"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Sunday, June 30, 2013

My Thoughts: N. Barry Carver

Barry Carver
I have two brothers that 'enjoyed' a mandatory visit to Vietnam. One is a true John Wayne style Marine/hero with three purple hearts and bronze star. He has only started to talk about it in the last few years. He was the only survivor of his group.

I couldn't get through the dense abbreviations and place names of his endeavors in the only history I could find (and I would love to see a re-write of it). The information I did find was here: The Magnificent Bastards

The other brother served in the Army and drove a beer truck in the 'suburbs' of Saigon. The worst thing that happened to him was signaling for a turn (since the drive was on the 'wrong' side of the road) and someone took the opportunity to steal his watch.

I served ten years later in the run up to Desert Shield. I was injured in a classified operation which, in spite of the severity of my injury, was totally pointless and now completely forgotten. It is a little difficult sometimes to see the praise and programs (which were certainly earned) aimed only at Vietnam vets and post 9-11 vets. So I feel a bit like the lost tribe in that too.

Having served during the Reagan and Bush years, I certainly have no love of that world view, but I actually was in Berlin when the wall fell -- and even took a hammer and chisel to it myself (yes, there are pictures).

Twelve years in green clothing gave me a deep respect for what the majority of them do and a desire to see the idiots (as in Abu Ghraib, or the Lackland sex scandal) strung up by the small bits. It also made me pretty seriously anti-gun ownership.

... I'm a mixed bag of nuts no matter how you slice it.

 If I can be of any service, I'll usually find a way to get a job done and, God help me, I do love to talk in public. You always know where you can find one disabled vet with a story (or two) to tell.

N. Barry Carver
Actor, Entertainment Consultant, Filmmaker & Author
U.S. Army Broadcast Journalism

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Letter From Home ...

CJ --

My daughter sent me this website. I was married to Barbara Salvage (Coshocton, Ohio), who would have been in Doug's class in high school. I went to Three Rivers High School and played football against Doug, or his cousin, Kenny Kempf.

I, too, was in Viet Nam in 1968-1969. I lost a friend in Nam that I played football with at our high school, Chester A. Wright.

It doesn't seem possible that it has been that long ago. I also knew Jerry Heskett from dating Barb. I was not out in the boonies like Doug or Chester. They will always be missed. 

It was a war that should never have been fought. I didn't mind giving up a year of my life for my country, but just to turn around and give it back -- that makes me mad.  Plus, all of our soldiers who were wounded and will never be the same again. 

I'm sorry that this might bring up old memories, but I just wanted to say thank you.  Your husband made the ultimate sacrifice. 

Have a blessed day and a good weekend.
Timothy Stubbs 

Coshocton OH Memorial

Hello Tim,

Thank you so much for writing to me. For your service, may I also say, "Thank you" and "Welcome Home". Please don't worry about bringing up old memories. It's good for me to reconnect with those who knew Doug, the friends we had in common, and others from Coshocton or the surrounding towns.

Sharing our memories and talking about them are all such a big part of healing. The Vietnam era left a profound footprint on all of us. Sadly, it was a time that was cloaked in shame and, at times, outrage for those who served, those who never returned, and for the whole country.

I started my blog, Memoirs From Nam, in Doug's memory. I wanted to provide a healing place where veterans could come and share their thoughts, stories, and memories by writing about them.  In creating the blog and reading their stories, I have also begun to heal.

I'm so happy you wrote to me. I would love to post your letter on Memoirs From Nam, if you wouldn't mind. Anytime you would like to write about an experience, or share your thoughts, please know it would be an honor to post it.

Again, Welcome Home, Tim.
My warmest regards and respect,

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

Sunday, June 9, 2013

New Book: Unlikely Warriors

by Lonnie M. Long and Gary B. Blackburn 
Published May 13, 2013 by IUniverse - 488 pages

In early May 1961, a U.S. military aircraft taxied toward a well-guarded terminal building. The plane slowed to a halt; steps were maneuvered up to its side, and the door was pulled open. The tropical night air was heavy and dank, and the moon shone dimly through high thin clouds. 

On board the aircraft were ninety-two members of a specially selected team. The men were dressed in indistinguishable dark suits with white shirts and dark ties, and each man carried a new red U.S. diplomatic passport inside his breast pocket. The men held copies of their orders and records in identical brown Manila envelopes, and each man’s medical records were stamped “If injured or killed in combat, report as training accident in the Philippines.”

In such clandestine fashion, the first fully operational U.S. military unit arrived at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in South Vietnam. The unit was so highly classified even its name was top-secret. It was given a codename, a cover identity to hide the true nature of its mission. The unit’s operation was housed in a heavily-guarded compound near Saigon, and within two days of its arrival, Phase I was implemented. Its operatives were intercepting Viet Cong manual Morse communications, analyzing it for the intelligence it contained and passing the information to the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group-Vietnam. The Army Security Agency was on duty.

Where to Buy Unlikely Warriors:

Amazon Reviews:

Thanks for a Great Account ... 5 Stars
"A great attempt to cover a long, heroic effort by ASA in Vietnam. As a ASA Vietnam lingy safely working at Bien Hoa and Phu Bai from 1969 to 1971, I have nothing but admiration and respect for the guys who lived the war daily in the frontline Direct Support units throughout Vietnam. My sincere thanks to all who helped shine a bit of light on their their many achievements and valor." ~A Respectful Compatriot

An Army of Eagles ... 5 Stars
Exciting, this is an eye witness true story of the secret war fought by the Army's under cover warriors, Lonnie Long shares how he, and his covert warriors, beginning in 1961, kept our forces in the war game, using unusual strategies.  Hard to put down, authentic with photos, actual and factual.

About the Authors:

Lonnie M. Long
was born in North Carolina and served with the Army Security Agency from August 1962 to November 1965. 

After completing ASA training at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts, Lonnie served with the 76th Special Operations Unit, Shu Lin Kou Air Station, Taiwan. In 1964, he volunteered for duty in Vietnam and began a fifteen-month tour with the 3rd Radio Research Unit, Aviation Section, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon. 

Gary B. Blackburn is a native Iowan and served with the U.S. Air Force Security Service from April 1961 to November 1964. 

Gary studied Mandarin Chinese at the Institute of Far Eastern Languages, Yale University, followed by assignments to the Joint Sobe Processing Center, Torii Station, Okinawa, working for NSA, and the 6987th Security Group, Shu Lin Kou Air Station, Taiwan.

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

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