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Veterans Day -tell your stories, thoughts, etc. -Do not politicise or criticise

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  • Veterans Day -tell your stories, thoughts, etc. -Do not politicise or criticise

    Seabags in the Rain
    When clouds are gray and lowering
    And fog obscures the plain,
    I sometimes think I catch a sight
    Of seabags in the rain.

    I know it is a vision
    Too ethereal to last,
    But it brings a wisp of sadness
    And a haunting from the past.

    We had come ashore at Inchon
    In Nineteen Fifty-Two—
    An administrative landing,
    Just a unit passing through.

    We were mustered at the railhead,
    Lining up to board a train,
    When through the stormy darkness
    I saw seabags in the rain.

    There was no need to question
    Why they were lying there
    Looking lonely and abandoned
    In the damp Korean air.

    Their owners had gone northward
    And would not return again
    From where hills of bitter battle
    Took the lives of fighting men.

    Now when fog and darkness gather,
    I rarely can restrain
    My saddened thoughts of Inchon
    And seabags in the rain.

    * * *
    About the author: Sergeant Robert A. Gannon arrived at Inchon as a replacement on a cold, dreary, rainy day. As he waited in ranks while awaiting transport forward, he noticed a large stack of seabags off to one side. He knew without being told that they were the seabags of Marines who had been killed “up north,” Marines who would not be coming back. The vision of those seabags stacked in the misting rain never left Gannon. Years later he wrote the words above.
    Rocket Science
    Making everything else look simple, since 1958.
    One Man's Opinion

    The Future. It isn't what it used to be.

  • #2
    I have quite a few stories. The ones that stick with me the most are the ones that cost lives. Being on an Aircraft Carrier has its own inherent dangers. Working on the flight deck is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Working around all of the aircraft in very close quarters tends to make things rather exciting. If they don't suck you in their intakes, they want to blow you over the side like a rag doll.

    I mainly worked the night shift (7pm - 7am). The flight deck is a very ominous place to work at night. I worked on F-14's which are usually stationed on the back of the ship.

    On March 30th 1987 at 0500 (5am) on the USS Kitty Hawk, a fellow "Ordie" and I were doing a routine inspection and maintenance on the F-14 gun system. As the Kitty Hawk (Shi**y Kitty as we affectionately called her) was a diesel powered ship we were used to them venting the exhaust stacks at night (smelled like sulphur) and the ashes coming down. This time we thought it was no different. Then the smell seemed different. We looked up and noticed that some of the ash was still glowing red. It was also coming from the side of the ship next to the "Island" (the superstructure). My coworker and I immediately put our tools in the tool box and placed it under the plane. We ran forward to see what was happening. As we ran around the forward side of the Island we noticed the flames making what appeared to be a perfect horizontal fire tornado between the side of the ship and the island. Normally we would just grab fire hoses and go to work, but, this area is a little different. The "tornado" was right where the ordnance is placed for the day’s operations. There were many skids of missiles and 500-1000 lb bombs in the area. Just aft of the fire (still in danger) is the LOX (liquid oxygen) "farm" or generating plant. The sidewinder (Aim-9) missile has a cook-off time of 45 seconds, so time was not on our side. My buddy and I grabbed a AFFF (foam for short) hose each and started trying to cool the ordnance. By this time more people were showing up behind the island to help. As more people showed up and started fighting the fire I noticed that the lockers on the side of the ship that hold the Thermite grenades and flares were still in the fire. I instructed the person behind me on the hose to take over the nozzle and keep the flames off me while I pull the jettison handles on the lockers. I made my way to the lockers and pulled the handles (slipping on the fire foam and almost falling overboard). As one of the lockers hit the water it exploded (not sure if it was the shock of it hitting the water or it was so hot that the sudden cooling of it hitting the water set it off, or both). A little bit of Thermite splashed up on my arms (hurt like HELL). When I made my way back onto the flight deck from the catwalk where the lockers were, the flames were receding. All of us immediately started evaluating the ordnance. If it was hot it went over the side. If not, it was staged on an aircraft elevator to be brought down to the magazines and checked. We very closely averted a major disaster and there were no injuries except a couple burns on my arms and my fingers from the jettison handles and locker.

    All of this took less than 3 minutes from start to finish. It goes to show how fast your life can go from mundane to "oh sh*t".

    That’s just one persons story out of what millions have gone through. This day is for all of the people that weren't as lucky as we were on that day, and all of those that just happen to be the "lucky ones", and gave us freedom.

