Tag Archives: United States Army

TFH 9/13-14: Corporal Charles E. Kelly, USA

By now, you should have read the stories of Arnold L. Bjorklund and William J. Crawford, both of whom were awarded the Medal of Honor while serving with the 36th Infantry Division in Italy on September 13, 1943 – seventy years ago today. Now, for the story of the third 36th Division soldier to receive our Nation’s highest honor on that day of battle.

Charles E. Kelly was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 23, 1920. He grew up as what today would be called a “troubled youth”, joining street gangs and often finding himself in trouble with the police. He entered service with the United States Army in May 1942, where his troubles continued, including occurrences of him being absent without leave.

Regardless, by the time the 36th stormed ashore on the Italian mainland at Salerno on September 9, 1943, he was a Corporal with Company L, 3rd Battalion, 143rd Infantry Regiment. Four days later in action near Altavilla through September 14, he fought so hard and intensely that he was later known as “Commando Kelly, the One Man Army.” Continue reading TFH 9/13-14: Corporal Charles E. Kelly, USA

TFH 3/1: PFC Dan L. Neely, USA

During the Vietnam War, the United States Army‘s 1st Cavalry Division was equipped for and tasked with airmobile combat using helicopters. One of their light infantry units, the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, ran up against both North Vietnamese Army regulars and Viet Cong guerillias in fighting near Hue on March 1, 1968.

Continue reading TFH 3/1: PFC Dan L. Neely, USA

TFH 2/26: Corporal Einar H. Ingman, Jr., USA

Einar Harold Ingman, Jr. was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 6, 1929. He enlisted in the United States Army in November, 1949 hoping to become an equipment operator, but was assigned for service as an infantryman.

On February 26, 1951 while fighting in Korea with the 2nd Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, now Corporal Ingman took command of two squads whose leaders had become casualties. While rallying the two beleaguered groups of men, he single-handedly knocked out two enemy machine gun positions, the second after being shot through his face and becoming dazed from a grenade blast. His courage was recognized with the award of the Medal of Honor.

From Medal of Honor Citations for the Korean War:

INGMAN, EINAR H., JR.

Rank and organization: Sergeant (then Cpl.), U.S. Army, Company E, 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Maltari, Korea, 26 February 1951. Entered service at: Tomahawk, Wis. Born: 6 October 1929, Milwaukee, Wis. G.O. No.: 68, 2 August 1951. Citation: Sgt. Ingman, a member of Company E, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. The 2 leading squads of the assault platoon of his company, while attacking a strongly fortified ridge held by the enemy, were pinned down by withering fire and both squad leaders and several men were wounded. Cpl. Ingman assumed command, reorganized and combined the 2 squads, then moved from 1 position to another, designating fields of fire and giving advice and encouragement to the men. Locating an enemy machine gun position that was raking his men with devastating fire he charged it alone, threw a grenade into the position, and killed the remaining crew with rifle fire. Another enemy machine gun opened fire approximately 15 yards away and inflicted additional casualties to the group and stopped the attack. When Cpl. Ingman charged the second position he was hit by grenade fragments and a hail of fire which seriously wounded him about the face and neck and knocked him to the ground. With incredible courage and stamina, he arose instantly and, using only his rifle, killed the entire guncrew before falling unconscious from his wounds. As a result of the singular action by Cpl. Ingman the defense of the enemy was broken, his squad secured its objective, and more than 100 hostile troops abandoned their weapons and fled in disorganized retreat. Cpl. Ingman’s indomitable courage, extraordinary heroism, and superb leadership reflect the highest credit on himself and are in keeping with the esteemed traditions of the infantry and the U.S. Army.

Ingman survived his wounds, but suffered from after effects of his head and brain injuries for years following the war. He is still living today at age 83, but has been hampered further since suffering a stroke in 2003.

2nd Battalion, 17th Infantry is currently inactive. The 7th Infantry Division is currently active as an administrative and training headquarters for Army units stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

TFH 11/29: Staff Sergeant Robert J. Pruden, USA

Robert Joseph Pruden was born on September 9, 1949 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He joined the United States Army in 1967; evidence suggests that based on his selection/volunteering for Non-Commissioned Officer candidacy and Ranger training he was a volunteer and not a draftee.

The Vietnam-era 75th Ranger Infantry Regiment (Airborne) was constituted as a number of separate specialized infantry companies to be trained and delegated to individual divisions or corps for long range patrol and reconnaissance duties. The 75th’s Company G was assigned to the 23rd Infantry Division, better known by its moniker “Americal”, for those duties in Vietnam.

