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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:22 pm 
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Audie Murphy? Joe Foss? The image of John Wayne tall in the saddle? The ideals they represented. Honor, Duty, Loyalty, Integrity, Commitment, Honesty. What has happened to their America? When did we start caring more about ourselves and money and less about our neighbors, our communities and our country?

Yes, we have brave soldiers and those in public service. They get it. They care. I am referring to Americans. The spirit that built this great society. The ideal that each American is responsible for every other American. That we stand with and beside those that are in trouble, those in need. Even at our own physical expense.

What happened to the concept of hard work? Starting with school in order to land a decent job and continue to work hard and rise through the ranks. Now its a "me" generation with an instant gratification mindset. Now Americans feel "entitled " to a job and a decent pay with benefits. Do as little as possible for the most reward.

My name will be forever associated with my words and deeds. I will always strive to honor the name my father and mother gave me, and honor myself. I will always be honest. My duty and loyalty are to my family,community and my country. My integrity will never waiver. I will come to aid of those Americans in trouble. Help those Americans I see needing help. I will take care of my family. I will take care of my community. I will take care of my Country. Because I am an American.

Sgt. A.L. Shear
Proud to be associated with LTW, my family, my community.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:30 pm 
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Al....I couldn't agree with you more, and by the way..I consider you a hero..not because of any individual deeds you have done, but because of who you are. I will be seeing you VERY soon, around 17 Oct.. I hope and look forward to it very much. I agree with your sentiment on carriying on your name and reputation of your family, and I think that your signature line from Pres. Cooledge has always summed it up better than I could ever put it! Your friend--John

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:43 pm 
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WIth all due respect, Hero's are walking here among us daily.... From the White House.


