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29
Jul

LtCol Scott Yost U.S. Marine Corps (Ret) (1980-2007)

Read the service history of US Marine Corps veteran:

profile1LtCol Scott Yost

U.S. Marine Corps (Ret)

(1980-2007)

View his shadow box on togetherweserved.com

PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE MARINE CORPS?

As with any good high school senior, I was planning on going to college, getting an education, coming back to my home area, getting a good job and eventually working until retirement age. Well, sometime before Christmas 1979, I had just come home from school when I heard the maildrop into the house (yes, we actually had a mail slot in the door and the postman would walk up and slide the letters in). I saw that there were letters from the two colleges I really wanted to attend: Penn State and University of Ohio. Opened up the Penn State letter and it said, “Sorry, not this time.” The Ohio State letter said the same thing. I was devastated!

Within an hour or so, the phone rang and I picked it up (this was before cell phones and caller ID). The voice on the other end of the line said, “Hello, Scott Yost, this is Gunnery Sergeant Rodney Glover, United States Marine Corps. How would you like to join the Marines?” I said, “Sure, why not. I’m not going to college anyway.” I think he was stunned. It took him a few moments before he gathered his composure and asked me to come down to the recruiting office in Mechanicsburg, PA.

WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK.

I enlisted on the delayed entry program in January 1980 and went to Parris Island for boot camp in September of that year. I was assigned the MOS of 4421, legal services specialist. After training at Camp Pendleton, CA, I was sent to the 1st Marine Brigade at Kaneohe Bay, HI. While there I made a WestPac deployment aboard the USS Tripoli (LPH-10). After Hawaii, I went back to Parris Island and was only there for six months before I was selected for the MECEP enlisted commissioning program.

During the summer of 1985, I went to the MECEP prep school in San Diego, followed by college at Auburn University in Alabama. I went to OCS in the summer of 1986 and returned to finish up my degree (BA in History) by June of 1988. Next were TBS and a year at Pensacola for NFO training, before I found out that I have no tolerance for high G maneuvering. Off to logistics officer school in Little Creek, VA in January of 1990 followed by MOS designation of 0402, logistics officer and assignment to 2nd Landing Support Bn at Camp Lejeune, NC.

Deployed to Desert Shield/Desert Storm and upon return was immediately deployed to the Mediterranean as the S-4 with MSSG-24 aboard the USS Fairfax County (LST-1193) and later to CENTCOM/Somalia aboard the USS El Paso (LKA-117).

Next duty station was Quantico, VA as a Joint Doctrine Officer from 1994-1997. I then attended the Army’s Combined Logistics Officer Advance Course at Ft Lee, VA, followed by a return trip to Hawaii as the S-4 for 3d Marine Regiment.

In 2000 I returned to CONUS with an assignment to HQMC, Installations & Logistics which was interrupted by the 9/11 attack and a selection to deploy to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait as an Individual Augment to the Coalition HQ staff. When I got home, I went to Marine Corps University, Quantico VA as the G-4 and was again sent overseas as an Individual Augment, this time to the 2nd Marine Logistics Group. After six months, I returned home and was reassigned to the Marine Corps Museum with the instructions to “get the construction finished on time, open the Museum and help run it until your time is up”, which I did until I retired on Sept. 1, 2007.

IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN COMBAT, PEACEKEEPING OR HUMANITARIAN OPERATIONS, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH WERE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TO YOU AND, IF LIFE-CHANGING, IN WHAT WAY.

Desert Shield/Desert Storm: I was a Platoon Commander for 2nd Landing Support Battalion. We started by unloading MPF ships in Al Jubayl, Saudi Arabia in December 1990. We then moved to Ras Al Mishab, just south of Kuwait, where my platoon and I did helicopter support team (HST) operations, hooking up 8 pallets of MREs under hovering CH-53E helicopters all day, every day. Just prior to the start of the ground war, we moved up to Kibrit, where we moved supplies around for units passing through on the way to Al Kanjar and helped operate the expeditionary airstrip.

After the 5-day war, we moved back to Al Jubayl and loaded some I MEF equipment onto ships for them, then back to Ras Al Mishab where we spent the last couple of months backloading ammo for transport back to the states.

Restore Hope/UNOSOM II (Somalia): As the S-4 for MSSG-24, I went ashore with a small liaison party to find supplies and lay the groundwork for the rest of the MEU to land in Mogidishu. After a couple of days, the entire MEU (-) bugged out in the middle of the night for Kismayu and left me and my team high and dry. So we tried to help out BSSG-7, because we had nothing else to do.We pulled duty on convoys and helped out with the washdown at the “old port”. We were there about a month before we were able to hitch a ride on an Australian C-123 Caribou down to Kismayu and join up with the rest of the MEU. We went to Kuwait for a training exercise and as soon as we got everything off of the ships, we were told to get back to Somalia. We never made it to Mogadishu, but we did do some humanitarian assistance projects in the north of the country.

Operation Iraqi Freedom: December 2002, I got snagged out of my cushy office job at HQMC to be an Individual Augment (i.e., the hired help) to the Coalition HQ in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. I was the ground transportation chief. As soon as the war kicked off, and our forces made it to Baghdad, the lines of communication became fairly well stretched to the limits. An Army major, Troy Kok, and I had the idea to work with the Brits in Um Qasr, Iraq to use the Iraqi railroad to move containers full of water up to the forces west and north of Baghdad. It took a couple of days of coordination and meetings, but we got the water containers to the port and got the trains set up and ready to roll. But since there was no way to tie the containers to the cars, they would have to be held in place by what I referred to as “gravity, friction, and wishful thinking.” By mid-afternoon, we had a full train ready to go. That’s when the trouble started.

First, the engineer came to us and said, “The men, they are hungry. So we will go to Um Qasr and get some food and we will drive the train tomorrow.” Troy and I then tracked down a couple of cases of MREs and handed them out. A little while later, the engineer came to us and said, “The men, they are thirsty. So we will go to Um Qasr and get water and we will drive the train tomorrow.” So Troy and I got two cases of bottled water and handed them out. About 5:00, the engineer came to us and said, “The men, they are out of cigarettes, so we will go to Um Qasr and get some and we will drive the train tomorrow.” So Troy and I went to the British PX and bought a couple cartons of Marlboro cigarettes and handed them out. The engineer realized that for every excuse, we had an answer and resigned himself to the fact that he WAS going to drive the train today. We got the train crew loaded and then someone started taking pictures. Every time there was a camera flash, the train crew stopped what they were doing and got out and smiled for the pictures. This went on for about half an hour. Then around sunset, after MREs, water, cigarettes, photos and everything else, the train blew its whistle and departed the port.

The delivery went off without a hitch.

But other than the few of us who were at the Port of Um Qasr, nobody else knew that the first northbound run of the Iraqi Republican Railroad in support of the coalition was paid for with bribes of food, water, and cigarettes.

