N.W.BOYER…Christian Author

Posts tagged “Vietnam

Frozen Legs Miracle…A Veteran’s Story

9-11 flags (2)Boyer Writes honors all Veterans

THANK YOU for your service to our country!

  While living part-time in Virginia, my husband and I were honored to interview a number of veterans of the Blue Ridge Mountain area.  Many had never been interviewed about their service and were happy to finally tell their stories. This led to the writing of our book entitled Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge.

Their stories were amazing.  We were honored to meet Sharon Plichta and her husband who served in Vietnam. Sharon was a military nurse who earned the Bronze Star for her bravery caring for the wounded under fire.

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Sharon receives Bronze Star

The veteran that I’d like to share with you from this book is Myron Cardward Harold of M.C., as he was called.  He served in Korea with the U.S. Army’s 40th Division, 22nd Regiment.  He was 21 years old as he fought across Heartbreak Ridge.MCYOUN~1

Here is a part of the chapter featuring this soldier of Valor in Korea:

Myron C. Harold, better known as “MC” has an amazing story of bravery when he served his country in the United States Army during the Korean War. He was a Staff Sergeant who almost lost both his legs. The fighting had been so terrible in the middle of winter on what is known as Heartbreak Ridge and they were walking and fighting at night through the mountains. His legs were beginning to freeze and he was picked up in a truck and taken to a field hospital at the Yalu River.
When he arrived at a medic station, the soles of his shoes were worn out and flapping. By this time, both legs had frozen. The surgeons said, “We must take these legs off now. It can’t wait. We must do it now.” MC was prepared to face whatever he had to in order to live.
He says he does not remember getting to the medics. Now they were about to remove his legs and send him back to the Blue Ridge Mountains, where they had large fruit orchards that his father had started years before.
The surgeon that day in Korea wanted to help MC stand on his legs one more time before performing the operation. When he did, MC recalls with tears in his eyes, “It felt like a shot had gone all through my body.”   Immediately the surgeon recognized that the blood had started flowing throughout MC’s legs. Removing the legs would not be necessary. “That was my miracle,” MC said with tears in his eyes.

After returning from Korea, MC and his son grew many acres of apples in the Blue Ridge. Today, as an elderly man, he is a resident at the V.A. hospital in Virginia.  He had survived to tell his story of God’s miracle in a land far away. MCANDS~1

Other veterans of the Blue Ridge interviewed served in Vietnam, Korea, and World War II.   They stand proud with all their comrades in arms who have faithfully served.

They are:

  • Rob Redus ( In submarines…Vietnam)
  • Dr. Tom Whartenby (Vietnam)
  • Clinton Moles (World War II)
  • Leonard Marshall (Survived the sinking of the USS Gambier  by the Japanese)
  • Troy Davis (World War II and recently passed away in Spain)
  • Elmo McAlexander as an Army Medic during the Cold War
  • Frank and Sharan Plichta (Vietnam)
  • Paul Childress (World War II under Patton and guarded Dachau prisoner)
  • Tommy Ellis  (Served in the Marines and regularly is in an Honor Guard for those veterans who pass away.)   Roy McAlexander also has served hundreds of the fallen at funerals.

Men and Women of Valor (3)To those who may be interested in the many stories of honor and courage in Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge Click here           

 

 

Video below:  God Bless the USA


Most Precious Commodity…Freedom

On Valentine’s Day, when the world was hearing about the terrible tragedy in a Florida school, a ceremony and a Missing Man Formation fly over was happening for a hero at Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C.  The ashes of a brave military veteran were being laid to rest.

Sometimes we have to stop and think of those who have been extraordinarily brave as they paid a price for FREEDOM.  This is why I want to write about Col. Leo K. Thorsness, a recipient of the Medal of Honor in the U.S.A.

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The Medal of Honor is presented by the President of the United States for valor in service to his country.  Col. Leo K. Thorsness received that honor and what made it extremely special to him was that he was nominated for the honor by his peers.

This is his story as a patriot and POW (Prisoner of War) who spent years of torture and abuse at the Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam War.  Because he understood personally what a POW goes through,  he spoke out that President Trump owed all prisoners of war  an apology when the President said, concerning Senator John McCain,  that he “liked those who weren’t captured.”