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Citation
Presidential Remarks
September 17, 2009
2:00 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Please be seated. Good afternoon, and welcome to the White House.
Of all the privileges serving as President, there's no greater honor than serving as Commander-in-Chief of the finest military that the world has ever known. And of all the military decorations that a President and a nation can bestow, there is none higher than the Medal of Honor.
It has been nearly 150 years since our nation first presented this medal for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. And in those nearly 150 years -- through civil war and two world wars, Korea and Vietnam, Desert Storm and Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq, and countless battles in between -- tens of millions of Americans have worn the uniform. But fewer than 3,500 have been recognized with the Medal of Honor. And in our time, these remarkable Americans are literally one in a million. And today we recognize another -- Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti.
The Medal of Honor reflects the admiration and gratitude of the nation. So we are joined by members of Congress -- including from Sergeant Monti's home state of Massachusetts, Senator John Kerry and Congressman Barney Frank. We're joined by our Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, and leaders from across the Armed Forces.
We are joined by the leaders of the Army to which Sergeant Monti dedicated his life: Secretary Pete Geren; our incoming Secretary -- confirmed by the Senate last night -- John McHugh; Chief of Staff General George Casey; Sergeant Major of the Army Ken Preston; and Jared's fellow soldiers and commanders from the legendary 10th Mountain Division. And we are joined by those who now welcome Sergeant Monti into their storied ranks -- members of the Medal of Honor Society.
But today is not about high officials and those with stars on their shoulders. It's a celebration of a young soldier and those who loved him, who made him into the man he was and who join us today. His mother Janet; his father Paul; his brother Tim; and his sister Niccole -- and from his grandmother Marjorie to his six-year old niece Carys, and cousins and aunts and uncles from across America -- more than 120 proud family and friends.
Duty. Honor. Country. Service. Sacrifice. Heroism. These are words of weight. But as people -- as a people and as a culture, we often invoke them lightly. We toss them around freely. But do we really grasp the meaning of these values? Do we truly understand the nature of these virtues? To serve, and to sacrifice. Jared Monti knew. The Monti family knows. And they know that the actions we honor today were not a passing moment of courage. They were the culmination of a life of character and commitment.
There was Jared's compassion. He was the kid at school who, upon seeing a student eating lunch alone, would walk over and befriend him. He was the teenager who cut down a spruce tree in his yard so a single mom in town would have a Christmas tree for her children. He even bought the ornaments and the presents. He was the soldier in Afghanistan who received care packages, including fresh clothes, and gave them away to Afghan children who needed them more.
There was Jared's perseverance. Cut from the high school basketball team, he came back the next year, and the next year, and the next year -- three times -- finally making varsity and outscoring some of the top players. Told he was too young for the military, he joined the National Guard's delayed entry program as a junior in high school. And that summer, while other kids were at the beach, Jared was doing drills.
There was Jared's strength and skill -- the championship wrestler and triathlete who went off to basic training, just 18 years old, and then served with distinction as a forward observer, with the heavy responsibility of calling in air strikes. He returned from his first tour in Afghanistan highly decorated, including a Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal for valor.
And there was Jared's deep and abiding love for his fellow soldiers. Maybe it came from his mom, who was a nurse. Maybe it came from his dad, a teacher. Guided by the lessons he learned at home, Jared became the consummate NCO -- the noncommissioned officer caring for his soldiers and teaching his troops. He called them his "boys." And although obviously he was still young himself, some of them called him "grandpa." (Laughter.)
Compassion. Perseverance. Strength. A love for his fellow soldiers. Those are the values that defined Jared Monti's life -- and the values he displayed in the actions that we recognize here today.
It was June 21st, 2006, in the remotest northeast of Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan. Sergeant Monti was a team leader on a 16-man patrol. They'd been on the move for three days -- down dirt roads; sloshing through rivers; hiking up steep mountain trails, their heavy gear on their backs; moving at night and in the early morning to avoid the scorching 100-degree heat. Their mission: to keep watch on the valley down below in advance of an operation to clear the area of militants.
Those who were there remember that evening on the mountain -- a rocky ridge, not much bigger than this room. Some were standing guard, knowing they had been spotted by a man in the valley. Some were passing out MREs and water. There was talk of home and plans for leave. Jared was overheard remembering his time serving in Korea. Then, just before dark, there was a shuffle of feet in the woods. And that's when the treeline exploded in a wall of fire.
One member of the patrol said it was "like thousands of rifles crackling." Bullets and heavy machine gunfire ricocheting across the rocks. Rocket-propelled grenades raining down. Fire so intense that weapons were shot right out of their hands. Within minutes, one soldier was killed; another was wounded. Everyone dove for cover. Behind a tree. A rock. A stone wall. This patrol of 16 men was facing a force of some 50 fighters. Outnumbered, the risk was real. They might be overrun. They might not make it out alive.
