Incredible Military Stories
1LT James Earl Jones, U.S. Army (1953-1955)

1LT James Earl Jones, U.S. Army (1953-1955)

Before gaining fame as the iconic voice behind Darth Vader in 'Star Wars,' James Earl Jones had a significant chapter in his life. During his youth, Jones responded to his country's call and served in the United States Army during the Korean War. His military experience profoundly influenced his character and laid the foundation for his exceptional journey in the entertainment industry. James Earl Jones’s Early Years James Earl Jones was born on January 17, 1931, in Arkabutla, Mississippi. His...

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QM3 Nicolette (Nikki) Martinez, U.S. Navy (1990-1994)

QM3 Nicolette (Nikki) Martinez, U.S. Navy (1990-1994)

Where did you go to Boot Camp/ Basic Training? What specific memories do you have of instructors, fellow recruits and any rigorous training?:

I went to boot camp in Orlando, FL beginning September 9, 1990. My company was K106. I had a female and male company commanders. She was very hardcore and much harder on us recruits than he was. He was higher rank. The one specific memory I have is not the happiest. We had one woman who had just made it to the age cut off. She was Filipino and her English wasn’t very good. She was an introvert and her age set her apart from the rest of us as we were mostly 18-20 years old. I’m going to call her Maggie to protect her identity due to the nature of her sad story.

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SGT Glen Sargent, U.S. Army (1999-2012)

SGT Glen Sargent, U.S. Army (1999-2012)

Where did you go to Boot Camp/ Basic Training? What specific memories do you have of instructors, fellow recruits and any rigorous training?:

I joined the Army in 1999 and started my journey in August, heading straight to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri for boot camp. Arriving there late at night was a jarring experience; the drill sergeant’s yelling as we got off the bus made the reality of my decision immediately clear. The first night was confusing, to say the least. Sharing a bathroom with 40 strangers was a stark departure from the life I knew. Waking up to unfamiliar faces, I felt like a fish out of water. It was chaotic, overwhelming, and the constant uncertainty made every moment tense.

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SGT Marivel Perez, U.S. Army (2001-2011)

SGT Marivel Perez, U.S. Army (2001-2011)

Where did you go to Boot Camp/ Basic Training? What specific memories do you have of instructors, fellow recruits and any rigorous training?:

22 years ago, I was an 18-year-old who had just joined the Army. On 9/10 and 9/11 2001, I was at Fort Jackson, South Carolina conducting my final field training exercise in Basic Training. That morning, after setting up fox holes in the rain, pulling guard duty in the cold, and feeling completely drained from marching to the middle of nowhere the night before, we woke up, and were informed by our Drill Sergeants that our country had been attacked.

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SGT Russell Holmes, U.S. Army (1984-2003)

SGT Russell Holmes, U.S. Army (1984-2003)

Where did you go to Boot Camp/ Basic Training? What specific memories do you have of instructors, fellow recruits and any rigorous training?:

In 1984, FLW MO: We were training ‘Moving under fire”. We’d line up at the edge of the woods, and the first guy would run forward to cover. The first guy then yelled, “Covering!”. The next guy would yell, “Moving!” and run past the first guy and throw himself down at the next cover. He’d settle into a firing position and then yell, “Covering!” The first guy would yell “Moving!’ and run past him to the next cover. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. We were also using the downtime between platoons to enhance CTT skills. Located at this training area was the latrine. There was no running water at the training area, so the latrine was a wooden outhouse. It was about 8 feet wide and 30 feet long, with 10 holes cut out in the bench over the septic pit. It was well-maintained and clean for an outhouse. The stench, however, could lift the roof. Imagine countless soldiers doing their business in there, day in and day out. In Missouri. In August.

