Advertisements
Home

Fred Cherry, Vietnam POW for seven years, dies at 87

1 Comment

This is from The Washington Post. 

R. I. P. Colonel Fred V. Cherry Hand Salute.     

Home Page Politics Opinions Sports Local National World Business Tech Lifestyle Entertainment Crosswords Video Photography Washington Post Live Live Chats Real Estate Cars Jobs WP BrandConnect Classifieds Partners washingtonpost.com 1996-2016 The Washington Post Terms of Service Privacy Policy Submissions and Discussion Policy RSS Terms of Service Ad Choices Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share via Email More Options    National Fred Cherry, Vietnam POW for seven years, dies at 87 Resize Text Print Article Comments 52  Book mark article  Read later list  Saved to Reading List   Col. Cherry pauses during his address after he and six other former POWs arrived at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington on Feb. 16, 1973. (Bob Daugherty/AP)


Col. Cherry pauses during his address after he and six other former POWs arrived at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington on Feb. 16, 1973. (Bob Daugherty/AP)

Fred V. Cherry, an Air Force fighter pilot, was downed by enemy fire over North Vietnam in 1965, and he spent more than seven years as a prisoner of war.

He had grown up in the Jim Crow South, and his captors made it clear that he could mitigate the harshness of his incarceration, including routine torture, and improve his living conditions by speaking out against the racial injustice and discrimination he had faced as an African American in the United States.

When beatings failed to bring him around, his jailers tried another tactic. They assigned a self-described “Southern white boy” as his cellmate, hoping that racial antipathy between the two men would weaken his resolve and produce a propaganda triumph for North Vietnam.

 

He had grown up in the Jim Crow South, and his captors made it clear that he could mitigate the harshness of his incarceration, including routine torture, and improve his living conditions by speaking out against the racial injustice and discrimination he had faced as an African American in the United States.

When beatings failed to bring him around, his jailers tried another tactic. They assigned a self-described “Southern white boy” as his cellmate, hoping that racial antipathy between the two men would weaken his resolve and produce a propaganda triumph for North Vietnam.

The plan failed.

Instead, the two men, Col. Cherry and a Navy fighter pilot, then-Ensign Porter Halyburton, became fast and lifelong friends. Each would credit the other with having saved his life.

Col. Cherry, center, at a 2015 event in Rockville, Md., honoring Vietnam War veterans. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)
Col. Cherry died Feb. 16 at a hospital in Washington. He was 87. The cause was heart ailments, said his companion of 24 years, Deborah Thompson.

He was a major and had more than 100 combat missions in Korea and Vietnam behind him on the day — Oct. 22, 1965 — that his F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bomber was hit by enemy antiaircraft fire.

“The plane exploded and I ejected at about 400 feet at over 600 miles an hour,” Col. Cherry wrote in a 1999 collection of war stories by POWs and Medal of Honor recipients. “In the process of ejection, I broke my left ankle, my left wrist, and crushed my left shoulder. I was captured immediately upon landing by Vietnamese militia and civilians.”

“I spent 702 days in solitary confinement,” he added, with the longest period lasting 53 weeks. “At one time I was either tortured or in punishment for 93 straight days.”

Early in his captivity, Col. Cherry was matched with Halyburton, a North Carolinian who had been shot down Oct. 17, 1965. For eight months, they would live together. But whatever mutual animosity their captors may have hoped for never materialized.

“I guess they thought if they had a Southern white boy taking care of a black man, it would be the worst place for both of us,” Halyburton said in a telephone conversation from North Carolina. “It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.”

For eight months, Halyburton changed the dressings on his cellmate’s infected wounds, fed him, bathed him and watched over him. “He said I saved his life, and he saved my life. . . . Taking care of my friend gave my life some meaning that it had not had before.”

 The two men lived in a succession of fetid 10-by-10-foot cells, sleeping on straw mats, benches or the floor.

“I was so inspired by Fred’s toughness,” Halyburton said. “He had grown up in the racial South [and] undergone a lot of discrimination and hardship. But he was such an ardent patriot. He loved this country. It inspired me, and it inspired a lot of others.”

For 2,671 days, Col. Cherry was held in captivity before his release on Feb. 12, 1973, with the first group of U.S. prisoners of war to come home.

Fred Vann Cherry Sr. was born in Suffolk, Va., on March 24, 1928. His parents were farmers. He attended racially segregated public schools and graduated in 1951 from Virginia Union University, a historically black college in Richmond.

He then joined the Air Force and, during the Korean War, flew more than 50 combat missions over North Korea.

In the summer of 1966, after eight months of sharing a cell, Col. Cherry and Halyburton were separated. Halyburton remembers it as “one of the saddest days of my life.” They did not see each other again until 1973, when they met at a military hospital at Clark Air Base in the Philippines after their release from captivity.

Col. Cherry, who later attended the National War College and the Defense Intelligence School in Washington, retired from the Air Force in 1981 as a joint staff officer assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency. He was a resident of Silver Spring, Md.

His medals included the Air Force Cross, awarded, according to the citation, for “extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as a Prisoner of War . . . extremely strong personal fortitude and maximum persistence in the face of severe enemy harassment and torture, suffering critical injuries and wounds.”

But Col. Cherry’s homecoming was painful. His wife, the former Shirley Brown, reportedly deserted him soon after he was declared missing, cleaned out his life savings and had a child with another man. The officer endured years of legal proceedings and negotiations with the military over issues involving back salary, child-support payments and allowances.

