Hershel "Woody" Williams Tells His Story
Hershel "Woody" Williams was a battlefield legend from Iwo Jima the last recipient of the Medal of Honor from World War II. We will miss him dearly. Rest In Peace, Woody.
LT Michael Murphy's Story as told by Chris Pratt
We honor those who fell during Operation Red Wings today in 2005. Among them was Navy SEAL LT Michael Murphy, posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for valor. Hear his story as told by Chris Pratt.
Veterans of the Battle of Iwo Jima receive a police escort to attend wreath laying ceremonies at both the World War II and Marine Corps War Memorials.
The veterans have gathered in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the battle, which began on February 19, 1945.
2022 National Memorial Day Parade
The American Veterans Center is proud to announce the return to Constitution Avenue - LIVE - of the 2022 National Memorial Day Parade.
Join us in Washington, DC on Memorial Day - Monday, May 30 - at 2:00 PM, or tune in to watch on television around the country, and around the world.
Stay tuned for updates, and visit NationalMemorialDayParade.com for more information.
Martha MacCallum Features Two Iwo Jima Heroes
The AVC would like to thank Martha MacCallum for honoring the memory of two Iwo Jima veterans who passed away recently.
Joe Rodgers enlisted in the USMC when he was just 16 years old and found himself in the second landing wave hitting the beaches of Iwo Jima.
Another Marine, Thiele Fred Harvey would earn the Silver Star for his bravery during a 3-man patrol on the island.
Lest we forget
Decorated Tuskegee Airman Brigadier General Charles McGee
The AVC was saddened to hear of the passing of legendary fighter pilot Brigadier General Charles McGee over the weekend. He was 102.
In 1942, McGee enlisted in the U.S. Army and joined the famed Tuskegee Airmen, becoming one of the first black pilots in the United States Military. In his 30 year military career he would go on to fly 409 combat missions in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
For his service, McGee received the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters and the Bronze Star Medal, along with many other military honors. In 2007, as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, McGee received the Congressional Gold Medal.
According to his family McGee passed away peacfully in his sleep with "his right hand over his heart and was smiling serenely".
The AVC presents the story of Charles McGee narrated by Leslie Odom Jr.
"The California Gold Rush" - Narrated by Bob Saget
The comedy world lost a legend yesterday with the passing of Bob Saget.
The actor and comedian best known for his work on "Full House" and "America's Funniest Home Videos", died at the age of 65.
This past Memorial Day, Bob Saget lent his incredible talent to the AVC's National Memorial Day Parade to help tell the story of California's famed gold rush of 1849.
Bob Saget will be missed by many.
A Final Toast to Colonel Edward D. Shames
The American Veterans Center was honored to have Colonel Edward Shames join us in November at our annual veterans conference American Valor: A Salute to Our Heroes.
The indomitable Colonel was a longtime friend of our organization and was honored that night with the AVC's Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Wings of Valor Award.
From that night, please enjoy Colonel Shames regaling the crowd with his famed story of "liberating" 2 bottles of cognac labeled "for the Fuhrer's use only".
Colonel Edward D. Shames, age 99, passed away peacefully at home on December 3, 2021.
Tuskegee Airman Alexander Jefferson - Narrated by Morgan Freeman
On November 15th, 2021 legendary Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson celebrated his 100th birthday.
The AVC is honored to have @Morgan Freeman share Lt. Col. Jefferson's intrepid story of heorism and perserverance in the face of unwavering conflict both at-home and abroad.
Dallas Police Detective Jim Leavelle on being next to Lee Harvey Oswald during fatal shooting
November 22, 1963. With the assasination of John F. Kennedy, America would lose a sense of innocence that would never be regained. In the events that followed, among the Americans that would play a central role was Dallas Police Detective Jim Leavelle, forever known as the 'man in the tan suit'.
A U.S. Navy veteran present at Pearl Harbor, Leavelle was the first man to interrogate Lee Harvey Oswald. Handcuffed to Oswald as they walked through the basement of police headquarters, he was inches away when Jack Ruby fired the fatal shots into Oswald.
Jim Leavelle passed away on August 29, 2019 at the age of 99. Prior to his passing, the AVC captured his story, profiled below.
Rob Riggle Emcees Service Song Medley
Happy Veterans Day and thank you to all the brave men and women who have served, and continue to serve, in the United States Armed Forces.
The AVC was honored this year to have USMC LtCol (ret) Rob Riggle lead us in a friendly interservice competition of service songs at its live event in Washington D.C. - American Valor: A Salute to our Heroes.
Rob Riggle #VeteransDay
103-year-old Pearl Harbor Survivor Breaks own Guinness World Record
103-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor Frank Emond broke his own Guinness World Record as "World's Oldest Conductor" when he led the U.S. Air Force Band's Airmen of Note live at the American Veterans Center's annual American Valor event in Washington, D.C.
9/11 and Vietnam Hero Rick Rescorla
There are names from history that every American should know. Cyril 'Rick' Rescorla is one of them. A hero of the Vietnam War, Rick Rescorla was head of corporate security for Morgan Stanley in the World Trade Center when it was attacked, 20 years ago today.
