Friday, November 11, 2022

The Line


Besides myself, and two tours with the guys whose birthday I talked about yesterday:

Neice who pulled a tour as an Army medic during the GWOT.

Younger brother who served as a Cold War tanker in the Fulda gap, and punched one Baader-Meinhoff terrorist's ticket on guard duty one night.

Older brother who served in Da Nang, and a string of outposts in the farthest reaches of I Corps in Vietnam in '66-'67.

Cousin who led a rifle company of Marines in Vietnam, same time frame, and eventually put in decades in both Marine and USAF reserves.

Uncle who was killing communists with the Army on the DMZ in 1951, and brought back some Nork- or Chinese-carried Japanese Arisaka as a war trophy.

Father who was ground crew in the USAAC in WWII. During which time he met mom, which is how I came to be here.

Grandfather, who left the backwoods as a boy, and sailed around the world on a light cruiser in Teddy Roosevelt's Great White Fleet a decade before WWI. I have his Shellback certificate from crossing the equator festivities at the Galapagos Islands in 1908.

Those are just the ones I know about firsthand, but per the genealogically inclined relatives, the line apparently stretches back to at least the late unpleasantness of the 1860s, to both sides.

Surviving US military veterans all. Just one family's contribution to the maintenance of the republic, and like all the rest who did their part, the reason for the US holiday today.

Those of you who never served, and never will, owe them a small debt of gratitude for the country you enjoy today. If you get the chance, pay a little of it back to the ones you meet, as the opportunity arises.


FredLewers said...

Warrior is as much genetic as cultural. Military service is common in some families and unheard of in others. All my mother's living son's are vets. The dead brother died way to young to serve... But he'd have probably done it. His twin sister is a fire breather when pushed.
It's all good, there's a whole bunch of us waiting to crawl out of the woodwork when the red line gets crossed. I kind of feel sorry for the libtards, they don't have a clue.

Charlie said...

Not a small debt at all.

blogger said...

Aesop, I neglected to mention you in my Veteran's Day shout out. I suck. Thank you for your service.

- Borepatch

P.S. Come out here for a blogshoot sometime.

Aesop said...

No problem. I'm used to being overlooked. ;)
Long drive. Might have to do it sometime.

Plague Monk said...

Some 20+ years ago, my wife and I decided to attend the Watchfire ceremony being held at the NY State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, NY, where we lived at the time(I was born there). We were waiting for the ceremony to begin, when the announcer asked all veterans to come forward and approach the burnpile.
Not being combat vets, we hesitated, until an elderly man wearing the Chosin Few uniform asked us if we were vets. We replied that yes, but not combat, just USAF techs post Vietnam. He told us to come with him, and we stood next to him for the ceremony. We attended the ceremonies every year until we moved away around 2009, and saw the numbers of the Korean and WWII vets diminish over time.
I still tear up when I read about another person's remains being brought home for burial from the wars, and I miss my relatives who served, whether in combat or in the rear. Dad, Uncle Bill(B-17 Navigator 8th AF), Uncle Norm(ambulance driver WWI)and Cousin Norman(3 war vet, 4 DFCs and a lot of other awards). Not to mention the ones before, dating to at least the 1670s. My FIL flew B-24s out of Iceland for the Brits, several years before Dad was there in the early 50s as an infantryman. My wife and I miss all of them...

Plague Monk said...

Some years later, there was a proposed veteran's monument in Auburn, NY that didn't have the cash to complete it. Mom had inherited Cousin Norman's estate and paid for the completion of it, but she extracted a price that still bothers me: along with relatives who served in combat, my wife and I have our names inscribed on the USAF column, along with people who did so much more or gave up their lives.
Aesop, I think you would have enjoyed exchanging stories with Cousin Norman, who flew SBDs for the USMC during the Luzon campaign. He told some wonderful stories of the later Pacific War and Korea, along with early Vietnam. One night in the early 80s at my parents' home he exchanged stories of Vietnam with a close friend of mine who was there in the late 60s. That was magical.
Thank you for your service, and for running an interesting web site.

Stealth Spaniel said...

Small debt? Veterans hold this Republic together. If it wasn't for their combined sacrifices in every war stretching back to the beginning, we would be talking oddly, allowing the King to quarter the military at his whim in our domiciles, and losing our souls everyday. As it is, only the former military has held the tide of ensalvement back as the Elites are afraid of that rifle training, and the camaraderie that goes with it. That is why the military has been targeted with every assault they can find. They want to destroy that "only earned" sense of cohesion. It's why their families rarely-if ever-serve. Easier to take than to give.

Pat H. said...

My father volunteered for the draft in 1940, at age 22. He applied for navigator training and received his orders for it a week before Pearl Harbor.

Upon graduation for Nav School, he received his first wings and was commissioned a boot LT, and when he was offered a chance to attend Bombardier school, he was accepted in that, too. Second set of wings.

Finally, he had an opportunity to go to flight school, upon completion he received his third set of wings. Eventually, he became a B-25 instructor pilot at Kelly Field, TEXAS (now AFB).

Then he received orders to a air field in New Mexico, whereupon he got his first look at the P-38. Eventually, he flew 65 photo recce missions over France and German, and a few over Yugoslavia.

Then, there's my mother. Graduating nurses training in 1942, since most men were in the military by then, she joined the Army Nursing Corps. She went to Australia, New Guinea, then the Phillippines. She was flown into Santo Tomas Hospital at night, with trucks lighting the runway. She relieved the USW nurse POWs. During the Siege of Manila, the wonderful, courageous Japanese shelled her hospital, she received the Bronze Star for evacuating patient while under artillery fire.

Me? My service began in the late 60s, with retirement in 2003.

Anonymous said...

Thank you and yours.

Les P said...

Thank you all for your service.
Lest We Forget

Anonymous said...

My mother's two brothers served in The Army Air Corps in the Pacific. the older was a crew chief on B-17s until he hit his mission quota and stayed in the Pacific until the end on c-47's. the younger brother was a tail gunner on a B 29 and was lost over Japan on a mission in March of 1945. Her sister's fiancee was a Marine, landed on Iwo Jima and was seriously wounded, losing an eye to what was probably a mortar round. I asked him when I was old and experienced enough to have that right, or so I thought, how long he was on the island. His response: "How the fuck do I know. I got off the boat and woke up on a hospital ship."
My father landed on Guadalcanal, served in the New Hebrides campaign and some smaller islands, hung around to serve in Korea and as a swan song went to Viet Nam in 1966. He served in Da Nang and said the pace was a little slower paced than his previous trips.
I went on active duty in 1967, served in I Corps in RVN. My father mentioned to me more than once that everything was fine when he left 12/66; I got there 12/67 and everything went to hell. I think he was serious. My brother was a helicopter pilot of CH 53's between uglinesses but he had to get into an aircraft that according to the laws of physics couldn't fly, so there's that.
I like sharing the tale, but nobody in the family, other than over the loss of my uncle 77 years ago, ever thought any of it was a big deal.

Anonymous said...

I got to spend the day with my Dad, who's 95. Brought back photos of him, his FiL (WWII destroyer Skipper with two Navy crosses) and my GrandDad (Field Artillery WWI). Oh and photos of myself from Fleet Hometown News -didn't know he saved that crap.
The best photo of the lot is a portrait of him the day he commissioned a Second Lt, Infantry, three days before his 18th birthday. His birthday present that year was the Nagasaki bomb. My "birthday present" as well if you think of a Platoon Leader's life expectancy during OLYMPIC or CORONET.
Boat Guy