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anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

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together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Veteran: WWII, Korea, Vietnam

Rick Turton - Vietnam 1970-1971



by Rick Turton


The other day, I was sitting in a Costco waiting for my family to arrive. 

I saw an older gentleman come in, wearing a black baseball cap that had “World War II, Korea and Vietnam Veteran” embroidered on it.

An Impressive Hat ...

Being a Vietnam Vet myself, I struck up a conversation with him. “Wow!” I said, “That’s a pretty impressive hat!”

He replied, (with no small amount of pride), “I signed on in Oakland, California, in 1943, as a Marine.  I was at Guadalcanal, the Philippines, and finally, I was in Occupied Japan. 

I spent eighteen months in Korea and I did two tours in Vietnam. I was a Drill Sergeant at Perris Island. I finally got out after thirty years!"

We played the “where were you stationed” game for a while and then he said, “You know, the Marines are a close-knit group. You’ll run across your friends several times during your time in. I made some life-long friends in World War II that I met in Korea, too. I buried most of them during Vietnam, though. 

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out why I survived. I finally got the answer when I found out that my wife of thirty years had cancer. My job was to take care of her. She died last spring.” 

With that thousand yard stare, he paused, eyes welling up a bit, remembering. ”Like everything else,” he said, “I saw it through to the end.”



“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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7 comments:

  1. My hat is off to you sir!!!! In my mind, seeing it through to the end is the way it is supposed to be.....You sir, are an American Hero, and one of Gods true human beings.... God has blessed us with your presents as an American.... Thank you Brother Rick for sharing your story..... Lee Tucker, US Army Vietnam Veteran Jan. 68-Jan.69.....

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    1. THAT is what a hero is. My heart breaks for you and what you have been thru but you have shouldered all the responsibility's that God challenged you with. You sir are a great man!

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  2. I admire the man immensely - totally comprehend the camaraderie he exuded.

    WWII - Guadalcanal and the Pacific theatre fighting was some of the bloodiest and a lot with hand-to-hand during Banzai attacks by Japanese troops.
    I would not want to have been there.

    Korea - I am by no means a Cold Weather warrior - and the temperatures there during the Korean War could create weapon malfunctions and amputations due to frostbite, etc.
    I would not want to have been there.

    Vietnam was my turn to answer the bell.
    I am PROUD to have been there and served with my brothers.

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  3. Michael LansfordJune 17, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    Awesome statement. This sums up what Combat Veterans are all about from all wars. Thanks for posting this. Things we as Vets live by but will never be understood by public. God Bless & welcome home my friend.

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  4. I would like to salute that patriot in person. He deserves an honorary title of General officer. God bless you Sir and I sincerely thank you.

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  5. I had a sergeant in my command when I reached Hawaii following a tour in Vietnam who wore just one ribbon, a Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster. It seemed strange that he had no campaign ribbons or other awards and I checked out his personnel record. He had lied about his age to enlist for WWI, then went home when the war ended. He reenlisted for WWII and Korea, leaving the service after each of those conflicts ended. He re-up'd the last time for Vietnam and finally accumulated 20 years for retirement, all in wartime service. Oh, and the two awards of the Silver Star were both signed by General John J. "Blackjack" Pershing

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  6. I sincerely thank you for your service and your dedication..

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