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WE IN CHARLESTON, S.C., AREA HAVE THE LAFFEY IN OUR PATRIOTS POINT NAVAL MUSEUM. I, AND MANY OTHERS. DID NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS KAMIKAZE ATTACK AND HOW VALIANTLY THIS SHIP AND CREW FOUGHT TO KEEP US FREE. I WILL LOOK AT IT IN A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT LIGHT GOING FORWARD!!! IT HAD DETERIORATED TO THE POINT THAT IT WAS ABOUT TO SINK AT THE DOCK AND WAS TAKEN TO A REPAIR YARD AND SEVERAL MILLION WAS SPENT TO KEEP IT AFLOAT .










About the best naval footage ever shot by a Navy cameraman. The camera






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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

SIX BOYS & 13 HANDS   

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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AMERICAN PATRIOTISM

A Soldier, his Dog and Delta Airlines

This made my chest swell with pride in this country. That is what is missing with all of the slugs from the Middle East . No sense of pride in country.

DELTA AIRLINES ROCKS.
I knew about Delta but didn't know they did this for dog soldiers too!!!

A Soldier, his Dog and Delta Airline Delta Baggage Handlers. Recorded at DFW International Airport As you watch the video, notice the number of people
watching from inside the terminal. Most people have no idea Delta does this.

This soldier was a K9 soldier with a dog trained to find IED's. Yes, the second small coffin is the soldier's partner. This is a soldier and his dog who died for us. And Hats off to Delta.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/c_VGxfmDmEo

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Meanwhile, everyone knows Bergdahl's name. But how many know the names of the six men who died looking for him?
Their names are:
Pfc. Matthew Michael Martinek,
Staff Sgt. Kurt Robert Curtiss,
Staff Sgt. Clayton Bowen,
Pfc. Morris Walker,
Staff Sgt. Michael Chance Murphrey and
Second Lt. Darryn Andrews.

GIs%20killed%20for%20Bergdahl.jpg

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Surely can be said to be a gross waste of loyal and talented troops to find the worst of the worst dirtbags ... a deserter! I wish we still executed deserters by a firing squad of peers! Six dead so one scumbag can live is no trade ... and then there are the 5 Taliban leaders released from incarceration at GitMo to free the traitor! Those 5 will contribute to the death of more troops over time! Sounds like a Lose-Lose-Lose situation to me. But then again given the origin of the idea ... well enough said! :-(

Mike F

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Lt. Col. Robert Hite, of 'Doolittle Tokyo Raiders,' dead at 95

Lt.%20Col.%20Hite.jpg

Lt. Col. Robert Hite, shown here being led blindfolded by his captors, was held for 40 months.

Lt. Col. Robert Hite, one of the famed World War II "Doolittle Tokyo Raiders," died Sunday at 95.

Wallace Hite said his father died Sunday morning at a nursing facility in Nashville after battling Alzheimer's disease, according to The Associated Press.

"Today he decided to go home and be with his wife," Wallace Hite said.

Hite was among 80 men aboard 16 B-25 bombers whose mission was to strike Japan in April 1942. While the attack inflicted only scattered damage, it was credited with boosting American morale while shaking Japan's confidence and prompting strategy shifts less than five months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Eight Raiders were captured and three were executed; one more died in captivity and three others were killed after crash-landing or ditching at sea. Hite was among the Japanese captives and was imprisoned for 40 months.

"I think he would want two things: that's the attitude we ought to have about our country; and the second is, he was just doing his job."

- Wallace Hite

He was liberated by American troops in 1945. In 1951, he returned to active duty during the Korean War and served overseas before relief from active duty in 1955.

Wallace Hite said his father would want to be remembered for his patriotism, and for others to share the same sentiment.

"I think he would want two things: that's the attitude we ought to have about our country; and the second is, he was just doing his job," he said.

Hite's passing leaves two other surviving Raiders: retired Lt. Col. Richard "Dick" Cole and Staff Sgt. David Thatcher.

