Rear Admiral Joseph James Clark, United States Navy, Native American

thOne of Oklahoma’s distinguished, high ranking personnel in the forces of the United States in World War II, Rear Admiral Joseph James Clark, is a native Oklahoman of Cherokee descent. His outstanding service record compiled by the Navy Department is as follows:

Rear Admiral Clark was born in Pryor, Oklahoma, November 12, 1893, and prior to his appointment to the Naval Academy, he attended Willie Halsell College, Vinita, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma Agriculture and Mechanical College, Stillwater, Oklahoma. While at the Naval Academy he played lacrosse and soccer. He graduated with the Class of 1918 in June 1917, and during the World War served in the U.S.S. North Carolina which was engaged in convoying troops across the Atlantic. From 1919 to 1922 he served in destroyers in the Atlantic, in European waters and in the Mediterranean, and during the latter part of that duty served with the American Relief Administration in the Near East.

In 1922-1923 he had duty at the Naval Academy as instructor in the Department of Seamanship and Navigation, and qualified as a naval aviator at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, on March 16, 1925. Later that year he joined the Aircraft Squadrons of the Battle Fleet and assisted Commander John Rodgers in preparing navigational data for the first West Coast-Hawaii flight in 1925, and received a letter of commendation for this service.

In 1926 he joined the U.S.S. Mississippi and served as her senior aviation officer and during the following year was aide on the staff of Commander, Battleship Division Three, and served as Division Aviation Officer.

From 1928 to 1931 Rear Admiral Clark was executive officer, Naval Air Station, Anacostia, D.C., and during the next two years was commanding officer of Fighter Squadron Two attached to the U.S.S. Lexington. He was the aeronautical member of the Board of Inspection and Survey, Navy Department, from 1933 to 1936 and during the next tour of sea duty July, 1936 to June, 1937, served as the Lexington‘s representative at Fleet Air Detachment. U.S. Naval Air Station, San Diego, California, and later as Air Officer of the Lexington. He was executive officer of the Fleet Air Base, Pearl Harbor, from July, 1937, to May, 1939. During the months of June and July he had additional duty with Patrol Wing Two, and, until the end of the year, was executive officer of the Naval Air Station at Pearl Harbor, afterwards serving as inspector of naval aircraft at the Curtis Aircraft Corporation, Buffalo, New York.

He was executive officer of the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida, from December 1940, until May 1941, when he reported for duty as executive officer of the old U.S.S. Yorktown, and in that carrier participated in the raid on the Marshall and Gilbert Islands. After detachment from the Yorktown he had duty in the Bureau of Aeronautics, Navy Department, Washington, D.C., from February 28 until June 20, 1942. He fitted out an auxiliary aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Suwanee, and commanded her from her Commissioning.

For his service in this command during the assault on and occupation of French Morocco, he received the following Letter of Commendation by Admiral Royal E. Ingersoll, U.S.N., Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet:

“The Commander in Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet, notes with pleasure and gratification the report of your performance of duty as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Suwanee during the assault on and occupation of French Morocco from November 11, 1942. The Commander in Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet, commends you for the high efficiency, outstanding performance and skillful handling of the U.S.S. Suwanee and attached aircraft which contributed so notably to the unqualified success attained by the Air Group during this operation. Your meritorious performance of duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Naval Service.”

On February 15, 1943, he reported to the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Virginia in connection with fitting out the U.S.S. Yorktown and commanded her from commissioning until February 10, 1944. For his service in this command during the operations against Marcus, Wake, Mille, Jaluit, Makin, Kwajalein and Wotje, he has been awarded a Letter of Commendation by Vice Admiral John H. Towers, U.S.N., Commander, Air Force, Pacific Fleet, and a Silver Star Medal, with the following citations:

Letter of Commendation:

“For extraordinary performance and distinguished service in the line of his profession as commanding officer, U.S.S. Yorktown during the operations against Marcus Island on 31 August 1943 and against Wake Island on 5-6 October, 1943. On the first mentioned date, the air group of the Yorktown was launched at night and after a successful rendezvous was sent to Marcus Island and delivered the first attack before dawn. In this attack, the enemy was taken completely by surprise and all aircraft were destroyed on the ground. The subsequent attacks delivered by his air group contributed to the destruction of approximately eighty per cent of the installations on the island. On 5 October, 1943, his air group repeated a successful and effective attack on Wake Island before dawn. During this attack, eight enemy airplanes were destroyed in aerial combat and five were strafed on the ground. Eight additional airplanes were destroyed in the air by his air group in the following attack and eleven on the runways. Repeated bombing and strafing attacks were effectively delivered against all assigned objectives on that date. On 6 October, additional airplanes were strafed on the runways during a pre-dawn attack and severe damage wrought by dive bombing and strafing attacks on anti-aircraft and shore battery emplacements, fuel dumps, barracks, shops and warehouses. A total of 89 tons of bombs were dropped by his air group on assigned objectives. His outstanding leadership, his exceptional ability to organize and his courageous conduct throughout these engagements contributed immeasurably to the destruction of the enemy forces on these islands. His performance of duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.”

Silver Star Medal

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Yorktown, during operations against enemy-held islands in the Central Pacific Area, from August 31 to December 5, 1943. Skillfully handling his ship during these widespread and extended operations, Rear Admiral (then Captain) Clark enabled aircraft based on his carrier to launch damaging attacks on enemy aircraft, shipping and shore installations on Marcus, Wake, Jaluit, Kwajalein and Wotje Islands. During the day and night of December 4, when the Yorktown was under severe enemy attack, almost continuously for one five-hour period at night, he maneuvered his vessel so expertly that all attacks were repelled without damage. By his devotion to duty throughout, he contributed materially to the success of our forces and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

The U.S.S. Yorktown was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for her heroism in action in the Pacific from August 31, 1943, to August 15, 1945. As her commanding officer during the first part of this period, Rear Admiral Clark received a facsimile of, and the ribbon for, this citation. The citation follows:

Presidential Unit Citation – USS Yorktown

“For extraordinary heroism in action against enemy Japanese forces in the air, at sea and on shore in the Pacific War Area from August 31, 1943, to August 15, 1945. Spearheading our concentrated carrier-warfare in forward areas, the U.S.S. Yorktown and her air groups struck crushing blows toward annihilating the enemy’s fighting strength; they provided air cover for our amphibious forces; they fiercely countered the enemy’s savage aerial attacks and destroyed his planes; and they inflicted terrific losses on the Japanese in Fleet and merchant marine units sunk or damaged. Daring and dependable in combat, the Yorktown with her gallant officers and men rendered loyal service in achieving the ultimate defeat of the Japanese Empire.”

