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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/us/military/heroism

Two sisters make Army history after both attain general’s rank

For the first time in the US Army‘s 244 year history, two sisters have attained the rank of general.

Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett and her younger sister, Brig. Gen. Paula Lodi, grew up in a military family. Their father, Ruston Lodi, served in World War II and received the Silver Star.

Westlake Legal Group Maria-Barrett-Paula-Lodi-3 Two sisters make Army history after both attain general's rank fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/good-news fox news Fox 13 fnc/us fnc article 39e4eb89-5e0c-5be3-8caa-9be497f2c127

Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett poses with Brig. Gen. Paula Lodi during then Col. Lodi’s promotion ceremony at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, VA on 12 July 2019.

Both have impressive resumes: Maj. Gen. Barrett is the Commanding General of NETCOM, while Brig. Gen. Lodi is the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at the Office of the Surgeon General, USA Today reports.

But while fathers and sons have risen to general in the past, the Army believes this pair are the first sisters with the distinction.

Westlake Legal Group Maria-Barrett-Paula-Lodi-1 Two sisters make Army history after both attain general's rank fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/good-news fox news Fox 13 fnc/us fnc article 39e4eb89-5e0c-5be3-8caa-9be497f2c127

Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett presenting Brig. Gen. Paula Lodi a beret with one-star rank insignia as a tribute to the history of women serving in the Army and the historic moment of sisters serving together as General Officers.

“Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett and Brig. Gen. Paula Lodi represent the best America has to offer,” said Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy. “However, this comes as no surprise to those who have known them and loved them throughout this extraordinary journey. This is a proud moment for their families and for the Army.”

Read more from Fox 13.

Westlake Legal Group Maria-Barrett-Paula-Lodi-2 Two sisters make Army history after both attain general's rank fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/good-news fox news Fox 13 fnc/us fnc article 39e4eb89-5e0c-5be3-8caa-9be497f2c127   Westlake Legal Group Maria-Barrett-Paula-Lodi-2 Two sisters make Army history after both attain general's rank fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/good-news fox news Fox 13 fnc/us fnc article 39e4eb89-5e0c-5be3-8caa-9be497f2c127

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families

Keith Sherman has been to more funerals than he cares to count.

The U.S. Navy veteran served his country for 26 years and retired in October as a senior chief petty officer. He supported SEAL and Special Warfare teams throughout his career and many friends died in combat.

On the eve of his retirement, Sherman decided he wanted more people to be able to honor the incredible heroes of this nation who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

FORMER NAVY SEAL, 52, WHO WAS WOUNDED IN BERGDAHL MISSION, HEADS TO YALE AS A FRESHMAN

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-1 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Gold Star mother Linda Dillon’s son, Army Ranger Benjamin Dillon died Oct. 7, 2007, in Mosul, Iraq. (Keith Sherman)

Sherman’s singular yet powerful mission: telling the stories of fallen service members through the voices of Gold Star families, those who have lost loved ones through military service. For them, “the grief never ends,” Sherman said.

“I was going to retire in San Diego and drive back to Massachusetts and stop by the hometowns of fallen service members that I had served with and share some memories with their Gold Star families that maybe they had not heard before,” Sherman told Fox News.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-4 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Navy veteran Keith Sherman with Gold Star sister Nikki Winn in May. (Keith Sherman)

For the past year, Sherman has traveled across the nation documenting stories of Gold Star families from each of the 50 states, tenderly gathering tributes and stories of the families’ loved ones. While his project started humbly, Gold Star Dirt became a nonprofit last August, and Sherman has traveled to nearly every state, logging over 43,000 miles.

He had seven states left as of Wednesday night – Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Massachusetts, Oregon, Utah and Washington, with plans to drive to Utah on Thursday. Sherman said he will fly from Hawaii to Massachusetts for his symbolic last visit, as that’s where he entered the military.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-3 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Navy veteran Keith Sherman has been traveling to each of the 50 states to collect stories from Gold Star families. (Keith Sherman)

He was preparing for a three-month inpatient treatment program for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, before he retired, when he decided to start collecting stories.

Sherman lost friends to suicide related to PTSD, including one who confided in him but asked him not to share for fear of losing his security clearance. His friend later killed himself, Sherman said.

After struggling with guilt and regret, and after another friend shared his own battles with the same issues and how he could get help, Sherman was diagnosed with PTSD and an MRI revealed he had 12 traumatic brain injury-related lesions.