The Raiders will be honored with the Congressional Gold Medal on April 15 in Washington, then present it on April 18 -- the 73rd anniversary of the raid -- to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

The gold medal will go on display at the museum near Dayton, joining an exhibit depicting the launch from an aircraft carrier of the Raiders' 1942 attack.

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NAOURS, France – A headlamp cuts through the darkness of a rough-hewn passage 100 feet underground to reveal an inscription: "James Cockburn 8th Durham L.I."

It's cut so clean it could have been left yesterday. Only the date next to it — April 1, 1917 — roots it in the horrors of World War I.

The piece of graffiti by a soldier in a British infantry unit is just one of nearly 2,000 century-old inscriptions that have recently come to light in Naours, a two-hour drive north of Paris. Many marked a note for posterity in the face of the doom that trench warfare a few dozen miles away would bring to many.

"It shows how soldiers form a sense of place and an understanding of their role in a harsh and hostile environment," said historian Ross Wilson of Chichester University in Britain.

Etchings, even scratched bas-reliefs, were left by many soldiers during the war. But those in Naours "would be one of the highest concentrations of inscriptions on the Western Front" that stretches from Switzerland to the North Sea, said Wilson.

The site's proximity to the Somme battlefields, where more than a million men were killed or wounded, adds to the discovery's importance. "It provides insight into how they found a sense of meaning in the conflict," said Wilson.

Naours' underground city is a 2-mile-long complex of tunnels with hundreds of chambers dug out over centuries in the chalky Picardy plateau. During the Middle Ages villagers took shelter there from marauding armies crisscrossing northern France. By the 18th century the quarry's entrance was blocked off and forgotten.

In 1887 a local priest rediscovered the site and it eventually became a tourist attraction. That's what likely drew the soldiers to it during the war, said Gilles Prilaux, an archaeologist for France's national archaeology institute. He began a three-year study of the tunnels last July, intending to focus on the site's medieval past — only to stumble upon this more recent slice of history.

"It was a big surprise," Prilaux said of the discovery of the World War I graffiti left by soldiers from Australia, Britain, Canada and the U.S.

Soldiers left similar inscriptions in tunnels at Arras and Vimy. But unlike those sites, Naours is well back from the front lines. And it wasn't known to have been used as a shelter or hospital like other Western Front quarries.

Photographer Jeff Gusky has tallied 1,821 individual names: 731 Australians, 339 British, 55 Americans, a handful of French and Canadians and 662 others whose nationalities have yet to be traced.

"All these guys wanted to be remembered," Gusky says, pointing out examples from Texas and Florida.

Naours is only a few miles from Vignacourt, a town used as a staging area for troops moving up to and back from the Somme battlefields some 25 miles to the east. Prilaux thinks that the young soldiers from distant countries would have heard about the famous "Naours caves" and taken advantage of a break from war to do some sight-seeing.

That idea is backed by an entry in the diary of Wilfred Joseph Allan Allsop, a 23-year-old private from Sydney, Australia. "At 1 p.m. 10 of us went to the famous Caves near Naours where refugees used to hide in times of Invasion" Allsop wrote on Jan. 2, 1917.

Wilson said the importance of studying graffiti like this has only emerged in the last 10 to 20 years.

"What were previously regarded as incidental acts that occur away from the battlefield have been shown to be highly important in understanding the lives of those who experienced the conflict," Wilson said.

One of the most moving inscriptions at Naours was made by Herbert John Leach, a 25-year-old from Adelaide. His inscription reads "HJ Leach. Merely a private. 13/7/16. SA Australia."

Barely a month after Leach added his name to the wall he was killed in action on Aug. 23, 1916, during the Battle of Pozieres.

On his grave, in the Australian cemetery in nearby Flers, his father inscribed "Duty Nobly Done."

