Just prior to Memorial Day retired LtGen William “Jerry” Boykin wrote a column in the Washington Times entitled “Rolling Thunder, ‘Missing Man’ tables and the Bible.” Rolling Thunder is the annual arrival in Washington, DC, or thousands of motorcyclists at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Gen Boykin notes Rolling Thunder also supports Missing Man or POW/MIA Tables around the country — something certain government agencies have actually made more difficult.
After noting the traditional makeup fo the POW/MIA table, Boykin said: Read more
Guy Gruters recently spoke at a gathering at the Navy Medicine Operational Training Center at Pensacola, Florida. The first words of the official Navy article on the event are fascinating:
Guy Gruters is a religious man. You would be, too, if you’d been in his shoes.
Then-Lt Gruters was an Air Force F-100 pilot in Vietnam who, after his second shootdown, was captured and spent nearly six years as a POW. One of his cellmates was Lance Sijan, and Read more
A local Iowa paper covered Charles Wright, a Vietnam veteran who was drafted in 1966 and entered the US Army as a conscientious objector:
Perhaps the most impressive fact about Wright’s service is that, despite being injured, despite witnessing horrors, despite growing ever-immune to those tragedies, his time in war only strengthened his faith in God.
Read more about Wright, now a pastor, here. Read more
The following video captures the audio of a (genuine) 1966 spoof public affairs interview, in which a fighter pilot gives “real” answers to a reporter’s questions, and a Public Affairs officer then “translates,” with the repetitive lead-in, “what the Captain means…”
Some might say the “filter” from front line reality to the media portrayed in the piece is as true today as it was then.
Warning: The audio contains multiple profanities — in answer to every single question.
The video was reportedly created by two US Air Force PA officers.
The Stars and Stripes chronicles the return of retired US Air Force Col Lee Ellis to the Hanoi Hilton — the infamous POW prison that housed him for more than two of the six years of his capture.
Other memories came floating back — leg irons and handcuffs, rubber sandals to make it difficult to escape, a steady diet of pumpkin soup alternating with months of cabbage soup, and a first meal as a prisoner of fish heads and rice, which apparently was standard fare for new captives. Before missions, pilots used to joke with each other to be careful or they’d be eating fish heads that night. Read more
US Rep Sam Johnson (R-Tx), a Vietnam era Air Force fighter pilot, wrote at the Christian Post that attacks on religious liberty in the United States “resemble my time in the Hanoi Hilton.”
You see, I endured painful torture at the hands of communists. I brutally experienced what it’s like to truly lose the privilege to worship as you see fit. As a prisoner of war in Vietnam for almost seven years, more than half of that time in solitary confinement, I withered away in a cellblock so isolating it could only be called Alcatraz.
Referring to a report by Senator Ted Cruz, Johnson says Read more
General Mark Welsh, Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, eulogized Col Jim Kasler, a World War II B-29 tail gunner, Korean war ace jet pilot, and POW during Vietnam who passed away on April 24th:
In addition to being the only man awarded the Air Force Cross three times, Kasler was decorated twice with the Silver Star, a Legion of Merit, nine awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Bronze Star Medals, two Purple Hearts and 11 Air Medal awards.
But what was most important to him was Read more
The Baptist Press recounted the stories of two US Army chaplains from the Vietnam War as it recalled the 40th anniversary of the end of that conflict.
Chaplain Charlie Clanton talks about a tragic realization that his “ministry was worthwhile.” Chaplain Clanton — a non-combatant — would eventually be awarded a Silver Star
for his term in Vietnam for leading troops through hostile territory and back to base camp after an injury to a commanding officer.
Chaplain Steve Gantt recalls performing services in the field — with a special escort from the commander: Read more