Historic Reflections: WWII Captain, Dr. Cortez Enloe

Historic Reflections: WWII Captain, Dr. Cortez Enloe

By guest contributor Jeremy P. Ämick  

In decades past, the Enloe family of Mid-Missouri produced a respected line of physicians and dentists. Additionally, many members of the family established a legacy while serving in the military, including Capt. James Enloe, who commanded a company of troops from the Russellville area during the Civil War and his nephew, Roscoe Enloe, a Jefferson City soldier killed in WWI, for whom a local American Legion post is named.

One such individual whose name has essentially faded from the collective memory of the community is that of Dr. Cortez Enloe Jr., a man whose education and experience carried him across the globe and helped inspire a character named “Doc” in a once popular comic strip.

Born in Jefferson City in 1910, Cortez Ferdinand Enloe Jr., was the grandson of the aforementioned James Enloe and a 1928 graduate of Jefferson City Senior High School. He soon made the decision to follow the example set by his father, a respected physician, by enrolling at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

“I went to Culver Military Academy (Indiana) and the University of Missouri, but my father’s savings were wiped out in (the Stock Market Crash of) 1929,” said Enloe Jr. in an interview appearing in the April 15, 1987 edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Graduating with his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1932, he soon chose to continue his medical education overseas.

“Medical school was $450 a year then at Washington (University in St. Louis), but at Heidelberg (Germany) it was $100,” he further explained in the previously mentioned article.

Departing Missouri in the fall of 1932 to begin his studies at the University of Heidelberg, Enloe Jr. continued to follow his father’s lead, who had “returned from doing research work there and in Austria several years ago,” reported the Jefferson City Post-Tribune on September 26, 1932.

While studying in Germany, he met his wife and traveled to Jefferson City in 1933 to be married. The couple then returned to Heidelberg where Enloe resumed his studies. The following year, the joy of his recent marriage was tempered by the death of his mother, whom the August 16, 1934 edition of the Jefferson City Post-Tribune described as “one of the most gracious women of the capital city.”

He would graduate cum laude with his medical degree from the University of Berlin in 1937 and, two years later, joined the medical staff at St. Anthony’s in St. Louis. From there, he went to New York to work on a penicillin research project and, after the U.S entered WWII, enlisted in the Army Air Corps to train in aviation medicine.  

The doctor was later involved in combat operations, the magazine further explained, as a combat flight surgeon of the First Air Commando Force during the airborne invasion of Burma, participating in 39 combat missions and “in combat operations behind enemy lines in Central Burma.”

While serving in the Southeast Asian nation, he spent two months behind Japanese lines and suffered from a severe bout of dysentery. Enloe also became the medical advisor to Admiral Louis Mountbatten—a famed British naval officer admired by Winston Churchill, who led a successful military campaign against the Japanese resulting in the recapture of Burma during WWII.

Enloe’s military service, noted the previously cited article in Nutrition Today magazine, resulted in what the Mid-Missouri medical professional claimed his “greatest distinction” when he became the “prototype for the character ‘Doc’ in Milton Caniff’s comic strip ‘Terry and the Pirates,’ based upon his commando exploits in Burma.”

As the years passed, his meteoric career included not only founding an internationally renowned nutrition magazine but, according to a biography from the Air Force Academy, he “went to Europe with the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey Group (after WWII) and interrogated nearly all the doctors from Hitler’s higher headquarters inquiring about the health of the German nation during the war…”

He witnessed atomic testing in the 1950s while president of a medical advertising agency and went on to earn recognition in boating as well. The WWII veteran was awarded the 1967 New York Yacht Club Medal “for his work in establishing and promoting power yacht racing activities…” reported the January 11, 1968 edition of The Capital (Annapolis, Maryland) newspaper.  

A broad collection of achievements and interests certainly could bestow upon Dr. Enloe the title of Renaissance man, never resting on his laurels nor shying away from a new challenge. One final endeavor, however, never came to fruition since it was cut short by his passing—a book about his military experiences.

Dr. Enloe was the recipient of 13 military decorations from the Army, Air Force and Navy, becoming “one of the most decorated medical officers in the American Armed Forces” in WWII. Sadly, he “died suddenly of a heart attack in 1995 before completing his book about the First Air Commandos,” explained the Air Force Academy Library in biographical notes about the late veteran.

