Victory!

“News from the Hut”
for American Legion Post #142; Hominy, Oklahoma.
>>> by Gary Lanham

It appears the war of weather approaches its inevitable end.  It was only a matter of time. Spring has sprung (stated with crossed fingers).  All hands are on deck and that is good since we have an active season before us.

In regard to activities, we are nearing the end of our current fundraiser.  It is a $1 raffle ticket for $100 in beef from Wild Country.  If you see donation jars around town, please buy a ticket.  And when you eat at Wild Country, tell them to thank Chris for being a patriot by supporting ours.  The drawing will be the Monday morning after Easter Sunday on 21 April, during our weekly breakfast gathering.  Grilling season is upon us!

I remain amazed at our community and our veterans.  Johnny Doudna has led the work to complete our HVAC system volunteering to it head up.  Eli pitches in to organize and move things forward.  Jerry works hard to provide support of our breakfast with Eli, and all things culinary.  Dick Pope provides me with items of interest, that make my life easier putting this weekly offering together.  Babo provides a face to the Hominy community, and a dedication to organized annual flag placements honoring days and passed veterans; making Hominy one of the most patriotic cities I have ever had the privilege to be a part of.  Our Boss in Chief has given leadership and vision to the whole bunch and has continued the proud tradition of our past commander Jim Frazier.  There are so many more.  With that in mind, I think of those heroes who have also gone above and beyond.  On this day not so long ago, one was recognized with the Medal of Honor.

Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith, 2nd Platoon, B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division severed in Baghdad, Iraq on 4 April 2003.  He distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy near Baghdad International Airport.  On that day, Sergeant First Class Smith was engaged in the construction of a prisoner of war holding area when his Task Force was violently attacked by a company-sized enemy force.  Realizing the vulnerability of over 100 fellow soldiers, Sergeant First Class Smith quickly organized a hasty defense consisting of two platoons of soldiers, one Bradley Fighting Vehicle and three armored personnel carriers.

As the fight developed, Sergeant First Class Smith braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons, and organized the evacuation of three wounded soldiers from an armored personnel carrier struck by a rocket propelled grenade and a 60mm mortar round.  Fearing the enemy would overrun their defenses, Sergeant First Class Smith moved under withering enemy fire to man a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a damaged armored personnel carrier.  In total disregard for his own life, he maintained his exposed position in order to engage the attacking enemy force.  During this action, he was mortally wounded.  His courageous actions helped defeat the enemy attack, and resulted in as many as 50 enemy soldiers killed, while allowing the safe withdrawal of numerous wounded soldiers.  Sergeant First Class Smith’s extraordinary heroism and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Third Infantry Division “Rock of the Marne,” and the United States Army.  May God grant us more heroes and comfort his family in their loss.

Our regular meetings are the first and third Thursdays at 7:00 PM (April 3rd) if weather does not present a challenge.  Our Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings for April are up and running again starting around 0700 till about 0900 if weather is above freezing and hospitable.  Eli and Jerry usually have things set up where we can catch up on each others mischief and story telling.  If you are a veteran come on by.  If you have a good story, it may end up in print!

About Gary Lanham

Authors the weekly article "News from the Hut", about local American Legion Post #142 in Hominy, OK. Read his weekly articles in the "Hominy News Progress".
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