07 August 2015
Today is Purple Heart Day. On August 7, 1782, General George Washington - then the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army - established the Purple Heart award, originally designated as the Badge of Military Merit.
The Purple Heart exists in its current form since 1932, and is awarded to service members "wounded or killed in any action against an enemy of the United States or as a result of an act of any such enemy or opposing armed forces".
During World War II, almost 500,000 Purple Heart medals were produced in anticipation of the huge number of casualties estimated to result from the planned Allied invasion of Japan. The invasion never happened due to the dropping of the atomic bomb on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In fact, the total combined casualties of the sixty-five years following the end of World War II — including the Korean and Vietnam Wars — have not exceeded that number, so the Purple Heart medals awarded today are part of that stock.
As of 2010, a total of over 1,900,000 Purple Hearts have been awarded in our nation's history - over 35,000 to service members for wounds sustained in the Iraq War and over 7000 for the war in Afghanistan.
13 July 2015
"I just hope these guys’ wives and their children understand how courageous their husbands and dads were. They fought like warriors." - SGT Jacob Walker
1LT Jonathan Brostrom
SGT Israel Garcia
SPC Matthew Phillips
SPC Pruitt Rainey
SPC Jonathan Ayers
SPC Jason Bogar
SPC Sergio Abad
SPC Jason Hovater
SPC Gunnar Zwilling
All Sky Soldiers of Chosen Company, 2/503 Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. They were killed in action at Vehicle Patrol Base Kahler near Wanat in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on July 13, 2008. 27 Americans and four Afghan soldiers were wounded.
Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and with all of the men who were there that day. We will always remember.
Originally posted 13 July 2009.
11 July 2015
The home is being renovated by the Lifetime TV show "Designing Spaces: Military Makeovers". According to them,
A few months ago, our producers received a call from Wilma (“Tinky”) Stuart of Orlando, FL. She was touched by what she saw on the Military Makeover series that aired in November 2014, coming from a military family herself. Wilma wants to make a difference for a needy veteran — and has generously donated a home to our next Military Makeover family.
WFTV - Orlando:
"It's the beginning of the largest chapter of my life. It's the best part of my life," [Army veteran Tommy] Travis said.
A woman whom he's never met, Tinky Stewart, 85, is giving her house to Travis to show her gratitude for his sacrifice. Stewart is the widow of a Marine.
"I'm of the age where it takes very little for me anymore. So, I thought, 'Why not donate it to a nice veteran and his family?'" Stewart said.
For Travis, his wife and two daughters, the home will mean the end of countless moves, courtesy of the U.S. Army. It will finally be a home upon which they can build.
"She's an angel for what she did. I can't say thank you enough. I could say it a hundred million times and it still wouldn't be enough to show the gratitude I have toward her," Travis said.
The house will be mortgage free.
The episode on the makeover will air in October.
03 July 2015
Today, Independence Day, we remember that our freedom and liberty are owed to a remarkable group of men and women who had the courage to stand up against the tyranny and injustice of the British Crown over 200 years ago.
56 men signed a document that denounced the “repeated injuries and usurpations” of their God-given rights and liberties. This bold and courageous act was not self-serving, but a pursuit to establish a new way of life where all men, created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
They pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to fulfill the principles of freedom our Warriors still fight for today.
God bless America, and happy Independence Day!
21 June 2015
14 June 2015
"Two hundred forty years ago, our nation's leaders established the Continental Army. Today, the Army is the strategic landpower of the joint force; called upon to prevent, shape, and win against our adversaries.
"This year, we celebrate 240 years of selfless service to the nation. Selfless service is at the core of what it means to be a Soldier - putting the welfare of others ahead of oneself. The willingness of our Soldiers - to place themselves in harm's way and to protect our nation's freedoms - is what makes us the premier all-volunteer force. The Army has served proudly, faithfully, and selflessly for 240 years, and we remain steadfast in our commitment."
Much more at Army.mil.
03 June 2015
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong.
Last Friday was Jerral Hanckock's birthday, Alive Day, and the day he received the keys to his new smart home after years of trying to maneuver his wheelchair inside his cramped mobile home.
From Dennis L. Anderson of Task & Purpose:
For the past two years, history students from Lancaster High School raised more than $300,000 to build this tribute home to one of their community’s most severely wounded veterans of the Iraq War. The Gary Sinise Foundation and allies kicked in the rest of the close to half-million dollars to finish the grassroots housing drive that resulted from a classroom visit by Hancock.
“I just went to talk to the class to tell them about my experiences,” Hancock told the audience gathered at Friday’s event. “I wasn’t expecting anything from it.”
Supervised by history instructor Jamie Goodreau and led by student Nicole Skinner, the group that was inspired by Hancock’s account of ordeal and triumph organized their own organic nonprofit, Operation All The Way Home.
The students started raising funds two years ago, immediately after hearing Hancock share the grim facts of combat and catastrophic injury.
A remark Hancock made during a “living history” presentation to the students organized by Goodreau awed the students. A few of his words became the signature phrase of their determination to build a home for the vet who rolled his electric wheelchair into their class to talk to them.
“Life does have to go on,” Hancock said at the class event in 2013. “Whether I choose to sit and pout or go with the flow is up to me.”
On the morning of May 29, 2007 - Jerral's birthday - his unit was on a mission supporting Special Forces troops in the search for high-value targets in Sadr City.
Spc. Jerral Hancock, 1st Cavalry Division, was the driver. When the IED detonated, Hancock was immediately showered with white hot steel. The armored vehicle’s interior transformed to shrapnel that ripped and burned Hancock.
It was the present Hancock got for his 21st birthday. He was trapped, his body shredded and burning inside the vehicle.
The United States lost few tanks during eight years from 2003–2011, but the IED munitions supplied to Iran-backed Shiite militias found the 70-ton behemoth’s weak point: the thinly armored underbelly between the treads. Hancock’s crew mates jumped or were thrown free, but Hancock roasted in the burning hulk for 90 minutes before he was cut free, with some rescuers already believing him dead.
He surprised them.
Shrapnel severed his spinal cord to paralyze him below the chest. Burning metal and wiring charred his torso into a scarred, fleshy canvas creating ornate “tanker” tattoos he still bears today. His left arm was sheared off above the shoulder. He calls it his “chicken wing.”
Hancock’s 21st birthday became his “Alive Day,” the day the enemy almost, but not quite, succeeded in killing him.
Eight years later, Jerral has finally come home.
“This is going to go a long way to help with my quality of life, and my independence,” Hancock said Friday, soon after hundreds of supporters, contributors, sponsors, donors and volunteer builders cheered, and sang “Happy Birthday,” with 8-year-old daughter Anastasia chorusing “Cha Cha Cha.”
“I’ll be able to help my dad,” fifth grader Julius said, darting in and out of the crowd, clad like his father, in a camouflage ball cap and t-shirt.
“This patriotic American military community … it’s something you don’t see,” Hancock told the group gathered Friday. “You guys basically did something that’s never been done, all the OATH students … mainly the community support was beyond what I expected, beyond what anybody expected. The community as a whole stepped up. I am really grateful for everything that everybody has done, and I just want to say ‘Thank You.’”
Happy birthday, Happy Alive Day, and welcome home, Jerral!