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At about 0400 on April 1, 1966 three MPs from my battalion died trying to stop an explosives laden taxi from entering the lobby of a Vietnamese hotel that had been turned into a BOQ. They accomplished that task and lost their lives doing it. They received Silver Stars. America has a habit of producing people who will stand their ground. Read this and consider that the Marine telling you what happened had just lost his son, a Marine officer on his 3rd combat tour.


"The Last Six Seconds"...



One can hardly conceive of the enormous grief held quietly within General Kelly as he spoke.

On Nov 13, 2010, Lt. General John Kelly, USMC, gave a speech to the Semper Fi Society of St. Louis, MO. This was four days after his son, Lt. Robert Kelly, USMC, was killed by an IED while on his 3rd Combat tour. During his speech, General Kelly spoke about the dedication and valor of our young men and women who step forward each and every day to protect us.

During the speech, he never mentioned the loss of his own son. He closed the speech with the moving account of the last six seconds in the lives of two young Marines who died with rifles blazing to protect their brother Marines.


"I will leave you with a story about the kind of people they are, about the quality of the steel in their backs, about the kind of dedication they bring to our country while they serve in uniform and forever after as veterans. Two years ago when I was the Commander of all U.S. and Iraqi forces, in fact, the 22 ND 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, and 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 whom 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 (I deleted) 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.

We Marines believe that God gave America the greatest gift he could bestow to man while he lived on this earth - freedom. We also believe he gave us another gift nearly as precious - our soldiers, sailors, airmen, U S Customs and Border Patrol, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines - to safeguard that gift and guarantee no force on this earth can ever steal it away.


It has been my distinct honor to have been with you here today. Rest assured our America, this experiment in democracy started over two centuries ago, will forever remain the "land of the free and home of the brave" so long as we never run out of tough young Americans who are willing to look beyond their own self-interest and comfortable lives, and go into the darkest and most dangerous places on earth to hunt down, and kill, those who would do us harm.








God Bless America, and SEMPER FIDELIS!"

IT WOULD BE NICE (GREAT!) TO SEE the message spread if more would pass it on Semper Fi, God Bless America and God Bless the United States Marine Corps...

Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever
























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2 Navy SEALs die in training accident at Virginia pool

The Navy says a second SEAL has died following a training accident in a swimming pool at a base in Virginia.

Lt. David Lloyd tells media outlets that Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Brett Allen Marihugh of Livonia, Michigan, died Sunday.

The 34-year-old Marihugh and 32-year-old Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Seth Cody Lewis of Queens, New York, were found unresponsive on Friday at the bottom of the Combat Swimming Training Facility at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. Lewis died Friday.

The Virginia-Pilot reported that the two men were discovered at the bottom of the pool, which is regularly used by SEALs during training. The report said Lewis was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital; Marihugh, who had been in critical condition, died after being transferred to Sentara Virginia Beach General.

Lloyd says both sailors were members of Naval Special Warfare Group 2.

An investigation of the incident is continuing.

Marihugh and Lewis both served in the U.S. Marine Corps before they enlisted in the Navy in 2006.

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darn Don ... You sure know how to make a grown man weep! Guess I get a little weaker and sappier as I get older but that one sure hit home! Greet video!

Mike F

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Hey Guys, this was sent by my long time AF friend, Bob Provart. Long but good! Abe
Dear Family and Friends,
Before I forward essays of this nature I try to establish the author’s credibility. In this case the content is very believable. The author’s description of life in Vietnam is supported by a few of my own experiences and much more extensively by several soldiers and marines I am proud to call friends. This account was probably composed in 2009 although the timing is irrelevant. There is no humor, just a numbing perspective of duty, honor and country. Please read it but be aware that it could stir unwanted memories. The last line may offend some, but in my view it is “spot on.”
God bless.
BP
Subject: Burial at Sea
Honor Duty Service
Burial at Sea
By LtCol George Goodson, USMC (Ret)
In my 76th year, the events of my life appear to me, from time to time, as a series of vignettes.
Some were significant; most were trivial.
War is the seminal event in the life of everyone that has endured it. Though I fought in Korea and the Dominican Republic and was wounded there, Vietnam was my war.

