Saluting Our Veterans

I want to wish all of our brave and courageous men in uniform, past and present, a happy Veteran’s Day. These men and women served our nation to protect the freedoms we enjoy, and in many cases to bring liberty where oppression and tyranny existed. It goes without saying that we owe our own freedoms and liberties to these fine, courageous Americans, who dedicated themselves and their lives to our great nation.
Last night, the First Mate and I watched an edition of Shootout! on the History Channel. This series reviews famous firefights from various battles, analyzing them and profiling the men who survived them. Last night, they featured the Battle of the Bulge and several engagements between American and German troops, and one man’s story struck me as particularly emblematic of the fortitude of simple American citizens fighting for their country. Meet Melvin Earl Biddle, one of only 150 living Medal of Honor recipients:

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company B, 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
Place and date: Near Soy, Belgium, 23‑24 December 1944.
Entered service at: Anderson, Ind.
Birth: 28 November 1923, Daleville, Ind.
G.O. No.: 95, 30 October 1945.
Citation: He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy near Soy, Belgium, on 23 and 24 December 1944. Serving as lead scout during an attack to relieve the enemy‑encircled town of Hotton, he aggressively penetrated a densely wooded area, advanced 400 yards until he came within range of intense enemy rifle fire, and within 20 yards of enemy positions killed 3 snipers with unerring marksmanship. Courageously continuing his advance an additional 200 yards, he discovered a hostile machine-gun position and dispatched its 2 occupants. He then located the approximate position of a well‑concealed enemy machine-gun nest, and crawling forward threw hand grenades which killed two Germans and fatally wounded a third. After signaling his company to advance, he entered a determined line of enemy defense, coolly and deliberately shifted his position, and shot 3 more enemy soldiers. Undaunted by enemy fire, he crawled within 20 yards of a machine-gun nest, tossed his last hand grenade into the position, and after the explosion charged the emplacement firing his rifle.
When night fell, he scouted enemy positions alone for several hours and returned with valuable information which enabled our attacking infantry and armor to knock out 2 enemy tanks. At daybreak he again led the advance and, when flanking elements were pinned down by enemy fire, without hesitation made his way toward a hostile machine-gun position and from a distance of 50 yards killed the crew and 2 supporting riflemen. The remainder of the enemy, finding themselves without automatic weapon support, fled panic stricken. Pfc. Biddle’s intrepid courage and superb daring during his 20 hour action enabled his battalion to break the enemy grasp on Hotton with a minimum of casualties.

The Battle of the Bulge was a close-run victory. Men like Melvin Biddle and many others helped slow down and stop the German advance before they could seize fuel and food depots and continue their desperate counteroffensive. Mr. Biddle is still with us and living in Indiana; like so many of America’s heroes, he returned home from war and helped build the country he protected with his industriousness and dedication.
To men like Melvin Biddle — and my own father — Captain’s Quarters delivers a heartfelt thanks for your service to and love of America.

2 thoughts on “Saluting Our Veterans”

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    Here are some links to bloggers remembering our Veterans today. What a blessing it is to live in America, made free by the sacrifices of true heroes. Michelle’s vent at Hot Air honors the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders. One Citizen’s Gift

  2. Happy Veterans Day

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