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Legacy


Cold Warriors?

By Karl Priest August 21, 2009 (revised 2-3-2017)
(This article appeared in the Cold War Times, vol.9, issue 4, November 2009, pg.37)

A fellow Cold War vet called me a “Cold Warrior” and I pointed out that I was only a flunky. So, who would qualify to be labeled a “Cold Warrior”?

Would it be a Navy SEAL who served as a sniper from his hidden perch in the trees? Or would it be the draftee who crawled up a hill with bullets buzzing by? Is a pilot dropping bombs more of a warrior than the pilot flying reconnaissance missions? Is a pacifist medic who serves with the Army in heavy combat less courageous than the soldiers beside him? Is a tank driver less brave than the man who drives a jeep along a mine infested road? In actual combat, is the guy knocked out by the percussion of a shell less worthy of praise than his buddy who charged forward and destroyed the enemy mortar crew?

For every combat veteran there are thousands of other military personnel doing the jobs they were ordered to do.

A friend of mine served in Vietnam and spent the entire tour in an air-conditioned building doing clerk work. Should he not be proud of his service? Another friend of mine spent two years in the Navy and never went to sea.

How can a man who serves on a sub be compared to one who puts a plane safely onto the deck of a swaying surface ship? Is the crew of a supply ship somehow of lesser value than the crew of a battleship that launches shells to a coast several miles away? Should the crews of the lone wolf ships Northampton and Wright be considered more heroic than the crews of the aircraft carriers which were heavily protected by escort ships? Were the officers aboard the Wright and Northampton who carried the code to launch nuclear weapons more important than the officers who sat deep in a bunker ready to press the button?

Should a veteran of the Marine Corps be honored more than an Air Force vet? What is the difference between a friend of mine who served as a Marine Reservist with a few months active duty and another Marine friend who completed several years with the regular forces?

I have no problem with calling some career Special Forces men “Warriors.” But, is there a hierarchy of warriors? Is a warrior with 20 notches on his rifle butt more of a warrior than another with only 10? Also, every warrior’s account of battle I have read describes his fear during the action. Does that make him cowardly and only able to succeed because he feared death?

I think you see where I am going.

It takes courage and determination to honorably complete a tour of military duty. Whether soldier, sailor, airman, guardsman, or Marine—they all are worthy of respect.

Every cook, clerk, mechanic, and musician should be proud of the service they gave to the United States of America.

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Notes:

The arguably most formidable military warriors are U. S. Navy SEALs. In a “60 Minutes” (CBS) interview (9-8-2012) the SEAL Team 6 author of No Easy Day about the killing of Osama bin Laden highly praised two guys who refueled their helo as they returned from the mission.  He also complimented the 50ish helo pilot.

Other ratings do more than just build gedunks. The SEAL Team 6 author of No Easy Day wrote about the preparation for the mission that killed Osama bin Laden that “in the weeks leading up to the mission, the SEALs trained on a full-size model of the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where they would eventually kill bin Laden.” http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/10/world/navy-seal-60-minutes/

Here is what another SEAL says about SEAL operation dependence. “By October, Naval Special Warfare Task Group Central had acquired four fully deployable SEAL platoons (for Desert Shield and Desert Storm). In addition, we had numerous naval support personnel backing us up in various specialties such as medicine, radio electronics, legal affairs, mechanics, administration, and Special Boat Units (SBUs). The Task Group was now ready for war.” (p. 140). Also, on page 151 the author describes how a Seabee backhoe operator was instrumental in providing protection from incoming missile attacks and praises Air Force helo pilots on page 153. Meeting God Behind Enemy Lines--My Christian Testimony as a U. S. Navy SEAL by Steve Watkins (http://www.hyperhistory.net/apwh/bios/b4swatkinsnavy_p2lc.htm)

SEAL of God by Chad Williams who was “one of only 13 from a (SEAL) class of 173 to make it straight through to graduation, Chad served his country on SEAL Teams One and Seven for five years, Chad shares his own radical conversion story and talks about how he draws on his own experiences as a SEAL to help others better understand the depths of Christ’s sacrifice and love.”

