Category Archives: Vietnam

USMC Birthday / Veterans Day 2022

The Marine Corps birthday has been commemorating on November 10 every year since 1775,  the year of establishment of Continental Marines. Every year the cake cutting ceremony with the conventional ball follows.

Saluting the U.S. Marine Corps

Marine Corps Birthday Cake

Sketch of the original Tun Tavern

 

 

 

 

 

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Veterans Day

On November 11th, we pause to reflect on the history of this great Nation and honor all those who fought to defend it. Originally titled “Armistice Day” and intended to celebrate the end of World War I, “the war to end all wars,” Veterans Day allows us to give thanks to veterans past and present, men and women from all walks of life and all ethnicities, who stood up and said, “Send me.” We recognize your sacrifices, your sense of duty and your love for this country.

Thank you – To ALL our veterans!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 11th Airborne Division jumps again!

PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

 

For many other countries who remain free thanks to their veterans, this day is called Remembrance Day.  I thank you!!

 

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Lawrence “Junior” Anderson – Blanchard, MI; USMC, WWII, CBI, scout observer

Catherine Batoff – Cedar Lake, IN; US Army WAC, WWII

Jesse G. Bell – Roopsville, GA; US Navy, WWII, USS Case DD-370

Leo E. Cummings – Jackson, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Ralph Fiorio – Peekskill, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 8th Armored Division

David E. Holeman – Le Harpe, KS; US Air Force, WWII, PTO, # 646029, 17/24th Pursuit Group, POW, KWC (Cabanatuan Camp, P.I.)

Merle L. Pickup – Provo, UT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, Cpl. # 39832953, 393 BS/308 BG, KIA (India)

Paul J. Simons Jr. (102) – Wyoming, MO; US Army, WWII

James M. Triplett – King County, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, TSgt # 39202130, B-24 radio operator, 700BS/445 BG/2/8th Air Force

Allen H. Tuttle – King County, WA; US Army, Korea, Sgt. # 19261249, field artillery cannoneer, C Batt/38/2nd Infantry Division, POW, KWC (NK Camp # 5)

Larry A. Zich – Lincoln, NE; US Army, Vietnam, Chief Warrant Officer # 508603819, HQ/37/1st Signal Brigade, KIA

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Why is the only one standing the man with a wheelchair?

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Poems

I think it’s time we had a lighthearted break….

Cletus O’Toole’s Navy Career

Cletus joined the Navy on a fool whim

And was told he needed to learn to swim

He was launched off the dock

And he sank like a rock

The Navy straightaway got rid of him!

A FRIEND, YOUR AMERICAN M.P.

 When soldiers go out and have some fun,

 They always forget about some other one.

 That someone’s on duty every day,

 To see that these soldiers are safe at play.

 They call him names that we can’t print,

 But they should sit down and try to think.

 These men are detailed for this tough job,

 So why go around and call him a snob?

 When a guy’s in trouble, and things look bad,

 They call on this fellow, and then he’s not bad.

 At the end they will say, “this fellow took up for me.”

 And the fellow that did it was your American M.P.

 One thing to remember fellows when you’re down and out,

 There’s a fellow that will help you if he hears you shout.

 He will stand beside you and fight like hell.

 So do the right thing, and treat him well.

 Just remember fellows on your holiday,

 One of your buddies can’t go out and play.

 You call him an outcast, and other names,

 But he’s your buddy, just the same.

 We envy no one, try never to do harm.

 We’re here to keep you safe, in every form.

 So if you see us on duty, please don’t get mad.

 Remember we’re here for you, and that M.P.’s aren’t bad.

     – S/Sgt. GODFREY J. DARBY

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Military Humor – 

Sometimes all you need are a few words of encouragement!

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert R. Auer – Chicago, IL; US Army, Korea, company clerk

Erwin H. Boyer – Edmonds, WA; USMC, Korea  /  US Army, Korea, 101st Airborne Division (Ret. 26 y.)

