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.

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We started this "Team Talking Proud" effort in January 2017. As of December 15, 2018, we have 95 members! Thank you! Talking Proud. P.S. I am a Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bisons fan!

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Con Thien: The “Meat Grinder”

"A miserable little series of 3 hill masses"

The story being told in this report focuses on the US Marines and their base at Con Thien, RVN.

In his book
Con Thien: The Hill of Angels, James Coan wrote:

“In some circles, Con Thien came to symbolize America’s failed military strategy of waging a high tech war of attrition against the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) … Con Thien also came to represent the US Marine Corps’ resolve to persevere, to stand resolute against a dedicated, well-armed, and highly trained enemy. For nearly three years, the Marines never wavered in fulfilling their mission to hold that piece of high ground at all costs. But the cost was high.” (082818)
Go to story

TSgt. John Chapman, USAF, receives Medal of Honor (posthumous)

President Trump presented the Medal of Honor to Valerie Nessel, the spouse of U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Chapman, during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C., August 22, 2018. Sergeant Chapman was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for actions on Takur Ghar mountain in Afghanistan on March 4, 2002. A special operations team was ambushed by the enemy and came under heavy fire from multiple directions. Chapman immediately charged an enemy bunker through thigh-deep snow and killed all enemy occupants. Courageously moving from cover to assault a second machine gun bunker, he was injured by enemy fire. Despite severe wounds, he fought relentlessly, sustaining a violent engagement with multiple enemy personnel before making the ultimate sacrifice. With his last actions he saved the lives of his teammates. (082318)

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.