Medal of Honor Recipients Visit Hawaii
(May 1, 2010)
|PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Three Medal of Honor recipients spent a three-day visit in Hawaii to speak to troops and promote a book about Medal of Honor recipients as part of a Military Appreciation annual tour, April 25 to 27. |
Sponsored by the Navy Exchange, Retired Army Col. Donald E. Ballard, retired Army Sgt. Maj. Kenneth E. Stumpf and retired Marine Sgt. Maj. Allen J. Kellogg toured military facilities such as the Army Tripler Medical Hospital, the Pearl Harbor Navy Exchange and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH).
|PEARL HARBOR (April 26, 2010) Ensign Ray Miller IV gives a tour to Medal of Honor recipients aboard the guided-missile frigate USS Crommelin (FFG 37). Medal of Honor recipients Sgt. Maj. Kenneth E. Stumpf, Sgt. Maj. Allen J. Kellogg and Col. Donald E. Ballard are touring the western Pacific Region to talk to troops and to promote the book that reveals stories of many of the Medal of Honor recipients.|
|"Everywhere I go, I'm so impressed with the troops," said Stumpf. "To me they're the greatest, all volunteers. I can tell you the country really appreciates what they have done and what they keep on doing." |
The recipients met with several Sailors and other service members during the three-day visit. They had dinner with Individual Augmentees at the Hilton Hawaiian Hotel. They had breakfast with Sailors at the Silver Dolphin Bistro on JBPHH.
"I enjoy meeting with the troops because they're America," said Ballard. "They are now carrying the torch that we used to carry, and we're grateful that we have such a strong military."
Stephanie Lau, the customer relations manager of Pearl Harbor Navy Exchange said she felt honored to meet the three recipients.
"We've heard their story at the galley this morning at the breakfast," said Lau. "To hear it from them, what they've been through, is really above and beyond, I'd say. It gives more of a respect to all our service members and what they are going through."
During their visit at the Pearl Harbor Navy Exchange, they signed autographs and promoted their book to service members and families.
The book, "Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call," is a group portrait of most of the living recipients of the Medal of Honor. It includes entries from each recipient, including a photo portrait at the time of the award, a summary of the medal-winning action and biographical information about their later career.
With or without the book, service members and families were given free autographs from each of the recipients. Army Lt. Col. Allen Thiessen received his own copies of their autographs which he plans to take with him to his team in Al Kut, Iraq.
"I do this to motivate our guys, to let my guys know that these [Medal of Honor recipients] are the guys that set the example for us," said Thiessen, whose team is responsible for training Iraqi Federal Police during the transition in the country.
Toward the end of the tour, the recipients met with more than 50 Hospital Corpsmen and officers, including Purple Heart recipients at the Makalapa Clinic on JBPHH.
Chief Hospital Corpsman (FMF) Stewart Butler received the Purple Heart from Operation Iraqi Freedom and was also honored to speak with the recipients.
"It's nice to meet someone who has been there before you and has experienced along the same lines, to share the common bond, camaraderie, being in the field," said Butler.
During a question-and-answer portion, Butler asked the recipients for their wisdom when it came to their coping mechanisms.
"To get the different points of views from everyone on how to cope for certain things that come up in life. Hopefully with everything that was said today, the junior Sailors will take it to heart and go forward in a way that will inspire them to be good Sailors, good parents, good friends."
Ballard, Stumpf and Kellogg served during the Vietnam War where they each earned their Medal of Honor.
On May 16, 1968, Ballard, a Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class at the time, was treating two Marines suffering from heat exhaustion when his company was attacked by the North Vietnamese Army. While under fire, Ballard directed aid to other wounded Marines. When a grenade landed nearby, he lay on top of it to protect the injured. The grenade failed to explode, and Ballard was able to throw it away to explode harmlessly. He later returned to his comrades and continued to treat the wounded.
On April 25, 1967, then Staff Sgt. Stumpf and his company approached a village that had a well-fortified bunker complex and was occupied by a North Vietnamese rifle company. During the initial contact, three men were injured, and Stumpf rescued his three wounded comrades despite heavy fire. He then organized his squad and led an assault against several enemy bunkers. He and his squad successfully eliminated two of the bunker positions, and then after, he single-handedly disabled the remaining bunker.
On March 11, 1970, Gunnery Sgt. Kellogg led a small unit while evacuating a fallen comrade when his unit came under fire by a well-concealed, numerically-superior enemy. During the engagement, an enemy soldier hurled a grenade into the unit's midst, which glanced off the chest of Kellogg. Quick to act, he forced the grenade into the mud where he stood and threw himself over the weapon and absorbed the full effects of its detonation with his body thereby preventing serious injury or possible death to several of his fellow Marines. Although suffering multiple injuries to his chest and his right shoulder and arm, Kellogg continued to direct the efforts of his men until all were able to maneuver to the relative safety of the company perimeter.
Article and photo by Navy MCS 2nd Class Mark Logico
Navy Office of Community Outreach
Reprinted from Navy News Service
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