Army Rangers

You are currently browsing articles tagged Army Rangers.

by: Stephen Kilcullen

“…Ranger School isn’t about improving the career prospects of individual candidates. Our motto is “Rangers lead the way.” Many a Ranger has lived these words before being killed in action—certain that if a Ranger couldn’t accomplish the mission, nobody could. This unique culture lures the kind of young, smart soldiers needed to get the toughest jobs done. The promise of something bigger than oneself—bigger than any career track—is what motivates these men.

“…The notion of allowing women into Ranger School because denying them the experience would harm their careers makes Ranger graduates cringe. Such politically correct thinking is the ultimate expression of the “me” culture, and it jeopardizes core Ranger ideals.”

To read more CLICK HERE.

Tags: ,

Over 50 of the living recipients gathered here for a group photo in front of Churchill Downs Paddock area.

Over 50 of the living recipients gathered here for a group photo in front of Churchill Downs Paddock area.

Men of Honor

by Norman Fulkerson

October 11, 2011

On the evening of September 28, 2011 hundreds of Kentuckians gathered in downtown Louisville to catch a glimpse of a distinguished group of men who were visiting the state. The classic red carpet treatment one would expect for such an event was rolled out over a section of Main Street while a gigantic American flag waved overhead.

Those honored to walk this red carpet however were not movie stars or musicians. They were members of the most elite group in America, who earned their fame through blood, sweat and tears. During some point in their lives they had been either shot at, blown up, burned, broken, beaten, starved, imprisoned and in some cases, all of the above. For their heroism they earned our nation’s highest military award for valor, the Medal of Honor (MOH).

History of the Medal
Originally created in 1861 by Abraham Lincoln, the Medal is bestowed upon members of the Armed Services who distinguish themselves in battle by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their life above and beyond the call of duty, while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States. In 1958 President Dwight Eisenhower signed a piece of legislation forming what is known today as the Congressional Medal of Honor Society (CMOHS). Since its inception there have been 3458 recipients. There are only 85 living recipients today.

Every year, the Medal of Honor Society holds a convention in a host city for those distinguished service members who have received this prestigious award. The city of Louisville, Kentucky was delighted to have the 2011 convention because this year marks the 150th Anniversary of the medal’s creation and more importantly the most recent recipient of the award, Cpl. Dakota Meyer, hails from nearby Greensburg, Kentucky. Besides being the youngest, he is the first living Marine since the Vietnam War to receive the honor. Although he is a mature and serious 23-year-old man now, he was only 21 when he defied death numerous times to save the lives of his friends.

 

MOH Recipients were treated to lunch in Churchill Downs Millionaire Roll followed by two signature horses provided by the track.

Convention Events
Besides the opening day red carpet treatment dubbed the Walk of Heroes, there were a number of other events which provided locals the chance to meet and honor members of this distinct group. One of the conventions premier events was the Tribute to American Valor held at the Yum Convention Center.

The evening began with a demonstration by the famous Marine Corps Silent Drill Team followed by theatrical narrations of select recipients from wars going all the way back to World War II. When the skit was finished the actual person who performed the deeds would step onto the stadium floor to thunderous applause.

Considering the location of this year’s event, it is not surprising that organizers chose to single out those from the Bluegrass State. Kentucky has had 56 honorees accredited to the state. Don Jenkins, from Quality, Kentucky was working in the coal mines when at 19 he was drafted into the Army and sent to Vietnam in January of 1969. During an intense fire fight he ran into an exposed area cradling an M-60 machine gun. When it ran out of ammo, he grabbed a rifle, and then made multiple trips through heavy fire to get more ammunition from dead GIs. He later grabbed two anti-tank weapons and ran straight at the enemy once more, taking out two enemy bunkers. After receiving shrapnel wounds in his legs and stomach, Mr. Jenkins heard the cries of help from fellow soldiers trapped in the midst of the battle. He ignored his injuries and went back into the fray on four more occasions and dragged those men to safety. He returned to the U.S. later in the same year, received his medal in 1971 and returned to the coal mines of Kentucky until he was forced to retire in 1999 because of disability.

Sgt. Gary Litrell, a former president of the CMOHS is from Henderson, Kentucky. He earned his medal in Vietnam in 1970 during a four-day battle where he showed superhuman endurance. His was an advisor to 473 fellow Vietnamese Army Rangers who were attacked and almost overwhelmed by 5000 enemy troops. When his commanding officers were killed Sgt. Litrell took command and over the next four days he repeatedly abandoned a position of relative safety to direct artillery and air support, distribute ammunition and help the wounded.

