Category Archives: Military

Bulldog retires from Marine Corps

WATCH: Sgt. Chesty XIV, the bulldog, retires as the Marine Corps mascot.

Source: Facebook

Pearl Harbor Commemoration ceremony set for Dec. 5

HCN NEWS SERVICES

55e883ab95977.imageTo remember the thousands of Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, and Civilians that died AND survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, the Texas Commandery of the Naval Order of the U.S. will hold its 30th annual commemoration ceremony on the deck of the Battleship USS Texas (BB-35) berthed at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site at 11:00 AM, December 5, 2015. The ceremony will last approximately one hour.

The ceremony is open to the public and access to the USS Texas is free for the ceremony. The San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site is located at 3523 Independence Parkway South, La Porte, 77571.

The keynote speaker will be Jill Allen. On December 7, 1941, Jill was 3 years old, and her father, Army Captain Loyd Jost, was a dentist at Tripler Hospital on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Captain Jost and other doctors, dentists, and nurses cared for hundreds of wounded men from the attack damaged ships at Pearl Harbor. Fortunately, none of her family was injured during the attack.

In addition to Texas Commandery Companions, other ceremony participants will be representatives from the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors who will read the names of survivors who have passed in the last two years and will assist in throwing a lei into the water as a memorial to the survivors and those who lost their lives; the Naval Sea Cadets; Sea Scouts; Civil Air Patrol Cadets; the South East Texas Patriot Guard Riders; the Invincible Eagle Band of Liberty, Texas; a Commemorative Air Force flyby (weather permitting); and, a U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard for a gun salute.

The Naval Order of the United States is the oldest American hereditary exclusively naval society. The mission of the Naval Order is to preserve, promote, celebrate, and enjoy our Nation’s sea service history and heritage through commemorating important historical events, supporting the study of naval history, and the preservation of sea service historical artifacts, documents, and monuments.

The early Sunday morning surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese Navy served as the catalyst for the United States entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters. Over 2,300 Americans were killed, and more than 1,200 were wounded when over 350 Japanese planes struck U.S. soil. A quote that is often attributed to Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, but never verified that he either said it or wrote it down, encapsulated the feelings and mood of the American people following the attack: “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

This ceremony pays tribute to both those who perished and those who survived the horrendous attack on Pearl Harbor 74 years ago on December 7, 1941.

Clear Lake Alum Shoots for the Stars

141104_futures 2015_christin mastracchio_078

Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense

Many kids in the Clear Lake area dream of a future in outer space, but for 30 year-old Christin Mastracchio, that childhood dream may become a reality very soon.

A Clear Lake native and Clear Lake High School alumna, Mastracchio knew she wanted to shoot for the stars at a young age. When she was 17 years old, her father asked her what she would pay to do for a living instead of being paid.

“I knew I loved science, math and physics. I was a cheerleader and a gymnast and grew up in awe of the space program. We moved back to Clear Lake from California specifically for the school system,” Mastracchio said.

It seemed only natural to pursue a career in the space program.

“I had read so many astronaut biographies,” she said. “I found out there were several ways to get into the Astronaut Program.”

The summer before her senior year in high school, Mastracchio was accepted into the NASA Summer High School Apprenticeship Research Program (SHARP) and was also a Lunar Rendezvous Princess at the Clear Lake Lunar Rendezvous Festival, which is dedicated to providing community based support, including scholarships for higher education, youth development and educational programs, funding for the arts and historical preservation in the Bay Area Houston/NASA area.

After high school, Mastracchio took the military path, going into the Astronautical Engineering Program at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“My time at the Air Force Academy literally was rocket science,” Mastracchio said. “We had to control satellites that were launched into orbit. They spin, so we had to stop the spinning and make sure the cameras or antennas were pointed where they needed to be pointed,” she said.

She then pursued and received her Masters degree in the same major from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Mastracchio also got trained as a pilot, and currently flies B-52s during nuclear deterrent exercises out of Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. She was the first female B-52 pilot in the United States when she started. “That really got me motivated!” she said.

Her practice for Test Pilot School paid off, when, as of last week, she received her letter of acceptance. Mastracchio will begin her yearlong training at Edwards Air Force Base beginning in July 2016. “I was so excited and surprised,” she said. “They had me fly a T-38, a C-12 and an ASK-21 glider. I was familiar with the T-38 because that’s an astronaut-training plane, and a C-12 is a six-seater, two-engine plane. But I had never flown a glider before! It was strange to think of a plane with NO engines!”

