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Service
In the Shadow
of an
American Icon

Military service is often a family tradition, spawned perhaps by the deep sense of obligation to God and Country one's young learn from their fathers and mothers. During the Spanish-American War Theodore Roosevelt served with distinction and valor. His leadership in the heroic charge of the Rough Riders propelled him into American history as a military icon, and ultimately led to the Presidency. 

During World War I Roosevelt's youngest son Quentin was killed in action when his Army Air Service fighter crashed in France. During World War II his oldest son, Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., earned the Medal of Honor when he went ashore with his troops during the D-Day invasion at Normandy. He died in France eight days later.

Life cannot be easy for the young who must live in the shadows of an American icon. The Roosevelt sons did well, making their own mark and leaving their own legacies. They became examples of the fact that no matter how great are the heroes of the past, there exists in the young of each new generation the capacity to live up to the example of their fathers.

Pictured below are five military legends, each of whom served in World War II, and in some cases Korea and Vietnam as well. All five made their mark on history, leaving a legacy that would be hard to live up to. Yet in each case, a son of each of these five great men served with honor and distinction generations later in Vietnam.


General
Mark W. Clark

General
Ray Davis (MOH)

Admiral
John S. McCain

General
George S. Patton

General
Lewis Chesty Puller
Can you match the son below with the actions that distinguished him in Vietnam as serving well, despite the tall shadow cast by his famous father?

 

As a young Marine lieutenant he served in Vietnam during the critical days of Operation Dewey Canyon, when U.S. Marines entered the Ashau Valley and even penetrated Laos to fight the enemy in his own "backyard". Wounded twice, he was awarded two Purple Hearts, each of which was pinned on him by his famous father--who happened to be the young lieutenant's commanding general during the period of his own heroic service.


 Your Answer

  1. Lieutenant John S. McCain, III
  2. Lieutenant Mark W. Clark, Jr.
  3. Colonel George S. Patton, III
  4. Lieutenant Lewis B. Puller, Jr.
  5. Lieutenant G. Miles Davis

Shot down over North Vietnam and taken prisoner, his father's World War II fame prompted his captors to offer him early release. Realizing the propaganda value such an action would afford the enemy and with selfless loyalty to his comrades, he refused, remaining instead to serve and suffer with his fellow POWs until the war ended and all were released together.


Your Answer

  1. Lieutenant John S. McCain, III
  2. Lieutenant Mark W. Clark, Jr.
  3. Colonel George S. Patton, III
  4. Lieutenant Lewis B. Puller, Jr.
  5. Lieutenant G. Miles Davis

Commanding an armored cavalry regiment, in September 1968 he was awarded TWO Distinguished Service Crosses for two separate acts of heroism just 19 days apart. In one he landed his command helicopter to personally lead his men in pursuit of the enemy. In the second, again leaving his command helicopter to personally lead his men, assaulting an enemy bunker with grenades and when that failed to dislodge the enemy, crawling to the position to place TNT charges inside to destroy it.


Your Answer

  1. Lieutenant John S. McCain, III
  2. Lieutenant Mark W. Clark, Jr.
  3. Colonel George S. Patton, III
  4. Lieutenant Lewis B. Puller, Jr.
  5. Lieutenant G. Miles Davis

The Hollywood movie Bat 21 detailed the story of the rescue of down airman Iceal B. Hambleton. Lesser known was the story of this young co-pilot who was shot down in efforts to provide air support to the rescue effort. After evading the enemy for eight days, he was rescued by the same Navy Seal (Tom Norris) who subsequently earned the Medal of Honor for also rescuing Iceal B. Hambleton. Your Answer

  1. Lieutenant John S. McCain, III
  2. Lieutenant Mark W. Clark, Jr.
  3. Colonel George S. Patton, III
  4. Lieutenant Lewis B. Puller, Jr.
  5. Lieutenant G. Miles Davis

As a young lieutenant he earned both the Silver Star and two Purple Hearts but at a great personal loss. He lost both legs and part of his hands to an enemy mine in Vietnam, returning home severely disabled, his weight dropping to 55 pounds. Only his indomitable spirit assured his survival, following which he wrote an autobiography that inspired thousands of others and earned him a Pulitzer Prize


Your Answer

  1. Lieutenant John S. McCain, III
  2. Lieutenant Mark W. Clark, Jr.
  3. Colonel George S. Patton, III
  4. Lieutenant Lewis B. Puller, Jr.
  5. Lieutenant G. Miles Davis


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