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Articles By Author - Pete Mecca


Missing in action

The home city of record for Lance Corporal David Nipper is Atlanta. Perhaps the city of Atlanta was listed for convenience, but my theory is a bit more skeptical. This young marine was unintentionally overlooked due to careless record-keeping or the lack of clerical experience dealing with Georgia's first warrior listed as MIA (Missing in Action) during the war in Southeast Asia.

September 30, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Flying with Laughter

Arranging an interview quickly turns into something even more exciting when the veteran suggests, "Let's just fire up the old Stearman and fly down to Peach State Aerodrome for lunch at Barnstormer's Grill. Then we can fly back for an interview at my house." Needless to say, nobody had to twist my arm.

September 23, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


We are all Veterans 9/11

The word 'veteran' customarily represents an individual who served in the military. The keyword 'military' customarily represents a fighting alliance like the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines or the Navy. Arguably, two other groups could be classified as veterans: Merchant Mariners and members of the Home Front.

September 10, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


A Veteran's story: Orphaned by history

The "Forgotten War" of Korea is also referred to as the war "orphaned by history." The catchphrases 'forgotten' or 'orphaned' may appease intellectuals or the power-players of that era, but for the soldiers who suffered and sacrificed in the hell called Korea their war will never be 'forgotten.' As for being 'orphaned by history', Korean veterans knew from the outset that the diplomatic philosophy of the day guaranteed they would indeed feel orphaned if not blamed for America's first war without a victorious outcome.

September 02, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


No color in war

Soldiers of color, be it white, black, red, brown or yellow, have one human characteristic in common: we all bleed the same color. The warrior covering your back most likely wears the same color uniform, yet his or her race, creed or color has no relevance on the value of training or their desire to simply do what is right.

August 26, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


A Veteran's Story: The dustoff

Their aphorism, 'Dedicated Unhesitating Service To Our Fighting Forces' was better known in Vietnam by its acronym 'Dustoff'. These were the medevac choppers. Unarmed and unwavering, the courageous crews of 'Dustoff' missions flew their Hueys into combat zones to bring out the wounded, the dying, and young soldiers covered with rain ponchos. 'Dustoffs' were clearly marked with the Red Cross insignia to signify a mercy flight, yet that distinctive Red Cross also became a prime target for Communist gunners.

August 19, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Mecca: In the midst of love and war

Personality Plus best describes her spunk and spirit, and I knew a story of love and sacrifice resided in her heart. Little did this journalist know that her home front narrative would open the door to one of the most remarkable untold accounts of World War II. If made into a movie, I'll volunteer to write the screenplay.

August 12, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Mecca: The final reunion of Torpedo Squadron 8

A heart attack took the life of George H. Gay Jr. at a Marietta hospital on October 21, 1994. A resident of Kennesaw, Gay was a well-known hero of WWII. Now, as history books are rewritten and military icons are shunned by reformists, let us hope that Gay's story will remain an embodiment of the courage and sacrifice of a generation that saved a world from totalitarianism.

August 05, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Mecca: Kilroy was here!

He sported a big elongated nose, a smooth bald head, beady eyes, and three to four fingers of each hand dangled over the imaginary line of an imaginary wall. A rather comical figure, yet pitifully ugly if symbolic of a real person, Kilroy quickly developed into one of the historic symbols of World War II.

July 29, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


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Archive By Author - Pete Mecca


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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