Continue reading TFH 11/29: Staff Sergeant Robert J. Pruden, USA

TFH 5/7 Edition 1: General Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright IV, USA

Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright IV was born into a military family on August 23, 1883 at Fort Walla Walla, Washington. His father, Robert Powell Page Wainwright, was a United States Army officer who was killed in 1902 while serving in the Philippines. His grandfather, Jonathan M. Wainwright II, was a United States Navy officer killed in action during the American Civil War’s Battle of Galveston on January 1, 1863.

His military service began after graduating from high school in 1901 when he began studies at the United States Military Academy, West Point. He graduated with the class of 1906. Wainwright served in combat in France during World War I with the then-82nd Infantry Division.

Like his father before him, he was dispatched to the Philippines where he arrived in September 1940. He held the temporary rank of Major General as the commander of the Philippine Department and was the senior field commander of American and Filipino forces defending the islands under General Douglas MacArthur. When MacArthur withdrew from the Philippines in March 1942, Wainwright remained as the commander.

Ultimately, the defense of the Philippines was futile. The Japanese invaders were too numerous and too well equipped. Wainwright commanded the defense from the fortress island of Corregidor at the mouth of Manila Bay. The troops defending the Bataan Peninsula surrendered on April 9, 1942. The survivors in captivity then had to endure the torment of the Bataan Death March and the horrors of Japanese captivity.

The Japanese had to take Corregidor, otherwise the vital port provided by Manila Bay would be denied to them. They landed on the island on May 5, 1942. The next day, in the face of insurmountable odds and crushing casualties, General Wainwright ordered a surrender. Throughout the entire battle for the Philippines, Jonathan Wainwright IV was a stalwart presence amongst his men. The fight would have been lost much sooner were it not for his leadership and courage. In defeat, he was still nonetheless judged worthy of our Nation’s highest honor.

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II (T-Z):

WAINWRIGHT, JONATHAN M.


Rank and organization: General, Commanding U.S. Army Forces in the Philippines. Place and date: Philippine Islands, 12 March to 7 May 1942. Entered service at: Skaneateles, N.Y. Birth: Walla Walla, Wash. G.O. No.: 80, 19 September 1945. Citation: Distinguished himself by intrepid and determined leadership against greatly superior enemy forces. At the repeated risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in his position, he frequented the firing line of his troops where his presence provided the example and incentive that helped make the gallant efforts of these men possible. The final stand on beleaguered Corregidor, for which he was in an important measure personally responsible, commanded the admiration of the Nation’s allies. It reflected the high morale of American arms in the face of overwhelming odds. His courage and resolution were a vitally needed inspiration to the then sorely pressed freedom-loving peoples of the world.

In addition to his Medal of Honor, Wainwright also received the Distinguished Service Cross for his service in defending the Philippines from December 21, 1941 to January 1, 1942 and was also a two-time recipient of the Army Distinguished Service Medal.

Wainwright was held by the Japanese as a prisoner of war until August 1945. He was the most senior officer taken prisoner during the war and despite his rank, was kept in deplorable conditions and regularly mistreated by his Japanese captors.

General Wainwright survived captivity and ended the war with his presence at the final victory. He stood next to General MacArthur on the foredeck of the USS Missouri (BB-63) on September 2, 1945 for the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender in Tokyo Bay. He then returned to the Philippines to accept the surrender of the last remaining Japanese occupiers there.

Wainwright passed away on September 2, 1953 at age 70. He rests in peace at Arlington National Cemetery. In the early 1960s, the United States Army ensured that Wainwright’s service to our Nation would be remembered in an enduring fashion. On January 1, 1961 the United States Air Force transferred Ladd Field outside Fairbanks, Alaska to the Army. The Army renamed the post Fort Wainwright. Today, Fort Wainwright is a key post hosting much of US Army Alaska.

TFH 2/23: Three 1969 Vietnam Battles, Three Heroes

On this day in 1969, Americans fighting in Vietnam in three different locations saw three of their comrades exhibit courage and gallantry above and beyond that expected of the American warrior. All three men gave their lives for our Nation.

Oscar P. Austin was born on January 15, 1949 in Nacogdoches, TX. He was a Marine; a Private First Class with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines.

Robert W. Hartsock hailed from Fairmont, WV. He was a Staff Sergeant with the United States Army’s 25th Infantry Division.

Lester W. Weber, another Marine, was born in Aurora, IL in 1948 and was a Lance Corporal with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines.

All three men also received our Nation’s highest honor. Continue reading TFH 2/23: Three 1969 Vietnam Battles, Three Heroes

TFH: January 31, 1970 in Vietnam – Two Heroes

On January 31, 1970 during the Vietnam War, two heroic Americans – one Marine, one Soldier – went above and beyond the call of duty to save the lives of their wounded comrades in separate actions. Both were decorated with the United States’ highest honor. Continue reading TFH: January 31, 1970 in Vietnam – Two Heroes