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January 2017

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Note from the Editor

Greetings! Happy New Year. This month's Dispatches contains a story of two Marines unwavering resolve to "let no man pass" as told by General Kelly. We also include a story of one of America's first spys, Nathan Hale. I hope you enjoy them.

1/ General Kelly's "Six Seconds"
2/ The Green Beret Affair
3/ Military Myths and Legends: Nathan Hale

4/ Battlefield Chronicles: Battle of Chipyong-Ni
5/ Poor Decisions-Good Reasons
6/ Peacetime Warrior
                                           7/ TWS: Local Historical Societies
                                           8/ TWS Bulletin Board
                                           9/ Letters to the Editor

Please send any comments or member-written articles to Bulletin Board Posts and Reunion Announcements to

LtCol Mike Christy, US Army (Ret)

General Kelly's "Six Seconds"
Two years ago when I was the Commander of all U.S. and Iraqi forces, in fact, the 22nd of April 2008, two Marine infantry battalions, 1/9 "The Walking Dead," and 2/8 were switching out in Ramadi. One battalion in the closing days of their deployment going home very soon, the other just starting its seven-month combat tour.

Two Marines, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, 22 and 20 years old respectively, one from each battalion, were assuming the watch together at the entrance gate of an outpost that contained a makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines.

The same broken down ramshackle building was also home to 100 Iraqi police, also my men and our allies in the fight against the terrorists in Ramadi, a city until recently the most dangerous city on earth and owned by Al Qaeda. Yale was a dirt poor mixed-race kid from Virginia with a wife and daughter, and a mother and sister who lived with him and he supported as well. He did this on a yearly salary of less than $23,000. Haerter, on the other hand, was a middle class white kid from Long Island.

They were from two completely different worlds. Had they not joined the Marines they would never have met each other, or understood that multiple America's exist simultaneously depending on one's race, education level, economic status, and where you might have been born. But they were Marines, combat Marines, forged in the same crucible of Marine training, and because of this bond they were brothers as close, or closer, than if they were born of the same woman.

The mission orders they received from the Sergeant, Squad Leader, I am sure went something like: "Okay you two clowns, stand this post and let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass." "You clear?" I am also sure Yale and Haerter then rolled their eyes and said in unison something like: "Yes Sergeant," with just enough attitude that made the point without saying the words, "No kidding sweetheart, we know what we're doing." They then relieved two other Marines on watch and took up their post at the entry control point of Joint Security Station Nasser, in the Sophia section of Ramadi, al Anbar, Iraq.

A few minutes later a large blue truck turned down the alley way - perhaps 60-70 yards in length - and sped its way through the serpentine of concrete jersey walls. The truck stopped just short of where the two were posted and detonated, killing them both catastrophically. Twenty-four brick masonry houses were damaged or destroyed. A mosque 100 yards away collapsed. The truck's engine came to rest two hundred yards away knocking most of a house down before it stopped.

Our explosive experts reckoned the blast was made of 2,000 pounds of explosives. Two died, and because these two young Infantrymen didn't have it in their DNA to run from danger, they saved 150 of their Iraqi and American brothers-in-arms.

When I read the situation report about the incident a few hours after it happened I called the Regimental Commander for details as something about this struck me as different. Marines dying or being seriously wounded is commonplace in combat. We expect Marines regardless of rank or MOS to stand their ground and do their duty, and even die in the process, if that is what the mission takes. But this just seemed different.

The Regimental Commander had just returned from the site and he agreed, but reported that there were no American witnesses to the event - just Iraqi police. I figured if there was any chance of finding out what actually happened and then to decorate the two Marines to acknowledge their bravery, I'd have to do it as a combat award that requires two eye-witnesses and we figured the bureaucrats back in Washington would never buy Iraqi statements. If it had any chance at all, it had to come under the signature of a General Officer.

I traveled to Ramadi the next day and spoke individually to a half-dozen Iraqi police all of whom told the same story. The blue truck turned down into the alley and immediately sped up as it made its way through the serpentine. They all said, "We knew immediately what was going on as soon as the two Marines began firing." The Iraqi police then related that some of them also fired, and then to a man, ran for safety just prior to the explosion.

All survived. Many were injured , some seriously. One of the Iraqis elaborated and with tears welling up said, "They'd run like any normal man would to save his life."

What he didn't know until then, he said, and what he learned that very instant, was that Marines are not normal. Choking past the emotion he said, "Sir, in the name of God no sane man would have stood there and done what they did."

"No sane man."

"They saved us all."

What we didn't know at the time, and only learned a couple of days later after I wrote a summary and submitted both Yale and Haerter for posthumous Navy Crosses, was that one of our security cameras, damaged initially in the blast, recorded some of the suicide attack. It happened exactly as the Iraqis had described it. It took exactly six seconds from when the truck entered the alley until it detonated.

You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives. Putting myself in their heads I supposed it took about a second for the two Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their view at the far end of the alley. Exactly no time to talk it over, or call the Sergeant to ask what they should do. Only enough time to take half an instant and think about what the Sergeant told them to do only a few minutes before, "let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass."

The two Marines had about five seconds left to live. It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open up. By this time the truck was half-way through the barriers and gaining speed the whole time. Here, the recording shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were - some running right past the Marines. They had three seconds left to live.

For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines' weapons firing non-stop,the truck's windshield exploding into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tore in to the body of the son-of-a-bitch who is trying to get past them to kill their brothers - American and Iraqi - bedded down in the barracks totally unaware of the fact that their lives at that moment depended entirely on two Marines standing their ground. If they had been aware, they would have known they were safe, because two Marines stood between them and a crazed suicide bomber.

The recording shows the truck careening to a stop immediately in front of the two Marines. In all of the instantaneous violence Yale and Haerter never hesitated. By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even started to step aside. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread shoulder width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. They had only one second left to live.

The truck explodes. The camera goes blank.

Two young men go to their God.

Six seconds.

Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty, into eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight - for you.

This article originally appeared at Business Insider. Copyright 2015.

The Green Beret Affair
In 1969, the U.S. Special Forces were America's elite soldiers. Their heroic deeds were praised in story and song. The refrains from Sgt. Barry Sadler's stirring song, "Ballad of the Green Berets," beckoned many to try and become a member of "America's best." In the same year, a highly respected career infantry officer, Col. Robert "Bob" Rheault, took command of all Special Forces in Vietnam. He spoke flawless French, was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, graduated from West Point in the Class of 1946, and received a Master's Degree in international relations from the University of Paris. He was certain to be a two-star general, at least. But by year's end, the glory for both faded rapidly.

Eliminating opponents by whatever dirty means necessary was the dark side of war in Vietnam. The French had the efficient if brutal Surete. President Dien had secret police agencies that rounded up Viet Minh and later, his political opponents. Most were never heard of again.

The traditions of those agencies were passed on to the Americans - mostly clandestine operations run by the CIA or Green Berets or both. The most sweeping program for waging political war by violence was a joint operation that became world-famous. That program was Phoenix.

In theory, Phoenix's goal was to get the numerous American and South Vietnamese intelligence units to cooperate with each other through intelligence-gathering, sharing, and coordinating effort designed to identify individual members of the Viet Cong infrastructure so as armed Vietnamese forces could take action against them. In practice, Phoenix was a wave of terror that washed over remote villages throughout South Vietnam. The indigenous, black-clad Phoenix teams acquired the aura of the Gestapo in wartime France. A Green Beret sergeant who advised the teams said, "We had a sense that we were the law." Although it was not its intent, Phoenix became a program of organized assassinations.

While the Phoenix program was in operation, an estimated 26,369 people suspected of NLF membership were killed. How many of them were innocents falsely accused, mistakenly "hit," or gunned down as bystanders will never be known. 

It was one such assassination that had far-reaching ramifications - a killing so important that it served to discredit the Green Berets, temporarily leading to its downfall as America's unconventional warfare element.

The story begins in a beautiful costal city two hundred miles northeast of Saigon. Throughout the war, the city of Nha Trang - famous as a French resort - was the command headquarters for the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). It was also home to the Group's many highly-secret operations, the exact operations Phoenix was devised to help orchestrate.

One such clandestine operation was Project GAMMA (a name given to Detachment B-57 in 1968), which consisted of hundreds of indigenous secret agents running counterespionage missions along the borders of Laos and Cambodia. Ironically, the operation was code named "Black Beard," after the pirate who cut the throats of loyal followers. 

In October of 1968 the top intelligence officer in Vietnam on Gen. Creighton Abrams staff estimated that Project GAMMA was providing 65 per cent of the information known on North Vietnamese Army (NVA) strength and locations in Cambodia, and some 75 per cent of the same information known on NVA within South Vietnam. 

It has been said that the reason that Project GAMMA was so successful was due to the fact that the South Vietnamese had been not "read on" to the program. As a successful 1968 turned into 1969 for Project GAMMA, it was noticed that many extremely valuable intelligence nets and agents had begun to disappear, and many feared the worse, that the highly classified operation had been compromised by a double agent.

The S-3 or Operations Officer, Capt. Budge Williams, for the project felt that Project GAMMA was in danger of going under from an unseen and unknown communist spy. Other intelligence and counter-intelligence officers, to include Capt. Leland Brumley, Maj. Thomas Middleton, and Chief Warrant Officer Edward Boyle, became convinced also there was a security leak somewhere in the organization. All began investigations but made little headway until the spring of 1969, but did discover the unpleasant truth that some of the South Vietnamese Special Forces working for U.S. forces were involved in selling weapons and medical supplies to the communists. Then, ironically enough, a Special Reconnaissance team, in a classified area across the border where U.S. troops officially did not operate, discovered documents and a roll of film in a communist base camp. When the film was developed one of the Viet Cong pictures on the roll was believed to be that of Project GAMMA Vietnamese agent Thai Khac Chuyen, a 34-year old ex-Vietnamese ranger. The leak has been discovered, or had it?

