MAR 2021

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Note From the Editor

Greetings! We hope this finds you well and safe. This month's Dispatches feature a fascinating history of a little know Navy unit from Vietnam, HA(L)-3 Seawolves. This storied unit flew helicopters the army had discarded, put together guns out of pieces of other guns, and flew where other units wouldn't. I'll let you read it for yourself.

We hope you enjoy them.

Be sure to check out our Bulletin Board for the latest in VA News, Events, and Want Ads.

Please let me know your comments regarding your Dispatches - things you like and things you want less to see 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.

All information for Bulletin Board Posts and Reunion Announcements, Association News, please send to Admin@togetherweserved.com.

Lt Col Mike Christy U.S. Army (Ret)


1/ Profiles in Courage: MOH Recipient SFC Fred Zabitosky
2/ Claim Your Free Military Service Mini-Plaque!
3/ Battlefield Chronicles: Facts on the Spanish-American War
4/ Preserve Your Old Photos: Let Us Help for Free!
5/ Military Myths & Legends: Air Force Hero Who Spared His Enemy's Life
6/ Do You Still Have Your Boot Camp/Basic Training Photo?
7/ Distinguished Military Units: HA-3 Seawolves
8/ Have A Military Reunion Coming Soon?
9/ Memories From My Service: Sicilian Dreams
10/ Featured Military Association: NCOA
11/ TWS Bulletin Board
12/ TWS Locator Service
13/ A Veteran Owned Business: Brave American
14/ Military Book Review: We'll All Die As Marines


Profiles in Courage: MOH Recipient SFC Fred Willam Zabitosky, U.S. Army

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. SFC Zabitosky, US Army, distinguished himself while serving as an assistant team leader of a nine-man Special Forces long-range reconnaissance patrol. SFC Zabitosky's patrol was operating deep within the enemy-controlled territory in Laos when they were attacked by a numerically superior North Vietnamese Army unit. 

SFC Zabitosky rallied his team members, deployed them into defensive positions, and, exposing himself to concentrated enemy automatic weapons fire, directed their return fire. Realizing the gravity of the situation, SFC Zabitosky ordered his patrol to move to a landing zone for helicopter extraction while he covered their withdrawal with rifle fire and grenades. Rejoining the patrol under increasing enemy pressure, he positioned each man in a tight perimeter defense and continually moved from man to man, encouraging them and controlling their defensive fire. Mainly due to his example, the outnumbered patrol maintained its precarious position until the arrival of tactical air support and a helicopter extraction team. As the rescue helicopters arrived, the determined North Vietnamese pressed their attack. 

SFC Zabitosky repeatedly exposed himself to their fire to adjust suppressive helicopter-gunship fire around the landing zone. After boarding one of the rescue helicopters, he positioned himself in the door delivering fire on the enemy as the ship took off. The helicopter was engulfed in a hail of bullets, and SFC Zabitosky was thrown from the craft as it spun out of control and crashed. Recovering consciousness, he ignored his extremely painful injuries and moved to the flaming wreckage. Heedless of the danger of exploding ordnance and fuel, he pulled the severely wounded pilot from the searing blaze and made repeated attempts to rescue his patrol members but was driven back by the intense heat. Despite his serious burns and crushed ribs, he carried and dragged the unconscious pilot through a curtain of enemy fire to within 10 feet of a hovering rescue helicopter before collapsing. 

SFC Zabitosky's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the US Army.

He died on January 8, 1996, in Durham, North Carolina, and was buried in Lumbee Memorial Gardens (Mausoleum Niche 33) Lumberton, North Carolina.

Claim Your Free Military Service Mini-Plaque!

Have you claimed your FREE Military Service Mini-Plaque yet? This attractive custom presentation, which can be accessed via the 'Mini-Plaque" button on your Profile Page, contains a visual summary of your military service including service photo, ribbon rack, badges, and insignia.

Your Mini-Plaque is very versatile. It can be printed out on regular 8 1/2" x 11" photo paper as a 11"x 6" landscape print, or at any smaller size depending on the frame you choose. You can also upload your Mini-Plaque to your Mobile Phone, which is perfectly sized to display as a convenient Veteran ID or, if you use Facebook, you can upload this to your Facebook Page and display this as your Facebook Page Cover - a nice touch for Veterans Day!

Login to Together We Served today to view your FREE Mini-Plaque and add any information needed to complete.


Battlefield Chronicles: Facts on the Spanish-American War

On April 25, 1898, the United States declared war on Spain following the Battleship Maine's sinking in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898. As a result, Spain lost its control over the remains of its overseas empire - Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines Islands, Guam, and other islands.

Beginning in 1492, Spain was the first European nation to sail westward across the Atlantic Ocean, explore, and colonize the Amerindian nations of the Western Hemisphere. At its greatest extent, the empire that resulted from this exploration extended from Virginia on the eastern coast of the United States south to Tierra del Fuego at South America's tip, excluding Brazil and westward to California and Alaska. 
Across the Pacific, it included the Philippines and other island groups. By 1825 much of this empire had fallen into other hands. In that year, Spain acknowledged the independence of its possessions in the present-day United States (then under Mexican control) and south to the tip of South America. The only remnants that remained in the empire in the Western Hemisphere were Cuba and Puerto Rico and across the Pacific in the Philippine Islands and the Carolina, Marshall, and Mariana Islands (including Guam) in Micronesia.

Following the liberation from Spain of mainland Latin America, Cuba was the first to initiate its own struggle for independence. During the years from 1868-1878, Cubans personified by guerrilla fighters known as "Mambises" fought for autonomy from Spain. That war concluded with a treaty that was never enforced. In the 1890s, Cubans began to agitate once again for their freedom from Spain. The moral leader of this struggle was José Martí, known as "El Apóstol," who established the Cuban Revolutionary Party on January 5, 1892, in the United States. Following the Grito de Baire, the call to arms on February 24, 1895, Martí returned to Cuba and participated in the first weeks of armed struggle when he was killed on May 19, 1895.

The Philippines Islands
The Philippines, too, was beginning to grow restive with Spanish rule. José Rizal, a member of a wealthy mestizo family, resented that his upper mobility was limited by Spanish insistence on promoting only "pure-blooded" Spaniards. He began his political career at the University of Madrid in 1882, where he became the leader of Filipino students there. For the next ten years, he traveled in Europe and wrote several novels considered seditious by Filipino and Church authorities. He returned to Manila in 1892 and founded the Liga Filipina, a political group dedicated to peaceful change. He was rapidly exiled to Mindanao. During his absence, Andrés Bonifacio founded Katipunan, dedicated to the violent overthrow of Spanish rule. On August 26, 1896, after learning that the Katipunan had been betrayed, Bonifacio issued the Grito de Balintawak, a call for Filipinos to revolt. Bonifacio was succeeded as head of the Philippine revolution by Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy, who had his predecessor arrested and executed on May 10, 1897. Aguinaldo negotiated a deal with the Spaniards, who exiled him to Hong Kong with 400,000 pesos that he subsequently used to buy weapons to resume the fight.

Puerto Rico
During the 1880s and 1890s, Puerto Ricans developed many different political parties, some of which sought independence for the island while others, headquartered like their Cuban counterparts in New York, preferred to ally with the United States. Spain proclaimed Puerto Rico's autonomy on November 25, 1897, although the news did not reach the island until January 1898, and a new government was established on February 12, 1898.

