Leslie Sabo was killed during the Vietnam War’s 1970 Cambodian Campaign. He was nominated for the Medal of Honor, but the records were lost until a veteran rediscovered them in 1999. In 2012, Sabo’s widow received the nation’s highest military award on his behalf, the 249th for Vietnam.
Sabo’s platoon and another had been ambushed from all sides by a large and well-entrenched force of communist soldiers.
He repeatedly attacked and killed enemy soldiers, was wounded by a grenade as he shielded a comrade, and then was fatally shot as he provided covering fire for a medevac helicopter.
“His indomitable courage and complete disregard for his own safety saved the lives of many of his platoon members,” said the Medal of Honor citation. “Spc. 4 Sabo’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness, above and beyond the call of duty, at the cost of his life, are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division, and the United States Army.”
Leslie Jr. was born in 1948 in Kufstein, Austria, where his well-to-do family had moved after the Soviet occupation of Hungary at the end of World War II, leaving almost everything behind.
They moved to America when he was 2. They lived in Youngstown, Ohio, and then Ellwood City, Pa.
Leslie Sr., a lawyer in Hungary, retrained as an engineer, and both parents taught their two remaining sons (another was killed by a bomb during the war) patriotism for their adopted country.
Here are some more details from the Army web site:
4 Leslie H. Sabo Jr. distinguished himself, May 10, 1970, in Se San, Cambodia, while serving as a rifleman in Company B, 3d Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division.
Members of B. Co. were ambushed by a large enemy force. While conducting a reconnaissance patrol, 22-year-old Sabo, charged an enemy position, killing several enemy soldiers. Immediately thereafter, he assaulted an enemy flanking force, successfully drawing their fire away from friendly soldiers and ultimately forcing the enemy to retreat.
When a grenade landed nearby a wounded comrade, Sabo picked up the grenade threw it away while shielding his buddy with his own body, thus absorbing the brunt of the blast and saving the man’s life.
Seriously wounded by the blast, Sabo, nonetheless, retained the initiative and single- handedly charged an enemy bunker that had inflicted severe damage on the platoon. He received several serious wounds from withering automatic weapons fire in the process. Despite being mortally injured, he crawled towards the enemy emplacement and, when in position, threw a grenade into the bunker. The resulting explosion silenced the enemy fire, but also ended Spc. 4 Sabo’s life.
A former Marine and current Navy chaplain has been removed from his unit after sharing the teachings of his faith tradition in private, pastoral settings.
Lt. Cmdr. Wes Modder, a chaplain at the Base Chapel Naval Weapons Station at Joint Base in South Carolina, is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God.
According to his legal team, a “handful” of individuals complained about his views on issues like atheism, homosexuality and sexual relationships outside of marriage.
According to Military Times, after the complaints, Modder’s commanding officer wrote in a “detachment for cause” letter that states Modder is “unable to function in the diverse and pluralistic environment” of the United States Navy.
It’s such a diverse environment that if you disagree with the secular leftist view of sex and marriage, then you can’t say anything. And we are paying taxes to pay for these people to violate the basic human rights of Christian employees. It’s not just happening to Christian business owners who refuse to celebrate gay marriage, now. It’s just regular Christians workers, too.
His commanding officer has requested that Modder be removed from the promotion list (despite his ranking as “Early Promote,” the highest rating), separated from his unit, and brought before a Board of Inquiry.
The same commanding officer previously wrote in Modder’s fitness report in October of 2014 that Modder was the “best of the best” and recommended him for promotion.
The board could force Modder, who previously served as a Marine in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, out of the Navy. His case is currently under review.
I thought this was useful to see what pressures authentic Christians face as they try to earn the money they ned to provide for their families in an increasingly secular environment:
Mike Berry, the senior counsel and director of military affairs at the Liberty Institute, is handing Modder’s case.
[…]“He’s in a catch-22 between his faith and his career,” said Berry.
