1. Welcome to the CivilWarTalk, a forum for questions and discussions about the American Civil War! Become a member today for full access to all of our resources, it's fast, simple, and absolutely free! If you aren't ready for that, try posting your question or comment as a guest!

War Veterans: PLEASE share your story!!!

Discussion in 'Researching Your Civil War Ancestry' started by angelaaugust, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. angelaaugust

    angelaaugust Cadet

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Hello everyone,

    This is my first post. I began researching my genealogy this past year and was lead to this website tonight while searching for information on my great-great-great grandfather, Albert Mann. After reading the website's quote, "It is history that teaches us to hope," I am reminded of a project I finished last month in school. The topic I chose was the history of military first aid. About halfway through the project, I recalled the recent death of my grandfather. He was both a Vietnam and Korean War veteran. Not long before his death, I wrote him a lengthy letter pleading with him to tell his story. As far as I know, he never told a soul about what he experienced and took those memories to his grave. The night I thought about all this, I wept not only for the loss of my grandfather but for the memory of his war stories that will never be told. I believe that as hard as they may be to recall, these personal experiences need to be documented. No matter how many thousands of men experienced these wars firsthand, ever single one of them experienced it differently. If that experience is not shared, as was in my grandfather's case, it is gone; lost forever the moment the person dies.

    I am pleading with you all tonight: please, PLEASE share your story. If the memories are too painful, or even if you are embarrassed or ashamed for something you had to do or were ordered to do, please find a way to tell your story. If you can't bear to tell most painful things, you can still tell what life during the war was like, what you did to pass the time, what it was like to finally receive a letter from someone. Don't forget that your stories can be good experiences, too. You can document the story yourself, seal it, and put it with your will requesting that it not be opened until your death if you don't want your loved ones seeing it. There are places that will also archive your story and you can request that it not be viewed until your death; a trusted relative may be willing to do it as well. Some places will even interview you in person and archive the audio in addition to a transcript. As a woman with a long lineage of military members (including my husband, father, and grandfather), it deeply saddens me that so many of these stories will never be told. Please don't let these important pieces of history fade away. I thank all of you that have risked your lives for our country. I am truly grateful.

    Respectfully,
    Angela

  2. (Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
  3. prroh

    prroh Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2009
    Messages:
    5,573
    Location:
    Maryland
    Does the big payday fight at NCO club #3 where a fellow went through the picture window like in a John Wayne movie count?
    GELongstreet likes this.
  4. reading48

    reading48 1st Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3,930
    Location:
    N.E. Pa. 100 miles N. of gettysburg
    Hello and Greetings from the Comonwealth of Penna.
  5. ExNavyPilot

    ExNavyPilot 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2010
    Messages:
    2,978
    Location:
    Chesapeake, VA
    prroh-- Which one were you, the thrower or the throwee?
  6. prroh

    prroh Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2009
    Messages:
    5,573
    Location:
    Maryland
    I was headed to the club - really just a beer joint, with reinforcements when I observed the fellow's unnatural exit and remembered that I had forgotten to shine my boots back in the barracks.
    unionblue and Glorybound like this.
  7. 1SGDan

    1SGDan 1st Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Messages:
    4,658
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I had forgotten to shine my boots back in the barracks

    Discretion is the better part of........
    unionblue likes this.
  8. ExNavyPilot

    ExNavyPilot 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2010
    Messages:
    2,978
    Location:
    Chesapeake, VA
    I am very lucky that my father got interested in geneaology in his later years and then wrote a biography including stories of his lineage and personal experiences. This encouraged my mother to write her story. Ten years ago, my mom & dad had their "book" printed and spiral bound, and then presented copies to their kids and grandkids. Although it was appreciated at the time, my appreciated grew exponentially after my dad died 14 months ago.

    My dad served as a Fire Control Technician on board the Fletcher-class destroyer USS Erben (DD-631) during the Korean War. He had gone to UC Berkeley with the idea of continuing on to dental school and practicing dentistry like his grandfather, but after a semester of lackluster grades and some soul-searching, he postponed his education and enlisted in the Navy. During his service he had a couple of interesting but not overly dramatic combat situations off Korea (shelling DPRK gun installations ashore and attacking a possible submarine contact) but nothing that seemed to him very heroic. However, he had lots of anecdotes about life at boot camp, aboard ship, and on shore leave. After his 3 year enlistment was up, he left the Navy and returned to UC Berkeley, majoring in chemistry and getting a job in Silicon Valley, where he worked the rest of his career.

