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My brother's funeral was today. He died on Aug 14th, another military suicide. His name Steve, wife Debbie, had 2 children 1 son and 1 daughter. Photo isn't very recent, all I have at the moment of him. They put some on their Facebook page, except I don't have Facebook yet, spend my time on treasure sites instead.

Joined the Army, got training to be a technical specialist, was on a sub during Desert Storm that was used for intelligence gathering. Became a recruiter in Washington state joint air base.


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Please take a few moments to watch this extraordinary video of one man, > > placing one flag every mile across the US for every one of our > > military who gave their lives serving this


0930 here so it's 0530 CST and I haven't found any mention on the Internet of Pearl Harbor Day. Being PC doesn't erase it from my memory. Thanks to all who gave all and those that survived that terr

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My condolences.

Thanks Au Seeker, until now haven't been able to mention it yet anywhere on the Internet. Steve was working 2 jobs for a while to put his son through college, scientist with a bright future ahead, a physicist. His daughter is 13 and had a couple suicidal attempts, but my sister said seemed to be better recently.

Steve had got a job, they sent him to Washington DC for training. Got back home his wife had filed for divorce, said pack your bags and get out. My sister in Virginia talked to Steve twice on the phone, then it happened.

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I found out a little more, he had once been on suicide watch, while still a recruiter at the base. They have a quota to get or the higher ups in the military will be after you. First he had to drive a long distance every morning, get cussed out and drive back to work each day. There are things a recruiter is supposed to tell people. My brother had a hard time because to say some of these things would be lying.

Next, and this I've learned about only in the last couple days, the military higher ups, separated him for 3 months from wife and family. I don't understand why people at a base would use that as punishment or discipline, whatever you want to call it. Steve ended up in the hospital with acute stress, then on suicide watch.

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In my life time I've had the pleasure of working with a couple of these brave folks......

All were good people and darn good pilots and flight instructors.....

Mike (dad) sent me this and he liked them also....

Helicopter Pilots of Vietnam

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Yup, the sound of those blades ALWAYS stirs strong emotions

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Charlie Sheen is 45 and his story is all over the news because he is a substance abuser, an adulterer, sexually promiscuous and obnoxious.

Lindsay Lohan is 24 and her story is all over the news because she is a celebrity drug addict and a thief.

The same can be said about drug addict Philip Seymour Hoffman who died with a needle stuck in his arm.

Alec Baldwin, actor, who is constantly in the news for his public disorderly conduct and inappropriate language and behavior involving the police or photographers, among others, continues to stay in the news.

Something as frivolous as Kim Kardashian's stupid wedding (and short-lived marriage) was shoved down our throats, while. . .

Justin Allen 23

Brett Linley 29

Matthew Weikert 29

Justus Bartett 27

Dave Santos 21

Jesse Reed 26

Matthew Johnson 21

Zachary Fisher 24

Brandon King 23

Christopher Goeke 23

and Sheldon Tate 27

. . . are all Marines who gave their lives last month for you.

There is no media for them; not even a mention of their names.

They were young men who most likely came from rural America seeking a chance to better themselves and to serve this country.

Honor THEM by sending this on.

I did, will you?

Rest In Peace, and THANK YOU, TROOPS.

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The Vietnam Wall

The Wall

A little history most people will never know

Interesting Veterans Statistics off the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010.

Names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date. It is hard to believe it is 57 years since the first casualty.

North Weymouth, Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.

There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.

39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.

8,283 were just 19 years old.

The largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old.

12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.

5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.

One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.

997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam

1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam

31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.

Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.

54 soldiers attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia. I wonder why so many from one school.

8 Women are on the Wall, Nursing the wounded

244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall.

Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.

West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.

The Marines of Morenci - They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest. In the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci's mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.

The Buddies of Midvale - LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam. In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths.

The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 - 2,415 casualties were incurred.

For most Americans who read this they will only see the numbers that the Vietnam War created. To those of us who survived the war, and to the families of those who did not, we see the faces, we feel the pain that these numbers created. We are, until we too pass away, haunted with these numbers, because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters. There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.

Please pass this on to those who served during this time, and those who DO Care.

I've also sent this to those I KNOW do care very much, and I thank you for caring as you do.

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Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.

Capone had a lawyer nicknamed 'Easy Eddie.' He was Capone's lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.

To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big, but Eddie got special dividends, as well. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block.

Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him.

Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object.

And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was.

Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn't give his son; he couldn't pass on a good name or a good example.

One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to rectify wrongs he had done.

He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al 'Scarface' Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. So, he testified.

Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago Street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay. Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine.

The poem read:

'The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour. Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no faith in time. For the clock may soon be still.'


World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare.

He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Lexington in the South Pacific.

One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank

He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship.

His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.

As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned his blood cold; a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding its way toward the American fleet.

The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet.

Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent.

Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible, rendering them unfit to fly. Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction.

Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft. This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy's first Ace of WWII, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.

