Monday, January 31, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

BURIAL AT SEA---A STORY YOU SHOULD READ


Burial at Sea by LtCol George Goodson, USMC (Ret)

In my 76th year, the events of my life appear to me, from time to time, as a series of vignettes. Some were significant; most were trivial.

War is the seminal event in the life of everyone that has endured it. Though I fought in Korea and the Dominican Republic and was wounded there, Vietnam was my war.

Now 42 years have passed and, thankfully, I rarely think of those days in Cambodia, Laos, and the panhandle of North Vietnam where small teams of Americans and Montangards fought much larger elements of the North Vietnamese Army. Instead I see vignettes: some exotic, some mundane:*The smell of Nuc Mam.*The heat, dust, and humidity.*The blue exhaust of cycles clogging the streets.*Elephants moving silently through the tall grass.*Hard eyes behind the servile smiles of the villagers.*Standing on a mountain in Laos and hearing a tiger roar.*A young girl squeezing my hand as my medic delivered her baby.*The flowing Ao Dais of the young women biking down Tran Hung Dao.*My two years as Casualty Notification Officer in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.It was late 1967. I had just returned after 18 months in Vietnam. Casualties were increasing. I moved my family from Indianapolis to Norfolk, rented a house, enrolled my children in their fifth or sixth new school, and bought a second car.A week later, I put on my uniform and drove 10 miles to Little Creek, Virginia. I hesitated before entering my new office. Appearance is important to career Marines. I was no longer, if ever, a poster Marine. I had returned from my third tour in Vietnam only 30 days before. At 5'9", I now weighed 128 pounds - 37 pounds below my normal weight. My uniforms fit ludicrously, my skin was yellow from malaria medication, and I think I had a twitch or two.I straightened my shoulders, walked into the office, looked at the nameplate on a Staff Sergeant's desk and said, "Sergeant Jolly, I'm Lieutenant Colonel Goodson. Here are my orders and my Qualification Jacket."Sergeant Jolly stood, looked carefully at me, took my orders, stuck out his hand; we shook and he asked, "How long were you there, Colonel?" I replied "18 months this time." Jolly breathed, "you must be a slow learner Colonel." I smiled.Jolly said, "Colonel, I'll show you to your office and bring in the Sergeant Major. I said, "No, let's just go straight to his office." Jolly nodded, hesitated, and lowered his voice, "Colonel, the Sergeant Major. He's been in this job two years. He's packed pretty tight. I'm worried about him." I nodded.Jolly escorted me into the Sergeant Major's office. "Sergeant Major, this is Colonel Goodson, the new Commanding Office. The Sergeant Major stood, extended his hand and said, "Good to see you again, Colonel." I responded, "Hello Walt, how are you?" Jolly looked at me, raised an eyebrow, walked out, and closed the door.I sat down with the Sergeant Major. We had the obligatory cup of coffee and talked about mutual acquaintances. Walt's stress was palpable. Finally, I said, "Walt, what's the hell's wrong?" He turned his chair, looked out the window and said, "George, you're going to wish you were back in Nam before you leave here. I've been in the Marine Corps since 1939. I was in the Pacific 36 months, Korea for 14 months, and Vietnam for 12 months. Now I come here to bury these kids. I'm putting my letter in. I can't take it anymore." I said, "OK Walt. If that's what you want, I'll endorse your request for retirement and do what I can to push it through Headquarters Marine Corps."Sergeant Major Walt Xxxxx retired 12 weeks later. He had been a good Marine for 28 years, but he had seen too much death and too much suffering. He was used up.Over the next 16 months, I made 28 death notifications, conducted 28 military funerals, and made 30 notifications to the families of Marines that were severely wounded or missing in action. Most of the details of those casualty notifications have now, thankfully, faded from memory.

