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TriWest Hosts Military Heroes at National Memorial Day Parade
Date:5/22/2008

Recipients from World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War to Appear

WASHINGTON, May 22 /PRNewswire/ -- During World War II in October 1944, Private George T. Sakato and members of Company E, 42nd Regimental Combat Team were pinned down under heavy attacks from the enemy in Biffontaine, Germany. Despite intense enemy fire, Private Sakato single-handedly rushed the attackers. His charge inspired the squad to halt a counter-attack on the enemy, which killed members of his unit including his squad leader.

In memory of his squad leader and other fallen comrades, Sakato, along with Medal of Honor Recipients Robert L. Howard, John F. Baker, Jr. and Thomas J. Hudner, Jr., will participate in this year's National Memorial Day Parade at 2 p.m. on Monday, May 26 courtesy of TriWest Healthcare Alliance.

"Memorial Day is such an important holiday for Americans to honor the memory of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation," said TriWest President and CEO David J. McIntyre, Jr. "It's also a time to honor our Service members still fighting and those who have fought to preserve our freedoms, such as our Medal of Honor recipients."

America's heroes will lead spectators in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the start and then begin the parade procession, which begins at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th Street, travels down Constitution Avenue and ends at 17th Street.

Parade officials expect more than 150,000 parade spectators to attend. Actors Mickey Rooney, Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna will also ride in the National Memorial Day Parade as honorary marshals. For more information, visit http://www.nationalmemorialdayparade.com.

The Medal of Honor is the highest U.S. military award for valor; 3,465 have been awarded since 1862. There are only 105 living recipients today.

Medal of Honor Citations

John F. Baker, Jr., Davenport, Iowa

Sergeant, U.S. Army, Nov. 5, 1966, Vietnam

Sgt. Baker's unit, while en-route to assist a unit engaged with the enemy, came under intense fire. He assaulted six enemy bunkers under intense fire, often single-handedly, inflicting casualties upon the enemy and saving the lives of several wounded men by evacuating them to safety and repeatedly returning to re-engage the enemy.

Robert L. Howard, Opelika, Ala.

1st Lieutenant (then Sergeant First Class), U.S. Army, Dec. 30, 1968, Vietnam

While on a mission to rescue a missing soldier in enemy controlled territory, his platoon was attacked by a superior force and he was wounded. Unable to walk and weaponless, he crawled through a hail of fire to retrieve the wounded platoon leader, and crawled from position to position rendering aid, encouragement and directing defensive fire, repulsing enemy attacks.

Thomas J. Hudner, Jr., Fall River, Mass.

Lieutenant Junior Grade, U.S. Navy, Dec. 1, 1950, Korea

Attempting to rescue a fellow fighter pilot shot down behind enemy lines and trapped in the burning wreckage, he landed his plane wheels up on rough, mountainous terrain infested with enemy troops. He struggled to pull the other pilot free of the wreckage and stayed with the downed pilot, despite continued danger of the enemy, fighting time, cold and flames.

George T. Sakato, Colton, Calif.

Private, U.S. Army, Oct. 29, 1944, France, World War II

His unit pinned down by heavy enemy fire, he single-handedly rushed an enemy strongpoint and encouraged others to join his attack. He reorganized and inspired his comrades in halting a counterattack. During this action, he killed 12 of the enemy snipers and his fighting spirit turned impending defeat into victory and helped his platoon complete its mission.

Note: Robert L. Howard and Thomas J. Hudner, Jr. are available for interviews prior to Memorial Day and the National Memorial Day Parade.

About TriWest

TriWest Healthcare Alliance partners with the Department of Defense to do "Whatever It Takes" to support the health care needs of 2.9 million members of America's military family. A URAC-accredited, Phoenix-based corporation, TriWest provides access to cost-effective, high-quality health care in the 21-state TRICARE West Region, the 2007 TRICARE Region of the year. TriWest is a proud Corporate Team Member of America Supports You. Visit http://www.triwest.com for more information.
Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link. David McIntyre http://profnet.prnewswire.com/Subscriber/ExpertProfile.aspx?ei=73697


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SOURCE TriWest Healthcare Alliance
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