Apparently, everything Mastracchio did to prepare paid off. But pursuing her dream of becoming an astronaut is not the only thing Mastracchio is doing.

She was featured in “Futures Magazine,” which is a military recruiting magazine for high school aged kids. She has also been a keynote speaker for the Society of Women Engineers.

“There’s this misconception about math,” Mastracchio said. “It’s actually a universal language. We’re getting better at encouraging girls in STEM subjects. If someone is having problems in math, I tell her to go back and relearn the last thing she felt comfortable with and go from there. Math builds on itself. A lot of times, it’s just a mental block.”

Mastracchio’s dream is, “17 years in the making. I want to encourage girls to get into STEM at a young age. Start out college with a technical major,” she said.

Whether or not Mastracchio becomes an astronaut is undetermined, but her accomplishments so far speak the most to her encouragement of future science, technology, engineering and math students.

Pearland Resident Receives Special Veteran’s Day Surprise

Gary Moore (L) and Phil Olvera.

Gary Moore (L) and Phil Olvera.

It was a special Veteran’s Day for Pearland City Councilman Gary Moore and his family. After three years, son Phil Olvera was home from the Army.

Olvera did tours in Afghanistan during his active service; he will now be one of the front-runners if troops are called up again until he completes his obligations (assuming he doesn’t re-enlist!).

Moore and his family rented the Pearland Lion’s Club building for a small surprise party.

The party soon took on a life of its own once the community caught wind of Olvera’s homecoming. “We are so grateful and overwhelmed,” said Moore of Pearland. “I didn’t pay for anything but the hall rental. People came out of the woodwork to take care of things I hadn’t even thought of. We live in a wonderful city that we can call HOME, even though we have lived in many places.”

A military man himself, Moore and his wife, Christina, daughter Cheyenne and Olvera have had addresses in several cities in Texas and other states. “It wasn’t until we moved to Pearland that both Christina and myself said to each other, ‘We have found our hometown,'”said Moore.

You Got Me! Olvera said to friends and family.

You Got Me! Olvera said to friends and family.

Olvera was completely surprised when he walked into the hall, expecting to address Pearland Lions about serving in the military and commenting on Veteran’s Day. “You totally got me!” Olvera said.

“Cody Rogers is another vet I would like to be recognized for his outstanding service,” Olvera added. “He is a great soldier and was a fellow classmate at Pearland High.”

The Color Guard from the Pearland Police Department came to provide the colors, and Bella Hill, daughter of Greg and Amy Hill, sang the National Anthem, leaving hardly a dry eye in the hall.

Moore would like to extend a hearty THANKS to:

  • The Pearland Police Dept. Honor Guard
  • Bottomless Pit Cook Team
  • Sam’s Club Marketing Manager Jennifer Tinsely
  • Sam’s Club Store Manager Eva
  • Silver Creek Dental: Dr. Hugh Patton
  • Joe’s BBQ
  • Councilman Keith & Gabby Ordeneaux
  • Ryden Cohen
  • James McKendree
  • Sasha Costa
  • Lisa & Keith Ciaccio
  • ADDI
  • Stacey with E Glaesmann
  • Fotorny Photography
  • And everyone that attended to make the night special!

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Roger Clemens, Willie Robertson, Jennie Finch, Taylor Kitsch and more join Marcus Luttrell at PX3 Patriots Celebrity Softball National Series game

PRESS RELEASE

PX3PatriotsHOUSTON Celebrities from across the country come together for the PX3 Patriots Celebrity Softball National Series Game on October 21 at Rice University in Houston.

Willie and Korie Robertson from A&E’s hit TV series “Duck Dynasty” are scheduled to join the Lone Survivor Foundation Warriors, a team of celebrities, and play against the PX3 Patriots, a team of military veterans, including US Navy Seals, US Green Berets, honor recipients, amputee veterans, and wounded warriors.

Willie and Korie will be joining softball Olympic medalist Jennie Finch and seven time Cy Young Award winner, baseball icon Roger Clemens. Lauren Sesselmann, professional soccer player for the Houston Dash and co-producer and host of Fitness Program ‘Fit As A Pro’ will also be playing.

Taylor Kitsch, Lone Survivor actor and costar in Friday Night Lights, will also be on the field, playing alongside Mark “Oz” Geist and John “Tig” Tiegen, co-authors of 13 hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi, the book that inspired the upcoming Paramount Pictures film 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.