Sgt. Dakota Meyer, the most recent MOH recipient, during press conference held at the Galt House Hotel in Downtown Louisville. .

The best was saved for last when the deeds of Dakota Meyer were recounted. Cpl. Meyer received his medal for saving the lives of 36 American and Afghan soldiers and Marines who were ambushed by a much superior Taliban force in the village of Ganjgal. During a battle which lasted over six hours, Cpl. Meyer made five trips into the fire fight with the certainty he would not come out alive. On a several occasions, he was forced to fire, at point-blank range upon enemy soldiers trying to take over his vehicle.

Cpl. Myer merely stood there with hands folded in silence as the audience applauded the narration of his feats. Like all MOH recipients he feels he did nothing worthy of praise. “I was only doing my job,” he often responds to those who laud his actions.

Visits to Schools
The recipients also took time to participate in an outreach program in which some of them visited fifteen area schools throughout the Jefferson Country public school system. They were received with admiration by star struck youth, who sat up straight, and hung on their every word.

Louisville did something different from other host cities in the past. Each of the recipients received a personalized welcome letter from an area high school student. The envelope carrying the letter described how the class had “read about the Medal of Honor recipients who were coming to the convention and wanted to be sure you knew how much it means to them that you are here.”

Col. Harvey Barnum received a letter from a student at East High School who explained he was contemplating the military life because of the example of men like him. The student then briefly narrated Col. Barnum’s deeds and how he was able to “rally his troops” and “raise the moral of the other units while under heavy fire.”

“This to me is amazing,” he said, “and something I don’t believe I could do. You give me an inspiration and make me want to give back to this country.”

The author left with Col. Walter "Joe" Marm in the lobby of the Galt House Hotel.

“It’s Like They Have a Halo Around Them”
A visit to Louisville would not be complete without a trip to historic Churchill Downs. After taking a look at 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide, in the paddock area — brought in especially for the occasion — the heroes were treated to lunch in Churchill Downs 4th floor Millionaire’s Row. Since it was open seating, attendees could pick the hero of their choice to have lunch with. I was honored to sit at the table of Col. Walter Marm. To my left was Cory Etchberger, the son of MOH recipient Richard Etchberger. His father was killed during heroic actions in Vietnam but was only awarded the Medal last year.

He shared his thoughts on the experience of attending his first convention and one particularly interesting story about a lady he bumped into named Michelle. She was in town for a Christian Education convention and at the suggestion of her husband decided to stay on for a couple of days. To her surprise she ran into Cory who explained the convention and the feats of some the men standing around her. She was amazed at her good fortune but overwhelmed when Mr. Etchberger kindly offered to take her picture with MOH recipient Col. James Fleming. She was speechless as she walked away in tears.

I had a similar experience when I spotted Don and Sherry Gilbertson in the Churchill Downs museum. They are from Pebble Beach, Fl. and just happened to be in town for a car show. Mrs. Gilbertson could hardly contain her enthusiasm for the opportunity to just stand in the same room with such heroes. “I feel in awe just being next to them,” she said. “It’s like they have a halo around them.”

When the recipients gathered for a group photo in the paddock area, a lady standing next to me could hardly contain her childlike enthusiasm as she took one picture after another. “Oh, my gosh,” she just kept exclaiming, “oh my gosh!”

On the way out I happened to jump on the elevator with a Churchill Downs employee who felt the need to share his experience of the day. He described watching each of the recipients as they walked across the blue carpet and into the park. “I could hardly keep my eyes dry,” he said.

The distinguished group of Medal of Honor recipients attending this years event. During some point in their lives they had been either shot at, blown up, burned, broken, beaten, starved, imprisoned and in some cases, all of the above. For their heroism they earned our nation’s highest military award for valor, the Medal of Honor (MOH).

The author with Sgt. Allan Kellogg.

Informal Conversations
It is hard to describe what it was like being in the midst of such men. It seemed like everywhere you turned you were either in the presence of a hero or someone related. At Churchill Downs, I happened to be standing next to Megan, the 23-year-old daughter of Army Specialist John Baca. He could not make it to the event but she described how her father jumped on a live grenade during the Vietnam War and lived to tell about it. This act of selflessness is not an uncommon thing among American servicemen.

