Showing 517 posts tagged combat veteran
Bloodied but unbowed.
Cpl. Tyler J. Southern and Cpl. Todd Love plot a course on the map during the land navigation part of corporals course at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda, Maryland. These Marines were part of the first Wounded Warrior Detachment corporals course.
The graduating class of the first Wounded Warrior Detachment corporals course at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda, Md., Jan. 16.
(Photos by Lance Corporal Daniel Wetzel, 12-16 JAN 2012.)
SOLDIER STORIES: Giving a voice to the unspeakable.
(Blogpost by David P. Ervin, via Military Experience & the Arts (MEA), 7 MAR 2014. Source.)
It started with a simple question, and it ended with a powerful lesson. Seth Lombardy, a close friend, Soldier, and trademark director asked if I’d like to meet Joseph Galloway. A lot went through my mind besides the word ‘yes.’ It was an honor. I’d be able to meet a famous author, have my well-worn copy of his book signed, and perhaps pick his brain a little. I didn’t know just how meaningful it would be, though.
When he walked into the hotel lobby just outside of the Pentagon to meet us, you wouldn’t know by looking at him that he’d seen as much history as he had. He was amiable and down to Earth. His demeanor was that of a kindly grandfather. He was humble. Considering he’d interviewed Colin Powell that day, I was humbled. I was a little tongue tied as well, but it didn’t matter much. We let him lead the conversation. Young soldiers know when to listen.
That conversation had a wide range. He discussed the evolution of technology in regards to war reporting. Things have come a long way since waiting on a military phone in Saigon to call in a five-hundred word story. He went on to cover the Gulf in 1991, then the Iraq invasion in 2003. Despite the advances, he thought that something was missing from modern war reporting. He pointed out that everyone could recall an image or set of images from Vietnam, but that there weren’t any memorable photos from the Iraq War. The public got the sugar-coated shots like tearing down Saddam’s statue in Baghdad or a medic cradling a hurt Iraqi child. No images of dead or wounded Americans ever made it to a newscast, and for this reason, it didn’t impact our society as much. But as the conversation continued, it dawned on me that he knew a way around that. We can still record it.
It took Mr. Galloway and LTG Hal Moore ten years to research and write We Were Soldiers Once. He spoke of cold-calling veterans of that battle and of a painstaking process of letting them edit the notes from their interviews. One story connected to that book and battle in particular illustrated the point of it all; why we write, why we share, and why we remember.
He told us the story of CPT George Forrest at LZ Albany. Summoned to the head of a battalion column for a conference, when the NVA opened up a murderous ambush, he had to sprint four-hundred yards through withering fire to link up with his company. The two radio operators with him were killed, but he made it. He put his men into a tight perimeter and saved as many of them as he could given the circumstances. When asked how he felt about it, he harbored some guilt. He didn’t feel he’d done enough, that he could have saved more of his soldiers. So Mr. Galloway wrote the chapter, and like he always did, sent it to the appropriate veterans for their review. CPT George Forrest’s father got to read it. His reaction?
“You done good, son.”
It was a powerful moment, and I’m not sure if there was a dry eye amongst us. Beyond the emotion, though, was a poignant reminder of the importance of recording these experiences. We can give a voice to the unspeakable. We can inform generations about what it was like. We can help them understand, and we can understand better ourselves. Mr. Galloway has been a bridge between military and civilian cultures for nearly half a century. It’s up to us to continue the mission.
[David P. Ervin served as an infantryman in the Iraq War in 2005. His recent publications include Leaving the Wire: An Infantryman’s Iraq (spotlighted here) and “The Looking Glass” (located here), a short work of non-fiction featured in Blue Nostalgia: A Journal of Post-Traumatic Growth.]
OEW: Doing what you can’t, on half the oxygen.
If you haven’t had the chance to witness the teamwork of Operation Enduring Warrior you won’t want to miss them April 12th!
Join the Ultimate Challenge Mud Run in welcoming OEW back and witness firsthand how they Honor, Empower, and Motivate our Wounded Service Members.
Columbia/Gaston, South Carolina on 12 APR. Sign up to join in the run here: http://bit.ly/NCfwQu
The face of a true hero is…
Source: Military Minds
I recived these photos and a letter from a Vietnam veteran, he’s looking for old comrades who can approve that he was wounded in Khe Sahn. Here is the letter:
The incident in which I was wounded happened during my second tour in Viet Nam. I spent my first tour in the Da Nang area at the Ammunition Depot called freedom Hill.
