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Seeing God's Glory

I’d become a Marine all over again if possible: I saw, over 20 months on Navy helo carriers, most countries in the Pacific Rim, places in the ocean where there was nothing to see but the largest ocean God ever created, with no land masses anywhere in sight! Seeing so many third-world countries makes be thank God regularly that I was born an American, and was blessed enough with good health to serve the greatest nation on earth! Keeping 18-to-24 Marine helicopters up and running was a tremendous challenge for a teen-turned-20-something, but I’d do it all over again, trust me! I was taught to lead Marines, teach them what came so easily for me, and got to fire .50-caliber machine guns from the doors of those helos I kept flying safely through God’s gorgeous skies, over Hawaii, no less! I learned to trust my leaders, for they were combat-hardened, and knew many things I’d be lucky to ever be taught; they showed me Marines carrying themselves with the utmost integrity and honorability; and nurtured me to be the leader I am to this day. Having been a Marine also aided my success in the National Guard many years later, taking young men and women, who’d otherwise be back on the block, screwing their lives up royally, and instilling that integrity and respect for our brothers- and sisters-in arms. I’d do it all again, though those latter years were stressful, with several numbskulls challenging my leadership skill and patience greatly. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and my subsequent service to the VHA was made easier, having learned to carry myself with integrity, honoring those who came before me in uniformed service, for they truly deserve all we can give them! It’ll be a sad day, indeed, when the last World War II veteran dies, taking that tremendous work ethic with him or her, to the grave, and on to Heaven above, where I’m sure US Marines will be guarding the pearly gates!

Brett Holdeman
Indianapolis, IN

"A Vietnam Story"

Follow up story to Bill Browns post "A Vietnam Story"... USS Blueridge LCC-19 I was in the control center in the radio room at that time of the attack. My orders were to keep in contact with the communications center on Guam during our attack on the shore battery. I heard and felt our 5 inch guns shelling the position and thought to myself, I hope everyone does their job. Capt. Carol was the best skipper a sailor could have and we had a top notch gun crew. Rm3 Vertin.

Marc Vertin
Newburgh, IN

Once Upon A Military Wife

I come here everyday to give a veteran a meal and have purchased from the store. I have PTSD not from going to war but from severe abuse. I know all about the loneliness, flashbacks that are so vivid that you can even smell, feel, and taste the things from your traumatic experience that happened years ago. I received therapy off base as a dependent stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. I went to therapy every week for a long time working on the nightmares, panic attacks, anxieties and suicidal thoughts. That is how I found counselling I called a crisis lifeline. I am not cured but I live a much better quality of life. I think Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing helped the fastest, EMDR actually came from treatments that were pioneered from studies at the VA, Many therapist either utilize this treatment or know of a therapist they could recommend. It is not a cure all I had also been in extensive therapy and group therapy. Group therapy helps you not to feel like an island. I always opened my heart and home to the soldiers that worked with my husband I was their second "MOM", That mothering is still strong in me. I so want to be there for you soldiers! Know that I am out here praying for you, even though a childhood of severe abuse doesn't even touch the problems , flashbacks, and panic/anxiety of a Veteran. But know there is hope. Call the National Suicide Lifeline before you make any permanent decisions. They have special trained people to deal with these troubles and symptoms of PTSD. You are not alone. I pray for you every night. I pray that you get help for PTSD.. Think of this as the war to get your life back!

Julie Pitts
Moulton, AL

Dear Santa

It's not yet Christmas, but I wrote this during the first Gulf War and I am sorry it is still appropriate. I am a Vietnam era veteran.

Dear Santa

As children we would write to you,

Toys and games filled every list.

We promised all year we'd been good,

To be sure we'd not be missed.

But Santa, oh how thing have changed,

Now that all those years have passed.

Fears of war invade our dreams,

Has the apocalypse lot been cast?

All those eyes, once innocent and bright,

Now gaze across burning sand,

Will tomorrow pass just as today,

Or bring death in a foreign land?

So Santa, this letter has just one wish,

Which is shared by all around,

Let peace blanket all those souls,

And bring them home soon, safe and sound.

Linda E Geser
Troy, NY

My Hero.

This is the story of a man, who has shown his valor and lives on today. His name is Steven Moroni Robert Lukenbach. He is my eldest brother. He is now 24 years old, turning 25 next year. Steven joined the United States Marine Corps at 17 years old, immediately after graduating high school. He was married (but I won't get into that). He graduated basic training and then deployed to Afghanistan shortly thereafter, leaving behind his twin sons and his wife at the time. He was deployed for 10 months, not the longest time, but still a hefty amount of time. Every night I would sit awake, crying and wondering where he was at, what he was doing, how he was doing. It scared the bloody hell out of me. When I'd get on the computer, I and the rest of my family would check Skype to see if he was available for chat. Some stories of his time over seas honestly scares me. But I love him and I owe him a salute and a hug, every time I see him. Which is not often.

