Sunday, June 17, 2018

TheList 4747

The List 4747TGB
To All,
I hope that all you dads  have a great Father's Day with your families.
Thanks to Wigs
Father's Day
Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, came up with the idea of a day to honor fathers in 1909. Her own father, William Smart, was a Civil War veteran whose wife had died in childbirth. Dodd thought about the difficulties her father had faced as he struggled to raise his six motherless children on a farm in eastern Washington, and she set her mind to honoring all fathers. She approached local churches, and on Sunday, June 19, 1910, Spokane ministers celebrated the first Father's Day by reminding their congregations of the appreciation fathers deserve and the duties fathers owe to their families.
In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson took part in a Father's Day celebration by pressing a button in the White House that unfurled a flag in Spokane. In 1924 Calvin Coolidge recommended the widespread observance of the holiday to honor dads and "impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations."
The idea of a national Father's Day was slow to catch on, but communities and states gradually joined the observance. During the Depression, in an effort to boost sales, retailers began encouraging the holiday with "Give Dad Something to Wear" campaigns.
In 1972 President Richard Nixon signed a law officially recognizing the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. Each year, the president issues a proclamation urging Americans to remember all that their fathers have given to family and country
Make It A Nice Day,
Thanks to Shadow -
Oh Great Bear…
This one brings back some memories… Will never forget Father's Day 1966… or the men who made it so memorable, for my Father and me.
As summer approached… I was "in country" and in late May we came in from one of the longest periods of being in the field for anyone… almost 90 days. It had been a ball buster. I think I had lost almost 30 of my 160 pounds. As we left our operating area near Co Bi Than-tan, just north of Hue… we moved back to Phu Bai. I was with Delta Company, 1st Battalion, Fourth Marines. When we got to Phu Bai… we separated from the rest of the Battalion and became the stand-by company for quick reaction; besides guarding the SeaBee Battalion next door. The rest of the battalion got to eat hot meals on the other side of the highway… we were sill eating C-Rations. We were constantly being called out on "Sparrow Hawk" missions (reinforced platoon quick reaction team) and even Company sized reaction missions. Someone stepped in chit… we were the go-to guys to bail them out. We settled in, knowing our stay in Phu Bai would be short, before we moved further north in I-Corps to Dong Ha.
Unknown to me at the time was that three men were conspiring to make the upcoming Father's Day, my most memorable. You see, my father was in VA-55 on the USS Ranger, on Yankee Station. His immediate superior was LCdr. Theodore Kopfman (think he was the AMO)… He worked for the Skipper, Cdr. M.J. Chewning, the C.O. of VA-55. Kopfman and Chewing became aware that I was "in country" while they and my dad were off shore. One of them, don't know which one… came up with the idea it would be neat if we could be together in the war zone for Father's Day. Kopfman, with Chewning's blessing, set about to make it happen. This was in late May.
Then on the 3rd of June… Chewning took a hit in his A-4 cockpit, was severely wounded, but managed to make a single handed landing back on Ranger, despite his injury and loss of blood. I'm sure that you and others know of his heroic efforts. Unfortunately, his command was over as he could no longer fly. Kopfman went to my dad and finally told him what they were planning… and hoped Chewning's loss would not stop their intended surprise to get me out to Ranger… but he was worried it might not come off. Meanwhile, I and the Marine Corps were oblivious to what was in the works. 
On 15 June, Delta Company was called out on a company quick reaction operation… One of our Combined Action Companies just north of Phu Bai, had been attacked the night before and we mounted up to try to find the retreating enemy force. We were inserted by hero's (I think this was a Freudian slip – Dutch) and got hot on their trail. It was hot as hell and the terrain was tough… everything from dense bush to flooded rice paddies and irrigation ditches… along with bamboo rushes. We tracked them most of the day, but made no direct contact. The irrigation ditches (small canals) and the rice paddies were full of water and had a distinct gray color due to the high clay content in the soil. During a rest period… Dan McMahon, my Company Commander, pointed out I had a "High Water" mark across my chest from fording one of the canals. From mid-chest down… my jungle utilities were no longer green, but gray. And my jungle boots were caked with the same gray mud and muck. Add to that, we had a potable water shortage and none of us had shaved for a couple of days. Dan opined, I was a sorry sight. It was a ball busting day, but it was decided to extract us by helo at days end, as we'd made no contact. They picked us up and flew us back to Phu Bai and we arrived just at dusk. And we were trucked back to our Company area.. We were all exhausted… and I just threw myself on my canvass cot in our tent and passed out just after mail call.
