out of my left leg, my skin was melting, and there was blood everywhere," Groberg, who was on his second tour in Afghanistan, told the Army News Service. "I checked myself for internal injuries and started to drag myself out of what was probably a kill zone for small-arms fire."

Despite his horrific wounds, Groberg tried to continue to lead his troops but needed medical attention and was put into an armored truck.

"That's when all the pain came in. It felt like a blow torch was burning through my leg," he told the Army News Service.

Obama said Groberg received the Medal of Honor because his efforts "prevented an even greater catastrophe."

"You see by pushing the bomber away from the formation, the explosion occurred farther from our forces and on the ground instead of the open air," Obama said. "Had both bombs gone off as planned, who knows how many could have been killed."

Groberg spent nearly three years recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center before he retired in July. He required 33 surgeries.

Groberg is the 10th living recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan.

EVERYDAY HERO Florent Groberg is yet another example of a soldier who put his teammates and his mission ahead of selfish self-preservation. Men like Groberg stand as models for all of us. Their bravery and sacrifice are difficult understand by most, but must be acknowledged and admired by all.

Joseph Badal is the award-winning author of nine best-selling suspense novels, including The Pythagorean Solution, Evil Deeds, Terror Cell, The Nostradamus Secret, The Lone Wolf Agenda, Shell Game, Ultimate Betrayal, and Borderline. His latest novel, Death Ship, was released on November 17, 2015.

 

 

EVERYDAY HERO: THE KRISSOFF FAMILY

November 1, 2015

 

I thought life had hardened me to the point that nothing would bring tears to my eyes. I was wrong. The story of the Krissoff family told in the excerpted Tony Perry 5/23/15 L.A. Times article below and the YouTube link included herein brought tears to my eyes for a number of reasons.

As the father of two sons, I know how dear those sons are to me, and am certain that nothing was more important to Bill & Christine Krissoff than their two sons. I can’t imagine how they emotionally survived the loss of their oldest son, Nathan, in combat in Iraq.
As a Vietnam veteran, I know too well the horrors of war and the fellowship and camaraderie of men in a war zone, and the emotional toll that the loss of a comrade can take on his unit members, his family members, and his friends. Based on all that I have read about Nathan Krissoff, he must have been one of America’s best young men.

But, in addition to the loss of their son, I couldn’t help be moved by the action taken by Bill Krissoff, with the support of his wife Christine. Please read the following excerpts from Tony Perry’s article and then watch the short YouTube video narrated by Steven Spielberg. If you remain dry-eyed throughout this video, you are much harder than me:
“After he was killed in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2006, Marine Lt. Nathan Krissoff was praised by other Marines as a young man who was charismatic yet humble, a natural leader.

At a memorial service at a base once used by the army of Saddam Hussein, battle-hardened Marines wept and embraced one another. His battalion commander told the assemblage that Krissoff had shown “great courage and steadfast dedication.”

But there is more to the Krissoff story. Nathan’s younger brother, Austin, was also a Marine officer who deployed to Iraq.
Their father, Dr. Bill Krissoff, an orthopedic surgeon, had a profitable practice in Truckee, Calif., when his son was killed.

Admittedly he had not been altogether enthusiastic when Nathan, a graduate of Williams College in Massachusetts, had opted for the Marine Corps rather than enroll in graduate school or begin climbing the corporate ladder.

To honor his son, Krissoff decided to enlist in the Navy medical corps. He was rejected as too old, despite the fact that, even at 60, he was lean and fit.

Then in August 2007, Krissoff and his wife, Christine, found themselves invited to meet President George W. Bush, who often met with parents of those killed in combat. And as he often did, Bush asked, almost rhetorically, “Is there anything I can do for you?”

Krissoff told Bush of his desire to enlist. Bush turned to his closest advisor, Karl Rove, with a simple directive: Make it happen.
Soon, at age 61, Krissoff was active-duty Navy, undergoing predeployment medical training. Battlefield medicine is different than a civilian practice fixing up people injured in skiing accidents. He deployed to Iraq.

“I did not go to Iraq looking for closure,” Krissoff said. “Austin and I were looking to finish Nathan’s unfinished tasks.”
Other deployments took Krissoff to Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Although he is reluctant to mention it, Krissoff was part of a medical team in Afghanistan that dispatched immediately “outside the wire” to wherever a U.S. or coalition soldier had been wounded.

