War-related deaths are rarely forgotten. For many people, Memorial Day weekend remains a time to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in military service. Tom Baker, Chair of the Bluegrass Military Affairs Coalition, has just such a memory. “I had a good friend, from the earlier time I can remember, Walter Anderson. He joined the Army out of high school and in his first week in Vietnam, the convoy he was in was ambushed and he was blown up by a mine and lost his life,” said Baker.
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A new Honor Flight program has been set up to serve veterans in north-central Tennessee and south-central Kentucky.
Michael Flood, a 101st Airborne Division veteran, told The Leaf-Chronicle that he decided to start the Screaming Eagle Honor Flight after the nearby Music City Honor Flight in Nashville ceased operating last year.
Flood said he is currently seeking volunteers, donations and other support for his operation in Clarksville, Tenn.
A flight carrying 71 Tristate veterans and their escorts departs at 8 am. Tuesday from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport to Washington to see visit national memorials. Honor Flight Tri-State is a nonprofit organization that flies World War II and Korean War veterans to their memorials in Washington at no cost. The flight returns at 10:15 p.m. Tuesday. Read more...
A new Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame will honor people who came back and made a positive impact on their community. Organizers of the private Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc., are planning to select a first-ever class of up to 20 inductees in November. Nominations are being sought.
Thousands of volunteers gather this weekend for a clean-up at America’s Civil War battlefields. From Maryland to California, they’ll clear away winter-time debris and make the parks ready for summertime visitors. At the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site, organizer Joan House says they’ll work on 500-acres of battlefield just acquired for the site.
A Lexington based organization that supports military personnel serving overseas is expanding its program. For several years, Military Missions has shipped care-packages to soldiers. This holiday season, the organization has launched an ‘Adopt-A-Hero’ program. Military Missions Volunteer Larry Neuzel says donors can send items to specific service men and women. “We have some in Kuwait. I saw one the other day from Korea, so anybody that’s overseas that have gone to our website and we have a place on there where you can add a hero. We do this all year long, not just at Christmas time.
FRANKFORT – Gov. Steve Beshear Wednesday announced that a team of Kentuckians will work to find better ways to help military service members, veterans and their families with substance abuse and mental health challenges. “When those who have sacrificed so much already need help with substance abuse or mental health issues, we have to be ready with resources to support them as they heal,” Beshear said in a statement released by his office. “The team is expected to develop recommendations on how best to make that help available for the military and veteran families who need it."
Kentucky this week marks a major milestone at one of its historic sites. Over the weekend, the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Richmond was commemorated. Joining in Kentucky’s Civil War commemoration was Pulitzer prize winning author Mark Neely. Neely, who spoke last week at Eastern Kentucky University, won the prize in 1991 for his history, The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties. Neely told WEKU’s John Hingsbergen that the US Constitution helped the Union with the war.
In an unexpected development, an Iraqi refugee pleaded guilty in federal court in Louisville to terrorism-related charges.Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 24, of Bowling Green, pleaded guilty to five counts of attempting to provide material support and resources to terrorists, four counts of attempting to provide material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, two counts of making false statements on an immigration form and conspiracy to possess, receive, transfer and export surface-to-air missile launcher systems.
More than 200 National Guard soldiers were reunited with their families after a year apart at a welcome-home ceremony on Saturday afternoon at Home of the Freedom ball park in Florence. The 1204th Aviation Support Battalion, based in Independence, was the last Kentucky unit to leave Iraq as U.S. troops were withdrawn in December. The soldiers were then sent to Kuwait, where they provided maintenance, logistics and communications support.
Mourners saluted at the funeral for Army Pfc. Dustin Gross held at the Montgomery County High School Thursday. Gross was killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan last week after being in the country just about six weeks.
The Japanese government surrendered to Allied forces in 1945, but World War Two came to an official end in April, 1952, when a peace treaty went into effect. Witnessing the declaration of peace, 60 years ago, were members of the 24th Infantry Division Band. The American soldiers were in Japan on occupation duty.
Relatives of Kentuckians who died in Vietnam are being urged to submit photos and other remembrances of their loved ones to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. Eastern Kentucky University later this week hosts a touring version of the Vietnam Memorial. Lee Allen with the Memorial Fund says his organization launched a national campaign to get photos of all those people named on the wall. Of the one thousand 58 Kentuckians who died during the Vietnam War, Allen says 625 pictures are still being sought.
The U.S. Secretary of Defense says the country has made a turning point in its military history, including a new defense strategy with $487 billion of spending cuts; but he says it’ll take more sacrifice to maintain the U.S. position as a global leader. Panetta addressed an audience over 1,000 at the University of Louisville’s Papa John Stadium Thursday night. This was the first visit from a sitting Defense Secretary to U of L’s McConnell Center for Political Leadership lecture series.
Managing personal finances can present unique challenges… especially to military families. Kentucky’s Department of Financial Institutions is offering a revised ‘Financial Field Manual’ to those families. State spokeswoman Kelly May says it’s meant to help military families steer clear of scams.
