Ranger News

The Ranger News Blog presents current news within the Ranger community; members and the public viewing our website can add comments.

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  • 09/18/2014 3:32 PM | Anonymous

    SLATE (By Josh Voorhees) The U.S. Could Have Its First Female Navy SEALs By 2016.

    The Associated Press this morning has an early look at the Pentagon's specific plans to remove the remaining restrictions that have kept female soldiers from combat and other positions near the front lines. The plans, likely to be formally unveiled later today, will include reviewing and likely changing the physical and mental standards that men and women need to meet in order to qualify for certain positions across the four branches, and would set one common standard for both sexes for each specific job.

    The plans also include the rough outline for when women could become a Navy SEAL or Army Ranger, two of the most high-profile and demanding jobs within the military:

    Under the schedules military leaders delivered to [Defense Secretary Chuck] Hagel, the Army will develop standards by July 2015 to allow women to train and potentially serve as Rangers, and qualified women could begin training as Navy SEALs by March 2016 if senior leaders agree. Military leaders have suggested bringing senior women from the officer and enlisted ranks into Special Forces units first to ensure that younger, lower-ranking women have a support system to help them get through the transition.

    The Navy intends to open up its Riverine force and begin training women next month, with the goal of assigning women to the units by October. While not part of the special operations forces, the coastal Riverine squadrons do close combat and security operations in small boats. The Navy plans to have studies finished by July 2014 on allowing women to serve as SEALs, and has set October 2015 as the date when women could begin Navy boot camp with the expressed intention of becoming SEALs eventually.

    Army officials plan to complete gender-neutral standards for the Ranger course by July 2015. Army Rangers are one of the service’s special operations units, but many soldiers who go through Ranger training and wear the coveted tab on their shoulders never actually serve in the 75th Ranger Regiment.\

  • 09/18/2014 3:10 PM | Anonymous

    Friday is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. As we perform our missions this week, I ask that all of us take a moment to remember and honor our servicemen and -women who have been held as prisoners of war and who have not returned home. These heroes made enormous sacrifices to defeat our enemies and bring freedom to people in faraway lands. They have lived the values that define our nation, our armed forces, and our way of life.

    Our Army is a Family in which Soldiers are prepared to give everything for their brothers and sisters in arms. Our POWs and MIAs gave everything they had for their missions and their fellow service members.

    We must also honor the Family members, who sometimes wait years without answers. They are the ones who keep their service members' stories and memories alive until they are able to return home.

    We can honor our prisoners of war and those missing in action by remaining committed to our vital mission at the Maneuver Center of Excellence of training the best prepared, most professional maneuver force in the world. Thank you all for everything you do for our Soldiers, Family members and veterans every day.

    One Force, One Fight!

    - Maj. Gen. Scott Miller Commanding General

  • 09/18/2014 3:02 PM | Anonymous

    (WASHINGTON - The Army is asking for female volunteers to possibly attend a Ranger course in the spring.

    A final decision will be made in January on whether or not to actually conduct the one-time assessment, officials said. Since the Army needs to identify, select and begin training for potential participants, two "All Army Activity" or ALARACT messages were sent to the field asking for volunteers.

    The Ranger assessment course would train men and women together in order to help prepare institutions, schools and leaders for future integration decisions, according to Army G-1 officials at the Pentagon. 

    The assessment course would be open to all women in the ranks of specialist to major, if they can meet the physical qualifications and prerequisites.

    Female observers would also be needed to serve as advisors to the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade. Staff sergeants to master sergeants would be eligible, along with chief warrant officers 2 and 3, first lieutenants, captains and majors. The deadline to submit selection packets is Oct. 10. Potential students and observers will be identified in December.

    Current Ranger course standards will remain the same for all students, said G-1 officials. Prerequisites, phase performance requirements and graduation standards would not change for the assessment.

    "We will be prepared to execute the assessment professionally and objectively, if directed," said Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning.

    All female candidates would be required to attend the Army National Guard Ranger Training and Assessment Course conducted at Fort Benning prior to the assessment course.

    Women who volunteer to serve as observers for the Ranger course must also undergo a selection process that includes a fitness test, land navigation, a combat water survival assessment, an operations order test, a 12-mile road march with 35-pound rucksack and review boards.

