Tag: Veterans

Janine’s Mission 43– Veteran’s Last Patrol Volunteer

I like this organization. There has been a link to it on my blog for some time now. I am sending out a card, how about you?

e-Quips

Art AlumA few missions back, we sent out cards to the vets that Veteran’s Last Patrol works with.  I recently learned that one of their volunteers could use some ‘get well’ messages from all of us. Here is what Veteran’s Last Patrol founder, Claude Schmid shared with me about Art Allum:

One of Last Patrol’s earliest volunteers, Art Allum, has been a rock and a gentleman. Art’s a submariner who did 20 years in the Navy. He visits veterans in hospice to provide that end-of-life friendship we’re all about. He’s also gone the extra mile to help at least one track down an important personal record. Beyond that, Art has made food can goods deliveries to veterans unable to leave their homes, he’s participated in numerous honor ceremonies, and has driven disabled, solitary veterans to medical appointments. (The last two have been over 100 miles away.)

Unfortunately, a few weeks ago…

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FORTITUDE: American Resilience in the Era of Outrage

Jordan Peterson’s Twelve Rules for Life meets Jocko Willink and Leif Babin’s Extreme Ownership in this tough-love leadership book from a Navy SEAL and rising star in Republican politics.

In 2012, on his third tour of duty, an improvised explosive device left Dan Crenshaw’s right eye destroyed and his left blinded. Only through the careful hand of his surgeons, and what doctors called a miracle, did Crenshaw’s left eye recover partial vision. And yet, he persevered, completing two more deployments. Why? There are certain stories we tell ourselves about the hardships we face — we can become paralyzed by adversity or we can adapt and overcome. We can be fragile or we can find our fortitude. Crenshaw delivers a set of lessons to help you do just that.

Most people’s everyday challenges aren’t as extreme as surviving combat, and yet our society is more fragile than ever: exploding with outrage, drowning in microaggressions, and devolving into divisive mob politics. The American spirit — long characterized by grit and fortitude — is unraveling. We must fix it.

That’s exactly what Crenshaw accomplishes with FORTITUDE. This book isn’t about the problem, it’s about the solution. And that solution begins with each and every one of us. We must all lighten up, toughen up, and begin treating our fellow Americans with respect and grace.

FORTITUDE is a no-nonsense advice book for finding the strength to deal with everything from menial daily frustrations to truly difficult challenges. More than that, it is a roadmap for a more resilient American culture. With meditations on perseverance, failure, and finding much-needed heroes, the book is the antidote for a prevailing “safety culture” of trigger warnings and safe spaces. Interspersed with lessons from history and psychology is Crenshaw’s own story of how an average American kid from the Houston suburbs went from war zones to the halls of Congress — and managed to navigate his path with a sense of humor and an even greater sense that, no matter what anyone else around us says or does, we are in control of our own destiny.

About the author …

Dan Crenshaw served as a Navy SEAL for a decade, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Commander. After being wounded in Helmand Province in 2012, he lost his right eye and required surgery to save the vision in his left. He earned two Bronze Star Medals, one with Valor, the Purple Heart, and the Navy Commendation Medal with Valor. Retiring from the military in 2016, Crenshaw earned a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in 2017. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives in November 2018, where he represents the Second Congressional District of Texas. He lives with his wife, Tara, and two dogs, Joey and Luna, in Houston.

My thoughts …

Dan Crenshaw is clearly a man with a mission. His book, Fortitude: Resilience in the Age of Outrage, is a call to action for all Americans who love this country to make a stand against the destructive culture of outrage and the ‘cancel culture’ that has permeated our society. Crenshaw approaches this problem with the same professionalism and attention to detail that makes the US Navy SEALs the highly effective elite military force they are.

Crenshaw clearly illustrates what it means to be a thinking American. His perspectives, while they will certainly be shocking and abhorrent to those bent on ‘fundamentally transforming’ this country into the next Venezuela, are rooted in common sense and the preservation of the United States of America as a sovereign nation.

Like Crenshaw, I believe that in this great country, you certainly have the right to live your life as you choose within the social contract provided by the rule of law. However, your rights end where they infringe on the rights of others. And, you do not have the right to never be offended. Being offended is a personal choice, controlled by the individual. You also do not have the right to erase history, destroy public or private property, or destroy the very country that protects the freedoms you choose to exercise.