Standing next to her was the daughter of Sgt. Maj. Allan Kellogg. I had met him the day before and was impressed with the way he calmly told of his encounter with a live ordnance during his 1970 tour in Vietnam. The grenade bounced off his chest and landed at his feet as he was leading his men through a rice paddy. Sgt. Kellogg jammed it into the mud then fell on it. The subsequent explosion knocked his .45 pistol out of his hands and detonated his ammunition belt. In spite of the severity of his injuries, he re-assumed command of his men and led them to safety.

Col. Don Ballard, a hospital corpsman in Vietnam, was also at the convention. On May 16, 1968 his company was ambushed by a North Vietnamese unit. He was caring for a Marine who had been badly wounded when another Marine yelled “grenade.” Col. Ballard refused to allow any harm to his patient and instinctively jumped on it. After what seemed like an eternity — and no explosion — he stood up and threw the grenade which detonated in midair.
World War II veteran Robert Maxwell was not so lucky. He and I chatted in front of Churchill Downs paddock area where he told about the feats which earned him our nation’s highest honor. He was holding some Germans at bay during a firefight with only his .45 pistol. Suddenly a grenade landed in the courtyard of their compound only a few feet away from the door of the command post. His first impulse was to throw it but feared there would be no time to do so. He then decided to smother it with his body so as to save others from injury. What most impressed me about him was his “grandfatherly” kindness and willingness to recount a story he has told so many times before.

These informal conversations were, by far, what made the convention most special. I found myself constantly gravitating between an objective reporter of events and an adoring fan. I was not alone.

Col. Jim Coy is a retired Medic with the Special Operations who served as the senior surgeon with the Army Special Forces. In spite of his own noble service to our country he, like many other hero worshipers, patiently waited as the recipients passed to get their signatures in a beautiful book titled, Medal of Honor; Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty by Nick Del Calzo and Peter Collier.

Dave Loether proudly unfurls an Army flag with numerous MOH signatures.

Another permanent fixture in the hotel lobby was Dave Loether. His son is currently serving our country in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army. Among Mr. Loether’s most prized possessions is a flag he proudly unfurled for me. He had it signed by all the Army MOH recipients as a gift for his son.

“The Biggest Honor I Have Ever Had.”
The convention’s final event was the Patriots Awards Dinner. Officer Patterson stopped me at the entrance to check my identification. He was involved in escorting the recipients and explained how impressed he was at the reception they received from the public. “As each of them arrived in the airport,” he said, “they were welcomed with a standing ovation from passengers. People would approach to touch them and shake their hand.”

During the cocktail hour, a charming Kentuckian named Tonnia was serving hors d’oeuvres with a big smile on her face. “What do you think about this group of men?” I asked. “I feel special just being here,” she responded.

Clay Smith expressed similar sentiments. He was one of the bus drivers hired to transport the recipients during the week’s events. I had seen him earlier in the day holding the door to the entrance of Churchill Downs with one hand, while playing “My Old Kentucky Home,” on a harmonica, with the other. Being a die-hard Kentuckian, I gave him thumbs up for his performance.

He explained how the harmonica was a gift given to him by Sgt. Sammy Davis. When he opened the box I could see it was engraved with Sgt. Davis’ favorite saying, “You don’t lose until you quit trying.

“I cried for over an hour after receiving such a gift,” Mr. Smith said. “I have driven this bus for over 30 years,” he continued, “but this has been the biggest honor I have ever had in my whole life.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

Ideals To Aspire To

Reviewed by: R.Adm. William A. Heine, USNR (ret) and Colonel Michael D. Wyly USMC (Ret.) Both men were classmates of Colonel John Ripley, Class of 1962, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis.

A lone U.S. Marine hand-walked, gripping the girders underneath the bridge over the Cua Viet River in the midst of a fire fight, on Easter Sunday, 1972. South of the bridge, a beleaguered battalion of fewer than 700 South Vietnamese Marines was the last ditch defense of the town of Dong Ha. North of the bridge, a column of 200 Soviet-built tanks and 30,000 North Vietnamese soldiers moved south. The bridge was their destination and their means of rapidly reinforcing the communist forces already in the Republic of Vietnam. As advisor to the South Vietnamese battalion, Captain John W. Ripley, received the order to destroy the bridge. He did so, singlehandedly. It would take him three hours hand-walking out with the explosives and back again for more. At one point he passed out from fatigue on a girder, only to be awakened when a round from the main gun of an enemy tank slammed into the bridge and jolted him awake. ” ‘The idea that I would be able to even finish the job before the enemy got me was ludicrous,” ‘Captain Ripley is quoted. ‘When you know you’re not going to make it, a wonderful thing happens: You stop being cluttered by the feeling that you’re going to survive.’”

