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Note From the Editor
Greetings! This issue of Dispatches includes a little known story of a stowaway pup during WWII who became a mascot and promotor of the Coast Guard. We also feature a personal story of my experiences during and after action into Cambodia. It was cathartic writing it and I encourage all veterans to take the time to tell their stories.
We hope you enjoy them.
Please let me know your comments regarding your Dispatches - things you like and things you like less. Also please contact me with any stories or articles you would like considered for publishing. I can be reached at Mike.Christy@togetherweserved.com.
1/ View Your Entry in Our Roll of Honor!
2/ Battlefield Chronicles: Into Cambodia
3/ Preserve Your Old Photos: Let Us Help for Free!
4/ First Native American West Point Graduate
5/ Do You Still Have Your Boot Camp/Basic Training Photo?
6/ Vietnam War Veterinarians
7/ Have A Military Reunion Coming Soon?
8/ Sinbad - the Brave Coast Guard Mascot of WWII
9/ New Together We Served Military Store
10/ WW I Military Technologies Still Used Today
11/ TWS Person Locator Service
12/ When Your Past Finds You
13/ TWS Bulletin Board
14/ Letters to the Editor
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Battlefield Chronicles: Into Cambodia
By LtCol Michael Christy
I had been in command of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, for four months in late April 1970. We were only three days into a search and destroy mission in Phuoc Long Province, a sparsely populated, heavily wooded area along the Cambodian border 75 miles northeast of Saigon when I received a radio call from the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Norman Moffitt. He asked me to do something I didn't do that often: go to the "green box," the military euphemism for secure voice communications.
My radio operator, Spec. Merle "Denny" Dentino, slid a KY-38 encryption device into his PRC-77 radio which "scrambled" our conversation so it was indistinguishable to enemy eavesdroppers.
"The company is to be picked up tomorrow morning at 0900 hours," Moffett instructed. The only information he provided was the map coordinates for our PZ (Pickup Zone). Curious why he wanted us to move after only three days, I asked, "What is this all about, sir?" But even with secure voice transmission, Moffett was secretive. "I'll brief you when you get back to Fire Support Base Buttons tomorrow," he responded before signing off. The time was 5 p.m.
I had the men unsaddle their equipment and prepare to bed down for the night. The mysterious call from battalion spread like wildfire among the troops, giving rise to wild speculation: Was the war over? Were we being sent as reinforcements into a major battle already in progress somewhere in Vietnam? These were the thoughts running through most of our heads for the rest of the evening.
We awoke at sunrise, wolfed-down some c-ration, packed our gear and were humping by 6 a.m. through the jungle to the designated PZ some two miles to the west. It was hard going. The heat was unbearable, and the humidity was stifling even at this early time in the morning. We pushed harder and miraculously arrived 30 minutes before the scheduled extraction and waited. And waited! It wasn't until nearly 11 a.m. when the sound of helicopters broke through the quiet.
It took 10 minutes to fly back to Song Be but long before we landed, we could see countless C-47 and Huey helicopters loaded with men and equipment flying in and out, forming dust clouds everywhere. There was now no doubt that we were embarking on a massive operation, we just didn't know where or why.
Waiting for us as we jumped out of the helicopters was the company executive officer, 1st Lt. Dwight Taylor. He cupped his hands and yelled over the roar of the departing helicopters, "You are the last company to come in, Six. I will take the men back to the company area. You are to go immediately to the battalion TOC (tactical operations center) and wait for a briefing." "Do you know what's going on?" I shouted. With a shrug, he hollered back, "Not a clue."
The TOC was already filled when I arrived. I found one of the few folding chairs still available in the back and sat down. The tension in the room was palatable. It seemed everyone had concerns about what was going on. Within 15 minutes Lt. Col. Moffitt came into the TOC and stood before his anxious audience. He looked at his watch, took a dramatic pause before saying, "Gentlemen, approximately four hours ago a massive South Vietnamese force crossed over the border into Cambodia to find and destroy NVA sanctuaries. We leave tomorrow on the same mission."
The room filled with spontaneous chatter which was quickly silenced by the operations officer stepping in and laying out the operational plan and the sequence in which we were to carry it out. My company was scheduled for a mid-morning lift the next day, May 1. Moffitt finished the briefing by warning each of the company commanders that enemy resistance would be fierce and to expect heavy casualties. With that, we were dismissed. I hightailed it to Charlie Company area to brief the platoon leaders and platoon sergeants. They took the news of the dangerous mission with apprehension, yet with a spark of excitement. Inside I too was anxious and uncertain. But mostly I was energized. Finding the enemy in Vietnam had become more and more difficult but in Cambodia, we would be meeting the enemy head-on.
For the rest of the day, the base bustled with activity as men were taken to CONEX containers where they exchanged worn and dirty equipment for new. The weapons were recalibrated, and test fired for accuracy and reliability. While some troops joked nervously, most were quiet, filled with their own idea of what horror they might encounter once we crossed into Cambodia.
The first leg on our journey into Cambodia began the next morning. Shortly after 11 p.m., a single Air Force C-130 cargo plane landed, loaded the troops from Delta Company and took off. A second landed with the routine continuing until all of Delta Company was on its way. It was then our turn.
We were only in the air for maybe six minutes when FSB Snuffy's airfield near Bu Gia Map came into sight. With another couple of minutes, our C-130 dropped precipitously, basically reversing the technique used when it took off. But with wheels inches from the ground, the pilot reacted to a single shot fired on the ground in the troop staging area. He quickly pulled back on the yoke, sending the aircraft straight up at a 60-degree angle. I thought it would stall. It didn't but it came within feet of hitting the trees at the end of the runway. One careless shot and a nervous flight crew nearly got a planeload of us killed - before we even set foot in Cambodia.
Later that afternoon, Delta Company was taken by Huey helicopters into Cambodia. Our company was to follow within an hour but that didn't happen. I was radioed by battalion that the "system" was overburdened and no helicopters were available until the next day, May 2.
Our unexpected stay overnight created more tension among the men. They'd been prepared mentally and emotionally to already be in Cambodia. Now they had to wait one more day before jumping into what we all believed were the 'jaws of hell.'
Early the next morning the fully loaded company assembled along a tree line bordering the airstrip. In the distance, a 105 Artillery barrage and F4 fighter jets were pounding what was our LZ. Within minutes 20 helicopters swooped in with absolute precision: just the right distance between each bird. Moving quickly from the tree line, the entire company jumped aboard the aircraft. Once aboard, the command from the flight leader was given and like a slow-motion dance, all the helicopters drifted off the ground in unison, hovered for a few seconds, then headed straight ahead toward our LZ just five kilometers inside Cambodia. Charlie Company was finally part of the biggest air assault on record.
The helicopters flew low level, maneuvering around and above irregular growths. Tensions were mounting and became more heightened when we spotted two very surprised NVA soldiers scattering for cover as we flew over. One second, they were there, the next they were gone. No shots were fired.
Moments after the 105-artillery barrage was lifted, Cobra gunships peppered the LZ with rocket and machine fire then remained in the area as our helicopters landed in a large field surrounded by what could be called a tree line but unlike any we had seen in Vietnam. These trees were skinny and tall, widely separated from each other. We moved off the LZ into the skimpy tree line and set up security. We were on the ground safely and uncontested. The adrenaline rushing through my veins slowly subsided. I saw the same was happening with most of the men.
Once the company was assembled and prepared to move, we headed north. Within an hour, the point element spotted five enemy soldiers on the trail coming out of a wooded area. I motioned everyone to take cover in the tall grass and wait for them to get closer. But one of the men got nervous and opened fire with his M-16 Rifle. Others followed. The enemy soldiers instantly turned tail, running back in the direction they had come. Not one of our bullets found its mark. We moved through the open spaces of Cambodia for the rest of our first day without incident.
Around 4:30 p.m. we found a grove of trees ideal for an NDP (Night Defensive Position). Two squads went out a couple hundred meters looking for trails coming into our area on which they could set up automatic ambushes. The automatic ambush was a reasonably simple, but extremely lethal device. We'd connect commo wire to Claymore mines positioned at foot level and to fragmentation grenades hanging in trees at head level. The wire was then connected to a radio battery that connected to trip wire that we'd place across the trail. If one person or half a dozen hit the trip wire, they'd be blown away. The automatic ambush turned out to be the best night defensive weapon in our arsenal.
The next morning, I awoke just before dawn. As men began to stir, I prepared some coffee and was lacing it with dry cream and sugar when the blast of an automatic ambush shattered the calm. Minutes later, Spec. Rodney Young radioed, "You guys have got to see this to believe it." On the trail, we found a dead North Vietnamese still on his bicycle, both hands clutching the handlebars, one foot on a pedal caught in mid-motion, his transistor radio still blaring with Vietnamese music. One of the riflemen quipped, "It's like the show 'Laugh-In' where the guy rides a tricycle around and just falls over."
