Act of valor led to medals, awards

Act of valor led to medals, awards

By Danielle McLean
Maynard —

Robert R. Lee, nicknamed the “The General,” served two tours in the Vietnam War as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army and part of the Army’s elite 11th Armored Calvary Regiment, known as the Black Horse Troopers, between 1968 and 1971. In his first tour he was part of the Army’s M-48 A3 Tank force and in the second, was a helicopter door gunner.

He has earned several prestigious medals including a Purple Heart, a Silver Star, a Bronze Star with valor, an Army Accommodation Medal with valor, and numerous Air Medal Awards. He was a member of the Army Reserves for seven years after his time in Vietnam.
Lee has lived in Maynard for 40 years with his wife Angela Lee Cossette, working for the Digital Equipment Corporation for 20 years and then the U.S. Postal Service before retiring in 2008. He is still an active charter member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 116 out of Leominster.

What prompted you to enlist into the army?

 I originally got drafted. Then I was told I would stay home for another six months, so I changed my draft into an enlistment. That made it so for one extra year I could get specialty training instead of infantry training. Back in those days when you are 19 you are thinking, “I think I would rather be on a tank than an infantry soldier.” What did I know? Plus somebody mentioned going to Germany where all the girls are, so at 19 I enlisted for an extra year to make it three years and to get specialized training for armor.

What was the story behind your awards? What do they mean to you?

The Silver Star has always been something that has always meant a little extra to me, mainly because that day will always live in my memory as the day I probably should have got kicked in the butt instead of being pinned on a Silver Star.

Editor’s note: the Silver Star Medal is the third highest award for bravery in the U.S. military.

I did some things that I wasn’t sure I was capable of doing, but I knew I had to do and the outcome was the award. I was on an M-48 A3 tank and we were taking fire from both sides of us. Our tank got hit by a rocket propelled grenade and before I knew it the tank commander was down and severely wounded. Everyone was trying to communicate and we had our radios blown out by a rocket-propelled grenade.

I grabbed my personal weapon and I got help. While I was running to the next tank to let them know we’d been hit I stumbled onto an [enemy] bunker complex that was right in front of me. I decided to start shooting into it.

As the story goes, the guys in the helicopter were watching me with a set of binoculars saying, ‘who is that idiot playing John Wayne?’ For many years I tried to not play that in my mind because I know lots of people that got shot up and wounded that day, including myself. But then I came to the determination that it is something I should be proud of and I am proud of. So I decided to start talking about it and I found that talking about it brought me to a different place in my life.

We all love our country and we all love our brothers and each year around this time on Memorial Day we all remember the ones that didn’t come back.

Can you describe the bond you share with your fellow Vietnam veterans?

The bond is unbelievable. Yearly, we do a major reunion, last year in Orlando. We are all in our mid-60’s now and not a lot of them wanted to go to Orlando, but 1,200 of us showed up there to have dinner together and break bread and remember those that didn’t come back.

The reunion comes up once a year, this year it will be in Indianapolis. But we’ve been in all the major cities across the states. We’ve had 37 actual reunions and it took about 15 years for the thing to get going. Then 15 years later a lot of people still didn’t want to get back into reunion mode, but little by little a couple of guys, then a couple other guys come and are honored. We have guest speakers and we get together and have our time together. We are united.

How important is it for people to think about and honor our veterans?

I hope people don’t forget the sacrifice that these men make. I know I won’t.

How important is it for veterans like yourself to fight and stand up for this country?

In my mind it will always be America first and love of life and the freedom that we share because of all those guys and it will just always go on. The day I don’t see a Memorial Day parade, I hope I’m not here.

— America’s Military Women —

Celebrating National Women’s History Month 2012
WHM12Banner

— America’s Military Women —
Experienced, Educated and Empowered

Women’s Memorial Foundation Releases 2012 Women’s History Month Kit

The Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation is proud to showcase America’s military women for the 15th consecutive year with the release of our 2012 Women’s History Month poster, America’s Military Women—Experienced, Educated and Empowered. Supporting the national Women’s History Month theme, Women’s Education—Women’s Empowerment, this display quality poster is but a snapshot of the myriad of important and meaningful jobs performed by empowered military women everyday—all made possible by education and training. This poster represents the more than 405,600 Active Duty, Guard and Reserve women who serve today around the globe—professional, capable women leaders—who are making a difference for themselves, their communities, the nation and the world. The poster is sure to stimulate discussion about the evolution of women’s roles, the influence of education and the ever-growing prominence of women in all aspects of our society.

Accompanying the 2012 poster is our online Women’s History Month kit. The kit includes brief thumbnail sketches about the remarkable women featured in the poster as well as individual downloadable photos of each.

