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CSM Michael Clemens

" Under sporadic enemy fire, Clemens led three other American soldiers and four
Iraqi Army soldiers towards
the insurgent position.
Peering around a corner, Clemens spotted a
large truck – suspected
of being packed
with weapons – and heard the chatter of several insurgents. Clemens held his
position and “lasered” the truck, bringing down
pinpoint air support,
ripping the truck apart and ending
the insurgents’ threat ."


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The Spirit of the Soldier

Every person who enters the life of the military discovers that special spirit of the soldier. It is a spirit like none other. It is what makes an ordinary person achieve the impossible. It is what makes a person lay down his life for another person. Through extensive military training, this spirit has helped Americans win wars throughout its history. From the Revolutionary War to the current wars, men and women have faced incredible odds while relying on the training ingrained in their souls.

This spirit is sparked by a love of country and the desire for freedom. When the enemy desires to test this spirit they encounter a force unlike any other. Here are a few stories that reflect this great spirit of our men and women in the military.

During the Civil War a soldier in the 11th Maine was mortally wounded on the bank of the James River on one hot day in July. "His commander, seeing him there under the broiling sun, realizing that he had a little while to live, called to some men to carry him to a shady place at the rear. The brave fellow, taking in the whole situation, said cheerily, 'No, no, colonel. That would take two men from the front, and every man is needed there now. I can just as well die here.' And die there he did." (H.C. TRUMBALL, War Memories)

During World War 1, a young officer bravely stayed the course to help fight during the offensive at Meuse-Argonne. Captain Henry B. Keep, a company commander in the 10th machine gun battalion was given orders to proceed to Langres for duty as a student officer. Under his own urgent request, he asked that he remain with his company until the ensuing battle was over. This voluntary request took a turn for the worst. On October 5, 1918, Captain Keep was killed in action. Some time later, a young Captain who was wounded and in the hospital said the following about Henry Keep. " A wonderful man, a glory to the regiment, a perfect power with the men, always a fine word to say, always a smile on his face, and he went with the smile still there."

In 1950, Sergeant George D. Libby found himself facing a difficult challenge while fighting in Korea. While serving in the 25th Infantry division, Libby was an engineer. Facing a servere roadblock to the south of Taejon, Libby decided to meet the odds head on. The 25th Infantry Division was fighting for its life. Casualities were increasing as many soldiers needed additional medical assistance. After loading a number of wounded on board an M-5 tractor, he was determined to push through the roadblock. While sitting in the "shotgun" seat to shield the driver from enemy fire and to supress fire on the enemy, they crashed through the roadblock and securely delivered the wounded to the aid station. Unfortunately, Libby was fatally wounded during the attempt. He was the first to receive the Army Medal of Honor during the Korean War.

While there are countless stories of men and women who have sacrificed their lives for their country, there are many more who met similar situations and lived to see the results of their sacrifices. One can only image the look on a soldiers face to see independence within his newly formed country for which he fought for many months. One can only image the joy of seeing a war finally over, the surrender of the enemy, or the faces of freed prisoners of war or of the numerous concentration camps. Scars, both physically and mentally, capture all too often the pains and sacrifices for freedom. But above all this, lives the spirit of the soldier who faces the challenges of military life. This spirit, which is often overlooked by brave deeds, is the same that lives in the hearts of men and women who are honorably serving their country both overseas and within our borders. Brave acts of courage and deeds are born from the spirit of the soldier. May this spirit continue to shine through all generations of this great nation. May we continue to see the light of freedom and honor shine in the hearts of our great military forces. May we never forget their sacrifices.


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