After conferring with the Agency, the Special Forces soldiers involved in the investigation were told that the best way of handling the problem would be to get rid of the double agent, but the CIA could not authorize the execution, somewhat disingenuously. 

Capt. Robert Marasco, ordered that the agent in question be brought in for questioning to include a polygraph test; which ominously the agent had not been given when recruited for Project GAMMA.

Eventually Chuyen would undergo some ten days of rigorous interrogation and solitary confinement to include the use of polygraph tests and sodium pentothal, commonly known as "truth serum." The bad news, at least for the agent, was the fact that the polygraph tests would indicate that Chuyen was not telling the truth when he denied having compromised any Project GAMMA security details and working for the Viet Cong. Additionally the possibility existed that Chuyen was also working for the South Vietnamese intelligence service on the side, a triple agent. For the Special Forces officers of Project GAMMA, the leak that everyone had been looking for had been found. It would be distasteful but they knew what must be done; if Chuyen was turned over to the South Vietnamese Army or National Police, there was the chance he might go free due to the actions of another communist plant, and cause further damage and loss of American lives.

Thus, in June of 1969 Capt. Marasco and two other Special Forces officer drugged Thai Khac Chuyen, put him on a boat and took him out into Nha Trang Bay, not far from the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) headquarters. Marasco pulled the trigger that killed Chuyen, and later in his own words, said it made the sound of a "tire puncture" and splattered "blood, skull and bits of brain" on him and the other two Green Berets in the boat. The body of the alleged North Vietnamese double agent was then weighed down with chains and rolled into the murky waters off Nha Trang. 

An appropriate cover story was developed to explain the now obvious absence of the agent, if questions were asked he was believed to have disappeared after being sent on a mission behind enemy lines to test his loyalty to the cause. 

Shortly after the incident, Army Intelligence was alerted and a full investigation was ordered by Gen. Creighton Abrams, Commander of all forces in Vietnam. This resulted in seven members of Project Gamma being arrested. Also arrested was Rheault, which confused the intelligence community since the Chuyen execution had been approved before he took command of 5th Special Forces Group. Army intelligence officers said it was because he knew of the plan and had approved his men's cover story; that Chuyen had been sent on a mission and had not been heard from since.

Contradictions clouded the roles and involvement of each. Some say it was part of a long-running, professional jealousy feud between the Green Berets and the CIA, with Gen. Abrams caught in the middle. 

Others insist that the eight Green Berets arrested for the killing of the agent was a cover-up to yet a bigger, more mysterious plot. They felt that the arrest of the eight Green Beret officers suggested that the defendants were merely scapegoats to a much larger, more diabolical scheme. Today, the contradictions appear even more insidious. 

The article 32 investigation held by the U.S. Army in Vietnam quickly became engulfed in a firestorm of publicity. Most of the American public, and the Special Forces, believed that Rheault and all involved had been made scapegoats for a matter that reflected poorly upon the Army. The affair was ultimately a tragedy. Committed and capable officers found themselves on two sides of a chasm in warfare; on one side World War II era officers to whom events were black and white, right and wrong. The other side was a younger generation, less respectful of rules and regulations, perhaps, but completely committed to winning. 

Both main players in the affair, Rheault and Abrams, were graduates of the Military Academy at West Point, separated in time by 10 years. That is where the similarities end. The affair became a clash of philosophies, world views and personalities and caused consternation on both sides of the growing American divide over the war in Vietnam.

Hawks condemned the charges for what they saw as a Catch-22 military absurdity: the prosecution of front-line troops for killing the enemy.

Opponents of the war portrayed it as proof of American involvement in a secret campaign of terror and assassination, paralleling the combat seen nightly on television.

The seven defendants, who denied the charges, were placed in a stockade outside Saigon in the Long Binh Jail.

But three months later, there was a second firestorm when Stanley Resor, the secretary of the Army, said the charges against the seven defendants were being dropped because the Central Intelligence Agency  -  whose operatives were key witnesses  -  had refused to cooperate. When the news was announced on the floor of the House, the chamber broke into applause and cheers that went on for minutes.

Col. Rheault spoke for his men after their release when he called the charges "a travesty of justice" and accused the Army of prosecuting "dedicated soldiers for doing their job, carrying out their mission and protecting the lives of the men entrusted to them in a wartime situation." 

The murkiness surrounding dismissal of the case, however, left Rheault and his men in a moral gray zone, neither convicted nor entirely exonerated in the murder of the man at the center of the case, Thai Khac Chuyen.

Col. Rheault resigned from the Army a few months after his release and spent most of the rest of his life as director of an Outward Bound program in Maine. He also founded an Outward Bound program to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He died at his home in Owl's Head, Maine on Oct. 16 at the age of 87. 

Robert Rheault Jr. said his father remained stoical for the rest of his life about the sudden end of his military career. "He never spoke ill of the military," he said, "only of certain individuals in the military."

Ultimately we will never know whether or not the executed agent, Thai Khac Chuyen, was truly working for the Communist Viet Cong, the American Special Forces, the South Vietnamese government, or a combination of all three. Evidence suggests that he was guilty of at least attempting to conceal the truth, a dangerous game, and one that led to his execution in the summer of 1969. He became just another causality in unconventional warfare. 

As we have seen above, the 1969 Vietnam "Green Beret Affair" is not unique as our forces continue to face similar moral and legal issues daily in the current Global War on Terror. However, all Americans can take comfort in the fact that even our "best and brightest" remain subject to the law of war and military justice. That is one certainty in an uncertain war that will not change.
Military Myths & Legends: Nathan Hale
Nathan Hale was born in Coventry, Connecticut, in 1755 to Richard Hale and Elizabeth Strong. He was the great-grandson of Reverand John Hale ,who played a major role in the Salem witch trials of 1692, and the Uncle of orator and statesman Edward Everett, who was the other speaker at Gettysburg. Nathan Hale was destined at birth to occupy a significant position in our fledgling nation's history books.

In 1768, when he was fourteen years old, he was sent to Yale College along with his 16-year old brother, Enoch. Nathan was a classmate of fellow patriot spy Benjamin Tallmadge. The Hale brothers belonged to the Linonian Society of Yale, which debated topics in astronomy, mathematics, literature, and the ethics of slavery. Nathan graduated with first-class honors in 1773 at age 18 and became a teacher. First in East Haddam and later in New London.

Hale probably intended at some time to become a Christian minister, as his brother Enoch did. But, as was almost a custom of the time, he began his active life as a teacher in the public schools. Early in 1774 he accepted an appointment as the teacher of the Union Grammar School, a school maintained by the gentlemen of New London, CT, for the higher education of their children.

In his commencement address, Hale had considered the question of whether the higher education of women were being neglected. In his arrangement with the Union School at New London, it was determined that between the hours of five and seven in the morning, he should teach a class of "twenty young ladies" in the studies which occupied their brothers at a later hour.

And so he was engaged in the year 1774 to educate both girls and boys, which was not a common practice of the day. At the time, the whole country was alive with the movements and discussions which came to a crisis in the battle of Lexington the next year. Hale, though not of age, was enrolled in the militia and was active in the military organization of the town.

As soon as the news of Lexington and Concord reached New London, a town meeting was called. At this meeting, this young man, Nathan Hale, was one of the speakers. "Let us march immediately," he said, "and never lay down our arms until we obtain our independence." He assembled his school as usual the next day, but only to take leave of his students. "He gave them earnest counsel, prayed with them, shook each by hand, bade them farewell."

It is said that there is no other record as early as this in which the word "independence" was publicly spoken. It would seem as if the uncalculating courage of a boy of twenty were needed to break the spell which still gave dignity to colonial submission.

Five of Nathan Hale's brothers fought the British at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, on April 19th. Nathan joined them in the Connecticut militia on July 1st. Although his unit participated in the Siege of Boston, Hale remained behind. The reasons remain unclear. It has been suggested that he was unsure as to whether he wanted to fight, or whether he was hindered because his teaching contract in New London did not expire until several months later, in July 1775.

On July 4, 1775, Hale received a letter from his classmate and friend Benjamin Tallmadge, who had gone to Boston to see the siege for himself. He wrote to Hale, "Was I in your condition, I think the more extensive service would be my choice. Our holy Religion, the honour of our God, a glorious country, and a happy constitution is what we have to defend." Tallmadge's letter was so inspiring that, several days later, Hale accepted a commission as 1st Lieutenant in the 7th Connecticut Regiment under Col. Charles Webb of Stamford.

In the following spring, the revolutionary army moved to Manhattan Island to prevent the British from taking over New York City. In September, Gen. George Washington was desperate to determine the location of the imminent British invasion of Manhattan Island and needed a spy behind enemy lines. He asked for a volunteer for an extremely dangerous mission: to gather intelligence behind enemy lines before the coming Battle of Harlem Heights. The now Captain Nathan Hale of the 19th Regiment of the Continental Army stepped forward on September 8th. As the lone volunteer, he subsequently became one of the first known American spies of the Revolutionary War. He was ferried across Long Island Sound into British-held territory on September 12th. This one act of spying, which was immediately punishable by death, posed a great risk to Hale.

Disguised as a Dutch schoolmaster, the Yale University-educated Hale slipped behind British lines on Long Island and then successfully gathered information about British troop movements for the next several weeks. During his mission, New York City and then the area at the southern tip of Manhattan around Wall Street, fell to British forces on September 15th. Washington was forced to retreat to the island's north in Harlem Heights (what is now Morningside Heights). On September 21st, a quarter of the lower portion of Manhattan burned in the Great New York Fire of 1776. The fire was later widely thought to have been started by American saboteurs to keep the city from falling into British hands, though Washington and the Congress denied this charge. It has also been speculated that the fire was the work of British soldiers acting without orders. In the fire's aftermath, more than 200 American partisans were rounded up by the British.

