Military Campaign Stories

Service Reflections of CSM Robert (Rob) M. Preusser, U.S. Army (1995-Present)

Service Reflections of CSM Robert (Rob) M. Preusser, U.S. Army (1995-Present)

I have raised an Army brat. I grew up with military role models. My father, uncle, and grandfather were in the Army. I had two other uncles in the Air Force. Made it an easy choice for military service. Being an Army brat, moving to multiple middle schools and two high schools, I was burned out with schooling and didn’t have the means to go directly into college, so military service was the logical choice for me. It fit me better because I wanted to get out on my own and travel the world. I wanted something more than working in my hometown. I wanted to do something positive with my life and make a difference to others.

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Operation Ivory Coast – The Son Tay Raid

Operation Ivory Coast – The Son Tay Raid

It has been called the most daring raid of the Vietnam War; Operation Ivory Coast was an effort to rescue prisoners of war who had been held by North Vietnam for years. It did not rescue any of the prisoners, but it did change the way U.S. Special Operations planned and executed its missions.  By 1970, the United States not only knew that hundreds of American POWs were being held by the communist North Vietnamese, but they also knew those prisoners were being subjected to torture and mistreatment - and many had been suffering for years on end.  Special operations planners knew the location of where at least 61 of them were being held, a camp near the North Vietnamese capital of Hanoi known as Son Tay. The United States designed a plan to rescue them right out from under the communists' noses.  The mission would not be an easy one. At least six of the prisoners were believed to be near death, and the Son Tay prison was in an area where intelligence planners believed...

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Service Reflections of SSGT Ken Christeson, U.S. Marine Corps (1971-1977)

Service Reflections of SSGT Ken Christeson, U.S. Marine Corps (1971-1977)

My dad and all of my uncles were veterans of WWII. My dad and some uncles served in the Pacific, while others served in Europe. I grew up watching the war programs on TV and playing combat with the kids in the neighborhood. I read Leon Uris’s book BATTLE CRY in high school, which started considering the Marine Corps.

After school, I had a part-time job and worked alongside a couple of active-duty Marines working off duty for extra spending money.

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Service Reflections of ET2 Michael Brown, U.S. Navy (1963-1967)

Service Reflections of ET2 Michael Brown, U.S. Navy (1963-1967)

Three members of my family served in the US Navy. Two graduated from Annapolis in the early 1920s. One served as a Destroyer Captain up until the war began. He told me sea stories of in 1941, tracking German submarines off the coast of Africa as part of the Lend-Lease Program with Great Britain. The other one was discharged from the service as soon as he graduated because the US fleet was gearing down in the post-WW1 era due to more Dems in power, which was always their first way to save money. Their little brother served on USS West Point AP-23, carrying troops to Europe. He attended boot camp in Idaho and then served as a helmsman on Atlantic crossings in U-Boat-infested waters. I think he attended Quartermaster School in Idaho.

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Famous Air Force Unit – 6th Special Operations Squadron (Commando)

Famous Air Force Unit – 6th Special Operations Squadron (Commando)

To those not deeply immersed in US Air Force operations, the 6th Special Operations Squadron (SOS) may appear a bit of an enigma as Commando is most often associated with ground units. The squadron's title actually derives from roots reaching back to WWII together with hard-fought experience, all leading to a mission that's responsive to contemporary, global needs. Constituted initially as a fighter squadron, the 6th SOS acquired broad skills extending through Vietnam and beyond, keying on counterinsurgency, special operations, and international advisory assignments. Armed with exhaustive training and comprehensive combat aircraft experience, the primary role of the 6th Special Operations Squadron is to assess, train, advise and assist foreign aviation forces in the use of their aircraft throughout the world. Though initially developed and honed in the chaos of a world at war, the unique skill sets provided by the 6th Special Operations Squadron are particularly relevant for...

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The Revolutionary War – The Penobscot Expedition

The Revolutionary War – The Penobscot Expedition

The U.S. Navy has had its wins and losses since its birthday on Oct. 13, 1775. Its victories are too numerous to count. While its losses are few and far between, two devastating losses stand out among all the others.  Its most memorable significant loss is, of course, a day that continues to live in infamy. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor devastated the Navy's Pacific Fleet but did not cripple it. The Navy's first-ever significant is on par with Pearl Harbor but is often forgotten: The ill-fated Penobscot Expedition.  The Ill-fated Penobscot Expedition In 1779, the Revolutionary War was in full swing. An American victory over British forces at Saratoga in 1777 brought recognition of the 13 American colonies from European powers like France and Spain. France allied itself with the new country, and the British Empire was forced to alter its strategy for dealing with the rebels.  A British force under Gen. Francis McLean captured a large portion of Maine, then part of...