Survivors include his companion, of Silver Spring; four children from his marriage, Deborah Cherry-Jones and Donald Cherry, both of Norfolk, Va., Cynthia Cherry-Leon of Woodbridge, Va., and Fred V. Cherry Jr. of Springdale, Md.; a son from another relationship, Frederick Stein of Los Angeles; 14 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Col. Cherry and Halyburton, who retired from the Navy at the rank of commander, gave joint talks at military institutions and colleges. In 2004, they toured to promote a book about their story, “Two Souls Indivisible: The Friendship That Saved Two POWs in Vietnam,” by James S. Hirsch.

Col. Cherry also was featured in a public television documentary narrated by Tom Hanks, “Return With Honor,” about Vietnam fighter pilots held as POWs.

“I know that the faith in God, love and respect for my fellow man that my parents and family instilled in me during my youth carried me through some very difficult years as prisoner-of-war in Vietnam,” Col. Cherry wrote in the 1999 collection of POW war stories.

“I was always taught to love and respect others and forgive those who mistreat, scorn or persecute me. . . . [This] allowed me overcome the damages of discrimination, Jim Crow, and the social and economic barriers associated with growing up a poor dirt farmer. . . . My standard for making decisions is based on doing what is right.”

Advertisements

William Unger,Well-known Veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam, Passes Away

1 Comment

This is from War History OnLine.

R. I. P. William Thomas Unger Hand Salute!

William Unger

A well-known former US Marine Corps serviceman, William Thomas Unger, has passed away at the age of 94. Mr. Unger saw action in three wars that the United States was involved in –  the Second World War, the Korean War, and the war in Vietnam. He was awarded several top medals for honorable active service.

 Mr. Unger was a Marine for just over 30 years, finally leaving the service in 1971 and settling into civilian life in the city of New Orleans. He had joined the Marines as a youngster of 19 in 1940, long before the well-known attack on the USA military base at Pearl Harbor in the Hawaii Islands – an attack launched by the Japanese partly for strategic reasons and partly in retaliation for U.S. economic sanctions against Japan.

Mr. Unger was awarded a medal, the Navy Cross, for the valor he showed at Iwo Jima. He had been involved in helping rescue the crew of a damaged battle tank in the midst of intense fighting. He had drawn Japanese infantry and antitank fire away from the damaged tank so that other rescuers could reach the men.

Later, Unger won another medal, the Purple Heart, for taking part in tank action during the bloody Korean War. In Vietnam, he served on the staff of one of the senior commanders, General Westmoreland.

Mr. Unger was born in the tiny village of Belvidere, Kansas in 1921. After he married, he and his wife, Coralie, lived in New Orleans. They had a house in a suburb called Algiers. Unfortunately, the location of Algiers, right alongside the Mississippi River’s west bank, meant that it was badly hit by the notorious hurricane of 2005.

The Ungers’ house was one of those damaged, and their daughter, Nancy, helped to evacuate her parents.  The damage was so severe that it forced Mr. and Mrs. Unger to move, so they decided to settle in a small town in southern Florida, where Mr. Unger’s widow, Coralie, still lives.  Mr. Unger was a golf enthusiast in his retirement years.

Mr. Unger’s granddaughter, Kelsey, described him as a staunch and modest person, who declined to boast about his achievements and indeed felt bashful about a farewell parade put on to honor him when he retired from the Marines in 1971. William Thomas Unger died on December 17,  2015.

Navy Cross citation:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Platoon sergeant William Thomas Unger (MCSN: 295878), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty while serving with Company B, Fifth Tank Battalion, FIFTH Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, on 20 February 1945.

Upon observing that an accompanying tank had been hit and disabled by enemy fire, Platoon Sergeant Unger immediately brought his vehicle to a halt and covered the evacuation of the other tank’s crew although Japanese infantry were close by and a hostile antitank gun was maintaining a constant attack on both tanks.

When it became impossible for his tank’s weapons to cover all the sources of enemy small-arms fire, he opened his tank hatch and, at the risk of his life, augmented the tank’s weapons by firing on the Japanese with his pistol. Continuing his efforts until the evacuation was completed, he then attacked the antitank gun, destroying the gun, crew and about twenty other enemy in the vicinity.

His leadership, courage and unwavering devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

UNCOVERING LIES: ‘Progressive’ Dems, Repub ‘War Mongers’

2 Comments

This is from Clash Daily.

 

Progressive” Democrats and Republican “War Mongers”

Woodrow Wilson: Declared war on Germany, involving the U.S. in WWI — Progressive; Mr. New World Order

FDR: Declared war on Japan, involving the U.S. in WWII Progressive — Mr. New Deal; Made Depression worse

Harry Truman: Ordered two nuclear weapons detonated in Japan — Democrat

Harry Truman: Involved U.S. in the Korean War — Democrat

JFK: Initiated U.S. involvement in Vietnam — Democrat

LBJ: Escalated the Vietnam War, mismanaged it, lost it — Democrat

Jimmy Carter: Projected weakness, encouraged Jihad — Democrat

Bill Clinton: Did nothing about genocide in Rwanda, bombed Kosovo, further encouraged Jihad projecting weakness, leading to 9/11 — Democrat

Barack Obama: Combines pacifism, globalism, communism, projecting weakness and retreat and surrender, allowing for escalations of global jihad in every direction, destroyed the economy — Democrat/Progressive/Communist/Globalist

Every Democrat President since 1900 has promoted centralized power in Washington, entitlements, deficit spending, high taxes, globalism, socialism, and foreign policies injurious to the national interest. Perhaps American voters have had enough.

High Ironies
Eisenhower liberated Europe, then came home to preside over a great period of peace and prosperity. Nixon, with all his faults and failures, ended the Vietnam War, opened China, improved our standing internationally, forwarded arms control, made Egypt an ally, and came to the aid of Israel. Nixon was viciously condemned by the liberal media, as he is to this day. Reagan restored economic strength, liberated the Eastern Block and indeed the world, without firing a shot, and he was called a war monger. George H.W. Bush liberated Kuwait and contained Saddam and he was called a war monger. George W. Bush liberated Afghanistan and Iraq and effectively confronted Jihad for years while securing the homeland, and he was called a war monger.

