Appalachia Holidays in Appalachia

My Veterans

Veteran: a person who has had long experience in a particular field, especially military service.

On this Veterans Day I’m thankful for the Veterans in my life:

Jerry M. Wilson USMC
Pap-United States Marine Corp

Papaw Tony United States Army
Papaw Tony United States Army

Uncle Henry United States Army
Uncle Henry United States Army

There are other Veterans in my family like Uncle Lucky, Eddie Jenkins, Rudy Frias, and others. And ones who are no longer with us like my Grandpa Charlie, my Uncles-Roy Clonts, Vernon, Oscar Elliott, Paul Jenkins, Woodrow Rogers, Frank Elliott, Jr. Jenkins, Jay Rhodes, my cousin’s husband Bruce Scroggs, and others-I’m thankful for each of them too.

I know several Blind Pig readers are Veterans I’m also thankful for their service. A few that come to mind:

Lonnie Dockery, Rooney Floyd, Will Dixon, Garland Davis, Ed Myers, Mike McClain, David Anderson, John Huron, Uncle Dave, T. H. Merritt, Charles Fletcher, RB, Bob Humphreys, Grandpa Ken, Rick Kratzke, Uncle Al, Paul Certo and J.E.

I apologize to any Blind Pig reader I failed to mention. Please leave a comment and tell me about the Veterans in your life or if you are a Veteran tell us which branch you served in so we can all thank you for your service.



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  • Reply
    Lonnie L. Dockery
    November 14, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Thanks Tipper.

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    November 12, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    To many to even mention in my family Tipper.My husband is a Vietnam Veteran, He has one brother that is a Korean Veteran, another that was World War ll and his dad was World War One.. Several on my side of the family, uncles, great uncles and such.. I got the CD and we’ve been listening to it all evening. It is so good. I love all of them. I could never pick a favorite..My family wants to listen to it also..Thanks so much for it. I’ll cherish it forever..Susie

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    November 11, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    My three personal veterans are my late father, Thomas Hilton Parker-Army Air Corp & my husband, Mitchell Phillips-US Army, & my dear friend Danielle’s husband, wounded warrior Lee Donely-US Army, Afghanistan & Iraq. I love you all & thank you for your service & sacrifce.

  • Reply
    rudy frias
    November 11, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    hey tipper u forgot us your family in columbus ohio. paul, eddie and myself were all in the army.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    November 11, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Thanks for a wonderful post and all the comments from folks…
    Everyone has a story about a veteran in their lives…
    I have a few myself…Great Uncle Normandy Beach..husband during the Cuban crisis, brother during Vietnam, etc.
    I always try to give a Thank You and acknowledgement to a soldier in uniform…
    Thank you for your service,
    Thanks Tipper for remembering the enlisted men and vets…

  • Reply
    Mary Rutherford
    November 11, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    My 93 year old father, Captain Jake C. Rutherford, is a retired Air Force veteran who I greatly admire. He joined the Army Air Corps in 1937 and served as a pilot through WWII and the Korean War. He was a “hump” pilot flying over the Himalayas in the China/Burma/India theatre. He also took part in the Berlin Airlift. At one point my Grandmother had 4 of her sons scattered across the world fighting during WWII: my dad, Uncle Frank in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Czechoslovakia, Uncle Charles in England, and Uncle Edgar in the Pacific. My husband’s Grandmother had 5 sons serving during the war. You know those mothers had many sleepless nights worrying and praying about their sons.
    So many of that generation are now gone. We just lost my dad’s brother Charles and my son honored him by sounding taps at his graveside. Those sad notes float in the air and settle on your heart in a way you never forget.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    November 11, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Way too many veterans in my family to mention them all. My daddy, many many uncles and a couple of aunts as well. I too spent 4 years 1966-1970 in U.S. Army. Thanks for recognizing them all Tipper.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Dad was a Marine at Omaha Beach. Nephew is a Marine who just returned from the Helmand Province in Afganistan, and though some are nearer to my heart than others, I am thankful for ALL of them for whether some in this country get “it” or not – they are all that has ever stood between us and horror.
    Semper Fi to your Pap Tipper, and warmest regards to your Pawpaw and Uncle.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Paul Certo
    November 11, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    My Father, and all six of my uncles,on both sides of the family, served during WWII. My brother and I both served in in the US Army in Vietnam. My youngest daughter joined the Army Reserves a few months after Sept 11, 2001. She is out, now. I still have one uncle surviving, he and I are the last surviving combat veterans.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    I have many veteran relatives but my favorite was my uncle, Larry McFalls who fought in Europe during WWII. He received many medals for his bravery. When he died last year the Army sent two soldiers to stand guard over his body until he was laid to rest.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    My Dad was in the Arkansas National Guard, he was stationed at Dutch Harbor, Alaska during the Japanese invasion, he was wounded in the arm in the battle, from there he went to the Phillipiene’s where he was again wounded while helping to rescue fellow soldiers, 2 of those didn’t make it, though he was officially a cook, he was nominated for both the Bronze and Silver Stars, he declined both wanting to give them to the 2 that didn’t make it home alive. We lost one Uncle on the Arizona, during the Pearl Harbor attack. My family has had several other Uncle’s, Cousin’s and 2 Aunts that were Nurses in WWII. My Brother and several Cousins were in the Vietnam war, my husband served in the Korean War. My son’s have medical problems that have kept them from serving in any branch of the military, they were both upset, but at least it was during the physicals that they learned of their medical problems. My heartfelt thanks and prayers go out to all the men and women that have served our country and still serve today. A special thank you and prayers to the loved ones of those that made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    November 11, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Yesterday was the Marine Corps Birthday. Tell your Pap that I said Happy Birthday and Semper Fi.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    November 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I served in the United States Navy for thirty years and retired as a Chief Petty Officer. I live in Hawaii on the side of a hill that overlooks the Naval Station at Pearl harbor.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    My Uncle Everett is an Army veteran and Uncle Ronnie was in the Air Force. I have such respect for them and all of the veterans! THANK YOU for serving us so well and making us proud to be Americans.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2011 at 11:13 am

