CIB Badge

Of all the Medals Upon our Chest From the Battles and War we knew, The one admired as THE VERY BEST
Is the one of Infantry Blue. It is only a rifle upon a wreath,
So why should it mean so much?
It is WHAT IT TOOK TO EARN IT
That gives it that Magic Touch. To earn this special accolade
You faced the enemy's fire
Whether you survived or not
God dialed that one desired.
For those of us who served the cause
It is the
COMBAT INFANTRYMAN'S BADGE...
THAT REALLY TELLS THE STORY

CIB Badge

Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

65- Reflections from a Combat Infantryman- receiving Bronze Star after more than 40 years later

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Click here to listen to the audio episode.

 In April of 2012, Tony Martinez finally received the recognition and award for his service during the Vietnam War — some 42 years after the incident for which the BRONZE STAR medal with the “V” device for Valor  was given.

Tony currently serves as the Commander of Division 4 of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association. His memories from his days in Vietnam with Bravo Company Recon (a LRRP outfit) in the 11th Light Infantry Brigade of the 23rd Infantry Division “Americal” still haunt him for the loss of his comrades-in-arms, his buddies and his “brothers.”

However, as you will hear in this audio episode of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association Podcast, Tony explains what the medal means to him — even after 42 years since he earned it.

As you will hear in this audio episode, there is also honor given to those 3,417 Texas who died in Vietnam with the 2014 Dedication of the Texas Vietnam Veterans Monument, located at the Texas State Capitol building grounds in Austin. And Tony has participated as part of the Honor Guard for events that have led up to the final dedication of such a memory to those whose lives were taken during the Vietnam War from the state of Texas.

Our thanks to Tony for his service and dedication and heroism, for we know as CIB recipients what it means to have earned this medal and the suffering, pain and danger that accompanied it.

Copyright (c) 2013, Matrix Solutions Corporation and the Combat Infantrymen’s Association, H21 Southern Branch, Austin Chapter, Division 4. all rights reserved.

 

64- Airborne Infantryman & WWII veteran Walter Hughes earned his CIB in Holland

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

To listen to the audio podcast, select this link.

In this episode, we highlight the story of Walter Hughes, a World War II Combat Infantryman and Paratrooper.

At 18 years old, he jumped from a C47 Aircraft behind the German enemy lines during Operation Market Garden, the invasion of Holland by the American, British and Polish forces on 17 September 1944. He was also in the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division (also known as the “Devils in Baggy Pants.”

He was one of the paratroopers that made the daylight assault on Nijmegen bridge across the Waal River. This heroic, but costly, action was depicted in the 1977 motion picture, A Bridge Too Far.

Walter Hughes joins the other 2 members that we have highlighted in this podcast series for their heroism and bravery in combat when they were Airborne Combat Infantrymen of the 82nd Airborne Division, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, and who also made the suicide daylight assault on the Nigmegen bridge:

Darrell G. Harris, who made 3 combat jumps with the 82nd Airborne (Sicily, Salerno and Holland), as well as the Anzio beach landing and fought in the Battle of the Bulge;

and

– the late Al Essig, who made all 4 combat jumps with the 82nd Airborne Division (Sicily, Salerno, Normandy and Holland), and who was a prisoner of war in late 1944 until 1945.

We have highlighted these 2 WWII Veterans in earlier episodes of this podcast. They also were the first to have earned the CIB (Combat Infantryman’s Badge) in 1943 with their combat jumps.

The story of Walter Hughes and his trip into combat during Operation Market Garden in September of 1944 is told in a 22-minute video at this URL:

http://nralifeofduty.tv/patriot-profiles/video/walter-hughes-a-veteran-s-memories/list/a-veterans-memories

 

(by the way, we thank www.nralifeofduty.tv for publishing and sharing on the Internet this video for all to view)

As a final note, we remind you that Darrell G Harris had written his story in his book, CASABLANCA TO VE-DAY: A PARATROOPER’S MEMOIRS. This goes into detail about his enlistment into the US Army, his training as a paratrooper, and his combat experiences in Africa and Europe with the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division.