The following evening, the company was setting up our NDP when I received another encrypted radio call from Moffett. He said an 'arc light' (B-52 bombing strike) was set for 0800 hours the next morning. "The target is a suspected enemy battalion," he said. "I want you to conduct a BDA (bomb damage assessment) immediately after the strike," I confirmed the mission, ending the call.
The next morning at 7:45 a.m. everyone got on the ground, placing whatever they could find between them and ground zero. At precisely 8 a.m., we heard a steady whistling of bombs dropping from an empty sky. Within seconds my ears were deafened by the loudest explosions I'd ever heard. The violent shaking of the ground and the massive strength of the concussion blast hit us like a tidal wave. Among the wows and holy shits, I got the company up and moving as quickly as we could.
The fast hump through the dank, humid jungle to the bomb zone was hard. Around 11 a.m. we began seeing the destruction. A few trees were down, along with some fresh dirt clumped in small mounds. The closer we got to ground zero, the greater the devastation: trees shattered at their base and huge bomb craters 20-30 feet deep in every direction. It looked like a hurricane, a tornado and an earthquake had combined their brutal and deadly force to render a thick jungle into a lunar-like landscape. Yet among all this destruction we found no evidence of the enemy: not one body or piece of equipment, not even a single blood trail. Either the intelligence was wrong, or the enemy had left the area, tipped off by enemy agents known to be scattered throughout the South Vietnamese command.
During the next five days, we ran into several small enemy forces, killing seven NVA while suffering no casualties. Our early success took away some of the edginess we had been feeling since the invasion began.
Every four days was "log day," when we got resupplied with water, food, ammunition, radio batteries, mail and other essentials. On one log day, I sent 1st Lt. Billy Shine's 2nd Platoon to find a landing zone while the rest of the company scoured the immediate area for signs of the enemy. After about an hour, Shine radioed saying he had found the "mother lode of caches" and was standing in the middle of a huge truck park and maintenance shop.
We hustled over to Shine's position and spread over a quarter-acre were cargo trucks, pickups, and several Land Rovers - one with only 730 kilometers on its odometer. A veritable parts department loaded with bearings, brake shoes, axles, transmissions, batteries, pistons and more were scattered about, along with a large generator, welding tools, barrels of gasoline and cases of oil. In addition to the motor pool, we found underground sleeping quarters with electricity, a mess hall with live chickens and pigs, a recreation area complete with a ping-pong table, a first-aid facility, 50 tons of rice and lots of personal belongings.
I reported the find to the battalion. I was told to drive any serviceable vehicles to FSB Evans, some four kilometers away. Of the 33 vehicles, only 12 were drivable. Getting the vehicles running was no problem. We had Spec. Tom Hirst, the medic from 3rd Platoon. He had worked for a car dealership in Baltimore and with the precision of a car thief, hotwired the vehicles. In a couple of hours, men of 3rd Platoon mounted 10 vehicles (we kept 2 to carry our backpacks) and headed down the road toward Evans. Once there, they immediately flew back in helicopters to the site of the NVA motor pool.
It took us two days to get all the rice out by C-47 Chinooks and to blow up or burn everything of value to the enemy. I was anxious to get out us of the immediate area but by the time we finished, it was too late to travel far so we set up our NDP in a thick clump of trees and underbrush about 300 meters from the now destroyed NVA motor pool. A perimeter was set up and several automatic ambushes were put in place on trails leading into the area. We then settled in for the night, completely satisfied with our three day's work.
Around 8 p.m., the 3rd Platoon sector reported seeing several flashlights and hearing muffled Vietnamese voices. Suddenly one of the automatic ambushes went off, a few minutes later, another automatic ambush and a trip flare went off. Everything went silent outside our perimeter. Minutes later a dreadful moaning and crying of a badly injured enemy seared the quiet night for the next several hours. Finally, around midnight, we heard a single shot, and then silence. Nothing more happened that night.
At first light, we went out to check the area. Just 100 meters from our perimeter, we saw the torn and bloody bodies of nine North Vietnamese scattered about - one with a rifle in his mouth and a toe wrapped around the trigger. Hidden in some tall grass was a wounded soldier, who offered no resistance. The medics treated what appeared to be relatively minor wounds, and a helicopter came to take him away for treatment and an intelligence debriefing. We later heard that the prisoner died in the chopper.
We loaded our heavy backpacks onto our two NVA trucks and moved out "light" in open terrain to find more enemy. Three days later we hit heavy jungle, however, and had to ditch the vehicles. Reluctantly, we poured gasoline over our trucks and tossed torches on them. With the truck hulks smoldering, we slipped on our backpacks and moved off into the jungle. "Man, I sure got lazy with those trucks schlepping our gear," one of my riflemen muttered. Yeah, I thought, so did I.
A few days later, we were following a river when we came upon a large waterfall cascading down a mammoth rock formation - a beautiful wonder of nature smack in the middle of a war zone. Behind the waterfall was a cave that housed an NVA hospital complete with surgical tables, oxygen tanks, a respirator and all the instruments needed for serious surgery. Nearby were cottages, shower stalls, enclosed latrines and a large covered dining hall but no enemy. We smashed the medical hardware and burned everything to the ground.
As we continued our mission, we discovered numerous bunker complexes and enemy caches. In one we found some 400-brand new SKS carbines, still wrapped in oilcloth, and enough ammunition to supply an NVA battalion. In another, we turned up tons of rice, mortar tubes, machine guns and boxes of AK-47s. During this time, we killed ten North Vietnamese and had yet to suffer any casualties.
In early June we found over a hundred 50-gallon barrels of oil under camouflage nets. Most barrels were marked "Dutch Shell Oil." Battalion sends in enough C4 plastic explosive, blasting caps, detonation cord and fuse igniters to blow it all up. I gathered three others plus myself and wrapped the barrels with det cord and TNT. We set the fuses and ran like hell toward the rest of the company much further down into the jungle. Before we got to them, the oil barrels blow up, sending us to the ground. No one was hurt. Flying close enough to see the explosion, the brigade commander said it looked like an atomic bomb had gone off.
On June 13th we'd been in Cambodia for 42 days. We had accomplished much. We had killed 25 enemy soldiers and found and destroyed incredible caches of weapons and food without having any men killed or severely wounded. I hoped our next 17 days would continue the same but the mission I had been given for the following day sounded perilous: check out a very large and occupied enemy bunker complex spotted a day earlier by a helicopter crew.
We begin early that morning and by mid-morning, we ran across a hard-packed trail - a good sign we were getting close to the bunker complex. Spec. Tom "the Black Prince" Johnson, the company's best point man, was in the lead with Spec. Tony Harper when they spotted several NVA preparing to ambush us. Both Johnson and Harper opened fire, spraying the enemy location. Instantly the jungle on three sides erupted in heavy AK-47 machine gun fire and B-40 rockets. Spec. Lester "Uno" Langley, the second man from the point element, brought up his M-60machine gun and cut loose. Most of the 1st Platoon was pinned down and fired frantically at what seemed to be the center of the enemy ambush. The 3rd Platoon spread out in battle formation attempting to roll up the enemy's left flank. The 2nd Platoon at the rear of our column attacked the enemy's right flank.
I tried raising battalion but could not establish radio contact because of the thick jungle around us. Desperately, I stood behind a tree on a small hill and pulled Spec. Tom Thon up with me, ordering him to place his radio as high above his head as possible. He didn't like it, but he braved it out. Several B-40 rockets smashed into our tree, showering us with bark and small pieces of shrapnel. Bullets cracked all around us, but Thon stood his ground. Although it was a faint signal, battalion acknowledged my request for immediate artillery support and Cobra gunships.
I got on the radio to Lieut. Richard Friedrich for a situation report on the 3rd Platoon. He said he was meeting heavy resistance and that Sgt Mickey Wright had been killed while charging a bunker. I ordered him to disengage and pull back into the perimeter as artillery was on the way. I also called 2nd Platoon to move into the center of the perimeter. A second or two later I heard Johnson scream, "I'm hit!" I saw him a few feet away on his back, fully exposed to the enemy fire raking the ground around him. Seeing Johnson trashing around on the ground, Spec. Larry "Doc" Stanberry rushed out into the open, flopped down beside Johnson and applied emergency aid. In a matter of seconds, Stanberry was joined by Specialists Nat Green, Rodney Young, Robert Delaney and Steve "Doc" Willey. A few returned enemy fire while the others pulled Johnson safely behind a large tree.
I was laying down fire on the enemy positions when Sgt. Wall, our artillery observer, tapped me on the shoulder. "Arty is cranking up and should be on target in three minutes," he said. As promised, the artillery barrage was on time and on target 100 meters behind the enemy positions. The steady 10-minute barrage ended when the gunships arrived. They fired mini-guns and rockets directly in front of the company perimeter until they had fired their entire payload. When they flew off, the jungle became eerily silent. We carefully advanced toward the enemy positions. Trees and brush were ripped apart. Timbers on enemy bunkers were crushed or opened like smashed pumpkins. No enemy casualties were found, just a bunch of blood trails.