As he prepared for retirement, his purpose became clear, and he wanted to document Gold Star families’ stories on behalf of the nation, Sherman said.

Just about every story could bring tears to people’s eyes.

“I feel the weight deeply during and after each interview. I can’t count the number of times that I have shed tears right along with the family. They are pouring their hearts out right in front of me, someone that they don’t even know,” Sherman said.

“I feel the weight deeply during and after each interview. I can’t count the number of times that I have shed tears right along with the family. They are pouring their hearts out right in front of me, someone that they don’t even know.” 

— Keith Sherman

He recalled a young woman in Montana, Rheanna Tanner, who said it was “love at first sight” with her Marine husband Cpl. John Cory Tanner. The two married and she got pregnant at 18. John Tanner deployed to Iraq when his wife was four months pregnant. An IED killed him when she was nine months pregnant.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-7 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Gold Star spouse Rheanna Tanner filling out Navy veteran Keith Sherman’s map as he gathers stories from Gold Star families in each of the 50 states. (Keith Sherman)

“Rheanna buried her husband and three days later gave birth to their son, [whom] he never got to meet,” Sherman said. “Rheanna said that in all of that pain, anguish and turmoil, and being 19 and a widow, giving birth to their child was the best part of her young life.”

When he started the project, Sherman started a Gold Star Dirt Facebook page, the “dirt” referring to his love of dirt bikes and the intended mode of transportation for his road trip. While he decided to drive a car, he has continued to travel with his dirt bike, along with a pop-up tent.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-2 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Navy veteran Keith Sherman has been traveling to each of the 50 states to collect stories from Gold Star families. (Keith Sherman)

Once he established an online presence, Sherman connected with a Gold Star sibling whose brother died in Iraq. Kristine Flores, a TV producer in San Jose, Calif., has been producing the project, contacting the Gold Star families and lining up interviews.

The Library of Congress also spotted the Gold Star Dirt and reached out to see if Sherman knew about the Gold Star Family Voice Act, which expanded the Veterans History Project mandate to audio and video first-person interviews.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-6 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Keith Sherman interviewed Gold Star Father Russ Hicks. (Keith Sherman)

It turned out the Library of Congress was in search of the stories Sherman wanted to tell.

“There it was – now the mission had purpose and scope,” he said.

Sherman said he started to prepare for his mission and plan his travel route.

“My thought process for the route came out of trying to skip the northern winter in the United States. I drew a line across the nation and figured that by the time I visited the southern states, met and documented the family stories and hit the East Coast, the northern winter would be mostly over,” he explained.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-5 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Navy veteran Keith Sherman at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. (Keith Sherman)

“I was worried about the winter, as I would be camping my way across the nation using my rooftop tent. I figured that this way I could keep expenses low as I don’t have any funding, only my retirement, and disability from my military retirement,” Sherman said.

CHICK-FIL-A MAKES 500 SANDWICHES FOR FIRST RESPONDERS AFTER TEXAS SHOOTING SPREE

Now, a year later, with his project nearing completion, Sherman has submitted 20 states’ worth of stories so far.

The Library of Congress has confirmed a donation ceremony date for Nov. 1 at 10 a.m., and every Gold Star family that has participated in the project will be invited to see their loved one’s story be donated into the National Archives, Sherman said.

He said he would reach out to members of Congress in the families’ districts to invite them to the ceremony as well, and also wanted to invite philanthropic groups to donate so the families wouldn’t have to pay for travel expenses to attend the ceremony.

Down the road, the Library of Congress is expected to make the interviews available to view online, but Sherman noted that the process would take time.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“I have been putting together small-form pieces while on the road and releasing them on our social media when I can. The response has really been amazing,” he said. “So many want to hear these stories of love, honor and sacrifice.”

He added, “Right now, I just need to focus on finishing this project to the best of my ability and in a manner that is in line with the kindness, love and honor that all these families have shown me.”

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-4 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b   Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-4 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families

Keith Sherman has been to more funerals than he cares to count.

The U.S. Navy veteran served his country for 26 years and retired in October as a senior chief petty officer. He supported SEAL and Special Warfare teams throughout his career and many friends died in combat.

On the eve of his retirement, Sherman decided he wanted more people to be able to honor the incredible heroes of this nation who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

FORMER NAVY SEAL, 52, WHO WAS WOUNDED IN BERGDAHL MISSION, HEADS TO YALE AS A FRESHMAN

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-1 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Gold Star mother Linda Dillon’s son, Army Ranger Benjamin Dillon died Oct. 7, 2007, in Mosul, Iraq. (Keith Sherman)

Sherman’s singular yet powerful mission: telling the stories of fallen service members through the voices of Gold Star families, those who have lost loved ones through military service. For them, “the grief never ends,” Sherman said.

