Showing posts from May, 2019

A Soldier's Story: Lieutenant Colonel Melvin Russell Blair

Lieutenant Colonel Melvin Russell Blair was born on November 11, 1915, in Topeka, Kansas.

Enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1935 as a cavalryman, he was first assigned to Merrill's Mauraders, the special forces team assigned to Burma during WWII.

He briefly was assigned to the Pentagon before moving to General MacArthur's staff and then was assigned to hold Pusan's Perimeter in Korea.

Lieutenant Colonel Blair then served at the New York Military Acadamy, recreating an equestrian program until his full retirement.

He was also an active member of the American Legion.

Lieutenant Colonel Melvin Russell Blair died on April 19, 2008, and rests in Arlington Cemetery.

A Sailor's Story: Seaman Second Class Florence Ebersole Finch

Seaman Second Class Florence Ebersole Finch was born on October 11, 1915, in Santiago, Philippines.

Working at G-2 intelligence prior to the start of WWII, she had married a sailor, Charles Smith, who was killed during the Japanese invasion.

During the Japanese occupation, she suppressed her mixed heritage (her father was an American, her mother Philipino) and worked at the Philippine Liquid Fuel Company which was under Japanese control.

Seaman Finch used her position to assist the Philippine resistance movement, including obtaining supplies and helped sabotage enemy efforts from June 1942 until her discovery and arrest in October of 1944. She also smuggled supplies and food to prisoners.

After her arrest, she was severely tortured, starved, and often imprisoned in a small box until the liberation of the Philippine Islands in February 1945.  She weighed only 80 pounds when rescued.

She moved to Buffalo New York and enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard, serving until 1946.  She was awarde…

A Soldier's Story: Lieutenant Sorrell Booke

Lieutenant Sorrell Booke was born on January 4, 1930, in Buffalo New York.

Always a performer, he used to do impressions for the local radio stations while attending Bennet High School, where he graduated class valedictorian in 1948.

After high school, he attended Columbia University, moving to Yale University to receive his master's degree.  His college education was briefly interrupted by his enlistment in the U.S. Army during the Korean war, where Lieutenant Booke served as a counterintelligence officer.

In 1960, after many years spent on the stage, Lieutenant Booke made his way to Hollywood, taking on several roles in film, including a role in the movie Black Like Me before focusing on television roles.

Lieutenant Booke was nominated for an Emmy for his role in Dr. Kildare and he also appeared on M*A*S*H and All in the Family before landing his most famous role, that of Boss Hogg in the Dukes of Hazzard, for which he donned a fat suit to fill the character out.

Lieutenant Sor…

A Soldier's Story: Specialist John August Boliver Jr.

Specialist John August Boliver Jr. was born on May 10, 1963, in Louisville, Kentucky.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1983 and was assigned to Fort Hood Texas.  He was briefly assigned overseas in Germany before being discharged from active duty in 1986.

Specialist Boliver transitioned his service to the Pennsylvania Army Reserves and was responsible for the mechanical maintenance at a local hospital before his reserve unit deployed to Saudia Arabia during Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield to provide water purification and distribution.

On February 25, 1991, Specialist John August Boliver Jr was killed when a SCUD missile struck the warehouse that was serving as the barracks for the 14th Quartermaster Battalion. He rests in the Monongahela Cemetery, in Monongahela Pennsylvania.

An Airman's Story: Airman Paige Renee Villers

Airman Paige Renee Villers was born on November 3, 1987. She grew up in Norton, Ohio, graduating from Norton High School in 2006  and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.

Airman Villers left for basic training on March 13, 2007, and, along with many other Airman, contracted an adenovirus, often referred to as "the boot camp flu".

Unfortunately, Airman Villers's illness developed complications and she was hospitalized for pneumonia.  She graduated from basic training at a special ceremony held in the hospital before succumbing to damage caused by the infections.

Airman Paige Renee Villers died on August 7, 2007, and rests in the Western Reserve National Cemetary in Rittman, Ohio.

A Soldier's Story: Captain Charles Walter Veach

Captain Charles Walter Veach was born on May 18, 1884, in Caddo, Oklahoma.

Joining the Oklahoma National Guard, he was first mobilized for a dispute called the Crazy Snake Rebellion before being mobilized for the Mexican Expedition, where the Oklahoma National Guard was deployed to the Texas border.

During WWI, the Oklahoma National Guard was absorbed by the U.S. Army's 142nd Divison, where he and other members of the Choctaw tribe first used a Native American language to confound enemy troops and setting the stage for further Native American Code Talkers in the U.S. Military.

After the war, Captain Veach returned to the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma, serving on the tribal council and represented the Choctaw Nation in the Camp Council of the Five Civilized Tribes.

Captain Charles Walter Veach died on October 13, 1966, and rests in the Highland Cemetary of Durant, Oklahoma.

See Also:

Captain Charles Walter Vetch

Corporal Peter Maytubby

Corporal Tobias William Frazier

Corporal Solomon Bon…