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o0O Bill O0o
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USAF- 58th combat support group- Luke AFB vet

Son was 1st SGT for APP State ROTC- Pershing rifles

I tend to hang out with Military ret and mercs

Not happy with present rules of engagement.

Serious collector and shooter of black rifles and military firearms

I pray daily for safe return of all troops fightis on our side- regardless of national origin.

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Dtel--I wouldn't want you to owe me anything, so perhaps i should get those speakers in your avatar and we'll call it even?

Mr. Blacksmith--there are still a few fine coasties out here. in fact, my former CO used to live in your neck of the woods. we were stationed in long beach; but, his wife had a few horses, so he bought a place in riverside for their "ranch." i still don't know how he made that drive everyday.

Hymmm, is there something hard about it? I have been commuting from Riverside to Long Beach every day for the last 20 years (65 miles each way on some of the most congested highways in the country). I have worn out 5 cars (200K+) and am halfway through my 6th car at 86,010 miles. I have however recently joined a vanpool and get to sleep both ways 4 days a week not to mention that the car will last much longer and the cost for gas is greatly reduced.

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New Christmas Poem

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS,
HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE MADE OF
PLASTER AND STONE.

I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY
WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,
AND TO SEE JUST WHO
IN THIS HOME DID LIVE.

I LOOKED ALL ABOUT,
A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS,
NOT EVEN A TREE.

NO STOCKING BY MANTLE,
JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES
OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.

WITH MEDALS AND BADGES,
AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT
CAME THROUGH MY MIND.

FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT,
IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER,
ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.

THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING,
SILENT, ALONE,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR
IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.

THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE,
THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED
A UNITED STATES SOLDIER.

WAS THIS THE HERO
OF WHOM I'D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO,
THE FLOOR FOR A BED?

I REALIZED THE FAMILIES
THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS
WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.

SOON ROUND THE WORLD,
THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE
A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.

THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM
EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS,
LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.

I COULDN'T HELP WONDER
HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE
IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.

THE VERY THOUGHT
BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE,
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES
AND STARTED TO CRY.

THE SOLDIER AWAKENED
AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
'SANTA DON'T CRY,
THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;

I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM,
I DON'T ASK FOR MORE,
MY LIFE IS MY GOD,
MY! COUNTRY, MY CORPS.'

THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER
AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN'T CONTROL IT,
I CONTINUED TO WEEP.

I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS,
SO SILENT AND STILL
AND WE BOTH SHIVERED
FROM THE COLD NIGHT'S CHILL.

I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE
ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR
SO WILLING TO FIGHT.

THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
WHISPERED, 'CARRY ON SANTA,
IT'S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE.'

ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH,
AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
'MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND,!
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.'

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

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Son was 1st SGT for APP State ROTC- Pershing rifles

Pershing Rifles! Boy, does that bring back some memories! I was in the Pershing Rifles at Clarion University. Alas, that company no longer exists.

Anyway, served 6 years in the US. Army myself (1988-1994). I was Field Artillery - FDC (Fire Direction Control).

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US Army, 1969 - 1970, Viet Nam 10/1969-10/1970. Two Purple Hearts and Bronze
Star.

Somehow I made it back in one piece. Not a hero, just a survivor.

I saw enough over there to know what war is really about.

Every once in a while I'll travel back there in my mind and remember the good stuff.

Yes, there were some good memories.

I am indeed blessed to have returned without any pyschlogical damage, guilt complexes or recurring nightmares.

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Didn't exactly "selflessly volunteer." Got called up for my draft physical in '68 (before the lottery) & enlisted in the Air Force instead.

Basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio & a year of Air Traffic Control Radar tech school at Keesler AFB in Biloxi MS. Then three years at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

Loved Germany - hated the military.

James

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