“I was going to retire in San Diego and drive back to Massachusetts and stop by the hometowns of fallen service members that I had served with and share some memories with their Gold Star families that maybe they had not heard before,” Sherman told Fox News.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-4 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Navy veteran Keith Sherman with Gold Star sister Nikki Winn in May. (Keith Sherman)

For the past year, Sherman has traveled across the nation documenting stories of Gold Star families from each of the 50 states, tenderly gathering tributes and stories of the families’ loved ones. While his project started humbly, Gold Star Dirt became a nonprofit last August, and Sherman has traveled to nearly every state, logging over 43,000 miles.

He had seven states left as of Wednesday night – Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Massachusetts, Oregon, Utah and Washington, with plans to drive to Utah on Thursday. Sherman said he will fly from Hawaii to Massachusetts for his symbolic last visit, as that’s where he entered the military.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-3 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Navy veteran Keith Sherman has been traveling to each of the 50 states to collect stories from Gold Star families. (Keith Sherman)

He was preparing for a three-month inpatient treatment program for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, before he retired, when he decided to start collecting stories.

Sherman lost friends to suicide related to PTSD, including one who confided in him but asked him not to share for fear of losing his security clearance. His friend later killed himself, Sherman said.

After struggling with guilt and regret, and after another friend shared his own battles with the same issues and how he could get help, Sherman was diagnosed with PTSD and an MRI revealed he had 12 traumatic brain injury-related lesions.

As he prepared for retirement, his purpose became clear, and he wanted to document Gold Star families’ stories on behalf of the nation, Sherman said.

Just about every story could bring tears to people’s eyes.

“I feel the weight deeply during and after each interview. I can’t count the number of times that I have shed tears right along with the family. They are pouring their hearts out right in front of me, someone that they don’t even know,” Sherman said.

“I feel the weight deeply during and after each interview. I can’t count the number of times that I have shed tears right along with the family. They are pouring their hearts out right in front of me, someone that they don’t even know.” 

— Keith Sherman

He recalled a young woman in Montana, Rheanna Tanner, who said it was “love at first sight” with her Marine husband Cpl. John Cory Tanner. The two married and she got pregnant at 18. John Tanner deployed to Iraq when his wife was four months pregnant. An IED killed him when she was nine months pregnant.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-7 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Gold Star spouse Rheanna Tanner filling out Navy veteran Keith Sherman’s map as he gathers stories from Gold Star families in each of the 50 states. (Keith Sherman)

“Rheanna buried her husband and three days later gave birth to their son, [whom] he never got to meet,” Sherman said. “Rheanna said that in all of that pain, anguish and turmoil, and being 19 and a widow, giving birth to their child was the best part of her young life.”

When he started the project, Sherman started a Gold Star Dirt Facebook page, the “dirt” referring to his love of dirt bikes and the intended mode of transportation for his road trip. While he decided to drive a car, he has continued to travel with his dirt bike, along with a pop-up tent.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-2 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Navy veteran Keith Sherman has been traveling to each of the 50 states to collect stories from Gold Star families. (Keith Sherman)

Once he established an online presence, Sherman connected with a Gold Star sibling whose brother died in Iraq. Kristine Flores, a TV producer in San Jose, Calif., has been producing the project, contacting the Gold Star families and lining up interviews.

The Library of Congress also spotted the Gold Star Dirt and reached out to see if Sherman knew about the Gold Star Family Voice Act, which expanded the Veterans History Project mandate to audio and video first-person interviews.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-6 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Keith Sherman interviewed Gold Star Father Russ Hicks. (Keith Sherman)

It turned out the Library of Congress was in search of the stories Sherman wanted to tell.

“There it was – now the mission had purpose and scope,” he said.

Sherman said he started to prepare for his mission and plan his travel route.

“My thought process for the route came out of trying to skip the northern winter in the United States. I drew a line across the nation and figured that by the time I visited the southern states, met and documented the family stories and hit the East Coast, the northern winter would be mostly over,” he explained.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-5 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Navy veteran Keith Sherman at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. (Keith Sherman)

“I was worried about the winter, as I would be camping my way across the nation using my rooftop tent. I figured that this way I could keep expenses low as I don’t have any funding, only my retirement, and disability from my military retirement,” Sherman said.

