Archive for the ‘Profiles in Valor’ Category

OOOH RAH! Happy Birthday United States Marine Corps!

November 10, 2011

Jarheads near and far, past and present we thank you for your service, dedication, and selfless faithfullness now and forever!


One Marine Corps Brat born and raised on Camp Pendleton.


Memorial Day…

May 29, 2011

Memorial Day was originally about World War One. It has come to symbolize the ultimate sacrifice made by all Veterans though, from every conflict, that have died in service to our nation.

Long time readers know that I am the son of a Veteran killed in action. That was a long time ago. Yet, my Fathers sacrifice, like that of so many others is no less relevant today than it was in 1953. Nor are the deaths of all those that died that we might live free. I feel more of less like it is a duty to remember those that died, and what they died for. Hence, this blog is primarily devoted to politics, social issues, and the American way of life.

Is America perfect? Of course not. We have made many mistakes over the course of time. Yet America, unlike many other nations actually does work at correcting things. That, among other things, is our legacy.

I for one, believe that we have a duty to protect and defend those things that others paid the ultimate sacrifice for. Things like the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The ideas expressed and debated in the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers. Inalienable Rights, and things of that nature. Hence, I take umbrage with those that I consider to be traitorous. Usually noted here as “The Usual Suspects.” I am a philosophical Libertarian, and will ever remain so.

I owe that to those that gave all, and to my ancestors.


Some things never really change: Politics, and the world as we know it…

May 9, 2011

Go away for a bit and the whole world appears to be standing on it’s head. That, or mankind truly is stuck on stupid.

Various leftest pundits are actually spreading the anti TEA Party propaganda that we are not taxed enough. Never mind there flawed reasoning, and phony calculations that are based within political correctness and fuzzy math. The real goal of these maniacs is ever expanding government over our lives as much as is possible. Then, their phony arguments forget to include all the various levels of taxation. Special districts, School Districts, Sewer, Library, and let’s not forget RTD, sales taxes at various levels, and the list goes on seemingly forever…

Next: The epic failure obama making the claim that “he” got O.B.L… Sure, have may have given the order to pull the trigger; I’ll give the devil his credit where it’s due. But, for all his “agonizing? SEAL TEAM SIX did the dirty work, along with a host of others that we will most probably never know about simply because of the nature of that type of work. HooRa!

It’s the economy stupid. In keeping with what has become epic fail obama protocol everyday we are being told that the economy is on the upswing. Only to be told otherwise hours, or the next day. When you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with…

The ongoing scandal at BATFE get’s worse with every new finding. It’s costing American lives, and the anti freedom and liberty types that infest the administration as well as BATFE could care less. As long as they get to preach their anti American lies it’s all good…

For those that have never seen one? A short time back while driving through the National Elk refuge I came nose to nose with a Moose! While sitting in the drivers seat of a Freightliner. Gads, those are huge animals!

No Wild Turkey hunting for me this year… Let’s hear how you folks did in the comments.

Take care one and all, shoot straight and be safe!

Rogue Agency still at it…

March 20, 2011
Seems that the rogue agency that has done more to destroy liberty and freedom than any other is now not just killing religious people, but even our own border warriors.
Many have been calling for the utter abolishment of the BATFE, and for good reasons. This situation should enrage every American, and especially those involved in public safety. Yes, once again I implore each of you to contact your elected leaders.
(February 23, 2011)

“Two months after the shooting death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office remain silent. But family members, and others, are speaking out.”
— William Lajeunesse, “America’s Third War: Agent Brian Terry, A Policy of Silence?,” Fox News (February 22, 2011) at


According to recent press reports — such as Fox News — the ATF has enabled gun smuggling by telling gun dealers in the southwest to sell weapons to known straw purchasers (people who buy guns for others).  Even worse, one of those guns became the murder weapon in a tragic case where a Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry, was gunned down on December 14th, 2010.

