I sort of think of my time in the Army as being between the bumps. I went in in April 1975 and left 10 years later in 1985. I had some really great assignments. I spent three or so years as a member of the famed Berlin Brigade, back in the days when we could stare into the face of communism by just looking over a wall. I remember riding the 28 bus to Stienstucken. It was the only place in Berlin where the Wall literally ran down both sides of the road. When the Wall went up in August 1961, the little hamlet of Steinstucken was separated from the city proper.
After graduating from Grand Junction High School in June 1964, I received notification for induction physical in August. Considering all factors and always wanting to be in the Air Force I joined in September 1964.
From there it was boot camp at Lackland AFB Texas. Staff Sgt. Robins was our flight training instructor. His primary AFSC was that of Command And Control as a crew member on C-121 at that time. I never got a pass to go to San Antonio. I could not remember all the pieces parts of an M1 carbine when it came to my turn.
Next I was off to tech school at Chanute AFB, Illinois.
I served from October 1966 until October 1969 as a 82D20 topographic surveyor, with a 13-month tour in Korea with the 40th Topo Corp Company. The 40th was located at Camp Mercer, near Inchon and Kimpo Air Base. We did mapping projects all over South Korea. We were attached to the 8th US Army Engineers.
While in the United States, I was with the 537th Base Survey Company at Fort Belvoir. While there we did survey projects in Andalusia and Greeneville, Ala. That was especially nice as my home was only 60 miles away in Monroeville, Ala.
Three years, 11 months, 6 days, U.S. Air Force. Thirty years, U.S. Navy Reserve. Retired with rank of captain; this was in the Dental Corps. Attached to the Marine Corps the last five years. Was the only staff dental officer in the United States to command the Readiness Command at the Naval & Marine Reserve Center, Swan Island, Portland, Ore.
The drill instructors made a big impression on me. The DIs wanted to find the weak links in the platoon and build those recruits also into Marines. But almost immediately, my platoon was following every order the DIs gave us. And no one really cared about the unusual names the DIs called us. When the DIs had us running several miles, the platoon always did its duties together. Sometimes the DIs could scare the hell out of me and the rest of the platoon in what we needed to know about warfare. The movies are one thing; after working on a set everyone goes home.
Frank Magrino had tried to enlist - his eyesight was too poor. But by 1943, the Army was calling his number in spite of its previous rejection.
"They finally got down to where they needed me," Magrino said. He was 19 years old. He landed on Utah Beach in August 1944, and he was put in a replacement depot near St. Lo, France, he said.
Afterward, he was transferred to England, then to Brussels, doing administrative work. He requested to return to active duty, and joined the 8th Infantry Division, 12th Engineer Battalion on Jan. 1, 1945, in the Hürtgen Forest in Germany, he said.
By Joyce Whitis
Post 240 Honorary Life Member Brad Thompson, as a young man from Stephenville, Texas, was spending his last days in the U.S. Army Air Corps packing up to ship home, when over the Armed Forces Network Radio came the strains of a new tune he had never heard before, " .... Gonna take a sentimental journey, gonna set my heart at ease, gonna take a sentimental journey to renew old memories ...."
"What a way to end it all," he thought. "We had whipped the enemy and after two-and-a half years overseas, it was time for me to go home. What a time it was, those war years.
George H. Breuler joined The American Legion almost immediately upon discharge following World War II. He served at Utah Beach, in Vienna, Austria and Czechoslovakia, he said.
Breuler returned home from war just in time for Christmas in 1945. His timing was impeccable. He met his wife, Evelyn, at a hockey game on New Year's.
"She was with this other fella, and I said, 'I'll call you.' That's how it all started," Breuler said. They were married in June 1946.
That same year, he joined the Legion. He had been brought up in the organization. His father, George B.
Legionnaire Eileen Merullo was reading the names of the deceased at a Post 61 memorial service when it hit her: There were no women on the list.
"I was thinking to myself, there's no recognition for women at all in Revere, Mass. None. There is no signpost, nothing to honor the women, and so many women did go from Revere," she said.
As a World War II veteran herself, Merullo started her project then: a monument honoring the women who served during WWII. She got the go ahead from the commander, then walked over to city hall to discuss the project with the mayor.
“Death on call” was the motto of the Wolfpack gunship platoon of the 281st Assault Helicopter Company. The company arrived in Vietnam in June 1966 and departed in December 1970.