That same evening Hale was captured behind enemy lines. Several versions of his capture exist. One such account, obtained by the Library of Congress, was written by Consider Tiffany, a Connecticut shopkeeper and British Loyalist. Tiffany was grandson of Squire Humphrey Tiffany, the forefather of the Tiffany family in the United States who arrived in America from Yorkshire, England in 1660. In Tiffany's account, Major Robert Rogers of the Queen's Rangers saw Hale in a tavern and recognized him despite his disguise. After luring Hale into betraying himself by pretending to be a patriot himself, Rogers and his Rangers apprehended Hale near Flushing Bay in Queens, New York. Another story was that his British Loyalist first-cousin, Samuel Hale, was the one who revealed his true identity and betrayed him. The historically-accepted version has him captured while sailing Long Island Sound, trying to cross back into American controlled territory. No official record exists of the exact circumstances leading to Nathan Hale’s arrest, although Tiffany's account is recognized as the only existing first-hand account of the capture.

He was taken to the headquarters of the British Commander-In-Chief, Gen. Sir William Howe, in the Beekman House in a rural part of Manhattan, on a rise between 50th and 51st Streets between First and Second Avenues, near where Beekman Place commemorates the connection. Interrogated, confessed, and found guilty, Hale was sentenced to death by hanging the following morning, Sept. 22, 1776.

Word of the execution was brought to Gen. Washington's headquarters shortly after by a British officer, Capt. John Montresor, carrying a flag of truce. Capt. William Hull of the Continental Army was present and recalled the event:  "In a few days an Officer came to our camp, under a flag of truce, and informed Hamilton, then a Captain of artillery, but afterwards the aid of Gen. Washington, that Captain Hale had been arrested within the British lines, condemned as a spy, and executed that morning. I learned the melancholy particulars from this Officer, who was present at his execution and seemed touched by the circumstances attending it."

"He said that Captain Hale had passed through their army, both of Long Island and York Island. That he had procured sketches of the fortifications, and made memoranda of their number and different positions. When apprehended, he was taken before Sir William Howe, and these papers, found concealed about his person, betrayed his intentions. He at once declared his name, rank in the American army, and his objective in coming within the British lines."

"Sir William Howe, without the form of a trial, gave orders for his execution the following morning. He was placed in the custody of the Provost Marshal, who was a refugee and hardened to human suffering and every softening sentiment of the heart. Captain Hale, alone, without sympathy or support, save that from above, on the near approach of death asked for a clergyman to attend him. It was refused. He then requested a Bible; that too was refused by his inhuman jailer."

"'On the morning of his execution,' continued the officer, 'my station was near the fatal spot, and I requested the Provost Marshal to permit the prisoner to sit in my marquee, while he was making the necessary preparations. Captain Hale entered: he was calm, and bore himself with gentle dignity, in the consciousness of rectitude and high intentions. He asked for writing materials, which I furnished him: he wrote two letters, one to his mother and one to a brother Officer.'"

Hale was marched along Post Road to the Park of Artillery, which was next to a public house called the Dove Tavern (at modern-day 66th Street and Third Avenue), and hanged. He was 21 years old. Bill Richmond, a 13-year-old former slave and Loyalist who later became a boxer in Europe, was reportedly one of the hangmen, responsible for securing the rope to a strong tree and preparing the noose. The place of Hale's execution lies near the present location of Grand Central Station.

In his memoirs, Capt. Hull quotes Capt. Montresor reporting Nathan Hale's last words as, "I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country." Hull's account has however been called into question by some historians who point to the fact Hull was not an eyewitness, although he passed along the account of an eyewitness. And while there is no historical record to prove that Hale actually made this statement, there are several other contemporary accounts which seem to bear out Hale's last words, among them:

"However, at the gallows, he made a sensible and spirited speech; among other things, told them they were shedding the blood of the innocent, and that if he had ten thousand lives, he would lay them all down, if called to it, in defense of his injured, bleeding Country."
~ Essex Journal, February 13, 1777

"I am so satisfied with the cause in which I have engaged, that my only regret is, that I have not more lives than one to offer in its service."
~Independent Chronicle and the Universal Advertiser, May 17, 1781

Whether those were his exact words or not, 21-year old classically-educated Nathan Hale may have been inspired by these lines in English author Joseph Addison’s 1713 play 'Cato': "What a pity it is/That we can die but once to serve our country." 

The sole surviving documented statement or first-hand account of Hale's capture or death by a presiding official or eyewitness was entered by Sir William Howe in his Orderly Book on the day of the execution, Sept. 22, 1776: "A spy from the enemy by his own full confession, apprehended last night, was executed this day at 11 o'clock in front of the Artillery Park."
Battlefield Chronicles: The Battle of Chipyong-Ni
On June 25, 1950, the Korean War began when some 75,000 Soldiers from the North Korean People's Army (NPKA) poured across the 38th parallel and within days, captured Seoul, the South Korean capital. For two months, the outnumbered South Korean army and the small American force fought numerous battles with NPKA as they withdrew down the Korean peninsula to the Pusan area at the southeast tip of Korea. It was here that they set up a final defensive perimeter where they were able to impede the enemy's advancement.

To take the pressure off the continuous attacks by the NKPA, a counteroffensive began on Sept. 15th, when United Nation forces made a daring landing at Incheon on the west coast. The unexpected attack crushed the meager NPKA defenses within a few day, cutting off North Korean supply lines to the south. 

U.N. casualties during the Incheon landing and subsequent battles resulted in 566 killed and 2,713 wounded. In the fighting, the NKPA lost more than 35,000 killed and captured. As additional U.N. forces came ashore, they were organized into the US X Corps. Attacking inland, they advanced towards Seoul, which was taken on September 25th, after brutal house-to-house fighting. The daring landing at Inchon, coupled with 8th Army's breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, threw the NKPA into a headlong retreat. U.N. troops quickly assembled and surged into the north after them.

Movement was fast and by Oct. 19, the North Korean capital of Pyongyang was captured. By Nov. 24, NPKA were driven by the 8th Army, under Gen. Walton Walker, and the X Corp, under Gen. Edward Almond, almost to the Yalu River, which marked the border of Communist China. The successful advance north ended near the Yalu River, when China's People's Volunteer Army (CPVA) entered the conflict by deploying approximately 250,000 Chinese troops in support of North Korea. Within weeks the combined Communist armies pushed the United Nation forces back south below the 38th parallel into a full and complete retreat. 

Just a few weeks after the disastrous defeat of United Nations forces in North Korea in late November 1950, Lt. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgeway, newly appointed 8th Army commander, issued orders to "seek, fix and kill," as initial steps of Operation Thunderbolt, a forthcoming U.N. attack northward when troops of I and IX Corps advanced from the western sector of the front northward. 

On January 29, 1951, a motorized patrol from the 23rd Infantry under the command of Col. Paul L. Freeman, Jr., was ambushed, bloodied and finally rescued after uncovering major outpost lines of the Chinese 125th Division at the Twin Tunnels, just three mile southeast of strategic Chipyong-Ni.

Responding to Ridgway's order to find and destroy the Chinese, Freeman's 23rd Infantry, with the French Battalion de Coree attached, had moved in and, in a vicious two-day battle, brutalized three regiments of the Chinese division at Twin Tunnels. Defeated and in disarray, the Chinese survivors had fled up the hills toward Chipyong-Ni and beyond, where other Chinese divisions were preparing their own attack in answer to Operation Thunderbolt. 

Shortly after the victory at Twin Tunnels, Ridgeway began his plan to reach the important crossroad village of Chipyong-Ni, located near the east-west center of South Korea, and to defend it at all cost. It was of immense strategic value because it was a key road intersection for all vehicular movement in the area south east of Seoul. If overrun, a huge gap would open in the U.N. defenses that would severely threatened the flanks of an already shaken 8th Army.

A strategic thinker, he realized his ability to launch effective counter-offensive operations would be badly curtailed without control of Chipyong-Ni. Just forty miles north, the 38th parallel crossed the peninsula, generally marking the border separating Communist North Korea from free South Korea. Fifty miles west, twice-ravaged Seoul lay in Communist hands again, after the winter retreat of U.N. forces. Wonju, located 15 miles southeast of Chipyong-Ni and in better times an important hub of communications and transportation, was now a wasted, deserted city. Chipyong-Ni and Wonju were linked by a single-track railroad and a gravel road. Another town, Yoju, was situated about 20 miles south of Chipyong-Ni and connected to it by a gravel road; these three, in military-geographical terms, formed the Chipyong-Wonju-Yoju triangle.

Ridgway needed someone to make a stand against the advancing Communist force to show the rest of his army that the Chinese were not an invincible foe. He knew the Chinese couldn't sustain their attacks due to their dangerously overextended supply lines so he turned to the men of the 23rd RCT, along with the attached French Battaillon de Coree, to be the ones to make that stand. History has since validated his choice of defenders - the 23rd had performed superbly early in the war in the Pusan Perimeter and had come through the Battle of the Chongchon River and Kunu-Ri relatively unscathed (one of the few units to do so). This had fostered an esprit de corps within the unit not often seen in those desperate days. Moreover, the Soldiers of the 23rd had a strong fighting spirit and were not lacking in confidence in their leadership. The French had also shown well at Wonju and Twin Tunnels; they were under the command of the larger than life figure Lt. Col. Ralph Monclar. This veteran Frenchman was already a national hero, a Three Star General at the time, but he voluntarily requested a demotion to Lieutenant Colonel to lead the battalion in Korea. Monclar fought in World War I where he was wounded seven times and received eleven awards for valor. At war's end he was almost entirely disabled. In 1924, a fully recovered Monclar was selected for the French Foreign Legion, leading Soldiers in Morrocco, the Middle East, and Vietnam. During World War II he fought with the French resistance from England. He was in his fifties by the time of Korea and was on the verge of retirement when he volunteered to lead his beloved battalion. 

