#Human Rights
Dr. Rhiannon A. La Passioneria CDR USN M/Ret. MAJ MSG M/Ret.
United States of America

Mr. President..., and others mentioned below..., We need your help!!! This is a TRANSSEXUAL who has done so much for so many. She is Rhiannon now due to the trauma of the RAPE on the USS Ranger in 1978.

This is about a US Service Member who has served in the U.S. Air Force 2 years, U.S. Navy for 3 years and State Guards of Alabama, 2 seperate times for 9 years, Virginia for 4 years, the USNSCC Shelby BN for 2.5 years and the Mississippi State Guard for over 9 years. The only reason she wasn't a Marine..., there just wasn't enough time. She is, Rhiannon A. La Passioneria, A Forgotten American Hero or..., Rhi to her friends. At the age of 15 on 22 Dec. 1973, as a Police Explorer Scout with Post 18 of the Montgomery AL Police Department, Rhi was faced with a life and death situation. The officer she was on patrol with, Officer John Hester, was attacked during a Hit & Run investigation. His service revolver taken from him and a nervous woman, holding the .357 Cal. Smith & Wesson and pointing it at Rhi, Officer Hester, her brother and her boyfriend. Rhi calmly placed herself in between the gun and the other three men while the other two men were beating Officer Hester. Rhi grabbed the revolver with her left hand just as the hammer struck the skin between her thumb and forefinger. Rhiannon saved them all!

As an Airman 1st Class in the U.S.A.F. during a Tornado Alert at Sheppard A.F.B., TX in April 1977, Rhi, then an In Patient at the Base Hospital, saw a family trapped in the parking lot and in her PJ's, went in to the storm, grabbed the two small children and guided the family inside to safety.

As a Radioman 2nd Class in the U.S. Navy and a crew member aboard the U.S.S. Ranger CV-61, Rhi was burned on both legs, saving the lives of RMSA Jerry Parrott and RMSN David Whyte in a berthing fire that later turned out to be a Murder Attempt.

Later, On 1 Sept. 1978 Rhi was on an early morning supply run for the Communications Department of the USS Ranger. When she stopped for gas at the fuel depot at N.T.C. San Diego, she saw that the Royal Inn Hotel across the street was on fire on the 5th floor. Rhi ran up 5 flights of stairs, kicked and bent open the steel fire door the wrong way, entered the building, tripped the fire alarms, charged the Fire Station on the 5th floor while evacuating guests and putting out the fire. There were 234 Rooms and the Hotel was 100% occupied at the time. That's over 400 Sleeping Souls. Rhi was the only one hurt with dark bruises on her right and left leg and smoke inhalation damage to herself. She was treated at the NTC San Diego Infirmary.

In a Collision at Sea, 0455, 5 April 1979, the U.S.S. Ranger collided with the Super Tanker, SS Fortune Moriva just south of Singapore. Rhi volunteered to and actually went over the side of the ship with approval from Capt. Thomas G. Moore in to the damaged hull of the ship and gathered information to relay back to the skipper. Her Starboard Safety Line was fouled and she had to cut loose and be dragged up the Port side of the USS Ranger. The Navy never awarded Rhi one single award for anything she did. Even through award by default, she's earned the Navy/Marine Corps Medal 3 times, the US Navy Commendation Medal and many more.

As an N.C.O. Club Supervisor at Gunter A.F.B. Montgomery, AL, Rhiannon was on her way to work on Thanksgiving Eve 1989. There was what had started out as a 5 Car Pile Up on the Northern By-Pass in Montgomery AL that evening. Rhi stopped just before two more cars piled in to the growing wreck. She took care of injured people, got everyone's Emergency Flashers going and asked a motorist to go call for help. There were no Cell Phones then! She stayed and did what she could till Montgomery Police Department and Montgomery County Sheriffs Department arrived. Had she not done so, the wrecks would have grown out of control as no one had the common sense to use their lights or flashers. Rhiannon earned the U.S.A.F. Civilian Medal for Valor. The Club Manager was Chief Master Sergeant Bill Uhde. Rhiannon never received anything.

