Los Angeles native and Congressional Gold Medal recipient Theodore Lumpkin Jr., who made history when he joined the Tuskegee Airmen, has died days before his 101st birthday, it was recently announced.
The social worker and realtor died from COVID-19 complications on Dec. 26, according to Los Angeles City College.
Born and raised in L.A., Lumpkin attended LACC from 1938 to 1940 and received an associate degree. He was a 21-year-old junior majoring in mathematics at UCLA when he was drafted into the military.
In the U.S. Army Air Corps, he was assigned to the 100th Fighter Squadron — one of the famous all-Black squadrons of the 332d Fighter Group — in Tuskegee, Alabama. The Army Air Forces program in Tuskegee was established to train Black military pilots and recruits, who became some of the most recognized and decorated pilots serving in World War II.
In January 1946, Lumpkin received an honorable separation from active-duty service and used education funds from the GI Bill to earn his undergraduate degree in sociology at USC. He was hired by the county of Los Angeles as a social worker and furthered his education by earning a master’s degree in social work from USC in 1953.
He worked in the county’s Bureau of Adoptions and urban affairs, community development and model cities departments. He continued his military service with the inactive Air Force Reserves. He retired from social work in 1979 and launched a second career in real estate.
In March 2007, Lumpkin was recognized for his role in the Tuskegee Airmen with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor Congress can bestow on a civilian.
Lumpkin said he was proud to have been among the Tuskegee Airmen invited to attend former President Barack Obama’s inaugural ceremony in 2009. A 2007 statement by then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama underscored the impact of the airmen, saying, “My career in public service was made possible by the path heroes like the Tuskegee Airmen trailblazed.”
78 years ago marked the start of a battle that would ultimately hasten Germany’s defeat less than a year later.
When D-Day veterans set foot on the Normandy beaches and other World War II sites on this anniversary of D-Day, they express a mix of joy and sadness. Joy at seeing the gratitude and friendliness of the French toward those who landed on June 6, 1944. Sadness as they think of their fallen comrades and of another battle now being waged in Europe: the war in Ukraine.
On June 6, 1944, the D-Day invasion of Normandy began. It was the largest invasion ever assembled.
In the midst of World War II, more than 156,000 allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, confronting Nazi forces. The D-Day, codenamed Operation Neptune, began the assault phase of the wider Allied invasion led by General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Early on June 6, Allied airborne forces parachuted into drop zones across northern France. Ground troops landed across five assault beaches – Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. By the end of the day, the Allies had established a foothold along the coast and could begin their advance into France.
D-Day was an international effort requiring unprecedented cooperation between international armed forces. On the day of the invasion the Allied forces consisted mainly of American, British and Canadian troops, but also included Belgian, Czech, Dutch, French, Greek < New Zealand, Rhodesian and Polish naval, air and ground support.
It was the largest naval air and land operation in history. Germany tried to defend the northern coast of France with a series of fortifications known as the “Atlantic Wall.” But German defenses were often incomplete and insufficiently manned.
That single day exacted a great human toll. It cost the lives of 4,414 Allied troops, 2,501 of them Americans. More than 5,000 were injured. On the German side, several thousand were killed or wounded.
While millions of fans mourn the beloved television star Betty White, who passed away on Friday at the age of 99, the US Army paid tribute to the comedian for one of her earliest and most significant roles — as a volunteer during World War II.
In a statement released on Friday, the military branch lamented the death of White and detailed her association with the armed services.
“We are saddened by the passing of Betty White,” the Army said in a statement on Twitter. “Not only was she an amazing actress, she also served during WWII as a member of the American Women’s Voluntary Services. A true legend on and off the screen.”
White found work modeling in the late 1930s, but put her larger aspirations on hold during World War II in order to work with the American Women’s Voluntary Services (AWVS) in 1941.
The AWVS sent female volunteers to take on roles including firefighting, ambulance and truck driving, and aerial photography.
