Bestowed the Medal of Honor for heroic actions, December 21, 1944. Malmedy, Belgium.
Bestowed the Medal of Honor for heroic actions, December 21, 1944. Malmedy, Belgium.
Yes, Paul Bunyan went to war for the U.S.
Well, that was his stage name. You can see him without his stage makeup above. His real name was David B. Bleak. He stood about 6′ 6″ and weighed 250 pounds… and he was a Medic.
In short, Sgt Bleak killed four Chinese soldiers with his hands; a fifth with his trench knife. He smashed the last two Chinese heads together like cymbals after alluding their bayonet charge. He did all this while treating the wounded; he himself took a round to his leg.
Due to his unswerving devotion to duty, all 20 soldiers – including the wounded of which he carried one – made it back.
He was bestowed the Medal of Honor. Ike presented the decoration:
He passed away at the age of 74, the exact same day that another medic MOH recipient from WWII passed away – Desmond Doss.
From the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation:
David Bleak was 18, living in Wyoming and “shaking the trees” to make something happen in his life early in 1950. Dissatisfied with his other options, he decided to volunteer for the Army. He was surprised when the recruiting sergeant told him that there was not much need for soldiers right then. But a few months later, after war broke out in Korea, the sergeant called him back and told him that things had changed and that the Army needed him and needed him now. Bleak joined up.
He started his basic training and was slated to be a tanker. Then one day his sergeant gave him an appraising look and said, “You look like a medical aide man to me.” Bleak understood that he had just
been volunteered. He was soon transferred to a medical company and, in the Spring of 1951, was sent to Japan as part of the 40th Infantry Division.
Early the next year, Bleak was sent to Korea where he was promoted to sergeant and experienced a brutal winter of constant fighting. By June his infantry unit was in the vicinity of Minari-gol, North Korea, facing a large force of Chinese dug into a mountain. While the bulk of the U.S. force prepared for a frontal assault, Bleak volunteered to join a reconnaissance patrol assigned to circle around to the rear of the Chinese position to capture prisoners for interrogation.
The patrol stealthily advanced up a hill, captured three isolated enemy soldiers in the enemy trench line, and was starting to withdraw when Bleak and his fellow soldiers were discovered by the enemy. Large numbers of Chinese appeared and opened fire. Several Americans went down almost immediately and Bleak went to help them. Jumping into a trench to tend one wounded soldier, he was charged by three of the enemy. He killed two of them with his bare hands by smashing their heads against rocks. He killed the third Chinese soldier with his trench knife. After treating his comrade he saw a Chinese concussion grenade hit the ground. Bleak used his body to shield the man from the impact of the blast. He continued to treat his wounded comrades despite his injuries from the grenade. The heavy fighting continued and he was shot in the leg.
As the patrol withdrew with its prisoners, Bleak, despite his wounds, grabbed another wounded American and began carrying him to safety.
As he was limping down the hill two more Chinese soldiers came at him with fixed bayonets. Bleak dropped his comrade and managed to evade the bayonet thrusts. He grabbed both men, smashing their heads together and killing one of them. Then he picked up the wounded American again and made it back to safety.
Bleak’s neck was so big that Ike struggled to fasten the ribbon and whispered to him, “You have a damned big neck.”
Bleak went on to raise four children with his wife on a small farm he owned and operated. Later, he went to work for Argonne National Laboratory in the nuclear industry, developing electricity from nuclear energy.
The official U.S. Army Medal of Honor Citation reads:
Sgt. Bleak, a member of the medical company, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and indomitable courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. As a medical aidman, he volunteered to accompany a reconnaissance patrol committed to engage the enemy and capture a prisoner for interrogation. Forging up the rugged slope of the key terrain, the group was subjected to intense automatic weapons and small arms fire and suffered several casualties. After administering to the wounded, he continued to advance with the patrol. Nearing the military crest of the hill, while attempting to cross the fire-swept area to attend the wounded, he came under hostile fire from a small group of the enemy concealed in a trench. Entering the trench he closed with the enemy, killed 2 with bare hands and a third with his trench knife. Moving from the emplacement, he saw a concussion grenade fall in front of a companion and, quickly shifting his position, shielded the man from the impact of the blast. Later, while ministering to the wounded, he was struck by a hostile bullet but, despite the wound, he undertook to evacuate a wounded comrade. As he moved down the hill with his heavy burden, he was attacked by 2 enemy soldiers with fixed bayonets. Closing with the aggressors, he grabbed them and smacked their heads together, then carried his helpless comrade down the hill to safety. Sgt. Bleak’s dauntless courage and intrepid actions reflect utmost credit upon himself and are in keeping with the honored traditions of the military service.
BORN: February 27, 1932
Idaho Falls, Idaho
DIED: March 23, 2006
A journey to the Riverside National Cemetery for this Memorial Day weekend was deemed in order.
Just my way of saying “Thank you” to three men… and Marge Johnson as well.
I was told that the Boy Scouts planted over 200,000 flags for this weekend. Well, there’s a few more flags now… albeit just small tokens of appreciation from me, they are recognition of what America deeply owes them.
If you never served (like me), you should be grateful that these men did… instead of you.
