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Peter de la Billière

General Sir Peter Edgar de la Cour de la Billière, KCB, KBE, DSO, MC & Bar (born 29 April 1934) is a former British Army officer who was Director SAS during the Iranian Embassy Siege and Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in the 1990 Gulf War. He is often known by the acronym DLB.

He originally enlisted as a private in the King's Shropshire Light Infantry in 1952. He was later commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the Durham Light Infantry. During his early career as an officer he served in Japan, Korea and Egypt.

Special Air Service
In 1956, he attended and passed Selection for the Special Air Service. During his first SAS tour, he served in Malaya during the Malayan Emergency and Oman, where he was mentioned in despatches and won the Military Cross in 1959. After his initial tour with 22 SAS, he returned to the Durham Light Infantry to run recruit training, before taking up the post of Adjutant of 21 SAS – the London based Territorial Army (Reserve) SAS regiment. In 1962, he was attached to the Federal Army in Aden. In 1964, he failed Staff College but was appointed Officer Commanding A Squadron 22 SAS. From 1964 to 1966, A Squadron was deployed to Borneo for the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation. For his actions during this period he was awarded a bar to the Military Cross.

After this tour, he re-attended Staff College, and, this time, passed. After Staff College he was posted as G2 (intelligence) Special Forces at Strategic Command. He then served a tour as second-in-command of 22 SAS, of which he was Commanding Officer from 1972 to 1974. For service in Oman, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in 1976.

He then served in a number of administrative posts before returning to the Regiment as Director SAS in 1979. It was during this period that the SAS shot to public fame as a consequence of their storming of the Iranian Embassy in 1980. He was also responsible during the Falklands War for planning Operation Mikado. In 1982, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

Regular service
After the SAS he was appointed Military Commissioner and Commander of British Forces in the Falkland Islands from 1984 and General Officer Commanding Wales District from 1985. He was succeeded by Brigadier Morgan Llewellyn on 1 December 1987. He was General Officer Commanding South East District from 1988.
In 1987 he was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath. In 1991, he was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE).
Despite being due for retirement he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of British Forces in the 1990 Gulf War – in effect the second in command of the multinational military coalition headed by US General Norman Schwarzkopf. His past experience of fighting in the area, knowledge of the people and possession of some fluency in Arabic overrode concerns about his age. In this role, he was largely responsible for persuading Schwarzkopf (who was initially sceptical) to allow the use of SAS and other special forces in significant roles in that conflict.

By the end of his career he had risen to the rank of lieutenant general. In order to allow him to receive the pension benefits of full general he was given the newly created sinecurist (honorarium) post of Middle East Advisor to the Secretary of State for Defence. He retired in 1992.

Later life
In August 1991, he received Canada's Meritorious Service Cross. In 1993, he received Saudi Arabia's Order of King Abdul Aziz, 2nd Class and was made a Commander of the United States' Legion of Merit.

He has written or co-authored 18 books, including an autobiography, a personal account of the Gulf War and a number of works about the SAS.

He is currently a patron of the UK based international development charity, FARM-Africa having served on the board since 1992 and as chairman from 1998 to 2001.

Article Courtesy of British and Commonwealth Military
 
Lt. Jack Reynolds has died in his sleep at the age of 97. He was famously photographed after being taken prisoner during the Battle of Arnhem.
In the photo, he is seen giving the “two-fingered” salute to the German photographer. The British hand gesture is an offensive gesture similar to the middle finger in other countries.
He said: “I was so angry at the loss of fine young men and the carnage. Down the road I saw a German chap with a camera and a huge grin on his face and I thought what a b*****d and gave him the opposite ‘V’ sign’.
In September 1944, 1000’s of British airborne troops landed behind enemy lines in Holland. They were overrun by the Germans and taken prisoner. Reynolds saw the photographer filming the captured Brits with a grin on his face. Reynolds was offended by the photographer’s reaction after all the destruction and loss of life in the war, so he flashed the gesture.
He called the defiant moment “a momentary lapse of military judgement” but felt that it was justified at the time.
Reynolds was in a prisoner of war camp in Brunswick, Germany, until April 1945 when the camp was liberated by American forces. From there he went home.
Once home, Reynolds met Eulalie Willcocks, the younger sister of his commanding officer, Captain AH Willcocks. The two men had been in the Brunswick camp together. Jack and Eulalie were married until she died thirteen years ago.
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A 60mm mortar shell that was once live; and aptly called the "Dinsmore Mortar." It was removed from a then 16-year old South Vietnamese Soldier by Captain Harry H. Dinsmore, Sr. (USN), while serving as Chief of Surgery at the U.S. Naval Support Activity, Da Nang on October 1, 1966. Captain Dinsmore volunteered to remove the live mortar shell and would eventually earn the Navy Cross for his actions. After removal, the shell was quickly defused rendering it safe.

