Category: Patriotism

American Women Warriors: A Salute.

Women can certainly be mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives. Each is a vitally important role in American society! But, while being all of these amazing things, women can also be fierce and capable warriors. Throughout history, and all around the world, women have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with men, facing their common enemies and fighting battles for survival. Though often outnumbered by their male brothers-in-arms, many brave female warriors have left their indelible mark on American history.

Historic Figures

Before changes in the modern U.S. Military, women were not allowed to serve in combat roles. We still had great examples of strong women, who were warriors in their own way, women who effected positive change in America through their bravery, dedication, and hard work.

Here a just a few examples:

Harriet Tubman

A courageous American hero, abolitionist Harriet Tubman, proved to be one of the most effective conductors on the Underground Railroad. “Conducting” was a dangerous job for anyone, doubly so for a former female slave. However, Harriet Tubman lived by a simple creed, “I can’t die but once.”

Susan B Anthony

The words of Thomas Jefferson, “Resistance to Tyranny is Obedience to God,” were often quoted by suffragist Susan B. Anthony at her trial in 1873 for voting. She was fined $100 for her act of civil disobedience. Though she didn’t literally take up arms, no one can deny that Susan B Anthony fought the good fight for woman’s suffrage and helped pave the way for the passage, 14 years after her death in 1906, of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, extending the right to vote to women.

Rosa Parks

A founding mother of the U.S. civil rights movement, Rosa Parks, stood her ground and stated, “No, I’m not moving to the back of the bus.” Her refusal to budge helped launch the Montgomery bus boycott and reshaped the American civil rights movement forever.

However today, the “no women in combat” rule has changed. I do believe in equal rights and status for all Americans. And, as long as any individual can pass the test and meet the required physical standards to perform a job at an efficient level, that individual should be allowed to perform that job

Today’s Female Warriors

Back in 2011, Congress mandated that the DOD conduct a review of its combat exclusion policy. Two years later, President Obama’s Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, announced plans to rescind the Direct Combat Exclusion Rule.

In December 2015, his successor, Ashton B. Carter, declared that all military jobs would be opened to women as long as they could qualify. The first field artillery cannoneer positions became available to enlisted women in January of 2016.

Jordyn Wallace, one female warrior, enlisted at the Castle Hayne recruiting center one month later.

While there are too many to list, I have selected a few random samples I found online as representative examples of our American female warriors.

Specialist Jordyn Wallace

Jordyn Wallace served with the Second Battalion, 12th field artillery regiment (2-12 FA) … part of the First Stryker Brigade Combat Team. These soldiers support infantry troops from miles away with powerful M 777s, also known as howitzers.

Wallace is a professional soldier who giveS her mission her all. She has earned the respect and admiration of her team and her superiors.

female warriors

Spcs. Vanessa Bolognese and Aimee Collver

“Bolo’ and “Collver” are two combat medics with Personal Security Detachment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. They kept all their male counterparts healthy and operationally ready, and did so “outside the wire,” their team often operating as an independent element.

“Bolo” and “Collver” are respected by there combat team both for their skills as medics and their professionalism as soldiers. When outside the wire, they move with the team, however when the rest of the team gets to take a break, these two warriors are just beginning to do their jobs.

female warriors

Maj. General Dawn Dunlap

Maj. General Dunlop is among the most accomplished female fighter pilots in the Air Force’s history. A 1988 graduate of the Air Force Academy, Dunlop has logged more than 3,500 hours flying aircraft including F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-22 fighters.

female warriors

All I can say is “Hooah” … and we, as Americans, owe women such as these a great deal of respect and gratitude.

Navy SEALs Swim Hudson River to Honor Military Vets

Fox News host and Army veteran Pete Hegseth joined a group of Navy SEALS as they swam across the Hudson to show support for our military veterans and their families.

This is the kind of event that makes me so proud to be an American and to have such respect for those who serve. I think back to the day I raised my right hand and swore my oath, and seeing things like this makes me realize that, if I could, I would do it all again.

seal Swim hudson
Fox News Photo

The SEALs routed their swim with stops at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, before ending the swim at Battery Park. At each scheduled stop, the SEALs performed a number of pushups and pullups to honor America’s legacy of liberty and diversity, and those who have fought and even paid the ultimate price to preserve them. We owe them so much.