During an interview with Cleveland magazine in 2010, White said that her assignment consisted of driving a PX truck of supplies to barracks in the Hollywood Hills — while attending dances for departing troops at night.
“It was a strange time and out of balance with everything,” White told the magazine, “which I’m sure the young people are going through now.”
White, a staple on numerous game shows including “Password” and “The Hollywood Squares” from the 1960s through the 1980s, was also well-known for her roles as Sue Ann Nivens on the 1970s CBS sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” Rose Nylund on the NBC sitcom “The Golden Girls,” and Elka Ostrovsky on the TV Land sitcom “Hot in Cleveland.”
Bob Dole, the longtime lawmaker who overcame life-threatening injuries during World War II to become a shepherd of the Republican Party, died in his sleep Sunday at the age of 98.
Dole’s death was confirmed by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation in a statement Sunday.
“It is with heavy hearts we announce that Senator Robert Joseph Dole died early this morning in his sleep,” the foundation said. “At his death, at age 98, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 79 years.”
His family also released a statement about Dole’s death Sunday, saying that they have lost their rock, adding that they shared Dole with Americans “from every walk of life” over the decades.
“Bob Dole never forgot where he came from. He embodied the integrity, humor, compassion and unbounded work ethic of the wide open plains of his youth,” the statement said. “He was a powerful voice for pragmatic conservatism, and it was that unique Kansan combination of attributes and values that made him such a giant of the Senate.”
In February, Dole revealed that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and said he was starting treatment.
President Joe Biden reflected on his decades-long friendship with Dole, who he worked with on opposite sides of the Senate floor throughout their careers. In a statement Sunday afternoon, Biden described Dole as a man with “an unerring sense of integrity and honor.”
“Bob was an American statesman like few in our history. A war hero and among the greatest of the Greatest Generation,” Biden said. “And to me, he was also a friend whom I could look to for trusted guidance, or a humorous line at just the right moment to settle frayed nerves.”
Dole was among one of the first people he spoke to outside of the White House administration after being sworn in as president earlier this year, Biden said. The two also spoke following Dole’s cancer diagnosis, Biden saying he wanted to offer the same support Dole offered him after Biden’s late son, Beau, was diagnosed.
“Like all true friendships, regardless of how much time has passed, we picked up right where we left off, as though it were only yesterday that we were sharing a laugh in the Senate dining room or debating the great issues of the day, often against each other, on the Senate floor,” Biden said. “I saw in his eyes the same light, bravery, and determination I’ve seen so many times before.”
A former Senate majority leader and the 1996 Republican nominee for president, the native of Russell, Kansas, represented an earlier version of the GOP that had come through the Great Depression and did not shy away from a muscular use of government at home and abroad. He championed expanding the federal food stamp program, bringing awareness to disabilities, and sending U.S. troops to foreign conflicts.
He was one of the oldest first-time presidential nominees at age 73, but even after retiring from politics after losing the race to President Bill Clinton, Dole didn’t shy away from the limelight. He took on a new career starring in television commercials for Viagra, Visa and other brands. He also kept his commitment to fellow war veterans, spending Saturdays well into his 90s greeting veterans who flew to Washington, courtesy of the Honor Flight Network, a nonprofit that arranges such flights for veterans.
Clinton tweeted following Dole’s death on Sunday, offering a tribute to his former presidential opponent who had “dedicated his entire life to serving the American people.”
“After all he gave in the war, he didn’t have to give more. But he did,” Clinton said. “His example should inspire people today and for generations to come.”
Continue on to the original article posted on NBC News.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, the first Black American to serve in the post, died on Monday at the age of 84 due to complications from COVID-19, his family announced in a statement.
The family said the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had been fully vaccinated and was receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Medical Center.
“General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this morning due to complications from Covid 19. He was fully vaccinated. We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment,” the Powell family said in a statement posted to Facebook.
“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” the family added.
Powell, born on April 5, 1937, in New York City, was raised by Jamaican immigrant parents in the South Bronx.