United States

U.S. interest in purchasing Cuba had begun long before 1898. Following the Ten Years War, American sugar interests bought up large tracts of land in Cuba. Alterations in the U.S. sugar tariff favoring home-grown beet sugar helped foment the rekindling of revolutionary fervor in 1895. By that time, the U.S. had more than $50 million invested in Cuba, and annual trade, mostly in sugar, was worth twice that much. The fervor for war had been growing in the United States, despite President Grover Cleveland's proclamation of neutrality on June 12, 1895. But sentiment to enter the conflict grew in the United States when General Valeriano Weyler began implementing a policy of Reconcentration that moved the population into central locations guarded by Spanish troops and placed the entire country under martial law in February 1896. 

By December 7th, President Cleveland reversed himself, declaring that the United States might intervene should Spain fail to end the crisis in Cuba. Inaugurated on March 4, 1897, President William McKinley was even more anxious to become involved, particularly after the New York Journal published a copy of a letter from Spanish Foreign Minister Enrique Dupuy de Lôme criticizing the American President on February 9, 1898. Events moved swiftly after the explosion aboard the U.S.S. Maine on February 15. On March 9, Congress passed a law allocating fifty million dollars to build up military strength. On March 28, the U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry finds that a mine blew up the Maine. On April 21st, President McKinley orders a blockade of Cuba, and four days later, the U.S. declares war.

The War
Following its declaration of war against Spain issued on April 25, 1898, the United States added the Teller Amendment asserting that it would not attempt to exercise hegemony over Cuba. Two days later, Commodore George Dewey sailed from Hong  Kong with Emilio Aguinaldo on board. Fighting began in the Philippine Islands at the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1st, where Commodore George Dewey reportedly exclaimed, "You may fire when ready, Gridley," and the Spanish fleet under Rear Admiral Patricio Montojo was destroyed. However, Dewey did not have enough manpower to capture Manila, so Aguinaldo's guerrillas maintained their operations until 15,000 U.S. troops arrived at the end of July. On the way, the cruiser USS Charleston stopped at Guam and accepted its surrender from its Spanish governor, who was unaware his nation was at war. Although the two belligerents signed a peace protocol on August 12, Commodore Dewey and Maj. Gen. Wesley Merritt, leader of the army troops, assaulted Manila the very next day, unaware that peace had been declared.

In late April, Andrew Summers Rowan made contact with Cuban General Calixto García who supplied him with maps, intelligence, and a core of rebel officers to coordinate U.S. efforts on the island. The U.S. North Atlantic Squadron left Key West for Cuba on April 22 following the frightening news that the Spanish home fleet commanded by Admiral Pascual Cervera had left Cadiz and entered Santiago, having slipped by U.S. ships commanded by William T. Sampson and Winfield Scott Schley. They arrived in Cuba in late May.

War actually began for the U.S. in Cuba in June when the Marines captured Guantánamo Bay, and 17,000 troops landed at Siboney and Daiquirí, east of Santiago de Cuba, the second-largest city on the island. At that time, Spanish troops stationed on the island included 150,000 regulars and 40,000 irregulars and volunteers, while rebels inside Cuba numbered as many as 50,000. Total U.S. army strength at the time totaled 26,000, requiring the passage of the Mobilization Act of April 22nd that allowed for an army of at first 125,000 volunteers (later increased to 200,000) and a regular army of 65,000. On June 22nd, U.S. troops landed at Daiquiri, where Calixto García and about 5,000 revolutionaries joined them. U.S. troops attacked the San Juan heights on July 1, 1898. Dismounted troopers, including the African-American Ninth and Tenth cavalries and the Rough Riders commanded by Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt, went up against Kettle Hill while the forces led by Brigadier General Jacob Kent charged up San Juan Hill and pushed Spanish troops further inland while inflicting 1,700 casualties. While U.S. commanders were deciding on a further course of action, Admiral Cervera left port only to be defeated by Schley. On July 16, the Spaniards agreed to the unconditional surrender of the 23,500 troops around the city. A few days later, Major General Nelson Miles sailed from Guantánamo to Puerto Rico. His forces landed near Ponce and marched to San Juan with virtually no opposition.

Representatives of Spain and the United States signed a peace treaty in Paris on December 10, 1898, which established the independence of Cuba, ceded Puerto Rico and Guam to the United States, and allowed the victorious power to purchase the Philippines Islands from Spain for $20 million. The war had cost the United States $250 million and 3,000 lives, of whom 90% had perished from infectious diseases.



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.

Please contact us at Admin@togetherweserved.com for full details on this Free Service.

Military Myths & Legends: Air Force Hero Who Spared His Enemy's Life

Brigadier General William D. Dunham was a highly decorated US Air Force hero. His achievements during World War II and beyond are well-documented. However, his most notable act arguably concerns an act of kindness rather than aggression.

Back when he was a Major in 1944, Bill "Dinghy" Dunham - approaching his mid-twenties - was at the controls of a Republic P-47D. Flying over the Philippine Sea, he had a clear shot at a Japanese parachutist making a descent.

The pilot was a sitting or rather falling duck. Dunham put him in that position in the first place, having shot down his Nakajima Ki-43. Now all he needed to do was deliver the killer blow. Fresh in his mind was the brutality of the Imperial Japanese Forces. They'd been known to attack pilots dangling from their parachutes. Dunham may well have felt anger growing inside him, seeing a natural opportunity to take revenge on his ruthless opposition. An eye for an eye.

Then something remarkable happened. Historynet (revisiting a 2008 Aviation History article) describes how Dunham's hand had stayed before it could pull on the trigger mechanism. Not only did the Major choose not to shoot, he even chucked a lifejacket at his foe.
 What lay behind the decision to spare his enemy's life? He later referred to it as divine intervention, "as if the Lord put his hand on my shoulder." Yet there seemed to be more going on than a possible message from the Almighty.

Earlier that year, Dunham lost his friend Col Neel Kearby. Together with Captain Sam Blair, they patrolled the North Coast of New Guinea from the air. The team engaged with 3 Kawasaki Ki.48s, but Kearby wound up in trouble. He took out his target and circled back, unknowingly putting himself in the crosshairs of a Ki.43. The enemy was dealt with; however, Kearby disappeared after being fired on.

Dunham never forgot his fallen comrade. The Historynet post indicates this was a key reason behind his treatment of the Japanese pilot all those months later. Artist David Hammond paid tribute to the dramatic episode with the painting 'Uncommon Chivalry.' Hammond became aware of Dunham's act in 2005. The finished work was unveiled in front of widow Bonnie. "Dinghy" himself passed away in 1990, at age 70.

Along the way, Hammond found out what happened to Col Kearby. Parallels existed between him, and the Japanese pilot Dunham wound up saving. Like the latter, Kearby bailed out, though sadly appeared to have died from his wounds before touching the ground. As the article notes, the Colonel lost his life "because a flier fired on a downed enemy - as Dunham later refused to do."

This chapter of the future Brigadier General's life certainly stands out. Yet, it's only one part of a long military career. Dunham signed up with the US Army Air Corps in 1941. He was an ace not just once but 3 times, with 16 "aerial victories" under his belt. 1966 saw him working as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations for the Seventh Air Force in Vietnam.