OIF II: In September 2005, the Individual Augment Fairy came to visit me again. At least this time I got to go with the Marines. I was assigned as the Deputy G-3 for the 2nd FSSG, which was re-designated as 2nd Marine Logistics Group (MLG) halfway through the deployment. I was pretty much stuck at Camp Taqaddum (TQ), Iraq for the whole six months. It’s not that I was trying to be a “fobbit”, but rather that the G-3 wanted me to stay there to take care of details. We needed to make sure that all the infantry units in Ramadi and Fallujah had everything they needed, so details were very important. Other than supporting the combat ops for the MEF, one of our big events was helping to coordinate the constitutional referrendum for the Iraqis in October ’05. Only once was I able to get off TQ and was to go on a site survey to most of the camps in western Al Anbar.

FROM YOUR ENTIRE SERVICE, INCLUDING COMBAT, DESCRIBE THE PERSONAL MEMORIES WHICH HAVE IMPACTED YOU MOST?

My twilight tour is one that most Marines could only dream about. I was the Operations Officer and Deputy Director of the National Museum of the Marine Corps. I got to do and see some things that I still have a hard time believing. I helped organize the opening ceremony where President Bush “cut the ribbon” for our Museum. I got to lead dignitaries from all over the world through the Museum and share the Marine Corps’ story with them. Some of the visitors were President Bush’s adviser, Karl Rove, John McCain’s mother (99 years old at the time) the Commandant of the Korean Marine Corps, actor Kevin Bacon, Ollie North, Leopold d’Arenberg – Prince of Belgium, the Director of Scotland Yard, several groups of WWII veterans, including Raiders, Para-marines, and Iwo Jima survivors, just to name a few. I didn’t get to take him on a tour, but I did get to meet one of my childhood heroes – Astronaut John Glenn.

I helped hang the Iwo Jima flag when it was first installed in the Museum and I got to handle all four of Dan Daly and Smedley Butler’s Medals of Honor. I was present when the niece of Pvt John J. Kelly donated her “Uncle Johnny’s” medals from WWI, including an Army Medal of Honor, a Navy “Tiffany Cross” Medal of Honor, six Silver Stars and four Purple Hearts.

Prior to the Museum opening, I spent 4 hours covered in plaster and rubber while they made a full-body life-cast of me to use as a cast figure (mannequin) in the HO3-S helicopter in the Korean War display area. One of the last things I did was help out artist James Dietz by posing in my Dress Blue “A” for use in his painting, “You Will Not Fail Us” that shows Marines in various uniforms from the 1950s through 2007.

IF YOU RECEIVED ANY MEDALS FOR VALOR OR AWARDS FOR SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT, PLEASE DESCRIBE HOW THESE WERE EARNED.

No awards for valor in combat, although my first Navy Achievement medal was for helping to stop an armed robbery in Hawaii. I was never in a position to earn a combat award for valor, even though I was deployed to combat zones four separate times. The billets to which I was assigned and the areas I worked out of never afforded me the opportunity to display the level of performance required for an award for valor.

OF ALL THE MEDALS, AWARDS, QUALIFICATION BADGES OR DEVICE YOU RECEIVED, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE ONE(S) MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU AND WHY?

Well, all the awards I have earned have meaning to me. However, there are a couple that I have a special fondness for. First would be my Good Conduct Medal w/bronze star. I spent most of my Marine Corps career as an officer, so having the credibility shown by the nearly 6+ years of enlisted service was a big help. Also, my Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/silver star means quite a bit. The Marine Corps is a service that prides itself on going wherever the action is. I was fortunate enough to deploy six separate times – three aboard ship (WestPac, Med, & Somalia), once to Desert Storm, once to Kuwait, and once to Iraq.

My first Navy Achievement Medal was awarded to me as a Cpl for helping to stop an armed robbery in Honolulu in 1983, so obviously that’s another one with meaning. One award that I never received, even though I met all the criteria for was the Outstanding Volunteer Medal – I just have a real heartburn with putting myself in for a medal.

WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?

That’s a fairly easy question. The most impact on me (other than my Drill Instructors) was my first boss, LtCol (later BGen) Gerald Miller. He was the Staff Judge Advocate at the Brigade Legal Center at MCB Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. He saw something in me that led him to recommend that I apply for a commission via the MECEP program. Although I didn’t make it my first time around, I was successful on the second attempt. It made all the difference in my life, because it put me on the path to where I am now.

CAN YOU RECOUNT A PARTICULAR INCIDENT FROM YOUR SERVICE WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN FUNNY AT THE TIME, BUT STILL MAKES YOU LAUGH?

When I was a corporal at HQCo, 1st Marine Brigade, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, we went to Bellows Air Force Base on a field exercise. One of my buddies, Cpl Bill Webb, was the M151 jeep driver. The Company Gunny told him to camouflage his vehicle, so he cut a few branches and threw them over the jeep. Gunny told him that it wasn’t good enough, so Bill got into the jeep, put it into 4-wheel drive and rammed it full speed into the bushes until it was completely covered. The gunny didn’t think it was funny but we all did.

WHAT PROFESSION DID YOU FOLLOW AFTER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW? IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY SERVING, WHAT IS YOUR PRESENT OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY?

Right after retirement, I went to work as a logistics analyst for one of the many defense consulting firms in the northern Virginia area. Fortunately, I immediately started working on a project to develop the logistics concept for a piece of equipment, called G-BOSS, that provided 24/7 observation in and around Marine outposts in Iraq and Afghanistan. So, even though I was no longer on active duty, I was still serving the Marine Corps and protecting Marines.

Since then, I’ve worked with HQMC, I&L, Logistics Vision & Strategy and Maintenance Policy sections, III MEF for an analysis of the procedures units are using in GCSS-MC and now I’m working on Maritime Prepositioning Program policy.

WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?

Life member of the VFW, member of Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and Marine Corps Association (MCA).

With MCA, I get a subscription to Marine Corps Gazette, which is edited by my old 3d Marine Regiment CO, Col John Keenan. I got job hunting advice from MOAA and the VFW membership gets me into their bi-monthly gun shows for free.

IN WHAT WAYS HAS SERVING IN THE MILITARY INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU HAVE APPROACHED YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CAREER?

I would not be where I am today if not for the Marine Corps. It taught me discipline and self reliance. I have learned how to be a leader and how to be a follower and how to know the difference between the two. Several times I was tested to levels beyond what I thought I was capable of, but I was always able to make it through.

I have been provided with a wealth of experiences to draw upon to help me make better decisions. I have seen different cultures in 30 foreign countries that helps me to make sense of other points of view.

BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE MARINE CORPS?

Always do your best and always to what you know to be right. The 14 Leadership Traits are a good place to start – live by them and make them an integral part of your life. Work hard, play hard, follow orders and realize that you DON’T know everything. Everyone can learn something new – if you don’t learn something new every day, you’ve wasted that day.

Most of all, have fun and enjoy your time in the Corps – it ends before you realize it.

IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.

One of the first people who contacted me after joining was Tina Adams. We were stationed together in HQCo, 1st Marine Brigade at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Tina actually beat me in a meritorious corporal selection board while we were there.

There are several Marines I served with that I’ve been able to contact through the member search feature. I’ve also found out via the remembrance profiles that sadly, some others have passed on.

I enjoy reading the good natured banter on the forums – it sounds just like the stuff that used to go in in the squadbay. Mostly I just read other people’s posts, and very rarely do I post anything – usually just one liners or some smart-assed comment.