Through the shock and chaos, Rick led the evacuation of nearly all of the company's 2,700 employees. He would lose his life in the buildings' collapse, still working to save more lives.
Watch the story of a legendary American, narrated by Gary Sinise.
Ferocious Fighting on Peleliu
77 years ago tomorrow Marines landed on the little known island of Peleliu, part of a larger operation to provide support for the invasion of of the Phillippines. The cost of American lives on this island would prove historic.
Following his baptism of fire on Guadalcanal, and with additional combat experience on New Britain, United States Marine William Finnegan once again prepared for combat on Peleliu. The island, which was expected to be taken in four days, would end up taking over two months to secure due to fierce Japanese resistance.
Finnegan takes us to the chaotic beach landing on Peleliu where he and his fellow Marines would find themselves unable to move under intense enemy fire. Finnegan would distinguish himself on the beach by taking out a well entrenched Japanese position using rifle grenades.
Watch his incredible full story here: https://youtu.be/8JCyJX-gg0M
Combat on Guadalcanal
Heading toward the beaches of Guadalcanal, 1st Marine Division PFC William Finnegan was filled with confidence as he looked back at the armada of ships following him to shore. Finnegan had no idea his division would go down in Marine Corps lore, becoming known as “The Old Breed”, for their heroic defense of Guadalcanal in the early days of World War II.
Meeting little resistance upon landing, Finnegan and his fellow marines moved inland through the jungle to root out the Japanese defenders. They would dig in along the Tenaru River, known more famously as “Alligator Creek”, where they waited for the inevitable Japanese attack. The ferocity of the fight that followed would make Guadalcanal a household name back home.
Watch his incredible full story here: https://youtu.be/mFyV5BPbxB0
Medal of Honor Recipient David Bellavia
On the night of Nov. 10, 2004 Staff Sgt. David Bellavia was a squad leader tasked with clearing a block of buildings thought to be housing enemy insurgents. A Bradley Fighting Vehicle was in support of Bellavia’s unit, but due to high walls and tight quarters the Bradley was unable to provide supporting fire. The platoon would have to clear the buildings on their own.
While clearing a house, a squad from Bellavia’s platoon became trapped under intense enemy fire. Recognizing the immediate severity of the situation, and with disregard for his own safety, Bellavia engaged the enemy on his own and single handedly wiped out an entire squad of enemy insurgents.
Watch his incredible full story here: https://youtu.be/1XOrcCXzweo
Dewain “Bill” Ridenour
Dewain “Bill” Ridenour was drafted into the Army in 1943. After spending some time guarding the California coastline from enemy threats, Bill completed advanced infantry combat training and found himself on a ship heading for the Pacific.
In 1944 Bill would find himself in a Higgins boat heading toward the island of Leyte and a well entrenched Japanese enemy. His experience with combat and trying to rout out the Japanese defenders of the island would stay with Bill all his life.
Watch his incredible full story here: https://youtu.be/RzSeYQrGlWY
Remembering Joe Galloway 1941-2021
American newspaper columnist, war correspondent, and author Joe Galloway has died at the age of 79.
Galloway was the author of the book "We Were Soldiers Once...and Young" about the Battle of la Drang, one of the first major battles of the Vietnam War.
Joe joined the AVC in 2008 at our annual conference and shared a story of extrodinary heroism he witnessed during that battle.
Medal of Honor Recipient Hiroshi Miyamura Describes brutal hand-to-hand Combat and life as a POW
On the night of April 24, 1951, Hiroshi Miyamura was occupying a defensive position south of the Imjin River, when enemy forces fanatically attacked his position. Aware of the imminent danger to his men he unhesitatingly jumped from his shelter wielding his bayonet in close hand-to-hand combat killing 10 enemy soldiers.
Miyamura returned to his machine gun emplacement and delivered withering fire as their lines were hit by another savage attack. Sensing the position was about to be overrun he ordered his men to withdraw while he remained alone to cover their retreat. He killed more than 50 of the enemy before his ammunition was depleted and he was severely wounded.
Watch his incredible full story here: https://youtu.be/TvUycZhp2U4
Winner of the first "Top Gun" Competition
Trained at Tuskegee, James Harvey III would graduate flight school in 1944 and become part of the famed 332nd Fighter Group’s 99th Fighter Squadron, better known as the “Tuskegee Airmen”.
Following the surrender of Japan, Harvey would find himself stationed at Godman Field, Kentucky. It was there, in 1949, word came down that the USAF was planning on holding its first official weapons meet - a competition that would become famously known as “Top Gun”.
Harvey, along with fellow African-American pilots Capt. Alva Temple and 1st Lt. Harry Stewart, would represent the 332nd Fighter Group and dominate the event. Their victory would not come without controversy, as the results of the meet were not officially recognized until 1995.
Watch his full story here: https://youtu.be/Ak_rgVNmhb8
Top Secret Korean War Dogfight
On November 18, 1952, at the height of the Korean Conflict, Royce Williams would be involved in one of the longest dogfights in recorded history.
Williams would find himself up against seven Soviet MiG-15 fighter jets during a harrowing 35-minute battle. Through a combination of skill, experience, and sheer luck Williams would survive the battle only to be faced with the challenge of landing his crippled Panther back on a carrier.
