The Christy Collection

Military Stories and Articles

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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Leadership And the Janitor

Leadership And the Janitor

William "Bill" Crawford was an unimpressive figure, one you could easily overlook during a hectic day at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Mr. Crawford, as most of us referred to him back in the late 1970s, was our Squadron janitor.While we Cadets busied ourselves preparing for academic exams, athletic events, Saturday morning parades, and room inspection, or never-ending leadership classes-Bill quietly moved about the squadron mopping and buffing floors, emptying trash cans, cleaning toilets, or...

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Lt. Henry Fonda, U.S. Navy (1942-1946)

Lt. Henry Fonda, U.S. Navy (1942-1946)

Lt. Henry Fonda, of the US Navy between 1942 and 1946, interrupted a prominent career as a film actor in order to serve his country when it needed him most. Fonda’s commanding screen presence made him a favorite of theatergoers for five decades, culminating in an Oscar for his final performance. Henry Fonda’s Stage Beginnings Born in Grand Island, Nebraska, in 1905, Fonda was the son of a printer. Raised in Omaha, he witnessed and was profoundly affected by the horrors of the Omaha race riot...

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Vietnam and Beyond: Veteran Reflections by Jenny La Sala And Jim Markson

Vietnam and Beyond: Veteran Reflections by Jenny La Sala And Jim Markson

Those who have fought on a battlefield often describe it as a combination of extreme excitement and gut-wrenching terror. It's also a huge assault to the emotions that can leave permanent mental health damage. Today, that condition is called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the past, it has been known as battle fatigue (WWI) and shell shock (WWII).  This well-styled, organized, and powerfully written book is a compilation of first-hand accounts by warriors who suffer some aspects...

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War in the Pacific – The Battle of Manila

War in the Pacific – The Battle of Manila

On February 3, 1945, American forces entered the outskirts of Manila, capital of the Philippines, beginning the Battle of Manila, a ferocious and destructive urban battle against the Japanese that would leave Manila the second-hardest hit Allied capital (following Warsaw) of World War II.  American Troops Were Able to Rapidly Advance to Manila As part of his campaign to retake the Philippines from the Japanese (who had captured it from the Americans in 1942), General Douglas MacArthur first...

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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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“Go for Broke”

“Go for Broke”

Immediately after Japan's December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and other American bases in the Pacific, the United States declared war on Japan. Several days later Nazi German and Italy declared war on the U.S., embroiling the world into World War II. The war heightened American prejudice against German Americans and Italian Americans but the racism directed against Japanese Americans was particularly vicious. The calculated response culminated in the forced removal and unconstitutional...

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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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The Ship That Wouldn’t Die

The Ship That Wouldn’t Die

The USS Laffey (DD-724) was laid down 28 June 1943 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine. She was launched 21 November; sponsored by Miss Beatrice F. Laffey, daughter of Medal of Honor recipient S1c Bartlett Laffey. Commissioned 8 February 1944, Cdr. F. Julian. Becton as her first "Captain". Commander Frederick Julian Becton, Captain of the Destroyer USS Laffey After shakedown, the Laffey traveled the world in the war effort. She was off the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. Off Cherbourg, France...

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Korean War – The Battle of Chipyong-Ni

Korean War – The Battle of Chipyong-Ni

On June 25, 1950, the Korean War began when some 75,000 Soldiers from the North Korean People's Army (NPKA) poured across the 38th parallel and, within days, captured Seoul, the South Korean capital. For two months, the outnumbered South Korean army and the small American force fought numerous battles with NPKA as they withdrew down the Korean peninsula to the Pusan area at the southeast tip of Korea. It was here that they set up a final defensive perimeter where they were able to impede the...

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Common Myths of the Vietnam War

Common Myths of the Vietnam War

Myth of the Vietnam War #1 Common belief is that most Vietnam veterans were drafted.  Fact: 2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers. 2/3 of the men who served in World War II were drafted. Approximately 70% of those killed in Vietnam were volunteers. Myth of the Vietnam War #2 Common belief that the media reported suicides among Vietnam veterans range from 50,000 to 100,000 - 6 to 11 times the non-Vietnam veteran population.  Fact: Mortality studies show that 9,000 is a...

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WW2 – Battle Of The Aleutian Islands

WW2 – Battle Of The Aleutian Islands

In June 1942, six months after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor that drew the U.S. into World War II, the Japanese targeted the Aleutians, an American-owned chain of remote, sparsely inhabited, volcanic islands extending some 1,200 miles west of the Alaskan Peninsula. After reaching the Aleutians, the Japanese conducted airstrikes on Dutch Harbor, the site of two American military bases, on June 3 and June 4. The Japanese then made landfall at Kiska Island on June 6 and Attu Island,...

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