    The women will not be Ranger instructors during the assessment, but as observers they will need to be able to keep up to the students and instructors.

    Women who complete the Ranger assessment course as students will be awarded the Ranger tab to wear, but will not be awarded associated Ranger skill identifiers due to restrictions in Title 10, U.S. Code, Section 652. The decision to change that or not is scheduled to be made by the secretary of Defense no later than Jan. 1, 2016, when he determines if women will be permitted to become Infantry Soldiers and serve in other closed military occupational specialties.

    The secretary of defense revoked the direct ground combat rule, Jan. 24, 2013, following a unanimous recommendation by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Army and other services were given until January 2016 to implement changes and submit requests to exclude specific military occupational specialties from the ban being lifted.

    In May 2012, the Army announced it would open six military occupational specialties that were previously closed to women. This opened combat-related jobs in 37 battalions across nine brigade combat teams.

    The six jobs opened were 13M Multiple Launch Rocket System crewmember, 13P MLRS operations/fire direction specialist, 13R Field Artillery Firefinder Radar operator specialist, 91A M1 Abrams tank system maintainer, 91M Bradley Fighting Vehicle system maintainer and 91P Artillery mechanic.

    Over the past year, the Army Training and Doctrine Command has been conducting a Physical Demands Study to develop gender-neutral standards for tasks performed by those in a combat MOS. The study is part of Soldier 2020, the Army's initiative to look at integrating women into previously closed jobs such as infantry, combat engineer, field artillery and armor.

  • 09/18/2014 11:53 AM | Anonymous

    FORT EDWARD, N.Y. (AP) By CHRIS CAROLA -- The sale of the Hudson River site considered the birthplace of the U.S. Army Rangers is complete, ending a decade-long effort by an upstate community to secure the public purchase of a historic island and turn it into a heritage tourism attraction.

    Officials said the closing on the sale of the 34-acre parcel on Rogers Island in Fort Edward occurred Wednesday. The village and town of Fort Edward, on the Hudson's east bank 45 miles north of Albany, bought the vacant property from a Long Island businessman who inherited it from his father. The municipalities plan to turn it into a public park.

    Village attorney Matthew Fuller said the sale price was $450,000. Of that amount, $400,000 was from state grants and other funding, while the remaining $50,000 came from the village and town, Fuller said.

    "There's a lot of work ahead," said village board member Ed Carpenter. "Getting the island was the first step."

    Fort Edward was the site of Britain's largest fort in North America during the French and Indian War (1754-63), when some 18,000 British and Colonial American soldiers and civilians lived there. The complex included an encampment that served as the base of operations for Rogers' Rangers, frontier scouts led by Maj. Robert Rogers, who wrote his "Rules of Ranging" at Fort Edward in 1757.

    His original 28 rules for waging guerrilla warfare in the North American wilderness have been revised and shortened to 19 by the Army Rangers, who still use "Rogers' Standing Orders" to train Ranger candidates at Fort Benning, Georgia.

    One former Ranger referred to Fort Edward as "the spiritual home" of Army Rangers.

    "It certainly is the birthplace of the American Ranger," said retired Col. Alan Huffines, an author from Abilene, Texas, who serves as historian for the U.S. Army Ranger Association.

    "All Rangers are familiar with Rogers' Rangers," Huffines said.

    The sale includes the transfer of nearly 90 boxes of artifacts uncovered during archaeological excavations conducted on Rogers Island over the past two decades. David Starbuck, the archaeologist who ran the digs, estimates the boxes contain tens of thousands of 18th-century artifacts, including buckles, butchered animal bones and musket balls. The artifacts were delivered Wednesday to Fort Edward from the property's owner, Anthony Nastasi, a Hauppauge contractor who inherited the land after the death of his father, Frank.

    State and local officials began talks years ago with the elder Nastasi about buying his property. After he died in 2007, the state parks office moved toward buying the site from his son, but budget problems derailed the plans. The two local municipalities then took up the cause, eventually landing state grants to cover most of the purchase cost.

    In 2006, a local couple who served as caretakers for the Nastasi property uncovered several skeletons buried at the site. State archaeologists analyzed the remains and determined they were buried in unmarked graves in a large military cemetery located on the island during the French and Indian War.

