A Civilian’s Introduction to Our Armed Services

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By William M. Tsutsui, Hendrix College president & history professor

Last month, I lost my voice from shouting “Aye, sir!” to a tough-as-nails Marine Corps drill instructor. I also spent three days washing sand out of my hair after Army Rangers in a Chinook helicopter rescued me from a simulated hostage situation. And I squeezed myself into the hold of a “narco-submarine” where smugglers once stashed bricks of cocaine before the U.S. Coast Guard intervened.

William M. Tsutsui, president & history professor at Hendrix College in Alabama, talks with an Air Force leader at Moody Air Force Base during the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, June 13, 2018. Photo courtesy of William M. Tsutsui

I had all these memorable experiences, and many more, as a participant in the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC), the flagship public outreach program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense. Along with 35 other civilian leaders (corporate CEOs, non-profit executives and elected officials), I spent an intense and inspiring week at military installations from Virginia through the Carolinas and Georgia.

In between high-level policy briefings and demonstrations of the latest warfighting hardware, we had the rare and eye-opening opportunity to interact with people from across our armed services. All of our group came away with even deeper respect and appreciation for that passionate 1 percent of the American population who serve and sacrifice so that the rest of us can remain safe and free.

Our adventure began at the Pentagon, where Secretary of Defense James Mattis made a deep impression with his forthright assessment of the state of the world and his frank answers to our challenging questions. His message – that the American military is second to none, that our alliances around the world remain strong, and that our nation’s strategic priorities are clear-sighted – was resolute but reassuring. He inspired trust, radiated strength, and embodied leadership. I left Washington with my faith in our national leadership renewed, confident that the highest echelon of our military establishment is in good hands.

As our group moved around the south, often flying on C-130s from Little Rock Air Force Base, we interacted daily with military top brass – generals and admirals with rows of service ribbons and stars on their shoulders. I was struck by how humble and self-reflective they seemed, how thoughtful they were about the responsibilities they bear and the ideals they uphold, and how little they resembled all those stereotypes from Hollywood movies.

I spoke with the first Asian-American to rise to the rank of admiral in the Coast Guard about diversity in the armed forces and efforts to be inclusive of transgender service members. We heard from a pioneering female wing commander at Moody Air Force Base, who still trains in A-10 Warthogs every month, about the challenges of balancing family and career. I ended every day impressed by the humanity and dedication of the officers I met, confident that the command of the American military is in good hands.

At each installation, we spent time with enlisted men and women who are the backbone of our national defense. I soon learned that there are as many stories in the military as there are soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coasties. I heard of countless individual paths into uniform: young people following in the footsteps of parents, seeking structure in their lives or the way out of a bad situation, looking for maturity or direction, for ways to see the world or to realize a dream, for an opportunity to give back or be part of something bigger than themselves.

I heard about the challenges and struggles of service: frequent deployments abroad; heat, bugs, and constant discomfort; boredom and terror; cheese packets in MREs.

But I also heard so many stories of uplift and growth, of courage and achievement. On every base, the sense of pride – in personal achievements, in collective effort, and in our nation – was intense. Immediately apparent too were the ethics of discipline, respect and duty.

In a striking departure from civilian life, the young men and women of the military did not seem to spend their days staring into cellphone screens. Instead I encountered many individuals transformed by the high expectations and inspired by the values of the armed forces. And I am now convinced that there may be no more committed and effective educational organization in the world than the U.S. Department of Defense. Our military’s investment in human capital is unparalleled: Beyond demanding physical conditioning and extensive training in technical and professional skills, I saw firsthand how our armed services provide a unique, immersive education in life, in leadership and in character.

As I return to civilian life and look back on my experience in JCOC, I feel grateful for the service of the 2 million active and reserve members of our military. And no matter what trials we may face as a nation or what differences may divide us, I feel confident that the security of America and our way of life are in good hands.

This article was originally published on Arkansasonline.com.

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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DOD website.

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A Civilian’s Introduction to Our Armed Services

Coast Guard Officer Program Offers College Tuition, Job Guarantee

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By Katie Lange
Defense Media Activity

There are several scholarship programs that can help college students commission as officers into various military branches. When it comes to the Coast Guard, however, there’s only one.

It’s called the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative, and it actually began as a way to improve the diversity of the Coast Guard officer corps. It still does bring in motivated and talented college students of diverse backgrounds, but it also gives those students up to two years of paid tuition and fees for their last two years of college.

I’m interested. What other benefits does it offer students?  

A monthly salary of up to $3,600 as an enlisted service member.

A housing allowance, as well as health and educational benefits.

A GUARANTEED JOB after graduation with a starting salary of about $60,000 per year.

Now I’m definitely interested. What are the requirements?

Candidates have to be between 19 and 28 years old and a U.S. citizen.

One of the major requirements is where you’re going to school. Eligible students must be going to or are about to start at a minority-serving institution. This means historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, tribal colleges and universities and various Native American-serving institutions. Other schools may qualify on a case-by-case basis (for instance, if your school has a high minority student population), so if you’re not sure about yours, check with your local recruiter. Online degrees don’t qualify.

For more on the requirements, click here.

Former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and Capt. Michael Day, commander of Coast Guard Sector New York, look as Jeh Johnson Jr., college student participating in the Coast Guard College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative, points while underway aboard a Station New York 45-foot Response Boat-Medium in the New York Harbor, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Frank Iannazzo-Simmons

During & After Graduation

If you’re eligible, yay! Next, you have to complete basic training, maintain at least a 2.5 grade-point average and work a minimum of four hours a week at a Coast Guard unit or recruiting office.