A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29.

His home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today,O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.

So, the next time you find yourself at O'Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch's memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honor. It's located between Terminals 1 and 2.


Butch O'Hare was 'Easy Eddie's' son.

Two Stories BOTH TRUE - and worth reading!
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                              Daddy's PoemHer hair was up in a ponytail,Her favorite dress tied with a bow.Today was Daddy's Day at school,And she couldn't wait to go.But her mommy tried to tell her,That she probably should stay home;Why the kids might not understand,If she went to school alone.But she was not afraid;She knew just what to say.What to tell her classmatesOf why he wasn't there today.

But still her mother worried,

For her to face this day alone.And that was why, once again,She tried to keep her daughter home.But the little girl went to school,Eager to tell them all.About a dad she never sees, a dadWho never calls.There were daddies along the wall inBack, for everyone to meet.Children squirming impatiently,Anxious in their seat.
One by one the teacher called On a student from the class. To introduce their daddy, As seconds slowly passed. At last the teacher called her name, Every child turned to stare. Each of them was searching, A man who wasn't there. "Where's her daddy at?" She heard a boy call out. "She probably doesn't have one," Another student dared to shout. 
And from somewhere near the back, She heard a daddy say, "Looks like another deadbeat dad, Too busy to waste his day." The words did not offend her, As she smiled up at her Mom. And looked back at her teacher, who Told her to go on.. And with hands behind her back, Slowly she began to speak. And out from the mouth of a child, Came words incredibly unique. 
"My Daddy couldn't be here, Because he lives so far away. But I know he wishes he could be, Since this is such a special day. And though you cannot meet him, I wanted you to know All about my daddy, And how much he loves me so. He loved to tell me stories, He taught me to ride my bike; He surprised me with pink roses, And taught me to fly a kite. 
We used to share fudge sundaes, And ice cream in a cone. And though you cannot see him. I'm not standing here alone. 'Cause my daddy's always with me, Even though we are apart; I know because he told me, He'll forever be in my heart" With that, her little hand reached up, And lay across her chest. Feeling her own heartbeat, Beneath her favorite dress. 
And from somewhere there in the crowd of dads, Her mother stood in tears. Proudly watching her daughter, Who was wise beyond her years. For she stood up for the love Of a man not in her life. Doing what was best for her, Doing what was a right. And when she dropped her hand back Down, staring straight into the crowd. She finished with a voice so soft, But its message clear and loud. 
"I love my daddy very much, he's my shining star. And if he could, he'd be here, But heaven's just too far. You see he is an American Soldier And he died just this past year, When a roadside bomb hit his convoy And taught Americans to fear. But sometimes when I close my eyes, it's like he never went away." And then she closed her eyes, And saw him there that day.

And to her mother's amazement,

She witnessed with surprise,A room full of daddies and children,All starting to close their eyes.Who knows what they saw before them;Who knows what they felt inside.Perhaps for merely a second,They saw him at her side."I know you're with me Daddy,"to the silence she called out.And what happened next made believers,of those once filled with doubt.
Not one in that room could explain it, for each of their eyes had been closed. But there on the desk beside her, was a fragrant long-stemmed pink rose. And a child was blessed, if only for a moment, by the love of her shining star. And given the gift of believing, that heaven is never too far. They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them. Send this to the people you'll never forget and remember to send it also to the person that sent it to you. It's a short message to let them know that you'll never forget them. If you don't send it to anyone, it means you're in a hurry and that you've forgotten your friends. Take the time....to live and love. Until eternity God Bless 
There must be many children in the same boat as this little girl, thanks to our servicemen and their families for the sacrifice they are making to keep our country free. The ULTIMATE sacrifice is being left behind. Don't forget them. PRAY FOR OUR TROOPS!!!  
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Dang Don ... That one is a tear jerker for sure! Thanks for lubricating these old eyes!

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America's Secret War - Operation Shining Brass

The guerrilla war was not going well for the Viet Cong in the late fifties. Badly needed supplies moving down jungle trails from North Vietnam were constantly being spotted by South Vietnamese warplanes and often destroyed. To give themselves a fighting chance, existing tribal trails through Laos and Cambodia were opened up in 1959. The North Vietnamese went to great lengths to keep this new set of interconnecting trails secret.

The first North Vietnamese sent down the existing tribal trails carried no identification and used captured French weapons. But the Communists could not keep their supply route secret for very long. Within months, CIA agents and their Laotian mercenaries were watching movement from deep within the hidden jungle.

But keeping an eye on what the North Vietnamese were doing in Laos was not enough for Washington.

They wanted to put boots on the ground in a reconnaissance role to observe, first hand, the enemy logistical system known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail (the Truong Son Road to the North Vietnamese).

By late 1964 South Vietnamese recon units were inserted into Laos in 'Operation Leaping Lena'. After a number of disastrous missions, it was determined U.S. troops were necessary and Military Assistance Command, Vietnam - Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) was given the green light to take over the operation.

