Archive for the ‘honor’ Category

SEAL Killed in Iraq To Get Medal of Honor

April 1, 2008

 By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 1, 2008; Page A04

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor fought dozens of battles in the streets of Ramadi, shouldering his MK48 machine gun without complaint in the 130-degree heat of Iraq’s violent Anbar province.

In May 2006, only a month into his first deployment to Iraq, the 25-year-old Navy SEAL from Garden Grove, Calif., ran under fire into a street to drag to safety a wounded comrade who was shot in the leg, earning a Silver Star for his courage.
Michael A. Monsoor died saving three fellow SEALs. Michael A. Monsoor died saving three fellow SEALs.

On Sept. 29, 2006, another act of valor would cost Monsoor his life — and save the lives of three comrades. For that act, he will posthumously be awarded a Medal of Honor on April 8, the White House said yesterday.

Monsoor “distinguished himself through conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life,” said an official summary of action. He is the first sailor and the third service member overall to receive a Medal of Honor for actions in the war in Iraq.

That September morning, Monsoor and a group of SEAL snipers took up position on a residential rooftop as part of an operation to push into a dangerous section of southern Ramadi. Four insurgents armed with AK-47 rifles came into view, and the SEAL snipers opened fire, killing one and wounding another. Loudspeakers from a mosque broadcast calls for insurgents to rally, and residents blocked off nearby roads with rocks.

Insurgents shot back at the SEAL position with automatic weapons from a moving vehicle and fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the building. The SEALs knew that more attacks were inevitable but continued their mission of protecting the troops clearing the area below, according to an official account.

Monsoor’s commander repositioned him in a small hidden location between two SEAL snipers on an outcropping of the roof, facing the most likely route of another insurgent attack. As Monsoor manned his gun, an insurgent lobbed up a hand grenade, which hit Monsoor in the chest and bounced onto the roof.

“Grenade!” Monsoor shouted. But the two snipers and another SEAL on the roof had no time to escape, as Monsoor was closest to the only exit. Monsoor dropped onto the grenade, smothering it with his body. It detonated, and Monsoor died about 30 minutes later from his wounds.

“He made an instantaneous decision to save our teammates. I immediately understood what happened, and tragically it made sense to me in keeping with the man I know, Mike Monsoor,” said Lt. Cmdr. Seth Stone, Monsoor’s platoon leader in Ramadi.

Monsoor, the third of four children, played football at Garden Grove High School and joined the Navy in 2001, where he was a top performer in his SEAL training class. He graduated in 2004. Monsoor’s sister Sara, a nurse, said her brother’s e-mails never revealed the dangers he faced, but she knew the SEAL team was like his family. “He already had it in his head — he would be the first one to jump in and protect,” she said.

Halfhearted at State?

November 7, 2007

By John E. Carey
The Washington Times
November 7, 2007

For the first time since the Vietnam War, the State Department has notified career diplomats, or Foreign Service Officers (FSO), that they may be required to accept overseas postings not of their choosing. The order from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was necessary to fill 50 or fewer posts in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

FSOs immediately began to express outrage that they might have to leave cushier assignments for tasks in what could be a danger zone. So Miss Rice convened State’s version of a venting session they call a “Town Hall Meeting.”

A 36-year veteran of the diplomatic corps, Jack Crotty, came to the microphone to say: “It’s one thing if someone believes in what’s going on over there and volunteers, but it’s another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment. I’m sorry, but basically that’s a potential death sentence and you know it. Who will raise our children if we are dead or seriously wounded?”

According to reporters, many of Mr. Crotty’s colleagues applauded.

Outraged military personnel, too disciplined to express anger to the media, contacted several retired military people like myself to ask, “What about our service? What about our children? And why are the elite of the State Department allowed to pick and choose their assignments without repercussions? Didn’t we all take the same oath?”

The fact is that the oath FSOs, and everyone of any importance at the State Department, takes is the same oath military personnel take. But there is a vast difference in the way that oath is respected, apparently.

