T Nation

This Was A Man


#1

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060329/ap_on_re_us/obit_bleak

The Army's description of his actions on June 14, 1952, said Bleak killed two of the enemy with his bare hands and a third with his trench knife, and then shielded a comrade from the impact of a grenade that had fallen near the man's helmet.

Though he was wounded in the leg, Bleak began to carry the injured soldier, the medal citation said. Attacked by two enemy soldiers with bayonets, "he grabbed them and smacked their heads together, then carried his helpless comrade down the hill to safety."


#2

Read more stories here...man, these dudes are incredible!

http://www.medalofhonor.com/

So far the one that really sticks out for me is this one:

"Rear Admiral James Bond Stockdale, USN

"James Stockdale...deliberately inflicted a near-mortal wound to his person in order to convince his captors of his willingness to give up his life rather than capitulate. He was subsequently discovered and revived by the North Vietnamese who, convinced of his indomitable spirit, abated in their employment of excessive harassment and torture toward all of the Prisoners of War."

"Heroes are people who do what has to be done when it has to be done, regardless of the consequences"


#3

Increadible stuff.

Dare i say it, but hunger striking and the like is similar to this?

A willingness to do those things which may be fatal to ones self, because deep down, regardless of anyone else, you know its right.


#4

Bleak's story is incredible. Many men would have simply given up and abandoned their wounded commrades.

A trench knife , bye the way,is a long blade with a pair of brass knuckles welded to the handle. I can't imagine the intensity of the hand to hand combat when that weapon is used.


#5

"he grabbed them and smacked their heads together, then carried his helpless comrade down the hill to safety."

What the hell is this? The whole story sounds Hollywood'd up. That quote is written like its a 3 Stooges episode.

I'm NOT saying he didn't deserve a medal or recognition but the way this story was written its hard to identify what is fact and what is fiction.


#6

Here is the entire write up.

"Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Medical Company 223d Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division. Place and date: Vicinity of Minari-gol, Korea, 14 June 1952. Entered service at: Shelley, Idaho. Born: 27 February 1932, Idaho Falls, Idaho. G.O. No.: 83, 2 November 1953. Citation: Sgt. Bleak, a member of the medical company, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and indomitable courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. As a medical aidman, he volunteered to accompany a reconnaissance patrol committed to engage the enemy and capture a prisoner for interrogation. Forging up the rugged slope of the key terrain, the group was subjected to intense automatic weapons and small arms fire and suffered several casualties. After administering to the wounded, he continued to advance with the patrol. Nearing the military crest of the hill, while attempting to cross the fire-swept area to attend the wounded, he came under hostile fire from a small group of the enemy concealed in a trench. Entering the trench he closed with the enemy, killed 2 with bare hands and a third with his trench knife. Moving from the emplacement, he saw a concussion grenade fall in front of a companion and, quickly shifting his position, shielded the man from the impact of the blast. Later, while ministering to the wounded, he was struck by a hostile bullet but, despite the wound, he undertook to evacuate a wounded comrade. As he moved down the hill with his heavy burden, he was attacked by 2 enemy soldiers with fixed bayonets. Closing with the aggressors, he grabbed them and smacked their heads together, then carried his helpless comrade down the hill to safety. Sgt. Bleak's dauntless courage and intrepid actions reflect utmost credit upon himself and are in keeping with the honored traditions of the military service."

Medal of Honor awards are investigated when they are submitted to ensure the medal is awarded for legitimate heroism above and beyond the call of duty. The investigations are very thorough. It may sound like hollywood, but you can be assured if it is a MOH then the description of Sgt Bleak's actions are pretty accurate, even if they are not well written.


#7

Medal of Honor awards are rare and very thorughly investigated by extremely competent officers not involved in the soldiers command structure.

Brave actions like that seem surreal to civilians.

If you are awarded a Medal of Honor you earned it. Most likely you are also dead because of your actions.


#8

Actually hollywood could never come up with shit even remotely like real combat. I'm by no means a combat expert but I've been in a few fire fights. Trust me crazy shit happens.

As far as the medal write up goes, as hedo wrote, the medal of honor is taken quite seriously. They revoked the ones from the civil war that were not for proven valor under fire. Since then you have to have multiple witnesses and an investigation by a team of officers.

When someone gets "the" medal you can bet they did something unbelivable to get it.

For more normal bravery they have the distinguished service cross (also needs an investigation a 2 witnesses), the silver star, the bronze star with V device, and the Army Commendation Medal with V device. None are handed out lightly.


