Welcome to Talking Proud, Service & Sacrifice

Honoring those who have served and sacrificed

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“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.

I also invite you to click on this button below to join the Talking Proud Team. No fees. Just talk proud and be proud. Become a member and I will send you periodic newsletters about new and old articles. A donation will make you an automatic member.

We started this "Team Talking Proud" effort in January 2017. As of August 14, 2018, we have 84 members! Thank you! Talking Proud. P.S. I am a Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bisons fan!

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NOTAM: "Legends of the Ho C hi Minh Trail"

If you flew against the Ho Chi Minh Trail, this is for you

Ho Chi Minh trail at Tad Hai, old Route 23

If you flew against the Ho Chi Minh Trail during the Indochina War, I think you'll want to view this web site. It is incredible, filled with a wealth of photography of the Trail as it is today. I'm sure many of you will see your targets. You will also see bits and pieces of American aircraft that did not make it home. Don Duvall, who has been a reader of "Talking Proud," tipped me to this. He has been involved for three years filming
Blood Road on the Ho Chi Minh Trail with Red Bull Media House of California. The photo above is one of perhaps hundreds of still shots on the website Laos GPS Map, "Legends of the Ho Chi Minh Trail." Don Duvall has motorcycled the length and breadth of Laos while mapping it for LaosGPSmaps. Now he invites you to join the adventure. Come and ride the Ho Chi Minh Trail, or any other part of Laos that captures your imagination. (062918)

FOB Kalagush: "The Dark Side of the Moon"

"FOB Kalagush is a microcosm of the entire Afghan War”

Michael Forsythe, Colonel, USA


This report focuses on US Forward Operating Base (FOB) Kalagush in Nuristan Province. Not a lot is known about Nuristan and less about FOB Kalagush. I had never heard about it until I started doing this research. Colonel Michael Forsythe, USA, commanded an artillery battalion that deployed forces to FOB Kalagush and elsewhere throughout northeast Afghanistan. I learned from him that FOB Kalagush was a “microcosm of the entire Afghan War,” all the way from the conspicuous valor of and sacrifices made by US forces stationed there to the debilitating corruption that dogged and often crippled the government, inhibited it from caring for its citizens, and impeded the ability of US forces to do what needed to be done. So here is my take. June 6, 2018. Go to story.

Kriegies of Oflag 64


Oflag 64 was a German POW camp in Poland exclusively for American Army officers captured in Europe during World War II. The first to arrive came from Tunisia. The Germans had many camps throughout Europe for POWs, some better, some far worse than this one. When you study even just this camp, however, you learn a great deal about what all our POWs endured under German captivity. You also learn much about WWII in Europe and the genesis of the Cold War. Most important, you absorb some inner meanings of what the phrase "American soldier" is all about. They served as they ought, "with pride and dignity, continually on the alert for the opportunity to seize hold of beloved freedom." September 17, 2006 and republished April 17, 2018. Go to story

Special Forces ODA 3336 deep in the Hindu Kush, gallantry and courage

It is not until you dig into a furious battle in Afghanistan that you come to want to know more and more, not only about the men in the fight, the fight itself, and the lineage of the units to which they belong, but also the history of the area, the nature of the enemy target, and the environment of the target area. This is because we know so little about Afghanistan and the war to which we have sent our men and women. On April 6, 2008, there was a fierce battle fought in the Shok Valley deep in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Nuristan Province. One Air Force combat controller would receive the Air Force Cross, and ten Army special forces would receive the Silver Star, all for unimaginable valor in the face of incredible odds. This six section report goes into each of the areas about which I knew too little, and attempts to weave inputs from a variety of sources to describe what these men faced and did. After you have finished this report, you'll underscore something said by Lt. General John F. Mulholland at the Army's award ceremony: "Imagine the Taliban commander thinking, 'What the hell do I have to do to defeat these guys?'" The short answer is, "You can't." By Ed Marek, editor. March 16, 2009. Re-published on February 26, 2018. Go to story.

UH-1H "Huey" down in Cambodia: Eight souls aboard


On May 2, 1970 a UH-1H “Iroquois” “Huey” helicopter similar to that shown here, tail nr. 68-16512 assigned to Company B, 229th Aviation Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Air Mobile) (B/229 Abn) was shot down over Cambodia and crash landed there, eight souls aboard. This is their story. Theirs is a story not at all well known, probably know only to friends and family. One of many similar stories, it reflects the challenges of warfare in Indochina and the unbridled courage, valor, service and sacrifice of those eight American soldiers aboard. That's why I selected their story and want to tell it. February 12, 2018. Go to story

Cpl Nick Ziolkowski: "The Angel on my Shoulder"


"Operation Phantom Fury" was among the fiercest urban warfare battles in American history, fought in Fallujah, Anbar Province, Iraq. Cpl. Nickolas Lee Ziolkowski, USMC, shown here in battle in the foreground of the photo, a Marine scout-sniper was one of the Fallen. He was was assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF), B/1-8 Marines for short. This report is in his honor. It is dedicated to him and to all those who fought in this hellish battle. It addresses Ziolkowski's background and importance to those with whom he fought, the character of the men who fought there with a focus on snipers and their mission, and a brief look at the challenges of urban combat. January 21, 2018. Go to story.