After your junior year, you’ll get three weeks of leadership training during the summer in New London, Connecticut. Then, once you graduate from college, you’ll have to complete Officer Candidate School, which involves 17 weeks of training to build leadership and teamwork skills, and it preps you for success as a ensign.

During OCS, you’ll compete with other candidates for assignments within one of four main officer operational specialties: afloat, aviation, prevention or response. Most are with a Coast Guard sector (shore-based unit), Coast Guard cutter (on a commissioned vessel) or an aviation training billet (pilot training).

A Real-Life Example

Coast Guard Ensign Gabriella Deza, an apprentice marine inspector, used the CSPI program after finding out about it when she was a sophomore at Florida Memorial University in Miami. The program paid her last two years of tuition, as well as books, fees, and even a salary of $3,600 a month.

She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical science and is now working with a team at the ports in New York City, making sure ships from all over the world looking to dock in the Big Apple meet safety and security standards.

Deza also applied to the Coast Guard’s guaranteed flight school program, the Wilk’s Flight Initiative, and was recently accepted. She hopes to one day become a helicopter pilot.

To find out more about Deza’s story, watch the video above. If you’re interested in applying for CSPI, click here for more details.

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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DOD website.

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Coast Guard Officer Program Offers College Tuition, Job Guarantee

Korean War Aviator Was First Helicopter Pilot to Earn Medal of Honor

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By Katie Lange
Defense Media Activity

This blog is part of a weekly series called “Medal of Honor Monday,” in which we’ll highlight one of the more than 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients who have earned the U.S. military’s highest medal for valor.

Plenty of military aviators have earned Medals of Honor over America’s long history, but very few earned them for actions taken in helicopters. The very first helicopter pilot to earn that distinction did so in the Korean War during a voluntary rescue mission that ended disastrously.

Navy Lt. John Kelvin Koelsch. Navy photo

Navy Lt. John Kelvin Koelsch was born in London in 1923. He got his education at Princeton University before commissioning into the Navy in Los Angeles in September 1942. Two years later, he became a pilot and spent some time serving as a torpedo bomber before World War II ended.

Koelsch stayed in the Navy and eventually found himself switching aircraft – from planes to helicopters – as the Korean War began. He made a name for himself on the USS Princeton, rescuing at least two crew members. He also designed devices to help with operations during Korea’s harsh winter, and he developed a floating sling hoist that he used during the mission that earned him the Medal of Honor.

Koelsch was piloting a Navy helicopter rescue unit on July 3, 1951, when he heard that a Marine fighter pilot had been shot down in the mountains of North Korea. Despite nighttime rapidly approaching, Koelsch and one crewmate, Petty Officer 3rd Class George Neal, volunteered to fly the chopper to try to rescue him. Conditions were overcast, so Koelsch had to drop to an extremely low altitude to get below the clouds to search.

He didn’t have a fighter escort, nor was the helicopter armed. The enemy was able to fire at the chopper freely, hitting it at least once before Koelsch found the downed pilot, Marine Corps Capt. James V. Wilkins.

Neal began hoisting Wilkins into the chopper with Koelsch’s signature sling, but another shot from the enemy made a direct hit, and the helicopter crashed into the side of the mountain. Koelsch and Neal weren’t hurt, but Wilkins suffered from serious burns and a twisted knee.

Koelsch managed to gather the other two men from the wreck and lead them away from the crash site to hide from enemy troops, who would inevitably be searching for them. They managed to evade capture for nine days, reaching a small coastal fishing village before being captured.

Navy Lt. John Koelsch’s Sikorsky HO3-S-1 helicopter aboard USS Philippine Sea (CV-47). Navy photo

As they were marched through the village, Koelsch made an effort to point out Wilkins’ injuries to their captors, who eventually separated the Marine from the sailors to get him medical help. Wilkins later attributed that effort by Koelsch to his survival.

When Armistice Day finally came in 1953, prisoners of war were returned to the U.S., and Neal and Wilkins were two of them. Koelsch was not. Records show he died in October 1951 from dysentery and malnutrition.

But in his months of captivity, Koelsch always refused to help his captors, other POWs remembered. He was considerate and helpful toward his fellow prisoners despite his weakened state, and that courage and self-sacrifice inspired them.

When it came to the helicopter rescue attempt, Wilkins, who had watched Koelsch navigate through the cloud cover and enemy fire, later said it was “the greatest display of guts I’ve ever seen.”

In August 1955, Koelsch’s mother was presented the Medal of Honor for his sacrifice at a ceremony at the Pentagon.  Koelsch was the first helicopter pilot to receive the nation’s highest award for valor.

“He was always ready for any rescue mission, no matter how dangerous, and he let this be known. If anything happened, he wanted to be part of it,” said one officer who served with Koelsch.

Koelsch’s legacy carried on in 1965, when the Navy named a destroyer escort after him. The USS Koelsch was later reclassified as a frigate before its decommissioning in 1989.

USS Koelsch (FF-1049), a Garcia-class frigate, 21 May 1979. Navy photo

READ MORE: Korea: The Forgotten War Explained

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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DOD website.

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Korean War Aviator Was First Helicopter Pilot to Earn Medal of Honor

Marine-Turned John Wayne Stunt Double Was Friday the 13th’s Jason, Too

By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

From storming the beach of Iwo Jima as a Marine to performing as a stuntman for more than 60 years in movies such as “Friday the 13th: Part 4” as Jason and in “Rio Bravo,” doubling for John Wayne, 92-year-old former Marine Cpl. Alex Bayouth, known as Ted White in Hollywood, has had an exciting life.

