The Christy Collection

Military Stories and Articles

Maj Richard Bong, U.S. Army Air Forces (1941–1945)

Maj Richard Bong, U.S. Army Air Forces (1941–1945)

Richard Ira "Dick" Bong, was born September 24, 1920, in St. Mary's hospital in Superior, Wisconsin. He was the first of nine children born to Carl T. Bong and Dora Bryce Bong, living on a farm near the small town of Poplar, Wisconsin, about 20 miles southeast of Superior. Dick's father came to the United States from Sweden at the age of seven, and his mother was of Scots-English descent. Dick grew up on the family farm and attended the Poplar Grade School. Richard Bong then attended the...

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Lt Gen Lewis “Chesty” Puller, U.S.Marine Corps (1919-1955)

Lt Gen Lewis “Chesty” Puller, U.S.Marine Corps (1919-1955)

"Lewis Burwell ' Chesty' Puller, born in the 19th century, fought in the heaviest fighting of the 20th century and is now a legend in this century. The most decorated Marine to ever wear the uniform, and also the most beloved, Puller left a mark on the Marine Corps that would define its culture for years to come." - Michael Lane Smith Biography of Lewis "Chesty" Puller The son of a grocer, Lewis "Chesty" Puller was born June 26, 1898, at West Point, Virginia, to Matthew and Martha Puller....

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Col Ola Lee Mize, U.S. Army (1950-1981)

Col Ola Lee Mize, U.S. Army (1950-1981)

Ola Lee Mize was born August 28, 1931, in Albertville, Alabama as the son of a sharecropper. He was forced to leave school after just the ninth grade to help his family put food on the table, as was very common throughout the United States in that era. Mize's Military Service Mize tried several times to enlist in the Army but was rejected for being too light at just 120 pounds. He finally got in when his mother signed an affidavit to affirm his age since a tornado had destroyed all his town's...

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Admiral Paul A. Yost Jr, U.S. Coast Guard (1951-1990)

Admiral Paul A. Yost Jr, U.S. Coast Guard (1951-1990)

When Paul A. Yost Jr. assumed the position of Commandant of the United States Coast Guard in 1986, he approached the role with a powerful philosophy: "You have to lead the charge." At the time this was considered as an over-aggressive approach to leading what was viewed as more of a law enforcement agency than a military organization, but Admiral Yost had learned that lesson the hard way - in the jungles of Vietnam. Ever since they discovered a fishing vessel smuggling weapons into Vung Ro Bay...

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Service Reflections of LtCol Carl Reynoso, U.S. Marine Corps (1975-2010)

Service Reflections of LtCol Carl Reynoso, U.S. Marine Corps (1975-2010)

I was a Navy brat growing up in a number of Naval Stations in the Pacific: NAS Agana, Guam; Pearl Harbor NB, Hawaii; and NAS Sangley Point, Philippines. I always thought that I would join the Navy and be like my Dad, who was a Senior Chief (DKCS), but as I grew older, I started noticing that this other service was also on our bases. They wore different uniforms (khaki/trops/sateens) and carried themselves more professionally than Sailors, turns out they were Marines. I was also into reading history books at the time and read more and more about these Marines and determined that I just had to become one of them too. This really pissed off my Dad! Even though I was the son of a career Navy man, the Marine Corps mystique fascinated me. I always knew the Marines were different, better than Sailors. When I told my Dad that I wanted to be a Marine, he laughed and said I lacked the self-discipline it took to be a Marine. “You won’t last in the Marines. YOU? You can’t even hold on to a job, and you’ll get busted!” he often told me. As a teenager, I was wild, on the loose, vandalizing, and stealing (luckily, I was too crafty to be caught, which came in handy later in my career as a Recon Marine). I ditched school to surf and couldn’t hold onto any jobs. My life was spiraling down in an unhealthy direction. I was a long-haired surf bum who hung out at the beach, and although I was an Honors Student, I hated high school, stuff like that. I wasn’t into drugs or anything like that, but it would have only been a matter of time before something like that would have come along.

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Lt. Col. James Rowe, U.S. Army (1958 – 1989)

Lt. Col. James Rowe, U.S. Army (1958 – 1989)

Throughout the Vietnam War, the United States estimated that more than 2,500 American service members were taken prisoner or went missing during the Vietnam War. North Vietnam acknowledged only 687 of those unaccounted for. Most of them were returned during Operation Homecoming in 1973 after the Paris Peace Accords ended U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Of those 687, only 36 U.S. troops managed to escape their captors in North Vietnam and Laos. Of course, there were other attempts, but only those...

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Cpt Humbert Roque “Rocky” Versace, U.S. Army (1959–1965) – Medal of Honor Recipient

Cpt Humbert Roque “Rocky” Versace, U.S. Army (1959–1965) – Medal of Honor Recipient

Captain Humbert Roque Versace, affectionately called "Rocky," was an officer of the United States Army. He went on to receive the Medal of Honor-the greatest military decoration of the United States-for the heroic actions he undertook as a prisoner of war in the Vietnam War. Puerto Rican-Italian by descent, he was the first member of the U.S. Army to have ever received such a distinction. Born on July 2, 1937, in Honolulu, Hawaii, Humbert Roque Versace was the eldest of five children....

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SFC Leigh Ann Hester, U.S. Army (2001-Present) – Silver Star Recipient

SFC Leigh Ann Hester, U.S. Army (2001-Present) – Silver Star Recipient

On the morning of March 20, 2005, then-Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester was tasked with assisting a supply convoy moving east of Baghdad, a job that meant scanning and clearing the route of any improvised explosive devices. She'd done this job countless times before, getting shot at on almost a daily basis and seeing vehicles blown up more times than anyone would like to remember. Leigh Ann Hester Was Cited for Valor in Close Quarters Combat Executing daily patrols as a member of the National Guard's...

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Capt Francis Gary Powers, U.S. Air Force (1950 – 1963)

Capt Francis Gary Powers, U.S. Air Force (1950 – 1963)

Soviet Air Force pilot Capt. Igor Mentyukov was sitting at a bus station in Perm when he was recalled to base and ordered to get into his Sukhoi Su-9 wearing whatever he had on. He was not wearing a flight suit or any other gear, and his fighter was currently unarmed. His orders from Moscow were to take off immediately and pursue an enemy aircraft flown by American CIA pilot Francis Gary Powers at high altitude - and ram it.  He headed toward his plane and took off, headed for certain...

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Famous Army Units: 100th Infantry Battalion

Famous Army Units: 100th Infantry Battalion

With much of the world already at war, December 7, 1941 proved not only a day that would live in infamy but for most Americans, an event that would redefine their world. This impact was no more significant or immediate than for US citizens of Japanese ancestry and in particular second-generation Americans, or Nisei.  Since 1937 the Japanese invasion of China and atrocities inflicted on civilian populations sickened most of the world, punctuated by the undeclared attack on Pearl...

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