Know Your Medal of Honor Recipients:
Corporal John C. Villepigue (US Army) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on October 15, 1918, at Vaux-Andigny, France. His citation reads:
Having been sent out with 2 other soldiers to scout through the village of Vaux-Andigny, he met with strong resistance from enemy machinegun fire, which killed 1 of his men and wounded the other. Continuing his advance without aid 500 yards in advance of his platoon and in the face of machinegun and artillery fire he encountered 4 of the enemy in a dugout, whom he attacked and killed with a handgrenade. Crawling forward to a point 150 yards in advance of his first encounter, he rushed a machinegun nest, killing 4 and capturing 6 of the enemy and taking 2 light machineguns. After being joined by his platoon he was severely wounded in the arm.
Corporal Joseph Vittori (US Marine Corps) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on September 15-16, 1951, on Hill 749, Korea. His citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an automatic-rifleman in Company F, in action against enemy aggressor forces. With a forward platoon suffering heavy casualties and forced to withdraw under a vicious enemy counterattack as his company assaulted strong hostile forces entrenched on Hill 749, Cpl. Vittori boldly rushed through the withdrawing troops with 2 other volunteers from his reserve platoon and plunged directly into the midst of the enemy. Overwhelming them in a fierce hand-to-hand struggle, he enabled his company to consolidate its positions to meet further imminent onslaughts. Quick to respond to an urgent call for a rifleman to defend a heavy machine gun positioned on the extreme point of the northern flank and virtually isolated from the remainder of the unit when the enemy again struck in force during the night, he assumed position under the devastating barrage and, fighting a single-handed battle, leaped from 1 flank to the other, covering each foxhole in turn as casualties continued to mount manning a machine gun when the gunner was struck down and making repeated trips through the heaviest shellfire to replenish ammunition. With the situation becoming extremely critical, reinforcing units to the rear pinned down under the blistering attack and foxholes left practically void by dead and wounded for a distance of 100 yards, Cpl. Vittori continued his valiant stand, refusing to give ground as the enemy penetrated to within feet of his position, simulating strength in the line and denying the foe physical occupation of the ground. Mortally wounded by the enemy machine gun and rifle bullets while persisting in his magnificent defense of the sector where approximately 200 enemy dead were found the following morning, Cpl. Vittori, by his fortitude, stouthearted courage, and great personal valor, had kept the point position intact despite the tremendous odds and undoubtedly prevented the entire battalion position from collapsing. His extraordinary heroism throughout the furious nightlong battle reflects the highest credit upon himself and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Private First Class Dirk J. Vlug (US Army) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on December 15, 1944, near Limon, Leyte, Philippine Islands. His citation reads:
He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty when an American roadblock on the Ormoc Road was attacked by a group of enemy tanks. He left his covered position, and with a rocket launcher and 6 rounds of ammunition, advanced alone under intense machinegun and 37-mm. fire. Loading single-handedly, he destroyed the first tank, killing its occupants with a single round. As the crew of the second tank started to dismount and attack him, he killed 1 of the foe with his pistol, forcing the survivors to return to their vehicle, which he then destroyed with a second round. Three more hostile tanks moved up the road, so he flanked the first and eliminated it, and then, despite a hail of enemy fire, pressed forward again to destroy another. With his last round of ammunition he struck the remaining vehicle, causing it to crash down a steep embankment. Through his sustained heroism in the face of superior forces, Pfc. Vlug alone destroyed 5 enemy tanks and greatly facilitated successful accomplishment of his battalion's mission.
Happy Birthday to my sister-in-law Cougar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She is now 46 years old… and still married to my brother Sonny… who isn’t yet 46 years old. It feels like it was just yesterday that Sonny brought her home to James Island to meet his family. There we were… sitting in the dining room in Mom and Dad’s house (a room they have since destroyed… but I’m sure that had nothing to do with Cougar. Well… I’m pretty sure it didn’t) with everyone apparently nervous and trying to put their “best foot” forward. I say apparently, because I’ve never really been good at reading people. Anyway, there was a lot of talking going on and, since it didn’t really seem to be about me, I wasn’t all that focused on what was being said. I also had some pretty bad hearing problems back then (this was before my first ear operation), so with a lot of talking going on I really had to focus to hear things (and like I said… the talk was about me, so I wasn’t too focused). Anyway, from what I was hearing, there was some kind of teacher talk going on and then Cougar said something about her mom (I believe) doing “pay it”. Now, I don’t know why what happened next happened. To tell you the truth, I’m not real sure why I do a lot of things that I do. BUT… this was where I decided to jump into what I can only assume had been (up to that point) a boring conversation. Now, here is where my reputation (yes, even back then I had a reputation) gets me into trouble. As God as my witness, I thought she said “pay it”. And “pay it” in that sentence made absolutely no sense to me. So, I did what I feel any pre-teen (yes, she’s a little older than Sonny… but she’s waaaay older than me) boy in this highly tense situation would have done… I interrupted her and said, “What? Did you just say Pay it?” Well, now might be a good time to tell you that Cougar had (and probably still has… I’ve just gotten used to it) what we in the podcasting world (ok, I’m not in the podcasting world… but I would be if Jeremy would get his act together) call a country accent (or maybe it’s a normal accent and I’m the one talking funny… I could believe that). So while I was hearing “pay it”, she was actually saying “PET” (some kind of teacher thing that I remember hearing about back then… I don’t remember what it was or if it is even still around). It seems I was the only one who didn’t know what she was saying… However, I believe most of the people there (maybe everyone) thought by my reaction that I was simply making fun of her. My reaction brought a big laugh from everyone and I believe it showed Cougar that while her boyfriend might be a functional mute, his little brother was anything but a mute.
Cougar has the great honor of sharing her birthday with the great Robert E. Lee (though he was born a few years before her).
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