A longtime resident of Annapolis, Maryland, the veteran’s body was returned to Mid-Missouri and interred in Enloe Cemetery near Russellville. His life, as demonstrated by his achievements, served as an example to many aspiring physicians and military medical professionals; however, as he noted many years ago, success came from adherence to the advice of his father—simple words with enduring applicability.

In an article appearing in the November 29, 1972 edition of the Evening Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), Enloe sagely affirmed, “I remembered that my father had once told me, ‘If you want to be a success, erase the distinctions between yourself and people of great achievement.’”

 

Jeremy P. Ämick writes on behalf of the Silver Star Families of America. A published author of military history, Jeremy’s books are available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and missouriatwar.com.

 

Education Center at the Vietnam Veterans Wall Scrapped

Education Center at the Vietnam Veterans Wall Scrapped

Education Center at the Vietnam Veterans Wall Scrapped

Contributed by Debbie Gregory.

In a stunning move, the board of directors of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) announced that after a strategic review of the Education Center project, there will be a shift of focus to online resources, handheld technology, education staff, mobile exhibits and partnerships rather than continue efforts to construct a physical building on the National Mall.

The long-stalled plan to build the education center next to the iconic “Wall” is being scrapped for lack of funding and general interest.

Chairman John Dibble said in a statement that “funding simply has not materialized” for the project, which originally was to have dealt with the history, context and legacy of the Vietnam War.

The memorial, dedicated in 1982, was the brainchild of Vietnam Army Veteran Jan Scruggs, who founded the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and served as the president of the foundation until he retired in 2014. Scruggs spearheaded the VVMF’s legislative effort to get Congress to authorize the memorial and approve its location on the National Mall, and he shepherded the memorial’s controversial design past the United States Commission of Fine Arts and other federal and local agencies.

Scruggs announced the concept for the education center in 2000. At a symbolic groundbreaking in 2012, Scruggs said the center would also serve as a temporary memorial for the fallen of Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The veterans of Vietnam know what it is like to wait for a memorial — a healing place — to be authorized and constructed. Today’s heroes shouldn’t have to wait. Our goal is to have the education center at the Wall open in time to welcome home our last troops returning from Afghanistan,” he said at the time.

With a projected cost of approximately $84 million, the funds raised were just a little more than half of what was needed.

In the statement released by Dibble, he said, “We know many veterans and supporters are disappointed in this outcome. We also are disappointed that the early enthusiasm and support did not result in a completed building. Since the idea was developed in early 2001, the world is a very different place.”

 

Army Special Forces Medic Receives Medal of Honor

Army Special Forces Medic Receives Medal of Honor

Army Special Forces Medic Receives Medal of Honor

Contributed by Debbie Gregory

A former Green Beret medic who fought his way up a mountain in Afghanistan and braved enemy rocket-propelled grenades and sniper fire to treat wounded soldiers will receive the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest honor.

On October 1st, Ronald J. Shurer II received the upgrade to the Silver Star he had been previously awarded for his actions in April 2008.

Former Staff Sgt. Shurer II, who served with the 3rd Special Forces Group,  had been deployed to Afghanistan’s Shok Valley in Nuristan province. His task, as a medic, was to support operators who were hunting high-value targets of the Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin, a militia group that had a foothold in the Shok valley.

“As the team navigated through the valley [April 6, 2008], a firefight quickly erupted, and a series of insurgent sniper fire, rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms and machine gun fire forced the unit into a defensive fighting position,” Army officials said in a release.

Shurer’s unit received word another unit was pinned down at another location and had sustained multiple casualties. Shurer moved quickly through a hail of bullets toward the base of the mountain to reach the pinned-down unit. While on the move, he stopped to treat a soldier wounded in his neck by shrapnel from a RPG blast.

“With disregard for his own safety, Sergeant Shurer took off through a hail of bullets and began scaling the rock face to get to the casualties,” his Silver Star citation states. “During initial movement to the base of the mountain, he treated a teammate wounded by shrapnel to his neck from an RPG blast that blew him off his feet.”

Then Shurer continued to fight his way down to the pinned-down forward troops, killing multiple insurgents.

“Under intense insurgent fire, Sergeant Shurer reached the pinned-down element of his ODA and immediately rendered aid to four critically wounded U.S. and ten injured commandos,” the citation reads. “He treated multiple life-threatening gunshot wounds until additional teammates arrived.”