COL. LEO K. THORSNESS

“Col. Thorsness joined the Air Force in 1952 and was sent to Vietnam in 1966 as a member of a squadron known as the Wild Weasels, whose mission was to destroy surface-to-air missiles  (SAMs) based in North Vietnam.  On April 19, 1967, Col. Thorsness was the lead pilot in a strike force of four U.S. F-105 fighter-bombers attacking SAM positions near Hanoi.  He and his electronic warfare officer, Harold Johnson, knocked out one site with a missile and scored a direct hit on another with bombs.  But they soon realized that one plane in their group had been hit, and the crew members had ejected.  While flying in circles over the parachuting airmen, Col Thorsness spotted an enemy MiG-17 fighter jet and shot it down.  As U.S. rescue helicopters approached, Col Thorsness heard through his radio that another MiG formation was nearby.  Despite being low on fuel and ammunition, he flew through anti-aircraft fire and single-handedly engaged four MiGs in aerial combat for 50 minutes.  Col Thorsness pursued one MiG, “flying right up his tailpipe,” he said later, and damaged it with cannon fire.  Flying as low as 50 feet above the ground and as fast as 900 MPH, he chased the other MiGs from the area.  As he returned to his base, he was about to refuel from an airborne tanker when he learned that another F-105 in his group was in even greater need of fuel.  Col. Thorsness let the other plane go to the tanker, hoping he could glide back to safety on fumes.  When he touched down, his fuel tanks were empty. 

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Major Thorsness and Captain Johnson flew this Republic F-105F-1-RE Thunderchief, 63-8301, on 19 April 1967. It was one of 61 F-105Fs that were upgraded to the F-105G Wild Weasel III configuration beginning in late 1967. It survived the Vietnam War, but was destroyed 20 December 1974 when, assigned to the 35th TFW at George AFB, California, it crashed at the Cuddeback Lake Gunnery Range after an engine failure. (U.S. Air Force)

Eleven days later, on April 30,1967, Col Thorsness was shot down over North Vietnam on this 93rd mission.  Ejecting from his plane at 600 mph, he suffered serious leg injuries before he and Johnson were taken prisoner.  For the first year, Col Thorsness was held in solitary confinement and tortured almost every day.  His back was broken in four places.  Another Air Force pilot, Fred V. Cherry, was tortured for teaching Col. Thorsness and other POWs a system of communication by tapping on walls.  While at the Hanoi Hilton, Col Thorsness shared a tiny cell with John McCain and two other men.  “Other than when they took you out to beat you or interrogate you, you were together 24 hours a day,” Col. Thorsness told the Huntsville Times in Alabama in 2008.  “You get to know each other so well, talking about your families, failures, weaknesses, hopes and dreams, everything.”  He and McCain were released in 1973.  Later that year, Col Thorsness received the Medal of Honor from President Richard M. Nixon; he then retired from the military…While at the Hanoi Hilton, Col. Thorsness and other prisoners measured their cell, calculating that one mile equaled 225 laps around the cell’s 23-foot circumference.  By walking 60 miles a week, Col Thorsness figured that he could cover the distance to the United States – 10,000 miles – in about three years.  “All of a sudden it became 100% real to us,” he said in 1992.  “If we could walk home in our cell, we knew whatever had to happen in the world would happen, and we really would get home.”  Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Leo K. Thorsness died May 2, 2017.  He was 85.  Survivors include his wife since 1953, the former Gayle Anderson; a daughter; and two grandchildren.   (taken in part from a comment on video shown below)

VIDEO INTERVIEW OF COL. LEO K. THORSNESS  (turn up sound)

 

What is a Missing Man Formation?

