The Christy Collection

Military Stories and Articles

Veteran Finder App

Veteran Finder App

Together We Served Launches Its Free Veteran Finder App In order to take the next step in supporting the veteran community, popular veteran website Together We Served launches its free veteran finder app on the Apple Store and Google Play Store in time for Veterans’ Day. Founded in 2003 by CEO Brian Foster, since then Together We Served has endeavored to give US military veterans a space of their own to connect, discuss their military service, and form or rekindle friendships based on shared...

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Battle of Ia Drang Valley

Battle of Ia Drang Valley

There have been thousands upon thousands of battles and scrimmages fought by Americans since coming to the New World. Combat veterans will tell you each is important, but there are those battles that have a greater impact, often changing the nature of the conflict or even the defining moment in who wins and who loses the war. In this issue, we begin with the four-day Battle of the Ia Drang Valley.  Along the Cambodia border in the Central Highlands, roughly 35 miles southwest of Pleiku...

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Maj Richard Ira “Dick” Bong, USAAF (1941–1945)

Maj Richard Ira “Dick” Bong, USAAF (1941–1945)

Richard Ira "Dick" Bong, was born September 24, 1920, in St. Mary's hospital in Superior, Wisconsin. He was the first of nine children born to Carl T. Bong and Dora Bryce Bong, living on a farm near the small town of Poplar, Wisconsin, about 20 miles southeast of Superior. Dick's father came to the United States from Sweden at the age of seven, and his mother was of Scots-English descent. Dick grew up on the family farm and attended the Poplar Grade School. He then attended the Poplar High...

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Five Years to Freedom: The True Story of a Vietnam POW by James N. Rowe

Five Years to Freedom: The True Story of a Vietnam POW by James N. Rowe

Five Years to Freedom: The True Story of a Vietnam POW by James N. Rowe When Green Beret Lieutenant James N. Rowe was captured in 1963 in Vietnam, his life became an intensely grueling endeavor that few could have survived. Rowe had been in Vietnam for only three months when he was captured. Imprisoned in a Viet Cong POW camp in an area known as the Forest of Darkness, Rowe endured beri-beri, dysentery, and tropical fungus diseases. He suffered demoralizing psychological and physical torment....

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The Incredible Rescue of LtCol Gene Hambleton, U.S. Air Force (1943-1972)

The Incredible Rescue of LtCol Gene Hambleton, U.S. Air Force (1943-1972)

On April 2, 1972, the third day of the Easter Offensive, the largest combined arms operation of the entire Vietnam War, 53-year-old Air Force Lt. Col. Iceal 'Gene' Hambleton was a navigator aboard one of two United States Air Force EB-66 aircraft escorting three B-52s. Bat 21, the call sign for Hambleton's aircraft, was configured to gather signals intelligence, including identifying North Vietnamese anti-aircraft radar installations to enable jamming. (Photo is Bat 21 in Korat Royal Thai Air...

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SSgt John (Johnny) R. Cash, U.S. Air Force (1950-1954)

SSgt John (Johnny) R. Cash, U.S. Air Force (1950-1954)

The legend who would become Johnny Cash was born in 1932 into the Cash family of poor cotton farmers in Kingsland, Arkansas. Known simply as J.R. growing up, Cash graduated high school in 1950 and joined the US Air Force with the Korean War raging. Unable to sign up under an initial, he gave his name as ‘John R. Cash’. He completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, which is the same time he met the young woman that would become his first wife, Vivian Liberto, at a roller rink....

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Col Merryl Tengesdal, U.S. Air Force (1994-2017) – U2 Pilot

Col Merryl Tengesdal, U.S. Air Force (1994-2017) – U2 Pilot

Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Merryl Tengesdal is the first African American female U-2 pilot in history and is the first African American woman to fly the Air Force's U-2 Dragon Lady Spy Plane. She is the only black woman alongside five white women and two black men to fly spy planes. Tengesdal was born Merryl David in 1971 in the Bronx, New York. She excelled in math and science classes in grade school and high school and graduated from the University of New Haven in Connecticut in 1994...

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Destroyed Military Records. A Disaster with Long-Lasting Repercussions

Destroyed Military Records. A Disaster with Long-Lasting Repercussions

In 1973 a devastating fire in the National Personnel Records Center destroyed about 17 million military personnel files. A loss with long-lasting repercussions, it affects our understanding and knowledge of many individual WWII stories. Here in New Orleans, the destructive power of fire and especially water is well known. Large disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and fires affect our national consciousness, and their devastating power often goes beyond the destruction of buildings and...

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Explaining U.S. Military Rank Structure

Explaining U.S. Military Rank Structure

Since the time of the Revolutionary War, the United States military has had a formal structure. Over time, that has helped it develop from a stoic collection of patriots with a cause to the world’s most powerful armed forces. Over time, new branches of the Armed Forces have been added to the United States Army and Navy, and its structure has been altered, but the tradition of proud service has not abated. Military Rank Charts This is a series of charts depicting the ranks and insignias for the...

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Vietnam War Veterans

Vietnam War Veterans

Frequently Asked Questions about Vietnam War Veterans There are several misconceptions and assumptions about Vietnam veterans. This collection of frequently asked questions may help to straighten out any confusion. Q: How Many Vietnam War Veterans are Still Alive? A: In 2020, there are fewer than 850,000 veterans who served in Vietnam still alive. This is down from the 2.7 million service members who were on active duty in Vietnam. Q: How Old are Vietnam War Veterans? A: In 2015, the US...

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Explaining Air Force Basic Military Training (BMT)

Explaining Air Force Basic Military Training (BMT)

Joining the United States Air Force requires comprehensive training to become a proficient Airman. Air Force basic training is considered by some to be the ‘easiest’ of the branches. While it is shorter than the Marine Corps’ and Army’s basic training programs, it is still an exceptional test of a young recruit’s physical and psychological fortitude. Not everyone can become an Airman. Reports have found that over seven in ten young people are incapable of even becoming a recruit. The Air Force...

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Preserving Military Service History

Preserving Military Service History

Many military veterans are, rightly, proud of their service to their country and want to record it for future generations to note. Others might take it further and indulge an interest not only in their own service history but of their whole unit history. Of course, the US Armed Forces keep detailed military records to the extent that they are able. Multiple buildings house substantial military service records, from the United States’ founding to modern-day. Records from the Revolutionary War...

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