Monday, September 18, 2017

Lieutenant Harvey Milk

"All men are created equal. No matter how hard they try, they can never erase these words.  That is what America is about."

Fast Facts about Lieutenant Harvey Milk

  • Born May 22, 1930 in Woodmere NY
  • Attended Bay Shore High School and the NY State College for Teachers.
  • Played football in school
  • Loved Opera
  • Joined Navy during the Korean War as Diving Officer aboard the USS Kittiwake
  • Also served as Diving Instructor at the Naval Station in San Diego
  • Worked as a high school teacher, insurance actuary and Wall Street Researcher before entering politics
  • Known as the Mayor of Castro Street
  • Helped organize a beer boycott with the Teamsters
  • Campaign platforms included Gay Rights, Child-care Improvements, Public Transportation, Civilian Oversight of the Police, and Small Business
  • He was the first openly gay politician to be elected to a public office.
  • Assassinated, along with Mayor Moscone, on November 27, 1978 by a fellow San Francisco Supervisor.
  • The Harvey Milk Democratic Club and the San Francisco Harvey Milk Parade were named in his honor.
  • Some of his ashes are encapsulated in front of 575 Castro St.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Ensign John William Carson

Fast Facts about Ensign John William Carson

  • Born October 23rd 1925 at Corning Iowa
  • At age 14, he debuted as The Great Carsoni for a local Kiwanis club
  • Joined US Navy June 8th 1943
  • Assigned to the USS Pennsylvania as a communications officer
  • Had an 10-0 amateur boxing record
  • Performed a magic trick for then US Secretary of the Navy James V Forrestal
  • Attended University of Nebraska at Lincoln on the GI bill.
  • Was a member of Phi Gama Delta
  • Performed magic shows through college
  • In 1949 he graduated with a Bachelors in Radio and Speech with a minor in Physics
  • His Thesis was titled "How To Write Comedian Jokes"
  • In 1950 began his career at WOW radio in Omaha Nebraska
  • By 1955 he had a CBS show, The Johnny Carson Show
  • In 1962 he became the host of The Tonight Show
  • Orson Wells sawed him in half at a USO Show
  • Refused to discuss his childhood or private life
  • Opposed the Vietnam War and Capital Punishment
  • Strong believer in equality
  • He was an amateur astronomer and friends with Carl Sagan.
  • In 1981 he founded the John W Carson Foundation, which supports children, education and health services
  • His retired from The Tonight Show on May 22, 1992.
  • He attended the 100th birthday of his former teacher Fay Gordon
  • In 2004, he gifted 5.3 million dollars to the University of Nebraska, allowing them to create The Johnny Carson School of Theater and Film
  • "I'll be right back" was quoted as his Epigraph.
  • He taught himself Swahili
  • Loved Elvis
  • Died January 23, 2005

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Lieutenant Osborn Elliott


Fast Facts about Lieutenant Osborn Elliott

  • Born October 25th 1924, in New York, NY
  • Started a home newspaper at 8
  • Attended  ST Paul's School in Concord NH
  • Graduated from Harvard
  • Served in the US Navy during WWII, in the Pacific, aboard the heavy cruiser Boston
  • Started  journalism career at Journal of Commerce
  • Also worked at Time
  • Moved to Newsweek in 1955
  • Introduced By-lines
  • Newsweek's Editor in Chief by 1969
  • 1975 he founded the Citizen's Committee for New York City with Senator Jacob Javits
  • 1976 became the Deputy Mayor of New York
  • 1978 named Dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
  • 1980 wrote his autobiography "The World of Oz"
  • Died September 28th 2008, in New York City NY
  • The Osborn Elliott Prize for Excellence in Asian Journalism was named in his honor


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Major William Clark Gable

Major Gable was born in Cadiz Ohio on February 1, 1901.  Prior to establishing himself has an actor, he worked in oil fields, as a horse manager, at the Firestone Rubber Co, and as a necktie salesman at Meier and Frank.

His resonant voice is the result of many voice training classes.

Major Gable enlisted in the US Army Air Force on August 12, 1942, after the love of his life, wife Carole Lombard, died in a plane crash while promoting war bonds.

He trained as an aerial gunman, and did fly combat missions at RAF Polebrook with the 351 Bomber Squadron.  Major Cable was also given a special assignment to make a recruiting film for aerial gunners.

Hitler, a big fan, put out a bounty for his unharmed capture and was disappointed.

