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Key to success: Vision Key to success: Passion Key to success: Perseverance Key to success: Preparation Key to success: Courage Key to success: Integrity Key to success: The American Dream Keys to success homepage More quotes on Passion More quotes on Vision More quotes on Courage More quotes on Integrity More quotes on Preparation More quotes on Perseverance More quotes on The American Dream


Michael Thornton

Medal of Honor

I guess if you sat down and thought about it afterwards, you'd probably go, "Why did we do that? What are we doing here?" But when you get back from a mission -- you don't really think about it during a mission. Or you're in a heavy fire fight and your mission is a heavily involved contact one. And when you get back you don't really let that -- you can't concentrate on that. You can't sit there and say, "Geez, I almost didn't make it," or you wouldn't operate again. You just wipe it out of your mind and you go on. And you gather -- you have almost a sixth sense when you run operations. You feel things almost before they happen. It's hard to explain to somebody that's never been there what it's like to work in an area where you're outnumbered.
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Michael Thornton

Medal of Honor

"Nasty," he says, "I don't see the Qua Viet river, which means we're not where we're supposed to be." So he should have been able to pick it up on the starlight scope. And I said, "Okay, Mike." And he'd kind of look at me, you know, like -- "You nut, we're not where we're supposed to be." And he'd go back to the back of the line and off we'd go and patrol some more. And you know, every time we'd stop he'd let me know that, you know, "Hey, dumb-dumb, we're not where we're supposed to be!"
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Michael Thornton

Medal of Honor

They threw a grenade over on my side and I threw the grenade back. Well, in America the grenades are four seconds, "1,000, 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 " the grenade goes off. So they throw the grenade back over, and I'm going, "5,000, 6,000 " I throw the grenade back. I'm going, "8,000, 9,000..." and this grenade comes over again. And I know this grenade -- and the grenade went off. I rolled over and the grenade went off, and I was hit seven times with shrapnel in my back. So I yelled out, and I could hear Tommy yelling for me and I wouldn't say nothing and about that time these other three guys came over the top of the sand dune, and I shot one of them and one fell down on my side, and the other two fell back. Well, when that happened -- for some reason they quit their offensive. They quit coming forward.
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Michael Thornton

Medal of Honor

The radioman comes back -- Dang was the radioman. He comes back by himself. Like I said, I had already been hit and he comes back and he has two bullet rounds in through the back of the radio where he had shrapnel in his back, and he says, "Mike, Da Wei's dead! Da Wei's dead!" And I just remembered -- you know, I said, "Are you sure?" And he said, "Yeah." And I just remembered the last position I saw Tommy when I left. So I jumped, grabbed my gun and I went running back up there and I saw Tommy laying on the side and I thought Tommy was dead. The bullet had entered the side of his head over here and came out -- Thomas Norris: Blew out this whole portion of my head. Michael Thornton: -- and the whole side of his head was completely gone. I grabbed Tommy. At this time we were being overrun at the position. So I got down in a kneeling position and I shot several guys right there. When they saw me -- that I was there, they stopped and they started firing and I grabbed Tommy and put him on my shoulders and started to run with him. Well I didn't know that Tommy had told the Newport News to fire for effect. Well, the first round came in, and the concussion hit and it blew me like 20 feet in the air! And I'm watching Tommy's body fly off my shoulders and he hits the ground like a "kabloop!" Like that. And I get up, and I'm dazed, but luckily the round hit behind me a little bit to the south, and it really got these guys' attention. So I went over and I grabbed Tommy to pick him up. I'm dazed from the concussion and he says, "Mike, buddy." And I knew he was still alive.
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Michael Thornton

Medal of Honor

So I picked him up and I stick him underneath of my arms because I was fine like that, and I stuck his head underneath the water and I feel all this flapping going like that and it was him! And I took him and I grabbed him and I put him in front of me and I started swimming. Well, when I started swimming with Tommy, the young Vietnamese, Kwan, which was one of the Vietnamese that I had picked, comes flying by me. The surf has pushed him in. He got shot through his right buttocks and he couldn't use his leg. So I grabbed him. I put him on my back. He was on my shoulders. I had Tommy in front of me like this with his arms --I had him wrapped and I told Dang to hold his arms. And I'm breast stroke swimming like that. And I'm swimming and all I could do is see all these bullets just flying into the water. After we got past the surf zone they just kept flying past us. And after we got out of the range of fire, the Newport News -- I saw them turn around and leave. I said, "Where in the hell are they going?" You know. Well I guess this forward observer had told them all they saw was a bunch of people jumping up and down, and they were called off the line, and they thought we all were dead.
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Charles Townes

Inventor of the Maser & Laser

A scientist has to decide: Is he right or is he wrong? And other people won't necessarily agree with you. Two very prominent professors in my department came in one day and said, "Look, you know that's not going to work. We know it's not going to work. Why don't you just stop bothering with it, and wasting time, wasting time and money?" I had spent I guess about 30,000 dollars building this up. And they assured me it wasn't going to work. Now, I had of course been working with it long enough, and thought about it enough that, well, I still think it has a good chance. And so I continued, and a couple of months later it was working. Now also, one should realize that many people came to my laboratory and looked at this, they weren't terribly excited about it. They said, "Well, you know, that's a kind of a nice idea." But nobody else tried to do it. It wasn't that interesting to other people at that time. They hadn't yet really grasped what it meant. And everybody was looking at it, "Well yes, okay, that's a kind of nice idea," but some doubted it would work. And nobody else was interested enough to try to do it, even though they knew all about what I was trying to do. I had showed them. So we could take two-and-a-half years -- no competition -- we just went our own course, and did the things we thought had some chance. And it turned out well. Now, it might have not turned out so well. It would have been interesting in any case, but maybe not quite so successful. So it was worth exploring, I was sure of that.
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Charles Townes

Inventor of the Maser & Laser

I was young in most of my grades, too. Younger than the other children. I didn't put on long pants as soon as other children did. My parents felt short pants were okay, and it didn't bother me. But I got picked on, just for being a little different. Now I've always thought that actually that was very good training. My parents believed in what they believed, and they taught me to do that too, and to not worry if somebody else doesn't agree with you. That's a very important aspect of creativity. Because in looking at things that other people may not think are useful or good or right, and you have to decide for yourself what's important. And that's a part of certainly the scientific tradition. You have to think things through yourself. And just because somebody else doesn't agree with you doesn't mean you should stop. That's just the time you ought to think hard, see who really is right. So this being picked on a little bit, I don't think it was a bad thing. And it didn't trouble me all that much.
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Ted Turner

Founder, Cable News Network

Ted Turner: When I made the decision to do it, about a year before it went on the air, there was no question in my mind. Now the only question was: Would I run out of resources before it turned the corner? There was no way I could know about that until I went ahead and did it, because I didn't have enough capital to see it through. But in my study of history, Erwin Rommel in the desert never had enough petrol for his offensives against the British to finish them. He had to depend on capturing fuel supplies from the British by attacking so quickly and catching them off guard that they would retreat and leave some petrol for him to finish. It was dicey, and it didn't always work, but I knew that was what I was going to have to do. I was going to have to hit hard and move incredibly fast. And that's what we did: moved so fast that the networks wouldn't have time to respond, because they should have done this, not me, but they didn't have any imagination, or didn't have adequate imagination.
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