A medevac helicopter used a jungle penetrator to lift Johnson out, but not Mickey Wright. Policy dictates that medevac helicopters could not transport bodies. For the rest of the day, we carried Wright's body in search of a suitable landing zone. We found one just before dark, but we'd have to wait until morning to start Wright's final journey home. The next day is a long day, we remained at the LZ for our resupply. I had kept the automatic ambush in place from the night before as added protection. As the resupply helicopter was about to land, the automatic ambush went off. The pilot of the resupply helicopter aborted his landing and took off toward the cloudless blue sky, remaining overhead.
I grabbed a radioman, machine gunner, assistant gunner and four riflemen and headed for the ambush site. Bent over, weapons at the ready, we inched closer to what now looked like bodies lying in the trail. We found three dead North Vietnamese, two carrying AK-47s, and the other, a B-40 rocket launcher. Each was laden with extra ammunition and hand grenades. We felt a sense of elation that we had gotten some revenge for the death of Mickey Wright. Too bad there weren't more. But, the next day as we headed out of the area we found 10 fresh graves. We had struck a mighty blow upon our comrade's killers after all.
On June 28th, I received a secure radio call from Lt. Col. Moffett, informing me that President Richard Nixon ordered all U.S. troops out of Cambodia a day before the previously established June 30 deadline. He then told me that Charlie Company was designated to be the last company out, and, to chronicle the historical event, a group of journalists and TV reporters would accompany us back across the border.
We broke camp early the next morning, moved to the LZ where the journalists would be dropped. Within a half-hour, two helicopters landed, discharging more than a dozen journalists, photographers and TV reporters, each eager to cover "the last American fighting unit out of Cambodia." For three hours we moved toward the Cambodian-Vietnam border without incident, leaving behind 38 dead enemy.
Around 2 p.m., we came across a large tree that had fallen across the river, providing us with a convenient bridge into Vietnam. The first few troops who crossed had left a thick coat of mud from their boots on the tree, making it perilous for the rest, a few of whom slipped off into the leech-infested river. Nevertheless, the entire contingent was soon across the river, giving the company a sense of relief. In some strange way, we had come home.
We moved on to FSB Thor, the battalion's headquarters, about 300 meters away from the river's edge in a large open field surrounded by trees. Invited into the firebase, the journalists left us for cold drinks and the chance to probe the minds of fresh troops. Meanwhile, we set up our NDP close to the firebase. Alpha company was already camped out in another quadrant of the same area. We felt secure, hoping this was a night we could sleep more soundly.
It turned out, sleep was elusive for me, so around midnight I got up to have a cigarette and noticed the heavy fog blanketing us, so thick I couldn't see Merle Dentino's hooch right next to mine. I butted the cigarette and determined to get some sleep.
Around 5 a.m. I was awakened by the thumping of mortar rounds hitting the base plate. Moments later two mortar rounds exploded inside our perimeter with a deadly fury, smashing shrapnel into trees, bushes, and sleeping men. One piece smashed through my mosquito net, flying past my face. I fell out of my hooch into bedlam. Wounded men were screaming in pain, others were screaming for medics. Through the fog, ghostly silhouettes moved in and out of the shadows - some in sheer panic, others calmly helping the wounded.
In front of me, Lieut. Craig Troup was clamping the blood spurting from his nearly amputated foot. He looked at me, quietly saying, "Six, my foot is hit." In that same instant, Doc Stansberry was at his side. A few feet away, the company medic, Spec. Bruce Johnson, was desperately trying to stop his own chest wound. Doc Willey emerged out of the dark, dropped to Johnson's side and slapped a compress on his chest to stop the sucking and bleeding. Johnson haltingly cried, "Tell my wife I love her." He was certain he was a dead man.
Before long a jeep load of medics raced up from the firebase and began searching the area for the injured scattered everywhere. We were also told a medevac was on its way, so we scrambled to bring all the wounded to the end of a large clearing, so we could set up a triage. The wounded were still being brought out when we heard the medevac hovering just above the fog. I radioed the pilot that I would set out a ground flare for him to vector in on, but his response left me stunned. He refused to land until he had gunship support. This was friendly fire, I told him, not enemy. He wouldn't budge, no gunships, no landing. I begged, but he still balked. I went ballistic: "Look, I have your tail number. I know who you are and if you don't start down immediately, I swear to God, I will find you and put a bullet in your brain!" I think I really meant it and the pilot must have thought so, too. He told me to light the flare, he was coming in.
As soon as the medevac landed, we loaded the most seriously wounded. It had room for six. Doc Johnson was one. Lt. Troup was another. I ordered Mike Waters put on also, even though I was certain he was never going to make it. He died moments after the medevac lifted off.
With all the wounded out, we took a head count. Only one man was missing, my RTO, Denny Dentino. We found him still in his hooch. The same piece of shrapnel that nearly hit me in my hooch had killed him instantly.
Two men were dead and a total of 29 wounded, 9 so severely that they were evacuated out of Vietnam. Ironically, the medevac pilot did put me on the report - not for threatening to kill him but for putting a dead man on his chopper.
The "friendly fire" incident was determined to be erratic mortar rounds, which should never have been fired over our position. The Staff Sgt in charge was demoted and fined $500. We all felt he should have been court-martialed, incarcerated and kicked out of the Army.
Hours earlier, Charlie Company had triumphantly crossed the border as the last American unit to return to Vietnam from the historic invasion of Cambodia. Then, in less than 60 seconds, one deadly mistake tragically killed and wounded many of the company's brave men than scores of enemy combatants were unable to achieve during our seven weeks in Cambodia.
Lt. Col. Michael Christy's first tour of duty in Vietnam began with the Delta Project, 5th Special Forces Group from 1967-68. On his second tour in 1969-70, he commanded Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment,1st Cavalry Division for eight months before becoming the 3rd Brigade's assistant operations officer in Bien Hoa.
Preserve Your Old Photos: Let Us Help for Free!
Do you have old photos from your service days stashed away in a drawer or in a shoe box in your attic? Old photos fade with time and if they are not scanned and preserved digitally, they risk eventually being lost forever.
This is where TWS can help. We have just invested in a high quality Fujitsu book and photo scanner that can scan any size of photo or yearbook. As a service to our members, we would like to offer you a free photo scanning service for your most significant photos from your service which we will then return to you, in original condition, along with a CD containing your photo files.
In addition, we can upload your photos for you to your Photo Album on your TWS Service Profile which will also appear in your Shadow box and available to you to access or download at any time.
Maj. David Moniac was the first Native American to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. The academy accepted him in 1817 at the age of 16. Moniac graduated in 1822 and served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. 6th Infantry Regiment. He later led the Creek Volunteers in Florida during the Second Seminole War.
Monica was born near present-day Montgomery County, Alabama to a family that included several Creek leaders. Members of his family played a role in negotiating the Treaty of New York in 1790, which declared peace between the Creek Nation and the United States. The treaty also contained a provision that agreed that the United States government would provide an education for four young Creek Natives. This provision allowed 16-year-old David Moniac to gain admission to West Point.
Moniac sometimes struggled at West Point, in part because he was the only minority to attend. He often fell into the spotlight because of his ethnicity, and some of the leadership at West Point felt a fascination with attendance. Despite this, Moniac graduated in 1822.
Upon graduation, he received his commission as a Brevet Second Lieutenant in the 6th United States Infantry Regiment. He spent about five months in the Army before signing a letter of resignation. Many newly graduated officers resigned their commission in 1822 as Congress began to downsize the Army. Additionally, Moniac received a letter that detailed family troubles back home. His uncle had encouraged him to return home as quickly as he could. Moniac left the Army shortly after.
Moniac settled back in Alabama and became a cotton farmer and horse breeder. He built a plantation home sometime in the 1830s and had a son named David Moniac.
In 1836, the United States organized a unit of Creek Volunteers from Alabama to aid the Army in Florida during the Second Seminole War. Moniac volunteered, and the Army commissioned him as a Captain.
Moniac joined the governor of Florida, Richard Keith Call, and his army in Tampa, Florida. Governor Call openly welcomed Creek troops, who made up nearly a third of his entire force. In total, nearly 700 Creek Soldiers served under Call during the war. Moniac was the only Native American among all the officers. The Army promoted Moniac to Major in October 1836 after successfully commanding an assault on a Seminole stronghold near Tampa.
One month later, in November 1836, a combined U.S. force of 2,500 Tennessee Volunteers, Florida militia, Army artillery, and Creek Volunteers advanced on about a mile-long front during the Battle of Wahoo Swamp. David Moniac led a charge of his Creek Volunteers on the left flank through a thick swamp near the Withlacoochee River. As they advanced, Seminole warriors discharged a musket volley, fatally striking Moniac. His death marked the end of the battle. The Soldiers under his command retrieved his remains before retreating out of the swamp.
