Incredible Military Stories
WW1 – The First Battle of the Somme (1916)

WW1 – The First Battle of the Somme (1916)

In the annals of military history, few battles evoke the same sense of sacrifice, tragedy, and valor as the First Battle of the Somme. Fought during the First World War, this monumental clash took place between July 1st and November 18th, 1916, primarily along the banks of the River Somme in France. It remains one of the most significant engagements of the Great War, characterized by its staggering casualties and strategic significance. The First Battle of the Somme is famous chiefly on...

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Night Mission to Mogadishu by Trent LaLand

Night Mission to Mogadishu by Trent LaLand

While the United States military and coalition forces prepared for the imminent battle with Iraq's military forces, Operation Desert Storm, January of 1991, a second international crisis unfolded in the famine-stricken country of Somalia, where a full-scale bloody civil war erupted. Warlord General Mohammad Farah Aideed rebel forces were attempting to overthrow the Somali government. The fighting threatened Americans and Foreign diplomatic missions based in Mogadishu, Somalia, as the Somali...

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Frank Buckles, the Last Surviving American Veteran of World War I

Frank Buckles, the Last Surviving American Veteran of World War I

Though legendary American veterans may live forever in our hearts, no one truly lives forever. There will always be a last survivor, and of the estimated 4.7 million Americans who served in the First World War, West Virginia's Frank Buckles was the last American witness to the horrors of the Western Front. Buckles died on February 27, 2011, but it was after a long, extraordinarily eventful life – and World War I was just the beginning. The Last Survivor of World War I: Frank Buckles' Journey...

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Service Reflections of CAPT David Edling, U.S. Coast Guard (1969-1999)

Service Reflections of CAPT David Edling, U.S. Coast Guard (1969-1999)

I completed two tours of duty as a Naval Officer serving aboard the USS Duncan DD-874 and the USS Lipan ATF-85 before considering service in the U. S. Coast Guard. Both of those shipboard tours included deployments to Vietnam, the first in 1970 and the second in 1972. I liked the Navy. I had been designated a Distinguished Naval Graduate on commissioning from the NROTC program at Oregon State University, which meant a Regular USN commission. Both of my initial shipboard tours were excellent experiences because I served under very competent Commanding Officers, and my shipmates on both ships were guys used to form my abilities and competencies as a sea service officer.

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Sgt Elvis Aaron Presley, U.S. Army (1958-1960)

Sgt Elvis Aaron Presley, U.S. Army (1958-1960)

American singer and actor Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), widely recognized as The King of Rock-N-Roll, is the celebrity whose military service is probably best known. He enlisted in the US army at the peak of his career, in 1958, when he was already world-famous and had wide success as a rockabilly and rock-n-roll singer also encompassing other genres, including gospel, blues, ballads, and pop music. Elvis Presley: Birth of the Star Elvis Aaron Presley was born on...

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The Crew of the Mi Amigo

The Crew of the Mi Amigo

Visitors to Endcliffe Park, a small green space on the west side of the UK city of Sheffield, might come across a curious monument. It begins with a large, permanent American flag. Then, they'll notice several trees surrounding a large boulder. Flags representing the United States Air Force, small wooden crosses, and other tokens of appreciation flanking that boulder, which bears plaques and, often, ten photos of World War II-era airmen.  Those airmen, 1st Lt. John Kriegshauser, 2nd Lt. Lyle...

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SGT Mark Reisetter, U.S. Army (1969-1970)

SGT Mark Reisetter, U.S. Army (1969-1970)

Which individual(s) from your time in the military stand out as having had the most positive impact on you and why?:

1SGT Robert L. Millirons (a WWII, Korean War, and 3rd-Tour Vietnam Veteran) was a bare-chested old soldier sitting against a tombstone in the lowlands of Thua Thien Province when he sounded a commanding “Troop” in my direction as I reported to my company. I left Camp Eagle as an individual replacement in January of 1970 bound for where C Company, 1/327th Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division was located.