Military people know they face the Uniform Code of Military Justice if they refuse orders. They know they may wind up standing before a court martial. State Department people, it seems, feel completely within their right to defy the secretary of state and their president. Herein lies the dilemma.

After the tragedy of September 11, 2001, the president of the United States declared a war on terror and the Defense Department mobilized for war. At Foggy Bottom, many career diplomats yawned. What started as apathy has morphed into defiance.

And our military men and women know this.

But it wasn’t just the active duty military who took Mr. Crotty’s remarks and his colleagues’ apparent approval as a serious affront: Retired military and Foreign Service officers began to buzz on the Internet.

Mike Benge is a retired FSO who should know something about duty, honor and respect for those who serve and abide by their oath.
 

Mike was in the Marine Corps before he joined what is now the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In Vietnam, he served as a Foreign Service officer doing what is now termed “nation-building.”

In 1968, Mike was captured by the North Vietnamese communists and held hostage for more than five years, most of it in the infamous Hanoi Hilton. But since Mike was not a uniformed member of the armed forces, he was not a prisoner of war (POW), so he was held in isolation.

After his release in 1973, Mike again returned to Vietnam as a volunteer and continued his work until the communist takeover in 1975.

Mike, along with many of his colleagues who view service much differently from the current crowd at State, expressed outrage beyond belief that senior State Department officers today are not aware of — or have so little respect for — their oath and their distinguished lineage

Mike sent us this message: “We had many fine Foreign Service officers who served in Vietnam, quite a few from the State Department who served in various capacities including in danger zones out in the provinces. The closest thing to a ‘green zone’ perhaps was service in Saigon — which was sometimes dangerous,” Mike wrote.

“Every one of these dedicated State Department officers in Vietnam did an excellent job, and many gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in service of their country — 27 State Department officials gave the final sacrifice for their countrymen, I believe. Many more from USAID and other government agencies lost their lives, and some like me, were taken prisoner,” wrote Mr. Mike Benge

Now, is the United States of America mobilized for and fighting a “Global War Against Terror” or not? Knowing that senior State Department officers can choose not to participate without any repercussions makes one wonder.

John E. Carey is a retired career military officer, former president of International Defense Consultants Inc. and a frequent contributor to The Washington Times.

Meet “Bud” Day; Read His Medal Of Honor Story

November 6, 2007

By John E. Carey

George E. “Bud” Day served the United States through three wars. After quitting High School he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps for World War II. He served 30 months in the South Pacific. After the war, he used his GI Bill benefits to become a lawyer and a pilot.

During the Korean War he served two tours flying F-84 fighters.

USAF F-84E Thunderjet

During the Vietnam War he was shot down, captured by the Communists, escaped, and lived for two weeks off the land and in the jungle before he was captured again.

Bud’s Medal of Honor Citation reads:“On 26 August 1967, Col. Day was forced to eject from his aircraft over North Vietnam when it was hit by ground fire. His right arm was broken in 3 places, and his left knee was badly sprained. He was immediately captured by hostile forces and taken to a prison camp where he was interrogated and severely tortured. After causing the guards to relax their vigilance, Col. Day escaped into the jungle and began the trek toward South Vietnam. Despite injuries inflicted by fragments of a bomb or rocket, he continued southward surviving only on a few berries and uncooked frogs. He successfully evaded enemy patrols and reached the Ben Hai River, where he encountered U.S. artillery barrages. With the aid of a bamboo log float, Col. Day swam across the river and entered the demilitarized zone. Due to delirium, he lost his sense of direction and wandered aimlessly for several days. After several unsuccessful attempts to signal U.S. aircraft, he was ambushed and recaptured by the Viet Cong, sustaining gunshot wounds to his left hand and thigh. He was returned to the prison from which he had escaped and later was moved to Hanoi after giving his captors false information to questions put before him. Physically, Col. Day was totally debilitated and unable to perform even the simplest task for himself. Despite his many injuries, he continued to offer maximum resistance. His personal bravery in the face of deadly enemy pressure was significant in saving the lives of fellow aviators who were still flying against the enemy. Col. Day’s conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Armed Forces.”