Now 42 years have passed and, thankfully, I rarely think of those days in Cambodia, Laos, and the panhandle of North Vietnam where small teams of Americans and Montagnards fought much larger elements of the North Vietnamese Army. Instead I see vignettes: some exotic, some mundane:
*The smell of Nuc Mam.
*The heat, dust, and humidity.
*The blue exhaust of cycles clogging the streets.
*Elephants moving silently through the tall grass.
*Hard eyes behind the servile smiles of the villagers.
*Standing on a mountain in Laos and hearing a tiger roar.
*A young girl squeezing my hand as my medic delivered her baby.
*The flowing Ao Dais of the young women biking down Tran Hung Dao.
*My two years as Casualty Notification Officer in North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland.
It was late 1967. I had just returned after 18 months in Vietnam. Casualties were increasing. I moved my family from Indianapolis to Norfolk, rented a house, enrolled my children in their fifth or sixth new school, and bought a second car. A week later, I put on my uniform and drove 10 miles to Little Creek, Virginia. I hesitated before entering my new office. Appearance is important to career Marines. I was no longer, if ever, a poster Marine. I had returned from my third tour in Vietnam only 30 days before. At 5'9", I now weighed 128 pounds - 37 pounds below my normal weight. My uniforms fit ludicrously, my skin was yellow from malaria medication, and I think I had a twitch or two.
I straightened my shoulders, walked into the office, looked at the nameplate on a Staff Sergeant's desk and said, "Sergeant Jolly, I'm Lieutenant Colonel Goodson. Here are my orders and my Qualification Jacket."

Sergeant Jolly stood, looked carefully at me, took my orders, stuck out his hand; we shook and he asked, "How long were you there, Colonel?" I replied "18 months this time." Jolly breathed, “ you must be a slow learner Colonel." I smiled.
Jolly said, "Colonel, I'll show you to your office and bring in the Sergeant Major. I said, "No, let's just go straight to his office." Jolly nodded, hesitated, and lowered his voice, "Colonel, the Sergeant Major. He's been in this job two years. He's packed pretty tight. I'm worried about him." I nodded.

Jolly escorted me into the Sergeant Major's office. "Sergeant Major, this is Colonel Goodson, the new Commanding Office. The Sergeant Major stood, extended his hand and said, "Good to see you again, Colonel." I responded, "Hello Walt, how are you?" Jolly looked at me, raised an eyebrow, walked out, and closed the door.
I sat down with the Sergeant Major. We had the obligatory cup of coffee and talked about mutual acquaintances. Walt's stress was palpable. Finally, I said, "Walt, what's the hell's wrong?" He turned his chair, looked out the window and said, "George, you're going to wish you were back in Nam before you leave here. I've been in the Marine Corps since 1939. I was in the Pacific 36 months, Korea for 14 months, and Vietnam for 12 months. Now I come here to bury these kids. I'm putting my letter in. I can't take it anymore." I said, "OK Walt. If that's what you want, I'll endorse your request for retirement and do what I can to push it through Headquarters Marine Corps."
Sergeant Major Walt Xxxxx retired 12 weeks later. He had been a good Marine for 28 years, but he had seen too much death and too much suffering. He was used up.

Over the next 16 months, I made 28 death notifications, conducted 28 military funerals, and made 30 notifications to the families of Marines that were severely wounded or missing in action. Most of the details of those casualty notifications have now, thankfully, faded from memory. Four, however, remain.
*MY FIRST NOTIFICATION* My third or fourth day in Norfolk, I was notified of the death of a 19 year old Marine. This notification came by telephone from Headquarters Marine Corps. The information detailed:
*Name, rank, and serial number.
*Name, address, and phone number of next of kin.
*Date of and limited details about the Marine's death.
*Approximate date the body would arrive at the Norfolk Naval Air Station.
*A strong recommendation on whether the casket should be opened or closed.
The boy's family lived over the border in North Carolina, about 60 miles away. I drove there in a Marine Corps staff car. Crossing the state line into North Carolina, I stopped at a small country store / service station / Post Office. I went in to ask directions. Three people were in the store. A man and woman approached the small Post Office window. The man held a package. The Storeowner walked up and addressed them by name, "Hello John. Good morning Mrs. Cooper."
I was stunned. My casualty's next-of-kin's name was John Cooper! I hesitated, then stepped forward and said, "I beg your pardon. Are you Mr. and Mrs. John Cooper of (address)?"