CHICK-FIL-A MAKES 500 SANDWICHES FOR FIRST RESPONDERS AFTER TEXAS SHOOTING SPREE

Now, a year later, with his project nearing completion, Sherman has submitted 20 states’ worth of stories so far.

The Library of Congress has confirmed a donation ceremony date for Nov. 1 at 10 a.m., and every Gold Star family that has participated in the project will be invited to see their loved one’s story be donated into the National Archives, Sherman said.

He said he would reach out to members of Congress in the families’ districts to invite them to the ceremony as well, and also wanted to invite philanthropic groups to donate so the families wouldn’t have to pay for travel expenses to attend the ceremony.

Down the road, the Library of Congress is expected to make the interviews available to view online, but Sherman noted that the process would take time.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“I have been putting together small-form pieces while on the road and releasing them on our social media when I can. The response has really been amazing,” he said. “So many want to hear these stories of love, honor and sacrifice.”

He added, “Right now, I just need to focus on finishing this project to the best of my ability and in a manner that is in line with the kindness, love and honor that all these families have shown me.”

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-4 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b   Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-4 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families

Keith Sherman has been to more funerals than he cares to count.

The U.S. Navy veteran served his country for 26 years and retired in October as a senior chief petty officer. He supported SEAL and Special Warfare teams throughout his career and many friends died in combat.

On the eve of his retirement, Sherman decided he wanted more people to be able to honor the incredible heroes of this nation who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

FORMER NAVY SEAL, 52, WHO WAS WOUNDED IN BERGDAHL MISSION, HEADS TO YALE AS A FRESHMAN

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-1 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Gold Star mother Linda Dillon’s son, Army Ranger Benjamin Dillon died Oct. 7, 2007, in Mosul, Iraq. (Keith Sherman)

Sherman’s singular yet powerful mission: telling the stories of fallen service members through the voices of Gold Star families, those who have lost loved ones through military service. For them, “the grief never ends,” Sherman said.

“I was going to retire in San Diego and drive back to Massachusetts and stop by the hometowns of fallen service members that I had served with and share some memories with their Gold Star families that maybe they had not heard before,” Sherman told Fox News.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-4 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Navy veteran Keith Sherman with Gold Star sister Nikki Winn in May. (Keith Sherman)

For the past year, Sherman has traveled across the nation documenting stories of Gold Star families from each of the 50 states, tenderly gathering tributes and stories of the families’ loved ones. While his project started humbly, Gold Star Dirt became a nonprofit last August, and Sherman has traveled to nearly every state, logging over 43,000 miles.

He had seven states left as of Wednesday night – Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Massachusetts, Oregon, Utah and Washington, with plans to drive to Utah on Thursday. Sherman said he will fly from Hawaii to Massachusetts for his symbolic last visit, as that’s where he entered the military.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-3 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Navy veteran Keith Sherman has been traveling to each of the 50 states to collect stories from Gold Star families. (Keith Sherman)

He was preparing for a three-month inpatient treatment program for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, before he retired, when he decided to start collecting stories.

Sherman lost friends to suicide related to PTSD, including one who confided in him but asked him not to share for fear of losing his security clearance. His friend later killed himself, Sherman said.

After struggling with guilt and regret, and after another friend shared his own battles with the same issues and how he could get help, Sherman was diagnosed with PTSD and an MRI revealed he had 12 traumatic brain injury-related lesions.

As he prepared for retirement, his purpose became clear, and he wanted to document Gold Star families’ stories on behalf of the nation, Sherman said.

Just about every story could bring tears to people’s eyes.

“I feel the weight deeply during and after each interview. I can’t count the number of times that I have shed tears right along with the family. They are pouring their hearts out right in front of me, someone that they don’t even know,” Sherman said.

“I feel the weight deeply during and after each interview. I can’t count the number of times that I have shed tears right along with the family. They are pouring their hearts out right in front of me, someone that they don’t even know.” 

— Keith Sherman

He recalled a young woman in Montana, Rheanna Tanner, who said it was “love at first sight” with her Marine husband Cpl. John Cory Tanner. The two married and she got pregnant at 18. John Tanner deployed to Iraq when his wife was four months pregnant. An IED killed him when she was nine months pregnant.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-7 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Gold Star spouse Rheanna Tanner filling out Navy veteran Keith Sherman’s map as he gathers stories from Gold Star families in each of the 50 states. (Keith Sherman)

“Rheanna buried her husband and three days later gave birth to their son, [whom] he never got to meet,” Sherman said. “Rheanna said that in all of that pain, anguish and turmoil, and being 19 and a widow, giving birth to their child was the best part of her young life.”

