air medal

Today (August 7th) is Purple Heart Appreciation Day. The Purple Heart was first created on August 7, 1782 by the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, General George Washington. Then known as the Badge of Military Merit, it was awarded to 3 Revolutionary soldiers in 1783. Take a moment today to remember all the brave servicemen and women who have been wounded or killed while serving in our armed forces.

putting victor’s career on a timeline is giving me some serious headache, i give up? it doesn’t make any sense. but one thing i’m 100% sure of is that he’s won olympic gold at least three times, and those were in torino, vancouver and sochi. can’t prove the sochi one with a picture of the medal, but i don’t think he’d wear the jacket so often if he hadn’t won (and lbr at that point he was basically unbeatable).

the medal on lower right is the one i can’t figure out, it looks like the gold medal for 2002 winter olympics, but there’s no way he would’ve been qualified to compete because of his age? unless he was actually born in ‘86? it would fit the timeline of him being 27 in sochi gpf i guess, since that was in 2013, but mess up everything else bc in that case he would’ve been 21 (read: too old, age limit is 19) by the time of 2008 junior worlds in sofia, which we know he competed in and won. it’s also after this that yuuri sees victor for the first time and yuuko shows him the interview that results in yuuri getting vicchan, and victor’s age is mentioned to be 15 there. idk why i’m even thinking this far, this is an anime ffs the timeline isn’t even supposed to match with real world somebody please stop me

Among his other merits:

Presented the Leadership Award of Phi Delta Kappa (1962); the National Defense Service Medal (1965); the Vietnam Campaign Medal (1967); the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm (1967); the Vietnam Service Medal (1967); Ten Air Force Air Medals (1967); Three Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards (1967, 1970 and 1972); the German Air Force Aviation Badge from the Federal Republic of West Germany (1969); the T-38 Instructor Pilot of the Month (1970); the Air Training Command Outstanding Flight Safety Award (1970); the Air Force Commendation Medal (1972); the Air Force Institute of Technology’s Mervin E. Gross Award (1974); Who’s Who Among Black Americans (1975 to 1977); the Air Force Meritorious Service Award (1978); the National Society of Black Engineers Distinguished National Scientist Award (1979); four NASA Group Achievement Awards (1980, 1981, 1989, and 2003); the Pennsylvania State University Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award (1983), the Alumni Fellows Award (1986); the USAF Command Pilot Astronaut Wings (1983); NASA Space Flight Medals (1983, 1985, 1991 and 1992); the Ebony Black Achievement Award (1983); NAACP Image Award (1983); the City of Philadelphia’s Philadelphia Bowl (1983); Who’s Who in America (1983 to present); the Pennsylvania Distinguished Service Medal (1984); the Defense Superior Service Medal (1984); three Defense Meritorious Service Medals (1986, 1992 and 1993); New York City Urban League’s Whitney Young Memorial Award; 1991 Black Engineer of the Year Award; NASA Exceptional Service Medal (1992); National Intelligence Medal of Achievement (1993); Federation Aeronautique International Komarov Diploma (1993); Legion of Merit (1993); NASA Distinguished Service Medal (1994); International Space Hall of Fame inductee (1997); U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame inductee (2010); Air Force Institute of Technology Distinguished Alumni Award (2002); University of Houston, Clear Lake Distinguished Alumni Award (2003); The Pennsylvania Society Gold Medal (2011) and honorary doctorate degrees from Florida A&M University, Texas Southern University, Virginia State University, Morgan State University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Tuskegee Institute, Bowie State College, Thomas Jefferson University, Chicago State University, Georgian Court College, Drexel University, Kent State University, Central State University and the University of the Sciences.

All these achievements belong to one person.

Believe in yourself!


On 6 August 1967John James Rambo enlisted into the United States Army at age of 17.