#9

you think that's badass?

there are dozens and dozens of asskicking hellions on this site that would MMA that war hero's ass...just ask them, they'll brag all about it :wink:


#10

And most of em probably look like the guy in Napolean Dynamite that was training to be a cage fighter.

Give me your tots fucker!


#11

Thats an absolutely insane story...

And thanks to all of those who serve, and have served our country.


#12

When you do happen to survive, make sure not to run against any Bush, or you'll get swiftboated.


#13

Wreckless,

Stop acting like such a douchebag for once. Maybe we'll take you seriously.

The post was about a brave man who died saving the lives of others. Not your mindless hatred of Bush or your shameless devotion to lurch.


#14

A trench knife, additionally, often had a triangular blade, which made a nice triangular wound. These, as you may be able to imagine, do not close nicely on their own nor are they conducive to stitching.

Look up Dan Daly and Smedley D. Butler, they got the Marine MoH twice. Dan Daly almost got it a third one in WWI as well.


#15

You only get swiftboated if:
1. EVERY officer in your chain of command thought you were a douche bag, and is willing to come out and say it on record.

  1. There are official government documents recording your douchebagery.

  2. You leave your buddies in a combat zone because of your three superficial wounds, one probably self inflicted.

  3. You refuse to release your military records that might clear up charges of gross douchbaggery.

  4. You call all of the men you served with war criminals, even though you cannot recall one actual war crime.

  5. You lie about critical events in your service history, like being in Cambodia on a specific date.

  6. If you joined the military for the sole purpose of becoming an anti-war protester.

  7. You got your medals because you were an officer and daddy was connected.

All of these events have to take place in order to be swiftboated.


#16

Great, now we have competing political hacks on a thread very much not meant for it!

When I was growing up I read all of the WWII books I could get my hands on. I'd ride the bus down to the library, load up on books, and read them over the next week or two.

The stories of courage, hardship and sacrifice were incredibly powerful.

We could use more examples of people with these qualities in our lives.


#17

Incredible accounts of bravery in these links.

Maybe of little interest to those in the US, but this month marks the 24th anniversary of my Uncle who died in Action in the Falklands War in 1982.


#18

My vote goes to Jose Lopez:

An excerpt:
Lugging a heavy machine gun, Sgt. Lopez climbed into a shallow, snow-covered hole that left everything above his waist exposed. He heard the rumbling of a tank, which he figured was American; an Allied soldier a few hundreds yards away had failed to signal him of approaching danger.

When he saw the German Tiger tank come into sight and the horde of German foot soldiers around it, he thought of dozens of his men just a few hundred yards away. Aiming at the soldiers around the tank, he killed 10 of them. That prompted the Tiger tank to fire rather recklessly in his direction. It took three shell blasts to knock Sgt. Lopez over, and he suffered a concussion.

He nevertheless repositioned himself to prevent enemy soldiers from outflanking him, resetting his gun and killing 25 more Germans."

and

"A few months later, Gen. James A. Van Fleet presented Sgt. Lopez with the Medal of Honor. The citation recognized the "seemingly suicidal missions in which he killed at least 100 of the enemy . . . [and which] were almost solely responsible for allowing Company K to avoid being enveloped, to withdraw successfully and to give other forces coming up in support time to build a line which repelled the enemy drive."


#19

Gary Gordon and Randy Shughart definitely need to be mentioned in this topic.

Their story was briefly told in Black Hawk Down. They were the two delta snipers that requested THREE times to be inserted to protect four wounder personnel. They both won the medal of honor.

http://www.cmohs.org/recipients/somalia_citation.htm


#20

I'm not a political hack. I don't really care for any politician. However, I do have some time in the US military and I do belive that I can tell a shitbag from a good soldier or sailor. I've read all the evidence I could find and it looks like John Kerry was a turd. A huge turd. So when someone tries to compare his lame actions to a real hero I have a duty to point out the fact that he is a douche bag. Many other soldiers and saliors feel the same way.

Bob Kerry is a real hero who really did badass stuff and so is George Bush Sr. I didn't see them pulling any of that lame " I'm a hero" shit. Heroism isn't confined to a political system or an ideology. It is, however, confined to brave men who make sacrifices selflessly.

I think my post is relavent because the average person who has never served in the military doesn't realize that the presence of medals don't always mean much. If you are an officer with a rich daddy you will certainly get medals for stuff that wouldn't get a private a handshake and a coin. As I stated before, apart from the medal of honor and the distinguished service cross which have to go before a board of officers who investigate the act, the rest are quite subjective.