Call to Service

Marine Corps Cpl. Alex Bayouth pauses beside the barbed wire of an internment camp on Tinian to give a native child some candy during World War II. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps History Division

In 1943, the United States was at war. “The country had done a lot for me, so I thought it was time for me to do something for the country,” White said.

White headed to Camp Pendleton in San Diego for boot camp and training and then joined the 4th Marine Division. The division shipped out Jan. 13, 1944, and in 13 months, made four major amphibious assaults in the battles of Kwajalein (Roi-Namur), Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima, suffering more than 17,000 casualties. It was awarded two Presidential Unit Citations.

Iwo Jima

White fought in the four major amphibious assaults, with Iwo Jima being his final engagement. “We got pinned down on the black shifting sands for a long, long time,” he said, looking back. “And those were a lot of casualties we were taking at that beach.”

White said he felt mixed up and confused on the beach, because he hadn’t been told what was going to happen. “They told us it was going to be tough. They told us what they felt, but they hadn’t ever landed on the beach,” he said. “The memory of what happened is very vivid in my mind, and it’s vivid in the guys’ minds that made it and are still alive today.”

White suffered injuries from a Japanese cement block house blowing up and the gunfire from the .25-caliber machine gun inside it. He was taken to the hospital ship USS Comfort and then to a naval hospital at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Because of his injuries, White separated from the Marine Corps after six years. He said he hopes that as people remember Iwo Jima each year, they not only honor those who lost their lives in the battle, but also those who suffered injuries and later passed away.

A wave of charging 4th Division Marines begin an attack from the beach at Iwo Jima as another boatload of battle-tested veterans is disgorged on the beach by an invasion craft, Feb. 19, 1945. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps History Division

The Next Adventure

After returning home to Snyder, Texas, where he grew up on a ranch, White decided to use his scholarship and play football for the University of Oklahoma. He met Miss Oklahoma, they married, and he worked for a glass company. After having two children, they moved to California, where he started working for a friend’s car dealership. “I also worked for this airline company – he owned it, this man – what was his name?- Howard Hughes – for about eight or nine months,” White said casually, lighting his cigar.

While working at the dealership, White said, he sold a car to a professional stuntman, Roy Clark. They’ve been friends for 50 years now.

Becoming a Stuntman

White and Clark would meet up for lunch every two or three weeks and talk about the motion picture business, White said. “I was making very good money where I was, and I had no idea of ever going about the motion picture business.”

Stuntman Ted White poses next to John Wayne for a photo during the shooting of “Rio Bravo” in Tucson, Arizona in 1958. The movie was released in 1959. White was the stuntman for Wayne for 18 films. Courtesy photo

Clark told White he was making a western with Warner Bros. “He said, ‘I know you’re from Texas, and you used to ride and rope a lot,’” White said. Clark asked him to come to the set and watch.

Having come from work, White said, he was standing on the sidelines in a suit. He told his buddy, “I can’t believe he can’t rope him. There’s a man standing completely still. We rope them on the run,” he said. He said his friend went over to the director, Howard W. Koch, who later became the president of Paramount Studios, and told him that White could do it.

White said Koch told him they would put him wardrobe and have him do the scene once. “So I had to double the guy on the horse and not knowing the motion picture business, I roped the guy and damn near killed him. I jerked him 20 feet in the air,” he said laughing. “He was screaming like a wounded dog. And from that moment on, I got the fever and started working on small TV shows.”

Stunt Doubling for John Wayne

As White re-lit his cigar, he said he became fast friends with fellow Oklahoma graduate Jim Garner. In 1958, he said, he was sent to Tucson, Arizona, for a show but had no idea what it was. “They don’t tell you sometimes what the show is. You go down, you get wardrobe fitted and then they tell you where you’re going,” he said. The movie ended up being “Rio Bravo” with John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson and more.

“My God, it had a great cast, that’s where I met him, and fortunately enough, he asked me to continue working for him, and I did. I worked with him until he passed away,” White said about John Wayne. He doubled John Wayne in 18 movies.

Because of his work with John Wayne, he had the chance to work with Clark Gable. “In fact, I worked the last show he did. Another stuntman was doubling him named Chuck Roberson, and he got hurt on ‘The Misfits,’ and they called me in to take his place,” White said. “I finished ‘The Misfits’ with Gable, and then I worked with Gable after that for awhile on different shows.”

White said that the excitement of stunt work never went away. “No matter how many times I worked, when I put on Wayne’s clothes, the excitement of putting on his clothes, knowing I was doubling one of the biggest stars in the history of the motion picture business, and then Clark Gable, my God, the cold chills that went up and down me when I found out I was doubling for him,” he said.

“I was so honored and thrilled to be able to do that,” White added. He said when he goes to conventions, people don’t just come to buy pictures of him as Jason. “They want to talk about Clark Gable and John Wayne and all of the different big names I worked with over the last 60 years.”

White said he takes as much time as he can with the conventioneers because at 92, he’s never going to work with the greats again. “They’re all gone, and I’m too old,” he said wistfully.

Playing Jason Voorhees

Kevin Yagher, who’s been creating special effects in film for more than 30 years, applies makeup to Ted White to create Jason Voorhees for “Friday the 13th: the Final Chapter” In 1984. Courtesy photo

White said movies and television shows generally don’t shoot in the summer. But he got a call one day to go to Columbia Studios, though he had worked mostly for Warner Bros. He said he had read for the policeman role and waited around for 45 minutes because several other guys were reading for parts as well.

