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Uplifting Stories of our Veterans and Military

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Uplifting Stories of our Veterans and Military

Share your along lifes highways uplifting moments of positive reflections on our Military and Veterans that you have experienced

Members: 14
Latest Activity: May 3, 2012

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USAF Col Flo Yoste - My Hero

Started by E.G. - ND's Creator/Admin. Last reply by Cora Nov 22, 2008. 1 Reply

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Comment by NavyDads Admin (Paul) on May 3, 2012 at 11:14am

Comment by fishdad on April 14, 2012 at 3:34pm
Following is a post by the mother of Nick Vogt. Nick is a 25 year old Lt. who was gravely injured in November of 2011. He lost both legs and one finger and received more units of blood than any troop in American history. Nick has been bravely fighting, with his parents by his side, since then. He inspires thousands of folks every day..as do his family. Hope this blesses you...
Sheila Vogt posted: I have to share this with everyone who has been following Nick's story. We were outside yesterday enjoying the beautiful weather here in Richmond. Nick had been in his wheelchair for 3 hours and was having a lot of discomfort, but I still thought some fresh air would do him some good. We were talking about different things (mostly about his future), and another individual came up in our conversation who has more severe injuries than Nick. Nick looked me and said, "Mom, I am so thankful for what I have. All I'm missing are my legs . . . it could have been so much worse." Well, folks, I had to look away because I knew I would start to cry. For those of you who don't know, Nick's amputations are very high. He is missing the entire leg and his right leg is only 4 - 5". His rehab will be very difficult and he has a lot of pain, but it amazes me that he can look past all that and only focus on the good. He still has no idea why people tell him he's inspirational, and why people thank him for his sacrifice. He simply says, "I was just doing my job. No different than any other soldier." There is one thing that Nick's TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) did not change and that is his courage, perseverance, and love for life. For that we are soooooo thankful.

Comment by NavyDads Admin (Paul) on April 14, 2012 at 11:09am

Comment by NavyDads Admin (Paul) on March 17, 2012 at 10:08am

saw Cora had posted this on FB- it's worth watching.....

Comment by fishdad on November 6, 2011 at 7:36pm

Thanks for sharing that Paul. 

 

Comment by NavyDads Admin (Paul) on October 28, 2011 at 9:20am

I have a rather unusual post to make and it probably deserves some explanation.  As many of you long term members know, my daughter Kat served on the USS Abraham Lincoln, CVN 72, as a Mass Communication Specialist Third Class, until her discharge in 2010. Her chief on the Lincoln, Joel Huval is a rather interesting individual that I had the pleasure of meeting earlier this year when I visited Kat in Washington.  Joel is no longer on the Lincoln- he is stationed in Rhode Island where is is currently part of a team that is completely rewriting the MC training manual and curriculum.  Earlier today Joel posted the following on Facebook...it demonstrates the extraordinary effect that people can have on our lives...that extraordinary power of fate or divine intervention that sometimes aligns in just a certain way that allows people to cross paths and effect profound change in our lives.

 

Four Days With Pops - written 30 OCT 2009

by Joel Huval on Friday, October 28, 2011 at 6:04am

Posted in your honor, Pops!

Like most people, I received a call out of the blue while I was at work one morning from a man with a gruff voice and a presence that could be felt through the receiver.

“Hey, Shipmate it’s Pops.”

“Who?”

“Pops. Pops Schultz. I just read your post on Together We Served. I liked what you said.”

I joined the military social site Togetherweserved in February 2007. By March, I found myself having regular conversations with several Chief Petty Officers in the “Goat Locker” forum. Retired Command Master Chief Christopher “Pops” Schultz was among the regulars. I was genuinely surprised by the phone call and can’t recall much else of it, but it was the first of many, of which I recall most of the latter conversations verbatim.