This ATF operation is called Project Gunrunner and its purpose was to monitor illicit gun sales in the southwest in order to track down the smuggling rings delivering guns to the drug cartels.

But, now, it’s beginning to look like the biggest arms supplier is the ATF itself for having allowed more than 3000 weapons to be smuggled under its Gunrunner program.

While Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) has demanded answers from the ATF, he has been blown off — not only by agency superiors, but by officials as high up as Attorney General Eric Holder.

Given the fact that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is likely to drag his feet in order to protect Attorney General Eric Holder, we believe that hearings should begin in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Thus, Gun Owners of America is now calling for both the Judiciary Committee and the Committee on Oversight and Reform in the U.S. House of Representatives to initiate hearings into Project Gunrunner — and presents the following information to help in their investigations.


“The gun used to kill Agent Brian Terry has been sourced, not to Mexico, but to a gun store in Phoenix that was actually part — and cooperating — with a federal investigation into arms trafficking.  However, US agents did not stop the sale or the transfer of that gun to the cartels that killed Terry.”
— William Lajeunesse, Fox News broadcast (February 22, 2011)

Around 11:00 pm on the night of December 14, 2010, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot and mortally wounded near Peck Canyon, Rio Rico, north of Nogales in Santa Cruz County, Arizona, approximately 10 miles north of the U.S.-Mexican border.  Agent Terry, aged 40, a Marine Corps veteran and a “cop’s cop,” died shortly afterward.  Four suspects were taken into custody, including one who was shot and transported to the hospital.

Two months after the murder, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Phoenix announced that three of the four, Jesus Soria-Ruiz, Jose Angel-Camacho, and Francisco Rosario Camacho-Alameda would be deported to Mexico after pleading guilty to charges of illegal entry.   As of this writing (February 23, 2011), they have been released for deportation.

Despite being arrested at the scene, it was announced that no evidence tied the three to the shooting of Agent Terry.  This is amazing.  Should not these illegal aliens be kept in custody as witnesses?  At best, they are material witnesses … at worst, they are perpetrators who assisted in the murder of Agent Terry.

To date no one has been charged with the murder and the FBI has been uncharacteristically tight-lipped about the investigation, except to assure that Terry was not killed by friendly fire from fellow agents.  (It is the opinion of many — not only those here at GOA, but also the whistleblowers — that because these Mexican citizens have potential knowledge as material witnesses in the case, they should not be deported and, instead, should be kept in protective custody until they can be made available to independent Congressional investigators.)

Two semi-automatic Kalashnikov-pattern rifles were found at the scene.  When traced, it was discovered that these had been purchased from an American gun shop which had been cooperating with agents of the Phoenix office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (commonly referred to as the ATF) in an investigation of gun smuggling known as Project Gunrunner.  It was also learned that these weapons had been traced by the ATF at least once before, and that the agency had extensive knowledge of the person who bought them.

Almost immediately, rumors began to circulate within the agency that the Phoenix office of ATF had botched the oversight and execution of Project Gunrunner, and that the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was an unintended but foreseeable consequence of poor planning, sloppy field craft and even sloppier management.  Such a tragedy, it was said, had even been predicted by some agents beforehand.

Worse, both street agents and responsible supervisors within the agency had tried to prevent such an outcome and were overruled by higher management.  In the case of one, Darren Gil, the ATF attaché in Mexico City who went over the head of Phoenix Special Agent in Charge, William Newell, to ATF headquarters, such fidelity to duty was a career-ending act.  Gil was forced into early retirement on December 31, 2010, two and a half weeks after the murder of Brian Terry.

Gil was removed, at least in part, because he insisted that pursuant to treaty and established protocol, the Mexican government should be notified of the operation.  It was not.  The decision to remove Darren Gil and keep the Mexican government in the dark was approved, it is said, at least at the highest levels of the Justice Department.