His service lasted until 1970. The air force hero was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. In the citation for that honor, the site writes, "Major Dunham's unquestionable valor in aerial combat is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service." Also bestowed on him were the Legion of Merit, the Air Force Commendation medal, plus others.

With Veterans Day fresh in people's minds this month, it is worth remembering that many soldiers act with compassion as well as violence.

Brigadier General Dunham's motivations that day in the Philippine Sea are not clear. But one thing is - he witnessed a stricken man and opted to reach out rather than cut him down. He supplied his enemy with a life jacket he himself might have relied on. 



Do You Still Have Your Boot Camp/Basic Training Photo?

Together We Served has a growing archive of more than 15,000 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.

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.

Distinguished Military Units: HA-3 Seawolves

By TWS Historian Kevin Konczak

Steeped in the political turmoil of an unpopular war and faced with unfamiliar terrain, embedded enemy supply practices, and tactics keying on stealth, by 1965, the US faced new and novel threats from Viet Cong forces with no ready recourse. Striving for any means to achieve supremacy, the Army turned to tried-and-true tactics while seeking a breakthrough military strategy. The answer, formation of the all-volunteer Navy Helicopter Attack (Light) Squadron 3, quickly renowned by their call sign "Seawolf." Utilizing hand-me-down equipment acquired from the Army and newly trained personnel, the unit would go on to become the most highly decorated squadron in naval aviation history.

During the squadron's five-year tenure, the Seawolves flew more than 120,000 missions with two-hundred wounded and forty-four KIA, earning the following commendations and landmark recognition.

But just how was such unprecedented success possible in the face of antiquated equipment and the absence of both deeply experienced personnel and significant weapons technology. Still further, why did the unit remain a lesser-known chapter in naval aviation history for over 40 years?

Predating the Vietnam War, the Army had a principal interest in the use of helicopters for Search and Rescue, Medical Evacuation, and pioneering efforts in ground support operations. Though the Army had gained valuable experience in combat support tactics, it was constrained to daytime and clear weather conditions that severely limited practical applications. Meanwhile, with a bias for fixed-wing aircraft, the Navy constrained helicopters to replenishment, minesweeping, and anti-submarine duties. So, entering Vietnam, the military was not fully equipped or trained for operations that would be needed to prevail.

In 1965 there was recognition that Communist forces were infiltrating coastal and interior waterways of the Mekong Delta to supply one-third of all men and arms while conducting terror campaigns among villages. In response, the Navy implemented Operation Market Time and Operation Game Warden, whose mission was to disrupt enemy activities utilizing larger Swift Boats along the coast and smaller, more rapid River Patrol Boats inland. Close air support was critical to success, provided initially by elements of the Army already deployed in the area, but experience early in 1966 demonstrated failing operations. More specifically, "boats were being blown out of the water," and according to Admiral E. Zumwalt (Chief of Naval Operations), Navy fatalities were outpacing the ability to train replacement sailors; meanwhile, the effectiveness of Seal Team and other Special Ops suffered.

A closer review revealed several principal factors shaping this outcome; competing Army priorities for air support and restrictions that thwarted nighttime and foul weather conditions when enemy operations were at their height (Seal Team and Special Ops as well). Ultimately, it was determined that dedicated Navy resources were necessary to turn the tide, leading officially to the formation of HA(L)-3 on April 1, 1967, and led by CDR Robert Spencer beginning in May. Lacking equipment, human resources, and training, it was further agreed the Navy would take over the existing four Army detachments and what has been described as war-weary UH-1B (Huey) helicopters. Comprised of two helicopters and four-person crews each, the detachments flew from strategically placed LSTs, barges, and limited ground locations across the Mekong Delta. In doing so, the detachments could achieve mobility and proximity to the fight. To bridge the skills gap, Army personnel provided on-the-job training during actual combat missions through September.

From the outset, HA(L)-3 was a different kind of unit, comprised initially of eighty volunteers chosen from across the fleet. Interestingly, the unit's patch was fashioned after the lion logo featured on Lowenbrau beer cans with the addition of a trident and shield. The squadron routinely conducted search and destroy patrols, reconnaissance, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), SEAL Team insertion and extraction, but new rules of engagement and close air support tactics were needed to become a truly effective fighting force. A hallmark of the Seawolves were twenty-four-hour operations conducted irrespective of weather conditions, and rapid reaction practices that together with detachment mobility meant the Seawolves were typically engaging the enemy fifteen minutes following a call. According to LTCDR Bud Barnes, "…the horn would go off, and the 1MC would sound ‘Scramble the Seawolves', that whole evolution from sound asleep to in the air was less than three minutes". Similarly, the squadron adopted a tree-top philosophy (typically eighty to one-hundred feet) that both introduced new dangers (for example, ricochets) and personalized the fight, "you can see them, and they can see you." When on patrol, "if you took fire the gunner would immediately drop a flare (at night) or smoke grenade (in daylight) to mark the target, and the lead helicopter would typically be the first in." A further innovation enabling crews to continue the fight was a ‘hot turn,' wherein a helicopter could return to base to rearm, refuel and then reengage without ever shutting down the rotor. According to Larry Rogers (Door Gunner '69-'70), "We just made-up things as we went along." Perhaps more to the point, "I felt like we were renegades of the Navy; no one knew how to handle us, and no one knew any more than us, so they just said go do it- and we did."

However impressive these tactical developments were, squadron performance was equally dependent on helicopter transformation by maintenance and support staff. Reconfigured to enable night missions, the gunship's offensive capabilities were enhanced to add multiple weapon systems (twin M60, twin.30 Cal MG, automatic grenade launchers, and 6 barreled Miniguns), rapidly change out gun barrels and alternative machine guns while under fire. These innovations were adopted as standard equipment across the fleet once proven under combat conditions in many cases. One Maintainer observed, "They gave us equipment below their standards but not below ours cause we had Maintenance people that were whiz kids." This creativity was an ongoing necessity as "conditions there were sparse as were materials, necessitating creative ways to accumulate equipment outside the normal supply chain." "We were the McHale's Navy of Vietnam; a cross between McHales's Navy and the Black Sheep (a highly decorated WWII Marine Fighter Squadron)."

The Seawolves' story is certainly one of courage, teamwork, dedication, and innovation under extreme conditions, but more, a selfless willingness to place themselves in harm's way on behalf of others. Though combat operations alone will forge a bond among seamen, such esprit décor requires unilateral acceptance of the mission and common, underlying values. Captain Dick Catone observed, "… members took pride in the mission entrusted to them", while others recalled, "we trusted each other with our lives," "you're never going to leave someone behind; if you put them there by God, you're going to get them out, even if it cost your life." This commitment to SEAL Team and Special Op extractions, in particular, has cemented relationships that are as strong today as they were over forty years ago. In support of this culture, one Seawolf explained, "There was no Officer-Enlisted separation; the crew and pilots were all one group." This notion was further borne-out by Captain Robert Spencer (Commanding Officer), "We didn't function as a group; we functioned as one person, we thought as one person, we fought as one person."

HA(L)-3 fought with distinction from its inception through decommissioning on March 16, 1972. Once again, the Seawolves secured another first in naval history as the only squadron formed and disestablished overseas. Together with the effects of an unpopular war and personnel who never sought fame, the Seawolves have been uncelebrated for over forty years.  Nonetheless, there is no denying that for one moment in time, volunteers came together as Brothers and not only accomplished their mission with courage and devotion but achieved a level of greatness that will live on long beyond them in the annals of naval aviation history. 