Four, however, remain.MY FIRST NOTIFICATIONMy third or fourth day in Norfolk, I was notified of the death of a 19 year old Marine. This notification came by telephone from Headquarters Marine Corps. The information detailed:*Name, rank, and serial number.*Name, address, and phone number of next of kin.*Date of and limited details about the Marine's death.*Approximate date the body would arrive at the Norfolk Naval Air Station.*A strong recommendation on whether the casket should be opened or closed.The boy's family lived over the border in North Carolina, about 60 miles away. I drove there in a Marine Corps staff car. Crossing the state line into North Carolina, I stopped at a small country store / service station / Post Office. I went in to ask directions.Three people were in the store.. A man and woman approached the small Post Office window. The man held a package. The Storeowner walked up and addressed them by name, "Hello John. Good morning Mrs. Cooper."I was stunned. My casualty's next-of-kin's name was John Cooper!I hesitated, then stepped forward and said, "I beg your pardon. Are you Mr. and Mrs. John Cooper of (address.)The father looked at me - I was in uniform - and then, shaking, bent at the waist, he vomited. His wife looked horrified at him and then at me. Understanding came into her eyes and she collapsed in slow motion. I think I caught her before she hit the floor.The owner took a bottle of whiskey out of a drawer and handed it to Mr. Cooper who drank. I answered their questions for a few minutes. Then I drove them home in my staff car. The storeowner locked the store and followed in their truck. We stayed an hour or so until the family began arriving.I returned the storeowner to his business. He thanked me and said, "Mister, I wouldn't have your job for a million dollars." I shook his hand and said; "Neither would I."I vaguely remember the drive back to Norfolk. Violating about five Marine Corps regulations, I drove the staff car straight to my house. I sat with my family while they ate dinner, went into the den, closed the door, and sat there all night, alone.My Marines steered clear of me for days. I had made my first death notification.

THE FUNERALSWeeks passed with more notifications and more funerals. I borrowed Marines from the local Marine Corps Reserve and taught them to conduct a military funeral: how to carry a casket, how to fire the volleys and how to fold the flag.When I presented the flag to the mother, wife, or father, I always said, "All Marines share in your grief." I had been instructed to say, "On behalf of a grateful nation...." I didn't think the nation was grateful, so I didn't say that.Sometimes, my emotions got the best of me and I couldn't speak. When that happened, I just handed them the flag and touched a shoulder. They would look at me and nod. Once a mother said to me, "I'm so sorry you have this terrible job." My eyes filled with tears and I leaned over and kissed her.

ANOTHER NOTIFICATIONSix weeks after my first notification, I had another. This was a young PFC. I drove to his mother's house. As always, I was in uniform and driving a Marine Corps staff car. I parked in front of the house, took a deep breath, and walked towards the house. Suddenly the door flew open, a middle-aged woman rushed out. She looked at me and ran across the yard, screaming "NO! NO! NO! NO!"I hesitated. Neighbors came out. I ran to her, grabbed her, and whispered stupid things to reassure her. She collapsed. I picked her up and carried her into the house. Eight or nine neighbors followed. Ten or fifteen later, the father came in followed by ambulance personnel. I have no recollection of leaving.The funeral took place about two weeks later. We went through the drill. The mother never looked at me. The father looked at me once and shook his head sadly.