There are now five separate but connected accusations leveled by current or former employees of the ATF against ATF and DOJ officials in what has been dubbed the “Project Gunwalker“ Scandal:

First, that they intentionally allowed perhaps as many as 3,000 firearms to “walk” across the U.S. border into Mexico with the purpose of boosting the statistics of seized firearms with American commercial provenance from Mexican crime scenes.

Second, that they instructed U.S. gun dealers to proceed with questionable and illegal sales of firearms to suspected gunrunners.

Third, that they intentionally withheld information about U.S.-sanctioned gun smuggling from the Mexican government.

Fourth, that one of the rifles ATF allowed to be smuggled into Mexico was involved in the death of CBP Agent Brian Terry.  (See the link to Grassley’s February 9 letter in the footnotes below.)

Fifth, that high-level managers of ATF and DOJ are now, in tandem with the FBI, involved in covering up ATF and DOJ culpability in items One through Four, by various means including the unlawful threatening of current-serving ATF agents with personal knowledge of the case.

Eventually, these charges came to the attention of U.S. Senators Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Chuck Grassley of Iowa through the new media which learned of the existence of potential whistleblowers from its own sources within ATF.  The Senators then got in touch with the whistleblowers, so that they could be afforded some protection from the threats of their managers and so that the truth of the circumstances of the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry could be discovered.

The story is starting to get out.  As stated on February 22 by William Lajeunesse of Fox News:  “The slug that killed Terry came from an AK-47 dropped at the scene. The weapon was traced to a Phoenix gun store, which had reported the sale to ATF’s ‘Project Gunrunner.’”

At present, many other revelations are expected.

This study will present a background, narrative, condensed timeline and document sources to help Senators and Members of the House of Representatives understand where this scandal came from, what the evidentiary sources are and what legislative remedies may be taken to fully develop the truth, help target oversight and to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.  It has been written with input derived from the whistleblowers themselves.

Background, Narrative and Condensed Timeline

For many months throughout 2010, the ATF’s “Project Gunrunner” initiative was under fire for poor management, exaggerated statistics, etc. The agency was floundering to carry out an agenda that wasn’t entirely covered by the law and its managers were stung by poor publicity and especially by an Inspector General’s report which Michael Isikoff first reported leaks on last September 21, presaging the official report which was finally made public in November.  Isikoff’s story said in part:

“A major Justice Department program aimed at intercepting the flow of U.S. weapons to Mexico’s drug cartels is misfiring due to bureaucratic turf battles and a failure to share critical intelligence about illegal firearms purchases, according to an internal department report.”

The IG report excoriated ATF’s Project Gunrunner performance.  It is now alleged by ATF’s own agents that sometime in late 2009 or early 2010, the Phoenix office of ATF began to implement a policy of “walking” semi-automatic rifles south of the border — at first with a wink and a nod, later, according to one agent:

“The agency was not only looking the other way but actually facilitating trafficking, threatening and punishing agents who voiced objections, covering up trace information, the truth about the gun that killed BPA Terry, what I.C.E. knew, it goes on and on.”

“Walking” is a time tested way of making a case against a known criminal figure.  For example, let’s say that Evil Bad Guy “B” is known to have provided contraband to Criminal Enterprise “C.”  Law enforcement then uses a confidential informant or perhaps just a petty criminal known to them and arranges that they convey the contraband from Point “A” to Evil Bad Guy “B,” who then transports it to “C.”  “Walking” involves the surveillance by law enforcement of the contraband from “A” all the way through to “C” — either by eyes on or electronics — thus establishing a chain of custody and when it arrives, the agents swoop down and roll up the entire ring.  The agents literally “walk” the contraband from “A” to “C.”

In these cases, however, the end destination — the Point “C” — was across the border into Mexico, where ATF cannot normally go, and certainly not without the assistance of Mexican law enforcement.

During this time, it is alleged by an experienced ATF street agent, the ATF deliberately did not inform the Mexican authorities that this was going on:

“Darren Gil, former attaché to Mexico is an honest and honorable guy. He was forcefully removed from Mexico without warning in November in large part because he wouldn’t sit silent on these matters. He will tell the truth if asked by competent authority. He retired Dec 31 because of all this.”

