Archive for the ‘heroes’ Category

Plaxico Not The First ‘Star’ to Shoot Himself in the Foot

December 2, 2008

From Michael Vick to Jim Brown there is a parade of “Bad Boys” from the NFL, other sports and Hollywood.  We are not saints; just people.  Now Plaxico Burress gets 15 minutes of fame not for a Super bowl touchdown but for shooting hemself in the foot, er, leg….

Suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick(R) leaves ... 
Suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick(R) leaves Surry County Circuit Court after entering a guilty plea on two felony counts connected to dog fighting in Sussex, Virginia. Under a plea agreement, Vick, who is currently serving a term in prison for federal dog fighting charges, will serve one-year of probation for the state charges.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Geoff Burke)


The weekend self-injury of New York Giants star badboy Plaxico Burress, who sustained a personal injury gunshot in the leg when an illegally concealed weapon accidentally went off may have a few others in hot water.

In New York state, it is a misdemeanor for a hospital not to report a gunshot wound to the police, and according to reports, that is exactly what happened.  It appears that several employees of New York-Cornell Hospital, who treated Burress, did not contact the police. The New York State Department of Health is investigating to see if information was deliberately hidden to protect Burress. Additionally the hospital itself has admitted it has suspended an employee for not following procedure.  The hospital says it is their policy to contact the police in regards to all gunshot patients.

New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, center, arrives ... 
New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, center, arrives in Manhattan Supreme Court in handcuffs, Monday, Dec. 1, 2008, in New York. Lawyer Benjamin Brafman says Burress planned to plead not guilty to a weapon possession charge during a Monday afternoon court appearance. Burress accidentally shot himself at a Manhattan nightclub Friday evening.(AP Photo/David Karp)

Meanwhile Antonio Pierce, another New York Giant who was with Burress at the club Latin Quarter during the injury and aftermath, is being sought for questioning by police.  It appears, however, that he ditched the cops yesterday in favor of a paid radio appearance.  Pierce also is reported to have spoken to NFL security about the incident without a lawyer present which could get the league itself tangled up in the investigation.

Link to:

Above: Mug shots of Ryan O’Neil and son Redmond when they were booked by police on drug charges….

Jim Brown was my hero when he played for the Cleveland Browns and he is again my hero now.  But there was a time there when he was just about nobody’s hero…..

Understanding Real War Heroes

February 3, 2008

By James G. Zumwalt
The Washington Times
February 3, 2008

The battle raged for 17 hours — from day, to night, into day again. Ammunition and water ran low as the platoon was pinned down. An Afghan soldier was wounded. Absent surgery, he would die.

In an act demonstrative not only of courage but also of respect for the life of an allied Muslim soldier, the American platoon commander, Lt. Sean McQuade, ordered 12 men to carry the wounded Afghan down a rocky mountain slope as the remaining 20 men provided covering fire.

During the downhill movement, the wounded man was occasionally exposed to enemy fire, prompting medic Sgt. Jose Rivas to shield him with his own body as he tended to the soldier’s wounds. Eventually, a Black Hawk helicopter swooped in, resupplying the 20 platoon members holding the high ground before then picking up the wounded Afghan. Sgt. Rivas’ mission accomplished, he returned to rejoin the fight ….

Read the rest:

China makes heroes, martyrs of 3 killed in storm

January 30, 2008
By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING – China has made martyrs of three electricians killed while struggling to help restore power to central regions pounded by the worst winter storms in half a century.

Paramilitary police clear snow off an expressway in Nanjing, ...
Paramilitary police clear snow off an expressway in Nanjing, in east China’s Jiangsu province Wednesday Jan. 30, 2008. China sent nearly half a million soldiers to clear roads as the country struggled Wednesday to cope with winter storms that have snarled transportation during the country’s most important holiday travel period.
(AP Photo)

Premier Wen Jiabao praised them in a meeting with their families, and national television followed their funeral cortege through the city of Changsha on Wednesday.

The state-controlled media is making an all-out effort to soothe and inspire Chinese made miserable by freezing weather, power cuts and a chaotic Lunar New Year travel rush that has kept hundreds of thousands from going home for the holidays.

Read the rest:

The Greatest Generation: Our World War II Veterans Are Being Honored for the Last Time Every Day

November 11, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
March 27, 2007

In his book, “The Greatest Generation,” Tom Brokaw wrote, “When the United States entered World War II, the U.S. government turned to ordinary Americans and asked of them extraordinary service, sacrifice, and heroics. Many Americans met those high expectations….”

And indeed, this could be said in England, Canada, Russia and elsewhere.

Today these men and women are disappearing from our midst.

So we take a moment to proudly tell the story of at least two of these individuals.