Russell F. Chapman – Milford, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Sanford I. Finger – NYC, NY; US Army, Vietnam, SSgt. # 261646170, HQ Area Command, KIA (offshore Nha Trang, SK)

John H. Givens – Oelwein, IA; US Army, 82nd Airborne Division

Steve Magro – Rochester, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Hubert Pensinger – Fort Wayne, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Purple Heart

Roger W. Schmitz Sr. – Raymore, MO; US Army, WWII

Larry J. Tillman – Drumright, OK; Vietnam, 173rd Airborne Division

James Vandiver Jr. – Gainsville, GA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pvt., 42nd Rainbow Division

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4th of July 2022 🇺🇸

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY 2022

Respect – Honor – Celebration

Celebrating the birth of our nation and dedicated to those who have served and fought to preserve our freedom.

PLUS A CHANGE OF PACE FOR PACIFIC PARATROOPER – A HUMOROUS LOOK AND 5 MINUTE HISTORY OF America’s BIRTH!

ONE TEAM UNITED – LET’S TRY THAT AGAIN AMERICA!!

Military July 4th Humor –

Farewell Salutes –

William Anderson Jr. (100) – Ninety Six, SC; US Army, WWII, ETO, Purple Heart

Zane Baker (100) – Dayton, OH; US Army, WWII, PTO

William Coward Sr. – Ramseur, SC; USMC, WWII, PTO, MGunnery Sgt. (Ret. 33 y.)

Leon Diamond – Brooklyn, NY; US Navy, WWII

Donald W. Emery – Searsport, ME; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Hancock (CV-19), aviation ordnance

Grover Long – Adolphus, KY; US Navy, WWII

Howard McGhee – Sioux City, IA; US Army, WWII, ETO

Donald Morehead – St. Paul, MN; US Navy, WWII, signalman

Robert Pogna – Gunnison, CO; US Navy, WWII, USS Pocomoke

Hershel W. Williams – Quiet Dell, WV; USMC, WWII, PTO, Chief Warrant Officer 4 (Ret.), Purple Heart, Medal of Honor

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MEMORIAL DAY 2022

Today we commemorate our country’s most solemn national day of remembrance – Memorial Day. We honor the men and women of our military who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. The Army leadership especially wants to thank our Gold Star families. We, along with a grateful nation remain inspired by your remarkable strength and fortitude.

As you reflect on this day, remember it has been granted to us by some of the most noble, selfless, and courageous men and women our country has ever produced. Of those who laid down their lives in defense of our great nation, all the way back to those who gave their lives to establish it, we remember.

Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay.

For all of us who walk in the footsteps of those who have gone before us, it is our responsibility, our duty, and even our privilege to honor their sacrifice.

Stay safe. Stay ready. Stay strong

Ryan D. McCarthy,  Secretary of the Army

For Freedom

MSGID/CMC WASHINGTON DC DMCS//
SUBJ/MEMORIAL DAY MESSAGE 2022//

Notable humanitarian, educator, and tennis player Arthur Ashe once said, “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.  It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”  Each year, Memorial Day offers us an opportunity to reflect on those who have given the last full measure in service to our great Nation and with the aim of securing freedom throughout the world.  We owe the deepest debt of gratitude to all who paid the ultimate price in the line of duty, and to the loved ones they left behind.  This Memorial Day, let us remember the greatness of past generations and find inspiration in their courage, devotion, and selfless determination.

Gold Star family

2.  Each fallen hero is the embodiment of the valiant fighting spirit and devotion to duty that our Nation has come to expect of her Marines in times of crisis.  From every generation, a select few rise up and put themselves in harm’s way to protect the ideals on which America was founded.  Their stories serve as a continual reminder that freedom should not be taken for granted.  We can’t rest on the sacrifices of past generations – peace, freedom, and global security require constant vigilance.  Pacing threats around the globe uphold the truth of President Ronald Reagan’s sentiment that “freedom is never more than one generation from extinction.”
3.  So this Memorial Day, we honor the courageous actions and sacrifices of our fallen heroes, and we look to them for inspiration as we prepare for the next battlefields.  Technology and tactics may change, but the fighting spirit of United States Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen remains strong.
4.  Enjoy this holiday weekend.  Stay safe, and remember you are a living memorial to all our fallen heroes.