Have A Military Reunion Coming Soon?

TWS has over 1.95 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.

Please contact us at admin@togetherweserved.com with the following details of your Reunion:


Service Branch Reunion Applies To:
Your Reunion Name:
Associated Unit or Association:
Date Starting:
Date Finishing:
Place Where Held:
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Other Comments:

Memories From My Service: Sicilian Dreams

By TWS Member, RMC Ted Krol, USN (Ret)

Sicilian summers were oppressively hot. It was the kind of hot that could make you a little nutty if you weren't careful and would wear you down if you spend all day in it. I like to think that the heat factored in when they decided to take riposo (the Sicilian siesta) centuries ago.  All shops and businesses close around 1 o'clock and stay closed for 2 or 3 hours while people went home to take a nap. It served the dual purpose of recharging your batteries and cooling your engines.

This custom wasn't embraced by the Americans on base, however. There were two types of work schedules on base: the standard Monday through Friday 9-5 and watch rotations.  Watch rotations varied from command to command. The majority of my friends fell into the second category, and our rotation consisted of 2 twelve-hour days, 2 twelve hour nights, and 96 hours off. After our last mid-watch, we'd try to stay up as long as we could in an attempt to get back on a regular schedule. This was typically accomplished by either taking care of things that needed taken care of so as not to impede on precious liberty time or by drinking. Drinking was my preferred method.

I lived in the barracks, which had its pros and cons. The biggest pro was also the biggest con: there was usually a party going on.  It was a pro depending on whether you were working your rotation or on your 96.  It was considered common courtesy not to bitch about parties too much because you knew the tables would be turned in the next four days. Each room had a bunk bed and a single bunk, and your rank determined whether it held two or three people. The rooms were only big enough to hold three people by military standards, and if you didn't get along with your roommate, you worked it out. Sometimes civilly, sometimes there were fights. One of my friends had a dirtbag move in, and after a night of heavy drinking, he decided he was going to go into the room and cut off his big toe with a bottle cap to teach him a lesson. He woke up pissed off, but he got the message, and at 0300, he was washing both his ass and his dirty draws.

During the summer months, the temperature would peak around 100 frequently but cooled off considerably once the sun dipped below the horizon. This was when we would typically take our tables and chairs out of our rooms, sit outside, crank tunes, play Euchre, drink beer, and told sea stories all night. We talked about the Chiefs we hated and the girls we liked as Shannon Hoon sang about only wanting to be 16 and free. Trump was called, books were won, and shit was talked. This became our routine to the point that the base police stopped hassling us because they knew we weren't going to stop and that we weren't really doing anything terrible.

We were reluctantly setting up one night because it was a rare Saturday off, and there was nothing else to do. There was usually a party somewhere out in town, and parties out in town typically had an open invitation. It didn't matter if you knew the people or not, just bring your own booze and don't be a dick.  But there were none going on that night. As if to drive the point home, people who lived off base came to the barracks to see what we were up to.  We were all coming up empty-handed. One of the girls mentioned she knew of a secret beach in Siracusa, and in no time at all, we had loaded up a caravan, and in less time than it took to get through Pearl Jam's "Ten," we pulled off into a layby. We weren't far from a spot where a few of us would go cliff diving every now and then.  We walked through a copse of trees that opened up to the waves of the Mediterranean crashing on the beach. Some went to unload the cars of the coolers of beer while others roamed the beach for driftwood so we could start a bonfire. There was a large piece nearby, and we set up camp around it, but it was too big to reasonably start on its own and precious little kindling to be found. We had given up hope of having a bonfire when one guy came back dragging two-by-fours behind him.

"Where'd'ja get those?"

"Whole pile of 'em back a ways."

We had a bonfire going in no time.  

It was full-on dark, the night was clear, and constellations gazed down at us as we gazed up at them.  Clothes were shed as people raced into the sea. The boom box played albums that will be forever linked to Sicily: Blood Sugar Sex Magic, Ritual de lo Habitual, The Chronic, Dirt. Beers were shotgunned. Couples drifted away in search of solitude. Conversations shifted from braggadocious banter to hushed confessions as the batteries in the boom box faded. The moon had dipped below the copse of trees, and couples returned to what was left of the fire as the sun peaked its head over the sea. Sand scratched the eyelids of those roused to consciousness. Coolers were dumped over the fire to douse the coals as the empties were packed away. We made our way back to our cars and headed home silently.

If I find myself walking through that copse of trees again, I'll know my deeds outnumbered my sins.



Featured Military Association: Non-Commissioned Officers Association

Have you been awarded a Purple Heart? If so, now is the time to join the Military Order of the Purple Heart - Chartered by the U.S. Congress. We are a 501(c) 19 non-profit War Veterans Service Organization. We have 417 Chapters and 48 Departments located in six regions of the United States of America.

Life membership is only $50.00 very affordable, and you will be promoting MOPH programs to help and serve Veterans, their families, and communities as other Combat Wounded Veterans have done since 1932.

From service in Beirut, Grenada, Panama, Persian Gulf, Libya, and the Global War on Terrorism there have been more than 58,000 Purple Hearts awarded for wounds received in action by enemies of the United States of America. You as a Purple Heart recipient have earned this high honor and distinction.

There is no greater bond amongst warriors than of those who have been wounded for our Nation’s cause. Welcome Home & welcome to the Military Order Purple Heart. Please go to www.purpleheart.org and join today! Or email: membership@purpleheart.org Or Mail application and documents to MOPH Headquarters, Membership Department, 5413-B Backlick Road, Springfield, VA 22151-3960. 

Post-Vietnam Recruitment Committee, Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A.


Today the Non Commissioned Officers Association (NCOA) remains a vital fraternal, benevolent non-profit Military Service Organization. Join our 40,000 members as we represent the voice of 17.9 million Enlisted Veterans, and 1.8 million Enlisted service members, Active Duty, Reserves, and National Guard. NCOA acts as a conduit between the military and civilian communities in local areas and promotes positive community relations. 

The Association is proud of its efforts in three primary areas: Legislative Representation; Social and Fraternal Programs; and Member Benefits in specialized services and discount programs. NCOA has much to offer its members and you too can join our numbers. Membership in NCOA is open to all, however, you must meet certain criteria to be a voting member of the Association, but this does not prevent you from being an Associate member and supporting our organization, and reaping the benefits of being a member.

Membership Categories are as follows:

REGULAR MEMBERS:  Any individual who served in any branch of the US Armed Forces, Active duty, Reserves, National Guard, retired or separated personnel who held the pay grade E-1 through E-9, any time prior to or at the time of separation from active duty under honorable conditions.
VETERANS MEMBERS:   Any individual who served in any branch of the United States Armed Forces Active duty, Reserves, National Guard, retired or separated personnel, who never held enlisted pay grade and under honorable conditions. 
ASSOCIATE MEMBERS:   Any individual who actively supports the aims and goals of the NCOA but is not eligible for other categories of membership such as allied foreign military services. 
INTERNATIONAL AUXILIARY MEMBERS: Any spouse/former spouse, widow/widower, and family members 18 years of age or older of enlisted members, whether active duty, separated, veteran, Reserve or National Guard, in pay the grade E-1 through E-9.