Through his service he earned:

The Medal of Honor
The Silver Star
Bronze Star
Distinguished Flying Cross
Purple Heart
Air Medal
Combat Action Ribbon
Prisoner of War Medal
Jump Master
Aircraft Crewman Badge
Vietnam Service Medal
Distinguished Service Medal
Soldier’s Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Vietnam Wound Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal

Lets all take a second to thank such a brave soldier for his service to our nation!


October third and fourth of 1993…

The Battle of Mogadishu took place on October 3rd and overnight to the 4th. This mission was apart of Operation Gothic Serpent. Members of the 75th Ranger Regiment, Air Force Rescue and Air Force Combat Controllers, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta, and pilots from the 160th Spec Ops Aviation Regiment. The overall goal was to swarm in to a meeting in the city between Mohamed Adids lieutenants. Shortly after large groups of armed militants attacked the U.S. Forces and shot down two Black Hawk helicopters. In the end, 18 service members died, along with 80 injured. Many personnel were awarded for their actions. Two Delta Force snipers received the Medal of Honor after fighting and perishing while defending one of the crash sights.

Lest we forget the deceased

** - SFOD  Delta - **

MSG Gary Ivan Gordon - Killed defending Super 6-4   - Received Medal of Honor and Purple Heart

SFC Randy Shughart - Killed defending Super 6-4 - Received Medal of Honor and Purple Heart

SSG Daniel D. Bush - Crashed with Super 6-1, mortally wounded defending the crew - Received Silver Star and Purple Heart

SFC Earl Robert Fillmore, Jr. - Killed moving to the first crash sight - Received SIlver Star and Purple Heart

MSG Timothy “Griz” Lynn Martin - Mortally wounded by an RPG on the ‘Lost Convoy’, and died en route to Germany's Field Hospital - Received Silver Star and Purple Heart

- 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment - 

CPL James “Jamie” E. Smith - Killed around the crash sight of Super 6-1 - Received Bronze Star with Valor Device, and Oak Leaf Cluster as well as a purple heart

SPC James M. Cavaco - Killed on the Lost Convoy - Received a Bronze Star with Valor Device, Purple heart

SGT James Casey Joyce - Killed on the Lost Convoy - Received a Bronze Star with Valor Device, Purple Heart

CPL Richard “Alphabet” W. Kowaleski, Jr. - Killed on the Lost Convoy by a RPG - Received Bronze Star with Valor Device, Purple Heart

SGT Dominick M. Pilla - Killed on Strueckers Convoy (1st Convoy to move back to base) - Received Bronze Star with Valor Device, Purple Heart

SGT Lorenzo M. Ruiz - Mortally wounded on the Lost Convoy and also  and died en route to Germany’s Field Hospital - Received Bronze Star with Valor Device, Purple Heart

** - 160th SOAR - **

SSG William “Wild Bill” David Cleveland, Jr. - Killed on Super 6-4 (Crew Chief) - Received Silver Star, Bronze Star, Air Medal with Valor Device, Purple Heart

SSG Thomas “Tommie” J. Field - Killed on Super 6-4 (Crew Chief) - Received Silver Star, Bronze Star, Air Medal with Valor Device, Purple Heart

CWO Raymond “Ironman” A. Frank - Killed on Super 6-4 (Copilot) - Received Silver Star, Air Medal with Valor Device, Purple Heart

CWO Clifton “Elvis” P. Wolcott - Killed in Super 6-1 Crash (Pilot) - Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with Valor Device, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

CWO Donovan  "Bull" Briley - Killed in Super 6-1 crash (Copilot) - Received Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Air Medal with Valor Device, Purple Heart

** - 14th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division - **

SGT Cornell Lemont Houston, Sr. - Killed on the rescue convoy - Received Bronze Star with Valor Device, de Fleury Medal, Purple Heart

PFC James Henry Martin, Jr. - Killed on the rescue convoy - Received Purple Heart

** - Malaysian Army - **

LCPL Mat Azan Awang - Killed when his vehicle was struck by an RPG - Received Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa

640th Bomb Squadron, 409th Bomb Group (Light)

Activated at Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma, in June 1943, the 640th BS (L) was one of four squadrons of the 409th BG (L).  By September the squadron consisted of 55 officers and 217 enlisted, though their training was hampered by a lack of aircraft; the unit had borrowed five A-20 Havoc light bombers from the 50th BS (L) in July, but did not receive their own aircraft until August 1943.