The captain would retire from the Corps as a full colonel in 1992. The writers of this review have known him since we were all 18-year-old plebes reporting to the U.S. Naval Academy in the Class of 1962. “Rip” as we called him died of an apparent heart attack in October 2008 and we each had conversation with him within a week of his death, knew him in the course of our own military careers, knew he was the hero who singlehandedly destroyed the bridge, but did not know how much a hero, had never heard Rip’s words quoted above, until we read Norman Fulkerson’s An American Knight. If you understand the title, you do not need to read the book. But read it anyway. It is an uplifting story.

John W. Ripley with his wife Moline, after receiving the Navy Cross during the evening Parade at the Marine Corps Barracks in Washington D.C.

From Fulkerson we also learn that when asked to sign a contract for a possible movie about his actions, Rip imposed two conditions. Whoever portrayed him would not use profanity and would not be unfaithful to his wife. When it came to being an officer of Marines, Rip epitomized what this means in a way Hollywood might never understand. Simply put, Rip was a gentleman. Hollywood images of tough guys swearing and womanizing may attract throngs of ticket-buyers seeking an evening’s entertainment, but they fail to capture what service to one’s country and courage under fire really are. John captured them both, true to life.

Fulkerson’s writing style is without pretense. One editor described the book as “an easy read.” It follows the chronology of Colonel Ripley’s life in sequence. No flashbacks or fast forwards. We meet his parents and the small town Radford, Virginia, where he grew up. We meet his bride to be and learn of his courtship and marriage. But without the author having to tell us, we sense where the story is taking us, that when Rip is called upon, he will do his duty, no matter the odds.

And so it was with we who knew him. When we were all teenage midshipman Rip’s future had an inevitability about it. That he would be a Marine officer was a certainty. On this, he was thoroughly focused. Likewise, that he would stay in uniform for a full 30 years. That his specialty would be infantry. Our images of military life were formed in World War II. “Marine” meant hitting the beach in a landing craft with a drop-ramp bow and charging on foot against the enemy. That we would one day go to war to fight for our freedom seemed equally certain. Rip wanted to do that because he believed in what the country stood for. Add all this together and you knew Rip would be called upon to do his duty, to exercise immense courage under fire, and that he would rise to the occasion, never flinching. And with that ever-present broad smile on his face.

1967 Vietnam photo of then Captain John Ripley studying a map with his trademark smile.

Rip had two tours of duty in Vietnam, the first as an infantry company commander. Here we read of his forbidding his Marines to shoot a pig because “it belongs to a farmer who needs to sustain a family.” And the same humanitarian thread continues as the bridge at Dong Ha finally blows into “massive chunks of concrete and steel spiraling through the air” while Rip holds in his arms a Vietnamese child whom he rescued from the impact area just in time.

Rip’s story does not end when the bridge blows up. As a colonel he is assigned back to his Alma Mater at Annapolis. There, he sets an example to the young midshipmen in his charge, guides and mentors them, earning respect and love above and beyond anything we remember witnessing or hearing about in our own careers. His calm manner, his inner toughness, and his ready smile –all life-long traits– made it a morale boost just to be in the same room with him.

Norman Fulkerson first met Colonel Ripley in 1993 when the Colonel delivered a speech for the launching of the book Nobility and Analagous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII at The Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C. In the ensuing years he kept in touch, personally, and read articles and books recounting the Colonel’s actions at Dong Ha, Vietnam, in 1972. He met Marines who had served with Colonel Ripley. The more the author learned of “Colonel Ripley the man,” the more he found himself thinking what a model citizen and model officer the colonel was. Finally, in 2007, a year before Colonel Ripley died unexpectedly, Mr. Fulkerson began to conceptualize a book about the Colonel’s life. The material in An American Knight is drawn from a combination of conversations with Colonel Ripley; meetings and interviews with Marines and family members: several books and articles that have documented the Colonel’s courage in Vietnam, and the content of Colonel Ripley’s speeches that the author had attended over the years.