Other books by Navy SEAL Christians:

SEAL! by Lt. Cmdr. Michael J. Walsh & Greg Walker

Splashdown: The Rescue of a Navy Frogman by John Wolfram

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In August 2011 over 20 SEALs (some from SEAL Team 6 which is the “Elite of the Elite” and credited with killing Osama bin Laden) died when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan. One was Aaron Carson Vaughn who was a man of deep faith, insisting to his family that he didn't fear his job as a Navy SEAL "because he knew where he was going" when he died. Aaron was a Christian and he's with Jesus today," Geneva Vaughn of Union City, Tenn., told The Associated Press on Saturday. "He told us when we saw him last November that he wasn't afraid...He was a tough warrior, but he was a gentle man." (He) was already a decorated fighter when he was asked by the Navy to return stateside to become an instructor. But he applied to SEAL Team 6 after two years, earning his way onto the squad in 2010. He asked the military to return him to combat and shipped out just six weeks before he was killed.  http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/08/07/2349090_p2/family-friends-remember-fallen.html

Atlantic Shores Baptist Church at Virginia Beach had three members who were killed in Afghanistan. Navy SEALs Kevin Houston and Louis Langlais died on August 6, 2011. They worked with the youth ministry at the church. In March 2010, SEAL Adam Brown was killed in Afghanistan. Source: WAVY.com and a CBSnews.com article.

Anyone who knew Adam would tell you it was important to him that his legacy be remembered and his story be told. He spent the latter part of his life helping those around him haunted by the mistakes he made years earlier. Adam was an incredibly strong Christian who loved the Lord and served him until his last, mortal breath. The majority of the members in his unit perished when the Chinook helicopter transporting them was viciously shot down while on a mission in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011, only a few short months after Adam's death. Adam was always the first through the door to clear the way for other members of his team and in classic Adam fashion he was yet again the first through heaven’s door......only the last door he went through wasn't filled with darkness and enemies, but light, with his Lord and Savior there to meet him. A light that shines down on all that knew him as a husband, father, friend, and there is no longer a need to be fearless. He's home. (http://arkansasmatters.com/fulltext?nxd_id=677022)

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From an article by former SEAL Jim O'Neill:

“America needs to bring God back into our national fabric. This, more than anything else, is what our country sorely needs. We have lost our moral anchor, our guiding star, and only acceptance of God, and His natural law, can return us to our intended course. God either exists or He does not. If He does not exist then nothing ultimately matters, and we are left with naught but the ash heap of atheistic nihilism.

“But if God exists (and oh He does), then we would have to be insane to deny His existence, or more commonly, we would need to be in secret (often a secret hidden even from ourselves) rebellion against God — refusing to acknowledge anything higher, more important, or more worthy of devotion than our own sweet selves. Such an attitude is a soul sickness, and America is sick in her soul.” http://constitutionalwrites.com/2011/07/16/time-to-reboot-america/

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I have found nothing that claims that Marcus Luttrell, author of Lone Survivor, is a born-again Christian, but he did say regarding a decision not to kill some unarmed Afghans that he could not do it because he has a “Christian soul." http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12690379 “Luttrell says he talked to God while in battle and prayed that he would survive so that the courage of his comrades would not be forgotten.” http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2007/November/One-Navy-SEALs-Tale-of-Survival/

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Ex-SEAL sniper Chris Kyle (author of American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military) was a Sunday-school teacher/deacon’s son. (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/meet_
the_big_shot_BxlVpxzQijkC9mwZcmwkrN) After his death, Chris Kyle’s brother said that Kyle was a “devout Christian.”
(http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/04/family-of-slain-navy-seal-chris-kyle-releases-statement-on-kyles-death/) Kyle credited God and his own guardian angel for protecting him in war-time, even surviving being shot twice his last tour, one bullet stopped by his body armor and the other deflecting off his protective eyewear. In an interview last year at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX, Chris Kyle spoke openly about his Christian faith. He was somewhat a reluctant hero. Kyle told the congregation, “The red on our flag stands for the blood. Our rights as Americans were paid in full by that blood.” In much the same way Christ paid for our salvation with His blood, pastor Ed Young added. (http://www.examiner.com/article/america-s-deadliest-sniper-chris-kyle-killed-helping-troubled-vet)

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(One of the members of SEAL Team 6 killed in Afghanistan) Tom (Ratzlaff) shared that whenever he boarded a helicopter for a mission, he said the Lord’s Prayer silently, once he got seated, and then prayed for protection. “I don’t ask for protection myself because that’s in his hands. I ask him to look after my wife and kids. Then I ask him to protect all my buddies and forgive them of all their sins and me of my sins. Then I move straight into thinking about what I’m about to do-the target, the map study, making sure I know which way’s north so I can call out things correctly on the target.” (http://nation.time.com/2012/08/06/the-navy-seals-dying-words/) A book about him is Fearless. Also, see this video.

