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Fitz in the Morning: Troop Salute
3 minutes | Dec 2, 2020
Troop Salute 12-02-20: Martin Connors of the US Army
I hope everyone will take a moment to think about all of those men and women serving this nation over this holiday season: they are on base eating Christmas dinner in a chow hall, they are overseas in a foreign land calling and emailing home to connect with family and friends, and they are at sea on ships, living and working in the middle of the ocean so that we can all have a happy holiday season. Shannon Connors wrote me to salute her husband, who she is thrilled to have home this year. Today we are saluting Staff Sergeant Martin Connors of the United States Army. Martin has been in the Army for almost 10 years. He works as a combat engineer and he loves what he does. The family has moved around a few times for Martin's service, and he's been away for close to a year until now. The separation has been hard on the couple and especially hard on the kids, but Shannon is thrilled to tell me that Martin will be flying in this weekend to spend the entire holiday season with his loved ones, "I don't need any gifts, because he is coming home for the holidays." Today we salute Staff Sergeant Martin Connors of the United States Army who WILL be spending the holidays with family and friends at home. AND our thoughts and our respect go out to ALL of our troops defending our freedoms wherever they are during this Christmas and New Year's season.
2 minutes | Nov 30, 2020
Jerad Sheen of the US Navy
Centuries ago sailors in our Navy rigged sails, manned ropes, and tarred planks to keep our ships at sea. So much has changed. Now, sailors work on some of the highest-tech equipment in the world to keep our fleet in the action. Today we salute Petty Officer Jerad Sheen of the United States Navy. This Bothell Native is a Machinist Mate Nuclear aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. Petty Officer Sheen is responsible for operating and maintaining the nuclear propulsion plant on the ship. This is definitely not rigging sails any more. Sheen and everyone on the Eisenhower completed a 7-month deployment at sea earlier this year. Sheen says he enjoys the rigorous challenge the nuclear plant program sets forth.
2 minutes | Nov 23, 2020
Troop Salute 11-23-20: Simon Peter Hemingway US Army
We love and honor all of our troops here and we're proud to salute them on this show. Even if they're fresh out of boot camp, or leaving next week, we salute those who have made the commitment to this nation. And there is no time in service necessary to be honored here - I am just as thrilled to honor a new recruit as I am to honor a WWII vet who did 30 years. Today we are saluting Simon Peter Hemingway of the United States Army. Simon just graduated from boot camp, and his mother Lorraine McCready is incredibly proud of him. With the last name of Hemingway, those Drill Sergeants probably had some fun with Simon, but it all adds to the strength and character that everyone builds in Basic. Simon has a lot of adventure ahead of him, and his service will help to ensure our American Way of Life. For that, we are so very proud to be saluting Simon Peter Hemingway of the United States Army.
2 minutes | Nov 18, 2020
Troop Salute 11-18-20: Clayton Mutzinger USMC
Service to the nation usually comes with a little bit of sacrifice, and today's troop has given up his holidays at home to serve. Today we salute Clayton Mutzinger of the United States Marine Corps. Clayton is just 18 years old and his military journey is just beginning. Stephanie Butcher asked us to salute her cousin Clayton because the entire family is so very proud of him. Clayton JUST left for boot camp in October – that’s important because Clayton and all of the other young recruits earning their stripes will be in boot camp while you are enjoying your Thanksgiving dinner with your family. Marine Corps boot camp lasts 12 full weeks so if he had started on October 1, he chose to sacrifice his family Thanksgiving in order to start his service and of left at the end of the month, he would be missing Christmas too. We should all thank these brave individuals like Clayton Mutziger, who chose to serve over the comforts of home, so that we can all enjoy those comforts.
4 minutes | Nov 16, 2020
Stan Lee of the US Army
Many times during the Troop Salute we've mentioned the incredible variety of jobs available in the service – even creative roles like artist and illustrator. Today we salute Sergeant Stanley Lieber of the United States Army. Stanley was born in New York in 1922. He had a natural talent for writing and artistry and was doing it professionally by his teens. In 1942 with war kicking up all over the world, Stanley enlisted in the Army as…what else…an Artist. He joined the Signal Corps where he repaired telegraph lines and poles but was later transferred to the training division where he wrote and illustrated training manuals, training films, slogans, signs, and even the occasional cartoon. After the War, Stanley Lieber continued to work as a writer and illustrator. Late in the 1950's Lieber was fed up with his career and nearly quit but his wife recommended he make one last attempt and submit a superhero idea to a new comic book publisher. That first creation that he sent in was the Fantastic Four. Yes, Stanley Lieber wrote comic books under the pen name of Stan Lee. He went on to create The Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, the X-Men, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, and Marvel's most successful character Spider-Man, along with many others. Stan Lee eventually reshaped Hollywood and entertainment in general, and revolutionized the entire comic book industry. Two years ago this week on November 12th, Sergeant Stanley Lieber died at the age of 95. He will forever be known and loved as Stan Lee.