NCOA’s Chapters are the foundation of the Association. They are the centers of social interaction among association members, grass-roots benevolent activity, military and community support, and involvement programs. This includes support to local Military Installation’s Quality of Life Programs, Service Member Recognition Programs, support of Fisher Houses, VA Hospitals, providing support to the needy, and sending care packages to deployed Service Members.

Association Chapters exist worldwide from small towns in the United States to countries like Korea, and Italy; almost everywhere American service members are stationed or call home. Go to www.ncoausa.org to find a chapter near you.

If you are already a member, please promote this fantastic and beneficial membership information to fellow service members and Veterans looking for a supportive military community. If they are interested or have questions have them contact us or visit www.ncoausa.org. You can also visit and like our Facebook page NCOA USA.

Click on Link to Support NCOA Amazon Smiles.
Disaster Relief Fund - https://smile.amazon.com/ch/74-2756133  
Scholarship Fund – https://smile.amazon.com/ch/74-2351587



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 admin@togetherweserved.com.

Service Reflections Video of the Month

#TributetoaVeteran - EMCS/SS Kent Weekly U.S. Navy (Ret) 1973-1994




Are You a Writer?
As you know, TogetherWeServed is always looking for interesting articles to post to our forums and in this newsletter. Have you written any military-related articles you would like to share with a broader audience? Send your submissions to admin@togetherweserved.com, and you may see it in an upcoming issue.


Do You Know PhotoShop?

One of the many things that our small team of admins does every day behind the scenes is to fix all of the service photos uploaded every day. As photos age, their color fades, they end up bent or scratched. Some are uploaded cockeyed, so they have to be straightened. 

We do this so that when your family sees your photo on our Roll of Honor, it is the very best it can be.

If you have a near expert-level knowledge of PhotoShop Elements and have a few hours a day you can devote to the project, email us at admin@togetherweserved.com, and we'll get you started.

Attention Associations

Would you like to reach more than 2 million vets in one publication? We have added a section for our associations for just that. Write up your latest news. Tell us about your association. Send it to us at admin@togetherweserved.com, and we'll include it in our next issue.

TWS Flyers Available
Do you have a reunion coming up and would like to spread the word about Together We Served? We now have flyers available that help explain a little bit about who we are and what we do.

Send your requests to admin@togetherweserved.com. Please include your name and address, along with how many flyers you require.

NEW 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 admin@togetherweserved.com, and we will get them in the mail to you.

Do You Have a Reunion Planned for the Norfolk Area?
If you do, please contact Diane Short at admin@togetherweserved.com to discuss doing a presentation for your reunion.


Did You Know?

To request your military service records or those of an immediate Next of Kin, go to the National Archives and Records Administration website. These instructions are for both your individual military records and/or the records for a deceased next of kin veteran. This will apply to either case.

Due to the coronavirus public health emergency, National Archives research rooms and museums are closed to the public until further notice, and the National Personnel Records Center is servicing only urgent requests related to homeless veterans, medical emergencies, and funerals which may be faxed to 314-801-0764. We thank you for your patience and look forward to resuming normal operations when the public health emergency has ended.

More information about the National Archives' response to coronavirus can be found at archives.gov/coronavirus.

Please read all of the following.
Go to this website

YOU WILL NEED TO KNOW (not required, but it helps)
Branch of Service
Dates of Service
Rank (if known)
Social Security Number
Military Service Number
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Date of Death (If on active duty)
Place of Death (if on active duty)
Date of separation (at least the year)
The character of separation. (if known)If Next of Kin, you will need either a death certificate or an obituary.
When you go through the web-pages, they ask for information in several separate steps. Eventually, they will ask why you want this information. Put down "personal military history" or "family genealogy."  You may want the information for other purposes, BUT this will get you the most complete records. THEN, make sure you ask for the UNDELETED transcript. (If not, you will only get a copy of the DD-214/Record of Separation and just a few pages).

No duplicate copies of these records were ever maintained, nor were microfilm copies produced. Neither were any indexes created prior to the fire. In addition, millions of documents had been lent to the Department of Veterans Affairs before the fire occurred. Therefore, a complete listing of the records that were lost is not available. However, in the years following the fire, the NPRC collected numerous series of records (referred to as Auxiliary Records) that are used to reconstruct basic service information.

On July 12, 1973, a disastrous fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) destroyed approximately 16-18 million Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF). The records affected:

Also, be sure to fill out the comments section. Here you should ask for copies from his service record for "all official pages of the official military personnel file and any supplemental pages reflecting service schooling, education, air/sea travel, duty assignments, weapons qualification, special equipment or skill qualifications, awards, medals, decorations and commendations, combat service and/ injuries and all other military service-related entries. Additionally any and all Performance Evaluation and or Fitness Reports."

Please copy that exactly into the comments section of the electronic request. This will give you nearly if not all of his service records. After you fill out the electronic request, you will download the signature authorization page. THIS IS REQUIRED. If you have fax capabilities, you can sign the request and send it in.  If not, you can sign it and send it by postal mail.

ALSO - They will give you an electronic ID REQUEST NUMBER. Make sure you write this down. You'll need it later.

Once they receive the signature authorization page, it should be about 3-4 weeks before you get the package. You "should" also get an email notification that the request is being processed and another email again when the package is mailed. There have been cases where you will only receive a DD-214.  Send your request again. In the comments section, add "THIS IS THE SECOND REQUEST FOR all pages."

When the package comes in . . . if you need further assistance, contact TWS Admin.

If you have a how-to question or a question on the website in general, contact admin at admin@togetherweserved.com.   

VA and Other News

Getting Veterans COVID-19 vaccinations high priority, says SecVA.

Continuing to get COVID-19 vaccinations for Veterans – especially those in rural and highly rural areas – is a high priority, VA Secretary Denis McDonough told reporters on Feb. 23.

More than 1 million Veterans have at least one vaccine, and 400,000 received both doses, McDonough said, with numbers of shots in arms climbing daily.

Veterans are generally receiving the COVID vaccine quickly after facilities receive doses.

"In many facilities, from the arrival of dosages to having provided all those dosages in arms is about three to four days in some and not more than seven in any facility," McDonough said.

The secretary has witnessed the urgency by VA staff to get Veterans the COVID-19 vaccine.

"People have taken really seriously the assignment to get these shots in arms," he said.

To reach some Veterans, VA has found new and creative ways to deliver shots in arms. Veterans in rural Kalispell, Montana, received COVID-19 vaccines following an airplane delivery from Fort Harrison near Helena into Glacier Park International Airport on Feb. 3. A private charter delivered 400 Moderna vaccines for high-risk Veterans. The area is one of the more remote parts of Montana, about 200 miles from Fort Harrison. Veterans also receive shots through mobile shot clinics, like one recently in Nebraska.

The secretary said Veterans would see continued vaccinations at VA facilities. As the vaccination program moves forward in the months to come, Veterans will see VA take that capacity on the road, too. And, VA will partner with federal agencies to further expand the number of vaccinators to get Veterans their shots.

McDonough said Veterans in rural and highly rural communities not receiving the vaccine are a concern. About 4.7 million Veterans living in rural and highly rural areas. Of those, about 2.7 million use VA health care. Rural Veterans enroll in VA health care at about a 58% rate, significantly higher than the 37-percent enrollment rate of urban Veterans.

