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Tag Archives: VETERANS

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Soon, I’ll be covering “Into the Mouth of the Cat” in my Colorado Springs Gazette column. Malcolm McConnell’s book is the incredible true story of Lance Sijan, a Medal of Honor recipient. Husband had to read this book as a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy. I’ve read it a few times. Below is Sijan’s MOH citation.


Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Air Force, 4th Allied POW Wing, Pilot of an F-4C aircraft. Place and Date: North Vietnam, 9 November 1967. Entered service at: Milwaukee, Wis. Born: 13 April 1942, Milwaukee, Wis.

While on a flight over North Vietnam, Capt. Sijan ejected from his disabled aircraft and successfully evaded capture for more than 6 weeks. During this time, he was seriously injured and suffered from shock and extreme weight loss due to lack of food. After being captured by North Vietnamese soldiers, Capt. Sijan was taken to a holding point for subsequent transfer to a prisoner of war camp. In his emaciated and crippled condition, he overpowered 1 of his guards and crawled into the jungle, only to be recaptured after several hours. He was then transferred to another prison camp where he was kept in solitary confinement and interrogated at length. During interrogation, he was severely tortured; however, he did not divulge any information to his captors. Capt. Sijan lapsed into delirium and was placed in the care of another prisoner. During his intermittent periods of consciousness until his death, he never complained of his physical condition and, on several occasions, spoke of future escape attempts. Capt. Sijan’s extraordinary heroism and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty at the cost of his life are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Armed Forces.

Posted by Anita at 7:30 AM


Rudyard Kipling

I went into a public-‘ouse to get a pint o’ beer,
The publican ‘e up an’ sez, “We serve no red-coats here.”
The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:
O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, go away”;
But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but ‘adn’t none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-‘alls,
But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls!
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, wait outside”;
But it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide,
The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide,
O it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide.

Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;
An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul?”
But it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll.

We aren’t no thin red ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints;
While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, fall be’ind”,
But it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind,
There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
O it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind.

You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all:
We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot;
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool — you bet that Tommy sees!

Peter Harriman • • December 7, 2008

A year-and-a-half-old battle between South Dakota’s major veterans organizations and the administration of Gov. Mike Rounds is apparently going to continue into the 2009 legislative session.

At a meeting Saturday with Sioux Falls-area legislators, representatives from the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans pressed lawmakers to pass a concurrent resolution to create a state department of veterans affairs separate from the Department of Military Affairs that now oversees veterans issues. The group also urged for a bill requiring the director of the division of veterans affairs to have nothing less than an honorable discharge from military service.

This stems from a belief among veterans leaders that their assessment was not taken into account when George Summerside was named state veterans affairs director more than a year ago.

Also, while South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long said Summerside’s honorable discharge from military service in 1976 satisfied requirements in state statute for his appointment as head of veterans affairs and any subsequent discharge is irrelevant, veterans groups think Summerside might have a less than honorable discharge on his record.

Ron Boyd, state adjutant of the American Legion, told legislators because the National Guard’s role in the U.S. military has become much more prominent in the past decade, the state Department of Military Affairs needs to make National Guard issues its highest priority and can no longer devote adequate attention to veterans issues. So the departments should be split.

Adjutant General Steven Doohen was in Sioux Falls for an Air National Guard activation ceremony Saturday. He said splitting off veterans affairs from military affairs could be costly.

“I think we can make it work,” he said of a combined department. He also gave Summerside an endorsement, saying he has done “an outstanding job,” as acting director.

“I can’t for the life of me understand why the administration is not listening to you on this,” State Sen. Minority Leader Scott Heidepriem said. “At a minimum, there should be a dialogue with the chief executive of the state.”

Sen. Majority Leader Dave Knudson called the administration’s approach “almost bizarre.” While he is not convinced military affairs and veterans affairs should be separate, the Legislature has the power to split them rather than encouraging the governor

to do so in a resolution.

“We could do a bill, not just a concurrent resolution. I think you’re maybe aiming too low, frankly,” he said.

Sen. Tom Dempster, R-Sioux Falls, told veterans “it troubles me more than anything that you don’t have a seat at the table, that your voices are not heard.”

Rep. Richard Engals, D-Hartford, said he would support a bill requiring a veterans affairs director to have nothing less than an honorable discharge.

The veterans groups also urged legislators to study whether a veterans cemetery and veterans home should be built East River.

Representatives of the Marine Corps League and Paralyzed Veterans of America also attended.

Ryan Green, of the PVA, said that group is urging the legislature to either adopt a statewide building code or use international building code standards to ensure that public buildings throughout the state are accessible to paralyzed veterans.