Semper Fidelis,

David H. Berger, General, U.S. Marine Corps, Commandant of the Marine Corps.//

D-Day memorial, Beford, VA

Riverside Cemetery POW Memorial

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Not Military Humor – (Please click on images to read)

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Farewell Salutes – 

Richard Adams – Solon, OH; US Army, WWII, ETO

Winnie Ancar Sr. – City Price, LA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Interpreter

Anthony Bova – Plattsburgh, NY; US Air Force, Vietnam

Mildred Bourgeois – Cril, OK; US Navy WAVE, WWII, Aviation Radio Technician

James A. Coleman, USA; US Army, Korea, Sgt., Co I/3/19/24th Infantry Division, KIA (Hwach-on Reservoir, SK)

Luther Cranford – Eatonton, GA; US Navy, WWII, PTO

William J. Dees (101) – Fredericktown, MO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Anderson Dyer – USA; USMC, WWII, Navajo Code Talker

Raymond Femc – Forest City, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co E/187/11th Airborne Division

Willie Goudeau (100) – Evergreen, LA; US Army, WWII, Major, Corps of Engineers

Marion Prince – Morganton, GA; US Army, Japanese Occupation, 511/11th Airborne Division

Larry Spencer – Wichita, KS; US Navy, Vietnam,F4B pilot, Commander, USS Ranger & Enterprise, POW, 4 Bronze Stars, 2 Purple Hearts

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https://pacificparatrooper.files.wordpress.com/2022/05/memorial-day-2022-e1653935275865.webp

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CHRISTMAS

TO ALL THOSE THAT BELIEVE IN FREEDOM AND PEACEMERRY CHRISTMAS!! 

FROM: PACIFIC PARATROOPER!!

PLEASE!  REMEMBER ALL THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR US IN THE PAST…

THOSE THAT FIGHT FOR US TODAY…

AND FOR THOSE SPECIAL PEOPLE WHO WAIT PATIENTLY AT HOME

TO ALL THOSE WHO DO NOT CELEBRATE THIS HOLIDAY … I WISH YOU THE WARMTH AND PEACEFUL CONTENTMENT THAT IS REPRESENTED BY THIS SEASON !!!

TO READ MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS POEM...  CLICK HERE!!

MILITARY HUMOR – 

CHRISTMAS FROM: BILL MAULDIN

OOPS!!!

CHRISTMAS FROM: BEETLE BAILEY

Now – Don’t wake me up too early!!

FROM: MARYlOU @ NATUURFREAK.COM…

USMC Birthday | Veterans Day

US Marine Corps Birthday

10 November 2021 – The United States Marine Corps’ 246th Birthday

Prior to 1921, Marines celebrated the recreation of the Corps on 11 July with little pomp or pageantry.  On 21 October 1921, Major Edwin North McClellan, in charge of the Corps’s fledgling historical section, sent a memorandum to Commandant John A. Lejeune, suggesting the Marines’ original birthday of 10 November be declared a Marine Corps holiday to be celebrated throughout the Corps. Lejeune so ordered in Marine Corps Order 47:

Sketch of the original Tun Tavern

 

11 November 2021 – U.S. Veterans Day

On November 11th, we pause to reflect on the history of this great Nation and honor all those who fought to defend it. Originally titled “Armistice Day” and intended to celebrate the end of World War I, “the war to end all wars,” Veterans Day allows us to give thanks to veterans past and present, men and women from all walks of life and all ethnicities, who stood up and said, “Send me.” We recognize your sacrifices, your sense of duty and your love for this country.

