Their aphorism, 'Dedicated Unhesitating Service To Our Fighting Forces' was better known in Vietnam by its acronym 'Dustoff'. These were the medevac choppers. Unarmed and unwavering, the courageous crews of 'Dustoff' missions flew their Hueys into combat zones to bring out the wounded, the dying, and young soldiers covered with rain ponchos. 'Dustoffs' were clearly marked with the Red Cross insignia to signify a mercy flight, yet that distinctive Red Cross also became a prime target for Communist gunners.
Personality Plus best describes her spunk and spirit, and I knew a story of love and sacrifice resided in her heart. Little did this journalist know that her home front narrative would open the door to one of the most remarkable untold accounts of World War II. If made into a movie, I'll volunteer to write the screenplay.
A heart attack took the life of George H. Gay Jr. at a Marietta hospital on October 21, 1994. A resident of Kennesaw, Gay was a well-known hero of WWII. Now, as history books are rewritten and military icons are shunned by reformists, let us hope that Gay's story will remain an embodiment of the courage and sacrifice of a generation that saved a world from totalitarianism.
He sported a big elongated nose, a smooth bald head, beady eyes, and three to four fingers of each hand dangled over the imaginary line of an imaginary wall. A rather comical figure, yet pitifully ugly if symbolic of a real person, Kilroy quickly developed into one of the historic symbols of World War II.
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."
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 In Vietnam the mounts were named Loach, Huey, Cobra, Osage, Chinook, Mohawk and the superseded Raven (achieved recognition in three early James Bond films).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.
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.
"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."
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.
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.
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Occasionally, an interview with a veteran challenges my creative abilities. How do I properly relate the story of a military career seemingly beyond normal human aptitudes? This is one of those stories, much too condensed to suitably honor hard-earned accomplishments.
Nov. 14, 1944:
When governments can no longer manage their international responsibilities, soldiers are sent to wage the needed war to restore failed politics.
Cpl. Dexter Harris of the Rockdale Sheriff's Department joined the Army in 1987, just three weeks out of high school.
Many years ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a metropolis called Hollywood hunkered down to stand up and man-up for its native land. Instead of marketing political correctness, Hollywood's residents put their lives on the line for grassroots notions called individualism, capitalism and freedom. A port called Pearl Harbor transformed the make-believers into freedom-fighters.
Hamilton Field near San Francisco on Dec. 6, 1941, at 0900: Thirteen B-17s take off at 15-minute intervals for a 15-hour flight to Pearl Harbor. The crossing was long and boring.
The Greatest Generation lost another great member this week with the passing of Newborn's mayor, Roger Sheridan. He was my friend.
Adopted at age 5 by a couple who owned a nursing home in Mount Vernon, N.Y., Wilsonia "Soni" Browne enjoyed entertaining and singing for the residents. Before her 12th birthday, the family moved to Miami, Fla.
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.
Confident in dialogue and conduct, James Johnson Jr. echoes his 22-year career in the United States Army.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.