Come out to Big Swamp Harley to celebrate Veterans Day. Flag dedication will take place at 1400. Food provided by Backwater BBQ, music by Dallas Dorsey and plenty of patriotic symbols our our Nation’s Freedom and the Marine Corps Birthday. We’ll be here till 1600 (4:00) or later. Happy Birthday Marines! Semper Fi
Our second Recipient from GA last week is another Marine. Meet William “Bill” Campbell. Sgt. Campbell entered the service in June 1965 and was discharged in April 1969. He was assigned to the 1st Marine Air Wing, H&MS-17. He spent 26 months and 3 days in Vietnam stationed in DaNang as a 6242 (Helicopter/ Transport Avionics. His awards include: Combat Air Crew wings, Air Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and Vietnam Service Medal with a Bronze star and silver star representing 6 campaigns among several others.
Here’s the first of 9 new members to the Flags for Vets family from last week’s installs in GA/SC. Meet Lt. Col. Brian Spooner, USMC. Brian entered the service as enlisted in May 1988 and Retired in July 2018 after 30 years. He earned his way up to E-6 (Staff Sergeant) was selected for the WO program, graduated from Warrant Officers School as a WO3 and after 5 deployments to OIF/OEF (1/4 respectively) he was selected to the rank of Captain via the Limited Duty Officer Program and rose to Major and subsequently Lt. Col. He’s held numerous positions in postings all over the world and I’ve attached a copy of his service record printed for his retirement ceremony because it’s not possible for me to list everything in this post. Please read for yourself his many accomplishments. His installation was sponsored by Tami Humphrey Routhier.
The final Recipient from last week’s installs in Tennessee and Kentucky is Brett Meadows, U.S. Army. SFC Meadows is still on active duty. He entered the service in Jan. 1991. He’s due to retire in Sept. of next year. He’s held several MOSs including 11B and 19D (Cavalry Scout) and has spent time in the 1st Armored Division, 11th and 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiments respectively. He deployed twice in support of the War on Terror, once to Iraq (2005) and most recently to Afghanistan where he was wounded in Action by multiple IEDs while on dismounted patrol in Wardak Province. His awards include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, 11 Army Commendation Medals (2 with Combat “V”), 9 Army Achievement Medals and the Meritorious Service Medal. Brett now teaches at the University of Kentucky as a Military Science Instructor. He was another patient service member, waiting for more than a year for me to get to him.
In all my travels last week I failed to recognize another veteran honored by FFV. This was the second one installed by our “Chapter” in West Virginia (comprised of BJ Willis). Meet Homer Crank, USN. PO3 Crank entered the service in Sept. 1971 and was discharged in Aug. 1975. He was a Machinist Mate aboard the USS Bowen (DE-1079). Homer spent time in Guantanamo Bay, the Mediterranean and to the Arctic Circle. Many thanks to BJ and crew for taking the time to travel to Ona, WVA to take care of him!
It’s 2210 hours...just finished the last install of the day in Rutledge, GA. Headed to Augusta to find a room for a few hours sleep. 4 more on the books for tomorrow and three down today. It’s been a good day! God is great!
Our fourth recipient from Tennessee is “Tyler Frag Fisher, U.S. Army. Tyler enlisted in July 2008 and was discharged in January 2016. Specialist Fisher was assigned to 3rd Brigade, 1st Calvary Division, 2nd Battalion 82nd Field Artillery. He was a 13B (cannon crew member). He deployed twice to Iraq, the first time from 2009-‘10 in Mosul and the second time in 2010-‘11 in Basra. He earned his CIB (Combat infantry badge) after being knocked out from a Russian anti-tank grenade. He was awarded 3 Army Commendation medals for actions during combat operations in both tours. in 2012 he joined the Tenn. National Guard and was re-classified as an MP. Tyler was one of the longest waiting recipients and I’m grateful he was patient with me. His was also our first night time installation.
Our second recipient in Tennessee is Ann Sikes, U.S. Navy. Ann entered the service in April 1984 and was discharged in May 1988. She was a Yeoman assigned to squadron VA-174 and based out of Cecil Field in Jacksonville, FL. Ann, like many other veterans who served during the Cold War period had an otherwise “normal” tour of duty. But she, like her brothers and sisters before her, volunteered to serve her county and that’s more than 99% of Americans did.
