Military Campaign Stories

WW2 – The Battle of Leyte Gulf

WW2 – The Battle of Leyte Gulf

The Battle of Leyte Gulf, fought between October 23 to 26, 1944, was the largest and one of the most decisive naval battles of World War II. With some 200,000 sailors involved, it might be the largest naval engagement in history. This monumental clash occurred in the waters surrounding the Philippine island of Leyte and marked a pivotal moment in the Pacific Theater. With its complex array of naval engagements, the battle ultimately led to a resounding victory for the Allied forces, further weakening the Japanese Empire and hastening the war's end. By the fall of 1944, Japan's imperial ambitions faltered, and the Allies were steadily advancing towards the Japanese home islands. The strategically important Philippines was a primary target for the Allies, as its capture would facilitate the liberation of other Southeast Asian nations and disrupt Japan's supply lines. The Four Key Engagements: Strategy and Courage The Battle of Leyte Gulf unfolded as part of the larger operation that...

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Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe, U.S. Army (1988–2005)

Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe, U.S. Army (1988–2005)

Alwyn Cashe personified everything the U.S. Army could possibly want in a Soldier. He was calm, cool, collected, and dedicated not just to the mission. He was dedicated to his men. That dedication would ultimately result in Sgt. Cashe gave up his life to save six others.  The Heroism of Sgt. Alwyn Cashe: Dedication Beyond Duty Cashe was born into a poor family in Oviedo, Florida, in 1970. He joined the U.S. Army 1989 as a Supply Specialist, but by 1993, he was retrained as an infantryman. He served in the Army as a squad leader, a Drill Sergeant, and, ultimately, a Platoon Sergeant. His career included deployments in the 1991 Gulf War, the former Yugoslavia, and the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. But his second deployment to Iraq in 2005 would forever cement his legacy. On October 17, 2005, Cashe was deployed to Salah Ad Din Province, Iraq, with the U.S. Army's 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. While on a nighttime mounted patrol near Samarra, his Bradley Fighting Vehicle was hit...

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Doc! The Adventures of a Hospital Corpsman by Hugh Sullivan

Doc! The Adventures of a Hospital Corpsman by Hugh Sullivan

Hugh Sullivan served in the Navy for 39 years. Enlisting in 1961, he spent the first 16 of those years as a hospital corpsman. He would serve two tours in Vietnam, deploy to Operation Desert Storm, and rack up an impressive number of campaign and service ribbons and medals before retiring in 2000 as a Captain.  Doc! a Valuable Read for Anyone Interested in the Vietnam It's safe to say he probably has some really good stories to tell. It's fortunate for the rest of us that he's written a memoir about the lifetime of service he gave his country. "Doc! The Adventures of a Navy Hospital Corpsman" is that memoir.  "Doc," as many Marines and Corpsmen know, is a term of affection the Marines have for some of their battlefield medics. Grunts and Corpsmen alike will really enjoy Capt. Sullivan's reflections on his tours in Vietnam and his early deployments in Asia. But the book isn't just a memoir; there's something for military personnel and military medical troops in the...

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Lt. Russell J. Brown, U.S. Air Force (1948-1955)

Lt. Russell J. Brown, U.S. Air Force (1948-1955)

Jet fighters first made an appearance in the German Luftwaffe during World War II, but the technology had come a long way by the time the Korean War started in 1950. At first, the North Korean air forces were flying Soviet-built propeller-driven fighters, and the United States forces were flying American-made P-51 Mustangs and Vought F4U Corsairs. As the war dragged on, both sides got substantial upgrades.  When the Korean People's Air Force started flying the MiG-15, it was clear that the propeller fighters were outmatched by Soviet-built aircraft and Soviet-trained Chinese and North Korean pilots. MiG-15s were very good at intercepting B-29 Superfortress bombers and engaging their fighter escorts. They wreaked havoc on prop fighters. They were faster and more numerous than anything the United Nations forces could muster.  While the F-86 Sabre was sent to Korea to counter the growing MiG-15 threat, they would not arrive until December 1950. Until then, the U.S. Air Force...