Late in the afternoon of February 3rd, the American-French force, only 70 percent effective after its losses at the brutal, bloody battle of Twin Tunnels, began the weary trudge, now unopposed, to the village of Chipyong-Ni. As they moved along under heavy packs of individual and combat gear, their infantry boots crunched through patches of icy snow, occasionally side stepping frozen bodies of Chinese Soldiers.

As the column stretched along the snow covered road to Chipyong-Ni, Freeman expected an ambush. He knew the Chinese leadership were bent on revenge because the hated 23rd Infantry had bloodied their noses previously at Kunu-ri during the winter retreat in North Korea and at Twin Tunnels a few days before. 

Freeman was a wiry, handsome, gray-haired Virginian who wore a full-colonel eagle on his helmet to distinguish him from the rank and file. He was known to be unpretentious, somewhat pessimistic, often expecting the worst in order to deal with it, and occasionally profane when orders from higher-ups seemed inane or ill-advised. He had been Gen. Joe Stilwell's supply officer during World War II, and a lot of Vinegar Joe had rubbed off on Paul Freeman. He himself would retire as a Four-Star General.

Following hours of marching, the advance guard of Lt. Col. George Russell's 1st Battalion entered Chipyong-Ni. Patrols encountered a few Chinese Soldiers, who fled after a few cursory rifle shots. The other two battalions of the 23rd, with the French Battalion, closed on the village later in the afternoon. 

Freeman ordered a full alert. He realized that his 4,500-man force, including fewer than 2,500 front-line infantrymen, could not adequately man all the higher hills around Chipyong-Ni. Instead, he decided to install a rectangular-shaped perimeter on the lower hills immediately surrounding the village. 

Over the next few days, they dug in and were reinforced by artillery, tank, and engineer elements. By February 13th, their strength consisted of three infantry battalions; the French Infantry Battalion and First Ranger Company, both attached to the regiment; the 37th Field Artillery Battalion; Battery B, 82nd Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion; Battery B, 503rd Field Artillery Battalion; Company B, 2nd Engineer Battalion (Combat); and a platoon from the 2nd Medical Battalion. In all, Freeman had 4,500 men under his command, including 2,500 front-line infantrymen. 

Once all positions had been prepared and fortified, Freeman outlined the mission to his officers: hold the small garrison against an advancing enemy force of five Chinese Communist Force (CCF) Divisions. Don't count on reinforcements anytime soon– stand and fight it out, to the bitter end if need be. The men listened and accepted their lot. So be it. With quiet confidence Freeman's charges prepared for the inevitable onslaught.

The exact size of enemy force that lined up against the 23rd during the battle is unclear. Some sources put the attacking numbers as high as 25,000 while the Chinese claim they only threw 8,000 men into the fight.

But despite the heroics that Freeman's and men Monclar's performed, it could have been so much different had his request to withdraw been granted. Instead, they built up their defensive positions and rained down merry hell on the attacking units. The defensive line was then consolidate further as the commander began to undertake the work that would eventually repel the Chinese aggressors.

When you consider that the communist forces had the American and French troops surrounded, it makes their heroic and stoic defense of the village even more remarkable - and that's exactly what happened as light faded on February 13, 1951. 

Chinese were observed crawling, walking and trotting around the railroad tracks, creek bed, road and hills to the south. The supply road from Wonju was closing, as elements of the Chinese 40th and 66th armies shied away from Wonju and advanced on Chipyong-Ni from the south and east. Parts of the 39th and 42nd armies were closing in from other directions.

Aware of the growing Chinese movement around him, Freeman asked permission to withdraw. Eight Army commander Gen. Ridgway said no. He planned to use Chipyong-Ni as a baited trap, enticing the Chinese to turn and attack it out in the open with large forces that could be destroyed by the combined firepower of the 23rd infantrymen, tanks, mortars, artillery, and close-in Air Force sorties.

Shortly before midnight the deafening sound of whistles and bugles signaled the initial Chinese attack. This first attack was met and defeated by Monclar's French battalion in close hand-to-hand fighting. The heroic French confused the Chinese raiders by cranking their own sirens before charging with fixed bayonets howling all the way, rattling the attacking Chinese so much, they turned and fled. The Battaillon de Coree will always be remembered for the legendary bayonet charge at Chipyong-Ni. The spirited defense set the tone for the rest of the defenders of Chipyong-Ni that night.

Elsewhere, throughout that first night, the Chinese attacked the perimeter again and again. Tasked with the defense of Hill 397, E and G companies detonated fougasse drums filled with gasoline and oil. As attackers got close to the drums, the defenders detonated grenades underneath them, spraying the Chinese with a deadly mixture. 

As the battle continued into the early morning hours the fighting was fiercest against K Company. It was so bad that no ambulance could get to the front line in order to evacuate the wounded. Freeman had been wounded during the night and the defenders had suffered about 100 casualties.

As dawn broke on February 14th, Valentine's Day, the Chinese forces, fearing the devastating effects of daylight artillery and air strikes, broke contact, withdrew and prepared to resume the fight again the next night. A dusting of snow covered the communist dead in front of American lines. 

Later that day, Ridgway appeared suddenly in Chipyong-Ni. He toured the garrison and met with Freeman and his astounded troops, encouraging them to fight on. From most accounts the Soldiers appreciated his visit and gained confidence from his presence. This was not the last time Ridgway would risk his life by dropping in on a battle zone unexpectedly. He walked the walk.

As was expected, soon after dark on February 14th, sirens, whistles and howling echoed through the frigid night air and flares soared into the sky signaling the beginning of another desperate night of fighting. Throughout that awful night the Chinese launched repeated human wave attacks against the perimeter. Undaunted in the face of the savage and relentless raids the French and American defenders refused to yield. Even when ammunition supplies were desperate the men remained resolute. The fighting raged on fiercely until daylight finally broke on the morning of February 15th. 

The light of day revealed a snowy battlefield littered with enemy dead, many were literally piled on top of each other in front of some positions. This had been brutal, hard, fighting. Once again, the Chinese attackers faded away into the hills for the day. 

That morning the skies suddenly cleared for the first time during the siege - this was a great stroke of luck because it allowed for deadly air strikes - napalm was dropped across the surrounding hills lay annihilating countless enemy troops. Cheers went up from the beleaguered ranks. The planes dropped loads of ammunition and food to the encircled fighters - things were looking up.

In the meantime a relief convoy built around tanks from the 5th Cavalry Regiment had been fighting its way north through tough enemy fire taking significant casualties to reinforce their valiant brothers in Chipyong-Ni. The arrival of the relief column, known to history as Task Force Crombez, coupled with the deadly strafing and napalm attacks sent the Chinese fleeing; they simply withdrew and disappeared from the area. With dogged determination the defenders had finally broken the enemy onslaught. Ridgway had his victory.

The battle marked a turning point in the war; the victory resulted in the defeat of a massive Chinese offensive and caused the CCF to suffer its first tactical defeat at U.N. hands. This time it was the Chinese who were turned back and they never again regained the momentum. The battle of Chipyong-Ni has since been referred to as the "Gettysburg of the Korean War."

When it was said and done the UN forces had inflicted heavy losses on attacking CCF units but they too received many heartbreaking casualties– the 23rd suffered approximately 51 KIA and hundreds more were wounded. Sadly, a number of men went missing in action at Chipyong-Ni. Enemy casualties were estimated to be in the thousands. Although the CCF fought on for another two and a half years, the battle of Chipyong-ni permanently altered the direction and outcome of the Korean War. 

The 23rd and their French allies stood strong despite long odds, vicious fighting and traumatic casualties. While desperately fighting for their lives and for the lives of their brothers in the next foxhole they unknowingly stamped their signature on the future. Their story, written 66 years ago in a snow covered valley on the other side of the world, still resonates strongly all these years later. The victory at Chipyong-ni allowed the Eighth Army to survive and fight another day, the events that transpired there supplied the troops with a new fighting spirit and will to win– from this battle forward the Eighth Army only faced north. There would be no more retreating in Korea–just as Ridway had ordered. The future survival of South Korea was all but assured.

Standing before a joint session of Congress more than a year later, in May 1952, General Matthew Ridgway stated: "I shall speak briefly of the Twenty-third United States Infantry Regiment, Colonel Paul L. Freeman commanding, [and] with the French Battalion...Isolated far in advance of the general battle line, completely surrounded in near-zero weather, they repelled repeated assaults by day and night by vastly superior numbers of Chinese. They were finally relieved..I want to say that these American fighting men, with their French comrades-in-arms, measured up in every way to the battle conduct of the finest troops America and France have produced throughout their national existence."

The Battle of Chipyong-ni was a decisive battle of the Korean War that resulted in a United Nations Command victory. Due to the ferocity of the Chinese attack and the heroism of the defenders, the battle has been called, ". . .one of the greatest regimental defense actions in military history."

This was a turning point, a pivotal, singular moment of the Korean War. Rising from the wintry ashes of defeat and humiliation, Americans had won a victory, and the myth of Communist invincibility was finally shattered.
Poor Decisions-Good Reasons
By Darrell Elmore
U.S. Army
After some time in combat and after long term exposure to those pressures a person can become kind of fatalistic. You kind of accept that you will get killed so you ignore that idea and focus elsewhere. At least I think I did. It's also interesting how a person can change from one personality to another in an instant. 

You can be in a village being a benevolent care giver treating disease and injuries; joking with kids and passing out candy one minute and engaged in a desperate fire fight with some of the same people the next. Trying to control both ends can be pretty hard to do sometimes.

As for the first one, I engaged in an act that would seem foolish, even totally stupid to some, but at the time, in my opinion it was perfectly sane and needed at the time. 

I was a platoon leader, principal instructor and weapons man in a new Mike Force Company that we trained as a rifle company and then trained to be Airborne. It was done in Pleiku and due to the shortage of parachutes and aircraft each man only got two jumps, one Hollywood or with no equipment and one with weapon, ammo and a light rucksack. 

