“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”
It's that time of the year again sports fans. Yes, March Madness. And yes, American Cancer Society Relay for Life. I am again a member of the Sunlight Project for my late wife, Mary Ellen "Murphy" Marek, begun by my daughters. Please donate to my effort on behalf of the team.
America lost an Airman today
Robert Hite, Lt. Col., USAF (Ret.), one of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, died on March 29, 2015 at the age of 95. Hite was among 80 men aboard 16 B-25 bombers whose mission was to strike Japan in April 1942. Although the attack inflicted only scattered damage, it was credited with boosting American morale while shaking Japan's confidence and prompting strategy shifts less than five months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Hite was among eight Raiders captured by the Japanese, shown in this photo blindfolded with two Japanese soldiers. The Japanese imprisoned him for 40 months, keeping him in solitary confinement for most of that time. American forces liberated him in 1945. When captured, he weighed 175 lbs. When liberated, he weighed 76 lbs. Following recuperation, he returned to the USAF during the Korean War. There are now only two surviving Doolittle Raiders, Richard "Dick" Cole, Lt. Col., USAF (Ret.), Doolitte's co-pilot, and David Thatcher, SSgt., USAF.
“Black Sunday" in Sadr City, April 4, 2004.
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. Go to story. (10192004)
This article has been taken out of retirement and placed with the active military stories to serve as a reminder of the sacrifices our forces made in Iraq. (020715)
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
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.
“Thunder Runs” and the drive from Kuwait into the center of Baghdad
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.
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
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.
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.