Also during this time, gun stores along the border were calling ATF and reporting multiple sales, only to be told to allow the sales to go through, and in some cases, follow the purchasers out into the parking lot to get license numbers.   There are firearms dealers who are willing to come forward and detail their similar experiences to the Congress if asked under oath.  They are reluctant to do so without Congressional protection because their livelihoods are at the mercy of ATF regulators, who are known to conduct hostile “inspections” designed to characterize the dealer as a criminal or danger to the community.

All of this, it is alleged, was done in order to boost the numbers of seized semi-automatic “assault weapons” in Mexico to justify continued, or expanded, Project Gunrunner funding.

With the death of Agent Terry, the private resistance of the street agents of the ATF in the Phoenix office and elsewhere broke out into the open.  An unknown but significant number of ATF agents with personal knowledge and documents of this scandal became willing to tell their story to any Senator who asked them.  The first mention of these rumors in a public venue came out in postings by disaffected ATF street agents writing comments at their own website,  The story broke on December 28, 2010.

Over the next month, Senator Grassley’s office contacted these agents who were willing to speak out, not the other way around as has been reported.

The contacts with the whistleblowers led to Senator Grassley’s first letter to ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson on January 27, 2011, laying out the whistleblower‘s allegation and requesting information.

“On Tuesday, according to press reports, the ATF arrested 17 suspects in a Project Gunrunner bust.  William Newell, the Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Phoenix Field Office was quoted as saying, ‘We strongly believe we took down the entire organization from top to bottom that operated out of the Phoenix area.’  However, if the 17 individuals were merely straw purchasers of whom the ATF had been previously aware before Agent Terry’s death, then that raises a host of serious questions that the ATF needs to address immediately.”

On January 31, 2011, pursuant to reports that the Phoenix ATF management was threatening reprisals against agents who talked about the Terry case, Senator Grassley sent another letter to Acting Director Melson, reminding him strongly of the whistleblower protection laws and that the Congress would decline to appropriate money to pay the salaries of any federal employees who tried to so retaliate.

On February 4, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich sent a reply to Senator Grassley which was both preemptory and insulting to his character.  On February 7, an ATF agent writing on proposed a witness list and questions for Senator Grassley.

In retrospect, the Justice Department surely considered the February 4 letter ill-advised, because on February 9 Senator Grassley fired back a blistering three-page salvo directly to Attorney General Holder with attached documents he obviously obtained from whistleblowers that strongly supported their allegations.  Senator Grassley concluded this letter:

“The Terry family deserves answers. The whistleblowers have expressed a desire to honor Agent Terry’s memory by disclosing this information. The Justice Department should work to do the same. The best way to honor his memory is to come clean.”

The Senator in his letter again suggested a meeting with ATF.  That meeting happened on February 10, and according to an internal ATF source, the briefing was done by James E. McDermond, Assistant Director of ATF’s Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information.  McDermond was quoted as saying he thought the meeting went well.

On February 16, Senator Grassley disabused the ATF, the FBI, Customs and Border Patrol and the Department of Justice of that optimistic notion with a detailed, two-page demand to AG Eric Holder for specific documents in the “Project Gunwalker” Scandal.

It has been over two months since Agent Terry’s death and the complete outline of this scandal has yet to be discovered.  What we do not know, and what should be a priority of legislative inquiry, is what happened to the rest of the alleged three thousand “walked” firearms?  The ATF whistleblowers have said that there already have been other casualties, including the deaths of Mexican government officials and citizens, who have been identified.  The ATF should be compelled by the Congress to disclose who they are so that we may know the entire scope of this scandal, and determine how to help prevent such flawed law enforcement operations in future.