The soldier was riding in the open hatch of an armoured personnel carrier when the incoming round struck the hatch cover, then smashed against his helmet, knocking him out. The round entered his body just above the collarbone and slipped down between his skin and rib cage. Engineman First Class John Lyons, was the only other person in the operating room with Capt Dinsmore, and he disarmed to round after it was removed.

The man in the middle is Petty Officer John J. Lyons, the EOD sailor who assisted Capt. Dinsmore with the surgery.
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Pascal Cleatus Poolaw (January 29, 1922 – November 7, 1967) was a Kiowa who served with the United States Army in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. He is the United States' most decorated Native American, with 42 medals and citations, including four Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars, as well as three Purple Hearts – one for each war.

Pascal Poolaw was born in Apache, Oklahoma, to Ralph Emerson Poolaw and Minnie Monetathchi Bointy. He married Irene Chalepah on March 15, 1940, and had four sons: Lester, Pascal Jr., Lindy, and Donnie.

In 1942, Poolaw joined his father and two brothers in World War II. He earned his first Purple Heart when he was wounded in September 1944. He earned his first Silver Star for his actions near Recogne, Belgium, while serving in the 8th Infantry Regiment's M Company, when he pushed his unit forward under heavy fire and hurled hand grenades at enemy machine guns until the enemy dispersed.

He continued to serve in the Korean War, where he earned two more Silver Stars, and in July 1950, another Purple Heart, before his return to the United States in 1952. He retired from the Army in 1962.

Poolaw's son, Pascal Jr., had also joined the army and was serving in the Vietnam War in February 1967, when he was wounded in both legs by a landmine, and had to have his right leg amputated below the knee. Poolaw's youngest son Lindy was also drafted and set to deploy to Vietnam shortly thereafter.

Poolaw rejoined the Army to prevent Lindy from having to serve, by taking his place. Lindy had already shipped out and Poolaw had hoped to catch up with him in time, but when he arrived on the West Coast, he discovered his son had already left the day before. He decided to follow his son to Vietnam.

Poolaw was deployed on May 31, 1967, as the first sergeant of the 26th Infantry Regiment's C Company. On November 7, while on a search and destroy mission during the first battle of Loc Ninh, Poolaw and his unit were ambushed by the Viet Cong. He was killed while attempting to pull a unit casualty to safety, and posthumously awarded a fourth Silver Star.

At his funeral his wife stated: "He has followed the trail of the great chiefs."

He is one of only 400 soldiers to earn a second star for his Combat Infantryman Badge.
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Alwyn Crendall Cashe


DATE OF BIRTH: July 13, 1970
PLACE OF BIRTH:
Thompson, Georgia
HOME OF RECORD:
Oviedo, Florida


Three. That's how many times Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn C. Cashe entered the burning carcass of his Bradley Fighting Vehicle after it struck an improvised explosive device in the Iraqi province of Salahuddin on Oct. 17, 2005. Cashe, a 35-year-old Gulf War vet on his second combat deployment to Iraq since the 2003 invasion, had been in the gun turret when the IED went off below the vehicle, immediately killing the squad's translator and rupturing the fuel cell. By the time the Bradley rolled to a stop, it was fully engulfed in flames. The crackle of incoming gunfire followed. It was a complex ambush.

