Bernard Pious Bell was born in Grantsville, West Virginia on December 29, 1911. He was living in New York when he joined the United States Army in 1942. He fought in Italy and Southern France as a member of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 142nd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division.
December 17, 1944 was the second day of the Battle of the Bulge, Nazi Germany’s last ditch counter-offensive to stave off defeat in Western Europe at the hands of the Allies. The early days of the offensive were marked by rapid gains by the enemy and stalwart, heroic defenses by the besieged Americans in their path. Three soldiers of the United States Army‘s 2nd Infantry Division were awarded the Medal of Honor for their courage that day.
They were Private First Class Richard E. Cowan, Sergeant José M. López, and Private First Class William A. Soderman.
Charles Patrick Murray, Jr. was born in Baltimore, Maryland on September 26, 1921. He moved with his family to Wilmington, North Carolina as a toddler, and was in his third year of studies at the University of North Carolina when he was drafted into the United States Army on September 7, 1942. He was commissioned as an officer, and arrived in France as a replacement platoon leader in Company C, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division during October of 1944.
Thomas Vernon McGarity was born in Right, Tennessee on December 1, 1921. He was drafted into the United States Army on November 24, 1942, one week before his twenty-first birthday. He was eventually assigned to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 393rd Infantry Regiment, part of the 99th Infantry Division.
The 99th was one of the wartime divisions made up largely of draftees. They trained extensively stateside, and were deployed for combat in Europe on September 30, 1944. They arrived on the front lines in Belgium on November 9th. The “Battle Babies”, as the 99th became known, probed Nazi German defenses until December 16, 1944, when the enemy counterattack later known as the Battle of the Bulge began.
The 126th Cavalry Regiment is presently a unit of the Michigan National Guard. During World War II, the regiment was an infantry unit, and was part of the United States Army‘s 32nd Infantry Division. The regimental motto is “Courage Without Fear” (Latin: Courage Sans Peur).
On December 15, 1944 in combat near Limon, Leyte in the Philippines, two of the regiment’s soldiers embodied the motto and received the Medal of Honor. They were Sergeant Leroy Johnson and Private First Class Dirk J. Vlug.
Charles Leroy Thomas was born on April 17, 1920 in Alabama. He was working as an auto assembler for the Ford Motor Company and studying at Wayne State University in Michigan when he was inducted into the United States Army on January 20, 1942. Thomas, an African-American, was put into the segregated 614th Tank Destroyer Battalion, an all-black unit except for the senior officers, who were white.
Lloyd G. McCarter was born in Saint Maries, Idaho on May 11, 1917. Very little is known about his life, and his enlistment record isn’t in those kept by the National Archives. From an article written years later by his commanding officer, Lieutenant William T. Calhoun, we do know that he had worked as a lumberjack in civilian life, had reached the rank of Sergeant in the artillery before volunteering for demotion to Private so he could attend jump school.
Their Finest Hour will be LIVE on Vigilant Liberty Radio at 10pm Eastern, 7pm Pacific on Saturday, December 5th! Please join the program in VLR’s chatroom, or you can listen using the other available players here on the site. There’s always the direct method over on Spreaker too.
I’ll be discussing the latest on the investigation into what certainly appears to be a terrorist act in San Bernardino, California, along with commentary on what this means for gun control, homeland security, refugees, and the 2016 presidential race.
I’ll also have a recorded conversation with Anette Wachter, the “.30 Cal Gal“! Anette and I discussed her recent competitive shooting events, some upcoming projects she has, and the events from San Bernardino and other gun-related news items. Anette also makes and sells gun-related jewelry, and Christmas is coming! You can find Anette on all major social media platforms as “30calgal”
I may even be joined by a special guest during the show!
Finally, next Monday is the 74th anniversary of the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor, launching the United States into World War II. I’ll have a tribute/retrospective that I’m sure everyone will enjoy and appreciate.
10E/9C/8M/7P on Saturday night! Talk to you then!
Melvin Mayfield was born in Salem, West Virginia on March 24, 1919. He later moved to Ohio, and was living in Nashport when he was drafted into the United States Army on February 11, 1941. What would have been a single year’s service was extended indefinitely with America’s entry into World War II the following December.
Mayfield was a member of Company D, 2nd Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 6th Infantry Division. The division deployed for service in the Pacific in July of 1943 and kept training until they first saw combat in the New Guinea campaign during June of 1944. After that campaign, they were sent to the Philippines.
Seventy years ago today at 0529 hours and 21 seconds Mountain War Time (equivalent to today’s DST, 0729 Eastern Daylight Time), the military personnel and civilian scientists of the Manhattan Project succeeded in their goal of producing a nuclear explosive.
Trinity, the code name for the world’s first nuclear detonation, opened the nuclear age. Less than one month later, the United States used the first two nuclear weapons in combat against Japan in the attacks on Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945).