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”

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2nd Lt. Donald Matocha, USMC, Mission Complete Sir!

"The reality is, no other country does this:"
Bringing America's missing home


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On February 9, 2006, The Military Channel presented the documentary, "An Ocean Away," which follows the return of US Marine 2nd Lt. Donald Matocha's remains from Vietnam to Smithville, Texas. While viewing this film, we were struck by the respect and honor given the remains of our returning military by those associated with the US Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command in Hawaii, JPAC. We have assembled a photo gallery that demonstrates this noble endeavor. February 10, 2006, republished on September 25, 2014. Go to story.
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"Black Sunday" in Sadr City, April 4, 2004

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April 4, 2004 was a bloody day for American forces in Sadr City, Iraq. Some of the troops call it "Black Sunday," sad, because it was Palm Sunday. What began as a routine patrol escorting sewage trucks, known as the "honey wagons," ended up in surprise ambushes that left eight US Army soldiers killed in action that day. We think about 50 were wounded, many of whom had to be taken back to the US. "Black Sunday" seems to have occurred at the confluence of various events. The city was and remains shamefully poor, but had been peaceful. Some political events were already in train that caused tensions between the city's independent-minded residents and American forces who were trying to improve the city's condition but were nonetheless increasingly seen as occupiers. Then some new political events emerged that made confrontation inevitable, all at a time when the US was finishing up a major troop rotation. At the end of the day, a routine patrol and patrols that would try to rescue it took the brunt of these and other converging events. As you will see, little in life is simple, little can be taken for granted, and one is always best advised to keep his or her guard up. Furthermore, every one of these kinds of fights has consequences, in Iraq, here, and around the world. October 19, 2004, re-published September 7, 2014. Go to story.
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“Thunder Runs” and the drive from Kuwait into the center of Baghdad

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I recall watching the US-led invasion of Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the second Iraq War. It began on March 19, 2003 as US bombers pounded Baghdad and US and British forces crossed the line of departure in Kuwait. The US ground forces would drive all the way to downtown Baghdad. The image I retain in my mind is how quickly and seemingly easily US and British forces did the job bringing down the Saddam regime. I quickly learned how the planning effort was fraught with politics and new ideas for fighting war. I learned how complex an operation this turned out to be. This was no cake walk, and it was not easy. The entire operation ranks as among the first major joint and combined integrated combat endeavors involving all the US armed forces and forces of other nations. The choreography is something to behold, both planned and unplanned. This report focuses on the 3 ID, specifically its 2 Bde, from the time it prepared to leave Kuwait to the time it executed its two Thunder Runs into Baghdad. It also takea a look at the planning behind the overall Operation Iraqi Freedom invasion, and then the force movements and activities that led the 3 ID to positions outside Baghdad, and finally address the 2 Bde’s Thunder Runs into Baghdad. July 21, 2014. Go to story.
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The American withdrawal from Iraq 2011, with a watch on 2014

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The US agreed to withdraw all military forces from Iraq by the end of 2011. As a result, I started tracking this withdrawal in a serial article updated as I got new information. I began my effort on May 3, 2011. Given the current fighting underway in Iraq and the apparent collapse of Iraqi Security Forces, I wish to alert you to this effort and invite you to check in for the latest updates. (061214) Go to serial report
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Kapyong: Aussies - Canadians - New Zealanders beat back massive Chinese attack targeted at Seoul


Had they not held, the UN might well have surrendered the peninsula to the Chinese


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If you were to study the Korean War in any depth, you would find yourself tracking one battle after another from the initial invasion to the regrouping at the Pusan Perimeter to the breakout from Pusan, the march to the Yalu on the Chinese border, the withdrawal below the 38th parallel, and then a push back above the 38th to the armistice that established a Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) roughly following the 38th parallel as the border between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the former best known as South Korea, the latter as North Korea. Selecting a battle from all of them that ensued and labeling it as crucially important is a challenge indeed. We are about to look at one of those battles that was crucially important --- the Battle of Kapyong, also known as the Battle of Gapyong, April 22-25, 1951. It was fought, in the main, by the British 27th Commonwealth Brigade, led by the 3rd Royal Australian Regiment and the 2nd Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry, supported by the 1st Middlesex Regiment, the 16th Royal New Zealand Artillery, and the Indian 60th (Parachute) Field Ambulance platoon. Had the allies failed to hold at Kapyong, it is no too far fetched to say that there would have been a good chance the United Nations Command (UNC) would have folded its tent and left the peninsula. February 26, 2014. Go to story.
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Comin’ for you --- a special photo gallery

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You see, nice try in your attempt to destroy the bridge. But the thing is, the engineers fixed it up well enough and the Marines crossed it because they’re comin’ for you.

This is a special photo gallery. Employ our forces the way they ought to be employed, be an enemy of the US, and as our enemy please know our men and women are “Comin’ for you” and they’ll get you. I began this effort on February 3, 2014. It will grow as we spot appropriate photos. February 11, 2014. Go to gallery.