The Lowliest Privates

Did anyone catch this line from the Commander in Chief tonight:

And, you know, the more I interact with our servicemen and -women, from the top brass down to the lowliest private, I’m just — I’m grateful to them.

How arrogant. How out of touch. Does he even know what the lowliest privates have done to keep us safe? Here are a few examples.

*McGINNIS, ROSS A.

Rank and Organization: Private First Class, United States Army
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:
Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an M2 .50-caliber Machine Gunner, 1st Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, in connection with combat operations against an armed enemy in Adhamiyah, Northeast Baghdad, Iraq, on 4 December 2006.

That afternoon his platoon was conducting combat control operations in an effort to reduce and control sectarian violence in the area. While Private McGinnis was manning the M2 .50-caliber Machine Gun, a fragmentation grenade thrown by an insurgent fell through the gunner’s hatch into the vehicle. Reacting quickly, he yelled “grenade,” allowing all four members of his crew to prepare for the grenade’s blast. Then, rather than leaping from the gunner’s hatch to safety, Private McGinnis made the courageous decision to protect his crew. In a selfless act of bravery, in which he was mortally wounded, Private McGinnis covered the live grenade, pinning it between his body and the vehicle and absorbing most of the explosion.

Private McGinnis’ gallant action directly saved four men from certain serious injury or death. Private First Class McGinnis’ extraordinary heroism and selflessness at the cost of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

*MARTINI, GARY W.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Company F, 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. place and date: Binh Son, Republic of Vietnam, 21 April 1967. Entered service at: portland, Oreg. Born: 21 September 1948, Lexington, Va. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. On 21 April 1967, during Operation UNION* elements of Company F, conducting offensive operations at Binh Son, encountered a firmly entrenched enemy force and immediately deployed to engage them. The marines in Pfc. Martini’s platoon assaulted across an open rice paddy to within 20 meters of the enemy trench line where they were suddenly struck by hand grenades, intense small arms, automatic weapons, and mortar fire. The enemy onslaught killed 14 and wounded 18 marines, pinning the remainder of the platoon down behind a low paddy dike. In the face of imminent danger, Pfc. Martini immediately crawled over the dike to a forward open area within 15 meters of the enemy position where, continuously exposed to the hostile fire, he hurled hand grenades, killing several of the enemy. Crawling back through the intense fire, he rejoined his platoon which had moved to the relative safety of a trench line. From this position he observed several of his wounded comrades Lying helpless in the fire-swept paddy. Although he knew that 1 man had been killed attempting to assist the wounded, Pfc. Martini raced through the open area and dragged a comrade back to a friendly position. In spite of a serious wound received during this first daring rescue, he again braved the unrelenting fury of the enemy fire to aid another companion Lying wounded only 20 meters in front of the enemy trench line. As he reached the fallen marine, he received a mortal wound, but disregarding his own condition, he began to drag the marine toward his platoon’s position. Observing men from his unit attempting to leave the security of their position to aid him, concerned only for their safety, he called to them to remain under cover, and through a final supreme effort, moved his injured comrade to where he could be pulled to safety, before he fell, succumbing to his wounds. Stouthearted and indomitable, Pfc. Martini unhesitatingly yielded his life to save 2 of his comrades and insure the safety of the remainder of his platoon. His outstanding courage, valiant fighting spirit and selfless devotion to duty reflected the highest credit upon himself, the Marine Corps, and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

*McDONALD, PHILL G.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company A, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division. place and date: Near Kontum City, Republic of Vietnam, 7 June 1968. Entered service at: Beckley, W . Va. Born: 13 September 1941. Avondale, W. Va. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Pfc. McDonald distinguished himself while serving as a team leader with the 1st platoon of Company A. While on a combat mission his platoon came under heavy barrage of automatic weapons fire from a well concealed company-size enemy force. Volunteering to escort 2 wounded comrades to an evacuation point, Pfc. McDonald crawled through intense fire to destroy with a grenade an enemy automatic weapon threatening the safety of the evacuation. Returning to his platoon, he again volunteered to provide covering fire for the maneuver of the platoon from its exposed position. Realizing the threat he posed, enemy gunners concentrated their fire on Pfc. McDonald’s position, seriously wounding him. Despite his painful wounds, Pfc. McDonald recovered the weapon of a wounded machine gunner to provide accurate covering fire for the gunner’s evacuation. When other soldiers were pinned down by a heavy volume of fire from a hostile machine gun to his front, Pfc. McDonald crawled toward the enemy position to destroy it with grenades. He was mortally wounded in this intrepid action. Pfc. McDonald’s gallantry at the risk of his life which resulted in the saving of the lives of his comrades, is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

