Warriors- Past and Present

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50 Americans have died in Ukraine since the Russian invasion

Story by Jeff Schogol • 17h

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A U.S. flag flies over the grave of an American citizen and a fighter with the International Legion of Ukraine, who was killed in combat against Russian forces. (Dominika Zarzycka/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A U.S. flag flies over the grave of an American citizen and a fighter with the International Legion of Ukraine, who was killed in combat against Russian forces. (Dominika Zarzycka/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)© Provided by Task & Purpose

At least 50 American citizens have died in Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of the country in February 2022, according to a list compiled by Task & Purpose from public sources. Of those 50, the vast majority served at least briefly in the U.S. military, some for long careers.

Most Americans killed in Ukraine went to join the fighting. Others worked to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need while others documented the war. Many were killed in direct fighting with Russian forces or in attacks that struck behind the front lines while others died outside combat, such as in car crashes.

Several of the families whose loved ones have died in Ukraine have been targeted by vicious online trolls, often after their names appear in media reports of their deaths. Task & Purpose will continue to report on American military veterans killed in Ukraine, but will take steps in that coverage to protect their identities.

Nearly 40 of the 50 Americans who have died in Ukraine were veterans of the U.S. military. More than 20 of the fallen were Army veterans, including a former Green Beret; about 12 served in the Marine Corps and another attended Marine recruit training for roughly five weeks; and one of those killed was a former Navy SEAL. Some of the veterans completed fairly typical military careers, while others separated after finding trouble in uniform. But all felt called to Ukraine.
The remains of several Americans killed while fighting remain on the battlefield, and it is unknown if they will ever be recovered and returned to their families.

U.S. government officials have not said publicly how many Americans have been killed in Ukraine during the war.

“We offer our condolences to the families of all whose lives have been lost as a result of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine,” a State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose. “Our ability to verify reports of deaths of U.S. citizens in Ukraine is extremely limited. In addition, not all U.S. citizen deaths may be reported to U.S. authorities. For these reasons, we are unable to provide a definitive number of all U.S. citizens who have been killed.”

“We reiterate our message that U.S. citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict,” the spokesperson added.

Despite the State Department’s warning, a number of Americans continue to fight the Russians in Ukraine. They are in a shooting war even though their country is not. One unit they serve with is “Chosen Company,” which is attached to Ukraine’s 59th Motorized Brigade.

Army veteran Ryan O’Leary, who continues to lead foreign volunteers in Chosen Company, told Task & Purpose last year that if the U.S. military fights a future war against an enemy that uses trenches the way Russian forces have in Ukraine, it would be a costly month or two for American forces before they adapted to the challenges of 21st Century trench warfare.

When the war began nearly two years ago, many veterans went to Ukraine to fight the invading Russians or help Ukrainians in need of food and medical care. Many of those veterans told friends and families that they saw the conflict as a ‘good war’ with a moral clarity that they felt the Iraq and Afghanistan wars lacked.

But the mood inside the United States toward Ukraine has radically shifted since February 2022. After the roughly $44 billion in military assistance that the United States provided Ukraine became exhausted, several Republican lawmakers have recently vowed to end any further help for the Ukrainians.

On Thursday, the Senate passed a procedural vote to consider President Joe Biden’s request for $61.4 billion in additional military aid for Ukraine, but the measure’s future in the House of Representatives is uncertain.

One Marine veteran killed in Ukraine often cited the axiom “All that’s necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

That concisely sums up what has drawn so many Americans to fight in Ukraine.

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Heros never die, they always will live on in our memories!! Thanks for your service!

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Thank you… I am humbled to even be associated with them. :saluting_face:

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The mission of the American Veterans Center is to guard the legacies and honor the sacrifices of all American veterans. Through oral history preservation, documentary films, educational programs and civic events, the AVC works to ensure that Americans fully appreciate – and never forget – the sacrifices made by those who have worn the uniform.
We are funded solely by generous donations from people like you.