“They called me back in and said, ‘We’re definitely going to go with you, Ted.’ I said, ‘That’s the part of the policeman?’ They said, ‘No, we want you to be the part of Jason.’ I said, ‘Whoa, wait a minute. Jason doesn’t do anything. He doesn’t say anything. He just kills people,” White said. “I’ve got two boys that are grown and have kids. I’d hate for them to see their grandpa out there killing people. I’d better pass on that.”

He said he initially passed and went home, but after talking to a friend who was working on the project about the fans and the horror business, he reconsidered.

“That was 1984, and I played him. I actually enjoyed it after I got into it and met the people they hired to work in the business,” White said. “I’ve been doing conventions ever since then.“I’ve been to so many countries.”

Recent Projects, Hobbies

His grandchildren not only saw him play Jason, but also can watch him as a stunt driver in “Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift.”

When he’s not out at a convention or doing stunt work, White is repairing furniture for his neighbors in his own 1,800-square -oot woodworking shop. “I have people come over and leave their broken chairs out in front of my gate and say, ‘Ted, can you fix this for me?’ I’m fixing broken pieces of furniture for neighbors up and down the street.”

Stuntman Steve Dash, who portrayed Jason Voorhees in the second “Friday the 13th” film, hugs stuntman Ted White, who portrayed Voorhees in “Friday the 13th: the Final Chapter.” DoD photo by Shannon Collins

From One Marine to Another

White said he believes in the Marine Corps principle “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” For those who serve as Marines or are considering becoming Marines, he offered some advice.

“This country has given us so much in so many different ways,” he said. “When you have the opportunity to give back what this country has given you, I say take that opportunity and if that opportunity includes being a Marine for the rest of your life, you’ll carry that with you every step you take, every moment you breathe, every person you meet. You’ll always remember if they were a Marine, they are friends, and they’ll be friends for the rest of your life and their lives as well.

“To me, it’s an honor that, it’s very hard to say that there’s another thing out that surpasses this as far as being proud of what you’ve done,” he continued. “Being a Marine and being in World War II is something that, well, you can’t really explain to people that weren’t there.”

Follow Shannon Collins on Twitter at @CollinsDoDNews
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Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DOD website.

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Marine-Turned John Wayne Stunt Double Was Friday the 13th’s Jason, Too

WWII Marine-Turned John Wayne Stunt Double Was Friday 13th’s Jason, Too

Image 440724-D-ZZ999-0001-450x350.jpg

By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

From storming the beach of Iwo Jima as a Marine to performing as a stuntman for more than 60 years in movies such as “Friday the 13th: Part 4” as Jason and in “Rio Bravo,” doubling for John Wayne, 92-year-old former Marine Cpl. Alex Bayouth, known as Ted White in Hollywood, has had an exciting life.

Call to Service

Marine Corps Cpl. Alex Bayouth pauses beside the barbed wire of an internment camp on Tinian to give a native child some candy during World War II. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps History Division

In 1943, the United States was at war. “The country had done a lot for me, so I thought it was time for me to do something for the country,” White said.

White headed to Camp Pendleton in San Diego for boot camp and training and then joined the 4th Marine Division. The division shipped out Jan. 13, 1944, and in 13 months, made four major amphibious assaults in the battles of Kwajalein (Roi-Namur), Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima, suffering more than 17,000 casualties. It was awarded two Presidential Unit Citations.

Iwo Jima

White fought in the four major amphibious assaults, with Iwo Jima being his final engagement. “We got pinned down on the black shifting sands for a long, long time,” he said, looking back. “And those were a lot of casualties we were taking at that beach.”

White said he felt mixed up and confused on the beach, because he hadn’t been told what was going to happen. “They told us it was going to be tough. They told us what they felt, but they hadn’t ever landed on the beach,” he said. “The memory of what happened is very vivid in my mind, and it’s vivid in the guys’ minds that made it and are still alive today.”

White suffered injuries from a Japanese cement block house blowing up and the gunfire from the .25-caliber machine gun inside it. He was taken to the hospital ship USS Comfort and then to a naval hospital at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Because of his injuries, White separated from the Marine Corps after six years. He said he hopes that as people remember Iwo Jima each year, they not only honor those who lost their lives in the battle, but also those who suffered injuries and later passed away.

A wave of charging 4th Division Marines begin an attack from the beach at Iwo Jima as another boatload of battle-tested veterans is disgorged on the beach by an invasion craft, Feb. 19, 1945. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps History Division

The Next Adventure

After returning home to Snyder, Texas, where he grew up on a ranch, White decided to use his scholarship and play football for the University of Oklahoma. He met Miss Oklahoma, they married, and he worked for a glass company. After having two children, they moved to California, where he started working for a friend’s car dealership. “I also worked for this airline company – he owned it, this man – what was his name?- Howard Hughes – for about eight or nine months,” White said casually, lighting his cigar.

While working at the dealership, White said, he sold a car to a professional stuntman, Roy Clark. They’ve been friends for 50 years now.

Becoming a Stuntman

White and Clark would meet up for lunch every two or three weeks and talk about the motion picture business, White said. “I was making very good money where I was, and I had no idea of ever going about the motion picture business.”

Stuntman Ted White poses next to John Wayne for a photo during the shooting of “Rio Bravo” in Tucson, Arizona in 1958. The movie was released in 1959. White was the stuntman for Wayne for 18 films. Courtesy photo

Clark told White he was making a western with Warner Bros. “He said, ‘I know you’re from Texas, and you used to ride and rope a lot,’” White said. Clark asked him to come to the set and watch.