David Moniac's memorial marker at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida.
Today, Moniac is memorialized in Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida not far from where the Battle of Wahoo Swamp took place. The inscription on his marker reads: "He was as brave and gallant a man as ever drew a sword or faced an enemy."
In 2017, NCA's Veterans Legacy Program partnered with universities to discover stories in their local national cemeteries. The University of Central Florida conducted research of Veterans at Florida National Cemetery. Maj. David Moniac was among the Veterans that students discovered, and a biography was written for him. His service, sacrifice, and legacy are now shared with the public.
Do You Still Have Your Boot Camp/Basic Training Photo?
Together We Served has a growing archive of more than 10,000 Boot Camp/ Basic Training Graduation Photos which we now display on your Military Service Page and Shadow Box. We also have a growing collection of Yearbooks which we will be making available on the site shortly.
We are still searching for Boot Camp/ Basic Training Photos and Yearbooks. So if you have yours available, please contact us at Admin@togetherweserved.com or call us on (888) 398-3262.
Either you can send us a scanned file of your photo or you can send it to us for scanning. We will add this for you to the Recruit/ Officer Training section of your Military Service Page.
All photos and yearbooks will be returned to you in original condition along with a CD containing your scanned photo.
Vietnam War Veterinarians
During the Vietnam War, American soldiers relied on working military dogs for a variety of crucial tasks. They could alert a soldier to an enemy presence or detect explosives, trip-wires, and landmines. It is estimated that 10,000 lives were saved by more than 4,000 military working dogs in Vietnam.
These hard-working military war dog required special care, and Soldiers who were trained veterinarians were the ones to offer it. Vietnam veterinarians provided everything from emergency care to everyday exams and treatment of disease and heat exhaustion. Veterinarian care was essential to keep both Soldiers and animals healthy.
Veterinarian, 245th Med Det (Vet), examines a dog's teeth at the pet clinic of the 245th Med Det (Vet) which provides veterinary care and treatment for animals and pets belonging to US government personnel.
Military dogs were not the only animals cared for by Vietnam veterinarians. They often cared for sick animals like unit mascot dogs and adopted pets.
Vietnam veterinarians also participated in a civic project that provided care for animals that belonged to the local Vietnamese people. Captain Harold Lupton, a military veterinarian with the 175th Veterinary Detachment, recalled patching up an injured water buffalo that belonged to a local villager. "First they'll bring in a dog for treatment. If that goes all right, they'll bring in their pig. Last week we had a guy in here with 25 chickens to be examined," Lupton said. Vietnam veterinarians set up hospitals and clinics in locations across Vietnam.
Vietnam veterinarians earned praise and commendations for their exemplary work in Vietnam.
Have A Military Reunion Coming Soon?
TWS has nearly 1.7 million members who served in a wide range of units, ships, squadrons and duty stations. Get more people to your Reunion by sending your Reunion information to us in the following format and we will post it for free in our Reunion Announcements on Together We Served, in emails that go to our members and in our Newsletters.
Your Reunion Name:
Associated Unit or Association:
Place Where Held:
Contact Phone Number:
Contact Email Address:
Sinbad - the Brave Coast Guard Mascot of WWII
The Coast Guard Cutter Campbell steamed out from New York in the winter of 1937. Like most peacetime cutters, she was patrolling the American coast, both for national defense and lifesaving mission. On the first day of their patrol, the Captain addressed his crew, explaining the seriousness of their missions, and that he expected all of them to be well behaved, hardworking, and disciplined. What he didn't expect, though, was to be greeted by a small brown dog barking at him from behind the crew.
The night before, one of the crew, Boatswain's Mate "Blackie" Roth had gotten his girlfriend a dog, hoping to make his absence less painful. But he hadn't considered that her landlord had a no pets policy, and she couldn't take the small brown ball of fur. Stowing the pup in his duffel bag Roth sneaked back on board, just before 8 PM. He and the other men decided that this small mutt would be their new mascot and that he needed a fitting salty sailor name. After much debate, they settled on Sinbad the Sailor.
The next day, during muster, while the Captain was addressing the crew, Sinbad made his presence known. The Chief Boatswain's Mate, a very respected position on board a cutter, pleaded with the Captain, asking that Sinbad be allowed to stay on board. The Captain was a kind fellow, and like all sailors had a soft spot for those trapped at sea. He allowed Sinbad to stay on board, with the warning that he was the crew's responsibility, and that he would have to learn to behave himself.
From that point on Sinbad was a member of the ship's crew. He would often share racks with other sailors and quickly learned the daily routine of the ship. At mess times he was always found near the galley, knowing that food was coming soon. Men would share their coffee with him proving that he was a true sailor, for what old salt doesn't like a large cup of hot black coffee?
But Sinbad, like most sailors, loved shore leave above all else. And in 1940, while the world was falling into the chaos of the Second World War, this almost caused an international incident.
Greenland was previously a Danish territory, but with Denmark overrun by the Nazis, it was being patrolled and watched by the United States, hoping to keep it out of German hands. The Campbell was sent to help secure diplomatic ties with the Greenlanders and Danes living there.
Greenland was sparse, with few native resources. The locals mainly fished and reared sheep for their livelihood. When Sinbad got his feet on dry land he quickly discovered the pastures and a herd of sheep out grazing. He learned that they were great fun to chase, and this became his daily activity for almost a week.
While Sinbad thought it was harmless, the locals were less happy with it. Some sheep died from exhaustion, and others were too nervous to go out grazing. A local farmer had tracked Sinbad back to the Campbell, and they sent a letter to the Captain demanding that Sinbad be killed. But the Captain, being both a sailor and good Coast Guard officer, knew that that was far too severe a punishment. Instead, he issued orders to his crew, that Sinbad was never to set paw on Greenland ever again. Upon reading the notice, the crew all had a good laugh, they would jokingly tease Sinbad about shore leave for the rest of their voyage in Greenland.
But when war came the Campbell was transferred to the Navy, as all Coast Guard Cutters were. Sinbad's life changed drastically, the entire crew became tense, and gun drills became more common. Shore leave was now short, and patrols were long.
While protecting a convoy in the Atlantic the Campbell came into action against many German submarines. They hounded the American and British shipping convoys bringing much-needed supplies, food, and even personnel to the embattled island nation. During one of these battles, Sinbad proved his true mettle at sea and earned much acclaim.
On February 22, 1943, the Campbell was protecting a convoy in the North Atlantic. During a light drizzle and poor visibility, a German submarine unleashed a hellish barrage on the stern of the convoy. One torpedo struck a Norwegian steamer, crippling her, and send her crew into the ocean. The Campbell responded, hoping to rescue their fellow sailors. But the steamer was just bait, and the sub fired another torpedo, narrowly missing the Campbell. The Cutter found the surfaced German sub and sped towards her, forcing her to crash dive.
The chase went on all day, the Germans popping up, trying to attack, but being forced back down by the Campbell and other allied ships. The Cutter rejoined the convoy, but everyone on board was tense, knowing that danger lurked just beneath the surface. At 7:26 PM a periscope was spotted.
The cutter sped towards the suspected U-boat. Closing, she unleashed a string of depth charges, sending huge plumes of water into the sky. But it was the ship itself which destroyed the sub, colliding with her after her depth charge pass. The sub was destroyed, her crew escaping to the surface.
The Campbell's crew, being both sailors and lifesavers lowered their rowboats to pick up the survivors. But while doing this, they realized the extent of damage that their ship had taken in the impact. A large gash had been ripped in the Campbell and water was pouring in with each rolling wave. They lowered a collision mat and began repairs.
Half of the crew was transferred to a Polish destroyer, the Burza, and Sinbad's position came into question. The Captain decided that Sinbad would stay onboard. The ship had stayed safe for his entire tenure as her mascot. The crew knew he was good luck, and the Captain agreed. What's more, Sinbad had stood on deck during the whole of the battle, standing next to his shipmates throughout the action. He had truly earned his place on the ship, and no one could that away from him.
The Campbell continued her wartime service, with Sinbad on board the entire time. He continued to lead a somewhat checkered life on board and got in trouble occasionally. He was made Chief Dog, after serving as Dog 1st Class for six years. And the Captain organized a large ceremony when they returned to their home port.
The party proved larger than expected, at this point the newspapers had caught wind of the brave little pooch, and there were photographers everywhere. Sinbad was ordered to stand still and look smart for picture after picture, but he eventually tired of this. He bolted down the gangplank and across the dock. He was officially Away Without Leave (AWOL), a very severe offense on a ship. He was brought before the Captain's Mast and reduced in rank. The whole crew took pity on him, but Sinbad was happy to be back among the lower enlisted crew again, and away from the cameras.
After a total of 11 years at sea, Sinbad was finally ready for a shore detail. He was officially transferred to the Barnegat Light Small Boat Station. He spent the rest of his career there, still a Dog 1st Class, until he passed away on December 30, 1951. He was buried with honors at the base of the flagpole at Barnegat station.
