Don’t Start a Fight You Can’t Finish. Go GUARD!

So today in 1944 after we had that successful but difficult advance on Normandy what most folk don’t know is the push back the Nazis made. Following the American break out from Normandy in July 1944, the Germans decided that the only way to stop the Allied advance and push them back to the sea was to launch a massive attack in the Avranches region, about 150 miles west of Paris.

 

To do this they moved tanks and men of the XLVII Panzer Corps into place and opened their operation on August 7th. Their main thrust, led by the 2nd SS Panzer Division, was to cut the American line between Normandy and Brittany, forcing the two groups to fall back on different beach areas, possibly compelling at least one group to withdraw. But almost immediately the Germans were blocked by determined resistance.

On Hill 317, near the village of Mortain, their advance was stopped by 700 men of North Carolina’s 2nd Battalion, 120th Infantry, 30th Infantry Division (which also included Guard units from SC and TN). Firing at almost point-blank range their one anti-tank gun and numerous anti-tank rockets (fired from ‘bazooka’s’) the Guardsmen destroyed 40 vehicles including several heavy battle tanks. The Germans bypassed the hill leaving it surrounded. They launched repeated assaults to capture it but these were beaten back with artillery support from the Guard’s 35th Infantry Division (KS, MO, NE) and RAF air strikes on the German positions. After five days of being cut off and with the loss of nearly 300 men the 2nd Battalion was rescued by elements of the 35th Division. For its determined and stubborn resistance in blocking the enemy advance the 2/120th Infantry was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.

Here it comes! The annual Post 142-Unit 142 Legion-Auxiliary Installation Diner will be Thursday August 9th at 6:00 PM at the Hut. The Ladwigs from Skiatook, Lucky and Myrna, will be doing the Installations for the Legion and the Auxiliary. The Legion will provide the meat dish and Auxiliary/spouses will bring side dishes and desserts.

The next flag event will be Labor Day September 3rd. We will put out flags on Friday August 31st and pick-up on Tuesday September 4th. We will meet at the Hut at 0830 hrs both days and will just put out flags on Main Street.

The 100th American Legion coins are going fast! As you will recall we Legion guys voted to buy 20 more 100th Anniversary coins as we have sold all we had. If you see one of boys around town ask. It is a once in a lifetime collector’s item

Don’t forget our regular meetings continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM. 9th of August. Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in August are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). Just watch the weather, it is the only factor that my change that. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.

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Back in the Saddle Again!

As a boy I really enjoyed watching my favorite cowboys, Hop Along Cassidy, Roy Rodgers, and the Singing Cowboy! This day in 1942 actor Gene Autry is sworn into the Army Air Corps on the air, during his regular radio show, Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch. He served as an officer until 1945, when he resumed his show.

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That Look

Just because you retire does not mean things slow down. My wife and I had business to attend to in OKC over the weekend while our Post leadership represented our community at the American Legion State Convention down I-40 from us in Shawnee. I have seen pictures of Doc O’Leary and his beautiful bride Nancy posted and cannot wait to give everyone an update on that convention next week.

We choose to stay at billeting at Tinker AFB in Midwest City saving a ton of money over a normal hotel for our meetings. I have to say the room and service was outstanding. Beats those old WWII barracks I CQ’ed back as an E-2. We also got to drop into a dart tournament (believe it or not) at American Legion Post 73. Their commander is known as “Smurf”. What a great place and what an incredible conversation I had with him and his vice commander. In our careers, though we have never met, we knew dozens of soldiers around the state over the years, including our own post 142 commander. We discussed generals, colonels, and all assortment of enlisted folks. I could have stayed there all day, but my wife started giving me “the look”. You guys know what I mean “the look”. It’s, “okay, I’ve heard this a thousand times, let’s go.” And you better comply.

The 100th American Legion coins are in great demand. We voted to buy 20 more 100th Anniversary coins as we have sold all we had. Those were picked up when the commander and vice commander travelled to the State Convention in Shawnee with our adjutant John Hamilton.

Don’t forget our regular meetings continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM. Meal this next one on the 19th as the chef has returned! 6:00 PM before the meeting. Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in July are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.

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Oklahoma Pride!