The most important was the invitation to visit him and his family for a few days in Ridgecrest, Calif., as I made my transit from Va. Beach to Everett, Wash., in the summer of 2007. I told him I would consider it and didn’t give it much more thought. Over the next few months, the calls between us were more frequent. The conversations online, although light and usually pretty funny, were also bringing us closer as friends. Although the trip to visit him was nearly 800 miles out of the way, I said I would stay at his place for a few days.

What happened next impacted just about everything I see and do in this world. A few days before leaving Va. Beach I got a call from James Tecson, another retired Master Chief. “Hey, I just want to let you know that what you’re doing isn’t just a good, Chiefly thing to do, it’s a good Christian thing to do.”

I didn’t really know what he meant. I’m not the most religious person on the planet. I also never took the time to really understand all the problems Pops was having. Our conversations were usually light and silly. I knew he had a few physical issues, but didn’t know much else. Then I read up on Pops. He was an Old Salt, a tried and true Sailor and Chief. A Viet Nam vet who served in some very tough patrols. He eventually became one of the Navy’s first professional career counselors and later served and retired as a Command Master Chief New Year’s Day, 1989. Years later, the results of his service and sacrifice became apparent. He had complications relating to Agent Orange exposure. He suffered from diabetes, pulmonary fibrosis, congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease and pulmonary hypertension. Even still I had no idea how much pain and inconvenience he suffered on a daily basis. To this day, the day of his passing, I still cannot begin to fathom any of that. I met Pops at a Walmart not far from his house.

Ridgecrest is like an oasis town in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Pops exited his much-bragged-about, brand new Toyota RAV4 with his oxygen tank in hand.

That’s when Jim Tecson’s comment began to make sense for the first time. Pops shook my hand, gave me a hug, said he thought I would be bigger and then told me to follow him home. We got to his house just in time for him to lower the Colors on his front lawn at 1700, just as he did every day –from 0800 to 1700 his flag flew proudly in the front yard of this home. He grilled me up a steak, poured me and himself, yes he cheated a little, a nice glass of scotch and talked until his wife, Tess, came home from her job as a nurse at the local hospital. They are the perfect couple.

Over the next four days this man pushed himself beyond his limits to show me everything from Mt. Whitney to the Manzanar War Relocation Center and Lone Pine, the site where many of the first cowboy and western movies were filmed. Throughout these adventures were the times he had to stop to give himself insulin and change his oxygen tanks –the reminders of his condition I tried to block out my entire visit.

When we weren’t sight-seeing, he filled hours with sea stories from his 24 years of service. Stories that included monkeys and chickens running free about a ship shortly after pulling out of an Asian port, and stories about his personal heroes who had long since passed, which would bring tears to his eyes. Not all were sea stories. He was a wealth of wisdom and knowledge in leadership and could have held seminars on how to be a great, well-respected person in any organization or community. Much of what he talked about immediately changed many of my behaviors and attitudes. Of all the places we visited, none compare to our trip to Albertson’s.

He had introduced me to so many people up to this point. His daughters and family , we visited and had dinner with his son, Chris and some friends. Met a few of his neighbors… I’m from Jersey. If someone tells me we’re going to Albertson’s I’m going to think of people… the Albertson’s.

Pops took me to a grocery store –Albertson’s. Until this point, about the third day of my visit, we’d had gone out for sushi, we had breakfast at Denny’s… and EVERYONE knew him. It seemed everywhere we went, people knew him, and asked if I was the “friend from Virginia he’d been talking about.”

Albertson’s was a lesson in just how great a man Pops Schultz truly IS, even in his passing. He was the Command Master Chief of Albertson’s grocery store. He knew every manager of every department by name. He knew what sports their kids played. He knew EVERYTHING about ALL OF THEM. And they all asked the same question about me being the friend from Virginia, to which he replied “he’s from Virginia, but this is my other son.”