During his seven-month deployment, Krissoff “would serve as the primary or assisting surgeon on 225 serious casualties,” wrote reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz in their book, “For Love of Country.”

“His presence there saved many, many lives,” said Major Gen. Larry Nicholson, who was a regimental commander in Iraq when

Nathan Krissoff was killed and is now the commander of the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton.
The Krissoffs, he said, “are an incredible, patriotic family. I’m proud to call Bill a friend.”

Not only did Bill & Christine Krissoff somehow survive the loss of a son, they moved forward and served their country and their son’s memory in a self-sacrificing manner that is an example for all of us.

Please watch this short video for more information about this wonderful, amazing, heroic family:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/7tyT4glkvBs

 

Joseph Badal is the award-winning, best-selling author of nine suspense novels. His most recent thriller, Death Ship, will be released on November 17, 2015, in print and eBook formats. CLICK HERE for more information.

 

Contact Joseph Badal at:
josephbadalbooks@aol.com

 

Everyday Hero: Wojtek the Persian Bear

October 1, 2015

 

It has been many months since I highlighted an animal in my monthly Everyday Heroes postings. When I read the story about Wojtek, a bear cub found in Iran in 1942 and adopted by soldiers of the 22nd Artillery Supply Command of the Polish II Corps, I couldn't resist making him my October 2015 Everyday Hero.

 

I never fail to be amazed at how animals--even supposedly wild, dangerous animals--can relate to humans and perform heroic feats that defy imagination.

 

I hope you enjoy this tale about Wojtek which is well-told in the photos and captions below.

 
 
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ma4Calv9T_s/VOaPSf_Fc9I/AAAAAAAA0UI/vENfcThwD-M/s1600/c1380e78edf3603a5ce3de00450937.jpg
 
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-URtMHwQvnwI/VOaPSAquxmI/AAAAAAAA0UA/VTy6k7XdbdU/s3200/82a5cdae88adb73e0c17fb824fba7d.jpg

 

September 1, 2015

Everyday HeroesON A TRAIN BOUND FOR PARIS

Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, Damien A., Mark Moogalian, Chris Norman

The story below was published by the New York Daily News on August 24, 2015.  It tells the tale of heroes who possibly saved the lives of many people on a Paris-bound Thalys train packed with 554 passengers. If you consider the number of AK-47 rounds in the possession of a Moroccan by the name of Ayoub El-Khazzani and the people he could have killed and injured, the deeds of the men named above are truly worthy of the highest praise.

Frenchman Damien A. (he didn’t disclose his last name) and French-American Mark Moogalian went into action when they saw El-Khazzani emerge from a train bathroom with a weapon. When the terrorist fired his weapon, the Americans Skarlatos, Stone, and Sadler swept forward and subdued El-Khazzani.

I won’t rehash the story here. It’s provided below and is worth reading. What I will say is that these five unarmed men made individual decisions to take down a monster who could have killed every one of them, and a whole lot more people. They put their lives on the line to try to prevent mass murder, and they did so without calculating the odds against success. They acted to subdue evil. In this instance, good triumphed over that evil.

Messrs. Stone, Skarlatos, Sadler, Damien A., Moogalian, and Norman could have done nothing. As a result, they could have become victims, along with many others. These gentlemen are the epitome of Everyday Heroes. They made a huge difference on that train on August 21, 2015, and set an example for every one of us. Every man, woman, and child on thank train should thank God these men were their fellow travelers.

“3 Americans and Brit honored in France as 5th train hero is identified as French-American professor”

BY MEG WAGNER LEONARD GREENE 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Updated: Monday, August 24, 2015, 11:13 PM

 

Three childhood American friends and a Brit who disarmed a terrorist gunman aboard a speeding train were awarded France’s highest award Monday for thwarting the frightening attack.

Americans Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler joined British traveler Chris Norman in a gutsy takedown that resembled a scene from a Jason Bourne movie.

The foursome pounced on and subdued a gunman Friday aboard a packed train headed to Paris, derailing a potential massacre by disarming the determined gunman.

AMERICAN HEROES IN FRANCE RECALL FIGHT WITH TRAIN GUNMAN

"By their courage, they saved lives," said President François Hollande. "They gave us an example of what is possible to do in these kinds of situations. Three Americans and one Englishman. You risked your lives to defend an ideal, the ideal of liberty and freedom.”

