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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thanks

How do you ever adequately thank the veterans for the service they have provided this nation?  Some gave the ultimate sacrifice, some suffered with wounds but all suffered the absence of being with loved ones.
 
Over the years I have met many men/women who served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam as well as the more recent wars of the middle east and I admire each.  However, recently I found out that a friend had once served as a Marine.  Due to his age, I ask him if he had been in Vietnam.  His response was that he had only been on one base outside the USA mainland.  When I ask him which base, his response was Guantanamo.
 
Doing some quick math in my head, "What year?" I asked.
 
"1961 through 1963" was his quick response.
 
"We're talking Bay of Pigs and the Cuban missile crisis!" I stated rather emphatically.
 
"Yep" was his only response, offering no further explanation but rather lead off into another direction of conversation.  My attempts to learn more brought only "yes" or "no" answers.  Over the next few weeks I tried to no avail to learn more of his service during that time. 
 
Then one day he handed me an article from a major newspaper, "You wanted to know what I did in Cuba?  Read this."  I quickly scanned the article which had been written after the release of material from the archives.  Things that had been locked away for years in files marked "top secret".  The cold war era of espionage, covert operations and CIA operatives. 
 
The article was bringing more questions to my mind than it was answering.  "This is CIA stuff, not Marine."
 
"I and 32 other sharp shooters were recruited, trained, dropped into the bay to swim ashore on Cuba.  We spent 63 days there with orders to disrupt" was his response.
 
"So when Kennedy said there would be no American servicemen on Cuba, he wasn't exactly telling the truth?"  It was more of a statement than a question, but I needed clarification.
 
"We had no identification or dog tags.  Had we been caught, there would have been no trial."  Having said that he headed out the door and to this day I have never yet got any more of this mystery answered.
 
But I do wonder how many have served in such a manner and never said a word.
Thanks to ALL veterans.
Dennis

6 comments:

The Ponderer said...

"Thanks" does seem a bit inadequate for all the men and women in the military have done for us. Good post. God bless our troops - past and present.

Jenni said...

Wow. What a story, even if only partly told.

crabby old man said...

There's somethings in war need not be told until later & some never. May God Bless my departed Comrades

MUD said...

The Military is full of guys with blank spots in their record. Most of them won't ever utter a word about what program or the other they were involved in. Black Ops are an ongoing thing and I do wish there was some way to recognize those guys too.
Thanks for the kind words on Veteran's day. MUD, COL (Ret)

In_spired said...

D...I've read this entry a couple of times since you posted it and I've not known how to respond...except with a silent 'thanks'; to you for a well written and touching post and to all the 'unknowns'. I pray every day for the return to the sanctity of our heritage and our loving God.

Tapline said...

Reading some of these remarks takes me back to Men coming home from WWII. Women waking up in the middle of the night with their just returned husband choking them in their sleep. Others would just not talk about their experiences. When one considers How many Japanese jumped off cliffs in order to escape the ugly american monsters then fast forward to Korea where my very close friend, a cousin, drove off a cliff in Korea killing him instantly, then fast forward to Vietnam, where a person was given a pistol and told to use one bullet, if you had to use it, jokingly of course. War is hell and nothing changes only the landscape. stay well...