Col. Day in dress uniform.

Bud Day is one of my American heroes. He is among a special class of people some Americans can never understand. To me, Bud Day is one of those Americans we can never thank enough.

We honor every single man and woman who ever wore the uniform of the United States on Veterans’ Day. We honor those now gone and those still living. But in one way, I think of Veterans’ Day as “Bud Day Day!”

But Bud is humble and would never hear of it. In fact, he may be a tad embarrassed by this essay.

But Bud teaches us never to give up. This is a most precious gift to many in life. By telling ones self to “Always Persevere,” the largest challenges in life can be overcome.

Bud is the most highly decorated U.S. serviceman since Douglas MacArthur. Because he always persevered.

I interviewed Bud and his wife of fifty-seven years, Doris, for this Veteran’s Day tribute.

When George Day strapped himself into his F-100 on 26 August 1967 for a mission over Vietnam, he had no idea he was about to start a six year odyssey of a prisoner of war.

F-100A with the original short tail fin.

He was a 41 year old veteran of combat in World War II and Korea.

He was in the Vietnam War by choice: at his age and with his experience he could have retired or taken a desk job.

“I went because it was my duty,” Bud told me. “That’s where I needed to be. I had more flying hours than anyone in Southeast Asia. I needed to be there.”

Doris still recalls that day, the day a chaplain, a U.S. Air Force notification officer and a woman from the base Family Services organization notified her that Bud had been shot down. “They were very nice, very professional.”

Among veterans and military people there are so many Bud Day stories, all of them true, that there isn’t room to publish all of them here. One of my favorites is this.

In February, 1971 Bud and several other prisoners at the Hoa Loa camp gathered for a religious service, which was forbidden. The guards burst into the group, carbines at the ready. Bud Day stood calmly and began to sing “The Star Spangled Banner”, our National Anthem. Commander James Bond Stockdale, the highest ranking prisoner, joined in. The entire camp erupted to the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Later Stockdale would write, “Our minds were now free and we knew it.”

Fittingly, five years later, the President of the United States presented the Medal of Honor to Bud Day and his friend James Stockdale in one ceremony.

Mr. Carey is a retired military officer and the former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc.

This was first published in:
The Washington Times
Veterans’ Day November 11, 2006

State Department Memories from The Hanoi Hilton

November 4, 2007

Introduction By John E. Carey, Peace and Freedom: Maybe State Department employees, even those with 36 years of service like Mr. Jack  Croddy, need an occasional reminder of their proud heritage. 

United States
Department of State
Seal of the United States Department of State

Last Wednesday, October 31, 2007, Senior Foreign Service Officer Jack Croddy stood up at a “Town Hall Meeting” at the United States Department of State and addressed the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with these words:

“It’s one thing if someone believes in what’s going on over there and volunteers, but it’s another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment. I’m sorry, but basically that’s a potential death sentence and you know it. Who will raise our children if we are dead or seriously wounded?” 

The essay below was given to me today by my friend Mike Benge.  Mike was a staffmember of the United States Agency for Internatiional Development, an Agency of the Department of State, in Vietnam when he was scooped up by the communists and ultimately landed in the Hanoi Hilton.  But because Mike was not a member of the uniformed services, he could not be held as a Prisoner of War (POW).  So he was held separately.

For those too young to recall, the “Hanoi Hilton” is the American nickname given to the most infamous of communist North Vietnam’s prisons.

Mike has contributed to America and the world in many ways but I always recall his memory of the “Christmas lights over Hanoi in 1972.”  That essay closes with these simple words: “Yes Christmas lights are pretty, but none will ever be as pretty as those over Hanoi on Christmas ’72.  And  God Bless the pilots and crews of the planes who gave their lives to set us free.”

