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Special Interests - Groups & Societies => Frontier Iron => Topic started by: St. George on November 10, 2017, 06:17:15 pm



Title: Veteran's Day 2017 - 'That Old Guy'...
Post by: St. George on November 10, 2017, 06:17:15 pm
Every neighborhood has one or two - sometimes, they're even in the family - those quiet 'old guys' in their late 60's or older, who don't talk much, and are always watching...

They're easy to dismiss - to think of as 'invisible' - because they're not people important enough to talk to or to get to know - they're just 'old guys'.

Some are bald, some have faded tattoos that are so far gone that it's close to impossible to make out the original design or the letters, and some have white scars or puckered ones - but they got those at work or in a car accident, you figure, so they're nothing to remark upon, and besides - why would you want to?
 
About the only thing they have in common are those American flag pins and caps that they wear - and what's up with those, anyway - they're all right for the Fourth  of July, but all year long?  Geez, Grandpa - get a grip...

I'll tell you about those guys, and if you open your jaded young eyes and really 'look' - you'll get a glimpse of their past, from a time well before they were ever called 'Dad' or 'Grandpa' or 'Uncle Jack' or whatever the name is of the guy down the block with the neatly cared for yard, who's got those unreadable tats.

In his house, there's a picture album his Mom saved, that's full of photos taken in a too-bright Asian sun - taken of young men - boys, really - in tropical uniforms, laden with equipment and weapons about to board a Huey, and there he is - seated in the rear, behind the M60 machinegun in a nearby chopper - one of the little ones they used to call a 'Loach'.

He's got a handlebar mustache and a painted helmet, and he looks like he's about twenty, but somehow about fifty, too - but that has to be a trick of the light - and though he's smiling, he's smiling with his mouth and not his eyes - and I wonder if his Mom caught that?

 (You know his Grandpa and his Dad and uncles did - that same smile's seen in the curled photos of them - taken at Iwo and Anzio and close to the Inchon - but they never mentioned it to Mom - they didn't want to worry her, and besides, they were too worried themselves, though they hid it well.)

In another, he's loading rockets - and though you can't see it, they're the 2.75" Folding Fin Aerial Rockets loaded with flechettes - and in another, he's eating a C-Ration, and actually smiling and you know Mom likes that one...

In a close-up, you can see the tattoo, and it looks new - the letters spell out 'Headhunters', and every time he hears helicopter blades, he looks up and smiles, and at night, he doesn't sleep.

The one with those puckered scars?

Ever notice that he never takes his shirt off - even mowing the yard in August?

He never takes it off with the lights on, either, because he's afraid he'll upset his wife - the High School sweetheart who'd waited for him to just come home, and didn't care about anything or anybody else but him - just that he was alive.

He damned near wasn't, when that 'friendly' napalm strike on his position almost fried him, but helped save him, while he helped save his men before he collapsed on top of his dead radioman, trying to protect him.

He spent a year at Camp Zama recuperating from some of the worst of the burns, and thank God for his helmet - it saved his ears, but the damage was on other parts, and it took a lot of time in the VA to make those parts more 'user-friendly', but she married him almost right off the plane, and they've got three kids - and she 'knows' what he looks like - her fingertips can tell.

He came home with a Purple Heart - 'and' a Silver Star - and when he went to a unit reunion after twenty years, everyone stood up and applauded - then saluted...

The bald guy?

He's got bad feet, too.

Got 'em serving in the Delta with the Ninth Infantry and they'll hurt the rest of his life, but he went bald early because of Agent Orange, and for years and years, the VA disavowed any connection to the symptoms, so he never had any kids - just didn't want to take the chance.

Helluva nice guy - a Scoutmaster for a long time, until he couldn't take the hiking, and he's 'not' looking forward to a wheelchair at all.

And that really polite guy - the one with the big, faded purple splotches that 'look' like they're tats, but are unreadable now - but the one whose clothes look like the creases have creases, and whose place looks like it's always ready for the 'Garden Society' reporter to stop by?

A Jarhead - pure and simple - used to be what they once called a 'juvenile delinquent' before a judge gave him a choice - 'Marines or Jail', so he chose the Corps and they sent him to Hue City, where he found out that VC mortarmen could walk those 60mms right down streets 'and' turn corners, too, and where his LT, Sergeant and Corporal were killed outright - leaving 'his' worthless JD ass to run the remaining Platoon and keep them from being killed.

