Sep/Oct 2005 - Korean War Veterans Association

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Sep/Oct 2005 - Korean War Veterans Association

RIGHT: Former 176 President,

founder, and “Godfather” holds the

wreath to honor Korean War veterans

(Photo by Hank Nicol)

42

Chaplain Bob Leep, Bill Odonnell, and 176 President Frank C. Mendes

share a solemn moment aboard the Coast Guard vessel

Bosun¹s Mate 2d Class Terrell Horne gave us an orientation

on the 47-foot motor lifeboat on which we were to go out. The

boat is built to survive 30-foot seas and 20-foot breakers. Horne

passed out lifejackets, not the fore-and-aft pillows we wore three

years ago, but new orange and black (my high school colors)

beauties. They could pass for team jackets as well as save your

life. “Coasties” should wear them around town. Every high

school kid would want to sign up.

I put on the only extra large in the pile, but had to give it up

to Times-Standard reporter Chris Durant, who is a more honest

XL. I expected the crew to be wearing the government version of

topsiders, since it might be difficult to swim in the bloused combat

boots they all wore. Our Skipper, Bosun¹s mate 1st Class

Hank Nicol (unseen)

takes a photo of Ray

Marquardt taking a

photo

(L-R) Coast Guard crew members BM-1 Ryan Sanford, Fireman Evans

Drew, Seaman Jean Charles, and Seaman Frederick Ryals hosted 176

members (Photo by Hank Nicol)

BELOW: 176 members leave the

vessel with their “sea legs” intact

(Photo by Hank Nicol)

Ryan Sanford, said they were for kicking heavy machinery without

being being kicked back. I made an insurance stop where I

learned why BM-2 Horne had the lifeboat specs down pat. They

are posted above the paper dispenser in the men¹s head (and I

expect in the women¹s as well).

We boarded and pushed off. The deck crew was Seaman

(Seawoman? Seaperson?) Jean Charles and Seaman Frederick

Ryals. Fireman Evans Drew was engineer. They carried us out to

about the midpoint of the channel, where the boat marked time

while we held our brief ceremony for those who died in the

Korean War. An orchestra being unavailable, and the deck being

small, Bill Odonnell Jr. played appropriate music on his block

blaster. President Frank C. Mendes dedicated a wreath with,

“We have not forgotten our soldiers,” he observed. His words

were halting, and I saw several handkerchiefs out. I was busy

with the camera, but I, too, suffered damp eyes. I thought not

only of those who died in the war, but also of Richard Anderson,

Andrew Terry, and John McLain, who survived the war, but who

were recent and personal losses to me and the rest of the

Christmas Hill Gang. Chaplain Bob Leep gave a prayer to

“honor those who served our country,” and Frank cast the wreath

onto the outgoing tide.

I didn¹t take the two pills as I promised, only one-and-a-half.

The water did only a slow roll. I survived, the ceremony was a

success, and we returned to shore safely. BM-1 Ryan Sanford

didn¹t let us go without thanking us for our service. That has happened

a lot recently. I¹m not used to the new generation¹s

remembering us better than our own did. Our war was forgotten

while we were still fighting. At least nobody jeered when we

came home.

September - October 2005

The Graybeards

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