We honor the WWII veterans who are still able to share their stories and camaraderie with us, as they are now in their twilight years. It is fitting that we salute them during this month of November, 2013, especially in memory of Veterans Day.

Copyright (c) 2013, Matrix Solutions Corporation and www.nralifeofduty.tv. All rights reserved.

63- The American Infantry in Vietnam: “How did we get such good men?”

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Select this link to listen to the audio episode from your browser.

The Combat Infantryman in the Vietnam War went through a terrible ordeal, as you will hear in this audio episode, which is a repurposed audio narration from the article by David W. Taylor.  He was an infantry platoon leader with Charlie Company, 5th/46th Infantry Bn., 198th Light Infantry Brigade of the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal) in 1969.

He wrote this article titled “The American Infantry in Vietnam: ‘How did we get such good men?’ that appeared in the June, 2013, issue of American Legion Magazine, Vol. 174, No. 6, pages 20-28, incl.

In addition to the daily dangers and horrors of fighting an elusive enemy — both in the NVA and the VietCong — the Combat Infantrymen suffered at the hands of Nature in the jungles, rice paddies, plains and mountains of the Southeast Asian terrain. They also tolerated the heat, as well as the burden of the heavy loads they bore on their backs. They also dealt with the feeling of emptiness that overwhelmed them from the loneliness of the missions, and also from the reality that there would be no victory in the War.

As you will hear, “Victory” meant going home alive.

As you will hear in this audio episode, David W. Taylor explains how the Vietnam Combat Infantryman suffered from more casualties, as well as more days of average combat than any other war before it.

But the pride that Taylor had shows in the question that he asks about the Infantrymen in Vietnam who kept on struggling and completing their missions:

“How did we get such good men?”

To read the entire article,  select this link for the pdf file.

or

To listen to the article in another player,

Select this link to listen to the audio episode from your browser.

Copyright (c) 2013, David W. Taylor and the American Legion Magazine, Vol. 174, No. 6, June 2013, pages 20-28.

62- Veterans Day and Holiday Season shared with CG

Monday, December 24th, 2012

In this episode, we deliver to you the events in which some of the members of H21 Southern Branch, Austin Chapter, of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association participated: The end-of-year meeting in Austin, Veterans Day celebration and the honor of attending the CG reception at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

On 11 November 2012, Tony Martinez and Bobby Briscoe of the CIB Association Austin Chapter joined the 82nd Airborne Division Association, as they marched together for the Austin Veterans Day Parade and ceremony at the south steps of the Texas State Capitol. Meanwhile, in San Antonio, D.G. Harris participated in that city’s Veterans Day Parade as he rode in his Roadster. D.G. is a member of the San Antonio Parades committee.

Then, on 8 December 2012, the chapter met for the last meeting of 2012. Tony Martinez and Fred Castaneda represented the chapter in this pot-luck Christmas-theme meeting. It was good to see John Torres also return from his heart surgery which he underwent earlier in the year. Spouses and significant others were also invited, and so after the meeting, a pot-luck lunch was the center of a good social hour and sharing for the holiday season.

And finally, on 15 December 2012, Fred Castaneda and D.G. Harris (the chapter’s senior veteran member from WWII) accompanied Matt Rayson (our comrade from the 82nd Airborne Division Association) to attend the CG Reception, hosted by LTG William B. Caldwell, IV (the chapter’s senior active duty member). We were honored and privileged to meet with LTG Caldwell and his staff and friends to share our holiday spirit and thank him for his support of our organization.

The schedule for the 2013 meetings will be delivered to CIB members in the January issue of the newsletter, as soon as the locations and dates have been confirmed.

