Tag Archives: Military

Resting Place [1986] Morgan Freeman. Undoing “strict segregationalism.”

 

By the way and just to say, the more I find out about my ancestry, the more interesting it gets. Lots of family were from nearby where I am now in WNC, even though I grew up about 1,000 miles away. I do have Scots-Irish in me as well on my dad’s side. That’s pretty much exclusively who’s here in these here mountains. So, I’m a local boy after all.

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Sgt MacKenzie: We Were Soldiers

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Hymn to the Fallen by John Williams

Memorial Day is coming up. When I was a kid, my idea of a cemetery was that it was filled with people who died of old age. It was one of Ronald Reagan’s many speeches at Arlington National Cemetery which set me straight. They’re all boys, teenagers, some out of high school, some just married, all of them giving all.

In this sorry world, we are all of us living on borrowed time bought and paid for. We must be thankful.

Meanwhile, Jesus, lays down His life to bring us to eternal life. He stood in our place, the innocent for the guilty, mercy bought and paid for in His own justice. We must be thankful. Humbly thankful.

Meanwhile, did you notice all the crosses in the cemetery? Can you pick out the Stars of David? I see two.

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Call the PJs! That others may live…

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When’s the last time you volunteered to visit an “old folks home”, a nursing home, a rehab, a hospice? When I was a little kid my sister encouraged me to go to “Saint Joseph’s Home” up on 9th Avenue in my home town. I would ride my little bike there and bring a smile to the residents there. I was only, like, say, eight years old. They thought it was great. Some just couldn’t believe I was there for them, that I had to be mischievous. But they got over that.

On my last trip to one of our rehab/nursing homes, I saw the Pararescue patch that was handing outside the door of David. I immediately went in to thank him for his service. We had a good chat. The history of the PJs (Pararescue Jumpers), is wild. They are the only group in the entire Department of Defense that is dedicated solely to rescue. When the SEALs and Green Berets and the rest get in trouble, it’s the PJs who come to the rescue. I owe them, enough, I think, to get green feet tatted on my posterior (see the patch above) for having saved my ass (so to speak). But I haven’t done that.

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USNAVY Norfolk 2019 Holocaust Remembrance Day

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SRI LANKA, an Easter Octave later

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Looks like just a bit of confusion, like “someone did something” above. So, let’s move in media res and get a better idea. You can’t fix something unless you know what it is.

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Not good enough. Let’s make this more personal. Jesus, just now risen from the dead, having been ripped to shreds Himself, blood everywhere, walks in the midst, the blood of His followers all over Him, witnessing to their belief in life eternal. As the Master, so the disciple.

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  • “Today, you will be with me in paradise,” He says.
  • “The death of His faithful ones is precious in the eyes of the Lord.” (Psalm 116:15)

As of 4/27/2019 there are at least 310 killed and 469 wounded. More die and are injured as raids take place and “collateral incidents” occur. Always increasing numbers of terrorists are arrested or killed, depending on circumstances. Innocents can unfortunately be in the way as terrorist cowards hide behind women and children.

ISIS has claimed responsibility, having sucked in the local Islamicist terrorist group, National Thowheed Jamath.

  • But almost no one will say that they are Islamicist terrorists or ISIS. They are just “some people who did something.”
  • But almost no one will say the word “Catholic” about so very many of the victims, innocent, including women and children, and yes, also men.

All the spooky groups were telling the crowd in Sri Lanka 17 days before it happened. But just as Sri Lanka has traitors in it’s government, so do we. No decision maker knew.

It’s personal to me because these are other members of the Body of Christ. That’s as personal as it gets.

But, just to say, I also have priest friends in Sri Lanka with whom I lived in Rome at various colleges for years of studies.

I’ve even had an interview about the liturgy with the Cardinal Archbishop, his Eminence Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don. He says he’s been told by the local Muslims that this wasn’t about anything Islamicist. “He says he’s been told…” Clever way of saying that. He says he has zero concern for the rebuilding of churches. He’s concerned about rebuilding lives. Good for him. Blessings upon them all.

I hope the perps convert and are forgiven. I hope the victims, if alive, can forgive. It will do them an eternity of good. We must pray for that: Hail Mary

Having said all that, even on this Divine Mercy Sunday, my sentiment is also summed up by the Chinese University student at the time of the Boston Marathon Bombing Dun “Danny” Meng when he escaped and was interviewed by Police Officer Tommy Saunders. It was the last thing Dun said to Tommy: “Get those *************!” This isn’t a vengeance thing over against someone who has repented. No. The bombers were on their way to New York City to do up some more bombing, more killing, more terrorism. They weren’t going to stop until the were stopped. So, yeah: “Get those *************!”