*MONROE, JAMES H.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). Place and date: Bong Son, Hoai Nhon Province, Republic of Vietnam, 16 February 1967. Entered service at: Chicago, Ill. Born: 17 October 1944, Aurora, Ill. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. His platoon was deployed in a night ambush when the position was suddenly subjected to an intense and accurate grenade attack, and 1 foxhole was hit immediately. Responding without hesitation to the calls for help from the wounded men Pfc. Monroe moved forward through heavy small-arms fire to the foxhole but found that all of the men had expired. He turned immediately and crawled back through the deadly hail of fire toward other calls for aid. He moved to the platoon sergeant’s position where he found the radio operator bleeding profusely from fragmentation and bullet wounds. Ignoring the continuing enemy attack, Pfc. Monroe began treating the wounded man when he saw a live grenade fall directly in front of the position. He shouted a warning to all those nearby, pushed the wounded radio operator and the platoon sergeant to one side, and lunged forward to smother the grenade’s blast with his body. Through his valorous actions, performed in a flash of inspired selflessness, Pfc. Monroe saved the lives of 2 of his comrades and prevented the probable injury of several others. His gallantry and intrepidity were in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army, and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.

*NASH, DAVID P.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company B, 2d Battalion, 39th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. Place and date: Giao Duc District, Dinh Tuong Province, Republic of Vietnam, 29 December 1968. Entered service at: Louisville, Ky. Born: 3 November 1947, Whitesville, Ky. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Pfc. Nash distinguished himself while serving as a grenadier with Company B, in Giao Duc District. When an ambush patrol of which he was a member suddenly came under intense attack before reaching its destination, he was the first to return the enemy fire. Taking an exposed location, Pfc. Nash suppressed the hostile fusillade with a rapid series of rounds from his grenade launcher, enabling artillery fire to be adjusted on the enemy. After the foe had been routed, his small element continued to the ambush site where he established a position with 3 fellow soldiers on a narrow dike. Shortly past midnight, while Pfc. Nash and a comrade kept watch and the 2 other men took their turn sleeping, an enemy grenade wounded 2 soldiers in the adjacent position. Seconds later, Pfc. Nash saw another grenade land only a few feet from his own position. Although he could have escaped harm by rolling down the other side of the dike, he shouted a warning to his comrades and leaped upon the lethal explosive. Absorbing the blast with his body, he saved the lives of the 3 men in the area at the sacrifice of his life. By his gallantry at the cost of his life are in the highest traditions of the military service, Pfc. Nash has reflected great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

The list is quite long. If our Commander in Chief needs someone to read them all to him, I think we can find a few volunteers.

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  • Steve Crickmore

    The full context…That is what Obama said in answer to the question,

    Question: During these first 100 days, what has surprised you the most about this office? Enchanted you the most from serving in this office? Humbled you the most? And troubled you the most?…..

    Obama: Enchanted? Enchanted. I will tell you that when I — when I meet our servicemen and -women, enchanted is probably not the word I would use. But I am so profoundly impressed and grateful to them for what they do. They’re really good at their job. They are willing to make extraordinary sacrifices on our behalf. They do so without complaint. They are fiercely loyal to this country.

    And, you know, the more I interact with our servicemen and -women, from the top brass down to the lowliest private, I’m just — I’m grateful to them.

    Humbled by the — humbled by the fact that the presidency is extraordinarily powerful, but we are just part of a much broader tapestry of American life, and there are a lot of different power centers. And so I can’t just press a button and suddenly have the bankers do exactly what I want or, you know, turn on a switch and suddenly, you know, Congress falls in line ….

    That is why, to the relief of families who have lost their sons and daughters and who wish it- most do- Obama is permitting their coffins to be shown publicly, reversing a policy of sixteen years keeping them hidden. Bush was criticized by some servicemen and women at least early in the war, for never going to any funerals of our fallen soldiers. Perhaps, Obama will start to change that too.

  • jp2

    lol

    Obama hates the troops…original.

  • irongrampa

    Not original, jp2.

    Typical.

  • jim

    Oh, come on.

    We’re going to start parsing sentences to this degree? Really?

    Should I got back and dig up 2 or more gaffes that GWB made, that could be easily construed as just as “arrogant” and “out of touch”?

