The Christy Collection

Military Stories and Articles

The First Purple Hearts

The First Purple Hearts

It might come as a surprise to many, but the United States did not offer its troops medals or ribbons as uniform decorations until the Medal of Honor was introduced by President Lincoln during the Civil War. It was only offered to enlisted troops in July 1862, but by December, it was made available to officers who displayed exceptional gallantry.  Until that point in U.S. military history, military medals were more of a European tradition. Medals and ribbons were seen as a custom...

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Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone, U.S. Marine Corps (1934-45)

Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone, U.S. Marine Corps (1934-45)

Today's United States Marines have many idols. Unsurprisingly, these are often other Marines, Marines who served in wars past but distinguished themselves and exemplified what it means to call oneself a United States Marine. Few of these idols loom as large as Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone.  Basilone was born to an Italian family in Upstate New York and raised in New Jersey. He was working as a golf caddy when he decided to join the Army in 1934. It was, of course, years before the United...

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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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Service Reflections of LTC Edward Shyloski, U.S. Army (1966-2003)

Service Reflections of LTC Edward Shyloski, U.S. Army (1966-2003)

My father was a WWII vet who admired his country and the Army. I wanted to follow in his footsteps and have never been sorry to do so. My daughter followed mine and became a 4th Inf Division Aviation Company Commander with three sets of wings on her chest, i.e., Aviator, Jump, and Air Assault.

I attended her taking command at Fort Hood, and her 4th Inf Brigade Commander made a big deal of our heritage of serving the Army through three generations and supporting the 4th Infantry in Vietnam. My daughter’s husband, Andrew Morgado, is now becoming CoS of 8 Army 1 August 2020. We will see what our 4 grandkids do!

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LtGen Arthur MacArthur Jr., U.S. Army (1861-1909)

LtGen Arthur MacArthur Jr., U.S. Army (1861-1909)

With no less than 620,000 deaths recorded over four years of intense fighting between Confederate and Union forces, the American Civil War remains the bloodiest conflict in American history. Playing host to battles such as Shiloh, Antietam, Stones River, and Gettysburg, the Civil War holds tales of unprecedented violence, ferocious bravery, and unparalleled heroism. Among these many tales is that of Lieutenant General Arthur MacArthur Jr. whose bravery at the most critical moment inspired his...

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MajGen Frank Baldwin, U.S. Army (1861-1906)

MajGen Frank Baldwin, U.S. Army (1861-1906)

Receiving the Medal of Honor for valor in combat puts one in the hallowed company of but a few thousand individuals to ever grace the earth. But by the time you earn two Medals of Honor, you are one of 19 persons to have ever done so. Perhaps it is because the Medal of Honor is quite often awarded posthumously but receiving two and living to talk about it is a rare feat in the world. Frank Baldwin would do just that in the 1800s and live to become a General by World War 1. His first would come...

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Service Reflections of Capt Bill Darrow, U.S. Marine Corps (1963-1983)

Service Reflections of Capt Bill Darrow, U.S. Marine Corps (1963-1983)

Both my parents were in the Navy during WWII. My Mother was one of the first WAVES, and my Dad was a POW at Bataan and an officer in the Navy. I have three brothers who were all in the Navy during the Korean War. During my grade school years, I attended Peekskill Military Academy in NY and was further schooled at home with Calvert School. I graduated from High School in Belvidere, NJ.
At 17, I briefly attended a Business School in Pennsylvania but soon got bored. Then, I decided to join the Navy and carry on the family tradition. There was a long narrow hallway in the post office where the recruiters were located, with the Navy recruiter on my right and the Marine Corps recruiter on my left. I stood in the hall between the two offices. Turning to my right to go into the Navy recruiting office, I noticed that the Navy Chief was wearing a soiled uniform. Next to him was a coffee pot that looked like it hadn’t been cleaned since the Spanish American War. He was overweight and didn’t seem to be too interested in the young man beginning to enter his office. Just before I walked into that somewhat messy office, I heard someone with a deep, commanding voice speak to someone else he called Corporal. I turned and saw the most chiseled-faced, lean man with a very short neat haircut and wearing a shirt with creases in it that could cut your finger on. I couldn’t help but stare at the very clean office with posters of fighting men, jets, carved Marine Corps logos, and an NCO sword hung neatly on the wall. Another man with fewer stripes on his shirt walked across the office

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Gen Louis H. Wilson, U.S.Marine Corps (1941–1979) – Medal of Honor Recipient

Gen Louis H. Wilson, U.S.Marine Corps (1941–1979) – Medal of Honor Recipient

There have been a few Commandants who had been recipients of the Medal of Honor, but Louis H. Wilson was the last. And given that the entire ranks of the modern Marine Corps are currently devoid of any officers with the nation's highest military honor it could be quite some time before the world would ever see it again. His tenure as the nation's top Marine from 1975 to 1979 would be one of remarkable transitions. The World War II generation had all but faded out, and the Commandant who...

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SFC Ronald Rosser, U.S. Army  (1946-1962) – Medal of Honor Recipient

SFC Ronald Rosser, U.S. Army (1946-1962) – Medal of Honor Recipient

Medal of Honor Recipient Ronald Rosser passed away on Wednesday Aug 26, 2020 in Bumpus Mills, Tenessee at the age of 90 from issues related to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was awarded the medal for his bravery during the Korean War. Ronald Rosser was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1929. His father was a coal miner. When he turned 17, his mother gave birth to twins. He decided there wasn't enough room for him at home, so he followed his brother into the military in 1946. He served for three years and...

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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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PFC Oscar Palmer Austin, U.S. Marine Corps (1968 – 1969)

PFC Oscar Palmer Austin, U.S. Marine Corps (1968 – 1969)

One of the bravest, most extraordinary acts of valor American troops are known to do in combat is throwing themselves on a grenade to save their brothers and sisters in arms. Few survive such a selfless act of heroism. Even fewer get the opportunity to risk sacrificing their lives for a fellow service member twice. Oscar Palmer Austin was a Marine who did just that. It happened on the same fiery night in Vietnam, and he did it to save the same person. For his selfless bravery in saving...

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