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Re: Re:Diaper Pin has been to war and back

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@BillE979333 wrote:

In 1969, in the DMZ of South Vietnam, Sam Woolwine and I were young Navy hospital corpsmen. As combat medics, the two of us had too many opportunities to practice our skills.

 

We were assigned to the 3rd Marine Division, 2nd Battalion, 4th Regiment--Sam to Golf Company and I to Hotel Company.

 

Our bond had began during the trip to South Vietnam--a grueling 26 hours in a crowded commerical airliner.  We were youngsters determined to fulfill our military obligations in an unsettling world of anti-war movements and riots.

 

Sam and I went about our field duties saving the lives of wounded Marines while acting as chaplains and listenng to other young Marines.

 

As if being shot at weren't enough, we also had to battle jungle rot, infections from cuts, minor wounds, dysentery and myriad of other ailments.

 

Sam, who was married, was fortunate at one point to earn an R&R visit to Hawaii with his wife.  They had a newborn named Clay.

 

JoAnn had given Sam a diaper pin for safekeeping--and as a way to bond long-distance with his son.

 

After his return to the "bush" Sam and I met up again at a rear area for medical re-supplying.  He thought his next field venture would involve a "hot spot" of enemy engagement. I thought my assignment might be less risky, so he gave me the diaper pin.

 

The deal was that, upon our safe return to the States, I would give the diaper pin back to Sam and all would be right with the world.

 

My assignment ended up being worse, and Sam rotated back to the Sates because of a family emergency.  I lost his address and, during the next 43 years, almost forgot about Sam--but not the pin.

 

As promised, I kept the pin safe--in a small military memory box that stayed with me throughout my career, which involved more than 10 moves.  I looked at the pin a few times during those four-plus decades, but my memories grew fainter.

 

In 2012, as I sifted through my military files preparing to enroll for Veterans Affairs benefits, I came across original travel orders to South Vietnam.  Listed next to my name was Samuel C.Woolwine Jr.

 

Clear memories of Sam rushed into my head. I remembered him---not every detail but a least the owner of the diaper pin.

 

I did a Google search for "Samual C. Woolwine Jr.," figuring that not too many people could have the exact name and initials, and found one listed on WhitePages.com, in Blacksburg, Va.

 

I immediately sent  Sam a letter, asking him about the pin story--to cnfirm that he is, in fact, the man I once knew.  Otherwise, I wouldn't part with the pin.

 

Assured that I'd found my former Navy colleague, I returned the pin as promised decades earlier.

 

Clay celebrated his 43rd birthday in September 2012--when Sam gave the diaper pin to his son.

 

Bill Estabrook of Noblesville, IN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Interesting. A good example of how a "meaningless token" can keep something else in mind, and not out-of-sight-out-of-mind. It's what it represents, not the thing itself.

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Re:Diaper Pin has been to war and back

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Message 2 of 30

In 1969, in the DMZ of South Vietnam, Sam Woolwine and I were young Navy hospital corpsmen. As combat medics, the two of us had too many opportunities to practice our skills.

 

We were assigned to the 3rd Marine Division, 2nd Battalion, 4th Regiment--Sam to Golf Company and I to Hotel Company.

 

Our bond had began during the trip to South Vietnam--a grueling 26 hours in a crowded commerical airliner.  We were youngsters determined to fulfill our military obligations in an unsettling world of anti-war movements and riots.

 

Sam and I went about our field duties saving the lives of wounded Marines while acting as chaplains and listenng to other young Marines.

 

As if being shot at weren't enough, we also had to battle jungle rot, infections from cuts, minor wounds, dysentery and myriad of other ailments.

 

Sam, who was married, was fortunate at one point to earn an R&R visit to Hawaii with his wife.  They had a newborn named Clay.

 

JoAnn had given Sam a diaper pin for safekeeping--and as a way to bond long-distance with his son.

 

After his return to the "bush" Sam and I met up again at a rear area for medical re-supplying.  He thought his next field venture would involve a "hot spot" of enemy engagement. I thought my assignment might be less risky, so he gave me the diaper pin.

 

The deal was that, upon our safe return to the States, I would give the diaper pin back to Sam and all would be right with the world.

 

My assignment ended up being worse, and Sam rotated back to the Sates because of a family emergency.  I lost his address and, during the next 43 years, almost forgot about Sam--but not the pin.

 

As promised, I kept the pin safe--in a small military memory box that stayed with me throughout my career, which involved more than 10 moves.  I looked at the pin a few times during those four-plus decades, but my memories grew fainter.

 

In 2012, as I sifted through my military files preparing to enroll for Veterans Affairs benefits, I came across original travel orders to South Vietnam.  Listed next to my name was Samuel C.Woolwine Jr.