Men of the 409th BG, 462nd BS

The 460th moved several times in the coming months; to Woodward Army Air Field, OK, in October 1943, then to DeRidder Army Air Base, LA, in December.  By February 1944 the squadron had finished training and was ready for deployment, moving to Little Walden, Essex, England by way of New York.  On 13 April 1944 the squadron completed its first mission, and by the end of the month they had flown 16 more without loss.

A-20 Havocs in formation; the aircraft in the foreground is of the 640th BS

Over the next several months the 640th frequently participated in missions, losing several aircraft in action and in training accidents.  In September the group moved again, this time into occupied France.  The next month the squadron transitioned out of their old A-20 Havocs and into brand new A-26 Invader attack bombers.  Missions continued regularly, with new pilots and gunners replacing those who rotated home or were shot down.

A damaged 409th BG A-26 that ran off the end of the runway

At the end of hostilities in Europe the 640th had a listed strength of 68 officers and 296 enlisted, having flown a total of 257 missions during their brief year-long tour of duty.  The squadron was folded in with the rest of the 409th BG at the end of the month, in preparation for deployment to the Pacific Theater.  The war ended before the transition could be completed, and the unit was inactivated on 7 November 1945.

1st Lt. Courtney’s footlocker, in the possession of @bluehuskywreck

Among one of the most heavily decorated officers of the 640th was Eric Courtney, Jr.  He joined the 640th as a 2nd Lt. by December 1943, and had been promoted to 1st Lt. by the end of the squadron’s first month in Europe.  He would be promoted to Captain by March 1945, after having received the 12th Oak Leaf Cluster on his Air Medal.  He survived the war and, to my recollection, disappeared to history as one of thousands of airmen who fought in the skies over Europe.


Brig. Gen. Robin Olds was an American fighter pilot and general officer in the U.S. Air Force. He was a “triple ace”, with a combined total of 16 victories in World War II and the Vietnam War. He retired in 1973 as a Brigadier General. He served from 1943 until 1973.

The son of Army Maj. Gen. Robert Olds, educated at West Point, and the product of an upbringing in the early years of the U.S. Army Air Corps, Olds epitomized the youthful World War II fighter pilot. He remained in the service as it became the United States Air Force, despite often being at odds with its leadership, and was one of its pioneer jet pilots. Rising to the command of two fighter wings, Olds is regarded among aviation historians, and his peers, as the best wing commander of the Vietnam War, for both his air-fighting skills, and his reputation as a combat leader.

Olds was promoted to brigadier general after returning from Vietnam but did not hold another major command. The remainder of his career was spent in non-operational positions, as Commandant of Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy and as an official in the Air Force Inspector General’s Office. His inability to rise higher as a general officer is attributed to both his maverick views and his penchant for drinking.

Olds had a highly publicized career and life, including marriage to Hollywood actress Ella Raines. As a young man he was also recognized for his athletic prowess in both high school and college, being named an All-American as a lineman in college football. Olds expressed his philosophy regarding fighter pilots in the quote: “There are pilots and there are pilots; with the good ones, it is inborn. You can’t teach it. If you are a fighter pilot, you have to be willing to take risks.”

Awards as Command pilot.

