52 year-old Rocco Pepe has had numerous military deployments. Too many campaigns, he says, to name. His 20 year career with the Marines began in 1976, followed by several years in the Air National Guard. Today Pepe’s an officer with the Georgetown/ Scott County Emergency Management Agency. He boasts about seeing 35 percent of the world without paying a penny for transportation. The veteran grew up in Paterson, New Jersey, in sight of the New York City skyline. Despite the cosmopolitan surroundings and his military travels, the veteran is not immune to culture shock, abroad, and in the U-S…
Georgetown has been selected for a multimillion-dollar National Veterans Memorial Museum to be located on a 2,000-acre site to be secured sometime in the next year. "If you draw a 500-mile circle around Georgetown, you have a majority of the (nation's) population inside," said Todd Strecker, a Lexington man who's heading the effort to build the museum.
Gov. Steve Beshear Wednesday recognized the sacrifice of a Fort Knox soldier who died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. According to the Department of Defense, Spc. Michael D. Elm, 25, of Phoenix, Ariz., died Oct. 14 in Khowst, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Knox.
As Veteran's Day 2011 draws near, power cooperatives across Kentucky have joined together to honor those who fought in World War II. On Saturday, Oct. 22, 35 World War II veterans from Kentucky will travel to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorial created in 2004 to honor their service.
Some casualties of war are the minds of soldiers thrown into combat. Travis Martin is such a case. As an 18 year-old, the Somerset, Kentucky native found himself driving heavy trucks in Iraq. The target of several ambushes, the soldier suffered head and shoulder wounds when his vehicle ran over a roadside bomb. For two years his hands shook uncontrollably, and his personality changed for the worse. He was not diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, but insists he’s a victim of P-T-S-D. After two tours of duty, Martin earned a master’s degree in English literature at Eastern Kentucky University. In the latest in our series on student veterans, Martin talks about coping with severe anxiety…
Members of the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command are not known as a combat unit, but the group recognizes the need for readiness when it enters a war zone early next year. Part of the process to prepare bodies and minds for the upcoming deployment was unleashed in September on a padded wrestling mat in a gymnasium on Fort Knox. The exercise was part of combatives training, a multi-dimensional course in hand-to-hand combat completed in stages.
Fighting a war often immerses a soldier in a foreign environment and culture. That was the case for Phil McKenzie, the latest in a long line of McKenzies who served in the military. As a 20 year-old Bradley tank driver, the eastern Kentucky native and Tennessee National Guard member, recalls his first impressions of Iraq, its first real election after the American invasion, and the bomb that wasn’t…
As a 19 year-old Army paratrooper, Jeremy Bowen was thrust into the bloody battle of Falluja, Iraq. In comments made as part of the University of Kentucky’s oral history project with student veterans, “From Combat to Kentucky”, Bowen recalls a night mission in an area nicknamed “Little Detroit” when he and his team shot two insurgents.
A Medal of Honor recipient who served during the Vietnam War has seen a lot of changes over the past 40 years. Retired Army Command Sgt. Major Gary Littrell was awarded the military's highest honor in 1973 on the same day was eight other veterans, when President Nixon was dealing with the fallout of the Watergate investigation.
Jeremy Bowen has seen a lot in his 26 years. The Army veteran from Boyd County took part in the bloody Battle of Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. The battle is described as some of the heaviest urban combat since Vietnam. In the latest of our profiles of student veterans, based on the University of Kentucky’s oral history project, “From Combat to Kentucky”, Bowen recalls being a 19 year-old paratrooper, arriving in Iraq.
A recipient of the highest military award given by the United States government shared his less-than-award-winning moments Thursday with students at Fort Knox High School. Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Patterson, a Medal of Honor recipient, visited the post school to speak to the entire student body as well as visit with JROTC members. Patterson encouraged students to stay in school and avoid the “stupid things” he had done in his life.
Maj. Gen. Marcia Anderson might never have gotten involved with the U.S. Army if she hadn’t needed a science credit at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. She was wandering through a gym considering booths advertising classes when she saw one for military science. She asked the man attending the booth whether the class counted as a science credit. It did. About 30 years later, Anderson stood in front of soldiers, political officials and area residents and was promoted as the first black woman to become a major general in the Army.
Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Dakota Meyer will be honored in public ceremonies as part of "Sgt. Dakota Meyer Week" on Oct. 2 in his hometown of Columbia, in Adair County. Ceremonies include a public parade around downtown Columbia and a ceremony at Lindsey Wilson College's stadium.
