Wife has to work. It’s rainy and drizzly outside, so I’m at home looking after my boys.
Today I remember and honor those who fought and sacrificed themselves for our country. None of my family who served died in combat, but a few have already passed on of old age.
My Uncle Juan, one of my favorite uncles, fought and survived the Battles of Guadalcanal and Okinawa. He earned a few First Landing medals and even survived hand-to-hand combat. He admitted to crying when he reached into the pocket of a Japanese soldier he killed and found a picture of the soldier’s family.
My Step-grandpa Guilo and Uncle Manolo were drafted into the 65th Infantry Regiment, the last segregated unit of the Army made up of mostly Puerto Ricans. They fought in and survived the Korean War. Interesting fact about the 65th is that a couple of its battalions were part of the last battalion-sized bayonet attack in the history of the US Army when they were ordered to fix bayonets and attack some Chinese-held hills near Seoul. After serving 20 more years in the Army, my Step-Grandpa Guilo retired as a Drill Sergeant. He was also a boxing champion for his weight class in the Army and is one of the toughest men I’ve ever known. He is also one of the funnest men I’ve known who taught me lots of stuff. I miss him greatly. Despite their war experience, neither of them ever mentioned anything about what they went through in the Korean War.
After my Dad completed his residency, he was drafted in’69 and served 3 years as an Army doctor at Tripler Army Base treating sick and wounded military personnel. After he was honorably discharged, he went back to Puerto Rico and had a private practice where he set up a badly needed dialysis unit. Feeling the duty to serve again, he later joined the Air Force and served 17 more years before retiring as a full-bird Colonel and Chief of Internal Medicine at the Keesler AFB Medical Center. At 81 years young, he’s still doing great and is my greatest role model.
My Uncle Billy joined the Marines and served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He was part of a unit that fought its way to Khe Sanh to help his fellow Marines during its siege. He’s also one of the toughest guys I’ve known. He’s shown in a short, one or two second clip at the 1:18 mark neck deep in water with an M16 slung over his shoulder in this video about the Siege at Khe Sanh:
God bless all those who served and especially those who gave up everything.