•Air Force Cross
•Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
•Silver Star, three oak leaf clusters
•Legion of Merit
•Distinguished Flying Cross, five oak leaf clusters.
•Air Medal, with 39 oak leaf clusters.
•Air Force Commendation Medal
•Presidential Unit Citation, with oak leaf cluster •Outstanding Unit Award, with two oak leaf clusters
•American Defense Service Medal
•American Campaign Medal
•European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with six campaign stars
•World War II Victory Medal
•National Defense Service Medal, with second service star.
•Vietnam Service Medal
•Air Force Longevity Service Award, with six oak leaf clusters
•Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Medal
•Légion d'honneur
•Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom); •Croix de Guerre (France), with star
•Vietnam Air Gallantry Cross with Gold Wings •Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
•Vietnam Air Force Distinguished Service Order, 2nd Class
•Vietnam Air Force Meritorious Service Medal

He was awarded a fourth Silver Star for leading a three-aircraft low-level bombing strike on March 30, 1967, and the Air Force Cross for an attack on the Paul Doumer Bridge in Hanoi on August 11, one of five awarded to Air Force pilots for that mission. He flew his final combat mission over North Vietnam on September 23, 1967.

Air Force Cross Citation
Colonel Robin Olds

U.S. Air Force
Date Of Action: August 11, 1967

“The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Colonel Robin Olds (AFSN: 0-26046), United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force while serving as Strike Mission Commander in the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, Ubon Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, against the Paul Doumer Bridge, a major north-south transportation link on Hanoi’s Red River in North Vietnam, on 11 August 1967. On that date, Colonel Olds led his strike force of eight F-4C aircraft against a key railroad and highway bridge in North Vietnam. Despite intense, accurately directed fire, multiple surface-to-air missile attacks on his force, and continuous harassment by MiG fighters defending the target, Colonel Olds, with undaunted determination, indomitable courage, and professional skill, led his force through to help destroy this significant bridge. As a result the flow of war materials into this area was appreciably reduced. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Colonel Olds reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.”

Brig Gen Robin Olds died on June 14, 2007. He was 84 years old.

No Sweat

A five point star lay at the crest of his collarbone, inked with careful, needlepoint precision from tail to tip. The guardsmen had seen dozens of them, carried by inmates at this rotting old Gridanian dungeon of a prison as a sign of status; a high-ranking thief among the Shroud’s scattered bandit-gangs. 

They’d never exactly seen one inked so well as the one on this blonde, sun-simmered miqo’te’s skin. It didn’t fit. Frankly, neither did he - that’s why he’d found himself, for the third time in a week, with a black eye, a ripped-off shirt, with his arms chained behind him and his indignant, glowering expression face-to-face with the prison’s Warden, a hefty, scar-tattered elezen man with one eye.

The warden looked like he’d lost more fights than most men had ever been in; like he carried more scar tissue than regular tissue. He carried himself with a hard-nosed dignity, his jaw rigid as rock and his expression a permanent scowl; his uniform, unimpressive silks of black adorned with only a single golden badge at the chest to indicate his position, fit molded to his body as if they’d been tailored to barely fit his considerable, muscular bulk within. Ragged gray hair hung like a lion’s mane along his head, across his jaw and to his chin. He didn’t wear an eyepatch over the lost eye - the socket had simply been battered shut, collapsed by whatever crushing blow he’d taken to the face.

Most noticeable of all, though, he was out of place. Just as out of place as the cocky, black-eyed Seeker sat upon the rickety stool on the other side of the warden’s desk. A man bearing this many scars didn’t belong here. He belonged on the field of war, dying under the thrust of a Garlean’s blade or some such. He didn’t belong here, staring begrudgingly at troublesome convicts.

“Three times,” a gruff voice finally quaked from the elezen’s throat, like the tremble of an earthquake through a rocky canyon. “Three times.” The words hung in the rather unremarkable chamber, gleaming fireflies pulsating bright with echoes briefly before glinting away again. Inked arms, a bloodied nose, scar-scattered skin and an indignant glare of muted, almost petulantly childish rage on his expression, the prisoner held his chin aloft and took in the increasingly-familiar surroundings - a great oak cabinet behind a crumbling wooden desk, stacks of yellowed, moldering documents beneath oddly-shaped rocks, the most rudimentary sort of paperweights. A musk of rotten food and feeding fungus and vibrant moss choked the air, with sunlight peering through only a single haphazard hole at ceiling-height. 

