Military Medley

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 government was collapsing under the weight of the bloody civil war. This is an incredible story that has not been told of heroism in the face of chaos and uncertainty. The story was simply lost because it occurred in the immediate lead-up to Operation Desert Storm and hardly received any media attention.   On January 2, 1991, Italian officials in Mogadishu made a fruitless effort to arrange a cease-fire among the factions. When this effort failed, U.S. ambassador James K. Bishop realized...

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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 January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi. He was a twin, but his brother was stillborn. Elvis had a strong bond with his parents, especially with his mother Gladys. His father Vernon was doing odd jobs, and the family often depended on the goodwill of neighbors or government food support. Elvis was an average student at best, but impressed the teachers with his singing. One of the teachers encouraged him to enter a singing contest, which turned out to be Elvis’s first public appearance at the age of...

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Operation Top Cover, a Year On The Dew Line By Arthur Wayland

Operation Top Cover, a Year On The Dew Line By Arthur Wayland

During the Cold War, the United States relied on three radar lines to detect incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles that might come from the Soviet Union. The most important and most capable of the three was the Distant Early Warning Line - affectionately known as the DEW Line.  About the Author of Operation Top Cover In Cape Lisburne, Alaska, Arthur Wayland was manning the 711 Aircraft Control and Warning station. It was a very remote radar station, the westernmost site of the DEW Line. His job was to warn the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) of any enemy aircraft that crossed into U.S. airspace.  Wayland spent a year on the DEW Line between 1969 and 1970. His book, "Operation Top Cover: A Year on the DEW Line," recounts his time spent there.  It was an eventful year for the Cold War. Richard Nixon was elected as President of the United States, the Apollo 11 astronauts won the Space Race by landing on the moon, and Nixon implemented the "Madman...

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Tales from My Sea Bag by Luis Sung

Tales from My Sea Bag by Luis Sung

There's a good chance that anyone in the Navy could fill a book of short stories with their own personal sea stories, no matter what their rating was. That's pretty much the greatest thing about joining the Navy: you get multiple lifetimes of experiences crammed into such a short amount of time. Of course, slots on aircraft carriers and submarines are limited, and sailors couldn't talk much about those experiences anyway. Author Luis Sung was stationed aboard the Amphibious Transport Dock USS Trenton (LPD 14) between 1980 and 1984. He chronicles his adventures of being deployed with his shipmates and their U.S. Marine Corps passengers and the challenges of being at sea. From Childhood in Hawaii to Naval Adventures Sung spent some of his early life in Florida but says his childhood really started when his family relocated to Honolulu, Hawaii, in the 1970s. It wouldn't last. The family eventually moved back to Florida, where Sung spent most of his life – when he wasn't in the Navy, of...

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Pvt Burt Young, U.S. Marine Corps (1957-1959)

Pvt Burt Young, U.S. Marine Corps (1957-1959)

You may not recognize the name, but you'll recognize the face. Let's be honest: a Burt Young movie marathon is a day well spent. He appeared in more than 160 roles in 50 years in Hollywood, acting alongside the silver screen's most recognizable names: Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, and, of course, Sylvester Stallone.  His credits include "Chinatown," "The Killer Elite" and "Once Upon a Time in America," along with his turn as Paulie in the 1976 film "Rocky." He continued in the role through all of the "Rocky" sequels, but it was his performance in the first film that earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.  The Unlikely Journey from Queens Hoodlum to Hollywood Star Burt Young, born Gerald Tommaso DeLouise on April 30, 1940, in Queens, New York, USA, grew up in a family where his father wore many hats—a sheet metal worker, an iceman, and eventually a high school shop teacher and dean. He has Italian-American heritage, which added authenticity to his...

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VA Updates: Benefits Best Practice – Tell Your Family

VA Updates: Benefits Best Practice – Tell Your Family

Six million Veterans receive benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). As I described in a previous column, these are earned benefits for military service and not entitlements.  For Veterans, it is essential to explain to your family members what these benefits are, how they are administered, and how they would be affected if you should pass. Based on an all too common real-world situation, this example summarizes why taking the time to speak to your family about your benefits is critical. Scenario One: Veteran Does Not Share Benefit Information with Family Consider a married male Veteran who has not shared his benefit information with his spouse. He qualified for disability compensation for a service-related injury and receives a tax-free payment of $2,500 every month. These funds are incorporated into the family budget, which he and his wife use to pay for living expenses.  The Veteran dies, and his wife begins grieving. During this challenging period,...

