Veteran Bridge Dedications
Just a little over a week ago, I was honored to get the opportunity to witness, and even say a few words at a very special event paying tribute to a man who has given so much of himself to this country, his community and to his fellow man. On 22 August, 2013, members of the House of Delegates Rupie Phillips, Ted Tomblin and State Senator Arthur Kirkendoll announced the bridge crossing over onto Middleburg Island would now be named the USMC 1LT Edward I. Eiland Bridge.
As a veteran, I take the naming of bridges seriously because it is an opportunity to show respect to many who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. To witness a bridge for someone who is still living today is something that one can consider a rarity! I only know of two great men now in Logan that can stand and look at the erected signs, which now lists their names — Edward Eiland and Rev Glenn White Jr.!
Both of these men are truly remarkable with an amazing story to tell! Staff Sergeant Glenn White Jr. was a gunner on a B-24 Bomber that was shot down over Innsbruck, Austria. Wounded and reliant upon US sympathizers, Rev. White would spend three months living off the land and what food he could get from those willing to help.
During one particular event, Rev White was inside of the house of a US Sympathizer when a Nazi Soldier knocked on the door. Before the owner answered, he instructed Rev. White to repeat exactly after him. The Nazi entered the house and stood next to the owner while Rev. White sat at a table in the center of the room. The Nazi asked the owner if he had seen any of the Americans recently shot down. The owner responded with “Nein Americanerans”.
Shortly after questioning the owner of the house, he diverted his attention to Rev. White and in his German tongue repeated the question. Rev. White had no idea what he was being asked but quickly responded in the same manner that the owner did — “Nein Americanerans”. To Rev. White’s surprise, this satisfied the German Soldier and he exited the residence. Had he found out that Rev. White was one of the Americans recently shot down they would have killed the owner of the home for helping the Americans and most likely shot Rev. White on the spot for being a spy!
Eventually, Rev. White would make it back to friendly soil. When he did, he weighed around 85 pounds.
1LT Edward Eiland’s story is also equally remarkable! Here was a man who spent a few years in the Navy before making the decision to leave the service to enroll in college. Unfortunately, shortly after starting on his education his plans were interrupted by the start of World War II. Like many others, Mr. Eiland would feel a sense of duty to his country, which caused him to postpone his college goals and re-enter the military, this time as a Marine officer.
Like all Marines, 1LT Eiland would have a mission to help establish beach heads on the many islands in the Pacific during their movement north with an end state of the invasion of Japan. To establish beach heads our forces would basically execute suicide missions in an attempt to flood the machine gun nests just outside of the sandy areas off the beach with more bodies than the enemy gunners can handle. If you have ever viewed the opening scene of “Saving Private Ryan” you can get somewhat of an idea of what these men saw nearly every time they climbed over the sides of those boats bringing them to the edge of the islands.
The battles in the Pacific saw a different foe… one that valued life differently than the Nazi’s in the West. To the enemy of our Marines during the Pacific Theater, they faced enemy troops that wanted to die in combat because in their culture, it was considered the most honorable act a man could commit for his emperor. Human waves of Japanese Forces would attack our troops with Kamikaze forces in support with a mission to crash their planes into US ships in locations that could guarantee them with the most American casualties. These were the enemy forces that 1LT Edward Eiland would face in Saipan and on Iwo Jima!
In the end, both Edward Eiland and Rev. Glen White Jr. would receive Purple Hearts and 1LT Eiland would also receive the Silver Star, our nation’s third highest award that can only be awarded for acts of VALOR. I am sure that all veterans across our areas will agree that these two amazing men are deserving of such accolades.
In the future, I hope that we can seek out other veterans that have earned medals for Valor and reward them with bridges as well for their service and sacrifice. Veterans such as Holden area Korean War Marine, Carl Murphy! A Silver Star recipient during the battle of the Chosin Reservoir. Carl, and his fellow Marines were surrounded by 67,000 Chinese troops and for nearly two weeks would fight off human waves in bitter temperatures below freezing in one of the bloodiest battles during that war.
Another Veteran such as Omar area WWII Veteran and Silver Star recipient SGT Billy E. Vincent, a squad leader with the 148th Infantry, 37th Division, Ohio National Guard. Following orders to push the Japanese out of Manila, Philippines, Vinson and his troops found themselves fighting block to block through the streets. At one point SGT Vinson and his men became the targets of a six Japanese soldier bayonet charge. Sgt. Vinson, being in front, warded off the first bayonet thrust and then opened fire against the enemy killing them all. He would spend the rest of his day thwarting attacks from the Japanese forces and never surrendering his position to the enemy.
I am not trying to be critical but these bridges are numbered… we only have so many left and they need to be named after only those who paid the ultimate sacrifice or committed acts of heroism that make each and every one of us today proud to say “They were from Logan County”!
Sappers Clear The Way! Airborne All The Way!
MAJ (P) Richard Ojeda
Washington’s policies on natural resources industries
Guiding Washington policy these days seems to be the philosophy of picking winners and losers, and it is an approach that is doing significant harm to West Virginia because of its effects on the state’s natural resource industries. One example is the Obama Administration’s recent upward recalculation of the “social cost of carbon.”
As reported by Politico, a newspaper covering Capitol Hill: “The Administration revealed the change in the quietest way possible, outlining the new cost estimate on Page 409 of Appendix 16A of a technical support document for an Energy Department regulation on microwave ovens.”
California Republican Duncan Hunter alleges that the calculation of cost was manipulated “to justify sprawling new regulations”. Along with WV Rep. Nick Rahall Duncan is drafting legislation that would require changes in cost-benefit calculations done transparently and with notice to and input from the public.
West Virginia’s oil and gas industries, along with coal, are the targets of constant regulatory focus by the Obama Administration. We are seeing the impacts in the Mountain State of decisions by the president to push his global warming agenda through regulations because he cannot persuade Congress to enact laws that embody his political vision. Just recently the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down an EPA rule that exempted carbon dioxide emissions from paper and wood product industries and ethanol producers from regulations mandating curbs on greenhouse gas emissions. So while West Virginia’s extractive industries are under assault because of carbon dioxide emissions, certain favored industries should be exempt, according to the Administration. The court ruled otherwise.
One of the benefits of promoting and increasing oil and gas development in West Virginia is that it helps to decouple American energy requirements from OPEC. Even in its publications OPEC recognizes that advances in technologies for extracting oil and natural gas from shale is reducing our dependence on its producing countries.
Another benefit is the potential for significantly improving the state’s economy. While the fortunes of North Dakota are not directly translatable to West Virginia, it is instructive to consider what is happening in that state as a result of energy development.
In its July report, the U. S. Energy Information Administration reports significant gains in the state’s Gross Domestic Product per capita coinciding with development of the Bakken Shale. In 2012 the state’s GDP was 29 percent higher than the national average. The U. S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that North Dakota’s GDP in 2012 was 11 percent higher than the year before compared with the national growth rate of less than 2 percent. West Virginia’s GDP rose a shade over 3 percent. West Virginia energy holds the promise of a better Mountain State economy. We have the potential to supply more of our country’s energy requirements and to export a portion of our energy products. And this leads to the creation of jobs and increased economic activity at every level of our society.
But that requires that governmental actions have the goal of enhancing the development and use of our abundant resources—yes, in an environmentally responsible manner—rather than shutting them in. The government’s “social cost of carbon” calculations—done in a bureaucrat’s back room office without input from or examination by affected parties and hidden deep inside a technical report—are a hammer intended not to build but to knock down our energy resource industries.
Nicholas “Corky” DeMarco
W.Va. Oil and Natural Gas Assoc.