Having said all that, none of that is inconsistent with this being Divine Mercy Sunday.

  • Jesus still calls us to be witnesses to His forgiveness should anyone want it.
  • Jesus still calls us to be witnesses unto death, giving all in Him.
  • Jesus still calls us to to pray that He have mercy on us and on the whole world. 

And to those cynics who condemn religion because God permitted such a thing to happen, look again. He took our place, the innocent for the guilty, so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.

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And… and… He’s risen from the dead. And He intends to have us rise from the dead for life eternal. Thank you, Jesus.

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“The Fall Guy” “Insurance Policy”

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I am so very stupid, so very naive. When I was a teenager, I thought that “The Fall Guy” for whatever important op is to be someone who lays down his life for his friends, for his country, often with an untold story, but prepared to be smashed down by being asked to do it or by way of volunteering to do this. In a way, “The Fall Guy” is to seen everywhere in service roles such as Law Enforcement and the Military. I’m proud of my dad’s service, a USMC Commander of the Fighter-Attack Checkerboard Corsair Squadron; here are some of his medals, not including the international medals from various countries, et alii. That’s the Purple Heart, third one over (they’re laid out in proper military order, two each of each medal to the left of the Purple Heart):

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Anyway, and more specifically, the reason having “The Fall Guy” as part of an op is that there are certain ops that can’t be easily understood by the public at large. So, put the blame for what might be considered as that which has a fine line to it on just one guy, a scapegoat. Great!

Sometimes “The Fall Guy” was always expected and well known. Since being a youngster, I looked at Jesus as “The Fall Guy” for us. After all, God so loved the world that He sent His only Son to do just that. Jesus knew. So did His good mom, who caught Him:

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Then, July of 1987 came around. I was already ordained a deacon and had spent some outrageous time throughout Nicaragua a couple of years before. I had plenty of experiences in the “war zone” so as to be able to understand what would be put on stage the Summer of 1987 for the whole world with the Iran-Contra “Affair”. During my free time of that Summer I had been cleaning up the parish cemetery with my little tape-recorder and ear phones playing talks of Archbishop Fulton Sheen while I worked. I was distracted, and ended up with a case of poison ivy so fierce that the skin came off both hands. I sat in the rectory kitchen with my hands soaking in a special solution for two full weeks. During that time I watched every minute of C-SPAN’s total coverage of the Congressional grilling of Lieut. Col. Oliver North, who, by the way, I thought was entirely hilarious: “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!” The New York Times, confirming everything I thought about “The Fall Guy” for any op – (that they know and agree to being “The Fall Guy” beforehand) – reported this:

IRAN-CONTRA HEARINGS; Casey Had ‘Fall Guy’ Plan As Early as ’84, North Says
By FOX BUTTERFIELD and SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES JULY 14, 1987

“Lieut. Col. Oliver L. North said today that the plan to make him the ”fall guy” for the Iran-contra operations was first suggested by William J. Casey as early as 1984 when the White House began its secret support for the Nicaraguan rebels.

“Colonel North had previously emphasized conversations he said he had with Mr. Casey last fall – as the Administration’s secret arms sales to Iran and the resupply program for the contras began to become public – about making the colonel the scapegoat. Mr. Casey, who resigned as Director of Central Intelligence in February, died in May.” [just before he himself was to testify to the Senate…]

The point I’m trying to make is that “The Fall Guy” knows beforehand that he’s going to be “The Fall Guy.” Everyone else for decades had the same idea as me. Thus, staying in the theme of arms transfers, the film “Lord of War” offers another version of this in 2005:

Notice that “The Fall Guy” is always an agreed to part of whatever op by anyone’s estimation. Except that that’s not true. Sometimes there are those who are “The Fall Guy” without knowing it. They are there, you know, just in case things go South. They are outside of a program, know nothing about it, and yet are continuously groomed for taking the blame as time goes by.

“The Fall Guy” who is unwitting has to be protected, to make sure he’s always around to take the heat. “The Fall Guy” who is unwitting has to be baited into experiences that will make him look like the actual Asset in every way, with the same travels, with the same experiences, with at least some of the same over-the-top skill sets, languages, contacts, indeed, especially with other Assets, making “The Fall Guy” look like he could be an Asset himself. It’s precisely that which makes him ready to be “The Fall Guy” at any time.