15 June 1966 was a ball buster for me… but nothing compared to what LCdr. Kopfman was going through… for that same day… LCdr. Theodore Kopfman was shot down and forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken prisoner! And he remained so until 1973. That very night about 2330… I was awaken by the Company Runner and told to get to McMahon's tent ASAP! I crawled out of my rack and walked to the CP Tent and found McMahon sitting on the edge of his rack and he looked up and smiled and said… "You're to report to the Heli-Pad at 0500… They're flying you out to see your dad for Father's Day". I think I said… "You gotta be shitting me… Sir". Dan smiled and said… "Nope, just got this flash message from Division that Battalion sent over". I started to leave and realized I had no change of clothing… all our stuff was put in storage when we were sent out since they didn't know how long we'd be in the field. I turned to Mcmahon and said… I don't have a change of clothes. Dad looked at me and said, "Fuck it, you look hard"… with that, he slumped back on his cot. He was as tired as I was. On the way out of the CP… I put in a piss call with the Company Runner for 0430, so he could use the Skipper's "Mighty Mite" to get me over to the Heli-Pad. We got there just at 0500… I looked a mess… Filthy jungle utilities, muddy boots, my .45… and nothing else. My eyes were blood shot and I had about three days growth of beard. They put me in a CH-46 and we flew down the coat line to Da Nang and landed on the Marine side of the airfield. Now I had no orders and no idea how things would go from there? As I walked out of the helicopter… I see this Marine Major… he came over to me and says, "Are you Stafford"? I said, "Yes Sir"… His next words were… "Son, you look like shit"! I quickly explained we'd been out in the bush, fording rice paddies and dykes and our stuff was in storage… He stepped back and said… "Come to think of it… You look hard (just like McMahon)… Be good PR if they take pictures"… The Major's name was Chervin. He drove me over to the other side of the field and pulled up next to a Navy COD and said, "There's your ride". I thanked him and asked if he had any orders for me, he said no… just use your judgement, stay a couple of days and get back as soon as you can… also told me I could catch a flight back to Phu Bai from the transient line where we now were when I came back. I was then herded onto the C-1 and we flew out to Ranger.
After we trapped, they taxied us up in front of the island on the starboard elevator and chocked and chained us and shut us down. As I got out of the airplane… I must have been a sight… all these sailors were looking at me and trying to figure out who and what I was? We wore no rank in the field per our C.O.'s orders… I was filthy, unshaven and caked in mud… and I had a .45 on my shoulder. Later I was told they speculated I was someone who'd been rescued after evading for days… Later they got a kick out of finding out I was there to see my dad for Father's Day. Spent three glorious days on the boat… Marine Detachment spirited away my Jungle Utilities and boots, gave me a clean set of Stateside utilities and finally gave me mine back the next day… C.O. said they had to wash them three times to get all the mud out… and some poor bastard had to clean and polish my boots. That night they gave me a big steak for dinner… couldn't eat most of it as my stomach had shrunk. That night my dad sadly told me that the men who'd put together the whole thing had been wounded, CDR. Chewning... and LCdr. Kopfman had been shot down the day before and they didn't know his fate. Kinda put a damper on things.
Regardless… it was a nice visit. When I left to go back… it took a work party to load all the goodies the Navy and Marines gave me to share with my fellow Marines back in country. When I finally came back to the States… My mom showed me a letter my dad had written her the night I arrived… It started with… "Your Son"... came aboard today… as usual with his dirty laundry… BTW… Had an exciting end to the trip as the C-1 I was on, along with some ARVN wounded and a Corpsman… almost smacked the water after deck launching off the angle. I was looking up at the flight deck and could see all these sailors running to the deck edge to see if we were gonna make it. Things were never easy it seemed, where Vietnam was concerned? That's life I guess?
