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Showing posts from January, 2020

A Marine's Story: General Henry Clay Cochrane - Career Marine

General Henry Clay Cochrane was born on November 7, 1842.  In 1860, he started a career as a teacher but, it was interrupted by the beginning of the civil war and chose to enlist for the Union military instead.

General Cochrane tried to apply for a commission to the Marine Corps, but at 18, he was considered too young.  Instead, he would volunteer in the US Navy, serving as a Warranted Acting Master's Mate. He participated in most of the Naval battles that occurred in the early years of the Civil War.  He received his commission into the US Marine Corps in May of 1863.

General Cochrane was, from the beginning of his career,  a stickler for protocol and form. It was these traits earned him a prestigious assignment on President Lincoln's honor guard during his Gettysburg address and a place with the US honor guard that attended the coronation of Czar Alexander III.

He was more than just a parade marine. General Cochrane served aboard the USS Lancaster when the British fleet bom…

A Soldier's Story: Surgeon Mary Edwards Walker - Civil War

Surgeon Mary Edward Walker was born on November 26, 1832, in Oswego New York.  She graduated from the Falley Seminary in Fulton New York and then worked as a school teacher in Minetto New York until she had saved enough money to attend Syracuse Medical College.

After medical school, while she was working to establish her private practice, she would embark on a life-long campaign against the corsets and multiple petticoats of the era, insisting (rightly) that the corsets caused postural and internal organ damage and that the trailing petticoats harbored and spread germs.  She would even write an article to The Sibyl called "A Review of the Tastes, Errors, and Fashions of Society About Women's Dress".

When the Civil War erupted, she volunteered for the US Army as a surgeon but was rejected and told she could be a nurse. Instead, she would work as an unpaid volunteer surgeon at the First Battle of Bull Run and at the Patient Office Hospital.

In September of 1862, she once …

A Sailor's Story: Rear Admiral Bowman Hendry McCalla -Career Sailor

Rear Admiral Bowman Hendry McCalla was born on June 19, 1844, in Camden NJ.

He was appointed to Annapolis on November 20, 1861, and graduated with the class of 1864, completing his tour aboard the USS America.

From 1864 to 1874, Rear Admiral McCalla was assigned to various boats, including his first assignment aboard the USS Marblehead, before returning to Annapolis as an instructor. He would return to the sea aboard the USS Powhatan in 1878.

While assigned to the Bureau of Navigation, Rear Admiral McCalla led an expeditionary force of 750 men into Panama to aid the Colombian government in saving the city from liberal armies.  The force was too late to prevent the burning of Panama City.

In 1887 Rear Admiral McCalla took command of the USS Enterprise, where he would stay until 1890 when he confronted a drunk and disorderly sailor by hitting him with the flat of his sword.  Rear Admiral McCalla would be court-martialed and suspended for three years.

When he returned to the Navy, he wa…

An Airman's Story: Major Katherine Jeanne Tolen Harris - WWII, Korea

Major Katherine Jeanne Tolen Harris was born on April 13, 1919, in Langdon, North Dakota.  She graduated from St. Catherine's Hospital School of Nursing in 1939 and then enlisted on May 9, 1941.

She was photographed, along with several other flight nurses for Look Magazine's article "Invasion Heroine: The Flying Nurse".

Major Tolen Harris successfully complete many air evacuations throughout her career, spanning more than ten years, through WWII and into the Korean War before leaving the service on May 4, 1953, to devote time to her family.

Major Katherine Jeanne Tolen Harris died on April 25, 1989, and rests in Mount Moriah Cemetery, Choctaw Mississippi.




An Airman's Story: Staff Sergeant Frank Sylvester Rosynek - WWII

Staff Sergeant Frank Sylvester Rosynek was born on December 30, 1922, in Chicago Illinois.

Enlisting in the US Air Force on November 16, 1942, and was trained as a control tower and operations technician and was assigned to the 11th Bomber group and deployed to the Pacific Theater, where he would work within the commanding colonel's administrative staff.

After the war, Staff Sergeant Rosynek would settle in Georgia, and manage a Rich's Department Store.  He was known for his sense of humor.

Staff Sergeant Rosynek was also a beloved storyteller who loved to write and after being interviewed by Laura Hillenbrand for her book "Unbroken", was inspired to write his own WWII account titled "Not Everyone Wore Wings".

Staff Sergeant Frank Sylvester Rosynek died on January 2, 2012, and now rests at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton Georgia.

A Soldier's Story: Warrant Officer John K "Jack" Morgan - Desert Storm / Desert Shield, Gulf War

Warrant Officer John K "Jack" Morgan was born on December 7, 1962, in Bellevue Washington.

After graduating from Interlake High School in 1981, he enlisted in the US Navy and served a term as an Electricians Mate.

Warrant Officer Morgan briefly worked as an account representative for an investment firm before decided to return to the military, this time to the US Army, where he earned his helicopter pilot certification in 1989.

He deployed to the Middle East in the Fall of 1990 and On February 27, 1991, the helicopter Warrant Officer Jack Morgan was piloting was shot down.  He rests at the Sunset Hills Memorial Park in Bellevue Washington.

*See also Sergeant Lee Arthur Belas

A Soldier's Story: Colonel Rosemary Hogan - Career Soldier, Veteran

Colonel Rosemary Hogan was born on March 13, 1912, in Ahpeatone Oklahoma.  She was an incredible student, graduating as the class valedictorian and earning a nursing scholarship.

She enlisted in the US Army in 1936.  She was stationed on posts within the US until the fall of 1941 when she was transferred to the Philippines.

The US Army kept attempting to move the hospital inland, but still, it fell under attack and in March 1942, Colonel Hogan was wounded during an attack on the hospital.

By April 1942, she and all the remaining nurses on the island were captured by enemy forces and taken to the Santo Tomas Internment Camp. Colonel Hogan would remain a prisoner of war until 1945 when the nurses (who would come to be known as the Angels of Bataan and Corregidor) and other prisoners were finally liberated.

After her release and recuperation, Colonel Hogan served on various posts as Chief Nurse, including a period at Langley's Tactical Command.

She retired to San Antonio Texas.  Col…

An Airman's Story: Colonel Hans Christian Adamson - WWII

Colonel Hans Christian Adamson was born on July 20, 1890, at Varde Denmark.

Relocating early to New York City, Colonel Adamson worked as a non-fiction writer, largely through the American Museum of Natural History and their Hayden Planetarium magazine "The Sky".  It was also through the museum that he created his first documentary script, "Adventures in Exploration".

Colonel Adamson also regularly wrote material for the "American School of Air - Broadcasts for Teachers and Students".

He enlisted in the US Air Force during WWII and was assigned to tour Pacific Ocean miliary bases with Captain Eddie Rickenbacker when a plane crash left them adrift in the ocean for 24 days.

After the war, Colonel Adamson returned to writing, continuing to write radio scripts and mostly war themed non-fiction, including a biography about Eddie Rickenbacker. 

Colonel Hans Christian Adamson died on September 11, 1968, and rests in Arlington National Cemetery.