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Articles by Section - A VETERAN'S STORY


American cleverness vs. communist cruelty

Captain Wayne Waddell deemed his chances of survival slim to none as his F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bomber plummeted out of the skies near the Chinese border with North Vietnam. Perilously close to the ground, he ejected, the chute deployed, and Waddell hit the ground in less than three seconds. Evasion attempts failed. Captured and incarcerated, the Air Force pilot would remain a POW in North Vietnam for the next five years and eight months.

June 28, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Welcome to Honoi Hilton

July 5, 1967: Near the North Vietnamese/Chinese border.

June 20, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Vietnam vet among America's Best

Excerpts from "Twelve Days in May" by Jerald W. Berry - May 6, 1970, LZ (Landing Zone) Fox, Binh Duong Province, Cambodia, with Company C, 3rd Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division.

June 14, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Flag Day for how long?

Today is Flag Day. How many older generation Americans can remember the history of Old Glory? How many Americans will be cognizant that this Sunday is in fact Flag Day? How many educational institutions, self-proclaimed elitists, and politically correct activists will consider the mention of Flag Day as 'offensive' to the disenfranchised, the envious, or to foreign students?

June 14, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Bigger and bigger bombers

December 23, 1944, Podington, England: Two of eight "Recommendation for Award" excerpts for Captain Raymond V. Clay, 92nd Bomb Group, 326th Bombardment Squadron, 8th Air Force.

June 07, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Memorial Day - Panthers, Pathos and Pride

"They fought together as brothers-in-arms. They died together and now sleep side by side. To them we have a solemn obligation."

May 31, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Rockdale-The Other Guys

We were young, invincible, and we knew the awful things would happen to the other guy. The war in Vietnam was nothing more than a stumbling block, something our country needed us to do before we continued on with our lives, our educations, marriages, raising rug rats, growing old with a sweetheart. Our tools of war were lethal and high tech, the best bombs and bullets taxpayer money could buy. Turn us loose, let us do what we were trained to do, and we will win this war then bring us home to a grateful nation.

May 24, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


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


Aboard the Memphis Belle

The 750-horsepower Pratt and Whitney Hornet engines turned over four propellers sending a beautiful yet chaotic melody of mechanical jazz to those encased in the belly of the flying time capsule that is the Liberty Foundation's B-17 Memphis Belle at the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport Thursday.

June 06, 2013 | Bryan Fazio | A VETERAN'S STORY


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Archive By Section - 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


Mecca: 'Find the bastards, and pile on'

Far from his wife and newborn, John Butler kept finding himself in the battlefield with one set of instructions: "Find the bastards, and pile on."

July 22, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Mecca: Sky riders

The cavalry still mount their steeds, but these horses are of a motorized breed. In Vietnam the mounts were named Loach, Huey, Cobra, Osage, Chinook, Mohawk and the superseded Raven (achieved recognition in three early James Bond films). These hi-tech mounts could saddle up more than just one soldier and the cavalrymen gripping the reins were some of the bravest of the brave in Southeast Asia.

July 15, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Mecca: Welcome to the land of peaceful frontiers

Seventeen-year-old Macon native Ron Holmes received the displeasing news upon high school graduation in June of 1963 - his appointment to the Air Force Academy had been denied because of a new prerequisite that required uncorrected 20/20 vision.

July 08, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Hold hands & take the high ground

Taking the 'high ground' has been a basic military strategy since man started throwing rocks at each other. A force controlling the heights controls the battlefield, in combat as well as surveillance. American history was built on high ground, from graceful rises to gentle slopes, from ridges, cliffs and hills to lofty mountains.

June 24, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Mecca: He entered the war a boy, left a man

Henry Lee Gaddis was 11 years old on Dec. 7, 1941. "I remember when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the president declared war on Japan," he said. "We moved from Cherokee County into Atlanta so my dad could work for a dairy. Everything was rationed, sugar, flour, gas … but we did okay."

June 17, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Red, White and Blue

White signifies purity and innocence; Red, hardiness and valor; and Blue, the justice, vigilance, and perseverance of the United States of America.

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


The bravest of the brave

Throughout the course of nearly 250 years of American Military History, only 3,468 service personnel have received the decoration, 621 of them posthumously. The award is called the Medal of Honor.

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


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