Pfc. Christina Fuentes Montenegro and other Marines from Delta Company, Infantry Training Battalion , School of Infantry-East, receive final instructions prior to assaulting an objective during the Infantry Integrated Field Training Exercise aboard Camp Geiger, N.C., Nov 15, 2013. Montenegro is one of three female Marines to be the first women to graduate infantry training with the battalion. Delta Company is the first company at ITB with female students as part of a measured, deliberate and responsible collection of data on the performance of female Marines when executing existing infantry tasks and training events, the Marine Corps is soliciting entry-level female Marine volunteers to attend the eight week basic infantryman and infantry rifleman training courses at ITB.
238th Marine Corps birthday message:
The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen James F. Amos, and the SgtMaj of the Marine Corps, SgtMaj Micheal P. Barrett, speak to Marines and Sailors about the timeless Marine qualities of courage and perseverance by looking back on the landing on Tarawa in WWII, the Battle of Hue City during Vietnam, and crossing the berm into Iraq during the War on Terror. Marine determination, grit and valor make the Corps the ready force America relies on in times of crisis.
William D. Swenson was awarded the Medal of Honor Tuesday for his “extraordinary heroism” in a lengthy battle against the Taliban in the Ganjgal valley near the Pakistan border on Sept. 8, 2009, which claimed the lives of five Americans, 10 Afghan army troops and an interpreter.
At the time, Swenson was an embedded trainer and mentor with the Afghan National Security Forces in Kunar Province in eastern Afghanistan. He risked his life to recover bodies and help save fellow troops.
Some of Swenson’s actions were captured in a helmet-cam video. President Obama, in announcing the award at the White House, noted this may be the first time a recipient’s actions were captured on film. It was also the second time in nearly a half-century that two survivors of the same battle were given the Medal of Honor. Another man who fought in the battle, Marine Cpl. Dakota Meyer, was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2011.
What was meant to be a final gathering of heroes Tuesday instead became a final victory for dozens of World War II combat vets who refused to let the government’s budget battle block a visit to their memorial in the nation’s capital.
With bagpipers playing “Amazing Grace,” nearly 200 veterans from Mississippi and Iowa swept past barricades and security guards at the World War II Memorial in Washington in order to keep a commitment to visit the site, which was closed today due to the partial government shutdown. The veterans, in their 80s and 90s, were accompanied by Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., a former Marine who earlier vowed not to let the National Park Police keep them from a planned visit to the open-air monument.
“Well, I would have been so down-and-out if I got all the way up here and wasn’t able to get in,” Navy veteran Oscar Leroy Russell, 90, who is blind after he suffered a stroke, told FoxNews.com.
Some veterans on hand wiped away tears when they saw a crowd waving the American flag as they came out of their bus.
“These men and women didn’t cower to the Japanese and Germans,” Palazzo said. “I don’t think they’re about to let a few National Park Police stand in their way.”
Palazzo, who was joined by several other members of Congress, moved the barricades at the memorial and police did not try to stop the veterans’ access.
“I’m not going to enforce the ‘no stopping or standing’ sign for a group of 90 World War II veterans,” a U.S. Park Police officer, who declined to give his name, told The Washington Post. “I’m a veteran myself.”
The veterans are traveling as part of Honor Flight, a program that enables World War II veterans to partake in an expense-paid trip to view the memorial. Tuesday’s trip is the second-to-last flight, with the last scheduled for November. But prior to their arrival early Tuesday, there was fear that the government shutdown and federal worker furloughs would mean no access to the monuments on the National Mall.
But with lawmakers leading the charge, the American military heroes, some in wheelchairs, surged into the memorial.
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Joseph Graves with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines (2/8), Regimental Combat Team 7 gives water to Cane, a military working dog, during Operation Nightmare in Nowzad, Afghanistan, June 6, 2013. Operation Nightmare was a clearing operation led by Afghan National Security Forces and supported by the Marines of 2/8.
Marines with 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, reload their 240B machine gun at a support by fire-position during a company-sized attack on Range 401 at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., July 26. The battalion is currently conducting the Integrated Training Exercise in preperation of their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan later this year.