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I thank the gentlewoman for yielding. Appreciate the comments by both sides on this very important piece of legislation.
The Post Office that we wish to name today is in my congressional district, it's in Humble, Texas, and it's a part of Southeast Texas where a great number of people continue to volunteer to be in our United States military.
Texans have always, when called upon by their country to go into service, have met that call with overwhelming numbers. And, in fact, today, serving somewhere in the world in a military uniform, one out of 10 people wearing the American uniform is from the State of Texas.
And it goes all the way back to 1836 when the first Texas veteran by the name of William Barrett Travis came to Texas from the State of South Carolina. He was a young lawyer, 27. And he was passionate about liberty and freedom. And he found himself at a beat-up old Spanish church in Central Texas that we now call the Alamo. The Alamo was over 100 years old at the time that he and 186 other brave Texans defended freedom. They were really from all States in the United States, six foreign countries as well, many of them, Mr. Speaker, from the State of Tennessee.
And he, like those defenders of the Alamo, were determined to seek liberty for the Republic of Texas. And as we all know, all of those first veterans gave their lives in that word that we praise today, that word of freedom. He was the first veteran that I wish to mention. And I will continue to mention just a few more so we know the importance of naming buildings after these wonderful people who have gone before us.
Of course, in that same struggle, all Texas armies were led by another Tennesseean by the name of Sam Houston. Sam Houston became the general of all Texas forces after the battle of the Alamo. He serves as the unique distinction of the only person in American history being governor of two different states, the governor of Tennessee and the governor of Texas.
But before he became governor of Texas he was president of the Republic of Texas. And because of the fact that on April 21, which we celebrate a week from today, in 1836, General Sam Houston, leading a ragtag army of volunteers, once again from all over the United States, several foreign countries, defeated the enemy, Santa Ana and his overwhelming army at the banks and the marshes of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. After that battle was over with Texas became a Republic and remained a free nation for over 9 years, and we owe much of that to General Sam, another veteran of Texas.
It's interesting to note that General Sam Houston's last words before he died, he mentioned to his wife 2 words, "Texas, Texas." And then he died as a great military veteran of our State of Texas.
In World War I, there was an individual by the name of Kenneth Myers that served. In 1889 he was born. He joined the Navy in 1917, and he served on the battleship Oklahoma in World War I. And after the "War to End All Wars" was over with, he went ahead and became an agricultural expert in the State of Texas. He lived to be 107 before he died and became the third oldest survivor of that "War to End All Wars," World War I.
In World War II there were many great Texans who served, but probably the most notable was a young individual who was a cotton farmer from Farmersville, Texas. Audie Murphy was too little and too small, they said, to join the Marine Corps, so he got into the United States Army, and he fought in the Army in World War II and he served 27 months in combat. He is the most decorated U.S. combat soldier in United States military history. He had received the Medal of Honor, of course the highest U.S. military award, along with 32 other medals from the United States, five medals from France and one from Belgium.
Audie Murphy symbolizes the great tradition of folks who joined the military, another wonderful veteran from the State of Texas.
A little-known veteran from Texas was an individual by the name of Doris Miller. That was his name, although he was a male, and he didn't even want his friend calling him Dorrie because his name was Doris.
He found himself, on December 7 on the USS West Virginia. He was a cook. Because of his race he was not allowed to be in combat, but when that battleship was attacked, he found himself behind a 50 caliber machine gun and shot down two, maybe three Japanese planes on December 7, 1941. And he was honored later as becoming the first African American to receive the Navy cross because of his heroism on that fateful day, that day of infamy, December 7, 1941.
Doris Miller later died in combat, and he was from the City of Waco, Texas.
A friend of mine who recently died was a Pearl Harbor survivor by the name of Luke Trahan from Beaumont, Texas, served in the United States Navy, a wonderful person and was a symbol of everything that is good and right about the veterans from our great State.
And, of course, having been the son of one of those individuals of the Greatest Generation, my father, Virgil Poe, served in Europe during World War II. He didn't say anything about his service in the United States Army because he went when he was a teenager, and after 50 years, he finally started talking about his service there after he and my mother went to that place in France that we call Normandy, where over 9,000 Americans are buried. He, along with both of my uncles, James Hamilton and Charles Willis, all three teenagers, served in that great war, World War II.
Also serving in World War II was Oveta Culp Hobby. She was a lawyer, and although she was a lawyer, she found herself in Washington, D.C., and when the war broke out, she became the director of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps which was later called and referred to as the Women's Army Corps. She has the distinction of being the highest ranking woman to serve in World War II and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for her contributions in the war effort, becoming the first woman in American history to receive such award.
We're proud of the fact that Admiral Chester Nimitz is from Fredericksburg, Texas. Fredericksburg, Mr. Speaker, is a landlocked place. It's a long way from water. It is in the central part of the Hill Country of Texas; but Admiral Nimitz ended up being in the United States Navy, and during World War II, he was the Commander in Chief of all Pacific naval forces for the United States and Allied forces where he served with distinction. Even a high school is named for him in my congressional district.
Sometimes we forget the fact that Dwight David Eisenhower was born in Denison, Texas, in 1890; although he later moved to Kansas, and he served in World War II as a 5-star general in the Army, also being the first Allied commander in all of Europe, a great distinction for him.