The first day we got everyone a jump but it was a long day due to delays with winds. That evening I went to the C-Team or C Company compound to turn in the used parachutes and air items, then a couple of us went to the C-team club for a beer. While sipping a beer we discussed the day's events and I mentioned it would be fun to get a free fall. One of the riggers, a SP/4 named Garcia I seem to recall, asked if I was HALO (now Military Free Fall) qualified. I said yes and he said if I wanted to make a free fall he had a rig for me. 

We discussed it and he said it was a military free fall rig and he had it in a kit bag under his desk in the Rigger Shed. He said it had an altimeter and bunny helmet and that both the main and reserve were freshly packed. I could pick it all up in the morning when we collected the static line parachutes for the troop drop. 

So at about 0400 the next morning we picked up the parachutes and I checked under the desk. I found the kit bag and when I checked inside I found a closed pack and reserve. I checked routing of the ripcord, it was fine, and then opened the front of the reserve. The reserve had a lead rigger's seal and the log had a pack date within a week of that day. Cool! I got excited and threw the gear on the truck.

I worked out details for a free fall with the DZ crew and spoke to the pilot. I asked if he would make a final pass at 12,500 to 13,000' AGL and allow me to make a free fall after all the static line jumps were over. He agreed and we worked out some hand and arm signals for controlling the approach and so on. Someone told the Yards about it and they wanted an explanation. 

I explained that unlike the automatic static line deployment their parachutes used, I would fall free for about 10,000 feet and then open the parachute manually. They we excited to hear about it but more excited to see it happen. 

So we went about our business and we dropped all but the last load. The plan was that I would jumpmaster the load and then don my gear as the plane climbed to altitude. The final load boarded and here came a rather chubby AF Master Sergeant with a camera. He climbed on and the pilot said he wanted photos of the event. I said OK but the guy was not my responsibility and he had to stay out of the way. Everyone agreed and off we went.

We dropped the troops without incident and I went forward to get my gear. I opened the bag and took everything out. That is I removed a main and a reserve. No helmet and no altimeter. I checked the rip cord cable and pins again, all OK, and put on the main. I picked up the reserve. Hmmmm. No D rings on the main to attach the reserve! I looked at the reserve, no belly strap or fasteners. Damn, this is all messed up. We kept climbing. 

I found some manila rope and tied the reserve to my front. I already had taped my Browning so it was secure. I got to thinking. 

First, I had a brand new company with whom I would go on our first operation the next day. I would be leading the point element. They needed to trust me and believe I was as good as my word. Second, I did not think that rigger wanted to kill me, he was probably getting a jab at us for being a bunch of arrogant Mike Force guys, which I guess we often were. Third, I am not too sure I just did not care all that much, that fate was just around the corner anyway! So I decided to jump. If I had a malfunction I thought I might be able to feed out my reserve by hand, but really knowing that was just more Buffalo Chips!

The pilot called me up and said we were at 13,000' and change and heading towards the DZ, a large open area west of Pleiku next to a small village. I walked to the rear ramp and started spotting. I could see smoke on the DZ, yellow I think, not red so that was OK. I gave left and right signals and we tracked right where I estimated I wanted to exit. Finally we came up to the exit point, I turned and gave the pilot a thumbs up. He pulled the controls into his belly.

The nose shot up, the AF Master sergeant fell down and started rolling to the rear and I stepped off backwards. Funny what goes through your mind at times, I remember telling myself that if that guy fell out of the plane I was not going to try to catch and hold him; not that I could have actually flown well enough to slow my descent and fly to him or to hold on anyway. I would have just have had to wave by.

So there I am in free fall. No instruments except a wrist compass and the was not useful at the time,

So I just burned a hole in the sky. I fell flat and stable until I got ground rush, features on the ground started to kind of bounce larger and larger. I pulled.

Oh my God. That sucker opened so hard I literally bounced back up high enough that my suspension lines were loose below me. Then I fell far enough to feel a second opening shock! I looked up and the canopy was not modified as I had been promised. It was not sleeve or quarter bag deployed and there were no cuts in the fabric to give it drive or maneuverability. Nothing. It was just a basic C-12 three color canopy. But there was one modification, it had two pilot chutes which only stretched it out quicker than normal.

But I was happy. I was under a good canopy at an estimated 2000'. So I started to look around. I was almost dead center on the DZ and the winds were light. Then some sorry SOB in or near the village started shooting. The guy was firing single shots in pretty rapid succession and they were close enough to concern me. I started to slip to loose air and altitude as fast as I could. 

The fun part then was that the entire company was standing in the assembly area watching me. They also were all armed. Without a command, the company formed up and moved out to attack that village. As soon as they started moving the shooting stopped so from then it was all business as usual. I landed easily (I was lighter then too) and the troops came back after scaring the hell out of the Vietnamese in that village. Montagnards and Vietnamese did not get along so maybe it better I did not know what happened there.

When we got back to turn in our gear I went looking for a young parachute rigger only to learn that he had left on R&R that morning! I never got a chance to look for him again after that but I expect he got a good laugh over the event.

Still, today I would consider what I did that day to be foolhardy and that I made a series of bad decisions. However, given the situation and my mental attitude at the time, I would probably have done the same thing were it to happen today. I decided that the respect and confidence I wanted from those troops was worth the risk. 

The biggest difference in what I did and what I would have done if I had not been in a hurry to pick up the gear that morning, normally I would lay everything out and try it all on before leaving the rigger shed. I just was too trusting.
Peacetime Warrior
By John Beach
U.S. Navy

Last year I attended another Veteran's Day Program and Ceremony at the Local Area Senior Center. It was as impressive as they all are. But that year I found out there is a real name for people who spent time in the service between conflicts. Previously, there had been ceremonies for WWII veterans, Korea veterans, Viet Nam, Desert Storm, Iran, Iraq etc. veterans. During these times, I had always felt like an outsider and wondered why I was participating as a veteran. Sure, I wanted to honor those veterans who served during these conflicts, and especially those that made the ultimate sacrifice.

I was also envious of those men and women who wore their uniforms with an array of medals adorning their chests. Or those with jackets and or hats that proudly proclaimed which war theatre they participated in, or which conflict they so bravely fought and suffered through. Many had patches which indicated they had served in multiple areas during their years of service.
Yes, I was jealous. 

But I was also very lucky. I did not earn nor become eligible to wear any of those adornments, medals, or jackets that the brave veterans proudly displayed that day. I had not served in any combat zones, in any lands where bullets, mortars, bombs and sinking ships were a way of life. I had fought no enemy, nor worried that each day might be my last. I lost no fellow service men or brothers to enemy fire. I fortunately have no horrible memories of losing good friends and comrades in a foreign land; or seeing those warriors who were sent home with wounds and battle scars that would be with them for the rest of their life. 

No, I had served during one of the few periods where there were no wars; where no world conflicts required military readiness or intervention; where the active duty serviceman went about his or her military duties comparable to those in civilian life. 

I didn't know it at the time, but I was peacetime warrior.

I was born and raised on a small farm in mid-Ohio, attended and small country school, and graduated as the president of a class of twelve. I had no intention of attending college, and I knew the farm was not large enough to support my parents and my future. 

Shortly after WWII, the Selective Service was created and started the draft system in 1948. In June of 1955, when I graduated at age 17, I knew I would have to register for the draft at 18. If drafted, you went into the Army. Sleeping on the ground in pup tents, eating K-rations and marching all night in the mud with heavy backpacks didn't do much for me. I had decided that the Army was not for me, so I spoke to a Navy recruiter. He said that as a high school graduate I was guaranteed a school after boot camp. He said that the navy ships and land bases all had nice mess halls, beds with mattresses, very little military drill after boot camp. He also said that since I was not 18, I would need my parents' permission. But if I got permission before I turned 18, I could enlist on a 'kitty cruise'. This meant a 3 year enlistment, where you went in under 18 and received your active duty discharge the day before you turned 21. I received my parents' approval, and enlisted a week before turning 18. 

My time in the service was uneventful, compared to those who served during war time, and fought on the front lines and were involved in military actions. My folks did not know of many former military personnel, as only one uncle had served in the Air Force. This was one of the reasons I decided to write home frequently, and let my folks know what I was doing. 

At Fort Hayes, while waiting for the swearing in ceremony to begin, I was in a room full of other recruits also entering the Navy. I happened to knock over an ashtray and spill the ashes and butts on the floor. I asked the Sailor in charge of the group for a broom and said I would clean it up. He said don't worry about it. He would get some swabbie to do it. I thought, "Wow, this Navy thing is OK. They get other people to clean up after you." Soon, we were called in the Naval Officers office. We raised our right hand, repeated the oath and were now officially in the U.S. Navy. 

When we left this office and returned to the waiting room, the Sailor in charge had gotten a broom and dustpan. He pointed at me and said, "Alright, swabbie! Clean up that damned mess that some damned civilian made. And do it now!" I found out this was the real Navy! It was also the beginning of a naval career spanning 3 years, plus a 1 year extension, as a peacetime warrior.
TWS: Local Historical Societies

One of the things that Together We Served prides itself on, is the ability to present and preserve a veteran's history in a complete format. No where else online is there a shadow box complete with units, ribbons, photos and stories. We even have a spot for a veteran to load a video of their story.

On Memorial Day, Eddie Ireland, who is on our Army Memorial Team, gave a speech at his local Historical Society on the importance of gathering and preserving our Veterans histories before we lose them. In attendence were several WWII and Korean War vets along with the board for the Historical Society. Eddie walked them through a profile on TWS and showed them that each and every veteran in the county could have their stories preserved and displayed there with the help of a few local volunteers.

In short order, interviews were lined up and the profiles are now being built. Stories that may have been lost forever, without a fellow vet stepping out and saying "look what you can do here" are now being told.