Founder and Chairman of the Lone Survivor Foundation, Marcus Luttrell, U.S. Navy SEAL (Ret.) and Navy Cross recipient, is scheduled to throw out the first pitch.

The event will kick off with a homerun derby at 7:00 p.m. followed by the celebrity softball game at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets are available for $10 and reserved field seats are available for $15-30. Tickets can be purchased online through Ticketmaster – www.ticketmaster.com.

This will be the inaugural game of a national celebrity softball series hosted by the PX3 Research Foundation to raise funds and awareness of its mission and other military-focused non-profits. Additional event information, including the full team rosters, can be found on the PX3 Patriots webpage, www.px3patriots.org.

For information about the PX3 Foundation, visit www.px3foundation.org.

To learn more about The Lone Survivor Foundation, visit www.lonesurvivorfoundation.org.

Astros Host On-Field Official Army Deployment Ceremony Saturday, July 18

astros-300x250This Saturday, July 18, the Houston Astros and the Astros Foundation are hosting over 300 military members and their families, as they conduct an on-field official deployment ceremony for Texas National Guard 136th Expeditionary Signal Battalion prior to the 6:10 p.m. contest vs. the Texas Rangers.  This marks the first deployment ceremony in Texas to ever take place at a major sporting event.

This deployment will be the first for the 136th Expeditionary Signal Battalion. The soldiers will depart for Fort Hood for another round of training, and then on to Kuwait and six other countries. The Houston-based signal battalion’s mission will be to provide communications capabilities to other deployed units across seven countries, including Kuwait, Jordan, The United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

In addition to the Casing of the Colors on-field ceremony, the soldiers will take part in a mobilization ceremony in Union Station Lobby beginning at 3:00 p.m. The soldiers and their families will also receive tickets to that night’s Astros vs. Rangers game free of charge. This night will mark the last one these soldiers will have with their families before they are deployed for approximately nine months.

Both the Astros vs. Rangers pregame ceremony and 6:10 p.m. contest will be broadcast overseas for our troops on the Armed Forces Network (AFN) with support from ROOT SPORTS and MLB. Fans will not only enjoy another great matchup in the chase for the Silver Boot, but will also be a part of creating a special memory for these soldiers and their families.  For ticket information, please visit astros.com/tickets or call 1-877-9ASTROS.

Saturday’s deployment ceremony is part of the Astros continuing effort to support and honor our nation’s military.

MUD 6 Dedicates Park to Medal of Honor Recipient

Brazoria County Combined Honor Guard representative Harry Gaul and Clarence Sasser

Brazoria County Combined Honor Guard representative Harry Gaul and Clarence Sasser

The MUD 6 Board of Directors, consisting of Rick King, Richard Skotak, Erich Bell, Mike Haney and L’Sheryl Hudson, hosted a dedication ceremony for the Clarence E. Sasser Park, located on Southfork Dr. and Jeske Rd., Saturday (Nov. 15).

Clarence Sasser is the recipient of a Medal of Honor for Valor, which is the highest award that can be given to a soldier, and is usually presented posthumously because the actions that merit this honor usually cost the soldier his or her life. He currently resides in Rosharon.

Sasser served as an Army Specialist Combat Medic during the Vietnam War. After a U.S. helicopter crashed, he dragged a wounded GI to cover. He ran back to render aid to others, despite heavy enemy fire from three sides. Sasser was hit in his shoulder and both legs, but dragged himself over to his brothers to help, refusing medical attention, in spite of experiencing blood loss and extreme pain. He remained there for five hours.

Sasser received his medal from President Richard Nixon on March 7, 1969 at the White House.

After the Presentation of Colors by the Brazoria County Combined Honor Guard and singing the National Anthem, MUD 6 President Rick King took the stage.

“Like I was saying to some folks before the festivities, having a living Medal of Honor winner is very rare,” said King.

“In other words, the actions that someone takes to earn that medal usually results in giving their lives when they’re taking care of someone else. It’s an honor to have [Sasser] here today, not only to put a face to a name, but to be able to say thank you.”

After reading Sasser’s citation, King introduced the guest of honor.

“It’s a good day for a dedication,” Sasser joked, referring to the gray, cold weather. “There’s no sweat running down anyone’s face.