Copyright (c) 2012, Combat Infantrymen’s Association, H21 Southern Branch, Division 4, Austin Chapter. Photo, copyright US Army North, Fort Sam Houston, taken by Sgt. Lee Ezzell, Command Photojournalist, US Army North.

55- Vietnam: the ‘Helicopter War’ for Combat Infantrymen

Monday, December 24th, 2012

For the combat infantryman, mobility and transport are critical. If the infantryman is part of an Airborne Unit (such as in WWII, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan or Korea), then reaching their objective would mean jumping in by parachute or riding in a glider. If  the infantryman is in an armored or mechanized unit, it would mean getting to the combat area by land vehicle. And so on.

But during the Vietnam War, that all changed. The mode of transport to and from the jungles, the rice paddies and mountains in South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia was the ‘CHOPPER’ — that is, the helicopter. Thus, this 10-year conflict was known as “the helicopter war.”

This audio narration of an article from Vietnam Magazine (Volume 22, No. 2 issue) focuses on the casualty rates of both the helicopter aircraft, as well as the men who flew them and their crews.

For the combat infantryman, however, the helicopter was his salvation, as this was his only way out of  combat engagements or missions. It was his safety-net. It was also his medi-vac flight out of harm’s way and back to the REAR and survival at the aid station or hospital (commonly referred to as “dust-offs”). Many wounded combat infantrymen owe their lives to the brave pilots who flew these choppers.

We deliver this audio narration from the viewpoint of the combat infantryman, who used these choppers as their vehicles when they were taken from the base camp to the “hot LZs” or to the delivery point in the paddies or mountains. The choppers were the life-saving miracles from the extraction point back to the REAR, and that gave the combat  infantryman another day of living.

In this article by David F. Crosby, we see how the helicopter technology during the 1960s improved, as the enemy found multiple ways of attacking, ambushing and engaging the choppers to deal them death-blows. Yes, over 46 per cent of the helicopters flown in Vietnam were shot down or destroyed in combat operations.

As you will hear in this audio narration, every means and tactic was employed by both the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) and VC (Viet Cong) — from booby-trapping the LZs to using surface-to-air man-portable missiles. However, the American helicopter pilots– as well as the combat infantrymen that delivered security for them with patrols– also adjusted and developed tactics as counter-measures to the enemy threats.

And the U.S. never gave up control of the skies in South Vietnam during their role in combat.

Copyright (c) 2009, Vietnam Magazine, Vol. 22, No. 2, pages 20-27. All rights reserved.

61- Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans and Airborne Combat Infantryman at 91 years old

Monday, November 5th, 2012

(Editor’s note: There is no audio episode for this post, as the narrator was suffering from respiratory illness. As a Vietnam Veteran, he was suffering from complications of respiratory problems from Agent Orange exposure while a combat infantryman in Vietnam)

_________________________________________________

ALL ARE WELCOME TO ‘WELCOME HOME, VIETNAM VETERANS’ EVENT:

On Wednesday, 7 November 2012, an event that is sponsored by Fort Sam Houston will honor and “WELCOME HOME, VIETNAM VETERANS.”  This will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War.

As you may know, the 82nd Airborne Division fought in Vietnam from 1968 for a couple of years.

All are welcome – Vietnam Veterans, friends, family, loved ones, significant others, etc.

A reception will be held in the Quadrangle at Fort Sam Houston after the formal event on the Staff Post Parade Field. The start time for the event will be 4:00 p.m. (1600 hrs.)

_________________________________________________

 

 BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION FOR D.G. HARRIS HELD AT DROP ZONE CAFÉ:

On Monday, 15 October 2012, at 12:00 noon, there was a BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION FOR DARRELL G. HARRIS, our senior Veteran member of the  chapter of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association in Division 4.

Over 20 invitees attended this celebration with camaraderie at the DROP ZONE CAFÉ in San Antonio, Texas. D.G. Harris turned 91 years old on the 15th of October of 2012.

