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Articles By Author - Pete Mecca


America's first war on terror

Ecclesiastes 3 - "To everything there is a season….and a time to every purpose under the heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:8 – "A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."

March 01, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Very Good or Very Dead

Flak blackens the sky; a kaleidoscope of anti-aircraft tracers swivel and coil around your aircraft, and you and your passengers are going down. A normal descent is 72 miles per hour, your landing speed 60 mph, at 49 mph your plane could stall, crash, and kill everyone aboard. Manufacturers with names like Ford Motor Company, Gibson Refrigerator, Ward Furniture, a piano manufacturer, Schlitz Brewing Company, a coffin company, and Anheuser-Busch built the aircraft in your 1,400 plane air armada. What could possibly go wrong?

February 22, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


There and back again

Doctor David Almand opened his medical practice in Conyers when we both were still relatively young. Goodness, how time flies when you're having fun. Albeit, only recently did I find out his father, Frank Almand, was a World War II veteran who served in Europe. This is Frank's story.

February 15, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


A 5-foot, 3-inch bundle of dynamite

She is nationally recognized among lawyers as 'the' veteran's pension expert, yet eldercare attorney Victoria Collier concentrates most of her attention on the older generation.

February 08, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Another soldier comes home

The Montford Point Marines were all black, separated from white Marines in basic training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. These 'men of color' served their country in time of war yet most American businesses would not serve them. German POWs incarcerated on American soil during WWII were often shepherded to local towns for an American meal in an American restaurant. Any black soldiers on the guard detail would have to wait outside the American restaurant while the enemy POWs ate American food. The wacky parody of that American reality is too deep to fathom.

February 01, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


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


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Archive By Author - Pete Mecca


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


Rickenbacker outfoxed grim reaper time and again

A fighter in every sense of the word, "The Great Indestructible" expired in a country that hasn't fought a war since 1847 and is internationally-known for its neutrality. He failed in several commercial adventures before succeeding marvelously in the business world. President Franklin D. Roosevelt disliked the man and declined to meet with him on numerous occasions, which may be understandable since The Great Indestructible publicly criticized FDR and continuously referred to him as a "Socialist."

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


Vietnam vet saw plenty of combat

After graduating from St. Joseph's Nursing School in Atlanta, Newton County native Delores Haney did her pediatric rotation at the Children's Hospital in Cincinnati. There she met a young man from Xavier College who was paying educational expenses by working as a bartender.

June 04, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Vietnam vet saw brutal action, bravery

An NVA machine gun opened up as he walked point across a rice paddy.

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Surviving the Day of Infamy

Hamilton Field near San Francisco: 9 p.m. Unarmed and unescorted, with fuel tanks filled to the max, 13 B-17 Flying Fortresses take off at 15- minute intervals.

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Marine recon survives brutal Pacific battles

The Hawaiian Islands and Philippine Archipelagos were familiar in name only to most Americans on Dec. 7, 1941, but even fewer recognized the names of locations where men died: Pearl Harbor, Wake Island, Bataan, and Corregidor, to mention a few.

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Fighting for justice at Guadalcanal

After Pearl Harbor, African-Americans wanted to fight for their country. A select few obtained the toughest training available: the U.S. Marine Corps.

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Surviving 'Anzio Annie'

The Germans were completely surprised as Allied forces swarmed ashore at 2 a.m. Jan. 22, 1944, near the Italian prewar resort towns of Anzio and Nettuno. With almost no opposition, the Anglo-American armies pushed inland and secured a 15-mile stretch of Italian beach.

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Lightning in a bottle

Mother Nature couldn't claim this streak of Lightning; it was created by Lockheed's celebrated designer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson and proved to be one of the best American fighters of World War II.

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Surviving the 'Burning Grave'

During the Civil War, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman suffered a ''breakdown" and was sent home on leave to recover. A sufferer of depression and mood swings, Sherman endured the humiliation of being labeled ''insane'' by the Cincinnati Commercial newspaper. At Vicksburg, journalists referred to Sherman as a "lunatic."

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


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