Wounded Warrior Conference…Rubin Tibor

Anthony & I attended a Wounded Warrior Project conference not too long ago and the highlight of our entire weekend by far was the speech given by Medal of Honor Recipient, 2 time POW survivor as well as Purple Heart recipient Rubin Tibor. His biography on the page was enough to make everyone who’d read it prior to him even getting up on stage stand out of respect and reverence for his service. The stories he told were of dedication in the face of discrimination and disrespect, commitment in the face of defeat and despair and love of country even when it could be looked at as if his country had forgotten about him. It was just so incredible to see such passion from a man of 85 years. He could emotionally stir a room and make them laugh hysterically within a few sentences. His daughter even spoke a little bit and just said he wants other generations to know that basically with everything that you fight for there will be more obstacles but keeping your head high and a sense of humor helped him tremendously. He wants to tell his story so that others who face injuries and adversity could maybe learn something and be inspired to know that Mr. Tibor still has the same commitment to his country now than ever before and wants to share his experiences so that others may be inspired as well. I hope very soon that we’ll have a chance to hear him speak again since he is such an exceptional gentleman.

The Army citation for the Medal of Honor reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Corporal Tibor Rubin distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period from July 23, 1950, to April 20, 1953, while serving as a rifleman with Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in the Republic of Korea. While his unit was retreating to the Pusan Perimeter, Corporal Rubin was assigned to stay behind to keep open the vital Taegu-Pusan Road link used by his withdrawing unit. During the ensuing battle, overwhelming numbers of North Korean troops assaulted a hill defended solely by Corporal Rubin. He inflicted a staggering number of casualties on the attacking force during his personal 24-hour battle, single-handedly slowing the enemy advance and allowing the 8th Cavalry Regiment to complete its withdrawal successfully. Following the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, the 8th Cavalry Regiment proceeded northward and advanced into North Korea. During the advance, he helped capture several hundred North Korean soldiers. On October 30, 1950, Chinese forces attacked his unit at Unsan, North Korea, during a massive nighttime assault. That night and throughout the next day, he manned a .30 caliber machine gun at the south end of the unit’s line after three previous gunners became casualties. He continued to man his machine gun until his ammunition was exhausted. His determined stand slowed the pace of the enemy advance in his sector, permitting the remnants of his unit to retreat southward. As the battle raged, Corporal Rubin was severely wounded and captured by the Chinese. Choosing to remain in the prison camp despite offers from the Chinese to return him to his native Hungary, Corporal Rubin disregarded his own personal safety and immediately began sneaking out of the camp at night in search of food for his comrades. Breaking into enemy food storehouses and gardens, he risked certain torture or death if caught. Corporal Rubin provided not only food to the starving Soldiers, but also desperately needed medical care and moral support for the sick and wounded of the POW camp. His brave, selfless efforts were directly attributed to saving the lives of as many as forty of his fellow prisoners.

So as you can see he is definitely our hero and we couldn’t thank him enough for coming out to do the seminar and share his stories with us. Complete bad ass?! I think so! This man inspired me to look into our own backyard and see what hidden gems are within our own family tree. I found quite a bit and now and going to tirelessly work on crafting another blog dedicated to our families military history and anything they have to say from the past and for the future generations to pass on their knowledge so that it is not lost through time.


this 4th of July…and last 4th of July for us…

Did you know that our Marine Corps is older than this country? It’s only older by 8 months or so but that still that says something about the good timing of the founding father of the Marine Corps. Growing up and even now people associate 4th of July with fireworks, bar-b-que’s and family reunions but where did this tradition come from?

Basically the prominent people in the free states in America had gotten pretty ticked off with the British King and wanted to let him know their intent to separate from Great Britain. They did just that by writing the declaration of independence and using many reasons and justifications for separating from the monarch even calling the King’s rule ‘a history of repeated injuries’. They defined the King as ‘a Tyrant who was unfit to be the ruler of the free people of the United States of America’. The legal separation from the monarchy occurred and went into effect when the congress voted to approve a resolution of independence on July 2, 1776. After voting on that congress then debated, wrote and revised the declaration of independence and finally approved it on July 4. What I found interesting was that John Adams thought that July 2 would be infamous and that the succeeding generations would honor the anniversary of the nations’ independence and he was right about it being an honored for years to come but he chose the wrong date. The July 2 date was not known to most Americans in 1776 since the approval for independence was a closed session of congress; everyone went by the date signed on the declaration.

From the very first anniversary of our nations independence it has been celebrated; which has included everything from thirteen gun salutes to double shots of rum for General Washington’s soldiers in 1778 and today we line streets with flags and shoot fireworks in time with patriotic songs. If not for these courageous founding fathers we would be a completely different nation. Those men risked everything they had like our military does every day in order to make a better future for generations to come. I think this holiday we all deserve a double shot of rum for each and every American who gets to celebrate this holiday just as Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and many others did so long ago!