LTG William B. Caldwell, IV, our senior active duty member of H21 Southern Branch Chapter, was the driving force in sponsoring this event, LTG Caldwell personally presented DG Harris with a gift (a special book signed by the author). Thanks goes to Major Crispin Burke at Fort Hood, Texas,  for coordinating this celebration for the chapter.

Also in attendance was MG Guy S. Meloy (Ret.). Both MG Meloy and LTG Caldwell were past Division Commanders of the 82nd Airborne Division.

This made the event more personal and memorable for D.G. Harris.

As you may know, DG Harris was one of the first Combat Infantry paratroopers in WWII with the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) of the  82nd Airborne Division. DG made 3 combat jumps (Sicily, Salerno and Holland), as well as an Anzio beach assault and a critical defensive stand in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. He was the among the first to receive the CIB medal in for his combat parachute jump in Sicily in 1943, followed by all the rest of his participation in combat in Europe.

We know that many of you have asked about D.G.’s book, CASABLANCA TO VE-DAY: A PARATROOPER’S MEMOIRS. DG Harris still has copies available for those who wish to purchase them (each copy $7 US). Please refer to episode 12 within this podcast series for details to contact DG Harris for a copy.

Tony Martinez, Commander of Division 4 and H21 Southern Branch, thanked D.G. Harris for his selfless service in WWII and congratulated him during the celebration of his 91st birthday.

Copyright (c) 2012, Matrix Solutions Corporation.

60 – What the CIB means to Green Beret soldiers during Vietnam

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

What does the CIB mean to combat veterans who were Green Beret Special Forces during the Vietnam war?

We get answers to this question from both Jon Ker and James Savell– Combat Infantrymen who earned the CIB after they volunteered to go to Vietnam as Airborne Special Forces.

This interview took place several days prior to the Lifetime Achievement recognition event at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, which was hosted by the Commanding General of US Army North – 5th Army, LTG William B. Caldwell, IV.

During this event, both Jon Ker and James Savell presented the 1st annual AL ESSIG AWARD to Darrell G. Harris (a WWII Airborne Combat Infantryman who had 3 combat jumps, a combat beach landing at Anzio and fought in the Battle of the Bulge). This award recognizes a local hero who served as an Airborne Combat Infantryman and served as a role model for Infantrymen and Paratroopers.

As you will hear in this audio episode, both men had different reasons for wanting to join the Special Forces and wear the coveted Green Beret back in the sixties.

Jon Ker had the incentive to become a Special Forces Green Beret soldier from the song by SSgt. Barry Sadler in the sixties called “The Ballad of the Green Beret.” And Jim Savell was already in the Army as an enlisted man who kept volunteering to become a Green Beret and go to Vietnam.

 

Copyright (c) 2012, Matrix Solutions Corporation. All rights reserved.

59- Bill Cross – National Commander, Combat Infantrymen’s Association

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

In this episode, we deliver an interview with the National Commander of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association, Bill Cross.

This interview took place in San Antonio,  Texas, just prior to the Lifetime Achievement Award event for CIB member, Darrell G. Harris.

As you will hear in this audio episode, Bill Cross comes from a military family whose background is WWII Navy in the Pacific theatre. However, it is interesting to note how this young man who once aspired to be a Navy Pilot then joined the US Army, became an officer and volunteered to go to Vietnam during the height of the War. His service as an advisor while in combat is greatly appreciated.

Bill also shares with us his goals and objectives as the new leader of the CIB Association, and what the CIB means to him personally.

The day after this interview, Bill Cross joined Tony Martinez (commander of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association, H21 Southern Branch of Division 4 in Austin, at the event in Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where we honored a WWII Airborne Combat Infantryman, Darrell G. Harris.

This veteran made 3 combat jumps (Sicily, Salerno and Holland); after his 3rd Bn. of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division took the Grave bridge, he crossed the Waal River to take the Nijmegen Bridge (which daylight crossing was immortalized in the movie, A BRIDGE TOO FAR). He also made a beach landing for the battle of Anzio, and he survived the deadly standoff at St. Vith in the Battle of the Bulge.

