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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
Honoring The Service Of Mr. James T. Cecil December 2, 2014
Andy Barr, R-KY
"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize an outstanding individual, Mr. James T. Cecil of Lexington, Kentucky, for his distinguished military service during World War II. Mr. Cecil served our nation in uniform from August 26, 1942 to September 15, 1945. At the age of 19 years old, Mr. Cecil was one of 70 young men from Central Kentucky who voluntarily enlisted as a private in the Marine Corps with what was known as the Lexington Platoon. Today, Mr. Cecil is the only surviving member of the original Lexington Platoon. During the United States’ campaign to achieve victory over the Axis Powers, Mr. Cecil entered the war by joining some of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific and continued to fight until the Empire of Japan signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on board the USS Missouri on September 2, 1954. Mr. Cecil was a member of the first wave of U.S. forces that stormed the islands of Saipan and Tarakan. He was delayed entering the battles on the island of Okinawa for one day due to a Japanese kamikaze plane striking the naval ship he was aboard and causing him and his fellow service members to abandon ship. Astonishingly, after floating in the shark infested waters for about 45 minutes, Mr. Cecil was rescued by a nearby U.S. naval vessel. On June 20, 1944, during fierce combat on the islands of Saipan, Mr. Cecil received shrapnel wounds throughout his body caused by an enemy’s exploding artillery ordinance. Because of a severe concussion that left him unconscious, Mr. Cecil was believed by his comrades to be dead. Miraculously, Mr. Cecil recovered and courageously returned to the battlefield, fighting until the Marines took control of the islands. When asked how he was able to make it through the dangers and challenges of war, Mr. Cecil said, “I took it one day at a time, and I did what I was supposed to do.” Today, he can still vividly recall his experience, and is often reminded of his involvements by gazing at a portrait of a Japanese officer whom he killed in combat. However, it was Mr. Cecil’s discovery of a map in the officer’s pocket which outlined many of the enemy’s artillery positions that earned him a battlefield promotion from private to corporal. Mr. Cecil also earned a Purple Heart due to the injuries he sustained during battle. Mr. Cecil’s bravery and that of his fellow men and women in uniform secured our freedoms for future generations. He is truly an outstanding American, a protector of freedom, and an inspiration to us all."
Honoring Barnett Grier November 19, 2014
Mark Takano, D-CA
"In 1951, Mr. Grier published his autobiography, entitled, “Trek to Equality,” which detailed his family’s struggles in Riverside, California. When his family was transferred to our community to form the west coast division of the Naval Weapons Research Center, the African American families, including Mr. Grier’s, did not receive assistance in their move."
Remembering Congressman Bill Frenzel November 19, 2014
Collin Peterson, D-MN
"Born in St. Paul in 1928, Bill attended Dartmouth College where he received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Following graduation, Bill served as a lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve during the Korean War from 1951 to 1954. Prior to his election to the U.S. Congress, Bill served for 8 years in the Minnesota House of Representatives, amongst other boards and executive committees. Bill had a successful career representing Minnesotans during his tenure in Congress. Rising to Ranking Member on the House Budget Committee, and a long tenure on the House Ways and Means Committee, he became known around Washington as an expert in budget and fiscal policy. He served as a Congressional Representative to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) for 15 years. After serving 10 terms, Bill decided to retire, telling the Star Tribune, “You ought to go out when you’re hitting .300, rather than deteriorating.”"
Tribute To Senator Tom Harkin November 19, 2014
Charles Grassley, R-IA
"As the Presiding Officer knows, Senator Harkin will be retiring from public office in a few weeks. At the end of the 113th Congress, Senator Harkin will then close a chapter on public service that spans more than a half century, including four decades in Congress. He also served 27 years in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Naval Reserves, 10 years in the House of Representatives, and 30 years here in the U.S. Senate."
Recognizing Vice Admiral William D French On His Retirement From The United States Navy November 14, 2014
Madeleine Bordallo, D-GU
"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Vice Admiral William D. French on his retirement from the United States Navy after 35 years of Federal service. Vice Admiral French retired as the Commander, Navy Installations Command. Admiral French earned his commission as an officer in the United States Navy through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Program in 1979. In addition to his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University, Admiral French holds a Master of Science degree from Naval Postgraduate School in 1986 and a Master of Arts from the Naval War College in 1999. He served at sea on a number of submarines including as Executive Officer on the USS Helena (SSN 725) and commanded the USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716). Admiral French also served as Deputy Commander of Submarine Squadron 11; as Chief of the Strategy and Policy Division at U.S. Strategic Command and Commanded Submarine Squadron 3 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Throughout his distinguished naval career, Admiral French has worked tirelessly to defend his nation and develop strong community relationships wherever he was stationed. Admiral French’s commitment to community was readily apparent in his second flag officer assignment serving as commander, Joint Region Marianas and concurrently serving as U.S. Defense Representative to Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau. Admiral French was one of the most popular and effective Admirals to have served on Guam. In particular, he advocated, prepared for and assisted in the military buildup on Guam, and he did it through establishing strong relationships within the community. He also worked closely with then Brigadier General Doug Owens, Commander 36th Wing at Andersen Air Force Base, on implementing the Joint Region concept on Guam. There were many unique and difficult challenges in implementing this requirement from the 2005 round of BRAC but their framework endures to this day. Moreover, he prioritized direct and open lines of communication with our community at all the Navy regions he served. On Guam, he demonstrated a keen understanding of the Chamorro culture that is an important part of understanding Guam and relating to our local community. Admiral French demonstrated a model of leadership that should be emulated by any military officer. He established ground rules on Guam which are still in place today. I also commend Vice Admiral French for his leadership as Commander, Naval Installations Command. He provided leadership of the shore-based Navy installations at a time of budget constraints. He has been able to ensure that the sailors and marines are provided with shore facilities that support their mission and their families. Despite the budget challenges he ensured that the Navy continued to invest in improving the housing and facilities that support Marines and sailors. Despite his tremendous accomplishments, Vice Admiral French and his family suffered an unimaginable tragedy earlier this year. On January 24, 2014 Admiral French’s daughter, Teressa was tragically killed. Admiral French and his family stood strong in the face of adversity and were an example for us all to follow. In the days following Teressa’s passing there was a tremendous outreach to his family from any community in which Admiral French served or where his family lived. That was a clear demonstration of the strength of his personal bonds and leadership wherever he served his nation. I have enjoyed working with Admiral French when he was on Guam as well as during his tenure as Commander, Navy Installations Command. On behalf of the people of Guam and a grateful nation, I commend Vice Admiral French for his many years of dedicated service to our country. I wish him the best in his retirement."

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