‘Black Hawk Down’ hero dies at 52

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Gallagher died Oct. 13, 2014 at age 52. (U.S. Army)

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Gallagher died Oct. 13, 2014 at age 52. (U.S. Army)

By Douglas Ernst – The Washington Times – Friday, October 24, 2014

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Gallagher, the former platoon sergeant who flew into Somalia for the mission that would become known for the “Black Hawk Down” battle, died of a heart condition on Oct. 13. He was 52.

The decorated veteran’s death was announced on the 3rd Infantry Division’s Facebook page.

“You know, I don’t say this lightly, but Bob is probably one of, probably the best soldier I ever served with, retired Col. Greg Gadson told Army Times. “That man really cared about soldiers.”

During the course of his military career, Sgt. Maj. Gallagher received two Purple Hearts, two Bronze Stars, and a Silver Star.

A memorial ceremony will take place Oct. 31 at Fort Benning in Georgia. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

RIP Robin Williams, Comedian and Friend to Veterans Everywhere

Robin Williams, the famed comedian and actor, died on Monday at age 63.

He had a remarkable career, and was one of the funniest people of all time. But beyond his career of making people laugh — one of my favorites being his role as Vietnam-era radio personality Adrian Cronauer — his response in 2007 to troops in Kuwait who basically turned their back on him is one worth remembering.

Williams was there for a USO tour for the soldiers, most of whom were either headed to Iraq or supporting combat troops already there. In the middle of a bit, Williams — and the thousands of troops in front him — hear a trumpet sound.

It was “Retreat” — a signal to those soldiers that the American flag was being taken down at the end of the day. At its sound, the custom is to face the music, stand at attention, and salute. In this case, Williams is left on stage, watching thousands of soldiers turn away from him…

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Movie, TV legend James Garner dies

Actor James Garner, whose whimsical style in the 1950s TV Western “Maverick” led to a stellar career in TV and films such as “The Rockford Files” and his Oscar-nominated “Murphy’s Romance,” has died, police said. He was 86.

He was found dead of natural causes at his home in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles Saturday evening, Los Angeles police officer Alonzo Iniquez said early Sunday.

Police responded to a call around 8 p.m. PDT and confirmed Garner’s identity from family members, Iniquez told The Associated Press.

There was no immediate word on a more specific cause of death. Garner had suffered a stroke in May 2008, just weeks after his 80th birthday.

Although he was adept at drama and action, Garner was best known for his low-key, wisecracking style, especially with his hit TV series, “Maverick” and “The Rockford Files.”

His quick-witted avoidance of conflict provided a refreshingly new take on the American hero, contrasting with the steely heroics of John Wayne and the fast trigger of Clint Eastwood.

Well into his 70s, the handsome Oklahoman remained active in both TV and film. In 2002, he was Sandra Bullock’s father in the film “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.” The following year, he joined the cast of “8 Simple Rules … For Dating My Teenage Daughter,” playing the grandfather on the sitcom after star John Ritter, who played the father, died during the show’s second season.

When he received the Screen Actors Guild’s lifetime achievement award in 2005, he quipped, “I’m not at all sure how I got here.”

But in his 2011 memoir, “The Garner Files,” he provided some amusing and enlightening clues, including his penchant for bluntly expressed opinions and a practice for decking people who said something nasty to his face — including an obnoxious fan and an abusive stepmother. They all deserved it, Garner declared in his book.

It was in 1957 when the ABC network, desperate to compete on ratings-rich Sunday night, scheduled “Maverick” against CBS’s powerhouse “The Ed Sullivan Show” and NBC’s “The Steve Allen Show.” ”Maverick” soon outpolled them both.

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