Having come from work, White said, he was standing on the sidelines in a suit. He told his buddy, “I can’t believe he can’t rope him. There’s a man standing completely still. We rope them on the run,” he said. He said his friend went over to the director, Howard W. Koch, who later became the president of Paramount Studios, and told him that White could do it.

White said Koch told him they would put him wardrobe and have him do the scene once. “So I had to double the guy on the horse and not knowing the motion picture business, I roped the guy and damn near killed him. I jerked him 20 feet in the air,” he said laughing. “He was screaming like a wounded dog. And from that moment on, I got the fever and started working on small TV shows.”

Stunt Doubling for John Wayne

As White re-lit his cigar, he said he became fast friends with fellow Oklahoma graduate Jim Garner. In 1958, he said, he was sent to Tucson, Arizona, for a show but had no idea what it was. “They don’t tell you sometimes what the show is. You go down, you get wardrobe fitted and then they tell you where you’re going,” he said. The movie ended up being “Rio Bravo” with John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson and more.

“My God, it had a great cast, that’s where I met him, and fortunately enough, he asked me to continue working for him, and I did. I worked with him until he passed away,” White said about John Wayne. He doubled John Wayne in 18 movies.

Because of his work with John Wayne, he had the chance to work with Clark Gable. “In fact, I worked the last show he did. Another stuntman was doubling him named Chuck Roberson, and he got hurt on ‘The Misfits,’ and they called me in to take his place,” White said. “I finished ‘The Misfits’ with Gable, and then I worked with Gable after that for awhile on different shows.”

White said that the excitement of stunt work never went away. “No matter how many times I worked, when I put on Wayne’s clothes, the excitement of putting on his clothes, knowing I was doubling one of the biggest stars in the history of the motion picture business, and then Clark Gable, my God, the cold chills that went up and down me when I found out I was doubling for him,” he said.

“I was so honored and thrilled to be able to do that,” White added. He said when he goes to conventions, people don’t just come to buy pictures of him as Jason. “They want to talk about Clark Gable and John Wayne and all of the different big names I worked with over the last 60 years.”

White said he takes as much time as he can with the conventioneers because at 92, he’s never going to work with the greats again. “They’re all gone, and I’m too old,” he said wistfully.

Playing Jason Voorhees

Kevin Yagher, who’s been creating special effects in film for more than 30 years, applies makeup to Ted White to create Jason Voorhees for “Friday the 13th: the Final Chapter” In 1984. Courtesy photo

White said movies and television shows generally don’t shoot in the summer. But he got a call one day to go to Columbia Studios, though he had worked mostly for Warner Bros. He said he had read for the policeman role and waited around for 45 minutes because several other guys were reading for parts as well.

“They called me back in and said, ‘We’re definitely going to go with you, Ted.’ I said, ‘That’s the part of the policeman?’ They said, ‘No, we want you to be the part of Jason.’ I said, ‘Whoa, wait a minute. Jason doesn’t do anything. He doesn’t say anything. He just kills people,” White said. “I’ve got two boys that are grown and have kids. I’d hate for them to see their grandpa out there killing people. I’d better pass on that.”

He said he initially passed and went home, but after talking to a friend who was working on the project about the fans and the horror business, he reconsidered.

“That was 1984, and I played him. I actually enjoyed it after I got into it and met the people they hired to work in the business,” White said. “I’ve been doing conventions ever since then.“I’ve been to so many countries.”

Recent Projects, Hobbies

His grandchildren not only saw him play Jason, but also can watch him as a stunt driver in “Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift.”

When he’s not out at a convention or doing stunt work, White is repairing furniture for his neighbors in his own 1,800-square -oot woodworking shop. “I have people come over and leave their broken chairs out in front of my gate and say, ‘Ted, can you fix this for me?’ I’m fixing broken pieces of furniture for neighbors up and down the street.”

Stuntman Steve Dash, who portrayed Jason Voorhees in the second “Friday the 13th” film, hugs stuntman Ted White, who portrayed Voorhees in “Friday the 13th: the Final Chapter.” DoD photo by Shannon Collins

From One Marine to Another

White said he believes in the Marine Corps principle “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” For those who serve as Marines or are considering becoming Marines, he offered some advice.

“This country has given us so much in so many different ways,” he said. “When you have the opportunity to give back what this country has given you, I say take that opportunity and if that opportunity includes being a Marine for the rest of your life, you’ll carry that with you every step you take, every moment you breathe, every person you meet. You’ll always remember if they were a Marine, they are friends, and they’ll be friends for the rest of your life and their lives as well.

“To me, it’s an honor that, it’s very hard to say that there’s another thing out that surpasses this as far as being proud of what you’ve done,” he continued. “Being a Marine and being in World War II is something that, well, you can’t really explain to people that weren’t there.”

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WWII Marine-Turned John Wayne Stunt Double Was Friday 13th’s Jason, Too

MoH Recipient Shares Stories from Service with New Recruits

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By Katie Lange
Defense Media Activity

This blog is part of a weekly series called “Medal of Honor Monday,” in which we’ll highlight one of the more than 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients who have earned the U.S. military’s highest medal for valor.

Several soldiers and future service members got a treat in May, hearing the story of a Medal of Honor recipient from the honoree himself.

Ken Stumpf during his early Army days

Retired Army Sgt. Maj. Kenneth E. Stumpf visited Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, on Armed Forces Day to salute graduating seniors who have enlisted in the military. Several Army, Army Reserve and Wisconsin Army National Guard members were also there to meet the decorated soldier.