ANOTHER NOTIFICATIONOne morning, as I walked in the office, the phone was ringing. Sergeant Jolly held the phone up and said, "You've got another one, Colonel." I nodded, walked into my office, picked up the phone, took notes, thanked the officer making the call, I have no idea why, and hung up. Jolly, who had listened, came in with a special Telephone Directory that translates telephone numbers into the person's address and place of employment.The father of this casualty was a Longshoreman. He lived a mile from my office. I called the Longshoreman's Union Office and asked for the Business Manager. He answered the phone, I told him who I was, and asked for the father's schedule.The Business Manager asked, "Is it his son?" I said nothing. After a moment, he said, in a low voice, "Tom is at home today." I said, "Don't call him. I'll take care of that." The Business Manager said, "Aye, Aye Sir," and then explained, "Tom and I were Marines in WWII."I got in my staff car and drove to the house. I was in uniform. I knocked and a woman in her early forties answered the door. I saw instantly that she was clueless. I asked, "Is Mr. Smith home?" She smiled pleasantly and responded, "Yes, but he's eating breakfast now. Can you come back later?" I said, "I'm sorry. It's important. I need to see him now."She nodded, stepped back into the beach house and said, "Tom, it's for you."A moment later, a ruddy man in his late forties, appeared at the door. He looked at me, turned absolutely pale, steadied himself, and said, "Jesus Christ man, he's only been there three weeks!"Months passed. More notifications and more funerals. Then one day while I was running, Sergeant Jolly stepped outside the building and gave a loud whistle, two fingers in his mouth... I never could do that… and held an imaginary phone to his ear.Another call from Headquarters Marine Corps. I took notes, said, "Got it." and hung up. I had stopped saying "Thank You" long ago.Jolly, "Where?"Me, "Eastern Shore of Maryland. The father is a retired Chief Petty Officer. His brother will accompany the body back from Vietnam."Jolly shook his head slowly, straightened, and then said, "This time of day, it'll take three hours to get there and back. I'll call the Naval Air Station and borrow a helicopter. And I'll have Captain Tolliver get one of his men to meet you and drive you to the Chief's home."He did, and 40 minutes later, I was knocking on the father's door. He opened the door, looked at me, then looked at the Marine standing at parade rest beside the car, and asked, "Which one of my boys was it, Colonel?"I stayed a couple of hours, gave him all the information, my office and home phone number and told him to call me, anytime.He called me that evening about 2300 (11:00PM). "I've gone through my boy's papers and found his will. He asked to be buried at sea. Can you make that happen?" I said, "Yes I can, Chief. I can and I will."My wife who had been listening said, "Can you do that?" I told her, "I have no idea. But I'm going to break my butt trying."I called Lieutenant General Alpha Bowser, Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, at home about 2330, explained the situation, and asked, "General, can you get me a quick appointment with the Admiral at Atlantic Fleet Headquarters?" General Bowser said," George, you be there tomorrow at 0900. He will see you.I was and the Admiral did. He said coldly, "How can the Navy help the Marine Corps, Colonel." I told him the story. He turned to his Chief of Staff and said, "Which is the sharpest destroyer in port?" The Chief of Staff responded with a name.The Admiral called the ship, "Captain, you're going to do a burial at sea. You'll report to a Marine Lieutenant Colonel Goodson until this mission is completed."He hung up, looked at me, and said, "The next time you need a ship, Colonel, call me. You don't have to sic Al Bowser on my butt." I responded, "Aye Aye, Sir" and got the hell out of his office.I went to the ship and met with the Captain, Executive Officer, and the Senior Chief. Sergeant Jolly and I trained the ship's crew for four days. Then Jolly raised a question none of us had thought of. He said, "These government caskets are air tight. How do we keep it from floating?"All the high priced help including me sat there looking dumb. Then the Senior Chief stood and said, "Come on Jolly. I know a bar where the retired guys from World War II hang out."They returned a couple of hours later, slightly the worst for wear, and said, "It's simple; we cut four 12" holes in the outer shell of the casket on each side and insert 300 lbs of lead in the foot end of the casket. We can handle that, no sweat."The day arrived. The ship and the sailors looked razor sharp. General Bowser, the Admiral, a US Senator, and a Navy Band were on board. The sealed casket was brought aboard and taken below for modification. The ship got underway to the 12-fathom depth.The sun was hot. The ocean flat. The casket was brought aft and placed on a catafalque. The Chaplin spoke. The volleys were fired. The flag was removed, folded, and I gave it to the father. The band played "Eternal Father Strong to Save." The casket was raised slightly at the head and it slid into the sea.The heavy casket plunged straight down about six feet. The incoming water collided with the air pockets in the outer shell. The casket stopped abruptly, rose straight out of the water about three feet, stopped, and slowly slipped back into the sea. The air bubbles rising from the sinking casket sparkled in the in the sunlight as the casket disappeared from sight forever.The next morning I called a personal friend, Lieutenant General Oscar Peatross, at Headquarters Marine Corps and said, "General, get me out of here. I can't take this anymore." I was transferred two weeks later.I was a good Marine but, after 17 years, I had seen too much death and too much suffering. I was used up.Vacating the house, my family and I drove to the office in a two-car convoy. I said my goodbyes. Sergeant Jolly walked out with me. He waved at my family, looked at me with tears in his eyes, came to attention, saluted, and said, "Well Done, Colonel. Well Done."I felt as if I had received the Medal of Honor.

A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blankcheck made payable to 'The United States of America'for an amount of ‘up to and including their life.' That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.

TALIBAN VIDEO: ATTACK BY U.S. CHOPPER ON TALIBAN IN MOUNTAINS OF AFGHANISTAN

VIDEO: ATTACK ON FOB JOYCE CAUGHT ON NIGHT VISION CAMERA

Friday, January 28, 2011

MY TIME IN THE UNITED STATES ARMY


Below is a link to some pictures from the time I was in the United States Army as a corporal (E-4) in the Combat Engineers.

Click on any picture to enlarge it and you can also read the caption that goes along with each picture.

The car is a 1948 Yellow Chevy convertible which I brought to Fort Belvoir, Virginia where I was stationed later in my Army career.

I'm doing this because I had a few people make remarks that I had never served in the military. These pictures should settle that argument once and for all.

Here is the link:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=31622&id=100001375345515&l=a7b9f27ff9

Click on any picture to enlarge it to full size and read the accompanying caption.

UP TO 35 PERCENT OF U.S. SOLDIERS ARE HOOKED ON PRESCRIPTION DRUGS


The Inspector General's office is reporting today that up to 35 percent of U.S. soldiers are hooked on prescription drugs.

