We're not lost, Sergeant, We're in … France


Top-ranking posts

Being the end of the year, I thought I’d look at some statistics and share them.

My top-ranking posts since I started this blog is dominated by one post, but the top 5 are all good posts:

Thanksgiving 1944         1,413

This got a huge number of hits due to being linked at Ace of Spades, thanks to our friends at Bring the Heat. On Thanksgiving of 1944, Eisenhower ordered that all soldiers have a turkey dinner. For airborne engineer John Carter, that provided a very humorous story that I was able to post the video of. I have some further videos of an interview with Carter and a couple of other stories. He’s quite a comedian.

Young Marine Passes         297

While the Marine Corps is made up of strong men, they also have strong hearts. A couple of times recently, they’ve made young men with terminal illnesses honorary Marines. The story of Cody Green and his honor guard, SGT Mark Dolfini, can’t help but move one to tears.

Denzel Washington at the Fisher House         236

Denzel Washington is among my favorite actors. He has great range and conveys the emotions of his characters very well. Some of his roles have been as military men and he’s gotten attached to the Fisher House. Fisher House Foundation is best known for a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment. When Washington visited the Fisher House at Brooke Army Medical Center in 2004, his generosity launched an urban legend.

The Beast of Omaha         148

Heinrich Severloh was a German machine gunner at Omaha Beach and the horrors he helped inflict that day stayed in his dreams until his death in 2006.

The end of an era         136

For about a decade, Paul Woodadge built up a battlefield tour business in Normandy, expanding from a one-man operation, hiring several others to lead tours. Battlebus was the best tour company in Normandy and even had tours in Bastogne. Unfortunately, running a complex business and dealing with French tax and employment laws meant that Paul stopped being able to lead tours himself. While I lamented the end of an era, it meant that Paul could go back to doing what he loved. He also had time to publish Angels of Mercy: Two Screaming Eagle Medics in Angoville-au-Plain on D-Day (Normandy Combat Chronicles) (Volume 1)

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Denzel Washington at the Fisher House

I’d seen on Facebook a great photo of Denzel Washington down in San Antonio with several soldiers. There was an urban legend attached to it, but what Denzel did for the Fisher House was almost as good as the legend.

Our friend Kate managed the Fisher House here at Walter Reed when we met her and her husband, Russ, so we got to see what they’re like. The Fisher House provides a “home away from home” for military families while a loved one is hospitalized for illness, disease or injury. Sometimes, soldiers in rehabilitation have their families stay for months, which they would never be able to do otherwise. One of the great things for Kate and Russ was that many famous people would come by for events or just to thank the soldiers for their service. This meant that Kate and Russ got to meet a lot of those folks – Kate even appeared in an episode of Kathy Griffin’s “My Life on the D-List”.

In the urban legend, after visiting the Fisher House in San Antonio, Denzel Washington asks, “How much does it cost to build one of these?” Given the number, Denzel pulled out his checkbook and wrote a check for that amount. Great story, but a bit of an exaggeration. Just like me (perhaps the only similarity between Denzel Washington and myself), he doesn’t carry a checkbook around with him. However, his reputation for generosity is well-earned and he did, in fact, send a substantial check to help sponsor the Fisher House. Cary Clack of the San Antonio Express explained of the six-figure check, “It wasn’t enough to build one facility, but went a long way toward helping to build one.”

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