In my travels often hundreds of miles every week bringing me into the seven-state region near enough to Western North Carolina, I was speaking to a top military guy about “The Fall Guy” thing. He admitted that, yes, in fact, it has happened, does happen and will happen that there can be “The Fall Guy” for whatever op, even with “The Fall Guy” being someone who does not know about whatever program and is in no way to be connected with whatever program.

For instance, if a CIA Asset is being compromised, “The Fall Guy” is used to take the heat off the all important Asset, so that said Asset can continue doing what he needs to do. If the Asset is going to end up going to prison, it’s instead “The Fall Guy” who goes to prison.

Recently, CCS (Counterintel for Consular Services) at Main State (Department of State) had me call DSCC (Diplomatic Security Command Center). It was made crystal clear that […] ///

/// […] When “The Guy” of Black Sites fame at another time and place told me that there are always but always insurance policies for every single program so that there is no program without an insurance policy, I didn’t know what he meant. I asked him about that, a lot, over years. I never understood, just thinking it was an extortion type thing: “You do this or else.” But, no. Not that. And it’s not a Strzokian type of “Insurance Policy.” No, no. The Insurance Policy he was talking about is “The Fall Guy,” whether that guy knows it or not. He’s the scapegoat, the one to blame. /// […]

/// […] The question is, what if “The Fall Guy,” as unwitting as he is for so long, figures out that he is “The Fall Guy”?

The best way to take care of the problem is to make “The Fall Guy” a target, say, by spreading it around that he is, say, for instance, a CIA Asset himself. That’s easy to do since, with all the grooming, all the baiting, all the false friendships, “The Fall Guy” will indeed have contacts highly influential in various countries and troubled regions around the world. In researching rumors about “The Fall Guy”, various groups may well think that “The Fall Guy” is, instead, the Asset. And then they’ll take care of the problem that “The Fall Guy” now knows too much. How very convenient. Mind you, “The Fall Guy” who was up to this point unwitting has had no real training, has gained no real over-the-top skill sets that he can use to avoid trouble, that he can use to protect himself. It’s kind of like being put on the front lines like David did to Uriah the Hittite, and then having his fellow soldiers withdraw leaving Uriah quite alone against the enemy so that he is then cut down. Easy peasy.

This, of course, underlines the fact that especially “The Fall Guy” who was unwitting up to this point is the most unimportant, most expendable non-person in the world. He has no chance to prepare for a good death. It’s all very dark, very ugly, the most cowardly side of these USA.

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Now there’s a find: F/A-22 Raptor

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Finishing up an auction of the contents of grandma’s trailer, the neighbors to the hermitage proudly showed me something they found in the process, a 15 year old, April 2004, hard copy issue of Flight Journal featuring the F/A-22 Raptor. That’s “The Plane” which their son called “his” since that’s the beast he worked on in the Air Force.

That sets me to wondering if they’ve ever done an ancient history issue, say, on the Vought F4U Corsair.

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Tết Offensive and… being overweight? Thanks for correcting my world-view.

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It’s now been more than a half century since the Viet Cong set about killing everyone they could, men, women, children and babies during the Tết Offensive of 1968.

While studying in Rome half that time ago, I lived at the same residence for priests as a Vietnamese fellow, a devout Catholic who understood and lived the faith and who today is a priest.

It was then that I had already for some years been taking a certain medicine to keep myself alive, a medicine I take to this day for that reason, a medicine which also guarantees weight gain. I had always been thin as a rail, but now I had been putting on the kilos. Because of that, I had given up on jogging around Rome.

Meanwhile, this Vietnamese fellow, named after the great Saint Ambrose, had seen many of his fellow countrymen hunted down and tortured and killed. He knew how to run, not jogging, mind you, but running in the sense of escape. Around trees. Over and up cliffs. Though destruction.

While walking around or sitting at table his fists would be un-clenched, and then ever so slowly, over minutes, crushingly clenched. It was quite notable, but I’m sure it was just second nature to him. It was fearful to watch, as it seemed his tendons would rip away from his bones, or the bones would break under the strain.

I asked him about it. Not quite isometrics, he explained. These exercises had brought him into perfect physical condition through the years. He insisted that I start doing the same, reprimanding me for starting to become overweight. But just as running for him was not about jogging, losing weight had nothing to do with any sense of good health. It was about an immediate ability to get away from fiendish violence. He asked me:

“If you are heavy, how are you going to escape when they come?

He inscaped into his words all the horror of what happened during his own escapes when they would come to kill. He had stories to tell backed up with horrific scars. Underlining this, he then asked:

“If you are heavy, how are you going to help others escape?”

