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Articles By Author - Pete Mecca


Mecca: 'Find the bastards, and pile on'

Far from his wife and newborn, John Butler kept finding himself in the battlefield with one set of instructions: "Find the bastards, and pile on."

July 22, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Mecca: Sky riders

The cavalry still mount their steeds, but these horses are of a motorized breed. In Vietnam the mounts were named Loach, Huey, Cobra, Osage, Chinook, Mohawk and the superseded Raven (achieved recognition in three early James Bond films). These hi-tech mounts could saddle up more than just one soldier and the cavalrymen gripping the reins were some of the bravest of the brave in Southeast Asia.

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


Mecca: Welcome to the land of peaceful frontiers

Seventeen-year-old Macon native Ron Holmes received the displeasing news upon high school graduation in June of 1963 - his appointment to the Air Force Academy had been denied because of a new prerequisite that required uncorrected 20/20 vision.

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


A Fourth for hope

"My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy. I confess I had no idea of it myself. While we shall see multiple instances of Europeans going to live in America, I will venture to say no man now living will ever witness an instance of an American removing to settle in Europe and continuing there."

July 03, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: The lucky ones

A 1959 movie 'Pork Chop Hill' starring Gregory Peck depicted the costly 1953 battle for a rocky hill during the last year of the Korean War. Pork Chop Hill had, in fact, snuffed out numerous lives before 1953. This is the story of one survivor, born and raised in Rockdale County.

July 01, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Hold hands & take the high ground

Taking the 'high ground' has been a basic military strategy since man started throwing rocks at each other. A force controlling the heights controls the battlefield, in combat as well as surveillance. American history was built on high ground, from graceful rises to gentle slopes, from ridges, cliffs and hills to lofty mountains.

June 24, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Mecca: He entered the war a boy, left a man

Henry Lee Gaddis was 11 years old on Dec. 7, 1941. "I remember when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the president declared war on Japan," he said. "We moved from Cherokee County into Atlanta so my dad could work for a dairy. Everything was rationed, sugar, flour, gas … but we did okay."

June 17, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Red, White and Blue

White signifies purity and innocence; Red, hardiness and valor; and Blue, the justice, vigilance, and perseverance of the United States of America.

June 12, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


The bravest of the brave

Throughout the course of nearly 250 years of American Military History, only 3,468 service personnel have received the decoration, 621 of them posthumously. The award is called the Medal of Honor.

June 10, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


A D-DAY TRIBUTE

The approval to commence the liberation of Europe rested entirely on his shoulders. For a brief moment in history, one man controlled the leash restraining an invasion fleet of 5,000 warships jam-packed with 170,000 Allied soldiers; many vessels were already at sea. Over 10,500 aircraft poised on runways all over England waited impatiently for the word "go." Tensions were high, morale at risk if another 'stand down' delay was issued.

June 05, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


One American family

Michael Barry Turner arrived in Vietnam on February 11, 1968, smack-dab in the middle of the largest Communist offensive of the war. The Tet Offensive kicked off on January 31 at the beginning of a mutually understood 'ceasefire' by the belligerents for the yearly Vietnamese celebration. This year, however, the Communists used the sabbatical as their launch date for a nationwide assault.

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


Mecca: The story of Will Roy Weston, part two

September of 1943: Will Weston with the 32 man crew of the wooden-hulled mine sweeper YMS-184 enters the Pacific Theater of Operations. The small ship is destined to participate in the most horrific battles of WWII.

May 27, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Decorating the dead

Memorial Day is a special day, a day to reminisce, a time to mourn, and an occasion to praise the men and women that fought and died for our hard-earned freedoms. Originally dubbed Decoration Day to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died during the Civil War, the term 'Memorial Day' as we now know it was first used in 1882. Even more common after WWII, the expression became official by Federal law in 1967.

May 24, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


THE VA FIASCO

Fiasco correctly describes the unmitigated disgraceful conduct of the Veterans Administration unfolding before our very eyes on national television. Criminal neglect, criminal incompetence, criminal rationale and criminal bureaucrats dressed in business suits collected unearned bonuses after directly, or at best indirectly, causing the deaths of our sick and ailing veterans.