Government Accountability Office (GAO)

The relevant committee(s) taking up the inquiry into the “Project Gunwalker” scandal need to request two reports, one from GAO, the other from CRS.  The GAO report request should ask for a report on the firearms tracing system; how firearms trace data are collected, indexed, called up/retrieved, reported, what the data represent, how the data can be used, the extent (if any) to which ATF has validated the data, and how ATF has been using or misusing the data.  Of course the GAO (like CRS) is not an investigative agency per se but rather does program audits and evaluations, to explain how a program and/or policy is working or not.  An objective evaluation of the ATF’s firearms tracing system would be relevant to this case, and provide legislative guidance for any changes in the system that may be advisable.

Congressional Research Service (CRS)

The Congress routinely relies upon CRS reports to obtain legislative and policy information, and to prepare materials in support of Congressional hearings.   CRS previously did a report entitled “Gun Trafficking and the Southwest Border” by Vivian S. Chu, CRS Legislative Attorney and William J. Krouse, dated July 29, 2009.

Importantly, in November of last year the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General Evaluation and Inspections Division released a report titled “Review of ATF’s Project Gunrunner, Evaluation and Inspections Report I-2011-001, November 2010,” which was extremely critical of ATF’s performance.

The November 2010 report determined:

“ATF has not provided Mexican law enforcement with intelligence it requested on firearms trafficking patterns and trends, including trafficking routes and distribution points where guns are crossing into Mexico.”

This, of course, is one of the most important allegations of the ATF whistleblowers.

The Congress should request CRS to update the July 29, 2009 report on Project Gunrunner, which include (1) the major criticisms of Project Gunrunner identified by the Department of Justice Inspector General, as well as the appropriateness of remedies suggested in that report to address shortcomings in Project Gunrunner, and (2) an analysis of the legislative issues which are suggested by Project Gunrunner, such as tracking the multiple sales of rifles by federally licensed firearms dealers.

Both of these Congressional agencies have a history of providing helpful information in response to Congressional inquiries.  Even so, investigative hearings of the immediate “Project Gunwalker” allegations should not be postponed waiting on these GAO and CRS reports.

Immediate Investigative Hearings

There is a pressing public need to know what actually happened with Project Gunrunner and the circumstances which led to the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.  It may be concluded from Senator Grassley’s letters that they are well-informed by documents and informal testimony from whistleblower witnesses within the agency.  The only way that the public can be informed as to the truth is for these agency whistleblowers, other witnesses such as cooperating gun store owners, the accused senior managers and other such persons having knowledge to be called before the Congress and questioned under oath.

The ATF agent’s list above is a good start, but the following persons may also be profitably questioned to develop a complete understanding of what went wrong with Project Gunrunner, what decisions were taken after the murder of Brian Terry, and what the effects have been of the “walked” firearms on the Mexican side of the border:

* Adam R. Price and Jeffrey B. Stirling, program managers for Gunrunner at ATF headquarters.

* Lanny Breuer, Assistant Attorney General of the DOJ Criminal Investigations Division.

* Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States

* Robert Mueller, Director of the FBI

* Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State

* Janet Napolitano, Department of Homeland Security


ATF Oversight Hearings

“We got to figure out a way between you and me. We got to figure out a better way so that we don’t take this argument to the Internet or all over the place. . . to Senators and Congressmen, who don’t know anything about what we are talking about.”Sterling Nixon, Chief of Firearms Technology Branch, ATF,  to firearms designer and manufacturer Len Savage, Historic Arms, LLC, Franklin, GA, transcript of taped telephone call, on file with DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility.

For a later date in this Congress, there are several subjects raised by the scandal that should be explored by both the Senate and the House in their oversight capacity.

The ATF has not had truly serious, critical oversight hearings since 1982.  This unaccountability throughout administrations of both parties has led to an arrogance that permeates management at all levels, according to the whistleblowers.   They allege that this scandal could have been averted entirely if the ATF senior executive service was not riddled with cronyism, toleration of incompetence, lack of accountability, lack of transparency, failure to adhere to written policies, retaliation against agents trying to do the right thing, and so on.