Urban areas have at least 30% of the population residing in an urbanized area as defined by the Census Bureau. Rural areas have fewer people than urban areas, while highly rural areas have a sparse population. Highly rural areas have less than 10% of the working population that commutes to any community larger than an urbanized cluster. That is typically a town of no more than 2,500 people.

Compared to urban areas, rural communities tend to have higher poverty rates. They also have more elderly residents, residents with poorer health, and fewer physician practices, hospitals, and other health delivery resources. Rural Veterans enrolled in VA's health care system are also significantly older. About 55% are over the age of 65.

Other COVID assistance for Veterans
Veterans are also receiving debt relief from VA, McDonough said. VA will continue the suspension of collection on all Veteran benefit overpayments and medical copayment debts incurred after April 1, 2020. VA is suspending this debt collection to provide Veterans continued financial relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Veterans also received an extension on an existing moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, as well as an extension on VA loan forbearance requests, to June 30, because of COVID-19.

"The President has given us a clear mission to do everything we can to get to and through this pandemic," McDonough said. "And providing that economic relief is a big part of that."

VA staff
The secretary said about 259,000 VA clinicians received at least the first vaccine, and about 220,000 received both doses. That allows health care workers to provide continuing care to Veterans.

As secretary, McDonough said he wants to empower VA staff to be "innovative and creative" in finding ways to serve Veterans. He said Veterans deserve VA staff to have clear processes and procedures to provide care. In his short time as secretary, he's been impressed with VA staff.

"I think the people are really talented people," he said.

More information
To learn how Veterans and designated caregivers can get the COVID-19 vaccine from VA, visit https://blogs.va.gov/VAntage/84404/veterans-designated-caregivers-can-get-covid-19-vaccine-va/.

Find answers to general VA COVID-19 vaccine questions at https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/.

To receive ongoing updates about VA's COVID-19 vaccine efforts and to indicate your interest in getting the vaccine once you're eligible, visit https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/stay-informed.

Read the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet at https://www.fda.gov/media/144638/download.

Read the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet at https://www.fda.gov/media/144413/download.


Navy Identifies Sailor who died of COVID

The U.S. Navy on Wednesday identified a sailor who died of COVID complications on Monday, Feb 23rd, as Chief Hull Technician Justin Huf, 39.

Assigned to the Virginia-based Assault Craft Unit 4, Huf tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday and was admitted to Sentara Leigh Hospital in Norfolk the following day, the Navy’s Expeditionary Strike Group 2 said in a statement.

“Huf was in the (intensive care unit) at the time of his death,” the unit said. “Sailors who were in contact with Huf have been notified and are taking the appropriate precautions.”

ACU 4 crew members are being supported by chaplains, embedded mental health specialists, and counselors, according to ESG 2.

“Our deepest condolences are with the family, friends, and shipmates of Chief Petty Officer Huf during this extremely difficult time,” the unit said.

Information Systems Technician (Submarines) 2nd Class Cody Andrew-Godfredson Myers, 26, of the blue crew of the ballistic missile submarine Tennessee, died of COVID complications on Feb. 4.

On Feb. 2, Chief Quartermaster Herbert Rojas, 50, assigned to Recruit Training Command, died from COVID complications as well.

Plan to remove handling of military sexual misconduct from the chain of command sees new momentum

The Senate Armed Services Committee chairman said he is considering plans to establish an independent prosecutor to handle all sex crimes in the military, a potentially major change to the Uniform Code of Military Justice stemming from years of frustration over the Defense Department's handling of the issue.

"Over a decade or more, we have tried different approaches to limiting sexual assault, sexual harassment, and also retaliation, and we haven't seen the progress that we hoped," Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., told reporters in a roundtable event Wednesday morning. "And so I think the idea of separation is once again on the table."

Advocacy groups and several congressional Democrats have pushed for the move for years, arguing that military commanders are inclined to overlook accusations of sexual misconduct in favor of keeping personnel in place.

They say an independent prosecutor experienced in those cases would be more likely to file and pursue charges, especially in cases of repeat offenders.

Military leaders have strongly objected to the idea, saying it would upend the current chain of command and remove the responsibility of addressing unit leaders' issues. On the campaign trail, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden also offered support for the idea of separate prosecutors for sex crimes in the military.

Last year the Pentagon's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office unveiled that sexual assault reports increased 3 percent from fiscal 2018 to 2019, with more than 6,200 cases. But officials estimated that less than 40 percent of all assaults are reported.

Meanwhile, fewer than 200 of those cases resulted in convictions in fiscal 2018. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calf. - the chairwomen of the Senate and House Armed Services committees' military personnel panels - earlier this month labeled those results "a broken system that punishes victims while allowing most perpetrators to escape any consequences for their actions."

In early February, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced a new commission to evaluate sexual misconduct in the ranks over the next few months. Reed said the move is needed but said that won't be enough.

"One of the ethical tenets of the military is you protect your subordinates; sexual harassment and sexual assault is exploitation and can't, can't be tolerated," he said. "It's antithetical to the American military, and we're going to be very serious about this."

Reed said he wants to focus more on the prevention of sexual assaults and harassment in the military but said that issue is interconnected with the prosecution of crimes that occur. If cases are properly investigated and prosecuted, "people will feel comfortable reporting people."

"If changes to the judicial system accelerate that progression, then it should be considered," he said.

Members of Reed's committee are expected to begin work on their draft of the annual defense authorization bill in the coming months. In recent years, independent prosecutors' issue for military sex crimes has been widely discussed during that debate but ultimately defeated.

However, Democrats control both the House and Senate this year, which could mean new momentum for the proposal if party leaders can convince their own members to support the idea.

For all the latest updates on how the worldwide Covid-19 crisis, click here:

Looking For

Marines who served with David Meirhofer

Dear Veterans,

I'm trying to locate information about David Meirhofer, a Montanan who was promoted to Sgt. while he was in Vietnam during most of 1970. Below are some high school yearbook photos.

He was short, 5'6" (my height, exactly), wiry, and 20 y/o at the time he was in Vietnam. He had basic infantry training at Pendleton in Oct 1968, attended electronics school in San Diego upon completing basic, and then was assigned to Cherry Point, NC, before shipping to Vietnam in late 1969/early 1970. He was a Montanan who was promoted to Sgt. while he was in Vietnam with the Marines 5th Comm Battalion during most of 1970. He returned to Pendleton before he was discharged in 1971. I can't provide more detail than that because the National Personnel Records Center is closed to non-emergency requests because of COVID. I'm interested because David was a serial killer in his hometown both before AND after he was in the Marines, confessing to 4 killings (3 of them children) hours before committing suicide in jail in 1975.

Of course, I'd like to speak with anyone who knew David, but even if you didn't, I'm interested in knowing what your time in any of these areas was like to get an idea of what it might have been like for David. 

Chris Manthey
Phone 917-763-8854
Email chrismanthey@me.com


Family of Capt Sherman F. Turner, Jr

I found a silver container in my warehouse that probably has been stored there for many years. It has the following inscription on the side: 









1953 - 1955

I want to give the container to Capt. Turner, Jr, if he is living or to one of his family members. Please contact me with information, if it is available.