While Fox News host Pete Hegseth is an Army veteran, he bravely jumped into the Hudson River with the Navy SEALS and completed the swim. Hegseth did admit he had a bit of help in the first leg of the swim from one of the SEALS, Kaj Larson, when he got caught up in the strong currents, but he completed the other two legs of the swim just fine.

All I can say is “Hooah” to these amazing Navy SEALS and to Fox New’s Pete Hegseth for showing us all what it means to be a true American Patriot!

All photos courtesy of Fox News.

For more Navy SEAL action, check out my military action thriller titled Serpents Underfoot. It is currently available in Kindle, paperback, and hardcover formats, and will soon be out in audio as well.

For interesting post by DC Gilbert, click here!

CELEBRATE AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE

July 4th, 2019: 243 Years of American Exceptionalism

The 4th of July is just around the corner. Take a minute and think about what that means, and think about how many patriots gave their lives so that we have the opportunities we do have as Americans.

America is a land of equal opportunity. Nobody has the right to tell you how to live, what you can be, how you have to think, what you can say, or whether or not you can protect yourself or your loved ones.

In this country, you have the opportunity to be whatever you choose to be. Yes, you may fail a few times. But you get to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again.

That is America. And, it is an America we all need to fight to protect from enemies both foreign and domestic.

Anyway, that’s my political 2 cents for the day.

To help celebrate the 4th of July, check out my great Kindle sale!

On July 4th only …. just .99 for 1/2 day, then 1.99 the second half of the day.

If you are looking for great tales to share around the campfire, then Adirondack Bear Tales is for you. If you are looking for a patriotic action thriller that you won’t be able to put down, then Serpents Underfoot is for you! Get yours at these great holiday prices!

Sophie would certainly appreciate it. It helps keep her in kibble and biscuits!

July 4th

Happy Veterans Day Giveaway: Thank our veterans!

Kindle give away for Serpents Underfoot!

Happy Veterans Day! In honor of Veterans Day, the Kindle version of Serpents Underfoot will be available from Amazon.com for free on Sunday, November 11th and Monday, November 12th. There are no gimmicks or requirements! However, if you were to enjoy the book and want to give me a review on Amazon, I would not strenuously object.
happy veterans

A few Happy Veterans Day quotes:

I’m trying to raise the awareness of the troops that, when they deploy and go to war, it’s not just them at war – it’s also their family. Their family is having to go through all the hardships and the stresses. ~ Chis Kyle
The U.S. Military is us. There is no truer representation of a country than the people that it sends into the field to fight for it. The people who wear our uniform and carry our rifles into combat are our kids, and our job is to support them, because they’re protecting us. ~ Tom Clancy
The valor and courage of our young women and men in the armed services are a shining example to all of the world, and we owe them and their families our deepest respect. ~ Bill Frist

And, a few Happy Veterans Day cartoons!

happy veterans
Gary Varvel, The Indianopolis Star, garyvarvel.com
happy veterans
Dave Granlund, http://www.davegranlund.com
happy veterans
Dave Granlund, davegranlund.com, politicalcartoons.com

On a more personal note:

We all need to give Veterans Day and our veterans the respect they deserve. Members of my family have served this nation going all the way back to the Revolutionary War. Several of my best friends have been Vietnam Vets. This is not unique and I am sure there are many families like mine. People who love this country and are willing to write that blank check to serve and protect it. When you see a veteran … thank him, shake his hand, or even buy his lunch. He has certainly earned it!

Etchings in Stone, Moving Beyond Belief …

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, also referred to as The Wall, in Washington DC, is a late but wonderful first step in welcoming home Vietnam Veterans. Etchings in Stone is an unbelievably moving play written by Ron Harris about The Wall from a very unique perspective.

Ron Harris, Playwright and Vietnam Veteran

etchings

I met Ron Harris, a North Carolina Vietnam Veteran, at the Raleigh Museum of History during a Vietnam Veteran’s Day event. This event featured the mobile “Wall” exhibit, a Huey (bringing back my own fond memories of my time with the 101st Air Assault Division), and other Vietnam War memorabilia collected and displayed by the Vietnam Veterans of America.

