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article by: Michael Canter

28 May 2012

The Monday Mix - Dedicated To Three Who Shed Blood, Sweat & Tears To Preserve Freedom In America

Memorial Day is upon us and we're going to get the Monday Mix up and then head out to the nearest barbecue we can get our grubby, sauce dripping-fingers on.  Believe that.

But first a little PSA..........

To all who have served, I personally thank you and wish you a Memorial Day filled with family and friends.  To those who have fought for our freedom as a nation for the past 240 years, there is a debt of gratitude that I can hardly repay except to say, also, thank you.  The strength of a nation is it's citizens, but to those who have protected our rights and our freedoms, you are our true heroes.

So, today's Monday Mix offers a history lesson of sorts...... three brave men who went above and beyond to ensure our freedoms exist to this day.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (1828-1914)


A Bowdoin College professor, Joshua L. Chamberlain went to the Maine state capital to offer his services in 1862. Offered the colonelcy of a regiment, he declined, according to John J. Pullen in The 20th Maine, preferring to "start a little lower and learn the business first. " He was made lieutenant colonel of the regiment on August 8.

With the 20th Maine regiment, Chamberlain took part in the battles of Antietam, Shepherdstown Ford, Fredericksburg (wounded), and Chancellorsville in The Civil War.  At the battle of Gettysburg, the regiment, now commanded by Chamberlain, held the extreme left flank on Little Round Top, a service for which he was later awarded the Medal of Honor.

When their ammunition had almost run out and with his numbers perilously depleted, and with the Confederate Army charging hard, Chamberlain decided to fix bayonets and charge down into the two Alabama regiments the 20th Maine were fighting.

Chamberlain seemed to have been blessed with both good timing and luck. He not only had made the right command decisions but also had managed to survive when by all rights he should have been dead. An Alabama soldier twice failed to pull the trigger of his rifle because he had second thoughts about killing the brave colonel. Then a pistol aimed and fired by a Southern officer misfired only a few feet from Chamberlain’s face.

The valorous defense of Little Round Top will always belong to the 20th Maine Infantry and to Joshua L. Chamberlain and was a turning point both at Gettysburg and in the Civil War.

In November 1863 Chamberlain was relieved from field service and sent to Washington suffering from malaria. He was given lighter duties.

Resuming command of the regiment in May 1864, he led it in the battle of Cold Harbor. Assigned to brigade command in June, only to fall wounded 12 days later in the assault on Petersburg, he was promoted to brigadier general on the spot by General Grant, then carried to the rear, where a surgeon declared that he would certainly die from the wound. (The doctor was right. Fifty years later Chamberlain succumbed to its effects.) Rejoining the army in November, he was forced by his wound to return to Maine, but he came back again during the Petersburg siege during which he was wounded for the fourth time. 

He then took part in the Appomattox Campaign, about which he wrote The Passing of the Armies. He was given the honor of commanding the troops that formally accepted the surrender of the Confederate army.

John Basilone (1916-1945)


Guadalcanal was a fierce clash of national wills. Bloodied and humiliated by the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, American armed forces were on the comeback trail less than six months after the debacle. At Guadalcanal, a disease infested island, two superb military organizations met each other for the first time in land combat -- bayonet to bayonet -- in a contest only one army could win.

At Lunga Ridge it was raining torrents, creating miserable, bottomless mud -- typical Guadalcanal weather. The Marines manning the main line of defense were exhausted. For two days Japanese human wave assaults had been flung against them. Each time the charging enemy had been driven off,  but the weary Marines knew the Japanese would gather reinforcements and return.

About midnight, from the gloom of ink-black darkness came hundreds of screaming Japanese troops. Throwing themselves on the flesh-cutting barbed wire set up to protect American fighters, the first of the waves formed suicidal human bridges for their comrades to leap across. One of the Marine section leaders facing them was Sergeant John Basilone. An experienced machine gunner, Basilone knew his guns would be tested to their mechanical limits. It would be up to him to keep them firing.

During the attack when grenades, small arms and machine guns were ripping the night and exploding human flesh splattered friend and foe, Sergeant Basilone stayed with his malaria-ridden men. Repeatedly repairing guns and changing barrels in almost total darkness, he ran for ammo or steadied his terrified men who were firing full trigger to keep a sheet of white-hot lead pouring into the ranks of the charging Japanese.

Bodies piled so high in front of his weapons pits they had to be reset so the barrels could fire over the piles of corpses.  Basilone took one of his guns on his back and raced for the breach in the line. Eight Japanese were surprised and killed. The guns were jammed by mud and water and a few yards away the Japanese were forming yet another charge. Frantically stripping mud from the ammo belts men fed them into the guns as Basilone cleared jams and sprayed the fiendish troops rushing at his positions with razor sharp bayonets and hands full of grenades.

