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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Military Awards

I don't know why I keep posting photos of military awards recently?? Perhaps it's because last weekend was D-Day and/or I watched a few episodes of 'Band of Brothers' and the movie 'A Bridge Too Far.' Who knows? Anyway, I joined the military right out of high school serving from 1981-1986. Fortunately, I missed out on any serious campaigns although they eventually
got me (see previous posts on Afghanistan!!). Hey, the incoming doesn't know if you're military or a civilian!

Anyway, looking at the display case from left to right, the medals are as follows:

Army Commendation Medal

Army Achievement Medal

Good Conduct Medal

Global War on Terrorism Civilian Medal

*Vierdaagse Cross-an official Dutch decoration that can be worn on a Dutch uniform

Alpine March Medal-Bern, Switzerland

Above the nametag is a 'Sharpshooter' badge for both M-16 and grenade.

At the top, is the unit insignia for the Intelligence and Security Command.

Finally, I achieved the rank of Sergeant/E-5. Sorry, not an officer as I had not yet attended university at that time.

*I'm especially proud of the Vierdaagse Cross as I was a member of an army team that trained six months for this event. Basically, we had to walk 50 kilometers/day for four days as part of a team. If one person had dropped out, none of us would have gotten the award so there was pressure not to let your teammates down. Not only did we cover the distance every day, but,
unlike civilians, we also had to carry 25 pounds of weight in our backpacks. Needless to say, this got heavy after a while. The worst thing about this march was having the medic inspect your feet every night. He would lance all the blisters and then spray some kind of chemical into the wound that set your feet on fire!! Most of my teammates were really hurting on day three but, for some reason, I felt great and used all my energy urging them on. My hump day was the final day and I was really hurting. My right foot had swollen up so much that I didn't even have to tie my boot for it to stay in place. Finally, the end came and we all sat on the ground and napped in an open field. Unfortunately, in a few minutes we got a rude awakening and were required to walk another five kilometers into the town. We were so angry figuring the brass wanted us to attend some kind of pointless ceremony. But, to our surprise, the locals were waiting for us along the route giving us flowers and kisses and in general, showing their appreciation. It must have been what the allied forces felt like when they liberated Holland! I was so glad I walked that last five kilometers.

Well, enough reminiscing! Just in case you're interested, here is a link to information about the march I just described. Ahhh, those were the days . .
..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Four_Days_Marches_Nijmegen

2 comments:

  1. Thanks, Paul! I got nostalgic about my military service all of a sudden.

    ReplyDelete