Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Army Reserve Center should be named after Lee Hartell.

On Sunday July 8th, all of the political heavyweights were in Danbury to participate in the ground breaking ceremony of the new Army Reserve Center that will be located on Lee Farm. It was a great day for our city has the 90,000 square foot building will provide a home for approximately 200 soldiers every weekend.

If there was a hiccup, it was the name of the new center. On the renderings and the drawings it is named the "Newtown Reserve Center in Danbury". Obviously that is going to be a problem. For the next 75 years, soldiers looking for the Reserve Center would be driving around Newtown CT.

Not good.

When the issue was raised with the Army on Sunday they assured us that the final name will not be the Newtown Reserve Center.

So what shall it be? Well in full disclosure, my good friend and a proud veteran Tim Winkler suggested to me that the new Army Reserve Center in Danbury ought to be called the Hartell - Hickok Reserve Center after the two medal of honor winners from Danbury.

So with all due respect to Mr. Hickok - a medal of honor winner from the Civil War, I would suggest that we place a plaque at the new center in his honor and that we name the new Army Reserve Center the "Lee Hartell Reserve Center".

Hartell was a Danbury resident who enlisted in the army and was deployed to the Korea during the Korean War.

Here is his Medal of Honor citation:

1st. Lt. Hartell, a member of Battery A, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an armed enemy of the United Nations. During the darkness of early morning, the enemy launched a ruthless attack against friendly positions on a rugged mountainous ridge. 1st Lt. Hartell, attached to Company B, 9th Infantry Regiment, as forward observer, quickly moved his radio to an exposed vantage on the ridge line to adjust defensive fires. Realizing the tactical advantage of illuminating the area of approach, he called for flares and then directed crippling fire into the onrushing assailants. At this juncture a large force of hostile troops swarmed up the slope in banzai charge and came within 10 yards of 1st Lt. Hartell's position. 1st Lt. Hartell sustained a severe hand wound in the ensuing encounter but grasped the microphone with his other hand and maintained his magnificent stand until the front and left flank of the company were protected by a close-in wall of withering fire, causing the fanatical foe to disperse and fall back momentarily. After the numerically superior enemy overran an outpost and was closing on his position, 1st Lt. Hartell, in a final radio call, urged the friendly elements to fire both batteries continuously. Although mortally wounded, 1st Lt. Hartell's intrepid actions contributed significantly to stemming the onslaught and enabled his company to maintain the strategic strongpoint. His consummate valor and unwavering devotion to duty reflect lasting glory on himself and uphold the noble traditions of the military service.
Pretty courageous stuff.

Lee Hartell Reserve Center, I like the sound of that..

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