Chu Chi Tunnels and a conversation 

While looking at a great 3-D diorama of the Chu Chi Tunnels of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), a man came up and asked if I had any questions about the diorama. We began to talk about the Chu Chi Tunnels and other dioramas he had built and that were on display.  During the conversation, I disclosed that I had written a novel that begins with the story of my main character’s father fighting in Vietnam, titled Serpents Underfoot

Ron then told me that he’d written a play called Etchings in Stone about The Wall, and  that it was showing every hour in the museum auditorium. I decided I needed to see this play. We talked a bit more before I headed toward the auditorium to see Etching in Stone. I was not entirely prepared for what I was about to experience.

Twenty-one Etchings

The play features about twenty-one segments, or stories, about visitors to The Wall.  Ron took the unique and extremely moving perspective of placing the audience inside The Wall, and giving them the ability to hear what the visitors were saying as well as their unspoken thoughts. The effect was moving beyond belief.  

etchings

Each visitor approaches The Wall looking for a name … a father, a husband, a brother, an uncle, or a fellow soldier, sailor, marine, or airman. You hear their words as well as their thoughts. One emotional soldier thanks a medic for saving his life. Then there’s the widow who misses her husband dearly. And, the father or mother missing their son. We meet a  woman missing her older brother. There’s even a soldier apologizing for accidentally shooting his buddy because his buddy had not given the countersign when challenged upon entering the defensive perimeter. The anguish was very real! It was palpable!

You are all my father …

The last segment blew me completely away. It featured a young Amerasian woman, who I later learned she was played by Ron Harris’s adopted daughter. The young woman approaches The Wall. We learn that she is the daughter of the an American soldier and a Vietnamese woman. The soldier planned to marry her mother, but is killed in action before that could occur. The mother, with little chance of making a life for her daughter, puts the baby up for adoption. The baby is adopted and raised by a wonderful American couple. While the young woman loves her adoptive parents very much, she wants to know who her real father was.

She seeks help from the U.S. military but they have no records of who he father might have been. She contacts other Vietnam Vets, but they are unable to help her either. The young woman then returns to Vietnam and locates an aunt who tells her that her mother died and never talked much about her American fiance. He aunt is very sorry, but she cannot help her.

The young woman finally comes to The Wall to pick a name … a name to be her father.  But, when she sees the number of of names on The Wall, she is completely overwhelmed. How can she choose only one? The woman decides to choose them all … they will all be her father. And that way, in the future, if anyone should ever asks if her father’s name is on The Wall, she can answer truthfully … yes.

Moments of respite …

I do not know if it was intended this way, but between segments of Etchings in Stone there are power point slides that include interesting facts about the Vietnam War and The Wall. There is also music from the era, video, and still photos of the Vietnam War. There are interviews with veterans and songs about The Wall. The play is entertaining, extremely moving, and very educational.

A shift in America’s conscience.

This country always welcomed  its Veterans home with open arms. That is until the Korean War. Korean War veterans came home to simple indifference. However, when Vietnam War ended, that indifference became outright disrespect and even hatred. Far too many Americans spit on these veterans, or called them baby killer and other names.  These men and women only did the job their government had sent them to do. Therefore, in addition to the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) some suffered due to the effects of combat, many suffered an additional layer of PTSD caused by this treatment. This treatment of these American veterans was a national disgrace. 

While the Vietnam War certainly affected the men and women who fought it, it also had a profound effect on those who stayed home. The mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, wives and children, girlfriends, friends and strangers were all touched by the war. This play, Etchings in Stone, addresses the issues that affected all these people, veterans, family and friends. It is Ron’s hope that through this play, Vietnam veterans will come to realize that they are not alone in their feelings.

D.C. Gilbert

Vietnam Veteran’s Day in Raleigh, NC

Vietnam Veteran’s Day Weekend!

Vietnam Veteran'sI went to the Vietnam Veteran’s Day Weekend held in  Raleigh. It was sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of History & The North Carolina Vietnam Veterans, Inc. This turned out to be a very moving day. First, I will say it was a real honor to talk to several of these veterans. I enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1979, so the Vietnam War had been over for 4 years. However, several of the drill instructors I had in Basic and AIT were Vietnam Veterans home from the war. As a young trainee, I was in awe of these veteran warriors.