In a documentary, a paralyzed Marine who made it back from Iwo Jima said one indescribable smell resonates in him to that day: the sweet, distinct smell of fresh blood squirting out from a wound to the jugular vein. He said if you smelled that, it signaled a dying Marine.
The Riverside National Cemetery is the third-largest cemetery managed by the National Cemetery Administration. It is also home of the Medal of Honor Memorial and only one of four sites recognized as a National Medal of Honor Memorial Site. The Medal of Honor Memorial’s walls feature the names of all medal recipients.
(Note: By clicking on the images, you should be able to download full rez image files.)
The uncle of one of our most patriotic bloggers, “pacificparatrooper“, is interred here.
Master Sergeant James O’Leary, USMC.
He rests in this peaceful grassy knoll next to our other patriots…
To learn about MSgt. O’Leary’s military service, please click on this link to read one of gpcox’s stories about her uncle: MSgt James O’Leary. You will also learn how gpcox’s family has been serving our country for many decades, including her father “Smitty” who endured combat with the famed 11th Airborne during WWII.
Of course, a visit to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson was in order.
Mr. Johnson was a decorated Marine fighting on board CV-6, the USS Enterprise, during the Battle of Midway and the most brutal Solomon Islands campaign in WWII.
Marge recently passed away; I was unable to fulfill my promise to take her again to visit with her husband… but then again, they are together for eternity now. I felt Marge would like some flowers and took an Old Glory for Mr. Johnson. He loved the Corps. You can read about Mr. Johnson, USMC here: Mr. Johnson, USMC.
Interestingly, I learned something about Mr. Johnson’s service in the US Marine Corps. His enlistment was longer than what I was led to believe. He was but 16 when he “got suckered” into enlisting. I’ll need to write about that later, I guess.
May they both happily rest in peace together.
I have come to know Grace and her husband Bernie though a close knit national Mustang club. No, not the horse. The car.
Her first husband was US Army Staff Sergeant Robert Hartsock. His name is etched into the Medal of Honor Memorial wall. He was killed in action at just 24 years of age in Viet Nam. He was but two months away from ending his tour of duty and left a son, Dion.
Staff Sergeant Hartsock’s official Medal of Honor citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/Sgt. Hartsock, distinguished himself in action while serving as section leader with the 44th Infantry Platoon. When the Dau Tieng Base Camp came under a heavy enemy rocket and mortar attack, S/Sgt. Hartsock and his platoon commander spotted an enemy sapper squad which had infiltrated the camp undetected. Realizing the enemy squad was heading for the brigade tactical operations center and nearby prisoner compound, they concealed themselves and, although heavily outnumbered, awaited the approach of the hostile soldiers. When the enemy was almost upon them, S/Sgt. Hartsock and his platoon commander opened fire on the squad. As a wounded enemy soldier fell, he managed to detonate a satchel charge he was carrying. S/Sgt. Hartsock, with complete disregard for his life, threw himself on the charge and was gravely wounded. In spite of his wounds, S/Sgt. Hartsock crawled about 5 meters to a ditch and provided heavy suppressive fire, completely pinning down the enemy and allowing his commander to seek shelter. S/Sgt. Hartsock continued his deadly stream of fire until he succumbed to his wounds. S/Sgt. Hartsock’s extraordinary heroism and profound concern for the lives of his fellow soldiers were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
May they all rest in peace.
The Administration of the United States of America is FINALLY allowing the TRACKABLE, AUTHORIZED AND OTHERWISE TO BE “UN”-MEDIA-IZED immigration of ONE Afghan: a brave interpreter code named Hafez! Please see my earlier story on this topic: “Afghans Cannot Scale a Fence,”
Unbelievable. The Administration continues to allow illegals to scale the fence at our border yet dragged their feet in approving this one Afghan to legally enter the US. He fought bravely alongside Army Officer Matt Zeller and saved his life. MOH recipient Sgt. Dakota Meyer joined the drive to petition for his immigration. Do you see any illegal fighting alongside our military or willing to give their life to save one?
Here is the official news release on FOX. I hope CNN will publicize this great humanitarian event as much as they did the Trayvon Martin incident.
Thank you, Janis. Safe journey to the US of A.
What do you think??
Sorry… On my soap box once again.
Here we have illegals scampering over fences at the border in plain sight. Some make it and are now part of the “undocumented” population… And they don’t speak English adding to our problem.
But we have a true Afghani hero who fought alongside Sgt. Dakota Meyer in Afghanistan. His main responsibility was to serve as translator – like my Dad’s Military Intelligence Service unit in WWII.
But… Sgt. Meyer is a living recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. He is living on account of the devoted service of this Afghani translator, codenamed “Hafez”. He protected Sgt. Dakota during his unselfish heroics by firing weapons against the Taliban. He was left behind due to the pull out of American troops.
Hafez has been hunted by the Taliban – for the last three years. They know he exists because he taunted them over the radio during the deadly battle.
Hafez has LEGALLY applied for a visa – instead of scaling a border fence in broad daylight – and Obama’s Administration is DRAGGING THEIR FEET. Hafez still does not have his visa!
And he does speak English!
Obama can get the Justice Department to re-open the case involving “he could be my son” young man… but won’t raise a finger to expedite Hafez’s visa application.
Obama, get your priorities right.
Spread the word, folks.