Berry said that Modder offered everyone who sought his guidance a “disclaimer” that he was speaking to them as an ordained Christian minister, stressing that Modder offered “spiritual advice” and “Biblical truth” according to his faith tradition in “private” sessions, not merely “unsolicited opinions.”
But after the complaints of a “handful” of individuals, Modder’s future in the Navy is in jeopardy.
[…]Modder is also approaching his 20-year anniversary of military service. If his case is not resolved by Sept. 1, his pension and retirement benefits could also be in jeopardy.
Seems like he was very careful, but that did not protect him from the complaints of a handful of individuals who wanted to get rid of him for disagreeing with them. And of course Modder’s commanding officer has to deal harshly with him, or he will not be promoted. This is the new secular Inquisition.
Now, try to think with me about how many people are teaching their views on sex and marriage, and using taxpayer dollars to do it. Public school teachers, Planned Parenthood… Heck, in Ontario, Canada, the Liberty Party’s sex education curriculum was developed by a convicted child pornographer. And yet Christian chaplains are the ones who have to face discrimination for stating their views.
According to the Military Times survey, active-duty troops reported a stunning drop in how they rated their overall quality of life: Just 56 percent call it good or excellent, down from 91 percent in 2009. The survey, conducted in July and August, found that 73 percent of troops would recommend a military career to others, down from 85 percent in 2009. And troops reported a significant decline in their desire to re-enlist, with 63 percent citing an intention to do so, compared with 72 percent a few years ago.
[…]Survey data show that service members are also feeling pain in their own wallets. Congress this year capped the military pay raise at 1 percent, rather than the 1.8 percent that would have kept pace with average annual growth in private-sector wages. It was the first military pay raise since 1999 that did not at least keep pace with private-sector wages, and it was also the lowest annual military pay raise in 40 years.
To save money, the Pentagon had sought to roll back the tax-free housing benefit provided to troops by, in effect, making troops pay 5 percent of their housing with out-of-pocket cash. The new deal on Capitol Hill will result in next year’s housing allowance covering 99 percent of estimated costs and troops themselves covering the 1 percent shortfall. Service members are unlikely to see an outright reduction in their housing allowance unless they change duty stations, but rates for troops moving into new areas will be set slightly lower when compared to projected housing costs.
Several services also have cut pay for special duty assignments — such as recruiters, divers, drill sergeants and others — while promotions in some fields slow as competition for jobs during a drawdown heats up. And of course, those troops who have frequently collected hazardous duty and deployment pay over the last decade may now have fewer opportunities to do so.
In 2009, 87 percent of active-duty troops who participated in Military Times’ survey rated their pay and allowances “good” or “excellent.” This year, the figure was just 44 percent. When asked how quality of life might change over the next several years, 70 percent of respondents predicted it would decline further.
A Navy fire controlman chief with 10 deployments said budget fears are contributing to a feeling of distrust and abandonment. “If sailors are worried about not getting paid, how am I supposed to do my job?” he said. “I’m not an effective warfighter if I don’t have the backing of my government at home.”
A pervasive sense of pessimism about the post-9/11 wars may also contribute to the overall feeling of dissatisfaction among troops and a feeling of detachment from the decision-makers who sent them to those fights. Of those surveyed, 52 percent said they had become more pessimistic about the war in Afghanistan in recent years. Nearly 60 percent felt the war in Iraq was somewhat unsuccessful or not at all successful.
[…]Troops today are pocketing far smaller annual pay raises. The 2014 bump of just 1 percent was the smallest in the 41-year history of the all-volunteer force. That compares with 3.9 percent in 2009 — and 6.9 percent in 2002. Congress may well vote to authorize just another 1 percent in 2015. In the best-case scenario, that might go to 1.8 percent.
On top of that, the once-vast pool of cash that flowed directly into service members’ pockets in the form of combat pays and re-enlistment bonuses has dried up. In 2014, troops received $3.8 billion in special pays and incentive pays, down from $6.1 billion, adjusted for inflation, in 2003, according to VisualDoD, a company that tracks Pentagon spending. For 2015, that budget is expected to fall to $3.5 billion.
