A Tough Friday.

Today has been a bad day for veterans, as we head into the Veterans’ Day weekend.

James L Stone died today. He was a Medal Of Honor recipient, for actions during the Korean War. As a Lieutenant, he led 48 men against almost 800 Chinese, was wounded 3 times but remained in command. When he saw the situation was hopeless, he sent those who could walk back from the fighting, and went into captivity with the remaining wounded soldiers. He was released just before the Armistice, and went on to serve in Vietnam, achieving the rank of Colonel. With Colonel Stone’s, we are left with 80 living recipients of this nation’s highest award for military service.


Herbert Carter, one of the founding Tuskegee Airmen, also died late yesterday. He and his fellow African-American aviation pioneers’ tale was told in the recent movie “Red Tails”. From the AP: “The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black aviators in the U.S. military. During World War II they were trained as a segregated unit in central Alabama at Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University. Carter was in the first group that trained for the 99th Fighter Squadron. They were prohibited from fighting alongside white counterparts and faced severe prejudice, yet became one of World War II’s most respected fighter squadrons. Carter flew 77 missions and crashed landed only once.” The 99th and 332nd Squadrons, called the “Red Tails” for the bright red vertical tails on their P-51s, never lost a bomber to enemy fighter opposition.

Godspeed, gentlemen. Rest easy. To paraphrase the poet, “When these men got to Heaven, To St. Peter they did tell/”Two more veterans reporting, sir. We’ve served our time in Hell.”

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21 Responses to A Tough Friday.

  1. fasab says:

    Nice tribute to two very brave men. Good job.

  2. Elyse says:

    I second fasab’s sentiments. Maybe in a way it is appropriate that they lay down their arms on Armistice Day and rest. They earned it.

  3. Sad. Sorry to say I didn’t even know about these deaths. Thanks for making me aware.

  4. My husband went on a call the other day that you would appreciate…the guy was one of the first on the beach at Normandy. He said he and his firemen just sat and listened to him and that he was fascinating. If I can remember his name, I will let you know. I guess he is one of the last of his platoon.

    • I’d love to hear his story. Sadly, he is one of the last of his generation. I’ve seen the last WW1 vets die off, and I fear I’ll see the last WW2 vets go, as well. My dad will be 85 this year, and he’s a youngster for the WW2 crowd.
      Thanks for thinking of me!

  5. I am glad to know of these men through you. Your conclusion is powerful, which is yet another way of saying . . . sniffle.

    • Thanks, Deb. I hate to see these kind of folk go, but like Elyse said, it’s time they lay down their burdens. And I think, with both your and Elyse’s inspiration, that I need to re-visit a friend up the hill. And Frank, I’ll let you know you send your best. 😉

  6. benzeknees says:

    May they rest in peace.

  7. Running from Hell with El says:

    Two great men . . . enjoyed your tribute so much. And yes, they surely did serve their bit in Hell. May they both rest in peace.

  8. aFrankAngle says:

    A post written by a true patriot who realizes the contributions from the past. Well done, Commander.

    • Thank you, CinC. And as I said to Deb above (I didn’t see your reply lower down here), I think I might need to go up the hill Sunday, and see Lee. And I WILL give him your best. 😉

  9. whiteladyinthehood says:

    You wrote a very eloquent post, John. It speaks volumes of the respect you have for the people who serve. Well done! (and I have seen both Tuskegee Airmen movies about their lives..they were very inspiring) Keep up the good work!

    • Thank you, my lady. When I first started studying military history, I was all about the machines – tanks, planes, ships. It wasn’t until I started re-enacting that I studied people, and came to realise it was the soldier (or sailor or airman or Marine) that won the battle, sometimes despite the machinery. Since then, I’ve been trying to spread the word as best I can. I just hope I can do these amazing people proud.

  10. I got goose bumps reading these bios. What amazing men. So often when I read of this level of courage and valor I am so humbled. I know we must have men and women today who are made of the same “stuff” but they are young, and their stories aren’t yet told. What a loss to the world when men like this leave this world. I have so much admiration for the men and women who served in WW II. My respect is for all men and women who have been in uniform, but there is something a little special about this particular generation. Perfect post to read right now…thank you!

    • Thanks. I’ve heard some truly amazing stories from the WW2 vets. And that doesn’t count the time I was mobbed by a half-dozen Canadian vets! 😀 Though there is one vet that stands out – I have to figure out how to tell his story, as he was on the “wrong” side of WW2. One of these days…..

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