On January 31, 1944, he was appointed Rear Admiral to rank from April 23, 1943. From February 1944 through June 1945 Rear Admiral Clark served as a Task Group Commander operating alternately with the First and Second Fast Carrier Task Groups of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, with the U.S.S. Hornet as his flagship. During this period he also was Commander of Carrier Division 13 (later redesignated Carrier Division 5). For his services during this period, Rear Admiral Clark was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy Cross, and the Legion of Merit. He also received a facsimile of and the ribbon for, the Presidential Unit Citation to the U.S.S. Hornet. The citations follow:

Distinguished Service Medal:

 ”For exceptionally meritorious service to the Government of the United States in a duty of great responsibility as Commander of a Task Group of Carriers and Screening Vessels in operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Pacific Area from April through June 1944. Participating in our amphibious invasion of Hollandia on April 21 to 24, Rear Admiral Clark’s well-coordinated and highly efficient units rendered invaluable assistance to our landing forces in establishing a beachhead and securing their positions and later, at the Japanese stronghold of Truk, helped to neutralize shore installations and planes both on the ground and in the air. By his keen foresight and resourcefulness, Rear Admiral Clark contributed in large measure to the overwhelming victories achieved by our forces against Japanese carrier-based aircraft, task units and convoys during the battle of the Marianas and attacks on the Bonin Islands. His indomitable fighting spirit and heroic leadership throughout this vital period were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

Navy Cross:

“For distinguishing himself by extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Commander of a Task Group in the vicinity of the Bonin Islands on 4 August, 1944. Upon receipt of information that an enemy convoy had been sighted proceeding in a northerly course enroute from the Bonins to the Empire, he immediately requested and received permission to organize an interception. He forthwith proceeded at high speed to lead his forces into Japanese home waters and intercepted the convoy, sinking five cargo vessels, four destroyer escorts and one large new type destroyer, while aircraft launched on his order searched within two hundred miles of the main islands of Japan shooting down two four engined search planes and one twin engined bomber as well as strafing and heavily damaging a destroyer and sinking three sampan type patrol vessels, and later in the day a light cruiser and an additional destroyer. By his professional skill, high personal courage, and superlative leadership, he inspired the units under his command to exceptional performance of duty in close proximity to strongly held home bases of the enemy. His conduct throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Naval Service.”

Legion of Merit:

“For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as Commander of a Task Group of the Fast Carrier Task Forces during the period from 24 March to 28 March 1945. On 24 March, he aggressively attacked a Japanese convoy of eight ships near the Ryuku Islands. By swift decisive action he directed planes of the Task group so that they were able to sink the entire convoy. On 28 March a sweep of Southern Ryuku was initiated by the Task Group Commander and resulted in the destruction of one Japanese destroyer and a destroyer escort, in addition to numerous Japanese aircraft. His quick thinking, careful planning and fighting spirit were responsible for a maximum of damage done to the enemy. His courage and devotion to duty were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

Gold Star in lieu of Second Distinguished Service Medal

“For exceptionally meritorious service to the Government of the United States in a duty of great responsibility as Commander Task Group Fifty-Eight Point One during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Tokyo Area and the Ryukyus, and in supporting operations at Okinawa, from February 10 to May 29, 1945. Maintaining his Task Group in a high state of combat readiness, Rear Admiral Clark skillfully deployed the forces at his disposal for maximum effectiveness against the enemy. Directing operations with brilliant and forceful leadership, he was responsible for the swift interception of Japanese air groups flying in to attack our surface units and by his prompt and accurate decisions, effected extensive and costly destruction in enemy planes thereby minimizing the danger to our ships and personnel. As a result of his bold and aggressive tactics against hostile surface units on March 24 and 28, the planes of Task Group Fifty-Eight Point One launched a fierce aerial attack against a convoy of eight enemy ships near the Ryukyu Islands to sink the entire convoy during the first engagement and a hostile destroyer and destroyer escort in the second. Courageous and determined in combat, Rear Admiral Clark served as an inspiration to the officers and men of his command and his successful fulfillment of a vital mission contributed essentially to the ultimate defeat of the Japanese Empire.”

Presidential Unit Citation – USS Hornet

“For extraordinary heroism in action against enemy Japanese forces in the air, ashore and afloat in the Pacific War Area from March 29, 1944, to June 10, 1945. Operating continuously in the most forward areas, the USS Hornet and her air groups struck crushing blows toward annihilating Japanese fighting power; they provided air cover for our amphibious forces; they fiercely countered the enemy’s aerial attacks and destroyed his planes; and they inflicted terrific losses on the Japanese in Fleet and merchant marine units sunk or damaged. Daring and dependable in combat, the Hornet with her gallant officers and men rendered loyal service in achieving the ultimate defeat of the Japanese Empire.”

Returning to the United States in June 1945, Rear Admiral Clark resumed duty as Chief, Naval Air Intermediate Training Command, with headquarters at Corpus Christi, Texas, on June 27, 1945, and served in this capacity until September 1946. On September 7, 1946, he assumed duty as Assistant Chief of Naval Operations (Air), Navy Department, Washington, D.C.

In addition to the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal with Gold Star, the Legion of Merit, the Silver Star Medal, the Commendation Ribbon, and the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with two stars, Rear Admiral Clark has the Victory Medal, Escort Clasp (USS North Carolina), and is entitled to the American Defense Service Medal with Bronze “A” (for service in the old USS Yorktown which operated in actual or potential belligerent contact with the Axis Forces in the Atlantic Ocean prior to December 7, 1941); the European-African-Middle Eastern Area Campaign Medal with one bronze star; the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal with twelve bronze stars; the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one bronze star; and the World War II Victory Medal.

After retirement, Admiral Clark was a business executive in New York. His last position was Chairman of the Board of Hegeman Harris, Inc., a New York investment firm. Clark was an honorary chief by both the Sioux and Cherokee nations. He died 13 July 1971 at the Naval Hospital, St. Albans, New York, and is buried in Arlington National Cemeteryat Section 3, Site 2525-B.

Source: “Notes and Documents: Rear Admiral Joseph James Clark, United States Navy, Native Oklahoman.” Chronicles of Oklahoma 25 (1947): 154-158

William Few, Jr. – Signer of the Constitution – Georgia

william_fewWilliam Few, Jr., (William) who represented Georgia at the Constitutional Convention, was a self-made man. Born 8 June 1748, he was the third son of William, Sr., and Mary Wheeler Few. Other children born to that union were: Col. Benjamin Few (1744-1805), James Few (1746-1771), Capt. Ignatius Few (1750-1810), Hannah Few [Howard] (1753), and Elizabeth Few [Lee, Andrew, Bush] (1755-1829). The family struggled against the poverty and hardships that were the common lot of the small yeoman farmer. Few achieved both social prominence and political power. Exhibiting those characteristics of self-reliance vital for survival on the American frontier, he became an intimate of the nation’s political and military elite. The idea of a rude frontiersman providing the democratic leaven within an association of the rich and powerful has always excited the American imagination, nurtured on stories of Davy Crockett and Abe Lincoln. In the case of the self-educated Few, that image was largely accurate.

William’s inherent gifts for leadership and organization, as well as his sense of public service, were brought out by his experience in the Revolutionary War. Important in any theater of military operations, leadership and organizational ability were particularly needed in the campaigns in the south where a dangerous and protracted struggle against a determined British invader intimately touched the lives of many settlers. William’s dedication to the common good and his natural military acumen quickly brought him to the attention of the leaders of the Patriot cause, who eventually invested him with important political responsibilities as well.

The war also profoundly affected William’s attitude toward the political future of the new nation, transforming the rugged frontier individualist into a forceful exponent of a permanent union of the states. Men of his stripe came to realize during the years of military conflict that the rights of the individual, so jealously prized on the frontier, could be nurtured and protected only by a strong central government accountable to the people. This belief became the hallmark of his long public service.

The Few family might well serve as the prototype of those mobile Americans forever seeking better times down the road. Descendants of Quaker farmers who emigrated to Pennsylvania in the 1680s, the Fews lived in northern Maryland, where they eked out a modest living raising tobacco on small holdings. When a series of droughts struck the region in the 1750s, the Fews and their neighbors, actually a sort of extended family consisting of cousins and distant relations found themselves on the brink of ruin. The whole community decided to abandon its farms and try its luck among the more fertile lands on the southern frontier.

