Posts Tagged ‘military’


Title: For Country

Genre: Military Memoir

Author: Donald G. Bartling

Publisher: Xlibris

Pages: 111

Language: English

A study of history shows us that a Nation is only as strong as the will of its citizens to fight for it. America has been tested many times over in its relatively short history. From the Revolutionary War on down to the present conflicts in the Middle East, the majority of the American citizens were willing to place their lives and futures in danger to preserve and build the future of this Nation. Even when the requirements of the military required the use of conscription in order to meet the needs of the day, most citizens were willing to shoulder their responsibilities and deliver the results that were of benefit to all Americans. Many times they have assured a future for this Nation by rising to the occasion. This is especially true today as the burden is falling on an entirely “volunteer force”.


Our Nation’s citizens have over the past century decided to remember and recognize citizens that have served this Nation in war and peace over the years of our history. MEMORIAL DAY which is celebrated the last of May is primarily in respect for those of this group that are deceased, and VETERANS DAY that is celebrated on the 11th of November recognizes those veterans that are living. Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day in regard to the cessation of hostilities in WWI.
Immanuel Lutheran has had many that have served in both categories over the time that this congregation has been in existence.  To my knowledge we did not have any members serving in the military in 1898, in the Spanish-American War.  However in WWI there were a number of men that served in various capacities.  I knew some of them in my earlier years, and they are now at rest in our Immanuel Cemetery  To my knowledge only one of those died while in the Service.  That was my Uncle Dietrich Bartling.  He was a Medical Doctor that was drafted in the early months of 1918. He was sent to Ft Sill  OK. The flu epidemic that plagued the entire world that year was also a problem in Ft Sill.  In treating the servicemen that were ill with the disease he contracted the disease and it took his life.  We learned in our History lessons that that War was a very brutal and bloody one.  In 1941 the United States became involved in WWII. This turned out to be one that lasted until August of 1945. This one took many of our younger members to many places throughout the world. North Africa, Italy, France, Great Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, in Europe.  Australia, New Zealand, many Islands of the South Pacific, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japanese Islands of Okinawa, and the Aleutian Islands. Five years after the close of WWII, war erupted in Korea.  This turned out to be a different type of struggle in several ways.  1. It was a war of ideology  (Communism vs, Capitalism)  2. It was conducted under the auspices of the UNITED NATIONS with the United States being the largest contributor in both men and materiel.  There also was the problem of the opposing sides being represented in the UN.  3. It was the first war that concluded in an ARMISTICE; there still is no peace treaty after over 60years.  Alaska became a “frontier”that needed to be defended as the “COLD WAR” with the Soviet Union was in full force.  This also called for a sizable Force in Europe, fortunately that
force was never needed.  In the 1960’s, and continuing until  1975, we became involved in
the VIETNAM WAR.  Congress closed down that conflict by not appropriating the funds to continue the fighting. {A very good account of this was written by Leroy Eckhardt.  He was the person in charge of the BASE EXCHANGE  in Saigon when Saigon fell.  He should have published that account. This was the second war in which we had no VICTORY.  Since that time we have had a number of incidents in which AMERICAN CITIZENS have been attacked and killed.—Beirut Lebanon, The Gulf War, Kuwait, and then IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN.   Immanuel Members have been active in almost all of these events.  We are still involved in many areas in the world.  The American people can and should recognize the sacrifices and dedication that these people have made to give our citizens the standard ofliving that we enjoy here in the UNITED STATES. This especially includes the FREEDOMS that we enjoy as enumerated in the Constitution of the UNITED STATES.
Nobody hates war more that those individuals that have been in war or observed the death and devastation that is caused by war.  Many of my comrades and myself included were grateful that the wars that we were involved in were not being fought in their home country or hometown.
Inthe course of time that these people serve their Country, they also develop a comradeship that often lasts a lifetime.  Many that are living today will say that their lives were often saved  by a comrade, sometimes by someone that they do not even know.  I will  relate and incident that occurred to me several years ago.
I had gone to Arbor Manor to visit my cousin and noticed as I parked, a vehicle on the other side of the lot with a bumper sticker that said” IRAQ VETERAN”. A young man came walking across the lot with a leg amputated above the knee.  I went over to him and said ” I as an American Citizen want to thank you for your service and sacrifice”  He said “Thank You, but I should be thanking you for the time that you did the same thing for our U S.”  I asked  “How did you know that I am a veteran?”  His answer ” Veterans are the ones that talk to me, the others do not seem to care”,  There was a lesson there.  It is estimated that at the present time only 1% of the families in this nation have a member or someone that they know in the military,  The effect ofthis is that their interests are focused in other areas i,e. travel, sports, gambling, or other forms of entertainment.
A personal experience that illustrates concern and dedication to your fellow soldiers was this occasion.  We were on a tank-mine removal detail at night near Porkchop Hill.  I was leading the patrol and my very dependable Squad leader ( S/Sgt Dale Moffitt) was second in command.  We located a Russian MK12 Mine.  Inorder not to disclose that we were very close to the enemy’s line defenses we would defuse the mines in the dark.  I never asked anyone to do what I would not do myself, so I told SGT Moffitt to take the patrol back a safe distance and that if I made a mistake and the mine exploded that he should get the patrol out of the area immediately as there would be heavy fire from the enemy.  I successfully defused the mine and nothing more was said about it.  Dale and some of his family visited here in 1997.  We were recalling some of our experiences and he said.  ” If that mine had exploded we would have tried to come back and help you” To me that is “loyalty.”
