Know Your Medal of Honor Recipients:
Staff Sergeant Lewis G. Watkins (US Marine Corps) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on October 7, 1952, in 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 a guide of a rifle platoon of Company I, in action against enemy aggressor forces during the hours of darkness on the morning of 7 October 1952. With his platoon assigned the mission of retaking an outpost which had been overrun by the enemy earlier in the night, S/Sgt. Watkins skillfully led his unit in the assault up the designated hill. Although painfully wounded when a well-entrenched hostile force at the crest of the hill engaged the platoon with intense small-arms and grenade fire, he gallantly continued to lead his men. Obtaining an automatic rifle from 1 of the wounded men, he assisted in pinning down an enemy machine gun holding up the assault. When an enemy grenade landed among S/Sgt. Watkins and several other marines while they were moving forward through a trench on the hill crest, he immediately pushed his companions aside, placed himself in a position to shield them and picked up the deadly missile in an attempt to throw it outside the trench. Mortally wounded when the grenade exploded in his hand, S/Sgt. Watkins, by his great personal valor in the face of almost certain death, saved the lives of several of his comrades and contributed materially to the success of the mission. His extraordinary heroism, inspiring leadership, and resolute spirit of self-sacrifice reflect the highest credit upon himself and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Master Sergeant Travis E. Watkins (US Army) received his Medal of Honor for his actions from August 31 – September 3, 1950, near Yongsan, Korea. His citation reads:
M/Sgt. Watkins distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. When an overwhelming enemy force broke through and isolated 30 men of his unit, he took command, established a perimeter defense and directed action which repelled continuous, fanatical enemy assaults. With his group completely surrounded and cut off, he moved from foxhole to foxhole exposing himself to enemy fire, giving instructions and offering encouragement to his men. Later when the need for ammunition and grenades became critical he shot 2 enemy soldiers 50 yards outside the perimeter and went out alone for their ammunition and weapons. As he picked up their weapons he was attacked by 3 others and wounded. Returning their fire he killed all 3 and gathering up the weapons of the 5 enemy dead returned to his amazed comrades. During a later assault, 6 enemy soldiers gained a defiladed spot and began to throw grenades into the perimeter making it untenable. Realizing the desperate situation and disregarding his wound he rose from his foxhole to engage them with rifle fire. Although immediately hit by a burst from an enemy machine gun he continued to fire until he had killed the grenade throwers. With this threat eliminated he collapsed and despite being paralyzed from the waist down, encouraged his men to hold on. He refused all food, saving it for his comrades, and when it became apparent that help would not arrive in time to hold the position ordered his men to escape to friendly lines. Refusing evacuation as his hopeless condition would burden his comrades, he remained in his position and cheerfully wished them luck. Through his aggressive leadership and intrepid actions, this small force destroyed nearly 500 of the enemy before abandoning their position. M/Sgt. Watkins' sustained personal bravery and noble self-sacrifice reflect the highest glory upon himself and is in keeping with the esteemed traditions of the U.S. Army.
Private George Watson (US Navy) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on March 8, 1943. His citation reads:
For extraordinary heroism in action on 8 March 1943. Private Watson was on board a ship which was attacked and hit by enemy bombers. When the ship was abandoned, Private Watson, instead of seeking to save himself, remained in the water assisting several soldiers who could not swim to reach the safety of the raft. This heroic action, which subsequently cost him his life, resulted in the saving of several of his comrades. Weakened by his exertions, he was dragged down by the suction of the sinking ship and was drowned. Private Watson's extraordinarily valorous actions, daring leadership, and self-sacrificing devotion to his fellow-man exemplify the finest traditions of military service.
By now you probably know… but there’s always a chance you really do get your news from me, so I’ll announce on here that Harriet Tubman is going to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. I had hoped they would create a totally new bill, like the $4 or $7 or $22… but I guess they (whoever they are) decided to drop Jackson for Tubman. Here is an article from USA Today on the change. It looks like there are going to be a number of changes to paper money in general in the coming years. And, after glancing at the article, it looks like Jackson will still be on the $20, just on the back.
I have been asked by a number of people to weigh in on this development. My thoughts are it sounds pretty cool and I can’t wait to see it. I don’t carry a lot of cash, so chances are I won’t see these changes a lot… but it still sounds cool. Other than the fact that I wanted completely new bills (like $4, $7, $22…) this isn’t so bad. Change isn’t always bad. I wouldn’t mind, at some point, seeing Ronal Reagan on the front of a bill with some of his one-liners on the back. Or how about Jackie Robinson on the front of a bill, with Hank Aaron on the back? That would be a keeper. Other people I’d like to see on money include: Rosa Parks, my Labor Day Aunt Janie, former First Lady Barbara Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Morgan Freeman, Phylicia Rashad and Charles Oakley.
So fear not, friends… life will go on. This change is not the end of the world.
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