The group ultimately selected new home sites along the banks of the Eno River in Orange County, North Carolina. Here young William developed the skills expected of the eighteenth-century farmer. Such a life left little time for formal schooling, although the community hired an itinerant teacher for a brief time in the 1760s. From this experience Few obtained a rudimentary education that led to a lifelong love of reading. Essentially a self-educated man, William also found time to read law and qualify as an attorney despite a full-time commitment to the unrelenting demands of agricultural toil.

In time the Few family achieved a measure of prosperity, emerging as political leaders in rural Orange County. Like many other western settlers, however, the family became involved with the Regulators, a populist movement that grew up in reaction to the political and economic restrictions imposed on the frontier farmers by the merchants and planters of the tidewater area. By 1771 protest had become confrontation, and a large group of mostly unarmed westerners gathered to clash with North Carolina militia units at the “battle” of the Alamance. The uneven fight ended in total victory for the militia, although most of the frontiersmen’s demands for political representation and economic relief eventually would be met by the state legislature. More immediately, one of William’s brothers was hanged for his part in the uprising. The rest of the family fled to western Georgia, leaving William behind to settle their affairs and sell their property.

These antagonisms within North Carolina began to evaporate as American opinion turned against the imperial measures instituted by Great Britain in the 1770s. Both the eastern planters and the new settlers found repressive new taxes and restrictions on western expansion at odds with their idea of self-government, and Patriot leaders were able to unite the state against what they could portray as a threat to the liberties of all parties. By the time open warfare erupted in Massachusetts in 1775, North Carolina had begun to revitalize its militia formations, hastily training them in the linear tactics used by British regulars as well as in the techniques of frontier warfare employed by their traditional Indian foes.

William participated in this training as one of the first men to enlist in the volunteer militia company formed by Patriot leaders in Hillsborough. Typically, his unit received its tactical instruction from a veteran of the colonial wars, in this case a former corporal in the British Army who was Wed by the company as its drill sergeant. Citing the press of family business, William rejected the offer of a captaincy in one of the first units North Carolina raised for the Continental Army in the summer of 1775. But when he finally settled the family’s accounts the next year and joined his relatives in Augusta, Georgia, where he opened a law office, he quickly placed his newly acquired military knowledge at the service of the Patriot cause in his new state.

Georgia organized its citizen-soldiers on a geographical basis, forming local companies into a regiment in each county. William joined the Richmond County Regiment, which his older brother commanded. For the next two years William’s military duties consisted of attending military assemblies where he instructed his friends and neighbors in the skills he had acquired in the North Carolina militia. Only in 1778, when Georgia faced the threat of invasion by a force of Loyalist militia and British regulars based in Florida, was William finally called to active duty.

The Georgians’ first military campaign ended in disaster. A force of state and Continental units successfully combined to repulse an enemy raid on Sunbury near the states southeastern border, but a counterattack orchestrated by Major General Robert Howe of the Continental Army and Governor John Houston bogged down before the Patriots could reach St. Augustine. Few, now in command of a company of Georgia militia, watched the collapse of the campaign’s logistical support and then the disintegration of the force itself, as senior officers bickered among themselves and as disease began to decimate the units. Only half of the American soldiers survived to return home. At the end of the year a sudden amphibious invasion by British forces resulted in the capture of Savannah and the destruction of the rest of the Continental units under Howe and most of the eastern militia formations. Armed resistance to the British continued in the western part of the state, led by the Richmond County Regiment. Throughout 1779 the regiment, with Few now second in command, frequently turned out to skirmish with probing British units, eventually forcing the enemy to abandon Augusta, which the British had captured soon after the fall of Savannah.

The success of the citizen-soldiers in defending their own homes began to reverse the fortunes of war in Georgia, prompting the new Continental commander in the region, Major General Benjamin Lincoln, to take the offensive. Lincoln combined his continentals and militia units from Georgia and South Carolina with a French force newly arrived from the Caribbean to lay siege to Savannah. He immediately encountered difficulty, however, in coordinating the efforts of his diverse forces. The French, under pressure to terminate operations quickly in order to move on to other assignments, persuaded Lincoln to launch a full frontal attack. The result was a bloody defeat, but Few’s militiamen participated in a successful rear-guard action that shielded the retreat of the American units. In the aftermath of the battle his regiment was posted to the frontier where the Creek Indians, interpreting the defeat before Savannah as proof of the Georgians’ weakness, had taken to the field in support of British forces.

Enemy operations in Georgia in 1779 were part of a new “southern strategy” by which the British planned to use the state as a base for conquering the rebellious colonies in a sweep up from the south. Few’s military service in the later years of the war proved critical both in frustrating this strategy and in enhancing his credentials as a state leader. The western forces, in which Few’s regiment played a prominent role, kept the British from consolidating their position. The area never developed into a secure Loyalist base, and British troops needed for subsequent operations against the Carolinas and Virginia had to be diverted to counter the threat posed by the frontier militia units. Few emerged as a gifted administrator and logistician in this demanding and difficult effort to maintain a viable military force in Georgia. He also turned into a bold, innovative partisan commander. Experience and innate common sense enabled him to develop patience, preserve his forces for key attacks, and then pick his time and place to defeat small enemy parties without unduly risking the safety of his men. Most important, he displayed the raw physical stamina required to survive the serious hardships of guerrilla warfare.

Military success went hand in hand with political service. During the late 1770s Few also won election to the Georgia Assembly, sat on the states Executive Council, acted as state surveyor-general, represented Georgia in negotiations with the Indians that succeeded in minimizing the danger of frontier attacks, and served as Richmond County’s senior magistrate. William’s growing political prominence and undisputed talent for leadership prompted the state legislature in 1780 to appoint him to represent Georgia in the Continental Congress.

Few served in Congress less than a year when, in the wake of General Nathanael Greene’s successful effort to drive the British out of most of Georgia, Congress sent him home to help reassemble Georgia’s scattered government. This task accomplished, Few returned to Congress in 1782, where he remained to serve throughout most of the decade. While a member of that body, William was asked by his state to serve concurrently in the Constitutional Convention that met in Philadelphia in 1787. This dual responsibility caused him to split his time between the two bodies and therefore to miss portions of the constitutional proceedings. Nevertheless, he firmly supported the effort to create a strong national union and worked hard to secure the Continental Congress’ approval of the new instrument of government. He also participated in the Georgia convention in 1788 that ratified the document.

Georgia promptly selected Few to serve as one of its original United States senators. Planning to retire from politics at the expiration of his term in 1793, he bowed instead to the wishes of his neighbors and served yet another term in the state legislature. In 1796 the Georgia Assembly appointed him as a circuit court judge. During this three-year appointment he not only consolidated his reputation as a practical, fair jurist but became a prominent supporter of public education. His efforts to establish a state university indicated the importance this self-educated man gave to formal instruction.

At the urging of his wife, a native New Yorker, Few left Georgia in 1799 and moved to Manhattan. There, he embarked on yet another career of public service, while supporting his family through banking and the occasional practice of law. His new neighbors promptly elected him to represent them in the state legislature and later as a city alderman. He also served for nine years as New York’s inspector of prisons and one year as a federal commissioner of loans before finally retiring to his country home in Dutchess County, New York.

William’s career clearly demonstrates the potential for economic and social advancement that existed for men of ability in colonial society. More importantly, it revealed the willingness, common among many of these self-made men, to place their talents at the service of the nation in war and in peace.