He asked that with the urgency and anguish of one is actively watching people die because of my not being able to help them. This isn’t one of those “eat your vegetables before dessert because don’t you know there are people starving on the other side of the world” platitudinous reprimands. No. Let me repeat that he asked with the urgency and anguish of one who is actively watching people get apprehended and tortured and killed because of my not being able to help them.

“If you are heavy, how are you going to help others escape?”

This was one of those moments when my entire world view was readjusted, when I knew I had been so utterly out of touch with reality.

Thanks, Father Ambrose, for opening my eyes a little bit more.

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I’ll spare you the pictures of the mass graves…

This doubles for natural disasters, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorism near you, by the way…

By the way, thanks to our Vietnam Veterans for winning that weeks long battle.

P.S. For those who say: “Yes, and transform dieting into fasting as a spiritual thing because the body is to be the temple of the Holy Spirit like the saints say!” Fine. All that. Yes. And I confess I am miserable at all that. Can I just blame my medicine? I mean, at least I’m not gaining even if not losing weight. I could do better. To such enthusiasts with spiritual things I say this: Father Ambrose is helping us to escape our half-measures. The Body of Christ is not just the Head of the Body, Jesus, but the rest of us as the members. Being in good shape is not just about respecting God’s creation and God’s redemption of us in Christ Jesus, merely putting the body into submission because that’s a nice thing to do for God, but it is also about the charity we have for one another in Christ Jesus (see 1 Corinthians 9:22-27).

His urgency and anguish was of one who was actively watching people die because of my not being able to help them:

“If you are heavy, how are you going to help others escape?”

Indeed. And so…

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Patriotism: I’m overwhelmed

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The great Beverly Elliott at Congressman Mark Meadows field office in Murphy NC was able to nudge the Navy guys in Millington TN sufficiently that dad’s list of medals and then the medals themselves were provided. I had been unsuccessful for decades, but she was able to do this straightaway. Ms Elliott didn’t like just giving them to me, so she offered to get hold of a guy in Waynesville NC who makes shadow boxes for medals of decorated veterans pro-bono, and then said that she’ll try to get Mark over so that these could be presented a bit more officially. I love that. Dad, post-mortem, will be able to encourage a bit of patriotism in these USA. We need that always and especially today.

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I tried to place the medals in order of precedence. Note the double issuance of the first two medals as signified by the stars on the ribbons, and the triple issuance of the last medal as signified by the two stars on the ribbon of that medal. I’ve written of the first three medals in generalities:

Ms Elliott said that she’s going to try to get the stories of the particular circumstances for the issuance of the first number of medals as recommended by the POTUS of the day.

The above medals are issued by these USA. There are three other medals issued by the Philippines, Korea and even the United Nations – Hey! – the back-in-the-day-U.N.!

 

Patriotism is a virtue of the natural law and is blessed by God. Speaking of God, my best memory of dad is when I was only a few years old and was able to walk up the aisle of the Cathedral church to kneel at the linen-covered altar rail with him at Communion time. I’ve written of this before:

My favorite memory of him was back in the Autumn of 1962, when I was just 2 1/2 years old. I’d walk up in the Communion line next to him with the rest of the family behind us. This was at the Cathedral with its gorgeous altar rail with the linens flipped over the top. I was always impressed by the linens getting flipped over the top, just as I was with kneeling there beside my dad, reaching up as high as I could to put my hands under the linens like he was doing. I was pretty small. I was filled with such wonder and awe and reverence as the priest and altar boy with paten would make it over to us. They would start on the Epistle side. We were always on the Gospel side. Everything worked together to instill reverence.

It was good be on my knees with dad before the Lord Jesus. Very good.

Why mention that in this post on the medals of a highly decorated war hero? Because here we have a warrior on his knees, in reverence, before The Warrior, Jesus, in the epic battle of good over evil, God over Satan. And dad is with Jesus. I love that.

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C-17A Globemaster III over rectory

Just out of the picture is a small ridge to the South side of Andrews upon which Holy Redeemer church is situated. Seems to me that had he turned his wing down anymore he would have mowed the trees down at the top of that ridge. Here’s a stock photo:

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As it is said, the Globemaster III “incorporates advanced-technology features such as winglets, a supercritical wing section and high-performance turbofans with thrust reversers [which are super quiet if you ask me]. [It] can routinely operate from airfields previously denied to jet-powered transports.” [Andrews airport is ultra-tiny, but is where the September 11 2001 terrorist pilots got their training hours in.] […] [It’s] a workhorse of the USAF, flying regular strategic supply missions around the world. […] It replaced the Lockheed C-141 StarLifter. […] It can carry M1A2 Abrams tank, or three Stryker 8×8 armored vehicles, or three AH-64 Apache helicopters, or air-droppable platforms up to a weight of 49.8 t. It can also carry a mix of palletized cargo and vehicles. […] If required, it can operate from unpaved, unimproved runways.”

