Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Remembering a Hero - Dr. Terry Barrett, The Leo Alumni, Veterans Everywhere and Cpl. John Fardy, Medal of Honor Hero

I scanned in haste - apologies all around - click on the photo and zoom in for a better view.
On Monday, I received a treasure. Miss Adams, the executive secretary for Leo High School handed me a package from Dr. Terry Barrett. It was his book The Search for the Forgotten Thirty-four: Honored by the U.S. Marines, Unheralded in their Hometowns?

The back cover of this book features the grave marker that was replaced by Dr. Barrett, The Marine Corps, The Medal of Honor Foundation and especially the Leo Alumni Association behind the leadership of Vietnam U.S. Army Hero - Jim Furlong ( Leo '65). Until August 15, 2011, passersby had no idea that beneath the well-managed sod of Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in south suburban Alsip, lay the bones of a Medal of Honor Marine - John Peter Fardy. With a heads up from Dr. Barrett, Jim Furlong and Mark Lee ( Leo '85) sparked the energy to do honors long overdue.

It was Terry Barrett's research on heroes forgotten here at home, though their actions in defense of America were the highest and most noble sources for a study of valor, that brought all of us together and offer some fair tribute.

Dr. Barrett's book is now available to us all. I read the entire 612 pages over two nights and re-read Chapter 18 several times. Beginning on page 255, the story of Cpl. John Peter Fardy is laid out with painstaking attention to detail. Dr. Barrett unearthed records and family members to capture some of John Fardy's soul. That soul is magnificent. John Fardy smothered a Japanese grenade with his body in order to protect the squad of Marines he was leading in the fight for Okinawa. Barrett notes early in the book that of the 82 Marines awarded the Medal of Honor during WWII, 27 hurled themselves on live grenades, like Leo's John Fardy (Barrett 155).

A psychologist, as well as a Marine, Dr. Barrett explains that there is no training in the Marin Corps Manual for throwing one's self on a grenade. He explains with exacting detail how a Marine in combat might react to a grenade tossed into his foxhole - he might try and throw back, or he might leap from the hole, or in the worst scenario, keep fighting if he cannot reach the missile.

Psychologist Barret details the five steps necessary in taking any action ( Sensation, Perception, Recognition, Conclusion, Decision and Action). Jim Furlong and Mark Lee were made aware of John Fardy, recognized that his valor was unheralded, concluded that this would not stand, decided to get into the fight and honored John Fardy. Leo's motto is Deeds Not Words - Facta Non Verba.

In Chapter 18 there is a great subheading to some beautiful paragraphs - it is a quote from a man who lost some of leg to a Viet Cong grenade, Jim Furlong -" We Will Get This Done" ( Barrett, 282).

Click my post title and get this book.

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