Friday, November 30, 2007

what does the military nickname g.i. stand for

No one actually knows. The best story I heard was that in WWII, soldiers where know as General Issue. "Joe" that's an American soldier. I guess it got compounded into GI Joe. Ok, the hard fact is that a soldier(i.e. person) is a piece of equipment to the military much like a tank or rifle. Every unit has it's own Table of Organization and Equipment(TO&E) allowing for a certain number of manpower and equipment. For example the TO&E for an Infantry Company may be 50 soldiers and 50 M-16 rifles. So if a soldier is lost for some reason because of being transfered or a casuality of war, you would order another soldier in the same fashion as you would order food or bullets through the supply sargeantElectronic edition | Subscribe to the paper Rocky Mountain NewsHome News Business Sports Entertainment Living Outdoors Opinion Multimedia Your Space Jobs Autos Homes Classifieds Shop Local Nation World Weather Traffic Education Politics Obituaries Special Reports Columns & Blogs Tech & Telecom Money & Markets Airlines & Aerospace Real Estate Energy Health Care Retail Skiing & Tourism More Business Special Reports Columns & Blogs Broncos Avalanche Nuggets Rockies Rapids College Fantasy Sports Racing Olympics Golf More Sports Rocky Preps Special Reports Columns & Blogs Movies TV Music Art & Architecture Theater Dining Nightlife Books Fun & Games Events More Entertainment Special Reports Columns & Blogs Health & Fitness Fashion Food Home & Garden More Living Special Reports Columns & Blogs Mountain Activities Escapes Hunting & Fishing Skiing & Snowboarding Camping Hiking More Outdoors Special Reports Columns & Blogs Editorials Letters to the Editor Speakout Poll Archive Special Reports Columns & Blogs Photo Archive Photo Galleries Video Audio & Podcasts Special Reports Front Page Gallery Your Photos Your Votes Polls
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Lucky or not, here are two heroes
WW II veterans get medals they earned in battle
Katie Kerwin Mccrimmon, Rocky Mountain News
星期六, 十一月 10, 2007

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Email this Print this Comments Change text size Subscribe to print edition iPod friendly Share this site Digg Newsvine Lucky McGinty has lived a charmed life. On Friday, the nickname he earned as an -Army Air Corps bomber in World War II fit even better.

After 62 years, McGinty and fellow veteran Shep Waldman, also 83, finally received medals they had earned decades ago.

"I've been fortunate all my life," said McGinty, shocked and touched after the surprise medal ceremony sponsored by the Greatest Generations Foundation.

During his service as a staff sergeant from 1941 to 1945, McGinty was never injured despite flying 29 missions over -Nazi-occupied Europe. His buddies started calling him Lucky after he stood up to an abusive higher-up and didn't get court- martialed.

But the moniker was especially apt during one mission over Paris in 1943.

McGinty and his fellow airmen were trying to blow up a munitions factory on New Year's Eve. The French workers had been warned to leave. McGinty armed the bombs, but they failed to eject from the plane. Fearing the bombs would land on civilians or destroy the plane, McGinty straddled the open bomb bay as the plane flew at 20,000 feet and pushed the bombs out.

Now, he has a medal to mark his heroism and to share with his five children, five grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Waldman served as a staff sergeant in the Army from 1943 to 1945, surviving hand-to-hand combat and frigid conditions in the Battle of the Bulge, where he withstood more than a month without a proper coat, a change of socks or a warm meal. He participated in the D-Day landing on Omaha Beach and the Central Europe Campaigns, surviving several close calls. Once, while crossing a field near the Rhine, he dodged shrapnel spraying from anti-aircraft guns.

"The shrapnel was whizzing past my head. The next second, I could have had something blown out. I can't explain it," he said.

Another time, he was sneaking through a forest when he heard the click of an enemy soldier's machine gun. He was sure he was dead. But he hit the ground and pressed his body as deep into the snow as he could.

Waldman, who is Jewish, takes pride now in knowing he helped end Nazi rule. Back then, all he wanted to do was survive. He said the worst times were before the battles as the GIs rode in trucks to the front.

Waldman remembers another young man who told him, "I'm never going to make it."

Waldman tried to comfort the GI, but sure enough, the young man died two days later. Waldman had a different strategy. "I told myself, 'I am not going to get killed.' "

He returned to Denver, where he met his wife, had two children, and owned a jewelry store. He now has a great- grandchild on the way, along with a Bronze Star.

"This is just so unexpected," Waldman said.

He had been in such a hurry to get out of the Army in 1945 that he left without collecting his medals. And the Army never sent them. For the past couple years, Waldman has begun speaking about the agony of war in his work for the Greatest Generations Foundation. He has been telling stories that he never even told his wife. To his surprise, Waldman discovered that sharing his stories gave him great comfort.

"People should know what happened in the war," Waldman said. "How are they going to know unless we tell them?"

This Veterans Day, McGinty and Waldman will hold their newly-decorated chests just a little bit higher. McGinty never knew why he didn't receive his medals. He was from Philadelphia and moved to Boulder, then Denver. About seven years ago, he sent in his records but never heard back from the Air Force.

Friday's recognition of the men brought tears to the eyes of Brig. Gen. Eric Crabtree, who pinned the medals on McGinty.

"A number of people were never recognized," Crabtree said. "As we approach Veterans Day and look at the conflict in Iraq, the young men and women there are not that different from the young men who went off to England to fight in World War II."

Crabtree said that today's military heroes stand on the shoulders of giants.

"Lucky McGinty is one of those giants," Crabtree said.

McGinty received the Distinguished Flying Cross granted to those who distinguish themselves "by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight." He also earned an Air Medal.

Lt. Col. Laura Clellan presented Waldman with his medals.

"If it weren't for what these guys did, I wouldn't be able to wear this uniform," Clellan


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