In addition, both the street agents and outside observers identify the Chief Counsel’s Office as the center of many of the agency’s problems.  The CCO has used its considerable powers to retaliate against dissident agents and citizen critics alike.  It has, according to the agents, misused the EEOC enforcement process against what the CCO views as “malcontents.”  Outside the agency, the CCO is alleged (with considerable evidence) to have pursued “economic Wacos” (an internal ATF term) against those within the ATF’s regulatory power such as FFL holders, firearm designers, etc., who anger someone in the agency.

Inter-Agency and Foreign Relations Implications

Hearings exploring the diplomatic implications of American federal law enforcement agency misconduct as exemplified by “Project Gunwalker” and how the various agencies interact to help or harm the safety of citizens of both countries on each side of the border could become a stepping stone to fix some of those problems.  Gunwalker brings into prominence the problems when one agency decides to make its own foreign policy, independent of and contrary to, the will of the Senate, the House and the people.

The extent to which the ATF and DOJ executives in the Gunwalker scandal broke American and Mexican laws — as well as diplomatic accords and even treaties by unilaterally deciding to abrogate them — could provide guidance for stronger laws, better training, and for effective inter-agency and international communication.


The members of Gun Owners of America — and the whistleblowers who first risked all to get the story of this scandal out — believe that there is a pressing public need to know what actually happened with Project Gunrunner and the circumstances which led to the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.  We believe that there should be immediate investigative hearings in both Senate and House followed by oversight hearings to shine a bright light on the endemic problems of the ATF which led to this scandal.

However, since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is likely to assist in the cover-up, rather than embarrass Attorney General Eric Holder, we believe that hearings should begin in the U.S. House of Representatives.

We also believe with Senator Grassley that the best way to honor Brian Terry’s memory is for the ATF and the Department of Justice “to come clean.”  We believe that this will only happen when all the parties involved are put under oath in a hearing room on Capitol Hill.


Important Source Documents for “Project Gunwalker”

David Codrea’s Comprehensive Guide to “Project Gunwalker”

Can be found here:


Michael Isikoff’s story of 21 September 2010 can be found here:

The November 2010 U.S. Department of Justice Office of Inspector General report, “Review of ATF’s Project Gunrunner” which excoriates ATF performance can be found here:

Sources of Mexican crime trace weapons and the “90 Percent Myth”

Mexico’s Gun Supply and the 90 Percent Myth  by Scott Stewart, Stratfor Intelligence Report,

Wikileaks cables on military ordnance in cartel hands in Mexico:

Carter’s Country as example of ATF requests to gun dealers:

The 12 December Washington Post article is here:

The 13 December Post follow-up with some of Deguerin’s remarks is here:

Also on 13 December the local Houston FOX affiliate ran video with more Deguerin quotes:

Fast and Furious Indictments referred to in the Open Source Analysis

US v. Avila et al.:

US v. Flores et al.:

US v. Broome et al.:

US v. Aguilar:

US v. Abarca

Map of Firearms Recovered in Avilas Investigation

Grassley/ATF/DOJ Letters:

27 December, Grassley to Melson:
31 December, Grassley to Melson:
4 February, Weich to Grassley:
9 February, Grassley to Holder:
16 February, Grassley to Holder,



Obamination: Just doing his job? Or was this sincere?

October 6, 2010

The post World War Two Democrats have been exceedingly disdainful of the United States Military. Yet, this impostor in chief that we have now did give what appeared to be a moving, and thoughtful dissertation with regards to a war that is in all of our faces. Yet appears to be among his greatest failures.

Was all this real? Or, yet again, simply politics.

Simply based upon my childhood background I was exposed to several Men that had earned the Medal of Honor. Merry, who sometimes deems it worthy to post here had one such man living next to her as she grew up. I myself had three such extraordinary people involved in my daily life. Such is the life of a Marine Corps brat…

Let me tell you something about such Men. They never brag, and in fact, attribute any thing that they may have done to a love for their fellows. They are, one and all, unassuming. They simply believe that they did what they did because it had to be done. To quote one Man, “Nobody else could fight, so I had too.”