Following a decorated military career that included tours in Vietnam, Powell held key military and diplomatic positions throughout government, serving under both Democratic and Republican presidents.
Former President George W. Bush, who tapped Powell to serve as his secretary of State, said he was “deeply saddened” by the military leader’s death.
“Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of Colin Powell. He was a great public servant, starting with his time as a soldier during Vietnam. Many Presidents relied on General Powell’s counsel and experience,” Bush said in a statement.
“He was National Security Adviser under President Reagan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under my father and President Clinton, and Secretary of State during my Administration. He was such a favorite of Presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice. He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man,” he added.
Continue on to The Hill to read the complete article.
Two young boys in Indiana are being praised for their thoughtfulness, after they stopped riding their bikes to honor a fallen veteran at his funeral.
Jacqi Hornbach shared the sweet story about the boys in Facebook post over the weekend, a few days after witnessing their kind gesture.
While dog-sitting for a friend last Thursday and enjoying the nice weather, Hornbach said she spotted a funeral procession entering the cemetery across the street. That funeral was for 89-year-old United States Army veteran Charles Everett Yorn, Hornbach told Fox News.
Not long after, Hornbach said two boys came down the street on their bikes just as “Taps”, the bugle call played at military funerals, was being performed.
“These two young men were riding their bikes and saw the flag of the deceased military man,” she recalled in her post. “They immediately stopped riding, got off their bikes, and stood with respect as TAPS was being played.”
Hornbach said she couldn’t resist taking a photo at that moment because “I was so proud of these two young men.”
“Their parents should be so proud, and I’m sure the serviceman was in heaven smiling down on them,” she added, noting that “she debated whether or not to post this, but with all the negative things going on, I thought this was needed.”
Hornbach’s post has since been shared on Facebook hundreds of times with many social media users echoing her praise for the young boys.
One user, Kendra Yorn Pierson, sweetly commented on the post by writing, “That was my grandpa’s funeral. Thank you so much to those two young boys.”
Eventually, the post even reached the boys’ family members, with Edgar Barajas and Sean Moody each leaving comments identifying the boys as their sons, Cristiano “Cris” Barajas and Lane Moody.
“I always wonder if anything I say sinks in,” Sean wrote in one comment. “Obviously more than I thought!”
Sean later spoke to NBC affiliate WTHR and explained that seeing his 8-year-old son Lane in the shot left him “totally amazed.”
“I know [Cristiano’s] parents are very proud, as we all are,” Sean told the outlet, noting that their family has several military veterans in it.
During her interview with Fox News, Hornbach said the moment was “so touching to see” especially because it was “without any prompting or knowledge of anyone watching.”
The following is a statement from Dr. J.D. Crouch, II – CEO and President of the United Service Organizations (USO) about the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks:
“This week marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks – a day that forever changed our country. It is also a time when we think about how military conflicts have shaped much of the USO’s mission over the last two decades.
“Many of us have a personal experience related to the attacks that claimed 2,977 lives that September morning. And the recent events in Afghanistan – where 13 service members were killed in a terrorist attack during a mission to evacuate thousands of American citizens and our allies – highlight the extreme risk our service members have faced over the last 20 years. We honor these and all our fallen heroes who dedicated their lives to serving us all since September 11th.
“Following the 9/11 attacks, the impact of the USO’s operations was significant. Immediately after the attacks, according to the USO’s 2001 annual report, the organization’s ‘operations immediately responded, focusing programmatic initiatives inward to those restricted to their bases and extending hours and a variety of services.’ Thanks to the swiftness of our team, we worked to keep them connected to everything that gave meaning to their service.
“As the U.S. military ramped up operations, the USO was there by the side of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and many others who were engaged in the war on terrorism. USO tour veteran Wayne Newton and others first went to European bases and the carrier USS Enterprise in November 2001 to entertain service members. Then in December 2001, Newton, along with Drew Carey and others went to Afghanistan to perform.