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LCDR Curtis Smothers, U.S. Navy (1962-1986)

LCDR Curtis Smothers, U.S. Navy (1962-1986)

Which individual(s) from your time in the military stand out as having had the most positive impact on you and why?:

Of the 24 years, 6 months I spent on active duty in the U.S. Navy, the leader who was the most positive influence on me was my commanding officer, Captain Jeremy (“Bear”) Taylor. He skippered the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea (CV-43) during my time as Administrative Department head (1981-1983). In early 1983, our ship was preparing for an around-the-world voyage and a home port change from Alameda, California, to Norfolk, Virginia. The Coral Sea was an aging aircraft carrier commissioned just before the Korean War. Taking this ship around the world was like getting a ’57 Chevy ready for a cross-country trip. Our main propulsion and auxiliary plants were stretched to the limit. They had to stay online, support a crew of over 5,000, and launch aircraft in climates that ranged from the frigid northern coast of Alaska to the tropical extremes of the Indian Ocean.

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LCDR E.L. Spratt, U.S. Navy (1969-1999)

LCDR E.L. Spratt, U.S. Navy (1969-1999)

Which individual(s) from your time in the military stand out as having had the most positive impact on you and why?:

This one is easy. Radarman Chief Charles B. Sharp. He was my Chief on the USS Monticello, the first ship I rode after my tour in Nam. He taught me more about leadership than any of the schools the Navy sent me to, and the lessons I learned from him in our two years together have remained with me for my whole life. Chief Sharp helped me get through the post-Vietnam “spookies”. He showed me how to be a leader, and he taught me that the most important things a leader has going for him are the people who work for him. He also taught me the concept of “walk and talk”, as a way to get to know what’s going on in your division.

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SP 4 Tom Hirst, U.S. Army (1969-1971)

SP 4 Tom Hirst, U.S. Army (1969-1971)

Which individual(s) from your time in the military stand out as having had the most positive impact on you and why?:

Day 25. Let’s face it, I didn’t know anything about “Jungle Living” or “Infantry Life”! It was my 25th day “In Country” and also Easter Sunday, March 29th, 1970. So, that said, I think the people that made the biggest impression on me were the first two people I met after the Huey dumped me off in the “landing zone” on log day. The “RTO” from 3rd platoon, SP/5 Gene Tetzlaff, basically “adopted me” and took me under his wing, explaining “how to do this” and “how to do that” and to “expect the unexpected”. Perhaps Gene was more concerned that I’d be walking right behind him as the platoon moved out!

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Sgt Jack Riley, U.S. Marine Corps (1966-1972)

Sgt Jack Riley, U.S. Marine Corps (1966-1972)

Which individual(s) from your time in the military stand out as having had the most positive impact on you and why?:

Several heroes had a positive impact on my ability to survive some of the heaviest battles by Marines in the Vietnam War. My Senior DI at Parris Island, S/Sgt Leroy Elliott, named me the second most deserving of promotion to PFC in my Platoon 138. The Honor Marine was a contract journeyman butcher and deservingly so! Promoted to Gunny Elliott, he was killed on May 8, 1967, at Con Thien. My first Platoon Sergeant in Vietnam was S/Sgt Guy Hodgkins, who was Killed in Action on September 3, 1966. He spent a lot of time with me discussing VC tactics he had encountered and what I could expect as a squad leader.

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CPL Amber Endrusick, U.S. Army (2000-2009)

CPL Amber Endrusick, U.S. Army (2000-2009)

Which individual(s) from your time in the military stand out as having had the most positive impact on you and why?:

His positivity and dedication to always doing the most good humanly possible impacted me for the rest of my life. We had some serious cases, hard things to see and deal with; we saw what human beings were capable of doing to each other in their darkest moments. We had rocks thrown at us and crowds begging us when there was nothing we could do. But through it all, Col Gonzalez held firm to his attitude of doing our best, rising above what we thought we could be, and, most importantly, always having faith in goodness.

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Soldier and Writer
Lt Col Michael Christy (USA) Ret.

Many articles contained in this Blog were written by Together We Served’s former Chief Editor, Lt Col Michael Christy, and published in TWS’s Dispatches Newsletter.

Lt Col Christy’s military career spanned 26 years, beginning in 1956 when he joined the U.S. Marine Corps. Following two years active duty, he spent another two years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. In 1962, he joined the Army National Guard and in 1966 was called up for active duty with the U.S. Army. After an 18 year distinguished Army career, Lt Col Christy retired from military service in 1984.
Lt Col Christy saw action in Vietnam with Special Forces Units, including the renowned Delta Force, and was awarded two Silver Stars, six Bronze Stars (three with Valor), and two Purple Hearts.
As a military consultant and accomplished writer, Lt Col Christy has contributed to several TV military documentaries, including those found on the History Channel, plus significant military history publications, including Vietnam Magazine.