 

Poppy from MaryLou

Remembrance Day around the world!

Remembrance Day (sometimes known informally as Poppy Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth of Nations member states since the end of WWI, to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. Following a tradition inaugurated by King George V, in 1919, the day is also marked by war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries.  Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November in most countries to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month”, in accordance with the armistice signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente.

Click on still pictures to enlarge.

 

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

George Ankomeus – Ft. Atkinson, WI; US Army, Korea, Co. A/187th RCT

Santina Breen – Elizabeth, NJ; US Navy WAVES, WWII

Eric David – brn: Koln, GER; US Navy, WWII,  electrician’s mate

Edward Fay Jr. – Bradenton, FL; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Robert J. Herynk – Hanover, KS; US Army, WWII, PTO, Pvt., Co K/3/126/32nd Infantry Division, KIA (Soputa-Sanananda Track, NG)

Allan F. Hicks – MO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, SSgt. # 19145765, 319th Bomber Group/440th B Squadron, KIA (Italy)

Harold W. Lindsey – San Antonio, TX; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Seaman 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Stephen C. Mason – Jersey City, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Pvt. # 12165894, HQ Co/505/82nd Airborne Division, Bronze Star, Silver Star, KIA (Beek, NETH)

James McDonald – Leveland, TX; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Fireman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Walter C. Stein – Cheyenne, WY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Seaman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Michaux Turbeville – Dillon, NC; US Army, Korea, Pfc., HQ Co/3/31/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Leon S. Wheeler – Conklin, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. E/188/11th Airborne Division

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Why is the only person standing, the one in the wheelchair?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4th of July 2021

SEEMS WE DON’T SAY IT ENOUGH – SO, I’M TRYING TO FIX THAT RIGHT HERE – GOD BLESS THE USA!!!

We can rant and we can complain, but we should thank the troops for giving us the right to do so!  Today we celebrate our country’s birthday.  Traditional BBQ’s, fireworks, family and friends, we have a day off and have a ball!  – and to whom do we owe it all?  You guessed it_____

THE SOLDIER’S POEM

When this is over

And we come home again,

Forget the band

And cheers from the stand;

Just have the things

Well in hand –

The things we fought for.

UNDERSTAND?

_____Pfc C.G. Tiggas

ONLY A SAILOR

He’s only a sailor on the boundless deep,

Under foreign skies and tropical heat.

Only a sailor on the rolling deep,

In summer rain and winter sleet.

Fireworks and cookouts
And time spent with friends.
Swimming and playing
The good times never end.
But lest we forget
The reason for today
Let’s all say it now
Happy Independence Day!

Freedom’s Price!
Today we celebrate freedom
thanks to those who came before.
Those brave men who fought and died
in each and every war.
Freedom always comes at a price,
And while we celebrate
We should tip our hats to the heroes
who made our country great.

Red White and Blue
Hamburgers and hot dogs
cooked on the grill,
Fireworks in the night
giving us all a thrill.
The country all decked
in red white and blue.
Friends all saying
‘Happy 4th of July to you.’

Where does your state rate in its patriotism? 

https://wallethub.com/edu/most-patriotic-states/13680

Comic hero from the 1940’s , courtesy of Balladeer…

https://glitternight.com/2021/06/18/first-fighting-yank-stories-from-the-1940s/

FUN FACT:

Denmark is the only country outside of the United States that holds an official 4th July celebration.  Celebrated annually since 1911, thousands of people from across the country gather in Rebild National Park in Jutland for picnics, speeches and to sing some American classics.  Known as Rebildfesten, its organizers claim that it is is the biggest celebration of US independence outside of the USA.