That's when Jared Monti did what he was trained to do. With the enemy advancing -- so close they could hear their voices -- he got on his radio and started calling in artillery. When the enemy tried to flank them, he grabbed a gun and drove them back. And when they came back again, he tossed a grenade and drove them back again. And when these American soldiers saw one of their own -- wounded, lying in the open, some 20 yards away, exposed to the approaching enemy -- Jared Monti did something no amount of training can instill. His patrol leader said he'd go, but Jared said, "No, he is my soldier, I'm going to get him."
It was written long ago that "the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet, notwithstanding, go out to meet it." Jared Monti saw the danger before him. And he went out to meet it.
He handed off his radio. He tightened his chin strap. And with his men providing cover, Jared rose and started to run. Into all those incoming bullets. Into all those rockets. Upon seeing Jared, the enemy in the woods unleashed a firestorm. He moved low and fast, yard after yard, then dove behind a stone wall.
A moment later, he rose again. And again they fired everything they had at him, forcing him back. Faced with overwhelming enemy fire, Jared could have stayed where he was, behind that wall. But that was not the kind of soldier Jared Monti was. He embodied that creed all soldiers strive to meet: "I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade." And so, for a third time, he rose. For a third time, he ran toward his fallen comrade. Said his patrol leader, it "was the bravest thing I had ever seen a soldier do."
They say it was a rocket-propelled grenade; that Jared made it within a few yards of his wounded soldier. They say that his final words, there on that ridge far from home, were of his faith and his family: "I've made peace with God. Tell my family that I love them."
And then, as the artillery that Jared had called in came down, the enemy fire slowed, then stopped. The patrol had defeated the attack. They had held on -- but not without a price. By the end of the night, Jared and three others, including the soldier he died trying to save, had given their lives.
I'm told that Jared was a very humble guy; that he would have been uncomfortable with all this attention; that he'd say he was just doing his job; and that he'd want to share this moment with others who were there that day. And so, as Jared would have wanted, we also pay tribute to those who fell alongside him: Staff Sergeant Patrick Lybert. Private First Class Brian Bradbury. Staff Sergeant Heathe Craig.
And we honor all the soldiers he loved and who loved him back -- among them noncommissioned officers who remind us why the Army has designated this "The Year of the NCO" in honor of all those sergeants who are the backbone of America's Army. They are Jared's friends and fellow soldiers watching this ceremony today in Afghanistan. They are the soldiers who this morning held their own ceremony on an Afghan mountain at the post that now bears his name -- Combat Outpost Monti. And they are his "boys" -- surviving members of Jared's patrol, from the 10th Mountain Division -- who are here with us today. And I would ask them all to please stand. (Applause.)
Like Jared, these soldiers know the meaning of duty, and of honor, of country. Like Jared, they remind us all that the price of freedom is great. And by their deeds they challenge every American to ask this question: What we can do to be better citizens? What can we do to be worthy of such service and such sacrifice?
Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti. In his proud hometown of Raynham, his name graces streets and scholarships. Across a grateful nation, it graces parks and military posts. From this day forward, it will grace the memorials to our Medal of Honor heroes. And this week, when Jared Monti would have celebrated his 34th birthday, we know that his name and legacy will live forever, and shine brightest, in the hearts of his family and friends who will love him always.
May God bless Jared Monti, and may He comfort the entire Monti family. And may God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
Janet, Paul, would you please join me at the podium for the reading of the citation.
The citation is read: The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3rd, 1863, has awarded in the name of Congress the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Jared C. Monti, United States Army.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:
Staff Sergeant Jared C. Monti distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a team leader with Headquarters and Headquarters troop, 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, in connection with combat operations against an enemy in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, on June 21st, 2006. While Staff Sergeant Monti was leading a mission aimed at gathering intelligence and directing fire against the enemy, his 16-man patrol was attacked by as many as 50 enemy fighters. On the verge of being overrun, Staff Sergeant Monti quickly directed his men to set up a defensive position behind a rock formation. He then called for indirect fire support, accurately targeting the rounds upon the enemy who had closed to within 50 meters of his position. While still directing fire, Staff Sergeant Monti personally engaged the enemy with his rifle and a grenade, successfully disrupting an attempt to flank his patrol. Staff Sergeant Monti then realized that one of his soldiers was lying wounding on the open ground between the advancing enemy and the patrol's position. With complete disregard for his own safety, Staff Sergeant Monti twice attempted to move from behind the cover of the rocks into the face of relentless enemy fire to rescue his fallen comrade. Determined not to leave his soldier, Staff Sergeant Monti made a third attempt to cross open terrain through intense enemy fire. On this final attempt, he was mortally wounded, sacrificing his own life in an effort to save his fellow soldier. Staff Sergeant Monti's selfless acts of heroism inspired his patrol to fight off the larger enemy force. Staff Sergeant Monti's immeasurable courage and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 71st Calvary Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, and the United States Army.
Citation Front Page
Presidential Remarks
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 7:08 pm 
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Great sentiment, Al, and a good read, gtf.