Mike and I have had contact for several years, and Mike has taught me much and there is not much that I could ever teach Mike.  He is an expert in duty, honor, service to country and service to his fellow man. I first met Mike because of his insightful work writing for the Washington Times.  We share a passion for freedom and human rights, a love of the peoples of Vietnam and a desire to contribute in the world community. Mike would be my half brother as I can never fully honor or equal his time held captive by communists or his stellar contributions to many venues including the History Channel. We cannot regain the past; so we both now man the gates of justice and reality and attempt to keep honest and aware those that might overlook different problems in far away lands. Or in Washington DC, it now seems.

HanoiHilton.jpg

The Hoa Loa Prison (Vietnamese: Hỏa Lò, meaning “fiery furnace”), later known to American prisoners of war as the Hanoi Hilton.
***********************
 

On the State Department at War
By Mike Benge

Like me, those who choose government service — be they military or civilian — swore an Oath of Service:

“I (person taking oath says own name) do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. That I take this obligation freely and without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. That I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me, God.”

Although sworn to this Oath of Service, some Foreign Service Officers join not really to serve their country but to be elitists and enjoy the perks of cushy government employment: job security, good retirement package, travel to exotic foreign countries, free housing, generous leave packages, and access to good life and other accompanying bennies – never dreaming that they may someday be called to really serve their country in dangerous situations.

And now when these people have been called to live up to their oath of office, last week at the State Department, officials began crying, “I didn’t sign up for this!” (See: Envoys Resist Forced Iraq Duty, Washington Post, 11/1/07)

Sorry folks, but you did, and it wasn’t even in fine print at the bottom of your Oath that by the way is a binding contract.

After first serving in the Marine Corps, I went to Vietnam with the International Voluntary Services, then joined what is now the U.S. Agency for International Development serving as a foreign service officer doing what is now termed “nation building.”

In 1968, I was captured by the North Vietnamese and was held hostage for over five years. After my release in 1973, I again returned to Vietnam as a volunteer and continued going in an out until the communist takeover in 1975.

My government service spanned 44 ½ years.

We had many fine foreign service officers who served in Vietnam, quite a few from the State Department who served in various capacities including in danger zones out in the provinces.

The closest thing to a “green zone” perhaps was service in Saigon — which was sometimes dangerous.

Every one of these dedicated State Department officers in Vietnam did an excellent job, and many gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in service of their country — 27 State Department officials gave the final sacrifice for their countrymen, I believe. Many more from USAID and other government agencies lost their lives, and some like I, were taken prisoner.

None of them went on strike like the present breed of elitists at the State Department; none of them cried, “Not I!”

Related:

For a real hero’s story from the Hanoi Hilton go to:
Meet “Bud” Day; Read His Medal Of Honor Story

Other stories related to the Diplomatic Corps:

Diplomat Jack Croddy: You Don’t Want to Go To Iraq? Step Forward and Meet the Families of the Fallen and Those that Serve

Diplomats Who Refuse Assignments: “Hit The Road, You are Terminated with Prejudice and Without Pay”

The Abyss Between State and Defense

In Iraq: Reporters More Dedicated than the U.S. Foreign Service?

Diplomatic Infighting Hurts Terror War Effort

Rice Tells State Department Staff: You Took an Oath

A Diplomacy of neighborhoods

“Gaffe Machine” Karen Hughes Leaving State Department

Diplomat Jack Croddy: You Don’t Want to Go To Iraq? Step Forward and Meet the Families of the Fallen and Those that Serve

November 4, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
November 4, 2007

Last Wednesday, October 31, 2007, Senior Foreign Service Officer Jack Croddy stood up at a “Town Hall Meeting” at the United States Department of State and addressed the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with these words:

“Incoming is coming in every day, rockets are hitting the Green Zone….It’s one thing if someone believes in what’s going on over there and volunteers, but it’s another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment. I’m sorry, but basically that’s a potential death sentence and you know it. Who will raise our children if we are dead or seriously wounded?”

After 36 years of service, Mr. Croddy, this is the example you set for young and eager Foreign Service Officers?

