The Christy Collection

Military Stories and Articles

Service Reflections of CAPT David Edling, U.S. Coast Guard (1969-1999)

Service Reflections of CAPT David Edling, U.S. Coast Guard (1969-1999)

I completed two tours of duty as a Naval Officer serving aboard the USS Duncan DD-874 and the USS Lipan ATF-85 before considering service in the U. S. Coast Guard. Both of those shipboard tours included deployments to Vietnam, the first in 1970 and the second in 1972. I liked the Navy. I had been designated a Distinguished Naval Graduate on commissioning from the NROTC program at Oregon State University, which meant a Regular USN commission. Both of my initial shipboard tours were excellent experiences because I served under very competent Commanding Officers, and my shipmates on both ships were guys used to form my abilities and competencies as a sea service officer.

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Don Rickles, U.S. Navy (1944-1946), WWII

Don Rickles, U.S. Navy (1944-1946), WWII

Before emerging as the renowned comedy legend celebrated for his wit and humor, Don Rickles navigated a significant chapter in his life that often goes overlooked. Long before his name became synonymous with laughter, Rickles dutifully answered his country's call by enlisting in the United States Navy during World War II. These military years in the Navy laid the groundwork for the extraordinary career that would later make him a comedy icon adored by audiences worldwide. Don Rickles’s Early...

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Service Reflections of MST2 Edmund Reardon, U.S. Coast Guard (1977-1981)

Service Reflections of MST2 Edmund Reardon, U.S. Coast Guard (1977-1981)

In the 1970s, while trying to complete my undergraduate degree at Penn State Univ., I ended up on the Dean’s “other” list. With my academic career teetering on failure, I became interested in other options for my future.

The original GI Bill was in place but would soon be changed to the newer version where matching funds were promised. I delayed-enlisted before the deadline at the Pittsburgh, PA recruiting office, which offered billets for either Cape May, NJ, or Alameda, CA. Interested in further travel, I opted for CA.

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Steel Soldier: Guadalcanal Odyssey by James J. Messina

Steel Soldier: Guadalcanal Odyssey by James J. Messina

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States seized the initiative in the Pacific by delivering a resounding defeat to the Japanese at the Battle of Midway. Following this turn of events, the U.S. decided to attack the Solomon Islands, especially Guadalcanal, to support further operations as they advanced toward the Japanese home islands. Guadalcanal became a critical target for the Americans because of its position along Allied supply lines, its proximity to further Japanese bases, and...

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

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

Riskiest Moment: Was there any specific incident during your military service when you felt your life was at risk? What were the circumstances, and what was the outcome?:

At 0200 hours on 20 June 1969, our camp was partially overrun by approximately 100 Việt Cộng. They held the south and east portions of our compound. There were over three dozen trapped women and children hiding in that area. Four US Special Forces and two Vietnamese Special Forces were in the camp. We also had 15 to 20 members of our Civilian Irregular Defense Group. Mostly the sick, lame, and lazy. Our main camp strikers were out on two separate operations. The Vietnamese Special Forces soldiers elected not to participate in the battle, so it was four against 100.

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A1C Carlos “Chuck” Ray Norris, U.S. Air Force (1958-1962)

A1C Carlos “Chuck” Ray Norris, U.S. Air Force (1958-1962)

You may know Chuck Norris is a champion martial artist, and movie and television star of titles such as Walker, Texas Ranger, The Delta Force, and The Hitman. A martial arts legend who has contributed greatly to the development and popularization of martial arts in the United States and around the world, he has a long and impressive martial arts career, both as a competitor and as a teacher. He is a black belt in Tang Soo Do, Brazilian jiu jitsu and judo. However, before he became a Hollywood...

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WW2 – Doolittle Raid and the Brutal Japanese Reprisals (1942)

WW2 – Doolittle Raid and the Brutal Japanese Reprisals (1942)

Everyone knows about Pearl Harbor and Japan dragging the USA into World War II. Still, fewer are aware of the American Doolittle raid and the brutal Japanese reprisals to this daring counterpunch. Approximately five months after the Japanese attempt to cripple the American Pacific fleet, an unprecedented strike on the heart of the Japanese Empire was launched by the intrepid pilot Lt. Col. James Doolittle of the United States Army Air Force. While the United States boosted the American...

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American Nurses in WWI

American Nurses in WWI

As a German plane buzzed overhead, nurse Helen Dore Boylston dropped face down in the mud. Boylston, an American nurse, serving at a British Army base hospital near the Western Front in 1918, had been running between wards of wounded patients that night, trying to calm their nerves during the air raid. Now, all she could do was brace herself for the hissing bomb that hurtled toward her. She covered her eyes and ears against the deafening roar and "blood-red flare." About a half-hour later,...

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The Loss Of Coast Guard Cutter USS Tampa

The Loss Of Coast Guard Cutter USS Tampa

USS Tampa's short story began on August 9, 1912, when the U.S. Revenue Service Cutter (UCRC) Miami, built by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Corp, was commissioned at Arundel Cove, MD. The ship was named for the Miami Indian tribe rather than for the then little settlement in South Florida. At the time, several revenue cutters were named after Indian tribes. The Miami was 190 ft long, with a 14.6-ft draft and a displacement of 1,181 tons. Her normal crew complement was 70 Officers...

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Service Reflections of SSG Peter Olsen, U.S. Army (1967-1973)

Service Reflections of SSG Peter Olsen, U.S. Army (1967-1973)

Too much partying, and it turned out a 1.2 GPA would not keep me from being drafted. So I volunteered for the draft. Once I got back from Vietnam, I actually received 2 degrees and maintained a 3.7 GPA while working full time as a police officer. Funny story – After I left school to volunteer for the draft, I thought it would be a quick process. Not so. The first month my draft board did not meet for some reason. The second month the draft board did not take up my request. The third month a draft board member died of old age – no meeting. In the 4th month, the draft board finally met and acted on my request but did not approve it until the 5th month.

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MajGen. Keith L. Ware, U.S. Army (1941–1968)

MajGen. Keith L. Ware, U.S. Army (1941–1968)

MajGen Keith Lincoln Ware was born in Denver on November 23, 1915. His military career began on July 9, 1941, when he undertook his basic training at Camp Roberts, California, following his induction into the Army under the Selective Service Act. He attended Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry on July 18, 1942. Keith Lincoln Ware Was Awarded the Medal of Honor Assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, he sailed on October 22,...

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Service Reflections of CAPT James Garrett, U.S. Navy (1966-2008)

Service Reflections of CAPT James Garrett, U.S. Navy (1966-2008)

I was graduating from Westminster High School in a few months (1966) and knowing that I would not be able to afford college, I thought enlisting in the military would be a good thing, especially if it was possible to get college paid for afterwards. Being landlocked and with Lowery Air Force Base across town, the recruiting ads I thought the Air Force might be a good place to go. The Air Force recruiter came to my house to talk with me but to my amazement the recruiter told me there was a waiting list, imagine that with the Vietnam War going on.

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