    Although his service experience will never be made into a movie, he was proud of it and thus devoted many pages of his biography to his life in the Navy. I have shared his chapters on Navy life with several ex-Navy friends who have enjoyed reading the exploits, and am working to submit the military portion of his bio to the Naval Historical Center via their memoir program (see http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq87-1.htm )

    One of these days, I'll start writing my story to add to my parents' book and pass that on to my kids and grandkids.
  9. CSA Today

    CSA Today Major

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2011
    Messages:
    7,592
    Location:
    Laurinburg NC
    I will never forget that awful July night at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 1957. Off in the distant you could see the flashes and then the rumples of mortars as the forces of Batista and Castro battled in the hills. But there was a bloodier battle, closer at hand, as the NCO club and enlisted men’s clubs closed and the drink sodden crews of the USS Intrepid, USS Tarawa and USS Corrigidor engaged in a life and death struggle on the way from the clubs to fleet landing. You can talk of a nation at war with itself or you can talk of a fleet at war with itself, but you whatever you might envisioned I’m sure the memory of it has never dimmed in the minds of those heroic participants on that fateful night so many years ago.

    “I think war is a dangerous place."
    George W. Bush
    Glorybound likes this.
  10. Samuel.Sohm

    Samuel.Sohm First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,723
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I can think about things now and they seem like second nature but at the time I was shocked beyond belief. I suppose I will share one with the group since we are all doing so.

    Paktika Afgahanistan, Sometime in January 2008 I believe:
    I had just landed at my new FOB [forward operating base] (Orgun-E) and my boss tells me we are going on to a dam site to survey it. The patrol went off without a hitch until we get back to the FOB. We hear over the radio that OE (short for Orgun-E) is under indirect fire attack (it happened all the time) and that their are casualties. I have some extra medical training so I decided to go and offer my services at the aid station (field hospital). I walk in and one of the medics yells for me to come over ASAP. He throws some gloves at me and tells me to put them on, then leads me to a room off to the side of the station. There he tells me to put my hands under the hands of another person who is holding a Majors head on a litter. I do so and then the other person leaves. The doc (slang for medic) tells me to UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES move my hands, and I say I can do that. I remember I stood there for about an hour just holding this mans head before my hands got so tired I started to shake a little and their was a clear liquid dripping onto my hands and boots. I will save you the gory details but I was holding a dead man's brains in his head so they could work on everyone else that was injured before they came to relieve me and help me bandage up his remains to send him up to Bagram for transport back to the states. I wish I could remember his name. Anyway, that started a long, sad and also very rewarding relationship I have had with army medics that I still treasure to this day. I gained a new respect for the Army medical corps that day that has ALWAYS stayed with me. I have a few other stories and if i can find the time/nerve I will type them. Good thread!
    seboyle likes this.
  11. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    17,823
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    ...an unwarrented and uneeded a**kicking. :smile:

    Unionblue
    Samuel.Sohm likes this.
  12. kel1985

    kel1985 Sergeant Major

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Messages:
    2,065
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, Pa.
    hey and welcome from Pittsburgh!
  13. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    17,823
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    Samuel.Sohm,

    Share the stories, son, whenever and wherever you can.

    We all need to know the price that our fighting men and women pay, each and every day, for each and everyone of us here at home.

    Sincerely,
    Unionblue
  14. Samuel.Sohm

    Samuel.Sohm First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,723
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Well since you asked,