The only reason I’m doing this is because Kim Crawford guilted me into it.

27
Jul

View the service history of TV Painter

bob rossMSgt Bob Ross

US Air Force (Ret)

(Served 1961-1978)

View his Service Profile on TogetherWeServed.com at http://airforce.togetherweserved.com/profile/203273

Short Bio: Before he painted “happy little trees” on PBS’ “The Joy of Painting” Bob Ross served in the US Air Force in the medical field. The Florida native was stationed in Alaska for most of his career where he fell in love with the landscapes that he taught us all how to paint.

25
Jul

Profiles in Courage: Heroes of Hill 488

During the Vietnam War, one of the 1st Marine Division’s primary area of operation was the southern two provinces of I Corps – Quang Tin and Quang Ngai located in the southern portion of South Vietnam’s I Corps Military Region. Astride the boundary between Quang Nam and Quang Tin provinces is the populous, rice-rich Que Son Valley, considered as strategically important in controlling South Vietnam’s five Norther provinces. For that reason, it was a principal focus for the Marines in I Corps.

 

In early June 1966, when intelligence reports indicated increased numbers of uniformed North Vietnamese Army (NVA) troops moving into the Que Son Valley, it became an even greater issue.

To gain more immediate and timely eyes-on intelligence on the reported movements, seven recon teams from the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion were sent out to ring the large valley. If enemy’s positions were located, the teams were to call in artillery and air strikes against them. Among the seven teams was Team Two, consisting of 16 Marines and two Navy Corpsmen led by Staff Sgt. Jimmie Howard, a former drill instructor and battle-tested veteran with 16-years in the Corps. In photo Howard is top row, third from left.

Born in July 1929 in Burlington, Iowa, Howard attended the University of Iowa for a year before enlisting in the Marine Corps in July 1950. In February 1952, Howard, then a Corporal, was sent to Korea and assigned duty as a forward observer with the 4.2-inch Mortar Company, 1st Marines 1st Marine Division. At the time the division was part of a United Nations line defending a 35-mile line that encompassed the Pyongyang to Seoul corridor. Much of the fighting revolved around holding and retaking various combat outposts along key pieces of terrain.

Attached to a forward rife company sitting atop a critical outpost along this line, Howard was positioned in a spot where he could better call in defensive fires on the enemy. When a large, determined enemy force tried to overrun the outpost, Howard’s location made him a perfect target for the advancing enemy, yet he held his position, calling in critical fire missions. Still, the enemy kept coming in spite of growing casualties and when some of the enemy made it through the perimeter near his location, Howard and others battled them in close hand-to-hand combat. During the height of the battle, he was knocked unconscious by an enemy mortar shell but as soon as he recovered consciousness, continued calling in life-saving fire missions. Later he was again knocked unconscious and was forced to be evacuated. For this action he was awarded the Silver Star medal and his second Purple Heart. His next war was 14-years later in the jungles of Vietnam.

On the evening of June 13, 1966 as the waning sun dropped behind the western horizon, UH-34 helicopters moved quickly to the top of Hill 488 (Nui Vu hill) just 25 miles west of Chu Lai. Staff Sgt. Howard and his fifteen Marines and two Navy Corpsmen were inserted and the helicopters hurriedly lifted off and headed home to Chu Lai.

For two days Howard and his men watched for enemy troop movements in the valley below and called in artillery and air strikes on those they spotted. Hardly the fools, the enemy figured there had to be someone in the area watching them, directing fire upon their every move. Hoping to find the American spotters, NVA patrols fanned out checking the hills surrounding the valley. It is unknown if an enemy patrol spotted Howard’s team but chances are they did, which explained the large force send to eliminate them. Photo shows Daniel Mulvihill calling in a fire mission.

By the third day, based on aerial reconnaissance, Howard’s Battalion Commander Lt. Col. A. J. Sullivan began to sense the danger the small recon patrol faced and offered to pull them out. Howard believed he could hold out one more day and requested permission to remain on the hill, citing a good escape route to the east. His request was granted. Shortly thereafter word reached Chu Lai that a full NVA battalion of 200-350 well-trained soldiers were moving on Hill 488. Sullivan radioed that information to Howard, who requested immediate extraction. Several UH-34 helicopters were launched but as they were close to Hill 488, they came under immediate attack from machine gun fires, forcing them to return to Chu Lai. Sullivan relayed the bad news back to Howard that they would not be able to be extracted until day light. Somehow they would have to survive the night against a force outnumbering them by 20-to-1. It was June 15, 1966.

Howard placed all of his Marines in strategic positions around the summit of the almost barren hill top, with orders to pull back into a tight perimeter the moment the enemy struck. That moment came at 10 PM, only 12 feet from one of the Marine defenders. As the enemy swarmed the hill amid gunfire, grenades, mortars and support from four .50-caliber machine-guns, Howard pulled back his men into a tight circle only 20 yards in diameter. Back-to-back they defended their small perimeter, counting on each other to work as a team to do the impossible. Howard moved among his men, encouraging them, directing their fire and shoring up the weaknesses in the perimeter. For most of his Marines it was their first major test of combat. Huddled in the darkness amid the deafening explosion of grenades and mortars and the dark sky filled with tracer rounds, it was Howard’s reassuring words that calmed them down and his strong leadership that inspired them to fight on, often in hand-to-hand combat. Then quiet engulfed the hill as the enemy pulled back, their fanatical human wave assault initially repulsed.

Howard looked around him. Every one of his young Marines and both Corpsmen had been wounded in the initial attack. Several were dead. Howard knew the quiet wouldn’t last long; that the enemy was regrouping for another attack. He surveyed what remained of his Marines and found that ammunition was desperately running low. His men who were out of ammunition, picked up AK-47s and ammo belts from dead NVA. The grenades were gone, expended to push back the first wave of the assault. So Howard issued one of the most unusual combat orders in recent history, “Throw rocks!”

As incredible as the order sounded, it worked. When the enemy soldiers began to push their way through the sparse brush and knee high grass to probe the perimeter, Howard’s men threw rocks at them. Mistaking the rocks for grenades, the enemy soldiers would move quickly into the open, allowing the defenders clear shots that made every round of remaining ammunition count.

For five hours the enemy alternated between small probes and full scale assault on the surviving Marines. Howard continued to encourage his battered platoon, direct their fire, and calling in aerial support. At times the enemy was so close that Howard directed aerial strafing runs within 30 feet of their position. From Chu Lai, Sullivan listened to Howard’s calm, precise voice across the radio. Then, shortly after 3 AM, the radio went dead (reason unknown). At the Command Operation Center there was dread, the assumption being that Howard was dead and his brave platoon wiped out.

Howard wasn’t dead but he was wounded and couldn’t move his legs. During one of the enemy attacks his lower back and legs were sprayed with shrapnel shards from exploding grenades. As the enemy continued to assault his perimeter, the wounded leader did his best to encourage his Marines. He kept reminding them that if they could just hold out until daylight, more Marines would come and pull them out of there.

As daylight dawned, a helicopter approached the hill. The Marines were still taking fire, the battle wasn’t yet over. The chopper was shot down and the pilot, Maj. William J. Goodsell, was killed.