After the engagement, military leaders concerned the incident might increase tensions between the U.S. and Soviet Union ordered the events classified as “Top Secret”.
Watch the full story here: https://youtu.be/SImG_7g-Lvg
Last Surviving Easy Company Officer Edward Shames
Colonel Edward Shames, the last surviving officer of Easy Company, part of the famed 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division talks his expierence of combat from D-Day to the Eagle's Nest.
He also talks about what he did with two very special bottles of cognac he liberated from Hitler's personal collection.
Watch his amazing story here: https://youtu.be/uxJAtzQnyLM
Last Surviving WWII Medal of Honor Recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams’ heroic actions on Iwo Jima
The last surviving WWII Medal of Honor recipient, Hershel "Woody" Williams, participated in action against the Japanese during the Battle of Guam, but it would be during his next campaign where Williams would distinguish himself with actions “above and beyond the call of duty”.
On the small volcanic island of Iwo Jima Williams was quick to volunteer his service to help clear out a network of reinforced pillboxes and machine gun emplacements. Covered only by four riflemen, Williams went forward alone and fought desperately for four hours to silence the Japanese strong points.
For his actions on February 23, 1945 Corporal Hershel Williams was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Watch Woody's full Medal of Honor story here: https://youtu.be/r5CyOmuXrhs
WWII Veteran Vincent Speranza's Unbelievable Bastogne Beer Run
Shortly after basic training Vincent J. Speranza would observe a parachute jump demonstration made by a newly formed group of elite airborne soldiers - It would change his life forever.
Speranza joined the paratroopers and was assigned to the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment of the famed 101st Airborne division, the Screaming Eagles. Arriving in Europe shortly after the disastrous Market Garden campaign, Vincent was eager to make his first combat jump. That first jump would come during the Battle of the Bulge, not from a plane, but from the tailgate of a truck.
While stationed near the Belgian city of Bastogne and acting as a runner, Speranza stopped into a bombed out church that was serving as a field hospital to check on a wounded friend. After chatting for a bit, Vincent asked his friend if there was anything he needed. His friend replied “Yeah, can you go find me something to drink!”.
What followed would go down in lore as one of the most remarkable moments of the Battle of the Bulge.
Watch his incredible full interview here: https://youtu.be/lDHp9-kWd2g
@garysiniseofficial lends his incredible talent to Our Sacred Honor: An American Salute to help tell the remarkable story of how the Declaration of Independence has shaped America through the ages.
The AVC television event Our Sacred Honor: An American Salute is airing this 4th of July weekend nationwide. Join us on a journey through America’s shared history as we honor those who have served, and sacrificed.
Information for viewing times in your area can be found on the AVC Website
Our Sacred Honor: An American Salute
Join us this Independence Day weekend for an AVC television special Our Sacred Honor: An American Salute.
In this very special made for television event, veterans, uniformed personnel, historical re-enactors, musical performers and more return to commemorate those who have served, and sacrificed for our freedom.
Information on how to watch will be made available at https://www.americanveteranscenter.org/
The Tuskegee Airmen
The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American combat pilots in U.S. military history. Undeterred by discrimination, these pilots would prove to the world, and themselves, that they belonged alongside the great heroes of American aviation history.
In June 1943, these pilots would carry out their first combat operation of the war with the successful strafing of Pantelleria, a small volcanic island in the Mediterranean Sea. This operation was critical in clearing sea lanes in preparation for the Allied invasion of Sicily.
Robin Roberts, proud daughter of a Tuskegee Airman, helps the AVC to share their incredible story.
'The Candy Bomber' - Gail Halvorsen
Following a Soviet blockade of all road and rail traffic to West Berlin allied forces quickly settled on a plan to supply their sectors from the Air, so began “Operation Vittles” - better known as the “Berlin Airlift”.
One of the most endearing stories to come out of the operation was that of Gail “Hal” Halvorsen, who would deliver candy, chocolate, and gum to the children of Berlin. Halvorsen would become affectionately known as the “Candy Bomber” and “Uncle Wiggly Wings” to many of the young residents of the city.
Watch the full AVC story of ‘The Candy Bomber’ as told by @Renee Zellweger
Terry Crews Narration of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion
In honor of Women Veterans Day yesterday, watch the AVC story of the unsung heroes of the "Six Triple Eight". The only all-black, all-female battalion overseas during WWII. Narrated by Terry Crews.
101st Airborne Division Paratrooper John Charles George
John Charles George joined the Army in 1943 and began his training with the 82nd Airborne Division in Georgia. Following his training he would be reassigned to the 101st Airborne Division as a replacement for casualties the unit had suffered following the D-Day invasion.
John would make his first combat jump with the 101st out of a heavily damaged airplane and into the Netherlands as part of Operation Market Garden. He would then move with the 101st into Belgium, the bitter cold, and the fierce combat known as The Battle of the Bulge. During his combat service he would be awarded two Purple Hearts amongst his many other commendations.
Watch the full AVC interview here: https://youtu.be/7n6w7nD-U0o