Shifting in his creaking old wooden chair, the elezen’s gray eyes ran along the scrawlings on the paper cockeyed in front of him, two young men in heavy blackened armor flanking the door. The prisoner’s eyes scanned the only thing worth looking at in this hole of an office - lofted a good eight feet into the air, trophies and medal cases gathered dust atop the oak cabinet, with one particularly peculiar piece standing out - a lockbox. Jeweled and colored far too ostentatious for the man at the desk, its gilded lock gleamed as a few beams of sun bounced through the prison-barred hole above the desk, before dusky clouds swallowed the glow as quickly as it had come.

“A’kaan– it just says A’kaan,” the elezen grumbled, fists tightened, laid out across the table. “Don’t you bloody breeders have last names?”

A’kaan’ just wriggled angrily, the snarl in his expression silent but palpable.

“Burn your tongue on some sandworm meat?” the elezen asked, his eye twitching.

Again, A’kaan just stared, defiant.

“I don’t make speeches, breeder,” he huffed, the chair squealed beneath the broad-shouldered man’s weight. “Wouldn’t care how many times a week you swung fists with the other animals down in the hole, but when you swing on my men three times in a week, things get ugly for you, quick.”

“Ugly as you?” A’kaan broke his silence sharp, like the knife’s slice across supple flesh. The elezen tried to muster a smile, though with the dozens of jagged scars cut across his face, it looked more demented than anything.

“I’ve cleaned scum worth far more than you from the heel of my boot, breeder,” the old man grumbled. “Thieves, killers, miscreants, stuffed like rats into this sinking ship - and I’m at the helm. Don’t think I’m above drowning every last one of you stains of pelican-shite if you so much as look sideways at me.”

“I’ve been here three times in a week, and all you’ve done is talk,” A’kaan bit back, drawing his gaze upward - towards a dusty display case carrying an array of tarnished Wood Wailer medals. “What’d you do to earn those, junior scout-ranger? Build the best campfire? Sell the most pistachio bread for the fundraiser?” The towering elezen’s response came slow at first - another stewing, demented grin.

“Valor, aptitude, bravery,” he grimaced.

“Which one of those got you the job here?” A’kaan taunted. “Hiding behind a desk. Like a coward.”

The elezen chuckled. With a nod, one of the guardsmen swaggered up behind the miqo’te, grinning sadistically; with a quick flick of the keys at his wrist, the chains tumbled free of A’kaan’s hands. Eyes wide and gaze flicked towards the warden, he notices the barrel-chested brute advancing on him with a slow, deliberate stride.

“What? Do you want a hug?” A’kaan sniped, shooting up from the stool with a bounce in his step.

“I thought I’d give you a fighting chance,” the warden smiled that demented smile, knuckles crackling with a twist of each wrist.

“I hope you hit harder than those two half-witted goosenecks,” A’kaan glanced over his shoulder. The swoosh of wind cut across his ears and he acted on honed instinct, dodging at the most fortuitous second; the warden’s fists, like chiseled granite boulders, swung one-two at the swiftly-eluding Seeker.

The miqo’te, of course, had no interest in keeping this fight on its feet - against a tower of meat and muscle like this, he had no real choice. A’kaan charged, and while he clearly didn’t match the strength of the warden, he was not but a head or two shorter, and lanky arms and strong legs he wrapped himself around the monolithic mountain-man’s chest and pushed.