    The wooded, overgrown parcel sits empty, other than for a Robert Rogers statue and a memorial to the Rangers. Local officials have said their plans for a public park include building trails and installing signage, as well as integrating the site with the neighboring Rogers Island Visitors Center. 

  • 09/17/2014 2:05 PM | Anonymous

    Los Angeles (Liesl Bradner) -- WWII veteran and photographer Staff Sergeant Phil Stern, one of the few remaining Darby’s Rangers, celebrated his 95th birthday to grand fanfare this past weekend at the California Veterans Home in West Los Angeles. To mark this milestone Stern donated 95 of his iconic photos from World War II, Hollywood, Jazz greats and John F. Kennedy’s inauguration gala to grace the bare walls of the home built in 2010. Approximately 50 of the photos on view were of the Invasion of Sicily.  Nearly 500 guests attended the celebration including guest speaker producer/director Brett Ratner.

    Reflecting Phil’s career of covering the war photos and Hollywood celebrities, the crowd was a mix of veterans and entertainment industry types. Despite all the fanfare, the most emotional moment and best kept surprise of the day was SSG Phil Stern’s induction into the Ranger Hall of Fame as its 348th member. He was bestowed this rare honor “for his service as an original member of the 1st Ranger Battalion and for his lasting contribution to the photographic history of the Rangers in the European Theater during WWII As a combat photographer, he would take thousands of pictures during Ranger training at Corker Hill and in action from North Africa to Italy. Like Matthew Brady during the Civil War, Stern would preserve in black and white images so many colorful American warriors, from generals to privates. At the Battle of El Guettar Stern was severely wounded in action; his right arm incapacitated and neck hit by shell fragments. The Army field hospital in Morocco performed surgery and fixed this right arm. After being awarded the Purple Heart, Stern was determined to get back with his unit. In the summer of 1943 he joined “Stars and Stripes” and accompanied the Rangers during the first wave of the Invasion of Sicily. He was one of the very few photographers to capture the historical importance of Sicily being liberated by the allied European forces. Stern’s pictures, James Altieri later wrote, had not only made the public aware of the Rangers, but “they had given us a new surge of pride and spirit at a crucial time.

    Gen. (Retired) W.F. “Buck” Kernan, Chairman of the Ranger Hall of Fame Board, commented: “Ranger Stern is a true American icon and patriot whose commitment to the Rangers and the Nation have inspired and motivated generations of Rangers as well as the American public. We are all extremely proud of this well-earned and deserved award!

    Col. (Retired) Tom Evans, USA and USARA Southwest Region Director represented the Ranger Hall of Fame Board located at Fort Benning, Georgia to officially induct an astounded Stern. “It’s easier to get an Oscar than to become a member of the Ranger Hall of Fame,” noted Evans, playfully directing his statement to Mr. Ratner who had just spoke of his meeting Phil 16 years ago, his respect for Phil’s talent and apprehension when Stern showed up with a camera on the set of Ratner’s 1998 film, “Rush Hour.” “It was like Picasso coming to paint me,” said Ratner who is said to be the largest collector of Stern’s photographs.

    Visiting from Virginia, Karla Merritt, President of the Descendants of WWII Rangers, read a poignant note from the family of Colonel William Darby signed by nephews Darby Watkins, Presson Watkins and niece Dr. Sylvia Watkins Ryan.  An excerpt:

    "Few people realize that one of your greatest accomplishments was giving the American people black and white images of hope during those nerve-wracking early years of WWII. Darby’s Rangers and other specialized military formations were some of the very first Americans to actively engage the Axis powers in combat."

    RatnerIn addition to Stern’s Purple Heart and other WWII memorabilia on display at the event, were original handwritten letters to Phil from Col. Darby. One in particular, dated March 2, 1944, asked Phil if he could send some prints to his mother in Arkansas.

    Following the emotional induction ceremony, Stern was presented with a black and white framed photo of the Ranger Memorial in Ft. Benning, Georgia from Army Veteran, William C. Green, Bravo Company, 75th Battalion Ranger regiment 1992-1996.  Fellow war photographer, Nick Ut was also in attendance and gave Stern a signed copy of his famous Pulitzer Prize winning photo “Napalm Girl,” taken during the Vietnam War in 1972.

    Rangers Lead The Way! 