In the fall of 1969, the North Vietnamese army held a large-scale operation northwest of Ban Me Thuot in central Vietnam. So pervasive was the operation that no U.S. army helicopters were allowed to fly in the area. That included medivac and supply missions. The only U.S. helicopters permitted to operate were gunships. It was all “top secret.”
My brother Joseth Leland Kingsbury was in the European theater under Gen. Patton at the Battle of the Bulge. My brother Thomas Lloyd Kingsbury was in the Pacific from Australia to Manila, Philippines.
I was in the China-Burma-India theater and Okinawa as a navigator on B-24 aircraft.
My wife, Yvonne, was working in a Federal Reserve bank in 1941. We were visiting some friends one night when she received a phone call from the bank and was told to come in immediately. She worked all night with the FBI, teletyping Japanese names, not knowing what was going on until a few days later.
Will Lehner entered the Naval Reserves at age 17 in 1938. He was called to active service in 1940 and put on a World War I destroyer, the USS Ward.
The ship "had been in mothballs" for years, Lehner said, so the crew worked to put it back in commission. Afterward, Lehner served in the boiler room and then as a third-class cook.
The Ward set sail for Pearl Harbor, where it patrolled the entrance. There were four "WWI-old" destroyers that would alternate weeks of service. Saturday, Dec. 6, the Ward went out on patrol. Skipper W.W.
The draft notice said, "Report to Ft Douglas, Utah for induction into the US Army on Sept 9, 1953." The day before, I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. I completed basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas, and then joined Aviation Cadet Class 55-I for pilot training.
My service is best described by the word "waiting." Waiting in the alert shack with my parachute and helmet in the cockpit of an F-89 or F-102 to launch when the buzzer sounded to defend against an attack coming across Canada.
I'm a wounded warrior from World War II who landed on Utah Beach during the D-Day invasion at Normandy, France. I commanded a platoon of tanks at the young age of 19. We fought all the way to the Elbe River in Germany, including the Battle of the Bulge. We defeated Germany's Nazism because we were allowed to fight the enemy without the political rules of engagement.
I was wounded near the Elbe and flown to a hospital in Nancy, France, two weeks before the war ended. Subsequently I was treated in three VA hospitals in California.
After receiving a meritorious promotion out of boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., I was ready and excited to start my tour of duty as a young motivated Marine. Little did I know that there was a secret being concealed that was so damaging, that had I known I would have never reported to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., as my orders had commanded.
But, unaware of the deadly secret, I reported in March 1983, where I worked, played and stayed until September 1985, when orders sent me to Okinawa, Japan, where I stayed for approximately 12 months.
I enlisted in Omaha, Neb., on Jan. 27, 1963. I walked two miles in heavy snow to a city bus stop. I flew to San Antonio, leaving 25-degree temperatures for 70 degrees. I started my basic training at Lackland and after 45 days was shipped by bus to Kessler in Biloxi, Miss. I graduated in July and was then stationed at Kelly AFB for one year. I finished my E-IO training by June 1964. While at Kelly I watched Air Force 21 take off for Dallas for the last time. The base was put on alert after JFK was assassinated.
I was sent to Elmindorf AFB in Alaska, then posted TDY to the Aleutians.
Taken from the actual award document (July 3, 1967)
JOHN A. VARGAS SP4 E4
Awarded: THE DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS FOR VALOR IN AERIAL FLIGHT
For heroism while participating in aerial flight, Specialist Four John A. Vargas distinguished himself by heroic action on 19 May 1967, in the Republic of Vietnam. SPCIALIST VARGAS was serving as a door gunner on the lead aircraft of two armed helicopters performing a screening mission for a ground force in the HO BO Woods. while on a low level reconnaissance, the lead gunship came under intense ground fire and sustained multiple hits.
A Long Way From Home by SFC (R) Christian Warren Freed Published by CaryPress
CaryPress announces the latest highly anticipated military memoir from Raleigh, NC, author Christian Warren Freed.
Raleigh, NC, September 24, 2014
War is Hell. Anyone who has ever put on a uniform and purposefully went to where the enemy was intent on killing him can attest to that. But instead of a singular definition of Hell that religion preaches, war is so much more.
It is Hell on the families left behind. Hell on the mind and spirit. Hell on the nerves.