Most of the publicity that surrounds these types of incidents portray the soldiers that are directly involved as being totally credited with the success. I have always felt that every serviceperson is of importance as those that are on the “frontlines” can not be successful without the support of the many in the supply lines.to deliver the necessary supplies when they are needed. Another area that is not really accurate is “commendations” . I take nothing away from those that have been awarded Medals for their personal actions, but I always think of the many that have done the same or more that did not get recognized for it.
Because of the foregoing discussion of veterans views on many issues concerning them and the Nation as a whole,the veterans themselves have organized organizations that represent those views.  I have been a member of the American Legion for almost 60 years. The Veterans of Foreign Wars is another strong veterans organization.  There are
many more; they usually concentrate on the welfare of the wounded and disabled veterans and their families.  With the advancement of fast evacuation of the wounded, many more wounded are surviving their wounds than was true in earlier wars.  These organizations are needed to represent their member’s needs in the Legislature and the Congress.  Many seem to feel that election of a person to a legislative position automatically makes them experts in almost everything.  This is not true, they need assistance in arriving at good solutions to all problems.
From personal experience I can say that “Danger is a test of courage and faith.”  It was in my first “firefight” that I realized that the solid religious training that I received here at Immanuel School and Church would stand me in good stead no matter the outcome of that battle or those that were to follow.  Once a determination that ‘”GOD ALMIGHTY IS IN CONTROL’,  is made; a person can apply his abilities and knowledge to the job at hand.  Itbecame apparent to me as time wore on that there were others that had the same view that I had. Religious soldiers are more productive and more dependable.  Immanuel was blessed in that we have not had a seriously wounded or killed serviceperson.
Another area that deserves mention is the Chaplaincy.  I met a number of them over my time there. They add much to the quality of service life in that they give comfort and guidance to individuals that are in periods of stress.  Also they conduct the services that bring back a portion of the life that the servicepersons had prior to becoming a serviceperson.  My current observation is —–that it is more difficult to be a Chaplain today that it was 60 to 70 years ago.  The current high level of “suicides” both in the service and with retirees is very disturbing.  Certainly that is also an area of concern for the chaplains.
Inthis day and age—it seems that truth, honesty, and integrity, are not as important as they should be.  It has even become that “swearing under oath ” does not get the honesty and truth that it once did.  When we as SERVICEPEOPLE took our oath on entering the
service it said ” that we would protect the Constitution at all costs, even it that would be death”. I have taken the “public service” oath several times over the years and it,too, has the same impact on me..  Finally, we should remember that we also took a more
important oath on our Confirmation Day.  We promised  to stay faithful to the Triune God and suffer death rather than fall away from Him. Even today there are many in this world that are being persecuted and killed for their Faith in the Triune God.
Veterans are interested in all areas of citizenship and they are active in those areas especially at this time in our history. They are interested in the application of the US Constitution, operation of the Court System, and the functioning of the Executive Department. .
My experience during that time made me appreciate the blessings that I have had in my lifetime, and I hope I can convey some of that attitude to those around me.  I recall that I was told by a father that had just lost his 16yr old son in a car accident that ” the two times that you appreciate and value a person or property the most is JUST AFTER YOU GET IT AND JUST AFTER YOU LOSE IT.”  This also true of nations.  Citizens value their FREEDOMS  in the same way.  Many people seem to feel that the UNITED
STATES is invulnerable; I contend that we are vulnerable to many dangers, both from the outside —and the inside.  We should be grateful to the ALMIGHTY GOD every day that we still have the AMERICAN VALUES, and that we continue to have them for generations to come
As I referred to earlier, veterans are citizens too. As citizens we are interested in voting and as a group we vote in larger numbers than some other segments of our population . We weigh things with the added knowledge of National Defense that we have acquired through Service in the Military. We again appear to be on the way to repeating an error that we as a nation have done several times before in our history. That is of failing to keep our military properly maintained. I see a very marked similarity to the decade of the 1930’s in the economic, social, and political spheres of influence in the Nation and the world. Inorder to solve the economic problem—-we reduce our military capabilities to the point of inadequacy; then, when an emergency anywhere in the world presents it self We are unprepared to cope with it. We repeated that error in the 1946-1950’s period and again in the 1990’s. With the speed and devastation that can be delivered over long distances in today’s high technology world, there is not a time window in which to build defenses after the beginning of hostilities. I recall the Spring of 1952 we were rationed ammunition because of a sympathetic strike by West Coast longshoremen in loading the supplies that we needed on the frontlines in Korea. They were backing a strike by the United Steel Workers. President Truman solved this problem by ordering the Army to load the ships. Our National Economic problem is very large today, and no real answer
seems to be in view at this time .This problem applies to all of us in some way, to some, it applies in more than one way.
Trust and commitment to GOD ALMIGHTY is the only answer that has any hope of success.  We should pray that our Nation realizes that soon enough.