High Crimes
Barack Obama destroys our economy, insults and shames the U.S. on the world stage, engages criminality and lawlessness, sparks serial scandals, demoralizes the country, totally alienates Congress, promotes divisiveness, neglects border security, encourages illegal immigration, makes room for Chinese and Russian aggression, ignores militarization in South America, causes wars in various places, aids and funds Jihad, then drops a couple bombs in Iraq, and he is called hero, a humanitarian and a peacemaker.
Read more at http://clashdaily.com/2014/08/uncovering-lies-progressive-dems-repub-war-mongers/#p3rQwbdWHLhZOx8l.99

 

Nuff said…

4 Comments

Hat Tip To Old NFO.

Reason for constitution

 

My  Grandfather watched as his friends died in WW I…

My  Father watched as his friends died in WW II and Korea  …

I  watched as my friends died in Vietnam

None  of them died for the Mexican Flag…

Everyone  died for the U.S. Flag…

In  Texas, a  student raised a Mexican flag on a school flag pole; another student  took it down.  Guess  who was expelled… The kid who took it  down.

Kids  in high school in California were sent home on Cinco de Mayo because they wore T-shirts with the American flag printed on  them.

Enough  is enough.

The  below e-mail message needs to be viewed by every American and every American needs to stand up for America  ..

We’ve bent over to  appease the America-haters long enough…

I’m taking a  stand…

I’m  standing up because the hundreds of thousands who died fighting in wars for this country, and for the U.S. Flag can’t stand  up… And  shame on anyone who tries to make this a racist message…

Let  me make this perfectly clear!

THIS  IS MY COUNTRY!  And, because I make this statement DOES  NOT mean I’m against immigration!!!

YOU  ARE WELCOME HERE, IN MY COUNTRY!
Welcome, to come through legally:

1. Get a  sponsor!
2.  Get a place to lay your head!
3. Get a  job!
4. Live By OUR Rules!
5. Pay YOUR Taxes!

6.  Learn the LANGUAGE like immigrants have in the past!!!

7.  Please don’t demand that we hand over our lifetime savings of Social  Security Funds to  you.

When  will AMERICANS  STOP giving  away THEIR RIGHTS???

We’ve gone so far the other way… Bent over backwards not to  offend anyone… But  it seems no one cares about the AMERICAN  CITIZEN that’s  being offended!

WAKE  UP America !!!

h/t Ev

Nuff said…

MEMORIAL DAY

Leave a comment

Hat Tip To Ambulance Driver Files.

Powerful words.

Also think about the Five Sullivan Brothers and the U. S. S. Juneau.

Most of us will spend the weekend grilling burgers and visiting with relatives, or lounging on a beach somewhere, or watching a baseball game in an opulent stadium, overpriced beer and hot dog in hand. And most of us will have forgotten the meaning of the day.

So when you partake in your Memorial Day festivities this weekend, try to remember a few things.

When the smoke from the grill blows into your eyes, try to imagine the terror of the young pilot as the smoke fills the cockpit of his F4 Wildcat, spiraling into the sea off Guadalcanal.

When you sample those pork ribs, remember the Iowa farm boy whose life blood stained the surf at Normandy.

When you eat a bite of potato salad, think of an Idaho preacher’s kid who died with a prayer on his lips, asking God to forgive him for the enemy soldiers’ lives he had taken.

While you enjoy the warm summer sun on your face, take a moment to think of the frozen bodies of American soldiers strapped to jeeps and tanks at the Chosin Reservoir.

When you welcome your niece’s new boyfriend to the table, remember the black kid from Mississippi who died right beside his white buddies in Vietnam, though he wasn’t even allowed to eat in the same restaurants back home.

When you scold your misbehaving grandchild, think of the little boy whose only knowledge of his father will come from stories told by family, because Daddy died on a dusty street in Fallujah while he was still in the womb.

When you fetch your wife another glass of tea, think of a young wife living in base housing at Fort Benning, as she hears the news that her husband died at Ia Drang.

When you invite Grandpa to say grace before the meal, think of young men cut down by a hail of fire from a Maxim at Belleau Wood.

When you reflect with pride on your daughter’s recent graduation, think of a young woman cartwheeling into the sea in her F14 Tomcat after a failed carrier landing.

When you look with distaste at the tattoos on her new boyfriend, think instead of the former gang kid from Detroit who found a way up and out of poverty in the Army, only to die from an IED blast in Baghdad. And remind yourself that what matters is how he treats your daughter, not the ink on his arms.

Whilst you enjoy your beer and bratwurst, remember the 19 -year-old Army private who died in a training accident in Grafenwohr in 1960, one of  many young men who knew they’d be little more than a speed bump should the Russians ever come pouring through the Fulda Gap. Yet still, they served.

When you sit at the table, think of a Navy Captain, a husband and father, who died at his Pentagon desk on September 11. His death was no less honorable.

If you’re traveling today, think of the passengers of United Flight 93, for in a field outside Shanksville they became the first soldiers in our war on terror.

When your boys fight, as boys will do, remember the boys on both sides who died at Gettysburg.

If a loved one can’t make it to the gathering today, think of Mrs. Bixby and her five sons.

While your kids play in the pool this afternoon, think of other kids not much older, trapped below decks as the Arizona went under at Pearl Harbor.