Marcus Jones, LCSW



Navy Ring

I have a navy ring with initials and the date NEH 76 in it.

How did I get this Ring: I am not proud of how I got it, but I will tell you anyhow
I did try to find the Owner with the VFW and other groups in vain. 

I was working in Alaska in the late '70s, and a young Sailor decided he wanted to
Arm wrestle me after seeing me wrestle against another guy in a bar in Anchorage. One too many drinks for both of us, and I agreed, he put up his Ring, and I put up the cash. He left the ring on the bar, left the bar, and I never saw him again. I woke up with the ring.

I have felt like I have a monkey on my back I can't shake off ever since. 

I am 78 and sure hope you can find the owner or a relative to send it to them.

It is of no value to me or anyone else other than the owner or his relatives.

I hope the newsletter works.

Ed Beaudin

Timothy Vogel

Together with my classmate, I do research on a randomly chosen Vietnam veteran. We selected that veteran by sketching a random name on the memorial in Washington DC with paper and pencil. This veteran named Timothy Vogel is the subject of our research. We think that all information sources that could give us any information about Timothy Vogel have been exhausted. Nevertheless, we would like to give an idea of what his experience might have been. With this, we want to show that the memorial in Washington shows individuals' names, each with a story instead of just numbers.

For this research, we would like to do an online interview with a Vietnam veteran who can give us information about a soldier's rides in the Vietnam War. For example, we know that Timothy Vogel was trained on Parris Island. It seems very useful to us for research purposes to hear from a veteran what the training looked like there. We also want to know what the experience was like in Vietnam, regardless of Timothy Vogel's experience.

Because we, as Dutch people on the other side of the ocean, find it difficult to get in touch with a Vietnam veteran, we wondered if Together We Served could help us further with getting in touch with a veteran.

Timothy Vogel was trained on Parris Island and served for Golf Co, 2nd Bn, 3rd Marine Regiment, part of the Battalion Landing Team (BLT) at the DMZ Quang Tri in 1967. It would be great for the research if we could find a Vietnam veteran who can tell us something about Timothy Vogel's military career.

As mentioned before, we wonder what the training on Parris Island looked like. Was it tough? What was the training for? Was it mainly focused on fighting guerrilla fighting? What was the atmosphere like? But we also know that Timothy Vogel was a Machine gunner, was there special training for that?

We also have questions about the situation in Vietnam. For example, what was the atmosphere like? Was everyone tense? Where and how were you housed in the time between operations? Was there a general strategy against the guerrilla? In what way were you helped by the Vietnamese people, or were you very distant from the Vietnamese people? We know that Timothy Vogel was killed by friendly fire when he relieved himself; how and especially where was relieved during mission days? And did it often happen that there was a misunderstanding about whether someone belonged to the enemy or not, and where did that come from? How was a fallen marine retrieved from the battlefield? How was that Marine transported to the USA? What does the Purple Heart medal mean?

And we also have a few questions about the monument. After all, what does the monument mean for the veterans who did not die, and are the veterans satisfied with the monument?

Thank you very much in advance.

Kind regards,
Pieter Struycken and Joep Beusen (17)
Haarlem, Netherlands
+316 37318525

Last Flight of the Eileen

I'd like to share some additional background information about the last flight of 'Eileen,' the plane of 1LT Cecil Biggs and his crew. I'm not sure whether you already have this background information, but here's what's known to me about the before mentioned, just in case you haven't got this information. Let me start by introducing myself. I am Helgo Borgers, 55 years old, and born and raised in the area between the cities of Arnhem and Nijmegen (the Netherlands). Following the (partial) failure of Operation Market Garden, a 198-day-long fight erupted between Allied and German soldiers in this area (more specifically, between the villages of Bemmel and Huissen). Amongst the current population, the war is still a common topic to talk about, and we are still grateful for the sacrifices they made liberating us from German rule.

At the time, my grandparents (with their son and two daughters) from my mother's side of the family lived in the Mooijeweg/Kruisstraat in Elden (South of Arnhem). My uncle Hein, born in 1939 (passed away in 2018, my mum's older brother), has told me the following for a 'war stories' column in a family magazine we published recently. My uncle Hein witnessed the last and fatal flight of Eileen, together with my grandfather.

September 21st, 1944: Plane crash
Around 5 PM local time, Hein is standing on a wooden apple box looking through the window, beholding the Polish paratroopers making their landings near the village of Driel. (together with his father, on the 1st floor and on the West side of their house at the Mooijeweg in Elden.) A plane is attempting to land (most likely emergency landing) on the pasture next to their house (this pasture is flat and will later become a local soccer pitch. Later they will learn that the plane in question listens to the name 'Eileen.' The plane is already on fire and smoking, the crew is (visible to Hein) panicking. While descending towards the pasture, the pilot(s) realize that the German flak is too heavy to land and abort the landing (German soldiers have entrenched themselves around the house). Later, they will get to know that around 5.20 PM, the plane crashed in the orchard of the family Wienholts in Bergerden (Bemmel/Huissen-area), which is about 4 kilometers/2.5 miles away (in September 1944: German).

In case you're interested, I can, with the help of aerial photos, show you where exactly the plane attempted to land before aborting the landing and ending up in the orchard.

I'm looking forward to hearing back from you.

Kind regards,
Helgo Borgers


Veteran's Causes

Cross Country Cycle 4 Vets'

I want to say I hope you are doing well in these troubling times that we find ourselves in. I am reaching out to you for Together we Served did a story on my first 3042-mile ride. I need your help in printing a story in the News Story to help me make my goal for injured veterans and first responders. Since Covid started, I have not been able to have my regular fundraisers, and my biggest of the year has been put on hold. I am in fear that I might not make my goal for my next foundation. I am not sure if you have traveled along with me in 2018 for Cross Country Cycle 4 Vets' journey or not; however, just a bit about me and my mission. Or you are just learning about my mission for my injured brothers and sisters.   


You see, Cross Country Cycle 4 Vets was started for a single cycling journey that took me 3042 miles as a self-supported solo cyclist in 2018. I cycled from San Diego, CA to St Augustine, FL, and on the road for 61 days.  Where I was raising money for injured veterans and first responders for the Gary Sinise Foundation. I was able to raise $30,685 over my goal of $25,000. I returned home in May, in which I started feeling lost; I felt as I had lost the meaning in my life. With two years of fundraising to make my goal. My purpose in my life was “waking up, cycling east, eating, talking about our veterans in need, shower, map out my next stop, sleeping and repeating.” My mission was to raise money for our veterans and 1st responders now as I sit here home looking for a job as ordinary people have to do, for I have many bills to pay. I felt that I had lost the most important meaning in my life, which I had found as I rode across the Southern Tier, as my ride was over, and so a big part of the purpose in my life which I felt so profoundly. I thought that I had to find that meaning again, that meaning of helping my brothers and sisters found an excellent Foundation called: Oscar Mike Foundation. This foundation gets injured veterans and first responders “On-the-Move” again through adaptive sports.  