    My goodness, Pap is an incredibly handsome man! 😉
    My family’s veterans stretch all the way from the Revolutionary War to the 1970’s. I am thankful for all vets of all times! America is still THE best place to be, and for this we owe them all so much gratitude and respect.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Every day should be Veteran’s Day! We owe so much to all those who have served our country. My dad and father-in-law both served in WWII. My brother is retired from the military. He served three terms in Viet Nam. God bless our vets!

  • Reply
    November 11, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Very nice post. Thank you for sharing and mentioning others. It is so very good to remember.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2011 at 10:15 am

    This is a Special Day for me too.
    Several of my uncles and friends
    served our country in past wars.
    Two of my brothers did their duty
    in the Army and Air Force.
    Today we celebrate the Two Million
    Soldiers who are still among us.
    They are my heros, and I Thank them for keeping us safe…Ken

  • Reply
    November 11, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Thank you to your family and to all of our Veterans, Tipper.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2011 at 9:46 am

    I am proud to say that my Dad, Brother, Cousins and several Uncles served our country in either the Air Force, Navy or Army. Everyone who enjoys the freedoms this Country provides owes all the men and women who served a debt of gratitude. I am truly grateful for all of them.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 11, 2011 at 9:30 am

    A very sincere “Thank You” to all our veterans!

  • Reply
    grandpa ken
    November 11, 2011 at 9:29 am

    I loaded bombs on F100 fighter bombers had a few 100 rockets and mortars shot at us, glad I wasn’t in jungle. Lost classmate and friends we did our jobs. Thanks for the respect.

  • Reply
    Bob Humphreys
    November 11, 2011 at 9:16 am

    I served in the Army from 1966-1968, ETS out of Fort Polk, LA.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2011 at 9:16 am

    My ex-husband spent many months in the jungles of Vietnam when he was drafted into the Army at age 18. He now suffers from Agent Orange exposure and will live the rest of his life dependent on oxygen (non-smoker) and a walker.
    My brother and both of my brothers-in-law served in the US Army.
    I’m thankful this day was set aside to honor all the brave me who served our country.
    What a good looking family you have, Tipper! Pap could have been one to rival Rock Hudson for the motion picture spotlight.

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    November 11, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Thank you, Tipper, for your blog on the veterans in your life. I, too, blogged on veterans. Perhaps your readers would enjoy this particular post in my blog:
    To all those who serve(d), THANK YOU! I extend the same thanks to the families of our veterans who, too, have sacrificed for our freedom.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2011 at 8:52 am

    I am back and feeling really dumb. i said all the Veterans in my life are deceased. forgot my brother who was in the Vietnam war and is still living.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    November 11, 2011 at 8:52 am

    My husband, Charley, is a Navy veteran. He served during the Vietnam Conflict. I posted today about fixing up my dad’s WWII foot locker to store his Army souvenirs in. We was in Japan with the occupational forces after the bombs were dropped.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2011 at 8:46 am

    no living veterans in my life, all of them are no longer alive. i do have many friends that are veterans, and today honor all of them. Your veterans were really handsome, all of them

  • Reply
    November 11, 2011 at 8:37 am

    My Dad Bob and brother Marc served in the Army. My Uncle Roy served in the Navy. Thank you to them and all who have/are serving our country. My wish is for world peace as a lasting tribute to their, and their families, sacrifice.

