Sergeant William L. Nelson (US Army) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on April 24, 1943, at Djebel Dardys, Northwest of Sedjenane, Tunisia. His citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty in action involving actual conflict. On the morning of 24 April 1943, Sgt. Nelson led his section of heavy mortars to a forward position where he placed his guns and men. Under intense enemy artillery, mortar, and small-arms fire, he advanced alone to a chosen observation position from which he directed the laying of a concentrated mortar barrage which successfully halted an initial enemy counterattack. Although mortally wounded in the accomplishment of his mission, and with his duty clearly completed, Sgt. Nelson crawled to a still more advanced observation point and continued to direct the fire of his section. Dying of handgrenade wounds and only 50 yards from the enemy, Sgt. Nelson encouraged his section to continue their fire and by doing so they took a heavy toll of enemy lives. The skill which Sgt. Nelson displayed in this engagement, his courage, and self-sacrificing devotion to duty and heroism resulting in the loss of his life, was a priceless inspiration to our Armed Forces and were in keeping with the highest tradition of the U.S. Army.
Sergeant Ralph G. Neppel (US Army) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on December 14, 1944, at Birgel, Germany. His citation reads:
He was leader of a machinegun squad defending an approach to the village of Birgel, Germany, on 14 December 1944, when an enemy tank, supported by 20 infantrymen, counterattacked. He held his fire until the Germans were within 100 yards and then raked the foot soldiers beside the tank killing several of them. The enemy armor continued to press forward and, at the pointblank range of 30 yards, fired a high-velocity shell into the American emplacement, wounding the entire squad. Sgt. Neppel, blown 10 yards from his gun, had 1 leg severed below the knee and suffered other wounds. Despite his injuries and the danger from the onrushing tank and infantry, he dragged himself back to his position on his elbows, remounted his gun and killed the remaining enemy riflemen. Stripped of its infantry protection, the tank was forced to withdraw. By his superb courage and indomitable fighting spirit, Sgt. Neppel inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy and broke a determined counterattack.
Captain Robert B. Nett (US Army) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on December 14, 1944, near Cognon, Leyte, Philippine Islands. His citation reads:
Rank and organization: Captain (then Lieutenant), U.S. Army, Company E, 305th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Cognon, Leyte, Philippine Islands, 14 December 1944. Entered service at: New Haven, Conn. Birth: 13 June 1922, New Haven, Conn. G.O. No.: 16, 8 February 1946. Citation: He commanded Company E in an attack against a reinforced enemy battalion which had held up the American advance for 2 days from its entrenched positions around a 3 story concrete building. With another infantry company and armored vehicles, Company E advanced against heavy machine-gun and other automatic weapons fire with Lt. Nett spearheading the assault against the strongpoint. During the fierce hand to hand encounter which ensued, he killed 7 deeply entrenched Japanese with his rifle and bayonet and, although seriously wounded, gallantly continued to lead his men forward, refusing to relinquish his command. Again he was severely wounded, but still unwilling to retire, pressed ahead with his troops to assure the capture of the objective. Wounded once more in the final assault, he calmly made all arrangements for the resumption of the advance, turned over his command to another officer, and then walked unaided to the rear for medical treatment. By his remarkable courage in continuing forward through sheer determination despite successive wounds, Lt. Nett provided an inspiring example for his men and was instrumental in the capture of a vital strongpoint.
Usually I would post old pictures in this section of my blog, but I decided to do things a little different in this last Flashback Friday of the year. I watched a DVD of old home videos that Aunt Yvonne gave to me a couple of weeks ago. These were taken mostly by Da (my grandfather) and Dad (my father) during the 1970s and early 1980s. These are old 8mm videos that were transferred to VHS sometime in the early 1990s (I think) by showing them on a white sheet while recording them with a video camera. So while you see the original picture, the only sound is from people talking while watching them in the early 1990s. I wish I could show you the video on here, but I can’t (and if I can, I don’t know how). Since I can’t, I’ll just have to tell you some of the things that stick out to me.
It’s hard to watch more than 10 or 15 minutes of this DVD in a row without getting motion sickness.
There is no real order to the videos that are on the DVD. When we recorded them to VHS, we just grabbed an 8mm reel on the projector and started recording without worrying about the order.
Da looked (and for the most part, acted) the same in 1970 as he did in 1994.
MaMa didn’t look too different in 1970 than she did in 2000s. She had the same hair style up until pretty much the last year or so of her life. And she loved children the whole time.
It seems the theme of the home movies was “This is Sonny’s life, the rest of us are just living in it”. Just about every scene had him in it somehow.
Dad didn’t own a t-shirt. Every time he is seen on camera, he is in a coat and tie (or, at very least, a tie). Honestly, it’s like I was watching The Godfather.
They filmed Sonny, Teresa Lynn and me coming home from the hospital after each of us was born. Each film went the same way… A look out of the window of the Roper room that they were in (the view in each would look nothing like it would now). Then we cut to Mom walking out of the hospital with a nurse following her holding a baby. Mom gets in the front seat (seat belt, we don’t need no stinkin’ seat belt!) and the nurse hands the baby to Mom. Next Dad films the trip home… WHILE DRIVING THE CAR… OVER MULITPLE BRIDGES!!! Friends, I admit when there are times when I think I have no clue what I’m doing as a parent… And then God gives me this little gift as a way to say, “You think you don’t know what you’re doing… look at what THESE people did… and you, Sonny and Teresa Lynn lived”.
But really, it was cool seeing the changes to James Island and my parents yard/house in those videos.
Speaking of change… MaMa and Da’s Dining Room looked exactly the same in 1970 as it did the day MaMa died. Also… MaMa, Da, Dad, Mom, Uncle Keith and Aunt JoJo all sat in the same seat without ever changing.
It’s possible my cousin Scott was at his heaviest weight in the mid-1970s… when he was about 4 or 5 years old.
I think I looked a lot like my cousin Scott as a little boy. Now, of course, Scott could stand behind me with his arms out to his side and you wouldn’t be able to see him.
If you have any old home videos, take time every now and then to watch them. It’s great to dig up old memories.