Because of the Brave

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Medal of Honor Monday: Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Britt K. Slabinski

Posted by hfalk on March 12, 2020 at 8:55 PM Comments comments (0)


This weeks Medal of Honor Monday talks about Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Britt K. Slabinski. After graduating from the radioman class school in California, where he was trained on naval communications, he was accepted into SEAL training. Slabinksi has completed nine overseas deployments and 15 combat deployments. He led a reconnaissance team to its assigned area stop which was a 10,000 foot mountain covered in snow. While on the mountain, an enemy rocket propelled a grenade attack on their helicopter. He exposed himself to enemy fire and personally engaged with the enemy in an attempt to move his team to a more defensible position. He received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions and leadership in 2002 during the Battle of Takur Ghar while serving in Afghanistan. After serving for over 25 years, he retired in June 2014.

#BecauseoftheBrave #MedalofHonorMonday

75th anniversary of Iwo Jima

Posted by hfalk on March 12, 2020 at 8:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Today marks the 75th anniversary of Iwo Jima. The battle took place in 1945 from February 19 to March 26. Over 110,000 troops fought, and there were 26,000 casualties with almost 6800 dead. The battle produced 27 Medal of Honor Recipients.


#BecauseoftheBrave #IwoJima

Medal of Honor Monday: Army Staff Sergeant David Bellavia

Posted by hfalk on March 12, 2020 at 8:45 PM Comments comments (0)


This weeks Medal of Honor Monday talks about Army Staff Sergeant David Bellavia. Sergeant Bellavia is the first living Iraq War Veteran to receive the Medal of Honor. While in Iraq he made the heroic decision to go inside a house where his squad was trapped. He provided coverage so himself and his fellow soldiers could leave safely. His courage saved not only himself, but the other soldiers as well.

#BecauseoftheBrave #MedalofHonorMonday

Local Teen Honoring Veterans, One Blog Post At A Time

Posted by hfalk on March 12, 2020 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Because of the Brave was recently featured in a local newspaper! I want to thank Mariah Melendez from

The Cheshire Herald for taking the time to write about my blog Because of the Brave. She listened closely and was supportive of everything that I had to share. One of the many things we discussed were my inspirations to create this blog, and how my dream would be for this blog to turn into a non profit one day. You can check out the article that she wrote by clicking the link below.


Local Teen Honoring Veterans, One Blog Post At A Time- Sixteen-year-old Hayley Falk is not your average teenager.Though like many of her peers, she spends a lot of time blogging online, Falk’s goal isn’t to share news about her newest purchase or trip with the family. Instead, she is using her s...


Medal of Honor Monday: Corporal William Kyle Carpenter

Posted by hfalk on February 11, 2020 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (0)


This weeks Medal of Honor Monday talks about Kyle Carpenter. Corporal Carpenter is the youngest living Medal of Honor Recipient at 30 years old. He served from 2009-2013, and received the MOH for his heroic actions in Afghanistan in 2010. Kyle Carpenter jumped on an enemy grenade that was hurled onto his rooftop security position. He saved the life of another marine, because he absorbed most of the grenade. Kyle lost his right eye, as well as most of his face from the nose down. It took dozens of surgeries and almost three years in and out of the hospital to reconstruct his body. He has written the book You Are Worth It: Building a Life Worth Fighting For that was published on October 15, 2019. His book describes his journey, and he says that his book “will truly help people.” A full blog post on Medal of Honor Recipient Kyle Carpenter will be posted at 7pm EST on the website []

#BecauseoftheBrave #MedalofHonorMonday #KyleCarpenter

Citation from the CMOHS

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Automatic Rifleman with Company F, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), 1 Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on 21 November 2010. Lance Corporal Carpenter was a member of a platoon-sized coalition force, comprised of two reinforced Marine squads partnered with an Afghan National Army squad. The platoon had established Patrol Base Dakota two days earlier in a small village in the Marjah District in order to disrupt enemy activity and provide security for the local Afghan population. Lance Corporal Carpenter and a fellow Marine were manning a rooftop security position on the perimeter of Patrol Base Dakota when the enemy initiated a daylight attack with hand grenades, one of which landed inside their sandbagged position. Without hesitation, and with complete disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Carpenter moved toward the grenade in an attempt to shield his fellow Marine from the deadly blast. When the grenade detonated, his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow Marine. By his undaunted courage, bold fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of almost certain death, Lance Corporal Carpenter reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Medal of Honor Monday: Master Chief Edward C Byers

