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Articles by Section - 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


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


Surviving 'Anzio Annie'

The Germans were completely surprised as Allied forces swarmed ashore at 2 a.m. Jan. 22, 1944, near the Italian prewar resort towns of Anzio and Nettuno. With almost no opposition, the Anglo-American armies pushed inland and secured a 15-mile stretch of Italian beach.

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Lightning in a bottle

Mother Nature couldn't claim this streak of Lightning; it was created by Lockheed's celebrated designer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson and proved to be one of the best American fighters of World War II.

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Keeping the fires burning at home

Alice Stallings defies one's expectations of a 93-year-old. Her style and humor are positively contemporary. Through her voice, the World War II era doesn't seem so removed and separate. During the war, while her husband, PFC James Stallings, made his way through North Africa, France, Germany and Italy with the Army Medical Corps, Stallings operated one of Conyers' first salons, Nifty Beauty Shop, on Center Street.

May 28, 2013 | Jessica Smith | A VETERAN'S STORY


Surviving the 'Burning Grave'

During the Civil War, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman suffered a ''breakdown" and was sent home on leave to recover. A sufferer of depression and mood swings, Sherman endured the humiliation of being labeled ''insane'' by the Cincinnati Commercial newspaper. At Vicksburg, journalists referred to Sherman as a "lunatic."

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Miracle over Europe

As in life, there are miracles in war. Jim Armstrong's exploits as a B-17 pilot speak volumes about amazing survival, but one of his waist gunners, Olen Grant, lived to tell a story beyond belief.

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Missing in the jungles of Burma

Minnie Lee Williams refused to accept the notion her son would never return from World War Two. She took in laundry to help augment her husband's earnings from his shoe repair shop on Green Street in Olde Town Conyers and on occasion took out her son's clothes, too. Minnie washed and ironed Johnny's clothes as if he still lived at home, as if he would still be coming home, as if he was still alive.

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Hitting the silk over Burma

From an editorial in the New York Times on Dec. 15, 1944: "Big strike on railroad marshaling yards in Rangoon by B-29 bombers causes devastating results. No B-29s were lost."

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Fighting with the Chinese in WWII

If present-day students are fortunate enough to find World War II mentioned in their history books, they'll most likely study battles fought in North Africa, Europe and the Pacific. The CBI Theater is habitually cited as a footnote.

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Part II: ‘Heavyweight pilots’ valiant to the end

Analogous to Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, Richard Ira "Dick" Bong and Thomas Buchanan McGuire were the heavyweight fighter jocks of World War II. But Bong and McGuire did not fight each other; they fought the Japanese. This is Part II of their story.

May 16, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Heavyweight pilots fought to the finish

Analogous to Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, Richard Ira "Dick" Bong and Thomas Buchanan McGuire were the heavyweight fighter jocks of World War II.

May 09, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Helms brothers in submarine action

In 1828, the two Helms brothers received a land grant for a homestead in Henry County. They packed their belongings, hitched up an old blind mule, loaded the kids into a wagon (both had lost their wives) and began the arduous journey from the Carolinas to their new habitat. Once settled, they built a log cabin and worked the land.

April 16, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


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


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