I was a young FMF Navy Hospital Corpsman assigned to the 1/9 C in 1981 and transferred to the 1/3 A. And I proudly served. I was told by my recruiter "Navy hospitals on the beach with pretty nurses." Ha!
Being an ex/former Marine I should have known better ... YEP! That's correct my first tour was USMC 1978 at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, Calif. And boy did I have a blast, especially trying to find my barracks at last call.
Between the Corps and the Navy I served on some interesting ships.
Landed at Ben Hua. Dispersed from Long Bien. Helicopter to Phu Loi. Fixed engines, helped at a Vietnamese school, stood a lot of guard duty, rode in a lot of different helicopters. Helped rescue three young men in the dark in a heavy VC area. No rockets or mortars had my name on them, so I went home.
Best years serving my country. After electrician "A" school to my duty station on News. I don't regret one minute of service and I would do it again. It was the most beautiful ship in the fleet.
Bill Elliott, EM/2C
I saw my first Minuteman missiles when I was stationed at F.E. Warren. After less than a year, I was reassigned and found myself loading up B-52D bombers and KC-135 tankers all by myself at times, while only weighing 99.8 pounds. Many thought I couldn't do it, but I did.
Growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania, you learn early on that freedom is not free. Being part of a family that has served their country with distinction all the way back to the Spanish-American War, leaving my mark was very hard to do. So I decided when I was 17 that I would join the Army Reserves, and after two years of doing this I decided the fast lane was where I needed to be and went on active duty. I served with pride, in stateside assignments as well as two overseas assignments.
I think we all remember the day we raised our right hand and took our oath. After turning 18, I enlisted in the U.S. Army on Feb. 20, 1975 and left for Fort McClellan, Ala. As a 71L - Admin Specialist, I didn't do anything extraordinary or heroic. I just typed and answered the telephone, and was stationed at Fort Bliss and with the 71st Signal Battalion (Provisional) in Okinawa. However, I was proud to have served in some way.
I have been a member of the William W. Fahey American Legion Post 491 in Kennett Square, Pa., for about 17 years now.
On June 7, 1942, 12 other blacks and I in the Ft. Worth-Dallas area volunteered to be among the first black apprentice seamen in the U.S. Coast Guard. We were sworn in at the old Texas Electric Building, and as we crossed Burnett Park, a passerby’s voice rang out, “Suckers.”
That echo stayed with me for a long time.
From the beginning, our racial status was in conflict with stated and democratic principles and goals. My trip to New York was in a segregated coach, and I was forced to eat in a segregated section of the dining room, where incidentally my neighbor was a waiter.
We are indebted to Theodore (Ted) J. Plante for this photograph.
Bob Eisenberg and his best friend, Ted Plante, enlisted in the Navy together in February 1964, about 18 months after their graduation from high school. After boot camp together, Bob went to CT school and Ted went to ET school.
The two stayed in frequent touch and coordinated leave together just before Bob's assignment to USS Liberty. During that leave, Bob bought his dream car, a 1967 Pontiac Grand Prix convertible, and the two double-dated until they returned to their respective duty stations.
Eulogy by his daughter Deborah:
Who was Ronnie Campbell? That is what my uncle Mike told me to find out. "Just the basic information," he said. His date of birth, where he grew up, his parents' names, etc. Sounds like an easy enough task, doesn't it? After all, this was the man who brought me life. But that question, "Who was Ronnie Campbell?", has always been a mystery to me. I never had the opportunity to know this man, never gazed up into his kind loving eyes, never heard the gentleness of his voice as he told me he loved me, and never felt the warmth of his arms as he held me.
There could have been a light rain falling that morning, or the sun could have been waiting to burst on the scene. Such was the weather pattern in Yakima, Wash., and on the morning of Sept. 5, 1943, there was no difference. A ray of sunlight was evident when Allen M. Blue was born and a new life began.
Allen was the firstborn of four children. He, along with his brother and two sisters, grew up in Spokane, Wash., where at a young age he displayed unusual curiosity. His enthusiasm propelled his interests in many directions.
