The Christy Collection

Military Stories and Articles

Veteran of Three Wars Under Three Flags

Veteran of Three Wars Under Three Flags

Lauri Allan Torni, later known as Larry Thorne, spent the majority of his life-fighting communists. First, the Soviets while in the service of Finland and Germany during World War II and then the Vietcong and North Vietnamese as a U.S. Army Special Forces officer during the Vietnam War. Biography Veteran of Three Wars Larry Thorne Lauri Torni was born in Finland, the son of a sea captain, in 1919. He enlisted in the Finnish Army at the age of 18 and was near the completion of his enlistment...

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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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Joe Ronnie Hooper

Joe Ronnie Hooper

Joe Ronnie Hooper had his share non-judicial punishments (authorized by Article 15 of UCMJ), racked up 115 confirmed kills and was awarded the Medal of Honor. He was also one of the most decorated soldiers in American international combat. Biography of the Hero Joe Ronnie Hooper Born in the summer of 1938 in South Carolina, Joe Ronnie Hooper was relocated as a child to Moses Lake, Washington where he attended Moses Lake High School. Originally a Navy man, Hooper first enlisted in December of...

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Summary of The Vietnam War (1959-1975)

Summary of The Vietnam War (1959-1975)

Vietnam was a country torn by war long before Americans became involved in the fighting. French domination was interrupted by the Japanese occupation in World War II, during which Communist leader Ho Chi Minh formed his Viet Minh organization and began guerrilla operations against both occupying powers. The Viet Minh came to power when Japan fell, and the French Indochina War began in 1946 as France attempted to regain control over its colony. The war ended in May 1954 when the Viet Minh...

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Cpl William Thomas Perkins Jr., USMC (1966-1967) – Vietnam War Combat Photographer

Cpl William Thomas Perkins Jr., USMC (1966-1967) – Vietnam War Combat Photographer

The only Medal of Honor to be awarded to a combat photographer is now on display in the Medal of Honor Gallery in the "Price of Freedom" exhibition at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Marine Cpl. William Thomas Perkins Jr Marine Cpl. William Thomas Perkins Jr. died at the age of 20 on Oct. 12, 1967, when he flung himself on a grenade to preserve the lives of three other Marines during Operation Medina, a Marine search and destroy operation in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam....

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Five Myths About The Vietnam War

Five Myths About The Vietnam War

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick say their multi-part PBS documentary about the Vietnam War was intended to unpack a complex conflict and to embark upon the process of healing and reconciliation. The series has catapulted the Vietnam War back into the national consciousness. But despite thousands of books, articles and films about this moment in our history, there remain many deeply entrenched myths about the Vietnam War. Vietnam War Myth NO. 1 - The Viet Cong Was a Scrappy Guerrilla Force Fighting a...

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The Dogs of the Vietnam War

The Dogs of the Vietnam War

I would wager that 90 percent of American combat troops killed in action during the Vietnam War never saw their killers. Whether it was a sniper at 200 yards, a rocket fired into a base camp or an attack from a well-concealed bunker complex, the element of surprise was usually on the side of our enemies. But our forces did have one elite weapon that sometimes took the advantage away. At times, these weapons even turned such situations upside down and enabled us to surprise and take them out....

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The Road Not Taken by Max Boot

The Road Not Taken by Max Boot

In chronicling the adventurous life of legendary CIA operative Edward Lansdale, The Road Not Taken definitively reframes our understanding of the Vietnam War. In this epic biography of Edward Lansdale (1908 - 1987), the man said to be the fictional model for Graham Greene's The Quiet American, best-selling historian Max Boot demonstrates how Lansdale pioneered a "hearts and mind" diplomacy, first in the Philippines, then in Vietnam. It was a visionary policy that, as Boot reveals, was...

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Cpt Humbert Roque “Rocky” Versace, U.S. Army (1959–1965) – Medal of Honor Recipient

Cpt Humbert Roque “Rocky” Versace, U.S. Army (1959–1965) – Medal of Honor Recipient

Captain Humbert Roque Versace, affectionately called "Rocky," was an officer of the United States Army. He went on to receive the Medal of Honor-the greatest military decoration of the United States-for the heroic actions he undertook as a prisoner of war in the Vietnam War. Puerto Rican-Italian by descent, he was the first member of the U.S. Army to have ever received such a distinction. Born on July 2, 1937, in Honolulu, Hawaii, Versace was the eldest of five children. Versace's father was...

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Our Vietnam Wars by William F. Brown

Our Vietnam Wars by William F. Brown

By William F. Brown Real stories told by real people, in their own words, 100 veterans, men, and women caught up in an all too real war. From the Delta to the DMZ, come walk in their boots. If you were there, you understand. If you weren't, grab a copy.  The Vietnam War dominated my generation and affected so many lives in so many different ways. Some of us were drafted. Some enlisted. Some became war heroes, intentional or not, but most of us were just trying to survive. As we all knew,...

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SOG. The Secret Wars of America’s Commandos in Vietnam by John L. Plaster

SOG. The Secret Wars of America’s Commandos in Vietnam by John L. Plaster

By John L. Plaster John Plaster (The Ultimate Sniper), a retired Army major, served three tours with the secretive "Studies and Observation Group," aka SOG, during the Vietnam War-a background he has put to good use in this authoritative and insightful look at the now-defunct commando unit. Plaster does much to illuminate both this frequently misunderstood group and its extraordinary participants. Made up entirely of volunteers, SOG tackled a wide range of vital and dangerous duties, including...

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MajGen. Keith L. Ware (1941–1968) – Medal of Honor Recipient

MajGen. Keith L. Ware (1941–1968) – Medal of Honor Recipient

Maj. Gen. Keith L. 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. Assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, he sailed on October 22, 1942, from Hampton Roads, Virginia, and was part of the...

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