“The USO, according to this vivid account from our Southwest Asia operations, went in to support our military with a suite of services. This included building full-scale centers to support service members deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and strategic neighboring countries like Kuwait and the UAE.
“At one point, there were three large USO centers in Iraq and eight centers in Afghanistan. The first USO facility in Afghanistan was the Pat Tillman Memorial USO Center at Bagram Air Base. Fittingly, it was the last of the USO centers to close in the country, just a few short months ago.
“Although we no longer have a physical presence in Afghanistan, we know the USO made an indelible mark in the lives of our troops, their families and the USO staff who served there. We will be forever linked by ‘the mystic chords of memory’ with the thousands of young men and women who spent time in a faraway land to ensure our safety at home.
“On this somber anniversary, we honor those who have served and thank all of those at the USO – staff and volunteers – for all that has been done for the USO and for the men and women of our country’s Armed Forces.
“While their missions change, our unwavering support of our military men and women never will. Because the weight of the world lands on their shoulders, we must be by their side. Because of the good work at the USO, we always will be.”
Follow the USO on Facebook, Twitter,andInstagram for updates and join the conversation using #BetheForce and #MoreThanThanks on social media.
About the USO: The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home, and country, throughout their service to the nation. At hundreds of locations worldwide, we are united in our commitment to connect our service members and their families through countless acts of caring, comfort, and support. The USO is a private nonprofit organization, not a government agency. Our programs, services and entertainment tours are made possible by the American people, the support of our corporate partners, and the dedication of our volunteers and staff. To join us in this important mission and learn more about the USO, please visit USO.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Longtime American foreign correspondent Joseph L. Galloway, best known for his book recounting a pivotal battle in the Vietnam War that was made into a Hollywood movie, has died.
He was 79.
A native of Refugio, Texas, Galloway spent 22 years as a war correspondent and bureau chief for United Press International, including serving four tours in Vietnam. He then worked for U.S. News & World Report magazine and Knight Ridder newspapers in a series of overseas roles, including reporting from the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
Galloway died Wednesday morning, his wife Grace Galloway told AP, after being hospitalized near their home in Concord, North Carolina. He is also survived by two sons and a step daughter.
“He was the kindest, most gentle and loving man,” Grace Galloway said. “He loved the boys and girls of the U.S. military. He loved his country.”
With co-author retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Hal Moore, Galloway wrote “We Were Soldiers Once … And Young,” which recounted his and Moore’s experience during a bloody 1965 battle with the North Vietnamese in the Ia Drang Valley. The book became a national bestseller and was made into the 2002 movie “We Were Soldiers,” starring Mel Gibson as Moore and Barry Pepper as Galloway.
Before he became the first Black player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Emlen Tunnell served in the Coast Guard during and after World War II, where he was credited with saving the lives of two shipmates in separate incidents.
Now, a Coast Guard cutter and an athletic building on the Coast Guard Academy campus are being named in honor of the former NFL defensive back, who died in 1975, as the service aims to highlight his little-known story and its own efforts to do better when it comes to race and celebrating diversity.
“I think it’s important, because you have a teachable moment with young people when you talk about a guy like Emlen Tunnell,” Coast Guard Academy football coach C.C. Grant said. “They need to understand what he did, what he went through and what kind of a person he was.”
Tunnell was the first Black player signed by the New York Giants and later played for the Green Bay Packers. But not much was known about his Coast Guard service until 2008, when Cmdr. Bill McKinstry recognized Tunnell’s name on the back of photograph showing a Coast Guard basketball team from the late 1940s.
His research uncovered a remarkable service career that Tunnell, who had been a steward’s mate, had downplayed.
In April 1944, Tunnell was unloading fuel and explosives from a cargo ship in Papua New Guinea when it was hit by a Japanese torpedo. Tunnell used his bare hands to beat out flames that had engulfed a shipmate, suffering burns in the process. Two years later, while stationed in Newfoundland, Tunnell jumped into 32-degree Fahrenheit water to save another man who had fallen from the USS Tampa.