My dad and I talked about it for years and I made it a point to fly an F-4 up to Lemoore to try to meet both men after Kopfman was released and express my gratitude in person. Unfortunately, my timing was bad and both men were unavailable. I left them a letter, but never heard from them. But I remain, forever grateful.
The mention of the ill fated Marine patrol… has a back story that most don't know… I'll share it if you want. They fought heroically… but they should't have had to if they'd followed orders. One of those instances where the C.O. wanted to Court Martial the patrol leader… instead he gets the MOH!
 Thanks to Randy
        Daddy's Poem
Her hair was in a pony tail,
Her dress tied with a bow.
Today was "Daddy's Day" at school,
She couldn't wait to go.
 But her mommy tried to tell her,
That she probably should stay home;
The kids just might not understand,
If she went to school alone.
 But she was not afraid;
She knew just what to say,
What to tell her classmates
Why he wasn't there today.
 But still her mother worried,
For her to face this day alone.
And that was why, once again,
She tried to keep her daughter home.
 But the little girl went to school,
Eager to tell them all
About a dad she never sees, a dad
Who never calls.
 There were daddies along the wall
for everyone to meet,
Children squirming impatiently,
Anxious in their seat.
One by one the teacher called
A student from the class.
To introduce their daddy,
As seconds slowly passed.
At last the teacher called her name,
As each child turned to stare.
Each of them was searching,
For a man who wasn't there.
"Where's her daddy at?"
She heard a boy call out.
"She probably doesn't have one,"
Another dared to shout.
And from somewhere near the back,
She heard a daddy say,
"Looks like another deadbeat dad,
Too busy to waste his day."
The words did not offend her,
As she smiled up at her Mom.
And looked back at her teacher, who
Told her to go on.
And with hands behind her back,
Slowly she began to speak.
And out from the mouth of a child,
Came words incredibly unique.
"My Daddy couldn't be here,
Because he lives so far away.
But I know he wishes he could be,
Since this is such a special day.
And though you cannot meet him,
I wanted you to know
All about my daddy,
And how much he loves me so.
He loved to tell me stories,
He taught me to ride my bike;
He surprised me with pink roses,
And taught me to fly a kite.
We used to share fudge sundaes,
And ice cream in a cone.
And though you cannot see him.
I'm not standing here alone.
'Cause my daddy's always with me,
Even though we are apart;
I know because he told me,
He'll forever be in my heart"
With that, her little hand reached up,
And lay across her chest,
Feeling her own heartbeat
Beneath her favorite dress. 
And from somewhere there in the crowd of dads, 
Her mother stood in tears.
Proudly watching her little girl,
Wise beyond her years.
For she stood up for the love
Of a man not in her life.
Doing what was best for her,
Doing what was a right.
And when she dropped her hand back
Down, staring straight into the crowd.
She finished with a voice so soft,
But its message clear and loud. 
"I love my daddy very much,
He is my shining star.
And if he could, he'd be here,
But heaven's just too far. 
You see he is a soldier
And he died just this past year,
When a roadside bomb hit his convoy
And taught the warriors fear. 
But sometimes when I close my eyes,
It's like he never went away."
And then she closed her eyes,
And saw him clearly there that day.
And to her mother's amazement,
She witnessed with surprise,
A room full of daddies and children,
All starting to close their eyes.
Who knows what they saw before them;
Who knows what they felt inside,
Perhaps, for a mere second,
They saw him at her side.
"I know you're with me Daddy,"
To the silence she called out
And what happened next made believers,
Of those once filled with doubt.
Not one in that room could explain it,
For each of their eyes had been closed,
But there on the desk beside her
Was a fragrant, long-stemmed, pink rose
And a child was blessed, if only for
A moment, by the love of her shining star,
And given the gift of believing,
That heaven is never too far.
* * *
They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them.
Send this to the people you'll never forget and remember to send it also to the person that sent it to you. It's a short message to let them know that you'll never forget them.
 If you don't send it to anyone, it means you're in a hurry and that you've forgotten your friends.
Take the live and love.
Until eternity
God Bless
There must be many children in the same boat as this little girl, thanks to our servicemen and their families for the sacrifice they are making to keep our country free.
The ULTIMATE sacrifice is being left behind.
Don't forget them. 

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