I want to thank each and every one of you for coming out for this occasion. I categorize it as giving me flowers before I go in a wooden box,” he added.

Sasser Park was created from a large detention pond designed to give flood relief to the area neighborhoods, including Silvercreek, Fieldstone and Silverlake. It features a pavilion, barbecue pits, play structures, a soccer field, a baseball diamond and a jogging trail.

“I like the park. It’s a very picturesque park, meant to serve particular neighborhoods and we need more of them around town. They are useful when we get those downpours that we do. Having the baseball field, the soccer field and whatever else families use is what I call ‘grassroots.’ I like to think of myself as a grassroots type of person,” said Sasser.

“People always ask me about the Medal of Honor. They always ask why. Well, somebody had to do something or we were all going to die. When something has to be done, I think it falls on your shoulders to do it. You have to look at it from the point of how it was. We ate together, we slept together, we played cards and dominoes together. They’re your guys. The rest of the company had either been killed or wounded in action so somebody had to do something. When you’re faced with that situation, step up and do it. Don’t shrink back. I would personally rather die trying to do something than laying there cowering in fear,” said Sasser.

There are 79 Medal of Honor recipients still living in the U.S. from World War II, Vietnam, Korea and the more recent wars in the Middle East.

According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website, the Navy Medal of Honor was the first one established.

“On December 9, 1861 Iowa Senator James W. Grimes introduced S. No. 82 in the United States Senate, a bill designed to ‘promote the efficiency of the Navy’ by authorizing the production and distribution of ‘medals of honor.’ On December 21st the bill was passed, authorizing 200 such medals be produced ‘which shall be bestowed upon such petty officers, seamen, landsmen and marines as shall distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action and other seamanlike qualities during the present war (Civil War).’ President Lincoln signed the bill and the (Navy) Medal of Honor was born.

Two months later on February 17, 1862, Massachusetts Senator Henry Wilson introduced a similar bill, this one to authorize ‘the President to distribute medals to privates in the Army of the United States who shall distinguish themselves in battle.’ When President Abraham Lincoln signed S.J.R. No. 82 on July 12, 1862, the Army Medal of Honor was born.”

The dedication ceremony concluded with fanfare and attendees, including newly elected County Commissioner Ryan Cade, took advantage of the barbecue lunch provided by Joe’s Barbecue in Alvin, the bounce houses, popcorn and cotton candy provided by Manvel Moonwalks and the many amenities of Clarence E. Sasser Park.

For more information on the Congressional Medals of Honor, visit CMOHS.org. To learn more about Brazoria County MUD 6, visit BCMUD6.org.

Source: The Pearland Journal

Thank You Veterans

VetDay

Thank you to all of our veterans past, present and future!

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” -Ronald Reagan

Veterans are eligible to get FREE brisket and sausage today at Killen’s BBQ (3613 E Broadway St.). For more freebies, visit http://abc13.com/society/veterans-day-freebies-and-discounts/381904/.

Wings Over Houston Touches Down at Ellington

5452b4a4e3806.imageThe sky over Ellington Airport will be ablaze with aircraft beginning on Saturday (Nov 1) and continuing through Sunday (Nov 2) with the Commemorative Air Force Wings Over Houston Air Show.

The show features the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron. The flight demonstration will feature choreographed maneuvers of grace and speed in six F/A 18 Hornets, along with the large, yet elegant, C-130 named “Fat Albert.”

The U.S. Marine Corps also participates in the Demonstration Squadron. The pilot of the C-130 is U.S. Marine Major Dusty Cook, who hails from East Bernard, TX.

“The team itself is comprised of Marines and Sailors, and our full-time job is to be a Sailor or a Marine in the fleet,” said Cook. “This is sort of a detour if you will; an additional duty that you can do. I am a C-130 pilot in the fleet. This is something that I applied for and was selected for to do this for three years. So nobody gets to do this forever. After your time is up, you go back to the fleet.”

Cook has been on two tours in Afghanistan, both on the ground and in the air.

“I like this opportunity because I get to be a storyteller. Not just for me, but for all of the men and women who have served. It’s a great way to educate people,” Cook said.

“This is Houston and everybody loves airplanes around here. And there’s this awesome museum. I want everybody to come out here, not just to watch me, but also to come meet everybody else. I love the state of Texas. So come down and watch the show. The gates open at 8 a.m. We go on at 3 p.m., but that doesn’t mean that there’s not a whole lot of entertainment between 8 and 3. There’s actually some great entertainment. Shawn Tucker’s here. I don’t know how he does what he does [aerobatics] in his airplane!” Cook added.

