Remembering a veteran who just passed away

Silvio Canto, Jr.

We've done our share of political posts and criticism of today's political class.

Let's remember the passing of a hero on Veterans Day.  We are losing too many of these WW2 veterans.  Let's not forget their heroism.

We learned that John Hawk, an Army sergeant in World War II who was awarded the Medal of Honor died.  He was 89.

This is his from The NY Times obituary

"Two months after the Allies landed in Normandy in the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944, they trapped thousands of retreating Germans near the town of Falaise, some 20 miles south of Caen, in what became known as the Falaise Pocket.       

Sergeant Hawk, a 20-year-old squad leader in a 90th Infantry Division rifle company, was dug in with his men at the edge of an apple orchard outside Chambois, near Falaise, when German infantrymen, supported by tanks, staged a dawn attack on Aug. 20.

"My God, the sky was falling down, the earth was blowing up, and if ever there was a hell on earth, this was it," he told The Boston Globe in 1995. "I thought, honest to God, I won't survive. My philosophy was, they may get me, but I ain't gonna make it easy. It was absolute carnage: animals, people, equipment, an incomprehensible slaughterhouse."

Sergeant Hawk rallied his men to keep the Germans from escaping the Falaise Pocket. His squad's machine-gun fire sent several German tanks retreating while two American tank destroyers -- armored vehicles with big guns designed specifically to wipe out enemy tanks -- were called in.

But the tank destroyers could not spot the German tanks, which were in a wooded area. So Sergeant Hawk, though wounded in the thigh, climbed alone to an elevated spot in the orchard where he could see them.

He pinpointed the German tank positions for the American tank destroyers, first shouting firing directions to their crews and then, when the roar of battle made it impossible for him to be heard, resorting to hand signals, becoming a "human aiming stake," in the words of the Medal of Honor citation.

The tank destroyers, whistling gunfire over Sergeant Hawk's head while the German armor fired from the opposite direction, wiped out two German tanks and sent others fleeing, leading to a mass surrender.

Sergeant Hawk, darting from one spot to another in that orchard, escaped being hit a second time that day, but he was wounded three more times during the war.

On June 21, 1945, he received the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman for, as the citation put it, his role in "crushing two desperate attempts of the enemy to escape from the Falaise Pocket and for taking more than 500 prisoners." 

It's amazing to me how men of humble origins rose to the occasion and served the country with distinction.This is why their stories must be repeated for the new generations to hear and apprecaite.

RIP Sergeant Hawk.  Thanks for your service.


P.S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.


We've done our share of political posts and criticism of today's political class.

Let's remember the passing of a hero on Veterans Day.  We are losing too many of these WW2 veterans.  Let's not forget their heroism.

We learned that John Hawk, an Army sergeant in World War II who was awarded the Medal of Honor died.  He was 89.

This is his from The NY Times obituary

"Two months after the Allies landed in Normandy in the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944, they trapped thousands of retreating Germans near the town of Falaise, some 20 miles south of Caen, in what became known as the Falaise Pocket.       

Sergeant Hawk, a 20-year-old squad leader in a 90th Infantry Division rifle company, was dug in with his men at the edge of an apple orchard outside Chambois, near Falaise, when German infantrymen, supported by tanks, staged a dawn attack on Aug. 20.

"My God, the sky was falling down, the earth was blowing up, and if ever there was a hell on earth, this was it," he told The Boston Globe in 1995. "I thought, honest to God, I won't survive. My philosophy was, they may get me, but I ain't gonna make it easy. It was absolute carnage: animals, people, equipment, an incomprehensible slaughterhouse."

Sergeant Hawk rallied his men to keep the Germans from escaping the Falaise Pocket. His squad's machine-gun fire sent several German tanks retreating while two American tank destroyers -- armored vehicles with big guns designed specifically to wipe out enemy tanks -- were called in.

But the tank destroyers could not spot the German tanks, which were in a wooded area. So Sergeant Hawk, though wounded in the thigh, climbed alone to an elevated spot in the orchard where he could see them.

He pinpointed the German tank positions for the American tank destroyers, first shouting firing directions to their crews and then, when the roar of battle made it impossible for him to be heard, resorting to hand signals, becoming a "human aiming stake," in the words of the Medal of Honor citation.

The tank destroyers, whistling gunfire over Sergeant Hawk's head while the German armor fired from the opposite direction, wiped out two German tanks and sent others fleeing, leading to a mass surrender.

Sergeant Hawk, darting from one spot to another in that orchard, escaped being hit a second time that day, but he was wounded three more times during the war.

On June 21, 1945, he received the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman for, as the citation put it, his role in "crushing two desperate attempts of the enemy to escape from the Falaise Pocket and for taking more than 500 prisoners." 

It's amazing to me how men of humble origins rose to the occasion and served the country with distinction.This is why their stories must be repeated for the new generations to hear and apprecaite.

RIP Sergeant Hawk.  Thanks for your service.


P.S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.