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ENS Johnny Carson, U.S. Navy (1943-1945)

ENS Johnny Carson, U.S. Navy (1943-1945)

Before achieving fame as the renowned host of late-night television, Johnny Carson was a young man who dutifully responded to his country's call. His early years were defined by his service in the US Army Air Force from 1943 to 1945. This period of his life served as the cornerstone for his exceptional Hollywood career, where he emerged as the unmatched presenter of "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson." Through his military service, Carson not only made a lasting impact on the silver screen but also within the hearts of his fellow servicemen. Johnny Carson’s Early Years Born on October 23, 1925, in Corning, Iowa, Johnny Carson spent his formative years in the heart of the Midwest. Carson's family relocated to Norfolk, Nebraska, where he enrolled in Norfolk High School. During his academic years, he showcased his comedic prowess by participating in school plays and honing his magic skills. At the age of 12, during a visit to a friend's house in Nebraska, he stumbled upon a magic...

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Civil War – Battle of Drewry’s Bluff (1862)

Civil War – Battle of Drewry’s Bluff (1862)

On May 15, 1862, the Battle of Drewry's Bluff, also known as the Battle of Fort Darling, was fought between Union and Confederate forces at a sharp bend on the James River near Richmond, Virginia. Union forces were stationed aboard warships in the river, and Confederate forces were high on a fortified bluff. Richmond was the Confederate capital and vulnerable to attack by the Union Army on land, and by the Union Navy through the navigable James River. In March 1862, Confederate Captain Augustus H. Drewry ordered the construction of fortifications and the installation of large guns on his property, which was on a 90-foot bluff above the James River, and just seven miles from Richmond. Early in May, Norfolk fell to Union forces and the Confederate ship C.S.S. Virginia took refuge to avoid capture. This left the James River at Hampton Roads exposed and open to Union warships. At Drewry's Bluff, Confederate forces filled the river with underwater obstructions, including debris, sunken...

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The Good Soldier by Paul C. Steffy

The Good Soldier by Paul C. Steffy

The second novel by Army veteran Paul C. Steffy, The Good Soldier is a story of a young volunteer who suffers deeply as a result of his service. Alcoholism, multiple failed marriages, and recurring nightmares: Brad Thomas is in a pit of regrets with no recourse. None, that is, except confronting his trauma and returning to Vietnam to deal with the consequences of breaking a promise which he’d exchanged for an unexpected gift. Despite its dark subject matter, The Good Soldier is a tale of hope in the face of horrors. Reader Responses on The Good Soldier Told with the kind of attention to detail that's only possible from a guy who ‘was there.’ The author's moving tale of the mingling of cultures and traditions in the midst of political hatred and bloodshed is remarkable in its insights into those unexpected things that can both divide and unite us. Bravo, Good Soldier.” ~ S.L. Burge “Especially moving was the harrowing account of the death of a close friend, from being shot in the head...

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SGT Robert Pryor, U.S. Army (1967-1969)

SGT Robert Pryor, U.S. Army (1967-1969)

What was your favorite bar/ recreational establishment from your Military Service? What do you remember most about this place and do you know if it still exists?:

After getting wounded, I was given a three-day R&R in Vũng Tàu. I stayed at the Grand Hotel, which had been taken over as an R&R Center. Many GIs had cute dinner dates that first night. I don’t do nightlife, so there would be no opportunity to find even a plain Jane for me.

On my second day, I passed a barefoot woman in an alley. She was dressed in filthy black pajama peasant rags sporting rips and patches while smelling like raw sewage. I said hello to her in Vietnamese in the most formal manner. She returned my greeting, and we continued our separate ways. Suddenly, she came running back. As a Chinese Nùng, she was from the lowest strata of Vietnamese society. They were treated like animals. Other than her fellow Nùngs, I was the first to show her any respect.

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SGT William Upton, U.S. Army (1963-1968)

SGT William Upton, U.S. Army (1963-1968)

What was your favorite bar/ recreational establishment from your Military Service? What do you remember most about this place and do you know if it still exists?:

The Vung Tau Airfield NCO Club – 1966. On March 11, 1966, three months after I arrived in Vung Tau, Viet Nam, the NCO club served pizza. I loved pizza. So, hearing it was on the NCO Club menu, I hurried to get mine. A half a kilometer from the Club, my nostrils flared and I wiped drool from my mouth with the back of my hand as the smell of baking pizza dough wafted by. Before I opened the door, I could already taste the succulent wedges loaded with spicy pepperoni, steaming tomato sauce, and cheese that spilled off the edges.

Inside, the smoke-filled Quonset hut buzzed like a squadron of WWI bi-planes in a dogfight as others chomped, chewed, drank beer, bullshitted, and belched approval.

Huong, the Vietnamese waiter, came to my table, pad in hand, pencil on ear. He had read my mind. “You want pizza pie?”

“I’ll take a pepperoni pizza with extra pepperoni, Huong.” I wiped my drooling mouth again, this time with a paper napkin.