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The Earth Is Weeping by Peter Cozzens

The Earth Is Weeping by Peter Cozzens

After the Civil War, the Indian Wars would last more than three decades, permanently altering the physical and political landscape of America. Peter Cozzens gives us both sides in comprehensive and singularly intimate detail.  Overview of The Earth Cries He covers lots of ground, much of it bloody, thus he skips lightly over certain events, but in doing so he doesn’t gloss over anything. Even when he treads familiar ground - Red Cloud’s War, the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the Nez Perce flight and fight, the epic pursuit of Geronimo, Wounded Knee, and so forth - he relates all in surprisingly fresh and insightful fashion.  One of his major points is that Western Indians never united to oppose the white "invaders" but continued to make war on one another, as they had done for centuries. Indian tribes such as the Shoshones, Crows, and Pawnees - all of whom had been victimized by stronger tribes - cast their lot with the American soldiers, while Apaches scouted for the Army...

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Backtracking in Brown Water by Rolland E. Kidder

Backtracking in Brown Water by Rolland E. Kidder

The market is flooded with books written about Vietnam. Many follow the same path in their storytelling, beginning with their youth, entry into the military, their war experiences, returning home, and how they feel today about that journey. This book does some of that, but it is different in more ways. The author takes us on a voyage spanning his wartime service as a U.S. Navy patrol boat officer in Vietnam's Mekong Delta to his recent return trip to Vietnam and finally, to the most poignant and memorable part of his story, visiting the families and graves of three friends and fellow combatants. The nexus of the book came from an article written by the author for Naval History magazine and published in 2010. But through that process of research and pouring over a journal he kept during his Vietnam tour of duty, the memories of those three men, James Rost and Eldon Tozer, both Navy patrol boat officers and Robert Olson, an Army advisor working with Vietnamese soldiers, kept popping...

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VA Updates: Glad You Asked

VA Updates: Glad You Asked

During Veterans Month, I had the opportunity to brief several companies' Veteran groups about the benefits they earned from their military service. During my presentations, I provided a quick overview of all the benefits and then devoted three-quarters of the hour to answering questions from the attendees. I've found that answering questions enables me to provide more situation specific information and often suggest next steps they can take to receive their benefits. Inevitably, there are more questions than time allows, reinforcing my belief that so much more needs to be done to educate our Veterans on these benefits. Navigating Claims for Increase: Addressing Concerns One question that came up in each session had to do with the possible negative consequences of filing for an increase in benefits. This is often referred to as a "Claim for Increase." This occurs when a Veteran has previously filed for disability compensation and been granted a service connection.  This is...

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Joining the Braves by Winique Payen

Joining the Braves by Winique Payen

"Joining the Braves" is a must-read for anyone considering joining the military, especially young Americans and immigrants who want to give back to the United States, as author Winique Payen comes from both backgrounds.  About the Author of Joining the Braves Today, he is a non-commissioned officer in the United States Army who has served multiple deployments overseas and is currently stationed in Tennessee. But Payen started his life in Haiti, where he was born and raised. He came to the U.S. in 2009, but his enlistment was not his first encounter with the U.S. military.  In 1994, the United States invaded Haiti to overthrow the military regime that unseated Haiti's ​​President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was elected in 1991.  "I saw those guys walk in with pride," Paten recalls in his book. "Everything from their discipline to their honor to their integrity all influenced me greatly… I wanted to see myself standing among those troops." From the day he first saw them, his...

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TSgt Norman Lear, U.S. Army Air Force (1942-1945)

TSgt Norman Lear, U.S. Army Air Force (1942-1945)

Norman Lear, most known for his TV producing as the creator of such shows as All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Maude, Sanford and Son, Different Strokes, Mary Hartman, Mary, One Day at a Time and Good Times, didn't always bask in the glitz of Hollywood. Before crafting iconic television shows, Lear's journey unfolded in the United States Army during World War II. Norman Lear's military service, encompassing various roles and a transformative encounter, marked the inception of a prolific career that spanned seven decades.  Norman Lear’s Early Years Born on July 27, 1922, in New Haven, Connecticut, Norman Milton Lear was 19 years old when the Japanese Nava Air Forces bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. Raised in a Jewish household, Lear's early years were marked by the Great Depression. His family relocated multiple times during his childhood, finally settling in New Haven. During his formative years at Weaver High School in Hartford, Connecticut, Lear displayed a keen interest in music and...

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Clint Eastwood, U.S. Army (1951-1953)

Clint Eastwood, U.S. Army (1951-1953)

Clint Eastwood, the renowned actor and director, did not always grace the red carpets of Hollywood. Prior to becoming the legendary "Man with No Name," Eastwood's path unfolded in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Clint Eastwood's military tenure, spanning from his initial odd jobs to a pivotal encounter, marked the commencement of a 70-year career in the entertainment industry. TogetherWeServed salutes Clint Eastwood for his honorable military service and the indelible mark he has left on the world of entertainment. His legacy serves as a shining example of the incredible achievements that can be realized when talent, hard work, and military values converge. We are proud to celebrate Clint Eastwood's contributions to both our nation and the entertainment industry. Clint Eastwood’s Early Years Clint Eastwood, born on May 31, 1930, at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco, California, to Ruth and Clinton Eastwood, boasts a diverse ancestry—English, Irish, Scottish, and...

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