    Link to story from the Naval Aviation News

    Page 34 under heading "Et Cetera"

    In the picture the white boxes are the lockers. The three on the right are the ones that had to be jettisoned
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Rooney; 11-11-2008, 01:35 PM.


    • #3
      I've no stories to tell, but I want to to dedicate this post to my friend, Sgt. Scott McLaughlin...

      Scott was in my unit, and we would regularly "shoot the bull" on drill weekends in between training classes...

      When I heard he was killed in Iraq, I was an emotional trainwreck for quite a time; I was also part one of the Honor Guard detail for Scott's funeral, and it took all I had to keep it together while performing the services and the rifle salute...

      The below photos are not related to Scott's services, but a general representation of my thoughts on this day...

      “Two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left”
      "I swear to God, I'm going to pistol whip the next guy that says 'Shenanigans' "... Capt. O'Hagan, "Super Troopers"


      • #4
        To My Uncle Mylod Macteer, my Mom's Brother, United States Army Air Force who lost his life for our country. My Mom told me that she had gotten home from work at a Defense Plant in the Boston area when a telegram was received at her home of her parents in the Boston area informing of the death of her brother. My Mom to this day will tell you being in the cemetary
        in Quincy, Massachusetts and the sound of the 21-Gun salute honoring her brother, It tore her Dad and my Grandfarther to pieces. Greatest Comedy team ever!


        • #5
          My Great-uncle Clarence Morken was a belly gunner for the Navy in WWII. They were on a mission in the south pacific when his plane was shot down. He, the pilot, and navigator survived by bailing out. They were in the small life raft for 6 days when the navigator passed away from his injuries. Clarence and the pilot decided they had to let him go so they released him into the water. My grandfather remembered being at home when the western union arrived. It said that he was missing in action presumed deceased. He was in that raft for 27 days before finding a small island. While on the island the local people nursed them back to health. They stayed on the island for 2 weeks before a patrol plane (a PBY) was scouting the area and found them on the island. My Great Grandparents recieved another western union telegraph stating he was found and that he was on his way to Guam for transit home. While enroute to Guam the plane he was in was shot down and all lives were lost. He was buried on the island of Attu. When the WWII cemetary was removed from the island his remains were placed in the Veterans cemetary in Zumbrota Minnesota where he was from. My family searched for his final resting place for over 30 years always thinking he was on the small Island of Attu. It was not until the recent digitization of records at the Veterans Administration that I was able to locate his resting place. Less than 10 miles from where some of my relatives live. My Grandfather never had a chance to visit his Brothers grave which he said he always wanted to do. Fortunately I was able to go visit his grave last year with some relatives and it was a very heartwarming experience. My Aunt still has all three of those western unions along with the letter he wrote right before that final fatefull flight.

          Quote from VT-17 squadron history at this link.

          "25 December Task Group 37.2 (BUNKER HILL and MONTEREY) launched strikes against Kavieng, New Ireland. Unreliable torpedoes forced VT-17 to use skip-bombing on two strikes with success. LTJG HANK CARBY went down 40 miles from Kavieng, but two men were seen in a raft. Later, the rescue ship couldn’t find them and they were listed as MIA.

          2 February Later that afternoon, word was received that Hank Carby and his gunner, C. A. Morken had been found. They came ashore on a small island after drifting in their life-raft for 27-days, some 390-miles from where they ditched. They survived on the island for another two-weeks. After rescue, they had been taken to a seaplane tender.

          7 February Word was received that Hank Carby and his gunner were sent home. However, the Army transport plane crashed in the Russell Islands and they were again listed as MIA. "

          This Christmas day will mark 65 years since he was shot down.

          Thanks Uncle Clarence and the rest of "The Greatest Generation" for all of the sacrifice. And to all who have, are, or will serve.
          Last edited by Rooney; 11-11-2008, 05:16 PM.


          • #6
            It seems very strange - my thanking my two sons for their military service. One came home from Iraq on 11/8 the other is still there.
            Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
            Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

            Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference


            • #7
              Rooney, my thanks to your great uncle for his service and sacrifice; as well as for his unerring dedication to duty during that time... I cannot imagine being in a position such as his to be afloat in a life raft with one of his men deceased and making the decision to send him into the deep blue and eternal rest...

              Dammit, I'm bawling my eyes out now just because it's the day it is, but on top of that, I've got Conway Twitty's "That's my Job" playing right now....
              “Two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left”
              "I swear to God, I'm going to pistol whip the next guy that says 'Shenanigans' "... Capt. O'Hagan, "Super Troopers"


              • #8

                I hope this story is okay for Veteran's Day
       Greatest Comedy team ever!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by copelandamuffy View Post

                  I hope this story is okay for Veteran's Day
                  It's perfect.
                  Rocket Science
                  Making everything else look simple, since 1958.