If you have bemoaned the layoffs of friends and co-workers in the recent economic crisis, think of the Navy SEAL who lost every single one of his teammates on a rainy night in Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

When you take a shower tonight, think of young men reeking of machine oil and sweat, desperately trying, and failing, to surface their wounded submarine somewhere in the Pacific in 1943.

**********

I tell you of these things not to spoil your appetite or your day, but to remind you that the things we enjoy in our lives are made all the sweeter when you consider what made them possible.

Remind yourself also that your sacrifice is infinitely easier. All you need do is sacrifice a moment of your time every few years to pull a lever. The way to honor a dead soldier is not simply to fly a flag on Memorial Day. Vote to preserve the freedoms they died defending. Elect leaders worthy of those rough young men and women who stand ready to do violence on your behalf.

And stop by your local Veteran’s Cemetery and put out some flowers on the grave of your choice. It need not even be the grave of someone you know.

Bring your children along, and explain to them why. It’s important.

‘Duck Dynasty’ Star: ‘It Ain’t Gun Control We Need, It’s Sin Control’

Leave a comment

This is from CBS Houston.

Si Robertson is absoultly right is his observations about sin control.

We have too long being calling evil good and good evil.

It started with condoning premarital sex and illegimate biths.

My condone preversions by calling them alternative lifestyles.

We need to start calling a sin a sin.

Isaiah 5:20

King James Version (KJV)

20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

File photo of Si Robertson. (credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for A+E Networks)

 

File photo of Si Robertson. (credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for A+E Networks)

WEST MONROE, La. (CBS Houston) — One “Duck Dynasty” star made his stance on gun control known in an interview with Men’s Journal.

“It ain’t gun control we need, it’s sin control,” Si Robertson said.

In a wide-ranging interview with Men’s Journal, the man known as Uncle Si described how he used to be a “sinner” during his younger days when he was drafted into the Army and heading off to Vietnam.

“I kept a fifth of whiskey in my pocket everywhere I went,” he said. “I tried dope one time, okay, like marijuana, but why would you smoke something that makes you feel 100 years old? So, drugs wasn’t it for me. In my mind, it was alcohol and whoring around.”

Robertson said he was worried about the pedestal the family has been put on since the reality show took off.

“Look, I worry that people put us on a pedestal now,” he told Men’s Journal. “We’re human beings. We make mistakes just like everybody else.”

Robertson rattled off a story about how two dozen people showed up on his property banging on his door.

“The other night, it’s 12:03 in the morning, and somebody is knocking on the door, and I’m like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’ and I look outside and there’s 25 people standing in my yard,” he said. “You know, He’s the reason this show has gone on like it has, but I have to ask Him every day, ‘Give me strength to deal with this.’”

The Robertson family has stood up for gun rights before – Phil and Kay Robertson headlined a Friends of NRA event in Oklahoma earlier this month, according to The Enid News.

The Obama administration has been vigorously fighting for gun control since last December’s Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn. where gunman Adam Lanza killed 26, including 20 children, before taking his own life.

The A&E reality show has been a ratings juggernaut as the Season 4 premiere was watched by 11.8 million viewers, making it the most-watched nonfiction series telecast in the history of cable television .

The Robertsons operate their multi-million dollar Duck Commander business from West Monroe, La.

 

 

Worth a read…

Leave a comment

Hat Tip to Old NFO.

 

Presented without comment…

HEROES OF THE VIETNAM GENERATION by Jim Webb

The rapidly disappearing cohort of Americans that endured the Great Depression and then fought World War II is receiving quite a send-off from the leading lights of the so-called 60s generation. Tom Brokaw has published two oral histories of “The Greatest Generation” that feature ordinary people doing their duty and suggest that such conduct was historically unique.

Chris Matthews of “Hardball” is fond of writing columns praising the Navy service of his father while castigating his own baby boomer generation for its alleged softness and lack of struggle. William Bennett gave a startling condescending speech at the Naval Academy a few years ago comparing the heroism of the “D-Day Generation” to the drugs-and-sex nihilism of the “Woodstock Generation.” And Steven Spielberg, in promoting his film “Saving Private Ryan,” was careful to justify his portrayals of soldiers in action based on the supposedly unique nature of World War II.

An irony is at work here. Lest we forget, the World War II generation now being lionized also brought us the Vietnam War, a conflict which today’s most conspicuous voices by and large opposed, and in which few of them served. The “best and brightest” of the Vietnam age group once made headlines by castigating their parents for bringing about the war in which they would not fight, which has become the war they refuse to remember.

Pundits back then invented a term for this animus: the “generation gap.” Long, plaintive articles and even books were written examining its manifestations. Campus leaders, who claimed precocious wisdom through the magical process of reading a few controversial books, urged fellow baby boomers not to trust anyone over 30. Their elders who had survived the Depression and fought the largest war in history were looked down upon as shallow, materialistic and out of touch.

Those of us who grew up, on the other side of the picket line from that era’s counter-culture can’t help but feel a little leery of this sudden gush of appreciation for our elders from the leading lights of the old counter-culture. Then and now, the national conversation has proceeded from the dubious assumption that those who came of age during Vietnam are a unified generation in the same sense as their parents were and thus are capable of being spoken for through these fickle elites.

In truth, the “Vietnam generation” is a misnomer. Those who came of age during that war are permanently divided by different reactions to a whole range of counter-cultural agendas and nothing divides them more deeply than the personal ramifications of the war itself. The sizable portion of the Vietnam age group who declined to support the counter-cultural agenda, and especially the men and women who opted to serve in the military during the Vietnam War, are quite different from their peers who for decades have claimed to speak for them. In fact, they are much like the World War II generation itself. For them, Woodstock was a side show, college protestors were spoiled brats who would have benefited from having to work a few jobs in order to pay their tuition, and Vietnam represented not an intellectual exercise in draft avoidance, or protest marches but a battlefield that was just as brutal as those their fathers faced in World War II and Korea.