From this point on, any vet who enters the Society's museum will have the ability to be interviewed and have their story shared on Together We Served with an interative kiosk. You can read an article on Eddie's project here.

We all live in towns with these local museums. We can all follow Eddie's lead and talk to the people that understand what preserving our history means to be sure no veteran's story remains untold.

If you would like more information and tools to help you get a project started in your area, email us at and we will get you started today.

TWS Bulletin Board

If you wish to make a post to our new Bulletin Board - People Sought,  Assistance Needed, Jobs Available in Your Company, Reunions Pending, Items for Sale or Wanted, Services Available or Wanted, Product or Service Recommendations, Discounts for Vets, Announcements, Death Notices - email it to us at

Have Your Membership Sponsored!
If you are a "free" member of Together We Served and would like to contact those you served with but can't afford to pay for it this time of year, simply log back in and accept membership from one of our partners.

Volunteer of the Month

LCpl Mike McFarland
US Marine Corps

LCpl McFarland has been a member of Marines Together We Served since Dec 12, 2005.
In 2013, Mike joined our "Profile Integrity" team. The team is made up of members who have an eye for detail and history of ranks and units. They are the ones who keep the wannabes out of TWS. In 2015 Mike stepped up again to take on duties for our "Volunteer Profile Assistant" team to make sure that all of our new joins get their unit added to their page correctly. 

Thank you Mike for all your long hours and hard work. Your efforts have helped make Together We Served a complete archive for future generations.

You can view Bruce's shadow box here:

Service Reflections Video of the Month
Up Close and Personal Video Interview With TWS Member HM2 Donald Ballard, Medal of Honor Recipient.


Looking for Army and Marine Corps Volunteers Memorial Team
Do you have a passion for making sure that all of our Fallen are not forgotten? This is the team for you. We have Fallen profiles that have either been orphaned or created by someone who has not been online for a very long time and there is nothing in those profiles. TWS is working to make sure that all of our Fallen profiles are as complete as possible.

If you're interested in joining our Memorial Team, please contact us at

TWS Brochures Available
Do you have a reunion coming up and would like to spread the word about Together We Served? We now have brochures available that help explain a little bit about who we are and what we do.

Send your requests to Please include your name and address along with how many brochures you require.

From Our TWS Historian

Happy New Year Brothers and Sisters!

We are working very hard on getting out unit databases right and historically correct. 
A recent example would be if you added a fallen profile in the 502nd Infantry Regiment (Airborne) for a trooper in WWII, that is wrong. I have added the 502nd Airborne Parachute Regiment that was only active from 1942-45. Each Battalion at that time had Companies A through M under the Battalions. From 1948 to 1950, they were a Training unit at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky. The 1st Airborne Battle Group, 502nd Infantry (Regiment) was only around from 1954 to 1965. From 1965 to 2004 it was the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment (Airborne). After 2004 was not on Airborne status. We are slowing adding dates to all the units so we don't have member that don't know they units pick the wrong ones.

If you added yourself to a folder named: Forward Operating Base on any of the Sites it will be coming off your profile. The actual FOBs are listed and you can add them. When it comes to any Campaign, Operation and Battles we are adding all that existed. If I cannot validate it. I lock it down. I research it and if nothing comes up it will disappear from your profile.

I ask you all if you were involved in a Cold War event or incident, please send it in and I'll add it as long as it is documented somewhere. Any and all Training Exercises can be added. Any Training Area can be added. I just need the descriptions, so they will show up in your timeline.

Bottomline: We must be historically correct, so don't just add Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (This is just a physical location), you were in a unit not cutting grass around the flag pole. We are closing these off on the join form and you need to know your unit.

If you can't remember your units, this is the link to request your service records:

If you would like to be the admin to one of your units, send us a request at and we will get you started.

Thank you for your service,

Roger A. Gaines 
LTC, SC (Ret US Army) 
TWS Senior Military Advisor 
Chief Historian and Database Manager

Police.Together We

Did you know TWS has a Law Enforcement site? is a secure website for all current and former Law Enforcement, Federal Officers and Corrections Officers, is a secure community helping Officers across the US to stay connected.

Click here to request an invite.

TWS 3rd All Service Reunion 2017

Our 3rd "All Service" Reunion dates have been set! A year from now we will be in New Orleans! Come join us!

Date from: Sep 5, 2017
Date to: Sep 7, 2017
Place: Hilton Riverside
City: New Orleans
State: Louisiana
Person to Contact: Diane Short
Web Page:
Phone: 888 398-3262

Comments: Come join the fun! Trip planned to the World War II Museum. Within walking distance to outlet mall, paddle boat cruise, trolley to the French Quarter. Make your reservations at 504 584-3999. Cost for single or double is $139 a night. Triple is $169.00 Quad is $199.00. There will be a $20 per person registration fee. Please notify me if you plan on attending.

Do You Have a Reunion Planned for the Norfolk Area?
If you do, please contact Diane Short at to discuss doing a presentation for your reunion.

VA and Other News

USS Arizona 
On the morning of December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. In this surprise attack, which would lead America to enter World War II, 6 U.S. ships were sunk and more than a dozen others were damaged. 2,403 American servicemen lost their lives, and another 1,178 were injured. The ship with the most lives lost was the battleship USS Arizona, with 1,177 deaths.

Below are excerpted accounts from that day by men who were on the Arizona and experienced its destruction firsthand.

"It was just before colors, in fact, I had already sent the messenger down to make the 8 o'clock reports to the Captain. Then I heard a dive bomber attack from overhead. I looked through my spyglass and saw the red dots on the wings. That made me wonder, but I still couldn't believe it until I saw some bombs falling." 
 - Ensign H. D. Davison 

"The worst explosion filled the inboard end of the room with flame and left a residue of orange smoke which continued to vent out the port. By this time the ship was down by the bow and sinking so rapidly that the lines from the ship to the after key were snapping. […] The ship was still sinking rapidly and oil was burning on the water and spreading aft. Because of the damage received there was no pressure on the fire main with which to fight the fire." 
 - Ensign A. R. Schubert 

"I noticed No. 3 gun wasn't firing due to safety bearing when the foot firing mechanism cut out. I was then shocked and surrounded by smoke and flames. I was backing away from the smoke and I can't remember much from then on. I was in the water and was helped in a boat and from there to a hospital."
  - Chief Gunner's Mate J. A. Doherty 

"Ensign Davison and myself got three boats clear of the oil fire on the water and picked up the men in the water who had jumped to get clear of the fire. We took several boatloads of badly burned and injured men to Ford Island landing and continued picking up men in the water between the ship and the shore."
  - Ensign W. J. Bush 

"About 0900, seeing that all guns of the antiaircraft and secondary battery were out of action and that the ship could not possibly be saved, I ordered all hands to abandon ship. […] I cannot single out any one individual who stood out in acts of heroism above the others, as all of the personnel under my supervision conducted themselves with the greatest heroism and bravery." 
 - Lt. Commander S. Q. Fuqua

House Passes Biggest Military Pay Raise in Years
Troops are set to get their biggest pay raise in years under the final version of Congress' annual defense policy bill unveiled Tuesday, which was passed by the house on Friday. The 2.1 percent increase included in the National Defense Authorization Act would break a five-year trend of raises that have fallen below the private sector. The higher pay would go into effect Jan. 1. The 2017 NDAA now goes back to the Senate, and if passed, will be off to the President for signature.

Read the full story at

Three Soldier's Medals awarded for Boston bombing response
A staff sergeant became the third Massachusetts Army National Guard member to receive the Soldier's Medal for responding to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, accepting his award in a July 8 ceremony in the city's State House.

Staff Sgt. Mark Welch joined Capt. Steve Fiola and Master Sgt. Bernie Madore in earning the Army's highest award for non-combat valor. Fiola and Madore were honored April 11 during a traditional muster in Salem; Gov. Charlie Baker presented all three awards. Both Fiola and Madore are members of Army Together We Served.

All three men were with 1060th Transportation Company, 164th Transportation Battalion, 151st Regional Support Group, two years ago, and all began April 15, 2013, by participating in a "Tough Ruck" march on the marathon course from Hopkinton to Boston  -  covering 26.2 miles with about 35 pounds on their backs to raise money for fallen service members, according to a 2013 Army news release.

In the release, Welch recalled suffering from blisters after the march, but when he heard the back-to-back blasts and leaped over a wall to reach the site of the first explosion, "the pain instantly went away."

All three awardees remembered a mix of adrenaline and chaos as they worked to help wounded runners and spectators. 

"It was just a mess of just stuff that used to resemble people," Fiola said in the release.
"I do remember looking down and going, 'Oh, God, we can't deal with this,' " Madore said. "And then right back to the action. …"

The soldiers credited emergency-services workers for their rapid response, and the work of more junior soldiers, who then-1st Lt. Fiola had ordered to stay back and assist spectators in a nearby grandstand. 

The bombs killed three people and injured more than 260. The bomber received a death sentence in May. The Solder's Medals were the first ever earned by Massachusetts National Guard members, according to a National Guard news release on Welch's ceremony. An act of Congress established the award in 1926.

Col. Everett Spain, an active-duty officer who treated the wounded at the finish line after the bombing, also received the Soldier's Medal for his actions.

Blood Pressure Study: Vietnam Era Veterans
VA researchers found a link between service-related occupational exposure to herbicides and high blood pressure (hypertension) risk among U.S. Army Chemical Corps (ACC) Veterans, a group of Veterans assigned to do chemical operations during the Vietnam War. Researchers also found an association between military service in Vietnam and hypertension risk among these Veterans.

