5 more of the greatest military heroes you’ve never heard of
When a person joins the military, they make a commitment to their country, service, and their brothers- and sisters-in-arms. Some, however, go beyond expectations and, determined that the lives of others are more important than their own, decide to go full beast-mode.
Here are just a few of those badasses:
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5. Staff Sergeant Albert L. Ireland
Prior to enlisting in the United States Marine Corps in 1941, Albert Ireland served in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
After earning numerous purple hearts during World War II, Ireland was recalled to active service for the Korean War. He was unable to go back to combat service, however, due to having earned more than two purple hearts.
He then decided to go to Washington D.C. and talk to General Clifton B. Cates, the Commandant of the Marine Corps at the time, to try and convince him to let him go anyway. The commandant bought him a plane ticket to San Francisco, en route to Korea.
In 1953, Ireland received an honorable discharge after being wounded in the leg, hand, neck, and face. Overall, he earned 9 purple hearts on top of two bronze stars, along with campaign and service medals with eight bronze stars.
4. Duane Edgar Dewey
In 1951, Duane joined the Marines on an indefinite enlistment (the duration of the war plus an additional 6 months). He was a machine gun squad leader with Company E, 2nd battalion, 5th Marine regiment in Korea when he was wounded by a grenade that fell into his position.
While being treated by a corpsman, another enemy grenade landed near him. Quickly, he tossed the corpsman away before jumping on the grenade. When it exploded, Dewey was lifted off the ground, suffering shrapnel wounds all over the lower part of his body. He survived.
Dewey went on to be the first person awarded the Medal of Honor by President Dwight D. Eisenhower for his actions.
3. Staff Sergeant Nicky Daniel Bacon
During the Vietnam War, Nicky Daniel Bacon took command when his platoon leader was wounded. He then led his men to destroy enemy emplacements. But, when another platoon lost their leader, he took on command yet again.
During that attack alone, Staff Sergeant Bacon was personally credited with killing 4 enemy soldiers and an antitank gun.
2. Havildar Lachhiman Gurung
As a rifleman with the 8th Gurkha Rifles as part of the British Indian Army during World War II, Havildar Gurung was serving in Burma when over 200 Japanese soldiers attacked his position.
After returning two grenades, Gurung caught a third one, which exploded. It cost him his hand and an eye and inflicted serious damage to the rest of his arm, his torso, and his right leg. Despite this, he continued to fight for 4 hours with just one arm, ending 31 Japanese soldiers before reinforcements arrived.
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1. Adjudant-chef Susan Travers
During World War II, Susan Travers, an Englishwoman, trained as a nurse before becoming an ambulance driver for the French Red Cross. While serving in Northern Africa with the French Foreign Legion, her unit was attacked by Rommel's Afrika Corps, but she refused to be evacuated with all the other female personnel. She led 2,500 troops to safety, breaking through enemy lines and driving through machine gun fire and even over a landmine.
After the war, Travers applied to become an official member of the French Foreign Legion without specifying her sex. Her application was approved by an officer who admired her and she became the first ever female to officially serve as part of the French Foreign Legion.
She would go on to serve in Vietnam during the First Indochina War and, in 2000, published her autobiography, Tomorrow to Be Brave.