Friday, September 27, 2013

Congrats to our Contest Winner!

We are so excited to announce the winner of our trip to Normandy, Suzannah Kirk-Hacker. She recently shared her excitement and all kinds of family military history and we thought you would be interested. “I am so excited to be the winner of the trip. I put my Great Uncles name on the ticket. His name was Charlie and he was actually in WWI.  I put him down because I knew him and spent time with him as a child.”

I wanted to share a little bit about myself with you.  I grew up in Oak Ridge Tennessee, the secret city, which was important in World War II called the Manhattan Project.  I used to go to the American Museum of Science and Energy as a kid and there I learned a lot about WWII and the war effort.  Many of the scientists that lived in the city during WWII stayed in Oak Ridge so some were my parent’s friends or our neighbors.  The National Labs at ORNL still bring in scientists from all over the world.  As a result I met children from numerous countries and was lucky enough to establish friendships with a few.”

My father retired from the air force as a Lt. Colonel in 1975 and we left California for Delaware and South Carolina before finally settling down in Oak Ridge TN.  He was a pilot in SAC after MAC.  He tells me he flew the big planes.  He flew all over the world.  He carried the bomb when in SAC and was on call 24/7 with the rest of his crew. When in MAC he carried cargo in both Korea and Vietnam.”

There are too many members of Suzannah’s extended family with service to our country from WWI on to mention here but we especially liked one story her mother shared with her:
Charles Cravens was a tech Sargent with the engineer and was in every major European campaign and awarded medals. He never fought with Patton, but at the end of the war he was one of the first to come back after the prisoners were sent home so he was back way before everyone else. Charles landed in Normandy on Omaha beach in the early morning hours.  He was in the campaigns that took him through the Bouchage in France then the Hurtgen Forest in Belgium. He fought in the Battle of Aiken. He was located outside of St. Vith Belgium when German army came and he was told to get out of there if he could escape being taken as a prisoner and meet up with his unit. He was able to do so.  He was in the Battle of the Bulge the Ardennes campaign. He helped build the bridge of Ramagen.  Charles was one of the first engineers to get there and work on the bridge. While working on the bridge at some point he fell into the Rhine.The Rhine flows north and no one thought he would survive. He did, got out of the river, and walked back to camp.  He was one of the men chosen to meet De Gaul and De Gual kissed him on both cheeks and my mom believes he got a medal. This embarrassed him a lot to tell because he was kissed by a man.  He was a farm boy uneducated but good with dynamite.  When the ground was frozen he made fox holes with his dynamite and he had it on him all of the time.”

Please join us in congratulating Suzannah.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Whiskey Seven Coverage on 13 WHAM

13 WHAM's Angela Hong wrote a great piece on our efforts to take Whiskey Seven back to Normandy next year!
Read the story here