Thus was born the secret war in Laos that would eventually kill about 300 hundred Special Forces troops, with fifty-seven Missing in Action, and some fifteen known to have been captured. But the Communist never admitted to having captured any Special Forces troops.

In November the first American-led insertion was launched against target Alpha-1, a suspected truck terminus on Laotian Route 165, fifteen-miles inside Laos. A newly formed reconnaissance team selected for the initial mission was Recon Team (RT) Iowa.

Team leader was Master Sergeant Charles Petry along with Sergeant First Class Willie Card, a South Vietnamese Army Lieutenant and five Nungs (fierce fighters of Chinese decent used extensively and paid by U.S. Special Forces). They were the first U.S.-led cross-border secret operation into Laos, code-named 'Shining Brass,' to reconnoiter and interdict infiltration along Ho Chi Minh Trail.

The Special Forces officer supervising the mission was Capt. Larry Thorne, the subject of last month's Dispatches article "Three Wars under Three Flags".

It was the rainy season in Vietnam and RT Iowa prowled the Special Forces camp at Kham Duc, near the Laotian border, waiting for the rain to let up and for the clouds to break. Tension during the idle days ran high, for their highly classified mission could open a new phase of the war. Finally, the rain stopped, but visibility was still poor on the Laotian border to the West where mountain peaks poked above the clouds. It was finally agreed, however, to try an infiltration despite the unfavorable flying conditions.

Hence, toward the end of the third day, October 18, 1965, two South Vietnamese operated CH-34 helicopters unmarked and sprayed with camouflage paint, lifted off and climbed above the clouds over Kham Duc and banked to the West toward a suspected truck park 15 miles inside Laos.

Recon Team Iowa members set on the floor of the lead chopper. Dressed in camouflage fatigues and soft bush hats or rags tied around their heads, they carried no identification and all their gear and weapons were 'sterilized' - non-U.S. government issue. This was a highly secret mission the United States did not want traced back to the American forces.

Thorne was the only American passenger aboard the South Vietnam Air Force flown command and control aircraft. U.S. Army Huey gunships launched at the same time to provide air cover should it be needed at any time during the mission.

As the CH-34s and Huey gunships flew low over the countryside, all they could see were rolling hills, wild rivers and waterfalls. The weather proved especially hazardous, forcing them to weaving between thunderheads and sunbeams while avoiding sporadic .50 caliber machinegun fire, all of which missed. The flight arrived over the target area just before sundown. All aircraft circled the area looking for a way to get down to the clearing through the thick angry clouds that blanketed the area. A decent seemed hopeless and darkness was closing in. Minutes before Thorne intended to cancel the mission and return to Kham Duc, the clouds opened up slightly allowing the CH-34 carrying RT Iowa to spiral into the slash-and-burn clearing, rapidly discharge its passengers and immediately climb for altitude. As Thorne's helicopter attempted to descend, the clouds again closed up. Thorne ordered the now empty CH-34 to return to Kham Duc.

As the weather worsened, Thorne continued to orbit near the landing zone in case RT Iowa ran into trouble. After received a message from the team that their insertion was successful, he transmitted that his aircraft was also on its way back.

Approximately 5 minutes after receiving the patrol's report, the other aircrews heard a constant keying of a radio for roughly 30 seconds. After that, only silence was heard in response to repeated attempts to raise anyone aboard Thorne's helicopter.

The disappearance of Thorne's aircraft and Vietnamese crew men, without so much as a radio distress call, was never explained, nor was any wreckage found after days of trying. Operation 35 had claimed its first victims, and a shot had yet to be fired.

After three days on the ground, deep behind enemy lines, the seven-man patrol ran into a heavily defended enemy ammunition dump. One team member was killed. The rest withdrew to a hill, called in tactical air and within minutes, bombs were destroying the enemy's precious ammunition. The team was extracted without further incident.

For the next five years, Special Forces led patrols scouted the Ho Chi Minh Trail on a regular basis and fought the North Vietnamese they found there. The Ho Chi Minh Trail was no longer a mystery, and ultimately became a killing ground for many of the North Vietnamese who worked there, or were just passing through.

During those five years the cross-border operations in Laos were active, it changed names three time; "Operation Shining Brass" was renamed "Operation Prairie Fire" in 1968 and finally, "Operation Phu Dung" in April 1971. But whatever name it went by, countering NVA infiltration through Laos into South Vietnam became the largest and most important Special Forces strategic reconnaissance and interdiction campaign in Southeast Asia.

In 1999, Thorne's remains were found by a Finnish and Joint Task Force-Full Accounting team that was excavating a helicopter crash site near Thorne's last suspected location. DNA on remains found at the site were those of Thorne and the South Vietnamese airmen. He was buried on June 26, 2003 at Arlington National Cemetery, section 60, tombstone 8136, along with the Vietnam casualties of the mission recovered at the crash site.

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