Every single death is mourned by family and friends. When those friends and “family” include one’s military comrades and those from the nation he or she served; the honors extended may be somewhat greater but the sincerity, solemnity and meaning of the funeral and burial of every single man and woman are important and respectful.

Today, quite by chance, my wife and I were at Fort Meyer in Arlington, Virginia. Fort Meyer is adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery and frequently the chapel at Fort Meyer serves as the final parade ground for fallen American military men and women; fallen American heroes.

How a great nation recognizes service and honors its fallen tells a lot about the culture: the fiber of the nation’s soul.

Today we were signaled to a halt by a U.S. Marine Corps corporal in his dress blue uniform.

And then the U.S. Marine Corps Band, in their signature red uniforms, marched past, followed by a company of U.S. Marines in their dress blue uniforms; to give honor, dignity and respect to a Marine with long service to his country.

This kind of tribute happens daily throught the world.  But we were moved by the immediacy and the finality facing us.

The chance event was a meaningful reminder of every man and woman who serves, and especially those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. We especially said a prayer for all the killed and wounded; in service of the rest of our American citizens.

The troops were marching toward the chapel for the funeral of Vance H. “Hudge” Hudgins, 87, a Marine Corps colonel who became a top official at the Department of Energy, and died March 4 of cerebrovascular disease and complications of diabetes at Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg, where he had lived for the past four years.

Col. Hudgins was born in Spartanburg, S.C., and graduated in 1941 from the U.S. Naval Academy.

He served in the South Pacific during World War II before being transferred back to the United States to train as a Marine aviator.

Based in the South Pacific, he flew 97 missions during the war. He was awarded the Legion of Merit, four Distinguished Flying Crosses and 12 Air Medals.

In 1950, Col. Hudgins received a master’s degree in engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

He was then assigned to the Atomic Energy Commission in Washington, where he worked on atomic weapons projects.
He served in the Korean War and later held executive positions at Quantico Marine Base and at a Marine base in California.

His final tour of duty was as commanding officer of the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, Japan. While there, Col. Hudgins helped provide supplies, medical assistance, toys and games for more than 1,000 Japanese orphans who lived near the base.

After retiring from the Marine Corps in 1967, Col. Hudgins became director of international affairs for what later became the Department of Energy.

He visited 56 countries during his 20 years as a DOE official and helped negotiate international treaties for the safekeeping of nuclear materials.

From 1987 to 1995, he was a senior engineering officer at Meridian Corp., a Falls Church research and development firm.

Col. Hudgins, a longtime resident of Rockville, was a deacon and a member of the board of deacons of First Baptist Church in Bethesda. He volunteered to feed the homeless and participated in other volunteer activities through his church.

His wife of 58 years, Helen Hudgins, died in 2001.

Survivors include three children, Doris Hudgins Gaudette of Seattle and H. Pamela Hudgins and Vance F. Hudgins, both of Beltsville; and two grandchildren.

Rest in Peace, Colonel.

[At the request of the Arlington National Cemetery, the author gave his permission to use this article on the ANC website.]


WWII Hero Chase J. Nielson DiesDeseret Morning News
March 26, 2007
One of Utah’s greatest World War II heroes, Air Force Lt. Col. Chase J. Nielsen (Ret.) of the Tokyo Doolittle Raiders, died March 23 at his home in Brigham City.Born 90 years ago in Hyrum, Colo., Nielsen earned a civil engineering degree from Utah State University in 1939 and enlisted in what was then the Army Air Corps (later the Air Force) as a flying cadet. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1941.

Early the next year he became the navigator of one of the 16 B-52 bombers chosen to strike at Japan. The exceptionally dangerous raid, led by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, was the first to hit Japan after that country’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Raiders traveled toward Japan on an aircraft carrier, the Hornet, and launched from the carrier. Normally, fighter planes took off from carriers but the heavily-laden bombers all managed to get airborne.

On April 18, 1942, Chase Nielsen’s plane hit industrial targets in Tokyo. But because they had been forced to take off farther from Japan than planned, the raiders ran out of fuel after they dropped their bombs.

His plane ditched four miles offshore in the East China Sea off the coast of occupied China, killing two crewmen. The survivors reached shore and were hidden by sympathetic Chinese.

However, Col. Nielsen and other crew members were captured by Japanese forces and tortured for information, but he never gave any except his name, rank and serial number. He was subjected to a mock execution, then actually sentenced to die. That sentence was commuted to life in prison, but three other Raiders were executed.

A press release issued by the Air Force about Col. Nielsen’s passing says, “Of the 80 men who took part in the raid with Col. Nielsen, three were killed during the mission, five were interned in Russia and eight became prisoners of war in Japan.”

Of those in Japan, three were executed by Japanese firing squads and a fourth died in captivity, it adds.

“Thirteen others would die later in the war,” the release says of the bombers’ crews. “There are 14 Raiders alive today.”