  • Reply
    Brian Blake
    November 11, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Great-uncle Ledyard Blake fought in France with “Black Jack” Pershing’s Army Air Corps, from 1917 through Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1918 — 93 years ago today. Though not a pilot, he flew from time to time as a tail-gunner, bombardier, or artillery spotter.
    Gallant in his army uniform with leather straps and brass buttons, Uncle Ledyard gathered Forrester and John, his brother Aldrich’s seven and eight-year-old sons, and told his nephews stories of the Great War.
    How the boys’ eyes must have widened to hear of dawn patrols with the Lafayette Escadrille and of twisting dog fights through towering white cumulus clouds with “Red Baron” Manfred von Richtoffen and his Flying Circus, as cannon fire flickered across the smoking battle¬fields 4,000 feet below!
    A year later Uncle Ledyard died in an automobile accident. But young John, Colonel John Y.F. Blake’s grandson and namesake, had become an aviator at heart.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2011 at 8:27 am

    My husband is an Army Veteran, giving 30+ years to the service of our country. I am thankful that he was a part of keeping our country safe. My life with him began after his active duty time, but I have spent many years with him in his reserve duty. Thanks for your tribute to the dedicated men and women of the services.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Thank you for honoring Veteran’s Day in such a special way…

  • Reply
    Rick Kratzke
    November 11, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Tipper, that was a very nice post for today.
    United States Army myself……….
    You all take care.