Gunman and suspected terrorist Ayoub el-Khazzani, stormed the Amsterdam-to-Paris train with a slew of weapons when he was spotted by a French-American professor, Mark Moogalian, who became suspicious after el-Khazzani lingered in a train bathroom.

When el-Khazzani came out of the bathroom, he was carrying a weapon. Another train passenger tried to tackle the gunman while Moogalian snatched away the AK-47, his wife said.

But the gunman shot Moogalian in the neck with a second weapon.

When the gunman recovered the rifle, four other passengers sprang into action. Stone, an off-duty U.S. Air Force member, said he put el-Khazzani in a chokehold while his buddies Sadler and Skarlatos punched and beat the struggling shooter, along with Norman, the British passenger.

As the four fought to restrain the attacker, el-Khazzani pulled out a box cutter and sliced Stone’s thumb.

“It seemed like he kept pulling more weapons left and right,” Stone said Monday.

When the group finally had el-Khazzani subdued, Stone ran to help the wounded professor.

 

“He put his finger on the wound in the middle of his neck and he stayed in that position for the whole journey,” said Moogalian’s wife, Isabelle. “I think he really saved my husband’s life.”

AMERICAN HERO WHO CHARGED FRANCE TRAIN GUNMAN SAVED BLEEDING PASSENGER'S LIFE WHILE FIGHTING HIS OWN INJURIES

Hollande plans to hold a separate ceremony to recognize Moogalian when he recovers, officials said.

"He never said a word," said Sadler, a student at California State University in Sacramento. "At that time, it was either do something or die."

 

August 1, 2015

Everyday Heroes: The Pearl Harbor P-40 Boys

 

Just when you thought you knew all there was to know about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, another story arises that demonstrates acts of courage that amaze you and provide evidence that Everyday Heroes abound.

 

Ken Taylor and George Welch were two yound second lieutenants who had been dancing, partying, and playing poker the night before the Japanese attack. They did not get to sleep 6:30 a.m. They were awakened at 7:55 a.m. by the sounds of low-flying aircraft that were strafing the American base. They quickly dressed in parts of the tuxedoes they wore just an hour-and-a-half earlier. Nothing in the stories I've read about Taylor and Welch mentioned their physical conditions (as in their level of sobriety), but they were All-American boys who knew how to enjoy themselves.

 

George Welch was born George Lewis Schwartz, but his parents changed his name to avoid the anti-German sentiment surrounding World War I. He attended St. Andrew's School (1936) in Delaware. He completed three years of a mechanical engineering degree from Purdue University, before joining the Army Air Corps in 1939. 

 

Kenneth Taylor graduated high school in Hominy, Oklahoma in 1938. He entered the University of Oklahoma as a pre-law student in the same year and joined the Army Air Corps two years later. 

 

When the attack began, the two lieutenants, without orders from their commanding officer, went into action. Their performance was not only courageous, but were astounding when you consider the odds they were up against.

 

I encourage you to watch the attached video. It is well-worth your time. It portrays events that occurred that morning that most people would assume must be fictitious. On the contrary, Taylor and Welch were real-life Everyday Heroes who risked everything to defend their fellow servicemen, their fellow Americans, and their country.  

https://www.youtube.com/embed/zS8HWFWaqa4

 

July 1, 2015

Everyday Heroes: Irena Sendler

 

“Extraordinarily bold, altruistic, and determined” are a few of the words found in Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary to describe a hero. These words truly describe Irena Sendler, but, when taken in the context of her achievements, seem wholly inadequate. How do people like Irena Sendler happen? They may be everyday people who become EVERYDAY HEROES, but they are much more than that. They are epic heroes who should never be forgotten and who should be recognized from generation to generation as special human beings who risk everything to save others. That’s what Irena Sendler did . . . over and over and over again. And every time she saved one person, she risked death for herself and her family members.

I encourage you to read on about this epically heroic woman and then ask these questions: Where do individuals like Irena Sendler come from? What makes them defy ultimate danger? What makes them sacrifice for others above self?

Irena Sendler was born as Irena Krzyżanowska on 15 February 1910 near Warsaw, Poland. Her father died in February 1917 from typhus contracted while treating patients. After his death, Jewish community leaders offered to help her mother pay for Sendler's education, though her mother declined their help. Sendler studied Polish literature at Warsaw University.

