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37 TThe Chinese sniper who fired a bazooka at Jon Sammis during the Korean War in 1952 fortuitously provided important military intelligence hidden within the shell’s fragments. The Russian lettering inside offered proof the rockets were supplied to China from Russia, not American-made rockets that had been captured, as suspected. Sammis, a Navy Hospital Corpsman Second Class assigned to providing basic medical care to wounded Marines, sustained injuries to his right arm and leg but retained the presence of mind to notify his commanding officer of the important clue in the rocket fragments. To maintain lines, he couldn’t be evacuated until darkness fell. Because he was the only Hospital Corpsman there, Sammis says he had to instruct a Marine to administer morphine to him. Sammis says he wasn’t worried about his welfare while he lay wounded. “It just happens to be one of the things that Marines do. They protect fiercely any corpsman that’s with them because they rely on these guys for their own medical protection,” he says. When he was evacuated, he was briefly treated at an aid station, then went by rail to reach the docked hospital ship, the USS Consolation, for surgery. While he was recu-perating from surgery, the ship’s commanding officer presented him with the Purple Heart for combat wounds sustained when he was conducting observations at an out-post ahead of the front lines. He also received the Bronze Star medal with the combat “V” for his service in Korea with the Fox Co. 2nd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment. Today, he still has some residual numbness and muscle weakness in his right leg because of his injuries. After he recovered, Sammis was sent to work at a regimental aid station located three miles behind the front lines. The job of Hospital Corpsman fit Sammis’ natural aptitude for science, but it wasn’t the job he wanted when he enlisted. “I wanted to be a cook,” he says with amusement. Navy officials, however, decided the New York native had potential in medicine. “So they decided I would do better as a corpsman than as a baker,” he says. After military service, Sammis attended college on the GI Bill at C. W. Post College of LIU, a college in the Long Island University system, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He then taught school in Syosset, New York, on Long Island, from 1959 until 1987. His military training was serendipitous, leading him to his career as a science teacher and foreshadowing his second career. During the summers, Sammis revisited his medical military roots, working as an orderly in a civilian hospital. As he prepared to retire from teaching, Sammis studied nursing at Farmingdale State University in New York. He worked as a registered nurse for five years. He and his wife, Barbara, moved to Scotts Hill in 1993. They have two children, three grand-children, 2811 Shandy Avenue Parkshore Estates Custom features abound in this impeccably maintained, four-bedroom, custom-built home. Recent updates include new HVAC, chef’s kitchen, refinished hardwood floors, new energy-efficient windows and paint. Sparkling-clean three-car garage and 560-square-foot workshop. Call Harrison for a personal tour. $744,900 Harrison Peebles Broker/REALTOR® 910-264-2009 www.HarrisonPeeblesRealtor.com 405 Seapath Tower Wrightsville Beach Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a corner unit in Seapath Tower! Double balconies afford extraordinary 180-degree water views of Banks Channel, Motts Channel and the Intracoastal Waterway. Newly renovated with state-of-the-art kitchen and amazing custom cabinetry in family room, kitchen, bedrooms and baths. $1,300,000 TEE WOODBURY Broker/REALTOR®, GRI 910-617-5561 800-533-1840 www.wrightsvillebeachmagazine.com WBM and five great-grandchildren. PURPLE HEARTS STOCKPILED DURING WWII twoodbury@intracoastalrealty.com CURRENT PURPLE HEART STATS 500,000 Purple Hearts were made before Operation Downfall in anticipation of casualties during the Allied Invasion of Japan, but the medals were never awarded because Japan surrendered before the operation. 1.5 million Purple Hearts were made for WWII, only 495,000 were given out during the war. 150,000 Purple Hearts from WWII remained with the Armed Services to be given out as of 2003.


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