I'm honored that I got to call Joe Foss a friend. After I moved away from his neighborhood, he and DiDi sent me a picture of Joe and his squadron taken on Guadalcanal. It reads "We miss you". If he only knew how that sentiment was now reversed! One of my son's most cherished possessions is Joe's personal Colt single action in it's original Colorado Saddlery tooled holster. Joe gave it to him on the occasion of his joining the NRA and completing his Arizona hunter safety class. Joe seemed as proud as if it were his own child. I was, and still am in awe of the character, class, and sheer humbling nature of the man. As unassuming and unpretentious as anyone I've ever met, but downright passionate where personal honor, our rights, and our country are concerned. Joe always played down the hero thing - I think in his eyes the real heroes were the guys who didn't make it home, and those still serving.

When my son was in the fifth grade in Chino Valley AZ, he was asked to write a paper on a "hero" for class. The other kids wrote about entertainers, sports figures, celebrities, and the usual expected crowd. Mark's story was on Joe Foss - his comments were to the effect that "I like sports and movies as much as anyone, but all my heroes are heroes". I can't remember what his grade was, but it was worth an A in my book.

While Joe Foss, Audie Murphy, Col Charlie Beckwith, Col Rex Applegate, and so many of the legendary men are gone, I do still believe in heroes. They do walk among us, and in our place in harm's way. Reading the bios and names honored at the website for the Naval Special Warfare Foundation was the main motivation for LTW choosing this organization as the beneficiary of this year's gun package. Take a look - read the info - there are heroes there.
http://www.nswfoundation.org/

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:11 pm 
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Hey Al...t al...

I had to think about this before writting something....but despite my common sense, decided to put a couple thoughts..least for what its worth..

I read about those in uniform...yeup Ive had the honor to serve in the company of heros..more recently I had the honor of rendering honors to SFC Shawn McClowskey. I can assure you that without his heroism during my last trip, I wouldnt be writting this now. The thing is, while I was there I looked at the group of folks sitting graveside and my wife at my side. What came to mind was those are true heros..at least to me. The wives and spouses of the soldiers that are in harms way, those to me are the truest of heros..bar none I cant think of any more heroic. My wife and women like her are the unsung heros and patriots of this country

For what it's worth...

Oh Al, want you to know that without the men like you, Lou and the folks that served with you...it was you folks that stuck it out in the face of an ungrateful Nation that created shoes that we today will struggle daily to fill. Thanks for insuring the legacy of the uniform we wear today bears the level of honor that it does. So thanks....

Thanks for putting up with my ramblings...
Jim

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:54 pm 
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Al, your point is not lost...it rings true for MANY more of us than you know. Very moving thoughts by all, and the subject is deeply meaningful to many of us. I have heard this very discussion in the Firehouse many times in the last few years. Thank you for the reminder..and to all who have served THANK YOU for your service and sacrafice.

Jim, my Dad mentioned you the other day... good to hear from you hope all is well with you and yours.

Best
Mark

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 7:19 am 
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I believe "it" is still there residing in most Americans...... but dormant in some. It's just that our society has softened a lot of Americans and made them think "it" is not up to them, and/or that "it" is not PC.

"It" is not always about jumping on a grenade or catching a bank robber, although examples like those are the clearest and easiest to see and relate, and they inspire us. "It" is also about helping the old lady down the street, picking up a $fiver somebody dropped and returning to to them, not giving in to the temptation of buying something at an amazing price that you know must be stolen, stopping to help somebody with a flat, and not putting up with bad behavior in kids.

My Dad talks about how everybody really was pulling together during WWII. He (and Mom) worked in the plant making carbines and 1919A4 MG's. One union guy was going around telling folks to slow down, take it easy, or they'll expect this kind of production out of us all the time. He nearly got taken out back and beaten-- it pissed people off that his attitude might mean even a single GI without the best weapon possible. "There's a war on, you fool!"

Joe Foss-- I read an interview one time. What was his secret to shooting down so many enemy planes? "Get in behind him real close and lay on the guns until pieces of his plane were hitting my plane." Wow!

I agree we have heroes a-plenty these days in the service and on police departments and fire departments everywhere. Some amazing deeds and sacrifices will never be known, some will not be known for years.... some guys will decline credit for them. Some of them are reading this-- thanks guys.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 12:35 pm 
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Ned Christiansen wrote:
I believe "it" is still there residing in most Americans...... but dormant in some. It's just that our society has softened a lot of Americans and made them think "it" is not up to them, and/or that "it" is not PC.

"It" is not always about jumping on a grenade or catching a bank robber, although examples like those are the clearest and easiest to see and relate, and they inspire us. "It" is also about helping the old lady down the street, picking up a $fiver somebody dropped and returning to to them, not giving in to the temptation of buying something at an amazing price that you know must be stolen, stopping to help somebody with a flat, and not putting up with bad behavior in kids.

