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Vets for Victory to help raise funds for National Medal of Honor Museum


 
 

On March 7th, I will participate as the keynote speaker in a fundraiser for the National Medal of Honor Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee.   I was approached by the director, Mrs. Patty Parks to preserve the memory of our country's most distinguished heroes.  I agreed to help and have Vets for Victory endorse the museum because any effort to honor our nation's true heroes deserves our attention.  To say that the museum has fallen on tough times is an understatement.   Let me give a little background.  The museum started like many museums do, with a vision to preserve the memory of something historic.  Sometimes the subject is so compelling, that the museum will gain alot of interest.  Once founded, museums rely on a mix of good fortune, good leadership, and good effort.  Without exposing any warts or hashing out things that serve little purpose, let's just say that the National Medal of Honor Museum, despite its enthusiastic start, fell on tough times after being embraced by the city of Chatanooga, Tennessee.  The good news is, Mrs. Parks is a fine organizer and director that has not only rescued the artifacts, but has put the museum on the path to success. 

 

A little about the museum and its holdings. The museum is now located in a public mall in Chattanooga in cllimate controlled conditions with great security, something that had been long overdue.  They have marvelous displays and are open free to the public since they are located in a public mall.  Consequently, the museum generates spartan revenue.  The workers are all volunteers.  For the museum to survive, they need our immediate help.  It would be a shame to see one of the largest holdings of actual Medals of Honor shut down due to lack of public support.  The museum contains the actual medals of Maximo Yabes, Desmond Doss, Ray Duke, Mitchell Stout and Ray McKibbe.  In addition to these recipients, they have uniforms or artifacts of Charles Coolidge, Paul Huff, David Ray and Rodney Davis. Few museums in the world contain 9 recipients medals and artifacts, making this museum worthy of our help and attention.

I am asking Vets for Victory supporters to donate something--anything--to this effort.  It can be a little or alot.   The donations can be made online or can be sent by check in care of Vets for Victory to:

Vets for Victory MOH Museum Campaign

10600 S. Penn

Suite 16-284

Oklahoma City, OK 73139

If made online, please put in the remarks, 'For National MOH Musuem.'  That way, we will ensure your donation goes to the proper place.  Your donation to the museum will be tax deductible and the museum will furnish you a receipt for your generosity.  Thanks for your help in this effort to remember our nation's greatest heroes.  Steve Russell, Chairman and Founder, Vets for Victory

 

A Note from Scott Rutter - Vice Chairman and Founding Member

 

The foundation of this country rests on men and women that have, in extraordinary times and circumstances placed the greater good above individual self-interest.  Whether it was the eighteen-year-old soldier on the Battlefield of Antietam, the Marine landing on the beaches of Saipan, or our modern-day warrior turning the corner on a dangerous street in Baghdad, America’s strength comes from our knowledge that each one of us, civilians and service members alike, are tasked with protecting this great nation.  In preserving the individual acts of bravery and honor, in the name of freedom and democracy for current and future generations, it is vitally important that we instill in our national memory the stories of these great men and women.  Their legacy must remain as part of our national bloodline, providing a constant reminder of the importance of American hero’s and their personal sacrifice. 

The National Medal of Honor Museum sheds a bright light in a very public place on the heroic actions of our men and women in uniform.  Their individual acts of courage and valor will be forever etched in the minds of the people who were with them. This museum provides a place where all people can witness their strength and commitment.

 

Inclusive within this museum will be the story of the heroic actions of Sergeant First Class Paul Smith, a member of a Task Force (TF 2-7 Infantry) of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  This was the unit I commanded in Iraq.  On April 4, 2003, Sergeant First Class Smith executed gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action while engaged with an overwhelming hostile force during our fight with the Iraqi Special Republican Guard at Baghdad International Airport.  Choosing to fight in a damaged Armored Personnel Carrier, Smith risked his life to evacuate his men under heavy fire from over 100 Iraqi Special Republican Guard forces, vastly outnumbering his 30-man platoon.  However, behind the courtyard was a military aid station crowded with numerous combat casualties. To protect it from being overrun, Smith chose to fight on rather than withdraw with the wounded.  His gun silent, the intense crossfire sending the fatal bullet. 

His actions never leave the consciousness of my mind or those that fought alongside him.  We are forever reminded of the strength of personal sacrifice and the commitment to this nation.  The National Medal of Honor Museum provides a sanctuary for the memory these great soldiers and a place that every American citizen can visit to honor and reinforce the selflessness of their actions to protect and defend this country.  Please take the time to donate something to help this effort.  Soldiers like Paul should not be forgotten. 

LTC Scott E. Rutter

U.S. Army (Retired)

Commander TF 2-7 Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized)

Operation Iraqi Freedom I- Baghdad International Airport

 

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