Thank you!

If you know any Vets story that should be told.

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Hear their stories.
MEDAL OF HONOR Recipient on AIRBORNE Service (youtube.com)

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Who knew. :man_shrugging:

You just never know who that person is sitting next to you. Good or Bad.

Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a remarkable German-American sex therapist, talk show host, author, professor, and Holocaust survivor, passed away at the age of 95 on February 1, 2024 after a brief illness1. Her life story is both inspiring and tragic.

Born as Karola Ruth Siegel on June 4, 1928, she grew up in Germany within a Jewish family. As the Nazis rose to power, her parents made the difficult decision to send her to a school in Switzerland for safety. They remained behind due to her elderly grandmother. Tragically, both her parents were later sent to concentration camps by the Gestapo and did not survive.

American Military History](American Military History)

The World’s Foremost Sex Therapist Is a Holocaust Survivor and Former Sniper

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Dr. Ruth Westheimer fled Germany alone at age 10. (Harald Bischoff)

Military.com | By Blake Stilwell

Published April 24, 2023

Before Dr. Ruth Westheimer began teaching couples how best to shoot their shot, she was taking some shots of her own. As a sniper with the Haganah, forerunner to the modern-day Israel Defense Forces (IDF), she was so accurate, she could put five rounds in the center of a target at will.

Although she would never kill anyone in combat, had she seen action, she would have needed that kind of skill. The Haganah was the main military force for the Jewish people in Palestine before World War II. After the war, it was called on to establish the modern-day Jewish state.

After World War I, some former possessions of Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire (which lost the war) were carved up and doled out to the winners. The British controlled the former Ottoman territory of Palestine, which encompasses what is today Israel, the West Bank and parts of Jordan. The mandate ended following World War II, when the British withdrew.

The Jewish people of this region had an underground security force of their own since the early 1900s, but when the British came in, they began forming paramilitary groups. And they were necessary. Throughout the interwar years, Jewish settlers in the mandated area were subject to violence, Arab riots and even a full-on Arab rebellion.

One of these paramilitary groups was the Haganah, which was also the largest and was under control of the Jewish leadership in Mandatory Palestine. During World War II, the unrest in the area calmed down but flared up as the Jewish people revolted against British rule toward the end of the war.

Three women of Haganah hold guns over a barrier, circa 1940s. (Zoltan Kluger/Israeli Government Press Office)

Before the war broke out, 10-year-old Karola Ruth Siegel, the daughter of an Orthodox Jewish couple, was shipped to Switzerland for her own safety. Her father had been sent to the Dachau concentration camp after the infamous Kristallnacht pogrom of 1938. While she was living in an orphanage there, her mother disappeared and her father was killed at Auschwitz.

When the war ended, Karola moved to Palestine and began using her middle name. While living in Jerusalem in 1948, she joined the Haganah, which was in the middle of the insurgency. The group trained her to be a scout and sniper, because she stood just over 4½ feet tall. She joined just in time to serve in the Israeli War of Independence, which began that same year.

Almost as soon as Britain announced its complete withdrawal from Palestine, Arabs and Jews began fighting for control of the region. Arab forces from Iraq, Egypt, Syria and Transjordan (now Jordan) invaded Palestine, reinforced Arab areas and attacked Jewish ones. In response, the new Israeli government merged the paramilitary groups into the Israel Defense Forces and counterattacked.

!(https://images01.military.com/sites/default/files/styles/full/public/2023-04/1time%20Dr%20ruth%20IDF%201200.jpg?itok=2c-cXkxK “Karola Ruth Siegel in the days before becoming “Dr. Ruth.” (Becoming Doctor Ruth)”)

Karola Ruth Siegel in the days before becoming “Dr. Ruth.” (Becoming Doctor Ruth)

The future Dr. Ruth was stationed in Jerusalem in June 1948. The Jordanians had cut off supplies to the city, where some of the heaviest fighting of the war was taking place. House-to-house fighting raged through the quarters of the city as the Arabs launched an estimated 10,000 artillery and mortar shells per day at the Israelis.