When Few died on 16 July 1828, at the age of 80 in Fishkill-on-the-Hudson (present Beacon), he was survived by his wife (born Catherine Nicholson) and three daughters. Originally buried in the yard of the local Reformed Dutch Church, his body was later reinterred at St. Paul’s Church, Augusta, GA.

Charles Pinckney – Signer of the Constitution – South Carolina

cpinckneyCharles Pinckney, born 26 October 1757 at Charles Town (now Charleston) South Carolina, was the oldest son of Colonel Charles and Frances Brewton Pinckney. He represented South Carolina at the Constitutional Convention, was an ardent apostle of the rights of man. He dedicated his considerable political and legal talents to the establishment of a strong national government so that, as he put it to his fellow South Carolinians, “the effects of the Revolution may never cease to operate,” but continue to serve as an example to others “until they have unshackled all the nations that have firmness to resist the fetters of despotism.”

These ringing sentiments, perhaps easily explained as the idealism of a youthful veteran of the Revolution, nonetheless represented a very serious concern on Pinckney’s part that his fellow citizens were growing complacent since their victory over Britain. While many politicians, enjoying the fruits of independence, celebrated the sovereignty of the individual states, Pinckney was among those who perceived a clear and present danger in allowing a weak confederation of the states to lead the new nation that had emerged from the Revolutionary War. He worked unceasingly for an effective and permanent union of the states because his own experiences in the Revolution and as a member of the Continental Congress had reinforced his conviction that only a strong central government could provide the economic and military strength essential to prosperity and security. Unlike some of his prominent colleagues, Pinckney saw little to fear in a powerful government. He agreed with the Federalists that the rights of the citizen would be protected under the Constitution since it recognized that the government’s power came from the people and that the government remained in all things accountable to the people.

The Pinckneys were one of South Carolina’s oldest and most distinguished families, and successive generations made a significant contribution to the development of the new nation. The family had arrived in America in 1692, and Pinckney’s great-grandfather, a wealthy English gentleman, quickly established an enduring base of political and economic power. Pinckney’s father, a rich planter and lawyer with an extensive practice in Charleston, rose to the rank of colonel in the state militia and was a prominent leader within the colonial assembly.

Unlike his famous cousins and fellow Patriots Charles Cotesworth and Thomas Pinckney, Charles Pinckney was not educated abroad. Instead, his parents arranged for his private tutoring under the direction of a noted South Carolina scholar and author, Dr. David Oliphant. Through Oliphant’s instruction, the new political currents circulating around Pinckney’s cousins at Oxford and at the Inns of Court also touched the young man in Charleston. Oliphant was among those Enlightenment scholars who were successfully and eloquently instilling in their students a political philosophy that viewed government as a solemn social contract between the people and their sovereign, with each possessing certain inalienable rights that government was obliged to protect. If government failed to fulfill the contract, the people had a right to form a new government.

Oliphant also imparted to Pinckney a love of scholarship that led over the years to a mastery of five languages, the accumulation of a personal library of over two thousand volumes, and, at the age of thirty, to an honorary degree from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). When Pinckney left Oliphant’s care, he concluded his formal education by studying law under his father’s personal direction. He was admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1779 while still in his twenty-first year.

Pinckney, however, never saw a career in the law as his major vocation. Coming of age in the midst of the Revolution, the gifted young scholar turned naturally to politics. His neighbors obliged by electing him to a seat in the South Carolina legislature. But where the elder Pinckney had been a cautious and somewhat hesitant member of various legislative and administrative bodies that led South Carolina into the Revolution, the son was a wholehearted Patriot. Again unlike his father, who would later repudiate the Revolution and seek a Royal pardon, Pinckney never wavered in his dedication to the cause.

By late 1778 the King’s ministers found themselves facing new difficulties in North America. George Washington’s main force of increasingly well trained and well supplied continentals had frustrated a series of British generals to produce a virtual military stalemate. Frances entry into the war on the colonial side had also forced the Royal Army to stretch resources to meet contingencies in other areas, not just in North America.

British leaders were forced to adopt a new plan of action, their “southern strategy.” They proposed to attack northward from a base of operations in Florida, while continuing to tie down Washington’s main force around Philadelphia. They would conquer the southern states one at a time, using local Loyalists to garrison newly captured areas as the Royal forces pushed ever further north. The first phase in this new plan began with a lightning attack on Savannah, which British forces captured in December 1778.

With the enemy approaching, Pinckney lost no time in taking up arms. In 1779 he accepted election as a lieutenant in the Charleston Regiment of South Carolina’s militia and quickly learned the responsibilities that went with serving as a citizen-soldier. His regiment turned out with other state units to meet and repulse the first tentative British move up from Georgia that summer, and then joined in a counterattack. It was an international campaign. French warships and troops under the command of the Comte d’Estaing sailed north from operations in the Caribbean in the early fall of 1779 to link up with a combined force of Continental regulars and mobilized militiamen under the command of Major General Benjamin Lincoln. These forces met outside Savannah and began a formal siege of the surrounded British garrison. Unlike the later victory at Yorktown, time ran out on the allies at Savannah. Under pressure to return to France, d’Estaing persuaded Lincoln to launch a direct assault on the enemy’s earthworks. Pinckney was in the heart of the doomed attack and witnessed the heavy casualties that resulted.

The British soon reinforced the garrison, and by early 1780 Lincoln’s men had been pushed back to Charleston. Redcoats, Hessians, and Loyalists then began a siege of their own, pounding the city with heavy artillery and choking off its food supply. On 12 May, Lincoln’s army surrendered in what was the single worst defeat suffered by Americans in the Revolution. Unlike the continentals, who were imprisoned in a disease-ridden camp in Charleston harbor, Pinckney and his fellow citizen-soldiers were allowed to return home after promising not to fight again until they were formally exchanged. Because of his family’s prominence and his own political importance, Pinckney came under intense pressure from the British, who hoped to induce him to renounce the Patriot cause. But the young officer resisted the British propaganda, and with the tide of war turning against them in 1781, his captors revoked his parole and incarcerated him and other militia officers who refused to swear allegiance to King George with the Continental officers. A general exchange of prisoners finally secured his repatriation.

Though retaining his position in the militia, Pinckney retired from active service to resume his duties in the South Carolina legislature, where he continued to represent various districts until 1796. Meanwhile, his colleagues called on him in 1784 to represent the state in the Continental Congress, a post he held for three successive terms. Pinckney’s service in the postwar Continental Congress served to reinforce the lessons he had learned as a militiaman during the Revolution-that the problems facing America were too large to be met by the states individually but demanded the close cooperation of all the states if they were to be overcome. He pressed ‘for measures that would strengthen the central government, traveling widely to preach the need for concerted action, especially in regard to commerce and the discharge of war debts. In 1786 he was among those in Congress to call for a strengthening of the federal authority to raise revenues, and in 1787 he led the fight for the appointment of a “general committee” to amend the Articles of Confederation, a move that led directly to the Constitutional Convention.

