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  1. To be clear, the only decoration that currently involves a stipend is the MoH. However, when congress authorized the DSC and DSM for the army in July 1918, the law contained a provision that provided for each enlisted man to receive an additional $2 per month beginning from the date of the act or service. I do not have the reference to quote but the navy had the same stipend for its NC and DSM. When the NMCM was authorized in August 1942 enlisted recipients were also granted a $2 monthly stipend for acts subsequent to 6 Dec 1941. Again, I do not have available a reference to cite, but I believe the SM also carried a $2 monthly stipend. Public Law 351 dated 12 Oct 1949 abolished all monthly stipends with the exception of the MoH.
  2. I've had that photo for a long time. Where it originated I do not know. Another member here has claimed credit for getting a screen shot off of a cable TV program so that confirms its been available for a good number of years. I also have a photo of Parrott's medal in its case but I've had that one for a long time, too, and, unfortunately, do not remember the source. I had wanted to post that photo also, but the file was too large and I didn't feel like taking the time to reduce the size. There are several GLC medals that are in the public. I believe Pittinger's 1904 is and one of the Knight's. Another one was at the GLC museum in Georgia. Another comment unrelated to this particular topic: In the earlier photo of Childers receiving his MoH you can clearly see that that medal's reverse is unengraved, confirming that at overseas presentation ceremonies recipients received unengraved medals. Just like when Westmoreland or other dignitaries would pass out PHs on hospital ships during the VN war they were all unengraved. I know some recipients who didn't know the medal could later be engraved, either privately or be sending it in to a designated location.
  3. The posted pictures clearly demonstrate why it is difficult to find photos of posthumous VN MoHs. Sometime between the presentation of Milton Olive's award to his father on April 21, 1966 and the award to the father of Daniel Fernandez on April 6, 1967, the army went from giving the medal in its normal presentation case to having the MoH in a frame. I've not been able to find photos of the posthumous presentation ceremonies between these two events so I can't pin it down any narrower. In photos on the internet, Olive's father is clearly holding the normal presentation case while Fernandez's has the frame. I'm not 100% sure if this was a DoD decision, or one of the branches started it first and the others followed. I've been stymied on photographing these engravings in the past because the family member who had the piece doesn't want to risk damaging the frame, etc. I was fortunate when I got Lauffer's medal because his surviving brother worked in a history museum as a display maker! Also, since I doubt if any VN recipient's parents are still living the location of the medal among the surviving family could be almost impossible to determine. Could be anywhere from a child to a sibling to a cousin. If you haven't done so already, Michigan's Own museum has several posthumous VN awards and I would assume the PH.
  4. Depending on when a veteran served in Vietnam and his/her discharge date, this unit award does not appear in their DD214. In fact, the vast majority of Vietnam veterans do not see this award on their DD214 due to the blanket award being made in 1973 as the country collapsed. As I've heard any number of times, "In 1973 that's the last damned thing I was concerned about." Agree.
  5. That obituary is even more suspicious. Rank is given as master chief yet he is credited with flying many planes including a Mig15 and F19. Not likely as an enlisted man. Twice decorated at the White House by two different presidents - for a Navy Cross or DFC? Again, not likely, even if the awards were valid. He's also claiming 6 Purple Hearts? An Alcohol Service Medal? I'll take one of those since I consumed a lot of alcohol while in the service. I'm eminently qualified, for sure. And he has navy pilot wings and air force senior pilot wings - as an enlisted man? Definitely unlikely. But someone was very good at creative writing - 18 battles in 3 wars? - but the devil is in the details like 5 PUC from the army and a Tet Offense Medal? I'd say extremely suspicious but very creative.
  6. Personally, I’d be very suspicious of this. While a James E. Castle did earn a NMCM, there is no record of him receiving a NC let alone a DFC or AM, PH. Or POW. Born in 1927 he would have been 17 in 1944 and there were many like him. Whether he served in five designated campaigns would require more detailed records. Five army PUCs for a guy with navy and Air Force service is also suspicious. His NMCM indicates he was an air controller.