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4TH OF JULY HUMOR –

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Walter S. Belt Jr. – KS; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

James Cummings – Minneapolis, MN; US Atmy, Korea, 11th Airborne Division

Jack DeTour – USA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, B-25 pilot and instructor

Max Foster – Brownstown, IL; US Army, WWII, radio operator

Philip T. Hoogacker – Detroit, MI; US Army, Korea, Pfc # 16315593, 1/29th Infantry Reg.; POW, KIA (Pyongyang, NK)

John E. Hurlburt – Madison, CT; US Army, WWII, PTO, Sgt. # 20126929, 105/27th Infantry Division, Bronze Star, KIA (Saipan)

James A. Kilgore – El Paso, TX; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, 187th RCT, Pvt. > Colonel (Ret. 30 y.), Bronze Star, Silver Star

Frank Kokernak (101) – Dudley, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO, medic

Rogene Laut – Minister, OH; US Army WAC, WWII, nurse

Jerome Lerner (100) – San Francisco, CA; US Navy, WWII, Lt. JG

Chad Peyton – Chandler, TX; US Army, Iraq, Captain, pilot, Bronze Star

Donald H. Rumsfeld – Taos, NM; US navy, pilot  /  60 years of public service

Bernard J. Sweeney Jr. – NYC, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, Sgt., # 32645733, Co I/330/83rd Infantry Division, Bronze Star, KIA (Hürtgen Forest, GER)

James C. Willis – Albuquerque, NM; US Air Force, Qatar, Lt. Col., 557th Expeditionary Red Horse Sq/Heavy Construction Engineers

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MEMORIAL DAY 2021

Our nation marks Memorial Day to honor and pay tribute to brave Americans who gave their life for this country. Many generations have sacrificed in defense of our nation, our liberty, and our desire to improve our country. On Memorial Day, we humbly honor these incredible patriots and have a solemn duty to uphold their legacy.

At its core, Memorial Day speaks of personal sacrifice for a greater good. It resonates in the stories of ordinary Americans, who fought for a better world and were willing to lay down their lives. Our way of life is shaped by those who have served and those who were lost. We have benefited from their positive influence on our world. It is our solemn duty to honor for our fallen brothers and sisters in arms and their families. This day reflects on heroes from historically distant wars passed and current operations. We honor their legacy and work toward a peaceful future, in which wars are a faded memory.

I encourage you all to keep the legacy of our fallen brothers and sisters in arms alive within your communities. Take time to reflect together with your friends, neighbors, groups, and communities, so those stories and sacrifices are never forgotten.

Respectfully, Colonel Christopher K. Lacouture 913th Airlift Group Commander

The image of the poppy is from: Marylou at natuurfreak3 click on image to enlarge.

I know that many are looking forward to their bar-b-ques and celebrations, especially after a year and a half of lockdowns, and quarantines, but Please take a moment to remember why we have this commemorative weekend.

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Also from Marylou is this wonderful Memorial Day ecard…

https://www.jacquielawson.com/ecard/pickup/r84d51b776ded4f769f2bacd6c8e9f2b4?source=jl999&utm_medium=pickup&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=receivercontent

From: Lt. Colonel Sam Lombardo (Ret.) _____

 “This is our Memorial Day/ In our land of the free/ It’s because of those who sacrificed/ Whose graves you’re here to see/ They fought on foreign lands/ And across the open sea/ And paid the ultimate price/ To keep you and I free/ So put all things aside/ And honor this important day/ Which we have dedicated/ As our Memorial Day.”

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NOT YOUR USUAL MILITARY HUMOR    –    PLEASE click on each to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Wayne L. Adams Sr. (102) – Dolton, IL; US Army, WWII

Carl D. Berry Jr. – Hinsdale, IL; US Army, WWII  /  US Air Force, Korea

Carl M. Bradley – Shelly, ID; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Fireman 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Wayne M. Evans – Hamilton, MT; US Army, WWII, PTO, Pvt., Battery G/59th Coast Artillery Reg., POW/KIA (Cabanatuan Camp, Luzon, P.I.)