The BHO, I think, is simply capitalizing on what happened.

Where as; People such as Myself, Merry, Maine, Fred, and so many others? Simply hold such Men in the highest level of respect, honor, and as templates for those that will follow. Audie Murphy would be proud of what this very young man did. Gads, a Special Forces Team Member at that age..? He had to be good! Back in the day? It took a few more years, rank notwithstanding, to make it onto an A-Team. This young Man, was an American Warrior, the real deal.

Gads… I simply do not trust this man…


Read about this outrage HERE

Profiles of Valor: U.S. Air Force CMSgt Etchberger

September 24, 2010

“Plausible denial” was the word in 1968, when some U.S. military personnel were taking the battle to the communist enemy in Cambodia and Laos as “civilians.” What was undeniable, and what finally became crystal clear decades later, was the heroism and selflessness that was exhibited by one of those men, United States Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Richard Loy Etchberger. In March 1968, a remote radar site in Laos, known as Lima Site 85, was attacked and eventually overrun. Etchberger, one of the defenders at that site, remained in his position despite heavy fire that had killed or wounded most of his comrades. Fighting with everything at his disposal, including calling in air strikes, he battled back. When med-evac helos finally came, he put his wounded comrades aboard first, braving enemy fire to get them up to safety before he himself was mortally wounded. Though he had received posthumously the Air Force Cross for his actions that day, Etchberger will now receive his full due: the Medal of Honor.


Profiles of Valor: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta

September 21, 2010

Way to go AIRBORNE!

United States Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta will become the first living service member to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The White House described Giunta’s actions:

Then-Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta distinguished himself by acts of gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rifle team leader with Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment during combat operations against an armed enemy in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan on October 25, 2007.When an insurgent force ambush split Specialist Giunta’s squad into two groups, he exposed himself to enemy fire to pull a comrade back to cover. Later, while engaging the enemy and attempting to link up with the rest of his squad, Specialist Giunta noticed two insurgents carrying away a fellow soldier. He immediately engaged the enemy, killing one and wounding the other, and provided medical aid to his wounded comrade while the rest of his squad caught up and provided security. His courage and leadership while under extreme enemy fire were integral to his platoon’s ability to defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow American paratrooper from enemy hands.

Giunta himself was shot in the chest, though his ballistic vest prevented injury, and another bullet disabled the weapon on his back. Unfortunately, Sgt. John Brennan, the first soldier Giunta saved, did not survive surgery. They were best friends. No date has been set for the award ceremony, but we offer our sincerest thanks for Giunta’s service.


Profiles of Valor: John Finn, 1909-2010

June 6, 2010

With Memorial Day memories still fresh, and the 66th anniversary of D-Day this coming Sunday, it’s certainly worthwhile to spend a few more minutes reflecting on the courage and valor of America’s fighting forces, both past and present. Last Thursday, May 27, the man who was America’s oldest Medal of Honor recipient died at the age of 100 at the Veterans Home of California in Chula Vista. Retired Navy officer John Finn had received America’s highest medal of valor for bravery during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Awakened by the first bombs from the attack, Finn found a .50-caliber machine gun, mounted it on a platform, which gave him no protection, and began firing at the Japanese planes that were on their way to Pearl Harbor. Despite numerous wounds (a bullet wound in his left arm, shrapnel in his chest and stomach, a broken left foot and a laceration on his scalp), he kept reloading and firing for more than two hours, giving heart to his fellow sailors, dazed from being suddenly thrown into a world war. Finn didn’t leave his post for treatment until directly ordered, and even then soon returned to help rearm planes. As with most U.S. warriors, Finn was humble about his exploits, saying he just “did what I was being paid for.”

