Category Archives: Military

Aboard the USS John C. Stennis

The Grapevine Source thanks all of our military men and women for their service! The Houston Chronicle recently featured this young Navy Recruit from Pearland, Texas, which is just 15 miles south of Houston. Thank you for all you do, Alixandra!

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Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jarrod A. Schad, USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) / U.S. Navy

U.S. Navy Seaman Recruit Alixandra Garcia, from Houston, fakes down line on the fantail aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) while pulling out of Manama, Bahrain on March 28, 2019.

The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.

The Oscars forgot R. Lee Ermey in this years Memoriam

By James Barber/Military.com
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R. Lee Ermey

Marine Corps veteran and beloved character actor R. Lee Ermey was missing from the “In Memoriam” segment of the 2019 Academy Awards telecast.

Ermey, who passed away in April 2018, is best remembered for his role as Gunny Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s classic movie “Full Metal Jacket,” a legendary performance that should have made him a lock to be included in the video segment.

Ermey also played memorable roles in “Se7en,” “Mississippi Burning,” “The X-Files,” “Toy Story 2” and that 2003 remake of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” He also hosted the TV shows “Mail Call” and “Lock ‘N Load With R. Lee Ermey.”

Read more from WeAreTheMighty…

‘Eternally missed’: Marines identify 5 KC-130J crew members killed in midair collision off Japanese coast

Military officials have identified the five KC-130J crew members killed in a midair collision off the coast of Japan on Dec. 6.

Lt. Col. Kevin R. Herrmann, 38, Maj. James M. Brophy, 36, Staff Sgt. Maximo Alexander Flores, 27, Cpl. William C. Ross, 21, and Cpl. Daniel E. Baker, 21, were killed when their KC-130J collided with an F/A-18.

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From left: Staff Sgt. Maximo Alexander Flores, 27, Lt. Col. Kevin R. Herrmann, 38, Cpl. Daniel E. Baker, 21, Cpl. William C. Ross, 21, and Maj. James M. Brophy, 36, were killed when their KC-130J collided with an F/A-18 on Dec. 6.

The two pilots, Herrmann and Brody, and aircrew members Flores, Ross, and Baker were assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, out of the Marine air station in Iwakuni, Japan.

Read more from Marine Corps Times…

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

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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