The Bronze Star: the fourth highest wartime medal in the United States Armed Forces, authorized by Congress, awarded to soldiers for heroism or meritorious service in combat.
That’s one heavy medal for a soldier to carry on his chest.
I’ve served over 37 years in the military and I can count on one hand the number of soldiers I’ve known that are Bronze Star award winners.
This medal came about during World War II, when then General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff George C. Marshall requested it be established because, “The ground troops, Infantry in particular, lead miserable lives of extreme discomfort and are the ones who must come in personal combat with the enemy, it makes the maintenance of their morale of great importance.”
Marion and Washington County can claim one more young man who received the award last month as a member of the elite 10th Mountain Division. He just returned from his second deployment in March from Afghanistan.
His name is Sergeant Josh Shingleton and is married to the former Susan Mudd. Susan is the daughter of Mary and Bernard Mudd, Jr. She is also the granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Bernard “Bud” and Minnie Ida Mudd of Marion County and of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice and Isabelle Begley of Washington County.
Josh is in his fourth year of active duty. His award of the medal was related to leading a combat fire team on patrols in the bad lands of Afghanistan. During the tour of duty, one of his men was shot by the enemy while they played “cat and mouse” with Taliban bushwhackers.
Josh’s award came because of selfless service while volunteering many times and putting himself in extreme peril while looking for and disabling Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s). IED’s are powerful bombs hidden by the enemy along roads and trails, meant to maim and kill. I lost track of the total but during the first six months of his last deployment, Josh found 26 and blew them in place, preventing not only death or injury of his own men, but also of follow-on soldiers using the same trail.
Any time I feel down or uneasy about the future of our country, I have only to look at young men and women like Josh for reassurance that we will have a brighter tomorrow.
Josh has just reenlisted in the Army, but many of those same men and women are choosing to re-enter civilian life. They bring with them invaluable qualities that we desperately need injected into the bloodstream of our country.
It’s their human nature that will not accept defeat, will never quit, will never leave a fallen comrade, will place the people first, will be disciplined, physically and mentally tough, and will stand up for the greatest country the world has ever known.
These are ideals that somehow we have temporarily forgotten along the way.
Those same individuals coming out of the military need new tools to continue their service in civilian life so this grateful nation can also capitalize on what they already possess within themselves.
It is with pride and pleasure to announce that St. Catharine College (SCC) in Washington County is doing their part to meet the needs of these veterans by holding the seventh-annual Military Appreciation Day on April 21.
I’ve never seen such a well thought out and put together program as this for veterans. So many know so little about what is due them and ultimately every one we help will pay back in multiple dividends to our own future.
That’s a fact.
SCC’s seventh-annual Military Appreciation Day is about honoring our hero’s and keeping them informed about what benefits they are entitled to once they transition into civilian life, or if they are already there. SCC is hoping to reach out to our military people by having guest speakers from the VA, Troops to Teachers program, the American Legion and many more.
The program will kick the morning off with a fundraising 5K race that will benefit the FRG (Family Readiness Group) of the Army’s Bravo Troop, 6-4 CAV of Ft. Knox, at Springfield’s Idle Hour Park. All are welcome and it will run from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
There will be a free lunch at SCC for everyone from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., along with multiple displays on military benefits and educational programs. Booths, booths and more booths will offer patriotic items and foods that are patriotic-themed.
A presentation will be given from 1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. on the “Troops to Teachers” program offered by the federal government at SCC’s Pettus Auditorium.
The GI Bill will be detailed to veterans from 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. again at Pettus Auditorium.
SCC even has some very informative lectures on how a veteran can get college credit based on military experience and education from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at room HH-117 along with a class on VA benefits from 4:10 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Pettus Auditorium.
Got kids and don’t think you can go to the above?
Activities are planned for children throughout the entire event, making it family friendly.
In addition, there are concurrent events planned at SCC from 11:30 a.m. on and ending with the play “Man of La Mancha” at the Springfield Opera House starting at 7 p.m. that evening.
SCC’s Jennifer Craig told me, “We are truly excited about this event, and being a part of an amazing day as we carry out our Senior IDS Capstone project. Not just as students, but as citizens, we are proud to give back to our community.”
Great program, see you there!