In your voice

In your voice

Sunday, December 07, 2008


December 6, 9:47 AM

by Kellie Speed, East Coast Restaurants Examiner

The numbers are in and, despite continued economic bad news, Golden Corral and its 485 restaurants nationwide served 322,000 “thank you” dinner buffets and helped raise $727,000 for Disabled American Veterans (DAV) as part of Golden Corral’s eighth annual “Military Appreciation Monday” dinner held Nov. 17.

Donations to the DAV rose more than 10 percent over 2007, bringing total contributions to $3.26 million since the program started in 2001.

“The generosity of our guests is overwhelming,” said Theodore (Ted) M. Fowler, president and CEO of Golden Corral.  “It seems people recognized the need of those who were injured serving our country and responded by contributing more than ever.”

For the second year in a row, Golden Corral also included a drive to send greetings to America’s military personnel on active duty overseas. From Sept. 1 until Nov. 17, restaurants collected special postcards with messages of thanks and encouragement for the troops overseas. As a result, more than 52,000 Military Appreciation post cards will be delivered to military troops during the holidays.

For more info: Golden Corral Corporation is


July 30, 2007

VA’s Suicide Hot Line Begins Operations

Nicholson: “Help a Phone Call Away”

WASHINGTON – To ensure veterans with emotional crises have round-the-clock access to trained professionals, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has begun operation of a national suicide prevention hot line for veterans.

“Veterans need to know these VA professionals are literally a phone call away,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson said. “All service members who experience the stresses of combat can have wounds on their minds as well as their bodies. Veterans should see mental health services as another benefit they have earned, which the men and women of VA are honored to provide.”

The toll-free hot line number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). VA’s hot line will be staffed by mental health professionals in Canandaigua, N.Y. They will take toll-free calls from across the country and work closely with local VA mental health providers to help callers.

To operate the national hot line, VA is partnering with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

“The hot line will put veterans in touch – any time of the day or night, any day of the week, from anywhere in the country – with trained, caring professionals who can help,” added Nicholson. “This is another example of the VA’s commitment to provide world-class health care for our nation’s veterans, especially combat veterans newly returned from Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The suicide hot line is among several enhancements to mental health care that Nicholson has announced this year. In mid July, the Department’s top mental health professionals convened in the Washington, D.C., area to review the services provided to veterans of the Global War on Terror.

– More –

Hotline 2/2/2/2

VA is the largest provider of mental health care in the nation. This year, the Department will spent about $3 billion for mental health. More than 9,000 mental health professionals, backed up by primary care physicians and other health professionals in every VA medical center and outpatient clinic, provide mental health care to about 1 million veterans each year.

# # #

For the latest news releases and other information, visit VA on the Internet at

To receive e-mail copies of news releases, subscribe to VA’s list server at:

Medal Of Honor The Medal Of Honor

Medal Of Honor Citation: Johnson, Dwight H.

Rank and organization:

Specialist Fifth Class, U.S. Army, Company B, 1st Battalion, 69th Armor, 4th Infantry Division.

Place and date:

Near Dak To, Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, 15 January 1968.

Entered service at: Detriot, Mich.

Born: 7 May 1947, Detroit, Mich.


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. SP5 Johnson, a tank driver with Company B, was a member of a reaction force moving to aid other elements of his platoon, which was in heavy contact with a battalion size North Vietnamese force. SP5 Johnson’s tank, upon reaching the point of contact, threw a track and became immobilized. Realizing that he could do no more as a driver, he climbed out of the vehicle, armed only with a .45 caliber pistol. Despite intense hostile fire, SP5 Johnson killed several enemy soldiers before he had expended his ammunition. Returning to his tank through a heavy volume of antitank rocket, small arms and automatic weapons fire, he obtained a submachinegun with which to continue his fight against the advancing enemy. Armed with this weapon, SP5 Johnson again braved deadly enemy fire to return to the center of the ambush site where he courageously eliminated more of the determined foe. Engaged in extremely close combat when the last of his ammunition was expended, he killed an enemy soldier with the stock end of his submachinegun. Now weaponless, SP5 Johnson ignored the enemy fire around him, climbed into his platoon sergeant’s tank, extricated a wounded crewmember and carried him to an armored personnel carrier. He then returned to the same tank and assisted in firing the main gun until it jammed. In a magnificent display of courage, SP5 Johnson exited the tank and again armed only with a .45 caliber pistol, engaged several North Vietnamese troops in close proximity to the vehicle. Fighting his way through devastating fire and remounting his own immobilized tank, he remained fully exposed to the enemy as he bravely and skillfully engaged them with the tank’s externally-mounted .50 caliber machine gun; where he remained until the situation was brought under control. SP5 Johnson’s profound concern for his fellow soldiers, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.

Having spent 20 fun years in Air Force blue I am quite proud about our performance over the last 240 years. This section will carry more good things than the bad or the ugly, but they need to be covered also.