An American Knight is more than sound military history. It is the story of a life led without pretense or affectation, an example of doing one’s duty selflessly, and, in this way is a story the youth of our country are starved for. Adults should read it for inspiration of how to rear their children and our children should read it to learn that great things can be done by people who come from the simplest beginnings, that bravado is not a requirement, that honor is sacred, and that modesty and courtesy are the keys to respectability. We should hope our grandchildren will put the book down and reflect, “Maybe I could do that” and know, when they too are called upon to act in some unforeseeable situation, “there was one who went before me and rose to the occasion. I can too.”

R. Adm. William A. Heine, USNR (ret.) is an Annapolis classmate of John Ripley who served 38 years in the Navy. The bridge that John Ripley destroyed at Dong Ha was built in 1969 by a Seabee Battalion NMCB-62. Admiral Heine served as an Operations Officer of the Battalion just prior to its construction and was familiar with various aspects of the project.

Colonel Michael D. Wyly, USMC (ret.) served two tours and distinguished himself as an outstanding Marine infantry officer in Vietnam. His early life and military career is chronicled in Robert Coram's book "Boyd".

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

SSG Austin McCall earned the Bronze Star with Valor and a Purple Heart while serving as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan.

Staff Sergeant Austin McCall says he was inspired to join the Army, like many heroic young Americans these days, because of the events of September 11. He went on to become a Ranger and on January 5, 2010 he earned the Bronze Star while leading his squad to a compound in Eastern Afghanistan. They had received intelligence that it was a “guest house” for a suicide bomber. When he arrived at this compound he was met by an enemy combatant holding two grenades. It was a make or break moment and Sergeant McCall lived up to the challenge.

He was able to shoot the terrorist, but not before the latter launched one of his grenades in the McCall’s direction. What happened next could be measured in milliseconds. The first grenade hit McCall in the chest, landed at his feet, but miraculously did not explode. Instinctively he turned his head towards the rest of the Rangers in his unit and yelled “grenade” as the second one, lying on the enemies chest, exploded.

Flying shrapnel might have killed Sergeant Mcall, had he not turned his head. Although his life was spared, one large piece of medal tore through his cheek and took out two teeth on its exit. With the commotion caused by the grenade other terrorists entered the fray.

In spite of his injuries, McCall maintained his calm and continued to heroically lead his squad. They eventually overcame the enemy and secured the compound. When the dust settled Sergeant McCall was covered in blood from his facial injuries and was forced to endure the pain, without medication, for another half hour before he could be evacuated.

There are two things which make this man worthy of admiration.

The Bronze Star it is the fourth-highest combat award of the U.S. Armed Forces

First of all, he was quick to deflect the praise he earned for his actions. “(As Rangers) that’s just what we do,” he said. “We go to where the fight is. We are there to engage and take care of the bad guys. That’s the way we are. We are all Rangers – the best gun fighters in the world.”

The second thing which makes this warrior worthy of our respect is his willingness to get back into the fight. He was quoted he in an article saying he “looks forward to doing it all over again.” This was not just tough talk either. A month after his brush with death and a most painful injury Sergeant McCall is back in the fight with a scar across the face to prove that it really is “hard to keep a good man down.”

“Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission though I be the lone survivor.” Last stanza of the Army Ranger creed.

Tags: , , , ,

Colonel Ripley with Members of TFP Student Action.

Colonel Ripley with members of TFP Student Action.

A Story of Exceptional Valor and Faith

by Cesar Franco

An old adage states that you only meet two great people in a lifetime. After visiting Col. John W. Ripley, I can say I met my first one.

As Col. Ripley politely invited my colleagues from Tradition, Family and Property Student Action and me into his office on October 31, I felt tremendously honored to meet one of America’s greatest living war heroes — a man who served on active duty for thirty five years in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Before serving two tours in Vietnam, he completed scuba, Ranger, airborne and jump master training. He was also an Exchange Officer to the British Royal Marines, during which time he participated in a Northern Malaysian campaign with the famous Gurkha Rifles.

One Marine Cripples North Vietnamese Invasion

Diorama depicting Colonel John Ripley’s exploits in Dong Ha. It is located in Bancroft Hall at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Diorama depicting Colonel John Ripley’s exploits in Dong Ha. It is located in Bancroft Hall at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Col. Ripley is most famous for blowing up the bridge at Dong Ha in Vietnam. He accomplished this act of epic heroism after three days of intense combat, without any food or sleep. A few sips of water from his canteen provided his only sustenance. This superhuman feat crippled the 1972 North Vietnamese Easter invasion which ended in defeat. Thus, the government honored Col. Ripley’s leadership, heroism and self-sacrifice at Dong Ha with a Navy Cross, America’s second highest military decoration.