 

Clear memories of Sam rushed into my head. I remembered him---not every detail but a least the owner of the diaper pin.

 

I did a Google search for "Samual C. Woolwine Jr.," figuring that not too many people could have the exact name and initials, and found one listed on WhitePages.com, in Blacksburg, Va.

 

I immediately sent  Sam a letter, asking him about the pin story--to cnfirm that he is, in fact, the man I once knew.  Otherwise, I wouldn't part with the pin.

 

Assured that I'd found my former Navy colleague, I returned the pin as promised decades earlier.

 

Clay celebrated his 43rd birthday in September 2012--when Sam gave the diaper pin to his son.

 

Bill Estabrook of Noblesville, IN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Re: Do you have a story about a war buddy you can share?

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My Buddy Al

 

    During a six month training period in the Caribbean I developed a close friendship with a fellow marine, Al Spinilli.  By the time this training ended, we had become best buddies.  Upon completing the training we both went home for a brief leave before being re-assigned.  We swore that we would keep in touch,…but life in the marines was moving fast.  The two weeks vacation I spent with my beautiful wife seemed to vanish in an instant.  Just one week after that break I was on an airplane headed to the Vietnam War.  My time in Vietnam was busy.  By the end of my first day in Vietnam I had been promoted to corporal and put in charge of a battalion devision called Special Services.  I thought about Al occasionally, but those thoughts didn’t linger long. 

 

   One day in late October of 1967 I was walking across our makeshift marine corps camp.  During that walk I crossed paths with some marines from an outside battalion.  I was told they had just finished a deadly operation and had been brought into our camp for a hot meal. These poor guys were heavily ladened with the tools of war. They were covered in mud and their energy level seemed so low for marines.  In the movies, war is sometimes pictured as glorious,…even glamorous.  There was nothing glorious or glamorous about what these guys had just been through.  There wasn’t a happy face among them.

 

   Then it happened.  Walking right in front of me was my buddy Al Spinilli.  As our eyes met I almost cried.  Al looked so miserable.  I ran over and stepped in the column to walk beside him.  We were only able to talk until we reached the edge of our camp,…about a three minute walk.  Al and I had spent six months of training as inseparable friends,…now we only had three minutes to spend together. There was no joy, no reminiscing, and so little time to talk.  Al had just witnessed the brutal murder of one of our mutual friends from our Caribbean training, and it weighed heavy on his mind.  Our entire conversation was spent with Al describing the horrific death of this friend. 

 

    Almost before I could blink an eye he was gone.  I have never seen or heard from him since.  

I don’t know anything more about Al’s time during this awful war, but I can tell you this,…Just being a soldier who had to participate in that war makes Al, and those like him, heroes.  If you happen to read this article, and know of the whereabouts of my buddy Al Spinilli,…call me.  I’m in the book.

 

    Speaking of books,…I have written a book about my Vietnam War experiences.  It is published at Amazon kindle books.  If you’re up for some recreational reading type, My War, The Story Of A  Reluctant Soldier, by Gene Opfer in your computer, phone, iPad, or tablet’s search bar, and it will pop right up. vietman 5.jpeg

Gene Opfer
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Re: Do you have a story about a war buddy you can share?

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Brothers and veterans of World War II, Corporal James Leslie Harvey and Sargent George Francis Harvey were drafted and entered the service of the US Army in May 1944. They were buddies during basic training after which they were assigned to different duty stations overseas. My father, George, said that their joint enlistment made it much easier to leave home. James (Les) served in Burma; George (Francis) served in France, the Pacific, Korea and Okinawa. They returned to their homes and families in Baltimore County Maryland after the war ended. Their shared military experiences further solidified their strong bond. A younger brother, Irvin Harvey, later also joined the US Army and was assigned to the theatre in North Africa until WWII's end.

Submitted by Cheryl Harvey Worthington, Daughter of Francis, Niece of Les and Irvin

Daddy and Uncle Les Army Buddies.jpgCorporal James Leslie Harvey and Sargent George Francis Harvey

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Re: Do you have a story about a war buddy you can share?

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18969_68_33_94_214_257008.jpgStewart Goldberg

 

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Re: Do you have a story about a war buddy you can share?

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Yes, I have a story that my dad wrote during WWII. I also have a picture of my dad then.

 

My dad, Edwin Richard Weitz (known as Dick Weitz) was in the 324th Infantry; Headquarters Company 2nd battalion; Technician Fifth Grade.

 

Here is his story in his words.....

