Armed Citizen Corner: Utah Cop Saved by Armed Citizen

On February 2nd, 2018, just before 2 p.m., a man knocked down a Springville, Utah police officer and was viciously punching him. The suspect had fractured the officer’s eye socket when an armed good Samaritan, Derek Myer, saw the situation, did a quick U-turn, pulled his gun and stopped the attack. From fox2now.com:

SPRINGVILLE, Utah — A man with a concealed handgun is credited with stopping a brutal attack on a Utah police officer on Friday, according to KSTU.

A Utah police officer approached the suspect, Paul Douglas Anderson, after he saw him stealing items from a charity’s donation bin. When the officer approached Anderson, the suspect refused to take his hands out of his pockets. Moments later, Anderson attacked the officer and repeatedly punched him in the face.

Derek Meyer was driving on Main Street in Springville when he saw Anderson attacking the officer. Meyer, armed with a pistol and his concealed-carry permit, made a U-turn and stopped his vehicle behind the police car.

“I carry a gun to protect me and those around me, but primarily I carry a gun to protect my family first and foremost,” Meyer said. “Outside of that, if I were to use my gun to protect anyone it would be law enforcement or military personnel.”

Meyer got out of the car, pointed his pistol at Anderson and yelled at him to stop assaulting the officer.

When Anderson saw the gun, he stopped and ran off. After a brief lockdown at an area school, Anderson was arrested.

Read the Remainder at AmmoLand

Profiles in Courage: CIA “Officer A” Saved Lives At Benghazi

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Casualties sustained during the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, could have been much higher if it was not for the work of a mysterious CIA officer, according to an official report from the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

The report, released Tuesday, noted that U.S. military support did not arrive to aid the small contingent of U.S. personnel defending the consulate during the attack. Instead, it was a militia made up of former Gaddafi loyalists known as Libyan Military Intelligence (LMI) that would come to the rescue of the U.S. officials several hours after the attack. According to the report, the militia groupcame to the aid of the officials thanks to a quick-thinking CIA officer known only as “Officer A.”

The report stated that the perilous situation began when a U.S. team defending the CIA annex  housing the recently evacuated State Department officials came under mortar fire. The men belonged to what is known as a CIA Global Response Staff (GRS) team, an organization charged with protecting intelligence assets abroad. They had decided to evacuate the U.S. consulate after the first attack the previous evening and move the remaining staff to the annex before coming under a second assault. The Benghazi GRS team, initially comprised of only six men, would be reinforced by a second team that flew in from Tripoli overnight, but the welcome help would unfortunately not be enough to conduct a full evacuation.

“We decided that the situation we had was untenable to stay at the compound. We didn’t have enough shooters and there were too many wounded, and we were definitely going to lose our State Department wounded if we had stayed there much longer,” recounted one of the GRS personnel in his testimony to the committee. “So we were pushing to get out as fast as we could.”

The team realized that a full evacuation would have little chance of success without armored vehicles.

Enter the LMI.

As dawn broke the next morning, former Ghaddafi officers unknown to both the CIA and State rolled a 50-vehicle LMI convoy full of heavy weapon gun trucks into the annex to assist in evacuation, the report said. The officers had gone into hiding after Ghaddafi’s fall, fearing rival militia groups might hunt them down. In effect, the U.S. officials have those they ousted from power to thank.

The report credited Officer A as being solely responsible for securing the help of the LMI. It provided little detail as to the officer’s background, and what little that was included was partially redacted. That said, it does note that Officer A “spent a lot of time on the night of the attacks trying to secure help.”

After it was clear that the anti-Gaddafi February 17 Martyrs Brigade militia initially contracted with protecting the base was leaving the scene, Officer A was told to contact Libya’s National Police. Officer A described the police as “next to helpless.”

Though the National Police proved useless, Officer A convinced an officer to forward him to a Colonel belonging to the LMI. The CIA officer was familiar with neither the Colonel nor his organization, but was nonetheless able to secure the group’s help.

“And I immediately made contact with this commander. He asked how he could help, and I told him … our general location, and I said, you know, we need you to come and secure this area,” said Officer A in his testimony.

“He had an idea, at that point, of events happening in that part of the city, and he told me that he would need to put a big force together, he cannot just come with one of his—I mean, like, two or three vehicles, that he would need to put a large force together and for me to give him some time to put that force together.”

After the annex sustained bombardment for mortar fire, Officer A called back the Colonel and insisted he and his force come immediately. Minutes later, LMI arrived and the evacuation was underway.

Officer A’s identity may never be known, but the report cites his “hard work and ingenuity” as key to saving the remaining U.S. personnel in Benghazi.

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Holocaust History: 70 Year Old Escape Tunnel Dug By Jews With Hands and Spoons Found in Lithuania

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Researchers uncover hidden passage where 80 Jewish prisoners painstakingly dug their way out of the Ponar forest death pits by hand

An international research team has located a forgotten tunnel in Lithuania dug by Jewish prisoners trying to escape their Nazi captors during World War II, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Wednesday.

A team of archaeologists and mapmakers from Israel, the US, Canada and Lithuania used mineral and oil exploration scanning technology to pinpoint the tunnel, the authority said in a statement Wednesday.

The 35-meter (115-foot) tunnel is located in the Ponar forest, known today as Paneriai, where the Nazis killed 100,000 people – mostly Jews – during the Holocaust.

Israeli researcher Dr. Jon Seligman, whose family originated from Lithuania, said the discovery of the Ponar tunnel “reduced him to tears.”

“This is a heartwarming testimony to the victory of hope over despair,” he said according to the IAA statement. “The discovery of the tunnel allows us to not only expose the horrors of the Holocaust, but also the hope for life.”

