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January 3, 2006
2005: HeroesBy Greyhawk
"The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him."
- - G.K. Chesterton
Some of the names below may be familiar to you, others perhaps less so. These are a few of the heroes we - or our fellow milbloggers - found time to recognize. I only regret we couldn't do more. In many of the below accounts you'll find first-person narratives, or comments from people who were there. In other cases you'll find comments from those left behind.
Here's a tip on reading milblog posts: don't miss the comment sections. There you'll often encounter those folks mentioned above. I'm always humbled to find remarks left by the subject of these posts - or the relatives of the fallen. As I noted in one of the earliest such efforts here, I hope we've done right by them.
Some time off we'll look back and realize that there were heroes among us in these days, though many of us didn't know it, and few of them would claim the title.
Coach - if you're in uniform, ordinary heroes are more than names.
Hostage rescue - John Lucas of Knoxville Tn., emails to clarify events surrounding the resue of Egyptian hostages by US soldiers... since Mr Lucas' son was one of those soldiers involved in the rescue, we'll let him take it from here...
TSgt John Chapman - OEF, Roberts Ridge. The Navy has announced it will name a ship for Air Force Technical Sergeant (E6) John A. Chapman...
Gunnery Sergeant Darrell Carver: On one side of the doors stood men who believed they would be judged how they lived. On the other lay men who believed they would be judged on how they died.
Lance Cpl Thomas R. Adametz - Silver Star. Outnumbered, pinned down and under attack from three directions, the Marines of Echo Company were in danger of being overrun by Iraqi insurgents hurling grenades and firing rockets and AK-47s... "I looked out there and saw this crazy maniac firing away so all the Marines could come back alive," said Lance Cpl. Carlos Gomez-Perez, who was severely wounded in the attack.
Spc Kevin Pannell If Kevin Pannell doesn't answer his cell phone, you'll get the message, "You've reached the coolest amputee in the world." More: The gentleman went on to ask Kevin if he thought that war was inevitable, and if he thought there would be more of it in the future.
"Yeah, oh yeah" says Kevin and he went on to explain why we're not speaking German at this very moment.
Sgt Peter Damon - Pete Damon will go to the Fenway Park mound this afternoon to throw out the first ball before the Red Sox-Orioles game with his wife at his side. Jenn Damon will tote a backpack stuffed with the necessities: a screwdriver, a piece of Kevlar string, a cable, and a spare arm.
Sergeant P.G. Crittenden, Royal Australian Air Force, WWII
Katrina: But as the Black Hawk helicopter approached the flooded hotel in the New Orleans East area on Sept. 2, he was stunned by what he saw on its balcony.
"For a minute, we sort of looked at each other and didn't say anything," Sergeant Sorjonen said. "It was something - something you wouldn't expect to see here. Something you wouldn't want to see here."
Katrina: Dr Stanley Tillinghast, M.D.
Katrina: Med 1
Katrina: Sheepdogs in wet shoes
Attacks on multiple positions: Your search for Marine Corporal Joshua Butler in all fields returned 0 results.
The return of the 3/25: Despite the national attention, the Marines arrived to little fanfare.
John Eade and Larry Gwin, the Ia Drang valley, Vietnam, 40 years later.
Marine lieutenant Ryan McGlothlin: "My son told us, to our faces, 'I won't vote for Mr. Bush, but I'll take a bullet for him,' " Donald McGlothlin said in an interview Wednesday.
SGT Michael "Mike" James Stokely: Came across your blog this morning, and thought I'd share my thoughts as the dad of an American Soldier killed in action four months ago.
Some distant sunset, vision fading
Saluting fallen friends whose names
Posted by Greyhawk / January 3, 2006 8:44 PM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
Furthermore, I will occasionally use satire or parody herein. The bottom line: it's my house.
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Original content copyright © 2003 - 2011 by Greyhawk. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com