The author is farmer that took this time to serve in the US Army in 1951-52. He returned to his chosen occupation in October 1952.

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I was doubtful when I picked up Khost for review. I’d never read a military horror novel before, though I’ve always been a big fan of the first two Alien movies. The Alien movies are military science fiction, so I thought that perhaps the two genres would be similar. They were.

Well, as it turned out, I had no reason to be apprehensive. Khost was a very pleasant surprise, and I found myself caring about the characters and their predicament and engrossed in the story until the end.

The tale begins in 1984, with the Soviet Union engaged in the bloody war with Afghanistan. Afraid of losing, the Soviets develop a chemical weapon unlike any other in history, one with the power to enhance their soldiers in the battlefield.  They soon put it to the test in the province of Khost, where the Mujahideen hide inside a massive cave complex.

But things go awfully wrong. Instead of enhancing the humans, the chemical mutates them into beings that are way beyond human, into something horrifying and evil.

Move forward to 2010. The USA is at war with Afghanistan. And it becomes increasingly challenging in the province of Khost, where already an elite team of Delta Force Operators has gone missing. That is, except only one survivor, who has an incredible, terrifying story to tell, and whom nobody believes—nobody except the CIA, which soon sends a top-secret team to deal with the situation…

Khost is nonstop suspense, action, and thrills. The story moves at a heart-racing pace. The dialogue and descriptions ring with authenticity, and I was especially impressed with all the military language and details. I also found compelling the dynamic between the characters and their sense of comradeship.

None of them are your regular nice guy, yet they show admirable courage, honor, and responsibility for the wellbeing of their team. The scenes inside the cave are quite graphic and violent at times, but somehow they all felt essential to the story and not gratuitous. In sum, I enjoyed reading this novel and can fully recommend it to fans of thrillers, horror and science fiction, and well as those of you who would like to try something different.

Purchase KHOST on Amazon.

This review previously appeared in Blogcritics

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What happens when your loyalties are in conflict and you must betray your old mentor in order to fulfill your duty? What if this old mentor who used to protect and help you as a kid is now a dangerous drug-and-human trafficking overlord? This is the predicament our protagonist, Tim Kelly, faces at the beginning of this partly autobiographical suspense thriller by talented first-time author Jim Gilliam.

An undercover narcotics officer now working in the Mexican hacienda of Guzman, his old mentor, his real identity is discovered by Guzman’s ‘right hand,” Rucho, a bully who also knew Kelly from his childhood days. Guzman decides Kelly’s fate and orders that he be injected with heroine so he’ll become an addict and beg for his own death. Unbeknown to Guzman, Rucho adds physical torture to the punishment. Kelly slips in and out of consciousness and through his mind we begin to see flashbacks of his life. So the book starts in the present but then goes back in time to relate the events that led him to his present situation, from his early days of fighting bullies, when he met Guzman and Rucho, to his escape at 14 to New Orleans to join the Coast Guard, to his experiences in the military and later to his becoming an undercover narcotics officer.

Point Deception is a compelling novel and its strength lies in the protagonist. Kelly is a complex character with lots of flaws, yet sympathetic in a bittersweet kind of way. A hot-tempered, impulsive romantic hero, he won’t play by anybody’s rules and makes his fair share of mistakes.
Though it may put some readers down, I found all the details about weapons, drugs and the military fascinating. I also enjoyed the dynamics between the characters. At times I felt there was a lot of telling but it didn’t bother me for the most part. This is a novel that will strongly appeal to fans of military thrillers.

Like his protagonist, Jim Gilliam ran away from home and joined the Coast Guard at 14. He has recently retired from the Navy’s Military Sealift Command and is currently writing the sequel to his novel. He lives with his wife Laura in Warwick, New York.

Point Deception
By Jim Gilliam
Booklocker.com, Inc.
Release date: December 5, 2010
Paperback, 250 pages, $17.95

Website: http://www.pointdeception.com

Purchase Links: http://booklocker.com/books/5202/html


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