8/24/2020 0 Comments
Each time Mathilda Benson patched up a sailor pummeled from the battles of WWII, she couldn’t help but think of her younger brother, Lewis.
Just a few months before Benson joined the Navy in the early 1940s, Lewis was killed in a boat off the coast of Northern Africa. His service had inspired her to parlay her dream of becoming a nurse into military service.
“That was really tough on me,” said Benson, now 100 years old. “I always felt bad that I couldn’t have done anything for my baby brother. ... When I was taking care of the young men, I felt like I wish I could have taken care of my baby brother.”
Read the story here: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2020-news-articles/healing-on-the-home-front-lt.-mathilda-benson,-usn-(ret),-on-her-world-war-ii-service/
8/11/2020 0 Comments
Joseph Peterburs flew his P-51 Mustang close to the B-17 bombers he was escorting through the sky above Berlin, just as he had on 48 previous missions during WWII.
But on his 49th mission, the Germans flooded the sky with fighters. Peterburs, an adrenaline-filled 19-year-old, soared through the sky chasing a German fighter he saw blow up a B-17 bomber. He closed in as it hit a second bomber.
“Just as he blew up the second, I came in from the rear,” Peterburs said. “I saw smoke and fire on his left wing. He immediately rolled over and started to the deck. I just broke off the chase.”
Read the story here: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2020-news-articles/from-teenage-pilot-to-pow-col.-joseph-peterburs,-usaf-(ret),-on-his-world-war-ii-service/
8/4/2020 0 Comments
When the Gestapo visited Frank Cohn’s childhood home in Breslau, Germany, in 1938 searching for his father, he and his mother knew it was time to leave.
At the time, 13-year-old Cohn hadn’t imagined he would return to his native Germany six years later. But when he did, he was wearing an American Army uniform, searching for Nazis and liberating oppressed people.
For Cohn, WWII was the culmination of years of childhood memories of violence, hate, and atrocities he recalls seeing on his street. “I’m a survivor and a liberator,” said Cohn, a 94-year-old retired Army colonel. “I was not going to be a victim for the rest of my life. With a caveat — we were never going to be like them.”
Read the story: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2020-news-articles/a-survivor-and-a-liberator-col.-frank-cohn,-usa-(ret),-on-his-world-war-ii-service/
7/6/2020 0 Comments
Army 1st Lt. Benjamin Keating knew the armored supply vehicle was too heavy for the road in Kamdesh, a remote town in eastern Afghanistan, so he went against regulation that day in 2006 took the wheel.
The road collapsed, tossing Keating from the truck as the Landay-Sin River sucked him under, according to reports. His death had a profound effect on his platoon, while demonstrating the tremendous care he had for his soldiers.
“Lt. Ben Keating was an example of a good leader who took responsibility and lived among his men and for this men and not above them or looking down on them,” said acclaimed actor Orlando Bloom, who portrays Keating in the new military thriller The Outpost.
Bloom spoke to Military Officer about his role as Keating and how he trained with the Army. The performance comes nearly 20 years after one of his first film roles as a professional actor – a brief appearance as an Army private first class in Black Hawk Down.
Read more here: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2020-news-articles/moaa-interview-orlando-bloom-on-portraying-an-army-officer-in-the-outpost/
MOAA board member Lt. Col. Walter Smiley Jr., USA (Ret), joined 99 other Black fathers as part of a special production featuring Oprah Winfrey that focused on how the men are raising their families in this moment.
Smiley, who capped a 25-year career as the chief of operations for the Rapid Equipping Force at Fort Belvoir, Va., was in the virtual audience for OWN Spotlight: Oprah and 100 Black Fathers, which touched on the urgency of having “the talk,” among other topics. Smiley caught the eye of Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) producers after he shared some of his experiences as a minority officer with the New York Times.
“It’s about time there’s a discussion about it,” Smiley said.