Stumpf was drafted into the Army from Milwaukee, and by April 25, 1967, he was serving as a specialist in Vietnam. Stumpf was a squad leader in a platoon that was on a search-and-destroy mission near Duc Pho when they came across a bunker filled with North Vietnamese troops. Three of Stumpf’s men were shot and unreachable by the rest of the platoon.

But Stumpf refused to leave them. He jumped out of a trench to rescue all three, despite heavy fire. He then led an assault against several enemy bunkers. His troops took out two of them, while he managed to single-handedly disable a third. That success allowed them to overrun the enemy and win the day.

For his actions, Stumpf was promoted to staff sergeant. He was presented with the Medal of Honor on Sept. 19, 1968, about a year after he was discharged from the Army.

His break in service didn’t last long, though. At the urging of the Army, Stumpf re-enlisted and served another tour in Vietnam, where he was wounded. He spent the next 29 years in the service, finally retiring as a sergeant major in 1994.

Medal of Honor recipient retired Army Sgt. Maj. Kenneth E. Stumpf, alongside 88th Readiness Division Commanding General Maj. Gen. Patrick Reinert and Army Reserve Ambassador for Wisconsin Gerald W. Meyer, hands out certificates to recent enlistees during the Our Community Salutes event on Armed Forces Day, May 19, 2018, at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. Community Salutes events honor graduating high school seniors who have enlisted in the armed forces. Army photo by Catherine Carroll

At the Armed Forces Day ceremony, Stumpf shared personal stories from his time in service, including one about his mother receiving his draft notice, and how he wanted to throw baseballs but ended up throwing hand grenades. He also spoke about being the recipient of the Medal of Honor and how the men he lost that day in battle were the ones who really earned the medal.

“Stumpf presented ceremony certificates to all the enlistees, which was outstanding,” said Gerald W. Meyer, the Army Reserve ambassador for Wisconsin. “His comments during the ceremony about earning the Medal of Honor were truly amazing. His impact on these young adults has the potential to be lifelong.”

Thank you for continuing to share your story of honor and sacrifice, Sergeant Major Stumpf!

Portions of this blog were originally posted in an article by Catherine Carroll of Fort McCoy’s 88th Readiness Division.

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MoH Recipient Shares Stories from Service with New Recruits

U.S.-U.K. Celebrate 60 Years of Mutual Defense Agreement. What Is It?

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By Katie Lange
Defense Media Activity

July 3 marks the 60th anniversary of the mutual defense agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom, and it’s just as important now as it was at the start of the Cold War.

Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jeffrey Anderson

So what is the U.S.-U.K. MDA?

The agreement, made in 1958, gave our countries the opportunity to exchange defense information relevant to nuclear weapons, naval nuclear propulsion and nuclear threat detection. In other words, it’s all about working together on nuclear deterrence and advancing our separate nuclear weapons programs.

In the current global climate, where security challenges and threats of nuclear terrorism and proliferation are common, that’s key.

Why Make This Pact?

The U.S. has nuclear agreements with other countries, including France, but this is considered the most comprehensive.

The U.S. and U.K. have always shared a special relationship, and our nuclear defenses are no exception. In the 1940s, during World War II, British scientists identified the means to make an atomic explosion in a device that could fit onto an aircraft. They shared that information with the U.S., which led to our pursuit of the Manhattan Project – the creation of the first atomic bomb – and the nuclear age.

About 15 years later, Britain successfully tested the hydrogen bomb, and the Soviets kicked the Cold War into high gear, launching Sputnik and triggering the great “space race.”

Since the U.S. and Britain shared the same nuclear security goals and were both wary of the Soviets, our nations decided to partner up, and the mutual defense agreement was born.

What Does It Do?

The MDA allows us to exchange technology, equipment, information, and even nuclear materials such as plutonium or highly enriched uranium. Our countries cooperate on defense planning, training, delivery systems and even on some intelligence. The agreement gives us a chance to work together on nonproliferation research, which lets us better understand the safety, security and reliability of each country’s nuclear weapon stockpiles.

“The U.S. is one of our closest allies, and we hope to share another 60 years of defending peace and stability throughout the world during such uncertain times,” said U.K. Defense Ministry Permanent Secretary Stephen Lovegrove during a 60th anniversary celebration at the U.S. Department of Energy.

In the past several decades, the agreement has ensured our nuclear capabilities and propulsion plants are safe, reliable and effective. It’s also been essential to counterterrorism efforts and has helped our countries design nuclear reactors for our naval fleets.

Who Decides What Is Shared?

In the U.S., the DoD and DoE are responsible for controlling the dissemination of U.S. atomic information. The secretary of defense and the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission authorize MDA exchanges.

Key aspects of the agreement have been renewed and amended every 10 years. The latest amendments came in December 2014 and extend the agreement to 2024.

READ MORE: National Nuclear Security Administration

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U.S.-U.K. Celebrate 60 Years of Mutual Defense Agreement. What Is It?

2 Medal of Honor Tales from the Battle of the Little Bighorn

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By Katie Lange
Defense Media Activity

This blog is part of a weekly series called “Medal of Honor Monday,” in which we’ll highlight one of the more than 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients who have earned the U.S. military’s highest medal for valor.

Today we’re honoring two Army soldiers who earned Medals of Honor for their bravery in the Battle of the Little Bighorn during campaigns waged in the west during the late 1800s.

Army sergeants Banjamin Criswell (left) and Richard Hanley

Army sergeants Banjamin Criswell and Richard Hanley were soldiers in the Army’s 7th U.S. Cavalry, commanded by the infamous Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer. Both earned their medals on June 25, 1876.