Pops became my Pops at that moment. Everything I could ever think to admire about any one was a complete stranger only a few months before. In three days it seemed like we knew everything about each other. This man is my hero. I left on the morning of the fourth day. I had an 1,100 mile journey still ahead of me to Everett. I cried. I cried from the time I left Ridgecrest until I reached Portland, Ore. I cried so much I had to pull over. I had to make phone calls. I called Jim Tecson and cried my eyes out. I called Penny Tardona and cried my eyes out. I frequently teach classes on the Lincoln about leadership and character. I always tell this story. Some days I can get through it without crying, most days I can't. I’m crying right now.

This man, Christopher Moore Schultz knew more about living life to the fullest than most other people will ever come close to understanding. This man was dying –for years and never went a day afraid or deterred to face the challenge ahead. He kept his sense of humor even when things were at their worst.

In an email update from his wife Tess, she captured the essence of the character her husband amazingly contained for 63 years in a singular human body: “Yes it has been hard and I truly thought he was dying two weeks ago. He thought so too...we made arrangement with the mortuary before he went to the hospital. He was telling them that all he wanted was to be thrown into the back of the truck, taken to the crematorium and thrown into the fire. They told him they were sorry but by law they had to transport him in a container so he picked out a cardboard box that looks like what you'd do your moving in. They were so compassionate and quiet at first but he got them laughing and it made the ordeal much easier to take. When they asked what kind of container he wanted his ashes in he told them an old cigar box will do. He said that he won't go out without his sense of humor. Crazy guy....but I love him.”

God bless you, Pops! Enjoy your rest! You will always be missed and never forgotten!

Comment by NavyDads Admin (Paul) on September 10, 2011 at 8:41am

Get To Know Duane "Smokey" Jackson Navy Veteran and the spirit of New York

Comment by NavyDads Admin (Paul) on August 19, 2011 at 9:07pm

Pilot of Plane who carried our Dear SEAL Brothers back to Dover. It is a MUST Read.
by William Daugherty on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 7:03am

Written by a C-17 Pilot flying the Navy Seals back to Dover AFB.

==================================================

I had an unforgettable day yesterday and wanted to share it with you. I
know we've all sat around and discussed in detail why we do what we do and if we will be willing to continue to do what we do day in and day out regardless of deployments, retirement decisions, job opportunities, missed birthdays, missed holidays, etc. This is something I wanted to share and you were the people that came to mind. It's another reason I continue to serve. I guess because many others do and sacrifice a lot more, some even their lives.

My crew was alerted yesterday to find that our mission had changed. We were now a backup to a high priority mission originating from Afghanistan. When I asked where we would be going the answer was "back to the states". Later I learned our destination was Dover.

I was the aircraft commander for one of two C-17s that transferred the Chinook helicopter crash soldiers back home. The crew that started this mission in Afghanistan would end up running out of crew duty day and need another crew to continue the soldier's journey. We just happened to be available. After being alerted and going through our normal sequence, I found myself at the foot of the aircraft steps.

Before I took my first step upward I noticed a transfer case close to the door. I had only seen one in pictures. The American Flag was tucked smartly, folded and secured on top. I paused at the bottom of the stairs, took a deep breath and continued up with my mind and eyes focusing on making it to the next ladder leading to the cockpit. However, as I entered, I couldn't help but notice the remaining nineteen transfer cases in the cargo compartment. The entire cargo compartment was filled with identical transfer cases with American Flags. I made my way up to the cockpit and received a briefing from the previous aircraft commander. After the briefing we exchanged a handshake and the other pilot was on his way.

I felt a need to ensure the crew focused on their normal duties. I
instructed the other two pilots to began the preflight. I went back down into the cargo compartment to see what needed to be done and find the paperwork I needed to sign. The cargo compartment was now filled with numerous people from the mortuary affairs squadron. They were busy  adjusting, resetting and overall preparing the cases for their continued flight. Before they began I asked who was in charge because I knew there was paperwork I needed to sign. I finally found a Staff Sergeant who was working an issue with the paperwork. After it was complete, he brought it up to the cockpit for me to review and sign.

