View the service history of TV Painter
MSgt Bob Ross
US Air Force (Ret)
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.
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.
B.C. Holmes, Navy Corpsman
J.T. Adams (posthumously)
J.R Thompson (posthumously)
Silver Star Medal
Charles Bosley, Navy Corpsman
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.
Military service of Singer:
SN Gene Vincent
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.
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 screenâtwo large and two smallâwhich 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.
View the military history of actor:
Sgt Tom Selleck
US Army National Guard
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.
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/
Military Service of Actor:
Sgt James Shigeta
US Marine Corps
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.