At dawn a Marine rifle company began the trek to relieve the remnants of Howard’s platoon. Company C of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment landed at the base of Hill 488 and forced their way up the small mountain through scattered but strong resistance to reach Howard and his recon team. Two 1/5 Marines were killed and it wasn’t until noon that they finally reached Howard’s perimeter. Five of the defenders on Hill 488 were dead. A sixth died enroute to the base camp at Chu Lai. When finally the rescue effort reached Howard and his men, among the 12 survivors there remained only 8 rounds of ammunition.

On August 21, 1967 at the White House, Gunnery Sgt. Jimmie E. Howard stood proudly at attention next to his wife and six children. Following the reading of his heroic action at Hill 488, President Lyndon B. Johnson carefully placed the Medal of Honor around the neck of an incredible leader and true American hero. With tears in his eyes the grizzled Marine then stepped to the microphone to give the credit to his 15 brave Marines and 2 Navy Corpsmen.

And they were there, all eleven survivors of that unbelievable night of horror and courage at Hill 488. After speaking briefly, Howard took the President by the hand and led him to the edge of the stage where he introduced him to each and every one of the men he had led that night, and to whom he felt the Medal of Honor belonged more than it did to himself.

The team member he was referring to were recipients of four Navy Crosses and thirteen Silver Stars making Howard’s team the highest decorated unit of the Vietnam War.
Navy Crosses
Ricardo Binns
B.C. Holmes, Navy Corpsman
J.T. Adams (posthumously)
J.R Thompson (posthumously)

Silver Star Medal
Charles Bosley, Navy Corpsman
R.J. Fitzpatrick
Raymond Hildreth
Joseph Kosoglow
Robert Martinez
Daniel Mulvihill
William Norman
Thomas Poweles
Ralph Victor
Ignatius Carlisi (posthumously)
T.D. Glawe (posthumously)
J.C. McKinney (posthumously)
A.N. Mascarenas (posthumously)

On November 12, 1993 Jimmie Howard passed away at his home in San Diego. He is buried at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery near the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot where years before he served as a Marine Drill Instructor.

In honor of Howard’s 27 years of dedicated service to the U.S. Marine Corps, the United States of America and his unwavering leadership and courage, the U.S. Navy on October 20, 2001 christened the thirty-third Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in his honor, the USS Howard (DDG-83).

Every time it sets to sea from its homeport of San Diego, it passes within view of Gunnery Sgt. Howard’s grave at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery and salutes it’s namesake.

22
Jul

AECS Tom Wynn U.S. Coast Guard (Ret) (1972-1992)

Service Reflections is US Coast Guardsman:

profileAECS Tom Wynn

U.S. Coast Guard (Ret)

(1972-1992)

Shadow Box: http://coastguard.togetherweserved.com/bio/Tom.Wynn

PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE COAST GUARD?

My father was in the Coast Guard. He asked me at 12 what I wanted to do for a living when I was grown up. I didn’t know at the time. He quickly said, “You better now, you only have a few more years to prepare”. So he began to ask me questions about what I like to do or learn. I told him several things like science and physics and electricity. Electronics like he did, (he was a AT1) and survival interests, like in the Boy Scouts. So he told me of all the rates that I might look at in the Coast Guard. I was set on ASM but it was not available to me at the time of choosing a class A school when I applied from my ship, the USCGC RUSH in CA. I was 17.5 years old when I joined and picked the Rush. If I had to go to sea I wanted to go on the biggest and best vessel type the Coast Guard had to offer. Later I would go on two Ice Breakers, one being the Polar Sea voyage to Antarctica in 1978. I went to AE school in Jacksonville Florida at the Naval Air Station. One of the last classes to go there before they moved it to Memphis. So I became an AE and was so glad of it. I enjoyed my career and loved the Coast Guard. My son was a third generation Coastie.

WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK. WHAT WAS YOUR REASON FOR LEAVING?

Boot Camp in CA. USCGC Rush for 5.5 months. AE A school in Naval Air Jax in Florida. Mobile Alabama Air Station for two parts, the Air Station and Pop-Div for a total of 4 years. Air Station Houston 3 years. ARSC 3 years. Air Station Detroit 3 years. Air Station San Francisco 2 years. Air Station Clearwater 3 years and finally just prior to retirement, CG unit at Panama City Florida for approximately 4 months before retirement. I was senior to the Senior Chief in charge so he sent me home and I only came to work to do paperwork for retirement and complete my terminal leave of 85 days. Loved it!

OF ALL YOUR DUTY STATIONS OR ASSIGNMENTS, WHICH ONE DO YOU HAVE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY? WHICH ONE WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?

USCGC RUSH, not to fond of that. I was a Seaman and it was in CA. I was only 17. 5 years old. I was the second youngest person aboard. I was married and was a very sharp individual. So I only did 5.5 months aboard the vessel before departing for AE A school in Florida. Air Station Mobile Alabama. Including Pop Div. Polar Shipboard Ops Division. I ran the Battery Shop and the Tool Room was my first assignments. My mentors were my father AT1 T.W. Wynn Sr. a great man and lovely soul. AE1 John Reid, AE1 Buckmaster all has passed away now. AE2 Smokey Stover, Who I later replaced at Air Sta Clearwater when we were both Senior Chiefs. He was retiring and I retired three years later. I was Maintenance Chief there and later became the CEA of the Air Station for the last 2.5 years of my Great Career. I loved my work, helping the men and women I served with. I enjoyed my jobs in the Coast Guard and I departed very happy and full of joy I could finally see my dream of retirement at 20 at the door. That was nearly 20 years ago now. Time flies when you are having a good retirement life. Thank you LORD!! The Coast Guard is one on the Best jobs in the World. Saving lives for a living is the way to go.

Next I went to Air Station Houston and learned how to be a good mechanic and Electrician on the HH52A and my mentor there was Buckmaster again and AT1 B. Fletcher, who would follow me to Elizabeth City NC. We are still friends today. ARSC was my next stop. I loved it there, so many friends and mentors. AM1 Mark Sheafer, AD1 Jimmy Taylor and a few others where my best buddies on the HH52A QA team. just loved it there. Made Chief and off to Detroit. Hated! But I did take the time to get more education there and studied on how to retire as a young man. Freezing cold, nothing else to do. All indoor life, but the housing “Sucked”, sorry but there is no other way to say it. Air Station San Francisco. Love it there, had to go there for my son. He needed a heart operation. Great time there and love every minute of it. Great people to work with and I made Senior Chief. I wrote the number one test on the first try and made it in March. Only had three years until retirement. Off to Clearwater we went. I was happy all around. I really wanted Mobile. But oh well, God had other plans. I had a great tour there and off to Retirement. God’s Country North Florida. We have been here every since.

FROM YOUR ENTIRE SERVICE, INCLUDING COMBAT, DESCRIBE THE PERSONAL MEMORIES WHICH HAVE IMPACTED YOU MOST?