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Service Reflections of ET2 Alan Spielman, U.S. Coast Guard (1979-1988)

Service Reflections of ET2 Alan Spielman, U.S. Coast Guard (1979-1988)

I was interested in electronics but found it difficult to work 8 hours, go to school 8 hours, and study at least 4 hours a day, and I burnt out. I researched all the services and found the Coast Guard electronic technicians trained on everything, and they only specialized between aircraft and all others.

So I joined to get electronics school where I could work on everything from small boats to large cutters, buoy tenders, ice breakers, Loran (long-range aids to navigation), lighthouses, shore stations, communication stations, and remote aids/high sites.

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Death In The Highlands by Keith Saliba

Death In The Highlands by Keith Saliba

Keith Saliba's book's real-life setting is an isolated, heavily fortified frontier outpost In Vietnam's West-Central Highlands near the Cambodian border and the Ho Chi Minh trail, the main conduit for troops and supplies from North Vietnam. "It was a 20th-century version of the Wild West frontier fortress," Saliba said, in territory Army Special Forces soldiers called "Indian Country"-remote, dangerous. In October 1965, the camp at Plei Me was guarded by a 12-man American Army Special Forces "A-Team," along with Montagnard fighters native to the region and a small contingent of South Vietnamese Special Forces soldiers. But by Oct. 19, almost 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers had crept into position around Plei Me. An equal number were deployed to ambush any relief force sent to the camp's rescue. And so begins the battle he describes in "Death in the Highlands: The Siege of Special Forces Camp Plei Me." Vastly outnumbered, the Special Forces soldiers fought back with their Vietnamese...

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A1C Morgan Freeman, U.S. Air Force (1955-1959)

A1C Morgan Freeman, U.S. Air Force (1955-1959)

Morgan Freeman, recipient of the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award, is an American actor, director, and narrator. Noted for his distinctive deep voice, Freeman didn't get his first big break until age 49. Most readers know Freeman for his perfromance in Shawshank Redemption, Million Dollar Baby, or Driving Miss Daisy. But did you know that acting was not Freeman’s first love? As a young man, he dreamed of being an Air Force pilot, turned down an drama scholarship to enlist in the Air Force, where he served for four years. Morgan Freeman’s Early Years Morgan Freeman was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on the 1st of June, 1937. These were harsh years, with the Wall Street Crash leading through to the Dust Bowl and then the war in Europe. His father, Morgan Sr, was a barber, his mother Mayme a cleaner struggling to maintain a family that eventually included six children: five boys and one girl, Morgan being the fourth-born. When Morgan was very young, like so many other...

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Service Reflections of SGT Eric Andonian, U.S. Army (1992-2001)

Service Reflections of SGT Eric Andonian, U.S. Army (1992-2001)

Influencer #1: The military always fascinated me; my dad grew up in Tehran, Iran (an Armenian), and he served in the Persian Army (Iran, 1941).

He was a very proud American and loved this country, and I remember him taking us to Long Beach harbor (California) to see an aircraft carrier (the 1960s). That was an amazing experience (I can still visualize those torpedoes)!

Influencer #2: We lived through the hushed horror of Vietnam, and I think my parents kind of shielded us from it. I don’t remember ever seeing it on TV or talking about it. When I turned 18 (1978), my mom actually hesitated (slightly) when I jokingly questioned signing up for Selective Service registration. She talked about my staying with my friend in Canada if the next war was FUBAR like Vietnam. That surprised me because she strongly supported our nation and its laws.

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Service Reflections of SMSgt George H. Schryer, U.S. Air Force (1957-1981)

Service Reflections of SMSgt George H. Schryer, U.S. Air Force (1957-1981)

I joined the Navy Reserve while still a junior in high school and four other fools because we thought it was a good way to make easy money. I never intended to make it a career. I left active duty and returned to Reserve status because there were no promotion possibilities in my desired career field, which was the Gunnery field. That had been my primary duty aboard the ship for two years, and I enjoyed working on the big guns.

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Vietnam and Beyond: Veteran Reflections by Jenny La Sala And Jim Markson

Vietnam and Beyond: Veteran Reflections by Jenny La Sala And Jim Markson

Those who have fought on a battlefield often describe it as a combination of extreme excitement and gut-wrenching terror. It's also a huge assault to the emotions that can leave permanent mental health damage. Today, that condition is called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the past, it has been known as battle fatigue (WWI) and shell shock (WWII).  This well-styled, organized, and powerfully written book is a compilation of first-hand accounts by warriors who suffer some aspects of emotional trauma as well as others who have full-blown PTSD. At the center of the book are a collection of letters co-author Jim Markson wrote home while serving in Vietnam with the U.S. Air Force 377th Security Police Squadron as security for the Tan Son Nhut Air Base. His tour was from March 1967 to March 1968.  His first batch of letters home were relatively placid, containing relaxed messages about arriving in Vietnam; going to the PX; the boredom; how he had gone into Saigon and had shrimp...

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