This time last year for us Anthony was in the sandbox. My mom was visiting us in California and we decided to head down to meet the Angela & Justin at the beach where Camp Pendleton puts on their annual festivities and fireworks display. Overall it was an unusually overcast day with spurts of sun darting through a very thick cloud bank. It was too cold for the adults except Angela who is a big kid at heart.  She played all day with our girls even in that chilly Pacific Ocean.  Justin, mom and I just read, relaxed and talked through all the comotion of the day.  All in all it was an exceptionally relaxing day and we all had a great time just being together. Unexpectedly Anthony was able to call me to check in on how we were, give me a new care package list and to see how the day was going since he knew it was around a holiday. Getting that phone call as most of you know is such an adrenaline rush you just feel giddy and like a cop interrogating a witness all at the same time. I was so ecstatic he’d called and then immediately turn to the barrage of questions like “do you need anything at all? Hot cheetos, socks, hot sauce packets, ect?” He didn’t really know if he’d called at the right time frame or day but they let him call so he did. He sounded tired but he sounded content in hearing our voices from thousands of miles away. He told me of all of the weight he had lost in just a short time of being there, how the weather was and how he was getting the hang of being out in that environment very quickly. We did our normal routine of the terrible Afghanistan phone connection hang ups and after the conversation said our, “I love you’s and talk to you soon love’s…”

All of the questions and answers in the world could not have predicted what would happen only 27 days later or the next set of questions after that phone call. If I would have known then what I know now I don’t know what I would have done but you never know when that last phone call is going to be your last phone call. It’s a hard to shake thoughts of ‘what if’ from your thoughts and nightmares looking back sometimes. What if he his guardian pack wouldn’t have saved him from being shot that first time in the back? What if the smoke canister wouldn’t have shielded him from being shot the next time in the back? What if it wasn’t just his leg and the sniper wouldn’t have missed a center mass or head shot? WHY did Anthony keep getting up and didn’t just stay down the first or second times he was shot?! We just know it could have been something extremely more serious than what he’s going through now and are just so humbled knowing what could have occurred that day.
In the last year Anthony’s injury and experience has changed our lives so much! We went from a distant young married couple who knew each other but not really to very close soul mates, confidants and companions. After something so devastating you either close yourself off emotionally to others or cherish life more than ever and love in a whole new perspective and I am so very thankful that we’ve both taken the latter of the two options. This entire year has been a learning curve for the both of us. It has been a test of our strengths and weaknesses regarding his physical abilities, mental preparedness for setbacks and being humble enough to let me take care of him. He was able to let me be his advocate and fight for him but not degrade or disrespect him. We just fell in love with each other all over again by really understanding the person you knew you loved for years but may have let life wedge in between somehow. There were times and still now where I wanted to throw my hands up of the whole situation when people tried to push their way in and screw everything up that we’d built up together. It takes so much trust, love and commitment to have someone by your side through literally thick and thin and our limits were tested on more than one occasion. As with anything worthwhile being able to overcome and persevere through such life altering challenges takes time, patience and plenty of alcohol. As a small bonus for me Anthony was on heavy medication when he first got home so I didn’t have to share my wine and White Russians with him!

Learn from our almost last phone call and live this 4th of July and everyday like it is your last, cherish the little things you may overlook and be madly in love with the person you have by your side because there are many who don’t get to and will never get that chance again. Happy Independence Day!

What is the Marine Corps Birthday?

In honor of our beloved Marine Corps Birthday….
“The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!”
-Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States, 1945
That quote thoroughly describes Marines of that era & also of today.
The United States Marine Corps is more than just boot camp, social events, training, deployments, hierarchy, and even Birthday Balls.  There are very deep rooted traditions and reasoning attached to all of these events and functions.  Every single toast, speech, ceremony has been done for one way or another for over 200 years.

The United States Marine Corps traces its roots to the Continental Marines of the American Revolutionary War, formed by Captain Samuel Nicholas at Tun Tavern (which to me explains why a lot of the ceremonies and traditions are centered around alcohol) in Philadelphia on 10 November 1775, to raise 2 battalions of Marines. That date is regarded and celebrated as the date of the Marine Corps’ “birthday”. At the end of the American Revolution, both the Continental Navy and Continental Marines were disbanded in April 1783. The institution itself would not be resurrected until 1798. In that year, in preparation for the Quasi-War with France, Congress created the United States Marine Corps. Marines had been enlisted by the War Department as early as August 1797 for service in the new-build frigates authorized by Congress. The “Act to provide a Naval Armament” of March 18, 1794 authorizing them had specified the numbers of Marines to be recruited for each frigate.
Since then there has been countless missions and wars from the Civil War to Operation Enduring Freedom (or OEF) that the Marines have had a huge participation in. At the inception of the Marine Corps the need was basically infantrymen and has grown to now include pilots, security forces, administration personnel, and so many more jobs including our never failing, brave and hardworking infantry (aka grunts).
Everyone from presidents to high ranking officers and even celebrities have commented on how important, committed and passionate Marines are to the mission of keeping the United States of America safe. These men’s dedication and persistence is what makes us stand perfectly still and hold our hands over our hearts while the National Anthem is being played. These men have pride and honor for their jobs more than any civilian will ever know. When they celebrate their Marine Corps Birthday these men are not just using this day as an excuse to party hard, have a day off or to slack off.
Don’t forget; not every Marine gets to celebrate the Marine Corps birthday in a classy location surrounded by flowers and alcohol. They maybe in the middle of the Pacific, at the hospital recovering from an injury or are in a sandstorm thousands of miles away in a country fighting for our freedom.
All Marines take that night to celebrate and honor their current brothers and past Marines.  Some who could attend and the ones who could not for the above reasons. Some who have come and gone out of the Marine Corps and some Marines who have died in combat for Americans freedoms and safety not hesitating to give the ultimate sacrifice if it means we’ll all be able to sleep peacefully one more night.
As wives we have an overwhelming sense of pride for OUR Marines, their service and commitment to duty and I know their pride is 10 times bigger than the size of Texas. So ladies hold your head high when these men invite you to these events.  They are truly a part of the few and the proud and you are lucky to be an extension of them.
We are all in this lifestyle together and although we didn’t say the oath by being married to your Marine you are also part of this amazing Corps lifestyle! Be proud to be on his arm on this most prestigous occasion!
We hope everyone has an amazing Marine Corps Birthday! Have some cake, kiss your Marine, and enjoy this day!!!