There is nothing new in his ideas. Crenshaw’s book is a concise and practical restatement of things most Americans already know and believe. Unfortunately, a few too many have forgotten, being raised in a setting of unearned affluence and elitist attitudes. This has created a generation with skewed views of ungratefulness, arrogance, ignorance, shamelessness, and egocentrism.

As a former US Navy SEAL Lieutenant Commander, decorated war veteran, and congressman for the state of Texas, Crenshaw brings the full prowess of his training as a SEAL to bear in his research and viewpoints. His mental toughness, worldly experience, and practical insight offer real insight into combating the subjective softness and perpetual state of outrage so many people in America suffer from today .

I rate this book 5 stars and recommend highly to anyone who might be just a bit concerned at the direction some are trying to take this country in.

I hope you will take a few minutes and check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here! And check out my new novel, Montagnard, on Amazon.com!

The Soul of American Exceptionalism

Yes, I agree. America is not perfect!

I try hard not to get political on my blog. But lately, I am really bothered by things I see happening in this great country, the country I love, and volunteered to defend. I see us heading down a road to a fork. And we can only go in one direction or the other. There is no compromise between Americanism and the radical Leftwing ideology that has been gaining strength in our country.

Let me begin by admitting that America is not perfect. Yes, America has problems. But I challenge you to show me another country without problems, or that has done so much good in so little time.

American is a country and thus is comprised of people. It is the human condition that people are not perfect. So yes, people make mistakes. Some people are ambitious, some are lazy, some are easy-going, some are intense, many are good, and unfortunately, some are evil. Any country made up of people will be flawed because people are flawed. But that has nothing to do with the idea of America, the grand experiment in individual freedom that we in serious danger of losing to the radical Leftists in this country.

However, the ideals behind Americanism are perfect.

Are you a Constitutionalist? An originalist? Do you believe that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land? That is great. However, that is not enough.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

This phrase from the Declaration Of Independence, written thirteen years earlier, is the soul of Americanism. It is the basis for two key elements that define Americanism: 1) Individual Freedom, and 2) Equal Treatment Under the Law.

This phrase in the Declaration of Independence is the foundation on which the U.S. Constitution stands. The two documents are codependent and inseparable. It is the belief that all mankind is created equal and that all mankind inherits from their creator the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that makes the U.S. Constitution the tremendous and timeless document that it is.

This is what defines Americanism. It is the belief in these fundamental principles that made our Founding Fathers, flawed humans though they were, great. It’s the fact that this country was founded on these principles that make this country a shining beacon on the hill, even though it is inhabited by flawed people who do sometimes make mistakes, occasionally even terrible ones.

It is these ideals that the flag represent, and to equate that flag to the flaws of a few human beings show a real lack of understanding. That is why I will always stand for the flag, I believe in those ideals even as I understand the flawed nature of the human condition.

Election 2016

One result of the 2016 election is that this division, this war, in American has been brought out into the open. The two sides have stepped out into the light. Most Americans believe in the principles this country was founded on; some don’t. Most Americans believe in individual freedom, while others want to create another “Marxist” nanny state. I guess they all feel that the uber-rich Left-wing elites will make room for them all in the “ruling class.” Of course, you’d have to pretty much be a moron to think that would ever actually happen.

What do you believe in?

It is time for those who believe in Americanism to step up. Those words from the Declaration of Independence are the soul of Americanism. The U.S. Constitution is the body. If you believe in the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence, then you understand that the U.S. Constitution can never be a “living document” that changes with the times. That is because, my friends, those core beliefs that define Americanism, do not change with the times.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Which part of this phrase changes with the passing of years. Explain that to me. Defend that position. The only way you can do that is if you do not believe in Americanism.

How far do you go in defense of your country?

I had a friend say to me once, “But, you wouldn’t take up arms against your government, would you?”

My answer was, “I certainly would not want to. I certainly hope it would never come to that.” I hope that my government would never back me into that corner. However, it has happened before. And, history has shown us time and time again that the first step in instituting an authoritarian regime is to disarm the populace. Just ask Venesualans!

