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Articles By Author - Pete Mecca


Leading the attack on Iwo Jima

Japanese soldiers wore gas masks to suppress the nauseating smell of sulfur as they dug deep into the bowels of Iwo Jima. Eventually, an 11-mile maze of tunnels would connect underground barracks, hospitals, ammo dumps, water supplies and foodstuffs. Above the tunnels, bunkers and pillboxes by the hundreds awaited the American assault that was inevitable.

April 15, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Julius Astin: Farm boy from Rutledge

At approximately 0600 on the morning of June 6, 1944, the warships of Task Force 125 began their bombardment on German positions behind Utah Beach. Overhead, 276 Marauder B-26 medium bombers dropped tons of bombs on selected targets from les Dunes de Varreville to Beau Guillot.

April 08, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Sosebee receives Legion of Honor

On May 19, 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte established the 'Ordre National de la Legion d'honneur' (National Order of the Legion of Honor), better known as the Legion of Honor. Presented for extraordinary civilian and military contributions to the fatherland, the Legion of Honor is France's highest distinction.

April 03, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Courage under fire

More than one Leatherneck would agree, it's befitting that a young man from Montezuma chose to join the United States Marine Corps. The month was November, the year 1965, the man: Eli Fobbs.

April 01, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Steve Blanton Gutsy Airman. Survivor. Patriot.

A 1948 "Grady baby", Steve Blanton recalled a childhood without modern conveniences. "We were very poor. We had no indoor plumbing and I toted water from Granny's house because she had city water. Heat was generated by a wood burning stove, I remember the old lamp lights and thought we were rich when we finally got electricity."

March 25, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


The Wall, Their Wall, Our Wall

Many Vietnam veterans have visited Our Wall to pay tribute to the

March 18, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Downed pilots finally come home

An airfield in northeast Thailand designated as NKP (Nakhon Phanom) during the Vietnam War was actually a Royal Thai Naval Base. The Thais utilized NKP as a home base for river patrols along the murky Mekong River, the internationally accepted border between Thailand and Laos. The small community of Nakhon Phanom on the banks of the Mekong became a boom town during the American involvement in Southeast Asia.

March 04, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Virgil Weems helped to integrate Marines

After absurd bickering and declining political roadblocks, "men of color" were finally able to serve in the United States Marine Corps. The date was June 1, 1942. Sent to Camp Lejeune, N.C., for training, black recruits quickly discovered a segregated military still existed; they were assigned to a separate training facility called Montford Point.

February 25, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


A wintry lesson in perspective

It's not yet 10 a.m. on Wednesday Feb. 12, and the Peach State's 2014 Icemageddon already has Georgians in its Arctic grip.

February 18, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


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Archive By Author - Pete Mecca


Mecca: 'Missileer' helped to safeguard country

A single W56 nuclear warhead with a yield of 1.2 megatons strikes The Covington News on Usher Street in Covington. The historic town and its inhabitants evaporate from the face of the earth. The old mill town of Porterdale vanishes.

August 27, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


A trial by fire for pilot ‘Nomad’

This is the second of a two-part series on Jim Lawrence.

August 20, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


A veteran's story: Pilot wowed 'em

This is the first of a two-part series on Jim Lawrence. A story exploring Lawrence's trial by fire will run in next week's The Covington News.

August 13, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Military cook kept soldiers fed

"I can't even eat. The food keeps touching. I like military plates, I'm a military man, and I want a military meal. I want my string beans to be quarantined! I like a little fortress around my mashed potatoes so the meatloaf doesn't invade my mashed potatoes and cause mixing in my plate! I absolutely HATE IT when food touches. I'm a military man, do you understand that? And don't let your food touch either, please?"

August 06, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Through three wars, Davis never faltered

Editor's Note: This is the second part of a two-part look at Four Star Marine Gen. Ray Davis, whose distinguished service encompassed three wars.

July 30, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Marine general served in three wars

This is the first part of a two-part look at the life of Gen. Ray Davis. The second part will be in next week's Veteran's Story.

July 23, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Flying with heroes

There is a book penned by Lt. Col. Thomas R. Waldron, USAF-Ret., called "I Flew with Heroes," a true account of the rescue and recovery of downed airmen during the Vietnam War.

July 16, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: Invaluable as an Armorer-Gunner

A B-17 inflight Armorer-Gunner inspects, repairs and maintains machine guns, cannons, bomb release mechanisms, bomb racks, aerial gun sites, auxiliary equipment, chemical-carrying release mechanisms and flare racks. He fuses and places the bombs in racks, field-strips machine guns to repair as necessary, oils and cleans and mans a gun position during combat.

July 09, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: Marine Singleton made ultimate sacrifice

Before serving 12 months with the 406th Tactical Recon Wing at Tan Son Nhut AFB in Saigon, Vietnam, I spent 18 months at a secret location known as "The Project," taking part in the interdiction of the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail through Laos and Cambodia.

July 02, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: Local filmmaker makes war flick

The slogan, "A lion sleeps in the heart of every brave man," displayed beneath the title of the World War II documentary "Valiant," embodies the intended point of the film: the mettle of American fighting men rising to the challenge.

June 25, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


A veteran's story

In April 1917, America decided it was time to go "over there" into the trench warfare and killing grounds of The Great War, later remembered as World War I.

June 18, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Submariner in tight 'Spot' in the South Pacific

The Atlantic coast is home to the Spot, a tiny sciaenoid food fish with a black spot behind its shoulders. In the Navy tradition of naming World War II era submarines for fish, the USS Spot Balao-class submarine was launched on Aug. 3, 1944.

June 18, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Tuskegee Airman on the fight to serve

World War II brought out extraordinary feats of valor, service and sacrifice of everyday Americans. But during this time, many servicemen and women found themselves fighting for freedom abroad while at home they were denied the basic freedoms and dignities they had defended.

June 18, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


‘Punchy’ pilot made Germans pay

If necessary, a flight surgeon was authorized to give the pilots pep pills to keep them flying. More than 1,000 fighter aircraft would create a wall of protection from treetop level to 30,000 feet. The men on the beaches were to be protected at all costs. The date was June 6, 1944, the Allied invasion of Europe.

June 11, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Veteran's Story: From baseball to bombings

To say Yellow Brick House resident John Slavik came from humble beginnings is a misrepresentation of European history. A 'multi-cultural' beginning is closer to the truth.

June 06, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


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