Too many to count brothers. Love my career 96 percent of the time. Great job and lovely hard working folks to be with, blood swear and tears came often as I moved from place to place, ship to ship, Air Station to Air Station. Lost a few shipmates over the years in Helo crashes. But over all, a great 20 year tour of love and kindness from all my co-workers. I loved my pilots and my crews. Everyone had a common goal. Save lives for a living. No better thing to do in this world. God Bless the US Coast Guard and their families. Love you!

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20
Jul

SN Gene Vincent US Navy (Served 1952-1955)

Military service of Singer:

Gene vincentSN Gene Vincent

US Navy

(Served 1952-1955)

Service Shadow Box: http://navy.togetherweserved.com/profile/664278

Short Bio: Best remembered for “Bebop A Lulu”, as a teenage Vincent played the blues, gospel and country tunes of the day. Gene dropped out of school to serve in the military. In February of 1952 he joined the US Navy, but would never see any military action. Three years later during a July weekend, while still in the navy, Gene had an accident while riding his brand new Triumph motorcycle.

18
Jul

Bravest Submariner Who Earned 5 Navy Crosses

Ask any Marine who was Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller and each would quickly respond by saying. “Why, he was the greatest, bravest and most highly decorated Marine in Marine Corp history.” Another would inevitable say, “He was not only a tough, no nonsenses Marine he is also the only one awarded five Navy Crosses.” Both would be right. During his career, Puller fought guerrillas in Haiti and Nicaragua, and participated in some of the bloodiest battles of World War II and the Korean War where he earned his five Navy Crosses, an Army Distinguished Service Cross and a Silver Star.

Now ask any Sailor who was Rear Admiral Roy Milton Davenport and while some submariners might know the answer, the majority of Sailor would not even venture a guess. Yet, like Marine “Chesty” Puller, he too was awarded five Navy Crosses making him the first individual (Puller was the second individual) and only Sailor so honored.

A student of Christian Science, Davenport was dubbed the “praying skipper” and was known for his daring attacks against Japanese ships, often executed on the surface to gain additional speed. In all, he was credited during the Pacific War with sinking eight Japanese ships and damaging 10. While none of the men under his command were lost, he and his crews experienced many close calls and escapes. He credited his religious faith for his successes.

Davenport served as a submarine executive officer on the USS Silversides (SS-236) under Lt. Cdr. Creed Burlingame and later commanding officer of the USS Haddock (SS-231) and USS Trepang (SS-412).

USS Silversides (SS-236) first action was May 10, 1942 when the submarine used her 3-inch (76 mm) gun to heavily damage a Japanese gunboat near Japanese home islands. During this 75 minute action, an enemy machine-gun bullet killed one of her deck gunners, TM3 Mike Harbin, the only man lost in action aboard Silversides during World War II. Harbin was buried at sea later that evening.

Seven days later, while maneuvering through an enemy fishing fleet and approaching her targets, Silversides’ periscope became entangled in a fishnet marked by Japanese flags held aloft on bamboo poles. The sub continued her approach, fishnet and all, and fired three torpedoes at a cargo ship. Two hits tore the victim’s stern. While that ship was sinking, the second cargo ship was also hit, but its fate could not be determined. Patrol boats were closing in as the submarine, probably the only American submarine to make an attack while flying the Japanese flag, quickly left the vicinity. After damaging a freighter and tanker in the same area, Silversides terminated her first war patrol at Pearl Harbor on June 21, 1942.

Beyond the expected and usual depth charging after attacks on ships, there were close escapes. Once, a Japanese airplane dropped three bombs directly on Silversides. The sub survived; although during escape, it went into a hard dive with bow planes jammed, exceeding its design depth. At the last moment, Davenport removed a cotter key, enabling the sub to level off to avoid being crushed.

On another occasion, a torpedo, half stuck in the firing chamber required re-firing. If unsuccessfully re-fired, it could have sunk the sub. Another time, Davenport had to wrestle a pistol from a drunken gunner’s mate who felt that he had been robbed in a dice game. The sailor was removed from the sub in a straitjacket. After four patrols aboard Silverfish, Burlingame recommended him for a command of his own.

When Admiral Robert English relieved the commander of the USS Haddock (SS-231) for circulating “subversive literature” (a poem critical of English and his staff), Davenport was given command of the submarine.

Davenport’s first patrol on the Haddock was also his first action as her commander. On April 3, 1943 off the Palau Islands, Davenport encountered a passenger transport protected by a corvette. The two “fish” launched at the corvette ran under without exploding. Davenport then turned to the passenger transport her with a spread of torpedoes. Following torpedo tracks, the persistent corvette dropped 24 depth charges, many directly over Haddock that caused damage to her conning tower and radar. At a depth of 415 feet, it had almost imploded. To close the hatch to save the boat from sinking, Davenport hit the hatch with a sledgehammer. The conning tower held, and Haddock escaped. Three days later she sank the cargo ship Toyo Maru. After 39 days at sea, Haddock went in for extensive refit to repair a defective conning tower.

On Davenport’s second patrol he returned to the Palaus, where he sank the Saipan Maru on July 21, 1943 and on July 26 fired a total of fifteen Mark XIV torpedoes in four attacks, believing he scored one hit. Credited with one ship sunk and damage to another, he was awarded his first Navy Cross.

In August 1943, Davenport was dispatched to Truk, making a 27-day patrol that would earn him a second Navy Cross. He fired four torpedoes on September 15, claiming two hits and fire aboard the target, which nevertheless tried to ram, leading Davenport to fire two more “down the throat.” On September 20, he encountered the large tanker Tonan Maru II and fired six torpedoes claiming “at least three certain hits.” Several days later he attacked another ship, missing with two torpedoes and on the 23rd, fired his last eight torpedoes at another, claiming three hits.

For his third patrol, he was credited with three ships sunk and his third Navy Cross. In October 1943, he returned to Truk for another 27-day patrol, and on November 2, attacked a freighter and troopship on the surface firing four torpedoes at the freighter and one at the troopship. The freighter was claimed to have sunk immediately, the troopship to have caught fire then settle. The next night, encountering three Japanese destroyers, Davenport fired four torpedoes at one of them claiming a hit mid-ship and a sinking. And finally, on November 6, Haddock found two tankers, firing three bow torpedoes at each and all four stern tubes at the escort. The stern shots all missed, but Davenport reported hits in both tankers. After reloading, he fired two more torpedoes at each, claiming both tankers sunk. The second Truk patrol earned Davenport credit for five ships including the escort, plus damage to another.

Following that patrol, Davenport, “at his own request,” was detached for a rest but returned to duty in May 1944 as the commander of the new USS Trepang (SS-412) where the recipient of three Navy Crosses was credited with sinking five enemy ships.

Setting out from Pearl Harbor for her first war patrol on September 13, 1944, the submarine prowled the waters south of Honshu, the largest and most important of Japan’s home islands. She remained below during daylight hours and came up after dark to get a better view as she recharged her batteries and filled up with fresh air. On the night of September 30, Trepang spotted a fast convoy departing Tokyo Bay. Davenport gave chase and closed in on a group of ships which included two large tankers, a small freighter, and an escort. The submarine fired an overlapping spread of torpedoes which struck the freighter, 750-ton Takunan Maru, and sent her to the bottom.

