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Articles By Author - Pete Mecca


The Fighting Cavanaugh Clan

This journalist is long overdue in expressing my appreciation to the staff and our two editors, Michelle Kim and Bryan Fazio, for their unwavering support of "A Veteran's Story." Likewise, the staunchest of unfaltering supporters is our publisher, Pat Cavanaugh. Pat has always been there for me, to encourage, to offer constructive criticism, to educate, to be a confidante, and occasionally suggest that perhaps I should be measured for a straight jacket along with recommendations for a padded cell.

January 24, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Did you ever kill anybody?

Harriman, TN - 1966: As one of the eager seniors attending Career Day at Harriman High School, Howard Hendrickson gave the Army recruiter an opportunity to bend his ear. Howard stated, "He kept talking about how bad basic training could be so I didn't even think about joining up." Tech School for data processing seemed the better alternative. "I had the training," he said. "But the albatross around my neck was a draft card with a 1A classification. There wasn't a job in East Tennessee to be had."

January 18, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Avoiding nuclear war through strength

Visualize growing up in Idaho to become a University of Idaho 'Vandal', then receiving a 2nd Lieutenant's commission from their Air Force ROTC program with high hopes of soaring even higher as a fighter pilot. Then imagine the disappointment when rejected for pilot training due to the damage you caused your own unprotected ears during repeated target practice with a pistol.

January 10, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Targeting the Big Apple

According to legend, in the year 1307 the bailiff/agent of the Hapsburg Duke of Austria placed a Hapsburg hat on a pole in the town square of the small village of Altdorf, Switzerland. Once the hat was in position, he demanded anyone walking by to uncover their hats before it. As a local hunter/farmer and his son passed by, the older man refused to obey the decree.

January 04, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


A lack of intelligence

Intelligence school in Denver, CO was thought-provoking, complicated, and opened enigmatic doors I never thought existed. We mastered the art of dissemination; gained knowledge of codes; planned and plotted and analyzed envisioned missions; studied Soviet military equipment to master photographic interpretation; and were privy to a few top secret particulars that are now prehistoric. As Sun Tzu wrote 2,500 years ago in his military masterpiece The Art of War, "Know your enemy better than you know yourself."

December 20, 2014 | Pete Mecca | Columnists


The fairest of them all

"I celebrated my 95th birthday this September," Kathleen said proudly, then crooned in a robust voice, "Sometimes I grew weary and wearier, and life became dreary and drearier, but then I was told, 'you're not getting old, you're just chronologically superior.' And it's nice to be superior in at least one category, don't you think?" Kathleen Eidson, originally in Norwegian, Ejdson, shoulders superiority in the noblest category of all: a superior human being. She is also a United States Marine.

December 13, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


A predictable day of infamy

With administrative cauldrons overflowing with entrenched beliefs and colossal egos, politicians and military elites habitually consider military visionaries as nothing more than annoying burrs in expensive saddles. On today's technological battlefields adaptation arrives quicker due to the fast-paced changes in weapons and tactics. But things were quite different after World War One. Hyped as 'the war to end all wars,' the celebrated armistice actually set the stage for a dozen future conflicts, including World War Two. One persistent voice not only predicted the looming battle in the Pacific, but even specified the point in time at an anchorage called ...

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


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Archive By Author - Pete Mecca


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


Unsung heroes: Remembering black soldiers

Fortunately, Black History Month basically assures us that young Americans will be taught about the immortals of African-American achievement. The contributions by Americans with the names Frederick Douglass, W.E. B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver and Martin Luther King Jr. should be known to all teachers and students of American history.

February 15, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Wyatt's 27-year military career left him with vivid memories

Call it divine intervention, luck or just a turn of events – Charles Wyatt had his life saved.

February 10, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Woman's family has proud military tradition

ive branches of the military are officially recognized: Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, and Marines. This journalist, though, believes that two other factions should be commended: the Merchant Marines and the Home Front.

February 04, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


German pilot showed humanity amidst the inhumanity of WWII

The B-17 pilot was 21 years old, a farm boy from Weston, W. Va., on his first combat mission over the German heartland. His adversary, a former Bavarian airline pilot from Regensburg, Germany, was now a crack pilot for the Luftwaffe, with 22 kills to his credit. He was one victory away from winning the celebrated Knight's Cross. The date: Dec 20, 1943.

January 28, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


The greatest generation of athletes

y recent article on Hollywood's participation in World War II created a tidal wave of emails pleading, "What about the athletes who served?" Indeed they did, in great numbers, and this is their partial story.

January 21, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Freedman: Heroism in world's trouble spots

This is the second of two parts of Gary Freedman's story.

January 14, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Vietnam was only the beginning of this soldier's story

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.

January 07, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Tuskegee Airmen assured fellow pilots a happy new year

Nov. 14, 1944:

December 31, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


In 1914, warring soldiers chose peace on earth

When governments can no longer manage their international responsibilities, soldiers are sent to wage the needed war to restore failed politics.

December 23, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


A Veteran's Story: Rockdale’s finest continue to serve

Cpl. Dexter Harris of the Rockdale Sheriff's Department joined the Army in 1987, just three weeks out of high school.

December 17, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


During World War II, Hollywood got serious

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.

December 10, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Pearl Harbor: Japan's biggest mistake

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.

December 05, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


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