Thanks to Jennifer over at A Collection Of Thoughts for bringing this to my attention.
Many of you will remember the heroics that Sgt. 1st Class Randall Shughart and Master Sgt. Gary Gordon, US Army, displayed on Oct. 3, 1993 in Mogadishu, Somalia. Their actions were portrayed in the movie Black Hawk Down:
During a raid in Mogadishu on 3 October 1993, MSG. Gary Gordon and SFC. Randall Shughart, leader and member of a sniper team with Task Force Ranger in Somalia, were providing precision and suppressive fires from helicopters above two helicopter crash sites. Learning that no ground forces were available to rescue one of the downed aircrews and aware that a growing number of enemy were closing in on the site, MSG. Gordon and SFC. Shughart volunteered to be inserted to protect their critically wounded comrades. Their initial request was turned down because of the danger of the situation. They asked a second time; permission was denied. Only after their third request were they inserted.
MSG. Gordon and SFC. Shughart were inserted one hundred meters south of the downed chopper. Armed only with their personal weapons, the two NCOs fought their way to the downed fliers through intense small arms fire, a maze of shanties and shacks, and the enemy converging on the site. After MSG. Gordon and SFC. Shughart pulled the wounded from the wreckage, they established a perimeter, put themselves in the most dangerous position, and fought off a series of attacks. The two NCOs continued to protect their comrades until they had depleted their ammunition and were themselves fatally wounded. Their actions saved the life of an Army pilot.
No one will ever know what was running through the minds of MSG. Gordon and SFC. Shughart as they left the comparative safety of their helicopter to go to the aid of the downed aircrew. The two NCOs knew there was no ground rescue force available, and they certainly knew there was no going back to their helicopter. They may have suspected that things would turn out as they did; nonetheless, they did what they believed to be the right thing. They acted based on Army values, which they had clearly made their own: loyalty to their fellow soldiers; the duty to stand by them, regardless of the circumstances; the personal courage to act, even in the face of great danger; selfless service, the willingness to give their all. MSG. Gary I. Gordon and SFC. Randall D. Shughart lived Army values to the end; they were posthumously awarded Medals of Honor.
The actions of these two men deserve even more then the Medal Of Honor. They name a attack submarine after Jimmy Carter, one of the worst pieces of crap to serve as President along with the most cowardly, so they should name some buildings, ships, airports, and whatever you can damn well think of after these guys. They should not be forgotten.
Turns out the Navy has named a ship and a class of ships in honor of Shughart, the Army War College in Carlisle has named a residence hall in his honor, and the mayor of Harrisburg has named a street in his honor.
Shughart is further honored in North Carolina at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum, in Louisiana in a military training town of 27 multistory buildings, in Colorado with a hall at Fort Carson, and in the best free enterprise tradition of America, by SOKO Toys, which has produced a G.I. Joe-like doll of Shughart.
There is one place however, where nothing is named in honor of Randall Shughart. That is his hometown of Newville, where he was raised, and in particular, Big Spring High School, his alma mater.
Big Spring recently built a $30 million high school, and for several years Richard Chamberlain, a Korean War veteran, has been attempting to have the new building named in honor of Shughart.
However, the superintendent of schools and the school board members have resisted every attempt. In 2001, they stated they “could not support naming the new school building for one veteran when many graduates had served in the military.”
His own home town has refused to name the High School after him, not even the High School, just a building in the school. Why? Because many people in the community have served in the military. Can you believe this? How many from this town have won the Medal Of Honor?
Since the Civil War ended in 1865, only three other men from central Pennsylvania have been awarded the Medal of Honor — one from World War II, one from Korea, and one from Vietnam. That is how rare this honor is. Four people in 140 years! THE ALUMNI OF MY college fraternity, Chi Gamma Iota, or XGI’s, have been following this issue for the past year. We have met with our new student members, who are veterans of the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan, and we have decided to take action to honor Randall Shughart regardless of what this school board does, or for that matter, thinks.
Then this section just about made my jaw drop:
The board last week again unanimously rejected the request to name the building. Chamberlain and other veterans proposed to pay for a plaque that would be placed outside the school auditorium honoring all veterans who have served in the armed services. This was rejected by a 6-3 vote and led to the most telling aspect of this chilling attitude within the Big Spring High School.
Members of the high school’s student council stated, “The veterans should focus their efforts on raising money for something the school needs, such as an all-weather surface for the high school track,”
They even voted down a plaque honoring all veterans and the snot nosed kids said the veterans should raise money for them, not the other way around. I’m just speechless.
Just when I think this whole generation is worthless comes this tho:
And now this former Marine wished he could tell those little darlings what they really need, in addition to a history lesson. But I will instead refer them to West Perry High School.
The day after the shameful episode at Big Spring, it was announced that West Perry students have begun work on a Vietnam War monument at the school. They previously unveiled a Korean War monument in 2002, and a World War II monument in 1995. THE STUDENTS got permission from the school board and have already begun to raise the $8,000 themselves. The students also submitted their own designs, which will have a “welcome home” theme. I have never been so proud to be from Perry County. They will be hearing from Chi Gamma Iota.
Jennifer then blogged about an article in the paper today with an interview with Shughart’s parents:
Big Spring school board members last week voted against naming the high school building for Medal of Honor winner Randall D. Shughart while retaining the name Big Spring High School.
Today Herbert Shughart, father of the Army Sergeant First Class who lost his life in Somalia in 1993, said the controversy over naming the school, “might as well be over.”
Shughart said he appreciates what several veterans, led by West Pennsboro businessman Richard Chamberlain, are trying to do. But he feels,
“They’re beating a dead horse.”
The memorial outside the new high school was donated by the class of 2001 and the flagpole probably would have been placed there anyway, Shughart said.
“As far as the pictures inside, my wife and I donated them,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, Big Spring School District and the town of Newville have not done one thing to honor Randy. If they’re happy with that, then I’m happy, too. I’m not sure I’d want his name on the building.”
Amen, this school board and the community can kiss my ass. What disrespect for a man who gave his life for our country. Shameful.
Please email the principal to this school at this email@example.com to voice your opinion. I found that the board members are:
Mr. Robert L. Barrick
Board Secretary / Newville Borough
Mr. Edward J. Gallagher
Board Treasurer / Lower Frankford
Mr. Wilbur E. Wolf, Jr.
Board President / Penn/Cook
Mr. David W. Gutshall
Board Member / Lower Mifflin
Mr. Kingsley J. Blasco
Board Member / Upper Mifflin
Mrs. Terry A. Lopp
Board Member / North/South Newton
Mr. William L. Piper
Board Member / Upper West Pennsboro
Mr. William A. Swanson
Board Member / Upper West Pennsboro
Mrs. Beverly J. Miller
Board Vice President / Upper Frankford
I found the phone number for their office (717-776-2000) but could find no email addresses. If someone runs across them let me know.
Please do me a favor and blog about this on your blog if you have one. I would like to reach many more readers then I get, the more that know of this situation the better. I doubt we can change their decision but at least we can let them know how disgraceful they are.
UPDATE – 3/18/05 1400hrs
An anonymous person emailed me the email addresses to the Big Spring School Board
Big Spring School Board
Barrick, Unknown – firstname.lastname@example.org
Big Spring Superint, C.. – email@example.com
Gutshall, Dave firstname.lastname@example.org
Mellinger, Gail email@example.com
Wolfe, Wilbur firstname.lastname@example.org
Principal – email@example.com