Finn’s story also shines a light on the current, and possibly scandalous, Medal of Honor situation. As The Patriot Post regularly highlights, there is no shortage of courage and valor among America’s current crop of warriors. Yet, only six Medals of Honor have been awarded for service in Iraq or Afghanistan, a rate of one MoH recipient per one million service members. The rate from WWI through Vietnam was between 23 to 26 recipients per one million. Is a top-heavy military bureaucracy stalling awards, or is the politically correct leftist view of downplaying our military heroes influencing the brass? Regardless, our valiant warriors deserve better. But still they fight.


Profiles in Valor: U.S. Army Air Forces Col. (ret) Walker ‘Bud’ Mahurin

May 22, 2010

We at The Patriot Post frequently honor America’s heroes. Accordingly, we mark the passage of retired Colonel Walker “Bud” Mahurin with both thankfulness and mourning. Col. Mahurin, a fighter pilot who shot down more than two dozen planes in two wars and three theaters, died last week. Bud was 91. The first American pilot to become a double ace in the European Theater, and the only ace to shoot down enemy planes in both European and Pacific Theaters as well as the Korean War, Col. Mahurin was unique among U.S. combat aviators.

Bud joined the Army Air Forces in September 1941 — just three months prior to Pearl Harbor — fully anticipating the conflict America faced. Having downed enemy aircraft in every plane he flew — the P-47 Thunderbolt, the P-51 Mustang and the F-86 Sabre — today Bud is revered by America’s fighter community as one of its all-time top aces. His unrivaled dedication, perseverance and integrity earned him the call sign “Honest John.”

Twice shot down in World War II and once during the Korean War, Bud’s 16-month captivity and torture during the latter especially tested his call sign, but he would nonetheless live up to it. Subjected to extensive physical and psychological torture by North Korean communists (read: Red Chinese), Col. Mahurin was coerced into signing a “confession” that was so wrought with falsehoods that even a Democrat would at once recognize it as bogus. Bud’s brutal P.O.W. experiences, however, would shape future generations of fighter aviators through incorporation of Survival-Evasion-Resistance-Escape (SERE) training. That training would later prove invaluable to downed aviators in Vietnam.

Of course, we can never repay Col. Mahurin for his selfless service and heroism. We can and should, however, honor heroes like him by pausing to remember him and by simply saying, “Thank you, Col. Mahurin. Your nation owes you a debt we can never repay — well done.”


Medal of Honor: Sergeant First Class Smith

April 28, 2010

Sergeant First Class Smith received a total of twenty-two military decorations and badges over the course of his career. His last medal he earned by manning a .50 cal machine gun in an open position so wounded US troops would be protected. SFC Smith took 13 enemy rounds to the body before a 14th round killed him. He now rests in Arlington National Cemetery. Please take a moment to read the citation of a hero.

Rank: Sergeant First Class
Organization: U.S. Army
Departed: Yes 04/04/2003
Entered Service At: October 1989
Date of Issue: 04/05/2005

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy near Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad, Iraq on 4 April 2003. On that day, Sergeant First Class Smith was engaged in the construction of a prisoner of war holding area when his Task Force was violently attacked by a company-sized enemy force. Realizing the vulnerability of over 100 fellow soldiers, Sergeant First Class Smith quickly organized a hasty defense consisting of two platoons of soldiers, one Bradley Fighting Vehicle and three armored personnel carriers. As the fight developed, Sergeant First Class Smith braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons, and organized the evacuation of three wounded soldiers from an armored personnel carrier struck by a rocket propelled grenade and a 60mm mortar round. Fearing the enemy would overrun their defenses, Sergeant First Class Smith moved under withering enemy fire to man a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a damaged armored personnel carrier. In total disregard for his own life, he maintained his exposed position in order to engage the attacking enemy force. During this action, he was mortally wounded. His courageous actions helped defeat the enemy attack, and resulted in as many as 50 enemy soldiers killed, while allowing the safe withdrawal of numerous wounded soldiers. Sergeant First Class Smith’s extraordinary heroism and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Third Infantry Division ‘Rock of the Marne’, and the United States Army.


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