Showing posts from October, 2019

A Sailor's Story: Lieutenant Harriet Ida Pickens

Lieutenant Harriet Ida Pickens was born on March 17, 1909.  She graduated from Wadleigh High School in 1926 and then from Smith College in 1930.

Returning to New York, she would earn a Master's Degree in political science from Columbia University.

After college, she worked as the Supervisor of Recreation in the New Deal WPA before becoming the Executive Secretary of the Harlem Tuberculosis and Health Committee of the New York Tuberculosis and Health Association.

In the Fall of 1944, the US Navy opened the doors of officer's candidacy to women of African descent and Lieutenant Pickens, along with Ensign Wills, became the first woman of African descent to become officers in the US Navy.

Lieutenant Pickens would lead the physical training sessions for all further WAVES recruits.

Lieutenant Harriet Ida Pickens died in 1969.

A Soldier's Story: General Malin Craig

General Malin Craig was born on August 5, 1875, in St. Joseph Missouri.  He entered West Pont in 1894 and graduated in 1898.

His initial assignment with the 4th Infantry Regiment lasted only a few short months before he was transferred to the 6th Cavalry Division and deployed to Cuba to participate in the Santiago Campain.

After his redeployment, he was briefly assigned to the Western outposts in Wyoming and Oklahoma before departing to China in 1900. General Craig was then deployed to the Philippines.

After General Craig returned stateside, he attended the Infantry and Cavalry School and the Staff College before being assigned to the post of Regimental Quartermaster at Fort Clark.  General Craig then returned to the classroom, graduating from the Army War College in 1910.

General Craig would serve in various capacities throughout the Western United States, including working as an instructor at Leavenworth until WWI erupted, and he deployed to France to serve as the Chief of Staff fo…

A Soldier's Story: Major General William Crawford Gorgas

Major General William Crawford Gorgas was born on October 3, 1854, in Toulminville, Alabama.  He attended college at the University of the South and completed his medical training and residency at Bellevue Hospital Medical Center.  He received his appointment to the US Army Medical Corps in 1880.

Major General Gorgas's early posts were throughout Texas including a period of time at Fort Brown, where Major General Gorgas was infected with yellow fever.

By 1889 he was assigned to the post of Chief Sanitary Officer in Havana Cuba where he was instrumental in continuing Major Walter Reed and Carlos Finlay's work in proving the mosquito to be the vector of yellow fever.

In 1904, he was assigned to Panama, again as the Chief Sanitary Officer and it was his work of fumigation, mosquito netting, and swamp drainage protected workers and allowed the Panama Canal Project to be completed.

Major General William Crawford Gorgas served as the president of the American Medical Association in…

An Airman's Story: Major General Jeanne M. Holm

Major General Jeanne Marjorie Holm was born on June 23, 1921, in Portland Oregon. She loved to ski (both water and snow) and would remain active in both sports throughout her life  She also worked as a professional silversmith prior to her enlistment.

On May 14, 1942, Congress approved the creation of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps and by July, Major General Holm had enlisted.  She completed Officers Candidate School in 1943.

During WWII, Major General Holm was assigned to the Women's Army Training Center where she first commanded a basic training company and then a training regiment. After the war, she commanded the 106th WAC Hospital company.  She briefly left active duty to complete her education at Lewis and Clark College but returned to active duty in 1948 to command a Woman's Auxilary Corps company at Fort Lee.

In 1949 she was transferred to the US Air Force and was sent to the Erding Air Depot in Germany where she served first as the Assistant Director of Plans a…

An Airman's Story: Captain Lawrence E. Dickson

Captain Lawrence Everett Dickson was born on May 31, 1920.

A South Carolina native, he relocated to the Bronx in New York.

He was an accomplished musician, playing the guitar prior to his enlistment and he always carried a harmonica during his missions.

On March 25, 1943, Captain Dickson enlisted in the US Army Air Services (Air Force) and reported to Tuskegee Airfield for training and then deploying with the 100th fighter squadron to Italy.

While flying along the border between Italy and Austria, Captain Dickson's P-51 Mustang suffered engine failure and crash-landed.

Originally declared missing and non-recoverable Captain Dickson was memorialized on the Tablet of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery, however, in 2012 his plane was discovered and was excavated in 2017.  Captain Lawrence Everett Dickson has been repatriated and now rests in Arlington National Cemetery.  Also recovered was his ring, engraved with his and his wife's initials.

A Soldier's Story: Sergeant Joseph Phillip Bongiorni III

Sergeant Joseph Phillip Bongiorni III was born on January 30. 1971 in Hickory Pennsylvania.

An athlete ad musician he played football for Fort Cherry High School, where he was also in the school's marching band, playing the trumpet.

Sergeant Bongiorni enlisted in the Pennsylvania National Guard prior to his enrollment at West Virginia University, majoring in engineering and was active in the school's ROTC program.

Sergeant Bongiorni deployed to Saudia Arabia when the 14th Quartermaster mobilized on January 15, 1991, and on February 25, 1991, was killed when a SCUD missile destroyed the barracks.

Sergeant Joseph Phillip Bongiorni III rests in Mount Prospect Cemetery at Hickory Pennsylvania.

A Sailor's Story: Admiral Marc Andrew Mitscher

Admiral Marc Andrew Mitscher was born on January 26, 1887, in Hillsboro Wisconsin.

His parents relocated while he was young and he grew up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Admiral Mitscher's attended the US Military Acadamy at Annapolis, but washed out his sophomore year, after receiving poor grades and 159 demerits.  Undeterred, he reapplied, beginning again as a first-year plebe and successfully graduating on June 3, 1910.

Admiral Mitscher served his two-year tour aboard the USS Colorado before moving to the USS California on the West coast and then, earning a spot into the newly created naval aviation division in1915 and on June 2, 1916, Admiral Mitscher became Naval Aviator #33.

His first assignments as an aviator were aboard the USS North Carolina and the USS West Virginia for catapult experiments and the early development of launching planes from a ship, although during this period of time, planes were mostly used for scouting and spotting purposes, not combat. Then, in 1919, wh…

A Marine's Story: Private Goode Taurman

Private Goode Taurman was born in 1877 and raised in Gayton Virginia on a farm outside of town.

On November 17, 1898, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps and was assigned to Company D of the 1st Marine Batallion.

Private Taurman deployed aboard the USS Panther, landing in Guantanamo Bay Cuba on June 10, 1898.

During the initial attack on an enemy-occupied fort, Private Goode Taurmen toppled to his death from the sheer 30-foot cliffs surrounding the fort.

Initially interred at Camp McCalla in Cuba, in 1899 the Navy ordered all remains repatriated.  Private Goode Taurman rests in the family cemetery at the farm "Valhalla" in Gayton Virginia.