Here’s the first of 6 new members to the FFV family from our recent trip to Tennessee and Kentucky. Meet Ron L Ritz Jr., U.S Marine. He was our first stop Sunday afternoon. L/Cpl Ritz entered the service in Dec. 1991 and was medically discharged in Dec. 1992 after an injury while stationed at 29 Palms during training. He was a 2531 (Field Radio Operator). He was a graduate of Boot Camp from MCRD San Diego (aka Hollywood Marines). Ron waited patiently for over a year before I could get to him. I appreciate his patience.
It’s the gift that keeps on giving Clark... Seriously though, headed home after two days of traveling all over Tennessee and Kentucky. Nearly 2000 miles and 6 more new members. Even completed two installs at night finishing my last one up at 2230 last night (which is a first for me). Here’s a few pictures to go with it but more on the individual accomplishments when I get home. God is great! Semper Fi!
Our final Recipient from last week is Paul Gauthe, USN. Master Chief Gauthe entered the service in May 1964 and retired after 31 years in Oct. 1995. He was a Yeoman. He spent time all over the world but never aboard a sea vessel. He was attached to various aviation units including VF 822 and VP 62 but he retired as the Force Master Chief for the Naval Reserve Program. Something to be proud of for sure.
Our 10th Recipient from last week’s installs is none other than...you guessed it...a U.S. Marine. Meet Jon Kosciuszko. Sgt. Kosciuszko entered the service in May 1999 and was discharged in April 2008. He was both a 3521 (Diesel Mechanic) and a 0352 (TOW) gunner. He was assigned to 2nd Anglico 2/3 Weapons Co. He deployed twice to Iraq (Feb. ‘03 - Jun. ‘03)(Sep. ‘05- Jan. ‘06) and once to Afghanistan (Jun. ‘05- Jan. ‘06). He was wounded in action and earned his Purple Heart as a result of an IED attack. I met Jon last year at the Buckmasters Expo and he’s been patiently waiting till now. I’m honored to finally gift this to him.
Our 9th Recipient last week is another Marine (you see a pattern here?). Meet Joe Pierce, USMC and another Vietnam veteran. Joe entered the service to his country in Mar. 1966 and was medically discharged in May 1968 after wounds sustained in combat. L/Cpl Pierce was a vehicle Repairman assigned to the 1st Tank Battalion H&S Company. He was stationed in Quang Nam (outside of Da Nang) on hill 34. He was wounded in action in May 1968 after the 5 Ton truck he was riding in hit a landline. He lost 3 other Marines in the explosion and his wounds were severe enough that we was eventually sent home to recover. Joe was sponsored by a Grant from the Daniel Foundation of Alabama. He’s the first of dozens we’re able to honor because of that grant. You’ll see many more to come.
FFVs 7th Recipient from last week is Alan Sorensen, U.S. Navy. Alan entered the service in Mar. 1974 and was discharged in Mar. 1978. Petty Officer 2nd class Sorensen was a Machinist Mate on the USS Sellers DDG-11. They were responsible for patrolling the Mediterranean, Middle East and the N. Atlantic. Alan spent months at a time at sea, his vessel and others kept our shores safe, something g we take for granted still today. He was sponsored by one of our new businesses Sunshine Flooring and owner Bob Paul. His son John works for them.
I’m still trying to catch up with last week’s installs while I’m already up here in Tenn. so here’s the 6th recipient from then. Meet John “Skipper” Kirkwood, U.S. Marine. Sgt. Kirkwood entered the service in Aug. 1965 and was discharged in Dec. 1968 after being twice wounded in Vietnam. Skipper was an 0311/Demolitions Marine assigned to Charlie Co./ 1st MarDiv. He was wounded in Oct. 1967 after the vehicle he was riding in hit a landline that was command detonated while he was on a combat base N. of DaNang. Skipper spent several months recovering from his wounds and was eventually discharged medically. Skipper was sponsored by his stepson Scott Perkins. He’s also the younger brother of Husky Kirkwood, another one of our earlier recipients. Semper Fi!