Tag Archives: United States of America


Podcast: Your Service Matters: Rear Admiral Frank Thorp on Service and Finding the Good in People

Rear Admiral Frank Thorp speaks about his family’s longstanding service, within and outside of the military. He speaks about the principle of America’s service men and women serving and defending our Constitution, representing freedom and people’s desire to fight for it and give up what they have, as embodied by Bob Feller. Rear Admiral Thorp speaks about being in the Pentagon on 9/11 and reminds listeners that valor is not a word to be taken lightly.

“In his final active duty assignment in the Navy, Rear Adm. (ret) Frank Thorp, IV was the U.S. Navy’s Chief of Information (CHINFO), serving as principal spokesman for the Department of the Navy and providing strategic communication counsel to the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations. He led the Navy’s Public Affairs community of more than 2,500 active and reserve officer, enlisted, and civilian communication professionals.

Prior to this assignment, Thorp served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense (joint communication) where he was responsible for overseeing Department of Defense (DoD) efforts to shape department-wide communication doctrine, organization, and training for the joint force. As director of the strategic communication integration group (SCIG) secretariat, Thorp also led DoD efforts for strategic communication auspices of the deputy secretary of defense, DoD strategic communication plans.

He served as the special assistant for public affairs to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2003 until 2005. In 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Thorp was deployed to Qatar as the chief of media for U.S. Central Command (forward).

From 2000 to 2003, he served as special assistant for public affairs to the Chief of Naval Operations. His other assignments have included serving as the public affairs officer for the Bureau of Naval Personnel; Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet; Joint Task Force Middle East; Cruiser Destroyer Group 12 and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). He has also served as director of public affairs and congressional notification at the Navy Office of Legislative Affairs.

Thorp has also had several previous assignments at the Navy’s Office of Information. As a commander, he served as assistant chief of information for media operations. Other assignments include executive assistant to the chief of information, national news desk action officer, and aide to the chief of information.

Prior to specializing in public affairs, Thorp served as a surface warfare officer forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan.

In 1999, Thorp completed a fellowship at Hill & Knowlton Worldwide Public Affairs in Washington D.C. He has a master’s degree in broadcast journalism and public affairs from American University and a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College. Thorp is a 1986 graduate of the Defense Information School and a 1981 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in operations analysis.

His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal (2), Legion of Merit (2), Meritorious Service Medal (3), Joint Service Commendation Medal (2), and the Navy Commendation Medal (3)” (United States Navy website).

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Podcast: Mr. Carl Erskine: Jackie Robinson’s teammate, discipline, and change

“Baseball saw some of its biggest transformations in the 1940s and 50s. The introduction of night games, television, racial desegregation, and prevalence of jet travel all had a profound impact on how the game was forever played, observed, and experienced. Through these unprecedented times stood Carl Erskine, famed pitcher of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, and a witness to history.

Upon high school graduation in 1945, Erskine’s aspiration to play baseball came to a halt. With World War II in full swing, he was drafted into the U.S. Navy. A year later, Erskine introduced himself to the Navy recreation officer where he was stationed, and asked if he could play baseball. Already full of pitchers, he was turned away, but soon found consolation a few weeks later when scouted by the Dodgers and discharged from the Navy. Erskine spent the next year and a half in the minor leagues, at the time of widespread historical change in baseball.

While playing in 1947, baseball legend Jackie Robinson came on board the Brooklyn Dodgers as the first African American player in Major League history. After pitching in a challenging game in the spring of 1948, Robinson, who had watched Erskine pitch that game, befriended him and said, “You’re going to be with us real soon.” Truly inspired and with a great sense of optimism, Robinson’s prediction came true. Later that year, Erskine joined the Brooklyn Dodgers.

In the late ‘40s, television was beginning to permeate American society and millions of people started to see baseball in a new way. No longer restricted to archaic radio waves, the heroes of the sport now had faces to go along with their larger-than-life reputations–another milestone that would eternally change the nature of games.

Throughout the 1950s, air travel changed the way people moved across the country. With West Coast cities experiencing dramatic population increases, the major leagues started to expand. In 1957, the Dodgers left Brooklyn, New York and headed to California to become the Los Angeles Dodgers. Erskine, who did not like being away from his family, decided that relocating was not for him. He lasted only a year and a half and pitched his last game on June 4, 1959. His career spanned 12 seasons and accumulated 122 wins (.61).

After retiring from baseball, Erskine returned to his native Indiana and started his own insurance business in 1960. For 12 years, he coached the Anderson University Raven baseball program winning four championship games. While in the insurance business, he sharpened his business acumen and landed a job at Star Financial Bank serving as its president and director from 1982-1993. Erskine has also given his time and talents to many organizations, sitting on the board of trustees of Anderson University, St. John’s Medical Center, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and numerous other state and civic institutions.

Erskine was inducted into the Indiana National Baseball Hall of fame in 1979. In 2001, he wrote his first book, Tales from the Dodger Dugout, a collection of heartwarming stories recounting his days in the major leagues. Four years later, he penned his memoir, What I Learned from Jackie Robinson, sharing his memories of Jackie’s battle for racial equality and their enduring friendship that taught him important lessons about life.

The unique perspective of Erskine during baseball’s transformative years is a good reminder that change is something not to fear, but embraced with an open mind and heart (from CarlErskine.com).”