    Liesl Bradner is a Los Angeles based journalist. The Pennsylvania native graduated from Florida State University where she began her journalism career as a sports reporter for the local ABC affiliate station and a stint in the communications office of Florida State Education Commissioner Betty Castor. After studying English Literature at Cambridge University in England she landed at The Orlando Sentinel before moving to Los Angeles where she worked in the business section at The Los Angeles Times in between acting gigs.  Since 2008 she has been a regular contributing writer and editor for The Los Angeles Times covering the arts, books, photography, history and entertainment.  Her work has also appeared in Variety, Truthdig, WWII Magazine and several other publications and blogs.

    She has interviewed Madeleine Albright, social activist Julian Bond, “Mad Men,” producer Matt Weiner, Hugh Hefner, publisher Benedikt Taschen, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Tim Roth, Leonard Nimoy, several dozen photographers and artists including Larry Fink, Chuck Close, Mark Seliger, Catherine Opie, Lawrence Schiller and New Yorker cartoonist Barry Blitt to name a few.

  • 09/15/2014 4:03 PM | Anonymous

     

    HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, GA (Nancy Gould) – Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg is a proven warrior -- as a weapons squad leader on the battlefield with fellow Rangers from the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment -- and off the battlefield as an advocate for those with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), like the one he received in 2009 when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) injured him during a firefight.

    He was recognized for his heroism by commanders, fellow Rangers, friends and Family members at his retirement ceremony at Truscott Air Terminal on Hunter Army Airfield, Aug. 20.  He was previously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart and the Army Commendation Medal for Valor for his brave actions.

    He has also been in the National spotlight for his sacrifice and service, including recognition from President Obama as he sat next to Michelle Obama at a State of the Union Address.

    Brigadier Gen. Richard Clarke, Commandant of Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the former 1st Battalion, 75 Ranger Regiment commander, also praised the warrior he came to know almost 10 years ago.

    “He was a great Ranger,” Clarke said. “He was funny, warmhearted and a natural leader. He didn’t fear those who had rank. He was the one who approached my wife at a battalion function and asked her to dance. He was loved by everyone and needless to say, my wife’s favorite Ranger.”

    Remsburg sustained the TBI on his 10th combat rotation with his squad from the 1st Battalion, Oct. 1, 2009, during combat in Afghanistan.  The mission was successful but it claimed the life of fellow Ranger, Sgt. Robert Sanchez and nearly killed Remsburg.

    Nine of the enemy combatants were killed and a large weapon cache was destroyed, but the explosion gravely injured Remsburg and threw him into a canal.  He was rescued and airlifted to Kandahar Air Base, then to Bagram Airfield for surgery. After that, he was transported to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, in Germany for two weeks of treatment where he remained in a coma. He was eventually treated at the James Haley Veterans Administration Hospital in Tampa, Fla. and remained there for three and a half months before he started to regain consciousness.

    After 15 months of hospitalization, Remsburg became an outpatient and rented an apartment in Tampa with a caregiver.  He continued his daily occupational, physical, vision and speech therapies at the Tampa VA Center and now lives near his father in Arizona.

    At the retirement ceremony, his father, Craig Remsburg, stood with Cory as he spoke about leaving the only job he’s had since high school.

    “I don’t want to retire,” said the Ranger, ”but it’s time.”

    The senior Remsburg said Cory is ready to move forward to the next chapter of life.  He wants to ‘pay it forward,’ complete his mission, and make the path easier for other TBI casualties.

    “He wants to encourage the injured to work hard to recover and never give up,” said his father, adding that Cory’s recovery requires hours of grueling therapy during the week and bike riding on weekends.

    “Cory gets a lot of requests to speak to other traumatic brain injury casualties and other groups,” he said. “His message to them is, ‘you can recover; you’re not defined by your injury.’”

  • 06/26/2014 5:51 PM | Anonymous

    FORT BENNING, Ga. (USASOC News Service, June 26, 2014) – It was Oct. 5, 2013, Rangers from Bravo Co., 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment were a month in to their 18th battalion deployment since 2001 to Afghanistan. Their mission was to conduct a helicopter infiltration to capture or kill a known Taliban high profile attack coordinator.

    Serving as the platoon medic for more than two years, Cpl. Bryan C. Anderson had conducted numerous operations with the men he called his brothers and had solid leadership from the platoon leader down to the team leaders.