New Together We Served Military Store
By popular request, we are pleased to offer our Members your very own Together We Served Military Store with a whole range of items to peak your interest including custom shirts and caps, jackets, decals, badges, automotive and items for the home.
Now you can also purchase custom Together We Served branded merchandise. Please check out our range of ball caps, polo shirts, T-shirts, jackets and windbreakers HERE.
Our Store is offered in cooperation with Military Best, one of the most trusted suppliers in the United States, who offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee on all items purchased. Many items are made in the USA and a proportion of the proceeds from your purchase help support our military's underfunded MWR programs.
We appreciate your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org your comments regarding what you like, what you like less and if there are any additional items you would like us to stock.
WW I Military Technologies Still Used Today
The evolution of military technology is an ongoing process, and breakthroughs in new weapons and defensive systems make the news every year. However, many staples of modern warfare have their roots over a century ago - in World War I. From deadly drones to invaluable radio systems, here are five technologies developed in the Great War that are still used today.
An instantly recognizable symbol of 20th Century warfare, the tank was developed in secret by the Allies during World War I. It was conceived of as a so-called "land-ship," but a codename for the project had to be used.
To maintain the element of surprise, the Allies referred to these new war machines as "Water Carriers," and then later simply as "Tanks." Although this was just a tactic to throw off the Germans, the name stuck.
To this day, tanks are still used in military actions across the globe. While the design of the tank has been refined and developed a great deal during the last century, this is one technological innovation we owe directly to World War I.
Though they're often seen as a controversial symbol of modern warfare in the 21st Century, the unmanned drone has its roots in World War I. In 1916, the U.S. Navy began working on prototypes of an unmanned aerial bomb. It weighed 175 pounds and proved to be less than effective - at least at first. Early attempts to test the new weapon yielded unsatisfactory results, with a lack of accuracy being the main problem. Eventually, interest and funding in the project dried up, and early attempts to build a functional drone were shelved.
Many years later, a model airplane enthusiast named John Stuart Foster Jr. decided to try using his hobby as the basis for developing a new weapon. By 1973, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency had created two prototypes based on his designs - although they were relatively primitive by today's standards. They formed an essential link in the chain between an idea first conceived of in World War I and a deadly weapon used by many nations today.
Five years after the first plane was launched from the deck of a moving ship, World War One demanded fresh innovations in aerial warfare. No one had ever landed a plane on a moving ship, and there were no vessels designed specifically for this purpose. Britain, however, had just built a new warship, mounted with two enormous 18-inch guns. It was decided that the force of these weapons might damage the structure of the ship itself, so another use had to be found for the HMS Furious. A large platform was built onto the deck, allowing the vessel to become the first ship on which planes could be both launched and landed.
While modern aircraft carriers can weigh up to 70,000 tons and are built with a host of cutting-edge technology, World War I remains integral to their conception almost 100 years ago.
Pilot Communication Systems
Until the start of World War I, there were no systems in place for pilots to communicate with anyone on the ground. Once a plane was in the air, its crew was completely cut off from fellow pilots around them and anyone down below. Although cable communications were initially developed to remedy the problem, these were just too easy for German forces to intercept. In the end, the answer proved to be radio technology and, although this had been around for a while, it was developed into a working communication system for pilots during World War I.
It was in 1917 that, for the first time, a voice was transmitted from a flying plane to officials on the ground, via radio. It was a great breakthrough, and it paved the way not only to the systems used by modern military aircraft today but to all subsequent air traffic control.
Before World War I, the Gatling gun was the closest thing to a modern machine gun in use. It was a large and unwieldy weapon, resembling a cannon and weighing almost as much. As such, it proved to be of little use on the battlefields of Europe. Something more effective and mobile was required, and the Vickers machine gun was the solution. Although each gun needed at least six men to operate it, it proved invaluable in combat, and quickly gained a reputation as an extremely reliable piece of equipment.
This weapon went on to become a fixture of modern warfare, with handheld machine guns seeing use throughout the world. While the gun's development and evolution have certainly slowed in recent years, this is only because current designs meet most requirements and, for now, need little improvement.
TWS Person Locator Service
Available for Together We Served members only! Together We Served has two hard working marines that devote their time and energy to help our members find long lost friends that are not yet members of our site.
If you have someone you are looking for, please send name, age they would be now and where they were from to us at email@example.com and we'll get them on the case for you.
When the Past Finds You
By Loyde McIllwain
TWS Staff Member/Technical Director
Whether you serve one enlistment in the military or made it a career, moving from one place to another is stressful for many reasons. You know without a doubt you are going to lose things with each move. Some lost things have great and important and sentimental meaning, others not so much. Perhaps the most important among these, however, are the letters and documents that chronical your military career.
I was working on our Help Desk recently when I received a request from Ian Price. He wanted help in locating a Marine named Erik C. Woods who was stationed at Camp LeJeune in 1959. He said he knew of existing letters and documents belonging to Woods and wanted to help return them to Woods or his family.
I checked on our Marines website and found we had a member with that name and he was from the right time frame. Fortunately, he had his current contact information posted. I dialed his number and left a message for him to contact me.
Later that evening, Woods called me back. I introduced myself and explained to him that I was in communication with someone who knew of some military letters and documents belonging to a PFC Erik Woods who had been stationed at Camp Lejeune in 1958. Woods confirmed that he was a PFC and Cpl stationed there at that time.
As we continued the conversation, he also told me he had been accepted for the United States Naval Academy in 1960. Following graduations in 1964, he became an aviator and served one tour in Vietnam. He left the Marine Corps as a Captain.
I called Ian Price back and requested he email me photos of the documents and letters so I could forward them to Woods to verify. I forwarded the photos to Woods who confirmed they were indeed his documents and letters. Like me, he was surprised that these long-forgotten letters and documents from 50 some years ago still existed.
During the process of getting the letters and documents to Woods, I learned Ian Price was a collector of military items and had found the documents and letters on eBay. He informed me that the person who had the documents also had several handwritten letters addressed to Erik Woods dated 1960-1964 during his time at the Naval Academy and was going to post them for Auction on eBay.
Both Ian Prince and I were determined that we were going to win this auction and return them to Erik Woods.
It turned out we did get the over 100 documents and letters and returned them to their rightful owner - Erik Woods.
Among the letters were those addressed to PFC and Cpl Woods while he was stationed at Camp Lejeune in 1958. A larger number of letters were also sent while he was a Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy from 1960-1964.
When asked how the letters and documents were lost for 57 years, Woods said, 'I saved all my letters in a box. But when I graduated from the Academy in 1964 and was commissioned a Marine Officer, I couldn't find the box."
I attempted to contact the seller to maybe find out how the letters found their way to Irvine California all these years later but to no avail; the seller has yet returned any of my messages.
Like Woods, Ian and I wondered how they found their way to eBay. 'It is a mystery to be sure," said Woods. But 'Together We Served' discovered them, purchased them, and returned them to me. Everyone involved located me through 'Together We Served' and I am enjoying rereading them 50 plus years later."
TWS Bulletin Board
If you wish to make a post to our new Bulletin Board - People Sought, Assistance Needed, Jobs Available in Your Company, Reunions Pending, Items for Sale or Wanted, Services Available or Wanted, Product or Service Recommendations, Discounts for Vets, Announcements, Death Notices - email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Service Reflections Video of the Month
#TributetoaVeteran - Sgt Roy Green, U.S. Marines, 1967-1973
From the TWS Director of Operations Desk
We continue to strive to make sure that TWS has the best possible member support on the Internet through our online Help Desk and our "Ask TWS a Question" Forum. Nothing is ever left to doubt here and our staff is constantly checking and verifying information for our members.
We are continuing to develop our Single Page Design and encourage all of our members to try it out by going to the Single Page link at the top left corner of any page. We encourage your input as we work through the building of the features for the new Single Page design.
As members, your input is valued, so if you have not seen a topic of interest that would be beneficial for all in this newsletter, please submit your recommendations to us at email@example.com.
We are proud of the work we do to keep our Military History alive through this newsletter and every one of our members "Reflections on Service" that are added daily.
Please check out TWS through our other media content on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.
Have a Great Day,
Roger A. Gaines (Ret LTC, US Army)
TWS Director of Operations
Chief Historian and Database Manager
Behind the Scenes at TogetherWeServed
As you know, part of being an online community is being able to change as the times change. TWS is no exception. Things are changing around here quiet a bit.
Our Single Page layout is nearing completion. We still have a bit of work to do to get all functions working on the desktop version but the phone/tablet version is coming right along.
Roger "Rowdy" Gaines has been made Director of Operations. Rowdy works closely with our programmers to make sure that the visions we as users have for functions, become the finished product. He is also taking control of directing the teams, to see if we can all get on the same page. Those of you that have been doing this a while know how hard it's been to get and keep new blood focused on the task at hand. Hopefully with new eyes and new direction, we'll be able to get that done.