“Sergeant Shurer rendered life saving aid to four critically wounded casualties for more than five and a half hours,” the citation reads. “As the lone medic at the besieged location, and almost overrun and fighting against nearly 200 insurgent fighters, Sergeant Shurer’s bravery and poise under fire saved the lives of all wounded casualties under his care.”

Using some nylon webbing that he found, Shurer also helped evacuate three critically wounded soldiers down a near-vertical 60-foot cliff, all while avoiding rounds of enemy gunfire and physically shielding the others from falling debris caused by numerous airstrikes.

Shurer is the 11th soldier to receive the Medal of Honor for heroism in Afghanistan. He now lives in Burke, Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife Miranda and two sons, 10 and 7.

Eglin Air Force Base Opens First Invisible Wounds Center

Eglin Air Force Base Opens First Invisible Wounds Center

Eglin Air Force Base Opens First Invisible Wounds Center

Contributed by Debbie Gregory

Eglin Air Force Base in Florida has opened the first Invisible Wounds Center, which will serve as a regional treatment center for post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, associated pain conditions and psychological injuries.

“Standing up this facility is just the first step of many in our commitment to care for our warriors with invisible wounds,” said Air Force Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Dorothy A. Hogg. “We owe these brave men and women the very best treatment possible.”

The center will treat retirees, Guard, Reserve, and active duty members from all branches.

Modeled after the Intrepid Spirit Centers, the Invisible Wounds Center will assemble a team of 18 specialties under one roof to provide treatment in an individually tailored, holistic and integrated fashion. Conventional and complementary therapies such as art and music therapy, yoga, acupuncture, physical and occupational therapy and mental health services will be included in treatment.

Following the opening of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) in 2010, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund began building Intrepid Spirit Centers to serve as satellite facilities to extend care to the home base of many of the troops suffering the effects of TBI and PTS. Seven centers are already completed and in operation: Fort Belvoir, Virginia; Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Hood, Texas; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; and Camp Pendleton, California. Additional Intrepid Spirit Centers are planned in Fort Carson, Colorado and Fort Bliss, Texas.

Arnold Fisher, honorary chairman of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, has confirmed that Eglin Air Force Base has also been selected to receive an Intrepid Spirit Center, which will be the first one at an Air Force installation. The facility has an expected completion date sometime in 2020.

Of Fisher, Hogg said, “Today the Air Force is forever grateful to him and all the donors who will make the Intrepid Spirit Center here a reality.”

Prosthetic advances: Making soldiers “whole”

Prosthetic advances Making soldiers whole

Prosthetic advances: Making soldiers “whole”

Contributed by Kris Baydalla-Galasso

When discussing military deployment, many often think of two scenarios – the best case and the worst case. Less discussed, however, is the event that a soldier will come home missing a piece of him or herself. While nothing can truly undo the experiences of combat and bodily harm, prosthetic advances are improving every day to help make soldiers feel physically complete again.

The road from the first peg legs and hand hooks to the computerized prosthetic leg began nearly 3,000 years ago. From the ancient Egyptians through the middle Ages to present-day conflicts in the Middle East, there has been a constant evolution that has led to the highly individualized fitting and casting of today’s devices.

One company that is still making a difference today got its start back in 1905 when a bilateral amputee in Ohio used Willow wood as the medium to carve his handmade prosthetic limbs. He founded the Ohio Willow Wood company, which is a pioneer in custom-made prosthetic devices for amputees.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs has thrown its support into the development of state-of-the-art prosthetic pieces and innovations. Soldiers who have lost their limbs from IEDs and older veterans who have suffered the same outcome from diabetes and vascular disease are now benefiting from those innovations. The longer veterans can stay mobile, the healthier they will be.

The research, innovations and advancements have undoubtedly helped thousands of veterans – but the benefits have reached beyond the military world. While there are countless civilians who have been able to take advantage of the prosthetic device advances, the uncounted number is perhaps the most staggering: the number of military spouses and families that have benefited from their soldier becoming “whole” once again.

Socks of the Brave

socks of the brave

Socks of the Brave

Contributed by Kris Baydalla-Galasso

When you see the words “Made in the USA,” the co-founders of Socks of the Brave want you to not only think of superior American-made quality, they want you to think of remember the service men and women who sacrifice their personal lives to protect this great country.