Also in the kit is a Tribute to Our Fallen Sisters, a chronological listing and tribute to the 144 women who have lost their lives in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. You’ll also find two special online exhibits. The first, A New Generation of Warriors, (also available as a downloadable feature article) is a recent look at the women serving in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The second online exhibit is The Baghdad Diaries, which features the personal e-mail correspondence of a Marine Corps master gunnery sergeant in the earlier years of the war in Iraq. Another element of the kit a feature article is about our Global War on Terror exhibit, which captures the activities of women warriors some five years into the wars. We’ve also included an article about the origin of Women’s History Month and an online resource guide to help you find more information about America’s remarkable military women, past and present.

DAV

AMVETS

VFW

Many thanks to our generous sponsors, the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) who’ve helped produce the poster and kit for nine consecutive years; the AMVETS (American Veterans) for the past eleven years; and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) joining us for the second year. Thanks to them, the poster is distributed free of charge to schools, libraries and veteran facilities across the nation and military installations worldwide.

WHM12Poster

Click on the poster image to view thumbnail sketches of
the 28 women featured in the poster

                  The 2012 Online Women’s History Month Kit:

“Let the generations know that the women in uniform also guaranteed their freedom.”

—Anne S. (Sosh) Brehm
1LT, USA NC, World War II

firebase116.org WELCOMES HOME SPC Dillon Ramos!

WELCOME HOME DILLON!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE AND A JOB WELL DONE!

SPC Dillon Ramos Bio:

Dillon finished BCT/OSUT Combat Engineering in August 2009.

  • Dillon earned a sharp shooter qualification.
  • During basic training Dillon volunteered for airborne school.  Dillon completed training and graduated with basic airborne wings, and became a US Army paratrooper in September 2009.
  • Dillon was assigned to 4/25th Airborne Brigade Combat Team at Fort Richardson, Alaska, where he’s currently stationed as part of the 425 BSTB Alpha Company.
  • In November 2009 Dillon was married to Jessica Dilworth.
  • Dillon went to Armory school in January 2010 and became an armorer as his secondary duty.
  • Dillon was responsible for maintaining several million dollars of arms and equipment.
  • In March of 2011 Dillon participated in a joint military exercise with the Canadian forces and earned his Canadian airborne wings.
  • In April of 2011 Dillon was selected to attend Air Assault School in Schofield Barrack’s in Hawaii, completed the course and earned his air assault wings.
  • In August of 2011 Dillon went to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and to Fort Polk, Louisiana for training to prepare for the deployment to Afghanistan.
  • December 2011 Dillon deployed to Afghanistan to Forward Operating Base Salerno.
  • Dillon’s company was tasked with the mission of route recon and route clearance where they conducted counter IED operations.
  • Dillon earned his combat action badge while he was in Afghanistan and also earned his ARCOM for exemplary military service.

When Dillon returns home, he is planning to continue his military service by joining the Massachusetts National Guards.

Dillon’s Flight  Arrives in Boston, Logan Airport at 10:45 AM (as with any flight we always need to be prepared for delays or changes)

A Hero’s Welcome Hotline for last minute updates and changes is 484-679-1717, this would be good to share with everyone who may be participating in welcoming home SPC Ramos.

I’ll keep everyone updated as I get Dillon’s info. -J. Barry

Airmen Missing from Vietnam War Identified

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

Welcome Home Brothers – Rest in Peace

Airmen Missing from Vietnam War Identified

           The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

           Air Force Lt. Col. Charles M. Walling of Phoenix will be buried June 15 at Arlington National Cemetery. There will be a group burial honoring Walling and fellow crew member, Maj. Aado Kommendant of Lakewood, N.J., at Arlington National Cemetery, on Aug. 8 — the 46th anniversary of the crash that took their lives.

           On Aug. 8, 1966, Walling and Kommendant were flying an F-4C aircraft that crashed while on a close air support mission over Song Be Province, Vietnam. Other Americans in the area reported seeing the aircraft crash and no parachutes were deployed. Search and rescue efforts were not successful in the days following the crash.

           In 1992, a joint United States-Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) team investigated the crash site and interviewed a local Vietnamese citizen who had recovered aircraft pieces from the site. In 1994, a joint U.S.-S.R.V. team excavated the site and recovered a metal identification tag, bearing Wallings name, and other military equipment. In 2010, the site was excavated again. Human remains and additional evidence were recovered.

           Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial and material evidence, along with forensic identification tools including mitochondrial DNA which matched Wallings living sister in the identification of the remains.

           For additional information on the Defense Departments mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1420.