American Valor Podcast

Podcast: Mrs. Anne Feller on Mr. Bob Feller’s Legacy

We were very fortunate to feature Mrs. Anne Feller, the widow of Mr. Bob Feller, on the American Valor Podcast. Mrs. Feller shares incredible stories of Mr. Feller’s recollection of his experiences in World War II and pride in his country, sharing insight into what made individuals like Mr. Feller and World War II and Korean War veteran Mr. Ted Williams so special.

Afterwards, hear about the upcoming baseball season.

American Valor Podcast

Memories of Bob Feller: a Lifetime of Service with the USS Alabama’s Bill Tunnell

Mr. Bill Tunnell served as the Executive Director of USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park until 2015, a total of 19 years. Bill oversaw the maintenance and expansion of one of the last remaining Battleship museums left in the world. Over the course of his career, Bill met and spoke personally with National Baseball Hall of Famer and proud veteran of the United States Navy, Chief Petty Officer Bob Feller, developing a personal relationship with Mr. Feller. Mr. Tunnell was honored to speak at Mr. Feller’s memorial service in 2010.

Mr. Tunnell shares stories and lessons of the USS Alabama battleship, including service to country, America’s military, and the incredible life and legacy of Chief Petty Officer Bob Feller. Some values of those who served on the ship include comradeship, brotherhood, and patriotism. Bill exclaims a job and life very well done for Bob Feller.

The Battleship Memorial Park has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors each year since 1965: “More than fifteen million visitors later and a statewide economic impact approaching one billion dollars, the Park is easily the most recognizable symbol of the State of Alabama. Dedicated to all Alabama Citizens who have worn the uniform of all branches of the United States Armed Forces, the Park’s numerous artifacts, exhibits, and displays all point to the fact that the Park is America’s most unique military attraction” (ussalabama.com).

Bill Tunnell attended the University of the South, majoring in history with an emphasis on American History. Bill has served in various business roles throughout his career. Tunnell was named “Honorary Veteran” by the South Alabama Veterans Council and was the first inductee into the Alabama Tourism Hall of Fame.

American Valor Podcast

 

American Valor Podcast: MLB Veteran Doug Flynn on Baseball, Big Red Machine, Community Service

Mr. Doug Flynn is the latest person to join the American Valor Podcast!

Doug Flynn grew up playing several sports in Lexington, Kentucky. He attended the University of Kentucky and Somerset Community College before playing 11 seasons in Major League Baseball for the New York Mets, Montreal Expos, Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers. Mr. Flynn was a member of the 1975 Big Red Machine team that won the World Series. He is currently a broadcaster for the Cincinnati Reds and actively supports service men and women through multiple non-profit organizations, including Hope for the Warriors (supporting injured veterans and their families) at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, USACares (supporting family members of military personnel) and Save the Warriors (supporting veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder/PTSD).

Mr. Flynn speaks about his blessed childhood growing up in Kentucky and the impact of playing several sports including basketball and baseball at the University of Kentucky. He shares stories of trying out for the Cincinnati Reds and his tribulations rising through the team’s minor league system before playing with the Big Red Machine and National Baseball Hall of Fame managers Sparky Anderson and Joe Torre in his Major League career. Doug shares lessons learned from some of the greatest coaches and players of his generation.

Doug preaches playing for the team name on the front of the jersey rather than the name on the back and speaks to the importance of community involvement, sharing stories of his support for service men and women, often with his good friend National Baseball Hall of Famer and Bob Feller Award recipient Mr. Johnny Bench. Hear Mr. Flynn’s thoughts on the current state of the game of baseball and his experience of going on tour with the Oak Ridge Boys during the 1981 Major League Baseball players’ strike.

American Valor Podcast

Tommy Lasorda: Reflections on a Life in the United States of America

The great American and ambassador of baseball Mr. Tommy Lasorda shares insights from his established career with the Los Angeles Dodgers on the American Valor Podcast. Tommy preaches his passion for Dodgers baseball, the military and the United States of America.

Mr. Lasorda was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997 following his 20 years leading the Dodgers from 1976 to 1996, including 1,599 wins, four National League pennants and two World Series Championships, in 1981 and 1988.

Starting his professional baseball career in 1945, Lasorda left minor league baseball for two years to serve in the United States Army. Listeners will hear about the greatest moment from Mr. Lasorda’s 70-plus years in baseball and be inspired by Mr. Lasorda’s incredible passion for Bob Feller, the Dodgers and the United States of America.

Listen to Tommy’s episode wherever you listen to podcasts, or on our website: https://actofvaloraward.org/american-valor-podcast/

American Valor Podcast: the 70th Secretary of the Navy the Honorable John H. Dalton

On the American Valor Podcast, the 70th Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable John H. Dalton, reflects in depth on his life growing up in Louisiana, attending the United States Naval Academy, serving as an Officer in the Navy, working in private business and in government service. Mr. Dalton speaks about the challenging times he has faced in life as well as the positive attitude and support allowing him to persevere and grow. Mr. Dalton, embodying the Navy’s values of honor, courage and commitment, speaks about the significance of service and the importance of character in leadership. Mr. Dalton provides listeners with three simple constants to provide guidance and assurance throughout life: faith…family…and friends.

American Valor Podcast