The US military has approved the awarding of a Silver Star to Father Aloysius Schmitt, a Catholic chaplain who was aboard the USS Oklahoma when it was struck and capsized during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. More than 400 Sailors perished. Chaplain (LTjg) Schmitt is reported to have helped several men through their only means of escape — a porthole — and when it appeared he might get stuck in the porthole, declined the opportunity to escape himself, allowing others to live.
The Oklahoma was righted in 1943, and Read more
When the Ten Commandments monument was removed from the Oklahoma State Capitol a few weeks ago, Franklin Graham lamented the attacks on any public reference to God or Jesus Christ:
We have been appalled at news reports of ISIS and the Islamic State tearing down all symbols of Christianity in the Middle East; but think about it–we’re doing it to ourselves here in the U.S. Atheists, activists, and anti-God groups like the ACLU, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and the Military Freedom of Religion Foundation are on a quest to erase or tear down anything associated with the Name of Jesus Christ.
Graham was referring to Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s awkwardly-named Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which was in the news recently demanding Read more
Five US states have filed a brief in support of court-martialed US Marine Monifa Sterling, whose conviction, in part, included the Court’s conclusion that she was not permitted to put Bible verses on her desk. As announced by Oklahoma State Attorney General Scott Pruitt, the other states include Nevada, Arizona, South Carolina, and West Virginia.
The attorney general said it would be a sad irony if service men and women were not afforded the same liberties for which they risk their lives.
“We have filed this brief supporting Ms. Sterling’s appeal because her case could impact the religious freedom of Oklahomans serving in the military,” Pruitt said. “Oklahoma is keenly interested in the outcome of this case and its interpretation of federal law protecting religious liberty.”
Pruitt is actually echoing a prior Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, who similarly encouraged US troops to exercise the rights they are serving to protect.
Also at the Stars and Stripes.
Last October’s midair collision between two Oklahoma Air National Guard F-16s was blamed on pilot error:
The pilots…were flying in formation, conducting tricky combat maneuvers, with a third F-16 role playing as an attacking enemy. The two pilots lost sight of each other before their right wings collided 16 seconds later in clear skies.
The instructor lost control and ejected; the student returned Read more
The Air Force reported that two Oklahoma National Guard F-16s collided during training yesterday. One pilot ejected safely; the other returned to base.
Two Oklahoma Air National Guard F-16 fighter jets flying a training exercise out of Tulsa collided in midair over southern Kansas, causing one of the pilots to eject from the aircraft.
Oklahoma National Guard spokesman Col. Max Moss says neither pilot was seriously injured in the collision Monday afternoon southwest of Howard, Kan.
The pilot who ejected was taken to a hospital but not believed to have serious injuries. As with all mishaps, the Air Force will investigate and report on the incident some months from now.
Also at the Air Force Times. Read more
On December 7th, the US Navy chaplain corps memorialized two chaplains who died in the line of duty during the attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Chaplain (CAPT) Leroy Kirkpatrick, aboard the USS Arizona, became the first Navy chaplain to die in what became known as World War II. Chaplain (Lt) Aloysius Schmitt, aboard the USS Oklahoma, was the first Roman Catholic chaplain killed in the war.
Few may realize that two years later the US Navy launched the USS Schmitt (DE-676) and the USS Kirkpatrick (DE-318), two of only seven US Navy warships named after chaplains.
The Chaplain of the Marine Corps, Chaplain (RADM) Margaret Read more
A local paper (repeated at the Stars and Stripes) carries the story of Vietnam veteran and former Marine Capt Boyd “Bo” Barclay, a helicopter pilot brought down by small arms fire on 8 June 1967:
“The next burst came through the cockpit and hit me in the hand, blew my hand up and I didn’t see any hand there,” he recalled. “And I said, ‘I’m hit!’”
He reached over to grab a pressure point and the next thing he heard the pilot say is, “I’m dead. I’m dead.” He turned and looked at the pilot who was hanging in his straps…
Barclay and two of his crewmembers survived, and Barclay credits God Read more
Republican Rep. Mike Reynolds of the Oklahoma state legislature has introduced legislation to put “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” back in place for the Oklahoma National Guard. A similar bill in Virginia last year did not make it to a vote. Reynolds said the reason was the troops’ request:
The bill is being proposed in response to requests from members of the Oklahoma National Guard, Reynolds said.
The National Guard declined comment, and the relationship Read more