Chosen to represent South Carolina at the Convention, Pinckney arrived in Philadelphia with many specific proposals in hand. In fact, he was one of several members who submitted draft constitutions for the Convention’s deliberation. Although the second youngest of those who would sign the Constitution, Pinckney stood out as one of the most active members of the Convention-in formulating working procedures, in attending committee sessions, and in speaking frequently and, convincingly during the long process of hammering out compromises. Over thirty of the Constitution’s provisions can be traced directly to his pen, and his personal experience in the Revolution clearly influenced his support of others. Among the more important issues for which he fought was the subordination of the military to civil authority. This principle was made explicit in the provision that declared the President Commander in Chief and retained for Congress, the branch of government most directly representing the will of the people, the power to declare war and maintain military forces. Defending his position on this sensitive subject, Pinckney once expressed to South Carolina’s voters his inability to understand how anyone, considering the nation’s recent experiences, could fail to perceive the need for “regular military forces.” Only the timid would oppose it, he concluded, for although the Constitution made the President the Commander in Chief, it also guaranteed that “he can neither raise nor support forces by his own authority.” Pinckney also tried, unsuccessfully, to include in the Constitution some explicit guarantees concerning trial by jury and freedom of the press-measures that would later be enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

Pinckney returned to South Carolina to serve as the floor manager for the nationalist forces in the state’s convention that ratified the Constitution in 1788, and then chaired a second assembly that drafted a new state constitution along the lines laid out in Philadelphia. In between, he won the first of several terms as governor.

Although Pinckney associated in Philadelphia with many future leaders of the Federalist party, his nationalist sentiments were more compatible with those expressed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. As a result, he served as the manager in South Carolina of Jefferson’s successful campaign for President in 1800 and supported Jefferson’s program during a brief term in the United States Senate before resigning in 1801 to become ambassador to Spain, where he helped negotiate the Louisiana Purchase.

Pinckney returned home in 1804 to resume an active political career in the state legislature and, in 1806, as governor for a fourth term. As governor he supported an amendment to the state constitution to increase representation from the frontier regions and pressed for measures that would eventually lead to universal white male suffrage. Pinckney retired from politics in 1814 to attend to his personal finances, which had been eroded by years of absence on public service, and to promote a number of educational and charitable endeavors. But in 1818 he responded to the pleas of his political allies and ran for office one last time, winning a seat in the House of Representatives.

Few Founding Fathers could match Pinckney’s record of service to the nation and his state. Nor were many driven by so strong and clear a political philosophy. “We have already taught some of the oldest and wisest nations to explore their rights as men ‘ ” he once told his fellow citizens. The idea that a free citizenry should control its own destiny through a strong, elected government had served as the consistent guiding principle in the long and fruitful career of this citizen-soldier and statesman.

Charles Pinckney passed to another life on 29 October 1824, at Charleston, South Carolina and is buried at St. Philip’s Episcopal Churchyard, Charleston, South Carolina

Rufus King – Signer of the United States Constitution – Massachusetts

2009-12-2-rufus-kingRufus King was an American lawyer, politician, and diplomat. He was a delegate for Massachusetts to the Continental Congress. He also attended the Constitutional Convention and was one of the signers of the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He represented New York in the United States Senate, served as Minister to Britain, and was the Federalist candidate for both Vice President (1804, 1808) and President of the United States (1816).

He was born on March 24, 1755 at Scarborough which was then a part of Massachusetts but is now in the state of Maine. He was a son of Richard and Sabilla Blagden King. His father, a prosperous farmer-merchant, who had settled at Dunstan Landing in Scarborough, near Portland, Maine, and had made a modest fortune by 1755, the year Rufus was born.

His financial success aroused the jealousy of his neighbors, and when the Stamp Act 1765 was imposed, and rioting became almost respectable, a mob ransacked his house and destroyed most of the furniture. Nobody was punished, and the next year the mob burned down his barn. It was not surprising that Richard King became a loyalist. All of his sons, however, became patriots in the American War of Independence.

Rufus King attended Dummer Academy (now The Governor’s Academy) and Harvard College, graduating in 1777. He began to read law under Theophilus Parsons, but his studies were interrupted in 1778 when King volunteered for militia duty in the American Revolutionary War. Appointed a major, he served as an aide to General Sullivan in the Battle of Rhode Island. After the campaign, King returned to his apprenticeship under Parsons.

He was admitted to the bar in 1780 and began a legal practice in Newburyport, Massachusetts. King was first elected to the Massachusetts state assembly in 1783, and returned there each year until 1785. Massachusetts sent him to the Confederation Congress from 1784 to 1787. He was one of the youngest at the conference.

In 1787, King was sent to the Federal constitutional convention at Philadelphia where he worked closely with Alexander Hamilton on the Committee of Style and Arrangement to prepare the final draft. He returned home and went to work to get the Constitution ratified and to position himself to be named to the U.S. Senate. He was only partially successful. Massachusetts ratified the Constitution, but his efforts to be elected to the Senate failed.

At Hamilton’s urging, he moved to New York City, and was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1789. When the United States Constitution took effect, the State Legislature disagreed on who should be chosen besides Philip Schuyler for U.S. Senator from New York. Alexander Hamilton endorsed Rufus King as a candidate, thwarting the plans of the prominent Livingston family, who had hoped to place one of their own, James Duane, on the seat. Governor George Clinton, looking to cause a rift between the Livingstons and the Schuyler family (Hamilton was Philip Schuyler’s son-in-law), discreetly supported King, and as a result he was elected in 1789. He was re-elected in 1795 but resigned on May 23, 1796, having been appointed U. S. Minister to Great Britain. Before becoming Minister to Britain, King was offered the post of Secretary of State by President George Washington but declined it.

King played a major diplomatic role as Minister to the Court of St. James from 1796 to 1803, and again from 1825 to 1826. Although he was a leading Federalist, Thomas Jefferson kept him in office until King asked to be relieved. He successfully settled disputes that the Jay Treaty had opened for negotiation. His term was marked by friendship between the U.S. and Britain; it became hostile after 1805. While in Britain, he was in close personal contact with South American revolutionary Francisco de Miranda and facilitated Miranda’s trip to the United States in search of support for his failed 1806 expedition to Venezuela.

He was the unsuccessful Federalist Party candidate for Vice President in 1804 and 1808. In 1813, he was elected again to the U.S. Senate, and served until March 4, 1819. In April 1816, he lost the election for Governor of New York to the incumbent Daniel D. Tompkins of the Democratic-Republican Party. Later that year, King was nominated by the Federalists in the United States presidential election, 1816, but lost again. King was the last presidential candidate to be nominated by the Federalists before their collapse at the end of the First Party System of the United States.

In 1819, he ran for re-election as a Federalist, but the party was already disbanding and had only a small minority in the New York State Legislature. Due to the split of the Democratic-Republicans, no successor was elected to the U.S. Senate, and the seat remained vacant until January 1820 when King was elected again. Trying to attract the former Federalist voters to their side at the next gubernatorial election in April 1820, both factions of the Democratic-Republican Party supported King, who served another term in the U.S. Senate until March 4, 1825.

In 1822 he was admitted as an honorary member of the New York Society of the Cincinnati.

King had a long history of opposition to the expansion of slavery and the slave trade. This stand was a product of moral conviction which coincided with the political realities of New England federalism. While in Congress, he successfully added provisions to the 1785 Northwest Ordinance which barred the extension of slavery into the Northwest Territory. But he also said he was willing “to suffer the continuance of slaves until they can be gradually emancipated in states already overrun with them.” He did not press the issue very hard at this time. At the Constitutional Convention, he indicated that his opposition to slavery was based upon the political and economic advantages it gave to the South, but he was willing to compromise for political reasons.

In 1817, he supported Senate action to abolish the domestic slave trade and, in 1819, spoke strongly for the antislavery amendment to the Missouri statehood bill. In 1819, his arguments were political, economic, and humanitarian; the extension of slavery would adversely affect the security of the principles of freedom and liberty. After the Missouri Compromise, he continued to support gradual emancipation in various ways.