The missing man formation (sometimes instead flyby or flypast) is an aerial salute performed as part of a flypast of aircraft at a funeral or memorial event, typically in memory of a fallen pilot, a well-known military service member or veteran, or a well-known political figure.   Several variants of the formation are seen. The formation most commonly used in the United States is based on the”finger-four” aircraft combat formation composed of two pairs of aircraft. The aircraft fly in a V-shape with the flight leader at the point and his wingman on his left. The second element leader and his wingman fly to his right. The formation flies over the ceremony low enough to be clearly seen and the second element leader abruptly pulls up out of the formation while the rest of the formation continues in level flight until all aircraft are out of sight. In an older variant, the formation is flown with the second element leader position conspicuously empty. In another variation, the flight approaches from the south, preferably near sundown, and one of the aircraft will suddenly split off to the west, flying into the sunset. In all cases, the aircraft performing the pull-up, split off, or missing from the formation, is honoring the person (or persons) who has died, and it represents their departure.  (from Wikipedia)

We agree with Col. Thorsness that our most precious commodity in this country is FREEDOM.

Below is a video example of the Missing Man Fly Over at Arlington Cemetery


Honoring our Veterans

The Election of 2016 is over.  Instead of burning the American flag or beating up people  because they chose to vote differently,  those involved  should think seriously about those who have fought to make America free.   The American flag represents that freedom.

We must never forget  history and the bravery of those who fought for our rights…even the rights to peacefully protest.  Most of all, we must not forget those who bravely fought to bring the battles to an end.   We continue to honor those who are still in harm’s way throughout the world.

World War I….was to be the War that ended all wars.  Unfortunately, that did not happen.

Some of the great battles of World War II: The Battle of the Atlantic, The Battle of Britain, The siege of Leningrad, Pearl Harbor, The Battle of Stalin grad, The Invasion of Normandy, The Battle of the Bulge, Battle of Okinawa, The Battle of Berlin

What was victory like for those who fought?

3 Videos:

Victory Day, also known as VJ Day, marks the anniversary the Allies’ victory over Japan during World War II.
VJ Day in Honolulu Video….the real thing. Compliments of Richard Sullivan’s father who was there on August 14, 1945 and shot this film.

Names to Remember:   Iwo Jima,  Saipan, Midway…Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Omaha Beach…and others we have not mentioned.    Thank you, Veterans, for your dedication.

Omaha Beach invasion was when the Germans killed about 5,000 men.  They were so young and lives cut short.  Truly, WAR IS HELL. 


Hang Son Doong Cave Explored

Hang-Son-Doong-Vietnam-The world’s largest cave is in Vietnam.  It was explored first in 2009 and has been a source of fascination to those who have actually seen it. This particular cave is located in the caves of Phong Nha-Ke Bang. Hang is part of the underground system connected to more than 150 different activities in Vietnam, located near the border with Laos.

The Huffington Post published this about the cave:

The Hang Son Doong Cave is over  5.5 miles long; has a jungle and river and could fit a 40 story skyscraper within its walls…The newly discovered cave has been touted as the largest in the world, although other caves vie for the title of longest   (Mammoth Cave in Brownsville, Kentucky nabs that title with about 400 miles of passageways) and the deepest  is Krubera Cave in the nation (not the state) of Georgia.  A local man discovered the cave entrance in 1991, but British cavers  were the first to explore it in 2009.A rock formation shines beneath a skylight in Hang Son Doong.

Mark Jenkins wrote for National Geographic some history of the cave:  Two decades ago, the leaders of this expedition, Howard Limbert and his wife, Deb, became the first cavers to visit Vietnam since the 1970s. Back then, the country’s caves were legendary but unexplored. In 1941 Ho Chi Minh had planned his revolution against the Japanese and French in Pac Bo Cave north of Hanoi, and during the Vietnam War thousands of Vietnamese hid from American bombing raids inside caves. The Limberts, experienced cavers from the Yorkshire dales of northern England, made contact with the University of Science in Hanoi and, after obtaining sheaves of permits, mounted an expedition in 1990. They’ve made 13 trips since, not only discovering one of the longest river caves in the world-12-mile Hang Khe Ry, not far from Son Doong-but also helping the Vietnamese create 330-square-mile Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, which now attracts a quarter million Vietnamese and foreign visitors a yearHang-Son-Doong-Vietnam-2

One amazing thing is that deep in this cave, there is a rain forest.  It appears that part of the roof of the cave has collapsed and because the light of the sun has been able to shine through….the beauty of life in plant form began to develop.