There are two new site specific Chief Admins. David Baker, who has worked on our Memorial Team is joining our admin team as Chief for both Navy and of Coast Guard. He's going to be working on our Navy and Coast Guard databases as well. After 11 years, Navy's is a bit of a mess and CG can always use a hand. Roger Gaines is stepping in as Army Chief. With his knowledge of Army units, he'll be a great asset to the Army teams
Our Chief Admins will be working with me to report any problems they may see, design ideas etc. If you have any problems whatsoever, take it to your Chief. If you don't know who that is, you can find it on you Contact Admin list on the home page.
Third, we're discussing a change to the way you add boot camps on Navy. If you've ever tried to create a profile with a boot camp entry by phone, you know how difficult our current set up is. We are trying to get it so you select Training Type ie Recruit Training/OCS etc first, then the training type draws down the locations available. It will be much easier than scrolling through this huge list we now have.
Last, TWS is working on forming a yet to be named non-profit that is going to be working with a promotion company to mount a nationwide fund raising and awareness campaign to "Save Our Veteran's Stories". The campaign will involve print ad, radio and tv spots. So you may see TWS on tv in the near future.
This re-organization allows me the time to do the promotion of TWS to help it grow and survive in the future. Without new members, TWS will die with us.
You may have noticed a change of patch on your profile recently. Loyde McIllwain, our Technical Director, is in the process of changing every patch in our database. If your old patch isn't appearing, be patient, it will eventually. If you have a high resolution photo of your patch, you can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of the unit it belongs to and the time frame it was used, and Loyde will get it uploaded for you.
Two new sections are about to be introduced on the home page. One is for Partner Associations and the other is for Partner Facebook Groups. They will allow us to feature those organizations who have joined TWS to assist their members in telling their stories. If you would like more information about this feature, you can contact me directly at email@example.com and I'll be happy to answer any of your questions.
Have a great month!
TWS Chief Admin
Looking for Army and Marine Corps Volunteers Memorial Team
Do you have a passion for making sure that all of our Fallen are not forgotten? This is the team for you. We have Fallen profiles that have either been orphaned or created by someone who has not been online for a very long time and there is nothing in those profiles. TWS is working to make sure that all of our Fallen profiles are as complete as possible.
TWS Brochures Available
Do you have a reunion coming up and would like to spread the word about Together We Served? We now have brochures available that helps explain a little bit about who we are and what we do.
TWS Invite Cards
Did you know we have Together We Served invite cards that you can hand out to any veteran you meet? It even has a place to put your name, service branch and member number so you get credit for the invite.
If you would like some cards, email us your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get them in the mail to you.
Add Your Boot Camp and Have Your Book Scanned
We recently received this email from LtCol Davies that we thought we would pass on. It comments on two projects of TWS that has helped find faces on the Wall.
TWS recently started gathering members boot camp group photos along with scanning members books to add to their page. Through these projects, at least 5 more faces have been added that we may not have had without your help!
Admin, let me give you an example of why every Marine on TWS should add their Boot Camp PLATOON number. Finding each other is but one example of its importance.
I am working with the Vietnam Wall of Faces which seeks to find a photo of EVERY US Serviceman/woman so those on the Vietnam Memorial Wall will not be just a name etched in granite. There will be a face and a story for each one. I am the "Marine Corps" Rep on the Florida Group. I have 3 photos left to find. We have almost exhausted every route we can take which has included professional genealogists searching public records; high school yearbooks; County and Town Offices; etc. to locate surviving family members who might have a picture. For the Marines, every one of the Marines who went through boot camp received a platoon graduation book in which their picture was documented. However, the Marine Corps back in the 60's did not record the platoon number in their military records. Also, the Recruit Depots did not retain a copy of each platoon book. I knew that if I could find a Marine's platoon number I could go onto TWS and hope to find members of that platoon who would help me find his picture. I solved two of our cases this way. I continue to seek platoon graduation books for the remaining three by identifying the time period when their platoon would have been formed and blasting out this information to a wide variety of USMC sources. So, when I find these platoon numbers, and, by God, I will! I can then come on to TWS and find members of that platoon and get my last pictures.
So, thank you for publishing this. I hope that hundreds of your members put their platoon numbers in so we can leave no Marine's picture behind.
LtCol James J. Davies USMCR (Ret)
Do You Have a Reunion Planned for the Norfolk Area?
If you do, please contact Diane Short at email@example.com to discuss doing a presentation for your reunion.
Dates: Aug 26 - 31
Where: The Courtyard by Marriott, Crystal City
Dates and Times for concerts are as follows:
Concert for Veterans at the Armed Forces Retirement Home will be at the Armed Forces Retirement Home, Thursday afternoon, August 30, at 1:30 p.m
Concert at The Millenniun Stage at the Kennedy Center is on Wednesday, August 28 at 6 p.m.
Go Fund Me Page Link: https://www.gofundme.com/2018-waf-band-reunion-wash-dc.
VA and Other News
Marines Bolster Security at US Embassies as Dozens Killed in Gaza
The Pentagon sent Marines to bolster security at American compounds overseas as the United States formally moved its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, military officials said Monday.
Marines were deployed to "several U.S. embassies" on temporary assignments to augment security during a "heightened threat environment," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman.
The controversial move Monday of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem sparked bloody clashes between Palestinian protestors and Israeli forces along Gaza's border. Israelis and Palestinians both claim Jerusalem as their capital. The Associated Press reported more than 50 Palestinians were fatally shot by Israeli soldiers and some 2,400 others were wounded in the exchanges, which included firebombs lobbed at Israeli troops by protestors.
Rebarich said the Pentagon could not say how many Marines were deployed or to which embassies, citing security concerns. The Marines were deployed from the Marine Security Guard Augmentation Unit from Quantico, Va., a unit designed specifically to respond to such security threats worldwide at the State Department's request, a Marine official said.
NBC News reported the additional Marines were sent to embassies in Israel, Jordan, and Turkey, citing five unnamed defense officials. They reported only modest increases of more than 10 but less than several dozen Marines at each location, according to three of the unnamed officials.
The Department of Defense "takes necessary steps to mitigate threats to U.S. personnel, embassies, and consulates around the world," Rebarich said. "Augmentation is conducted regularly when a diplomatic post faces a heightened threat environment."
The Pentagon bolstered its embassies in some Middle Eastern countries with additional Marines in December following President Donald Trump's announcement of the impending embassy move in Israel. Some clashes occurred following the announcement, but none as violent as those on Monday.
In the event a U.S. embassy or consulate was to come under the threat of attack, Marine Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Teams, known as FAST companies, would be deployed to respond, according to the Marine Corps. The teams are designed to prevent or react to an overrun of U.S. government assets and protect employees and property. FAST units typically deploy as platoons of about 50 Marines.
After the 2012 Benghazi consulate attack, for instance, a FAST unit was sent to guard the U.S. embassy in Libya.
In recent years, FAST troops also have provided reinforcement for embassies in Kyrgyzstan, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, and Iraq, according to Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team Central Command.
99-year-old WWII Veteran's Mission: Visit Every State
A 99-year-old World War II veteran, who regretted skipping the chance to meet some of the nation's last Civil War veterans in 1940, is on a mission to visit all 50 states - so people who've never met a WWII vet can finally meet one.
Sidney Walton visited Gov. Andrew Cuomo in Albany on Friday, making it five governors the New York native has met since launching his "No Regrets Tour" in March at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans.
The visit to Cuomo's state Capitol office followed statehouse meetings over the past three weeks with the governors of Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
A year before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1941, Walton passed on a chance to meet Civil War veterans in Manhattan. He says it's his one regret in life.
VA Acting Secretary Tours VA Facility
It was a busy couple of days for VA Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie as he made the rounds in Colorado for several special events. On Friday, May 11, Wilkie met with leadership at the Marcus Institute for Brain Health (MIBH) at the University of Colorado to discuss what the institute does as a VA force multiplier in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of Veterans with persistent symptoms associated with traumatic brain injury and associated psychological health conditions. The acting secretary vowed to help MIBH in providing the best care possible to our Veterans.
Wilkie then visited the new Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center in Aurora. The brand-new facility will be opening later this summer. Wilkie participated in a project discussion with regional leadership and was given an extensive tour of the 1.2 million square foot facility, which features expanded telehealth, traumatic brain injury programs, polytrauma as well as diagnostic and treatment facilities.
On Friday evening, Wilkie attended the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) 60th anniversary celebration in Colorado Springs.
"On behalf of the president and the grateful citizens of the United States, we are immensely proud and humbled by the sacrifice and dedication you give selflessly, hand-in-hand every day, to maintain the safety and security of our nations," he said to the members of NORAD, military and guests in attendance.
Saturday morning, May 12, Wilkie served as guest speaker at the Air and Space Museum in Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, for NORAD's 60th-anniversary ceremony and mission display. Wilkie spoke to the audience highlighting the important partnership between the United States and Canada in the monitoring of airspace, waters and land.
