Veteran’s Day 2012

A few stories and events to consider as we observe Veteran’s Day 2012:

Congressional Medal of Honor

LINDSTROM, FLOYD K.
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Mignano, Italy, 11 November 1943. Entered service at: Colorado Springs, Colo. Birth: Holdredge, Nebr. G.O. No.: 32, 20 April 1944.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. On 11 November 1943, this soldier’s platoon was furnishing machinegun support for a rifle company attacking a hill near Mignano, Italy, when the enemy counterattacked, forcing the riflemen and half the machinegun platoon to retire to a defensive position. Pfc. Lindstrom saw that his small section was alone and outnumbered 5 to 1, yet he immediately deployed the few remaining men into position and opened fire with his single gun. The enemy centered fire on him with machinegun, machine pistols, and grenades. Unable to knock out the enemy nest from his original position, Pfc. Lindstrom picked up his own heavy machinegun and staggered 15 yards up the barren, rocky hillside to a new position, completely ignoring enemy small arms fire which was striking all around him. From this new site, only 10 yards from the enemy machinegun, he engaged it in an intense duel. Realizing that he could not hit the hostile gunners because they were behind a large rock, he charged uphill under a steady stream of fire, killed both gunners with his pistol and dragged their gun down to his own men, directing them to employ it against the enemy. Disregarding heavy rifle fire, he returned to the enemy machinegun nest for 2 boxes of ammunition, came back and resumed withering fire from his own gun. His spectacular performance completely broke up the German counterattack. Pfc. Lindstrom demonstrated aggressive spirit and complete fearlessness in the face of almost certain death.

1865 – Dr. Mary Edward Walker, 1st Army female surgeon, was awarded Medal of Honor by Pres. Andrew Johnson for her work as a field doctor for outstanding service at the Battle of Bull Run, at the Battle of Chickamauga, as a Confederate prisoner of war in Richmond, Va., and at the Battle of Atlanta.

MULLIN, HUGH P.
Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 20 March 1878, Richmond, Ill. Accredited to: Illinois. G.O. No.: 537, 8 January 1900. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Texas during the coaling of that vessel at Hampton Roads, Va., 11 November 1899. Jumping overboard while wearing a pair of heavy rubber boots and at great risk to himself, Mullin rescued Alfred Kosminski, apprentice, second class, who fell overboard, by supporting him until he was safely hauled from the water.

Interesting Veteran’s events occurring on November 11:

Inscription on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

1921 – Exactly three years after the end of World War I, the Tomb of the Unknowns is dedicated at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia during an Armistice Day ceremony presided over by President Warren G. Harding.

1942 – Congress approves lowering the draft age to 18 and raising the upper limit to age 37. In September 1940, Congress, by wide margins in both houses, passed the Burke-Wadsworth Act, and the first peacetime draft was imposed in the history of the United States. The registration of men between the ages of 21 and 36 began exactly one month later. There were some 20 million eligible young men-50 percent were rejected the very first year, either for health reasons or because 20 percent of those who registered were illiterate. But by November 1942, with the United States now a participant in the war, and not merely a neutral bystander, the draft ages had to be expanded; men 18 to 37 were now eligible. Blacks were passed over for the draft because of racist assumptions about their abilities and the viability of a mixed-race military.

1992 – By letter, Russian President Boris Yeltsin told U.S. senators that Americans had been held in prison camps after World War II and some were “summarily executed”.

2000 – President Bill Clinton led groundbreaking ceremonies in Washington DC for the National WW II Memorial.

(The above information extracted from This Day in U.S. Military History.)

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