Skipping ahead of many more rescues to present time...,

During Hurricane Katrina, as a Volunteer Chaplain/Captain O3E with the 1st Bat. 1st Brigade of the Mississippi State Guard on active duty without pay...,

1. During a Drive By Shooting the night after the hurricane, while inside the Key Chapter of the American Red Cross in Meridian, MS, ((601) 485-5151 Chapter Director, Cheri Beri now Mayor of Meridian, MS., Disaster Director, Mr. Gordon Stewart). Rhi exposed herself to direct fire while uniformed and unarmed to get all staff members and volunteers inside on the floor and turned off all lighting to make a black out inside and lower any chance that the shooters could see who to shoot at. No one was injured but the building took 5 hits. Rhi had used her body to block the door as it would not lock.

2. The Friday evening after Katrina, some Clients in the Shelters were receiving partial text messages from family and friends still trapped in the New Orleans area and other areas. Rhi and other Red Cross Staffers, compiled the information, Rhi set up an emergency communications network with Eagle Ops in Shreveport, LA and relayed through them the information to the rescue teams in New Orleans, causing over 27 lives to be saved that no one would have known about. One partial message read, "..., there are some of us still alive and in the roof, send...," Rhi did!

3. Scores of displaced and disabled Veterans were in the Meridian area when Rhiannon found out that the V.A. Clinic there was abandoned. These former Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines had no medicines to take as many left all they had behind. Again Rhiannon, set up another emergency communications network, contacted Dr. Terry Allgood (601-364-1270) at the V.A. Hospital Jackson, MS. and with the help of SFC Kathy Thornton, (NOTE: There was one plug on a generator and then, SSG Thornton had to reprogram and reset each piece of equipment every time something needed to be relayed making a normal operation, very difficult), made all arrangements for all medicines to be handled through the Red Cross Nurse Supervisor and staff for distribution to those Veterans.

Rhi has been nominated twice for the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her combined actions across America. These came from Gov. Kirk Fordice (R) MS in August 1999 and by Sen. Ed Robertson (D) AL in Sept. 1996. Both were sent to Pres. Bill Clinton. The White House responded but never acted on the nominations. She has received commendations from 7 Governors of 6 States. She's most proud of the one from former President George W. Bush when he was Governor of Texas and a very special one from Gov. George C. Wallace (D) AL. The others are from Governors, Pete Wilson CA, Lawton Chiles FL, Fob James AL, George Allen VA, and Kirk Forcice MS.

Rhiannon has earned many awards over the years from the Boy Scout Medal of Honor w/ Crossed Palms - Police Explorer Program 1973-1976, U.S.A.F. 1976 & 1977, U.S.N. 1977-1980 and the Active State Guards of Alabama 1981-1985 & 1989-1992 , Virginia 1985-1989, U.S. Navy Sea Cadet Corps 1998-2001 and in the Mississippi State Guard 2001-2009. The only problem is, she's never had an awards ceremony and has never been awarded any of them. People seem to either loose, misplace, destroy or deny ever having received any paperwork on her. She was even ordered by the Mississippi State Guard HQ to not mention anything about her service during Hurricane Katrina and has been called a liar for what she's done. Even with Documented or Notarized evidence from people she's helped. For the little 2006 Southern Hero Award for her efforts during Katrina, the State Guard ordered Rhiannon NOT to wear her uniform to receive the award or to even mention the Guard. The Red Cross did not recognize Jim for his efforts and the lives she protected there or the $2000.00 donation in her name from The Southern Companies on behalf of the award. The V.A. wanted to punish her and take her pension cause she did all the work she did on the phones to help all the people and Veterans she helped which she could have done at home. It was safer at the Red Cross and her medical conditions could be watched more closely.