William Bernard Allenbaugh was born to William Francis and Elizabeth M. Allenbaugh on Jan. 23, 1944 at St. Joseph's Hospital in Baltimore.
Bill's early years were spent in Gardenville, Md. His two sisters, Mary and Eleanor, and brother Michael watched this mischievous kid grow into a gentle man who was admired by many. His primary education was at St. Anthony's School, and from there he graduated to Calvert Hall College High School. His interests paralleled those of many boys, with football and bowling topping his list.
Philip McCutcheon Armstrong was a 1953 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md.
His service included tours with USS Betelgeuse AKA-260 and USS Liberty AGTR-5 as the ship's executive officer. He was killed in the Israeli attack on Liberty when he was hit with aircraft fire while attempting to jettison flaming drums of gasoline.
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the SILVER STAR MEDAL to
David Skolak, Interior Communications Electrician Fireman, United States Navy
for service as set forth in the following CITATION:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in connection with the armed attack on USS LIBERTY (AGTR-5) in the Eastern Mediterranean on 8 June 1967. During the early afternoon hours, USS LIBERTY was attacked without warning by jet fighter aircraft and three motor torpedo boats.
I find it very strange that some Americans can argue endlessly that the attack on USS Liberty was a tragic accident, and not the deliberate attack on a known American ship that survivors know it to have been.
A point that baffles me (and my shipmates) about that view is that the Israelis did NOT stop firing when they drew close enough to positively identify us as American.
I was lying in a stretcher in a starboard passageway just inboard of the wardroom and almost directly over the torpedo that exploded.
Every year, as Memorial Day approaches, my thoughts drift back to a little town in Nebraska. Other than those who live in or near this place, few ever heard of a little town named, Bruning.
My first encounter came when our group of control tower operators was assigned to a new base in Nebraska. Remote is an understatement. As we entered the area, we saw a small sign reading, Bruning, population, 232. It hasn’t grown much. Googling the town on my computer, I learned that in 2,010, the population was 279.
By Ralph Christopher
Around noon on Nov. 8, 1968, Chief Theodore Smith was leading a patrol with boat captains James Mildenstein on PBR 841 and Bloss on PBR 755, when they received a radio message to proceed to the Nga Ba River. The place, the Thi Vai - Go Ghia area, was known as a Viet Cong stronghold and had been the site of many enemy ambushes in the past. Smith was directed to steam up a narrow stream with his two patrol boats and act as a blocking force for Vietnamese commandos and their Marine advisers, who had been inserted by Army helicopters earlier in the day.
Upon graduating high school, I snuck to Yuma, Ariz., to marry my sweetheart, Wilma, on June 6, 1943. I was only 19. But the next few years would be very different for me, as I was drafted into the Armed Forces in October that year. I reported to Fort Sill, Okla., then was transferred to Camp Wolters, Texas, where I trained for the U.S. Army Infantry for six weeks.
Next thing I knew, on my first wedding anniversary, I was on the high seas, looking at the beaches of Normandy in France.
I was on my first tour of duty as a Marine drill instructor at MCRD San Diego. Orders came down from Headquarters Marine Corps, as requested by the mother of Lance Cpl. Donald L. Bennett.
I had put him through boot camp a year earlier. I remembered him because at one of the mail calls, he had received a large box of home baked cookies from his mother and I made him share them with the other recruits and made the statement, "if you get anymore cookies or cakes from home, my favorite is chocolate!"
Well, I had forgotten that statement by the time the platoon graduated.
I entered the U.S. Air Force under the opposition of my mother - Oh, she was angry! However, I stood at the Greyhound station in downtown Youngstown, Ohio, in the early hours of Aug. 20, 1971. My best friend, Al, also joined me as we rode the bus to Cleveland and took the oath.
I never looked back after that day. The next several years were good years, not a bad day - except the day I prayed to God that if He got me through this I would be in His service forever!