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Mostly military heroes

Baja emergency, badly wounded in Vietnam, shipwrecked teen, Bataan Death March, Yamamoto's killer, Clairemont's savior

Thomas Lanphier (center) receiving Silver Star. "This was the one time I calculatedly determined to trade my life for the target."
Thomas Lanphier (center) receiving Silver Star. "This was the one time I calculatedly determined to trade my life for the target."
“Karla and I went to different homes looking for pilots. We finally found an American who said he’d fly out at first light and everyone kept saying it was impossible to do anything at night there."

Somewhere Between Death and the Border

“I ran over to pick the suitcase up and, yeah, Eddie was laying there, face down in this pool of blood in the sand about a foot across, laying there with his hands like this [thrown out in front with the right side of the face down]. We couldn’t see what was wrong with him. Karla came running over, and we knew we had to do something and didn’t know what. We knew we couldn’t leave him there. What choice did we have?"

By Bob Dorn, Sept. 16, 1982 Red full article

Jerry Stadtmiller remembers the disembodied voices of North Vietnamese soldiers. He could hear them talking to each other as they worked their way up the hill.

Nobody wanted to hear from us

The chief medical surgeon reported he'd never seen a man's face (at least one who lived) so badly damaged. Two sniper bullets tore away his lower face, so that one-third of his tongue had to be removed and all but four of his teeth. Plastic surgeons later sewed up the right socket of his eye, built him a nose from part of his hipbone, replaced a piece of his skull with a metal plate, and created a new tear duct for his left eye.

By Hawkins Mitchell, May 29, 1997 Read full article

“Sorry as hell about your family. You okay?” “Sure.” “Miracle you made it. Listen, we pulled up a piece of your radar. Caught in our nets off Eureka."

Nightmare of the New Hope

Swimming, nothing but swimming and cold water and raft. He couldn’t see. The swell lifted, tossed him, and dropped him. He plunged ahead and bumped the raft canister. A little cry of relief burst from him, lost in the shriek of the wind. His hands scrambled, searching for the inflate cord. The sea bounced him. Spray lashed the can. His hand found a rope tied around the center of the canister.

By Rick Geist, March 19, 1987 Read full article

Barrio Natividad is where I met Veneranda, my wife. She was 17 at the time. The first day Veneranda saw me, I was so sick I was lying naked on what’s called a papag.

Die free

One of our corporals had fallen during the night crossing Samat and injured his hip some way, so we were helping him all the way back for six days. We had to put rifle belts around him and tighten them as tight as we could and help him walk. He was a big man, but we stuck together, I guess, as much for him as we did for ourselves. We didn't have any illusions.

By Leon Beck with Neal Matthews, April 23, 1992 Read full article

Mitsubishi G4M-2 Betty Bomber. "I hit my guns and stayed on them until I saw the bomber begin to burn."

I shot down Japan's Admiral Yamamoto

"McLanahan blew a tire on the runway and had to be left behind. Then, two minutes into the flight, Joe Moore gestured to me that his wing tanks were not feeding to his engine properly, and he had to abort the mission. The leader of our cover planes, John Mitchell, waved in Bisby Holmes and Ray Hines to join me. Our plan was to spend two hours skimming the waves at 100 to 200 feet, below the enemy sight."

By Kathleen Beth Mix, Jan. 21 1988 Read full article

Hickman the hero

On December 4, 1959, at about noon, an F3H Demon piloted by Ensign Albert Joseph Hickman, 21, crashed into a Clairemont canyon. The pilot deliberately stayed with the aircraft to avoid crashing into Hawthorne Elementary School, saving as many as 700 lives.

By Gary Cornaglia, Dec. 16, 2009 Read full article

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“Uncle Harvey was forced to resign because he was gay. It’s important to teach that we have evolved.”
Thomas Lanphier (center) receiving Silver Star. "This was the one time I calculatedly determined to trade my life for the target."
Thomas Lanphier (center) receiving Silver Star. "This was the one time I calculatedly determined to trade my life for the target."
“Karla and I went to different homes looking for pilots. We finally found an American who said he’d fly out at first light and everyone kept saying it was impossible to do anything at night there."

Somewhere Between Death and the Border

“I ran over to pick the suitcase up and, yeah, Eddie was laying there, face down in this pool of blood in the sand about a foot across, laying there with his hands like this [thrown out in front with the right side of the face down]. We couldn’t see what was wrong with him. Karla came running over, and we knew we had to do something and didn’t know what. We knew we couldn’t leave him there. What choice did we have?"

By Bob Dorn, Sept. 16, 1982 Red full article

Jerry Stadtmiller remembers the disembodied voices of North Vietnamese soldiers. He could hear them talking to each other as they worked their way up the hill.

Nobody wanted to hear from us

The chief medical surgeon reported he'd never seen a man's face (at least one who lived) so badly damaged. Two sniper bullets tore away his lower face, so that one-third of his tongue had to be removed and all but four of his teeth. Plastic surgeons later sewed up the right socket of his eye, built him a nose from part of his hipbone, replaced a piece of his skull with a metal plate, and created a new tear duct for his left eye.

By Hawkins Mitchell, May 29, 1997 Read full article

“Sorry as hell about your family. You okay?” “Sure.” “Miracle you made it. Listen, we pulled up a piece of your radar. Caught in our nets off Eureka."

Nightmare of the New Hope

Swimming, nothing but swimming and cold water and raft. He couldn’t see. The swell lifted, tossed him, and dropped him. He plunged ahead and bumped the raft canister. A little cry of relief burst from him, lost in the shriek of the wind. His hands scrambled, searching for the inflate cord. The sea bounced him. Spray lashed the can. His hand found a rope tied around the center of the canister.

By Rick Geist, March 19, 1987 Read full article

Barrio Natividad is where I met Veneranda, my wife. She was 17 at the time. The first day Veneranda saw me, I was so sick I was lying naked on what’s called a papag.

Die free

One of our corporals had fallen during the night crossing Samat and injured his hip some way, so we were helping him all the way back for six days. We had to put rifle belts around him and tighten them as tight as we could and help him walk. He was a big man, but we stuck together, I guess, as much for him as we did for ourselves. We didn't have any illusions.

By Leon Beck with Neal Matthews, April 23, 1992 Read full article

Mitsubishi G4M-2 Betty Bomber. "I hit my guns and stayed on them until I saw the bomber begin to burn."

I shot down Japan's Admiral Yamamoto

"McLanahan blew a tire on the runway and had to be left behind. Then, two minutes into the flight, Joe Moore gestured to me that his wing tanks were not feeding to his engine properly, and he had to abort the mission. The leader of our cover planes, John Mitchell, waved in Bisby Holmes and Ray Hines to join me. Our plan was to spend two hours skimming the waves at 100 to 200 feet, below the enemy sight."

By Kathleen Beth Mix, Jan. 21 1988 Read full article

Hickman the hero

On December 4, 1959, at about noon, an F3H Demon piloted by Ensign Albert Joseph Hickman, 21, crashed into a Clairemont canyon. The pilot deliberately stayed with the aircraft to avoid crashing into Hawthorne Elementary School, saving as many as 700 lives.

By Gary Cornaglia, Dec. 16, 2009 Read full article

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