Posted by hfalk on February 3, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Master Chief Edward C Byers Jr was born on August 4, 1979 in Ohio. He is a retired Navy Seal and served from 1998 to 2019. In February of 2016 he received the Medal of Honor for rescuing a civilian in Afghanistan. His quick actions saved the American hostage and several team members. Edward Byers is the 6th Navy Seal to receive the MOH. #MedalofHonorMonday #BecauseOfTheBrave

Medal of Honor Monday: Master Sergeant Matthew O Wiliiams

Posted by hfalk on February 3, 2020 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

This weeks Medal of Honor Monday focuses on Master Sergeant Matthew O Williams. He was born in 1981 in Boerne Texas, and enlisted in 2005. Medal of Honor Recipient Matthew Williams served in Afghanistan where he was a weapons Sergeant. While fighting, he heard that the lead element had several casualties so he led a counterattack. Sergeant Williams continued to protect his position while giving the proper care to a soldier that was shot. He exposed himself to enemy fire countless times, and fought for several hours.

#MedalofHonorMonday #BecauseOfTheBrave

Medal of Honor Monday: Corporal Charles G Abrell

Posted by hfalk on January 19, 2020 at 8:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Welcome back!

Today’s blog post is focused on Medal of Honor Monday, where we focus on one Medal of Honor recipient every Monday. Today we are remembering Corporal Charles G Abrell. Medal of Honor recipient Charles Abrell was born in Indiana in 1931. He then chose to enlist in the Marine Corps at the young age of 17. Corporal Abrell was awarded with the Medal of Honor for his heroic sacrifices on June 10, 1951, while serving in the Korean war. He pulled the pin of a hand grenade which killed the enemy, and unfortunately the explosion killed him too. Corporal Charles Abrell is one of the many reasons why we are free today because of his bravery.


This is from President Harry S Truman's speech, while recognizing Corporal Charles Abrells actions

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Fire Team Leader in Company E, Second Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on 10 June 1951. While advancing with his platoon in an attack against well-concealed and heavily-fortified enemy hill positions, Corporal Abrell voluntarily rushed forward through the assaulting squad which was pinned down by a hail of intense and accurate automatic-weapons fire from a hostile bunker situated on commanding ground. Although previously wounded by enemy hand-grenade fragments, he proceeded to carry out a bold, single-handed attack against the bunker, exhorting his comrades to follow him. Sustaining two additional wounds as he stormed toward the emplacement, he resolutely pulled the pin from a grenade clutched in his hand and hurled himself bodily into the bunker with the live missile still in his grasp. Fatally wounded in the resulting explosion which killed the entire enemy gun crew within the stronghold, Corporal Abrell, by his valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death, served to inspire all his comrades and contributed directly to the success of his platoon in attaining its objective. His superb courage and heroic initiative sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country. (

[This citation was taken from]


Medal of Honor Recipient: Colonel Barney Barnum

Posted by hfalk on January 5, 2020 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (0)


[December 2016, Alexis Falk, Colonel Barney Barnum, Jack Falk, Hayley Falk and Andrew Falk]

In September of 2015 I had the honor of meeting Medal of Honor recipient Harvey C. "Barney" Barnum Jr in his hometown of Cheshire Connecticut, which is also mine. Colonel Barnum was born on July 21, 1940. Growing up in Cheshire attending Cheshire High School, class of '58. Colonel Barnum attended Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire and joined the Platoon Leaders program from 1958-1961.

Colonel Barnum attended basic training in Quantico Virginia and then served in the 1st Battalion in Okinawa, Japan. From then on, his military background expands to battalion liaison officer and being promoted to Lieutenant. In December of 1965 Colonel Barnum was sent to Vietnam as an artillery forward observer. During “Operation Harvest Moon" Lieutenant Barnum would be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on December 18, 1965 — for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty".[2] The North Vietnamese launched a well planned attack, with the initial shots mortally wounding the Company Commander and Radio Operator. After the Company Commander died in his arms he assumed command. Even though they were under heavy attacks and outmanned 10-1, Lt Barnum lead his troops, exposing himself countless times while reorganizing for defense and eventually an offensive push that allowed for a successful evacuation, never leaving a man behind.[3]”


[Jeffrey Falk, Colonel Barney Barnum and Don Falk at the Medal of Honor Memorial Highway]

[December 2019, Jack Falk, Colonel Barnum and Hayley Falk]


The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Generally presented to its recipient by the President of the United States of America in the name of Congress.

