After graduating from the University of New Mexico retired Col. Victor Simpson, who now lives in Punta Gorda Isles subdivision, went into the Marine Corps in 1969. He followed in the footsteps of his father who served in the Corps during World War II and the Korean War that followed. He got in just in…
Dan Byrd lived an idyllic life growing up as a kid on Longboat Key off Sarasota, Fla. half a century ago. In those days, he hunted rabbits on the key with his .22-caliber rifle while his mom and dad ran the bait shop and hamburger stand on the south end of the New Pass Bridge…
Two days after graduating from high school in 1963 Skip Libby of La Casa mobile home park in North Port, Fla. joined the Marines and went to Parris Island, S.C. for basic training. Two years later he was sent to Vietnam as a member of the 3rd Marine Division, the first division of Marines in…
Capt. Tom Smith United States Marine Corps wrote this account of his tour in Vietnam: “On July 1, 1968, while serving as platoon commander of 3rd Platoon, Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 27th Marines, I received orders for a mission. It was a four-day, three-night patrol to establish various platoon patrol bases and then conduct numerous…
1st Lt. Thelma Daida was a surgical nurse working in the only in-country U.S. Army Air Force Hospital in Vietnam in 1965 located on the giant airbase at Cam Rahn Bay. It was an exciting time to be a 20-year-old nurse serving in Southeast Asia.
Former Lt. Col. Abe Wolson of Port Charlotte, Fla. served 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He piloted Marine Corps 1, the presidential helicopter, during the administrations of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. He served three tours in Vietnam in 1961, ’67 and ’72, flying helicopters in combat for Special Operations missions, among other…
Charles Myers was born and grew up in the Panama Canal Zone in Central America in 1933. At 21 he enlisted in the U.S. Army on May 17, 1954 under agreement between the U.S. and Panama.
Bill McDermott of Lake Suzy, east of Port Charlotte on the way to Arcadia, Fla. wound up as a 1st lieutenant in the 11th Armored Cavalry Division based in Three Corps in the northern jungle of Vietnam. He was a graduate of DePaul University and a member of the school’s ROTC program.
Joe Taylor was a black Marine who served three tours of duty in Vietnam. The death and devastation this grunt witnessed while serving in the Corps over there was almost too much for him to bear.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Doug Gilchrist was waiting at the airport terminal in Tokyo in 1967 for a flight that would take him to the war in Vietnam when a chance encounter with a Japanese couple changed his life.
Lt. Col. Doug Gilchrist was flying a four-engine C-130 Hercules cargo plane, used as a command ship, from a base in Thailand over North Vietnam when he came as close to “buying the farm” as he did during any of his 102 combat missions over enemy territory during the Vietnam War.
Lt. Chuck Hofelich was a “Thud” driver and proud of it. He flew an F-105 “Thunderchief” supersonic fighter-bomber, he and his jet jockey buddies called “Thuds” on 79 combat missions over North Vietnam.
Capt. Neil Kennedy flew a KC-135 jet tanker in Vietnam War and continued to pilot the same flying gas station for the Strategic Air Command after the Southeast Asian war. He retired in 1991 as a brigadier general after 32 years of service in the U.S. Air Force and the Air Force National Guard and moved to Calusa Lakes subdivision in Nokomis, Fla.
Second Lt. Russell Ogan was returning from a fighter sweep over the Battle of the Bulge flying low and slow because of the weather, in “Gloria May,” his P-47 “Thunderbolt,” when his fighter took a direct hit from enemy ground fire.
A Ranger Born tells the story of a man of arms. Col. Robert Black, a highly decorated Korean and Vietnam War soldier wrote a book about his military adventures.
Lt. Col. John Dyer had no idea the planeload of .50-caliber machine-gun ammunition he flew to Tonsonnhute Airport in Saigon was part of a CIA plot to topple the Ngo Dinh Diem government in South Vietnam.
The ”Black Lions” were looking for a fight. The battalion had been on a search-and-destroy mission for more than a week. Now the men of the 2nd Battalion, 28th Regiment, 1st Infantry Division were exhausted from chasing the Viet Cong through the jungle 50 miles north of Saigon.
Cpl. Randy Smith knew the war in South Vietnam was over when he was ordered to take down the American flag at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.
Lt.j.g. Clyde Lassen’s Medal of Honor commendation On 19 June 1968 Lt. j.g. Clyde Everett Lassen, a member of Helicopter Support Squadron 7, Detachment 104, Republic of Vietnam was serving aboard USS Preble (DLG-15).
She emerged slowly from the car with cane in hand and walked hunched over along a serpentine concrete path. At its end was The Wall.