Seligman led the team of researchers together with US Jewish History Professor Richard Freund of the University of Hartford in Connecticut.

Thanks to advances in archaeological technology — namely ground penetrating radar and electrical resistivity tomography — Freund said his team was able to examine the site without disturbing the remains of the some 100,000 people buried there.

 

Profiles in Courage: Byron and Gladys McKaig

When I read this story I was of course sad at the tragedy that had befallen the McKaig’s, but I was also Proud that this man, Mr. Byron McKaig, a retired Priest, died trying to Protect his wife during a recent wildfire in California. 

Mr. McKaig EXEMPLIFIES all the qualities that I try to have in my own life and also teach my children: Duty, Honor, Self-Sacrifice, Courage and Committment.-SF

The El Portal Fire burns on a hillside in the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park on Sunday evening July 27, 2014. The community of El Portal was under a mandatory evacuation. By Tuesday the blaze had burned nearly 3,000 acres. Long exposure image.

As a fire roared across Squirrel Mountain Valley on Thursday evening, the flames left little untouched. Trees and homes were torched like kindling. Propane tanks exploded like bombs. Oil fields caught fire. Lake Isabella, an hour northeast of Bakersfield, Calif., disappeared behind a haze of smoke and ash.

When the fire had passed Friday morning, locals assessed the scene.

They saw hundreds of homes, gone; dozens of vehicles burned to a crisp; tens of millions of dollars worth of damage.

And then, amid the smoldering ruins, Bill Johnson spotted his neighbors.

Byron and Gladys McKaig were lying against a corner of their fire-ravaged fence.

They were not moving.

The retired priest and his church organist wife, so close in life, had died together during the blaze.

“He was, like, on top of her, and they were together, like he was blocking her from the fire,” Johnson told the Los Angeles Times. “It made me sick because immediately I saw and knew exactly what had happened — that they were alive and ran out of this burning inferno and got stuck, and that was where they ended.

“I thought it was terrible for those people to go like that. Just horrible,” he added. “They didn’t deserve it.”

Friends and family members, however, took some solace in the fact that the elderly couple died embracing each other.

“It was beautiful, his devotion to her,” Bishop Eric Menees told Bakersfield.com. “He cared for her up until their very last seconds.”

Read the Remainder at Washington Post

Profiles in Courage: Hershel “Woody” Williams Explains the Qualities of a Good Marine

Medal of Honor recipient Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams discusses the Battle of Iwo Jima’s impact on his life and the sacrifice of his fellow Marines.

To Hershel “Woody” Williams, the Medal of Honor he wears around his neck does not belong to him. It’s not because he isn’t worthy of it, he undoubtedly is. For Williams, the medal belongs to the men who never made it home.

On Feb. 23, 1945, Williams was a 21-year-old Marine corporal fighting in Battle of Iwo Jima, one of the most brutal and unforgiving battles in American military history. The fighting was horrific, and the events of that day have stayed with Williams for the last 71 years.

On the small and heavily fortified volcanic island, Williams repeatedly assaulted enemy positions armed with a flamethrower and demolition charges in order to clear the way for the remains who remained pinned down under the brutal enemy onslaught.

Over the course of four hours, Williams attacked a system of fortified concrete pillboxes. He fought the enemy at point-blank range when they charged him with bayonets. At one point, he climbed atop a bunker, inserted the nozzle through an air vent and unleashed a burst of flame that killed the occupants. However, he did not do it alone. He is emphatic about this. Two of the four Marines tasked with covering Williams as he assaulted the system of Japanese bunkers gave their lives to ensure he was successful.

He wears the Medal of Honor for them, he says.

A portrait of Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipient Cpl. Hershel Williams.

Williams was presented the nation’s highest award for battlefield bravery by President Harry S. Truman on Oct. 5, 1945, and in 1969 he retired from the Marine Corps as a chief warrant officer four. These days, the 92-year-old Marine veteran spends his time working with the Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to erecting monuments in honor of the families of fallen service members.

Williams spoke with Task & Purpose about how his time at war, and the many years spent retelling the story of the Battle of Iwo Jima, have shaped his life; his sense of obligation as a Medal of Honor recipient; and what similarities and differences he sees between his generation and post-9/11 veterans.

After the Battle of Iwo Jima and since receiving the Medal of Honor, would it be fair to say that your life changed, probably pretty dramatically, and if so, how?

It was very difficult for me, as a country boy having been taught all my life you do not kill — that was strictly enforced in my family. That you didn’t kill anything uselessly, whether it was a bird, a chicken, or anything. You just didn’t do it. It was quite an adjustment that I had to make to condition myself, that now I’m going to have to kill other people. That was a terrible adjustment for me.

I had never heard of the Medal of Honor, all the time in my career in the Marine Corps, Medal of Honor was never mentioned. … I had decided it was just a medal, but I realized the day after I received the medal that it would have a tremendous impact on my life.

There were 11 Marines who received it the same day I did … and all of the Marines were ordered to report to the office of the commandant of the Marine Corps the next day. … When I appeared before the Commandant of the Marine Corps on the sixth of October, I realized my life was changing. … I could no longer be the person I was prior to the Marine Corps.

I watched an interview that you did awhile back for Medal of Honor oral histories, and you talked about that meeting with the commandant, can you tell me what he said?

The one thing that has always stuck with me, the little bit that I do remember was one of the very early things that he said. We went into the office, each individual by themselves. Nobody was in the office of the commandant except you and him. … I didn’t know it it at the time, but A.A. Vandegrift was also a Medal of Honor recipient from Guadalcanal, so he knew more about what was coming my way and what the recipients would face, than the average individual because he’d already been there. … But he said to me: “That medal does not belong to you. It belongs to all of those Marines who did not get to come back home.”

Read the Remainder at Task and Purpose

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