The Christy Collection

Military Stories and Articles

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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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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Maj Kurt Chew-Een Lee, U.S.M.C. (1945-1968)

Maj Kurt Chew-Een Lee, U.S.M.C. (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...

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The Most Decorated Enlisted Sailor in Navy History

The Most Decorated Enlisted Sailor in Navy History

In the history of the United States Navy, only seven men have earned all of the big three valor awards: Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, and Silver Star. Six were World War II officers, including one aviator. The seventh was James Elliott "Willy" Williams - considered the most decorated enlisted man in the history of the Navy. Biography of James Williams Williams, a Cherokee Indian, was born November 13, 1930, in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Two months later he moved with his parents to Darlington,...

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Refined by Fire by Ruth Vandyke and Yvonne Doll

Refined by Fire by Ruth Vandyke and Yvonne Doll

Privates Joyce Kutsch and Rita Johnson became the first women to graduate from a modified Basic Airborne Course on December 14, 1973. In 2007, Army medic Specialist Monica Lin Brown was only the second female soldier since World War II to receive the Silver Star. Eight women were admitted to Army Ranger School for the first time in 2015. All failed, but three were invited back for another try. Obviously, these were historical inroads in what had been the male soldiers' exclusive domain and...

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Maj Bernie Fisher – First Air Force MOH

Maj Bernie Fisher – First Air Force MOH

A separate design for a version of the Medal of Honor for the U.S. Air Force was created in 1956, authorized in 1960, and officially adopted on April 14, 1965. Previously, members of the U.S. Army Air Corps, U.S. Army Air Forces, and the U.S. Air Force received the Army version of the medal.  The first person to receive the new U.S. Air Force Medal of Honor was Major Bernie Fisher during the Battle of A Shau Valley in March 1966. He also received a Silver Star during the same battle. The...

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

Lt Gen Lewis “Chesty” Puller, U.S.M.C. (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 Burwell 'Chesty' Puller. The son of a grocer, Lewis Puller was born June 26, 1898, at West Point, Virginia, to Matthew and Martha Puller....

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Maj Audie Murphy, U.S. Army (1942-1969)

Maj Audie Murphy, U.S. Army (1942-1969)

He wanted to join the Marines, but he was too short. The paratroopers wouldn't have him either. Reluctantly, he settled on the infantry, enlisting to become nothing less than one of the most-decorated heroes of World War II. He was Audie Murphy, the baby-faced Texas farm boy who became an American Legend. Biography of Audie Murphy The sixth of twelve children, Audie Murphy, was born in Kingston, Hunt County, TX, on June 20, 1925. The son of poor sharecroppers, Emmett and Josie Murphy, Audie...

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