Researchers at VA's Post Deployment Health Services Epidemiology Program, Office of Patient Care Services, conducted the Army Chemical Corps Vietnam-Era Veterans Health Study, a three-phase study of nearly 4,000 Veterans who served in the U.S. Army Chemical Corps between 1965 and 1973. The study included a survey that requested information on these Veterans' exposure to herbicides, whether they were ever diagnosed with hypertension by a physician, and their health behaviors such as cigarette smoking and alcohol use. To confirm self-reported hypertension, researchers conducted in-home blood pressure measurements and a medical records review for a portion of study participants.

ACC Veterans were studied because of their documented occupational involvement with chemical distribution, storage, and maintenance while in military service.This study follows a request by former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki for VA to conduct research on the association between herbicide exposure and hypertension to learn more about if hypertension is related to military service in Vietnam. The research was originally designed and led by Han Kang, Dr.P.H., former director of VA's Epidemiology Program (now retired). Yasmin Cypel, Ph.D., M.S., another researcher with VA's Epidemiology Program, is currently the principal investigator on this study, which extends prior research on these Veterans.

"This study expands our knowledge of the relationship between hypertension risk and both herbicide exposure and service in Vietnam among Veterans who served during the War by focusing on a specific group of Vietnam era Veterans who were occupationally involved in chemical operations," said Dr. Cypel.

Self-reported hypertension was the highest among Veterans who distributed or maintained herbicides (sprayers) in Vietnam (81.6%), followed by Veterans who sprayed herbicides and served during the Vietnam War but never in Southeast Asia (non-Vietnam Veterans) (77.4%), Veterans who served in Vietnam but did not spray herbicides (72.2%), and Veterans who did not spray herbicides and were non-Vietnam Veterans (64.6%).

The odds of hypertension among herbicide sprayers were estimated to be 1.74 times the odds among non-sprayers, whereas the odds of hypertension among those who served in Vietnam was 1.26 times the odds among non-Vietnam Veterans.

The researchers would like to extend their thanks to all those Army Chemical Corps Vietnam Era Veterans who participated in this study for their contribution to the research.  Without their input there would be no findings to report and no additions to existing findings on the health consequences of military service during the Vietnam War.

VA will review the results from this research, along with findings from other similar studies and recommendations from the recent National Academies of Science report on Veterans and Agent Orange, when considering whether to add hypertension as a presumptive service condition for Vietnam Veterans.

To read more about the Army Chemical Corps Vietnam-Era Veterans Health Study, go to  To read the published article containing findings from this study, go to

"Launch Pad" event brings together greatest minds in cancer care to serve Veterans, community
It is estimated that 40,000 Veterans are diagnosed each year with cancer and of that number, 12,000 are diagnosed with prostate cancer. Because of those staggering prostate cancer numbers, the VA joined with the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) to co-host a one-day summit, Launch Pad: Pathways to Cancer InnoVAtion. The event brings together world-class oncology experts, corporate and nonprofit partners to discuss research, big data, technology and clinical solutions to advance screening, diagnostics and care coordination for cancer and to promote the implementation of best practices across the VA healthcare system.

"Fighting and treating cancer among our Veterans is a team effort, which is why this Launch Pad event and this partnership with PCF are so important," said VA Secretary Bob McDonald. "To effectively serve our Veterans and to keep VA on the cutting edge of medical research, we need government, corporate, and non-profit organizations working together. We are truly grateful to the Prostate Cancer Foundation for this important show of support. Our work together will save Veterans' lives."

As part of the summit, PCF announced a $50-million precision oncology initiative to expand prostate cancer clinical research among Veterans to speed the development of new treatment options and cures. The agreement is the first partnership between PCF and VA. Of the thousands of Veterans diagnosed each year with prostate cancer, African-Americans, in particular, are 64 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer compared to any other race or ethnicity and 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease.

The goals of the PCF partnership are to increase the number of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) investigators applying to PCF for funding; increase the number of VHA facilities involved in precision medicine/prostate cancer clinical trials; increase the number of Veterans enrolled in studies, providing veteran specimens or data used in studies as well as increase the number of minorities enrolled in PCF studies; and increase the number of early career scientists working on prostate cancer research.

"Our goal is to increase our scientific understanding of prostate cancer among Veterans and to kick-start the development of precision medicine treatments for them, as well as the general population," said Jonathan W. Simons, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, PCF. "This agreement will open new doors for the research community to work with Veterans facing a life threatening disease and ultimately reduce the disease burden on America's Veterans."

VA has a long history in cancer prevention and research. Currently, VA's cancer research portfolio supported 262 active projects with $53.5 million in fiscal year 2016, toward understanding and preventing cancers prevalent in the Veteran population. In addition, VA research also has ongoing collaborations and data-sharing with other public agencies, and profit and non-profit corporations to enhance cancer research, including studies that support the national Precision Medicine Initiative.

World AIDS Day 2016: VHA focuses on Veterans and HIV Prevention
World AIDS Day was Dec. 1. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) joined other Federal partners in efforts to increase HIV testing and treatment, as well as a call for prevention. This year's theme was "Leadership. Commitment. Impact."

VA is the largest provider of HIV care in the U.S., treating over 27,000 Veterans in 2015 and leading the nation in all components of the HIV Care Continuum. This care continuum includes diagnosis, linkage to care, retention in care, prescription of antiretroviral therapy (ART) treatment, and viral suppression. By December 2015, VA had performed HIV testing on 38.2 percent of Veterans receiving care in VA and in 2015 VA linked 100 percent of HIV-positive Veterans to care within 90 days of diagnosis.

While great progress in HIV/AIDS has been made over the last three decades, resulting in significant increases in treatment and prevention, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 50,000 Americans become newly infected with HIV each year, with men who have sex with men (MSM) and African Americans disproportionately affected. It is also estimated that one in eight individuals living with HIV doesn't know that he or she is infected which greatly increases their chances of unknowingly transmitting HIV to others.

Exciting developments in the prevention impact of viral suppression and the efficacy of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) have made prevention of HIV more attainable than ever before. VHA will be renewing our focus on prevention in the year ahead with this four-pronged approach: 

Early detection of HIV among Veterans in VHA care by increasing testing among vulnerable populations

Keeping negatives negative by increasing uptake of PrEP

Promoting diagnosis of HIV infection among Veterans in VHA care as soon as possible after exposure by implementing 4th generation screening as part of the revised CDC recommendations on laboratory testing for HIV.

Prevention with positives by addressing racial and ethnic disparities in HIV care and treatment and increasing linkage to treatment and adherence for all HIV positive Veterans.

This World AIDS Day, we encourage you to join us in our efforts to increase HIV/AIDS testing and prevention by:

Considering whether you should be tested for HIV. VHA recommends that everyone say "yes" to the test at least once in their lifetime.

If you think you might be at risk for HIV, learn more about PrEP.

For updates on VHA efforts in the year ahead, please visit

My VA Putting Veterans First
This month the VA released a major update on the MyVA transformation, Secretary McDonald's effort to transform VA into the top customer service agency in the federal government. This third edition of the program's semi-annual report shows progress serving Veterans with more services, in better time.

"Guided by Veterans' needs, we've left old, unresponsive ways of doing business behind," writes Secretary Bob McDonald. "We've changed leadership. We've added staff. We've adjusted policies. We're eliminating bureaucracy and unproductive work. We're encouraging innovative approaches to serving Veterans, and we're sharing best practices across the Department. In short, we're making VA the high-performing organization that it can be, and that my fellow Veterans, expect and deserve."

Key results in the report include:

Veteran trust of VA is on the rise. In June 2016, nearly 60 percent of Veterans said they trust VA to fulfill our country's commitment to Veterans – from 47 percent in December 2015.

We are completing more appointments, faster. In FY 2016, VA completed nearly 58 million appointments – 1.2 million more than in FY 2015 and 3.2 million more than FY 2014. More of them are provided by a network of more than 350,000 community providers – a 45 percent increase in the number of providers since last year.

Processing of disability claims is faster and more accurate, too. The average wait time to complete a claim has dropped by 65 percent, to 123 days. We completed nearly 1.3 million claims in FY 2016, and reduced pending claims by almost 90 percent.

Urgent care is available when a Veteran needs it, and for non-urgent appointments, wait times are down. By September 2016, the average wait time for a completed appointment was down to less than five days for primary care, less than seven days for specialty care, and less than three days for mental health care.

Veteran homelessness has been cut in half: it's down 47 percent since 2010 nationwide, thanks in part to VA's work with nearly 4,000 public and private agencies.

In the last 18 months, VA has facilitated dozens more collaborations, bringing in more than $300 million in investments and in-kind services to support America's Veterans.

Quality is improving: 82 percent of VA facilities improved quality overall since the fourth quarter of FY 2015.The report details the changes and innovations, large and small, which produced these results. It also lays out a path forward for the agency – including an important role for Congress before the end of 2016.

Read the full report online at

Need an Advocate?
I am a veterans advocate. My name is Brian Sinykin and I will be representing Veterans from the beginning of filing a Notice of Disagreement to the Department in the VA hospital that denied you medical benefits through to the Board Of Veterans Appeals. I am associated with the National American Legion.

If your claim has been denied, or you know of it happening to any of your comrades we are worldwide. Email me at with your name, phone#, and the reason you are contacting me.

In a page or less, give me a brief description of what happened and the name/s of who denied you and what department denied you. 

Also tell us if you received denial verbally or in writing. If in writing send a copy to us. I will forward those cases I feel are better handled by the Legion to Rosco Butler The American Legion Headquarters. Mr. Butler is Deputy Director for Healthcare Veterans Affairs & Rehab.
You can now fight back legally to get the healthcare you need.

If you feel that you are being overlooked, or misrepresented, please contact me so that we can move forward.

Disability cases you feel are being ignored or taking to long contact us immediately. Especially PTSD cases. 

