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Articles By Author - Pete Mecca


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


THE MAN FROM ENGLISH GAP part II

March, 1966 - Amended excerpts from 'Vietnam Sky Soldiers' by Wayne English. "The Huey crashed nose first into the earth and you could see the door gunner bracing for impact. The engine was still running while the chopper seemed to wallow around before the rotor blades snapped off. Pieces of rotor blades were flying through the air. Then we started receiving small arms fire along with artillery and mortars all around 2nd Battalion's perimeter. The noise was thunderous, the loudest of any battle we had fought so far. Lead was flying everywhere. I took cover behind the massive root system ...

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


The man from the English Gap

The farm is called English Gap, named after the Vietnam veteran whose heart and soul is dedicated to giving homeless and troubled veterans an opportunity to acclimate their own hearts and souls before returning to society. The challenge is formidable, the results remarkable, the money persistently in short supply but unable to discourage the determination and dedication of founder, Wayne English.

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


Soviets, Snow & Cyanide

Harry remembered life on the home front. "I split and stacked wood, slopped the hogs, and rounded up tin cans for the war effort. One day I bought some firecrackers, drilled a hole in a piece of fire wood, packed the hole with firecrackers then plugged the hole. Well, sir, two days later our neighbors wood stove blew up and the butter bean pot went clean into the attic. The patched hole can still been seen in the house. Yep, I took care of the fire wood and my dad took care of my rear end."

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


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


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Archive By Author - Pete Mecca


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


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


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