O.K., Mr. Crotty: Who will raise the children of the fallen Soldiers? Who will raise the children of the fallen Marines and Airmen, Sailors and Civilians in the service of America? Who will raise the children of the fallen from the USS Cole, from the embassy bombings at of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya? Who will raise the children of those that died in the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon and on flight 93? Who raised the children of those Marines killed in the Beirut Embassy bombing?

We want you to meet all of the families of the fallen and all of the families who serve their country. We want you to explain why you take the money from the taxpayers, took the oath, and now like a mule refuse to cross the bridge.  You are now refusing to follow orders and would closely fit the military definition for a deserter or mutineer

I could go on and there are no words to express my rage.

You sir, were sworn to serve. You took the same oath military men and women take. You have taken my tax dollars for years – long enough for your hair to become grey. And now you are spitting on your flag, your oath, your fellow citizens (and taxpayers) and your president.

Mr. Bill Crystal on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” on Sunday, November 4, 2007, called you “disgraceful” and an “embarrassment.” Britt Hume said you were a “black mark on the Foreign Service.”

But these are measured and articulate men. You and your family could not bear to hear the words I have for you in my mind. My pastor would have to restrain me.

Mr. Crotty: if you feel so strongly that you are ready to refuse assignment: you should resign immediately. You have served enough. More than enough.

Do the honorable thing, man. Go home.

Related:

Halfhearted at State?

State Department Memories from The Hanoi Hilton

Diplomats Who Refuse Assignments: “Hit The Road, You are Terminated with Prejudice and Without Pay”

The Abyss Between State and Defense

In Iraq: Reporters More Dedicated than the U.S. Foreign Service?

Diplomatic Infighting Hurts Terror War Effort

Rice Tells State Department Staff: You Took an Oath

A Diplomacy of neighborhoods

“Gaffe Machine” Karen Hughes Leaving State Department

Diplomats Who Refuse Assignments: “Hit The Road, You are Terminated with Prejudice and Without Pay”

November 2, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
November 2, 2007

Members of America’s famously proud and elitist diplomatic corps have said they will not serve in Iraq so apparently we now live in an America where an oath, a commitment, responsibility, the team and orders don’t count for a thing: even in wartime.

My response to the so called “diplomats” and such “public servants” is analogous to that of Ronald Reagan when air controllers who were Federal Government employees decided to go on strike. The President basically said: “You guys are all fired. Clean out your desks and lockers.”

Ronald Wilson Reagan
Ronald Reagan

There are times when the team is more important than the individual. There are times when an oath has meaning. Who are these bastard that think they are more important than our troops who are fighting and dying in war in behalf of all of us?

Dear members of the American Foreign Service and Diplomatic Corps: your freedom and your cushy jobs are being bought and paid for every day by members of the U.S. Military.  In blood.  You are no longer fit to be called “American” if you cannot take on the occasional tough job between the “cocktail postings.”

In my view, these renegade State Department employees should never again receive a U.S. Government check. They should never again be paid with taxpayer money. And if the president had the power to banish them: he should send them to Uzbekistan or some other garden spot to serve out the remainder of their miserable and disloyal years on this earth.

In my younger years, I briefly aspired to become a United States Foreign Service Officer. I was drawn by the opportunity to serve my nation, to proudly represent the American people, while dealing with the other proud peoples of the globe.

But many of my advisors dissuaded me. Several said “You won’t like the members of the Foreign Service. They are all elitist snobs.” My Father, who served his country in the F.B.I., and two brothers who were U.S. Army Officers, said, “You can do what you want but isn’t there ANY OTHER group of people you’d rather spend your adult life with?”

There was: I became a career U.S. Naval Officer.

And as the years passed, and I had more and more experience with our so called “diplomats,” I knew I made the right decision. We have many fine diplomats and Foreign Service Officers. More than 1,500 members of the foreign service have served in Iraq and Afghanistan already. But this gang of scum who believe they can refuse their oath and continue in “service” of the nation need some awakening. Or they need to find new careers.

