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”


America lost an Airman today: Lt. Colonel Eldridge Williams


Lt. Colonel Eldridge Williams, USAF, died at his Florida home on July 2, 2015, age 97. He was one of the original Tuskegee Airman during WWII and then served during the 1948 Berlin Airlift and in the Korean War. He graduated from Xavier University in 1941 was commissioned a second lieutenant, US Army Air Corps in 1942. Demonstrating bigotry, an Army doctor failed him from flying duties because of "poor eyesight." While he did not make it overseas during WWII, he trained other Tuskegee Airmen to escort bomber planes across Europe. No bomber receiving Tuskegee escort were shot down. He trained over 900 officers to fly. President George W. Bush presented Williams and the other living airmen the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor, inside the Capitol Rotunda in 2007. (070815)

Major L. Johnson’s HH-43 "Pedro" Log Book, Binh Thuy, 1967-68


This is a photo of Major Leslie Johnson, USAF, a HH-43 Pedro helicopter pilot assigned to Det 10, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (ARRS), Binh Thuy, RVN during 1967-1968. His son, Leslie Johnson III, a veteran of Operations Just Cause, Desert Shield and Desert Storm, provided us with a transcript of his dad’s log book from November 1967 - May 22, 1968. Leslie said, “Log ends abruptly. Dad made no further entries at Binh Thuy AB. I believe he had had his fill and concentrated on his duties, staying focused on the missions, and not re-living them in a log book. Dad was exhausted from missions and no sleep.” The log book interesting because it is first hand from a pilot who was there, and because it reflects his activity early in the war. June 25, 2015.
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America lost an Airman today --- Colonel William Andrews, USAF


One of the most decorated airmen of the 1991 Gulf War, retired Col. William F. Andrews, died June 8 of brain cancer. He was 56. Andrews received the Air Force Cross as a Captain for heroism after he was shot down on Feb. 28, 1991. While hanging in the straps of his parachute—and even after breaking a leg on landing and coming under fire from advancing Iraqi ground troops—Andrews continued communicating on his handheld radio, warning two other aircraft to break away and launch flares in response to missiles he saw being fired at them. He was captured, beaten, and held prisoner for eight days, for which he received the POW Medal (See, Call From the Desert from the February 2011 issue of Air Force Magazine). Andrews earned two awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross with "V" for valor in previous Desert Storm actions; one for attacking a heavily defended Scud missile plant and another for providing close air support for a Special Forces team, which was trapped under heavy fire. The team was safely extracted due to his action. In all incidents, Andrews was under continuous fire from missiles, anti-aircraft guns, and small arms. (061115)

US Navy clandestine maritime operations, WWII China and early Vietnam


I must admit this is a crazy story. I began by wanting to talk about the “Brown Water” Riverine Navy during Vietnam. But before I knew it, I was studying US Navy clandestine maritime operations in China in WWII. And as I did, I became acutely aware of the relationships that developed between those operations in China in WWII and those that occurred in the early days of Vietnam, as early as 1954. Along with this, I learned how the Navy developed its capabilities all the way up to and including the launch of the US Navy SEALs, and their involvement in the early days of Vietnam.

This report will highlight how clandestine, covert US Navy maritime operations developed in WWII China. Then it will skip ahead to address US Navy covert maritime operations through the early days of US involvement in Vietnam, after the French gave up Indochina in 1954. I will walk you up to the Gulf of Tonkin Incidents involving, among others, the USS
Maddox and Turner Joy. That is where I will stop, August 1964. I will not cover the Korean War.

This story is extremely complex, and often convoluted. I started it in September 2014. I have done my best to be accurate, even though the documented history is often conflicting and ambiguous. May 13, 2015.
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Vietnam Veterans talking about their walk --- listen and hear


I belong to a social media group that enables Vietnam veterans to “swap their experiences” and voice their memories. No politics allowed, nor profanity, nor disrespect. I am a USAF veteran of the Indochina War, having flown aboard EC-47 electronic reconnaissance aircraft out of Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand. Most of the men and women who share their experiences with this group fought on the ground. Since I was an Airman, I did not experience what these veterans saw on the ground. As a result I have found their comments to be stimulating, filled with passion, tears, pride and great sensitivity. I thought I should try to highlight the themes these men and women present. November 11, 2014. Go to story.

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.

Comin’ for you --- a special photo gallery


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.