Sadly though, I see that possibility grow more real over time as the Left becomes more relentless in dismantling the fundamental structure of this great nation, and especially if Trump loses the 2020 election. For all Trump’s brashness, unfiltered statements, lack of perfected talking points, obsessive tweeting, and refusal to not punch back when attacked, it is clear he loves this country and Americanism. Trump doesn’t fight for this party or that party. He fights for the country he loves. He fights for Americans … all Americans. That is the core of America First. You don’t have to like him or his manner. But he is a fighter. And, at this moment in time, he is what America needs. Once the radical left is no longer a threat, we can go back to squabbling over minor details. ‘

Do you think for one minute that Putin doesn’t put Russia first, or Xi doesn’t put China first? Some of you “woke” people need to wake the hell up!

I am certainly not advocating violence. I hope and pray with all my heart and soul that more Americans will wake up, and it will not come to that. But I will not live under a Left-wing authoritarian dictatorship with its thought police, equal misery for all, the erasing of American history and culture, and total disregard for the rule of law. I will not live in a country where I have no freedom and cannot protect those I love from criminal elements. And, I also swore an oath to protect the U.S. Constitution from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. That oath had no expiration date on it.

Historically, that is the reason for the Second Amendment. It was not about muskets or assault rifles, and it was not about hunting. To argue those points, you have to willfully ignore a ton of written and documented evidence to the contrary. No, it was to ensure another fundamental ideal stated in the Declaration of Independence.

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

It is time for Americans who believe in Americanism, who believe that all men are created equal and have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to hold their noses if necessary and make sure that the radical Left does not gain power in the 2020 election. I predict that, if they do, we will see a heck of a lot more blood in our streets.

Again, I am not advocating violence. I am just stating what I see happening in the future if the radical Left gains more power in this country.

Or, maybe you want to live in a country where the police are defunded and the streets are patrolled by Antifa?

Armed Forces Day

This is a day to celebrate all six branches of the U.S. military

Nations across the world observe some kind of Armed Forces Day to honor their military forces and the men and women who serve to protect their country. Armed Forces Day is a joint celebration of all six branches of the U.S. military: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, and the newly created Space Force.

Today, and every day, we reaffirm our unwavering support for the millions of American patriots who fill the ranks of our Armed Forces. We are eternally grateful for every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, Coast Guardsman, and member of the Space Force, and we deeply appreciate the sacrifices their families and loved ones make on our behalf. As one Nation, we pledge to always honor this service and this devotion given to our great country.

President Donald J. Trump

It is a day to display the flag of the United States at your home and your businesses. I urge my fellow patriotic American citizens to learn more about our Armed Forces and their dedicated service members by attending and participating in your local observances of this day.

Remember those who protect our great nation

Smooth Sailing, Stephen Stormer

It is hard losing a friend. Unfortunately, it seems to happen more frequently as we get older. I met Steve Stormer through mutual friends and would see him at gatherings, holiday dinners, and on the occasional night out with the guys. A mutual good friend told me Steve was ill. Pancreatic cancer, I believe. Then, a few weeks later, he is gone.

We did have some interesting conversations over the five or six years I knew Steve. Stormer was a Vietnam-era U.S. Navy veteran and since I was an Army veteran (a bit later), we’d swap yarns about our time in the service. We also shared a common interest in the occasional good Tequila.

I only regret not having the time to get to know Stormer better. But, I will remember him as a good man, a friend, a fellow veteran, and a man with a great sense of humor.

I wish you smooth seas and a steady breeze, Stormer. Go with God.

You will be missed.

I Just Added This To My Reading List!

PROMISES TO THE FALLEN

A VIETNAM WAR NOVEL

Glyn Haynie

Cover image of the new novel by Author Glyn Haynie
New Release

I just ordered a signed hardcover copy of Glyn Haynie’s newest release and cannot wait to read it!

Author Glyn Haynie

From the age of 19 until he retired in March of 1989, Glyn Haynie served his country as a member of the United States Army. Starting in 1969, his military career spanned 20 years. Haynie found himself turning 19 while fighting in the jungles of Vietnam with the 23rd Infantry Division. Before retiring, Haynie went on to serve as a drill instructor, a first sergeant, and finally as an instructor for the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA).


I have read all three of his earlier books!

When I Turned Nineteen: A Vietnam War Memoir

Glyn Haynie’s first book, When I Turned Nineteen: A Vietnam War Memoir, tells of the author’s experiences as a 19-year-old soldier sent off to fight an unpopular war. In this gripping narrative, Haynie shares his war experience with his readers.