The scuffle didn’t last. Bodies twined together, it took one good shove and a fist like a hammer against the scoundrel Seeker’s cheek. Lights bloomed explosive across his eyes while the stunning strike shuddered along his spine, twisting his neck and sending him, dazed, clattering to the floor. He gasped for breath, the blow having momentarily shocked the air from his lungs, and shocked the ‘oh, fuck, i need to breathe’ sense from his rattled brain long enough for him not to notice that, fuck, he needed to breathe.

When the ringing stopped at the grogginess came back, all he could feel were two arms dragging his leaden weight of a body along rough cobblestones, and the echo of a rumbling laugh shaking the walls of the darkened prison.

“In the hole, scumbag,” one of the two guards hoisting him through the dark grunted. In unison, they tossed A’kaan’s weight into the bleak darkness of solitary isolation - no lights, no windows; a straw cot to lay on, gruel to eat. No one to speak to, no one to listen to except the skittering rats.

Grumbling miserably in the darkness, A’kaan dragged his ragged body along the musty stone, slumping half-dead atop the muck-stained pillow pushed into the corner of the cell, the loud, ironwrought clatter of a gate slamming shut barely louder than the hum of pain still whirring in his ears.

A glint of torchlight flicked across his face while he curled fetal against the blackened corner, and the astute eye could see just the most fleeting of expressions chasing across his face.

Embarrassment? Anger? Frustration? Fear?

Nope. A smirk.

His shaking hand snuck into the pocket of his tattered white slops, and his fingers fondled the prize secreted away during the brief meeting of boisterous bodies and bruised faces.

A key. A single, golden key, attached to a small copper wire. Bright, bejeweled; far too ostentatious for a man like that.

Braden had gotten himself into this mess when he’d heard tell of an impossible job. Nothing’s impossible, and proving that was almost worth more than the boatloads of gil he’d make once he finished this. Lots of brave idiots had gotten themselves locked in prisons for life trying to break in to prison - but the Seeker knew a much easier way to get his paws on the warden’s key - which his shady employer had promised him, ‘only one key exists, and he keeps it on himself, at all times.’

Manufacture a fake identity, get himself caught for a petty crime, and make some noise on the inside. And it had worked wonderfully.

Bray knew the score now. When the warden dressed down for bed, he’d notice the key missing. That gave the smirking scoundrel a few minutes to pry himself free of solitary confinement, sneak through the twisting halls into the warden’s office, snatch the lockbox’s contents, start a prison riot, and slip out in the chaos.

No sweat, right?..



Captain Andrew Michael Pedersen-Keel, 28, of Madison, Conn., died Mar. 11, of wounds received from small-arms fire in Wardak Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C., and was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.Pedersen-Keel was commissioned as an Infantry Officer after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy in 2006. After graduation he attended the Infantry Officer Basic Course and the U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Ga. Following his training, he was assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division (Light) at Fort Hood, Texas. In June 2008, Pedersen-Keel deployed to Afghanistan for 12 months with the 3rd BCT where he served as a company executive officer and platoon leader. Upon completion of the deployment, he volunteered for the Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course. After completing the Special Forces Qualification Course and language training, he was assigned to the 1st Bn., 3rd SFG (A) as a detachment commander in August 2012. He deployed with the unit to Afghanistan later that year.

His military education includes U.S. Army Airborne School, U.S. Army Ranger School, Combat Lifesaver Course, Combatives Level I Course, Sniper Employment Leaders Course, Pathfinder Course, Maneuver Captain’s Career Course, the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Course, and the Special Forces Detachment Officer Qualification Course.

Pedersen-Keel’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (2), the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal,the Air Assault Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge, the Pathfinder Badge, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Ranger Tab, and the Special Forces Tab.