  7. You are, of course, 100% correct. Whether it comes out of your left pocket or your right pocket, its coming out. When we lived in Illinois our state vehicle license was like about $60/year. When we moved to Arizona, it was over $300 because the tax is based on the MSRP! It decreases each year, but if your purchase a $100,000 vehicle, not uncommon today, the tax bill here will shock you. On the other hand, our local property taxes for a $100,000 house then (1984) was a little over $1,200 per year. Our first house in Arizona was $95,000 (1985) and property taxes were like $600. And property taxes are still lower here ($350,000 house with taxes of about $1,500) than many other metropolitan areas (which is one reason our schools rank between 45 and 50th in quality) but vehicle registration make up the difference. So, one ends up paying about the same % of income in overall taxes regardless of where one lives.
  8. You nailed it. Expressing discontent is, of course, one thing. Refusing to pay one's share of taxes, sales or otherwise, merely shifts the burden to those who display a more responsible attitude toward the government, whether local, state, or federal. Like it or not, taxes are here to stay. If a citizen supports spending over $750 billion on defense, that same citizen should be willing to cough up the dough to pay the bill. As you probably know, we have many extremely wealthy individuals in our country, some of whom are national leaders, who do all they can to avoid paying their fair share. Guess who makes up the difference? Yep, you and I. Whether its a few pennies on an e-bay purchase or thousands on an income, the bills still must be paid. One cannot expect the government to provide a wide range of civic services and not be willing to bear some of the costs associated with the same services.
  9. I'm not in a position to comment about all states and/or municipalities and how they administer their transaction privilege laws. I can say that in my state there's an exemption for one-time transactions. So, if you purchase a used car, boat, or airplane from an individual you are not required to pay sales tax. However, if you are curbing 4-5 cars per week then, as far as I'm concerned, the government has the right to demand you register as a dealer and collect sales tax from your buyers. Its the same thing with "retailers" who hid behind "garage sale" ordinances. We had one neighbor who held a "garage" sale 2-3 times per month. Her driveway was lined with racks of unused clothing and she even had a dressing room in her garage. Once neighbors complained the city cracked down, limited her to the number of garage sales ordinances allowed and required her to obtain a transaction privilege license. She was not happy, of course, but the local B&M merchants were. This also applies to the "arts and crafts" boutiques set up at retirement trailer parks here. These are supposed to be products of residents but most sellers are local individuals who try to bypass rules of swap meets and sell their products without collecting sales tax. In one local case, it was a group of local merchants who complained to the city about trailer park arts and craft shows negatively impacting their sales since they were required to collect sales tax. The same thing goes for dealers at gun shows who claim they are conducting private one-on-one sales but their tables are loaded with product. I recognize that there are individuals whose resentment of authority transcends reasonableness and whose hatred for the "god-danged gub'ment" is borderline psychotic but every penny they don't pay in taxes someone else has to cough up that penny. As for e-bay's policy of collecting from everyone, that, of course, is beyond my pay grade. I would imagine, however, that it is easier for them to collect from everyone rather than police the entire seller community and require documentation that proves one is or isn't a dealer. I spoke about "fairness" in the system, not "perfection."
  10. I don’t usually respond to these types of discussions, and this one is old, but it is still relevant. Despite comments such as, “Charge a sales tax,” “losing revenue,’ “greedy state governments,” “red states vs blue states,” “lousy politicians,” “tax the air we breathe,” it’s not truly about any of those things. It's all about fairness. Jason T. hit on it when he mentioned brick and mortar stores. Suppose you have a brick and mortar store from which you sell various items. You have to price your item to not only cover its cost to you but to cover your overhead which includes rent, salary, insurance, utilities, etc. Then you factor in a profit margin. Simple Business 101. As a merchant in a community you are required to collect a transaction privilege tax from your customers. NOTE; The customer is paying it, not the merchant. The merchant collects the money, and essentially holds it in escrow for the taxing body until required to submit it to them. These taxes cover a wide variety of governmental services. Depending on the entity it could be police, fire, local municipal employees, parks, etc., etc. All of these combine in a community to make it possible for you to do business in your B&M store. You’re doing well then a neighbor opens an on-line store selling the exact same items you do. Now, since he’s doing this part-time as a hobby-type business, has a full-time job, and works out of his house’s spare bedroom, his overhead is much lower than yours. Thus he can sell his items at a lower price or take a higher margin and be priced where you are. Regardless, he is not collecting any transaction privilege tax from his customers, thus denying various municipalities the funding needed to provide the services both you and he utilize. You notice your sales, and revenue, dropping off, until finally, you cannot sustain your business any longer due to the unfair advantage your on-line neighbor has. So, the push for on-line retailers to collect appropriate sales tax was actually driven by B&M merchants who only wanted a fair market place. And, these generally were not little businesses but large ones, like Sears, Walmart, etc., who felt they were at a disadvantage to the burgeoning on-line retailers. They went to work on state legislators. Ultimately, states recognized the inequity in the market and the revenue they were missing out on. Hence, laws were enacted to collect that revenue. It’s essentially the same thing that has happened as a result of VRBO and AirBnB. Communities where there were a lot of vacation rentals were seeing a loss of tax revenue from hotels because the vacation rentals were not being taxed and the hotels were seeing a loss of room rental revenue, not to mention revenue from other sources, i.e., on site restaurants, bars, etc. So, they started complaining about the unfair market advantage these on-line renters had and laws were ultimately changed. Now, on-line renters are charging their customers sales/bed taxes if they meet the requirements to do so. All seems fair to me.