"I've seen military life and military organizations from many angles, as the son of a gravely wounded combat soldier, and now, from a different perspective, as the acting secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs," Wilkie said. "In all those phases of my life and my service in those capacities, I've always been struck by the critical importance of partnerships and alliances amongst free people."
NOTE: On May 18, 2018, President Trump announced making Wilkie the permanent Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
VA to Expand Telehealth by Allowing Health Care Providers to Treat Patients Across State Lines
VA announced a new federal rule that will allow VA doctors, nurses and other health-care providers to administer care to Veterans using telehealth, or virtual technology, regardless of where in the United States the provider or Veteran is located, including when care will occur across state lines or outside a VA facility.
Previously, it was unclear whether VA providers could furnish care to Veterans in other states through telehealth because of licensing restrictions or state-specific telehealth laws. This new rule exercises federal preemption to override those state restrictions, paving the way for VA to expand care to Veterans using telehealth. VA worked closely with the White House Office of American Innovation and the Department of Justice for implementation of the new rule.
"This new rule is critical to VA's 'Anywhere to Anywhere' initiative," said VA Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie. "Now that the rule has been finalized, VA providers and patients can start enjoying the full benefits of VA's telehealth services."
By enabling Veterans nationwide to receive care at home, the rule will especially benefit Veterans living in rural areas who would otherwise need to travel a considerable distance or across state lines to receive care. The rule also will expand Veterans' access to critical care that can be provided virtually - such as mental health care and suicide prevention - by allowing quicker and easier access to VA mental health providers through telehealth.
VA first announced the proposed rule, titled "Authority of Health Care Providers to Practice Telehealth," at a White House event last August, during which VA and President Donald Trump launched the "Anywhere to Anywhere" initiative.
In the announcement, VA also unveiled VA Video Connect, a video conferencing app for Veterans and VA providers. Through this new rule, VA providers will be able to use VA Video Connect and other forms of telehealth to furnish care to Veterans anywhere in the country, including in the Veteran's home.
Next Generation of Service Dogs Visit VA's Central Office
Four puppies visited the lobby of VA's Central Office today to introduce themselves as soon-to-be service dogs. Warrior Canine Connection, an organization that helps raise these dogs and connects them with Veterans, visited VA with two golden and two black Labradors.
Warrior Canine Connection enlists service members and Veterans with combat stress in the critical mission of training service dogs for fellow Wounded Warriors. When the puppies are born, they spend the first few months of their lives at Boyds, MD "Healing Quarters," where they live and train in the Puppy Enrichment Center.
Beginning with the Honor Litter in 2013, WCC puppies are named for Service Members and Veterans who have made significant contributions to our nation - and in many cases, made the ultimate sacrifice. Warrior Canine Connection welcomes public input on names for future litters. If you are interested in nominating a former or current Service Member, a form is available here.
When puppies reach approximately 10 weeks of age, they are placed with individuals and families who care for them for the next 18 - 24 months. These "puppy parents" provide loving homes, training and exposure to a wide variety of public settings and situations that prepare the canine for advanced training and placement with a disabled Veteran.
VA Uses Whole Health to Prevent Veteran Suicide
Suicide prevention is VA's top clinical priority. Every suicide is a tragedy, and we will not relent in our efforts to connect Veterans who are experiencing an emotional or mental health crisis with lifesaving support.
VA is doing many things to prevent Veteran suicide, such as working with partners and communities, improving access to mental health care and educating the public about interventions. Every day, when Veterans are in crisis, VA's Veterans Crisis Line responders and suicide prevention coordinators help see Veterans through those crises.
"No matter what a Veteran is dealing with, there are resources to help."
But we all can help prevent those crises and save lives by taking care of each Veteran's whole health. By using VA's innovative Whole Health System, focusing on patient-centered care and thinking outside the box when it comes to serving Veterans, we can provide the best care to Veterans.
Whole health is an approach to health care that empowers, equips and treats Veterans so that they can take charge of their health and well-being and live their lives to the fullest. This approach supports key VA priorities, including suicide prevention, reducing homelessness and addressing addiction.
"VA offers a comprehensive network of support for all our nation's Veterans and their families and friends," said Dr. Teresa D. Boyd, acting assistant deputy under secretary for health for clinical operations. "No matter what a Veteran is dealing with, there are resources to help, including the Veterans Crisis Line, same day access to mental health providers and Vet Centers."
VA has several new, creative programs and resources designed to connect Veterans to their health care teams and other services:
Telehealth and telemental services: These services create virtual linkages between VHA patients and mental health providers separated by distance or time, including a pilot telehealth program that will give rural Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) remote access to psychotherapy and related services. https://www.telehealth.va.gov/index.asp
These cutting-edge approaches serve Veterans as a whole person, rather than just focusing on a specific problem that needs fixing. They allow for greater choice in care Âand equip teams with new tools to help Veterans better self-manage chronic issues such as PTSD, pain and depression.
There is no wrong door to treatment. By focusing on Veteran-centered care instead of disease-centered care we help save lives every day.
Agent Orange's Long Legacy: Its Now Affecting Vets' Grandchildren
Beginning in 1962 and continuing until 1971, the United States military, with the approval of President John F. Kennedy, sprayed over twenty million gallons of herbicide over more than four and a half million acres in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in order to defoliate the jungle and reduce the areas available for the North Vietnamese soldiers to hide in as well as to destroy crops. The effects of that decision are still with us today.
The cases of the children, and now the grandchildren, of the thousands of people exposed to the defoliants suffering from birth defects and diseases, have reached an alarming level. But the United States Department of Veterans Affairs has continually dragged its feet regarding the acknowledgement of any correlation.
The most frequently used chemical was Agent Orange, a mixture of equal parts of two herbicides, 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D. The result of this mixture unintentionally created a highly toxic dioxin, tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, commonly known as TCDD.
The chemicals were sprayed by airplanes, helicopters, and boats. Not only were enemy targets sprayed, but the perimeters of camps and airfields were kept tidy using backpack spraying, too. Because it was believed the spray was essentially harmless no masks or other safety equipment was used.
The numbers of both Americans and Vietnamese that were exposed by spray, residue, contaminated groundwater and soil could not possibly be measured, but it's thought that over two million American service personnel have been affected.
Vietnam has reported that at least four hundred thousand people died or were disfigured by American herbicides.
The offspring of many of the veterans are born with physical defects such as spina bifida and other spinal disorders, extra fingers and toes as well as fused digits, diseases including several different types of cancers such as leukemia, respiratory cancers, and prostate cancers.
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Parkinson's Disease, Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, heart disease, nerve and muscle disorders are also reported, and many have suffered psychological disorders.
Vietnam vet Mike Ryan, who was exposed to the herbicides, fathered a daughter after his return who was born with spina bifida, deformed extremities, a hole in her heart, and no lower digestive tract among a host of other problems.
There were no problems on either side of the family, and the Ryans were considered healthy, with no drug or smoking histories. The Ryans made their plight public after hearing of more children of vets with similar problems.
In 1980, then President-elect Ronald Reagan met with the Ryans over their concerns. Later, the administration worked to block the Ryan's class action lawsuit which resulted in U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein's ruling that direct payments could only be made to disabled veterans or survivors of those who had died.
That ruling conspicuously left out the descendants of veterans. According to Ryan, "They will never admit it because if they do, then America is admitting to drafting the unborn."
Veteran Royal Gee had a daughter before his service in Vietnam who is completely healthy and a daughter born after his return who suffers from cysts, joint problems, and an immune system disorder. "They say it has nothing to do with my service in Vietnam and it stops right there," said the former Marine. "There's got to be a reason."
Hundreds of studies have been conducted and many point to the association of Agent Orange and birth defects, and in 2007, 2009, 2012, and 2014 the Federal Institute of Medicine's scientific panels recommended that the Veterans Administration "should review all the possible cognitive and developmental effects in offspring of veterans. Such a review should include the possibility of effects in grandchildren."
The Veterans Administration still resists acknowledging the link between Agent Orange and the many cases of birth defects and disease, but more and more people are coming forward with personal stories. The VA may someday be pushed into admitting the long-term complications of Agent Orange.ened threat environment," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman.
Bill to Provide VA Benefits to Blue Water Navy Vets Passes Key U.S. House Committee
A proposal from U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, to expand benefits to so-called Blue Water Navy veterans, those who served on ships in the territorial seas of Vietnam, has passed a key House committee.
The proposal, H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, would require the Department of Veterans' Affairs to expedite consideration for VA benefits if the veterans suffer from any of the 14 health conditions that the federal government recognizes as being linked to Agent Orange exposure. The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs on Tuesday passed the legislation, which Courtney introduced with U.S. Rep. David G. Valadao, a Republican representing California's 21st District.