As one of the first infantrymen to earn the CIB in the US Army (in 1943), Darrell G. Harris had been a member of the CIB Association since 2008. By the way, D. G. Harris also wrote a book of his experiences in WWII called CASABLANCA TO VE-DAY: A PARATROOPER’S MEMOIRS.

During the presentation of awards and recognition, Bill Cross delivered to D. G. Harris a life membership in the Combat Infantryman’s Association.

And at the end of the event, Bill Cross announced a lifetime membership to the Combat Infantrymen’s Association to the Fort Sam Houston host, LTG William B. Caldwell, IV. Besides earning the CIB, LTG Caldwell had been the Assistant Division Commander of the 25th Infantry Division, as well as the Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division, where he served in Operations Desert Storm, OEF and OIF in the Middle East. LTG Caldwell is now the Commanding General of US Army North – 5th Army, whose headquarters are at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.

If you would like to see the many photos taken at that event, including those of CIB members Bill Cross, Tony Martinez, Al Pike, Fred Castaneda, John Ker, Roger Gilmore, D.G. Harris and LTG Caldwell himself, you can see them at this web site:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/usarnorth/sets/72157630561144402/

With Bill’s background as a leader, and with his spirit and dedication to those who have earned the CIB, we know that our organization is in good hands. And we wish Bill the best in the future.

 

Copyright (c) 2012, Matrix Solutions Corporation. All rights reserved.

58- Active duty General Officer receives lifetime CIB Assoc. membership – LTG Caldwell

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

A special event was held at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, on 21 August 2012, in which a presentation was made to an active duty General officer for the CIB Association lifetime membership award. This was accomplished by Division 4, H21 Southern Branch (Austin Chapter)  of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association.

 

 LTG William B. Caldwell, IV is the current Commanding General of US Army North (5th Army) and Fort Sam Houston. In his office, the CIB Association delivered to him a plaque– along with the lifetime membership– as a token of gratitude for all his service to the nation:

service to the troops who served under him;

-service to others in humanitarian responsibilities and results;  and

-service in honoring the combat veterans that came before him that Airborne and Infantrymen.

Presenting the plaque with the dedication to LTG Caldwell’s service were:

Tony Martinez, the Commander of Division 4 and H21 Southern Branch, Austin Chapter;

Darrell G. Harris, a WWII veteran who was an Airborne Combat Infantryman. Darrell was standing in for Bill Cross, the National Commander (who could not be present). Also, D.G. Harris was one of the very first combat infantrymen in the US Army to earn the CIB, as his combat experience started with Operation Husky (the invasion of Sicily) in 1943. Not only did D.G. Harris make a parachute combat jump into Sicily, but also later at Salerno and in Holland (during Operation Market-Garden)–in total, 3 combat jumps. And D.G. also fought in the beach landing at Anzio, as well as the deadly standoff in the Battle of the Bulge.

As the senior veteran member of the CIB Association, D.G. Harris had the pleasure of presenting this to the most senior officer on active duty, LTG. Caldwell; and

Fred Castaneda, the Public Affairs Officer for the CIB Association, H21 Southern Branch Austin, Texas, chapter.

As you will hear in this audio episode, the last words of the engraved inscription on the plaque tell it all — LTG Caldwell is a “soldier’s general” who accomplished his missions and took care of his men.

We salute LTG Caldwell and congratulate him for this recognition well deserved.  “We welcome him as a lifetime member of our unique BAND OF BROTHERS.”

Copyright (c) 2012, Matrix Solutions Corporation and the Combat Infantrymen’s Association. All rights reserved.

57- WWII CIB recipient honored for his service – D.G. Harris

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

For Airborne Paratrooper Combat Infantrymen in all campaigns, there are those who “set the standard” of service, dedication, contribution and heroism. This episode describes the honor given to Darrell G. Harris— a WWII veteran who was a combat infantryman and a paratrooper who served almost 3 years in Europe with the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment (also known as “the Devils in Baggy Pants”) of the 82nd Airborne Division.

