Friday, November 11, 2016

A Hero honored but never Met... Great Great Grandpa

A Hero honored, but never met, my great great Grandfather. Frank C. High, earned the Medal of honor May 16, 1899. 

 My Mom whom was still alive at the time and I were flown from Salem Oregon to Ashland on a Navy Jet for the Ceremony to dedicate the VFW Hall in honor of Frank. 

This Plaque in the top left of the picture below is on a podium outside the State Capital in Salem Oregon.  


The showcase pictured at the bottom of the picture above is in the Ashland Oregon VFW hall that was dedicated in his honor. 


My Mom, Sister and I.  Mom is holding the statue that was part of the display set up for Frank.   

My Mother was quite fond of Grandpa High.  I however never knew him.  But I'm proud that he did whatever he needed to do to fight for our country.  

Thank you to ALL who serve to protect our country.

The below article was written back in 1998 and gives more information about Grandpa High. 

Ashland man still a hero 100 years after Spanish-American War

Posted May. 16, 1998 at 2:00 AM
Updated Feb 16, 2011 at 7:33 AM 

Frank C. High earned the Medal of Honor 99 years ago today.
ASHLAND -- To most folks today, the name Frank C. High doesn't ring any bells.But to Maj. Dave Stuckey, training officer for the 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry, of the Oregon Army National Guard, the name commands a 21-gun salute.
What he did at the bridge, with insurmountable odds against him, it's just incredible, said Stuckey, 35, who each day passes by High's name and photograph under glass at the Ashland Armory.
Ninety-nine years ago today, High earned the Medal of Honor, the military's highest decoration for gallantry.
Pvt. High's mettle was tested on a burning bridge in the Philippines on May 16, 1899, while serving as a member of the 2nd Oregon Volunteer Infantry on the heels of the Spanish-American War. The unit was part of what evolved into today's guard.
The soldier was among 22 scouts who charged across a burning bridge, under heavy fire and completely routed 600 of the enemy who were entrenched in a strongly fortified position, according to the official citation. Next to the photograph of High with his pencil-thin mustache hangs the gold Medal of Honor with its sky blue ribbon.
High, who was 91 when he died in Ashland in 1966, is the only Southern Oregonian ever to win the medal, observed Christian Hald, a retired medical doctor and local military historian.
It's an extremely rare award -- it's not a medal that is easy to come by, said Hald, who, as a combat infantry officer during World War II, won two Silver Stars for bravery. In addition to being a doctor, Hald retired as a colonel from the local guard unit where he now holds the title of honorary colonel.
Of the 12 Medals of Honor awarded to Oregonians since the medals were first issued in the Civil War, only three were given to living individuals, Hald said, adding, The rest died because of their valor.
High's daughter, Mae High, a nurse who worked with Hald at the Ashland Community Hospital for about 30 years, gave Hald the medal and certificate of award about 10 years ago. Hald gave it to the Armory, where it could be displayed.
Although High was born just across the state line in California where his family had a ranch, he joined the Oregon volunteers in Jacksonville, according to a 1966 article in the Mail Tribune.
High was among many Oregonians who marched into the military at the outset of the Spanish-American War in the spring of 1898. Their patriotic fever was sparked by the sinking of the U.S. battleship Maine in Havana's harbor.
The war would be brief, ending on Aug. 12, 1898, with the United States receiving Guam, the Philippines and Puerto Rico as part of a peace treaty.
To beef up the army, President William McKinley called for 125,000 volunteers nationwide. Part of Oregon's mission was to provide an infantry regiment that was designated the 2nd Oregon, in deference to the 1st Oregon that served in the Civil War.
Most of the Oregon volunteers didn't go to Cuba. Instead, they were among those shipped to the Philippines, where Commodore George Dewey and his sailors quickly defeated the Spanish navy.
Although the volunteers easily routed the Spanish troops, they encountered another enemy: Filipino freedom fighters.
In February 1899, Filipino insurgents attacked American troops around Manila, triggering the beginning of a 10-year guerrilla war.
That spring, the 1st North Dakota Infantry was ordered to eradicate insurgents from their stronghold near Manila. A civilian named Henry Young organized an elite scouting reconnaissance force that included 16 men from the North Dakota unit and four men, including High, from the 2nd Oregon.
The scouts were deployed ahead of the main column, often drawing enemy fire.
The scouts encountered the Filipino fighters on May 13, and Young was mortally wounded. Three days later, the scouts discovered that the insurgents had set fire to an important bridge near San Isadoro.
Because the river could not be forded, High and the other scouts dashed across the burning bridge into a hail of bullets. Supported by the 2nd Oregon, the scouts led the fight to remove the Filipinos from their dug-in positions.
High, for whom High Street in Ashland is named, was among three members of the 2nd Oregon who would be decorated for their actions. In June 1899 the Oregon volunteers sailed back to Oregon.
A lot of people today don't have a sense of history, Stuckey said. But in the military we have a little better sense of forgotten campaigns and battles.
When you see that medal, you have to be impressed, he added.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this so we can remember Frank High and his compatriots.