The father looked at me-I was in uniform - and then, shaking, bent at the waist, he vomited. His wife looked horrified at him and then at me. Understanding came into her eyes and she collapsed in slow motion. I think I caught her before she hit the floor.
The owner took a bottle of whiskey out of a drawer and handed it to Mr. Cooper who drank. I answered their questions for a few minutes. Then I drove them home in my staff car. The store owner locked the store and followed in their truck. We stayed an hour or so until the family began arriving.

I returned the store owner to his business. He thanked me and said, "Mister, I wouldn't have your job for a million dollars." I shook his hand and said; "Neither would I."
I vaguely remember the drive back to Norfolk. Violating about five Marine Corps regulations, I drove the staff car straight to my house. I sat with my family while they ate dinner, went into the den, closed the door, and sat there all night, alone. My Marines steered clear of me for days. I had made my first death notification.

*THE FUNERALS* Weeks passed with more notifications and more funerals. I borrowed Marines from the local Marine Corps Reserve and taught them to conduct a military funeral: how to carry a casket, how to fire the volleys and how to fold the flag. When I presented the flag to the mother, wife, or father, I always said, "All Marines share in your grief." I had been instructed to say, "On behalf of a grateful nation...." I didn't think the nation was grateful, so I didn't say that.
Sometimes, my emotions got the best of me and I couldn't speak. When that happened, I just handed them the flag and touched a shoulder. They would look at me and nod. Once a mother said to me, "I'm so sorry you have this terrible job." My eyes filled with tears and I leaned over and kissed her.

*ANOTHER NOTIFICATION* Six weeks after my first notification, I had another. This was a young PFC. I drove to his mother's house. As always, I was in uniform and driving a Marine Corps staff car. I parked in front of the house, took a deep breath, and walked towards the house. Suddenly the door flew open, a middle-aged woman rushed out. She looked at me and ran across the yard, screaming "NO! NO! NO! NO!"
I hesitated. Neighbors came out. I ran to her, grabbed her, and whispered stupid things to reassure her. She collapsed. I picked her up and carried her into the house. Eight or nine neighbors followed. Ten or fifteen later, the father came in followed by ambulance personnel. I have no recollection of leaving.

The funeral took place about two weeks later. We went through the drill. The mother never looked at me. The father looked at me once and shook his head sadly.

*ANOTHER NOTIFICATION* One morning, as I walked in the office, the phone was ringing. Sergeant Jolly held the phone up and said, "You've got another one, Colonel." I nodded, walked into my office, picked up the phone, took notes, thanked the officer making the call, I have no idea why, and hung up. Jolly, who had listened, came in with a special Telephone Directory that translates telephone numbers into the person's address and place of employment.
The father of this casualty was a Longshoreman. He lived a mile from my office. I called the Longshoreman's Union Office and asked for the Business Manager. He answered the phone, I told him who I was, and asked for the father's schedule. The Business Manager asked, "Is it his son?" I said nothing. After a moment, he said, in a low voice, "Tom is at home today." I said, "Don't call him. I'll take care of that." The Business Manager said, "Aye, Aye Sir," and then explained, "Tom and I were Marines in WWII."
I got in my staff car and drove to the house. I was in uniform. I knocked and a woman in her early forties answered the door. I saw instantly that she was clueless. I asked, "Is Mr. Smith home?" She smiled pleasantly and responded, "Yes, but he's eating breakfast now. Can you come back later?" I said, "I'm sorry. It's important. I need to see him now." She nodded, stepped back into the beach house and said, "Tom, it's for you."