In the U.S. Military men and women are starkly aware that they serve “at the pleasure of the President.” That goes for every cabinet member and every member of their staffs. And I for one detest the notion that my taxes are paying for the cushy lifestyles of scum that refuse the orders of their government and their President; no matter the reason.

Related:

State Department Memories from The Hanoi Hilton

 Diplomat Jack Croddy: You Don’t Want to Go To Iraq? Step Forward and Meet the Families of the Fallen and Those that Serve

Condi Rice: Failure is a New Experience

The Abyss Between State and Defense

In Iraq: Reporters More Dedicated than the U.S. Foreign Service?

Diplomatic Infighting Hurts Terror War Effort

Rice Tells State Department Staff: You Took an Oath

A Diplomacy of neighborhoods

“Gaffe Machine” Karen Hughes Leaving State Department

American History: Court-martialed Civil War general finds Gettysburg glory

July 21, 2007

By John E. Carey
The Washington Times
June 30, 2007 (Last publication date of the Civil War page prior to the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and the 4th of July.)

After the Battle of Kernstown, Va., Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson ordered the court-martial of Brig. Gen. Richard Brooke Garnett for cowardice and “unauthorized retreat.” Garnett was deeply hurt by the injustice of the accusation. Nevertheless, Garnett wept at Stonewall’s funeral and served as one of his pallbearers.

Before the disastrous attack that came to be known as Pickett’s Charge, Richard Garnett went with his friend Gen. Lewis A. Armistead to survey the field. “This is a desperate thing to attempt,” Garnett said. Armistead agreed. “Yes it is. But the issue is with the Almighty, and we must leave it in His hands.”

The Almighty took Garnett a short time later.

“General Garnett was gallantly waving his hat and cheering the men on to renewed efforts against the enemy,” recorded James W. Clay, a private in Company G, 18th Virginia Infantry. “I remember that he wore a black felt hat with a silver cord. His sword hung at his side.”

Reportedly, Garnett urged his men forward with the words, “Make ready, Men! Take good aim. Fire low. Fire!”

Though he was wearing a new, heavy coat clearly marked with his general’s rank and carrying a sword engraved with his name, Garnett’s remains were never found.

Confederates suspected that Union soldiers intentionally buried the general in a mass grave with his men, much the way Confederate soldiers buried Col. Robert Shaw of the 54th Massachusetts with his men later in the war. Consequently, Richard Garnett’s exact resting place cannot be determined with certainty.

Also, although nearly every general, North and South, had his photograph taken, Garnett may be the sole exception. In modern times, images thought to be that of Richard Garnett were determined to be of his cousin Robert Seldon Garnett, Richard’s inseparable boyhood companion, West Point classmate and fellow brigadier general in the Confederate army in Virginia. Robert Garnett was mortally wounded in July 1861, the first general killed in the war.

Richard Brooke Garnett (1817-1863) grew up the son of privilege at Rose Hill, the family mansion in Essex County, Va. Educated near home and in Norfolk, Garnett went to West Point with his cousin in 1838.
Richard B. Garnett (maybe).jpg

Richard Garnett graduated from West Point in 1841. He served in the Seminole War in Florida and in the Western campaigns against the Indians. He missed fighting in the Mexican War while assigned staff duties in New Orleans.

Garnett later commanded Fort Laramie, Wyo., against the Sioux. While serving in California during the winter of 1860-61, he learned of the South’s secession and resigned his U.S. Army commission. He joined his home state as an officer in the Army of the Confederate States of America.

Garnett’s Civil War service before March 1862 was largely unremarkable.

However, at Kernstown on March 23, 1862, after two hours of unceasing combat, Garnett’s command began to run low on ammunition. The supply wagons had been left behind. Facing superior Union numbers attacking from three directions, Garnett made the only logical military decision: He ordered his forces to fall back.

Stonewall Jackson was incensed. His anger resulted in the charge of cowardice. Garnett was arrested.

