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Military Connection: Medal of Honor to Civil War LT: By Debbie Gregory

Alonzo CushingIt’s never too late to recognize and reward members of the military. And it’s never too late to be remembered. This was apparent at the White House when Army First Lieutenant Alonzo Hersford Cushing, a hero of the Battle of Gettysburg, was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Lt. Cushing was a graduate of West Point, Class of 1861. He commanded the 100 men and six cannons that comprised Battery A of the 4th US Artillery at the Battle of Gettysburg. According to accounts of the battle, Cushing’s heroism and dedication to duty helped stabilize his battery, and helped repel Confederate advances from the infamous Pickett’s Charge of July 3, 1863.

Cushing was hit three times by enemy fire. A shell fragment ripped through his shoulder, but the lieutenant remained at his post. A second fragment tore into his groin and abdomen, apparently to the point where the 22-year old needed to use his hand over the wound to survive. The final shot was fatal, a gunshot to his head.

At one point in the battle, Lt. Cushing was ordered to the rear due to his injuries. But knowing that there were no other officers to relieve him and lead the battery, Cushing stayed to lead his men. Eventually, due to the severity of his wounds, Cushing could no longer give his orders loud enough for his men to hear, so he relayed them through Sgt. Frederick Fuger. Sgt. Fuger would carry on his commanding officer’s orders after Cushing’s death, leading the remaining men of Battery A in hand-to-hand combat, a successful, but costly defense, earning Fuger the Medal of Honor and an officer’s commission.

The Battle of Gettysburg is commonly referred to as the turning point of the Civil War. If Battery A had fallen, the battle could have ended much differently.

For his gallantry during the Battle of Gettysburg, Lt. Cushing was posthumously recognized with a brevet promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. He was laid to rest at West Point Cemetery with a tombstone that reads, “FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH.”

Alonzo Cushing was one of four siblings to fight for the Union Army during the Civil War. The other fighting Cushing siblings included Alonzo’s younger brother William, who went on to become a Navy legend; eldest brother Milton, a Navy paymaster; and Howard, who would later die in the line of duty after becoming a legend in the Indian Wars of the American west. A monument to Alonzo, Howard and William Cushing was erected at Cushing Memorial Park in their home town of Delafield, Wisconsin.

The family of Alonzo Cushing has long pushed for the Medal of Honor for the fallen officer. It took more than 150 years, but Lt. Cushing was finally recognized.  Members of Cushing’s family joined President Obama at the White House for the ceremony. Helen Ensign, Cushing’s cousin, twice removed, accepted the Medal on behalf of the family.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Medal of Honor to Civil War LT: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: MOH to be Posthumously Awarded: By Debbie Gregory

SP4 SloatOn September 15, 2014, President Obama will posthumously award the Medal of Honor to Specialist Four Donald P. Sloat from Coweta, Oklahoma.

Sloat enlisted in the Army on March 19, 1969. After training, he was sent to Vietnam is September of that same year. Sloat served as an M60 Machine Gunner with 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 196th Light Infantry Brigade, American Division.

On the morning of January 17, 1970, during combat operations, SP4 Sloat performed above and beyond the call of duty to save the lives of his comrades. Sloat’s squad was conducting a patrol in the Que Son Valley. As the squad moved up a small hill in file formation, the lead soldier tripped a wire attached to a hand grenade booby-trap, set up by enemy forces. The grenade rolled down the hill toward Sloat.

At that moment, Sloat could have easy sought cover and preserved his own life. But instead, Sloat chose to save the lives of his fellow soldiers. After initially attempting to pick up and throw the grenade away from his unit, Sloat realized that detonation was imminent. He knew that the two or three soldiers closest to him would be killed or seriously injured if he couldn”t shield them from the blast. Sloat chose to draw the grenade to his body, shielding his squad members from the blast, and saving their lives.

SP4 Sloat lost his life that day.  His decision to lay down his life in order to save his comrades epitomized the term “committing the ultimate sacrifice.”

Normally, nominations for the Medal of Honor have to be submitted within three years of the act that justified the nation’s highest military honor. A statuary time waiver was approved by Congress in 2013 to award SP4 Sloat and his family the recognition that his sacrifice warrants.

It has been reported that Sloat’s brother, Dr. William Sloat of Enid, Oklahoma, will accept the Medal of Honor from President Obama on his brother’s behalf. The ceremony will be held on September 15, 2014 at the White House.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: MOH to be Posthumously Awarded: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Vietnam Veteran to get M.O.H. By Debbie Gregory

VV MOHThe Medal of Honor will be presented to retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins from Opelika, Alabama, during a ceremony at the White House on September 15, 2014.

Adkins is receiving the nation’s highest Military honor for actions performed 48 years ago, during a battle in the A Shau Valley in Vietnam. At the time, Adkins was a Sergeant First Class serving as an Intelligence Sergeant with Detachment A-102, 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces at Camp A Shau, in the Republic of Vietnam.

During a 38 hour period, March 9-12, 1966, Adkins suffered 18 separate wounds when the camp was attacked. At the start of the attack, Adkins braved enemy fire to man a mortar position in order to help defend the camp. Adkins also put himself at risk multiple times to help wounded soldiers, and to move casualties to an airstrip. On multiple occasions, Adkins left the safety of the camp’s walls to retrieve much needed supplies, each time putting himself at risk from hostile fire.

During the enemy’s main assault, Adkins again manned a mortar. After the first two hours of the battle, Adkins was the only American still firing a mortar. Despite enemy mortar rounds landing several direct hits on the position, wounding Adkins multiple times, he fired the mortar until he was out of ammunition.Adkins then manned a recoiless rifle and concentrated fire on the Viet Cong who were infiltrating the perimeter of the camp.

Adkins and the remaining small group of soldiers took up position at the camp’s communications bunker. From the bunker, Adkins defended that position with small arms. He even made an extremely dangerous excursion to get more ammunition.

When Adkins and the remainder of the camp’s soldier were finally given the order to evacuate the position, they destroyed all classified materials in the bunker, and retreated for a helicopter rescue.

Intent on leaving no man behind, Adkins carried a wounded soldier, causing Adkins and a small band of soldier to miss their pick-up. After their fierce battle, Adkins and his comrades evaded the enemy for an additional 48 hours in the jungle, before being rescued.

During the 38 hour battle and 48 hour evasion, the actions of then-Sergeant First Class Adkins went above and beyond the call of duty. It has been estimated that the soldier single handedly killed 135-175 enemy combatants, while sustaining of his own, and saving dozens of lives.

Adkins, now 80, will be joined by his wife and four of the soldiers that served with him in the Shau Valley, as he received the nation’s highest military honor.

Adkins served 22 years in the Army, from 1956-1978. Not only did this brave soldier survive his ordeal, but he continued to serve. He even went back to Vietnam for another tour of duty. Adkins served three tours in Vietnam 1963, 1965-66, and 1971.

Military Connection would like to congratulate retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins on his Medal of Honor.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Vietnam Veteran to get M.O.H. By Debbie Gregory