At the time of his death, King had a library of roughly 2,200 titles in 3,500 volumes. In addition, King had roughly 200 bound volumes containing thousands of pamphlets. King’s son John Alsop King inherited the library and kept them in Jamaica, Queens, until his death in 1867. The books then went to John’s son Dr. Charles Ray King of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. They remained in Pennsylvania until donated to the New-York Historical Society in 1906, where most of them currently reside. Some books have extensive marginalia. In addition, six commonplace books survive in his papers at the New-York Historical Society

His wife Mary Alsop was born in New York on October 17, 1769, and died in Jamaica, New York, on June 5, 1819. She was the only daughter of John Alsop, a wealthy merchant and a delegate for New York to the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1776. She was also a great niece of Governor John Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. She married Mr. King in New York City on March 30, 1786, he being at that time a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress then sitting in that city.

Mrs. King was a lady of remarkable beauty, gentle and gracious manners, and well cultivated mind, and adorned the high station, both in England and at home, that her husband’s official positions and their own social relations entitled them to occupy. The latter years of her life, except while in Washington, were passed in Jamaica, Queens, New York.

King died on April 29, 1827, and his funeral was held in NY in Jamaica, Queens. He is buried in the Grace Church Cemetery in Jamaica, Queens, New York. The home that King purchased in 1805 and expanded thereafter and some of his farm make up King Park in Queens. The home, called King Manor, is now a museum and is open to the public.

John Langdon – Signer of the United States Constitution – New Hampshire

John_langdonLangdon was born on June 26, 1741 at or near Portsmouth, N.H. His father, whose family had emigrated to America before 1660, was a prosperous farmer who sired a large family. The youth’s education was intermittent. He attended a local grammar school, worked as an apprentice clerk, and the captain of a cargo ship, a wealthy international trader. Eventually he went into the mercantile business for himself and prospered.

Langdon, a vigorous supporter of the Revolution, sat on the New Hampshire committee of correspondence and a non-importation committee. He also attended various patriot assemblies. In 1774 he participated in the seizure and confiscation of British munitions from the Portsmouth fort.

The next year, Langdon served as speaker of the New Hampshire assembly and also sat in the Continental Congress (1775-76). During the latter year, he accepted a colonelcy in the militia of his State and became its agent for British prizes on behalf of the Continental Congress, a post he held throughout the war. In addition, he built privateers for operations against the British—a lucrative occupation.

Langdon also actively took part in the land war. In 1777 he organized and paid for Gen. John Stark’s expedition from New Hampshire against British Gen. John Burgoyne and was present in command of a militia unit at Saratoga, N.Y., when the latter surrendered. Langdon later led a detachment of troops during the Rhode Island campaign, but found his major outlet in politics. He was speaker of the New Hampshire legislature from 1777 to 1781. In 1777, meantime, he had married Elizabeth Sherburne, who was to give birth to one daughter.

In 1783 Langdon was elected to the Continental Congress; the next year, to the State senate; and the following year, as president, or chief executive, of New Hampshire. In 1784 he built a home at Portsmouth. In 1786-87 he was back again as speaker of the legislature, and during the latter year for the third time in the Continental Congress.

Langdon was forced to pay his own expenses and those of Nicholas Gilman to the Constitutional Convention because New Hampshire was unable or unwilling to pay them. The pair did not arrive at Philadelphia until late July, by which time much business had already been consummated. Thereafter, Langdon made a significant mark. He spoke more than 20 times during the debates and was a member of the committee that struck a compromise on the issue of slavery. For the most part, his sympathies lay on the side of strengthening the national Government. In 1788, once again as State president (1788-89), he took part in the ratifying convention.

From 1789 to 1801 Langdon sat in the U.S. Senate, including service as the first President pro tem for several sessions. During these years, his political affiliations changed. As a supporter of a strong central Government, he had been a member of the Federalist Party, but by the time of Jay’s Treaty (1794) he was opposing its policies. By 1801 he was firmly backing the Democratic-Republicans.

That year, Langdon declined Jefferson’s offer of the secretaryship of the Navy. Between then and 1812, he kept active in New Hampshire politics. He sat again in the legislature (1801-5), twice holding the position of speaker. After several unsuccessful attempts, in 1805 he was elected as Governor and continued in that post until 1811 except for a year’s hiatus in 1809. Meantime, in 1805, Dartmouth College had awarded him an honorary doctor of laws degree.

In 1812 Langdon refused the Democratic-Republican Vice-Presidential nomination on the grounds of age and health. He enjoyed retirement for another 7 years before he died on September 18, 1819 at the age of 78. His grave is at Old North Cemetery in Portsmouth.

James McHenry – Signer of the United States Constitution – Maryland

James_McHenry2James McHenry was born at Ballymena, County Antrim, Ireland, on 16 November 1753. He enjoyed a classical education at Dublin, and emigrated to Philadelphia in 1771. The following year, the rest of his family came to the colonies, and his brother and father established an import business at Baltimore. During that year, James continued schooling at Newark Academy in Delaware and then studied medicine for 2 years under the well-known Dr. Benjamin Rush in Philadelphia.

During the War for Independence, McHenry served as a military surgeon. Late in 1776, while he was on the staff of the 5th Pennsylvania Battalion, the British captured him at Fort Washington, NY. He was paroled early the next year and exchanged in March 1778. Returning immediately to duty, he was assigned to Valley Forge, PA, and in May became secretary to George Washington. About this time, McHenry apparently quit the practice of medicine to devote himself to politics and administration; he apparently never needed to return to it after the war because of his excellent financial circumstances.

McHenry stayed on Washington’s staff until 1780, when he joined that of the Marquis de Lafayette, and he remained in that assignment until he entered the Maryland Senate (1781-86). During part of this period, he served concurrently in the Continental Congress (1783-86). In 1784 he married Margaret Allison Caldwell.

McHenry missed many of the proceedings at the Philadelphia convention, in part because of the illness of his brother, and played an insubstantial part in the debates when he was present. He did, however, maintain a private journal that has been useful to posterity. He campaigned strenuously for the Constitution in Maryland and attended the state ratifying convention.

From 1789 to 1791, McHenry sat in the state assembly and in the years 1791-96 again in the senate. A staunch Federalist, he then accepted Washington’s offer of the post of Secretary of War and held it into the administration of John Adams. McHenry looked to Hamilton rather than to Adams for leadership. As time passed, the latter became increasingly dissatisfied with McHenry’s performance and distrustful of his political motives and in 1800 forced him to resign. Subsequently, the Democratic-Republicans accused him of maladministration, but a congressional committee vindicated him.

McHenry returned to his estate near Baltimore and to semiretirement. He remained a loyal Federalist and opposed the War of 1812. He also held the office of president of a Bible society. He died on 3 May 1816, at “Fayetteville,” Baltimore County, Maryland at the age of 62, survived by two of his three children. His grave is in Baltimore’s Westminster Presbyterian Cemetery.

Pearl Harbor: Firing the First Defensive Shot

Photo103237It was at last my senior year in high school. We were so excited to be graduating at the end of this school year. We had several new teachers that year because the school had enlarged. One of the new teachers was a Chemistry teacher named Mr. Outerbridge.  None of us knew at the time he would change our lives as he had the lives of many others 30 years prior.