Took the Navy docs the best part of a day to get the metal out of him, before he went AWOL to get back to his men, still leaking...

They offered him a Direct Commission, but he refused - instead, he retired out as a Sergeant Major - a 'Lifer' - three decades and a Navy Cross later.

There'll be more 'Old Guys' from these dismal wars in the sand and mountains - some 'Old Gals', too - old far before their time, and saddled with memories their forebears never wished upon them.

God, but I wish there weren't, but that's the nature of the life and the price paid, and paid willingly.

So this Veteran's Day - before you hit the retail extravaganza it's become - give some thought as to what it means to truly be 'Veteran's Day', and understand that it wasn't to be 'Thanked For Your Service' or for the free pie at Village Inn - they did it for 'you' - and for the flag and the greater sense of what it means to be an American.

My very best to you all...

Airborne! 

Six

Out


Title: Re: Veteran's Day 2017 - 'That Old Guy'...
Post by: Forty Rod on November 10, 2017, 07:35:10 pm
Thank you, sir.


Title: Re: Veteran's Day 2017 - 'That Old Guy'...
Post by: Slamfire on November 10, 2017, 11:30:38 pm
 The "45th",,,"THANK"S YOU",.







 Smoke'm ,,,while we can,,,,Hootmix>


Title: Re: Veteran's Day 2017 - 'That Old Guy'...
Post by: Major 2 on November 11, 2017, 04:48:11 am
There was this guy, I met first time at a McDonald's , noticed him right off ,wearing a Navy blue WWII VETERAN Cap.
Most any Saturday , I saw him, same meal,  plain burger & and HOT coffee BLACK !

After several chance sightings, I sat one table away, quietly & slowly he ate his burger, and seemed to nurse the coffee ( sorta savoring or maybe just making it last )

I summoned up the nerve to thank him and offer to buy him another cup .... "Naw" ! he said " that's fine,
 one was his limit "

Come to find out, he came every Saturday , ordered and got the same thing , turns out the McDonalds (St. Cloud, Fla. ) gave him his order ( always the same ) every Sat.

Now the Irony, it was about 10 years ago, I needed to go to the Hospital over night , It happen I shared the room, with non other than this very same gentleman. ( he was recovering from a surgery )

 We spoke and pasted the time ... the short version, I learned of his Navel service.
He served aboard the USS Texas BB-35 off North Africa & later at Normandy after that he sailed with it to the Pacific. He was transferred to the still brand new Ben Franklin  CV-13.
He was aboard her when She was struck by single aircraft by two armor-piercing bombs, She just 50 miles off Honshū  Japan's "Main Island". Seriously damaged with 807 killed and more than 487 wounded , he remained aboard, one of the "Big Ben 704 Club".
They saved the Franklin , and brought Her through the Panama Canal to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
He stayed aboard during her repairs and refit, he was with her in Brooklyn when the Japanese surrendered.
Bill mustered out at wars end.  
Tomorrow,  I'll go see Bill , I try to see him every year, I'll take him his cup of HOT black coffee & plain McDonald's burger ...  I'll talk to him a little,  and leave the coffee & burger on his stone ...you see Bill had no surviving family.  
  






Title: Re: Veteran's Day 2017 - 'That Old Guy'...
Post by: Forty Rod on November 11, 2017, 09:27:10 am
There are, or were, a lot of silent heroes out there in our oblivious world.

Thanks for taking care of one of them.


Title: Re: Veteran's Day 2017 - 'That Old Guy'...
Post by: Tuolumne Lawman on November 11, 2017, 09:41:09 am
I grew up on the south side of Chicago in the 50s and 60s surrounded by these "Old Guys".  My dad and uncles fought in the Pacific.  Our school custodian "Mr Bill" had been an infantry Sgt, landed at Omaha Beach in the first wave.  He fought his way across Europe.  After the war, he returned to Chicago and came to work as the parish school's custodian.  He was a quiet unassuming man. My dad (who fought on Iwo Jima) knew him pretty well, so I always was very friendly and respectful to him. It was around my 7th or 8th grade when we finally talked about the war a little.  People appreciated veterans then,

I think people have come around to appreciating veterans again.  I served 1974 to 1979 In active Army and Reserve, the 79-81 in a USAF reserve unit.  In 1974 I was spit on and called a baby killer in Oakland.  Now when I wear my Army or USAF Veteran baseball cap, people frequently say "Thank you for your service".  Funny how things change.