When he started the project, Sherman started a Gold Star Dirt Facebook page, the “dirt” referring to his love of dirt bikes and the intended mode of transportation for his road trip. While he decided to drive a car, he has continued to travel with his dirt bike, along with a pop-up tent.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-2 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Navy veteran Keith Sherman has been traveling to each of the 50 states to collect stories from Gold Star families. (Keith Sherman)

Once he established an online presence, Sherman connected with a Gold Star sibling whose brother died in Iraq. Kristine Flores, a TV producer in San Jose, Calif., has been producing the project, contacting the Gold Star families and lining up interviews.

The Library of Congress also spotted the Gold Star Dirt and reached out to see if Sherman knew about the Gold Star Family Voice Act, which expanded the Veterans History Project mandate to audio and video first-person interviews.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-6 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Keith Sherman interviewed Gold Star Father Russ Hicks. (Keith Sherman)

It turned out the Library of Congress was in search of the stories Sherman wanted to tell.

“There it was – now the mission had purpose and scope,” he said.

Sherman said he started to prepare for his mission and plan his travel route.

“My thought process for the route came out of trying to skip the northern winter in the United States. I drew a line across the nation and figured that by the time I visited the southern states, met and documented the family stories and hit the East Coast, the northern winter would be mostly over,” he explained.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-5 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Navy veteran Keith Sherman at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. (Keith Sherman)

“I was worried about the winter, as I would be camping my way across the nation using my rooftop tent. I figured that this way I could keep expenses low as I don’t have any funding, only my retirement, and disability from my military retirement,” Sherman said.

CHICK-FIL-A MAKES 500 SANDWICHES FOR FIRST RESPONDERS AFTER TEXAS SHOOTING SPREE

Now, a year later, with his project nearing completion, Sherman has submitted 20 states’ worth of stories so far.

The Library of Congress has confirmed a donation ceremony date for Nov. 1 at 10 a.m., and every Gold Star family that has participated in the project will be invited to see their loved one’s story be donated into the National Archives, Sherman said.

He said he would reach out to members of Congress in the families’ districts to invite them to the ceremony as well, and also wanted to invite philanthropic groups to donate so the families wouldn’t have to pay for travel expenses to attend the ceremony.

Down the road, the Library of Congress is expected to make the interviews available to view online, but Sherman noted that the process would take time.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“I have been putting together small-form pieces while on the road and releasing them on our social media when I can. The response has really been amazing,” he said. “So many want to hear these stories of love, honor and sacrifice.”

He added, “Right now, I just need to focus on finishing this project to the best of my ability and in a manner that is in line with the kindness, love and honor that all these families have shown me.”

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-4 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b   Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-4 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

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Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families

Keith Sherman has been to more funerals than he cares to count.

The U.S. Navy veteran served his country for 26 years and retired in October as a senior chief petty officer. He supported SEAL and Special Warfare teams throughout his career and many friends died in combat.

On the eve of his retirement, Sherman decided he wanted more people to be able to honor the incredible heroes of this nation who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

FORMER NAVY SEAL, 52, WHO WAS WOUNDED IN BERGDAHL MISSION, HEADS TO YALE AS A FRESHMAN

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-1 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Gold Star mother Linda Dillon’s son, Army Ranger Benjamin Dillon died Oct. 7, 2007, in Mosul, Iraq. (Keith Sherman)

Sherman’s singular yet powerful mission: telling the stories of fallen service members through the voices of Gold Star families, those who have lost loved ones through military service. For them, “the grief never ends,” Sherman said.

“I was going to retire in San Diego and drive back to Massachusetts and stop by the hometowns of fallen service members that I had served with and share some memories with their Gold Star families that maybe they had not heard before,” Sherman told Fox News.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-4 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Navy veteran Keith Sherman with Gold Star sister Nikki Winn in May. (Keith Sherman)

For the past year, Sherman has traveled across the nation documenting stories of Gold Star families from each of the 50 states, tenderly gathering tributes and stories of the families’ loved ones. While his project started humbly, Gold Star Dirt became a nonprofit last August, and Sherman has traveled to nearly every state, logging over 43,000 miles.