    Same deployment, this time at the very end of our time there. We are going on the last mission of the deployment and I am told along with my boss that we will not be going to mission area. Instead we are going to be staying back at the FOB to prepare for turn over of our facility and Left Seat/Right Seat rides (that means to train the persons who will be replacing us). The team who came with us on a previous mission shows up at the door of my room (or hooch, as it is called in the army) and ask to come in. I let the guys in and they play a little guitar hero to relax before they board the helos to head to Zerok (the small combat outpost that was the starting point of the mission). I remember seeing a ohio national guard patch on the shoulder of one of my friends who was navy, so I tore it off, removed my combat patch (the patch on your right shoulder that shows you saw combat at one time in your career) and stuck it to his right shoulder. He was very happy because he had a chance to wear the 173rd patch which not many in the navy ever even see. He thanked me, while i helped them to the flight line to board their helo. About 2-3 days later I get a call from the aid station telling me we have incoming casualties, a mix of WIA and KIA (wounded in acti0n, and killed in action). As I always did I ran across the street to the aid station, gloved up and waited to see what they had assigned me to do. They told me that because their were so many (16 casualties at the time), I was needed to attend someone on my own bed in the station. I had never done this before and so I was nervous. The first group of patients come in and the one assigned to us was also an aquaintence of mine from FOB Bermel. I treated his wound as best I could and helped him onto the first bird (slang for helicopter) I could find. I then remember hearing the medics start to talk about the KIAs we had. I didn't want to ask about them because my job meant that I would find of eventually who they were, how they died, and I would have to assist in the memorial as well. Then i heard the name of the young navy medic I had put my patch on. I stopped for a moment and thought, when I was tasked by the medical officer with more work. I worked for about 3 more hours before I got a chance to go see his body. A very sad time that a boy of only 19 paid the ultimate price for our freedom, and all the worse that I had known this person and saw him only days/hours before it happened. Later on I was lucky enough to glance the official report and photos of the incident and found out that if my self and my boss had gone on that mission, we would most likely have been with those men when they died. Very sobering thought that I take with me to this day.....
    seboyle likes this.
  15. Bob Owen

    Bob Owen Captain Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Messages:
    5,946
    Location:
    Middle Tennessee
    ah1down.jpg My first day with the unit at the battle of Dak Seang resulted with several kills as the Co-pilot gunner in the nose of the Cobra. We were hit with a 23mm flak gun burst but made it back to base before the loss of the transmission upon landing. We had to break out of the canopy to escape the wreakage as you can see in the photo.

    Attached Files:

  16. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    17,823
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    Bob Own,

    What unit were you with in the battle for Dak Seang?

    Sincerely,
    Unionblue
  17. angelaaugust

    angelaaugust Cadet

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    I would say so. All shared memories help to paint the entire picture :D
  18. Bob Owen

    Bob Owen Captain Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Messages:
    5,946
    Location:
    Middle Tennessee
    MACV/SOG 361st Aviation Company Escort Cobra Gunship with 5th Special Forces. Dak Seang was a Special forces outpost on the Cambodian, Laos, South Vietnam Borders.
  19. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    17,823
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    Bob,

    I took some time to research the battle of Dak Seang. You have my admiration and respect.

    Glad, so very glad, you made it back and a little later on this board, became a member with us.

    Appreciate your service, Bob, and very glad to make your aquaintence.

    Sincerely,
    Unionblue
  20. angelaaugust

    angelaaugust Cadet

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Thank you so much all for the greetings, comments, and shared stories. Being raised heavily around the military, I appreciate and hold a special place in my heart for every single one of you.

    ExNavyPilot: You are lucky, indeed. I would consider that book to be a highly treasured family heirloom. I especially love that your mother added her story to it. I am always intrigued to hear different sides of the same story. It would be interesting to me to see what was happening on the home front vs. what was happening on the war front. Although I don't believe my father experienced any combat situations, it would have been nice to read about his experiences and share them with his grandchildren. He passed away recently as well (six months after my grandfather), so again I will never get to hear about them.

    Samuel.Sohm: I feel extremely privileged that you were able to share your stories with us. I believe that we all have brushes with death at one time or another but most of them go unnoticed. You just happened to identify one of them. I especially like the fact that you used military slang but also put them in layman's terms. I have medical training as well, so although I cannot begin to fathom what combat is like, I can somewhat relate to some aspects of your story through my volunteer rescue work. Please accept my sincere apologies for the loss of your friend. I encourage you to document as much as you can. It will help preserve the memories of both you and your friend.


    Bob Owen: Glad you made it out safely. It's interesting that you have a picture to supplement your story.

    Thanks again, everyone.
  21. Bob Owen

    Bob Owen Captain Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Messages:
    5,946
    Location:
    Middle Tennessee
    hpqscan0001.jpg This is the damage done by the 23mm flak gun that took out our transmission. I was young then and sometimes foolish.
    ExNavyPilot likes this.

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

Share This Page