They were just average Americans – sons, fathers, husbands, and brothers. Men who who came together and formed a bond that would endure a lifetime, a bond formed in combat.

Glyn Haynie shares the vivid experiences of his period as a soldier during the War in Vietnam.

Weeks of boredom, minutes of terror. Surviving the humidity, the heat, the monsoons, a raging jungle fire, and struggling to build a firebase on a remote jungle hilltop, all while fighting fear, exhaustion, and facing a fierce and implacable enemy.

Soldiering After The Vietnam War: Changed Soldiers In A Changed Country

This second work, Soldiering After The Vietnam War: Changed Soldiers In A Changed Country, picks up where the first book leaves off and gives the reader a rare glimpse of what it meant to a soldier to return from Vietnam and continue to serve his country despite the lack of respect and appreciation typically afforded soldiers returning home from war.

The vast majority of American service men who served in Vietnam served bravely and honorably. The atrocities so often focused on by the media, and in films and documentaries were actually few and far between. Men like Glyn Haynie would probably never ask, but many in this country owe them an apology … and some long overdue respect and appreciation.

Finding My Platoon Brothers: Vietnam Then and Now

Glyn Haynie carries the names of 13 brothers forever engraved on his heart. They are the names of brothers-in-arms, killed in combat during the War in Vietnam.

The bonds formed in battle are unique and not understood by anyone who has not served in the military.

This third book by Glyn Haynie, Finding My Platoon Brothers, Vietnam Then and Now, describes his efforts to find and reconnect with his brothers of First Platoon. These men, with whom he served during the War in Vietnam, are indeed a real part of his family.


And now, to Glyn Haynie’s newest release, a very intriguing Vietnam War novel.

PROMISES TO THE FALLEN: A Vietnam War Novel

I have not yet read Glyn Haynie’s new novel, Promises to the Fallen: A Vietnam War Novel, but I have just ordered a signed copy! You can order a signed hardcover or paperback copy by clicking here!

While I have not actually met Glyn, I have gotten to know him through collaboration on some projects as well as through social media vehicles such as Twitter, and Instagram where we have shared tips on topics such as marketing books on Twitter or Instagram and using Amazon Ads.

I did read one chapter of his novel while it was in-progress and found it very intriguing. And, I believe that if you’re interested in military history, the Vietnam War era, its soldiers, and its heroes, this will be one novel you will definitely want to add to your reading list. It is now available at Amazon.com in Kindle, paperback and hardcover formats.

Once I have received my copy of the book and read it, I will post a review here on my blog!

Calvin Edney: 101st Airborne Veteran / Artist

You just never know who you are going to meet!

It is often interesting to me how we take other people we meet for granted, not bothering to listen to or learn about one another. I recently met a man named Calvin who I discovered, served in the 101st Airborne Division. This turned into a conversation, because I too, served with the 101st. But, by that time it had been transformed into the 101st Air Assault Division. Of course, Calvin is about 85 and I am 59. So, we served during different eras.

And as a side note, I recently learned that at least some units of the 101st have gone back to being Airborne.

Veteran and artist!

During the course of our discussions, it came out that I had published my first novel, titled Serpents Underfoot, a short time back, and that I am now working on its sequel, Montagnard. Of course, he wanted a signed hard-cover copy of Serpents Underfoot which I provided.

An artist utilizing vibrant colors and sharp contrast!

calvin edney
Young Dogwood at Grove Park by Calvin Edney

I then learned that, Calvin too was also an artist … a painter. And that he’d been painting for about 30 years. I learned that Vincent Van Gogh was one of his favorite painters and you can see that influence in the work he does. He is also was a fan of Frederic Remington, a painter and sculptor focusing on the American west, and a favorite of mine.

calvin edney
Fight for the waterhole by Frederic Remington

Calvin Edney has been a soldier, a grocer, a bookstore owner, a vegetable store owner, a butcher, and now … a painter. He was active in several Asheville galleries in previous years, but now mostly paints in his apartment relying on memories of scenes which stuck in his mind and are created on the canvas. Calvin has sold a good number of his paintings, including one to a former Ingles CEO. He also hosts exhibits at his apartment home.

December 7th Show

Saturday, December 7, 2019
2:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Tree Top Apartments
Asheville, NC

This is Calvin’s home. Over 140 originals hang on his walls. For more information, click here!