"It is hard to overstate how important this legislation is for the Navy veterans who are suffering from Agent Orange exposure without any medical coverage from the VA," Courtney said in a prepared statement. "Like many veterans in my district who regularly share their concerns about this issue with me, I am deeply disappointed in the VA's continued refusal to act."
Agent Orange was the most common herbicide used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War to reduce foliage to make it easier to spot enemy troops. More than 20 million gallons of the herbicide were sprayed during the war. Blue Water Navy vets have argued that Agent Orange washed into rivers and out to sea and that their ships sucked in the water and used it for showering, cooking and cleaning.
Initially, this group of vets were recognized and compensated by the VA under the Agent Orange Act of 1991, which presumed certain diseases resulted from exposure to dioxins and other herbicide agents during military service in Vietnam.
In 2002, the VA reinterpreted the legislation to apply only to veterans who served in the inland rivers or set foot in Vietnam, stripping Blue Water Navy vets of their coverage.
Since then, legislation in Congress has tried to restore coverage to these veterans, with no success.
The current legislation has 329 co-sponsors comprising 154 Republicans and 175 Democrats. It has been endorsed by the Association of the United States Navy (AUSN), Military-Veterans Advocacy Inc., Fleet Reserve Association, Blue Water Navy Association and Vietnam Veterans Association.
The bill reads as follows:
To amend title 38, United States Code, to clarify presumptions relating to the exposure of certain veterans who served in the vicinity of the Republic of Vietnam, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. Short title.
This Act may be cited as the "Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017".
SEC. 2. Clarification of presumptions of exposure for veterans who served in vicinity of Republic of Vietnam.
(a) Compensation. - Subsections (a)(1) and (f) of section 1116 of title 38, United States Code, are amended by inserting "(including the territorial seas of such Republic)" after "served in the Republic of Vietnam" each place it appears.
(b) Health care. - Section 1710(e)(4) of such title is amended by inserting "(including the territorial seas of such Republic)" after "served on active duty in the Republic of Vietnam".
(c) Effective date. - The amendments made by subsections (a) and (b) shall take effect as of September 25, 1985.
7400th Air Base Group
My name is Sgt. Larry Hammons I served in the USAF. I'm looking for someone who was stationed at Sembach Air Base in Germany from 1973 to 1975 and was assigned to the 7400th Air Base Group Civil Engineers who got diabetes and is drawing disability from the VA for it. Please contact me. They keep turning me down. Maybe you can help me get mine. Thank you!
Please contact me at phone #606-231-2291 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you call me and don't get an answer leave a message with your name and phone number and I will call you back.
Thank you again!
Sgt. Larry Hammons
Marine James H. Grant My name is James Sampson. I recently purchased this shadow box of a Marine named James H. Grant. When I bought the box, I didn't realize his Dog Tags were inside. I would like to return it to either he or his family. I personally was not able to serve in the military but am thankful for everyone who has.
Don the Boxer
This is a long shot! I am trying to find an Army buddy from Vietnam. His first name was Don and he was our armor at Long Binh around fall of 1969 to late 1970 or early 1971. He was married and lived in Las Vegas.
Problem is I cannot remember his last name, so this is a pipe dream I am afraid. After going to the enlisted men's club for a few and he was working in the armory, we would box. He would knock me pretty hard if I got too aggressive! He saved me in a fight once too!
If anyone can make sense of this, I would love to see him if he is still kicking.
3rd Marine Division
The 3rd Marine Division Association is looking for any nurses who served in Vietnam at any time and in any location. We are inviting you to join us at our banquet on Saturday evening September 15 at the Hotel Elegante in Colorado Springs. I will pay for dinner. You can contact me at the following:
1st LAR Bn Association
We are trying to get the word out about the association to members who served in 1st LAV Bn., 1st LAI Bn., 1st RLA Bn., and now called 1st LAR BN. The Battalion had four name changes from 85-93. The association just stated last year and we are looking for Marines and Sailors who served. The web site is: 1stlarbnassoc.org. If you need any other information please let me know.
I am a member and served 1970-76 MAW-2, H&MS 14, VMCJ-2. Since leaving the Corps I have worked in the electronic security industry. At the back end of my career I want to give back to Marines and all veterans that are entering civilian life. The security industry needs military talent and help veterans start a civilian career with the right companies.
Our project is www.salesmarines.com I want to let Marines and families of Marines know what we do to help them.
Not sure if this appropriate for the site forum or a discussion on transitioning to civilian life? I speak, write, mentor and coach within the security industry.
Paul Boucherle CPP CSC
Principal - Matterhorn Consulting LLC
Office 330-702-8292 Cell 330-519-7383
My name is Paul Eugene Carson, I am a proud Veteran of the U.S. Armed Services, served as a Military Police Specialists under the 395th Battalion. After receiving an Honorable Discharge, I went on to acquire a Master's Degree in Architecture, and have been working in the A&E (Architecture & Engineering) field for (25+) years. Now at age 46, I am finally in contention to acquire my Architectural License, with only (5) more exams to go, the future finally looks promising.
In 2017, I acquired my Real Estate license, and now practice Real Estate under Veterans Realty, Inc. At Veterans, we specialize in locating the right home for the right Military personnel whether a Veteran, Active Duty, Reservist, National Guard, etc.; because helping people is in my blood, I now also help non-military personnel alike. If you, or someone you know, has a family member or friend, who is looking to buy, sell or invest in Real Estate, I would love the opportunity to earn your trust before I have the right to ask for your business...as a Veteran, I AM HERE TO SERVE!
Previously, I have taught all levels of AutoCAD, Photoshop, Sketchup, and 3D Visualizations at ITT; and still, mentor and tutor students to this day. When I do find free time, I enjoy volunteering my time with local charity & sporting events; and have found that I am a people person because everyone needs help at some point in their lives. My ultimate goal is to become a licensed Registered Architect, where my primary objective is to protect the life, liberty, and justice of the American public; with hopes of protecting our planet, I plan to design and build zero-carbon/zero-energy cost-effective smart homes that every American can afford.
The Invasion That Never Was
This is a great story, my father GEORGE BROWN, a Cannon Co. member of the 106th Infantry Division, was taken as a POW on Dec 17, 1944, in the Ardennes, he was sent into Germany to Stalag 9B till his repatriation in April 1945. He was sent to Paris and then to Atlantic City, NJ for recuperation. Up until this article, all we knew that he and the rest of the POW's were not released due to a possible invasion of Japan. This article has shown much more of what was in store for him and his fellow GI's, thank you for publishing it. ~George Edward Brown VVA Chapter 67
I have been reading your monthly newsletters with great interest for several years now, but after this past month's story about the declassified plans to invade Japan, I felt compelled to write and to let you know just how much I enjoy reading these stories.
I've always found the newsletters enjoyable and informative, but the story about the planned invasion of Japan was one that I had not heard about before or had seen on any of the television stations that cover military history. While I had always heard that the decision to drop the atomic bomb was weighed against the possible loss of 1M+ Americans, I had never found any corroborating information supporting how those numbers were determined.
This story, as well as many others that you have provided in the past, are excellent and I just wanted you to know how much I enjoy reading them. ~Mark Nevins
Loyce Edward Deen, an Aviation Machinist Mate 2nd Class, USNR, was a gunner on a TBM Avenger. On November 5, 1944, Deen's squadron participated in a raid on Manila where his plane was hit multiple times by anti-aircraft fire while attacking a Japanese cruiser. Deen was killed. The Avenger's pilot, Lt. Robert Cosgrove, managed to return to his carrier, the USS Essex.
Both Deen and the plane had been shot up so badly that it was decided to leave him in the plane. It is the only time in U.S. Navy history (and probably U.S. military history) that an aviator was buried in his aircraft after being killed in action. ~ Patty Fisher
SEE VIDEO: http://loyceedeen.webstarts.com/uploads/GoingHome.mp4
I was with Lima Company we were flown in as an assault force to search and destroy NVA and supply lines in Cambodia. From the end of Nov 1965 until end of May 1966. My combat record was blank only to say I was based in Da Nang and engaged in search and destroy missions.
My records were sealed as classified from the time I separated from the Marines in September 1967. In the late seventies, I sent a request for my records only to be told they were burned in a fire.
In 1980 I was undergoing an FBI background employment as an agent. The investigating agent came to me and ask what I did in Vietnam as he could not have access to my military records.
I expected they were sealed by the CIA as they were with us in the field on many occasions as well as Cambodia.
I tried after my conversation with the agent to request my records by contacting Marine Headquarters Quantico, Virginia, but was ignored.
In 2014 I ran into my Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Alabama) in a restaurant and spoke with him regarding my military records issue, he advised me one of his staff would be contacting me soon. After his office intervened, my records that had been sealed at Marine Headquarters Quantico, Virginia were released to my Congressman's office and forwarded to me.
Not sure if this story is worth publishing but, decided to share it with you in case other Marines find their records were burned. Check with your Congressman or woman to have them get your records released and forwarded to you. ~Rick Thornell
State of Alabama Law Enforcement Field Agent (Ret)