  • Brett

    I despise Obama as much as anyone, and it pains me to say so, but I have to agree that this seems to be much ado over nothing. There’s plenty of good reasons to dislike the man and God knows that darn near everything he has done is wrong, so there are lots of real issues to take up. This doesn’t seem like the best example.

  • 914

    “the lowliest privates”

    Lie right between OBAMAS loins.

  • Brian

    Does he even know what the “lowliest privates” have done to keep us safe?

    I’d have to say “yes”, seeing as his very next sentence was, “I’m grateful to them”.

  • jdgjtr

    As a vet and as an American fighting man, I would like for Obama to remember, even as an E-1, our troops have no superiors and damned few equals. As Commander in Chief, he should feel humble; these men and women are doing something he never has done. They are putting their money where their mouth is. When you enlist, you are writing a check with your life, saying “Pay to the order of the United States”. He is truly clueless and totally lacking class.

  • http://kawaika.blogspot.com kawaika

    “How arrogant. How out of touch. Does he even know what the “lowliest privates” have done to keep us safe?”

    I think he knows the sacrifices that they have made, but I agree that what he said seems disrespectful. Maybe he didn’t mean to be disrespectful, but that’s how I interpret it.

    “Should I got back and dig up 2 or more gaffes that GWB made, that could be easily construed as just as “arrogant” and “out of touch”?”

    If you feel the need, then go ahead. I can think of several, but what difference would it make now, since Obama is the new decider? Live in the now, man.

  • James H

    It’s a figure of speech, you twit.

  • Ryan

    Jesus. You are really going to blast on the President for saying “from the top brass to the lowliest private.” That’s amazing.

    You’re trying to spin a comment where the President praises the entire military into some kind of insult?

    Seriously, it is quite flattering that you guys are hanging on the president’s every word.

    I bought a whole 365 day calendar of Dubya’s “make the pie higher” laughers.

    Honestly though, if you were stating the same thought, that you admire and respect the contributions of the entire military, from Robert Gates down to PFC John Doe, how would you have said it differently?

  • http://fullthrottle.cranialcavity.net/ marc

    crickmore – “Bush was criticized by some servicemen and women at least early in the war, for never going to any funerals of our fallen soldiers. Perhaps, Obama will start to change that too.”

    And he had a good and valid reason for it your moron.

    I’d be willing to bet assholes like you, if he did attend a funeral of a few and not all of them you’d add that criticism to the “Bush is always on vacation in Crawford TX” horseshit.

    BTW, how many U.S. Service men that have died since 20 Jan 2009 had the honor of obama’s presence at the ceremony?

    crickmore, check your ignorance at the door, it doesn’t fly here.

  • http://fullthrottle.cranialcavity.net/ marc

    BTW crickmore… barack hussein obama has had 86 chances to attend a funeral of a fallen soilder since jan 20 2009.

    He better friggin’ get busy or he’ll be so far behind he’ll never catch up.

  • http://fullthrottle.cranialcavity.net/ marc

    As for the topic at hand, what bothered me more was his ref to Churchill and Britain as an example when discussing, moral standing, torture, etc.

    barack hussein obama needs a history lesson, specifically British history.

    According the the U.N. (yeah I know their HACKS) “British spies violated human rights law by aiding and abetting the torture and rendition of terrorist suspects.”

    Violations aren’t a recent development either.

    The Brits supported massacres in Iraq in 1963, were in full support for the rise of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and the prosecution of a covert, ‘dirty war’ in Yemen in the 1960s.

    They supported apartheid regimes in South Africa and welcomed General Pinochet’s brutal coup in Chile in 1973.

    If barack hussein obama wants to point to them as an example upstanding morality, I’d suggest he not.

  • Weegie

    As much as I criticize Obama, and he does merit it, I think this is a stretch to claim it showed any disdain for the troops.

    “Lowliest” is a figure of speech, and it refers to humbleness of their rank (and pay), not to their lack of character or courage.

    Care must be taken not to sound like the anti-Bush loons who spewed irrational criticisms for 8 long years.

  • http://kawaika.blogspot.com kawaika

    “Honestly though, if you were stating the same thought, that you admire and respect the contributions of the entire military, from Robert Gates down to PFC John Doe, how would you have said it differently?”

    How about: “And, you know, the more I interact with our servicemen and -women, the enlisted and the officers, I’m just — I’m grateful to them.”

