Welcome to Talking Proud, Service & Sacrifice


“Talking Proud” honors service and sacrifice, focused mainly on our military, and where I can, on Canada’s as well. Feel free to send me a note using the Contact Form and, if appropriate, I will post your comments in our Letters section. My name is Ed Marek, and I run this site on my own, as a hobby. That said, a donation is always uplifting.

“Sacrifice: Without Fear There Is No Courage”


I came across a man, wearing the Medal of Honor, and learned his name was Lt. Colonel Matt Urban, a WWII veteran. He was known as “the Ghost.” The caption then asked, “Do you know who he is?” I responded, “no.” That embarrassed me, since he received the Medal of Honor for valor in WWII Europe. So I went to check on him. I was surprised to learn his full name was “Matthew Louis Urbanowicz.” And he was the son of Polish immigrants, born in 1919, grew up in Buffalo, New York, and graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He is among the most combat decorated soldiers in American history, and hw lived through all the wounds he suffered, only God knows. I'm working on this story now. It will take a bit of time as he fought in North Africa, Sicily, and he participated in the Normandy Invasion. Stay tuned. (072716)

America lost another Marine today


Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, on behalf of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, presented the title of Honorary Marine to Wyatt Seth Gillette in a ceremony at the School of Infantry-West Parade Deck, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton on July 30, 2016. Wyatt, victim of a rare terminal disease, died the next day. (080216)

Hmong find F-105 pilot hanging from the trees


“The body bag held the contents of one Major Sanders, former F-105D pilot, whose remains had been retrieved and returned to (Lima Site 20) Alternate that very afternoon by a CIA case officer whose Hmong team cut them down out of the trees where he had been hanging for several weeks still in his ejection seat.” I have found precious little information about Sanders' loss. Therefore, I intend to use his loss as cause to explore several questions raised by this crash, as a means to educate ourselves about the aircraft and the environments in which the pilots flew them. To the extent I can, I want to first present facts as officially documented. Later on I will go over some of those facts and analyze what might have happened. June 28, 2016.
Go to story.

Evacuation from France and the march to occupy Germany


Patrick Wilson, writing “Dunkirk: Victory or defeat” published by History Review in September 2000, cautioned people not to underestimate the importance of the mass British military evacuations from Dunkirk, France, writing this:

“Dunkirk was the beginning of the end for the Third Reich.”

Generaloberst Gerd von Rundstedt, the opposing force German commanding general said something similar. He called Dunkirk “one of the great turning points of the war.”

German Generals Erich von Manstein and Heinz Guderian as well as Admiral Karl Dönitz considered the failure of the German High Command to order a timely assault on Dunkirk and eliminating the BEF as one of the major mistakes the Germans had made on the Western Front.

So the question comes to mind, how could these evacuations from France in 1940, which many say was the result of a military disaster, lead to the fall of the Third Reich?

This report will at a top level walk you from those evacuations from France through to the Allied occupation of a defeated Germany. Indeed, I will conclude by telling you how the Allies trapped German forces in Dunkirk and forced them to surrender, in 1945. The evacuations can be viewed as the first step. I will do so primarily by highlighting important policy decisions and policy planning, many of which at the time were kept secret. This is not so much a report about the fighting and the battles as it is about policy. April 8, 2016. Go to story.

The case of Sgt. Joe Matejov, USAF, KIA or MIA in Laos?

This is a slide presentation made to the Defense POW Accounting Agency (DPAA) on February 5, 2016 on behalf of the family of Sgt. Joseph Matejov, USAF, lost in Laos in the February 5, 1973 shootdown of Baron 52, an EC-47 electronic reconnaissance aircraft that staged out of Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. The USAF carries Matejov as Killed in Action (KIA). The family has long been convinced Matejov was not killed but instead made it out of the aircraft and should be listed as Missing in Action (MIA). The family's legal advisor, Tony Onorato made this presentation. Go to presentation. (022416)

"We happy few," men at war


Many people have written about the special bonds that tie men and women at war together. Bill Coffey, a retired Army officer, has assembled a marvelous presentation that tries to convey what those bonds really mean, matching photography with quotations from those who have tried to describe that bond. Having just returned from work in Kuwait, Bill comments, "Once again, I witnessed the power and inspiration of this thing which is referred to by many names, titles, nouns and adjectives." This is Bill Coffey's presentation. You'll not leave it dry-eyed. Edited by Ed Marek, October 20, 2008, republished January 18, 2016. Go to presentation

Operation Downfall: The Planned Invasion of Japan

"How to" end the war against Japan: Invasion or A-bombs, or both?


A lot of people these days talk about ending the war in Iraq, as though these things can be done "just like that." No one knew how to end the war with Japan in 1945, no one. At a top level, there were three options. Invade. Employ atomic weapons, more than two. Occupy immediately should Japan collapse internally or surrender by surprise. There was also a combo scenario to employ many atomic weapons and invade, either separately, or at the same time. The invasion was set and it was a "Go." Units were identiļ¬ed, many were training. We'll discuss the three options, and provide relevant background. By Ed Marek, editor December 10, 2007, republished January 16, 2016. Go to story.

USS Barb — Pacific killer sub par excellence

Her mission: "help tighten the steel belt around Japan"


The USS Barb (SS-220), was a Gato-class submarine, the first ship of the USN to be named for the barbus, a ray-fined fish genus. During WWII in the Pacific, she was credited with sinking 17 enemy vessels totaling 96,628 tons including the Japanese aircraft carrier Unyo. And, she was the only submarine outfitted with rockets for shore bombardment. Further, members of the Barb's crew went ashore in Japan and blew up a train passing by. Her skipper while she fought in the Pacific, Commander Eugene "Lucky" Fluckey, also known to the crew as "Dead Eye Fluckey," received the Medal of Honor and four Navy Crosses for his service as the Barb's commander. He retired at the rank of rear admiral. Cmdr. Fluckey was an aggressive submariner, unlike many of the others of that time, who saw their jobs as defensive reconnaissance. Fluckey liked it more on the surface at night, where he could attain max speeds and employ his torpedoes and guns and ultimately rockets. He and his crew are seen as having revolutionized submarine warfare. Incredibly, not one member of his crew even received a Purple Heart! January 9, 2016. Go to story.