Just a thought: It’s true, is it not, that the military crowd were special favorites of both John the Baptist and Jesus (even the occupying forces)? Yep.

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Dad’s medals to be presented in person. A note on those who gave all. An invite to the haters.

Dad may have passed away 25 years ago, but honor is forever. I got a call just before Mass today. Congressman Mark Meadows office will present dad’s medals to me in person next week next to the Police HQ down in Murphy. Ms Beverly is going to try to get the citations at least for the medals which had been recommended for award by the POTUS of the day, which could have been Franklin D Roosevelt, Harry S Truman and Dwight D Eisenhower. There’ve been billions of soldiers and trillions of awards. I know. But we can always give honor to those to whom honor is due, right? Patriotism is about honor. That’s what our lives are to be made of.

I mentioned this all to a parishioner today and it about brought her to tears, as she was remembering notifications for a relative, a youngster of course, who went MIA in Vietnam not so long ago. All gave some. That would be my dad. Some gave all. That would be that youngster of her family. As Ronald Reagan said at Arlington National Cemetery back in the day: We think that those in this cemetery grisly old soldiers, but, no. It is not that way. Those laid to rest in this cemetery are 16 and 18 years old who had all of their lives before them. It is those youngsters who are our heroes.

To those who think they gave nothing but are patriotic and striving to be law abiding citizens and are being helpful to others in the best way they can, they should know that they are giving exactly what these others fought and died for, so that these might be able to live freely in this way.

To those who hate those who have laid down their lives for them… you know… take a breath… count your blessings… be thankful to those who made those blessings possible for you. If you think things are bad, count up all the people who are not thankful and do nothing but hate and then ask who’s responsible for the bad stuff. And then, becoming thankful… Hey! Let’s help one another.

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Dad’s medals Distinguished Flying Cross Fascinating title for the propeller

George Byers Jr Distinguished Flying Cross 1

And then the Gold Star, that is, for the USMC, a device indicating the second reception of the DFC:

George Byers Jr Distinguished Flying Cross 2

That’s all I have for this one, with the Navy Personnel Command in Millington TN only sending a box checked next to the title and noting the Gold Star. I wish I knew more about the particularities. As both notifications say at the Hall of Valor Project, “Citation Needed”. I’m thinking that the citations are classified, the reason for extra-effort to write a “synopsis.”

I remember that as a little boy, dad explained that this was the Distinguished Flying Cross, a propeller over a cross. To me, this was stunning, an intersection of society and religion, of military service and religion, the highest form of honor that could be given to a war-award, thought I, that which recalled the the epic battle of heaven over against hell, of Jesus over against the forces of evil, recalling that this battle was that of the greatest love, laying down one’s life for one’s friends, the greatest form of patriotism. “What’s the Gold Star?” I asked. “For receiving it twice,” he said. “Twice” thought I, in awe.

I would then grab a plastic model of the Corsair dad flew, and run about inside the house and out, pretending to be the pilot in battle, and inspired.

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Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312, the Checkerboarders, callsign “Check!” Note that the model above depicts the final, most powerful version of the plane that could out-fly all the early jets to follow.

Note the three holes on the front edge of both wings, making for fully six 50 cals that could run at the same time, a kind of precursor to the A-10 “Warthog” that, to date, still surpasses the rate of fire of the Warthog.

  • Today’s A-10 “Warthog” can belt out seventy rounds a second from its single 50 cal gatling gun.
  • The later, Korean war version of the Corsair, fitted with fully six AN/M2 Browning 50 cals could, in theory, put out a maximum of eighty five rounds a second.

Actually, anything faster than this simply is no longer useful and such a waste of ammo, which already weighs way too much.

The missiles, dad explained, were used for the usual sorties of taking out munitions trains and bridges.

During such excursions, he said that he would be flying in “North” Korea just above the ground, over rice paddies, and that the farmers would look up at him as he flew just overhead. He said he could see the faces of women and children, and that that’s what inspired him to serve and put himself at risk. It was all for them. They deserved better than horrific communism which was dragging them down and which threatened to drag us down. If you want to know what “down” is, try the hell-hole of Venezuela right now, or, still to this day, “North” Korea as opposed to “South” Korea.

