In 1956 Eugene Maulding was the youngest sergeant in Company-B, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. He was 18 at the time.
For Howard Bolin of Oyster Creek subdivision in Englewood, Fla. being a member of the U.S. Occupation Force in Germany immediately after World War II meant good times: pretty girls, beer halls, dancing, riding the army’s Harley Davidson motorcycles and playing on the battalion’s baseball team.
There are few commendations more important to a U.S. Army soldier than the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. One-inch high by three-inches-long with a silver infantry musket and an oak leaf wreath says the soldier wearing it came under enemy fire.
In January 1966 Pfc. Ron Heurlin of Punta Gorda, Fla. flew into Tan Son Nhat Airbase in Saigon, Vietnam. He was a member of Company B, 28th Regiment, 1st Infantry Division known as “The Black Lions.”
After graduating from the University of South Dakota in 1951 with a degree in math and an ROTC commission as a 2nd lieutenant, Jim Bowden was sent to Korea in ’52.
Former Sgt. Clyde Housel of Port Charlotte, Fla. found himself in the snow and cold huddled in a foxhole along the Siegfried Line searching for Germans to shoot with his 1903 Springfield sniper rifle and scope on Dec. 16, 1944. He was a 1st Army sniper.
Former Cpl. Abraham Coleman joined the U.S. Army in 1947 at 17, “just to get the hell away from Punta Gorda.” He wanted to find a better life with more opportunities for a young black man than living in a small Southern town.
A week after the Japanese bombed the Pacific Fleet based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941, dragging the United States into World War II, Frank Garcia joined the U.S. Marine Corps.
The steel-plated gold cover on the outside of Bill Waits’ “Heart Shield Bible” he carried in his breast pocket while a rifleman in the 26th Infantry Division during the Allied invasion of France in the closing months of World War II was inscribed in flowing script: “May this keep you from harm.”
When Staff Sgt.Chuck Walsh’s Green Beret unit jumped into Dak Pek, in the highlands of South Vietnam in 1962 to fight alongside the Montagnards, the indigenous people, they were trail blazers.