 

A Real Friend Never Forgotten

   

     It all started in the year 1943 when I was drafted into the army of the United States. A large group of boys all stood waiting for the train to come to take them to a camp and destination unknown. A rather short, fat boy stood by my side. He asked if I wouldn’t mind him sitting along side me on the train. It was the start of a real friendship from then on.
     We had both been lonesome and speechless. But later we recovered. We talked about home and all we left behind. His name was Edward Feisal and his home was in Chicago. He was very polite and never said a mean word. He always worked hard at whatever job they gave him. Edward wasn’t very smart, or fast to catch on to the army, and lots of fellas laughed at him.
     Edward had a brother that died the year before he entered the service. His mother was very devoted to him, and sent him large packages of food twice a week and more. Edward would take the packages through the barracks passing it to everyone. Sometimes he had none left for himself.
     There was no nicer a friend than Edward, as he would do anything for anyone. That is why so many fellas took advantage of him. He was always jolly and full of pep, with a big smile on his face. I can see him right now. His ears were always red and his being fat made him the jolly character he was.
     Edward had more friends then anyone really knew because he was so kind and generous in his ways. He received more mail than anyone in the barracks. He always read them aloud. He told us about his friends back home and his father’s grocery store.
     Edward was bashful and didn’t go on dates. He would rather go to a show and have a soda. Later, maybe he would go to the U.S.O. and watch his friends dance. He did not know how.
     Then our big moment came, we went overseas. We were all scared and so was Edward, but he still entertained us with his unusual sense of humor, although he didn’t mean to be funny. Edward was always there when the moments were roughest and giving out with his kindness.
     One night Edward was left to guard some rations and ammunition in a small town, while we moved forward in attack. When we returned Edward was gone and so were the rations and ammunition. It was all captured. We heard quite some time later that Edward was killed by the enemy.
     Edward was my closest friend, one I will never forget.

Edwin Richard Weitz

army photo dick bw.jpgEdwin Richard Weitz (Dick) WWII

 

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Re: Do you have a story about a war buddy you can share?

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Thank you for establishing the War Dog Association and the dog memorial in NJ. There is also a wonderful dog memorial called the Military Working Dog Teams National Monument on Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX. It has a 9-ft statue of a military dog handler in combat uniform and life-sized statues of the 4 most common military dogs - German Shepherd, Doberman Pinscher, and Belgian Malinois.
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Re: Do you have a story about a war buddy you can share?

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I forgot to include the name of his sergeant, Piefaunze Salusa (spelling?) a Basque I think from the central California valley. He did not survive the war and my dad used to call my youngest brother Piefaunze because of his regard for his sergeant.

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Re: Do you have a story about a war buddy you can share?

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So Very Proud of my Uncle Boots!  An American Hero! 58-boots.jpg

Karen M. Fernandes
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Re: Do you have a story about a war buddy you can share?

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Joe Bowser – The Buddy I’ll Never Forget

 

I was serving as a drill sergeant in 1990 - 1991 at Fort Knox, so I didn’t make it to the war zone during Desert Storm.  Like many other veterans, however, my inclination to re-enlist after the attacks on September 11, 2001 was instinctual.  I went to Iraq with the 283rd Transportation Company.  Every day we were out the door, driving down highways littered with IEDs – it wasn’t a question of “When will we get hit?”, but “where?” and “how?”  On the evening of April 12, 2004, I was walking out of the phone tent on the compound when I heard an incoming 122 mm rocket, and I remember thinking to myself that it must be about 7:30-8:00 at night because that’s when they usually hit us.  I looked down at my watch to check if I was right when I was suddenly knocked to the ground by a blow from behind.  I didn’t know it at the time, but a piece of metal had gone through my forearm and came out the other side, nicking a nerve in the process.  I felt my left hand curl up into a ball.  As I looked up, I could barely see through all the smoke and dirt as the massive debris from the explosion fell back down towards me.  I felt an immense pain in my right foot, and I remember just laying there, eyes closed, unable to move, screaming for help. I’ll never forget two young Soldiers quickly appearing above me. I guess they were medics, although I never really saw them because of the falling debris.  They got right to work on me, cutting off my body armor and weapons to begin applying first aid. I remember feeling the cool breeze on my skin just as another round went off.  Without hesitation, those two women laid their bodies over mine to protect me.  I never got a chance to see their faces or learn their names, or thank them for their willingness to quite literally lay their lives down for me.  So, to the two Soldiers who saved my life that day, I thank you.  Every day I thank you.

 

 Joe Bowser is a supporter of the Army Historical Foundation, the Army's official partner for the campaign to build the National Museum of the United States Army. The Museum is currently being constructed at Fort Belvoir, Va. For more information, visit www.armyhistory.org.

 

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