There are moments in life I will never forget. For me, it's the days my son and daughter were born. Another occurred five months ago when I had to deliver the unthinkable news to a mother that her son was killed in Afghanistan and although I didn't anticipate another day like that this soon, yesterday was another. I looked at the paperwork I was signing and realized the magnitude of the day. I glanced over the paperwork and signed.


In a way, I felt I had taken ownership of these fallen soldiers. It was now my duty to ensure they make it home. After confirming the preflight was complete and the aircraft was fueled, I went outside to start my walk-around. As I walked down the steps, a bus had parked in front of the aircraft and unloaded eleven passengers. The passengers were fellow SEAL team members who were escorting the fallen back to the states. I stood at the front of the aircraft and watched them board.


Every one of them walked off the bus with focus in their eyes and
determination in their steps; just as I imagine they do when they go on a mission. I made eye contact with the lead SEAL, nodded my head in respect and he nodded back.

Finishing my walk-around, I stopped at the bottom of the stairs. I looked up into the cargo compartment; two American Flags and one SEAL Team Six flag hung from the top of the cargo compartment. Three of twenty transfer cases visible; one with an American Flag and two with Afghan flags. I looked up at my aircraft and saw, "United States Air Force" painted on the side and I stood trying to take it all in. I wanted to make certain that I never forget these images. That I never forget the faces of the SEALS, the smell of the cargo compartment or the sun slowly rising over the landscape. It's
important that I don't forget. We need to honor the dead, honor the
sacrifice of the fallen.

I understand my role in getting these fallen soldiers home is insignificant compared to the lives they lived and the things they did for our country. Most of it we will never know. All I know is every American should see what I've seen. Every American should see the bus loads of families as they exit the freeway headed for Dover AFB to reunite with their fallen or witness the amount of time, effort, people and equipment that go into ensuring our fallen have a honorable return.

The very next day we took the same aircraft back overseas. We had leveled the aircraft at our cruise altitude and I walked down to the cargo compartment. No more American Flags hung from the ceiling. All the transfer cases were gone.

Instead I watched a father lay with his son, cradled on his chest, on the same spot that only yesterday held a fallen soldier. I watched a young girl, clutching a teddy bear, sleeping quietly where the fallen had laid. I realized so many Americans have no idea where the fallen lay.

I'm honored to be one that does.

Comment by Tim Meyer on March 14, 2011 at 10:04am

I just read this post that Paul posted a while back and I just wanted to tell everyone that HBO did a movie call "Taking Chance" that follows an escort and his friend home. This was an amazing story and that movie is an amazing video.

 

This was sent ot me by a Vietman veteran......

MAY GOD BLESS THIS AIRLINE CAPTAIN:

He writes: My lead flight attendant came to me and said, "We have an H.R. on this flight."
(H.R. stands for human remains.) "Are they military?" I asked.

'Yes', she said.

'Is there an escort?' I asked.

'Yes, I already assigned him a seat'.

'Would you please tell him to come to the flight deck. You can board him early," I said..

A short while later, a young army sergeant entered the flight deck. He was the image of the perfectly dressed soldier. He introduced himself and I asked him about his soldier. The escorts of these fallen soldiers talk about them as if they are still alive and still with us.

'My soldier is on his way back to Virginia ', he said. He proceeded to answer my questions, but offered no words.

I asked him if there was anything I could do for him and he said no. I told him that he had the toughest job in the military and that I appreciated the work that he does for the families of our fallen soldiers. The first officer and I got up out of our seats to shake his hand. He left the flight deck to find his seat.

We completed our preflight checks, pushed back and performed an uneventful departure. About 30 minutes into our flight I received a call from the lead flight attendant in the cabin. 'I just found out the family of the soldier we are carrying, is on board', she said. She then proceeded to tell me that the father, mother, wife and 2-year old daughter were escorting their son, husband, and father home. The family was upset because they were unable to see the container that the soldier was in before we left. We were on our way to a major hub at which the family was going to wait four hours for the connecting flight home to Virginia .