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Dad’s medals: honor of circumstances – U.S. Navy Distinguished Service Medal

US Navy Distinguished Service Medal“The Navy Distinguished Service Medal was originally senior to the Navy Cross [just below the Medal of Honor], until August 1942 when the precedence of the two decorations was reversed. Currently [dad’s time], it is worn after the Defense Distinguished Service Medal [after the Navy Cross] and before the Silver Star Medal.”

“The Navy Distinguished Service Medal is bestowed upon members of the Navy or Marine Corps who distinguish themselves by exceptionally meritorious service to the United States government in a duty of great responsibility. To justify this decoration, exceptional performance of duty must be clearly above that normally expected, and contributes to the success of a major command or project. Generally, the Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to officers in principal commands at sea, or in the field, whose service is of a manner to justify the award. However, this does not preclude the award of the Navy Distinguished Service Medal to any individual who meets the service requirements. The term “great responsibility” implies senior military responsibility, and the decoration is normally only bestowed to senior Navy flag officers and Marine Corps general officers, or extremely senior enlisted positions such as the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy or the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. In rare instances, it has also been awarded to Navy captains and Marine Corps colonels, typically those in positions of significant responsibility in direct support of senior flag and general officers, and then only by exception.”

This is “and only then by exception” presentation, twice.

Dad was USMC, but that’s still part of the Department of the Navy, and at this level, the award is from the Navy. I don’t have the citation for the description of the “great responsibility” in its particularities of circumstance – just the fact of it from the archives in Millington, TN.

Here’s the deal: Even though there are particularities of circumstance that point to the actions of one particular individual, any medal, this one in particular, is dependent on the the brotherhood in which one finds oneself, that brotherhood setting up the structure, the circumstances in which any one guy might well shine, just doing what he had to do in all those unrepeatable particularities. Thus, even for the Medal of Honor, the guy receiving it unfailingly says that he’s receiving the medal for everyone who was there, as they were all depending on one another, and if they happened to be singled out in a particular nanosecond to do the necessary, that’s where the always repeated statement comes in: “I only did what any one of the guys would do.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not reducing all medals to “participation awards” that dumb down competition and a striving for excellence among our youngsters in our now ultra-liberal NEA public schools. Just the opposite. For guys in battle, a medal like this, whoever wears it later, speaks for all, inviting one to be put before that which is much bigger than any individual, a common love of God and Country, Pro Deo et Patria.

And yet, an account of what actually took place in all the unrepeatable historical circumstances is inspiring. We’re not just souls, but we also have bodies in particular places. To see what someone else has gone through when put before a decision of honor is surely inspiring. I wish I could get my hands on the accounts for the medals…

 

 

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Dad’s Combat Wounded Purple Heart: understanding honor and patriotism

purple heart

Little kid that I was, I didn’t understand when dad showed me his medals, the one and only time, and only very briefly, but very nostalgically. Not understanding what he was showing me, I forgot, idiot little kid that I was. But his demeanor went into my heart and soul deeper than I suspected. Only now, a half-century later, does the memory flood back, since Rep. Mark Meadows (R., NC) had the Navy Personnel Command in Millington, Tennessee send out the list of medals received. The Purple Heart was awarded in the newly restricted years for the combat wounded only. I dare say I have a bit more understanding now than when I was a little kid.

From what I can gather of all my memories of dad, his aspirations for service to God and country, thinking about becoming a priest in the early years, then a politician in later years (as back in the day as a combat fighter attack USMC Corsair pilot he saw how much politics affected geo-political everything), then settling on following up on his JAG training at Georgetown to be an attorney because, he said instantaneously when I asked, this was his way to be of service to help people who were in trouble… from what I can gather, the last thing a purple heart like this was about for him was self-aggrandizement. He knew too many of his buddies who had given all, laying down their lives for God and Country.

He spoke only extremely rarely about war stuff, as is the case with so many veterans. I am surely speaking out of turn, but I dare say that the reason for this is the immediacy of being in life and death situations in service of that which is much greater than one’s own life, namely, the individual and common good of peoples, the service of God, Author of life, and the service of country, the national family to which one belongs.

One is drawn by this love before the epic magnificence of it all, to be in reverence before God and country, and when one is in a state of reverence, it is not that one is reduced to silence but rather lifted up into an appreciation of that for which words fail to express anything comprehensible to anyone so naive as myself as a little kid. It’s this reverence before God and country with the immediacy of life and death that makes for a brotherhood, but not an inward looking, self-congratulatory, closed society of brothers, but rather a brotherhood which encourages all to know that honor and patriotism is not about heroes, but rather about all of us striving to have the same reverence before God and Country, the same immediacy of service in the midst of life and death for God and Country.