At 3:00 am, the final remnants of the Sendai Regiments with their officers prepared themselves for a final Banzai charge. The full weight of the fanatical Japanese seemed to fall on Basilone's men. Basilone set up a cross fire which smashed the charge. Dropping to the mud and still screaming, Colonel Sendai's remnants crawled forward trying to reach their tormentors.  Basilone destroyed them.

Within a short time the Japanese evacuated Guadalcanal.  Basilone was awarded the Medal Of Honor for his efforts that evening.  It was a huge turning point for the Americans in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II.

When Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone voluntarily returned to active duty it would be on the sands of Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. At the head of another machine gun squad, he would drive hundreds of frightened raw troops off the beaches toward their assigned objectives. Iwo Jima would be his toughest and final fight. Barely on the island two hours, he was killed leading his men.

Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone was the only Marine in WWII to receive both the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross.

Alfred Rascon (b. September 10, 1945)

Two hundred forty-one men have received the Medal of Honor for extraordinary valor during the Vietnam War. One of them received his award three decades late.

On February 8, 2000, in a White House ceremony, President Bill Clinton belatedly draped the award around the neck of Alfred Rascon, a native of Chihuahua, Mexico. Rascon was badly wounded in the March 1966 action that earned him the award, but he saved two lives. Others in his unit who bucked the Pentagon and Congress to insist that he be recognized say his bravery under fire turned around a losing situation.

It was the second time Rascon had been wounded in Vietnam. The first was on September 20, 1965. But the action for which he received the medal occurred six months later, when he was serving as a medic with a reconnaissance platoon. He had joined the Army three years earlier at age 17, and by late 1963 had been assigned to the Medical Platoon, 1st Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate), based in Okinawa. In May 1965, the 173rd was the first Army combat unit committed to Vietnam.

Rascon saw fighting almost immediately and was wounded the following fall. He was back in action by the time the 1st Infantry Division mounted a major joint air and land offensive in March 1966 - dubbed Operation Silver City - in War Zone D, Long Khánh province.

The Platoon's mission was to reinforce a sister battalion which was under intense enemy attack near Long Khánh Province. The Reconnaissance Platoon came under heavy fire from a numerically superior enemy force. Several point squad soldiers were wounded and Specialist Four Rascon made his way forward to aid his fallen comrades.

Specialist Rascon, ignoring directions to stay behind shelter until covering fire could be provided, made his way forward. He repeatedly tried to reach the severely wounded point machine-gunner laying on an open enemy trail, but was driven back each time by the withering fire. Disregarding his personal safety, he jumped to his feet, ignoring flying bullets and exploding grenades to reach his comrade. To protect him from further wounds, he intentionally placed his body between the soldier and enemy machine guns, sustaining numerous shrapnel injuries and a serious wound to the hip.

Disregarding his serious wounds he dragged the larger soldier from the fire-raked trail. Hearing the second machine-gunner yell that he was running out of ammunition, Specialist Rascon, under heavy enemy fire crawled back to the wounded machine-gunner stripping him of his bandoleers of ammunition, giving them to the machine-gunner who continued his suppressive fire. Specialist Rascon, fearing the abandoned machine gun, its ammunition and spare barrel could fall into enemy hands made his way to retrieve them. On the way, he was wounded in the face and torso by grenade fragments, but disregarded these wounds to recover the abandoned machine gun, ammunition and spare barrel items, enabling another soldier to provide added suppressive fire to the pinned-down squad.

In searching for the wounded, he saw the point grenadier being wounded by small arms fire and grenades being thrown at him. Disregarding his own life and his numerous wounds, Specialist Rascon reached and covered him with his body absorbing the blasts from the exploding grenades, and saving the soldier's life, but sustaining additional wounds to his body.

While making his way to the wounded point squad leader, grenades were hurled at the sergeant. Again, in complete disregard for his own life, he reached and covered the sergeant with his body, absorbing the full force of the grenade explosions. Once more Specialist Rascon was critically wounded by shrapnel, but disregarded his own wounds to continue to search and aid the wounded.

Severely wounded, he remained on the battlefield, inspiring his fellow soldiers to continue the battle. After the enemy broke contact, he disregarded aid for himself, instead treating the wounded and directing their evacuation. Only after being placed on the evacuation helicopter did he allow aid to be given to him.  Rascon was so badly wounded that day that he was given his last rites by military clergy.

