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Articles By Author - Pete Mecca


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


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


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Archive By Author - Pete Mecca


Soldier recalls fighting in rice paddies, jungles

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.

March 26, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: War divides the world, fails to separate twins

The United States Maritime Service, sometimes referred to as Mariners, but known worldwide as the Merchant Marines, suffered casualties of 3.9 percent, equating to roughly 9,400 killed and 12,000 wounded of the roughly 215,000 crewmembers during World War II.

March 19, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Mecca: From baseball to bombings

To say Yellow Brick Home resident John Slavik came from humble beginnings is a misrepresentation of European history. A 'multi-cultural' beginning is closer to the truth.

March 12, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: Local soldier recalls fighting at Battle of the Bulge

The Army's 2nd Infantry Division landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day +1, June 7, 1944, near St. Laurent-sur-Mer. After crossing the Aure River to liberate Trevieres on June 10, the 2nd Infantry Division started a trek across France that would take them all the way into Germany.

March 05, 2013 | Pete Mecca | Columnists


Soldier experiences devastation of bombs

McDonough native Joe Turner was born in 1927 during hard times, then lived through the Great Depression. As a member of the Greatest Generation, Turner served in World War II, came home to finish college, and became a successful insurance salesman. As a history and geography enthusiast, he dreamed of going to far-off places, of glimpsing history, and vacationing in countries he'd only read about or studied in school.

February 26, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: Elrod fights to end

Wake Island is a pint-sized coral atoll in the middle of nowhere, 2,300 miles west of Honolulu and 1,510 miles east of Guam. This tiny speck of sand and palm trees actually consists of three islands - Wake, Wiles and Peale - with a combined shoreline of 12 miles. The highest elevation is 20 feet. History would record Wake Island as the only battle in World War II where an amphibious assault failed when a ragtag group of American marines, sailors, civilian workers and 45 Chamorro Islanders turned back a Japanese invasion.

February 19, 2013 | Pete Mecca | News Columnists


Mecca: Wolfe thrives in military 'boys' club'

Raised in the traditions and customs of the Tsalagi Native American Indians (more familiar as the Cherokees of North Carolina), Peter Elizabeth Wolfe was destined to shatter stereotypes and bring down the walls of the most exclusive Boys' Club in America - the United States military.

February 12, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: Missing but not forgotten

On May 7, 1944, 2nd Lt. William Parkinson was reported missing in action after his B-24 Liberator heavy bomber disappeared over the jungles near Lea, New Guinea. On Jan. 18, two U.S. Army officers presented the urn containing Parkinson's remains to his descendants in Conyers. After 69 years, 2nd Lt. Parkinson was finally home.

February 09, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Local medic heals wounds, saves lives

In his book "Medic," author Ben Sherman quotes a training sergeant giving the final lecture to a class of graduating Army medics: "...listen to me one more time. 'Restore breathing! Stop bleeding! Make mobile!' And you WILL do everything you learned here, every technique, every field drill, every maneuver...you will do everything absolutely perfect. And you will do ALL these things with tears in your eyes...and your stomach in your throat."

January 29, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: Parkinson no longer MIA

At the end of World War II, the United States government was unable to retrieve and identify more than 79,000 Americans. Almost 70 years later, more than 73,000 are still missing.

January 22, 2013 | Pete Mecca | News Columnists


Flying the All American

Mention All-American in Tuscaloosa or the remotest corner of Alabama and you'll hear names like running back Eddie Lacy or quarterback A.J. McCarron, two of the numerous young athletes instrumental in the Crimson Tide's most recent National Championship. Another young athlete, by every definition an All-American and 23 years old at the time, flew into aviation history on Feb. 1, 1943 as pilot of the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber named All-American.

January 15, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: Join the Navy, see the world

The old recruiting slogan "Join the Navy and See the World" actually came true for Newton resident Shelton Keaton.

January 08, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


It doesn't take a hero

My thoughts are that of a Vietnam veteran concerning a Vietnam veteran, thus is as it should be.

December 29, 2012 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Excerpts from aboard the H.M.S. Victorious

While dining recently at Outback Steakhouse in Conyers, my wife and I were having our usual pleasant chitchat with Shannon Smith, a long-time Outback employee and family friend, when he conveyed his admiration of "A Veteran's Story." Shannon said he loved the articles, especially the stories of our aging warriors of World War II, and asked if I'd consider writing a story about his grandfather, a British fighter pilot. You bet'cha.

December 26, 2012 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Local paves the way for women vets

Rockdale resident 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). When asked why she joined, Burquest said, "Well, it was the right thing to do." Then she grinned before admitting, "And I wanted to be where the boys are."

December 11, 2012 | Pete Mecca | News Columnists


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