Before we get to their actions, though, I’m betting not many of you remember what the Battle of the Little Bighorn was about. If you’ve heard of Custer’s Last Stand, you’re on the right track.

The battle was part of a much larger strategic campaign by the U.S. government to force the nomadic Native American Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes to live on reservations created in the western half of present-day South Dakota.

But many Native Americans rejected the reservation life, and tensions grew over the years until the U.S. government issued an ultimatum requiring all tribes to report to a reservation. Many never responded, so the U.S. got its military involved.

Army Lt. Col. George Custer circa 1864. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

The Battle of the Little Bighorn was fought along the steep bluffs, ridges and ravines of the Little Bighorn River in south-central Montana over two days in late June 1876. Army leaders thought they could easily surround the Native Americans, who were encamped at a village in the valley bottom. But they were wrong. Led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, the Native American warriors drove back several Army battalions before a woefully unprepared Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer made what he’ll always be known for – his last stand.

Custer, who led the 7th Cavalry division, didn’t believe there were as many Native Americans in the village as had been reported. So, he split the cavalry into a few battalions and took about 215 soldiers to a ridge, where warriors overwhelmed and killed them all. The soldiers from the other battalions who managed to survive the onslaught were held under siege for more than 24 hours until village leaders decided to move their tribes south.

Criswell and Hanley were some of the few men of the 7th Cavalry to survive the battle.

Criswell rescued Lt. Benjamin Hodgson from the banks of the river. He noticed Hodgson had been shot, so Criswell rode his horse over to him, had Hodgson grab his stirrup and then dragged him to the opposite side of the river. Unfortunately, Hodgson got hit by a bullet on the way and died. Criswell picked his body up and kept riding, collecting ammunition on the ground along the way and delivering it to other soldiers. He also encouraged the men in the most exposed positions to continue fighting, despite being heavily outnumbered.

Hanley was part of the same retreating battalion, and he noticed that a pack mule carrying lots of ammunition had gotten frightened, broke free from his handler and was running toward the advancing warriors. Without being ordered, Hanley singlehandedly recaptured the mule, despite it dodging him for more than 20 minutes, leaving him exposed in the open during heavy fire.

For their bravery, both men received Medals of Honor on Oct 5, 1878. Twenty-two other men received the nation’s highest honor for valor for actions taken during the battle. Many of them had volunteered to take water to the wounded.

A photo of the 7th Cavalry on the historic battlefield on June 25, 1926, 40 years after the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

The ridge where Custer and his soldiers died was designated a national monument in 1946. In 1991, the area was renamed by Congress as the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.

The Battle of the Little Bighorn was a massive victory for the Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne, but they inevitably lost. The Army sent more powerful forces to pacify the area, and within a few years, they forced American Indian tribes in the area to surrender themselves to the reservations. The area in which they originally lived, known as the Black Hills, was taken without compensation.

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2 Medal of Honor Tales from the Battle of the Little Bighorn

U.S., Australian Service Members Mark 100 Years of Mateship

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By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

Being a “mate” in Australia has a whole different connotation than in the United States.

Australians trust a mate implicitly. A mate is a person who shares the last drink of water or the last bit of food or the last beer in the six-pack.

A Mate Is Always Ready to Help.

A mate shares values, and that is why the United States and Australia celebrated 100 Years of “Mateship” on June 27 with services at the National Cathedral, followed by a special Twilight Tattoo at Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall.

For the U.S. and Australian militaries, the idea of mateship reaches to a higher level. On July 4, 1918, U.S. and Australian soldiers went into combat together, assaulting the German line on World War I’s Western Front. The Australian soldiers were battle-hardened. The Americans were green. In one of the few instances in World War I, American troops fought under the direct command of another country. Australian and American soldiers literally fought shoulder to shoulder at the Battle of Hamel. Platoons of Americans were attached to Australian companies.

At the end of the textbook combined arms effort, there were 1,062 Australian casualties and 176 American.

Strong Bonds Through Various Conflicts

A U.S.-Australian color guard renders honors during the Centenary of Mateship Commemorative Service at the Washington National Cathedral, June 27, 2018. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that while mateship began at Le Hamel, it grew with each conflict.

“That mateship – that partnership – continued through World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Somalia, and – most recently – in Afghanistan and Iraq,” he said at a reception before the Twilight Tattoo. “I know that all of us assembled … are proud of what our nations represent and the strategic significance of our relationship.”

Dunford cited incidents from World War II, Vietnam and Afghanistan in which Australian soldiers worked with U.S. forces to uphold their mutual values.

“That is what mateship means to me – it is my pride in being associated with the Australian armed forces,” he said. “I can speak on behalf of all Americans here in saying we are deeply proud of our bond and look forward to the next 100 years of mateship.”

Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan spoke of the bond between the two nations at the memorial service earlier in the day. He said the United States and Australia built an edifice as impressive as the National Cathedral in their fight against tyranny in World War I and beyond. That edifice, he said, was in Northern France.

“Its walls were not made of stone or wood, but of flesh and blood,” he said. “Its mortar was the mud of the trenches. Its foundation [was the] courage in young kids from Queens and Queensland, from Adelaide to Appalachia.”

U.S. and Australian soldiers perform during a special Twilight Tattoo celebrating 100 years of mateship at Fort Myer, Va., June 27, 2018. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro

The bonds forged on the Western Front endured, and Australia and the United States stand together in an interesting and complex world, Shanahan said, adding that the relationship needs leaders who can deal with ambiguity, uncertainty and change.