A moment later, a ruddy man in his late forties, appeared at the door. He looked at me, turned absolutely pale, steadied himself, and said, "Jesus Christ man, he's only been there three weeks!"

Months passed. More notifications and more funerals. Then one day while I was running, Sergeant Jolly stepped outside the building and gave a loud whistle, two fingers in his mouth...... I never could do that..... and held an imaginary phone to his ear.

Another call from Headquarters Marine Corps. I took notes, said, "Got it." and hung up. I had stopped saying "Thank You" long ago.
Jolly, "Where?"

Me, "Eastern Shore of Maryland. The father is a retired Chief Petty Officer. His brother will accompany the body back from Vietnam...."
Jolly shook his head slowly, straightened, and then said, "This time of day, it'll take three hours to get there and back. I'll call the Naval Air Station and borrow a helicopter. And I'll have Captain Tolliver get one of his men to meet you and drive you to the Chief's home."

He did, and 40 minutes later, I was knocking on the father's door. He opened the door, looked at me, then looked at the Marine standing at parade rest beside the car, and asked, "Which one of my boys was it, Colonel?"
I stayed a couple of hours, gave him all the information, my office and home phone number and told him to call me, anytime. He called me that evening about 2300 (11:00PM). "I've gone through my boy's papers and found his will. He asked to be buried at sea. Can you make that happen?" I said, "Yes I can, Chief. I can and I will."
My wife who had been listening said, "Can you do that?" I told her, "I have no idea. But I'm going to break my ass trying." I called Lieutenant General Alpha Bowser, Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, at home about 2330, explained the situation, and asked, "General, can you get me a quick appointment with the Admiral at Atlantic Fleet Headquarters?" General Bowser said," George, you be there tomorrow at 0900. He will see you.
I was and the Admiral did. He said coldly, "How can the Navy help the Marine Corps, Colonel." I told him the story. He turned to his Chief of Staff and said, "Which is the sharpest destroyer in port?" The Chief of Staff responded with a name.

The Admiral called the ship, "Captain, you're going to do a burial at sea. You'll report to a Marine Lieutenant Colonel Goodson until this mission is completed... "
He hung up, looked at me, and said, "The next time you need a ship, Colonel, call me. You don't have to sic Al Bowser on my ass." I responded, "Aye Aye, Sir" and got the h-ll out of his office.
I went to the ship and met with the Captain, Executive Officer, and the Senior Chief. Sergeant Jolly and I trained the ship's crew for four days. Then Jolly raised a question none of us had thought of. He said, "These government caskets are air tight. How do we keep it from floating?"
All the high priced help including me sat there looking dumb. Then the Senior Chief stood and said, "Come on Jolly. I know a bar where the retired guys from World War II hang out."

They returned a couple of hours later, slightly the worst for wear, and said, "It's simple; we cut four 12" holes in the outer shell of the casket on each side and insert 300 lbs of lead in the foot end of the casket. We can handle that, no sweat."
The day arrived. The ship and the sailors looked razor sharp. General Bowser, the Admiral, a US Senator, and a Navy Band were on board. The sealed casket was brought aboard and taken below for modification. The ship got underway to the 12-fathom depth. The sun was hot. The ocean flat. The casket was brought aft and placed on a catafalque. The Chaplin spoke. The volleys were fired. The flag was removed, folded, and I gave it to the father. The band played "Eternal Father Strong to Save." The casket was raised slightly at the head and it slid into the sea.
The heavy casket plunged straight down about six feet. The incoming water collided with the air pockets in the outer shell. The casket stopped abruptly, rose straight out of the water about three feet, stopped, and slowly slipped back into the sea. The air bubbles rising from the sinking casket sparkled in the in the sunlight as the casket disappeared from sight forever....
The next morning I called a personal friend, Lieutenant General Oscar Peatross, at Headquarters Marine Corps and said, "General, get me out of here. I can't take this anymore." I was transferred two weeks later.
I was a good Marine but, after 17 years, I had seen too much death and too much suffering. I was used up.
Vacating the house, my family and I drove to the office in a two-car convoy. I said my goodbyes. Sergeant Jolly walked out with me. He waved at my family, looked at me with tears in his eyes, came to attention, saluted, and said, "Well Done, Colonel. Well Done." I felt as if I had received the Medal of Honor!
A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America for an amount of up to and including their life.'

