Because this is the 41st anniversary of the Ia Drang Battle in Vietnam and Veterans Day just happened, I thought I would share some thoughts between my Uncle Bob, who was as Landing Zone Falcon in the Ia Drang Valley and my cousin, Jim, who is currently in Ramadi. There are references to Jim's father, Fred (my cousin) who fought in Vietnam as well as my cousin, Joe Fred. My favorite part of the story is the part where Uncle Bob gets back to base to discover that his daughter (my cousin Sheri) had been born during the days of battle. I am always awed by the sacrifices of military and their families. My Uncle Bob shared a link to a recent article on the Ia Drang Battle. You might find it interesting reading. Here are the letters between Vietnam Vet and young Marine starting with Uncle Bob's letter:
Thank you Paula. And you know how much I love you and your family. My thoughts of Jim are daily and I know our Lord and Savior will protect him and Auriel. He is a brave, courageous Marine who has my love and most of all the pride I have telling folks about my Marine great nephew.
Two years in a row, Jim was our guest at the Ia Drang reunion and I can never tell you how proud my wife, daughters, sons in law, and grand children were to have Jim as our guest. My grand sons are in awe of their cousin, especially Jacob. Sadly, the 40th reunion was our last but the memories of the reunions and the men I served with so many years ago will never leave me. I get kind of antsy this time of year since 41 years ago we were deploying to the Ia Drang and getting ready to fight a determined NVA. The antsyness won't pass until around Thanksgiving when my battery returned to An Khe and I found out about a baby daughter named Sheri Lynn and that Carolyn was doing well. A letter form Nanny Barker told me about Sheri and her Mother. What great news that was after having been in combat for almost three weeks.
Fred, tomorrow is Veteran's Day and I want to welcome you home and thank you for your service to our Nation. To have served with you at the same time and in Vietnam will always remain in my memory. The same goes for Joe Fred although he and I were not in RVN at the same time.
Carolyn and I send our love to all the Livelys.
Uncle Bob and Dad,
Thanks for the great email. I received the prayergram from Six Mile…awesome! Sorry I didn’t send Vet’s Day greetings to you and Dad. I guess I might get some slack hey? All’s well here. We’re not facing the NVA, but we’ve got an enemy on our hands that’s determined and cunning. He continues to inflict chaos and casualties. We’re ever vigilant and even simple missions like delivering supplies to a local hospital can prove lethal. The enemy yields no quarter and we of course don’t expect it from him.
I’m anxious to see how the next 12 months will unfold now that our legislative branch has turned over. We’ll see. We may well be some of the last forces in Al Anbar province. So be it....and glad it’s us.
That’s it from this end. I’m so proud of the heritage of military professionals that I follow. From grandfathers, great uncles, and of course my father, I’m just proud to be in uniform in some way carrying out a mission that was started long ago, carried by you both for a time and now passed to me and my comrades. Band of brothers is what we are. Family first, soldiers always and protectors of our nation’s honor and security. I’ve got a tear in my eye as I reflect on the commitment that the Lively, Barker, Hays and Wells families have made.
Garry Owen, Semper Fidelis and Keep your powder dry! Happy Vet’s day to my two favorite Vets!