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Articles By Author - Pete Mecca


Ride for the fallen

Their military uniforms are packed away in a storage bin somewhere in a dusty attic, or perhaps hanging in the back room closet protected by a sheet of plastic, yet still discolored from years of disuse. Row upon row of multi-hued service ribbons are still pinned over the left breast pocket. Few, if any, of the veterans attempt to squeeze into their old threads of service since age and one too many chocolate donuts have taken a toll, yet these senior warriors continue to serve most honorably in so many different ways.

May 17, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


The little ship that could

Habitually identified as the Splinter Fleet, the tiny 110 foot wood-hulled Sub Chasers of WWII held the title as the smallest commissioned ship in the US Navy. A Sub Chaser cruised at around 12 knots with flank speed no more than 20 knots. The more popular PT-Boats of McHales's Navy renown were only 80 feet in length and commonly hit 40 knots, but PT-Boats were commissioned collectively in squadrons, not individually.

May 11, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


WWII Days

The B-24 Liberator was overdue. Ugly gray clouds and a misty overcast cut visibility to less than a mile. Hot and sticky, the crewmembers had been airborne most of the day and they were eager to land. Big sweat beads rolled off their faces and dripped onto the metal floor. The nose art on front of the B-24 identified her as Diamond Lil. Ground personnel were anxious, hoping Diamond Lil could make the airfield. Unattractive and ungraceful, the B-24 merited a reputation for difficult handling and unpredictable flight characteristics.

May 03, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


A Pearl Harbor Story

Aboard the battleship USS California, Dec. 7, 1941. The time: 7:55 a.m. Wayne Shelnut was nursing a hot cup of coffee after breakfast when someone screamed, "What is that airplane doing up there?" Wayne walked a few steps to the door and looked up. A plane with a big red ball painted on the fuselage passed over the California then dropped a bomb on Ford Island. General quarters sounded and startled sailors ran to their battle stations. 100 crewmembers would die and 62 others would be wounded. World War II had caught our Pacific Fleet sound asleep at ...

April 26, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Never stop searching

November 28, 1972 - Udorn AFB, Thailand: The F-4 Phantom jet lifts off with Captain Jack Harvey at the controls. Flight surgeon Major Bobby Jones rides in the backseat. Major Jones is on the non-combat 'hop' to Da Nang, Vietnam, for one reason, to log the needed hours to maintain his flight surgeon status. The flight is uneventful until about 18 miles out from Da Nang. Something has gone horribly wrong in the vicinity of cloud-covered Bach Ma Mountain.

April 19, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Red Cross Donut Dollies bring a touch of home

Due to the ingenuity and can-do attitude of Yanks in World War II, the British witnessed their London Lorries remodeled into odd-looking clubmobiles that smelled of coffee and donuts. In July and August of 1944, brand-new clubmobiles crossed the stormy English Channel as remodeled two-and-a-half ton Army trucks. These vehicles also smacked of hot Joe and circular pastry. Eventually 80 clubmobiles and 320 females known as "clubmobile girls" braved the hazards of war to provide our soldiers with familiar tastes and a touch of home. Fifty-two of the ladies would die in the line of duty.

April 12, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


The unstoppable journalist

November, 1965 - the Ia Drang Valley, Vietnam.

April 05, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Mecca: Old Soldiers Never Die

The closing paragraph of General Douglas MacArthur's April 19, 1951 address to Congress: "I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barracks ballads of the day which proclaimed most proudly that old soldiers never die; they just fade away. And like the old soldier in the ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty."

April 02, 2015 | Pete Mecca | DIGITAL NEWSPAPER


Old soldiers never die

The closing paragraph of General Douglas MacArthur's April 19, 1951 address to Congress: "I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barracks ballads of the day which proclaimed most proudly that old soldiers never die; they just fade away. And like the old soldier in the ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty."

March 31, 2015 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Our boys are coming home

Twelve heroes from Newton County and 11 of their brothers from Rockdale County are coming home. Befitting the 40th Anniversary of the ending of the Vietnam War, the Vietnam Moving Wall will be on display in May at the Walk of Heroes War Memorial. And thanks to one man - Bud Sosebee - our heroes will have a noble venue for their homecoming.

March 29, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


A Veteran's Story: Our Boys are Coming Home

Eleven heroes from Rockdale County and twelve of their brothers from Newton County are coming home. Befitting the 40th Anniversary of the ending of the Vietnam War, the Moving Wall – a traveling half-sized replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. – will be on display at the Walk of Heroes War Memorial in Rockdale County, May 6-12. And thanks to one man, Bud Sosebee, our heroes will have a noble venue for their homecoming.

March 26, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


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Archive By Author - Pete Mecca


WAC recruiter filled big shoes

Irene Burquest facilitated the role of women in the military, serving as a recruiter and publicity guru during World War II with the Women's Army Auxiliary Corp - WAAC (later called WAC).

September 10, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Recruiter filled big (but ugly) shoes

Irene Burquest facilitated the role of women in the military, serving as a recruiter and publicity guru during World War II with the Women's Army Auxiliary Corp - WAAC (later called WAC).

September 10, 2013 | Pete Mecca | Columnists


Medic faced daily horrors

According to the Geneva Convention, knowingly firing on an accurately identified unarmed combat medic is a war crime.

September 03, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: 'Missileer' helped to safeguard country

A single W56 nuclear warhead with a yield of 1.2 megatons strikes The Covington News on Usher Street in Covington. The historic town and its inhabitants evaporate from the face of the earth. The old mill town of Porterdale vanishes.

August 27, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


A trial by fire for pilot ‘Nomad’

This is the second of a two-part series on Jim Lawrence.

August 20, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


A veteran's story: Pilot wowed 'em

This is the first of a two-part series on Jim Lawrence. A story exploring Lawrence's trial by fire will run in next week's The Covington News.

August 13, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Military cook kept soldiers fed

"I can't even eat. The food keeps touching. I like military plates, I'm a military man, and I want a military meal. I want my string beans to be quarantined! I like a little fortress around my mashed potatoes so the meatloaf doesn't invade my mashed potatoes and cause mixing in my plate! I absolutely HATE IT when food touches. I'm a military man, do you understand that? And don't let your food touch either, please?"

August 06, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Through three wars, Davis never faltered

Editor's Note: This is the second part of a two-part look at Four Star Marine Gen. Ray Davis, whose distinguished service encompassed three wars.

July 30, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Marine general served in three wars

This is the first part of a two-part look at the life of Gen. Ray Davis. The second part will be in next week's Veteran's Story.

July 23, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Flying with heroes

There is a book penned by Lt. Col. Thomas R. Waldron, USAF-Ret., called "I Flew with Heroes," a true account of the rescue and recovery of downed airmen during the Vietnam War.

July 16, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: Invaluable as an Armorer-Gunner

A B-17 inflight Armorer-Gunner inspects, repairs and maintains machine guns, cannons, bomb release mechanisms, bomb racks, aerial gun sites, auxiliary equipment, chemical-carrying release mechanisms and flare racks. He fuses and places the bombs in racks, field-strips machine guns to repair as necessary, oils and cleans and mans a gun position during combat.

July 09, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: Marine Singleton made ultimate sacrifice

Before serving 12 months with the 406th Tactical Recon Wing at Tan Son Nhut AFB in Saigon, Vietnam, I spent 18 months at a secret location known as "The Project," taking part in the interdiction of the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail through Laos and Cambodia.

July 02, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


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


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