Rascon was transferred to Johnson Army Hospital in Japan where he spent six months recovering from his wounds. For his actions, he was nominated for the Medal of Honor. However, his nomination for some unknown reason did not go through and instead he was awarded a Silver Star. Thirty-four years later, Alfred Rascon received his Medal of Honor.

Have fun this Memorial Day but don't forget who we are honoring and why.  Rock the BBQ, but don't forget to Rock the Flag.



Meat. Beer. Rock & Roll.

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The Monday Mix airs from 12:30PM to 5:00PM CDT each Monday and is designed to help you get through that brutal after-lunch, energy-sucking span that kicks off every work week. This particular show will be a mix of old, deep album cuts and new indie music with a lot of genre crossover. No Adele. Sorry.

What else does The Monday Mix do? Well, it helps you discover new indie music by combining some really great under the radar tracks with more established songs that were, once in fact, under the radar as well. The hope here is that the culture shock of discovering your next favorite band won't be so enormously imposing if we surround the new stuff with some of your old, familiar friends.

Jivewired supports independent musicians by paying royalties for airplay on Jivewired Radio. Please help us support indie artists by listening to our station and by purchasing indie music. Thank you.

The links on the radio player will give you download options if you really dig on the music and some of the songs are offered for free.

To listen, just press play on the radio widget to the right or use this link to open in a new window that will allow you to listen when you navigate away from this page:

Launch Jivewired Radio


001. Only For You by Heartless Bastards
002. Rockin' In The Free World [Live] by Neil Young
003. Little Lion Man [Live] by Mumford & Sons
004. The Shame Of Life by Butthole Surfers
005. Caring Is Creepy by The Shins
006. Can't Go Home by Good Old War
007. Where We've Been by All Night Drug Prowling Wolves
008. Sure Thing by St. Germain
009. Usual Suspects by Ha Ha Tonka
010. Whiskey & Wine by 311
011. Say Goodbye by Amos Lee
012. The Diamond Church Street Choir by The Gaslight Anthem
013. Long Goodbye by The Nadas
014. Kickdrum by Handful Of Luvin'
015. Aunt Avis by Widespread Panic
016. Palm Trees & Trailer Parks by The Dustin Pittsley Band
017. Even Heroes Have To Die by Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
018. The Life Of Riley by The Lightning Seeds
019. Somehow by Joss Stone
020. Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars
021. Emmylou by First Aid Kit
022. I Need A Dollar (How To Make It In America) by Aloe Blacc
023. Friends & Family by Trik Turner
024. I Died Today by Palmer
025. Balance by Future Islands

026. If Raymond Carver Was Born In The 90's by Library Voices
027. Lost In The Light by Bahamas
028. Dead Flowers by The Rolling Stones
029. In The Dead Of Summer by Desi & Cody
030. The Only Place by Best Coast
031. Find The River by R.E.M.
032. Faultline Blues by Sam Roberts
033. Punctum by Memoryhouse
034. Spitting Fire by The Boxer Rebellion
035. Armies by Anton Mink
036. Saturday Nights by Hello Saferide
037. Dog Days Comin' by Desi & Cody
038. One Look At You by The Smithereens
039. Dead & Gone by The Black Keys
040. Reststops & Amusements by The Spinning Fools
041. Ho Hey by The Lumineers
042. Hold On by Alabama Shakes
043. Tumbling Dice [Live] by Linda Ronstadt
044. Fuel [Live] by Ani DiFranco
045. Burning For Love by Vandevander
046. I Got Some Devil by The Paul Benjaman Band
047. Take Me With You When You Go by Jack White
048. How You Like Me Now by The Heavy
049. Bad News by Whitey Morgan & The 78's
050. Tight Rope by Leon Russell

051. 79th & Sunset by Humble Pie
052. The World (Is Going Up In Flames) by Charles Bradley
053. Bandages by Hot Hot Heat
054. Windfall by Son Volt
055. What It's Like by Laura Marie
056. Roll Like A Big Wheel by Joan Osborne
057. Friends Of Friends by Hospitality
058. Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
059. The Great Fire by Future Islands
060. Summertime Rolls by Jane's Addiction
061. Johnny Got A Boom Boom by Imelda May
062. Dakota by Stereophonics
063. Thank You by The Red Walls
064. I Found You by Alabama Shakes
065. Friends & Family by River City Extension
066. Christchurch Woman by Justin Townes Earle
067. Honky Tonk Heroes by Wink Burcham & Desi Roses
068. Under The Gun by Apex Manor
069. Instant Insanity by Dr. Pants
070. Time Spent In Los Angeles by Dawes
071. I Wish I Had A Girl by Henry Lee Summer

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