A Fort Knox logistics unit is training now in preparation for a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan in 2012. Although about 250 people will deploy as part of the 3rd ESC unit, its charges will actually number from 5,000 to 7,000 people, composed of military, government civilians and contractors. The unit will fuel and feed forces, transport supplies and repair equipment.
From a very young age, Rick Lee always had an eye and an ear for history, especially history surrounding the Greatest Generation and World War II. Lee, now in the middle of his life and himself a veteran of the first Gulf War, still remembers when he was a child, seeing photos of and hearing stories about his father’s time in the military. Lee said watching the History Channel became a habit for him. Then one day, Lee had a revelatory moment. “A light bulb went off,” he said. “I thought, ‘instead of watching history on TV, you’ve got living history right in front of you.’”
The teamwork mentality required in football can ease a transition into the military. In the latest installment of our series of interviews based on the University of Kentucky’s oral history project, “From Combat to Kentucky,” WEKU’S Ron Smith focuses on a walk-on football player turned soldier…
It was the Fourth of July and Veterans Day all rolled into one. But for the most part, it was Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer's Day. Literally. In his first public event since Meyer received the Medal of Honor on Thursday at the White House, local officials proclaimed Sept. 17 henceforth to be Dakota Meyer Day to honor him and his fallen comrades in Afghanistan. In what had to be a heady experience for the 23-year-old claimed by both Adair and Green counties, a crowd estimated at 20,000 by parade organizers packed downtown Greensburg to see Meyer, who was grand marshal for the Cow Days Parade. Greensburg's population is 2,200.
America’s war on terror features familiar images of soldiers in body armor, Humvees and attack helicopters. Submerged in war coverage is the role played by submarines and their crews. In the latest installment of our series of interviews based on the University of Kentucky’s oral history project, “From Combat to Kentucky,” WEKU’S Ron Smith has memories from a submariner…
Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer said the future, not his past heroics, was the topic of his private patio conversation over beers with President Barack Obama before the Kentuckian was awarded the Medal of Honor last week. Meyer spoke briefly with the Herald-Leader after Saturday's Cow Days Parade and before a meet-and-greet event with well-wishers at Greensburg Baptist Church. The parade was his first public appearance since receiving the Medal of Honor on Thursday at the White House.
For the first time in nearly 40 years, a living Marine has been awarded the nation’s highest military honor. Kentucky native Dakota Meyer received the Medal of Honor today. Two years ago in Afghanistan, Meyer traveled through a firefight with Taliban forces to search for missing comrades. He later helped retrieve four fallen soldiers.
Frankfort – “Our Commonwealth is full of pride today as one of our own, Kentucky native Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer, accepts the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama for his extraordinary bravery while serving in Afghanistan in 2009," Gov. Steve Beshear said in a press release from his office.
In his book from a few years back, Tom Brokaw of NBC News called the men and women who fought for America during World War II “The Greatest Generation.” Brokaw wrote, “They answered the call to save the world from the two most powerful and ruthless military machines ever assembled...They faced great odds and a late start, but they did not protest. They succeeded on every front. They won the war; they saved the world...(They) immediately began the task of rebuilding their lives and the world they wanted...(And) they remain, for the most part, exceptionally modest.”
Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., honored Kentucky-native Dakota Meyer, who will become the first living Marine to receive the Medal of Honor in four decades. In 2009, Meyer ran into a firefight while serving in Afghanistan to search for ambushed U.S. soldiers and Afghan troops. Meyer asked his commanding officer for permission to help the stranded troops, but the officers said no. He disobeyed orders and helped retrieve their bodies.
A Kentucky native will receive the Medal of Honor today. Two years ago in Afghanistan, then-Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer ran into a firefight to search for ambushed comrades. He later helped retrieve four of their bodies. Meyer says he felt like a failure afterward and didn’t expect to be recognized for his actions.
Two years ago, Adair County native Dakota L. Meyer had just gone through a hell he had not expected to survive. On Sept. 8, 2009, in a narrow valley in mountainous northeastern Afghanistan, Meyer, then a 21-year-old corporal in the Marine Corps, repeatedly charged through murderous enemy fire to rescue other Marines and U.S. and Afghan soldiers who had been ambushed by Taliban fighters. Meyer's efforts in the six-hour battle saved the lives of 13 U.S. Marines and soldiers and 23 Afghan soldiers. For those actions, President Barack Obama will present Meyer with the nation's highest military award, the Medal of Honor, in a ceremony at the White House on Thursday.
Kentucky veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are telling their stories while they’re still fresh in their minds. The recollections are the basis for an oral history project at the University of Kentucky, “From Combat to Kentucky.” Beginning this month WEKU will air capsule versions of the original interviews. Today, we profile Army Reservist Stephanie Murphy, a veteran of the Iraq war.