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.'
The problems we face today in the US are there largely because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.
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Great story ... sad but true ... the casualty notification officer job is thankless but necessary. Thank you for your service LTC Goodson!

Mike F

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A job like that will beat down any man, even a tough Marine

Edited by El Dorado
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May he rest in eternal peace knowing that he helped a very grateful nation in a time of great need!

Mike F

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Chris Kyle, his awards and medals, and funeral. . . Semper Fi. . .

For those who may not know here are a list of Chris Kyle's awards that not one Oscar can come close to ever touching.

*2 Silver Stars with Combat Valor
*5 Bronze Stars with Combat Valor
*Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat Valor
*2 Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals with Combat Valor

*2 Combat Action Ribbons
*Navy Presidential Unit Citation
*Joint Meritorious Unit Award
*Navy Unit Commendation
*Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation
*Navy Good Conduct Medal with 2 Service Star
*National Defense Service Medal
*Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
*Iraq Campaign Medal with 4 Campaign Stars
*Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
*Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
*Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with 3 Service Stars
*Rifle Marksmanship Medal
*Pistol Marksmanship Medal
*United States Navy SEALs Insignia
Here is a description of his funeral, definitely worth reading:
Chris Kyle:

This is apparently from a wife of one of the Navy Seals in attendance. . . it makes interesting, disturbing, but hardly surprising reading.

Chris Kyle became the US armed services number #1 sniper of all time. Not something he was happy about, other than the fact that in so doing, he saved a lot of lives.

Three years ago, his wife Taya asked him to leave the SEAL teams because he had a huge bounty on his head by Al Qaeda. He did and wrote the book "The American Sniper" and 100% of the proceeds from the book went to two of the SEAL families who had lost their sons in Iraq.

That was the kind of guy Chris was. He formed a company in Dallas to train military, police and I think firemen, how to protect themselves in difficult situations. He also formed a foundation to work with military people suffering from PTSD. Chris was a giver not a taker.

He, along with a friend and neighbor, Chad Littlefield, were murdered trying to help a young man that had served six months in Iraq and claimed to have PTSD.

Now I need to tell you about all of the blessings.

Southwest Airlines flew in any SEAL and their family from any airport to the funeral... free of charge. The employees donated buddy passes and one lady worked for four days without much of a break to see that it happened. Volunteers were at both airports in Dallas to drive them to the hotel. The Marriott Hotel reduced their rates to $45 a night and cleared the hotel for only SEAL's and family.

The Midlothian, TX Police Department paid the $45 a night for each room. I would guess there were about 200 people staying at the hotel, 100 of them were SEALs.

Two large buses were chartered (an unknown donor paid the bill) to transport people to the different events and they also had a few rental cars (donated).


The police and secret service were on duty 24 hours during the stay at our hotel.

At the Kyle house, the Texas DPS parked a large motor home in front to block the view from reporters. It remained there the entire five days for the SEALs to meet in and so they could use the restroom there instead of the bathroom in the house.

Taya, their two small children and both sets of parents were staying in the home.


Only a hand full of SEALS went into the home as they had different duties and meetings were held sometimes on a hourly basis. It was a huge coordination of many different events and security. Derek was assigned to be a Pall Bearer, to escort Chris' body when it was transferred from the Midlothian Funeral Home to the Arlington Funeral Home, and to be with Taya. A tough job. Taya seldom came out of her bedroom. The house was full with people from the church and other family members that would come each day to help. I spent one morning in a bedroom with Chris' mom and the next morning with Chad Littlefield's parents (the other man murdered with Chris). A tough job.