Davenport weathered a typhoon and, on October 11, attacked his second convoy of two tankers and one escort. Firing four stern tubes, he claimed three hits. No sinkings were confirmed in Japanese records. The next night, he fired four torpedoes at a Japanese landing craft, believing all missed. Postwar, he was credited with Transport 105.

Two days later, the submarine cruised some 12 miles southwest of the entrance to Tokyo Bay during the nighttime. Soon after she came to the surface, and her radar swept the surrounding seas, four pips showed themselves on the phosphorescent screen—two large and two small—which were identified as two battleships and two destroyers.

Despite the fact that the phosphorescent waters would make his submarine stand out starkly in the night, Davenport closed at flank speed and fired a full spread of six torpedoes. The “fish” sped through the water toward their targets. He claimed success when explosions rumbled across the water, and flames lit up the night. Davenport turned the submarine to present her stern tubes to the enemy and loosed four more torpedoes. These all missed.

Davenport’s gallant and skillfully pressed attacks earned him his fourth Navy Cross. He felt that he had damaged a Fuso-class battleship and had sunk a destroyer, but a study of Japanese records after the war did not verify either claim.

The Trepang got underway for its second patrol on November 16, 1944 leading a wolfpack heading for the Philippine Islands leading. The wolfpack included sister ships Segundo (SS-398) and Razorback (SS-394). Since Roy Davenport was the officer in charge of the pack its nickname was “ROY’S RANGERS.”

The weather was dark, windy, and rough on December 6 as Trepang’s conning tower broke the surface after a day’s submerged inshore patrol off Luzon. While shifting course toward deeper water, she detected a group of ships approaching from the northward. Upon closing to investigate, Davenport counted seven large ships and three escorts in the convoy which slowly approached the Philippines.

Davenport radioed news of her “find” to others in the pack then submerged. The submarine shot straight and true, sending freighter Banshu Maru Number 31 and cargo ship Jinyo Maru to the bottom in quick succession and damaging a third vessel, Fukuyo Maru. However, as Trepang came about to administer the coup de grace to Fukuyo Maru, the third cargo ship obligingly blew up and sank. Meanwhile, as Segundo and Razorback arrived on the scene, Trepang fired all of her remaining torpedoes at a fourth ship which, she reported, blew up and sank soon thereafter. However, this fourth sinking was not confirmed by Japanese records. In the meantime, the other two American submarines were trying to finish off the fleeing remnants of the shattered convoy and managed to sink two ships, one with the aid of American naval aircraft. Trepang, now out of torpedoes, sped back to Pearl Harbor, arriving before Christmas. Davenport received his fifth Navy Cross for what would be his last submarine patrol. He was reassigned for shore duty as an instructor at the United States Naval Academy.

Except for those who earned the Medal of Honor, such as Dick O’Kane, he was one of the most highly decorated submariners of the war with his five Navy Crosses and two Silver Stars.

13
Jul

Sgt Tom Selleck US Army National Guard (Served 1967-1973)

View the military history of actor:

selleckSgt Tom Selleck

US Army National Guard

(Served 1967-1973)

View his service shadow box: http://army.togetherweserved.com/profile/340877

Short Bio: While a member of the Guard, Selleck attended the California Military Academy. Later, he appeared on recruitment posters for the California National Guard and the California Military Academy.

Throughout his career, Selleck continued his allegiance to the California National Guard and the military community, volunteering countless hours for public service announcements documenting National Guard contributions to the Nation, encouraging civilian employer support, and promoting recruitment and retention. In 2008, as the Spokesperson for the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Fund, he announced the campaign to build an educational center near the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC.

11
Jul

Richest Firearm Collection in the World

Thirty miles outside Washington, DC is Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Originally, the land was the site of the Belvoir plantation purchased by Lord William Fairfax in 1738 where he built an elegant brick mansion (Destroyed by fire in 1783, the ruins of the Belvoir Mansion and the nearby Fairfax family grave site are listed on the National Register of Historic Places). Sometime later the land was acquired by the U.S. government and during World War I became the home of the Army Engineer School prior to its relocation in the 1980s to Fort Leonard Wood, in Missouri. Today, Fort Belvoir is home to a number of important United States military organizations including the U.S. Army’s Center of Military History.

The building itself is very nondescript but behind a series of highly alarmed doors and long, cement, camera-laden hallways is the highly sophisticated, climate-controlled treasure room where the army keeps its most precious artifacts. Behind these giant doors lay the army’s historic collection of weaponry. The room consists of dozens of collapsible “hallways” filled with the richest American firearm collection on the planet. The collection is stacked with priceless items. Entire lineages of weapons are kept here for research as well as preservation purposes.

Another portion of the warehouse consists of endless rows of gigantic, airtight lockers. Every meaningful artifact that has been worn on a military battlefield is stored here, including Gen. Ulysses Grant’s Civil War cap. Famous generals’ uniforms and Revolutionary War powder satchels, flags, canteens and cannons. And the rows go on and on and on and on. But the crown jewel of the collection is the 16,000 pieces of fine art the army owns. The art is kept on giant rolling metal frames.

The massive collection consists of donated and commissioned pieces. Much of the art was painted by soldiers who experienced their subjects in real life. During World War I, the army began commissioning artists to deploy into the war zone and paint the scenes they observed. This practice has continued to this day. Much of the museum’s collection consists of these commissioned wartime pieces. The collection also keeps hold of valuable donated military art and historical pieces dating back to the Mexican American War.

The art tells the story of America’s wars through a soldier’s unique perspective. Some works are just beautiful beyond words. Every aspect of war is captured in the collection which includes original army propaganda art, including beautiful Norman Rockwell originals that the Army commissioned in the 1940s.

Virtually every American conflict is represented from a first-hand soldier’s perspective: Peace and War as well as humanitarian aid missions.

The collection also has a controversial side that has never been displayed. Unique art and artifacts that were seized from the Nazis after World War II are stored here. A number of Hitler’s paintings were seized by the U.S. Army at the end of World War II and found a home at the center.

Not a single piece in this massive collection is open to the public because there is no museum to house it. The entire collection could be made accessible to the public, if the funds for a museum could be raised.

The Army Historical Foundation is in charge of raising the funds for the museum. The foundation’s president recently told the Washington Post that they have raised $76 million of the $175 million required for the museum and predicts the museum could open in 2018. It is also to be located at Fort Belvoir, six miles west of Mount Vernon.

Those interesting in donating to the building of the museum can learn how by visiting the following site: https://armyhistory.org/donation-opportunities-programs/

8
Jul

MSgt Scott Rogers US Air Force (Ret) (1970-1990)

profile_sMSgt Scott Rogers

US Air Force (Ret)

(1970-1990)

Shadow Box: http://airforce.togetherweserved.com/profile/196740

PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE AIR FORCE?

