The Christy Collection

Military Stories and Articles

VA Updates: What If My Veteran Dies?

VA Updates: What If My Veteran Dies?

End-of-life planning is uncomfortable, which is why so many people avoid it. I know this from personal experience. What Happens When My Veteran Dies My father was a wonderful man – a career Army Officer and patriot, a loving husband, and a strong and tough mentor to four children. He was also a lifelong cigarette smoker. So we were not surprised when they discovered he had lung cancer. During his final two years, he put off all efforts to address issues that required he acknowledged he...

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Service Reflections of CPL Dan Olson,  U.S. Marine Corps (2009-2013)

Service Reflections of CPL Dan Olson, U.S. Marine Corps (2009-2013)

As a child, I always wanted to be a Marine and spent many hours watching movies and playing “war” with friends in the backyard wearing surplus WWII, Korea, and Vietnam apparel and gear given to me by my “uncle” Jr. The late 90s, while I was in high school, was a relative time of peace, and the few people I did see joining the military were doing it for college money, which, while making sense to me, also kind of soured the idea for me. In my senior year in 2000, the Army National Guard ran a recruiting event in the quad area at lunch, and a friend and I added our names to a list to get more information; my mother always told me that the military would brainwash me and that I was flat-footed and wouldn’t be accepted anyway (I’m not flat-footed) and when that Army Sgt called the house I heard my mother quickly give him a piece of her mind and then abruptly hang up on him, and that was the end of that, I wasn’t fully committed to the idea myself and had apprehensions and concerns about whether I’d be up to military life and honestly was unsure that I even had what it takes to make it through boot camp. After high school, I worked for my family, got engaged, and took out a loan for my first home. Then September 11th happened. I was angry, and silly as it may sound, I was filled with guilt as I saw on the news the brave men and women my age who answered the call to service both before and during this unprecedented time in our country. Still, I had obligations here at home and continued on my current course at the time. Years passed, and I grew older and feared that my youth would quickly pass me by. Then, the economic recession of 2008 hit.

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Service Reflections of CAPT Bruce Lake, U.S. Marine Corps (1965-1970)

Service Reflections of CAPT Bruce Lake, U.S. Marine Corps (1965-1970)

PRESERVING A MILITARY LEGACY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS The following Reflections represents CAPT Bruce Lake's legacy of his military service from 1965 to 1970. If you are a Veteran, consider preserving a record of your own military service, including your memories and photographs, on Togetherweserved.com (TWS), the leading archive of living military history. The following Service Reflections is an easy-to-complete self-interview, located on your TWS Military Service Page, which enables you to...

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Service Reflections of CAPT Dennis Wright, U.S. Navy (1965-1998)

Service Reflections of CAPT Dennis Wright, U.S. Navy (1965-1998)

I joined the Navy after high school in late December 1965, just as the draft was ramping up for the big Vietnam buildup. I stopped by the Air Force recruiters, but they did not have any slots until the springtime in 1966, which would be well after my draft number was called. I then visited the Navy recruiter, who told me the same thing – – with one big caveat. He had a few slots open for immediate entry. Like now! But I would have to make an immediate commitment. That afternoon, I met with one of my best friends, Bob Orta, who was in the same predicament. Because we were both apprehensive about joining the Navy and what it might entail, we thought if we joined together under the Navy’s “Buddy Program,” it would be less stressful. So Bob and I returned to the Navy recruiter and signed up with an entry date of December 30, 1965. So, on early Thursday morning, December 30, the day before New Year’s Eve, we boarded a train in Aurora, Illinois, for the short one-hour ride to the downtown Chicago Navy Induction Center. We spent the rest of the day being poked and prodded and then boarded a bus in the early evening for Recruit Training Command Great Lakes. Smack dab in the middle of winter. Incidentally, so much for the Buddy Program, Bob and I were separated in our second week. Bob had trouble passing the survival swim testing and was held back for weeks. We will never serve together again.

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Service Reflections of SGT Gary Clark, U.S. Marine Corps (1967-1970)

Service Reflections of SGT Gary Clark, U.S. Marine Corps (1967-1970)

PRESERVING A MILITARY LEGACY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS The following Reflections represents SGT Gary Clark's legacy of his military service from 1967 to 1970. If you are a Veteran, consider preserving a record of your own military service, including your memories and photographs, on Togetherweserved.com (TWS), the leading archive of living military history. The following Service Reflections is an easy-to-complete self-interview, located on your TWS Military Service Page, which enables you to...

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Run Through the Jungle By Larry Musson

Run Through the Jungle By Larry Musson

Run Through the Jungle is a first-hand account of the combat in South Vietnam, as experienced by Larry Musson and other members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. A riveting tale, this book is narrated by an equally compelling man. A man who found joy in writing at a young age and used said joy to give us a detailed page-turner in Run Through the Jungle. Larry Musson, no doubt a hero in the minds of many, was born in Shelbyville, Illinois. He grew up in Elwood and was a member of the class of '67...

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Service Reflections of GMM1 Tom Bateman, U.S. Navy (1976-1989)

Service Reflections of GMM1 Tom Bateman, U.S. Navy (1976-1989)

I had always wanted to join the military. I was raised on WWII movies, built military models, listened to stories from my uncles and just loved the thought of it. As a child I had thought I would join the Army and I would be a Tanker. I had a pair of army fatigue coveralls that I wore all the time. My Mother said I would only take them off to be washed. Over my teenage years, my uncle Don (EM1 WWII SeaBee) told me about his service in the Navy. That, his love of our country and it’s veterans along with his Civic Pride is what confirmed my choice in military service and steered me from the Army to the Navy.

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Service Reflections of SSG Trey W. Franklin, U.S. Army (1988-2008)

Service Reflections of SSG Trey W. Franklin, U.S. Army (1988-2008)

My family has a long tradition of military service. My Father most heavily influenced me, and most of my memories of him are of him going to or coming home from drill with the TXARNG on the weekends.

My grandfathers were also in the Army, as were some of my extended family. My mother’s dad served during WWI and had to fight the system to go back on active duty in WWII. He won that fight, but they wouldn’t let him deploy overseas because of his age, so he stayed in the states as a counter-intelligence officer and was probably one of the oldest Majors on active duty.

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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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