Dr. Rhiannon A. La Passioneria is a Disabled Veteran rated at 100%. She was Attacked, Beaten, Shot, Burned and RAPED after she turned in Drug Dealers and Loan Sharks on the USS Ranger CV-61. She has not been able to work since 20 Mar. 1992 and that was completely against medical advice from the V.A. Hospital Doctors in Montgomery AL. Till July 1st. 2009, Rhi was still serving without pay as a Volunteer in the Mississippi State Guard and in pain with an out of date Pace Maker, Gout, Blood Clots, Burns and numerous other injuries to herself from active duty and civilian rescues for which she still fights the V.A. for a full service connected and Unemployable pension. She is a poor but proud woman and will buy food for someone in need at the drop of a hat when her family has nothing. I have seen her do this! The family vehicles were Katrina Survivors but are barely running. Her truck is missing all of it's rear windows. Rhi & Kathy lost their home to tornado damage earlier, before Katrina. She has never missed a drill or a call to duty and has volunteered several times for an appointment to active duty and service in Afghanistan and Iraq in spite of her pain because she wanted to make a difference. She now has been forced to take a Medical Retirement from the Mississippi State Guard and they didn't even give her a retirement Certificate for Honorable Service.

Her Family & Friends have nominated Rhiannon for the Mississippi Medal of Honor. Her former C.O., then MAJ Pate Miranda of Meridian, MS (Now Deceased) nominated Rhi for the Magnolia Cross of Mississippi with a support letter from the Red Cross, Key Chapter. Gov. Haley Barbour never responded! I've seen her do many of these things and even watched her leave her own birthday party I had given her to go in to a very nasty storm in Hattiesburg MS to help people. She's always giving to others when she has nothing and someone needs to remember her now. We believe that she's saved over 500 souls from coast to coast. Many of her rescues are documented.

If Lincoln's words are true, then so is the echo of Sen. Robertson's letter to Gov. George Wallace, "If we do not remember what this woman has done, others will forget what to do." Gov. Wallace's letter and nomination for the Distinguished Service Medal of Alabama with the Valor Device for risking her life so many times has been ignored by Alabama's Governors. All of the nominations for any awards she's earned, even going back to the Boy Scout's Medal of Honor with Crossed Palms by unanimous nomination of her area council have all been ignored or denied. The American Red Cross never recognized her for all of her efforts during Hurricane Katrina and she raised over $2500.00 for them when she had no money.

I think that no one in America has done this much to help their fellow man so hands on doing rescues and risking their life as a Samaritan! It's time that America knew about and remembered Rhiannon. She's given her ALL, She certainly deserves our best! 15 Minutes of fame is not enough. Maybe someone will find courage in her sacrifices. Thanks for looking at this and if you can, please help Rhiannon.

I am Mary K. (Kathy) Thornton, Honorably Discharged SFC & Medical NCO for Head Quarters 1st (SEPARATE) Infantry Brigade Mississippi State Guard. I am also the former wife of James D. Thornton, now Rhiannon Annalise La Passioneria. I can attest to the deeds mentioned by Mr. Bruce Ferguson and much more. I would like to add two more rescues to this list my former husband has been a part of and beg you, whoever you are, please send this information to your congressional delegations in California, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Virginia. and the U.S.A.F. & U.S.N. Secretaries for action by them and the President. The Current U.S.N. Secretary is former Mississippi Governor Ray Maybus.

There has to be some way that Rhiannon may receive proper recognition. She has been nominated for so many awards and received only one. The Southern Hero Award for 2006 from SouthernLINC Wireless and the Southern Companies and that only for the Veterans she has helped during Katrina. She has gone broke helping others and we have all suffered a little but, it's what had to be done and she knows this. Help her so he can continue to help others.