Now we were in both Aghanistan and Iraq in 2009, at the beginning of the survey period, and morale was very high. What changed in 2009? Soldiers who are deployed want to win a war – they don’t want to be stuck in limbo. They don’t want a leader who views winning a war as an excessive use of force.
UPDATE: Defense policy expert Max Boot has an article explaining why he thinks morale is dropping at Commentary magazine.
All of the pay and benefits trims were backed by the Pentagon and White House in an effort to slow the growth of personnel costs. The housing cuts and pharmacy co-pays were the final sticking points for lawmakers, with a compromise reached after nearly a month of behind-the-scenes fights.
The lower pay raise will be the most obvious hit for troops, who would be in line for a 1.8 percent raise based on anticipated private-sector wage growth.
For an E-3 with three years of service, the lower raise is a loss of about $195 a year. For an E-7 with 10 years, it comes out to $356. For an O-5 with 12 years of service, it’s $667 in annual salary.
Pentagon planners noted that move alone will save them about $3.8 billion over the next five years. Opponents argued that it creates a new wage gap between troops and their civilian counterparts, giving them less disposable income.
In addition, lawmakers approved trimming back the housing allowances paid to troops who live off base. The Pentagon initially sought to reduce the tax-free housing benefit by 5 percent by reducing the 100 percent of troops’ estimated housing costs that are covered now down to an average of 95 percent — in effect making troops pay 5 percent of their housing with out-of-pocket cash.
I am a Republican, and I support Republicans. But this vote really has me shaking my head. If Republicans stand for anything, it’s for a strong military to deter aggression. We should not cut pay and benefits for the military at a time where we lavish Social Security and Medicare on illegal immigrants. That is wrong. Why can’t they just delay this till next year and then pass a real bill that solves whatever problems they are trying to solve but without taking money from the military? Makes me sick.
Engaged in a frenzied firefight and outnumbered by the Taliban, Navy Lt. Michael Murphy made a desperate decision as he and three fellow SEALs fought for their lives on a rocky mountainside in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province in 2005.
In a last-ditch effort to save his team, Murphy pulled out his satellite phone, walked into a clearing to get reception and called for reinforcements as a fusillade of bullets ricocheted around him. One of the bullets hit him, but he finished the call and even signed off, “Thank you.”
Then he continued the battle.
Dan Murphy, the sailor’s father, said it didn’t surprise him that his slain son nicknamed “The Protector” put himself in harm’s way. Nor was he surprised that in the heat of combat his son was courteous.
“That was Michael. He was cool under fire. He had the ability to process information, even under the most difficult of circumstances. That’s what made him such a good SEAL officer,” Murphy said.
A warship bearing the name of the Medal of Honor recipient will be christened Saturday — on what would have been Murphy’s 35th birthday — at Bath Iron Works, where the destroyer is being built.
Murphy, who was 29 when he died, graduated from Pennsylvania State University and was accepted to multiple law schools, but decided he could do more for his country as one of the Navy’s elite SEALS — special forces trained to fight on sea, air and land — the same forces that killed Osama bin Laden this week in Pakistan.
[…]Murphy, of Patchogue, N.Y., earned his nickname after getting suspended in elementary school for fighting with bullies who tried to stuff a special-needs child into a locker and for intervening when some youths were picking on a homeless man, said Dan Murphy, a lawyer, former prosecutor and Army veteran who served in Vietnam.
Maureen Murphy said he thought he was too young to take a desk job as a lawyer. Instead, he went to officer candidate school, the first step on his journey to become a SEAL officer. He was in training during the Sept. 11 attacks, which shaped his views.
His view was that there are “bullies in the world and people who’re oppressed in the world. And he said, ‘Sometimes they have to be taken care of,'” she said.