Charlton H. Ferguson – Kosciusko, MS; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Musician 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Nicholas H. Hamilton – Las Vegas, NE; US Air Force, pilot

Brenda McDaniel – Springfield, VA; US Army, Nurse Corps

Edward McDaniel Jr. – US Army, Colonel, Medical Corps (MD)

Joseph R. Mooradian – Union Grove, WI; US Merchant Marines, WWII  /  US Army, Korea

Burl Mullins – Dorton, KY; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Heavy Mortar Co/ 3/31/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

William D. Tucker – Bedford, IA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Fireman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

John Warner – Alexandria, VA; US Navy / USMC, Korea / Secretary of the Navy / 30 y. US Senator

The U.S.O.’s 80th Anniversary

“Until everyone comes home” is the motto of the U.S.O., the nonprofit organization has stuck to that motto, doing its best to bring support and entertainment to American military personnel around the world.

To connect to the organization, please click HERE!

Over the course of the USO’s 80-year history, the organization has seen it all: the beaches of France, the jungles of Vietnam, the deserts of Saudi Arabia and the mountains of AfghanistanBut most importantly, the USO has witnessed several generations of service members, military spouses and military families pass through its doors – and has provided them with crucial support by boosting their morale and keeping them connected to one another throughout their time in the military.

Boxing match w/ Sugar Ray Leonard & Bob Hope, Mickey Rooney as referee.

Starting in 1941 and in the eight decades since, the USO has remained committed to always standing by the military’s side, no matter where their service takes them.

Eleven months before the United States’ official entry into World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was already creating a support system for the nation’s Armed Forces. Bringing together the Salvation Army, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), the National Catholic Community Service, the National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board, these six organizations formed the United Service Organizations (USO) on 4 February 1941. The USO was created specifically to provide morale and recreation services to the troops.

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“Until everyone comes home” is the motto of the U.S.O., the nonprofit organization has stuck to that motto, doing its best to bring support and entertainment to American military personnel around the world.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jesse Anderson – Boise, ID; National Guard, Chief Warrant Officer 4, instructor pilot

Dale F. Bruhs – Milford, MD; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Millie Hughes-Fulford –  Mineral Wells, TX; US Army Reserve, Medical Corps / NASA, 1st female astronaut-

Michael Gastrich – Cincinnati, OH; US Navy, Petty Officer 2nd Class, air crew mechanic/flight engineer

Roland Horn – Des Moines, IA; US Army, WWII, Chief Warrant Officer (Ret.)

George Laubhan – Boise, ID; National Guard, Chief Warrant Officer 3, instructor pilot

Charlotte MacDonough – Boston, MA; Civilian, WWII, made B-17 fuel bladders

Ryan Mason – Carthage, NY & TX; US Army, Middle East, Sgt.

Matthew Peltzer – Napa, ID; National Guard, Chief Petty Officer 3, pilot

George P. Shultz (100) – Englewood, NJ; USMC, WWII, PTO / Secretary of Labor, Treasury and State

Julian Vargas – Silver City, NM; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187/11th Airborne Division

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Military Radio – Armed Forces Network

1943 ‘G.I. Jive’ sheet music by Johnny Mercer

ARMED FORCES NETWORK

Although American Forces Network Radio has officially been on the air for 60 years, listeners began tuning in at the end of World War I.

A Navy lieutenant in France broadcasted information and live entertainment to troops accompanying President Wilson to the 1919 Paris Peace Conference.  Radio was a novelty then, and little equipment was given to overseas military broadcasting until the United States started gearing up for World War II.

playing music for the troops

Bored soldiers in Panama and Alaska created makeshift transmitters and aired records, according to an Armed Forces Radio pamphlet. The U.S. military was unaware of the broadcasts until celebrities wrote asking how to send the stations recordings.

During the first days of the U.S. entry into World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s staff members set up military radio stations in the Philippines. Their success paved the way for the Armed Forces Radio Service.

In May 1942, the Army commissioned broadcasting executive Tom Lewis as a major and assigned him to create a viable military radio network.