A tribute ´╗┐ in the sand......Normandy remembered


A large percentage of our country doesn't know of or care about Normandy. A few weekends ago, British artist Jamie, accompanied by numerous volunteers, took to the beaches of Normandy with rakes and stencils in hand to etch 9,000 silhouettes into the sand, representing fallen American soldiers.


Titled The Fallen 9000, the piece is meant as a stark visual reminder of those Americans who died during the D-Day beach landings at Arromanches on June 6th, 1944 during WWII.


The original team consisted of 60 volunteers, but as word spread nearly 500 additional local residents arrived to help with the temporary installation that lasted only a few hours before being washed away by the tide.

9,000 Fallen Soldiers Etched into the Sand on Normandy Beach to Commemorate Peace Day.

What is surprising is that nothing about this was seen here in the US.

Someone from overseas had a friend that sent it with a note of gratitude for what the US started there. Please share with others who understand "freedom is not free-- nor has it ever been." (121917)

Bell X-1: The wonder of "competing ideas"

"The race to break the sound barrier"


On November 15, 1987, the Buffalo Evening News published a story by Mike Vogel entitled, “Boom Town.” He wrote:

“Forty years ago, Buffalo (New York) was at the center of the gutsiest experiment in aviation history: the race to break the sound barrier.”

´┐╝Vogel went on to quote from a report signed by Capt. Charles “Chuck” E. Yaeger, USAF that said this:

“The needle of the Machmeter fluctuated at this reading momentarily, then passed off the scale. Assuming that the off-scale reading remained linear, it is estimated 1.05 Mach was attained at this time.”

Yaeger was slightly off. Analysis showed he and his aircraft, the Bell X-1A “Glamorous Glennis,” hit Mach 1.07, about 700 mph, at more than 42,000 ft. above the dry California lake beds. This occurred on October 14, 1947. Yaeger and his aircraft were the first to break the sound barrier, once thought by some to be an impenetrable wall for manned flight.

Whenever new technologies and advanced technology systems begin to bubble up to the surface, there often is a scramble among brilliant people to advance their ideas about the course that ought to be taken. As a result, many competing ideas come to the fore and people will shoot off in multiple directions to advocate their approach. The debates about these competing ideas can become fierce. There is usually a lot at stake. There was a lot at stake here. The main purpose of this report is to address the development of the X-1 in terms of "competing ideas." November 20, 2017.
Go to story.

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LS-85, Airmen left out on the limb, a leadership failure


This is, frankly, a tragic story. My objective is to address events leading up to the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) attack on Lima Site 85 (LS-85) in northeastern Laos in March 1968 that put it out of commission and killed 13 Americans from the USAF. LS-85 hosted a CIA command center directing Hmong fighters against communist forces in northeastern Laos and a landing zone. It also hosted two navigation aids to help USAF fighter-bombers attack targets in North Vietnam and Laos. USAF technicians working as Lockheed employees operated the equipment. Twelve of them were killed. This was the largest ground combat loss of USAF people in the Indochina War. A thirteenth American was killed when his A-1E Sandy search and rescue fighter was shot down. As you read and learn the raw facts as they unfold, I ask you pay particular attention to the magnificent valor of those who fought against great odds, and also recognize those who attempted to thwart this tragedy long before it unfolded. The net result will be a recognition of monumental service and sacrifice about which we can and should talk proudly. That despite the terrible losses. September 10, 2017. Go to story.

Invisible waterfront hands: Evacuation of Manhattan, 9/11

"The ordinary achieving the extraordinary"


The September 11, 2001 air attacks against the United States consisted of a series of four coordinated attacks. Much of that day will remain in our memories forever. We will also remember forever the unparalleled bravery and courage of our first responders and many citizens. A story missed by many of us, however, was the maritime evacuation of Lower Manhattan. Private boats and their skippers along with the US Coast Guard (USCG) teamed up to evacuate some 500,000 people who were trapped between the devastation of the collapsed WTC building complex and the waters of the Hudson River, the East River and Upper New York Bay. The entire evacuation effort “Just Happened,” because every-day people decided this evacuation would happen. And it did. June 21, 2017. Go to story.

Soviet Foxtrot Submarines: The Cuban Missile Crisis

And so much more about this crisis I for one did not know


I have read, "The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis is probably the single most analyzed episode of the Cold War." Perhaps so, but until now, not by me. Many people certainly know about or are aware of the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 in which tensions between the US and the Soviet Union were about as high as they could be, edging toward the possibility of nuclear war. But most of us are not familiar with the tense encounters with Soviet submarines. This photo taken by a US Navy (USN) anti-submarine warfare (ASW) patrol aircraft shows Soviet Foxtrot submarine Hull Number 945 nearing Cuban waters during that crisis, one of four that made the transit. It is B-130, Captain Shumkov in command. It is arguable when the US learned these submarines were on their way, as you will see later. For certain the US government did not know each of these submarines was carrying a single nuclear tipped torpedo that could destroy a Carrier Group. The Soviets called these "special weapons." May 3,2017. Go to story.