The Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum, designed to honor the men and women who served during World War II, occupies land on what was the Pueblo Army Air Base. Inside the main hangar, “Peachy”, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber, dominates the exhibition floor.
Together, “Peachy”, various aircraft and staged mannequins provide scenes frozen in time for museum visitors to walk through history and get lost in the cavernous space. The quiet mumbles of visitors echo off the now flightless war-fighting planes that silently represent what once was.
Above fly the Stars and Stripes joined by the flags of the U.S. Armed Forces. The low-key event contrasts with the magnitude of the service given by the Medal of Honor recipients, who met with the community, Fort Carson Soldiers, service members, cadets and other guests September 16, 2017.
Recipients of the Medal of Honor and their guests speak with the community over lunch during a meet and greet inside the exhibition hangar at the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum, Pueblo, Colorado, September 16, 2017. The Pueblo Home of Heroes Association hosted the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Convention from Sept. 12 -16, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Anthony Bryant)
The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force for U.S. service members, which is generally presented to the recipient by the President of the U.S. in the name of Congress.
Former Spc. 5 James C. McCloughan, combat medic, was among those attending and the most recent recipient of the Medal of Honor, who was presented the award by President Donald J. Trump on July, 31, 2017, 48 years after his brave actions in the Vietnam War.
In May 1969, with complete disregard for his life, Pfc. McCloughan ran into an open field through heavy fire to rescue a wounded comrade. He then led two Americans to the safety of a trench while being wounded by shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade. He ignored a direct order to stay back and braved an enemy assault while moving into the “kill zone” on four more occasions to extract wounded comrades.
Heavily outnumbered by North Vietnamese Army Forces he treated the injured, prepared the evacuation, yet refused to evacuate so he could stay with his fellow Soldiers at the battle site near Nui Yon Hill. The battle would continue for two more days.
McCloughan’s story of running into fields to rescue fellow Soldiers struck a chord with Sgt. 1st Class Victor Miranda, combat medic, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
Former Army 1st Lt. Brian M. Thacker, recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions on March 31, 1971, during the Vietnam War, shakes hands with an Army Junior ROTC cadet at the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum, Pueblo, Colorado, September 16, 2017. The Pueblo Home of Heroes Association hosted the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Convention from Sept. 12 -16, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Anthony Bryant)
“I am humbled to meet these heroes and to be able to shake their hands, get their signatures and be able to recognize what they do…it’s an honor,” said Miranda.
Retired Master Sgt. Ronald E. Rosser, forward observer, was awarded the Medal of Honor as a corporal for his actions on January 12, 1952, during the Korean War when he assaulted enemy positions on a hill three times, returning to friendly lines to resupply after each assault. Rosser single-handedly killed at least 13 of the enemy that day. He exhausted his ammunition after the third assault and accompanied the withdrawing platoon. Rosser made several trips across open terrain, while under enemy fire, to extract men more seriously injured than himself.
“In combat, you don’t get a second chance,” said Rosser. “Pay attention to what you’re supposed to be doing…We’re a band of brothers; we take care of each other.”
Rosser, with other Medal of Honor recipients, shared their stories to the cross-generational crowd, who walked quietly through history in a space that is loud with the past.
Retired Army Maj. James A. Taylor, recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions in Nov. 1967 during the Vietnam War, autographs a booklet for an Army ROTC cadet attending the meet and greet at the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum, Pueblo, Colorado, September 16, 2017. The Pueblo Home of Heroes Association hosted the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Convention from Sept. 12 -16, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Anthony Bryant)
Recent recipients Capt. Florent Groberg, Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha, and Spc. Ty Carter, former Soldiers of the 4th Inf. Div., attended the convention.
“This event was more relaxed than previous years, but it was amazing. There are only 72 living Medal of Honor recipients and 46 were in Pueblo,” said Matt Albright, Medal of Honor convention communications chair.
The next Congressional Medal of Honor Society Convention is scheduled to be hosted in Annapolis, Maryland, 2018.
By U.S. Army Spc. Anthony Bryant
Provided through DVIDS
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