3 minutes | Nov 11, 2020
Troop Salute 11-11-20: Veterans Day
America is a nation of fighters, a nation of people who demand their freedom, and who are willing to fight for it. Many Americans fully understand and appreciate the contribution that ALL of our troops and all of our services make to our personal freedoms. Not EVERY American can appreciate what the military has done for them, but that’s OK, because freedom means every American has the right to think and feel whatever they want. You may get a day off of work for Veterans Day, but the day is not just a chance to skip work, or to sleep in. The day is an opportunity to reflect on the contributions and the sacrifices that have been made by generations of Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and Guardsman; in order for you to enjoy the freedom of this nation. This nation was conceived and drafted by great men who envisioned a land of freedom. But this land and that freedom was WON by our Service people in uniform. We live in the Land of the Free Because of the Brave, and on this Veterans Day, each and every one of us should take some time to reflect on that. Thank a veteran for their service. Ask an elderly family member or friend about their service stories, or their memories of others who served. We are a nation of fighters, built on the bravery and actions of the warriors who came before us.
2 minutes | Nov 9, 2020
The United States Marine Corps
On November 10th, 1775, the Continental Congress signed an order to create a corps of Marines for the purpose of ship-to-ship fighting, shipboard security, and to assist in landing forces for war. That same day Samuel Nichols and Robert Mullan held the first Marine recruitment drive at the Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, where they raised two battalions of Marines. Since that day The United States Marines have fought in nearly every conflict in the United States History. During World War I, the Marines served a central role in the US entry into the war, including the famous battle of Belleau Wood in France. As the Marines arrived, they found the French forces overwhelmed and retreating. The Marines charged into battle headlong after their commander Captain Williams told the French "Retreat? Hell, we just got here." This battle is largely responsible for the birth of the mystique of the US Marine as an unstoppable fighting force. Gunnery Sergeant Dan Daly, a Marine Corps legend, urged his men on by shouting "Come on you S.O.B.’s, do you want to live forever?" When the outmatched Marines drove the German Army from the region, it was the Germans who nicknamed these fierce soldiers "Devil Dogs", a name that Marines still wear proudly today. Having become one of the finest Amphibious assault forces in the world, the US Marines were a cornerstone of the American efforts in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. United States Marines have distinguished themselves in times of war, and in times of peace throughout the entire history of these United States, and all across the globe. And that is why tomorrow, November 10th, on their 245th birthday, we salute Every Marine, Past, Present, and Future.
1 minutes | Nov 4, 2020
Kenny Thomas of the US Army
There is no denying that families are proud of their troops. Moms and Dads, sisters, grandparents, and all the aunts and uncles. But imagine how the younger brother feels when he looks up to his older brother in uniform. Today we salute Sergeant First Class Kenny Thomas of the United States Army. Kenny’s little brother Kyle Slitherwood from Port Angeles wrote in for this salute because he is that incredibly proud of younger brother to Kenny. Sergeant First Class Thomas has been serving in the Army for over 15 years. Kenny has done six tours in Iraq and the Middle East. He's an outstanding soldier, son, and brother says Kyle. In fact, Kyle says he's the best possible brother a guy could have, and he'll always look up to him. Now stationed at Fort Lewis, Thomas is pretty close to home, and I'm sure Kyle loves having him nearby.
1 minutes | Nov 2, 2020
Jacob Saldana of the US Navy
What does it take to feed an entire fleet of sailors? A massive coordinated effort by many highly trained Food Service Specialist. Today we salute Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Jacob Saldana of the United States Navy, who happens to be one of those specialists. Saldana, who is from Mill Creek works aboard the USS Blue Ridge. The Blue Ridge is the oldest operational ship in the Navy, and it’s the command ship of the 7th fleet. The Blue Ridge actively works to foster relationships with our allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region of the world. And Sailors like Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Jacob Saldana keep the crew and the officers of the ship fueled up and working.
2 minutes | Oct 28, 2020
Joah Cash US Naval Academy
Today we salute Joah Cash, who happens to be a friend of Claire's. Joah is a top high school linebacker who had multiple scholarship offers from colleges, but he earned and accepted a full ride to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Joah says he chose the Naval Academy because, even though he was on a sports scholarship all the other schools just talked about football – the Naval Academy talked to him about life after football, and the difference he could make in the world beyond the gridiron. Joah has his sights firmly set on playing in the NFL, but his path takes him through service in the Navy. He will go through the same academic and physical rigors of all the other cadets, and once he graduates, he will be required to serve five years as an officer in the US Navy, which is just right with Joah - he not only embraces it as a way to serve his country, but it also fits in nicely with his other love: Oceanography. Today we salute future Cadet Joah Cash of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. This is a kid with a very bright future!