  11. I dont have the engraving knowledge that many others here have, but it looks to me as if the name is official engraving but someone else added the other information. Theres a noticeable difference in the n and the r. Regardless, this group is symbolic of the severe injuries suffered by so many in all wars. I cannot begin to imagine the mental sufferings he endured for the rest of his life.
  12. Charlotte Observer, May 23, 2019 "Hailed as a hero for knocking a shooter off his feet in a UNC Charlotte classroom, Riley Howell was posthumously awarded two of the military’s highest honors in his hometown of Waynesville this week. Howell, 21, and classmate Ellis “Reed” Parlier, 19, died when a gunman opened fire in their classroom in the Kennedy building on April 30. Four students were injured: Rami Alramadhan, 20, of Saihat, Saudia Arabia; Sean Dehart, 20, of Apex; Emily Houpt, 23, of Charlotte; and Drew Pescaro, 19, of Apex. The 22-year-old suspect, former student Trystan Andrew Terrell, remains jailed on murder and other charges. Howell ‘’took the assailant off his feet,” preventing injury to more students, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said at a news conference that week, The Charlotte Observer previously reported. Howell was an Army ROTC cadet. On Wednesday, Waynesville Police Chief William Hollingsed and Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher presented Howell’s family with a Purple Heart and Bronze Star from Thomas “Stormy” Matteo. Matteo is president of the Purple Heart Society who received six Purple Heart medals from action with the Marines in Vietnam. The Purple Heart Medal is awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Services wounded in action and posthumously to those killed in action. The Bronze Star Medal is awarded for “heroic or meritorious achievement of service,” according the American War Library website. Matteo spoke to Howell’s parents and siblings on FaceTime, according to a Waynesville Police Department Facebook post." I saw this on my news feed the other day and, needless to say, my curiosity was piqued. How could this young man, who courageously lost his life fighting back against a school shooter, be awarded the BS and PH, even as a ROTC member, since there was no evidence that the shooter was a terrorist? Then I read the article more closely. Seems the awards were made by one Thomas "Stormy" Matteo, who claims to be a recipient of 6 PH for his VN service with the Marines. Matteo apparently took it upon himself to make the awards. Why the family accepted these "unofficial" awards is an open question. Matteo also claims to be the president of "The Purple Heart Society," a non-existent group. Does anyone know the highest number of PHs earned by a Marine in VN? I'd like to know that info before I contact the reporter who wrote this story to tell him he, and the family, may have been duped in an unprecedented instance of Stolen Valor.
  13. As a taxpayer, I would hate to think the good ol' FBI would drop their national security investigations to swoop down and confiscate this medal. I cannot image that this is a high priority for them. And, Fike again demonstrates his ignorance. I've got no information that Wood received his MoH from Lincoln. The original recipients got theirs from Stanton with a later visit to Lincoln. Not sure if there even was any ceremony for Wood or the other late GLC recipients. I believe many of them were simply mailed to the recipients. BTW, one of the more recent books I have read on the GLC has a fascinating account of Wood's float down the Chatahoochie (?) river to the Gulf of Mexico. Especially interesting is how he woke up one morning, after putting ashore at night, and finding himself surrounded by creatures unknown to him, but later ID'd as alligators!!! Amazing. I do believe this may be the original MoH to Wood as the engraving is similar to Parrott's found here: http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/278217-army-moh-engraving-formats-1860s-1880s/?hl=%2Bmoh+%2Bengraving+%2Bformats If I had any say in the matter, I'd see that it got to the Toledo, OH museum, Toledo being his home of record and where he is buried. Just saying...….
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