Members of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition Family and Property (TFP) present Colonel John Ripley with a rosary. "This rosary will not collect dust," said Colonel Ripley in response to this gift.

Members of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition Family and Property (TFP) present Colonel John Ripley with a rosary. "This rosary will not collect dust," said Colonel Ripley in response to this gift.

Col. Ripley is also a man of faith. He attributes the destruction of the Dong Ha bridge to the grace of God and the Blessed Virgin Mary. He related how he felt all physical strength evaporate while placing explosives under the bridge. To continue, he composed a simple rhyming prayer: “Jesus, Mary, get me there… Jesus, Mary, get me there…” He repeatedly said this prayer on the bridge and a supernatural assistance came to his aid at a much-needed time. He stated: “This aid was tangible. It was all-consuming.” His mission would have been impossible without it.

After this operation, Colonel Ripley’s mission was far from over. Unlike Hollywood movies, in which a bridge blows up and everyone lives happily ever after, the North Vietnamese found an alternate route. During the next days of fighting, Life Magazine published a famous picture of Colonel Ripley running as a mortar round blows up nearby. He showed us this amazing photograph during our meeting and many other war relics.

Chivalrous Behavior for a Fallen Soldier

Pointing to his picture, he recounted its exciting story. As the enemy approached within yards, he loaded the dead bodies of five news correspondents into an armored personnel carrier, putting himself in harm’s way. Then the armored personnel carrier left without him.

He was stranded with the limp, lifeless body of his radio man. As the enemy drew closer, he refused to run for cover. Like the knights of old, he preferred to die rather then abandon his fellow soldier’s body. He would not leave his radio man behind even though he was in clear view of the advancing enemy.

He picked up the body of his radio man and walked away very slowly, expecting a bullet to hit him at any moment. Suddenly, some South Vietnamese bodyguards or “cowboys,” as he called them, popped up over a ledge about 100 meters away and addressed him by his Vietnamese nickname, which meant “Captain Crazy.” They told him to duck while they sprayed cover fire allowing him to make a desperate 100-meter dash for safety. Smiling, Colonel Ripley recalled how he ran those 100 meters in 3 seconds!

The Four Bullets

TFP member holds the four bullets that nearly took the life of Colonel Ripley.

TFP member holds the three bullets that nearly took the life of Colonel Ripley. The fourth one he found on the Island of Iwo Jima.

While showing us some of his war relics, he pulled something out of his pocket. It was a brass-colored safety pin that connected four bullets. Grinning, he said: “I am personally acquainted with three of these.” One bullet pierced through the deck of the chopper in which he was flying and struck a magazine clip on his ammo belt, barely stopping its entry into his abdomen!

“When I’m having a bad day,” he said, “I pull these out of my pocket and say to myself, no, it’s not that bad… I’m not having such a bad day.”

He also showed us a neatly arranged collection of stamps he had acquired from a captured North Vietnamese postal worker.

What Is True Leadership?

The most interesting part of our meeting was when Colonel Ripley explained the essence of a true leader is one who sets the example and shows his troops how to act, rather than tell them what to do from a desk and ask them to report back. Colonel Ripley is one such leader. He never shied away from action, but always preferred to be on the front lines with his men.

In addition to being deadly on the battlefield, this tough marine is also lethal in the realm of ideas. After hearing about

TFP member John Miller debates the Traditional Marriage issue with a student at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut California.

TFP member John Miller debates the Traditional Marriage issue with a student at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut California.

the TFP Student Action debates on university campuses, he described the wonderful time he had appearing on Crossfire to debate a female Air Force general defending the need for women in the military. She could not stand up against the bulletproof logic of Colonel Ripley’s real life combat experience.

Tribute, Respect and Admiration

Colonel Ripley deserves our tribute, respect and admiration.

He taught us that to be a true leader one must have faith in God and Our Lady. He explained how being a leader means setting the example. Moreover, his heroic actions at Dong Ha speak even louder than his words.

It was truly an honor and privilege to meet this model soldier, a man with profound zeal for the Catholic Church and high ideals for which he is willing to give his life. My TFP colleagues and I will never forget him.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,