4 minutes | Oct 26, 2020
Garlin Murl Connor of the US Army
There are very few individuals who demonstrate the valor, the bravery, the courage, and the action necessary to be awarded the highest honor that our military can bestow upon them. That award is the Congressional Medal of Honor. Today we salute one such Honoree, 1st Lieutenant Garlin Murl Connor of the United States Army. Receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor officially makes Lieutenant Connor the 2nd most decorated combat veteran of WWII. Standing just 5 foot 6 inches tall and weighing only around 120 lbs. Lt. Connor was not the most physically imposing soldier on the battlefield, but on January 24, 1945, he was an obstacle that wave after wave of German troops could not pass. Lt. Connor took part in 10 campaigns with the Army's 3rd infantry division during his 28 months of combat time. He was wounded 7 different times, but kept on fighting. On that January day in 1945 he actually slipped away from an Army hospital to join his unit. He volunteered to be an artillery spotter for the mission, since he wasn't cleared to fight. He took a field telephone, and a machine gun and ran forward toward the enemy. Lt. Connor hunkered down in a drainage ditch for hours reporting on troop movements and calling in artillery strikes. The German forces numbered around 600, including an SS contingent and German tanks. At one point the Germans got within 10 meters of his position. It was then when Connor called in the artillery strike on his own position, and told them to "Just keep firing for effect." His selfless act, and courage in the face of certain death is exactly why his commanding officer recommended him for the CMH after this engagement. Garlin Connor survived the battle that day and returned home a hero. His wife Pauline said he never directly told her what happened on that day. 1st Lieutenant Garlin Connor died on November 5th, 1998 at home. Two years ago, President Trump presented his widow Pauline with his posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor. Today we all salute 1st Lieutenant Garlin Murl Connor of the United States Army, Congressional Medal of Honor.
3 minutes | Oct 21, 2020
Lieutenant Dylan Jessum of the US Navy
The oceans of the world are safer for Americans and just about everyone because of our Navy. Work on the water can vary widely from day to day, and sailors have to be ready for just about anything. Today we Salute Lieutenant Dylan Jessum of the United States Navy. Lt. Jessum is a native of Sammamish, Washington, and he knows all about those daily trials at sea. He hosted an event called a “Day in the Life” during this year's virtual Seafair festivities to let future sailors and curious civilians know what a life at sea is really all about. Jessum gave viewers a glimpse into his daily life as an anti-submarine warfare officer and sailor. This 2015 graduate of the University of Washington, serves aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham. “I have always loved being out on the water and so a career in the Marine Industries made sense,” says Jessum. “The Navy was able to offer so much more besides a job though, I was able to receive a quality education, experience many different cultures, work with some of the most outstanding Americans this country has to offer, and have the satisfaction of working for an organization that demands you give your best every single day.” It takes thousands of sailors to run our Navy, and life at sea is interesting to say the least. For bridging the gap between the civilian world and the sailor's life, today we salute Lieutenant Dylan Jessum of the United States Navy.
2 minutes | Oct 19, 2020
Jack Walker of the US Army
Today we are saluting Jack Walker of the United States Army and Army National Guard. This salute was sent to us by Kim Walker, who is Jack's niece. Jack Walker first served in the US Army in Vietnam. As a squad leader in the 1st Infantry, he led his squad on field missions in the jungle. They spent most of their time out in the jungle and were rarely at a base according to Jack. He was part of the 1st Infantry Division, aka "The Big Red 1". Jack enlisted in the National Guard after Vietnam, and served with them until he retired. During his time in the National Guard he was activated for operation Desert Storm, and served his nation overseas once again. He retired from the National Guard with a full 20. Walker holds several medals including a Silver Star. Jack's niece Kim told us "He is by far the bravest, strongest man I know, he is a true American hero, but most of all he is my hero. He may not know it, but he has taught me how to live life by his example".
