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Articles By Author - Pete Mecca


Memories of Steele

After their youngest son, Hugh, had completed a few days in the first grade, Johnny and Ada Steele playfully asked if he'd found a girlfriend yet. The 6-year-old responded, "Yes, I have found the girl I'm going to marry. Her name is Dorothy Lassiter. Even if I wander the whole world over, I'll never find another one like her." In 1947, WWII veteran Hugh Steele married Dorothy Lassiter, and they remained as husband and wife for 65 years until her passing.

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


Vacuums suck

I love those commercials on television that have a man impersonating an appliance. The dishwasher licks the whip, and the refrigerator complains that he must work every minute of every day while the blender sits in a cabinet and does nothing for most days of the month.

April 22, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LIFE


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


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Archive By Author - Pete Mecca


British pilot trains, teaches in Georgia

During World War II the British media grumbled, "The trouble with Yanks is that they're over-paid, over-sexed, and over here." One good turn deserves another. British pilots trained in America but unlike their American counterparts, they were under-paid, welcomed here, and not criticized for what comes naturally - not too often, anyway.

October 02, 2012 | Pete Mecca | News Columnists


Local recalls gruesome Vietnam War

On Sept. 24, 1970, Bobby Gayton stopped drinking and gave his life to Christ. He's been preaching ever since, and our country should be grateful he wasn't required to give his life in Vietnam.

September 25, 2012 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Medal of Honor recipient’s heroic tale

Roy Benavidez was born in 1935 near Cuero, Texas to poverty-stricken sharecroppers of Mexican and Yaqui Indian ancestry. Both parents died of tuberculosis before his eighth birthday. He and his younger brother Roger, along with eight cousins, were raised by their grandfather, an aunt and uncle, in El Campo.

September 18, 2012 | Pete Mecca | News Columnists


Account of close calls in Iraq

Born in Macon, Covington resident Eurey Hooper grew up in Byron, and joined the Army reserves at 18 years old.

September 11, 2012 | Pete Mecca | News Columnists


Bank of America to assist veterans

As the banking industry receives the brunt of criticism for unpopular government bailouts, reckless lending practices, and has been the favorite target of politicians, apparently Bank of America is at least trying to improve its image.

September 04, 2012 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: Serving in the first Gulf War

Doug Hinton's kinfolk settled in Rockdale County in the 1800s. His parents and grandparents rest in peace at Green Meadows; a great-uncle killed on Iwo Jima and his great-grand parents are interred at Eastview, and his Civil War relatives rest in peace at Smyrna Presbyterian Camp Ground. His new bride Cindy, was born and raised in Yankeetown, Fla. Go figure.

A 1985 graduate of Heritage High School, Hinton received an appointment to the Merchant Marine Academy from Senator Sam Nunn. He said, "ROTC at Heritage prepared me for the Academy, but within two years I decided on another path ...

September 04, 2012 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Riding for the fallen

One of the most spirited and self-sacrificing veteran support groups wears leather vests and chaps, helmets, riding or after-riding boots, and the ladies might don an assortment of riding beads. They are known as the American Legion Riders.

September 01, 2012 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: Pilot tells of narrow escape

Continued from last Wednesday's, Aug. 22 edition "From Ga. Tech to bombing Germany."

August 28, 2012 | Pete Mecca | News Columnists


Remembering WWII veteran Gerald Hipps

Columnist and veteran Pete Mecca attended the funeral of World War II veteran Gerald Hipps and wrote some thoughts about the service and the man he interviewed in-depth previously.

August 27, 2012 | Pete Mecca | News Columnists


From Ga. Tech to bombing Germany

On Dec. 7, 1941, Floridian Jim Armstrong listened to the radio with his classmates on the second floor of Harrison Hall at Georgia Tech. As the disaster at Pearl Harbor unfolded, sophomore Armstrong realized his books would soon be exchanged for bullets and bombs.

August 21, 2012 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Civil Service secretary experiences Europe

A seldom mentioned group of patriots from World War II were the dedicated men and women of the Civil Service. From the Civil Air Patrol to a clerk typist, members of the Civil Service played a vital role. Their willingness to dedicate talents and time in non-combat positions released untold thousands of men for essential military duties. Miriam "Mickey" Stanley Hogan was one such talent.

Born in 1918 into the tiny farming community of Mendes, Ga., Covington resident Miriam "Mickey" Hogan experienced the Great Depression. "Food and jobs were scarce," she said. "We moved around a lot, including Florida."

August 14, 2012 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: From bat boy to the Tet Offensive

Conyers resident Mike Morris fought house to house in the Chinese Cholon District of Saigon during the infamous Tet Offensive of '68. Assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry (Mechanized), 25th Infantry Division as a rifleman, Morris' normal operational area was Cu Chi, also known as "Hells Half Acre." Yet all he could think about was playing second base.

August 07, 2012 | Pete Mecca | News Columnists


From the Battle of the Bulge to magistrate judge

During the Depression, young men in Atlanta picked prestigious Boys High School (now Grady H.S.) to groom their aptitudes for a college education. John Campbell graduated from Boys in 1939. After high school, he worked for Standard Oil on Marietta Street while attending night school at Atlanta Junior College (now Georgia State). He participated in both ROTC programs.

"I met my future wife Rebecca in college," Campbell said. "But after Pearl Harbor, I knew I'd be called up." He was. Campbell received training as an anti-aircraft gunner at Camp Maxey, Texas, and was chosen for Officer Candidate School ...

July 31, 2012 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Paratrooper tells tales from WWII

Born into a Fayetteville farming community in 1924, Lofton Lee Hill helped harvest cotton and corn until joining the CCC (civilian conservation corps) during the Great Depression. He helped complete the paratrooper jump school at Fort Benning, on Nov 11, 1941. Hill said, "Little did I know I'd be going through the same jump school in 1943."

July 24, 2012 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


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