Few who served during Vietnam ever complained of a generation gap. The men who fought World War II were their heroes and role models. They honored their father’s service by emulating it, and largely agreed with their father’s wisdom in attempting to stop Communism’s reach in Southeast Asia.

The most accurate poll of their attitudes (Harris, 1980) showed that 91 percent were glad they’d served their country, 74 percent enjoyed their time in the service, and 89 percent agreed with the statement that “our troops were asked to fight in a war which our political leaders in Washington would not let them win.” And most importantly, the castigation they received upon returning home was not from the World War II generation, but from the very elites in their age group who supposedly spoke for them.

Nine million men served in the military during Vietnam War, three million of whom went to the Vietnam Theater. Contrary to popular mythology, two-thirds of these were volunteers, and 73 percent of those who died were volunteers.

While some attention has been paid recently to the plight of our prisoners of war, most of whom were pilots; there has been little recognition of how brutal the war was for those who fought it on the ground.

Dropped onto the enemy’s terrain 12,000 miles away from home, America’s citizen-soldiers performed with a tenacity and quality that may never be truly understood. Those who believe the war was fought incompletely on a tactical level should consider Hanoi’s recent admission that 1.4 million of its soldiers died on the battlefield, compared to 58,000 total U.S. dead.

Those who believe that it was a “dirty little war” where the bombs did all the work might contemplate that is was the most costly war the U.S. Marine Corps has ever fought: five times as many dead as World War I, three times as many dead as in Korea, and more total killed and wounded than in all of World War II.

Significantly, these sacrifices were being made at a time the United States was deeply divided over our effort in Vietnam. The baby-boom generation had cracked apart along class lines as America’s young men were making difficult, life-or-death choices about serving. The better academic institutions became focal points for vitriolic protest against the war, with few of their graduates going into the military. Harvard College, which had lost 691 alumni in World War II, lost a total of 12 men in Vietnam from the classes of 1962 through 1972 combined. Those classes at Princeton lost six, at MIT two. The media turned ever more hostile. And frequently the reward for a young man’s having gone through the trauma of combat was to be greeted by his peers with studied indifference of outright hostility.

What is a hero? My heroes are the young men who faced the issues of war and possible death, and then weighed those concerns against obligations to their country. Citizen-soldiers who interrupted their personal and professional lives at their most formative stage, in the timeless phrase of the Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery, “not for fame of reward, not for place or for rank, but in simple obedience to duty, as they understood it.” Who suffered loneliness, disease, and wounds with an often-contagious élan. And who deserve a far better place in history than that now offered them by the so-called spokesmen of our so-called generation.

Mr. Brokaw, Mr. Matthews, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Spielberg, meet my Marines. 1969 was an odd year to be in Vietnam. Second only to 1968 in terms of American casualties, it was the year made famous by Hamburger Hill, as well as the gut-wrenching Life cover story showing pictures of 242 Americans who had been killed in one average week of fighting. Back home, it was the year of Woodstock, and of numerous anti-war rallies that culminated in the Moratorium march on Washington. The My Lai massacre hit the papers and was seized upon the anti-war movement as the emblematic moment of the war.

Lyndon Johnson left Washington in utter humiliation. Richard Nixon entered the scene, destined for an even worse fate. In the An Hoa Basin southwest of Danang, the Fifth Marine Regiment was in its third year of continuous combat operations. Combat is an unpredictable and inexact environment, but we were well led. As a rifle platoon and company commander, I served under a succession of three regimental commanders who had cut their teeth in World War II, and four different battalion commanders, three of whom had seen combat in Korea. The company commanders were typically captains on their second combat tour in Vietnam, or young first lieutenants like myself who were given companies after many months of “bush time” as platoon commanders in the Basin’s tough and unforgiving environs.

The Basin was one of the most heavily contested areas in Vietnam, its torn, cratered earth offering every sort of wartime possibility. In the mountains just to the west, not far from the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the North Vietnamese Army operated an infantry division from an area called Base Area 112. In the valleys of the Basin, main-force Viet Cong battalions whose ranks were 80 percent North Vietnamese Army regulars moved against the Americans every day. Local Viet Cong units sniped and harassed. Ridgelines and paddy dikes were laced with sophisticated booby traps of every size, from a hand grenade to a 250-pound bomb. The villages sat in the rice paddies and tree lines like individual fortresses, crisscrossed with the trenches and spider holes, their homes sporting bunkers capable of surviving direct hits from large-caliber artillery shells. The Viet Cong infrastructure was intricate and permeating. Except for the old and the very young, villagers who did not side with the Communists had either been killed or driven out to the government controlled enclaves near Danang.

In the rifle companies, we spent the endless months patrolling ridgelines and villages and mountains, far away from any notion of tents, barbed wire hot food, or electricity. Luxuries were limited to what would fit inside one’s pack, which after a few “humps” usually boiled down to letter-writing material, towel, soap, toothbrush, poncho liner, and a small transistor radio.

We moved through the boiling heat with 60 pounds of weapons and gear, causing a typical Marine to drop 20 percent of his body weight while in the bush. When we stopped we dug chest-deep fighting holes and slit trenches for toilets. We slept on the ground under makeshift poncho hootches, and when it rained we usually took our hootches down because wet ponchos shined under illumination flares, making great targets. Sleep itself was fitful, never more than an hour or two at a stretch for months at a time as we mixed daytime patrolling with night-time ambushes, listening posts, foxhole duty, and radio watches. Ringworm, hookworm, malaria, and dysentery were common, as was trench foot when the monsoons came. Respite was rotating back to the mud-filled regimental combat base at An Hoa for four or five days, where rocket and mortar attacks were frequent and our troops manned defensive bunkers at night. Which makes it kind of hard to get excited about tales of Woodstock, or camping at the Vineyard during summer break.