One of these mortars hit her unit’s barracks, killing two and seriously wounding Ruth before she ever fired a round of her own. She was temporarily paralyzed and nearly lost both feet. As Israel began to turn the tide and win its war for survival, the future Dr. Ruth was relearning how to walk.

Despite not having a formal high school education due to the Holocaust, Ruth still studied early childhood education in Israel. After the 1948 war, she moved to France to study psychology at the Sorbonne, where she finished her undergraduate degree. Before long, she was teaching there.

In 1956, she immigrated to New York City, where she worked as a maid while she earned a master’s degree in sociology from the New School. She later married Manfred Westheimer, earned her doctorate and trained as a sex therapist. In 1980, her call-in radio show, “Sexually Speaking,” debuted on the NYC radio station WYNY-FM.

Its exploding popularity led to books, television shows and Dr. Ruth’s worldwide popularity as one of the world’s most outspoken, but trusted voices in healthy sexuality.

– Blake Stilwell can be reached at blake.stilwell@military.com. He can also be found on Twitter @blakestilwell or on LinkedIn.

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Last survivor of Pearl Harbor battleship sinking dies

Story by AFP

Lou Conter was the last surviving crew member from the Japanese attack on the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor in 1941

Lou Conter was the last surviving crew member from the Japanese attack on the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor in 1941© Kat Wade

The last survivor of the USS Arizona, the battleship that was sunk in the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, has died aged 102, the charity honoring victims of the attack said Monday.

Lou Conter was a 20-year-old quartermaster who helped rescue fellow sailors on December 7, 1941, after the United States’ Pacific fleet came under surprise attack.

The assault, which catapulted the United States into World War II, damaged or destroyed most of the fleet stationed at the Hawaii naval base and resulted in the deaths of more than 2,000 Americans.

Over 1,100 people aboard the USS Arizona died; many of them are still entombed on the sunken ship.

“This is a heartbreaking loss,” said Aileen Utterdyke, president and CEO of Pacific Historic Parks, a non-profit that honors those who died in the attack.

"Lou Conter epitomized what it meant to be a member of the Greatest Generation, Americans whose collective courage, accomplishments and sacrifices saved our country from tyranny.

“He had an exemplary career in the Navy and was steadfast in imploring the schools, parents and everyday Americans to always remember Pearl Harbor.”

Conter went on to be a pilot later in World War II, and was shot down twice, including off the coast of New Guinea where he and his crew landed in shark-infested water.

Luanne Daley, says her father passed away at his home

As an intelligence officer, he flew combat missions in Korea and created the Navy’s first SERE (survival, evasion, resistance and escape)
program.

He was a military adviser to Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.

Pacific Historic Parks said on its Facebook page that Conter died on Monday at his home in Grass Valley, California, surrounded by family.

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Army Times

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First Space Force guardians graduate from Army drill sergeant school

Story by Jonathan Lehrfeld

• 9h • 2 min read

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First Space Force guardians graduate from Army drill sergeant school

First Space Force guardians graduate from Army drill sergeant school© Provided by Army Times

Two Space Force guardians this week became the first in the newest service branch to receive the distinctive Army drill sergeant hat.

Tech Sgt. David P. Gudgeon and Sgt. Yuji R. Moore graduated from the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy on Wednesday during a ceremony at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, according to a service release.

The pair’s accomplishment reinforces the Space Force’s place alongside its sister services and will help the service solidify its own training methods.

“This is historic, and I don’t think it’s lost on anybody how we bring the joint force together in order to get after it,” Command Sgt. Maj. Raymond Harris, Army Training and Doctrine Command’s senior enlisted leader, said in the release. “The Army will never fight by itself; the Space Force will never fight by itself. In the entire Department of Defense, we fight in a joint force.”

Aspiring military training instructors with the Air Force and Space Force typically attend a course at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. But now, officials during the ceremony highlighted that the Army’s drill sergeant academy has opened the doors of its demanding institution to both soldiers and other service members to prepare to teach the core tenets of basic training.

Space Ranger - guardian becomes service’s first to earn Ranger tab

Although Gudgeon and Moore, who initially enlisted in the Air Force before transferring to the Space Force, were less accustomed to the traditionally soldier-dominated environment, they said they eventually learned to become comfortable with the uncomfortable.

“For me, this is a pretty foreign environment … not being really familiar with Army tactics or doctrine and things like that,” Moore said in the release. “I had to continuously lean on battle buddies to be like, ‘Hey, what is this?'”

The duo added that they will inevitably take what they learned to others in the Space Force when they arrive back at their assignments.

“I think we’re definitely gonna be bringing in a different flavor to that training environment that they haven’t seen yet,” Gudgeon said in the release.

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Say it ain’t so Cam. :man_facepalming:

From the Telegraph in England no less. :roll_eyes:

Me thinks someone in the Armory hated Commander Yaste. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


The Telegraph
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US Navy mocked for image of captain firing gun with back-to-front scope

Story by Tony Diver

• 5h • 2 min read

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The now-deleted image of Commander Cameron Yaste, the captain of the guided-missile destroyer USS John S McCain, firing a rifle with a back-to-front scope and the lens cap still attached - US Navy
© Provided by The Telegraph

The US Navy has been mocked for posting a photo online of a sailor shooting a rifle with a back-to-front scope, in what social media users said showed America was “going to lose a major war”.

The Navy’s official Instagram page issued a photo of Commander Cameron Yaste, the captain of the guided-missile destroyer USS John S McCain, shooting a rifle with a backwards-mounted scope.

The image, also sent as an official press release, was captioned: “From engaging in practice gun shoots, conducting maintenance, testing fuel purity and participating in sea and anchor details, the #USNavy is always ready to serve and protect.”

Social media users and other branches of the US military quickly mocked the image, in which Commander Yaste was also using a scope with the lens cap still attached.

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The US Marines posted a separate image of a marine holding and firing a rifle correctly.

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The US Marines appeared to poke fun at the US Navy by posting a similar image to their Instagram account, but with the rifle correctly held and fired - United States Marine Corps
© Provided by The Telegraph

One user on X joked: “We’re going to lose a major war”, while another said: “Dear U.S. Navy. The scope is on backwards. This is why we have Marines on ships.”

A third added: “Is this a joke or has this guy never fired a rifle before?”

Others pointed out that Commander Yaste was in an unusual stance for target practice, and that his grip was mounted too far to the rear of his rifle.

Mike Collins, a Republican congressman from Georgia, posted an edited photo of a pistol with its barrel on backwards.

Navy’s newly issued sidearm.
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The US Navy photograph was deleted and the press release recalled.

A spokesman said: “Thank you for pointing out our rifle scope error in the previous post. Picture has been removed until EMI is completed!”

The Navy defines EMI as “instruction in a phase of military duty in which an individual is deficient, and is intended for and directed towards the correction of that deficiency”.

The caption of the original image from the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service stated that the captain was firing at a “killer tomato”, the nickname for a naval target balloon.

It said he was “observ[ing] the live-fire exercise event” while on on ship “conducting routine operations”.

Commander Yaste attended the Naval Postgraduate School, earning a master’s degree in astronautics, according to his official bio.

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He may have thought it was a new high- accuracy scope with a very tiny, precise “small-circle” reticle. Lol

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All I have to say is… OMG Squids… :wink:

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Hey No, It’s OK. We get it. Navy guys have to hold their breath under water so much that it effects their vision…

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Cool, thanks for posting. We need the other branches to sound off. :saluting_face:

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FOX News

Last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from the Korean War will lie in honor at the US Capitol

Story by Lawrence Richard

peaker Mike Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Tuesday that Colonel Ralph Puckett, Jr., the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from the Korean War, will lie in honor in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.

He died at home on Monday, April 8. He was 97. The ceremony will happen on Monday, April 29, the lawmakers said.

“The extraordinary valor of Colonel Ralph Puckett, Jr. represents the best of the 1.7 million Americans who left home to fight for freedom in the Korean War,” the two lawmakers said in a joint statement.

They added: “He demonstrated tireless sacrifice for our country and his fellow Rangers and is an exceptional model for servicemembers and civilians alike. To recognize Colonel Puckett’s remarkable heroism and service, and the contributions of all Korean War veterans, it is our privilege to permit his remains to lie in honor in the Rotunda of the Capitol.”

“He leads from the front. He leads by example. He leads with heart. He is a Ranger, and that’s how Rangers lead — that’s how you lead,” the president said of the then-94-year-old retired Army colonel.

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Col. Puckett, seen here on the radio in Vietnam, graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and was commissioned as an Infantry Officer in 1949. Fox News
©
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Col. Puckett received his second Distinguished Service Cross from President Lyndon B. Johnson. Fox News
© Fox News

He also received the two highest awards for military valor: the Distinguished Service Cross and another Distinguished Service Cross that was upgraded to the Congressional Medal of Honor.

“He feared no man, he feared no situation and he feared no enemy. Clearly a unique, courageous Soldier in combat and even more importantly, in my opinion, Col. Puckett was an ultimate Infantry leader,” said retired General Jay Hendrix, Army reported.

Puckett was offered a medical discharge in 1950, for wounds he received during a battle that raged more than four hours against Chinese forces that outnumbered his division 10-to-1, according to the U.S. Army.

“1st Lt. Ralph Puckett, United States Army, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 25-26 November 1950 while serving as Commander, Eighth Army Ranger Company, Task Force Dolvin. As the Rangers commenced the daylight attack of Hill 205, the enemy directed mortar, machinegun and small arms fire against the advancing force. To obtain supporting fire, 1st Lt. Puckett mounted the closest tank exposing himself to the deadly enemy fire. Leaping from the tank, he yelled, ‘Let’s go!’ and began to lead his Rangers in the attack.,” the U.S. Army said.

In another description of the events, the Army wrote:

“While attached to Task Force Dolvin and leading the advance of the 25th Infantry Division on Nov. 25, 1950, Puckett and his Rangers attacked and secured Hill 205 in the vicinity of Unsan, Korea. Though outnumbered ten to one, Puckett and his Rangers defeated five successive Chinese counterattacks over four hours that night and into the early morning hours of Nov. 26. Finally, on the sixth assault, with supporting artillery fires unavailable, the Ranger company was overrun in hand-to-hand combat. Having suffered multiple serious wounds, Puckett was unable to move. Despite orders to abandon him, fellow Rangers fought their way to his side and evacuated him to safety. For his actions, Puckett was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.​”

Refusing to quit his service, Puckett took an assignment at the U.S. Army Ranger School and West Point. He then completed his own Special Forces training in 1960 and served in Germany.

He ultimately retired in 1971, going on to serve his community with his wife of 68 years. Puckett is survived by his wife, two of his children and six grandchildren.

Pucket will also lie in honor following a Celebration of Life at the National Infantry Museum on Saturday, April 20th at 11:00am.

According to the Architect of the Capitol, government officials and military officers typically lie in state in the U.S. Capitol while private citizens lie in honor.

“No law, written rule, or regulation specifies who may lie in state; use of the U.S. Capitol Rotunda is controlled by concurrent action of the House and Senate. Any person who has rendered distinguished service to the nation may lie in state if the family so wishes and Congress approves,” according to its website.

Original article source: Last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from the Korean War will lie in honor at the US Capitol

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Rest in peace Colonel Puckett. :pray:

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Rest in peace sir. Rangers lead the way.

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:us:Colonel Ralph Puckett, Jr. :us: In Memory, Thank you sir!

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