Today in 1944 Roy Harmon from Talala, Oklahoma, at great price, drew immortality. He was a Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 362d Infantry, 91st Infantry Division. His place in the sand was near my father’s fight. Near Casaglia, Italy, 12 July 1944. Born in Talala, Okla. His Medal of Honor was given 2 October 1945. His citation says” He was an acting squad leader when heavy machinegun fire from enemy positions, well dug in on commanding ground and camouflaged by haystacks, stopped his company’s advance and pinned down 1 platoon where it was exposed to almost certain annihilation.

Ordered to rescue the beleaguered platoon by neutralizing the German automatic fire, he led his squad forward along a draw to the right of the trapped unit against 3 key positions which poured murderous fire into his helpless comrades.

When within range, his squad fired tracer bullets in an attempt to set fire to the 3 haystacks which were strung out in a loose line directly to the front, 75, 150, and 250 yards away. Realizing that this attack was ineffective, Sgt. Harmon ordered his squad to hold their position and voluntarily began a 1-man assault. Carrying white phosphorus grenades and a submachine gun, he skillfully took advantage of what little cover the terrain afforded and crept to within 25 yards of the first position.

He set the haystack afire with a grenade, and when 2 of the enemy attempted to flee from the inferno, he killed them with his submachine gun. Crawling toward the second machinegun emplacement, he attracted fire and was wounded; but he continued to advance and destroyed the position with hand grenades, killing the occupants. He then attacked the third machinegun, running to a small knoll, then crawling over ground which offered no concealment or cover. About halfway to his objective, he was again wounded.

But he struggled ahead until within 20 yards of the machinegun nest, where he raised himself to his knees to throw a grenade. He was knocked down by direct enemy fire. With a final, magnificent effort, he again arose, hurled the grenade and fell dead, riddled by bullets. His missile fired the third position, destroying it. Sgt. Harmon’s extraordinary heroism, gallantry, and self-sacrifice saved a platoon from being wiped out, and made it possible for his company to advance against powerful enemy resistance.

The 100th American Legion coins are in great demand. We voted to buy 20 more 100th Anniversary coins as we have sold all we had. Will pick those up this week when the commander and vice commander go the State Convention in Shawnee.

Don’t forget our regular meetings continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM. No meals till the 19th as the chef is taking a well-deserved leave. He will be back to do his magic 19 July at 6:00 PM before the meeting. Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in July are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.

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The 4th of July

I considered different topics to cover this week. I decided to go with last year’s post. Instead of 1776 let’s go forward to 1826. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the second and third presidents of the United States, respectively, die on this day, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Both men had been central in the drafting of the historic document; Jefferson had authored it, and Adams, who was known as the “colossus of the debate,” served on the drafting committee and had argued eloquently for the declaration’s passage.

After July 4, 1776, Adams traveled to France as a diplomat, where he proved instrumental in winning French support for the Patriot cause. Jefferson returned to Virginia, where he served as state governor during the dark days of the American Revolution. After the British defeat at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781, Adams was one of the negotiators of the Treaty of Paris that ended the war, and with Jefferson he returned to Europe to try to negotiate a U.S.-British trade treaty. After the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, Adams was elected vice president to George Washington, and Jefferson was appointed secretary of state.

As president, Adams’ main concern was America’s deteriorating relationship with France, and war was only averted because of his considerable diplomatic talents. In 1800, Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans (the forerunner of the Democratic Party) defeated the Federalist party of Adams and Hamilton, and Adams retired to his estate in Quincy, Massachusetts. As president, Jefferson reduced the power and expenditures of the central government but advocated the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France, which more than doubled the size of the United States. During his second administration, Jefferson faced renewed conflict with Great Britain, but he left office before the War of 1812 began. Jefferson retired to his estate in Monticello, Virginia, but he often advised his presidential successors and helped establish the University of Virginia.

Jefferson also corresponded with John Adams to discuss politics, and these famous letters are regarded as masterpieces of the American enlightenment. By remarkable coincidence, Jefferson and Adams died on the same day, Independence Day in 1826, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Adams’ last words were, “Thomas Jefferson still survives,” though his old friend and political adversary had died a few hours before.

If you like amazing stories like this check out the HBO series “Adams”. It is a remarkable movie and is a must for those who love our America.

Flag pick up is Friday the 6th meeting at the Hut 0900 hours.

Don’t forget our regular meetings continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM. No meals till the 19th as the chef is taking a well-deserved leave. He will be back to do his magic 19 July at 6:00 PM before the meeting. Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in July are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.

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