25 March 2014

Travelin' Tuesday: Philippines

Jeepneys are a popular form of public transportation in the Philippines.  This lot are in Olongapo, near Subic Bay; ornate as the one closest to the camera appears, it's actually quite sedate compared to some that I saw.  In Olongapo, at least, they were colour-coded according to the route they followed.  (You can see a red one in the background, next to the third yellow one; there were also blue ones.)

Picture taken 10 Jul 88.

19 March 2014

Medals of Honor awarded

As announced last month, President Obama presented the Medal of Honor yesterday to three Vietnam veterans, as well as to the families of 21 other soldiers who served in Vietnam, Korea or World War II. NPR has the complete list, with links to bios and citations, here. The names, units, and dates of heroism are:
Pvt Pedro Cano - Co C, 8th Inf Regt, 4th Inf Div - 2 Dec 44
Pvt Joe Gandara - Co D, 2nd Bn, 507th Para Inf Regt, 82nd Abn Div - 9 Jun 44
S/Sgt Salvador J Lara - Co L, 180th Inf Regt - 27-28 May 44
Pfc William F Leonard - Co C, 30th Inf Regt - 7 Nov 44
S/Sgt Manuel V Mendoza - Co B, 250th Inf Regt, 88th Inf Div - 4 Oct 44
Sgt Alfred B Nietzel - Co H, 2nd Bn, 16th Inf Regt, 1st Inf Div - 18 Nov 44
1st Lt Donald K Schwab - Co E, 15th Inf Regt - 17 Sep 44

Cpl Joe R Baldonado - Co B, 187th Abn Inf Regt - 25 Nov 50
Cpl Victor H Espinoza - Co A, 1st Bn, 23rd Inf Regt, 2nd Inf Div - 1 Aug 52
Sgt Eduardo C Gomez - Co I, 8th Cav Reg, 1st Cav Div - 3 Sep 50
Pfc Leonard M Kravitz - Co M, 3d Bn, 5th RCT, 24th Inf Div - 6-7 Mar 51
Sgt. Juan E. Negron - 65th Inf Regt - 28 Apr 51
M/Sgt Mike C Pena - Co F, 2nd Bn, 5th Cav Regt (Inf), 1st Cav Div - 4 Sep 50
Pfc Demensio Rivera - Co G, 2nd Bn, 7th Inf Regt, 3rd Inf Div - 22-23 May 51
Pvt Miguel A Vera - Co F, 2nd Bn, 38th Inf Regt, 2nd Inf Div - 21 Sep 52
Sgt Jack Weinstein - Co G, 21st Inf Regt, 24th Inf Div - 19 Oct 51

SP4 Leonard L Alvarado - 1st Cav Div - 12 Aug 69
SSG Felix M Conde-Falcon - Co D, 1st Bn, 505th Inf Regt, 82nd Abn Div - 4 Apr 69
SP4 Ardie R. Copas - 25th Inf Div - 12 May 70
SP4 Jesus S Duran - 1st Cav Div - 10 Apr 69
SP4 Santiago J Erevia - Co C, 1st Bn (AM), 501st Inf Regt, 101st Abn Div (AM) - 21 May 69
SGT Candelario Garcia - Co B, 1st Bn, 2nd Inf Regt, 1st Inf Div - 8 Dec 68
SSG Melvin Morris - Det A-403, Co D, 5th SF Group (Abn) - 17 Sep 69
SFC Jose Rodela - Det B-36, Co A, 5th SF Group (Abn) - 1 Sep 69
The addition of Erevia, Garcia and Rodela brings the number of living Medal of Honor recipients back up to 77.

18 March 2014

Travelin' Tuesday: Italy

Capo d'Orso, in northern Sardinia near La Maddalena, gets its name from a rock formation that looks like a giant bear.  It was used as a landmark by ancient sailors, and was mentioned as such by the 2nd-century geographer Ptolemy. A popular tourist destination, la Roccia dell’Orso (Bear Rock) can be reached by heading east down the road from Palau* - not a long walk - and then climbing a path up the hillside.

Picture taken 18 May 03.