Other featured performers in the show include the MV-22 Osprey. “With the speed and range of a turboprop, the maneuverability of a helicopter and the ability to carry 24 Marine combat troops twice as fast and five times farther than previous helicopters, the Osprey greatly enhances the advantages Marines have over their enemies. The Osprey’s impact was felt immediately upon its arrival in Iraq. Commenting on its advanced expeditionary capabilities and staggering operational reach, a top Marine commander went as far as to say it turned his battle space ‘from the size of Texas into the size of Rhode Island,’” according to the website.

The Vietnam Demonstration, “Will take aircraft from crews of the Commemorative Air Force, Vietnam War Flight Museum, Collings Foundation Cavanaugh Flight Museum, military ground troop re-enactors from the 6th Cavalry, with the National U.S. Forces Museum with lots of pyrotechnics,” according to the website.

The Air Force Heritage Flight contains, “Performances of modern military aircraft flying with World War II, Korea or Vietnam era fighters dramatically display USAF airpower history and honor the brave men and women who have or are currently serving, in the USAF. The Heritage Flight is flown by select civilian and military pilots who train together to learn the characteristics and differences between the modern jets and the prop-driven warbirds,” according to the website.

The website adds, “Steve Hinton, our 2014 Lloyd. P Nolen Lifetime Achievement in Aviation recipient will be flying in the F8F Bearcat instead of the F-86 in honor of the naval theme show this year.

The North American F-86 Sabre (Sabrejet) was a transonic jet fighter aircraft. The Sabre is best known as the United States’s first swept wing fighter, which could counter the similarly-winged Soviet MiG-15 in high-speed dogfights over the skies of the Korean War. Considered one of the best and most important fighter aircraft in the Korean War, the F-86 is also rated highly in comparison with fighters of other eras. The Sabre proved versatile and adaptable, and continued as a front-line fighter in numerous air forces until retired by the Bolivian Air Force in 1994.”

Other performances include MIG-17F- Randy Ball/Fighter Jets Inc., Tora! Tora! Tora! Commemorative Air Force, a WW II Airpower Demo, the U.S. Coast Guard Helicopter Dolphin MH65D, and aerobatics by Sean D Tucker – Team Oracle, David Martin/Breitling Air Shows, Matt Chapman Air Shows and Debbie Rihn-Harvey.

The show also includes the Shockwave Jet Truck, which speeds down the runway at 300 mph, the RE/MAX Skydive Team and Radio Controlled Aircraft Demonstrations.

Emmy Award winning entertainer and pilot Rob Reider will be announcing the Airshow, which was choreographed by award-winning Air Boss Ralph Royce.

The Commemorative Air Force produces the Wings Over Houston Airshow, which is a non-profit organization. Its mission is, “To promote patriotism, awareness of former and current military assets protecting our nation and the world; to perpetuate the spirit in which such combat aircraft were flown in the defense of our nation, in the memory and hearts of all Americans; to honor men & women who served and currently are serving in the military and those based here in Houston; and to honor and perpetuate the memory of those men and women whose personal sacrifices during the six years between 1939-1945 resulted in the preservation of freedom for Americans and the liberation of those suffering from repression and hatred,” according to the website.

For more information about the Airshow, any of its performers or to buy tickets, visit WingsOverHouston.com.

Source: Pearland Journal

Pearland Veterans Day Walk & BBQ Nov 8

Veterans-Day-Coin-2014-side2-300x300Join us in honoring our service men and women. Back from the battlefield, but for many the battles continue on the inside as they & their families face PTSD, depression & other challenges. Show them they are not alone.

Proceeds benefit the William Beaumont Army Medical Center and Pearland VFW Post #7109.

The 5K walk begins at 9:30 am on Saturday, November 8 on the field behind the Pearland Natatorium. Check-In and registration ends at 9:15 am. The BBQ lunch begins around 12:30 pm at VFW Post #7109 located nearby at 4204 W. Walnut. The registration fee for the walk only is $15 per person. If you would like to attend the walk and the BBQ lunch, the fee is $20 per person. Additional BBQ lunch tickets can be purchased from the VFW.

Register here online!

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For more information, please call Leo at (603) 801-5662 or email nancy.kozanecki@hikeformentalhealth.org.