Read more here:

http://tiny.cc/njj89

Click on link to read full story.

MASSIVE BOMBING AT BAGHDAD FUNERAL KILLS 80 AND WOUNDS OVER 100


The uptick in violence in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq continues.

The latest spike in violence was at a Baghdad funeral where 80 people were killed and over 100 wounded.

Read more here:

Clashes Reported in Baghdad After Funeral Bombing Kills 80 -- News from Antiwar.com

Click on link to read full story.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

THE 1940s..WORLD WAR II YEARS ON VIDEO


This video is a great history lesson on how we handled World War II and what products and other things were around in the 1940s.

Click on link below to play video

The 1940s

Sit back and enjoy.

WOUNDED VETS GET HELP FROM CHICAGO AREA SOCIAL SERVICE PROGRAMS


The growing number of veterans with severe PTSD problems is growing and in Chicago there are number of social service programs like Thresholds which have stepped in to help the wounded veterans.

WATCH VIDEO HERE:

http://www.wttw.com/main.taf?p=42,8,80&player=Chicago-Tonight&pid=YiQ51BrF1kT1erSPDfJBdrg59g0uA86H

CLICK ON LINK TO WATCH VIDEO

HEARTS AND MINEFIELDS IN AFGHANISTAN (NEW VIDEO)


U.S. forces are using the winter months in Afghanistan to bolster their forces in an attempt to overthrow the Taliban.

It is a costly and bloody fight.

Watch video here:

http://news.yahoo.com/video/world-15749633/hearts-and-minefields-23951519

Click on link to play video

HOMELESS VETERANS: 20 PERCENT OF HOMELESS IN U.S. ARE VETERANS OF IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN WAR (VIDEO)


Reuters reports that 20% of the homeless in the United States are veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Watch video here:

http://news.yahoo.com/video/world-15749633/homeless-veterans-23977442

Click on link to watch video

NEWS YOU WON'T SEE ON TV: US CASUALTIES ON THE RISE FROM ROADSIDE BOMBS IN AFGHANISTAN


The Department of Defense (DOD) and the Obama administration continue to hide from the American public what is really happening in Afghanistan.

Roadside bombs have increased 60% and American casualties are on the rise.

You won't see this reported on TV

Read more here:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110126/ap_on_re_as/as_afghanistan_ied_casualties_3

Click on link to read story

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Taliban Ambushes U.S. Forces in Afghanistan

Raw Video: Troops in Firefight With Taliban

TALIBAN VIDEO OF FIREFIGHT

IRAQ CONTINUES TO SHOW SIGNS OF DETERIORATION

Car bombs have killed 29 and wounded 180 across Iraq as the country continues to slip toward all out civil war.

Read more here:

Monday: 29 Iraqis Killed, 181 Wounded -- Antiwar.com

Click on link to read story.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

VIDEO OF THE WAR THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA REFUSES TO REPORT ABOUT BECAUSE THEY SAY AMERICANS SUFFER FROM "AFGHANISTAN FATIGUE"

SHOCKING NEWS ABOUT INCREASED VIOLENCE IN IRAQ


SOURCE: http://warnewstoday.blogspot.com

The mainstream press in the United States continues to ignore the growing violence in IRAQ.

Here is what happened in IRAQ on Wednesday, January 19, 2011:

Reported security incidents Baghdad:#1: One civilian was killed and 10 others were wounded in an explosion that targeted Shiite visitors in southern Baghdad, according to a security source. "The bomb exploded in Alwat al-Rashied region in al-Doura, southern Baghdad, targeting Shiite visitors, killing one and injuring ten," the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.#2: At least 13 people were wounded on Wednesday night by random celebratory gunfire after Iraq's national soccer team beat North Korea 1-0 during the Asia Cup tournament in Qatar, an Interior Ministry source said.Diyala Prv:#1: A suicide bomber drove a car into a police headquarters on Thursday in Iraq's volatile Diyala province, killing at least three people and wounding around 30 in a third day of attacks on security forces, police said. The bomber blew up the car at the main gate of the police headquarters in the city of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, two police sources said. Ghalib al-Jubouri, a police spokesman in Diyala, said the attack took place in the centre of the city near government buildings, including the police headquarters. He said one of the three killed was a traffic policeman. A police source in Baquba said at least two of the dead were policemen, while four among the wounded were also police. "Ambulances are still carrying the wounded," said Faris al-Azzawi, a spokesman for the provincial health department. He said three people were killed in the blast, and 28 were wounded.#2: "A roadside bomb went off targeting a convoy of Shiite visitors while passing Kanaan district in Baaquba, killing a civilian and wounding ten," the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.Baiji:#1: A roadside bomb went off near the convoy of Lieutenant Colonel Salah Mohammed, head of a police unit in Baiji, 180 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, on Wednesday, and wounded two of his guards, police said.Kirkuk:#1: Two people were wounded on Wednesday night by random celebratory gunfire in Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, a police source said.Mosul:#1: “Unknown gunmen killed a civilian in front of his apartment in al-Yarmouk neighborhood, western Mosul,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.#2: “Two people were wounded in a bomb explosion in al-Islah al-Zerai region, eastern Mosul,” the source added, without giving more details.#3: Two suicide bombers were killed in a bomb blast in southwest of Mosul on Wednesday, a police source said. “Policemen opened fire on a vehicle while attempting to hit a police checkpoint in Tal Atta region, southwest of Mosul,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