Sendler moved to Warsaw prior to the outbreak of World War II and worked for municipal Social Welfare departments. She began aiding Jews soon after the German invasion in 1939 by leading a group of co-workers who created more than 3,000 false documents to help Jewish families. This work was done at huge risk, as — since October 1941 — giving any kind of assistance to Jews in German-occupied Poland was punishable by death, not just for the person who provided help but also for their entire family or household. Poland was the only country in German-occupied Europe in which such a death penalty was applied.

In August 1943, Sendler, by then known by her nom de guerre Jolanta, was nominated by Żegota, the underground organization also known as the Council to Aid Jews, to head its Jewish children's section. As an employee of the Social Welfare Department, she had a special permit to enter the Warsaw Ghetto to check for signs of typhus, a disease the Germans feared would spread beyond the Ghetto. During these visits, she wore a Star of David as a sign of solidarity with the Jewish people. Under the pretext of conducting inspections of sanitary conditions within the Ghetto, Sendler and her co-workers smuggled out babies and small children, sometimes in ambulances and trams, sometimes hiding them in packages and suitcases, and using various other means.[

Jewish children were placed with Polish families, a Warsaw orphanage, or at Roman Catholic convents such as the Little Sister Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary Conceived Immaculate. Sendler worked closely with a group of about 30 volunteers, mostly women.

According to American historian Debórah Dwork, Sendler was "the inspiration and the prime mover for the whole network that saved those 2,500 Jewish children." About 400 of the children were directly smuggled out by Sendler herself. She and her co-workers buried lists of the hidden children in jars in order to keep track of their original and new identities. The aim was to return the children to their original families when the war was over.

In 1943 Sendler was arrested by the Gestapo and severely tortured. The Gestapo beat her brutally, fracturing her feet and legs in the process. Despite this, she refused to betray any of her comrades or the children they rescued, and was sentenced to death by firing squad. The underground organization Żegota saved her life by bribing the guards on the way to her execution. After her escape, she hid from the Germans, but returned to Warsaw under a fake name and continued her involvement with the Żegota. During the Warsaw Uprising, she worked as a nurse in a public hospital, where she hid five Jews. She continued to work as a nurse until the Germans left Warsaw, retreating before the advancing Soviet troops.

After the war, she and her co-workers gathered all of the children's records with the names and locations of the hidden Jewish children and gave them to a Żegota colleague and his staff at the Central Committee of Polish Jews. However, almost all of the children's parents had been killed at the Treblinka extermination camp or had gone missing.

In communist Poland

After the war, Sendler was imprisoned from 1948-1949 and brutally interrogated by the communist secret police due to her connections with Poland's principal resistance organization (AK), which was loyal to the wartime Polish government in exile. As a result, she gave birth prematurely to her son, Andrzej, who did not survive. Although she was eventually released and agreed to join the communist party, her ties to the AK meant that she was never recognized for her heroism during the war. In fact, in 1965 when Sendler was recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Polish Righteous among the Nations, Poland's communist government did not allow her to travel abroad at that time to receive the award in Israel; she was able to do so only in 1983. She was later employed as a teacher and vice-director in several Warsaw medical schools, and worked for the Ministries of Education and Health. She was also active in various social work programs. She helped organize a number of orphanages and care centers for children, families and the elderly. However, she was forced into early retirement for her public declarations of support for Israel in the 1967 Israeli-Arab War. Sendler resigned her communist party membership in 1968.

In 1980 she joined the Solidarity movement.

Irena Sendler's achievements remained largely unknown to the world until 1999, when students at a high school in Uniontown, Kansas, along with their teacher Norman Conrad, produced a play based on their research into her life story, which they called Life in a Jar. It was a surprising success, staged over 200 times in the US and abroad and significantly contributed to publicizing Sendler's heroic acts worldwide. The play was adapted for television as The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler (2009), in which Sendler was portrayed by actress Anna Paquin. She subsequently received numerous awards for her deeds during WWII.

In the years 2006, 2007, and 2008 she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, but never received the prize. Irena Sendler lived in Warsaw for the remainder of her life and died on May 12, 2008, aged 98, and is buried in Warsaw.

I asked you above to ask several questions about Irena Sendler and people like her. I would also ask you to consider how this glorious, heroic woman could be turned down for the Nobel Peace Prize while it is given to politicians who have accomplished nothing as compared to her.

 

June 1, 2015

Everyday Heroes: A Soldier Died Today

 

My friend , Andre Biane, shared this video with me and I couldn't resist passing it on to you. I have shared many Everyday Heroes Blogs with you over the last few years. My heroes have been men, women, organizations, and even animals. But the majority of the subjects for my Everyday Heroes Blogs have been people who served in the Armed Forces.

