Sherman L. Fleek

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Sherman L. Fleek is an American military historian. He was born at Hill Air Force Base and raised in Layton, Utah. His work specializes on Mormon military history, particularly the history of the Mormon Battalion during the Mexican–American War. He has also written on topics related to Latter-day Saint (LDS) history that are not always military in nature.

Career[edit]

Fleek rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army, serving as an aviator, Special Forces officer, and historian in several command and staff positions. His last duty in the Army was chief historian for the National Guard Bureau in Washington D.C., when he retired in 2002. The Army approached him in 2005 while serving as a historian for a Civil War non-profit preservation foundation in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, to enter federal civil service and become the official command historian for the United States Army reconstruction effort in Iraq. Fleek deployed to Iraq for four months in 2006 as a historian. Fleek served as command historian of Walter Reed Army Medical Center from 2007 to 2009. In May 2009, he assumed the position as historian for the United States Military Academy at West Point.[1][2][3][4]

Fleek received a bachelor's degree in English from Brigham Young University in 1982, and a master's degree in history from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs while serving in the Army at Fort Carson. He is a Latter-day Saint and served a LDS mission in the Idaho Pocatello Mission from 1977–79, after having completed four years as an enlisted soldier with the Army, 1973–77, in Germany.

Works[edit]

Books by Fleek include History May Be Searched in Vain: A Military History of the Mormon Battalion (414 pages, Arthur H. Clark Company) which won the Utah State History Society Amy Price Military History Award for 2007. He also wrote, Place the Headstones Where They Belong : Thomas Neibaur, WWI Soldier (Logan: Utah State University Press). Fleek has contributed many articles to Military History, America's Civil War, Wild West, Army, and Mormon Heritage Magazine.

Fleek has also recently published two historical fiction novels that focus on the Mormon Battalion and General Stephen Kearny's Army of the West during the Mexican War. The first is Called to War: Dawn of the Mormon Battalion (2010) and a sequel War in the Far West: the March of the Mormon Battalion, (2011).

In November 2011, publisher Greg Kofford Books released Saints of Valor: Mormon Medal of Honor Recipients that details the stories of Latter-day Saints who have received the Medal of Honor.

Valor Award[edit]

Sherman Fleek was awarded the U.S. Army's highest civilian decoration for bravery on May 25, 2016 by the Secretary of the Army, Eric K. Fanning. On May 31, 2015 while on vacation in California, Fleek was waiting to be seated at an IHOP restaurant when an armed robber entered and demanded all the money from the cashier. In a few seconds Sherman Fleek decided to rush the gunman from behind from his position in the waiting area. With no weapon Fleek struck the armed man and knocked him across the cashier counter, then a struggle for the pistol ensued. At one point the assailant pointed the pistol at Fleek's chest. Struggling to gain control of the weapon the gunman eventually broke free and escaped with the pistol. Months later army officials at the U.S. Military Academy nominated Lt. Col. (Retired) Fleek for the Secretary of the Army Award for Valor, which was approved in the spring of 2016 and presented to him at the Pentagon in a special ceremony.

The Award Citation[edit]

For heroic achievement on 31 May 2015 Mr. Sherman L. Fleek was on leave visiting a restaurant when he witnessed an armed robbery in progress. Without hesitation, he tackled and fought a man robbing the cashier at gunpoint and forced the robber to flee. His actions, which saved the lives of countless patrons and employees, exemplify the Army values of duty, selfless service, and personal courage.

Awards and Decorations[edit]

U.S. Military Decorations
Legion of Merit
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Commendation Medal with 2 OLC
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Achievement Medal with OLC
Army Good Conduct Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Ribbon
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Army Schools and Training
Special Forces Tab
Special Forces Tab
Master Aviator
Master Army Aviator
Parachutist badge
Parachutist Badge
Air Assault Badge
Civilian Awards
Secretary of the Army Award for Valor
Department of the Army Superior Civilian Service Award
Commander's Award for Civilian Service
Secretary of Defense Medal for the Global War on Terrorism

Bibliography[edit]

Non-fiction:

  • History May be Searched in Vain: A Military History of the Mormon Battalion, Spokane, Washington: Arthur H. Clark Company,2006. ISBN 0-870-62343-5, OCLC 62172752
  • Place the Headstones Where They Belong : Thomas Neibaur, WWI Soldier (Logan: Utah State University Press) ISBN 0-874-21695-8
  • Saints of Valor: Mormon Medal of Honor Recipients Greg Kofford Books, 2011. ISBN 978-1-58958-171-5

Novels:

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Johnson, Page (April 25, 2009), "My home base", Church News, p. 7 . This article refers to Fleek as a historian of Reed Medical Center
  2. ^ This is an article by Fleek about the history of Walter Reed
  3. ^ Lloyd, R. Scott (November 19, 2011), "Unsung war hero's medal now preserved at Church History Library", Church News 
  4. ^ http://www.ldsmag.com/article/1/6628 The Mormon Battalion: the Most Unusual Military Unit in American History