So my neighbor obtains a donated wreath and invites to me to join him and some other members of the Yorktown Virginia Marine Corps League for an impromptu ceremony at the National Cemetery to commemorate the anniversary of Lieutenant Sargent's death. For me, it was simply an honor to be in the presence of so many outstanding Marine Corps veterans. But it gets even better. As part of the personal ceremony my neighbor organized, the Commandant of the Yorktown Chapter presented me with a special challenge coin and a picture of him holding up a painting of Freddy Gonzalez painted by famous Marine Corps painter, Col (ret) Charles Waterhouse. Not only did these Marines take time out on a rainy Sunday afternoon to honor an Army Medal of Honor recipient. They knew I am fortunate to command a great ship like GONZALEZ and found a way to make it special for me as well. My neighbor is right...never pass up the opportunity to talk to someone serving or who has served. You never know who you might get to hang out with. So, XO, if you are reading the blog, stand by to organize a tour for some great Americans! Go Navy and Semper Fi Marines!
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Freddy Gonzalez Heritage - Marine Corps Style
No military Service understands or values their heritage better than the United States Marine Corps. A short story to back up that assertion...I am fortunate to have a retired Marine Corps Sergeant Major as a friend and neighbor. He is famous for saying, "I never walk by another person who's serving and not speak. Life is all about who you hang out with." And he lives by it. Not only does he know and take care of everyone in the neighborhood, he is also the kind of guy who can tell you how many Congressional Medal of Honor recipients are buried in the local cemetery. Last week, he told me the story of Army First Lieutenant Ruppert Sargent of Hampton, Virginia who, like Freddy Gonzalez, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. He told me this story because Lieutenant Sargent is buried in the Hampton National Cemetery near our homes and today, 15 March 2009, was the 42nd anniversary of the day he earned his Medal of Honor. Lieutenant Sargent's citation can be found at http://www.mishalov.com/Sargent.html.