He had seven states left as of Wednesday night – Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Massachusetts, Oregon, Utah and Washington, with plans to drive to Utah on Thursday. Sherman said he will fly from Hawaii to Massachusetts for his symbolic last visit, as that’s where he entered the military.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-3 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Navy veteran Keith Sherman has been traveling to each of the 50 states to collect stories from Gold Star families. (Keith Sherman)

He was preparing for a three-month inpatient treatment program for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, before he retired, when he decided to start collecting stories.

Sherman lost friends to suicide related to PTSD, including one who confided in him but asked him not to share for fear of losing his security clearance. His friend later killed himself, Sherman said.

After struggling with guilt and regret, and after another friend shared his own battles with the same issues and how he could get help, Sherman was diagnosed with PTSD and an MRI revealed he had 12 traumatic brain injury-related lesions.

As he prepared for retirement, his purpose became clear, and he wanted to document Gold Star families’ stories on behalf of the nation, Sherman said.

Just about every story could bring tears to people’s eyes.

“I feel the weight deeply during and after each interview. I can’t count the number of times that I have shed tears right along with the family. They are pouring their hearts out right in front of me, someone that they don’t even know,” Sherman said.

“I feel the weight deeply during and after each interview. I can’t count the number of times that I have shed tears right along with the family. They are pouring their hearts out right in front of me, someone that they don’t even know.” 

— Keith Sherman

He recalled a young woman in Montana, Rheanna Tanner, who said it was “love at first sight” with her Marine husband Cpl. John Cory Tanner. The two married and she got pregnant at 18. John Tanner deployed to Iraq when his wife was four months pregnant. An IED killed him when she was nine months pregnant.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-7 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Gold Star spouse Rheanna Tanner filling out Navy veteran Keith Sherman’s map as he gathers stories from Gold Star families in each of the 50 states. (Keith Sherman)

“Rheanna buried her husband and three days later gave birth to their son, [whom] he never got to meet,” Sherman said. “Rheanna said that in all of that pain, anguish and turmoil, and being 19 and a widow, giving birth to their child was the best part of her young life.”

When he started the project, Sherman started a Gold Star Dirt Facebook page, the “dirt” referring to his love of dirt bikes and the intended mode of transportation for his road trip. While he decided to drive a car, he has continued to travel with his dirt bike, along with a pop-up tent.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-2 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Navy veteran Keith Sherman has been traveling to each of the 50 states to collect stories from Gold Star families. (Keith Sherman)

Once he established an online presence, Sherman connected with a Gold Star sibling whose brother died in Iraq. Kristine Flores, a TV producer in San Jose, Calif., has been producing the project, contacting the Gold Star families and lining up interviews.

The Library of Congress also spotted the Gold Star Dirt and reached out to see if Sherman knew about the Gold Star Family Voice Act, which expanded the Veterans History Project mandate to audio and video first-person interviews.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-6 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Keith Sherman interviewed Gold Star Father Russ Hicks. (Keith Sherman)

It turned out the Library of Congress was in search of the stories Sherman wanted to tell.

“There it was – now the mission had purpose and scope,” he said.

Sherman said he started to prepare for his mission and plan his travel route.

“My thought process for the route came out of trying to skip the northern winter in the United States. I drew a line across the nation and figured that by the time I visited the southern states, met and documented the family stories and hit the East Coast, the northern winter would be mostly over,” he explained.

Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-5 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

Navy veteran Keith Sherman at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. (Keith Sherman)

“I was worried about the winter, as I would be camping my way across the nation using my rooftop tent. I figured that this way I could keep expenses low as I don’t have any funding, only my retirement, and disability from my military retirement,” Sherman said.

CHICK-FIL-A MAKES 500 SANDWICHES FOR FIRST RESPONDERS AFTER TEXAS SHOOTING SPREE

Now, a year later, with his project nearing completion, Sherman has submitted 20 states’ worth of stories so far.

The Library of Congress has confirmed a donation ceremony date for Nov. 1 at 10 a.m., and every Gold Star family that has participated in the project will be invited to see their loved one’s story be donated into the National Archives, Sherman said.

He said he would reach out to members of Congress in the families’ districts to invite them to the ceremony as well, and also wanted to invite philanthropic groups to donate so the families wouldn’t have to pay for travel expenses to attend the ceremony.

Down the road, the Library of Congress is expected to make the interviews available to view online, but Sherman noted that the process would take time.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“I have been putting together small-form pieces while on the road and releasing them on our social media when I can. The response has really been amazing,” he said. “So many want to hear these stories of love, honor and sacrifice.”