Title: Re: Veteran's Day 2017 - 'That Old Guy'...
Post by: Will Ketchum on November 11, 2017, 12:51:52 pm
Thank you Colonel.
And thank you to all my fellow veterans.

Will Ketchum


Title: Re: Veteran's Day 2017 - 'That Old Guy'...
Post by: Trailrider on November 11, 2017, 02:03:24 pm
I went to a Veterans Day affair at a high school.  We were split up so that three of us went to a classroom to talk to a bunch of kids. Of the two vets with me, one was a WWII Army Sgt Major, and the other a retired LTC who flew B-52's over Hanoi.  Others in the group served all over the world, in every war since WWII. Kinda made me feel like a piker. But as Lonesome George Gobel said on Johnny Carson one night, "I went where they told me to go, and did what I was supposed to do, to the best of my ability..." and so far, the "capsule drivers" have never had to turn their keys, and there aren't any radioactive craters on the North American continent, except at the test sites.

To all those heroes, who did the dirty, dangerous jobs, thanks!


Title: Re: Veteran's Day 2017 - 'That Old Guy'...
Post by: Major 2 on November 11, 2017, 03:11:56 pm
".....  People appreciated veterans then,

...."I think people have come around to appreciating veterans again".  perhaps....  :-\  



PEOPLE STILL DO ! ....it is the sub species, toe cutters, and malcontent ASSHATS  that make the most noise....
I ignore them, they only exist like rodents & other vermin in their own cesspool of life.


Title: Re: Veteran's Day 2017 - 'That Old Guy'...
Post by: c.o.jones on November 11, 2017, 04:42:45 pm
SEMPER FI TO ALL MY BROTHERS !


Title: Re: Veteran's Day 2017 - 'That Old Guy'...
Post by: Will Ketchum on November 11, 2017, 08:59:04 pm
I went to a Veterans Day affair at a high school.  We were split up so that three of us went to a classroom to talk to a bunch of kids. Of the two vets with me, one was a WWII Army Sgt Major, and the other a retired LTC who flew B-52's over Hanoi.  Others in the group served all over the world, in every war since WWII. Kinda made me feel like a piker. But as Lonesome George Gobel said on Johnny Carson one night, "I went where they told me to go, and did what I was supposed to do, to the best of my ability..." and so far, the "capsule drivers" have never had to turn their keys, and there aren't any radioactive craters on the North American continent, except at the test sites.

To all those heroes, who did the dirty, dangerous jobs, thanks!
My friend, those of us who went to foreign lands to fight were grateful for those who, like yourself, remained home and kept our country and loved ones safe. 

Will Ketchum


Title: Re: Veteran's Day 2017 - 'That Old Guy'...
Post by: pony express on November 12, 2017, 03:01:32 pm
I went to a Veterans Day affair at a high school.  We were split up so that three of us went to a classroom to talk to a bunch of kids. Of the two vets with me, one was a WWII Army Sgt Major, and the other a retired LTC who flew B-52's over Hanoi.  Others in the group served all over the world, in every war since WWII. Kinda made me feel like a piker. But as Lonesome George Gobel said on Johnny Carson one night, "I went where they told me to go, and did what I was supposed to do, to the best of my ability..." and so far, the "capsule drivers" have never had to turn their keys, and there aren't any radioactive craters on the North American continent, except at the test sites.

To all those heroes, who did the dirty, dangerous jobs, thanks!

I went to a Veterans day program at one of the schools nearby. Just a small country school, had about 15-20 vets in attendance. Most were Vietnam era, Sadly, no WWII or Korea. And a few from the Gulf wars. And me, the Cold War vet. Like Trailrider, I just did what I was told, and made sure the 20-some trucks in the motor pool would go if needed.

Also, didn't see anyone kneeling there!