[Pictures and caption provided by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society]


Now, in December of 2016 I had the honor of meeting Colonel Barnum again, along with his wife Martha, at his home in Virginia. He was kind enough to let my family and I hold the medal of honor he was awarded.


[Colonel Barney Barnum’s Medal of Honor]

This was a once in a lifetime experience that most people will never get to do, something that I will treasure for the rest of my life, and part of what inspired me for Because of the Brave. I feel so blessed that for the past 5 years Colonel Barnum and Martha have opened their house to us when we travel for Wreaths Across America. It is a learning experience each time, as he always has so much to share. This past year I spent time in conversation with Martha who is one of the strongest and intelligent women I have ever met. Colonel Barnum is a man who inspires me to do more, and to be more. Below I will share the citation that goes more in depth about his story.



This is his citation from the Congressional Medal of Honor society website



For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. When the company was suddenly pinned down by a hail of extremely accurate enemy fire and was quickly separated from the remainder of the battalion by over 500 meters of open and fire-swept ground, and casualties mounted rapidly. Lt. Barnum quickly made a hazardous reconnaissance of the area, seeking targets for his artillery. Finding the rifle company commander mortally wounded and the radio operator killed, he, with complete disregard for his safety, gave aid to the dying commander, then removed the radio from the dead operator and strapped it to himself. He immediately assumed command of the rifle company, and moving at once into the midst of the heavy fire, rallying and giving encouragement to all units, reorganized them to replace the loss of key personnel and led their attack on enemy positions from which deadly fire continued to come. His sound and swift decisions and his obvious calm served to stabilize the badly decimated units and his gallant example as he stood exposed repeatedly to point out targets served as an inspiration to all. Provided with 2 armed helicopters, he moved fearlessly through enemy fire to control the air attack against the firmly entrenched enemy while skillfully directing 1 platoon in a successful counterattack on the key enemy positions. Having thus cleared a small area, he requested and directed the landing of 2 transport helicopters for the evacuation of the dead and wounded. He then assisted in the mopping up and final seizure of the battalion's objective. His gallant initiative and heroic conduct reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.




Thank A Veteran

Posted by hfalk on January 3, 2020 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (0)

A couple of months ago I discovered the page called “Thank A Veteran” and the name immediately drew me in. From that moment on, I knew that I wanted to learn more about what this page was about. Being new to the blogging community, I decided to introduce my page to Heather {who runs Thank A Veteran.} Her mission inspired me, and I knew she was someone that I wanted to work with. Currently, I am collecting letters and cards to deliver to the local VA hospital and VFW. I encourage you to participate in this, as it is for a great cause. If you are interested, please message me or email me at bcofthebrave1@gmail. If you're not local tp CT, don't worry! You can email me your letter and I would be more than happy to print it out. I am trying to expand the Thank A Veteran project to Connecticut, and with your help we can all make this work!


                    A little bit about Heather and her mission



Heather is from Minnesota and currently a Junior at the University of Chicago. The last 11 years she has handmade Thank you cards for every resident of the Fergus Falls Veterans home. She has also had her whole Elementary school & High School involved in making cards, letters & posters and she sends e-mails asking for Thank yous to everyone she can think of. She has received Thousands of emails from all 50 states,China,Germany,Canada, Holland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates & Japan. She has distributed over 70,000 messages so far! She wants her project to grow more every year & has lots more ideas for expansion of the project. She has been blessed to expand her project to the Chicago area public schools, her college campus & Chicago Veteran homes and has worked with multiple Chicago Veterans Stand Downs. Heather also makes quilts for Quilts of Valor & works with Project New Hope & sends cards through the "Holiday Mail for Heroes" Program & sends care packages to soldiers as well as collecting Veteran stories for the Library of Congress.