My Dad talks about how everybody really was pulling together during WWII. He (and Mom) worked in the plant making carbines and 1919A4 MG's. One union guy was going around telling folks to slow down, take it easy, or they'll expect this kind of production out of us all the time. He nearly got taken out back and beaten-- it pissed people off that his attitude might mean even a single GI without the best weapon possible. "There's a war on, you fool!"

Joe Foss-- I read an interview one time. What was his secret to shooting down so many enemy planes? "Get in behind him real close and lay on the guns until pieces of his plane were hitting my plane." Wow!

I agree we have heroes a-plenty these days in the service and on police departments and fire departments everywhere. Some amazing deeds and sacrifices will never be known, some will not be known for years.... some guys will decline credit for them. Some of them are reading this-- thanks guys.

Most of the warriors and heroes I know, have modeled their lives around the heroes of past. I passed this post out to the guys on my shift and it brought a lot of smiles. My guys don't always hear those words, but they are content knowing that there are people out there that still respect and thank them. Besides excellent smiths, you are all great Americans. Thanks for doing what you guys do with LTW.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:25 pm 
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Thgought I'd add some more info here...for anyone looking for an excellent read about a true hero, pick up a copy of the book "Heart of a Soldier" by James Stewart. It is about a gentleman named Rick Rescorla, who was born in Cornwall during WWII, served in the British Army, immigrated to America at the beggining of Vietnam (and gained his citizenship that way) and fought in the battle of the Ia Drang Valley (We Were Soldiers, anyone. He is also the grunt pictured on the cover of the book "We Were Soldiers Once and Young" with the bayonet on his M-16). Rescorla served a full career in the US Army and retired from the Reserves as a Lt. Col. He took a job as security manager for Morgan Stanley& Dean Witter and his office was in the World Trade Center. After the first bombings he put evacuation plans in place and drilled the employees often, much to their complaints. On 9/11/01, those same people were saved by his calming presence and the frequent drills. He is credited with saving hundreds of lives that day, and was killed when the towers came down, the last anyone saw of him was running back up the stairwell to find any of "his" people, and singing "Men of Harlech" at the top of his lungs. Definately worth the read.--John

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:19 am 
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I was particularly inspired by that bit of heroism as well. I've got to state also that I'm also inspired by many of you whose thoughts I've been reading on this forum, as well as by the obvious intent of the forum itself. I hardly feel justified to even comment, except I do wish to ask your thoughts on what it would take to have men such as these actually running our nation?

I've often thought it was men as these, with honor, courage, dignity, and a strong moral / ethical compass largely based upon strong judeao-christian beliefs, who originally established our nation and its laws, but that the further time distanced us from the strong and overwhelming abuses and injustices which originally drove them to take extreme actions, the more we have turned over control to "professional politicians" and we slowly let commonly held or whimsical beliefs erode that foundation away.

It sort of seems that huge conflicts more readily reveal the greatness of these men among us, as I too believe there are many "unsung heros" all about us. Unfortunatly, nowadays it seems when one of them shoulders the burden of running for public office in order to influence our leadership, they get crucified in the media and often enough fail to make it through the gauntlet of the press. I wonder what in the world would it take to get more of them to shoulder that burden, and what it would take to help them make it through the gauntlet? And what would our society be like if we had the influnce of men like this even in times of relative ease when compared to conditions such as were experienced by our general population during the days of the War of the Revolution or the WWII for example?

On a side note, I was honored that men like Ted Yost and Jason Burton ever took the time to respond to my small request for help in building a specific 10mm to protect my family with while fishing and recreating here in alaska. I'm doubly so now that I've stumbled across this website when searching for pictures of their work. Their involvement in the great causes at the root of this organization now explains the decency with which they've treated me and even more underlines the regard with which they are so greatly held here in alaska by our local heros whom have taken me under their wings to help me better protect my family from all threats, furry and otherwise.

Ny family and I thank all of you for what you've given, and your support for those who have given, so much from which we've benefitted all these years in this still great and largely free society. Merry Christmas and may the coming New Year bring you abundance and fullfillment in all things.


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