    The thing is, if you say private, civilians will know what he’s talking about, but if you are in the military, specifically the Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard, then Obama’s statement does not apply to you, because those branches do not have the rank of private. Yes, the members of the other branches will know what he’s talking about, but they are being excluded in his statement. One could argue that if Obama really appreciated the sacrifices that military personnel make he could spend five seconds looking at the ranks of the different branches.

    Am I being too picky with this? Probably. The thing is, if I were a private in the Army or the Marine Corps. I would not want someone referring to me as a “lowly private.” I suspect others feel the same way.

  • retired military

    Well Bruce Henry feels that these guys are just sucking up his tax dollars to improve their job related skills after they get out of the military.

  • retired military

    Jim

    “We’re going to start parsing sentences to this degree? Really?”

    Depends on what your meaning of IS is.

  • Rick13

    I think the point here is that Obama doesn’t hate us, he doesn’t respect us.

  • Oyster

    I’m not going to jump on this bandwagon criticizing what he said in this instance. It may be considered only as “inarticulate”. I’m more apt to jump on how his rhetoric above doesn’t match his actions.

  • hcddbz

    Look BHO was using a common phrase which means that regardless f rank the men and women of the military deliver.
    Now if he really believed that he would have taken the occasion to apologize to the American people for the slander that DHS made against return war vets.
    He could have apologized for saying that our Troops Air raid villages and drag men and women out in the dark of night.
    He would have said that it was our troops that caused the surge to work and not threats of the Democratic party.
    If he meant it he would not make their jobs harder by saying America tortures people .
    It seems strange he can apologize for everything about the USA to our enemies but cannot really show respect for the men and women who serve and give their full measure.
    BTW all these people who want to see Flagged Draped Coffins I do not see any pictures of the.
    Patriots know the cost of War is paid in blood, in the death and maiming of our young. We do not enter into it lightly and the Men and Women who volunteer and re-up know it firsthand.

  • John

    He already showed how much he cares about our servicemen and women when he and his administration actually gave thought to making veterans and wounded soldiers pay for their medical treatments.

  • Carol

    He truly disgusts me.

  • WildWillie

    The real issue is he did not know what enchanted meant. What a putz.

    I would have said “I am very proud of the military, from the top down.” That simple. When people try to sound intellectual or poetic, they err more then enlighten. ww

  • Heralder

    Surprising he holds so much respect for them, because according to the Department of Homeland Defense, once they become vetrans, they’re right-wing extremists that should be watched.

    As a gaffe, I rate it slight, as a 2/10 Probably his teleprompter glitched or something.

  • GarandFan

    “That is why, to the relief of families who have lost their sons and daughters and who wish it- most do- Obama is permitting their coffins to be shown publicly, reversing a policy of sixteen years keeping them hidden.”

    Obama is “permitting” nothing. It is up to the families if the media is to be present. MOST have said NO. If you’re gonna lie, don’t lie about something that can be easily checked on.

  • Heralder

    Apparently I’m making up governmental departments now. Defense = Security.

  • max

    What’s your point, Charlie? Besides demonstrating your extreme ODS.

  • http://wizbangpodcast.com Charlie Quidnunc

    Max,
    My point is that when Obama refers to the regular of the world, he always uses terms that demean them. Remember this: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/elections/2008/04/11/obama-draws-fire-for-comments-on-small-town-america/

    residents of small-town America “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them” out of bitterness over lost jobs.

    His opponents interpreted the remarks as arrogant, but Obama stood by the statement Friday and even elaborated on the argument that many people in small towns are bitter and frustrated with the status quo in Washington.

    He would rather the common folks just be quiet and go away, so he can only deal with people who are like he is: elite, liberal, well educated, insulated, and out of touch.

  • jim

    “Depends on what your meaning of IS is.”

    Well, my meaning of “is” is, that twisting a statement to this degree “is” ridiculous.

    Surely you can find more meaningful ways to criticize President Obama, then this noise.

  • Steve Crickmore

    It is up to the families if the media is to be present. MOST have said NO. If you’re gonna lie, don’t lie about something that can be easily checked on.

    Your point, GarandFan. Yes, it is easily checked check -it takes about a minute-but not soeasy enough for you to check, but I suppose you will say that you now distrust the Pentagon since that they have a new commander-in-chief, even if the same Defense Secretary.

    Since the ban was lifted, 19 families have been asked whether they wanted media coverage of their loved one’s return and 14 have said yes.

    “That’s a pretty good majority,” Lt. Col. Les Melnyk, a Pentagon spokesman, said earlier this month, when 16 families had been asked and 13 had consented.

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