The University of Louisville is trying to encourage members of Kentucky’s National Guard to take advantage of the school’s programs. U of L signed a memorandum of understanding with Kentucky’s National Guard Friday that’ll increase the university’s effort in offering programs and services that could benefit soldiers, said Renee Finnegan, executive director of military initiatives for U of L.
Three members of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) 4th Brigade Combat Team (Currahees) were honored Monday for bravery under fire in Afghanistan last June. Their citations were pinned on them by Col. Valery C. Keaveny Jr., the commander of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 506th Infantry Regiment.
Although the U.S. is withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, the war is not over for more than 60 members of the Kentucky National Guard in Frankfort. They were honored in a farewell ceremony Tuesday as they prepare to go to Afghanistan in the next several weeks. The members – officially Agribusiness Development Team 4 – will focus on teaching Afghanis how to be agriculturally self-sufficient in a war-ravaged nation.
When 21-year Army veteran Floyd E. Douglas was laid to rest at Mill Springs National Cemetery in Pulaski County last month, 17 men and women, all veterans wearing the uniforms of the various military services, were there to render full military honors. They saluted the casket. They fired the traditional 21-volley rifle salute. They carefully removed the American flag from the casket, folded it in the prescribed manner, and presented it to the Douglas family, along with the shell casings from the salute. Finally, they completed the service with an emotional playing of taps.
A soldier with Kentucky and southern Ohio roots was in one of the last units to leave Iraq over the weekend. According to family members, U.S. Army PFC Codie Breeze, a 2009 graduate of Bracken County High School, was on one of the last convoys of American soldiers to leave Iraq. Breeze is with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Delta Co. 2 Battalion 5 Cavalry Regiment from Fort Hood, Texas.
The U.S. this week closed a chapter in its War on Terror, officially ending its mission in Iraq after nearly nine years of combat. The pullout of U.S. troops from the embattled country drew mixed opinions among Hardin County veterans, some of whom have been directly affected by the conflict. Ronnie Thompson Jr., an Elizabethtown resident who was injured in late 2004 when an IED struck his Humvee, had his military career end after the roadside bomb put him on a challenging road to rehabilitation. On Thursday, Thompson said he feels the close of the Iraq War is long overdue and it is time to trust that the Iraqi government can rise up and take care of its own without falling prey to insurgent forces.
An investigation by the McClatchy news organization casts some doubts on the official account of Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer’s actions. Meyer, a Kentuckian, received the medal for actions in Afghanistan in 2009. The official account of the Marine’s story describes how he ran into enemy fire to retrieve his fallen colleagues and Afghan fighters. It tells of him leaping from his vehicle’s gun turret and killing at least eight insurgents.
"Crucial parts" of the story that Marine Corps officials told about Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer's bravery in Afghanistan are "untrue, unsubstantiated or exaggerated, according to dozens of military documents" that McClatchy Newspapers has examined and reporting done by a McClatchy correspondent who survived the ambush in which Meyer performed heroically.
In a long report based on extensive research, correspondent Jonathan S. Landay writes that:
There is a picture Tom Hunter likes to look at of his son. The little boy is 3 years old, with platinum blond hair and Mickey Mouse house shoes. This photo, Tom Hunter says, is Jimmy, before he was Staff Sgt. James Hunter, decorated Army journalist, casualty of war. “I think this shows his personality, even then,” Tom Hunter said, pointing to James Hunter’s small hand, slightly covering the right side of his face.
“Rollover! Rollover!” was the refrain bursting forth from a simulated Humvee suspended in the air, slowly working its way beyond its tipping point to an upside down position. The voices cracking over the speakers embedded in the Humvee were those of the soldiers of the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command during a simulation in the Humvee Egress Assistance Trainer at Fort Knox.
Two Kentucky National Guard soldiers from the 149th Brigade Support Battalion who returned from Iraq surprised their children at school Thursday. Sgt. 1st Class Darrell Brookins walked up behind his son, DJ Brookins, 9, during a morning assembly at Dishman-McGinnis Elementary School. “It was very exciting,” Darrell Brookins said. “DJ is really special. He’s really inspiring.” During the assembly, students were given a math problem to solve, which was to determine how long a soldier has been overseas if he or she has been there since June 4, which is when Darrell Brookins was deployed.
LaRue Dillon was working as a secretary in Birmingham, Ala., when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, killing thousands and launching America’s entry into World War II. A few months later in 1942, the U.S. military opened its doors to women for the first time, and Dillon and her roommate enlisted together. Her decision was part patriotism, part youthful wanderlust. “You know how you do things when you’re a teenager – I just wanted to go,” Dillon, 93, said a few weeks ago from her Scott County home.
Blanche Johnson was studying at the Deaconess School of Nursing in Evansville, Ind., when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. She had no idea then that what President Franklin D. Roosevelt so famously proclaimed "a date which will live in infamy" would become a defining moment in her life as much as in the lives of an entire generation. So, what possessed a young woman — 21 years old and fresh out of nursing school — to go to war?