Thanks, dad, for understanding honor and patriotism from the inside out, so that I, so that we all could be encouraged to live the same service of God and Country whatever life and death brings to us.

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Dad the hero: I don’t know the half of it Thanks NC Rep Mark Meadows & Bev!

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I’ve never met the Honorable Mark Meadows or Beverly, but they are now family as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been trying to get something about dad’s wartime years for decades, it all having disappeared in the vicissitudes of life. No one could get anything, not even friends of friends working the archives. But Rep. Meadows and Bev were successful. The first notification, the listing of medals, came in just now. I hope there is more available. Obviously, I don’t know the half of it. My patriotism is confirmed again.

I am overwhelmed. This is all quite the revelation to me. I’d like to write some posts about those medals against the backdrop of the man I knew as dad. But below is just my first overall reaction to my dad, the hero. He didn’t get the Medal of Honor, but on multiple other occasions he almost did with another four medals just below the Medal of Honor a couple of which are exceedingly rare for field officers who are not Generals. He didn’t get a medal for a record number of planes shot down as a fighter-attack pilot, but some of the missions he was given were obviously freakishly important, with the success of some part of the war effort, in no small part, riding on whether he would be successful. He got a Battle-Wounded Purple Heart. And, I only find out now, he was also in the Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign. I had thought he was all Pacific based. What special mission did they spirit him away to do way outside of his normal theater of operations, and then back again?

Part I: the spirituality of integrity, of being a hero

  • On the one hand, my dad wasn’t perfect. I know that. I’ve seen him at his worst. I’m his son. Have any of us seen ourselves at our own worst, admitting that, dealing with it, coming around, being the best because of depending on our Lord, because of knowing we can’t depend on ourselves?
  • So, on the other hand, I’ve also seen dad at his best, when he learned, successfully, to depend only on our Lord. He’s always been the hero in my eyes because of victory in his personal life. In that way, he’s my example of integrity. I still remember going to the 1962 Mass with him in the early 1960s: he would smack his heart with his fist at the Confiteor: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Part II: The instruction about my dad, the hero

Top Brass and politicians were often over to my dad’s house, George Byers Jr. There I would be, the little boy naive to the warring ways of the world. More times than I can count, they would take me aside, have me sit down, and have “The Talk” with me. “The Talk” consisted of seriously looking me in the eye and then, when I was paying serious attention, they would instruct me about my dad being a great hero, that there were a lot of things which for a thousand reasons could not be told, but I had to know that my dad was a great, great hero, and that it was an honor for me to be his son.

This one or that would write a book. This one or that would recount war stories. But they would never ask my dad for the same. They already knew his story as these things get around by witnesses who survived to tell the tale. They knew he could never say a word with any non-combatant like me around, little boy that I was.

What I don’t have…

While the generic description of why any medal is what it is is widely available, there is also a story recounted for specific medals given to specific individuals for specific actions, especially ones which are recommended only by the President of these USA. I don’t have the stories. I wish I did…

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MI6, CIA, Fed-funded think-tank, me

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Enter yet another self-proclaimed CIA guy in my life (it seems like a daily affair). He’s urging me to spill my guts on a certain national security issue to – of all people – a certain MI6 guy, whose name is […] [Ooops! That would be an unmasking.] I looked up the MI6 guy some weeks ago by way of his public cover. An unmistakable face you can’t ever forget. It instantly burns itself into one’s front-burner memory.

Just now, YouTube, of course, put in front of me a boring panel discussion of a top-rated Federally funded think-tank physically housed for decades next to the White House. What I found interesting was not the topic, but rather the face of one of the presenters.

For all intents, purposes and plastic surgery reconstructions, the MI6 guy is coincidentally just like the think-tank guy on all levels: same age, same ultra-weird interests, same political persuasion, same moral outlook, same geographic assignments in the world (in this case impossibly difficult), same hair problems, same hair reconstruction fixes, same exact facial features, same plastic surgery failed fixes right through the years and all at the same time [impossible to hide], same neck features[!], same ears, etc., etc., etc., even the same physical gesturing when speaking (just toned down slightly but really hard to hide the subtleties as this belongs to entrenched neuro-behaviors), same type of prolific publishing on the exact same topics, same ol’ same ol’ in the finest detail, with both of them publicly supporting each other’s works and interests (an interesting self-promotion). Goodness gracious! Such coincidences! Oh, there is one difference: one has a contrived accent, the other doesn’t. Regardless of the truth of any lifestyle, any lifestyle accents are really easy (as there is no standard outside of all of them being contrived), and are therefore excellent covers of one’s real accent since, in this politically correct society, no one would question why someone would sound like, you know, like that. Anyway, all “three” of these people would know each other and freely admit that they do.

