Over twelve million American men and women experienced service during World War II. Of that total, only several hundred thousand are still living today. They have been called the “Greatest Generation” because of their willingness to make the supreme sacrifice for their country and fellow men and women. It is to their honor we dedicate this story.
Reford Young was just twenty-one when he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942. A native of Pike County, Kentucky, he began his service at a basic training camp in Tennessee. Reford continued his orientation in desert training in Arizona and spent time at a base in Wichita, Kansas before disembarking for Europe from Fort Dix in New Jersey. He sailed aboard the Queen Mary to England. Upon landing, he spent a week adjusting to climate and being outfitted for combat.
Reford was a part of General George Patton’s Third Army – specifically Company C 317th First Platoon. He was designated a rifleman and photographer. Because of a special request by his mother, Reford’s twin brother, Raymond, was assigned to the same outfit as his brother. Raymond had been wounded early in the fighting, thus the brothers saw limited service time together although they did see action almost immediately upon arriving in France.
The Company arrived at Omaha Beach in Normandy and were under fire within a few days at Argouten, France – a hilly part of the country still held by German forces. Being new to fighting, Reford would rise up to see what enemy was near only to be shouted out by his brother, “Keep your head down!” It was ironic that Raymond was the one who was wounded and Reford went unscathed through all the action.
Reford reached the rank of Buck Sergeant during this time in the service, but refused on numerous occasions to take a leadership role in his company. It was his feeling the majority of men in the command didn’t care to take orders, and he didn’t want to give them. He was content in remaining a member in the ranks – a foot soldier who wanted to complete the assignments given him, and do them as well as he could.
Toward the end of 1944, the war had reached a stalemate. The Allied forces were perched on the border of Germany just waiting for the weather to break so that a successful attack could be mounted. There had been talk about the Christmas Holiday and maybe taking some time off from the front lines. That all changed on December 16th, 1944, because Hitler had other plans in mind. He would launch one more major offensive through the Ardennes Forest to divide the Allies and to secure a port cutting off their supplies. This battle was to be called the “The Bulge” and brought the siege of Bastogne to the headlines of newspapers throughout the free world.
As history tells us, Hitler’s December offensive was initially successful. If it weren’t for the fortitude of a meager defensive group of the 101st Airborne in Bastogne under General Anthony McAuliffe, who refused to give ground, and a tactical chance taken by Patton’s Third Army, the outcome might have been quite different. Reford Young remembers the bone-chilling cold of foxholes and marching in mud and snow for miles to relieve the men fighting in the holding action in Bastogne. Even with their effort, the success of the operation depended upon the Army Air Corps to bomb an enemy that was dedicated to one last, desperate operation.
Reford remembers an icy, snowy day in December when the skies cleared and for the first time in days, he could see the bombers and fighters overhead seeking targets that would clear the way for the Allies to break out of “the Bulge.” He was deep in his foxhole, but he couldn’t help feeling a joyful relief even though he was bitterly cold. It was the beginning of the end for the war in Europe. Hitler had spent his last effort. General Patton is quoted as saying, “The war is almost over. The God of battles always stands on the side of right when the judgment comes.”
For Reford Young and his fellow soldiers, there was still plenty of war to be won.
They fought their way through Germany and doubled back to end up in Austria where he ended his active war service. To his credit, Young ended up with four battle stars and numerous medals to exhibit. He was discharged from the Army in October of 1945, having sailed back to the United States aboard a luxury German ship.
Today, Reford divides his time between Florida and Franklin, Indiana, where he can still be found on a local golf course tying to shoot his age which is ninety-six. We wouldn’t bet that he doesn’t do it!
The Battle for Bastogne was just one example of the fortitude and desires of the men and women who are a part of the “Greatest Generation.” And, even though their numbers are reduced, the American Spirit they represent lives on in their heritage. God bless them each and every one.
This article was written by:
A nationally recognized speaker and writer, Norman Wilkens has traveled to forty-seven of the fifty states speaking on topics of marketing, advertising and public relations.
Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies, recently reported a massive data breach. Are you among the 143 million U.S. consumers whose personal information was hacked? Here’s how to find out — and how to help protect yourself against future breaches.
What Went Wrong?
On July 29, Equifax discovered that, starting in mid-May, criminals had exploited a vulnerability in a website application. Although management took immediate action to stop the attack, hackers had already gained unauthorized access to millions of consumers’ names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses, along with thousands of credit card numbers and credit dispute documents that contained sensitive personal information. The attack affected individuals in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Equifax immediately launched a forensic investigation and began working with law enforcement officials to discover the source and scope of the breach. Equifax has also responded by offering a free year of identity theft protection and credit file monitoring to all U.S. consumers.