He added, “Right now, I just need to focus on finishing this project to the best of my ability and in a manner that is in line with the kindness, love and honor that all these families have shown me.”

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Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-4 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b   Westlake Legal Group Gold-Start-Dirt-4 Navy veteran traveling across US to collect stories of fallen service members from Gold Star families Melissa Leon fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-families fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox news fnc/us fnc article 79c40ff9-c8ba-5fd8-8c99-19225659854b

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‘Heroic’ Virginia rabbi missing after diving into ocean to save a student

A rabbi and day camp counselor in Norfolk, Va., went missing after jumping into the ocean to save a student who struggled to make it back to shore amid choppy waters, according to reports.

The Coast Guard searched for 35-year-old Rabbi Reuven Bauman, a 35-year-old teacher at Yeshiva Toras Chaim in Portsmouth, who was last seen around noon Tuesday when he dove in the water to rescue a 13-year-old camper from choppy waters with rip currents, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

NAOMI CAMPBELL PRAYS AT LUBAVITCHER REBBE’S GRAVE: I HAVE ‘LEARNED SO MUCH FROM HIS WISDOM’

“He acted heroically,” Coast Guard Lt. Steve Arguelles said about Bauman rescuing the child, who was reported safe at False Cape State Park. About 20 people attended a field trip at the state park. Swimming was prohibited in the area they visited.

The Coast Guard, assisted by Virginia Beach fire and police departments and the National Park Service, suspended the search Wednesday morning.

Westlake Legal Group red-flag-day-City-of-Virginia-Beach 'Heroic' Virginia rabbi missing after diving into ocean to save a student fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/virginia fox-news/us/religion/judaism fox-news/us/military/heroism fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/us fnc Caleb Parke article 23f63f67-ee02-5064-8964-acda9a1a2b9a

On Tuesday, when Rabbi Reuven Bauman jumped into choppy waters to save a student, lifeguards had raised red flags prohibiting swimming due to dangerous conditions. (City of Virginia Beach)

“It’s always a hard decision, and it’s not one we make lightly,” Arguelles told the Virginian-Pilot newspaper. In calling off the search, the Coast Guard considered the rough waters, the size of the area searched and the “likelihood of survivability.”

The Jewish community is still searching for Bauman’s body, according to WTKR.

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“This is a terrible loss,” Joel Rubin, representing the Norfolk Jewish community, told the local CBS affiliate. “Rabbi Bauman was the most respected rabbis and teachers in this community. He was a father, a scholar and an outgoing, smart man.”

Bauman is reportedly a father of five, and he taught 7th and 8th-grade secular studies and 3rd-grade Judaic studies at the school.

Westlake Legal Group Rabbi-Reuven-Bauman-Toras-Chaim 'Heroic' Virginia rabbi missing after diving into ocean to save a student fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/virginia fox-news/us/religion/judaism fox-news/us/military/heroism fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/us fnc Caleb Parke article 23f63f67-ee02-5064-8964-acda9a1a2b9a   Westlake Legal Group Rabbi-Reuven-Bauman-Toras-Chaim 'Heroic' Virginia rabbi missing after diving into ocean to save a student fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/virginia fox-news/us/religion/judaism fox-news/us/military/heroism fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/us fnc Caleb Parke article 23f63f67-ee02-5064-8964-acda9a1a2b9a

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Crane operator rescues 14 people from burning building in China

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Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6034213380001_6034207613001-vs Crane operator rescues 14 people from burning building in China Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/us/military/heroism fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/world fnc article aa461138-a45f-54c5-ad5a-47a26f68fcea

A 19-year-old crane operator is being hailed as a hero after he helped rescue 14 people trapped inside a burning building in northeastern China.

Local media reported the teenager drove the crane from a nearby construction site when the fire broke out at an empty shop on the first floor of a seven-story apartment building in Fushun City in the Liaoning Province.

Dramatic video from the May 2 fire shows crane operator Lan Junze hoisting the machinery’s platform to the third floor, where a mother and son called for help.

“The flame was very, very close to them,” Lan told state broadcaster CCTV. “My first thought was to get the mother and son down.”

TERRIFYING FOOTAGE EMERGES FROM FIERY MOSCOW PLANE CRASH THAT LEFT 41 DEAD

Once Dong Xiuyun and her son were safely out of the building, Lan moved the crane up to the fourth floor.

Mang Shengjun, a resident on the fourth floor, told the broadcaster that he would have jumped had the crane not appeared when it did.

“I was ready to jump out for survival,” he said, adding that his 70-year-old mother and his wife were not home at the time of the fire.