Any Veteran who feels they might be experiencing medical neglect, malpractice regarding the VA send me the information you are referring to. If you are still fighting for your disability this does not interfere with that action. As a matter of fact it will help it especially when you win. 
"I do not charge for my services"

Brian Sinykin
10100 39th Avenue North
Plymouth, MN 55441
Phone: 763-544-3118

Member Submissions

It Doesn't go Away
By Michael Lee

There were tens of thousands of our fighting men who passed through Travis.

Now and then I'd see their faces as they waited for a flight to Vietnam.

I was one of the 'lucky ones" they'd call me, based here stateside safe from war.

It didn't dawn on me the impact of the loss of life; young men my age who left on flights seated in rows, came home on flights in cargo holds in caskets all alone.

Then one night I saw flight line lights come on and trucks drive out. Linemen loaded the bodies for transport to wait for shipment home.

It silenced me, it gave me nightmares and I pushed it from my memory all these years.

And then I stood before the wall – the Vietnam Memorial – and read the names and wondered if I'd seen their faces, heard their voices, watched them leave and not come home.

And once again I felt a sense of guilt, not luck that I had stayed behind when they all left.

I shed a tear again for those my fellows who went off to war and left me here. I lived, they died.

It's now been fifty years and when they come to mind, I wipe a tear and will again because I was and am so lucky that I know what they will never, guilt
Looking For

Do You Remember Me?

I am looking for anyone who may remember me from  Dyess AFB, 1965 - 1969. I was a Crew Chief on a C-130E, tail Number 7886. I also worked in Phase Inspection.

I am in quite a dispute with Veterans Benefits folks and they would like to hear from anyone who remembers me flying from Clark AFB, Philippines in and out of Vietnam --- Oct. and Nov. -- 1968. They have no record and are denying me entitled benefits. 

Thanks a bunch.

Thomas F. Kast

Officers Who Served With PFC Michael Conrad Roell
We are looking for the names of any military officers who may have served in the Vietnam War, and knew PFC. Michael Conrad Roell, Vietnam Casualty, 26 May 1967.
Based on information provided by Michael’s brother Edward J. Roell, the family’s parents received a letter form 25 military officers who signed the letter expressing Michael’s bravery. They expressed Michael should be honored for the Medal of Honor. His brother, Edward was a young teenager at the time the letter was given to the family.
The letter is lost. The military eyewitnesses who signed the letter is required for consideration to award Michael, The Medal of Honor. It’s my understanding, The Awards and Decorations Branch of The United States Army, Fort Knox, TN, require additional support by at least 4 military officers who signed the letter or knew of his bravery.  
This is very important to the family and for Michael.
Note: Edward J. Roell can be reached by telephone cell: 201-800-3960 or 201-664-3740.
State Senator Gerald Cardinale assured his support for Mr. Edward Roell ‘s brother Michael.
Jack A. Fornaro
Legislative Aide to Senator Gerald Cardinale
Legislative District 39, Bergen County NJ
Telephone: 201-567-2324

Family of Lt Synott
My wife and I moved to Montclair about fourteen years ago.  We found Lieutenant Synnott's photo in the basement of our home.  The photo is in a very old wood picture frame that is coming apart. We would like to get in contact with the descendants of Lieutenant Synnott to give them his photo.  

William Larkin

USS Glacier
I recently acquired a huge amount of color 16mm films from a Lt. Pierce Y Matthews, who was the chief engineer aboard USS Glacier during Deep Freeze 1&2 (1955-1957). 32 roles, over an hour. Really cool footage. 

I am looking for someone who was aboard Glacier for Deep Freeze 1&2 who might be able to watch the DVD I made and provide any comments. Also a few hundred photos and slides that I still need to scan. Quite a treasure trove. 

Gary Schreffler

I'm looking for members of the 3rd Bn, 7th Marines from July, 1971 through December, 1972.

I am asking this, looking for dates that the unit was on a training exercise at 29 Palms and also if anyone has information on the crash of a helicopter in the desert in 29 Palms. I am hoping someone will recall this crash.

I need the the date, any if any else was in the crash. I need this info for a VA claim.
David Nelson
3rd Bn 7th Mars, May 1971 - Dec 1972

What Was My Platoon Number?
My name is Jack McClain! I am seeking anyone who was in my platoon at San Diego from March 18th 1969 - May 1969. Only problem is I can't remember my platoon #. I want to say it was 3054 but I can't be positive about that. I do remember one of our drill instructors...SSGT. Henry. He was always squeezing a tennis ball while we were going through drills. Anyone who remembers or has the info I am searching for, please relay it to me through TWS. 
Thank you!

Click here to leave Jack a message.

Did You Serve With Brent Reeder?
My name is Harry Kleinman, retired Air Force. I am in the early stages of writing a screenplay about the life of Brent Alexander Reeder. Brent was killed in Vietnam on November 15, 1968.  I just wanted to offer some additional information pertaining to Brent. His Unit: DET 1 (Dong Ha), MASS 2, MACG 18, 1st MAW.  His MOS 6741, which is either Air Traffic Controller or Aviation Electronics Operator. I would desperately love to contact one (or more) of his buddies who served with him in Vietnam in an effort to bring the story to life.  
Thank you for your time and consideration.

Harry Tyler Kleinman
Biloxi, MS

Looking For This Man
I am trying to locate my wife's biological father. She was born 3/31/1951 in Bamberg Germany. We just returned from Germany and his name does not appear on the birth certificate. I would like to ask if you could post this picture on the USArmy area and see if anyone knows him. He was at the Warner Barracks in Bamberg during 1950-1952. His first name is Harry and the last we are unsure of but could be Derbie, Darby or something like that. 

Thanks for any help you can give. If you know of some data base of PR officer I can go to please help. 

Don Mc Cormick RMC USN(Ret)

J.D. Spivey
I have a strange request that I am hoping you can help me with. I was boxing up some old books this past weekend and came across a yearbook for Lackland AFB. I have no idea how this book came into my possession. I can only assume that it was in a box of books that I bought several years ago from a bookstore that was going out of business. There is an inscription in the inside cover from a Richard H Thompson of Tarboro NC to a Spivey. There are many autographs and little notes written throughout the yearbook. There is no publish or class-of date that I can see. There are dates in biographies under certain pictures. The latest of these dates is 1979, which leads me to believe it is from that year or the early 1980s  I would very much like to return this book to Mr. Spivey, since it was obviously his. If you can help me with this at all, that would be great!.

Thank you for your time!

Jennifer Chavers
Palestine, TX 

Worth Causes

Children of the Fallen

Now that we have started celebrating the holiday season with the Marine Corps Birthday and Veterans Day, support the Children of The Fallen by purchasing my book, The Silence of The Fallen. I will share 75% of the revenues with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (, an incredible organization that I had the privilege of volunteering with during Memorial Day activities in D.C. 
During this season, please practice “random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” Treasure Life.

Semper Fidelis,

David DeChant

Support our Troops
My name is Tracy, I'm no longer in my Navy uniform however, I still want to express my support for my fellow veterans and military today. “Once in Uniform always in Uniform” I would do it all again without any hesitation. I believe it is us that need to help our Veterans and Military personal.

I will be cycling from San Diego CA to Saint Augustine FL. As I started to think about the challenges I will have to endure along my 3142-mile bike ride, we be leaving from the flight deck of the USS Midway Mar 2nd 2018 (one of my buddies from my 1st duty station) All the donations will be going to the Gary Sinise Foundation and are 100% tax deductible.

This trip would not be possible for the love and support of family, friends, corporations, sponsors and people like yourself. (Also, if making a donation check to see if your Employer is in the Company Match program, If you need more information please do not hesitate to contact me via our website.

SSgt McDonald Yancey US Army (Ret) is launching a new podcast station this January.
To read about his work and his new endevors, click here:
Letters to the Editor

I just wanted to thank you and all the staff for everything that you're doing. It can be hard fitting into society after serving, but because of the work you guys do, it reminds me that I'm not alone.

Merry Christmas everybody!
~IC3 Troy Stowell (Disabled Veteran)

Thanks for the great stories. What a wonderful Christmas present.
~Ron Weber
U.S. Army

The Emperor of Nicaragua
Thank you for the excellent information coverage on names/places/events on a historical subject very seldom mentioned - "The Filibuster" "Vanderbilt's Accessory Transit Company" "The Emperor of Nicaragua" "The Social Status of the Ear." It was a great refreshment of my past readings. Thanks again.
~Ed O'Donnell

I'm No Hero
I had to comment on Jerry Haynes story in the recent TWS issue.

What a difference a year makes. I went to Boot Camp in San Diego in September of 1970. I was also guaranteed an 'A' School due to enlisting as a Nuke and failing the submarine physical due to color-blindness. I reported to DP 'A' School in January of 1971. I nearly washed out due to poor key punch skills but I finally qualified to continue the school. I graduated in March of 1971 and was assigned to USS Niagara Falls (AFS-3) S-1 Division (Computer Room & Supply Office). In April 1971 we departed on the first of my three WestPac cruises. This one was seven months, the next one was ten months and my last one was another seven months.

My collateral duties, outside of the computer room involved working cargo handling during Underway Replenishment (UNREP) operations.

We were the primary ship to off-load the USS Regulus when it ran aground in Hong Kong. I was also onboard one of our helicopters during an ASW exercise where we ran out of fuel and ditched during our transit back to the states after leaving Yokosuka, Japan.

Like him, I am no hero. Due to being in Vietnam I received the Vietnam Service and Vietnam Campaign Medals. Due to records for amount of cargo transferred we were also awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation. 

I made DP2 but got stupid and was busted back to DP3. I got out in September 1974.

There are a lot of us "No Heroes" that did our job and went on with our lives.
~Kevin Greer
Former DP2/DP3
USS Niagara Falls

Jimmy Stewart
Jimmy Stewart was a cousin to "The Duke" John Wayne. While doing a movie for the LDS Church, the church did his genealogy for him and this was one of the discoveries while doing his heritage. Thought you might like a little nostalgia.
~Don Anderson
U.S. Navy