The father of the soldier told the flight attendant that knowing his son was below him in the cargo compartment and being unable to see him was too much for him and the family to bear. He had asked the flight attendant if there was anything that could be done to allow them to see him upon our arrival. The family wanted to be outside by the cargo door to watch the soldier being taken off the airplane.. I could hear the desperation in the flight attendants voice when she asked me if there was anything I could do.. 'I'm on it', I said. I told her that I would get back to her.

Airborne communication with my company normally occurs in the form of e-mail like messages. I decided to bypass this system and contact my flight dispatcher directly on a secondary radio. There is a radio operator in the operations control center who connects you to the telephone of the dispatcher. I was in direct contact with the dispatcher.. I explained the situation I had on board with the family and what it was the family wanted. He said he understood and that he would get back to me.

Two hours went by and I had not heard from the dispatcher. We were going to get busy soon and I needed to know what to tell the family. I sent a text message asking for an update. I saved the return message from the dispatcher and the following is the text:

'Captain, sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. There is policy on this now and I had to check on a few things. Upon your arrival a dedicated escort team will meet the aircraft. The team will escort the family to the ramp and plane side. A van will be used to load the remains with a secondary van for the family. The family will be taken to their departure area and escorted into the terminal where the remains can be seen on the ramp. It is a private area for the family only. When the connecting aircraft arrives, the family will be escorted onto the ramp and plane side to watch the remains being loaded for the final leg home. Captain, most of us here in flight control are veterans. Please pass our condolences on to the family. Thanks.'

I sent a message back telling flight control thanks for a good job. I printed out the message and gave it to the lead flight attendant to pass on to the father. The lead flight attendant was very thankful and told me, 'You have no idea how much this will mean to them.'

Things started getting busy for the descent, approach and landing. After landing, we cleared the runway and taxied to the ramp area. The ramp is huge with 15 gates on either side of the alleyway. It is always a busy area with aircraft maneuvering every which way to enter and exit. When we entered the ramp and checked in with the ramp controller, we were told that all traffic was being held for us.

'There is a team in place to meet the aircraft', we were told. It looked like it was all coming together, then I realized that once we turned the seat belt sign off, everyone would stand up at once and delay the family from getting off the airplane. As we approached our gate, I asked the copilot to tell the ramp controller we were going to stop short of the gate to make an announcement to the passengers. He did that and the ramp controller said, 'Take your time.'

I stopped the aircraft and set the parking brake. I pushed the public address button and said, 'Ladies and gentleman, this is your Captain speaking I have stopped short of our gate to make a special announcement. We have a passenger on board who deserves our honor and respect. His Name is Private XXXXXX, a soldier who recently lost his life. Private XXXXXX is under your feet in the cargo hold. Escorting him today is Army Sergeant XXXXXXX. Also, on board are his father, mother, wife, and daughter. Your entire flight crew is asking for all passengers to remain in their seats to allow the family to exit the aircraft first. Thank you.'

We continued the turn to the gate, came to a stop and started our shutdown procedures. A couple of minutes later I opened the cockpit door. I found the two forward flight attendants crying, something you just do not see. I was told that after we came to a stop, every passenger on the aircraft stayed in their seats, waiting for the family to exit the aircraft.

When the family got up and gathered their things, a passenger slowly started to clap his hands. Moments later more passengers joined in and soon the entire aircraft was clapping. Words of 'God Bless You', I'm sorry, thank you, be proud, and other kind words were uttered to the family as they made their way down the aisle and out of the airplane. They were escorted down to the ramp to finally be with their loved one.

Many of the passengers disembarking thanked me for the announcement I had made. They were just words, I told them, I could say them over and over again, but nothing I say will bring back that brave soldier.

I respectfully ask that all of you reflect on this event and the sacrifices that millions of our men and women have made to ensure our freedom and safety in these United States of AMERICA .

 

 

Comment by NavyDads Admin (Paul) on January 4, 2011 at 7:56pm

Great member Cora posted this link on FB....it also belongs here:

 

 

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