    Upon reaching the location of the enemy compound, a suicide vest was initiated. Anderson, around 300 meters away from the objective because of an enemy running away, heard an explosion and then the call on the radio.

    “Hey! We need doc!”

    Anderson joined the U.S. Army in 2010 on a Ranger contract to serve as a medic. After going to college in Arizona to study emergency response operations, he felt this was the path he was chosen for.

    Having always wanting to be a firefighter, Anderson said of being a platoon medic, “I know I will never have a better job than the one I have right now being a platoon medic with the other Rangers I serve with.”

    After joining 1st Platoon, he deployed to Afghanistan for the first time in 2012. Having a few eventful missions with his platoon, Anderson knew what was expected of him.

    “The whole time I’ve been in Regiment, I’ve taken my job very seriously,” he explained. “Sometimes you are the only medical provider on the ground and when something bad does happen, all of a sudden you become the leader and everybody looks to you for what to do next. I wanted to be that calm voice in the middle of all the chaos on what the next step needed to be.”

    During his second deployment, not more than a month on ground, Anderson had to be that “calm voice” when the mission turned chaotic.

    Anderson arrived to the first casualty; he began his assessment by checking the treatments that had already been applied through the first responder care. The casualty had an effective tourniquet in place, his airway was intact, and he reported no difficulty breathing. He moved to the chest, finding a penetrating chest wound to the casualties left side. Applying an occlusive dressing, Anderson checked for effectiveness and then continued his assessment.

    No more than a few minutes into his assessment, a pressure plate improvised explosive device detonated a few meters from Anderson’s position which created another casualty. Upon completion of the first casualty’s assessment, Anderson grabbed a fellow Ranger to stay with him and moved through an active IED field to treat the second casualty.

    As he approached the second casualty’s location, he noticed the multiple blast injuries up the entire left side of the body. He assessed a left leg amputation, left arm amputation at the elbow, abdominal evisceration, and various other injuries. After treating the wounds, Anderson instructed another Ranger to assist in the treatment. Even though the casualty was unresponsive, Anderson made every attempt to help. His last measure was to make a vertical incision in the throat and insert a definitive airway. It was then that the casualty took his last two breaths before showing no signs of life.

    Just then, a third PPIED detonated 10 meters away from Anderson’s location resulting in a third casualty. He moved to the location and immediately noticed bilateral leg amputations. Having run out of tourniquets, Anderson applied manual pressure to the femoral arteries. Then the Air Force Para-Rescue Jumper arrived to assist with the application of the tourniquets. Shortly thereafter, the patient lost consciousness and went into respiratory distress. The PJ began the vertical incision, Anderson assisted by preparing his equipment for the cricothyroidotomy. Then another PPIED was detonated five meters from their location, throwing Anderson and the PJ from the casualty. After regaining consciousness, Anderson consulted with the PJ to ensure he could finish the procedure and moved to the fourth casualty.

    Anderson arrived at the fourth casualty who had also sustained bilateral leg amputations. He again applied manual pressure to the femoral arteries with both knees while waiting for additional tourniquets. He reached for one off of the casualty’s equipment and yelled to a fellow Ranger for another. After the tourniquets were applied, Anderson began assessing the remaining injuries to the casualty and began prepping him for the evacuation aircraft. An aid and litter team arrived at his location and with his instruction they loaded the casualty onto the litter. Anderson then accounted for the two urgent casualties, relocated the PJ to the first casualty, and moved to his element to the landing zone.

    When the aircraft had loaded the casualties, Anderson conducted a casualty handover with the flight surgeon onboard. He continued treating en route to the combat support hospital on the fourth casualty.

    Anderson praised the other Rangers and others on ground for their quick responses to help treat others. “We couldn’t have done any of this without the platoon being so good at RFR (Ranger First Responder). They were all doing an amazing job at treating on what they knew how to treat, before a medic made it over there.”

    In summary, Anderson ran throughout the objective area to four different patients without the area being cleared by EOD technicians to treat his fellow Rangers.

    “To be honest, not once until I was moving to Josh (Hargis) that I was thinking I should be careful moving around here,” he said. “I think they do a fantastic job training us, but they never train us to hold back. So when you see your buddy hurt, and there is no enemy to fight, your immediate reaction is to run to your buddy.”