Since the mid to late eighties, an unusual phenomenon had been noticed: people who had never served in the military were declaring themselves to be Vietnam veterans, and real veterans were claiming to have served with elite units to enhance their service.
One study noted that while thirty-five hundred soldiers were said to have served as LRRP/ Rangers over the course of the war, more than five thousand veterans have since claimed to have served in LRRP/ Ranger units.
So it was no surprise when attendees to the weekend event showed up with hats, berets, T-shirts, and uniform jackets bearing logos or patches of elite units. There were also a few attendees dressed in battle-dress uniforms of foreign military units, including those of the French Foreign Legion.
Behind the Lines magazine, the journal of U.S. Military Special Operations, had set up a booth at the show, and its executive editor, Gary Linderer, had invited its editors and contributors to attend. Among those at the booth during the long weekend were Gary Linderer, Kenn Miller, Reynel Martinez, Larry Chambers, Greg Walker, Doc Norton—all veterans who’d served in elite units—and others who were talking with veterans, answering questions, telling war stories, or signing their books.
As the magazine’s “humorist,” I was there as well, looking for unusual stories.
One advantage of events like that is that I knew I wouldn’t have to search very hard to find them. That time I was lucky because the story came to me.
“Magazine, huh?” one visitor asked, stopping in front of the table and checking out the booth and staring at a stack of back issues of Behind the Lines.
"Yes, we are,” I said. “Here! Take a complimentary copy.” I handed him one.
Linderer and Martinez were taking a coffee break while Kenn Miller and I manned the booth. However, much of Miller’s attention was taken up by a Taiwanese film crew whose members were surprised and pleased to find an American who was able to answer their questions in their native tongue. Two of them, in fact; Miller is fluent in several Chinese dialects.
"What do you do at the magazine?” the visitor asked, studying my name tag. “A senior editor,” I said, “which just means I’m old. You a vet?”
"Nam,” he replied. I nodded. He was overweight and balding and wore what hair remained in a ponytail beneath a battered green beret.
"Special Forces, huh?” I said. This time he nodded. “You with the Group or SOG?” I asked.
He shook his head. “Green berets,” he said.
I sighed. He was dressed in jeans, frayed jungle boots, a T-shirt that read HONK IF YOU’RE HORNY, and a jungle fatigue shirt with a variety of patches sewn on the sleeves. There were two colorful rows of combat ribbons that said he had seen combat but that he didn’t know which order it came in. That was his first mistake. The red-white-and-blue-striped Silver Star award was placed after an Air Medal, below a Purple Heart, and next to a Good Conduct Medal. His Silver Star award also had a V device indicating that the award was for valor, which was another mistake, because the Silver Star is awarded for gallantry, which in the military scope of things ranks a step above valor. It is not awarded with a V device. A blue-and-white Combat Infantryman’s Badge was pinned just above the ribbons with a flat silver oblong badge. The flat badge had a triangle in its center, and I didn’t recognize it at first. Then I smiled seconds later, realizing that I had seen it on the uniforms of the officers who manned the bridge on the television series Star Trek, either generation. The combat patch on his right sleeve was an olive drab subdued MAC-V insignia, while a Special Forces arrowhead patch was sewn on the left sleeve. On one shirt jacket pocket was a death’s-head skull; an ace of spades was sewn on the opposite pocket. A number of Vietnam War–related pins were spread out across the pocket flaps and lapels like shrapnel from an exploding surplus store, but it was his green beret that caught most of my attention. The weathered beret had a Special Forces insignia, a French paracommando crest, and the flat-black rank pin of a Marine lance corporal. The crests, patches, other insignia, and beret were an unusual mix of services, units, and time warps.
It was happening again.
Earlier that morning while Linderer, Miller, and I were seated at the table at the booth, a man approached wearing an army fatigue shirt with a generic 75th Infantry Ranger scroll on the right shoulder as a combat patch. Since there wasn’t a division or field force patch beneath it, there was no way of knowing which company he had served in during the war.
"I was a Ranger in Nam,” he said. Linderer and Miller looked up.
"Who were you with?” asked Linderer, meaning which unit and where. It was the standard greeting ritual veterans go through with other veterans to establish common ground and a bond.
"The Second Batt,” said the man. “The Second Batt” meant the 2d Ranger Battalion. Linderer smiled. Miller, on the other hand, was sneering, as I pointed out that there wasn’t a 2d Ranger Battalion in Vietnam.
"In fact, the battalions didn’t exist back then, just companies,” Linderer added, smiling.
Miller smiled, too, but it was the deranged grin of a pit bull sizing up a poodle. “You worthless piece of shit! I ought to cut your legs off,” he said, with as much diplomacy as he could muster.
Kenn Miller is one of only a handful of LRRP/ Rangers to have served two and a half years with the 101st Airborne in behind-the-lines combat. He has little patience for “wanna-be” elite combat veterans and a pathological disgust for those who’d wear a 75th Ranger combat patch pretending to have earned it.
Linderer was still shaking his head in disgust as the make-believe LRRP/ Ranger veteran quickly excused himself, realizing that he had somewhere else to be.
Throughout the previous evening and much of that morning, we had encountered other such “make-believe” veterans, including a French Foreign Legionnaire who couldn’t speak French, a navy SEAL or two who couldn’t remember which team they served with, and other pretend Rangers who wore the 75th Ranger scroll company patch over the wrong division or field force patch.
—  “Very Crazy, G.I.! Strange but True Stories of the Vietnam War,” by Kregg P. Jorgensen

