Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Brotherhood of Gunners


Among the class of Warrior that have come to be known as Machine Gunners there is an unspoken bond. The men who dominate broad sweeping tracks of land in a foreign world have a legacy that reaches back as far as recorded history. You are taught that having that different weapon is going to make life difficult. You may not believe it until the rounds or arrows or sappers seem to focus only on you amidst all of the other warm souls in your area, but that is our cross to bear. The generations gave us our legacy.......Mitchell Paige, John Basilone, Ted Eleston, Winn Scott, Al Schmidt, Robert Camarillo, Jack Hanson, Al McLaughlin and a handful of others. To this we can quite easily add the names of todays Machine Gunners. One thing I have learned in my years as a Chieftain of this Tribe of Myrmidons is that we believe furiously in what we do. When the smell of burning powder from a freshly shot belt enters our nostrils, when we huddle close in our support by fire position watching with vicious intent as our enemy approaches oblivious to our presence and thinks that they are safe in the darkness. Little do the foul enemies realize..........For those fleeting moments that they rest and move with the intent to harm our flock.......WE ARE DARKNESS! We sacrifice that little bit of ourselves to keep our brothers safe. One truth every war-fighter comes to realize is that in this world, despite pop-culture and the trivial concerns of the day, there are evil men and there are wolves in the shadows. It is admirable to be the shepard, it is even admirable to be perfoming ones duty as part of the flock, but it falls to some to be the wolf-hound, and we will always bear that burden so that others may not have to.

I leave you with a Medal of Honor citation for a soldier by the name of Jack G. Hanson, who was an Army Machine Gunner in Korea. He is most certainly a Brother-of-the-Sword and he is one of those pillars that I have drawn my drive from-



Jack G. Hanson
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company F, 31st Infantry Regiment. Place and date: Near Pachi-dong, Korea, 7 June 1951.

Entered service at: Galveston, Tex. Born: 18 September 1930, Escaptawpa, Miss. G.O. No.: 15, 1 February 1952. Citation: Pfc. Hanson, a machine gunner with the 1st Platoon, Company F, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an armed enemy of the United Nations. The company, in defensive positions on two strategic hills separated by a wide saddle, was ruthlessly attacked at approximately 0300 hours, the brunt of which centered on the approach to the divide within range of Pfc. Hanson's machine gun. In the initial phase of the action, 4 riflemen were wounded and evacuated and the numerically superior enemy, advancing under cover of darkness, infiltrated and posed an imminent threat to the security of the command post and weapons platoon. Upon orders to move to key terrain above and to the right of Pfc. Hanson's position, he voluntarily remained to provide protective fire for the withdrawal. Subsequent to the retiring elements fighting a rearguard action to the new location, it was learned that Pfc. Hanson's assistant gunner and 3 riflemen had been wounded and had crawled to safety, and that he was maintaining a lone-man defense. After the 1st Platoon reorganized, counterattacked, and resecured its original positions at approximately 0530 hours, Pfc. Hanson's body was found lying in front of his emplacement, his machine gun ammunition expended, his empty pistol in his right hand, and a machete with blood on the blade in his left hand, and approximately 22 enemy dead lay in the wake of his action. Pfc. Hanson's consummate valor, inspirational conduct, and willing self-sacrifice enabled the company to contain the enemy and regain the commanding ground, and reflect lasting glory on himself and the noble traditions of the military service.

We Simply Will NOT Quit......If one more of our flock may be spared.

Semper Fidelis

6 comments:

De'on Miller said...

Billy,

There is not one thing that could make me much happier than reading your posts.

It is Aaron, it is just so very much Aaron.

Thank you. Really. For teaching him and for "wowing" us with your posts.

Your writing is as bold as your brotherhood!

aunt karen said...

How proud we are that Aaron has a legacy along with these brave men. What a wonderful post, I have chill bumps. Your words have such strength and power. It must have been awesome to be in your classroom. Thank you.

Steve Ramos said...

The ability to arrange words into powerful prose is shared by few. I think of Winston Churchill when he would stoke his countrymen's fever to beat the Germans back as bombs rained on London. His speeches would incredibly move the English focus to victory and away from their precarious situation.

Your writing is as powerful as Churchill's or any other leader who has ignited the fire for love of country and brotherhood. If anyone has taught by example, it is you.

I'm thankful that you are an American, that you are a Marine. I'm thankful that men learned from you.

Andrew said...

Yeah, what Steve said.

sherri knipper (step-mother of billy) said...

I'm thankful to have Billy as my step-son.

His love of country and brotherhood has been in him even before he became a Marine. The years as a Marine just strengthened them.

I knew the day he went to boot camp that he could and would change the Marines forever.

I'm very proud (and not surprised) of the example he has set for his men. I'm sure they will never forget him. And positive, Billy will never forget Aaron.

Bless you all!

Thinking good thoughts is not enough, doing good deeds is not enough, seeing others follow your good examples is enough.
-- Doug Horton

De'on Miller said...

Thank you so much, Sherri. I can only imagine how proud of him you are. His writing, the way he's so personable in pen, always impressed me on Aaron's message board, and it astounds me that he's with us now!

Thank you, to you and your husband for being such awesome parents!