“No have pepperoni pizza,” Huong said.

“Then give me a sausage pizza with extra sausage and black olives,” I said, leaning back in my chair.

“No have sausage pizza.”

“Well, Jeezus H,” I sat back up. “What kind of pizza do you have?”

Huong smiled, obviously pleased with my irritation. “Have cheese and Veenamese pepper pizza is all.”

“Then bring me a cheese and pepper pizza with extra pepper and a beer.”

Huong padded off to the kitchen and within fifteen minutes, I had my pizza. With two hands I guided the pointed end of a steaming wedge into my mouth. I bit. I chewed. The melted American cheese tasted heavenly. The Vietnamese hot peppers had been grown in Hell. Fire scorched my tongue and the roof of my mouth. Tears streamed from my eyes. Smoke must’ve poured from my ears. I gulped down my beer and ordered two more before eating another piece.

After four slices, my mouth and tongue had gone numb and I could no longer taste the pizza. I finished it without a whimper. Three beers later, I paid my tab, whistled all the way back to the tent, and plopped on my cot. Twenty minutes after I laid down, my stomach began to work on the meal. Internally, the peppers fired burp guns at pizza slices which lobbed gas canisters back. My tent mates complained each time I belched or farted. Frog Fogarty moved his cot outside.

Some time later, the pizza wars ended and I dropped off to a fitful sleep. In my dreams, a blazing wheel chased me around the compound and I burped fire.

The next morning, after I showered, shaved, and ate breakfast, I headed for the latrine. If I had known my rear was going to catch fire, I would have taken a fire extinguisher with me. It took a few minutes before I realized that the pizza wars hadn’t ended. The Vietnamese peppers were now firing parting shots.

Regardless of all that, the hot pepper pizza proved so popular that the NCO Club was always full.

Obviously, the Vung Tau NCO Club is no longer in existence. Did the hot peppers burn it down? No one knows, but it’s a definite possibility.

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LT William Danton, U.S. Navy (1968-1970)

LT William Danton, U.S. Navy (1968-1970)

What was your favorite bar/ recreational establishment from your Military Service? What do you remember most about this place and do you know if it still exists?:

Well, I’ve visited a lot of bars in my life, but the standout is the Cubi Point Officer’s Club, Tailhook, or “Cat Room,” which housed the infamous “Cat Room Catapult.”

I was a newly-minted ensign serving on a Fleet ATF/diving vessel during the Vietnam War. An initiation ritual for junior officers was a trip to this bar, a cinderblock space two stories beneath the club bar and dining room. An aircraft cockpit was mounted on rails that exited the bar through double doors and then plunged into a tank of water. Once strapped in, compressed gas fired the sled down the track with one chance to hook a cable and stop the sled from plunging into the water. A very kindly NAC officer provided me with a tip that saved me from that fate.

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SGT George Jr. Hoffman, U.S. Army (1967-1973)

SGT George Jr. Hoffman, U.S. Army (1967-1973)

What was your favorite bar/ recreational establishment from your Military Service? What do you remember most about this place and do you know if it still exists?:

During basic training at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, there was a place called Charlies Beer Hall. We were allowed to go there about half way through basic. The beer tasted weak [I think it was 3.2] but we could get together and listen to music.

The reason that place is so memorable for me is it is the last time I saw some friends I grew up with. While I went on to Korea, after the Pueblo capture ,others went to Viet Nam. Some back story —I was the youngest of my high school graduates at 17. When I turned 18, April 1967, I went to the draft board to register and volunteer for the draft. I was told it would be at least a year until I was called. Guess what? I got a letter requiring me to report on Aug. 10,1967. when I told my friend, he laughed at my surprise in a joking way. So while I was at FT. Jackson ,I ran into my friend who was just starting his training. We had a good laugh,but that was the last time I saw my friend Franki Toderello. He was KIA June 6 1968.

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ADJ3 Steve Weaver, U.S. Navy (1972-1976)

ADJ3 Steve Weaver, U.S. Navy (1972-1976)

What was your favorite bar/ recreational establishment from your Military Service? What do you remember most about this place and do you know if it still exists?:

“The Green Parrot” – My Favorite Bar in Key West, Florida. The Navy was in the process of closing several bases around the country, and my first duty station at NAS Albany, Georgia, was on the list to be disestablished in 1974. The whole Vigilante Community Air Wing was to be transferred to NAS Boca Chica in Key West, Florida, the southernmost point in the United States.

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