  • Reply
    Charles Fletcher
    November 11, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Tipper, The following post was presented by me as a part of our church program as requested from our pastor. posting again if you missed the last posting.
    CharlesJuly 4, 2011
    April 1, 1922
    Growing up in the years of the Great Depression was not easy. I, like all other boys learned at a very early stage how to take care of ourselves. We knew to work hard and to make do with whatever we had. At the age of 16 I began my first job other than farm work. I made 35 cents per hour working for a program started by President Roosevelt, the National Youth Administration. Next, I enlisted in the Civilian Conservation Corps and went to work in the Great Smokey Mountains at Smokemont, North Carolina. I was working there when World War 2 broke out. I was drafted in the army, reported for basic training, and was sent to Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
    We had a welcoming committee: a couple of tough looking sergeants and two corporals. After a cool welcome, we were lined up and marched to the Post barbershop. The barbers would ask how you would like your hair to be cut. But regardless of what you told them, they gave everyone the same style – clipped down to the skin. You weren’t in the chair more than two minutes.
    Next, we marched to the Supply Room. We got underwear, sheets, blankets, socks, handkerchiefs, a razor, shaving soap, a shaving brush, a toothbrush, toothpaste, hand soap, washcloths, towels, a helmet, a rifle, a web belt, a first aid kit, a gas mask, boots (that were too large), and a duffel bag. We were issued two of almost everything. I had never had this many worldly goods in my whole life. I felt sort of proud to have all of them. But I could barely carry such a load.
    The next three months were hectic. We went through KP, guard duty, forced marches, the obstacle course, the rifle range, aircraft shooting, bayonet drill, hand-to-hand combat, and lots of other things to make sure we stayed busy. Then it was time to move out and make room for the next group of soon-to-be soldiers.
    They shipped us in different directions. I ended up at Fort Dix in New Jersey. I was assigned as a Supply Clerk with the 90th General Hospital. I was at Fort Dix for about six months before leaving for an overseas assignment. We packed up and boarded a train for New York City and the boat docks. In time we boarded the Queen Elisabeth, the English tourist ship. Back then it was the largest such ship in the world. Over 15,000 troops were on onboard. We crossed the Atlantic by way of Iceland where German submarines couldn’t travel because of the ice. The ship sort of zigzagged its course.
    We started at Malvern Hills, England for about two months, and then we went again to a town in Wales. We were in Wales for only three weeks. Toward the end of our stay, we began to downsize, getting rid of everything we could do without.
    A few days after D-Day we were awakened near midnight, loaded into trucks, and taken straight to the docks where ships were waiting for us. We were loaded onto ships until there was standing room only. We were finally on our way. The English Channel was very rough that morning. The ship was a small one and was rising and falling with every wave. An announcement came over the ship intercom telling us that we were on our way to France. The Germans had been pushed back, and we would land at Omaha Beach.
    It was near daylight and you could see the outline of land in the far-off distance. We went in as far as the ship could go. Then we had to climb down rope webs to the landing craft that were waiting below. They were small: each would carry about fifty soldiers with their equipment. They were bobbing up and down more than the ship.
    The landing craft rammed into the sand quite a ways from land. We had gone in at low tide. The front end of the boat was a big gate. It was let down until the end of the landing craft was wide open, and we hit the water. The surf was deep enough to be above our waist. There was nothing to do but keep moving toward dry land. We were lucky: The Germans had been pushed back to St. Lo, and we didn’t have to dodge bullets. We only had the cold water and the debris floating around everywhere to put up with. On the beach, the ground was covered with abandoned and damaged equipment, both German and American
    We finally got together as a group and started inland. We stopped in a field at Carentan about five miles from St. Lowe where General Patton’s Third Army was trying to take the town. We were not assigned to any outfit at this time. We budded up with someone, and between the two of us we pitched a pup tent. We were given “K rations” for our meals. Some of the meals were OK. You never knew what was in the package until you opened it. The cheese, eggs, potted ham, and beans were all right. I never liked the stew — it was too greasy to eat cold. Sometimes this was better than going hungry.
    The next morning when I was looking around, I saw a very large field that was turned into a graveyard. It was estimated that there were twenty thousand solders buried there. There were white crosses as far as you could see. Also, there were huge piles of shoes and clothing nearby. I’m sure these belonged to those who were buried there. I found a pair of trooper boots my size, took off my old stiff boots, threw them into the pile, and put on the softer boots. I wore these for the next year or so.
    My unassigned status didn’t last long. On the third day I was assigned to a twenty-five man crew who were to drive in the “Red Ball Express.” These were vehicles carrying supplies to the front lines. We didn’t know what we were hauling. There was only room for one person, a driver, in each vehicle.
    I was on this assignment until we reached Metz France. I then was assigned to a Military Police unit. Our duty was to take prisoners back to stockades in France. One cold winter day I had about fifteen prisoners holding them for a pick up crew to come and get them and take them to a stockade farther south. The day went by, and no one came to get the prisoners until nearly dark that evening. I became so cold I was numb, and my feet were frost-bitten. I came down with pneumonia and was put in the hospital at Verdun. I was given penicillin shots every four hours for two days and then sent back to my unit.
    I was assigned as a guard to a stockade near a little town named Bar le Duc. Things were going pretty well until the Germans made their last counter-attack, known as the “Battle of the Bulge”. Everyone who could be spared was sent to the “Bulge”. I was put on duty at the stockade twenty-four hours a day. The weather was miserable, with snow, fog, and cold, so air support couldn’t help. These conditions lasted for over a week, and then the sun came out. There were clear skies, and the Allied air attack began. The sky was black with airplanes – bombers, fighters, and everything. They flew continuously all day long. The Germans were pushed back, killed, or captured.
    The war was near an end in Europe, and it wasn’t long afterwards that the Germans gave up and called it quits. We began to let the prisoners go back home. I was ready to go home too.
    Those going back to the United States were prioritized based on how many dependents we had, how long we hade been in service, how long we had been overseas, and other factors. My priority points put me in about the middle of the list.
    My group was loaded on a train and sent to a port in Belgium. We stayed there another six to eight weeks, and then we boarded a “Liberty Ship”. It had been over twenty-eight months since I had any milk. I volunteered for KP duty on the ship so I could have all the milk I wanted. I think I drank ten pint cartons on my first day at KP.
    We docked in New York, and from there we were sent to a camp in Virginia then back to Fort Bragg, the same place I had started from about four years ago. There I was to be processed for separation from the Army. Finally, I was a civilian again and was on my way home.
    My service in WW 2 was an experience that I will never forget. There was all types of people in this war. Each person was assigned to a certain job and they did what they were told to do . Never did I hear anyone say, “I don’t want to do this, let someone else do it”. Many were praised as heroes and were awarded medals. I received medals and ribbons. Many others were never mentioned or received any medal. But my way of thinking , all that served in this war were heroes. True, some captured many enemies, some none. But without everyone the war would have been lost. We all had a job and we did our part.
    Today we celebrate the 4th of July as a day for picnics, swimming and dozen of other events. Stop for a moment and think of the real reason that July 4th is a holiday.
    Charles (Charlie) Fletcher

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    November 11, 2011 at 7:45 am

    My husband, Art, is a former Marine and Vietnam combat veteran. I’m thankful that I didn’t know him then– I would have worried too much! Your veterans pictured above are certainly a handsome bunch! Happy Veteran’s Day to one and all and THANK YOU all for your service and sacrifice!

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    November 11, 2011 at 7:42 am

    Sorry about the typo. Uncle is a Pearl Harbor SURVIVOR. That’ll teach me to read my post before hitting the “Post” button!

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    November 11, 2011 at 7:39 am

    My Dad and all 3 of his brothers were in the Navy in WWII. The oldest, John, is a Pearl Harbor living in Washington State. He will be 93 in January.
    I was in the Army, but reported to the 1st Infantry (Big Red One) as a combat engineer officer about 6 months after they returned from Vietnam, so missed combat. Can’t say that I am unhappy about that!

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