It was the summer of 1968, towards the end of the siege of Khe Sahn that our base began to receive attacks with 140mm rockets. The first few attacks were just a few rockets around mid-day. My guess is that the NVA hoped the sound of operating equipment would prevent us from hearing the rockets launch and give them a better chance of catching more Marines in the open. It worked.
As the siege on Khe Sahn increased so did the number of rockets in the daily assaults on our little base. Some days we would catch as many as 30 of 40 in a 24-hour period. This was about a tenth of what Khe Sahn was getting just about eight miles West of us. It was during one of the daytime attacks that my unlucky number came up to be caught in the open. Rockets landed on three sides of me but the closest was on my left and I was about in the center of the open loading field where the convoy trucks stage for off-loading munitions; fortunately to area was empty that day.
I knew something had happened to my left ear because along with the concussion of the rockets I felt a ripping in my inner ear and I could not hear anything with either ear for hours. The next day I went to see the Doc because the hearing had not returned in my left ear. He had me lay on his table and looked in my ear. When he spoke, I didn’t like the news; he said he couldn’t find my eardrum and looked again. He said it must have been blown loose and it was gone.
This is when he said that he was recommending me for a Purple Heart and sending me “State Side”. I told him I didn’t want the Purple Heart; I had lost several friends three of them within just a few days and they had nothing to show for their lives but Purple Hearts. At that time I felt unworthy of the same medal for the loss of my hearing.
Doc called for a chopper that was carrying wounded from Khe Sahn to make a drop-in and pick me up on it way to the Hospital Ship Repose. I concealed a small shrapnel wound I got on my left hand because I thought it would only complicate things if I made an issue of it.
Once onboard the Repose a Navy Doctor examined my ear under better conditions and “found” my eardrum. He said that it had been severely torn and stretched but it would heal. He packed my ear canal I returned to LZ Stud on the next available chopper.
I was told by a VA employee in Ohio that I would need witnesses of this incident, ideally, the Navy Corpsman, to ever hope of having my Purple Heart awarded. At 66 I could use the medical benefits and trust that those dear friends who fell in battle so many years ago would be understanding of my needs at this time.
Thank you for any help you can offer.
If you can help please send me a message and i’ll give you Ray’s email adress. Thank you!
Rest in Peace, Tyler Cone.
(“Terminal Lance” blogpost written by Maximillian Uriarte, 17 FEB 2014. Source.)
I don’t normally do this sort of thing, but it’s incredibly difficult for me to ignore the untimely death of someone that I care about.
On Saturday night, Tyler Cone ended his own life. Cone was an active duty Marine with 3/6 in Camp Lejeune, whom I also happened to spend my entire enlistment with in 3/3. Cone and I were in the same battalion in boot camp, we were in the same Assaultman class at SOI, and we ended up in the same platoon and section with India Company, 3rd Battalion 3rd Marines. We went to Iraq together twice (though separately during my second deployment). I got out and he reenlisted to go to Afghanistan further on (to great acclaim, from what I understand).
Cone was a great Marine, and he was a great person. For whatever flaws he had, I don’t know of anyone that didn’t absolutely love the man. He was a character with a wild side, yet fiercely intelligent and had a great sense of humor. He liked to make people laugh. He shaved my chest once–hell, he even got drunk and pissed on me once, but I could only stay mad at him for a couple of days. He loved to drink, he kind of owned it as his thing. Cone was that one guy. Probably some of my favorite stories while I was in were Cone’s bar stories in Hawaii. He was the guy that could run a 300 PFT completely hung over. Cone was absolutely fucking crazy, and we all loved that about him. He really was everything you think of when you think of the word Marine.
Cone was a Terminal Lance at heart, having recently been busted back down to E3. He was facing a lot of personal issues, and unfortunately he decided that the only way out was to end his life. No one will ever fully know what was going through his head at the time, but it doesn’t really matter at this point. All I know is that a good man is now dead, and he left behind a wake of shocked people that loved him. The last time I actually talked to him was about a year ago over Facebook (you know how things are, it’s hard to keep in contact with everyone all the time is what I keep telling myself). I knew things weren’t going great for him but I had no idea it would lead to this, he had a reputation for being somewhat immortal amongst his peers.
So Cone, wherever you are, rest in peace, and I’m sorry.
I’m sorry that you felt like you had no choice.
I’m sorry that we weren’t there for you when you needed it.
Everyone that ever met you loved you.
You can take the soldier out of the mountains…
I figured it was about time I uploaded some pictures from deployment
Damn brother, I remember talking to you when you were fresh out of AIT. How’s life treating you? Hope you’re on your way to those stripes by now. Stay safe, my friend.
[But you can’t take the mountains out of the soldier.]