75 years ago Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, taking the German Army by surprise and turning the tide of the war in EuropeRead More
Martin L. Tanne signed up for the Merchant Marine Radio Operator's School to train and serve aboard ships shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Halfway through the course, however, he decided to enlist in the Army. He completed infantry training in 1943, and was part of the 34th Infantry Division, known as the North African Invasion Force. Tanne served during four campaigns, earning the rank of Sergeant, and was awarded the Rife Sharpshooter award, Combat Infantryman Badge, Purple Heart, two Bronze Stars, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the Croix de Guerre, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Army Good Conduct Medal.
Following his military service, he worked as a sales representative in New York for Armour and Company, eventually moving to Arvada, Colorado where he started Martin Meat Company. He went on to also serve as a commissary manager and consultant. He died in 2016.
Tanne's family has donated his Purple Heart medal for inclusion with the metal that was cast into The Honor Bell.
George Sakato was born in 1921, growing up in California. His family, concerned they would be interned by the government, moved to Arizona. Sakato joined the US Army in March 1944. He volunteered to be part of the all-Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team and was assigned to 3rd platoon, Company E, 2nd Battalion. The 442nd Regiment was the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of American warfare. Twenty-one of its members were awarded Medals of Honor.
Private George T. Sakato distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on October 29th 1944, on hill 617 in the vicinity of Biffontaine, France. After his platoon had virtually destroyed two enemy defense lines, during which he personally killed five enemy soldiers and captured four, his unit was pinned down by heavy enemy fire. Disregarding the enemy fire, Sakato made a one-man rush that encouraged his platoon to charge and destroy the enemy strongpoint. While his platoon was reorganizing, he proved to be the inspiration of his squad in halting a counter-attack on the left flank during which his squad leader was killed. Taking charge of the squad, he continued his relentless tactics, using an enemy rifle and P-38 pistol to stop an organized enemy attack. During this entire action, he killed 12 and wounded two, personally captured four and assisted his platoon in taking 34 prisoners. By continuously ignoring enemy fire, and by his gallant courage and fighting spirit, he turned impending defeat into victory and helped his platoon complete its mission.
For the extraordinary heroism displayed by Sakato at Biffontaine, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
In the 1990s, there was a review of US military service records of Americans of Asian descent who received the Distinguished Service Cross during World War II. Sakato's award was upgraded to the Medal of Honor. President Bill Clinton presented Sakato the Medal of Honor during a ceremony at the White House on June 21, 2000. He died on December 2, 2015 in Denver, Colorado, at the age of 94.
The Sakato family has donated his Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin, which was included in the metal used to cast The Honor Bell.
Richard Hawkins was born 25 May, 1925 in Chicago, Illinois. He always enjoyed sports and took up boxing at a young age. He joined the Army Air Corps in 1943, and served as a machine gunner during World War II; towards the end of the war he assisted in the liberation of concentration camps. He met Doris Letourneau, who was a sergeant in the Army, while he was a corporal, in Germany, marrying in Erding, Germany 4 months later.
Hawkins was honorably discharged from the Army in 1946 and jumped at the chance to join the Air Force shortly thereafter. Richard was stationed throughout the world during his tenure in the Air Force: from Patrick AFB in Florida, to Itami and Kadina AFB in Japan. He was stationed in Phan Rang for a year during the Vietnam War. He and his family moved to Colorado in 1975 upon his retirement.
He was always very athletic and won 4 USAF Golden Glove boxing Championships under the fighting name "the Irish Kid". He was inducted into the Colorado Umpires Hall of Fame. He completed his Bachelor of Arts Degree at Metropolitan State College in 1981.
Richard's family has donated his American Campaign Medal from World War II, Korean Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and a pair of Air Force cufflinks for inclusion in the metal that was cast into The Honor Bell.
Charles E. Adams Jr. was born in New Orleans, Lousiana on September 22, 1919. He joined the Army in 1942 and transferred to the Air Corps at Santa Ana, California. After Primary flight school and Twin Engine Advance, he graduated in the class of 43-G. He flew P-38s at Muroc and at Lomita Flight Strip, both in California prior to a 21 day troop ship ride to North Africa. After a short stay in the Fighter Training Command at Constantine, Algeria, he was transferred to the 82nd Fighter Group, 95th Fighter Squadron at Foggia, Italy in January 1944.
During his tour he was temporarily assigned to the Royal Air Force Gunnery School at Ballah, Egypt flying Spitfires and Hurricanes. Upon return to Foggia he flew bomber escort, strafing, dive-bombing, and fighter sweeps to complete fifty missions. He was credited with aerial destruction of six enemy aircraft and joined the ranks of the fighter aces. His P-38, named the Judith Ann after his infant daughter that he had not yet seen, was hit by enemy fire during one battle, causing him to have to fly and land on one engine. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 12 clusters. His group was awarded three Presidential Unit Citations.
Returning to the States, Adams toured with a Bond Drive group before serving as basic instrument and flight instructor at Minter Field, California. After discharge from the service in August 1945, he completed studies and graduated as a Petroleum Refining Engineer at the Colorado School of Mines in May 1948. He joined Chevron Corporation and after 35 years of service in Colorado, Louisiana, Australia, Canada and Texas, he and his wife Dorothy, retired to Perry Park, Colorado.
Adams' family donated his World War II-era Pilot wings for inclusion into the Honor Bell.
As a pioneer in cable television, Robert W. “Bill” Daniels left a large footprint on the landscape of Colorado business and industry after a distinguished career as a Naval aviator. Bill was born in Greeley, Colorado, in 1920. As a child, Bill and the Daniels family moved to Nebraska and Iowa, eventually settling in New Mexico. Bill excelled at the New Mexico Military Institute and was New Mexico’s Golden Gloves welterweight boxing champion two years in a row.
After high school, he enrolled in the Navy’s V-7 program, fast-tracking his training and allowing him to enter the Navy as a pilot in just 11 months. As a combat pilot, he flew a Grumman F4F Wildcat in the Allied Invasion of North Africa in 1942 and a Chance Vought Corsair in the Solomon Islands area of the Pacific theatre in 1943.
He was awarded the Bronze Star for “heroism, courage, and devotion to duty,” making repeated trips to rescue wounded shipmates after a Japanese kamikaze attack on the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid in November 1944. After war, he returned to private life, only to serve again during the Korean War, piloting a Grumman F9 Panther.
After the Korean War, he became one of the first people to get into the long-distance television broadcast business by setting up a microwave feed of local Denver broadcasting to Casper, Wyoming, where it was distributed through his cable television network. He expanded into the brokering and financing side of the cable television business, with Daniels and Associates becoming one of the largest firms in the field by the mid-1960s. By 1988, Daniels’ cable network was ranked among the top 25 multiple system operators in the United States.
Daniels, with his boxing background, retained a love of sports. Among the many sports interests he pursued, Daniels was co-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers as well as the American Basketball Association’s president. Daniels was very philanthropic, creating the Young American’s Bank and working with the University of Denver to integrate courses in business ethics, personal integrity, and values into the university’s business curriculum; the business school there now carries Daniels’ name. In 1997, Daniels created the Daniels Fund to invest in nonprofits throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming (including the Honor Bell Foundation), as well as provide scholarships to college students in those states.
Bill believed that his wealth was best spent leaving a legacy and making a difference. He served his country as a young man and later in life made a remarkable contribution to his community with his philanthropy and support of education.