Garnett explained his retreat at Kernstown this way: “Had I not done so, we would have run imminent risk of being routed by superior numbers, which would have resulted probably in the loss of part of our artillery and also endangered our transportation.”

Maj. Walter Harrison of Gen. George Pickett’s staff described Garnett’s “brave, proud and sensitive spirit.” He said the accusation of cowardice deeply wounded Garnett. It “was a cruel blow,” Harrison wrote.

Stonewall died at Chancellorsville, and Gen. Robert E. Lee reassigned Garnett, allowing the issue to die. Still, by the time of Gettysburg, Garnett had not fully lived down the accusations, which weighed heavily on his mind.

Despite severe illness, he refused to excuse himself from leading his men. On July 3, 1863, before the commencement of Pickett’s Charge, Garnett’s colleagues asked him to forgo the attack. Garnett saw an opportunity to clear his name once and for all. He insisted that he would lead his men into battle, mounted on his charger, Red Eye. The other generals were appalled: All the other attackers would be on foot. The mounted Garnett would be an easy target for the Union Army.

This prediction proved true, and Garnett died leading his beloved men of the 8th, 18th, 19th, 28th and 56th Virginia infantry regiments. Red Eye came galloping back into the Confederate line riderless.

“General Garnett’s black war horse came galloping toward us with a huge gash in his right shoulder, evidently struck by a piece of shell. The horse in its mad flight jumped over Captain Campbell and me,” James Clay reported.

Lee reported his losses to President Jefferson Davis, including this line: “Generals Garnett and Armistead are missing, and it is feared that the former is killed and the latter wounded and a prisoner.”

The Confederates were insulted when Garnett’s body and final resting place were never identified. Clay wrote, “General Garnett wore a uniform coat, almost new, with a general’s star and wreath on the collar, and top boots, with trousers inside, and spurs. It is, therefore, inexplicable that his remains were not identified.”

In 1872, remains of Confederate dead were brought from Gettysburg and reburied at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. The Hollywood Memorial Association erected a cenotaph in Garnett’s honor in 1991, assuming that his remains were among the others.

Years after the war, Garnett’s sword was located in a Baltimore pawnshop and purchased by former Confederate Brig. Gen. George H. Steuart. The Baltimore Sun reported in articles published in November and December 1905, “The sword is after the pattern for artillery officers in the United States Army, and is inscribed ‘R.B. Garnett, U.S.A.,’ with the name of the maker. The blade is of fine metal, elaborately embellished, and is in perfect order. The scabbard is of fine steel, but somewhat rusty.”

Col. Winfield Peters wrote in the Baltimore Sun that “General Steuart died November 22, 1903. Mr. James E. Steuart, his nephew, is now enabled to forward the sword to its rightful possessor by descent, who is the wife of Col. John B. Purcell, Richmond, Va. General Garnett was the only remaining brother of Mrs. Purcell’s mother, who was deeply attached to him, and, through Col. Purcell, has assured Mr. Steuart, that the sword will be treasured by her, a niece of General Garnett, as a precious heirloom.”

The marker for CSA Gen. Richard Brooke Garnett in the Confederate Section of Hollywood Cemetery reads:

“Among the Confederate Soldiers’ Graves in this area is the probable resting place of Brigadier General Richard Brooke Garnett C.S.A. who was killed in action July 3, 1863, as he led his Brigade in the charge of Pickett’s Division on the final day of the battle of Gettysburg. First buried on the battlefield, General Garnett’s remains were likely removed to this area in 1872 along with other Confederate dead brought from Gettysburg by the Hollywood Memorial Association. Requiescat in Pace

“Richard Brooke Garnett 1817-1863.”

Richard Garnett suffered the ignominy of being accused of cowardice. His remains were never found. Even his likeness may not survive.

He saved his reputation by bravely attacking a much stronger enemy behind stone fortifications. He proved for all eternity his honorable bravery and willingness to sacrifice his own life.

His sword was returned to his relatives. His honor was never lost.

John E. Carey is a frequent contributor to The Washington Times.