2nd highest scoring American ace (38 Victories) Thomas McGuire with his wife Marilynn “Pudgy” Giesler who he married in December 1942.

All of McGuire’s P-38s were named Pudgy after his wife.

((But can we take a moment to appreciate how badass and strong Pema is?

Like, I see a bunch of posts about Korra and Lin and Asami, and those are all wonderful, but let’s not forget:

      That time Pema gave birth in the middle of a battle/violent invasion–of her city and her home.

          Or that, while she was in labor in the middle of a war zone, she was still worrying about her other children and wanting to go help them?

             Or that like, fifteen minutes after giving birth (among the top most painful and traumatic things a human body can go through) she was told she needed to flee from her home because people wanted to kidnap and do awful things to her family. 

               Or that time she was kidnapped and separated from her family the same day she gave birth and had to endure who knows what and all the terrible fear of what would happen to her children. 

Or the fact that, after all this–after giving birth in a highly stressful situation, being captured by the enemy, fearing for her family’s lives, and having to escape a prison–she stays up all night to make sure Korra is okay. 

This woman’s a pillar of strength and kindness. We need more Pema love, ASAP.))

Ensign Frank Andrew ‘Andy’ Jagger of Southampton, N.Y. describes a 'kill’ made over Rabaul, on the island of New Britain, to Lt. H.A. March of Washington, D.C. at Bougainville airstrip. The pilots are of VF-17 Squadron. February 1944.

(Nb. the VF-17 War Diary lists Jagger and March as making kills in January 1944 and nothing in February - (March x 2 Mitsubishi A6M Type 0 “Zekes” and Jagger x 1 'Zeke")

Mr, Jagger is the subject of this iconic World War II photograph depicting him, a Navy pilot and ensign at the time, recounting to fellow airmen his aerial combat victory over a Japanese pilot.
The 1944 photograph has been published in many major newspapers, magazines and history books, and it hangs in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. “By Navy estimates, this photo has been reprinted more often than any other photo of a Navy pilot,” a sign above the museum display reads.

He flew an F4U Corsair and became a member of the 'Jolly Rogers’ VF-17 squadron aboard the USS Bunker Hill aircraft carrier. The Jolly Rogers were later stationed in the Solomon Islands and became the top-scoring Navy fighter squadron at that time.
Andy Jagger was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and seven Air Medals.

In 1953 during the Korean War he served in Pensacola, Florida, where he once again trained Navy pilots.

He passed away at his home in Virginia Beach on December 26 2009 at the age of 91.

(Photo and caption: National Archives and Records Administration Still Pictures Unit. - 475024)