Two things actually; I was going to a Junior College at the time. One evening, the discussion at the dinner table got some of my wheels turning. First my girl friends Father (who later became my Father In Law) recommended the Air Force to me, since He was C-5 at Sunsetin the Army Air Corps. And secondly, in 1969 I registered for the draft, which was a requirement. I had a student deferment, however, I also had a very low lottery number. There was a draft for military service, and at the same time, there was a new lottery system in place. Not having any idea how this system worked, but being able to determine that I had a very low number, it was inevitable that I would be going into the military soon. Since the Vietnam War was in full swing, and not wanting to go into the Army I decided to enlist in the Air Force. I would pursue my college later, which I did. And believe it or not, I actually had a very honest recruiter. He helped me prepare for the entrance exam. I scored well enough and I was able to get my first choice of Aircraft Maintenance. I was originally going to be assigned to Norton AFB in Southern California to work on C-141s. A couple weeks before I was to leave Chanute AFB, I received an amendment to my original orders, now sending me to Travis AFB, California to work on C-5’s. That one particular evening discussion was one of the best things that has ever happened in my life. Looking back, any member of my family that could serve, did serve, dating back to the Revolutionary War. It was my duty, and it was an honor.

WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK. WHAT WAS YOUR REASON FOR LEAVING?

I started out as a Aircraft Maintenance Specialist, Jet over 2 Engines. This training was at Chanute AFB, IL. After completion of this training, I was assigned to the C-5 Galaxy, 60th OMS at Travis AFB. This was the most beautiful Aircraft I have ever seen. I knew that one day I would become a flight engineer on this aircraft. So after about 6 years, I had an opportunity to fly as a crew chief. After a year of flying I applied to retrain as a Flight Engineer. And this is where my Air Force career progressed. After flying for about 3 years, in the 22 MAS, I applied for instructor duty for the 56th MAS, at Altus AFB, OK. This is where I really learned a lot about the C-5, the systems, and teaching people. I was stationed at Altus just short of 4 years. While at Altus I was able to further my education by attending the local college in town, in addition to attending the education program on base with Southern Illinois University. While considering a PCS move back to Travis, I flew the first C-5 B Model, 83-1285. It was at this time I had my choice of assignments, to go anywhere, on any aircraft. I decided that my loyalty should remain with the C-5. Returning to the 22 MAS at Travis, I was given the task of being the Chief of Flight Engineer Training. pathI was in this position for 4 years. As I was approaching 20 years of service, and having some discussions with my family I decided to retire based on my age at the time. I thought I’d have a better chance starting a new career at age 38/39 versus 45/48.

IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN COMBAT, PEACEKEEPING OR HUMANITARIAN OPERATIONS, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH WERE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TO YOU AND, IF LIFE-CHANGING, IN WHAT WAY.

It was 1974; I received the Humanitarian Service Medal for participation in Operation Baby Lift. This involved evacuating people from Vietnam. We lost one of our C-5’s during this operation, C-5A 68-218, however, I think overall, it was a success. 68218 was originally assigned to Dover, AFB Delaware. combatHowever, someone made a suggestion, or decision to trade 68218 for C-5A 69021 in 1972/1973. I was an Aircraft Maintenance Specialist during this time. I was assigned to 021. 69021 was a flyer and a real clean Airplane. It was well taken care of. When the trade went down, and 68218 arrived on station, it was a mess. And that’s an understatement. So I was now assigned to 218. In the early days of the C-5’s, there was not a refurb group/team at Travis AFB. So 218 went into an immediate refurb. This task was completed by our small team of about 5 people. I was assigned to 218 for about 1 1/2 to 2 years. When I became a flying crew chief, I flew with some of the crew members from the Saigon Crash. As a flight engineer, when I transferred to Altus AFB, I flew with the Co-Pilot from 218. He was our Operations Officer. I flew all over the World. It always gave me great pleasure and honor to help people in need. It just made me a better person.

OF ALL YOUR DUTY STATIONS OR ASSIGNMENTS, WHICH ONE DO YOU HAVE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY? WHICH ONE WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
favoriteAltus AFB, Oklahoma was my favorite.This is where I developed into a very good Instructor Flight Engineer. The resources were in place as far as having very experienced Instructor’s. I could talk to people either at TTU, Technical Training Unit, basically the classroom environment, (CMSgt Buck Buchannon) or anyone in our flying squadron. CMSgt Ron Snyder, CMSgt Jim Eakins, CMSgt Charlie Andersen. There was never any pressure from anyone for needing a little remedial training. I don’t have a least favorite. I was only stationed at Travis, & Altus. But I flew all over the World. Almost every place I flew into was a challenge, because they were all different, and each an every airlift mission was different.

FROM YOUR ENTIRE SERVICE, INCLUDING COMBAT, DESCRIBE THE PERSONAL MEMORIES WHICH HAVE IMPACTED YOU MOST?
My Leadership School, & NCO Academy Training. My Leadership School was at Norton AFB, CA, while my NCO Academy was at Lackland AFB TX. These two courses gave me some extremely good people skills. Both oral and written communication. Outstanding Instructors and group workshops. These schools helped develop me for the future. With the foundation being poured for me, memoriesI was able to transition successfully from the Air Force after 20 years when I went to work for Chevron USA for 14 years, and later Union Pacific Railroad for 10 years. I trained many people with Chevron. I wrote and up-dated plant procedures for the 2 refineries I was assigned, Richmond, CA & El Paso, TX. When I went to work for UP, I became an Instructor for HR. I instructed Locomotive Engineers, Conductors, & Brakemen in the classroom as well as the field. I traveled & trained all over the United States.

 

WHAT ACHIEVEMENT(S) ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF FROM YOUR MILITARY CAREER? 

Receiving my Meritorious Service Medal. I was Chief of Flight Engineer training in the 22 MAS for 4 years. My goal was; I wanted to prepare my student’s for the day when they would be on their own. We were also starting to receive the new C-5 Galaxy B models. valorWith that there seemed to be more focus on the new airplanes. So I was able to coordinate and schedule my students with C-5A training classes at the FTD School on Travis. When I wasn’t flying, I would take a group of students to each shop on base. They were able to see first hand the many components that they would interact with, discuss the parameters with each specialist, and have a better understanding how it all fit together and worked. We also would go to the ISO Docks and see the airplane in its skeleton form as most of the panels were removed. After each field trip so to speak, the students light bulbs would shine brighter. The Chief Trainer from the 75th MAS and myself combined our resources and were able to schedule an Airplane each week from maintenance with live systems. Short of starting engines, this was a huge success. In a nut shell, this decoration was for all of my training efforts with my students.

OF ALL THE MEDALS, AWARDS, QUALIFICATION BADGES OR DEVICES YOU RECEIVED, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE ONE(S) MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU AND WHY?

All of my awards & decorations mean a lot to me. Some stand above others. I am very proud/honored to have received my Meritorious Service Medal. This was in recognition for all of my training accomplishments. medalsI am also very proud of my Chief Aircrew Member Badge, and I am equally as proud of my Senior Maintenance Badge. Originally, there was no type of Badge for maintenance people. If memory serves me correctly, these Badge’s did not come out until the late ’80’s. I am also proud of my Marksmanship Ribbon. I shot expert with both the long rifle and pistol.

WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?