Let me introduce you to Mr. Outerbridge. He was an older gentleman probably about mid 70’s in age. He always had a lot of neat stories to tell when we completed our chemistry lessons for the day. William Woodward Outerbridge was born in Hong Kong, China, on 14 April 1906. He matriculated at MMI from Middleport, Ohio, and graduated from the high school program in 1923. A member of “E” Company, he was a cadet private and held membership in the Yankee Club and, ironically, in the Stonewall Jackson Literary Society. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, in the Class of 1927.

One day in December he told us we would take a break from Chemistry. He needed to tell us a true story about himself and Pearl Harbor. Of course all of us thought we knew all about Pearl Harbor since we have been taught about that since our earliest memories. Little did we know we had a true war hero in our midst. That man was Captain William Woodward Outerbridge, Captain of the USS Ward. The Ward was advised by the USS CONDOR that a mini-sub was headed to the entry channel of the port of Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii.

At the beginning of World War II, Captain Outerbridge skippered the USS Ward, a recommissioned ship built during the World War I period.  Reportedly in his first command and on his first patrol off Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, Outerbridge and the USS Ward detected a Japanese two-man midget submarine near the entrance to Pearl Harbor. The USS Ward detected the midget sub at 6:45 AM and sank it at 6:54 AM, firing the first shots in defense of the U.S. in World War II. Captain Outerbridge was reportedly awarded the Navy Cross for Heroism.

Noted for firing the first shots in defense of the United States during World War II – just prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor – then Captain William W. Outerbridge served as the skipper of the destroyer USS Ward. He reported the action and the sinking of the submarine before the attack by Japan.

During World War II, Captain Outerbridge served in both the Pacific and the Atlantic, taking part in operations at Pearl Harbor, Normandy and Cherbourg, France, and at Ormoc, Mindoro, Lingayon Gulf and Okinawa.  He also participated in the carrier task force strikes against Tokyo and the Japanese mainland.
Outerbridge later both attended and taught at the Naval War College; he also taught at the Industrial College of the Armed ForcesWilliam Outerbridge retired from the Navy in 1957 as a Rear Admiral (RADM).

RADM Outerbridge married the former Grace Fulwood of Tifton, Georgia.  They were the parents of three sons.  The Admiral died on 20 September 1986.  His last address was Tifton, Georgia.

In 2002, the submarine was discovered in 1200 feet of water off Pearl Harbor with the shell holes in the coning tower confirmed Outerbridge’s report.

(This information is presented from this author’s personal conversations with RADM Outerbridge, from her notes and from personal research. Additional information may be located in the Eisenhower Library Papers, the USN Archives re: investigation of the sinking of the mini sub.)

James Nicholas “Nick” Rowe

20727_126565512531Who was Nick Rowe? Unless you are in a special forces group, a military history connoisseur, or a conspiracy theorist you probably would not have heard of him. . . . Oh wait . . . there are the materials he wrote Five Years to Freedom about his experience as a prisoner of war during Vietnam . . . and then there’s the SERE Manual . . . What is SERE? Oh, well, you see SERE is the training Colonel Rowe developed at the request of the US Army and used by all the services so there does not have to be any “on the job training” if someone is captured by the enemy. You see SERE stands for Survival Evade Resist Escape. It is based on then Lt Rowe’s 62 month experience as a prisoner of war and his escape.

Lets go back and start at the beginning. James Nicholas “Nick” Rowe was born in McAllen, TX on 08 February 1938. Graduated from high school and was admitted to United States Military Academy at West Point (West Point), New York. He graduated in 1960, was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army. In 1963, 1st Lt. Rowe was sent to the Republic of Vietnam. He was assigned as an Executive Officer of Detachment A-23, 5th Special Forces Group. It was a 12-man “A-Team”. A-23 was located at Tan Phu in the An Xuyen Province. They advised a Civilian Irregular Defense Group encamped in the Mekong Delta region.

29 October 1963 Lt. Rowe, Captain Humberto R. “Rocky” Versace and Sergeant Daniel Pitzer, were captured by the Viet Cong (VC) during a fight and were imprisoned in the U Minh Forest in Southern Vietnam. For 62 months he battled dysentery, beriberi, various fungal diseases along with arduous psychological and physical torture. He lived in a bamboo cage, 3 x 4 x 6 feet in size. One of the most important factors was this . . . Nick Rowe was a SURVIVOR (emphasis added). Immediately he began looking for ways to resist his tormentors, and make escape plans.

Being an intelligence officer he knew it was vital to convince the VC he was unimportant. He was able to convince his captors he was a “draftee” engineer who was responsible for building school and community facilities. He assured them he knew very little about the military. After a test, the VC were convinced he was as he claimed. That only lasted until a “peace-seeking” group from the United States came to “insure the American POWs were safe and being treated humanely.” This group had a list of prisoners that included the names, but also the job duties while in Nam. When his captors saw this they were livid. Lt Rowe was brutally beaten, stripped and staked naked in the swamp. For two days he was blanketed by mosquitoes, despite their best efforts Rowe would not brake.

Scheduled for execution in late December 1968, Rowe successfully escaped in his “black pajamas” when a group of helicopters came into the area. At first the door gunner thought he was a VC since they wore “black pajamas”. Rowe convinced them who he was and they flew him to safety. He learned that he had been promoted to Major while he had been in captivity! For additional information read Five Years to Freedom.

For more information on Colonel James N. “Nick” Rowe there are several articles in Wikipedia,, and several books written that are written about him or include him as subject matter. He was true gentle man, regardless what he endured. He loved his God, his family, and his country and gave his life for her in Quezon City, Philippines on 21 April 1989. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery Section 48 lot 2165-A.

From the Heart of a Soldier

PTSD will not take my life

As I share the memories of this life,

They come forth causing only strife.

For life has been so hard you see

Keeping others from loving me.

Walking through forest, glade and hill,

waiting, watching, wondering still

Will there be a time for us

Or will we simply turn to dust

While living with these facts, so true

It’s helpful that you know them too.

For times may come I can’t preclude

Causing stressful interludes,

Where memories return to facts so real

One wonders if they’ll ever heal

Healing after years of waiting,

During these times often hating

The events that caused the memories to form

Are always extremely far from the norm

Change them if I could? You ask.

No, I would never choose that task.

For the sacrifices once made by me

Were made to set many others free

And if events present a new

I’ll be right there to fight with you

The memories of the new inlayed

Upon the ones already made

Even then I will not cave

Provided we don’t see the grave.

Remembering the Warriors of the Past Part 1

The United States seems to have lost pride in its’ military. There have been 6,726 deaths of our brothers and sisters, since 2001, in the 3 operations (Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn) of war. As this took me a while to put together, I only found ONE source who actually put together all of the names of these brave souls who lost their lives while serving our great nation, may it be death by accident or in combat. Military Times has pictures, as well as how they passed and other information, including some that have biographies.

As a country, I believe that we need to know the names of the soldiers that have laid down their lives in service; because we need to honor their service, whether they were killed in action or not. So the list I am providing is by state and date they were killed. Since mainstream media and our government will not honor them, I will.

Please take the time, as I have, to respect those who were selfless enough to want to fight for our freedoms and liberties. May they be at peace with God, and may they know that we will continue to honor them until the end of time.

I will be breaking down the list into parts since it is so long. These are the brave souls that lost their lives between the years of 2001-2002.