Given the context of what a Black steward’s mate was expected or even allowed to do during that time in American history — largely restricted to duties like keeping the dishes on the ship clean — his accomplishments are all the more remarkable, McKinstry said.
“If you look at the pictures of him in uniform, he is the one African American in a sea of other people,” McKinstry said. “It is so important that we take a look at these trailblazers, just like Mr. Tunnell and we honor them, because of all things they faced in laying the groundwork for where we are today in making a better future.”
In 2011, the Coast Guard posthumously awarded Tunnell the Silver Lifesaving Medal. The cutter, currently under construction in Louisiana, is tentatively scheduled to be commissioned in October. The Coast Guard Academy plans to open the $3.5 million Emlen Tunnell Strength and Conditioning Center in September.
Tunnell played college football at Toledo before the war and after the war — he enlisted from 1943 to 1946 — continued his collegiate career at the University of Iowa, suffering a serious neck injury. But after leaving college in 1948, he hitchhiked from his home on Pennsylvania to New York for a tryout with the Giants.
He ended up playing 14 seasons in the NFL and when he retired as a player, he held league records with 79 interceptions, 1,282 interception return yards , 258 punt returns and 2,209 punt return yards. He then became a scout and one of the league’s first Black assistant coaches, helping fully integrate both the Giants and the Packers, said David Lyons, an author who is writing a biography of Tunnell.
He died of a heart attack at the age of somewhere between 50 and 53 — his birth records were not clear.
He was the first Black man and the first defensive specialist to be enshrined in Canton. But he never gained the fame of contemporaries in other sports, such as Jackie Robinson, because he played at a time before football was widely televised or popular — and because of his humility, Lyons said.
“Emlen was a great Giant as a player, coach and scout,” Giants co-owner John Mara said. “More importantly, he was a wonderful human being, which is why he was the most beloved person in our organization throughout his time with us. Vince Lombardi traded for Emlen in Green Bay because he knew Emlen would be vital in establishing a championship culture.”
Continue on to Fox News to read the complete article.
Dorothy “Dot” Cole was the oldest living US Marine veteran when she died on January 7. She was 107 years old.
Cole, who was born in 1913 and grew up in Warren, Pennsylvania, suffered a heart attack in the home they shared in North Carolina, her daughter Beth Kluttz told CNN by phone Saturday.
Cole decided she would take a stance to support her country after Japanese forces launched a surprise attack on the Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii on December 7, 1941.
“There were women volunteering with the Red Cross and knitting while sitting in church, so I thought I had to do something,” Cole told the Marine Corps Times in an interview in September. “At the time, I didn’t think I was doing anything great. I knew I was helping our country.”
She was 28 years old in 1943 when she became among the first wave of women to join the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, according to her daughter.
Cole wanted to be like Amelia Earhart, Kluttz said, and had taken flying lessons in hopes of becoming a pilot.
“She thought she would impress the military by taking flying lessons. She had about 200 flying hours in, and flying a Piper Cub, and she thought that would impress the military and the Marine Corps,” Kluttz said. “But when she got in there, they just put her behind the desk.”
She attained the rank of sergeant before leaving the Marines. The Marine Corps paid tribute to Cole in a tweet that ended, “Semper Fi, Marine.”
The US Naval Institute said in a tweet that Cole was the oldest living Marine, and “like most women in the era,” was given clerical work so men could fight in combat. Women became a permanent part of the Marine Corps in 1948, according to the Women Marines Association.
The Marine Corps eventually saw its first female pilot in 1995, according to Military Times. All jobs in the military, including combat roles, were opened to women in 2016.
Tommy Lasorda, the fiery Hall of Fame manager who guided the Los Angeles Dodgers to two World Series titles and later became an ambassador for the sport he loved during his 71 years with the franchise, has died. He was 93.