Has Your Personal Data Been Breached?
Go to Equifax’s website and click on the “Potential Impact” tab to find out if your personal information has been compromised. The website also allows you to sign up for free data protection and credit monitoring services — regardless of whether you were affected by this particular incident.
Important note: The link requires you to enter personal information. So, access it using only a secure computer and an encrypted network connection.
After you request to enroll in the free service, the website will provide you with an enrollment date. Write down the date and come back to the site and click “Enroll” on that date. You have until November 21, 2017, to enroll for the free services. In addition to the website, Equifax plans to send direct mail notices to consumers whose credit card numbers or dispute documents were breached.
“This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Richard F. Smith, in a recent statement. He added, “I’ve told our entire team that our goal can’t be simply to fix the problem and move on. Confronting cybersecurity risks is a daily fight. While we’ve made significant investments in data security, we recognize we must do more. And we will.”
What Should You Do If a Breach Occurs?
If you suspect a data breach, help protect your identity from thieves and minimize losses by taking these steps:
Call the relevant companies if you suspect that a breach has occurred. Ask for the fraud department and explain the incident. Then change log-ins, passwords and PINs to minimize your losses.
Consider freezing your credit. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts, however. Alternatively, consider placing a fraud alert to warn creditors that you may be a victim of ID theft. Fraud alerts are free from all three major credit reporting agencies and last for 90 days. After the 90-day window, you can renew a fraud alert, if necessary.
Obtain free annual credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Identity theft usually results in accounts or activity that you won’t recognize.
ID theft often happens long after your personal information has been stolen, so don’t allow yourself to be lulled into a false sense of security after your initial response. Ongoing credit monitoring is essential. Proactive consumers continue to watch credit card and bank accounts closely for unusual activity. They also file their taxes as early as possible — before a scammer can.
If your personal data was exposed in the Equifax attack or it’s affected by another breach, contact your financial and legal advisors to guide you through the recovery process.
This article was written by:
The TMA Small Business Accounting, P.C.
Their staff has been delivering professional services to small businesses in Central Indiana for over 20 years. Having worked with hundreds of small business clients, we have significant expertise with a wide variety of service businesses in Indiana. We have especially strong experience and expertise in working with businesses in the healthcare (medical, dental, etc.) and foodservice (restaurants, caterers, etc.) industries.
On a recent trip motoring through Greece, we pulled into a service station and gassed up. I handed the clerk my credit card.
“PIN?” he asked.
“No, no PIN.”
This conversation wasn’t moving much. But he understood the situation enough and was able process the payment using just the chip embedded in my US-issued credit card.
To combat fraud, European credit card issuers have opted for a two-stage security process. In addition to sticking a microchip in the card that is read when it is scanned, the cardholder also needs to have a PIN. He or she enters it when the transaction takes place.
If that card is lost or stolen, the new possessor is likely out of luck without that PIN. It’s anyone’s guess as to why the Americans haven’t adopted this measure, since they just spent billions of dollars to issue new cards nationwide that carried the chip. Couldn’t they have added the PIN feature at the same time? Debit cards use them, so why not credit cards?
Unless we all move to Europe, though, we’ll have to make do with the cards currently in our wallets. They’re getting safer year by year, but trouble seems to lurk around every corner where billions of financial transactions are concerned.
If you’re buying online with a credit card, look for an “S” to be tacked onto the “HTTP” in the web address line. This stands for “secure,” and indicates that the merchant is scrambling communications between its website and your browser. That should keep the bad guys at bay. (HTTP, btw, means Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, which is the protocol over which data is sent).
Most merchants these days also will ask for your CSC – card security code. This is a three-digit numbers group that is separate from your account number. Thanks to these transactions taking place at the speed of light, the merchant is transmitting your data to the card issuer and instantaneously halts the purchase should those numbers not match.
Of course, anyone who holds your card and isn’t blind also knows that CSC (thus, the PIN is to my way of thinking a better idea).
Now, if you’re at a restaurant or department store and use your card, you’re going to get a receipt to sign. Bank of America advises that if you see any blank lines on that receipt, draw a line through it to make sure no one can come in after you and pencil in some fresh numbers.
If you have a choice between a credit and debit transaction with the same bank card, experts say you should choose credit. There are stringer fraud protections with credit cards. And if something bad does happen, a credit card liability is capped at $50. With a debit card it’s $500, or in some cases more.
Plus, bear in mind that your debit card is linked to your bank account. Not so with a credit card.
Have a merry, safe shopping, holiday season.
This article was written by:
Mr. Dinnen served as Sr. Business Reporter for the Des Moines Register, Business News Editor for the Indianapolis Star and served as Editor (freelance) for the Christian Science Monitor of its weekly personal finance column