                  One Man's Opinion

                  The Future. It isn't what it used to be.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by copelandamuffy View Post

                    I hope this story is okay for Veteran's Day
                    Perfect indeed...

                    Such are Vet's stories, lately far removed from the WWII era stories but yet still the same....
                    “Two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left”
                    "I swear to God, I'm going to pistol whip the next guy that says 'Shenanigans' "... Capt. O'Hagan, "Super Troopers"


                    • #11
                      I attended a local ceremony yesterday, there were many moving moments.

                      About 400 people gathered before the 11th hour, 11th day of the 11th month. There was a procession of militiary Cadets, regular Forces, Fire, Police, Paramedics and even RCMP in their red crimson.Applause erupted as Vet's marched by. (some were on a float) The Royal Canadian Legion was also there, as many are Vets, in uniform, and provided MC duties.

                      We sang Oh Canada and at the close, God save the Queen, local students sang a song called Poppy Red.
                      The start and end of 2 minutes of silence were marked by large gun blasts.

                      In the background, Cadets were on guard at the Cenetaph. Lowering and raising the flags and helping with placement of wreaths.

                      Music was provided by a Scottish Pipe band.
                      Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.
                      Groucho Marx


                      • #12
                        I came across this on another site. It left me nearly in tears, and with chills.

                        In honor of Veteran’s excerpt from book of the same title:
                        By Tim O'Brien

                        They carried P-38 can openers and heat tabs, watches and dog tags, insect repellent, gum, cigarettes, Zippo lighters, salt tablets, compress bandages, ponchos, Kool-Aid, two or three canteens of water, iodine tablets, sterno, LRRP- rations, and C-rations stuffed in socks.

                        They carried standard fatigues, jungle boots, bush hats, flak jackets and steel pots.

                        They carried the M-16 assault rifle.

                        They carried trip flares and Claymore mines, M-60 machine-guns, the M-70 grenade launcher, M-14's, CAR-15's, Stoners, Swedish K's, 66mmLaws, shotguns, .45 caliber pistols, silencers, the sound of bullets, rockets, and choppers, and sometimes the sound of silence.

                        They carried C-4plastic explosives, an assortment of hand grenades, PRC-25 radios, knives and machetes. Some carried napalm, CBU's and large bombs; some risked their lives to rescue others. Some escaped the fear, but dealt with the death and damage. Some made very hard decisions, and some just tried to survive.

                        They carried malaria, dysentery, ringworm's and leaches. They carried the land itself as it hardened on their boots. They carried stationery, pencils, and pictures of their loved ones - real and imagined. They carried love for people in the real world and love for one another. And sometimes they disguised that love:"Don't mean nothin'!" They carried memories for the most part, they carried themselves with poise and a kind of dignity.

                        Now and then, there were times when panic set in, and people squealed or wanted to, but couldn't; when they twitched and made moaning sounds and covered their heads and said "Dear God" and hugged the earth and fired their weapons blindly and cringed and begged for the noise to stop and went wild and made stupid promises to themselves and God and their parents, hoping not to die. They carried the traditions of the United States military, and memories and images of those who served before them.

                        They carried grief, terror, longing and their reputations. They carried the soldier's greatest fear: the embarrassment of dishonor. They crawled into tunnels, walked point, and advanced under fire, so as not to die of embarrassment. They were afraid of dying, but too afraid to show it. They carried the emotional baggage of men and women who might die at any moment. They carried the weight of the world.

                        THEY CARRIED EACH OTHER
                        That's a direct quote. Not word for word, but the gist of it.


                        • #13
                          Thank You Officerchic. A very accurate portrayal of the experience.


                          • #14
                            Thanks Office Chick. Very moving
                   Greatest Comedy team ever!


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Chucky View Post
                              Thank You Officerchic. A very accurate portrayal of the experience.

                              I can say I remember carrying quite a few of those items during my time; Heck, to this day I still carry one of my first dogtags (and one of my Father's, issued to him in 1958 with the notch in it) and a P-38 can opener on my car keyring...

                              Unfortunately, I lost my other initial dogtag years ago (that was laced into my left jungle boot) after moving numerous times...
                              Last edited by flashlightcop509; 11-12-2008, 06:24 PM.
                              “Two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left”
                              "I swear to God, I'm going to pistol whip the next guy that says 'Shenanigans' "... Capt. O'Hagan, "Super Troopers"




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