Slightly injured and soaked in fuel, Cashe scrambled down into the hull and extracted the driver, who was on fire. After putting out the flames, Cashe returned to the vehicle, at which point he, too, caught fire. One of the six soldiers in the payload compartment managed to lower the back ramp, revealing the inferno inside. By the time he got every soldier out of the Bradley alive, Cashe was the most severely wounded. According to this
Silver Star citation, 72% of his body was covered in second and third-degree burns, but he insisted on being the last man on the medevac bird. Later, people who knew Cashe would say that's just the sort of non-commissioned officer he was — selfless, tough as nails, old school. He always put his soldiers first.

“Sgt. Cashe saved my life," Gary Mills, who was inside the burning Bradley, told Los Angeles Times in 2011. “With all the ammo inside that vehicle, and all those flames, we'd have been dead in another minute or two."
Cashe died on Nov. 8, 2005, at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. Those who were with him on his deathbed say he never stopped asking about his soldiers, four of whom ultimately died. Cashe was awarded the Silver Star posthumously for his actions. The medal had been recommended by his battalion commander, then-Col. Gary M Brito. Eventually, however, Brito came to realize that he had made a mistake. After learning more specific details of Cashe's actions that day, and that he had done it all while being shot at, Brito launched a campaign to have his Silver Star upgraded to the Medal of Honor.

The nomination was submitted to the Army in May 2011. It hasn't been heard from since.
It takes a lot more than just extraordinary courage under fire to attain the Medal of Honor. The heroic act is the first of many monumental steps that must be taken before a service member is deemed worthy of the nation's highest award for combat valor. The success or failure of a Medal of Honor recommendation hinges less on the act itself than on how the story is told through the witness statements, after-action reports, news articles, and whatever other evidence is included in the nomination package. It is the only military medal that requires “incontestable proof of the performance of the meritorious conduct," and also the only one that must be approved by the president on behalf of Congress. But to reach the Oval Office, a nomination package must first travel through a vast bureaucratic labyrinth, undergoing numerous reviews and revisions along the way. A lot of signatures are necessary. Myriad known and unknown factors influence the length of the recommendation process, which begins at the battalion level and ends on the desk of the secretary of defense.

According to the Army, it “can take in excess of 18 months with intense scrutiny every step of the way." That's a euphemistic way of saying that it can take a very, very long time. Even cases that seem open and shut have a way of, well, just disappearing.
https://taskandpurpose.com/opinion/alwyn-cashe-medal-of-honor
 
Master Sergeant Orlando E. Huntoon in 1950. He has the distinction of serving during WWI, WWII, and the Korean War.
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A native of Vermont Orland joined the Army in 1918 at the age of nineteen and was sent to Arizona for service on the Mexican Border. He was categorized as a Class B soldier - "Not quite fit physically for general military service, but free from serious organic disease; able to do an average day's work; able to walk five miles; to see and hear well enough for ordinary purposes; able to perform duty equivalent to garrison duty, labor battalion, shop work (in a trade), at home or abroad or combat service at home (United States Guards)." As a result of this classification, most of his service was with the newly formed development battalions that gave uneducated soldiers and opportunity to attend school. He was then assigned to the U.S. Guard 40th Battalion. These guard units were short lived, however, and of the first to be demobilized after the end of the World War I. Huntoon received his discharge at the very end of the year.

Orland reenlisted in 1937. For three years he served with the 4th Infantry out of Fort Missoula, Montana. By 1937 he was in Washington with F Company, 7th Infantry, a unit that would become his home into the early part of World War II.

When Huntoon saw his first combat on November 8, 1942, his career with the Army was sealed. This began his first tour of this war, from Casablanca through Tunisia. After short time back in the states, he requested to return to Europe and sailed over with A Company, 259th Infantry for the final days of the war. When he returned home a second time, he divorced his wife to marry the Army.