May 24, 2014 | Pete Mecca | Columnists


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Archive By Author - Pete Mecca


Thanksgiving has special meaning for veteran

We were on alert, the midnight sky charcoal black, odd noises coming from the distant jungle beyond the perimeter. My vision battled reality vs. apparitions in black pajamas. I was ready to kill, not so much an enemy, but the aggressive mosquitoes attempting to construct a housing project inside my left ear. I dared not slap or even curse my ear tenants for fear of exposing my so-called fighting position.

November 26, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Military career was great ‘springboard’

Confident in dialogue and conduct, James Johnson Jr. echoes his 22-year career in the United States Army.

November 19, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


'Brotherhood of war' binds WWII veterans

I recently attended a monthly luncheon sponsored by the Atlanta World War II Round Table at Petite Au Berge Restaurant. About 150 folks were in attendance, mostly World War II veterans and their spouses. It was an honor to break bread with these men and women.

November 12, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Veterans Day: a tribute well-deserved

During his 1865 inaugural address, President Abraham Lincoln memorably appealed for good treatment of veterans: "to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan."

November 09, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Triple amputee lives a life of service

He is probably the most recognized veteran in the state of Georgia. His accomplishments and awards would fill a newspaper. One hundred or more hours is a typical workweek.

November 05, 2013 | Pete Mecca | Columnists


Vietnam vet tells a gripping story

As I reviewed Covington native Jimmy Cronan's personal Vietnam War journal, I realized the best way to articulate his story was to let Jimmy tell his story of war and survival, as it happened, in his own words. The following is an edited, abbreviated narrative of his combat diary.

October 29, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Proud member of the ‘Old Guard’

Oct. 24, 1921: In the city hall of Chalons-en-Champagne, France, U.S. Army Sgt. Edward F. Younger, a highly decorated veteran of The Great War (World War I), is assigned to select only one of four caskets recently exhumed from four dissimilar American cemeteries in France. Each casket contains the unidentified remains of an American soldier. After thoughtful consideration, Sgt. Younger places a spray of white roses on one of the caskets.

October 22, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


A Veteran's Story: James Hutchins

Courage and coordination are just two of many qualifying attributes for commanding a World War II B-17 Flying Fortress and B-25 Mitchell. To reach that level requires successful training in flimsy Piper Cubs, PT-17 Stearmans, and shake-your-teeth-out Vultee BT-13s.

October 15, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Despite war injuries, vet pressed on

On a date and time lost to history, the Viet Cong found and excavated an unexploded American bomb. A demolition team rigged the weapon as a land mine and buried the device under a drain culvert along a road in Binh Dinh Province near the coastal village of Song Bon.

October 08, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


It’s the veterans who are ‘honorable’

The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., was barricaded following the government shutdown, yet veterans of the Greatest Generation have ignored the law by breaking down fortifications and forcing entry into the Memorial.

October 08, 2013 | Pete Mecca | Columnists


A Veteran's Story

The oldest continuous seagoing service, the United States Coast Guard, was the brainchild of Alexander Hamilton. Founded Aug. 8, 1790, the Coast Guard has served in 17 conflicts, from the Quasi-War of 1798 to present-day anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia.

October 01, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Pastor Smith was once a 'Cookie'

After graduating from Columbia Seminary in 1961, Pastor Carl D. Smith answered the call to two churches, one in Hogansville and the other in Gainesville.

September 24, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Navy perfect Rx for pharmacist Spivey

Ten miles north of the Florida state line, wedged between Thomasville and Valdosta, the small farming community of Quitman, Ga., welcomed Bill Spivey into this world on July 25, 1930. The Great Depression had the country in its grip.

September 17, 2013 | Pete Mecca | Columnists


WAC recruiter filled big shoes

Irene Burquest facilitated the role of women in the military, serving as a recruiter and publicity guru during World War II with the Women's Army Auxiliary Corp - WAAC (later called WAC).

September 10, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Recruiter filled big (but ugly) shoes

Irene Burquest facilitated the role of women in the military, serving as a recruiter and publicity guru during World War II with the Women's Army Auxiliary Corp - WAAC (later called WAC).

September 10, 2013 | Pete Mecca | Columnists


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