The Dodgers said Friday that he suffered heart failure at his home in Fullerton, California. Resuscitation attempts were made on the way to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday.
Lasorda had a history of heart problems, including a heart attack in 1996 that ended his managerial career and another in 2012 that required him to have a pacemaker.
He had just returned home Tuesday after being hospitalized since Nov. 8 with heart issues.
Lasorda attended the Dodgers’ Game 6 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Oct. 27 in Texas that clinched the team’s first World Series title since 1988.
“It feels appropriate that in his final months, he saw his beloved Dodgers win the World Series for the first time since his 1988 team,” commissioner Rob Manfred said.
Lasorda had served as special adviser to team owner and chairman Mark Walter for the last 14 years, and maintained a frequent presence at games sitting in Walter’s box.
“He was a great ambassador for the team and baseball, a mentor to players and coaches, he always had time for an autograph and a story for his many fans and he was a good friend,” Walter said. “He will be dearly missed.”
Lasorda worked as a player, scout, manager and front office executive with the Dodgers dating to their roots in Brooklyn.
He compiled a 1,599-1,439 record, won World Series titles in 1981 and ’88, four National League pennants and eight division titles while serving as Dodgers manager from 1977-96.
He was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1997 as a manager. He guided the U.S. to a baseball gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Lasorda was the franchise’s longest-tenured active employee since Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully retired in 2016 after 67 years. He drew standing ovations when introduced at games in recent years.
“There are two things about Tommy I will always remember,” Scully said. “The first is his boundless enthusiasm. Tommy would get up in the morning full of beans and maintain that as long as he was with anybody else. The other was his determination. He was a fellow with limited ability and he pushed himself to be a very good Triple-A pitcher. He never quite had that something extra that makes a major leaguer, but it wasn’t because he didn’t try.”
Lasorda often proclaimed, “I bleed Dodger blue” and he kept a bronze plaque on his desk reading: “Dodger Stadium was his address, but every ballpark was his home.″
As a pitcher, Lasorda had a modest career at the major league level, going 0-4 with a 6.48 ERA and 13 strikeouts from 1954-56.
Born Thomas Charles Lasorda on Sept. 22, 1927, in Norristown, Pennsylvania, his pro career began when he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as an undrafted free agent in 1945. He missed the 1946 and ’47 seasons while serving in the Army.
Lasorda returned in 1948 and once struck out 25 in a 15-inning game. In his next two starts, he struck out 15 and 13, gaining the attention of the Dodgers, who drafted him from the Phillies. He played in Panama and Cuba before making his major league debut on Aug. 5, 1954, for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Although he didn’t play in the 1955 World Series, he won a ring as a member of the team.
Lasorda pitched for the Dodgers for two seasons before the Kansas City Athletics bought his contract. He was traded to the Yankees in 1956 and sent down to the Triple-A Denver Bears before being sold back to the Dodgers in 1957. During his time with the Bears, Lasorda was influenced by manager Ralph Houk, who became his role model.
“Ralph taught me if that if you treat players like human beings, they will play like Superman,″ Lasorda said in his 2009 biography “I Live For This: Baseball’s Last True Believer.″
“He taught me how a pat on a shoulder can be just as important as a kick in the butt.″
Lasorda stayed on with the Dodgers as a scout after they released him in 1960. That was the beginning of a steady climb through the Dodgers’ system that culminated in his 1973 promotion to the big-league staff under longtime Hall of Fame manager Walter Alston.
Lasorda spent four seasons as third base coach while considered to be the heir apparent to Alston, who retired in September 1976.
Lasorda took over and his gregarious personality was in stark contrast to his restrained predecessor. Lasorda was known for his enthusiasm and outspoken opinions about players. He would jump around and pump his arms in the air after Dodgers victories and embrace players in the dugout after home runs or other good plays.
In L.A., Lasorda found many of the players he had managed in the minors, including Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, Bobby Valentine and Bill Buckner.