Former military members make for easy subjects when we discuss Everyday Heroes because they are more often than not common people versus those who come from privilege.

The attached video makes the distinction between those who have served in the military and those who become politicians. It goes on to distinguish the "word" of military men and women versus the "word" of politicians. It compares the character traits of each class: The Country Class versus the Political (or Ruling )Class.

I ask you to remember which class ultimately fights for and sacrifices all for their country. I shouldn't have to remind you that it sure isn't the political class.

Please take a couple minutes to watch this video and share it with your friends. Doing so will remind you of where Everyday Heroes come from and what they are made of.

 

http://dailysignal.com/2015/05/22/just-a-common-soldier-a-moving-tribute-for-memorial-day/?utm_source=heritagefoundation

 

May 1, 2015

Everyday Heroes: Franz Stigler/Charlie Brown

 

Although I've dedicated this month's blog to Franz Stigler & Charlie Brown (see link below) , my real Everyday Heroes for this blog post are the men and women who served during World War II. I highlighted the story about Franz and Charlie because their's is an heroic tale. But, for me, they are just two examples of the men and women who sacrificed a great deal to make the world a better place.

Franz Stigler and Charlie Brown are metaphors for a more gentile time and for heroism and self-sacrifice that were common place during my parents's time.

I have written before about how an Everyday hero makes a difference in another person's life. Franz Stigler, through an act of kindness and chivalry surely did that for Charlie Brown and his B-17 flight crew. And, ultimately, through his search for Franz in order to thank him for sparing his life, Charlie made a difference in Franz's life.

When you read a story like this, you can't help but wonder, What if Franz had given Charlie and his crew no quarter? How many families would have lived with pain for decades to come.

I am certain that there are thousands of such stories that could be told. This is just one that I hope brings you some happiness.

 

http://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/german-pilot-in-wwii-spared-an-american-b-17-pilot-over-germany-only-to-reunite-40-years-later-and-become-fishing-buddies.html/2

 

April 1, 2015

Everyday Heroes: Danielle Kelly

 

Taylor Morris and Danielle Kelly became engaged in September 2014. No big deal, right? Just another young man and woman from Cedar Falls, Iowa who dated for nine years and finally decided to tie the knot.

But, you see, there is something that is a very big deal about this. In 2012, Taylor became only the fifth U.S. military member to survive injuries that left him a quadruple amputee.

Back home, Danielle was a girl who wrote her boyfriend letters, worried about him serving in Afghanistan, and waited for his return so that they could begin a normal life. Danielle had cause to worry, and the injuries Taylor suffered would leave him with nothing that even approached a normal life.

Standing beside a man who had such grievous injuries would have been difficult for any woman. Even a wife would have found the prospect of life with a quadruple amputee challenging, to say the least. But a wife makes a vow to love, honor, and cherish, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. Girl friends don't make that promise. At least, not in any sort of formal ceremony.

But Danielle Kelly must have made that vow in her heart. This pretty girl must have had many other prospects, none of which would have entailed taking on the responsibilities associated with life with a badly injured man. Her commitment to Taylor is the stuff of which great love stories are made. Her love for him is a story for the ages. And her story is one about a great deal more than love. It is a tale grounded in principle, commitment, courage, and character.

Danielle Kelly is an Everyday Hero. Like so many other men and women who have watched their lovers depart for conflicts in foreign lands, praying that he or she will return, hopefully whole, she was there for Taylor. And she still is.

Please watch the photos in the following link. They will demonstrate just how huge a love affair Danielle and Taylor have, and much more articulately than I have done here.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIIJY3xfWzo

Joseph Badal is the author of this monthly blog about Everyday Heroes. He is also the author of nine suspense novels, including Death Ship, the 5th in his Danforth Saga, which will be released this month. His novels have received multiple awards, including The 2013 NM/AZ Book Award for Best Fiction-Mystery/Thriller (The Lone Wolf Agenda), the 2014 Tony Hillerman Award for Best Fiction Book (Ulitmate Betrayal), and the 2015 Silver Medal for Best Mystery/Thriller from The Military Writers' Society of America (Evil Deeds). He has been recognized as One of the 50 best Writers You Should be Reading.

You can reach Joe at josephbadalbooks@aol.com

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