Topic: Reflections

The Things We Borrowed–I Didn’t Set out to Be in Nonprofit Black Market Supply With Whiskey as Currency

Soldiers got what they needed in Vietnam, from cold Pepsis to American-made lumber to a three-quarter-ton truck, often trading with Jack Daniels.
Marvin Wolf, first row, second from left, in his NCO Academy photo. Courtesy of the author.

A Poncho, a Bayonet, and a 1943 C Ration Chocolate Against a Fort Lewis Snowstorm

I reconciled myself to staying put until daylight. I’d fasted every Yom Kippur since my bar mitzvah at age 13, going without food or water for more than 24 hours—so I knew that I wouldn’t starve from a day and a night without eating.
A day after Josh died by suicide, his father handed out chalk for family and friends to write messages on the driveway and sidewalk. Danielle Rushing wrote this message to her brother. Photo courtesy of the author.

Twenty Minutes – My Chest Fills With Burning Coals. But I Keep Breathing.

I’m surrounded by grief, love, laughter, joy, sorrow, and devastation, but it belongs to them. None of it belongs to me. My ache is my own.
Naval service gave David Chetlain experiences he never could have imagined as a 17-year-old, including sliding off a submarine during a “swim call” in the Marshall Islands. Photo by Scott Reiger.

You Don’t Need to Thank Me for My Service. I Needed It More Than It Needed Me.

I went from a world of chaos, poverty, and dysfunction to one of order, discipline, and regular meals. The Navy gave me the structure and consistency I needed.
Mac, second from left, showing one of Ed Meagher’s men his shotgun.

Mac Was My Hero. I Never Told Him. I’m Sure He Never Knew.

William (Mac) McKissick was a technical sergeant responsible for the security of the northern perimeter of Tan Son Nhut Air Base north of Saigon, Vietnam.

I Expected to Miss Him When He Deployed. Then There Were the Things That Snuck Up on Me.

I missed being a parent with him. Not all the crappy parts—the disciplining, nose wiping, puke cleaning, lunch packing. But I missed the funny parts.
Left to right: Capt. David Fugazzotto, Staff Sgt. Teri Heath, 2nd Lt. Mike Hulsey, Spec. Chris Shinkle, and Sgt. 1st Class Steve Roth, the group that would encounter the little red car on the second to last day of the year in 1995. Photo courtesy of the author.

A Close Encounter With a Little Red Car and an Accusation of Attempted Murder

We were now on the lam. Fugitives at large. Wanted for attempted murder. We pictured our faces on wanted posters across the country.
When Covid-19 put an end to sanctioned jiujitsu aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, Mario Snyder and his friends took it underground. Photo courtesy of the author.

Clandestine Combat, Quesadilla Bribes, and Operation Jiujitsu Underground

During Covid-19 restrictions, sailors found a way to beat boredom aboard the USS Ronald Reagan—with a clandestine jiujitsu club in the ship’s bowels.
Tom Lane’s mom and dad. The older he gets, the more he wishes he had told them what they meant to him. Photo courtesy of the author.

Dad Always Seemed Bigger Than Life. But I Had No Idea There Was a Hero in the Next Room.

As I began to write his obituary for our local newspaper, I realized much of my dad’s life was a mystery to me.