George W. Bush and his wife Laura, met and talked to everyone on the Seal Team one on one. They went behind closed doors with Taya for quite a while. They had prayer with us all. You can tell when people were sincere and caring.


Nolan Ryan sent his cooking team, a huge grill and lots of steaks, chicken and hamburgers. They set up in the front yard and fed people all day long including the 200 SEALs and their families.

The next day a local BBQ restaurant set up a buffet in front of the house and fed all once again. Food was plentiful and all were taken care of. The family's church kept those inside the house well fed.

Jerry Jones, the man everyone loves to hate, was a rock star. His wife and he were just making sure everyone was taken care of. . . with Class. He donated the use of Cowboy Stadium for the services because so many wanted to attend. The charter buses transported us to the stadium on Monday at 10:30 am. Every car, bus, motorcycle was searched with bomb dogs and police. I am not sure if kooks were making threats trying to make a name for themselves or if so many SEALs in one place was a security risk, I don't know. We willingly obliged. No purses went into the stadium!

We were taken to The Legends room high up and a large buffet was available. That was for about 300 people. We were growing. A Medal of Honor recipient was there, lots of secret service and police and Sarah Palin and her husband. She looked nice, this was a very formal military service.


The service started at 1:00 pm and when we were escorted onto the field I was shocked. We heard that about 10,000 people had come to attend also. They were seated in the stadium seats behind us.

It was a beautiful and emotional service. The Bagpipe and drum corps were wonderful and the Texas A&M men's choir stood through the entire service and sang right at the end. We were all in tears.



The next day was the 200-mile procession from Midlothian, TX to Austin for burial. It was a cold, drizzly, windy day, but the people were out.

We had dozens of police motorcycles riders, freedom riders, five chartered buses and lots of cars. You had to have a pass to be in the procession and still it was huge.


Two helicopters circled the procession with snipers sitting out the side door for protection.

It was the longest funeral procession ever in the state of Texas. People were everywhere. The entire route was shut down ahead of us, the people were lined up on the side of the road the entire way.

Firemen were down on one knee, police officers were holding their hats over their hearts, children waving flags, veterans saluting as we went by.

Every bridge had fire trucks with large flags displayed from their tall ladders, people all along the entire 200 miles were standing in the cold weather. It was so heart-warming. Taya rode in the hearse with Chris' body so Derek rode the route with us. I was so grateful to have that time with him.


The service was at Texas National Cemetery. Very few are buried there and you have to apply to get in. It is like people from the Civil War, Medal of Honor winners, a few from the Alamo and all the historical people of Texas.


It was a nice service and the Freedom Riders surrounded the outside of the entire cemetery to keep the crazy church people from Kansas that protest at military funerals away from us.

Each SEAL put his Trident (metal SEAL badge) on the top of Chris' casket, one at a time. A lot hit it in with one blow. Derek was the only one to take four taps to put his in and it was almost like he was caressing it as he did it.



Another tearful moment.

After the service Governor Rick Perry and his wife, Anita, invited us to the governor's mansion. She stood at the door, greeted each of us individually, and gave each of the SEALs a coin of Texas. She was a sincere, compassionate, and gracious hostess. We were able to tour the ground floor and then went into the garden for beverages and BBQ.

So many of the Seal team guys said that after they get out they are moving to Texas. They remarked that they had never felt so much love and hospitality. The charter buses then took the guys to the airport to catch their returning flights. Derek just now called and after a 20 hours flight he is back in his spot, in a dangerous land on the other side of the world, protecting America. We just wanted to share with you, the events of a quite emotional, but blessed week."

To this day, no one in the White House has ever acknowledged Chris Kyle; his service, his death, his duty, his generosity, his caring, his life.

However, our current president, Barack Obama can call a sports person and congratulate him on his bravery for announcing to the world that he is gay.

The SEALS have asked that you please, keep this moving if you think Chris Kyle would have made a good son.

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