Socks have become increasingly more bold, funky and colorful; department stores sporting racks of “fun and fashionable” foot coverings and minimal packages of the standard black and white tube socks of yesteryear. Socks of the Brave capitalized on the change in footwear fashion and combined a love of spirited sock with a pay-it-forward mentality to help our troops. To kick off their sock company, Socks for the Brave sent 150 pairs of their USA-manufactured socks to the Ironhorse Brigade from Fort Hood, TX, a unit preparing for a nine month deployment.

Why socks? Deployed servicemembers spend more hours in their boots than many civilians can even imagine. Have you ever had an uncomfortable sock wedged in your shoe? Now imagine walking on that uncomfortable sock for 18 straight hours. Or possibly even sleeping with that sock! Socks of the Brave makes sure that this often overlooked necessity is of the highest quality.

The Socks of the Brave sales model allows a sock donation for every pair that is purchased. The “buy one-give one” model sends the socks to active military across the globe through third-party charitable groups.

In addition to being American designed and manufactured (by a company in North Carolina), Socks of the Brave works to keep their fixed costs down with “no frills” packaging. As per their website, “with each penny saved, Socks of the Brave is able to spend more on our US Military.”

The Socks of the Brave are currently available in five different camouflage print styles. From ankle socks to knee socks, there are styles available for all feet – both men and women! Right now, the focus is on the camo print design, but they are taking suggestions for future styles and prints and plan to roll out more as popularity increases.

If you should find yourself in need of some new socks, go shopping at https://www.socksofthebrave.com/ and buy some socks for yourself – and a soldier!  

Android Users Can Get Going with VA’s MOVE Weight Loss App

Android Users Can Get Going with VA's MOVE Weight Loss App

 

Android Users Can Get Going with VA’s MOVE Weight Loss App

Contributed by Debbie Gregory

Android users can finally take advantage of an app that has long been available to iOS users.

The VA’s MOVE! weight loss app is now available across both device platforms.

MOVE!  is a 19-week weight management app that guides users to achieve success  by monitoring, tracking, and receiving feedback regarding their progress with weight, diet, and exercise goals.

Supported by the VA’s National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, the app can be used by itself or in conjunction with treatment and coaching by the VA healthcare team at all VA Medical Centers and many VA Community-based Outpatient Clinics.

MOVE!’s core ideas—encouraging healthy eating behavior, increasing physical activity, and promoting even small weight losses—are easy to follow and based on the latest in nutrition science.

The app offers:

  • Self-Management Guides – providing weight management strategies using videos, worksheets, games, and other tools.
  • Weight, Diet, and Physical Activity Diaries – for progress tracking.
  • Goals and Progress components – for setting physical activity, diet, and weight loss SMART goals while offering summaries and progress reports.
  • How to Solve Problems – resources to overcome barriers.
  • The ability to share your progress and challenge your friends

The Move! website features some success stories that are truly amazing. Challenges aren’t just limited to overcoming obesity and obesity-related diseases. Other challenges address alcohol, cancer, asthma, depression, injuries, PTSD, and thyroid issues.

The MOVE! Program is designed for both men and women, and for Veterans of all ability levels, but only Veterans receiving care from VA can enroll in MOVE! For more information, visit the VA online at www.move.va.gov.

WWII Legend ‘Sgt. Rosie,’ Rosenkrantz Finally Laid to Rest

WWII Legend ‘Sgt. Rosie,’ Rosenkrantz Finally Laid to Rest

 

By Debbie Gregory.

 

After 74 years, Staff Sgt.David “Sgt. Rosie” Rosenkrantz was finally laid to rest just outside of his hometown of Los Angeles.

The 28-year-old legend had been overseas for just three months when he and another paratrooper were mistakenly dropped into an Italian unit. The Italians, 200 of them, surrendered to Rosenkrantz and his fellow soldier.

But on Sept. 28, 1944, just a year after his victory over the Italians, Rosenkrantz was killed by German machine-gun fire during Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands, a fierce battle recounted in the 1977 film “A Bridge Too Far.”

American troops were unable to recover his body, and Sgt. Rosie was listed as missing for decades.

Inspired by watching Saving Private Ryan, Rosie’s nephew, Dr. Phillip Rosenkrantz began the search for his uncle’s remains.