His experience in Korea mirrored his WWII service. As one of the first replacements to the 24th Division in 1950, he arrived in Korea on July 8 as field first sergeant of C Company, 21st Infantry. He was one of the many replacements stripped from the 25th Division to fulfill losses in the already weak battalions of the 24th Division. B and C Companies in particular had been wiped out during Task Force Smith. The staggering heat wore the old soldier faster than the younger members of the company and in the first week of September, Orland was forced to transfer to the regimental Headquarters Company. He was stubborn and still yearned for line duty, but it was a necessary break until the middle of November when he left Korea for duty in Japan and ultimately the United States.

For the next two years all he wanted to do was return to Korea, and finally he did in 1953. Like he had years earlier, saw the first and last days of the war. At that time he was over fifty years old and as salty as they come. He managed to get back into the same C Company, 21st Infantry stationed in Japan at the time in November 1952. Two days before the armistice, the 24th Division was in Korea again for the close of hostilities. Orland did not care - he was back in the field, in his home, wherever he made it.
 
L/Cpl Simon Moloney, The Blues & Royals, receives medical attention from L/Cpl Wesley Masters, Royal Army Medical Corp, after being shot in the neck. Both men received gallantry awards. Photo courtesy of Sergeant Barry Pope RLC (Phot) - Credit: Sergeant Barry Pope (Phot)
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Bleeding from a serious gunshot wound to his neck which had missed vital arteries, a St Albans soldier repeatedly put himself in the line of fire to save his comrades in Afghanistan.

Despite his wound, temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius and enemy sniper rounds ricocheting around him, Lance Corporal Simon Moloney bravely passed on vital target information to win the firefight.

And now the 23 year old’s extreme valour in battle, where a goat was an unusual casualty, has been officially recognised.

The former Sandringham School pupil has recently received a Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC) – one of 117 awards for gallantry and meritorious service included in the military operational honours list 42, which covers the period between April and October 2013.

The CGC is at the level below the Victoria Cross and is awarded in recognition of acts of gallantry during active operations against the enemy.

L/Cpl Moloney, of the Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons), was part of a troop landed by helicopter deep within the insurgent stronghold in the Yakhchal area of Helmand Province.

Working alongside a machine-gunner, the pair were keeping watch from a domed compound roof to allow the troop to move onto another target.

But a bullet fired by an insurgent sharpshooter tore into L/Cpl Moloney’s neck, missing his voice box by millimetres.

Speaking on ITV and the BBC about his injury, L/Cpl Moloney said: “The bullet hit me and it instantly winded me.

“You think, it’s ‘game over’ there and then. I thought I probably had about two minutes left [but] a minute later when I was still breathing, I started to think maybe it’s not that bad.

“But a gunshot wound to the neck – you don’t normally survive that.”

L/Cpl Moloney said the bullet entered and exited his neck just behind his windpipe, “somehow missing an artery”.

He joked: “So I had a nice hole. I sounded like Phil Mitchell for about three weeks.”

L/Cpl Wesley Masters, a medic who attended the wounded soldier and was awarded the Military Cross, said he ran 400m under gunfire to his aid.

He added: “I expected him to be dead, so I was quite happy with what I got to see in front of me.

“It was an obscure injury to dress.”

Unfortunately a goat that broke L/Cpl Moloney’s fall from the 8ft-high roof did not fare as well beneath the 100kg impact, and it was killed.

Although hurled off the rooftop from the force of the gunshot, and as grenades started exploding inside the compound, L/Cpl Moloney reoccupied his former position after receiving first aid, to identify enemy positions.

Shouting target information despite his bleeding neck and enemy sniper rounds, L/Cpl Moloney brought the fire support under control, suppressing the insurgents.

The soldier continued fighting for 90 minutes until, against his will, he was extracted to safety by helicopter.

His citation states: “Moloney’s actions in the face of a determined enemy and with little thought for his gunshot wound was an inspiration to his troop.

“In his utter determination to protect others and in total disregard for his own life, he displayed extreme valour.

“Without his gallantry and skill in the ruthless suppression of the enemy, it is likely that his troop would have sustained multiple casualties.”
 

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