We had been told while training that Marine officers in the rifle companies had an 85 percent probability of being killed or wounded, and the experience of “Dying Delta,” as our company was known, bore that out. Of the officers in the bush when I arrived, our company commander was wounded, the weapons platoon commander wounded, the first platoon commander was killed, the second platoon commander was wounded twice, and I, commanding the third platoons fared no better. Two of my original three-squad leaders were killed, and the third shot in the stomach. My platoon sergeant was severely wounded, as was my right guide. By the time I left, my platoon I had gone through six radio operators, five of them casualties.

These figures were hardly unique; in fact, they were typical. Many other units; for instance, those who fought the hill battles around Khe Sanh, or were with the famed Walking Dead of the Ninth Marine Regiment, or were in the battle of Hue City or at Dai Do, had it far worse.

When I remember those days and the very young men who spent them with me, I am continually amazed, for these were mostly recent civilians barely out of high school, called up from the cities and the farms to do their year in hell and return. Visions haunt me every day, not of the nightmares of war but of the steady consistency with which my Marines faced their responsibilities, and of how uncomplaining most of them were in the face of constant danger. The salty, battle-hardened 20-year-olds teaching green 19-year-olds the intricate lessons of the hostile battlefield. The unerring skill of the young squad leaders as we moved through unfamiliar villages and weed-choked trails in the black of night. The quick certainty when a fellow Marine was wounded and needed help. Their willingness to risk their lives to save other Marines in peril. To this day it stuns me that their own countrymen have so completely missed the story of their service, lost in the bitter confusion of the war itself.

Like every military unit throughout history we had occasional laggards, cowards, and complainers. But in the aggregate, these Marines were the finest people I have ever been around. It has been my privilege to keep up with many of them over the years since we all came home. One finds in them very little bitterness about the war in which they fought. The most common regret, almost to a man, is that they were not able to do more for each other and for the people they came to help.

It would be redundant to say that I would trust my life to these men. Because I already have, in more ways than I can ever recount. I am alive today because of their quiet, unaffected heroism. Such valor epitomizes the conduct of Americans at war from the first days of our existence. That the boomer elites can canonize this sort of conduct in our fathers’ generation while ignoring it in our own is more than simple oversight. It is a conscious, continuing travesty.

Former Secretary of the Navy James Webb was awarded the Navy Cross, Silver Star, and Bronze Star medals for heroism as a Marine in Vietnam.

h/t Frito

 

Obama Desecrating the US Military’s Sacred POW Code of Conduct

Leave a comment

This is from Defender Of The Faith and Guardian Of Truth.

Will we have a military left after Obama gets done?

 

by Captain Joseph R. John, Retired USN

Forty years ago, President Nixon finally succeeded in having Secretary of State Henry Kissinger complete the negotiation for the repatriation of the Vietnam POWs from North Vietnam. On the weekend of May 23rd, for the last time, the surviving Vietnam POW’s solemnly celebrated the 40th anniversary of their release, at the Nixon Presidential Library.

If you have ever read any of the many books published, articles printed in newspapers, or read interviews given by Vietnam POW’s, you will understand that the common thread that helped get them through their very difficult period of captivity was their faith in God, their religious worship away from the eyes of their captors, and the support the Prisoner of War Code of Conduct that was inculcated in them.

Here’s how the Prisoner of War Code of Conduct, Article VI, reads:

“I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in theUnited States of America.”

American Experience | Return With Honor | Primary Sources

The US military tries to instill the Code of Conduct in all US military personnel to remind them of their “character and heritage,” and in order to emphasize to them that as American fighting men and women they have inner strengths to rely on, in face of the mental and physical abuses they will have to endure if they are ever captured. “Character” was emphasized in American’s youth at home each day by parents, by teachers in both public and parochial schools, by the leaders and coaches of the various organizations they belonged (such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, YMCA, YWCA, 4H, athletics, etc.), by religious leaders in the churches/synagogues they attended, by service academies where they were instilled with the Honor System/Honor Code and love of country, by boot camp where military indoctrination emphasized the service branch heritage and love of country, and by military leadership training programs for officer and noncoms.

While Character was being instilled in most Americans by these means, Barrack Obama’s character was developed, as he relates in his book “Dreams,” every day after school in Hawaii, by his mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, the Secretary of the Communist Party USA. He attended school in Indonesia under the name Barry Soetoro; and his character was further developed by his two roommates at Columbia who took him to Pakistan in the 1980′s to be indoctrinated in a philosophy that was not typically American.

Obama’s unvarnished “Character” is different from that of most of the US military personnel, most of whom were born and bred in America, and the true color of his “Character” has been revealed by his actions over the last four years. Most intelligent and forthright Americans realize that he has never said he loves this country or praised the heritage of the Republic; his actions speak louder than words.

By his actions (look at what he has done, not what he says), Obama has demonstrated that he doesn’t support the US Military Code of Conduct which instills in the American fighting man and women their faith in God and their love of the heritage of the United States of America. The Code of Conduct was developed to give US Prisoners of War (POW) the inner strength to believe in something bigger than themselves, even when they were being tortured or mentally abused by his captors (even after resisting, they may have been broken by such severe torture, but their love of country survived).

Instead of emphasizing the concepts of the US Military Code of Conduct to strengthen the faith of US military personnel, the Obama administration has been emphasizing Obama’s Social Experiment on Diversity, and has been forcing his radical Social Experiment on Diversity into regulations of the captive US military that must follow those regulations and policy directives issued by Obama’s civilian appointees at DoD. Those radical policies are damaging the Combat Effectiveness of the US Armed Forces.