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CAPT Michael Lilly, U.S. Navy (1968-1998)

CAPT Michael Lilly, U.S. Navy (1968-1998)

Where did you go to Boot Camp/ Basic Training? What specific memories do you have of instructors, fellow recruits and any rigorous training?:

Saturday, July 20, 1968, is still the longest day of my life. This is how it began as I entered Naval Officer Candidate School – officer boot camp – at Newport, Rhode Island.

“HEY, YOU!”

The voice belonged to a khaki uniform.

I pointed to myself, “Who me?”

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A3C Michael Bell, U.S. Air Force (1963-1966)

A3C Michael Bell, U.S. Air Force (1963-1966)

Where did you go to Boot Camp/ Basic Training? What specific memories do you have of instructors, fellow recruits and any rigorous training?:

Lackland, in winter…

I quit my high school senior year in South Bend on the November day JFK was assassinated. Being a foster kid and ward of Cook County court I was given one choice; enlist or go back to school. I chose USAF because my uncle had been in blue working on Boxcars in Japan during Korea, and everyone else in the family going back to the 1700s had been Army. I scored high on “Abstract Reasoning” – as my wife and kids would attest still holds true 60 years later. In almost exactly one month I found myself in Indianapolis taking the physical, and the oath with about 20 other guys my age. After spending that night in a seedy hotel part of the city, we were put on the civilian equivalent of a C-131 (aka T-29) Samaritan recip. Bound south vector to San Antonio, at age 17; my first airplane ride, and into the unkowable.

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Firehammer by Ric Hunter

Firehammer by Ric Hunter

If you'd like to know what it's like to pilot a high-performance jet in training and combat - without risk and actually having to get into one - you cannot do better than to read Ric Hunter's just published 'Firehammer.' A resident of Burnsville, retired Col. Hunter had 27 years and 4,000 hours of high-performance jet time, and was commander of an F-15 C Eagle squadron. His book describes the last days of the Vietnam War, including the SS Mayaquez rescue and the final evacuation of military...

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The Battle of Manila Bay

The Battle of Manila Bay

The first major battle "The Battle of Manila Bay" of the Spanish-American War was also one of the U.S. Navy's most resounding victories. Much has been written about how and why the Spanish-American War started, what the catalyst for the war was, and who's to blame for it all. Once Spain declared war on the United States and the U.S. Congress responded in kind, the U.S. Navy was ready for action. When the war broke out, the Spanish had a formidable squadron of ships stationed in the...

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WW2 – The Liberation of Auschwitz Concentration Camp

WW2 – The Liberation of Auschwitz Concentration Camp

On January 27 1945 the Soviet Army pried open the gates of Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland and liberated some 7,000 emaciated prisoners. About 58,000 others had been hurriedly marched westward before the Soviet Army approached. Auschwitz, the German word for the Polish town of Oswiecim, was the site of the largest Nazi concentration camp during WWII. It consisted of a concentration camp, a labor camp, and large gas chambers and crematoria. More than 1.3 million people...

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Cold War – 1983 Beirut Bombing

Cold War – 1983 Beirut Bombing

In 1975, a bloody civil war erupted in Lebanon, with Palestinian and leftist Muslim guerrillas battling militias of the Christian Phalange Party, the Maronite Christian community, and other groups. During the next few years, Syrian, Israeli, and United Nations interventions failed to resolve the factional fighting, and in August 1982 a multinational force arrived to oversee the safe and peaceful withdrawal of Yasir Arafat and the PLO from positions within Beirut and ensure the safety of the...

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Brig Gen James Robinson Risner, U.S. Air Force (1943 – 1976)

Brig Gen James Robinson Risner, U.S. Air Force (1943 – 1976)

James Robinson Risner was a man of humble origins, son of an Arkansas sharecropper, educated at secondary school level, not particularly ambitious, a common man save for two things: He could fly the hell out of an airplane; and, under terribly difficult circumstances as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam, he rose to a level of heroic leadership matched by few men in American military history. Born in Mammoth Springs, Arkansas on Jan. 16, 1925 and raised in a religious family, Robinson Risner...

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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.