Stephen L. Bryson
Hometown: Montgomery
Gunnery Sergeant, United States Maine Corps
Marine Aerial Transport Refueler Squadron 352
Died January 9, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Jeremy D. Foshee
Hometown: Pisgah
Sergeant, United States Army
E. Co, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
Died February 22, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)


Brian C. Prosser
Hometown: Frazier Park
Staff Sergeant, United States Army
3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group
Died December 5, 2001 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Matthew W. Bancroft
Hometown: Redding
Captain, United States Marine Corps
Marine Aerial Transport Refueler Squadron 352
Died January 9, 2002

Dwight J. Morgan
Hometown: Mendocino
Sergeant, United States Marine Corps
Heavy Helicopter Squadron 351
Died January 20, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Neil C. Roberts
Hometown: Woodland
Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class, United States Navy
SEAL Team 2
Died March 4, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Jason D. Cunningham
Hometown: Camarillo
Senior Airman, United States Air Force
38th Rescue Squadron
Died March 4, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Sean M. Corlew
Hometown: Thousand Oaks
Technical Sergeant, United States Air Force
16th Special Operations Wing
Died June 12, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)


Daniel A. Romero
Hometown: Lafayette
Sergeant 1st Class, United States Army
19th Special Forces Group
Died April 15, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)


Christopher M. Blaschum
Hometown: Port St. Joe
Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy
Fighter Squadron 143
Died March 2, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Bradley S. Crose
Hometown: Orange Park
Sergeant, United States Army
1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
Died March 4, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Marc A. Anderson
Hometown: Brandon
Specialist, United States Army
1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
Died March 4, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Matthew J. Bourgeois
Hometown: Tallahassee
Chief Hospital Corpsman (SEAL), United States Navy
Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base
Died March 27, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Antonio J. Sledd
Hometown: Hillsborough
Lance Corporal, United States Marines
3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit
Died October 8, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)


Evander E. Andrews
Hometown: Solon
Master Sergeant, United States Air Force
366th Civil Engineering Squad
Died October 10, 2001 (Operation Enduring Freedom)


Bryant L. Davis
Hometown: Chicago
Machinist Mate Fireman Apprentice, United States Navy
USS Kitty Hawk
Died November 7, 2001 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

James Henry Ebbers
Hometown: Bridgeview
Private II, United States Army
551st Military Police Company
Died October 14, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)


Jeannette L. Winters
Hometown: Gary
Sergeant, United States Marine Corps
Marine Aerial Transport Refueler Squadron 352
Died January 9, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)


Jamie O. Maugans
Hometown: Derby
Sergeant, United States Army
710th Explosive Ordnance Detachment
Died April 15, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Justin J. Galewski
Hometown: Olathe
Staff Sergeant, United States Army
710th Explosive Ordnance Detachment
Died April 15, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)


Walter F. Cohee III
Hometown: Wicomico
Staff Sergeant, United States Marine Corps
Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361
Died January 20, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)


Daniel H. Petithory
Hometown: Cheshire
Staff Sergeant 1st Class, United States Army
3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group
Died December 5, 2001 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Bruce A. Rushforth Jr.
Hometown: Middleboro
Staff Sergeant, United States Army
E. Co, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
Died February 22, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)


Vincent Parker
Hometown: Preston
Engineman 1st Class, United States Navy
Norfolk Naval Station
Died November 18, 2001 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Mark Jackson
Hometown: Glennie
Sergeant 1st Class, United States Army
1st Special Forces Group
Died October 2, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)


Curtis D. Feistner
Hometown: White Bear Lake
Major, United States Army
E. Co, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
Died February 22, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)


Philip J. Svitak
Hometown: Joplin
Sergeant, United States Army
2nd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Regiment
Died March 4, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)


Kristofer T. Stonesifer
Hometown: Missoula
Private First Class , United States Army
3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
Died October 19, 2001 (Operation Enduring Freedom)


Jason A. Disney
Hometown: Fallon
Specialist, United States Army
7th Transportation Battalion
Died February 13, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Kerry W. Frith
Hometown: Jamesville
Staff Sergeant, United States Army
E. Co, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
Died February 22, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Matthew A. Commons
Hometown: Boulder City
Private First Class, United States Army
1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
Died March 4, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

New Mexico

Christopher J. Speer
Hometown: Albuquerque
Sergeant 1st Class, United States Army
U.S. Army Special Operations Command
Died August 7, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

New York

Benjamin Johnson
Hometown: Rochester
Electronics Technician, United States Navy
Norfolk Naval Station
Died November 18, 2001 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Giovanny Maria
Hometown: Queens
Private 2nd Class, United States Army
10th Mountain Division
Died November 29, 2001 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Michael J. Jakes Jr.
Hometown: Brooklyn
Electrician’s Mate Fireman Apprentice, United States Navy
USS Kitty Hawk
Died December 4, 2001 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Scott N. Germosen
Hometown: New York City
Staff Sergeant, United States Marine Corps
Marine Aerial Transport Refueler Squadron 352
Died January 9, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Peter P. Tycz II
Hometown: Tonawanda
Sergeant 1st Class, United States Army
3rd Special Forces Group
Died June 12, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Steven Checo
Hometown: New York City
Sergeant, United States Army
504th Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Died December 20, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

North Carolina

James P. Dorrity
Hometown: Goldsboro
Staff Sergeant, United States Army
E. Co, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
Died February 22, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Stanley L. Harriman
Hometown: Wade
Chief Warrant Officer 2, United States Army
3rd Special Forces Group
Died March 2, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)


Bartt D. Owens
Hometown: Middletown
Captain, United States Army
E. Co, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
Died February 22, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

William L. McDaniel II
Hometown: Greeneville
Master Sergeant, United States Air Force
320th Special Tactics Squadron
Died February 22, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Jody L. Egnor
Hometown: Middletown
Chief Warrant Officer 2, United States Army
E. Co, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
Died February 22, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)


Bryan P. Bertrand
Hometown: Coos Bay
Lance Corporal, United States Marine Corps
Marine Aerial Transport Refueler Squadron 352
Died January 9, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

South Carolina

Daniel G. McCollum
Hometown: Irmo
Captain, United States Marine Corps
Marine Aerial Refueler Squadron 352
Died January 9, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)


Jefferson D. Davis
Hometown: Watauga
Master Sergeant, United States Army
3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group
Died December 5, 2001 (Operation Enduring Freedom)


Nathan R. Chapman
Hometown: San Antonio
Sergeant 1st Class, United States Army
3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group
Died January 4, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

John A. Chapman
Hometown: Waco
Technical Sergeant, United States Air Force
24th Special Tactics Squadron
Died March 4, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Brian T. Craig
Hometown: Houston
Staff Sergeant, United States Army
710th Explosive Ordnance Detachment
Died April 15, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)


Nathan P. Hays
Hometown: Wilbur
Sergeant, United States Marine Corps
Marine Aerial Transport Refueler Squadron 352
Died January 9, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Juan M. Ridout
Hometown: Maple Tree
Staff Sergeant, United States Air Force
320th Special Tactics Squadron
Died February 22, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Thomas F. Allison
Hometown: Tacoma
Specialist, United States Army
E Co, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
Died February 22, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

West Virginia

Gene Arden Vance Jr.
Hometown: Morgantown
Sergeant, United States Army
19th Special Forces Unit
Died May 19, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Anissa A. Shero
Hometown: Grafton
Staff Sergeant, United States Air Force
16th Special Operations Wing
Died June 12, 2002 (Operation Enduring Freedom)


Jonn J. Edmunds
Hometown: Cheyenne
Specialist, United States Army
3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
Died October 19, 2001 (Operation Enduring Freedom)

Jason Vandeberg