Please review 15 of Obama’s policies or directives, listed below, that are overtly hostile toward Christians in the US Armed Forces. For four years the Obama administration has been trying to eliminate the influence of Christianity in the US Armed Forces, concepts that were first instilled in the US military culture by General George Washington in 1776, and it has given US military personnel the inner strength that sustained them in combat and in captivity.

Just before a combat operation, military personnel flock to the Chaplains for their blessing, or meditate quietly in their own solitude; when they become Prisoners of War, they lean on their faith and the Code of Conduct to give them strength. Obama’s Social Experiment on Diversity, outlined in new regulations, has been forced upon members of the US Armed Forces, military chaplains, and the civil service employees that support the US military programs. They have attempted to diminish the fundamental Judeo/Christian concepts that have been the foundation upon which the US Armed Forces was built to strengthen it for 238 years.

__________________________________________________

Aggressive anti-Christian actions by the Obama Administration are real, documented, and are escalating:

1. January 2010 — Department of Defense orders removal of tiny Bible references on military scopes and gun sights.

2. June 2011 — The Department of Veterans Affairs forbids references to God and Jesus during burials at National Cemetery.

3. August 2011 — The Air Force stops teaching the Just War theory because it is based on a philosophy of St. Augustine.

4. September 2011 — Air Force Chief of Staff prohibits commanders from notifying airmen of religious programs.

5. September 2011 — The Army issues guidelines to Walter Reed Medical Center stipulating that no religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading materials) are to be given to the wounded.

6. November 2011 — The Air Force Academy rescinds support for Operation Christmas Child because it is run by Christians.

7. November 2011 — The Air Force Academy pays $80,000 for a Stonehenge-type worship center for pagans, druids, and witches.

8. February 2012 — The U.S. Military Academy disinvites decorated war hero LTG William “Jerry” Boykin, USA (Ret), and FRC Executive VP, because he is an outspoken Christian.

9. February 2012 — Army orders Catholic chaplains not to read archbishop’s letter from pulpit (Pilgrims fled England because they were prevented from free speech from pulpit)

10. May 2012 — Obama administration opposes legislation to protect the rights of conscience for military chaplains who do not wish to perform same-sex “marriages.”

11. June 2012 — Obama administration revokes the long-standing U.S. policy of allowing military service emblems to be placed on military Bibles.

12. August 2012 — Lt. Col. Jack Rich, USA e-mails subordinates saying they should be on the lookout for people who share FRC’s values because they are not “Army Values.”

13. January 2013 — Obama announces his opposition to a provision in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act protecting the rights of conscience for military chaplains.

14. April 2013 — Officials briefing for U.S. Army Reservists states examples of “religious extremism” includes “Evangelical Christianity”, “Catholicism”, and “Islamic Jihadist Terrorism” in organizations like Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas.

15. May 2013 — The Pentagon meets with Mikey Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) who is trying to establish new rules which would restrict the religious freedom of Christian and Jewish military personnel (they shouldn’t have even given such a radical anti-Christian an audience).

On November 5, 2009 at Fort Hood, a devout Muslim, Maj Nidal Malik Hasan, USA (A. K. A. “Abu Wali”), who had been communicating with Al Qaeda terrorist cleric, Anwar Al-Awlaki, in a series of 20 E-mails, shouted at the top of his lungs, “Allah Akbar”, and used two hand guns to kill 12 US military personnel, while wounding 31 US military and law enforcement personnel. It was a radical Islamic terrorist attack against American Christian military personnel executed on a US military base; Al Qaeda spokesman, Adam Gadahn, praised “Abu Wali” as a Mujahid Brother. The Obama administration through its spokesman, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, insisted it was not terrorism at all, but work place violence. The US military personnel who were killed and wounded that day, should have been awarded the Purple Heart Medal for coming under a military assault by a Islamic Terrorist and traitor. An attempt has been made for nearly 4 years to cover up this Islamic Terrorist assault perpetrated on US soil (like the failed Terrorist attacks on US soil including the failed bombing in Times Square, the Terrorist bombing at the Boston marathon, and the Al Qaeda Terrorist attack on US soil/the US Mission in Benghazi that killed 2 Navy SEAL’s). We will not remain compliant for another of the Obama administration’s cover ups; we will endeavor to continue to bring that Terrorist attack to the attention of the American people until those murdered and wounded US military personnel receive the Purple Heart Medals they so rightly deserve.

_____________________________________________________________

Captain Joseph R. John, a combat veteran, is a 1962 graduate of the United States Naval Academy who retired from the US Navy after a long and distinguished career. He currently is the President of the Combat Veterans Training Group and is the founder of the Combat Vets for Congress PAC.

 

AP source: Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf dies

Leave a comment

This is from Yahoo News.

We have lost a True Warrior General.

RIP Stormin’ Norman.

FILE - In this Jan. 12, 1991 file photo, Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf stands at ease with his tank troops during Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia. Schwarzkopf died Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 in Tampa, Fla. He was 78. (AP Photo/Bob Daugherty, File)

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who topped an illustrious military career by commanding the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein’s forces out ofKuwait in 1991 but kept a low public profile in controversies over the second Gulf War against Iraq, died Thursday. He was 78.

Schwarzkopf died in Tampa, Fla., where he had lived in retirement, according to a U.S. official, who was not authorized to release the information publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

A much-decorated combat soldier in Vietnam, Schwarzkopf was known popularly as “Stormin’ Norman” for a notoriously explosive temper.

