Valor Friday

| December 8, 2023

As yesterday was the anniversary of the day “which will live in infamy,” the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, for this Valor Friday we’ll be revisiting some past articles. Of the men who served at Pearl, I’ve written about;

  • Ensign Joseph Taussig – Officer of the Deck on USS Nevada (BB-36). Earned the Navy Cross that day as he led his ship (having graduated Annapolis less than a year prior) into action, the only American battleship to get underway during the attack. Lost his leg for it, and refused to leave his post until forcibly removed.
  • Captain Mervyn Bennion and Messman First Class Doris Miller – Captain and cook respectively of USS West Virginia (BB-48). Bennion was mortally wounded at his post while leading the ship, ordering his men to leave him behind. Miller, who came to Bennion’s aid amidst the battle, then famously manned an anti-aircraft gun (perhaps downing an enemy plane) without having any training on the weapon. He then spent the rest of the day helping evacuate the wounded from his ship. Bennion posthumously received the Medal of Honor and Miller received the Navy Cross (the first black man to earn it).
  • Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Howell Forgy, Chaplain Corps – Ship’s chaplain for USS New Orleans (CA-32). Was aboard ship that Sunday morning preparing his sermon when the ship was rocked by enemy fire. As a non-combatant, he was forbidden from taking up arms. So instead he inspired the men with the encouraging words of “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!” It inspired a popular song too.
  • Motor Machinists Mate 2nd Class Marcus Poston – Was the first air-to-air kill of the war when his Piper Cub, which he was flying as a civilian, was attacked by Japanese Zeros over Oahu.
  • Lieutenant Clarence Dickinson – A Naval Aviator flying into Oahu from USS Enterprise in an SBD Dauntless dive bomber. Coming into the already fierce battle, Dickinson earned the Navy Cross for diving into action, ultimately losing his gunner, Radioman First Class William Miller, and had to bail out of his plane after being shot down.

I was also invited this week to be a guest on a history movie podcast. If you’re so inclined to listen, here’s the link. We fittingly chose the absolutely terrible 2001 Michael Bay film “Pearl Harbor” as our subject.

Category: Historical, Medal of Honor, Navy, Navy Cross, Valor, We Remember

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All heroes, all fittingly remembered here.

One thing I wonder, as a narrow-minded 2000s-era US Army grunt, is what protocol was back then for ammunition. I guess the Navy does it differently (naturally), but on CONUS US Army installations, it’s a process. If the Chicoms invaded tomorrow, they’d overwhelm just about every CONUS installation because, well, outside of MPs and a select few others, no one is armed. Of course, one strength we have is the number of armed police and civilians, but their small arms wouldn’t be ideal to take on a military force.

The typical process for getting so much as an individually assigned weapon and ammo in today’s army is as follows:

Small arms: stand in line with your weapons card or hand receipt, produce your ID (often overlooked), and sign the weapons register to acknowledge receipt. Now you’ve got your assigned weapon but no ammo for it.

Ammunition: put your training plans on the calendar, go through battalion, brigade, and division Land/Ammo to reserve a training area or range and get ammo allocated. Have a qualified ammo handler go to the Ammunition Supply Point (ASP), where a DA Civilian will inspect the transport vehicle and equipment, your paperwork and credentials, and eventually get you your unit’s 10k rounds of M855A1 ball ammo. If you have the wrong size of fire extinguisher or are missing a placard, you’ll be kicked back. Regardless, you had better report occupation of the land/range and have proper comms.

Anyway, back to Pearl Harbor. To think that such men lived and were able to respond to such an attack, both physically and materiel wise, is something that still amazes me. I’d be rolling through the gate, trying to find my headgear to get to formation, and wondering what was for breakfast at the DFAC when the planes flew over.


Oh, and it would be my luck that we’d be invaded on Blank Fire Day. Cleaning rods in the barrel, boys!


2-21 Inf broke into their arms rooms to retrieve ready ammo and MGs.

jeff LPH 3 63-66

When my Dad was stationed at Fort Tilden, on the beach in Rockaway Queens NYC, they had the 16 in. coastal guns that elevated to fire and then go down behind massive mounds that could be seen for years as one would look over to the Rockaways while driving on the belt Pkwy. Dad said that when they fired smaller weapons like 50 cals, every piece of brass had to be accounted for and when the Navy came in with those quad mounted 50’s for target practice, they would just drive away when finished leaving all the brass in the dirt parking lot.


Congrats, Mason!


My many, many pictures of Pearl Harbor and parts there about.


I was very disappointed as I saw very few shows even remotely related to December 7th the past several days. And this was even on the History Channel. I guess there really are some out there, particularly college students, who probably think the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.


It wasn’t over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor. Didn’t Jimmy Doolittle’s Raiders bomb Berlin just a few months later? Joe was Jimmy’s Co-Pilot…Corn Pop (a BAD Dude) was the lead bombardier. That lead the way for Dug Out Doug to return the Philistines to the ME and attack the Germans in the rear. I understand that Greece helped in that attack. When the war was over, they all surrendered at Brucie’s Bath House.

Heroes one and all that day, and for many days after that. Uncommon Valor was indeed a Common Virtue. We should never forget, tho the revisionist historians are hell bent that we do. Mason, you da man. We Salute you for what you do to teach the true history of these Warriors.

Marine0331. I made mention on the other thread in re of TeeVee watching. I don’t have (or want) cable TeeVee, nor do I do “streaming services”. I watch broadcast on my antenna. Story TV (linky below) is one that comes in on the UHF band of my digital TV (CH 50-2). You may want to get you a set of rabbit ears or a small broadband outdoor antenna and re-scan your digital TV. You may be pleasantly surprised what all you can pick up that doesn’t cost a monthly bill. I’m 30 miles from a semi metro area and I get 30+ channels including the networks, all in digital, and many in 1080 pixel. Story TV ran Pearl Harbor programs all day yesterday, they do commemorative programs on 9/11, 4th of July, and other important dates. During the week they have an assortment of quality programs to keep the Gun Bunny out of trouble. Lots of “re-runs” on some of the other channels, but hey, we didn’t have TV when I was a kid and I never watched a whole lot thru adult hood. METV, Grit TV, so on.