    According to his nomination for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Medic of the Year, “His utter disregard for his own safety in order to treat patients was astounding, and his efforts to deftly perform intricate and complicated medical procedures with minimal equipment was incredible. Specialist Anderson directly contributed to saving two Ranger’s lives, including that of a double amputee, whom Specialist Anderson kept alive for almost two hours until the casualty evacuation helicopter could land, refusing to leave a fallen comrade despite his own life being in extreme danger.”

    ***

  • 05/05/2014 5:11 PM | Anonymous

    The Philadelphia Eagles have signed Alejandro Villanueva, a 6-foot-9 defensive lineman who spent the past four years as an active member of the United States Army and most recently served as a U.S. Army Ranger.  The Eagles announced the move Monday, saying in a news release that Villanueva signed a rookie free-agent contract.

    Villanueva played on the offensive and defensive lines and at receiver during his four-year career at Army. He was the team's leading receiver during his senior season. The 277-pound Villanueva served three tours in Afghanistan. He was recently promoted to captain.

    The Eagles watched Villanueva, 25, perform at a regional combine in Detroit last month. He last played football in 2009 for Army as a wide receiver, converting to that position before his senior season.

    Villanueva served as the Black Knights' offensive captain in 2009 and led the team in receptions (34), yards (522) and touchdowns (five). He began his career at Army as a reserve defensive lineman and transitioned to left tackle in 2008, starting all 12 games at that position as a junior.

    According to the Eagles' release, Villanueva has earned a number of honors for his service, including the Bronze Star Medal for valor; the Ranger tab; the Parachutist Badge; the Bronze Star Medal for overseas service; National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star; Global War on Terrorism Service Ribbon; NATO Medal; and Combat Infantryman's Badge and Expert Infantryman's Badge.

    Villanueva graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a Bachelor of Science in systems engineering and was commissioned into the Army in May 2010 as a lieutenant in the infantry.

     

    During his first deployment to Afghanistan, Villanueva earned the Bronze Star Medal for valor for moving forward under enemy fire to pull wounded soldiers from an isolated position, according to the Eagles' release. He later volunteered for the U.S. Army Rangers program and served two more tours in Afghanistan.

  • 04/23/2014 11:43 AM | Anonymous

    Roy Matsumoto was a small man in stature, which in some ways make his heroic exploits, boundless energy and epic journey over an unpredictable landscape marked by deprivation, racism and global military conflict seem even that much more remarkable.

    Much like the "Little Engine that Could," Matsumoto would not be denied.

    He bested the Great Depression and discrimination of his day only to find himself branded an "enemy alien" by the country of his birth, and then banished to an internment camp alongside so many other Americans of Japanese ancestry after the attack on Pearl Harbor. But at age 29, time was on his side, and Matsumoto would
    make the most of it.

    The one thing he could not overcome, however, was time itself.

    Matsumoto died Monday, April 21, at his San Juan Island home. He was 100.

    The day before, the Matsumoto family celebrated Easter Sunday with a dinner of fried chicken, a selection dear to Matsumoto's heart in that it  personified the triumph of Japanese troops in the jungles of Burma and daring role he played in helping to orchestrate that defeat, as well as the acts of bravery for which he would later earn a wealth of military awards and decorations, in addition to the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest civilian award.

    "Easter was a really good day for him," Matsumoto's daughter Karen said. "He was feeling really upbeat and vibrant. It's really a shock for all of us."

    Karen Matsumoto said that her father's health had declined rapidly in the past several weeks. Up until about two weeks ago, she said he had been riding along in the family car and helping collect donated eyeglasses on behalf of the San Juan Island Lions Club, a program he championed and had been involved in for years.

    Still, she said that her father passed away on his own terms.

    "He always said that he wanted to die here at home, watching the hummingbirds out the window," she said. "Considering all the wear and tear over years, he got a lot of mileage out of that body."

    Matsumoto is survived by his wife, Kimiko, daughters Fumi and Karen, sons-in-law Richard and John, and three grandchildren.

    Already a decorated war hero when he and his wife, Kimiko, moved to San Juan Island in the late 1990s, Matsumoto retired from the Army as a master sergeant in 1963. He was inducted into the U.S. Army "Ranger Hall of Fame" in 1993 and four years later into the "Military Intelligence Hall of Fame" as well.