My first ride was not without many challenges. Cycling across the country is challenging by itself; it is a bit more intense, for I had a brain tumor. I have had my tumor removed on 5.20.20, so my next ride will be tumor-free. They were able to remove the whole tumor; however, I still cycle with asthma and epilepsy. I had 16 seizures when I cycled the southern tier for Gary Sinise Foundation. Each time I needed to stop for about 10- to 30-minute each time to pass. It would take about an hour to recover fully. Some of my attacks are scary as I laid on the side of the highway shaking by myself listening to the rattlesnakes, but they never discouraged me from my journey; just as others suffer from disabilities, you learn to live with them, and it becomes part of your life. As Long as I Can Cycle, I will Cycle for my Sisters and Brothers through various foundations! I have also written a book about my journey across America: 10MPH Coast to Coast, sold on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other sites. 

I wanted to find any way to help my brothers and sisters with the challenges that some undoubtedly face today. My cycling and raising funds are my way of shining a light and letting all injured military members know that they always appreciated everything they do for me. I am also a Navy veteran. For their sacrifices and unwavering commitment they have given to our great nation! 

Can you do a story on my mission, hoping this might get a few dollars to help me make my goal, for I fear I will not make my goal, which is very upsetting to me? All donations are tax-deductible, and please check to see if the company you work for does a match. Plus, you will also receive a little token from me with every donation. 

You can make a secure donation by clicking on my website and going to Make A Donation.  


Thank you for your time in advance, and I hope you will help me spread the news of what I am doing, what I have done, and help me make my goal to our injured service members and First Responders.  

Meet Tracy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okmHR753wqo 

Thank you,  

Tracy Sefcik
Cross Country Cycle 4 Vets
Phone: 847-650-3830
Email: Tracy.Sefcik@CrossCountryCycle4Vets.com
Website: http://www.crosscountrycycle4vets.com/
Donate: https://donorbox.org/cccycle4vets​
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Crosscountrycycle4vets
Instagram: CrossCountryCycle4Vets
YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okmHR753wqo


Authors Nook

The Dream Warrior: A Viet Nam War Veteran's Memoir
By Anthony J. Chibbaro

Story Line:

With elements of suspense and emotion, The Dream Warrior is designed to capture the imagination as well as to provoke serious thought and reflection about one's life. It continually asks the question: " Does a man have but one destiny?"  How does a man or a woman get to be the person they become? What unknown forces determine what a person feels, what a person thinks, and what life a person gets to live? How does a person handle their thoughts and feelings? How does a person handle the adversities and challenges that they face throughout their life? And when a person reaches the "September of their years," what gives them satisfaction when they look back at their life?

This is the story of service in the Vietnam War; what it was like to serve in the US Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany; what it was like to experience and survive its tragic fire in 1966 off the coast of North Vietnam in which 44 fellow officers and sailors died; and what long term affects that experience has had on the author. It is also the story of how the author has existed in another time and dimension as a warrior and a hero. It has been his means of surviving the adversity in his life.

Author Bio:

The author is originally from NJ. After graduation from the University of South Carolina, he was commissioned an Ensign in the US Navy at OCS in Newport, RI. He served in the Viet Nam War aboard the USS Oriskany (CVA-34) and survived its 1966 fire that killed 44 fellow officers and sailors. He has lived in NC since 1982.

To schedule an interview – the author can be contacted by:

Email: WARRIORCT@msn.com
Phone: (336) 852-9325

Anthony J. Chibbaro
5654-C West Market Street
Greensboro, NC 27409-2458

The book is available at iUniverse.com – bookstore (1-800-288-4677); at Amazon.com; and can be ordered from Barnes and Noble or any bookstore. It is currently ‘print on demand.'

ISBN 978-0-595-505-50569-2    Hardcover @ $27.95
ISBN 978-0-595-505-51712-1    Paperback @ $17.95




TWS Locator Service

Available for Together We Served members only! Together We Served has two hard-working Marines devoting their time and energy to help our members find long-lost friends who are not yet members of our Together We Served.

If you are looking for someone, email us at admin@togetherweserved.com with name, approximate age, where they were from, last known address, marital status, and name of spouse. We'll do our best!

A Veteran Owned Business: Brave American, Brighton, MI

Brave American
When thinking of America, most people might think of the American flag first. The flag is a symbol of freedom in America but also for those who fight for our freedom in service of the country. Brave American is a company in Brighton, Michigan that was founded by two people who wanted to give back to veterans and provide them with a place to have a job and form bonds with each other.

Brave American hires veterans to build and sell handcrafted wooden flags, watch boxes, metal home decor, and apparel. All of the material used to make the wooden flags comes from America is 100% manufactured by these veterans in America. With every sale, a percentage of the profit goes to veteran organizations around the country.

Visit the Brave American website and order today by clicking here

If you are engaged in a Veterans Owned Business that provides an interesting and beneficial service to Veterans, which you would like featured in Dispatches, please contact the Administrator HERE.



Military Book Review: We'll All Die As Marines

One Marine's Journey from Private to Colonel
By Colonel Jim Bathurst

For seventeen-year-old high school dropout Jim Bathurst, the Marine Corps reputation for making men out of boys was something he desperately needed when he enlisted in March of 1958. What began as a four-year hitch lasted nearly thirty-six years and included an interesting assortment of duty stations and assignments as both enlisted and officer. We'll All Die As Marines narrates a story about a young, free-spirited kid from Dundalk, Maryland, and how the Corps captured his body, mind, and spirit. Slowly, but persistently, the Corps transformed him into someone whose first love would forever be the United States Marine Corps. 

It documents not only his leadership, service, and training but also regales many tales of his fellow Marines that will have the reader laughing, cheering, and at times crying. In this memoir, Bathurst reveals that for him-a former DI who was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" Purple Heart, and a combat commission to second lieutenant-the Corps was not a job, a career, or even a profession; it was-and still is-a way of life.

Reader Reviews
Gripping read!

Marines will recognize the names and places, and instantly feel as if you are part of the story either in the field, standing post, aboard ship, in garrison barracks, or having a beer at the base club. There is leadership in action at every chapter of this Marines life and the results have contributed to the success of the Marine Corps, his charges, and his own.

Civilians will get a real and honest view in the life of a Marine.

I recommend adding this book to your personal library, and it should definitely be on the United States Marine Corps Commandant Reading List.

~Unknown Reader

Since I am not an avid reader, I found it astonishing that I simply could not put this book down once I started it.

The author's tales about himself and his fellow Marines had me laughing hysterically one minute and crying the next.

Perhaps it was because I was, excuse me, am a Marine who served on active duty for three years.

For those unfamiliar with the Marines, the title may seem somewhat strange and even a tad gory, but once you read the book, it becomes clear. 

In sum, a great read that I thoroughly enjoyed.
~Unknown Reader

Jim and I served together at Marine Barracks, Yokosuka in the late 50″s. We worked at the Naval base brig and I think that the continual drilling of the prisoners led us both to apply for and get accepted to drill instructor school. However, in my case, I ended up being channeled to the warrant officer program and Jim continued to become a DI.

His leadership and demand for discipline with the prisoners were both qualities that followed him through the rest of his long career. I should not be surprised to see him ending up as a Colonel with the respect of those that served with him including me. Jim, best regards. 
~Dave Penman, Major, USMC (ret) LDO

About the Author
James Bathurst enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1958.  After advancing to gunnery sergeant, he received a combat commission to second lieutenant while he was in Vietnam. 

With nearly thirty-six years of service, he retired as a Colonel of Marines.

James and his bride, Nancy, live in Girard, Illinois. They have five children and nine grandchildren.


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