Skookum DiedToday's Record.
My condolences, and thanks for his military service, to Skook's family and friends.
The best tribute to Marcus is in his own words, beginning with his "View" written and initially published in the St. Augustine Record on Veterans Day 2000.
He copyrighted and republished it, and added some more - be sure and follow the links - classic Skookum Longwalker.
Shalom, you old asshole!
(We said our private goodbyes after Thanksgiving).
One of the BestBye, Skookum.
You weren't always right, but you sure ripped some new ones--and had as fine a sense of humor of anyone I have ever met.
Thank you for all you did for our country and our community.
You already are missed.
Sorry to hear this. My condolences to the family.
man oh man, i am sorry to hear this.
he was a frequent on line adversary and a good friend and i really don't know what to say.
so i won't try.
peace dude...you earned it.
I'll miss him. We got along fine on everything but politics.
I'm gonna miss Marcus, our lunches at the "V" and our trips to the shooting range.
My respect for him soared when I noticed the purple heart on his vehicle liscense plate. We never talked about it, didn't have to.
RIP old soldier.
He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion,
Telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes, every one.
And 'tho sometimes to his neighbors
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew where of he spoke.
But we'll hear his tales no longer,
For ol' Joe has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer
For a Soldier died today.
He won't be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.
He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won't note his passing,
'Tho a Soldier died today.
When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell of their life stories
From the time that they were young
But the passing of a Soldier
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.
Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?
The politician's stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.
While the ordinary Soldier,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, small.
It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our country now enjoys.
Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out,
With his ever waffling stand?
Or would you want a Soldier --
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Soldier,
Who would fight until the end.
He was just a common Soldier,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his likes again.
For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Soldier's part
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.
If we cannot do him honor
While he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage
At the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline
In the paper that might say:
"Our country is in mourning,
A soldier died today."
Copyright 1987 A. Lawrence Vaincourt
Sorry you are gone.
Helluva tribute Mr B ... I hadn't read it before. Brought a tear to my eye. Thanx for posting it.
|Phred wrote: |
|Helluva tribute Mr B ... I hadn't read it before. ?Brought a tear to my eye. ?Thanx for posting it. |
I also teared up - it was sent to me by a SERE member http://www.gosere.com (SERE, with 325 active duty members around the world today, is the most elite family of warfighters in the U.S. military).
I erred by not checking the authorship before posting; it was written and first published in 1987 by Larry Vaincourt: http://vaincourt.homestead.com/common_soldier.html
I'm not sure if it is ironic, serendipitious or poignant - probably all three - but on this Memorial Day morning a most memorable veteran died in the VA Hospital at Bushnell Florida.
Henry Erben was an original member - since 1947 - of the U.S. Air Force's survival community, known in the last few decades as SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) - the valiant men and women who not only train the warfighters, but who often themselves go in and recover them from hostile environments. (see last post and link).
Henry Erben was also one of only 719 recipients of the Soldier's Medal awarded since 1927, for risking his life to save others in a non-combat situation. An indication of the high bar necessary to be achieved for this award is that the medal is worn after the Distinguished Flying Cross and before the Bronze Star.
His medal was awarded for his actions on September 14, 1944, at which time he was a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Forces, which was created from the earlier U.S. Army Air Corps, and which after WWII became the U.S. Air Force.
A bit of history of the early days of SERE, when it was first called Escape and Evasion, then Evasion and Escape:
Suicide Rate Among Vets and Active Duty Military Jumps - Now 22 A Day
February 5, 2013
Almost once an hour - every 65 minutes to be precise - a military veteran commits suicide, says a new investigation by the Department of Veterans Affairs. By far the most extensive study of veteran suicides ever conducted, the report, issued Friday, examined suicide data from 1999 to 2010.
The data was then compared with a previous investigation - primarily an estimation - that had been conducted over the same time period, and had found a suicide rate of 18 per day....
Just two weeks ago, the military released data showing that suicides among those on active duty hit a record high in 2012.
There were 349 suicides among active duty personnel - almost one a day. That means there are now more suicides among active duty soldiers than there are combat deaths....
Suicides often go unreported as cause of death due to the stigma. And the data collected were from just 21 states, because these are the only states in which military status is listed on the death certificate. They were then extrapolated to apply to all 50 states.
Veteran suicide is not a new issue - the various branches of the military have been raising awareness and increasing proactive treatment programs for veteran suicide for the past couple of years. But that's partly what makes the new reports so upsetting - they appear to show that veteran suicides remain undeterred by current efforts.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has a new crisis line and website with multiple avenues, including text and online chat, for those contemplating suicide to reach out. The site also offers extensive information and resources for families and friends to help them spot the warning signs of depression and suicidal thinking and take action.
According to this week's press release, the crisis line has already resulted in saving 26,000 veterans from suicide.
That's wonderful news - except that the fact that 26,000 vets are actively suicidal is deeply disturbing.
President Obama signed an executive order on August 31st authorizing the VA to hire additional staff and double the capacity of the crisis line. Let's hope that helps....
[A]ccording to calculations offered in a New York Times report, the percentage of the nation's suicides that involve veterans is now 21 percent, down from 25 percent in 1999.... [Ed. Note: Veterans comprise 7% of the U.S. population].
Veterans affairs experts explain this by saying that veterans fall into high-risk groups for suicide, which include being male, having access to guns, and living in a rural area, but those factors don't seem to come close to accounting for such a high rate....
Here's hoping the new campaign of public awareness and new efforts to investigate veteran suicide will result in greater access to mental health services for all veterans.
Internet source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/melan...who-now-commit-suicide-every-day/
The great majority of Americans bemoan the current makeup of Congress, whose members with rare exceptions are economic elitists with wealth and allegiences to the upper few percent of "We the People."
Almost all Americans are proud of the troops in our professional volunteer Armed Forces - about 1% of "We the People" - who defend our land and our interests abroad; and commend their professional skills as warfighters.
The concern among those of us who fought against the all-volunteer military was (1) the "skew" of attitudes and belief among the troops, but even more dangerously (2) the providing to the Executive and Legislative leaders a military force to instantaneously be able to fight foreign wars at their whim.
The suicide rate among veterans - 7% of the population accounting for 21% of suicides - illustrates one tragic result of eliminating the universal military "draft" and replacing it with professional mercenary warfighters.
Both the legislative and the executive decision-makers and executors (Congress and the standing military forces) are skewed to a small percentage of "We the People" - far from the ideals and dreams of the Framers/Founders.
A one or two year period of service to the nation by each citizen, i.e. universal military or civilian conscription, would in one fell swoop involve all the citizens of the U.S. into the inclusive democratic republic which was the Founding Fathers' dream.
It was also Marcus'/Skookum's dream, as it is mine.
I come from a family of volunteers, got 3 of them right here right now..
The military is high tech now, they don't take just everyone, can't use just anyone, they don't need that many latrines excavated. There isn't much else they can do with someone who has already wasted 12 years of free education and is barely literate.
We need to stop treating our military as an armed version of the Peace Corps, the only rules of engagement should be kick ass and come home.