When I objected to spying on the U.S. through a friendly nation, the original CIA guy didn’t know what to do except to say that he thought it was all legal since I’m just asking a certain question out of interest as a private citizen with answers for all I know based on, you know, kind-of-perhaps-maybe public knowledge. Sorry. You won’t see me going overseas or to D.C. to speak to any such person.

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My history of taking bribes from intel, or not…

The following is just a starter list that I throw out off the cuff. I’m sure I can add to the list, but this will give you an idea.

I was a bit of a dullard back in the day, the mid-1980s. I was a deacon on my way to Nicaragua to deliver medicines to the Catholic clinics and Mass stipends to be distributed to priests by a religious community of nuns. On the way I sat next to a CIA guy working a cover as a communications guy for State at the local embassy in Managua (he was delivering massive cargo bins acting as his “diplomatic pouch”). This arrangement of being companions on the flight took two days for him to arrange, which delayed the trip. C’est la vie. Anyway, after what seemed like ten million questions on the longest portion of the flight leaving from Miami, he gave me his card and said that if I had any problems I was to request to see only him at the embassy. Usually, CIA are to keep their identities quiet, but conditions in Nicaragua were such that they let that rule be loosened up really a lot, kind of unique in the whole world. At one of the stops on the way, I think San Salvador, he watched over his cargo bins outside the plane, but then quick ran into the “airport.” He came out with an expensive bottle of whiskey, which he gave to me, asking me to give that to Cardinal Obando y Bravo of Managua who he knew I already had an appointment to see. Since it wasn’t for me, I thought this was acceptable. Maybe I am mistaken. Anyway, I was then obliged by the CIA Whiskey guy to see number 2 at the Embassy instead of himself within a period of 72 hours from landing. Sometimes, when they work with the naive, like me, they get what they want anyway.

Years later, over in Italy, the top brass of the anti-mafiosi of the Guardia di Finanza, insisted, strongly, repeatedly, with follow-ups, that I allow myself to be shuttled by police round about Italy, wherever I needed to go. All I had to do was to call the local police station and they would come with a car. Quite the bribe as I was at the time about 100 kms from Rome and local transport was often cancelled, meaning I would have to walk miles up a mountain. However, to his consternation, frustration, anger, I never took advantage of this offer. He was wanting me to spy on the Cardinals up in the apartments on top of San Callisto, which I’ve often called the Vatican’s Pentegon. I was, in fact, up there quite a bit. But the spying? Nope. Ain’t gonna happen. The pressure was put on for quite a number of years, sometimes benevolent pressure, sometimes malicious. Anything malicious I would follow up on right away until the cowardly backed down. That’s always the case.

This was going on about the same time the Italian Ministry of Defense wanted me to spy on some Mafiosi for them in southern Italy. The bribe was their offering me an assignment in a nice parish to be arranged by the liaison between the Ministry of Defense and the Holy See. The bribe came with the price of betraying penitents who came to sacramental Confession. Nope. Ain’t gonna happen. Meanwhile, stories of what happened to priests who didn’t cooperate were coming my way. Interesting, but not having effect.

So many stories flood into memory as I write this, but in an effort not to make this too long, let me just add some mentions of things from right around the world. There are those, particularly in the CIA, who are convinced that I am some sort of agent of said agency. You would think they would have noticed that I’m a priest. Anyway, the items or most extraordinary assignments I’ve been offered from which I could provide, um, information, are myriad. Since it’s not thought that I’m actually a priest (that being some sort of tricky cover, I guess), the bribes have sometimes been more, let’s say, secular in nature. For instance, I recall being shown NON-pornographic pictures of women which pictures nevertheless certainly objectified women also as sex objects. That may entice some 007 guy to go along with whatever so as “get some”, but I’m married to the Church with the wedding vows at the consecrations at Holy Mass. And anyway, also someone who is not a priest should not be interested in objectifying women or in taking advantage of pre-objectified women.

I call to mind a certain bribe that was given by the chief priests and received by the Apostle Judas Iscariot, thirty pieces of silver, the price at which they valued the Son of the Living God.

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President Trump to widow parishioner

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President Trump to the widow of one of the Veterans of our parish.

This brought her to tears. She says that she’s lacking in Patriotism, not because she is lacking, but because she is so patriotic that she feels the magnificence of it dwarfs her. She’s the one who has all verses of Taps memorized.

I like this. I like this a lot.

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November visit to the town cemetery

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2018-11-15 · 10:53 am