Talking to Vietnam Veterans

Vietnam Veteran'sFrank Lazarro was there with a display. Frank is a Marine Corps veteran who wrote a poem about PTSD that I posted on this blog some time ago. I also talked to a veteran who was talking to visitors about the Huey chopper. Kids and adults were having a great time climbing on the chopper and sitting in the pilot’s seat. It brought back memories of my experiences flying over the jungles in Panama when I was with the 1/501st Air Assault. I also talked to a veteran who had published a book and we exchanged some writer’s “tips.”

One Vietnam Veteran’s Dioramas

Vietnam veteran'sI found myself admiring several dioramas depicting scenes from the Vietnam War. A man came up and said if I had any questions about them, he would be happy to answer them. His name was Ron Harris. He had built the dioramas. They were all good, but the one depicting the tunnel complex at Chu Chi really intrigued me. The  tunnel system built and utilized by the North Vietnamese and their Viet Cong allies is simply amazing. Ron stated he had been back to Vietnam since the war, and the tunnels at Chu Chi have been converted to a major tourist attraction, albeit enlarged a bit to fit the frames of western tourists.

Etchings in Stone

We started talking about his dioramas and other topics and I mentioned my novel, Serpents Underfoot. I guess because its narrative begins in the jungles of Vietnam. Ron was interested in my writing and said he would have to get the Kindle version of my novel. I hope he enjoys it.

Ron then told me that the play, Etchings in Stone, they were showing a filmed presentation of in the auditorium was written by him. I decided I needed to see it. So, after viewing a few more displays, I went into the auditorium to watch the film. It was, simply put, amazing.

It opened with the playing of Taps. Then the audience finds themselves having the unique perspective of somehow being inside the black wall of the Vietnam War Memorial and listening to the thoughts and words of visitors to the memorial. An officer who lost men, a buddy, a girl friend, a Gold Star Mother, a Gold Star Father, the wife of an MIA, an Amerasian girl, an Antiwar Protester, and others. You participate in their emotional healing, their asking for forgiveness, their searching for answers, and longing for lost family members. Several of the scenes brought tears to my eyes.  The heart-touching scenes are interspersed with photos from the Vietnam War and very moving music, mostly by Country-style artists … and very well done.

My Father

Vietnam veteran'sThe scene that really got to me the most involved an Amerasian orphan. She approaches to the wall and talks of her birth parents. Her mother is a Vietnamese woman she has never met and who gave her up for adoption. Her father was an American soldier in Vietnam who was killed in action before he could marry her mother and take her back to America. The girl came to American, adopted by loving American family who has taken her into their hearts and home, and given her everything they could. She loves them dearly, but still sometimes wonders about her birth parents.

Now older, she goes back to Vietnam to try to locate her mother and perhaps find out who her father was. She manages to find an aunt, only to learn that her mother died in the 1980s.  Her aunt tells her that her mother would never talk about the American GI who was her father. The young woman returns to America and next seeks the help of other Vietnam veterans to try to determine who her birth father was. But, there is simply not enough information.

So finally, the young woman comes to the Wall to choose a name to be “the name” of her birth father. However, she is overwhelmed. There are over 50,000 names on the Wall. How can she choose one? She decides to choose them all! She will come back to visit them often and when she does, if anyone asks her if she knows someone whose name is on the wall, she will simply answer yes, “My father.” It was all I could do to keep from crying.

On the way out, I stopped to tell Ron Harris how much that play had affected me and how much I enjoyed it. It was really quite an amazing day.

 

 

Photographer Mike Powell’s Bald Eagles

Do you like Bald Eagles!

I love Bald Eagles and I really enjoy Mike Powell’s wildlife photography.  He does a lot of fantastic shots of many species of birds, but I especially like his great Bald Eagle pictures.  I guess it is just the patriot in me. If you are a bird watcher, you may really enjoy his blog. Check it out!

Click the link below to visit his blog!

via Dirty-headed eagle

Also, take a minute and check out my book, Serpents Underfoot, available online on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million. It is doing pretty well. I had my first book signing on Feb 27th at McKay’s Used Books & CDs in Knoxville, Tennessee. It went pretty well. I will be posting some pictures soon.