At Fort Sam Houston, Texas, in the office of LTG William B. Caldwell, IV, who is the Commanding General of US Army North (5th Army), an award and presentation ceremony took place on 13 July 2012.

The CIB Association National Commander, Bill Cross, attended the event and presented D. G. Harris with a lifetime membership in the Combat Infantrymen’s Association (previously, D.G. Harris had been a veteran member of the Association since 2008). Bill was assisted in delivering this membership award by Tony Martinez, the Commander of H21 Southern Branch, Austin, Texas Chapter in Division 4.

 

The other presentations of awards, certificates and achievements came from a variety of Veterans organizations, as well as some from active duty.

Among the Veterans groups represented were:

– The 82nd Airborne Division Association, Alamo Chapter in San Antonio, Texas — Chapter commander Fred Castaneda; chapter Trustees Al Pike and Matt Rayson; and 82nd Airborne Division veteran Dennis Dezso; and 82nd Airborne Division Veteran from the 504th PIR, Jason Savell;

– The Combat Infantryman’s Association — National Commander Bill Cross; and local chapter Commander Tony Martinez of H21 Southern Branch, Division 4;

– The Special Forces Association, Chapter 93 in Waco, Texas — Commander James Savell and Secretary Jon Ker— who delivered to D. G. Harris the presentation of the 1st Annual AL ESSIG AWARD for outstanding service by an Airborne Infantryman to his country;

– The Americal Division Veterans Association — Association Adjutant Roger Gilmore;

– The media (in the form of the PAO of Ft. Sam Houston and the 5th Army or US Army North, as well as the journalists and photographers from the San Antonio Express newspaper.

The Active Duty organizations that also honored D.G. Harris with lifetime achievement awards were:

– The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina — with Major Roger Wang from the unit delivering in person the plaque (since D.G. Harris spent his time with the 82nd Airborne Division in the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment);

and finally,

– The event host, LTG William B. Caldwell, IV, Commander of US Army North (5th Army), and his administrative officer, Major Crispin Burke from Fort Sam Houston, Texas;

Right after the presentation of awards to D. G. Harris, the CIB Association National Commander, Bill Cross, made an announcement to the host of the event, LTG Caldwell, that this Active Duty commanding officer will receive a lifetime membership, as well, to the Combat Infantrymen’s Association. LTG Caldwell is also a CIB recipient from his conflicts in Operations Desert Storm, OEF and OIF.

The event also had the attendance of LTG Caldwell’s staff, as they also thanked D. G. Harris for his selfless service. After the presentations were concluded and the press and Media had interviewed the participants and taken photos, the members of the Veterans organizations–along with Major Wang and Major Burke–met at the Drop Zone Cafe right outside Fort Sam Houston for a luncheon meeting and a time to socialize with other guests.

By the way, the Drop Zone Cafe is a shrine of memorabilia and photos that honors the Airborne Soldier — from the 1940 Test Platoon to the present day. At this meeting,  the final honors to Darrell G. Harris took place, and many of the attendees were looking to get a copy of his book.

The only sad part on this day was the absence of one of D. G. Harris’s comrade-in-arms, Al Essig, who passed away on 18 June 2012. However, with the Special Forces Association, Chapter 93, Al’s service will be remembered with a yearly presentation of the AL ESSIG AWARD to a deserving Airborne Infantryman.

Our salute to Darrell G. Harris, our chapter hero who set the standard as a Combat Infantryman and Paratrooper.

If you would like to see the photographs from that event, you can go to this site by this link:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/usarnorth/sets/72157630561144402/

Copyright (c) 2012, Matrix Solutions Corporation and the Combat Infantrymen’s Association and the 82nd Airborne Division Association. All rights reserved.