A few years back I was carrying out some research on a local WWII airfield (now redundant) that was home to a Spitfire Squadron, whose role was to protect York from Nazi bombers. Whilst trawling the net I came across a short film that was produced for the Sundance film festival, which I almost gave up on watching (I am so glad that I persevered). Up until this morning I had forgotten about the remarkable story, until it appeared on the Blog of Theo Spark, ‘Last of the Few’
SPITFIRE 944 – YouTube 22 year old Pilot Lieutenant John S. Blyth, is one of many WWII servicemen who took it in their stride and got the job done. They are all heroes in the true sense of the word. It required a few good men to bring the story of John S Blyth to the screen, which I am thankful for. If you have a few minutes on your hands, you too can share this young American’s amazing story
I very rarely make a plug for money, but I have news of an important organization that is trying to get their feet off the ground. Any help you can offer in the form of monetary donations (small or large) would help tremendously. They are called Hooked on Heroes:
Hooked on Heroes is meant to offer wounded warriors, veterans and disadvantaged youths the opportunity to take break and go fishing. The main goal is to give something back to our heroes and to help our youth appreciate the gifts and lessons offered by mother nature through fishing.
I can personally vouch for the integrity of the org and their mission…
Courtesy of reader Lauren: the Veterans of Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, actors who portrayed them in the HBO series “Band of Brothers” along with Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg all signed this poster which will be auctioned off on eBay starting June 6th. The proceeds will be donated to GallantFew. Do go check it out. This is truly a worthwhile charity…
One who served when called upon, and fought with distinction against incredible odds! Who, when ordered to “fight to the last man, the last round, and not to retire” did just that. With a ram-rod for a backbone, this Desert Rat engaged the enemy with a 25 pounder artillery gun at point-blank range, against overwhelming odds:
Former Sergeant Ray Ellis, of the 426th Battery of the South Nottinghamshire Hussars, was the last man standing; who did indeed fire the last round in action of that bloody battle that destroyed the Panzer tank he took aim upon.
The regiment around him was cut down and slaughtered to a man, each as they stood by their orders and their guns.
Ray Ellis, a 92-year-old veteran of the Second World War reflects upon a true story that happened on 6th June 1942. “The Battle of Knightsbridge” (reputed to be one of the bloodiest battles of WWII), which raged for three relentless days in the deserts of North Africa, against ‘Field Marshall Irwin Rommel’ and his advancing Panzer Korps.
An Iraq War veteran who joined the U.S. Army two days after 9/11 has written a powerful open letter to former President George W. Bush and ex-Vice President Dick Cheney accusing them of war crimes, “plunder” and “the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.”
Tomas Young, who was shot and paralyzed during an insurgent attack in Sadr City in 2004, five days into his first deployment, penned the letter from his Kansas City, Mo., home, where he’s under hospice care.
“I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney,” Young wrote in the letter published on Truthdig.com. “I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.”
Samantha Ford’s boyfriend Albert DeSimone is a Soldier, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. He is currently in Afghanistan and today someone made Samantha’s day.
Australia’s first recovery centre to help returning soldiers and their families deal with the trauma of war has opened in Brisbane.
Up to 65,000 Australian military personnel have been deployed in peacekeeping missions and combat operations since 1999.
Many have returned with physical disabilities, but many more – an estimated 20 per cent – have returned with mental scars.
The ‘Mates 4 Mates’ centre, to be opened by General Peter Cosgrove today, will offer psychological counselling, gyms and adventure programs to help a new generation of veterans deal with the trauma of war.
The centre is being opened by the Queensland RSL, and there plans to open similar facilities in South Australia, Darwin and Sydney.
The RSL estimates there are 1,200 veterans returning to Australia every year who will need some form of psychological support.
Twenty-six-year-old Dwayne Anderson is just one.
He saw two of his mates blown away by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.
“I was only four metres away from where the actual blast was,” he told AM.
“Obviously when the blast happens you don’t really see too much. It just goes pretty much straight from daytime to night time.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars, VFW,strives to do good things for deserving people; particularly veterans, their families, and their communities. From local grassroots ideas to national influence, we work everyday to make a difference. It’s our strength as an organization. And, with each individual membership, we only grow stronger.
I met with a state commander of the VFW last week while he was in DC for some national business. As we talked, through the conversation some aspects of my military service came up. He asked about my own membership in the VFW and I told him I used to be a member but had declined to renew my membership some time ago. He seemed surprised but asked why, I told him about what I found by a number of the members of the VFW where I had been to be a “chip on the shoulder” syndrome.
Despite having been in real no-kidding combat in Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, I was often told that these were not ‘real wars’ (which in at least two cases they weren’t – not for the U.S.) The propensity of the members to think that in 2001 Afghanistan or 2003 Iraq there were the creature comforts of modern life that is shown on the news is a gross miscalculation.
We briefly discussed how I parachuted into Afghanistan and did not see a shower or hot meal for 68 days. My wife didn’t know where I was (other than I was probably in Afghanistan), multiple firefights, direct and indirect fire and calls for fire on targets seemed like a war to my team, regardless of the year that it took place in. I feel much of the feeling was based on how these men were treated when they came home. Their fathers who had fought in WWII were treated very differently by society than they were, but should that justify contempt for those who have fought after them?
Hmm, I still intend on joining when I retire. I imagine the different VFW units vary by area?
Constitutional Attorney Michael Connelly wrote a fascinating piece on our government ruling veterans incompetent to handle their own financial affairs. But they may take it further and rule a vet’s level of incompetency so grave that he or she will not be allowed to own a weapon. (Hand Salute for the link: America’s Sergeant Major, who is daydreaming about live bayonet training.)
Honorably discharged Army Sergeant Sean Bujno’s license plate reads: ICUHAJI. Which, of course, translates as I See You, Haji. And, after having the plate for four years, the Virginia DMV is taking it away from Bujno:
Army SGT Sean Bujno’s license plate reads- ICUHAJI.
Not my style, but the stupid DMV took four years to figure it out? Knuckle-heads.
The last Vietnam veteran serving in the Tennessee Army National Guard has donned his uniform for the last time.
Born and raised in Oliver Springs, Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory Peck joined the Army at age 17. After more than 40 years of service, he is retiring.
Sgt. Maj. Peck enlisted in 1970 serving as a combat engineer in Vietnam with the 20th Engineer Brigade. For the next 42 years he worked his way up the ranks. Now he retires with the highest rank possible for an enlisted man.
Summoning all relatives of Col. Raymond Alvin Nowotny. Please contact a nice Italian gentlemen by the name of Glauco Mencaroni, he has something of yours. (I will demonstrate steely self-control and not joke about Glauco’s last name. Still, I hear his family’s big in the macaroni biz. Their product? Pasta shaped like dudes. On further review: Self-control may be overrated.)
Update: A kind reader by the name of Ethel emailed me this- On Ancestry.com there is a woman, Ellen Nowotny, who was married to Alvin..in Orange, California. Most likely a relative of Col. Raymond Alvin Nowotny.