Our video #2 below explores just this aspect…light and growth… which leads us to once again to think about what was meant when God said, “Let there be light!”

Light is all important.  It is the source physically and even spiritually.  We consider evil  in the world to be in darkness…and finding truth and salvation in Christ to be brought into the Light!      How beautiful is this analogy.   Truth is always so simple and clear. We are to bring “light” into this world, which turns into something wonderful.     Let’s take a look at Hang Son Doong Cave and marvel.

 

Video 1   Exploration of the Hang Son Doong Cave in Vietnam

 

Video 2 The Hang Son Doong Cave grows a rainforest


War is Hell…and the soldier asks “Who will love me?”

War is hell…anyway one looks at it. For every soldier that has fought, there has been the thought in the back of the mind…”Will I ever get out of this situation? Will I die here…and will my life have counted for something?” They listen to their commanders; do their duty; feel fear and sadness…and hope and pray for the best.

Yes in all the wars, some have turned their backs on country and comrades.. running away from a situation…with only their tortured thoughts to live with for the rest of their lives. Others can be proud that they faced each obstacle whenever and from wherever it came.   They marched into the unknown to rescue their own.  They faced the enemy not knowing if it would be their last day.   Many gave their all and we must not forget them.

As the 4th of July is approaching, we think of liberty and what it means.

Every now and then I find an old movie that is worth watching.   This was the case when I turned to  Born on the 4th of July  starring a young  Tom Cruise.  It is a violent movie with nudity and the worst of language, but a gripping reality of the Vietnam War and all that the young men went through, especially after they came  home.  Cruise stretches his acting ability to the limit in this dramatization of  a patriotic young man who loses it all in the horrors of battle.  It is a  realistic look at what  the families go through in coping with the aftermath of the veteran’s home-coming.

Movie “Born on the 4th of July”

A line in the film  that stood out to me was when this  young Marine cried to his father about his condition, asking ” Who will love me?” 

Not unlike the young men coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, he felt he was half a man because he was now paralyzed from the waist down  with no hope of walking or having a family.  War  is raw…crude…and real.

It is hopeful that our military, who stayed the course and did their duty,  will have the proper home-coming.  Vividly portrayed,  the Vietnam vet continued to deteriorate emotionally with flash backs.  To add to the insults, the crowds spit on them and jeered at them, even during the 4th of July parades.  Politics had changed in the U.S. about the war even while the men were away fighting.

Many of these men signed up to fight communism before it took over the world.  They bled for what they thought was the enemy to our country’s future.    Torn apart, physically and emotionally, there seemed to be no future.   The Vietnam vet often  turned to drugs and alcohol for relief.    Broken in spirit, the question  remains,  “Who is going to love me?”

For anyone facing a devastating situation, there is only One who gives that unconditional love.

” For God so loved the World that He gave His only Son  that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

 This film reminds me that if I see  an older man with long hair,  somewhat shabby … in a wheelchair…or walking the streets with the homeless, it may be a Marine who once served proudly.  They came back to an embittered country and never got over it.   Other Vietnam vets returned to live productive lives, but never received the thanks due to them until more recently.

  Living with a tortured mind is a difficult thing. One evening, when my children were young, my front door flew open and a man yelled in the door, ” Is Charlie here?!”  He slammed the door and disappeared into the night.   He did not seem to see that we were sitting there.      I am sure that this man, who was living out a previous  war… thousands of miles away at another time.    (“Charlie” originates from the abbreviation VC for “Vietcong.” In the NATO phonetic alphabet, used in radio transmissions, the words for V and C are “Victor” and “Charlie”.   Victor Charlie for the Vietcong was soon shortened to Charlie.)

Our sons and daughters have given much in all the wars that America has fought.  Who will love them and care for them in their time of healing and need for excellent care?   It is a simple question that needs answering. Another question is “Who in military command and the U.S. government will be honest and as well as loving and comforting to the families of those who were flown home for their funerals?”  Often the family simply wants to know how their son or daughter died and was everything done possible to save them?  It is the least that can be given to them in their grief.

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