3 minutes | Oct 14, 2020
Brent Taylor US Army National Guard
The struggle to maintain the freedom of Democracy around the world is ongoing. American troops support nations around the world who are fighting for a free way of life. In Afghanistan a bloody and long war against many foes from inside and outside the country has left the nation fractured and chaotic. Two years ago this month, one of Americas Heroes paid the ultimate price to assist this struggling nation with its bid for freedom. Today we salute Major Brent Taylor of the United States Army National Guard. Major Taylor was killed in an "insider attack" In Kabul, Afghanistan, that was carried out by a rogue agent of the Afghan Security forces. Major Taylor was everything that an American Hero can be. He had served in the US Army as an officer for about 12 years, including 7 years of active duty, before joining the National Guard. But Major Taylor's service did not end when he was at home. Brent Taylor was also the Mayor of the small town of North Ogden, Utah which is about 45 minutes north of Salt Lake City. This deployment was meant to be one year away from home. Taylor temporarily stepped down from his position as mayor in order to serve his nation. As if service to this nation, and to the people of his home town, was not enough for one man, Major Brent Taylor, also Mayor Brent Taylor, was also a husband to wife Jennie, and a father to 7 children, aged 11 months to 13 years old. A wife without her husband, and 7 children without their father, and a nation with another hero returning home, is a casualty of the war of freedom against oppression. This sacrifice in the name of freedom is why we salute Major Brent Taylor of the United States Army National Guard.
3 minutes | Oct 12, 2020
Daniel Cotnoir of the USMC
There are many fields to work in for our military, and today's troop's military occupational specialty is definitely in the spirit of the Halloween season. Today we salute Sergeant Daniel Cotnoir of the United States Marine Corps. Sergeant Cotnoir is a mortuary affairs specialist. Outside of the Corps he is a husband and father with his wife Kate and two their daughters, Ashley and Morgan, and they are all so proud of him. Daniel started his journey at Camp Pendleton, California, where he was assigned to help train Marines in mortuary affairs. Previously, the Corps had relied on Army units for this work and Cotnoir helped pioneer a new mortuary affairs military occupational specialty for the Marine Corps by training 40 Marines in mortuary and remains-recovery skills. Cotnoir has been deployed to Iraq, where his unit was tasked with retrieving fallen Marines. Off the battlefield, he's a funeral home director. Cotnoir has been recognized by his superiors as an outstanding Marine who treated with the utmost respect and sensitivity the job of getting deceased Marines home. But even for a funeral home director, the memories of the job still weigh heavy on the heart. Cotnoir continues his service by volunteering for military funeral details a couple of times per month and is on the board of directors for an organization that raises money for local hospitals.
3 minutes | Oct 7, 2020
Jesus Cosme of the US Air Force
Dad should be a hero to every kid. And in most cases that is true. When a dad is an actual uniformed hero, his kids have the best bragging rights on the block! A young man named Andrew wrote in to salute his dad and his hero. Today we salute Lieutenant Colonel Jesus Cosme of The United States Air Force. Lieutenant Colonel Cosme, who is called "Zeus" by his friends, first graduated from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado in April of 2001. Since graduating the Academy, "Zeus" has lived in Oklahoma, New Jersey, Hawaii, California, and Washington State. The Air Force life meant frequent moves, sometimes just 3 years apart as Jesus trained and advanced through the Officer and Pilot programs. In 2012 "Zeus" graduated from Test pilot school at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Cosme excelled at his duties and his courses easily moving through the ranks. In 2015 he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. His son and his whole family could not be more proud of their dad and their hero. Lieutenant Colonel Cosme, his wife Amber, and their 3 sons, Andrew, Robert, and Evan, are moving on from the active duty life. Just over a year ago "Zeus" was hired as a pilot by UPS and moved on to the Air Force Reserves where he plans to complete his 20-year service. Andrew says that he speaks for his whole family when he says "We are so proud of you Dad, and Thank You for your service."
4 minutes | Oct 5, 2020
Medal of Honor Recipient Ronald Shurer of the US Army
The US military instills important values in all of its members. Values like honor, courage, and commitment ensure that troops are dedicated to the success of the mission, and to the survival and success of each other. Every successful member of our armed forces has accepted these values and several others. When faced with real combat situations, these seemingly academic concepts become critical to survival. Some individuals rise above others and embody the very spirit of the soldier, and frequently those Americans are responsible for saving missions and saving lives. When the actions of an individual are so courageous and so honorable, the nation has the option to award that soldier it's highest honor, The Medal of Honor. Today we salute a recipient of this highest honor, Staff Sergeant Ronald Shurer of the United States Army Green Berets. In 2008 Ssgt Shurer was the medic in a small unit of Green Berets dropped in remote northern Afghanistan for a mission. While climbing a mountain the unit fell under intense and unexpected fire from a very large force of about 200. During the fight Ssgt Shurer lowered injured soldiers back down the mountain with makeshift slings and secured their evacuation by helicopter. He then returned to the pinned down unit and fought by their side replacing some of the injured men, while continuing to treat injuries to others. He was even struck in the helmet by a bullet during the battle. Due largely to his actions, alongside his unit, No Americans were killed in this bloody 5-hour battle. Staff Sergeant Shurer who graduated from Rogers High School in Puyallup and earned a degree from Washington State University before joining the Army, continued his service to the nation by becoming a Secret Service Agent after he left the military. On Monday, October 1, 2018 Staff Sergeant Ronald Shurer was awarded the Medal of Honor. The Medal was presented by the President of the United States in a White House ceremony.Sadly, Ronald Shurer, The Soldier, Secret Service Agent, Husband, and Father of 2 passed away in May of this year from lung cancer that he had battled bravely for years. This nation can never do enough to honor a soldier like him. This is why today we Salute Staff Sergeant Ronald Shurer of The United States Army, Recipient of our nation's most distinguished award, The Medal of Honor.