The raid had immense impacts here and in Japan. It gave American morale a much-needed boost at a time when the war had been going badly, and it forced Japan to divert forces to protect the mainland. That reduced the forces opposing Americans who were fighting their way across the Pacific.

Lt. Nielsen and the few survivors were rescued a week after the war ended. He had spent 40 months in prison, nearly all of that in solitary confinement. In 1946, he provided evidence during war crimes trials that helped convict Japanese officers of maltreatment and murder of prisoners.

Following World War II, he rose through the ranks in the Air Force, helping to build up the Strategic Air Command. He retired in 1961 as a lieutenant colonel.

Col. Nielsen then began a career as an industrial engineer at Hill Air Force Base, retiring in 1981.

He was the first Utahn to earn the Distinguished Flying Cross, and he was awarded the Air Medal, the Purple Heart with Cluster, the Air Force Commendation Medal with Cluster, the Outstanding Unit Award, the Longevity Ribbon with Four Clusters and the Chinese equivalent of the Flying Cross.

Posted in Chase Nielsen, Doolittle Raiders, POW, Tokyo, News

Jay Zeamer Jr., World War II Bomber Pilot, Hero

November 8, 2007

As we near Veterans Day November 11, we are honoring some of our favorite heroes…. 

Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2007
Associated Press

Jay Zeamer Jr., a World War II bomber pilot who was awarded the Medal of Honor for fighting off enemy attacks during a photographic mapping mission, died 15 March 2007 at a nursing home in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. He was 88.

Zeamer, a major in the Army Air Forces, also earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Silver Stars and two Air Medals for his service in the South Pacific.

He was awarded the nation’s highest military honor for his actions on June 16, 1943, after volunteering for the mapping mission over an area near Buka in the Solomon Islands that was well-defended by the Japanese.

Lt. Col Jay Zeamer, Jr.

United States Army Air Corps


While photographing the Buka airdrome, Zeamer’s crew spotted about 20 enemy fighters on the field, many of them taking off. But Zeamer continued with the mapping run, even after an enemy attack in which he suffered gunshot wounds in his arms and legs that left one leg broken.

Despite his injuries, he maneuvered the damaged plane so that his gunners could fend off the attack during a 40-minute fight in which at least five enemy planes were destroyed, one by Zeamer and four by his crew.

“Although weak from loss of blood, he refused medical aid until the enemy had broken combat. He then turned over the controls but continued to exercise command, despite lapses into unconsciousness, and directed the flight to a base 580 miles away,” according to the citation posted by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

He had been listed by the society as one of 36 living Medal of Honor recipients from World War II.

Second Lt. Joseph Sarnoski Jr. of Simpson, Pa., Zeamer’s wounded bombardier, shot down two of the planes and kept firing until he collapsed on his guns. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.

Zeamer’s wife, Barbara, said her husband rarely talked about his experience during the war.

“His daughters never knew he’d won the Medal of Honor until they were in junior high school,” she said. “I think he didn’t feel he deserved it. He was so close to his bombardier, and he felt terrible about his being killed.”

A native of Carlisle, Pa., Zeamer grew up in Orange, N.J. He studied at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering.

After the war, Zeamer worked at Pratt & Whitney in Hartford, Conn., before moving on to Hughes Aircraft in Los Angeles and then Raytheon Co. in Bedford, Mass. He retired in 1968 to Boothbay Harbor, where he had spent summers as a boy, rowing his homemade boat across the harbor.

In addition to his wife, Zeamer’s survivors include their five daughters.

He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.


The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to:

ZEAMER, JAY JR. (Air Mission)Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Army Air Corps. Place and date: Over Buka area, Solomon Islands, 16 June 1943. Entered service at: Machias, Maine. Birth: Carlisle, Pa. G.O. No.: 1, 4 January 1944.


On 16 June 1943, Major Zeamer (then Captain) volunteered as pilot of a bomber on an important photographic mapping mission covering the formidably defended area in the vicinity of Buka, Solomon Islands. While photographing the Buka airdrome. his crew observed about 20 enemy fighters on the field, many of them taking off. Despite the certainty of a dangerous attack by this strong force, Major Zeamer proceeded with his mapping run, even after the enemy attack began. In the ensuing engagement, Major Zeamer sustained gunshot wounds in both arms and legs, one leg being broken. Despite his injuries, he maneuvered the damaged plane so skillfully that his gunners were able to fight off the enemy during a running fight which lasted 40 minutes. The crew destroyed at least 5 hostile planes, of which Major Zeamer himself shot down one. Although weak from loss of blood, he refused medical aid until the enemy had broken combat. He then turned over the controls, but continued to exercise command despite lapses into unconsciousness, and directed the flight to a base 580 miles away. In this voluntary action, Major Zeamer, with superb skill, resolution, and courage, accomplished a mission of great value.