Ronald Regan signed his discharge papers on July 12, 1944 and Major Gable returned to acting, receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame February 8, 1960.  He died in November of the same year,

Th US Postal Service used his likeness as Rhett Butler on the US Commemorative Postage Stamps honoring classic films of 1939.

The Biography Channel

Monday, January 30, 2017

Colonel Van T. Barfoot

Colonel Van T Barfoot was born on June 15 1914, one of nine children, on a farm in Edinburg Mississippi.

He 1940 he enlisted in the US Army, serving first in the Italian Campaign, Amphibious Force, and after WWII, trained as a helicopter pilot and then as the military adviser to the Virginia National Guard.

Colonel Barfoot was a highly decorated soldier, earning the Congressional Medal of Honor, a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts.  He was decorated for picking his way through a mine field, capturing 17 enemy soldiers and destroying a tank.

Despite having a very admiral military careet, he is most well known for his legal battle with his HOA, who tried to restrict him from flying an American Flag.  He is quoted saying "In the time I have left I plan to continue to fly the American flag."  He won.

LA Times March 19, 2012
Valor: A Gathering of Eagles by Jimmie Dean Coy
American Heroes: Medal of Honor Winners from the Civil War to Afghanistan by James H Willbanks

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Vice Admiral Samuel L. Graverly Jr.

Admiral Graverly had an amazing Naval career of firsts.

Born on June 4, 1922 in Richmond Virginia, he attended Virginia Union University, leaving early to join the Naval reserves in 1942.

After basic training at the Naval Station Great Lakes Illinois, he entered V-12 Navy College Training at UCLA and then attended Midshipmen's school at Columbia University.  He was commissioned as Ensign in 1944.

WWII was spent aboard the USS PC-1264, conducting patrols and escorts through the Atlantic.

In 1946, released from active duty, he returned to Virginia Union University and completed his Bachelor's in History, and worked as a railway postal clerk.

He returned to active duty in 1949, as a recruiter in Washington DC, transferring to the USS Iowa as a communications officer.  He converted from the reserves to regular Navy in 1955.

In 1961, he was given his own boat, the USS Theodore E. Chandler, becoming the first African American to command a ship.  His command transferred to the USS Falgout in 1962.  During the Vietnam War he commanded the USS Taussig, and was the first African American to command a vessel during combat.  He was promoted to Captain in 1967 - again being the first African American in the US Navy to do so, and in 1971, Rear admiral (also first).

He was given the command of the 3rd fleet based in Hawaii from 1978-1980 - the first African American to command a numbered naval fleet.

He retired in 1980, and spent his time fishing, traveling with his wife and breeding pigeons.  He died on October 22, 2004 at Bethesda Maryland.

The ship USS Graverly was named in his honor.

Ship's Cook 3rd Class Doris Miller

Ship's Cook 3rd Class Doris Miller was born in Waco Texas on October 12, 1919 to parents Connery and Henrietta Miller.

He attended A.J. Moore High School and played fullback on the football team until leaving school to help support his family, both by farming and working part-time at a local diner.

He enlisted in the US Navy on September 16, 1939 and was transferred to the USS West Virginia on January 2, 1940, serving as Mess Attendant.  He was also the heavy weight boxing champion of the ship.

On December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, he manned a Browning 50 caliber anti-aircraft gun in defense of the ship, despite having received no weapons training (the US Navy did not allow African Americans in combat roles at that time)

After running out of ammunition, and with orders to abandon ship, he assisted in moving injured sailors off of the ship, including mortally wounded Captain Mervyn Bennion.  He received the Navy Cross for his actions, the first African American to do so.

He was later assigned to the carrier Liscome Bay, which was torpedoed during the Battle of Makin Island on November 24, 1943. Ship's Cook Doris Miller, as well as 2/3rd's of the 900 crew, were missing and presumed dead. His memorial service was held April 30, 1944 in Waco Texas.

His actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor earned him quite a bit of recognition, he was featured on the Navy recruitment poster "Above and beyond the call of Duty" and gave talks in Oakland California, Waco Texas, Dallas Texas and the first graduating class of African American sailors at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Chicago Illinois.

His actions were dramatized in "They Live Forever" a CBS radio series and Gwendolyn Brook's poem Negro Hero.

Actors Elven Havard and Cuba Downing Jr. represented his actions in film and he was also featured in the "Distinguished Sailors" US Postal Service Commemorative Stamps.  The US Navy has also named a Knox class frigate, USS Miller, in his honor.

America Comes Alive
Naval History & Heritage Command