3 minutes | Sep 30, 2020
James and Gregory Boland of the US Navy
Today's Troop Salute is a special one. What makes this salute special is that it is not only from one Sailor to another, but also one brother to another although I would like to salute them both! Military service can be a powerful family bond and an important family tradition. Today we salute Petty Officer 1st Class James Boland of the United States Navy AND his brother QMSN Gregory R Boland also of the United States Navy. James is a Fire Controlman and has been serving in the Navy for 10 years. For those who don't know, Fire Controlman is the guy with his finger on the button of those massive weapons on our ships and subs. James' younger brother wrote in to me for this salute. Seaman Quartermaster Gregory Boland also of the United States Navy. Gregory tells me "My brother James is the 7th sailor in our family and he is my inspiration to be who I am today. His dedication to our country and family are inspiring, and he makes me strive to be the best that I can be." James enlisted In the Navy at 20, because nothing was working out for him, he tried school but it just wasn't for him. He couldn't find a job he really enjoyed and he needed guidance in life. The Navy was his answer, and he has been proudly surviving this country since. He is currently stationed in Japan. Gregory was so inspired by his older brother that he enlisted at 24 years old. "I am currently stationed aboard a Guided missile destroyer. And Even though I have a wife and two daughters myself, I am most worried about living up to the standards set my big brother James." Today we salute BOTH James and Gregory Boland, both of the United States Navy. Service runs deep in this family.
3 minutes | Sep 28, 2020
Donald Dean Dodson Sr. US Navy
Our Greatest Generation fought for everything that makes this country what it is today. The men and women who went off to fight WWII, and the ones who stayed here and built this nation and its military, laid the foundation for everything we have. Just a few years after WWII ended and America came home to prosperity, there was another war. The Korean War put our men and their equipment and training to the test again. By some accounts, this short war was at times more brutal than the long drawn out engagements of WWII and it forged some very tough men. Today we salute Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Donald Dean Dodson Sr. of the United States Navy. Donald's granddaughter Rebecca Ann sent me this salute. She says "My grandfather was the toughest man I ever knew, however, as soon as his grandchildren showed up he turned into a big sweet marshmallow." Donald was forged by war and his generation into a tough man, but he also knew how to enjoy life when he had the opportunity. These are the qualities that make America great as well. Rebecca lost her grandfather and her grandmother about 10 years ago, and just 8 months apart. "Their marriage is what inspired me to always work through issues, and always do what's right." Rebecca says. And for the examples he set, and the wars that he fought for us, today we salute Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Donald Dean Dobson Sr. of the United States Navy.
3 minutes | Sep 23, 2020
Sgt. Dorothy Cole USMC
So many Americans answer the call to service when their nation needs them. When the events of 9/11 unfolded before our eyes nearly 20 years ago, thousands flocked to recruiting offices to sign up and serve their nation. The Marine we honor today felt that same urgency to sign up. But the events that SHE heard the call from were way back on December 07, 1941, the day Pearl Harbor was attacked, plunging America into World War II. Today we salute Sergeant Dorothy Cole of the United States Marine Corps. Sergeant Cole just celebrated her 107th birthday on Saturday, which officially makes her the OLDEST living U.S. Marine. Cole, known as Dot to her friends, said "Everyone was out doing something, so I decided I needed to do something too, I would go into the Marine Corps." The road wasn't an easy one. Women weren't allowed in the Marines during the early years of WWII. By February 1943, the rules were changed and women were allowed to join the Corps and by the end of WWII there were over 18,000 women serving in the Marines. Today almost 10% of the Marine Corps' 185,000 members are women. For her service to the Nation, and for helping to blaze the trail for women in the Marine Corps, today we salute Sergeant Dorothy Cole. And we wish her a happy 107th Birthday as well!
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