The Christy Collection

Military Stories and Articles

MSgt John F. Baker, Jr., U.S. Army (1966-1989)

MSgt John F. Baker, Jr., U.S. Army (1966-1989)

One of the most daunting jobs of the Vietnam War – if not all of military history – was that of the "Tunnel Rats." These brave men were tasked with entering tunnels dug by the Viet Cong as forward operating bases. Once inside these enemy strongholds, they would embark on search and destroy missions, clearing the underground complexes of any men and materiel with only a sidearm, bayonet, some explosives, and a flashlight for seeing in the dark depths.  Facing the Dangers of the Tunnels Enemy...

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SSG Wilson Watson, U.S. Army (1942-1966)

SSG Wilson Watson, U.S. Army (1942-1966)

Within the ranks of the military, there exists a certain rivalry between those who serve on the front lines and those who serve in the rear with the gear. While all jobs contribute to putting Americans in the fight, the Marines have long prized their beloved infantry above all. In modern terms, it is referred to as the "grunt versus POG debate" with POG referring to "persons other than grunts." In Vietnam, one might have heard the term REMF. Whatever one might call those in the rear, it would...

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Lt. Eddie Rickenbacker, U.S. Army Air Force (1917-1919)

Lt. Eddie Rickenbacker, U.S. Army Air Force (1917-1919)

The American Ace of Aces, Eddie Rickenbacker, was a successful race car driver, fighter pilot, an airline executive, wartime advisor, and elder statesman. Few aces achieved so much in so many different lifetime roles. His twenty-six aerial victories came after only two months of combat flying, a spectacular achievement. Eddie Rickenbacker Set a Speed Record in a Blitzen Benz His family name was originally spelled "Reichenbacher," anglicized to its more familiar form when the U.S. entered World...

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Thunder Below! by Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey

Thunder Below! by Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey

The thunderous roar of exploding depth charges was a familiar and comforting sound to the crew members of the USS Barb, who frequently found themselves somewhere between enemy fire and Davy Jones's locker. Under the leadership of her fearless skipper, Captain Gene Fluckey, the Barb sank the greatest tonnage of any American sub in World War II. At the same time, the Barb did far more than merely sink ships-she changed forever the way submarines stalk and kill their prey. This is a gripping...

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Capt. David McCampbell, U.S. Navy (1933-1964)

Capt. David McCampbell, U.S. Navy (1933-1964)

All available fighter pilots! Man your planes!" boomed the squawk box in Essex' ready room. The ship's radar had detected three large groups of Japanese planes coming in. David McCampbell, the CAG, and the Navy's most famous aviator considered this announcement. Earlier that morning, Admiral Sherman himself had forbidden McCampbell from joining a dawn sortie. Given his responsibilities as Commander of Essex' Air Group and his public prominence as a top ace, McCampbell was too valuable. He...

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SM1c Douglas Munro, U.S. Coast Guard (1939-1942)

SM1c Douglas Munro, U.S. Coast Guard (1939-1942)

During the World War II fight for Guadalcanal, three companies of United States Marines were cut off from the main force fighting along the Matanikau River. Surrounded and outnumbered, Marine Corps leadership believed the men would be annihilated - all but one, that is. Lt. Col. Lewis "Chesty" Puller wasn't about to let three whole companies die if he could do anything about it. If anyone could, it was Chesty. He flagged down the destroyer USS Monssen, organized a relief force of Higgins...

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Cpl Daniel Dwain Schoonover, U.S. Army (1952-1953)

Cpl Daniel Dwain Schoonover, U.S. Army (1952-1953)

Pork Chop Hill is one of the most infamous battle sites of the Korean War. A communist force met an equal number of United Nations troops twice in the spring and summer of 1953. They fought over a North Korean hill that, in retrospect, had little strategic value. The Importance of Pork Chop Hill Whether the hill was essential to the overall war effort or not, the American and United Nations troops who fought for the position did so with courage and valor, the way they would attack any...

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Sgt Allen James Lynch, U.S. Army (1964–1969)

Sgt Allen James Lynch, U.S. Army (1964–1969)

When Allen James Lynch Graduated from high school, he knew he would either have to go to a college or trade school or wait to get drafted. He decided to chart his own course and join the Army. He didn't want to wait for something to happen to him, so he made his way to a recruiter.  "I wasn't the hero you read about in books, you know," Allen said in a 2011 interview. "I was bullied a lot, pushed around in grade school, high school. I had a bad self-image. I had to test myself… I had to...

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Sgt Jack Riley, U.S. Marine Corps (1966-1972)

Sgt Jack Riley, U.S. Marine Corps (1966-1972)

Which individual(s) from your time in the military stand out as having had the most positive impact on you and why?:

Several heroes had a positive impact on my ability to survive some of the heaviest battles by Marines in the Vietnam War. My Senior DI at Parris Island, S/Sgt Leroy Elliott, named me the second most deserving of promotion to PFC in my Platoon 138. The Honor Marine was a contract journeyman butcher and deservingly so! Promoted to Gunny Elliott, he was killed on May 8, 1967, at Con Thien. My first Platoon Sergeant in Vietnam was S/Sgt Guy Hodgkins, who was Killed in Action on September 3, 1966. He spent a lot of time with me discussing VC tactics he had encountered and what I could expect as a squad leader.

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WW2 – The Heroes Of Eager Beavers

WW2 – The Heroes Of Eager Beavers

In 1943, several U.S. airmen went on a suicide mission. Two men, who were part of Eager Beavers, on the mission were awarded a Medal of Honor - the only time in WWII that two men received the same award for the same engagement. Interestingly, their careers didn't start out well. Biography of Lt Col Jay Zeamer Jr. Jay Zeamer, Jr. got his wings in 1941 at Langley Field. All his classmates became pilots and got their own planes and crews, but not Zeamer. Although he could fly and had a passion...

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WW2 – Battle Of Wake Island (1941)

WW2 – Battle Of Wake Island (1941)

The Battle of Wake Island was fought December 8-23, 1941, during the opening days of World War II. A tiny atoll in the central Pacific Ocean, Wake Island was annexed by the United States in 1899. Located between Midway and Guam, the island was not permanently settled until 1935 when Pan American Airways built a town and hotel to service their trans-Pacific China Clipper flights. Consisting of three small islets, Wake, Peale, and Wilkes, Wake Island was to the north of the Japanese-held...

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Maj Kurt Chew-Een Lee, U.S. Marine Corps (1945-1968)

Maj Kurt Chew-Een Lee, U.S. Marine Corps (1945-1968)

Kurt Chew-Een Lee is believed to have been the first Asian-American officer in the Marine Corps, rising through the ranks beginning his career from World War II to the Vietnam War.  Lee was born in 1926 in San Francisco and grew up in Sacramento, California. Lee's father was M. Young Lee, born in Guangzhou (Canton), emigrating in the 1920s to the Territory of Hawaii and then California. Once established in America, M. Young Lee returned to China to honor an arranged marriage. He brought his...

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