Canadian, Dutch and American Graves Registration teams had been active in the area when a Canadian team collected remains from the area around Groesbeek and buried them at the Canadian National Cemetery as “unknowns.”

Rosie’s remains were among them.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) disinterred the grave and working with mitochondrial DNA, confirmed the remains Rosie, the son of Russian- Jewish immigrants, the middle child of 11.

At the re-internment in Riverside, CA, more than 30 of Rosenkrantz’s relatives — nieces, nephews, their kids, and their kids — were present. Front and center was Dr. Rosenkrantz.

“My family and I would like to thank all of the people who helped locate our uncle and bring him home to be buried with his four brothers, who were also part of World War II and are buried at Riverside National Cemetery,” said Dr. Rosenkrantz.

Following the playing of “Taps” and the firing of a three-volley salute, the military honor guard folded the flag draped atop Rosenkrantz’s casket and presented it to Dr. Rosenkrantz.

“This is a day I have been hoping for over 20 years,” he said in his eulogy. “We now have some closure.”

Flawed Gold Star Access Bill Ignores Some Surviving Families

Flawed Gold Star Access Bill Ignores Some Surviving Families

 

Flawed Gold Star Access Bill Ignores Some Surviving Families

By Debbie Gregory

On the surface, a proposal making its way through Congress that would create a standard system for families of some fallen troops to access military bases seems like a great way to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Gold Star Family Support and Installation Access Act of 2017 allows installation access so that families can visit gravesites and attend memorial events, as well as accessing other benefits they are eligible to receive.

The act was introduced on October 2, 2017 and passed the House with 89 bipartisan cosponsors.

The problem is who “some fallen troops” excludes: those who are killed in training accidents, those who died by suicide or those who died from a medical emergency outside deployment. It only applies to the families of troops who were killed in combat or by terrorists.

While the surviving spouse and children of any military member killed in service, regardless of where or how they die, are eligible for military survivor benefits, the term “Gold Star” is a specific designation set by law.

Tragic death and loss are a fact of military life, and no matter what the circumstances are, surviving family members should be treated the same.

The Gold Star first made an appearance during World War I after being placed over a service flag’s blue star when a service member was killed in combat. The Gold Star signified the family’s pride in the loved one’s sacrifice rather than the mourning of their personal loss.

In 1947, Congress authorized the military to present a gold star lapel pin to the family members of those killed in action. It was a simple gold star on a purple background with a laurel wreath around the star. Another pin, a gold star with a gold background and four oak sprigs around the star, was authorized in 1973.

 

Lawmaker Accused of Embellishing Military Service

Lawmaker Accused of Embellishing Military Service

Lawmaker Accused of Embellishing Military Service

By Debbie Gregory

Rep. Mike Ritze (R-OK) has been removed from the rolls of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and asked not to use the organization in his biography or literature.

The legislator has been accused of wearing military service decorations that he didn’t earn, including a Purple Heart, by two of his House colleagues — Reps. Kevin McDugle and Josh West.

“I ask that you remove any reference to being a member, honorary or otherwise, from your bio or any other document which suggests that you are a member of DAV,” wrote J. Marc Burgess, DAV’s National Adjutant ,  in a letter to Ritze dated May 7th.

Ritze claimed he was awarded an honorary membership in the group, but Burgess said the group’s constitution prohibits honorary memberships. He went on to say that it was unfortunate that members of the DAV chapter that gave Ritze the membership were not aware of the policies.

At issue was the DAV cover (hat) with a Purple Heart insignia worn by Ritze, implying that he was a member of DAV and had been awarded the medal only given to those who were wounded or killed while serving in the U.S. military.

An osteopathic doctor, Ritze joined the Oklahoma National Guard in 1977 and later transferred to the U.S. Army Medical Corps Reserve. from the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow, Ritze has faced criticism recently from two of his Republican colleagues, Reps. Kevin McDugle and Josh West, both combat veterans, who accused him of wearing military decorations he hasn’t earned, including a Purple Heart.

McDugle served eight years with the U.S. Marines, serving with an infantry unit, special forces unit and airborne forward observer unit, and was also a drill instructor.

West, who served nine years in the Army, was awarded a Purple Heart from a firefight in Iraq in 2003 where he was shot in both legs and the stomach and sustained a traumatic brain injury.

“In my mind, anyone who served in the military is a hero,” McDugle said. “There is no reason to embellish your service in the military.”