* Not to be confused with Palau.

17 March 2014

RIP: Ola Mize

ZUI this article from the Washington Post:
Ola “Lee” Mize received the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest award for valor, for his heroism in the battle in which he defended a strategically important hill and saved the lives of numerous comrades — and in which his superiors thought he had lost his own. He later served three tours of duty in Vietnam and retired as a colonel.

He died March 5 at his home in Gadsden, Ala. He was 82. The cause was cancer, said Rick Vaughan, a family spokesman.

The son of an Alabama sharecropper, Col. Mize left high school and joined the Army to support his family. He was nearing the end of his enlistment when the Korean War began, according to several accounts, and he reupped so that he would not miss the opportunity to serve in combat.


Ola Lee Mize was born Aug. 28, 1931, in Albertville, Ala. He was a butcher before joining the Army and was initially turned down by military recruiters because he weighed only 120 pounds.

After his tour in Korea, Col. Mize served in the Army Special Forces, or Green Berets, including as a camp commander in Vietnam. He helped train local populations to oppose the Viet Cong, according to a biographical sketch in the book “America’s Heroes,”and later was director of the Special Forces School at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Col. Mize retired in 1981 but remained involved in military affairs for several decades as a motivational speaker, trainer and consultant, his family’s spokesman said.

Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Betty Jackson Mize of Gadsden; their daughter, Teresa Peterson of Rainbow City, Ala.; a half-brother; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. His daughter Donna Feazell died in 2001.
Mize's death brings the number of surviving Medal of Honor recipients to 74, nine of whom were awarded the medal for heroism in Korea.

************* *** *************


Sergeant, US Army; Company K, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division

Born: 28 August 1931, Marshall County, Alabama
Died: 12 March 2014, Gadsden, Alabama

Citation: M/Sgt. Mize, a member of Company K, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. Company K was committed to the defense of "Outpost Harry", a strategically valuable position [near Surang-ni, Korea], when the enemy launched a heavy attack [during the night of 10-11 June 1953]. Learning that a comrade on a friendly listening post had been wounded he moved through the intense barrage, accompanied by a medical aid man, and rescued the wounded soldier. On returning to the main position he established an effective defense system and inflicted heavy casualties against attacks from determined enemy assault forces which had penetrated into trenches within the outpost area. During his fearless actions he was blown down by artillery and grenade blasts 3 times but each time he dauntlessly returned to his position, tenaciously fighting and successfully repelling hostile attacks. When enemy onslaughts ceased he took his few men and moved from bunker to bunker, firing through apertures and throwing grenades at the foe, neutralizing their positions. When an enemy soldier stepped out behind a comrade, prepared to fire, M/Sgt. Mize killed him, saving the life of his fellow soldier. After rejoining the platoon, moving from man to man, distributing ammunition, and shouting words of encouragement he observed a friendly machine gun position overrun. He immediately fought his way to the position, killing 10 of the enemy and dispersing the remainder. Fighting back to the command post, and finding several friendly wounded there, he took a position to protect them. Later, securing a radio, he directed friendly artillery fire upon the attacking enemy's routes of approach. At dawn he helped regroup for a counterattack which successfully drove the enemy from the outpost. M/Sgt. Mize's valorous conduct and unflinching courage reflect lasting glory upon himself and uphold the noble traditions of the military service.

11 March 2014

Travelin' Tuesday: Norway

Austråttborgen (Austrått Manor) is located some 30 miles to the northwest of Trondheim, overlooking Trondheimsfjord. The manor as laid out today was completed around 1656; it burned in November of 1916, but restoration was completed in 1961. Since 1919 it has been property of the state, and it is open for tours during the summer.

Picture taken Mar 1992.

04 March 2014

Travelin' Tuesday: Japan

The Great Buddha of Kamakura, on the grounds of Kōtoku-in, was probably completed in 1252 - that is, a statue of the Buddha was completed there, then, but it's unclear if the extant statue is the same one. Made of bronze, it is almost 44 feet high and weighs over 133 tons. To me, the startling bit was that it is hollow, and even has windows....

Pictures taken 8 Dec 86.