May 29, 2006

Memorial

My thanks go out today to every man and woman who has ever worn the uniform.

My grandfather served in WWI.

My great uncle served in WWII. This is the citation from his Medal of Honor:

NEPPEL, RALPH G.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company M, 329th Infantry, 83d Infantry Division. Place and date: Birgel, Germany, 14 December 1944. Entered service at: Glidden, Iowa. Birth: Willey, Iowa. G.O. No.: 77, 10 September 1945. Citation: He was leader of a machinegun squad defending an approach to the village of Birgel, Germany, on 14 December 1944, when an enemy tank, supported by 20 infantrymen, counterattacked. He held his fire until the Germans were within 100 yards and then raked the foot soldiers beside the tank killing several of them. The enemy armor continued to press forward and, at the pointblank range of 30 yards, fired a high-velocity shell into the American emplacement, wounding the entire squad. Sgt. Neppel, blown 10 yards from his gun, had 1 leg severed below the knee and suffered other wounds. Despite his injuries and the danger from the onrushing tank and infantry, he dragged himself back to his position on his elbows, remounted his gun and killed the remaining enemy riflemen. Stripped of its infantry protection, the tank was forced to withdraw. By his superb courage and indomitable fighting spirit, Sgt. Neppel inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy and broke a determined counterattack.

He passed away in 1987. He was named "Handicapped Iowan of the Year" in 1970, and in 1989 the VA honored him by naming a wing of the Iowa City VA Hospital for him. A VFW post in Carroll, Iowa continues to award to scholarships each year in his name to the children of veterans.

My Dad was in the Air Force during the Korean conflict. He wasn't in-theater, and was medically retired after a devastating illness.

On my wife's side of the family, I know that Liz's Dad was a Marine, and at least two of her uncles served in Vietnam and made the Air Force their career.

Our son served a tour in the US Navy on the submarine USS Philadelphia. That boat is specially equipped to deliver special forces, and although he can't and won't say, I believe that they were directly involved in the initial stages of the Iraq invasion.

Finally, I'll include Shaun. Shaun has served two tours in Iraq with the US Army, and is the son of a friend that I served with during my Air Force days in Germany.

Thank you all.

Previous memorial posts on Rocket Jones can be found here and here.

Posted by: Ted at 12:05 PM | category: Links
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1 I raise a glass (all I've got is orange juice) to Sgt Neppel.

Posted by: Tuning Spork at May 29, 2006 11:53 AM (RaSuA)

2 As I was reading about the amazing bravery and grit on the part of your great uncle, I was hoping that I would not read that he was awarded the MOH posthumously. I'm happy he survived and that he obviously led a full life.

Posted by: Jim - PRS at May 31, 2006 03:36 AM (VPbK+)

3 This might sound odd, but I am trying to find out more about Shaun [name removed - RJ]. I was BEST freinds with a guy by that name in the 2nd grade, we were at Scott AFB. I have been trying to find him for years to see how he is doing and howlife is going. The Shaun I know should be around the age of 21. If this is the Shaun you know I would really like to know. THANKS

Posted by: Stephanie at July 31, 2006 03:04 AM (fTlx4)

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