In Feb. 2004, Rhi noticed a large amount of black smoke coming from the area by our neighbor, Ms. Terri Cross ((601) 447-7896 / 9181 Hensarling Rd. Petal, MS 39465), 10 miles away. Just by feeling something was wrong, she raced there to find Terri Cross' property on fire. The home was burning as Rhi entered to get Terri out. She was burned on her right leg going up the stairs to Terri's home. Rhi awoke her from a very heavily medicated sleep and removed her from the home. With only a garden hose and determination, she proceeded to fight the fire until one of Terri's cousins showed up to help, then others arrived. She was also cut by briers and weeds as she fought the fire. She was burned again in the same area of her right leg from the USS Ranger Fire while finishing off this fire. She saved Ms. Cross and her home and was hurt fairly bad doing so. The Macedonia V.F.D. actually complained to the Perry County Sheriffs Dept. about her doing this rescue and wanted her arrested. The Fire Chief, the one who complained was the Aunt woman she saved.

While riding with my former husband on 6 Nov. 2006, an older black lady passed us on HWY. 11, north of Petal, MS and didn't notice the car in front of us turning left in to their driveway. The lady swerved and tried to regain control of her car to no avail. Mrs. Charlotte Evans, ((601 )582-0970 / 1248 Leeville Rd. Petal, MS 39465), ended up flipping her car and crashing in to the woods after fishtailing and leaving the highway. Her car landed on it's side in a slanted position and was rolling over on it's roof on to a tree stump. Rhi ran through the weeds and positioned herself to block the car from continuing it's roll and to give Mrs. Evans, time to escape. Using her own body to stop the car from rolling, she calmed Mrs. Evans down, got her to concentrate on the window on the high side of the car and roll it down so that she would be able to crawl out and escape. As she exited the position, she was high up on the side of the car causing it to try and roll even more. Rhi used every thing she had to keep it steady, yelled at her to jump, and kept the car steady while she escaped. After she was clear, Rhi jumped out of the way cutting herself on thorns and brambles while the car continued to roll over. Mrs. Evans didn't even have a scratch. Rhiannon suffered for over two weeks, with muscle cramps and pains from the cuts and burns she suffered in both incidents. She's done so much more and has risked her life on so many occasions. Why is it that one woman, a 100% Disabled Veteran at that, has saved hundreds of lives and gets no help from the V.A, The different branches of the Military she's served in, proper awards or anything? She cares so much about everyone and gives her all because the morning of her Mother's death, she did a rescue at Jackson Hospital, 21 Aug. 1992. She asked her mother Betty, was this her lot in life to help people. In her last breaths she told Rhiannon it was. She's always taken this as Gospel. Isn't someone willing to do the same for her?

She suffers from numerous medical problems including her heart and the moment she put's on her uniform, she is renewed. No matter how much she hurts, she won't let it show. She has so much pride and patriotism that she's volunteered several times to go to Afghanistan or Iraq to do whatever she can do. Rhi remains ignored! She's trained her whole life to serve since she was 11 years old and wore her first uniform in Military School at Gulf Coast Military Academy in Gulfport MS and then in the US Army JROTC Program at G.W. Carver HS in Montgomery AL. She had 7 years of Military Training before she ever put on a US Military Uniform. I want to see her be able to hold her head high, get the honors she so rightly deserves and be remembered for what she's done during his peace and war time service.

I don't know any other way to do it other than here. She's done so much for so many in America! America..., Please do something for Rhiannon? God Bless you all and please keep us in your prayers..., especially rhi!


Bruce Ferguson and Kathy Thornton

Mr. President, Gov. Phil Bryant, The Secretaries of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy,

You and many others have recognized Rhiannon La Passioneria of the Mississippi State Guard for her heroism through many letters of commendation and other ways. No one has pinned a medal on her though for saving over 500 lives and we ask that you do so now and abide by the nominations of Sen. Edward Robertson (Ala.) 1996 and Gov. Kirk Fordice (Ms.) 1999 and award this HERO, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, The Mississippi Medal of Honor, The Magnolia Cross, The Alabama Distinguished Service Medal for Valor and his other U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy awards she has earned.

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The A Forgotten Transsexual American Hero / Medal of Freedom petition to Dr. Rhiannon A. La Passioneria CDR USN M/Ret. MAJ MSG M/Ret. was written by Mary Appleby and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.