ARMY GUARD AND RESERVE SUICIDE RATES MORE THAN DOUBLED LAST YEAR


The Army is reporting that suicide rates in the National Guard and the Army Reserves more than doubled in 2010.

READ FULL STORY HERE:

http://tiny.cc/pp48n

CLICK ON LINK FOR COMPLETE STORY

LINK TO PERSONAL PICTURES FROM MY U.S. ARMY CAREER---1951 TO 1953


The following link is an album usually posted on Facebook and shows pictures of Bill Corcoran from my days in the United States Army.

You can enlarge each picture and read the caption pertaining to the picture by just clicking on each picture.

Here is the link:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=31622&id=100001375345515&l=a7b9f27ff9

Click on link for album of pictures of Bill Corcoran when I was in the United States Army.

Pictures include my '48 Yellow Chevy convertible which I had with me at Fort Belvoir, Virginia from 1951 to 1953.

Monday, January 17, 2011

PENTAGON RELEASES NAMES OF 2 US SOLDIERS KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN


The Pentagon has released the names of two US soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

READ MORE HERE:

http://tiny.cc/pftu0

CLICK ON LINK

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011

RAW VIDEO: WOMAN BEATEN BY THE TALIBAN


This video shows an Afghan woman beaten by the Taliban.
WATCH VIDEO HERE:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXCDOA-NL_U

TURN UP YOUR SOUND

AMAZING VIDEO: PILOT SHOT BETWEEN THE EYES LANDS HIS HELICOPTER AND WALKS AWAY

US MARINES RECOVER DEAD MARINES IN AFGHANISTAN

1,400 MORE MARINES HEADED TO AFGHANISTAN



The United States has announced 1,400 more Marines are headed to Afghanistan.

Read story here:

http://tiny.cc/w56kf

Click on link to read story

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Faces of Freedom Afghanistan: Pfc. Gary Whitlock

MUST READ ON HOW WIKILEAKS REVEALS HOW MUCH OUR GOVERNMENT LIES TO US ON MILITARYSPENDING


For anyone wanting to know just how much our government lies to us about military spending, this Wikileaks revelation is a must read.

READ STORY HERE:


WikiLeaks' Most Terrifying Revelation: Just How Much Our Government Lies to Us AlterNet

CLICK ON LINK TO READ FULL STORY.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

DRAMATIC VIDEO OF US MARINE PARAJUMPERS SAVING LIVES IN AFGHANISTAN


This is the kind of video which should be shown on American TV, but you will never see it but here.

The US Marine Parajumpers rush to save a soldier who has been shot in face and lung.

WATCH VIDEO HERE:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opgWFoXrjnw&NR=1&feature=fvwp

CLICK ON LINK TO WATCH VIDEO

CAPTIVATING VIDEO OF 101ST AIRBORNE DUST OFF MEDEVAC TEAM IN ACTION IN AFGHANISTAN

3 NATO TROOPS KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN. ARE THEY AMERICANS?


The most disgusting thing I've seen in a long, long time is how the military covers up Americans killed in action by calling them NATO troops.

What an insult.

Read full story here:

http://tiny.cc/zo3p7

Click on link to read full story

KICK ASS VIDEO OF FIRE FIGHT IN AFGHANISTAN

IRAQ DEATH TOLL WAS UP IN 2010 OVER 2009


The number of deaths in Iraq increased in 2010 over 2009

Read more here:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110101/wl_mideast_afp/iraqunresttoll

Click on link to read story

AFGHAN SITUATION WILL GET WORSE IN 2011


The prediction is the Afghanistan situation is going to get worse in 2011.

Read more here:

http://www.presstv.ir/usdetail/158207.htm

Click on link to read story