Dramatic video of the incident showed people being lifted to safety in the crane’s basket while the fire continued to spread and smoke billowed from the windows.

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“The temperature was very high,” Lan said. “I could feel the burn on my face. I sweat a lot, got very red and very hot.”

Lan managed to save 14 people in less than half an hour. Local media reported one person died in the fire.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6034213380001_6034207613001-vs Crane operator rescues 14 people from burning building in China Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/us/military/heroism fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/world fnc article aa461138-a45f-54c5-ad5a-47a26f68fcea   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6034213380001_6034207613001-vs Crane operator rescues 14 people from burning building in China Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/us/military/heroism fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/world fnc article aa461138-a45f-54c5-ad5a-47a26f68fcea

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Last surviving Doolittle Raider from attack on Japan remembered

Westlake Legal Group last-surviving-doolittle-raider-from-attack-on-japan-remembered Last surviving Doolittle Raider from attack on Japan remembered Lucas Tomlinson Jennifer Griffin fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox-news/topic/world-war-two fox news fnc/world fnc c0a289e4-81c6-5f91-96fc-e6c758a58d84 article

It was a turning point in the war, just four months after Pearl Harbor, and gave the nation hope.

Lt. Col. Richard Cole, the last surviving Doolittle Raider, died last week at the age of 103. He was Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot in the lead bomber that launched the surprise counter-attack over Japan in April 1942.

“How we were selected to go on that raid I don’t know,” said Cole in an interview with the American Veterans Center in 2014.

The raid was a virtual suicide mission: 16 bombers with 80 men on board taking off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet, 650 miles east of Japan, to bomb Tokyo and break the will of the Japanese.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-468f04ea7eb7440ab95106c9e6a67970 Last surviving Doolittle Raider from attack on Japan remembered Lucas Tomlinson Jennifer Griffin fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox-news/topic/world-war-two fox news fnc/world fnc c0a289e4-81c6-5f91-96fc-e6c758a58d84 article

Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” Cole, seated front, was presented a Congressional Gold Medal honoring the Doolittle Raiders in April 2015. (AP Photo/Gary Landers, File)

The B-25 Mitchell bombers flew without fighter escort. The lumbering bombers had to be modified to take off on the short, pitching flight deck. Typically the bombers would need 3,000 feet of runway to take off on land, but at sea, they had only 500 feet on the carrier.

While inflicting only minimal damage, the raid boosted morale back home in the United States and changed the course of the war.

Three Doolittle Raiders were killed. Eight were captured by the Japanese. Four survived years of solitary confinement.  All but one of the bombers crash-landed in China. The Raiders thought they would be court-martialed, not honored.

Asked how he became Doolittle’s co-pilot on the famous mission, Cole said it was fate.

MARINE RUNNING BOSTON MARATHON FOR FALLEN COMRADES CRAWLS ACROSS FINISH LINE

“It was strictly by luck,” he said. “The 17th group got transferred to Columbia, South Carolina. They had put a note up on the board wanting volunteers for a dangerous nation. I had [to] put my name there.”

Two months after the raid, mission commander Brig. Gen. Jimmy Doolittle received the nation’s highest valor award, the Medal of Honor, from President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Oval Office.

Cole received the Distinguished Flying Cross. The Doolittle Raiders agreed to meet every year until only two remained. In 2013, they uncorked a bottle of vintage cognac from 1896 — the year of Doolittle’s birth — for a final toast.

Thursday, a grateful nation will say goodbye to the last Doolittle Raider. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and the Air Force’s top officer, Gen. David Goldfein are to fly down to San Antonio, Texas, for the memorial.

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Lt. Col. Richard Cole will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery if Congress intervenes, according to officials.

Three years ago, the Air Force said it would name its new B-21 bomber — The Raider — in honor of the legendary Doolittle Raiders.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6027271105001_6027267660001-vs Last surviving Doolittle Raider from attack on Japan remembered Lucas Tomlinson Jennifer Griffin fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox-news/topic/world-war-two fox news fnc/world fnc c0a289e4-81c6-5f91-96fc-e6c758a58d84 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6027271105001_6027267660001-vs Last surviving Doolittle Raider from attack on Japan remembered Lucas Tomlinson Jennifer Griffin fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/us/military/honors fox-news/us/military/heroism fox-news/topic/world-war-two fox news fnc/world fnc c0a289e4-81c6-5f91-96fc-e6c758a58d84 article

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