Dennis Riehl, CMSgt Retired, Calvin Takenaka, MSgt Retired, Ron Bretherick, MSgt Retired. These three were part of the original 28 C-5A Test Team Crew Chiefs. They were on the C-5A Test Team at Edwards AFB. They would be assigned to the 60th OMS. I later flew with Ron while we were stationed at Altus AFB. And from time to time, I would see both Dennis & Calvin out in the system. It was very reassuring to see them with the Aircraft that I was scheduled to fly on. Calvin Takenaka gave me one of his Test Team Patches. The other was the original 60 OMS patch. personCMSgt Art Kaveck; When I applied to retrain to become a flight engineer, I was interviewed by Chief Kaveck. He didn’t sugar coat the career field. He explained all of the worst things that could happen. This was a unique approach. After I retired, Art called me up at home and asked if I would be interested in teaching part time in the simulator.

I said, “absolutely”. CMSgt Ken Brooks. He was my first Branch Chief, Superintendent, when I was assigned to the 22 MAS. We flew together one time, and I will always remember that trip. CMSgt Jim Eakins. My first Branch Chief, Superintendent, when I was assigned to the 56 MAS, Altus AFB, OK. After retraining as a flight engineer, I had gone TDY to Altus for inflight refueling training. I met CMSgt Eakins on several occasions. Ultimately, it was his decision enabling me to be assigned to Altus. Additional People-Darrell Sandlin, David Kline, John Moran, Bill Duvall, Don Hoyer, Bill Mattingly, Dan Heffron, & Jim Hollis-These are all C-5A Test Team Crew Chiefs. Senior NCO’s, Paul Thomas, Oliver Merrill, (Ollie) Leon Rode, Jerry Campbell, Ron Snyder, Steve Jarnigan, Mike O’Neil, & Paul Feuz. Bob Starchman, Jim Stockley, two great Engine Mechanics & Flight Engineers.

Each one of these individuals had the knowledge and experience, and by working along side them, talking to them, this helped me out tremendously. They payed if forward to me, and I did the same as well. I may have missed some people, with this I apologize.

CAN YOU RECOUNT A PARTICULAR INCIDENT FROM YOUR SERVICE WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN FUNNY AT THE TIME, BUT STILL MAKES YOU LAUGH?

Part of the Aircrew Training requirement was to have altitude chamber training, initially & then every three years. This training focuses on the physiological aspect of the human body. One area is to learn your Hypoxia symptoms. While on a particular mission, with C-5A 68228, we were just a basic funnycrew, meaning there were just two flight engineer’s assigned. During one leg, I was the scanner, & during climb out, I was performing my duties when I noticed one of the oxygen doors in the troop compartment lavatory had fell open. Thinking this to be very unusual and the door possibly having a bad latch, I closed the oxygen mask door. Several minutes later when I was about to go back to the flight deck, the door opened again. I again reached over to close the door, and started on my way back. As I turned around, I saw all 25 mask door’s open, started to feel my hypoxia symptoms, and knew this was for real. I calmly picked up a portable oxygen bottle, and checked in with the flight deck. Once I arrived on the flight deck, I was able to troubleshoot our problem, correct the situation, check our remaining fuel and determine with the Aircraft Commander that we would be able to make it to our next station without having to make an emergency landing. The local Center was working with us and in any minute would have given us a direct flight path to any field for an emergency landing. Training can sometimes get in the way of your daily routine, but to stay sharp in any job, training is essential. I am thankful for all of those chamber rides, including those hours in the classroom learning the physiological aspects of the human body. This still makes me laugh to this day.

WHAT PROFESSION DID YOU FOLLOW AFTER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW? IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY SERVING, WHAT IS YOUR PRESENT OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY?

jobAs I may have mentioned earlier, I would have loved to stay in the Air Force forever, if it were possible. In my opinion, my age was starting to become a factor for me to start another career. So I decided to leave the Air Force. My initial plan was to continue flying for a major airline. I had many interviews and was just waiting for the phone to ring. Then the first Gulf War started. With this, all airline hiring was frozen. So my wife had noticed an advertisement in our local paper for refinery operators. So I applied to Chevron, in Richmond, California. I went to work for Chevron USA at the Richmond Refinery. I was an operator, both inside & outside. I was an integral part in manufacturing motor oil at the Richmond Refinery. After about 7 years, I transferred to El Paso,Texas. I went from a huge refinery, to a small Asphalt Plant. I worked for Chevron for 14 years, and then went to work for Union Pacific Railroad. I was a licensed conductor, remote control operator, & locomotive engineer for the first few years, and later became an Instructor. I traveled all over to different terminals teaching rules, and procedures. I am now retired.

WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?

AFSA, Air Force Sergeants Association. Keeping up with current events for military members. Always looking forward to my monthly news letter. Air Force Together We Served. This is very new to me. However, it has allowed me to re-connect with past service members. And it has given me a proud reflection of my career.

IN WHAT WAYS HAS SERVING IN THE MILITARY INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU HAVE APPROACHED YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CAREER?

Many ways; time management, discipline, being a good planner, interaction with other people. All of these skills have helped me both in my career’s after the Air Force, and at home as a husband, father, & family man. There were extremely long days/nights/shifts/flights while in the Air Force. When I went to work for Chevron and Union Pacific, it was one thing that I did not have to get use to. Long days/nights were not new to me. Accomplishing the near impossible; My photo here in 1977 shows 668306 with only 3 engines. This C-5 was damaged in November of 1976 by a Pylon Fire. It was temporarily repaired and cleared for a 1 time flight to Marietta, Georgia, to be completely repaired by Lockheed. Point being, you can accomplish anything. Stay focused, and never quit.

BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE AIR FORCE?

Respect your superior’s, respect each individual, follow orders & direction well. Help the weak or slow persons. Don’t look the other way by ignoring them. Don’t take any shortcuts & don’t ever be afraid to ask a question. Serving in the military is a good foundation builder for life in the future. It will make you a better person. I know it can be difficult for some people to look ahead 20 or more years. Try to have those short and long term goals. Where you start out in the military may not be where you want to finish. You can always retrain, but try to put yourself in a position for an easy transition from the military to civilian life. You can do anything if you put your mind in to it. If you’re told you can’t, don’t stop. Pursue it.

IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.

First let me say that until late 2014 I was not aware of TWS. My former companies frowned upon its employees searching any type of social media or internet site while at work. I can respect that, since I have learned several people from various companies, organizations have either been disciplined or fired from inappropriate comments. This is one area that I always touched on with my students at Union Pacific. So after finally retiring altogether, I discovered TWS from a flight engineer on Facebook. So I joined. This has allowed me to record many things electronically, which I am proud of, and get in touch with former people that I worked with, and flew with. It ‘s a work in progress. I have also enjoyed recruiting several people, which gives me a great deal of satisfaction. With that said, I hope my career will have an impact on current military members in the future. Best of luck with all of your aspirations and travels.

Scott Rogers Jr. (Scotty)

6
Jul

Sgt James Shigeta US Marine Corps (Served 1951-1954)

Military Service of Actor:

shigetaSgt James Shigeta

US Marine Corps

(Served 1951-1954)

View his Service Profile on TogetherWeServed.com at http://marines.togetherweserved.com/profile/382738
Short Bio: He is best remembered for his 1988 role in “Die Hard” as businessman Joseph Takagi, who refused to give German terrorists the security code to a skyscraper’s central control room and got a bullet in the head in return. James Shigeta served during the Korean War with the 2nd Replacement Company.

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