Today he fights a long battle of PTSD, but he has a great support system of his wife, his family and his family. His first wife divorced him after well being disloyal to him (in our family, that's a giant crime and you'll start blood feuds with us for so much as checking out someone else if you are married). I love my brother and all that he has done. For all you veterans out there, stay strong. No one gets left behind.

Aaron Lukenbach
Salt Lake City, UT

My Welcome Committee at San Francisco Intl Arpt Was the Hare Krishna And A Drug Dealer

I’ll never forget my trip home. I was lucky enough to fly back with a buddy of mine name Casey S. We were both pretty excited about coming home but anxious and apprehensive about what to expect. We landed at San Francisco International Airport. After getting our baggage, our welcoming party were a group of Hare Krishna’s asking us for donation. The second group was a drug dealer asking us if we wanted to buy a “lid” (bag of marijuana). We asked the guy how he knew that we might be interested. His response was “Man, we can spot you guys coming back from Nam a mile away!”. Needless to say, we bought a bag, rented a car and headed for the nearest motel and smoked until we settled down and accept reality that there was not going to be any “Johnny Comes Marching Home” welcome back.

The other horrible experience was our drive to Texas. We met so many animosity along the way. Getting bad looks in restaurants and where ever we stopped by, people trying to run us off the road, etc. Our looks of short hair really gave us away. I finally got my first “Welcome Back” parade at the Vietnam Veteran Welcome Back parade at Los Angeles, California back in 1987. On the way home, around 1 and half hour away, that’s when the trigger of PTSD kicked in, after hiding it for 17 years.

Honolulu, HI

My Hero

Who is my hero and what makes me proud of them?Well this is hard for me to say just one,my dad was a vietnam vet proud because he was doing what he thought was right even though nobody agreed with vietnam he would have done it all over again to this day if he were still with us.He had received the purple heart.My grandpa served in worldwar II.Then there is my boyfriend, friends, family, and even people i don't know that are my heroes as well. I say this because they do something remarkable and couragious. They took an oath to protect our country against domestic and foreign threats,they are fighting for our freedom,they leave families and friends behind and i can't even imagine what that is like.Every one that is mentioned is my hero and even the people i don't know that fight for this country i am very proud.They sacrifice so much so we can continue to have our freedom and some of them pay the ultimate price with their lives. I for one appreciate everything every one of our service members do,whether they are vets or current especially the ones that sacrificed their lives. i would like to say Thank you, God Bless,and I am very proud of you all.I am proud to be an american and am proud of our military for fighting for my freedom.

tiffany miller
Cheyenne, WY

My son is my hero.

My son is my hero. He was twelve years old when we were hit on 9/11 he wrote a note and put it on his bedroom door I'll fight for freedom 11 years later that is exactly what he did he joined the army. As his mother I didn't want him to join the military because I wanted him to be safe and when i asked him why he wanted to fight he said someone has to. My son is amazing!

Commerce, MI

Just doing there job.

Every name on "the wall" are my heroes. It's hard enough to pick one, so all 58,000 plus deserve this distinction. May they all rest in peace. All gave some, some gave all. "Ten hut,hand salute,taps".

Ft lauderdale, FL

Age is just a Number

I served in the national guard and deployed to Iraq in 2004. Among the men and women I served with was an older man. He was my assistant squad leader but had to move into the role 9 squad leader several times that year. As a young man he was a marine and struggled with alcohol addiction. He finally chose his family and spent the rest of his life worth something. He wasn't sure he could retire because of the age requirements but time and time again he signed waivers to stay in. In the end he was able to retire.

While deployed we lost one of our brothers on a convoy. It was hard on everyone. Throughout the remainder of the year we would all have conversations of that day but non compared to our conversation. With tears in his eyes, which would be the first I ever saw from him, he told me how he loved all of us 'young-ins' and how he wished he protect us from witnessing what we were there to do. He went on to tell me how me how I need to be the best and do the best in everything that I do.

He and I rode in many convoys together that year. I quickly found out the Sgt. Cox was a true hero to me. His service to not only our country but to each man and/or woman he served with is remembered by an entire community of veterans. Happy Retirement old man, you deserve it!

Roland Sevigny
Norman, OK
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