STORY NUMBER ONE:
World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant
Commander Butch O'Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the
aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific.
One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was
airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had
forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to
complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told
him to return to the carrier.
Reluctantly he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.
As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned
his blood cold. A squadron of Japanese bombers were speeding their way
toward the American fleet. The American fighters were gone on a
sortie and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron
and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor, could he warn
the fleet of the approaching danger.
There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the
fleet. Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the
formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 calibers blazed as he
charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another.
Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many
planes as possible until finally all his ammunition was spent.
Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to
at least clip off a wing or tail, in hopes of damaging as many enemy
planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly. He was desperate
to do anything he could to keep them from reaching the American ships.
Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another
direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter
limped back to the carrier.
Upon arrival he reported in and related the event surrounding his
return. The film from the camera mounted on his plane told the tale.
It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet.
He had destroyed five enemy bombers.
That was on February 20, 1942, and for that action he became the
Navy's first Ace of W.W.II and the first Naval Aviator to win the
Congressional Medal of Honor.
A year later he was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His
hometown would not allow the memory of that heroic action to die and today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this
great man. So the next time you're in O'Hare visit his memorial with
his statue and Medal of Honor. It is located between Terminal 1 and
STORY NUMBER TWO:
Some years earlier there was a man in Chicago called Easy Eddie. At
that time, Al Capone virtually owned the city. Capone wasn't famous
for anything heroic. His exploits were anything but praise-worthy. He
was, however, notorious for enmeshing the city of Chicago in everything
from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.
Easy Eddie was Capone's lawyer and for a good reason. He was very
good! In fact, his skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail
for a long time. To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not
only was the money big; Eddie got special dividends. For instance, he
and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the
conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an
entire Chicago city block. Yes, Eddie lived the high life of the
Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went
on around him.
Eddy did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved
dearly. Eddy saw to it that his young son had the best of everything;
clothes,cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object.
And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried
to teach him right from wrong. Yes, Eddie tried to teach his son to
rise above his own sordid life.
He wanted him to be a better man than he was.. Yet, with all his
wealth and influence, there were two things that Eddie couldn't give
Two things that Eddie sacrificed to the Capone mob that he could not
pass on to his beloved son: a good name and a good example.
One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Offering his son a
good name was far more important than all the riches he could lavish
on him. He had to rectify all the wrong that he had done. He would
go to the authorities and tell the truth about "Scar-face" Al Capone. He
would try to clean up his tarnished name and offer his son some
semblance of integrity.
To do this he must testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost
would be great. But more than anything, he wanted to be an example to
his son. He wanted to do his best to make restoration and
hopefully have a good name to leave his son. So, he testified. Within
the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely
He had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer at the
greatest price he would ever pay.
What do these two stories have to do with one another?
Butch O'Hare was Easy Eddie's son.
Borrowed from email
Re: True story
Two of the greatest honors in my life have been thanking and shaking the hands of two men who earned the Medal of Honor.
Davis, Raymond G.
Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps commanding officer, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.). Place and date: Vicinity Hagaru-ri, Korea, 1 through 4 December 1950. Entered service at: Atlanta, Ga. Born: 13 January 1915, Fitzgerald, Ga. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, in action against enemy aggressor forces. Although keenly aware that the operation involved breaking through a surrounding enemy and advancing 8 miles along primitive icy trails in the bitter cold with every passage disputed by a savage and determined foe, Lt. Col. Davis boldly led his battalion into the attack in a daring attempt to relieve a beleaguered rifle company and to seize, hold, and defend a vital mountain pass controlling the only route available for 2 marine regiments in danger of being cut off by numerically superior hostile forces during their re-deployment to the port of Hungnam. When the battalion immediately encountered strong opposition from entrenched enemy forces commanding high ground in the path of the advance, he promptly spearheaded his unit in a fierce attack up the steep, ice-covered slopes in the face of withering fire and, personally leading the assault groups in a hand-to-hand encounter, drove the hostile troops from their positions, rested his men, and reconnoitered the area under enemy fire to determine the best route for continuing the mission. Always in the thick of the fighting Lt. Col. Davis led his battalion over 3 successive ridges in the deep snow in continuous attacks against the enemy and, constantly inspiring and encouraging his men throughout the night, brought his unit to a point within 1,500 yards of the surrounded rifle company by daybreak. Although knocked to the ground when a shell fragment struck his helmet and 2 bullets pierced his clothing, he arose and fought his way forward at the head of his men until he reached the isolated marines. On the following morning, he bravely led his battalion in securing the vital mountain pass from a strongly entrenched and numerically superior hostile force, carrying all his wounded with him, including 22 litter cases and numerous ambulatory patients. Despite repeated savage and heavy assaults by the enemy, he stubbornly held the vital terrain until the 2 regiments of the division had deployed through the pass and, on the morning of 4 December, led his battalion into Hagaru-ri intact. By his superb leadership, outstanding courage, and brilliant tactical ability, Lt. Col. Davis was directly instrumental in saving the beleaguered rifle company from complete annihilation and enabled the 2 marine regiments to escape possible destruction. His valiant devotion to duty and unyielding fighting spirit in the face of almost insurmountable odds enhance and sustain the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
ZABITOSKY, FRED WILLIAM
Rank and organization: Sergeant First Class (then S/Sgt.), U.S. Army, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 19 February 1968. Entered service at: Trenton, N.J. Born: 27 October 1942, Trenton, N.J. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sfc. Zabitosky, U.S. Army, distinguished himself while serving as an assistant team leader of a 9-man Special Forces long-range reconnaissance patrol. Sfc. Zabitosky's patrol was operating deep within enemy-controlled territory when they were attacked by a numerically superior North Vietnamese Army unit. Sfc. Zabitosky rallied his team members, deployed them into defensive positions, and, exposing himself to concentrated enemy automatic weapons fire, directed their return fire. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Sfc. Zabitosky ordered his patrol to move to a landing zone for helicopter extraction while he covered their withdrawal with rifle fire and grenades. Rejoining the patrol under increasing enemy pressure, he positioned each man in a tight perimeter defense and continually moved from man to man, encouraging them and controlling their defensive fire. Mainly due to his example, the outnumbered patrol maintained its precarious position until the arrival of tactical air support and a helicopter extraction team. As the rescue helicopters arrived, the determined North Vietnamese pressed their attack. Sfc. Zabitosky repeatedly exposed himself to their fire to adjust suppressive helicopter gunship fire around the landing zone. After boarding 1 of the rescue helicopters, he positioned himself in the door delivering fire on the enemy as the ship took off. The helicopter was engulfed in a hail of bullets and Sfc. Zabitosky was thrown from the craft as it spun out of control and crashed. Recovering consciousness, he ignored his extremely painful injuries and moved to the flaming wreckage. Heedless of the danger of exploding ordnance and fuel, he pulled the severely wounded pilot from the searing blaze and made repeated attempts to rescue his patrol members but was driven back by the intense heat. Despite his serious burns and crushed ribs, he carried and dragged the unconscious pilot through a curtain of enemy fire to within 10 feet of a hovering rescue helicopter before collapsing. Sfc. Zabitosky's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
God, Family, and Country.
NRA Endowment Member