“Today we are stewards of the bond,” he said. “We live in an interesting world [with] so much potential and so much risk. We will always encounter challenges we cannot predict. But relationships like this help us get through them.”

Watch the special Twilight Tattoo below:

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Army Art: Drawing History

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By Alex Snyder, Defense Media Activity

When you think of Army imagery, you probably think of photos like this:

Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Adrian Cadiz

But for Sgt. 1st Class Juan Munoz, the Army’s only artist-in-residence, the images he creates look more like this:

DoD photos by Reese Brown

Munoz, a former drill sergeant and multimedia illustrator with 16 years of service, spends his days getting his hands dirty just like many other soldiers. The difference is that his hands are usually covered in paints and inks and not dust and mud from the field.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” said Munoz, during a visit to his Fort Belvoir, Virginia art studio. “I love being a soldier, and being able to include my art in my Army career is very special.”

The position is part of the U.S. Army Art Program, and as part of his role with the division, Munoz documents, through art, the day-to-day life of soldiers and current operations. The pieces he creates are then stored in the Army’s historical art collection and displayed in various military museums.

“We don’t have a lot of rules in the program,” said Munoz, who is two years into the position, which artists usually fill for three. “One of the rules we do have is that the artist must experience for himself or herself what is being depicted in the pieces. He or she had to at least be present in that location to be able to represent that.”

Munoz, pictured in his art studio on Fort Belvoir, Va.

Artists in the program regularly deploy to experience different aspects of Army life. Munoz has been to Iraq, Afghanistan, South East Asia, and across the U.S. while in the position. The job is very solitary, and artists are expected to document their experiences as they see fit. Because of the autonomy of the position, the job is currently only open to soldiers at the rank of sergeant first class and above, said Munoz.

“I am the artist and while we have a team here, a lot of people on the team are civilians and don’t necessarily know what it takes to get to Iraq. They don’t know what it takes to get to Afghanistan,” said Munoz. “I have to do all those checks on myself, all the packing lists. So maturity and the attention-to-detail that comes with being of a higher rank is really important.”

Artists are also expected to be self-motivated when it comes to creating their art, said Munoz.

“There is no dictating from superiors or anyone in the program saying, I want you create an oil painting of this. It’s completely up to the artist to decide how to represent the experience that inspires the piece,” he said. “For the most part, I let the piece I’m working on dictate its medium and what I believe it will be best represented as.”

ART HISTORY

Munoz believes his role is to “humanize” American soldiers. He does this by documenting everyday occurrences across the Army – like weapons training.

The artist-in-residence program is currently celebrating its 100th year. Established in 1918 during WWI, the Army commissioned eight artists and sent them out to cover the expeditionary forces of the war.

During WWII, due to budget constraints, the program lost much of its momentum, explained Munoz. During Vietnam there were nine teams of 5-6 artists that rotated through the theater of operations and in the 90s, the Center of Military History, under the guidance by then Chief of Staff Gen. Russell Sullivan, developed the current artist-in-residence position which has been in place for over 20 years now, covering the Global War on Terrorism and other operations around the world.

“One of the things with art, as opposed to photography, is that art allows you to add or take away things, or control what you want the viewer to see,” said Munoz, when asked why he thought the program made a comeback in the age of digital photography. “You can make something more dramatic, bigger, heavier, bulkier. Art kind of helps you to slow down. Observe it, look at the emotion, look at the colors. It helps you settle in the fast world that we live in now. One doesn’t take away from the other. One doesn’t compete with the other. It just allows a whole different medium to be portrayed.”

Art transcends decades, added Munoz. Soldiers in WWII went through the same trials and issues that many modern-day soldiers experience.

“Even something as mundane as a line of soldiers standing in line to eat chow. Almost everyone who has served in the Army knows what that is like. We still have soldiers today standing in line to eat their eggs, and that happened in Vietnam too. The soldier can remember. And a piece of art depicting it means service members from different generations will always have something to relate to.”

PROCESSING ART

Munoz displays a sketch he made while embedding with a military unit. He uses the sketches to document moments that he then turns into larger pieces of art.

“I like to create in phases,” said Munoz, while working on a painting featuring Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. “The documentation phase is when I am deployed. I take notes, capture photos. Sometimes I interview soldiers for background on the individual or organization that I am depicting. I will write down how hot it is that day. How hungry we were that day. All that information comes back and then I go through a process of observing what I want to portray in a more finished product.”

ART APPLICATION:

Soldiers interested in taking Munoz’s place should know that while it’s currently only open to design related job fields, the program may eventually open to all Army careers.

You can follow Munoz on Instagram at @USARMYART

“I came in this position after I was contacted by the Center of Military History, mainly because I had been involved in different military competitions that involved art or design. And they were able to know about me and they requested that I submit a portfolio, submit a bio and my military records. They then present those to a board, and fortunately for me, I was chosen for this position.”

LEGACY

Munoz doesn’t stop creating art when he leaves the studio. He often paints with his young son, Daniel, at home as well.

Army artists selected for the program serve for a relatively short amount of time, which means they must be sure of what they wish to communicate during their tenure, said Munoz.

“Art bridges a gap, and even some of the greatest artists that are out there, every once-in- awhile there is a mistake- a misplaced brush stroke maybe. It humanizes the art,” said Munoz. “By humanizing the picture, we connect with it in a different way. I just hope I can humanize the American soldier. For me, it’s not about creating a great piece of art, but telling a great story. The people I depict have a family at home, a life. They’re soldiers, but they’re so much more.”

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Army Art: Drawing History