If you are going to be in the Asheville area on December 7th, you should stop by and meet this 101st Airborne Veteran and amazing painter. I think you will enjoy the paintings and the conversation, as well as the wine, cheese, and crackers he serves during the show.

I will start saving up my pennies, so I can afford one of his paintings some time soon.

Poll: Montagnard Book Cover

First Cover Design for Montagnard

The sequel to Serpents Underfoot

Here is the first attempt at a cover design for Montagnard, the action-packed sequel to Serpents Underfoot. It was created for me by a freelancer on Fiverr.com

I am working very hard to make this second novel a lot better than my first (which from the reviews … wasn’t that bad).

But I did learn a great deal from my first book, and those lessons learned promise to make this second release just that much better.

That should also include the cover! So, please let me know what you think!

montagnard

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!

A Hero’s Death …

The once sturdy frame, now withered from age, leaned into the wind and he made his way unsteadily down the quiet street. His ninety-four-year-old knees ached. These same knees had carried him safely across the island of Sicily. And later, they’d carried him ashore with the U.S. 4th Division at Utah Beach. He’d been wounded twice before Herr Hitler was finally defeated; before the evil that was the Third Reich finally ended. They Army had given him a medal, and President Truman had shaken his hand.

But now, without the help of his old wooden cane, his knees would never be able to make it the two blocks to the bus stop. The was proud, and did not ask for, nor would he accept help from anybody. He was a soldier. Pulling the worn out World War II Veterans’s cap down onto his head, he leaned into the wind, and pushed forward.

It was a daily ritual, this journey to the bus stop. His aching knees would painfully announce their displeasure as he slowly climbed those three stairs up into the bus, paid his fare, and found a seat. The bus driver, Joe, always had a pleasant word to say. He knew Joe pretty well. Those worn out knees had been complaining about climbing up into that same bus every day for almost fifteen years now.

It was a twenty-minute ride to the veteran’s hospital where he would spend the day talking to younger veterans less fortunate than himself. At least he had his knees to remind him he was still alive. Too many of these younger men were missing too many limbs. They hadn’t seen these things called improvised explosive devices back in his day. They had land mines though!

Memories of the horrors of war haunted a brain as sharp as when he’d first landed in Sicily. His hands were gnarled. His back stooped. But, those two eyes still burned, clear and bright. Inside, he was still the same proud, honorable, tough patriot he’d always been.

At eighteen, he’d answered his country’s call and unflinchingly did his duty. His young knees had supported him well as he fought for his country, for freedom, and for the man standing beside him in their shared foxhole. He’d walked across Sicily, France, and into Germany.

He survived being shot twice to return home and marry his high school sweetheart, Rose, and put two children through college. A strong back and two still pretty good knees had gotten him through almost thirty years as an iron-worker.

A widower now, his daughter called a few times a month. Judith lived in Florida. He did not know where his son was, but knew from Judith that John had made it pretty big; in real estate she’d said.

The bus slowed to a stop at the bus stop near the veteran’s hospital. With the help of his cane, his knees were forced to unbend and grudgingly supported his weight. He made his way down the aisle to the door of the bus, nodded to Joe, and listened to his knees bitterly complain as he climbed down the three stairs to the sidewalk. Leaning into the wind, he slowly made his way toward the veteran’s hospital.

A crowd dressed in black was gathered. He’d seen them before, protesting something. He did not know what. They always seemed so angry. Now they even wore masks and carried sticks. The old warrior was unafraid. He had nothing they would want. He adjusted his hat and just leaned into the wind. It was not much farther to the veteran’s hospital entrance.

Hate. He could feel it swirl around him. Black clad figures, hoods and masks, carrying clubs. An angry voice screamed obscenities. Was the voice screaming at him? Stopping, he forced his aching knees to turn and confronted a masked face, eyes filled with hatred. The old man looked into those hate-filled eyes and … smiled. He’d faced worse evil than a kid with a mask and a stick in his life; faced it down and survived.

Aching knees complained bitterly as he took a single step forward. Gnarled hands gripped the cane just a little tighter. His smile never left his face. He heard a single word screamed at him, “Nazi,” as the stick swung hard. What were they teaching kids in school these days, he wondered.

He saw the blow coming. There was nothing he could do … to old, to slow, to proud, his knees ached so. No point even to try. The old man just leaned into the wind once more.