Finally Recognized for Being There - Overdue Thanks
The following is from the FACNET in response to finding out that long overdue awards had been finally awarded or were in process.
Date: Tue, 3 Feb 2004 00:27:43 -0600
From: "Clay" - firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: RE: Overdue awards
I really appreciate the kind words expressed here and I can't say how much it means to me to hear it from you guys out there who REALLY know what could happen at times like that. I told Maj Lattin and Capt. Leonard, (those were their ranks when I knew them), that what really matters to me is that after all these years, they still think enough of John (Sacco) and I to go to this trouble for us. I can never express what it meant to me to find out what they were trying to do. When I found out last year, I was at work at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville and it hit me so hard that I had to "go outside" for a while. I was flooded with emotions and memories and simply wanted to be alone for a while. Thank you George and Mike, I can never express my gratitude to you.
I was talking to someone yesterday and we got on the subject of the "old days". I told this person that in all my life since, I have never done anything that comes close to the feeling I used to get from the job of radio operator in Vietnam. It could be, at times one of the most satisfying jobs in the world, and at other times, the most heart wrenching. It was a "high" when you knew you had been a part of the saving of lives and it could be the lowest of lows when you heard someone die. When we'd hear that "someone was down", then hear that "crash and burn" phrase used, it was such a helpless feeling to be listening and know that no one made it out. I heard it used several times to describe loaches, hueys, an F-4, and the C-7's that went down at Dak Seang.
I also told this person that the bunch of people I worked with over there were the best bunch of people I had ever been around, anywhere, anytime. You "pilits" hung your butts out every day, twice a day and did a really amazing job considering the conditions and restraints you worked under. At the time, we were all basically "kids", especially in our eyes today, and handled the job in a very professional manner. No one, not involved with the "Close Air Support" game, can understand what all went on during an airstrike and the many dangers that everyone involved faced. I have nothing but the highest respect for all you guys, pilots, cc's, r/o's and the ground power guys that sometimes were with us. Not one time did I ever hear anyone complain about having to do their job; now about the "working conditions", that's a different story. I think the line that hit me the most was from the movie "Blackhawk Down". When the guy tells the other toward the end that "what it all comes down to in the end, is that you didn't do it for God, Mother, or your Country". "You did for the guy standing next to you". To me, that says it all. We all did it for each other and were willing to put our lives on the line for each other. That created a "bond" between us that will never go away. Although I've never met but one person who posts here, I feel the same way about each and every one of you. You are my "Brothers" (and sisters too), we are a family, and like most familys, we can disagree but we'd still go to the ends of the earth for each other.
I salute each of you and hopefully some day I'll be able to down a few in person with you.
SGT, Radio Operator
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2004 10:00 PM
Subject: [FACNET] RE: Overdue awards
From a former SSgt, THANKS.
As a vet or more FOLs than I can name at the moment, it always seemed the EM's were kind of forgotten when the Awards and Dec weenies made their rounds. I, personally, never did anything of note, but some of my buds (CC's, RO's and Gun Plumbers) hung their asses out pretty far while under fire and we all went home without so much as a Commendation Medal from the 19th or 22nd.
A Special Thanks to you, Claude Newland and all of the Officers who have gone out of their way to recognize the actions of Sgt Socco, Airman Peacock, Rustic Yankee Rog and any others I may have missed.
You FACers are always bragging about having the best job in the AF. Well, the Enlisted Swine (as my very good, departed, friend "Amos the Famous" Parker called me) I served in the TASS's with felt the same way. I had the best friggin job possible and worked with the best friggin people.
This is just the latest example.
Larry (Chance) Hughes
19th & 22nd TASS
I agree with you 100%! Seldom does a day go by when I don't recall what happened to me Oct. 12, 2002 at the Rustic reunion banquet, in the presence of many Rustics, several of whom I'd flown with some 30 years earlier. They and many others were responsible for events such as that one and the one to be held this coming Feb. 8th for Sgt. John Socco. With the support from fellow warriors, officers and enlisted alike, many of us "Enlisted Swine" got to have "Our day", albeit some 30 plus years later. Every now and then, I'll go through my momentos of that nite in San Antonio.the pics, copies of my three short, very short speeches ( hell, since I had the opportunity) and all the remaining memories actually still present. I can just imagine what John Sacco is going through right about now and I'm praying that Clay Peacock will get his due as well. Hand salute to my fellow comrades in arms!