Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 5, 2006

I was out at Shea Stadium yesterday, for - among other things - my 4-month-old daughter's first baseball game. Before the game the Mets honored New York's last living Congressional Medal of Honor winner, Francis S. Currey. The official citation for his honor:

He was an automatic rifleman with the 3d Platoon defending a strong point near Malmedy, Belgium, on 21 December 1944, when the enemy launched a powerful attack. Overrunning tank destroyers and antitank guns located near the strong point, German tanks advanced to the 3d Platoon's position, and, after prolonged fighting, forced the withdrawal of this group to a nearby factory. Sgt. Currey found a bazooka in the building and crossed the street to secure rockets meanwhile enduring intense fire from enemy tanks and hostile infantrymen who had taken up a position at a house a short distance away. In the face of small-arms, machinegun, and artillery fire, he, with a companion, knocked out a tank with 1 shot. Moving to another position, he observed 3 Germans in the doorway of an enemy-held house. He killed or wounded all 3 with his automatic rifle. He emerged from cover and advanced alone to within 50 yards of the house, intent on wrecking it with rockets. Covered by friendly fire, he stood erect, and fired a shot which knocked down half of 1 wall. While in this forward position, he observed 5 Americans who had been pinned down for hours by fire from the house and 3 tanks. Realizing that they could not escape until the enemy tank and infantry guns had been silenced, Sgt. Currey crossed the street to a vehicle, where he procured an armful of antitank grenades. These he launched while under heavy enemy fire, driving the tankmen from the vehicles into the house. He then climbed onto a half-track in full view of the Germans and fired a machinegun at the house. Once again changing his position, he manned another machinegun whose crew had been killed; under his covering fire the 5 soldiers were able to retire to safety. Deprived of tanks and with heavy infantry casualties, the enemy was forced to withdraw. Through his extensive knowledge of weapons and by his heroic and repeated braving of murderous enemy fire, Sgt. Currey was greatly responsible for inflicting heavy losses in men and material on the enemy, for rescuing 5 comrades, 2 of whom were wounded, and for stemming an attack which threatened to flank his battalion's position.

That's enough to humble even a hardened combat veteran, let alone a guy like me. After the ceremony, Mr. Currey - now in his 80s - ended up sitting behind me for the game (we were in the loge). After Wagner got the last out, Mr. Currey stopped and wished good luck at the end of the game to a younger (twenties) guy in an Army t-shirt who appeared to be heading out to Iraq. The torch passes.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:30 AM | Baseball 2006 • | History • | War 2006 | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

We can all be grateful for men like Currey, and organizations like the Mets who have a better grasp one what happened at Malmedy than certain blowhard cable news commentators.

Posted by: mb at July 5, 2006 3:32 PM

The torch does not pass because WW II and the Iraq War are comparable only to those who have a misty eyed view of the military and war. WWII was a just war; Iraq is not.

Posted by: greg at July 5, 2006 5:14 PM

I totally disagree. I think the war in Iraq is atrocious, but the people in uniform are not. These young men and women swore an oath to defend our constitution, and they are doing so, to the best of their considerable abilities. I have issues with their leaders, never with them.

If anyone has read James Bradley's books, time to reread them, if you haven't read them, get them and go over them. I especially recommend Flags of Our Fathers (about the flag raising on Iwo Jima, his dad was one of the six), and Flyboys, which is not only gripping, but gives a tremendous view of the pacific war and its origins. I always thought WWII started in 1936, and this confirmed it for me.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at July 6, 2006 9:47 AM

what a day to start a baseball tradition. Hope you have many more visits to the ballpark with this daughter and your other kids.

All war is atrocious, but when it is waged in the name of freedom it is just. When a regime kills hundreds of thousands of its own citizens, makes war on its neighbors and threatens the safety of the world, action must be taken.

Proof is available of Saddams acts, that is why he is on trial in his own country. There is no doubt that he invaded Kuwait and would have attempted more if he had not been stopped. There is also proof that he possessed WMD (wasn't a big splash in the press, but much has been found). Saddam was waiting for the heat to die down to reconstitute his WMD programs. It has been proven that he had ties to Bin Laden, even that there were training camps in Northern Iraq. It was time to act and it was a good thing there was a President with the balls to do so. If Gore had won in 2000, you might be praying to Meca.

Posted by: maddirishman at July 6, 2006 1:32 PM

Madd Irishman:

You sound like a spokesman for the Bush administration. Tell Tony Snow to get lost: Madd Irishman is taking over!

Posted by: Steve at July 6, 2006 4:56 PM

If Tony weren't doing such a good job I would make myself available. Bottom line, when your right, your right.

Posted by: maddirishman at July 6, 2006 5:58 PM

I'll tell you what I disagree with: taking a 4-month old to a professional sporting event.

4 years old? Sure.

Like your site otherwise.

Posted by: crg at July 7, 2006 4:02 PM

If we left her home, we'd have to leave my wife home. The baby goes where we go.

Posted by: The Crank at July 7, 2006 4:04 PM
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