On June 28, 2005, the day he was killed, Murphy was leading a SEAL team in northeastern Afghanistan looking for the commander of a group of insurgents known as the Mountain Tigers.
What happened to Murphy?
The Operation Red Wings reconnaissance team rappelled down from a helicopter at night and climbed through rain to a spot 10,000 feet high overlooking a village to keep a lookout. But the mission was compromised the following morning when three local goat herders happened upon their hiding spot.
High in the Hindu Kush mountains, Murphy and Petty Officers Marcus Luttrell of Huntsville, Texas; Matthew Axelson of Cupertino, Calif.; and Danny Dietz of Littleton, Colo.; held a tense discussion of the rules of engagement and the fate of the three goat herders, who were being held at gunpoint.
If they were Taliban sympathizers, then letting the herders go would allow them to alert the Taliban forces lurking in the area; killing them might ensure the team’s safety, but there were issues of possible military charges and a media backlash, according to Luttrell, the lone survivor.
Murphy, who favored letting the goat herders go, guided a discussion of military, political, safety and moral implications. A majority agreed with him.
An hour after the herders were released, more than 100 Taliban armed with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades opened fire, attacking from higher elevation, and maneuvering to outflank the SEALs, said Gary Williams, author of “Seal of Honor,” a biography of Murphy.
[…]As the only survivor, Luttrell has pangs of regret for voting to go along with Murphy, his best friend; he now believes the team could’ve survived if the goat herders were killed.
He wasn’t willing to kill unarmed civilians. That’s the difference between the United States and the Muslim terrorists. It’s a moral difference. Michael Murphy was a good man. He used guns and violence to protect others, and he was not willing to kill unarmed civilians.
The Medal of Honor is awarded by the President in the name of Congress to a person who, while a member of the Army, distinguishes himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The deed performed must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his comrades and must have involved risk of life. Incontestable proof of the performance of the service will be exacted and each recommendation for the award of this decoration will be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.
I once read an entire book on Medal of Honor award winners in World War II. It’s hard to read those stories, because these people who won the award did amazing acts of bravery, courage and self-sacrifice, but then most of them DIED. The stories almost always end in sadness and grief. Here’s the one that really stuck with me as an example.
On a happier note, what kind of ship do you think would suit Michael Murphy?
The Arleigh Burke Class destroyers are equipped with the Aegis combat system which integrates the ship’s sensors and weapons systems to engage anti-ship missile threats.
The Aegis system has a federated architecture with four subsystems – AN/SPY-1 multifunction radar, command and decision system (CDS), Aegis display system (ADS) and the weapon control system (WCS). The CDS receives data from ship and external sensors via satellite communications and provides command, control and threat assessment. The WCS receives engagement instruction from the CDS, selects weapons and interfaces with the weapon fire control systems.
[…]Lockheed Martin is developing the Aegis ballistic missile defence (BMD) capability for the Aegis combat system to engage ballistic missiles with the SM-3 missile. 15 Arleigh Burke destroyers have been fitted with the Aegis BMD system, which provides the capability for long-range surveillance, tracking and engagement of short and medium-range ballistic missiles. The system received US Navy certification for full deployment in September 2006. Work was completed on the 15 destroyers at the end of 2008 and the vessels, with three Ticonderoga cruisers, form the Aegis BMD fleet. On 30 July 2009 the Aegis BMD system was successfully tested by the US Navy on the USS Hopper (DDG 70).Aegis BMD is the main sea-based component of the US ballistic missile defence system.
The weapons control systems include a SWG-1A for Harpoon, SWG-3 for Tomahawk, mk99 mod 3 missile fire control system, GWS34 mod 0 gun fire control system and mk116 mod 7 fire control system for anti-submarine systems.
Only two classes of warships that I know of have the AEGIS system. The DDG Arleigh Burke and the CG Ticonderoga.
Michael Murphy was a real hero. It makes me sad that he is gone. But his spirit will live on in the new warship that bears his name.