Military stands with valor in service of United States
I am writing in response to Laura Lynn Borgelt’s defense of Cindy Sheehan’s protests.
My father, Robert Forsythe, was a U.S. Army War Veteran who fought in WWII (beginning with the attack on Pearl Harbor) and the Korean Conflict. He retired from the military after 23 years of service with the rank of Major. He acquired his rankings in the field; not sitting behind some desk. He ‘earned’ two Purple Hearts and was a Bronze Star recipient. Laura, in case you’re not familiar with this award, the Armed Forces define it as this: Authorized on Feb. 4, 1944, the Bronze Star medal is awarded to members of all branches of military service and may be awarded either for combat heroism or for meritorious service.
The bronze ‘V’ identifies the award as resulting from an act of combat heroism or ‘VALOR,’ thus distinguishing it from meritorious achievement awards.
Dad died March 3, 2003. He was born in 1922 and I was born in 1972. Needless to say, I knew he wasn’t going to live long enough to tell my children about his rich history. I asked him once to write down some of his military encounters so I’d have them long after he was gone. Below is his account of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
‘At the time I joined the Army, the Depression was still very bad in Pennsylvania. On the downside, leaving a loving family was hard for a boy only 17 years old. But when I looked across the Monongohela and saw that the Pike mine tipple was dark, and the mine worked out, that really did it for me.
‘I went to Brooklyn Army base, I boarded the USA T Republic. I went first to Panama. I had wanted to go to the Philippines, but they were only taking men who had at least three years service ‘ an omen of the future. I arrived in Hawaii in late 1940 and took my recruit training on the beach there.
‘Our unit, Battery ‘B’ 55th Coast Artillery, won the Knox trophy for artillery. That meant that we were the best artillery unit in ALL of the Army. Coast artillery units served in all the coastal states, Panama, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Hawaii, etc. We were paid 70 cents a day, but if you qualified as an expert rifleman, they would add $5 per month to your pay.
‘In early November 1941, the bugler sounded alert call. We all fell out with rifles and our packs. We all formed up, and after being put at ease, Captain Ebey, our Battery Commander, made the following statement, ‘We have lost track of the Japanese Navy. Where they are going or where they are, we just don’t know. As of this moment, one crew will be at the guns, one will be on liberty and the other will be remaining on post. We will be at the ready 24 hours a day. We were then broken into three crews, or units.
‘On Dec. 7, all hell broke loose ‘ 20mm cannon fire came from the roof and down the aisle between the cots. Our barracks were on fire, the mess hall demolished, and we had two men killed. We took off as we had been ordered for our main positions on the beach. Cpl. Yankoskis was manning a 30-caliber gun mounted on an anti-aircraft mount. You could see his tracers leading the plane, and then hit the pilot and the plane crashed into the mud flats out in front of our guns. Cpl. Roth and I, and others, were firing out Springfields at the plane. During a lull, Roth turned to me and said, ‘You know, after this the world will never be the same again.’ How true that was.’
My father spent most of WWII fighting in the Pacific Theatre. During this time he endured hardships that most Americans can’t fathom ‘ torrential rains in the jungle, where he spent months sleeping in a sitting position against a tree or leaned back-to-back against another soldier. He sat in mud-soaked foxholes, ate months-old rations, endured extreme heat and general discomfort. There were no latrines in the field. He contracted malaria, dysentery and other nasty illnesses. During his various tours of duty, my father spent years away from his family, missing many events (birth, deaths, marriages, etc.). He never complained because he felt very strongly that the United States deserved to be defended. Had it not been for my father and thousands others like him, not only would you be speaking German, but this country would not be the strong, beautiful land that it is today.
The same goes for our modern day soldiers. It is you, Laura, and people like Cindy Sheehan who are weakening our great country. Your protests and undermining of elected authority will destroy our country in the same way a hostile military attack would. Not to mention, our enemies these days play dirty. Remember 9/11? That was an act of terrorism ‘ not an act of war. There was nothing fair about it.
You obviously have no military experience. I’m willing to bet my next paycheck that you could ask any of our young men and women currently serving their country in Iraq or Afghanistan, and they would tell you that it is their duty to defend our country, and they are proud of the jobs they do. Please don’t let their hard work and tremendous sacrifices go unnoticed or unappreciated.