He served in his last military assignment in Tampa as commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command, the headquarters responsible for U.S. military and security concerns in nearly 20 countries from the eastern Mediterranean and Africa to Pakistan.

Schwarzkopf became “CINC-Centcom” in 1988 and when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait three years later to punish it for allegedly stealing Iraqi oil reserves, he commanded Operation Desert Storm, the coalition of some 30 countries organized by then-President George H.W. Bush that succeeded in driving the Iraqis out.

At the peak of his postwar national celebrity, Schwarzkopf — a self-proclaimed political independent — rejected suggestions that he run for office, and remained far more private than other generals, although he did serve briefly as a military commentator for NBC.

While focused primarily in his later years on charitable enterprises, he campaigned for President George W. Bush in 2000 but was ambivalent about the 2003 invasion of Iraq, saying he doubted victory would be as easy as the White House and Pentagon predicted. In early 2003 he told the Washington Post the outcome was an unknown:

“What is postwar Iraq going to look like, with the Kurds and the Sunnis and the Shiites? That’s a huge question, to my mind. It really should be part of the overall campaign plan,” he said.

Initially Schwarzkopf had endorsed the invasion, saying he was convinced that former Secretary of State Colin Powell had given the United Nations powerful evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. After that proved false, he said decisions to go to war should depend on what U.N. weapons inspectors found.

He seldom spoke up during the conflict, but in late 2004, he sharply criticized then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon for mistakes that included inadequate training for Army reservists sent to Iraq and for erroneous judgments about Iraq.

“In the final analysis I think we are behind schedule. … I don’t think we counted on it turning into jihad (holy war),” he said in an NBC interview.

Schwarzkopf was born Aug. 24, 1934, in Trenton, N.J., where his father, Col. H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., founder and commander of the New Jersey State Police, was then leading the investigation of the Lindbergh kidnap case, which ended with the arrest and 1936 execution of German-born carpenter Richard Hauptmann for stealing and murdering the famed aviator’s infant son.

The elder Schwarzkopf was named Herbert, but when the son was asked what his “H” stood for, he would reply, “H.” Although reputed to be short-tempered with aides and subordinates, he was a friendly, talkative and even jovial figure who didn’t like “Stormin’ Norman” and preferred to be known as “the Bear,” a sobriquet given him by troops.

He also was outspoken at times, including when he described Gen. William Westmoreland, the U.S. commander in Vietnam, as “a horse’s ass” in an Associated Press interview.

As a teenager Norman accompanied his father to Iran, where the elder Schwarzkopf trained the country’s national police force and was an adviser to Reza Pahlavi, the young Shah of Iran.

Young Norman studied there and in Switzerland, Germany and Italy, then followed in his father’s footsteps to West Point, graduating in 1956 with an engineering degree. After stints in the U.S. and abroad, he earned a master’s degree in engineering at the University of Southern California and later taught missile engineering at West Point.

In 1966 he volunteered for Vietnam and served two tours, first as a U.S. adviser to South Vietnamese paratroops and later as a battalion commander in the U.S. Army’s Americal Division. He earned three Silver Stars for valor — including one for saving troops from a minefield — plus a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and three Distinguished Service Medals.

While many career officers left military service embittered by Vietnam, Schwarzkopf was among those who opted to stay and help rebuild the tattered Army into a potent, modernized all-volunteer force.

After Saddam invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Schwarzkopf played a key diplomatic role by helping to persuade Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd to allow U.S. and other foreign troops to deploy on Saudi territory as a staging area for the war to come.

On Jan. 17, 1991, a five-month buildup called Desert Shield became Operation Desert Storm as allied aircraft attacked Iraqi bases and Baghdad government facilities. The six-week aerial campaign climaxed with a massive ground offensive on Feb. 24-28, routing the Iraqis from Kuwait in 100 hours before U.S. officials called a halt.

Schwarzkopf said afterward he agreed with Bush’s decision to stop the war rather than drive to Baghdad to capture Saddam, as his mission had been only to oust the Iraqis from Kuwait.

But in a desert tent meeting with vanquished Iraqi generals, he allowed a key concession on Iraq’s use of helicopters, which later backfired by enabling Saddam to crack down more easily on rebellious Shiites and Kurds.

While he later avoided the public second-guessing by academics and think tank experts over the ambiguous outcome of Gulf War I and its impact on Gulf War II, he told the Washington Post in 2003, “You can’t help but… with 20/20 hindsight, go back and say, ‘Look, had we done something different, we probably wouldn’t be facing what we are facing today.'”

After retiring from the Army in 1992, Schwarzkopf wrote a best-selling autobiography, “It Doesn’t Take A Hero.” Of his Gulf war role, he said, “I like to say I’m not a hero. I was lucky enough to lead a very successful war.” He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and honored with decorations from France, Britain, Belgium, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain.

Schwarzkopf was a national spokesman for prostate cancer awareness and for Recovery of the Grizzly Bear, served on the Nature Conservancy board of governors and was active in various charities for chronically ill children.

“I may have made my reputation as a general in the Army and I’m very proud of that,” he once told the AP. “But I’ve always felt that I was more than one-dimensional. I’d like to think I’m a caring human being. … It’s nice to feel that you have a purpose.”

Schwarzkopf and his wife, Brenda, had three children: Cynthia, Jessica and Christian.

___

 

A Vet In Need

Leave a comment

I found this on Old NFO’s blog.

There is a Disabled Vietnam Veteran in need of  our help.

 

This always seems to happen around the holidays… dammit…

Mark over at Texas Fellowship has a bleg up about one of his friends who’s house burned down today.  His friend is a disabled Vietnam Vet.  The post is HERE.

If you can spare anything, it would be appreciated.  You can reach him at Greylocke at gmail dot com for information.

 

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: