Thursday, October 1, 2015

COMMENTARY - The Future of Veterans Park in Stamford, CT - Part 2

The Stamford, CT business leaders have issued an RFP (Request for Proposal) for the renovation of Veterans Park (a link to the RFP is posted below). 

The RFP is clear that the renovation is driven by commercial interests of the Stamford Town Center and Downtown Special District (DDSD) and not to those who served in the armed forces of the United States. Cities and towns across America have placed their Veterans Parks prominently for all to see and to remember. It is sacred ground. The 12 page document barely mentions our Veterans. 

The estimate to renovate the Park is $7 million. Where is the money coming from? The City of Stamford has failed to replace the parking garage at the railroad station. The Stamford station is one the largest transportation hubs in the nation second only to Grand Central Station. 

Many believe the Memorials and statues are in jeopardy. 

It is time the Mayor, our local congressman and United States Senator get involved.

Link to Veterans Park RFP

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Memorial service for MOH recipient Marine First Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Jr

Memorial Service for  Marine First Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Jr. in Knoxville, TN (

Marine First Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Jr., awarded the Medal of Honor after he was killed on Nov. 22, 1943 in the Battle of Tarawa was finally laid to rest after 72 years. Hundreds of  Knoxville, Tennessee residents gathered for a memorial service at the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial in World's Fair Park on Saturday September 26, 2015.

Bonnyman’s remains were identified by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency in Honolulu and were sent to Knoxville, Tenn., for burial. He was one of 36 Marines recovered earlier this year from Tarawa’s Betio Island in the Pacific Ocean.

A combat engineer, he received the Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three Bronze Stars and the World War II Victory Medal posthumously for his actions during the strategically important assault on a Japanese bombproof shelter during the Battle of Tarawa.

“On the second day of the struggle, Bonnyman, determined to effect an opening in the enemy's strongly defended defense line, led his demolitions teams in an assault on the entrance to a huge bombproof shelter which contained approximately 150 Japanese soldiers. The enemy position was about forty yards forward of the Marine lines. Bonnyman advanced his team to the mouth of the position and killed many of the defenders. His team was forced to withdraw to replenish its supply of ammunition and grenades. Bonnyman again pressed his attack and gained the top of the structure, thereby flushing more than one hundred of its occupants into the open where they were shot down. When the Japanese fought back, the lieutenant stood at the forward edge of the position and killed several attackers before he fell mortally wounded. Betio Island was declared secured on the same day.

For his actions during the battle, Bonnyman was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. The medal was formally presented to his family by Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal in 1947. His 12-year-old daughter, Frances, accepted the medal on behalf of the Bonnyman family.

Suggested articles:

Remains of 36 Marines killed on Tarawa during World War II Found Medal of Honor Recipient Marine 1st Lt. Alexander Bonnyman remembered at East Tennessee War Memorial

Memorial service honors local World War II Medal of Honor paratrooper Army Pvt. John Towle

Army Pvt. John Towle
Army Pvt. John Towle was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II.

He joined the army in March 1943, becoming a member of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, of the 82nd Airborne Division and served in North Africa, Italy, and the European Theater of Operations. Pvt. Towle single-handedly defeated a tank-supported German infantry counter attack at Osterhout, Holland 21 Sept. 1944, and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. He was 19 years old.

Major General C. L. Scott presented the Medal to Towle's parents at a ceremony at Ft. Knox, Ky. in March 1945, and his body was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland 23 Jan. 1949; Major General James A. Gavin, wartime commander of the 82nd Airborne spoke at the internment.

Private Towle's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 21 September 1944, near Oosterhout, Holland. The rifle company in which Pvt. Towle served as rocket launcher gunner was occupying a defensive position in the west sector of the recently established Nijmegen bridgehead when a strong enemy force of approximately 100 infantry supported by 2 tanks and a half-track formed for a counterattack. With full knowledge of the disastrous consequences resulting not only to his company but to the entire bridgehead by an enemy breakthrough, Pvt. Towle immediately and without orders left his foxhole and moved 200 yards in the face of intense small-arms fire to a position on an exposed dike roadbed. From this precarious position Pvt. Towle fired his rocket launcher at and hit both tanks to his immediate front. Armored skirting on both tanks prevented penetration by the projectiles, but both vehicles withdrew slightly damaged. Still under intense fire and fully exposed to the enemy, Pvt. Towle then engaged a nearby house which 9 Germans had entered and were using as a strongpoint and with 1 round killed all 9. Hurriedly replenishing his supply of ammunition, Pvt. Towle, motivated only by his high conception of duty which called for the destruction of the enemy at any cost, then rushed approximately 125 yards through grazing enemy fire to an exposed position from which he could engage the enemy half-track with his rocket launcher. While in a kneeling position preparatory to firing on the enemy vehicle, Pvt. Towle was mortally wounded by a mortar shell. By his heroic tenacity, at the price of his life, Pvt. Towle saved the lives of many of his comrades and was directly instrumental in breaking up the enemy counterattack.

In an article by Brian Albrecht, Memorial service honors local World War II Medal of Honor paratrooper

On Saturday, at 10 a.m., that courage will again be remembered with a special memorial ceremony at Towle's grave in Calvary Cemetery, 10000 Miles Avenue, in Cleveland.

Towle's nephew, Tom Ryan, 58, of Euclid, said the event is part of the All Ohio Airborne Days, Oct. 1-3 in Cleveland, when airborne association members from across Ohio and other states will gather here. Towle is an honorary member of the local John Towle Medal of Honor Cleveland Chapter of 82nd Airborne Association.

The president of the national 82nd Airborne association will be among the guests at the ceremony that will include presentation of colors, laying a wreath at the Army paratrooper's grave, a rifle salute and taps.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

New York Times acknowledges Medal of Honor News in obituary for Einar H. Ingman, Jr.

"" is prominently mentioned in the NY Times obit of one of the great heroes of the Korean War, Einar H. Ingman, Jr.

(Link to NY Times article) 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Korean War Medal of Honor Recipient Einar H. Ingman, Jr. Dies at 85

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C., Sept. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Congressional Medal of Honor Society announces that Staff Sergeant Einar H. Ingman, Jr., Medal of Honor recipient, passed away Wednesday, September 9, 2015, in Irma, Wisconsin at the age of 85.

Staff Sergeant Ingman was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 6, 1929.

Einar H. Ingman Jr.
Ingman grew up on a nearby farm and joined the Army hoping to learn heavy equipment, but was assigned to the infantry. His heroic action occurred near Maltari, Korea, on February 26, 1951 when he was a corporal with the Seventh Infantry Division in Korea and his unit was tasked with attacking an enemy position. When the squad leaders were wounded, Ingman combined the two units and led the assault. He destroyed one of the machine gun nests and was advancing on the other when shot in the face. He unflinchingly continued his assault on the second nest killing the enemy soldiers with his bayonet before losing consciousness. It inspired his men to press the attack until the enemy broke into a disorganized retreat.

He was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman at a White House ceremony on July 5, 1951.


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.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

How The First African-American Marine Received The Medal Of Honor 47 Years Ago

This article originally appeared on Task & Purpose, a news and culture forum dedicated to military and veterans affairs.

Pfc. James Anderson Jr. was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for using his body to shield his platoon from an enemy grenade blast.

On Feb. 28, 1967, while on patrol outside of a village in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam, Marine Pfc. James Anderson’s platoon was ambushed and came under heavy enemy fire. In the ensuing battle, an enemy grenade landed near Anderson and his fellow Marines. Without hesitation, Anderson pulled the grenade to his chest, curled his body around it, and absorbed the majority of the blast, giving his life to save his brothers-in-arms.

He turned 20 years old one month before he died.

For his heroism and selfless sacrifice, Anderson was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on Aug. 21, 1968, making him the first African-American Marine to receive the nation’s highest honor. The fact that Anderson was the first black Marine to receive the award, though certainly not the first to show bravery or heroism in combat, may have been due to the military’s history of racial segregation, which officially ended when all of the armed services were forced to desegregate in 1948. However, full integration and racial equality within the ranks would take much longer. Racial tensions within the military would remain high for years to come, especially during the Vietnam War, which coincided with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
At a time when race is once again at the center of national debate and controversy, it’s important to remember men like James Anderson, whose actions show that courage and sacrifice are not a matter of race, but are in fact black and white.

Anderson’s parents were presented the award by then-Secretary of the Navy Paul R. Ignatius, who was acting on behalf of President Lyndon B. Johnson, and the citation was read by the then-commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Leonard F. Chapman.

Born Jan. 22, 1947, in Los Angeles, California, Anderson attended junior college briefly before enlisting in the Marines in 1966. According to a profile of Anderson on, after completing recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, and follow-on training as a Marine rifleman at Camp Pendleton, San Diego, Anderson was attached to 2nd Platoon, Company F, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines.

He arrived in Vietnam December 1966, and was killed in action just two months later.

Nearly a half-century later, his legacy continues.

In 1983, the U.S. Navy renamed an acquired Danish merchant ship, the Emma Maersk, in honor of Anderson, which carried equipment in support of Marine Corps operations until 2009, when it was sold for scrapping. The James Anderson Jr. memorial park in Carson, California, was also named in his honor.

It seems an ill-fitting way to treat the memory of a Marine who kept with the highest traditions of his service: placing the safety of his brothers above his own survival. However, his selfless example lives on to this day.

In total, 89 African-American service members have been awarded the Medal of Honor, with the most recent being Henry Johnson, who posthumously received the award on June 2, for his bravery in close-quarters battle against German soldiers during World War I. According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, four other black Marines received the award during the Vietnam War: Pfc. Oscar Austin, Sgt. Rodney Davis, Pfc. Robert Jenkins, and Pfc. Ralph Johnson.

CORRECTION: This article incorrectly listed Henry Lincoln Anderson as the most recent African-American to be awarded the Medal of Honor, it was Henry Johnson. (8/21/2015; 7:48 am) 

The above article by James Clark originally appeared on Task and Purpose, a military and veterans news and culture site and is reprinted with their permission

Medal of Honor Citation   James Anderson, Jr.   Cam Lo Vietnam   February 28, 1967

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Company F was advancing in dense jungle northwest of Cam Lo in an effort to extract a heavily besieged reconnaissance patrol. Pfc. Anderson's platoon was the lead element and had advanced only about 200 meters when they were brought under extremely intense enemy small-arms and automatic weapons fire. The platoon reacted swiftly, getting on line as best they could in the thick terrain, and began returning fire. Pfc. Anderson found himself tightly bunched together with the other members of the platoon only 20 meters from the enemy positions. As the fire fight continued several of the men were wounded by the deadly enemy assault. Suddenly, an enemy grenade landed in the midst of the marines and rolled alongside Pfc. Anderson's head. Unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his personal safety, he reached out, grasped the grenade, pulled it to his chest and curled around it as it went off. Although several marines received shrapnel from the grenade, his body absorbed the major force of the explosion. In this singularly heroic act, Pfc. Anderson saved his comrades from serious injury and possible death. His personal heroism, extraordinary valor, and inspirational supreme self-sacrifice reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

This article originally appeared at Task & Purpose. Follow Task & Purpose on Twitter.

Monday, August 17, 2015

COMMENTARY: Plan to renovate Veterans Park in Stamford, CT raises questions

Stamford,CT Advocate Report Reveals Controversial  $7 Million Expenditure Proposed

The article, by Angela Carella, one of country’s most respected journalists, reports on a plan to renovate Veterans Park in Stamford.  The plan is vague as to detail.  Those quoted include one veteran. According the advocate the idea to renovate the park “was spurred by the death of Brian Bill, a local veteran who was killed in Afghanistan in 2011.

The park was created in 1975 to honor those who served and died during World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The park includes a statue of unnamed doughboy from World War I, seated Lincoln statue and a bronze statue of World War II Medal of Honor recipient Homer L. Wise.  Wise came to Stamford in 1942 as a soldier while in training, to visit Madolyn Disesa from one  of Stamford’s most prominent families, to whom he became engaged. Wise survived the war though wounded three times.

Following military protocol the statue of Master Sergeant Homer L. Wise faces the memorials of those gave their lives to preserve our democracy.

The sponsors of the project expect to raise $7 million to cover the cost of the entire renovation.

The article said that an amphitheater that would seat 300 to 1000 people will be built for concerts.

The article does not mention how rock concerts would fit in with memorials to those killed in action during recent wars.