"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.
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 ...
August 7, 2012: Forward Operating Base (FOB) Shank, Logar Province in Afghanistan. She remembers a 'thump' followed by the sensation of a big hand picking up her body then squeezing the breath from her lungs. Hurled through the air, her body smashes against a blast wall, called an Alaska Wall by the U.S. Military. A water truck packed with 3,000 lbs. of explosives had just detonated 'inside the wire.' Major Patty "Mama Bear" Justice lies wounded and motionless, another casualty of another suicidal terrorist attack. She is 49 years old.
"Then were there brought unto him little children; that he should put his hands on them and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus, said, 'Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.'"
I've been asked many times by readers and friends to relate my military experiences for "A Veteran's Story." Well, perhaps at a later date, but for now I'm delighted and honored to represent and convey the stories of my brothers and sisters. I will grant one personal narrative, a report on the best Veterans Day this old 'Nam vet has ever experienced.
September, 1970: I was finally home after 2½ years in Southeast Asia fighting a war our government had written off before I ever arrived in Vietnam. My skin still reeked of Southeast Asia, a musky scent no soap could lather off, but with enough time finally wore off. My mom and dad and a few relatives welcomed me home at Memphis International Airport and offered hugs and kisses and a few touchy-feely slights of hand to see if all my appendages were still intact. No Purple Hearts; didn't want any.
December, 1923, Atlanta: Jim Butler enters the world in an apartment house at the corner of Memorial Drive and Moreland Avenue. His dad maintained a job during the Great Depression so in Jim's words, "Our family did okay." Tech High School awarded Jim a diploma in the spring of '42. Hired by Rich's Department Store, he listened to the stories of a co-worker who had joined Navy aviation. Rather than be drafted as a ground-pounder, by September Jim had taken and passed his physical and mental tests for pilot training with the U.S. Navy.
This "Veteran's Story" is dedicated to all our veterans, to the men and women still in uniform, and to our fellow countrymen striving to grasp the true cost of freedom. Freedom never has been free, and the cost will be much higher for future generations.
According to Greek mythology, a skilled artist and craftsman, Daedalus, along with his son, Icarus, had become imprisoned on the isle of Crete without hope of escape. Using his substantial intellect, Daedalus used wooden frames, wax, and various sized feathers to fabricate wings. After man's first 'preflight', the two men took to the air, with a stern warning from Daedalus to his son not to fly too high because heat from the sun would melt the wax, nor too low, because sea foam may soak the feathers.
He served as a combat medic in Vietnam, picked up pieces of humanity; desperately struggled to save lives during the critical 60 minutes of the 'Golden Hour' in which the survival rate increased to 95%, and treaded through mine fields to recover the dead and wounded.
From the book "The Tunnels of Cu Chi" by Mangold and Penycate, a quote by highly decorated Army officer Jack Flowers, commander of 'Rat Six', the crack Tunnel Rat unit of the 1st Infantry Division. Jack Flowers personally survived 97 tunnel explorations.
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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.
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.
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."
As in life, there are miracles in war. Jim Armstrong's exploits as a B-17 pilot speak volumes about amazing survival, but one of his waist gunners, Olen Grant, lived to tell a story beyond belief.
Minnie Lee Williams refused to accept the notion her son would never return from World War Two. She took in laundry to help augment her husband's earnings from his shoe repair shop on Green Street in Olde Town Conyers and on occasion took out her son's clothes, too. Minnie washed and ironed Johnny's clothes as if he still lived at home, as if he would still be coming home, as if he was still alive.
From an editorial in the New York Times on Dec. 15, 1944: "Big strike on railroad marshaling yards in Rangoon by B-29 bombers causes devastating results. No B-29s were lost."
If present-day students are fortunate enough to find World War II mentioned in their history books, they'll most likely study battles fought in North Africa, Europe and the Pacific. The CBI Theater is habitually cited as a footnote.
Twenty three miles northwest of Hanoi, the tiny North Vietnamese village of Son Tay had been undisturbed for decades, if not centuries. Peasants harvested their rice crops and survived as best they could in Third-World conditions. On Nov. 21, 1970, the peaceful little village of Son Tay entered military history.
Analogous to Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, Richard Ira "Dick" Bong and Thomas Buchanan McGuire were the heavyweight fighter jocks of World War II. But Bong and McGuire did not fight each other; they fought the Japanese. This is Part II of their story.
Analogous to Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, Richard Ira "Dick" Bong and Thomas Buchanan McGuire were the heavyweight fighter jocks of World War II.
The American Legion state adjutant has said that Post 77 in Conyers is the model for all American Legions in Georgia. One member has been instrumental in helping Post 77 earn that claim to fame.
In 1828, the two Helms brothers received a land grant for a homestead in Henry County. They packed their belongings, hitched up an old blind mule, loaded the kids into a wagon (both had lost their wives) and began the arduous journey from the Carolinas to their new habitat. Once settled, they built a log cabin and worked the land.
A Grady baby and lifelong member of Saint John the Wonderworker Orthodox Church, Joe Roden moved with his family from Atlanta to Conyers when he was 14 years old. By age 17, Roden already aspired to join the Army.
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.
Born in the old Porterdale Hospital, Doug Garner and his family moved to Conyers before settling into Covington. He attended Newton County High School before working at the Bibb Plant in Porterdale, but instead of waiting for the inevitable draft notice, Garner chose to enlist in the U.S. Army. The year was 1966. Garner was 18.