In 1943, a young man was commissioned as a teenager in the United States Naval Reserves, and he was assigned to the United States Ship San Jacinto; and on this ship he was assigned to become a pilot for the TMB Avengers. And while piloting one such mission in Chi Chi Jima off the Japanese coast, this individual was shot down and rescued later by a submarine in the area. This individual flew 58 combat missions. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals and the USS San Jacinto was awarded the Presidental Unit Citation. That individual, of course, was former President of the United States, George H.W. Bush.
Mr. Speaker, there were many others who have served in the history of the State of Texas, but 12 individuals were remarkable in that these individuals, 12 brothers, these Band of Brothers, from a little town of Dayton, Texas, named the Ripkowsky brothers, all served in World War II and Korea. They served in all branches of the service. They served all over the United States and in foreign countries in combat, and after the wars were over, all 12 of them had the unique history of returning home to Dayton, Texas, where all of them lived except one who moved six miles away to the small town of Liberty. A great family that has served our country and veterans in their own right.
During the Korean War, Joseph Rodriguez from El Paso was drafted into the United States Army, although he later made the Army his career. Colonel Rodriguez, during the Korean War, received the Medal of Honor from President Truman because he attacked a Communist foxhole and then went on to attack four more Communist foxholes destroying all five emplacements and saving the lives of several of his comrades.
We have the unique distinction in this House of having a lot of great people who have served in our military in all branches of the service, both on this side and the other side, in this House and in the Senate. But one of those individuals grew up in Dallas, Texas, and he served in the United States Air Force for 29 years. He was the director of the Air Force Fighter Weapons School and flew with the Air Force Thunderbirds. He was a highly decorated fighter pilot who flew combat missions both in the Korean War and Vietnam, and in Korea he flew F-86s in 62 combat missions. In Vietnam, he flew F-4s.
And in 1966 while flying his 25th combat mission, our own Sam Johnson was shot down over North Vietnam. He was a prisoner of war in the Hanoi Hilton for 7 years, including 42 months in solitary confinement. During that time, he was repeatedly tortured.
He is a decorated war hero. He was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legions of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star with Valor, two Purple Hearts, four Air Medals, and three Outstanding Unit Awards as well. We are honored to have him not only from the State of Texas but to serve in this House of Representatives as many other veterans do as well.
WORLD WAR II--DR. MICHAEL DEBAKEY
Born September 7, 1908 in Louisiana.
With the outbreak of World War II, he volunteered for service, eventually becoming the Director of the Surgical Consultants' Division in the United States Army Surgeon General's Office.
His experience on the Surgeon General's staff taught him that more needed to be done for our veterans.
He recommended changes in staged management of war wounds.
He also created mobile army surgical hospitals or ``MASH'' units, which saved a countless number of American lives.
He also recommended medical follow-ups for veterans, and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center System.
He's received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Science, and will soon receive the Congressional Medal of Freedom.
VIETNAM--PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH
Accepted into Texas Air National Guard in May 1968 at the height of ongoing Vietnam war.
After training, assigned to duty in Houston, flying Convair F-102s out of Ellington Air Force Base.
This post office will also honor those brave Texans who fought and who are fighting in Iraq.
Like Captain David Fraser, a native of Spring, Texas, and West Point graduate.
Captain Fraser was killed in Baghdad on November 26, 2006 by an improvised explosive device, an IED.
For his valor in combat, Captain Fraser was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, among many other awards and honors.
One of the most remarkable stories in American military history is the story of an orphan by the name of Roy Benavidez born in Cuero, Texas. Roy Benavidez was a migrant farmer, and he decided in 1955 to join the United States Army. He later became a Green Beret after being trained at Special Forces Ft. Bragg.
On May 2, 1962, his 12-man Special Forces team was in Cambodia to observe a large-scale North Vietnamese troop movement, but the enemy had discovered them and they were all ambushed. Roy Benavidez was behind those lines and he jumped on a helicopter to help rescue his men. He was in such a hurry the only thing that he armed himself with to go rescue his fellow comrades was a Bowie knife. And after he arrived at the scene, he started moving his fellow warriors to those helicopters so that they could be rescued and taken back to safety.
Roy Benavidez, Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez, was wounded 37 times: seven gunshot wounds and mortar shrapnel in his back along with two bayonet wounds. He was left for dead. In fact, he was put in a body bag, and the person that was putting him in the body bag zipped the body bag up. Roy Benavidez found it within his demeanor to be able to spit in the face of that soldier letting him know he was still alive.
And even though he was wounded 37 times, he recovered. He received the Medal of Honor. President Reagan said at the ceremony, "if this (story) would have been written as fiction, no one would have ever believed it." A great American hero, and we are proud to have him from the State of Texas.
Just recently, Monica Brown served in Afghanistan. She was 19 years old from Lake Jackson and received the Silver Star for her heroism in saving her fellow comrades.
And there are many others that I would like to mention, but I'm not going to do so, and I have just a couple of other comments.
There's a university in Texas called Texas A&M. Texas A&M has produced more officers in the United States military than even West Point. It has the distinction, other than West Point, of having more Medal of Honor winners than any other university in the United States. And they volunteer and continue to volunteer to serve.
When George Patton was in Europe going to combat in the Third Army, he made a comment about the Texas Aggies and the soldiers that he had in his division serving with him. He made the comment that, "Give me an army of West Point graduates and I will win a battle. You give me a handful of Texas Aggies, and I will win the war." And that's the sentiment that he had and the sentiment that we all have about folks from the State of Texas that are veterans, that have served all the way back from 1836 to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And that's just the way it is.
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