Read more here: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2020-news-articles/moaa-board-member-part-of-oprahs-100-black-fathers-special/
Most weeks, Lt. Col. Bruce “Woody” Caine, USA (Ret), is plunged somewhere in the 2.5-acre historical replica of a Brown Water Navy support base during a Tet Offensive.
He’s one of the most active volunteers at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Charleston, S.C., giving 350 hours of his time last year to educate visitors about the Vietnam War. A small group of people usually is crowded around him, entranced with his memories from service as an Army infantry officer in Mekong Delta in 1968.
Read the story here: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2020-news-articles/vietnam-veteran-shares-war-stories-at-local-museum/
U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley hosts World War II veteran, retired Lt. Col. James “Maggie” Megellas for his 100th birthday during an office call in the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., March 10, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jamill Ford/Released)
James “Maggie” Megellas, a World War II Army officer who became a legend after he single-handedly wiped out a German tank with grenades during the Battle of the Bulge, has died. He was 103.
Megellas, a Life Member of MOAA and retired Army lieutenant colonel, is known as the most decorated officer in the history of the 82nd Airborne. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts; he was recommended for the Medal of Honor in 1945 and again decades later through legislative efforts.
Read my story here: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2020-news-articles/maggie-megellas,-world-war-ii-hero-and-moaa-life-member,-dies-at-103/
I've previously written about Lt. Col. Megellas for the Fayetteville Observer:
3/9/2020 0 Comments
Vice Adm. John P. Currier arrives after landing a Coast Guard helicopter for the final time before being relieved as the ancient albatross by Rear Adm. John H. Korn, commander of the Coast Guard 7th District, during a change of watch ceremony at Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, June 4, 2014. Currier, the 28th vice commandant of the Coast Guard, previously served in Traverse City and is retiring in the area. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.
Vice Adm. John Currier, a former Coast Guard vice commandant who unknowingly received a prestigious award for a daring hoist rescue of 10 men from a sinking fishing vessel in 1980, died March 1 in his home in Michigan. He was 68.
Currier, whose 38-year Coast Guard career included service as the 28th vice commandant, is survived by his wife, Mary Jane. The couple was married for more than 40 years and moved to six duty stations from Alaska to Florida.
A Life Member of MOAA, Currier began his career as a naval aviator when he commissioned from Officer Candidate School in 1976. A few years later, the junior officer was stationed in the North Atlantic when he received a distress call that would test his flight skill – and brazen courage.
Read my story here: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2020-news-articles/vice-adm.-john-currier,-coast-guard-vice-commandant-and-hero-rescue-pilot,-dies-at-68/
3/4/2020 0 Comments
Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson meets with Tammie Jo Shults and her family in the Pentagon. Shults, a former Navy aviator and one of the first female F/A-18 Hornet pilots, safely landed a commercial Boeing 737-700 after the aircraft suffered engine failure in April 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Nathan Laird/Released)
Tammie Jo Shults, the Southwest Airlines pilot heralded for landing a severely damaged Boeing 737 after an engine failure in 2018, had once been told, “Girls don’t become pilots.”
Read my story here: moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2020-news-articles/moaa-interview-this-aviators-military-training-helped-her-make-an-historic-landing/
Army 1st Lt. Albert Cliette, right, receives the Silver Star from Maj. Gen. Claude B. Ferenbaugh, commanding general of the 7th Infantry Division. (U.S. Army Special Operations Command photo)
When Albert Cliette volunteered to join a new unit seeking the Army’s most daring warfighters, he already had proven his leadership prowess and courage — by jumping from airplanes at airborne school.
But when he arrived at the newly formed Ranger School at Fort Benning, Ga., in 1950, he and other black soldiers were reminded they weren’t equal and were pulled away from white soldiers to train, eat, and sleep. It was a gesture of racism Cliette, 92, hadn’t experienced during his childhood in Detroit.
Read my story here: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2020-news-articles/life-member-likely-last-living-officer-of-2nd-ranger-company/
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