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Former Navy SEAL Benjamin Smith gave the crowd at the Restore America Rally at Drake Field in Peachtree City plenty to think about. Speaking on topics ranging from the current state of America and its potential future to the relevance of Christianity in American life, the North Carolina resident was one of a number of speakers at the Oct. 20 rally sponsored by the South Atlanta Tea Party. Smith told the crowd of approximately 250 people the U.S is engaged in a “cold civil war” … Smith spoke about the Judeo-Christian worldview he said was present at the founding of the country, and some of the reasons why those values are relevant… And on the Tea Party movement, Smith said he realized as a SEAL that he should learn more about his country’s history as those in the movement advocate. “People need to read the Bible and the Founding Fathers. Doing so helped me to understand more about my faith,” said Smith. (http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/10-24-2012/seal-us-involved-%E2%80%98cold-civil-war%E2%80%99?quicktabs_3=1) Smith is featured in the documentary “Dishonorable Disclosures”.

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Retired Navy SEAL Sr. Chief Mike Day’s life forever changed in April 2007. He was shot 27 times at close range. Body armor that wasn’t supposed to hold up, held up… As the shots pounded his body, he began to pray the first prayer he’d ever prayed. “God, get me home to my girls!” Day served 21 years in the Navy and 20 years as a Navy Seal…He remains as amazed as everyone else that he survived the battle that day, and he speculates that the reason he didn’t die is because he didn’t yet know Jesus. (http://cnmnewz.com/navy-seal-mike-days-unbelievable-survival-god-get-me-home-to-my-girls/)

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SEAL Team Three Michael Anthony Monsoor won earned a Silver Star, the third highest honor for combat bravery, in 2006. A few months later that year he died after throwing himself on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for that act of courage. His platoon commander said, “I truly thought he was the toughest member of my platoon.”
(http://www.debbieschlussel.com/3639/michael-monsoor-un-hyphenated-arab-american-hero-americans-who-dont-want-to-be-known-as-arabs-my-apology-to-mayor-allan-mansoor/) “Michael was a Christian man, raised in the Catholic Church and was often seen attending Mass before leaving the FOB (Forward Operating Base) on operations.  His parents named him after the Archangel Michael-the great protector whose mission was to protect the world from the satanic forces of evil.” (http://www.blackfive.net/main/2008/04/us-navy-seal-mi.html)

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On the 12-22-16 Sean Hannity Show during the 5:00 hour guest host Jonathan Gilliam said, “I am a Christian.” See his bio at http://premierespeakers.com/jonathan_gilliam/bio and this article he wrote: If contact him, refer to http://www.newsmax.com/Newsmax-Tv/Jonathan-Gilliam-SEAL-Islam-truce/2015/04/01/id/635893/ .

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H. Res. 900

In the House of Representatives, U. S.,

March 21, 2010.

Whereas the Cold War involved hundreds of military exercises and operations that occurred between September 2, 1945, and December 26, 1991;

Whereas millions of Americans valiantly stood watch as members of the Armed Forces during the Cold War; and

Whereas many Americans sacrificed their lives during the Cold War in the cause of defeating communism and promoting world peace and stability: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) honors the sacrifices and contributions made by members of the Armed Forces during the Cold War; and

(2) encourages the people of the United States to participate in local and national activities honoring the sacrifices and contributions of those individuals.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=hr111-900

429 Ayes, 0 Nays, 1 Present/Not Voting.

COLD WAR VETS ARE STILL WAITING FOR THE BILL TO REACH THE PRESIDENT.

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Disgrace: Barack Obama Broke Promise to Honor Cold War Veterans 11-11-12
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/11/11/Disgrace-Barack-Obama-Broke-Promise-to-Honor-Cold-War-Veterans

(snips from the article)

President Barack Obama once promised, as a U.S. Senator, to honor veterans of the Cold War, who have never received official recognition and are therefore prevented from full participation in many Veterans Day celebrations. But he never fulfilled that promise--neither in the Senate nor the White House--leaving Cold War veterans in the cold.

The U.S. has thus far failed to honor those who served in the long struggle against communism, which began almost as soon as the Second World War had ended. Though communist regimes--especially Stalin's Soviet Union and Mao's China, and satellites such as Pol Pot's Cambodia--committed more murders than the Nazis, few Americans are aware of the absolute moral evil that communism represents, or the sacrifices made to stop it.

The U-2 pilots who provided essential intelligence; the soldiers who kept watch in Berlin; the sailors who were silent sentinels aboard submarines, tracking Soviet movements, ready to strike--all have gone unheralded, and largely uncelebrated, even on Veterans Day.

It is possible that the reluctance to honor Cold War veterans springs from a political motive. Many on the left opposed the tough line taken against communism... They won the longest and most important war of our nation's history, freeing millions from totalitarianism. But the nation they served has yet to commend them--and the president has, disgracefully, failed to honor his promise.

Perhaps President Trump will award all Cold War vets the Cold War Victory Medal.

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For information about the ultimate "war" see "The Culture War".

LEGACY INDEX