Its primary goal was to keep morale high, a daunting task when the enemy already was broadcasting to Allied troops, in the personas of the infamous “Axis Sally” and “Tokyo Rose.” Playing popular American music, they tried to demoralize troops with talk about missing home.

On July 4, 1943, the Armed Forces Network went on the air, using the BBC’s London studios. With British and Canadian radio stations, it formed the Allied Expeditionary Forces Program. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower wanted to ensure the stations worked together and all allies were getting the same message.

“G.I. Jive” disc, 1943

To boost morale, AFRS headquarters in Los Angeles produced shows such as “G.I. Jive,” shipping them to stations on special “V-Discs.” By early 1945, about 300 Armed Forces Radio Stations worldwide were broadcasting. (There are some V-discs available on e-bay)

Then came peacetime.

By 1949, just 60 stations were operating. But broadcasters who remained in Europe with the occupying forces took on a new role. Music and information were broadcast from Bremen to Berlin — giving many Europeans their first exposure to American culture and music.

AFN brought jazz, blues, rock ’n’ roll and country and western to audiences starved for music. The shows were so popular that when the leftist Greens Party urged Germany to quit NATO in the 1980s and called for U.S. troops to leave, it made one exception.

“The U.S. military should go home, but leave AFN behind,” a Greens leader demanded.

When the Korean War started in 1950, AFRS leased several portable trailers and followed the troops as “Radio Vagabond.” The American Forces Korea Network was established in Seoul later that year.

While the organization changed its name to the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service in 1954, the focus remained on radio.

The American Forces Vietnam Network (AFVN) was established in 1962, during the Vietnam War, mostly for numerous military advisers there. It served as the backdrop for the 1988 movie, “Good Morning, Vietnam!”

But broadcasting to the troops as the war heated up was no day on a Hollywood set.

During the Tet Offensive, AFVN studios in Hue City were attacked. The staff fought off the Viet Cong for five days before the station manager and several others were captured. They spent five years in a North Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp.

Recently, Armed Forces Radio quickly mobilized for operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

A mobile broadcasting van deployed to Saudi Arabia, where the American Forces Desert Network was established in 1991 and broadcast for the first time from Kuwait shortly after the Iraqi occupation ended. Since then, it has become a fixture throughout the region.

Tech. Sgt. Mark Hatfield, 36, was “out in the middle of nowhere … at a secret base detached from civilization” as a structural maintainer on F-15s, with the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing (Provisional) during Desert Storm.

About a month after he arrived, AFDN went into operation.

“I remember when they came on line … I had my little transistor radio, and sure enough, there it was,” he said.

Someone also bought a radio for the hangar. “We cranked it because news was coming out left and right about the war,” Hatfield added.

“It was good because that was our only source of real information. You get out in the middle of nowhere, you don’t really hear it from the U.S side of things … uncensored, coming in from the U.S.”

“Good Morning, Vietnam!”

Today, American Forces Radio and Television Service operates about 300 radio and television outlets, serving an audience of 1.3 million listeners and viewers on every continent and U.S. Navy ship at sea.

“As long as there’s military there, we’re going to be there.”

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Military Humor –

Marines from Los Angeles

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Farewell Salutes – 

Anthony Bermudez – Dallas, TX; US Army, Kuwait, SSgt.

Edward R. Burka – Washington D.C.; US Army Medical Corps (airborne), BGeneral

Dorothy (Schmidt) Cole (107) – OH; USMC Women’s 1st Battalion, WWII

Hyman Coran – Sharon, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, flight instructor

Michael Domico – Westville, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Sgt., radio/gunner

Veronica Federici – Fulton, NY; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Michael Morris – Cass Lake, MN; US Air Force, TSgt., 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (Europe)

Vincent Pale – Philadelphia, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, POW

Claude Spicer – McComas, WV; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, (Ret. 30 y.)

Robert Wendler – Newport, RI; US Navy, WWII, Navy band

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