    Credited with having saved his company from being overrun by a battalion of advancing Japanese troops during the siege of Burma, Matsumoto proved every ounce the definition of military hero during service to his country as part of the fabled Merrill's Marauders in WWII, putting his language skills and life at risk to safeguard those of his comrades.

    More recently, Matsumoto became the face of and central figure in an award-winning documentary that chronicles the riveting, complex story of a Japanese immigrant family torn apart by WWII. Produced by Bainbridge Island-based Stourwater Pictures, "Honor & Sacrifice: The Roy Matsumoto Story" has been featured in no fewer than seven film festivals since its release two years ago and selected "Best Short Documentary" at the 2013 Gig Harbor and 2013 Port Townsend film festivals, respectively.

    In early April, the Organization of American Historians bestowed one of its highest honors on "Honor & Sacrifice," the 2014 Erik Barnouw Award, in recognition of the film's contribution to American history. Previous Barnouw award winners include Ken Burns and Henry Hampton.

    Matsumoto was never shy about sharing his life's story and, for many, history's tapestry is much more vibrant because of it.

    "He was a total character," Karen Matsumoto said of her father, "one of a kind."

    Article Courtesy: Scott Rasmussen, Editor, Journal of the San Juan Islands; April 22, 2014

  • 04/10/2014 11:45 AM | Anonymous

    Six months after they were killed by an IED in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins and Spc. Cody J. Patterson of the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment were posthumously awarded the Bronze Star with Valor Device during a combat awards ceremony Tuesday at Fort Benning.

    Maj. Gen. H.R. McMaster, commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, also presented a Silver Star, the third-highest military decoration for valor, 10 other Bronze Stars, 33 Purple Hearts and 18 Army Commendations with Valor Device for the Rangers actions between Aug. 20 and Dec. 17. During the period, the battalion conducted more than 140 missions that killed or captured 250 enemy insurgents and leaders.

    Hawkins, 25, and Patterson, 24, were going to aid eight Rangers with a series of improvised explosive devices when they were killed Oct. 5. The soldiers, who were aware of other possible roadside bombs, entered the area to evacuate the wounded to a medevac helicopter on the ground.

    “These Rangers sacrificed themselves in an attempt to provide aid to wounded members of their assault force in dire circumstances,” the citation stated.

    Spc. Samuel Rae Crockett was awarded the Silver Star for his actions on Oct. 5 when an assault team encountered multiple roadside bombs while searching for a Taliban network leader. Eight members of the strike force were injured after three IEDs went off. Jani, a multi-purpose canine, was sent after a fleeing insurgent hiding in vegetated terrain when the enemy detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and the canine.

    First Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno, 25, assigned to the Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., went to aid a wounded soldier when she triggered an IED and died instantly.

    Moments later, Patterson stepped on a similar device. He and Hawkins were mortally wounded. Special Agent Joseph M. Peters, assigned to the 286th Military Police Detachment in Vicenza, Italy, was the fourth soldier killed as he triggered two more devices.

    After another roadside bomb detonated and left a Ranger’s right leg amputated, Crockett rendered aid to the wounded soldier and cleared a path for the helicopter landing zone to recover casualties and equipment from the battle field. He was responsible for recovering the body of Moreno.

    “Despite the imminent danger inherent to maneuvering through the IED belt, Spc. Crockett repeatedly elected to enter uncleared areas and in the process, recovered 14 total personnel,” the citation stated.

    Bronze Stars were presented to Sgt. 1st Class Moradda J. Tedesco, Sgt. 1st Class Kerry S. Wertz II, Spc. Logan T. Howard, Senior Airman Tristan S. Windle, Staff Sgt. Aaron A. Arnold, Staff Sgt. Ryan L.Flora, Staff Sgt. Richard J. Cessna, Staff Sgt. Kelan W. Horton, Staff Sgt. Zachary P. Skinner and Cpl. Joshua L. Hergis. The Rangers were cited for helping to recover wounded soldiers from the battlefield and to clear the area of explosives.

    Arnold of Medway, Ohio, said the challenge shows what soldiers are made of as Rangers.

    “I was proud to see all of my other brothers up there” said Arnold, the recipient of a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. “I’m happy to be in such a great organization. Proud to serve with fellow Rangers.”

    Courtesy: Ben Wright, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, April 8, 2014

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