The 2013 Veteran's Day Tribute
by Tommy Towery
This is the video tribute that was created last year to honor our veterans and was updated with the corrections and additions that were recently submitted to me. Each year the list grows larger as more and more of our fellow classmates find out about this project. It is an honor to have served with so many classmates and I still find it a little shocking to see how many of us actually served. We must also remember the families of those who supported this dedicated group.
I had more than one response from some of our fellow classmates who don't feel like they belong in this group, because they did not actually participate in a combat capacity. Well, I personally felt that way as well. It was different flying out of Guam and Thailand in a B-52 and dropping bombs from 45,000 feet, than actually crawling in the rice patties and jungles. If I was ever shot at, I never knew it. I was grounded with kidney stones during the last B-52 missions over Hanoi when 15 of our aircraft were shot down and men died or became Prisoners of War. I feel distant as well. To those who feel that by not actually participating in combat when others were dying, I offer the following extract from that famous speech delivered by Gen. George S. Patton to the Third Army. It is the one that was used in the opening of the movie "Patton." The movie version did not include the whole speech, and left out this very important section below. Patton was not one to mix words (or worry about his language) but he knew how to communicate with his men.
Patton said in that speech, "An Army is a team. It lives, sleeps, eats, and fights as a team. This individual heroic stuff is pure horse shit.... All of the real heroes are not storybook combat fighters, either. Every single man in this Army plays a vital role. Don't ever let up. Don't ever think that your job is unimportant. Every man has a job to do and he must do it. Every man is a vital link in the great chain. What if every truck driver suddenly decided that he didn't like the whine of those shells overhead, turned yellow, and jumped headlong into a ditch? The cowardly bastard could say, 'Hell, they won't miss me, just one man in thousands.' But, what if every man thought that way? Where in the hell would we be now? What would our country, our loved ones, our homes, even the world, be like? No, Goddamn it, Americans don't think like that. Every man does his job. Every man serves the whole. Every department, every unit, is important in the vast scheme of this war. The ordnance men are needed to supply the guns and machinery of war to keep us rolling. The Quartermaster is needed to bring up food and clothes because where we are going there isn't a hell of a lot to steal. Every last man on K.P. has a job to do, even the one who heats our water to keep us from getting the 'G.I. Shits'. "
On Being a Veteran
by Joel Weinbaum
With due respect to all our veterans, it would be interesting to divide the list into two parts - one volunteers and the other draftees.
Sometime after I got back to Huntsville from my active duty, one of our fellow classmates acknowledged that I had been right on to volunteer, and I had encouraged all the guys to do so (with many admonishing me for my foolishness). He said he wished he had done what I did. He was drafted and had no choice but what the Army wanted him to do.
I joined the Naval Reserve at the ripe old age of 17, but because of a late birthday, that date of enlistment, March 18, 1963, was in the second semester of our Junior year. I attended drill meetings every Monday evening, then attended full 80-day boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, North Chicago, Ill, the summer before our Senior year. I was always paid the going rate beginning as a lowly E-1; I think $68/mo. Drill nights counted for one day out of a 30-day time frame which gave me initially about $10/mo. The 80-day period of boot camp was a major windfall for me - like $230 for everything.
You will note in our Senior yearbook my picture with budding hair following my return home. During that time the Navy gave you either a bus ticket or a train ride to your destination. Because of the distance, I caught an L&N Pullman from Decatur to Chicago, about a 24-hour ride. The Pullman sleeper cars began to disappear shortly thereafter. The next year after graduation, I was flown to Norfolk for my two weeks training, then shortly thereafter, was flown to San Diego to start my Fire Control training, then on to Hawaii.
Ironically, when I was discharged two years later at Treasure Island at San Francisco, there was a national airline strike underway and there were no flights available back to Alabama. I called an older brother down at Albuquerque telling him about my delima. He said catch a Greyhound down to him and he would figure something out. And that was a 24-hour ride, sitting upright. The train ride had been much better. He had recently purchased a new split window VW bus and we took a 3,300 mile trip around the West over a period of six days which was just a great time for me after being out of the country for 18 months. I think gas cost us about $35. When we got back to Albuquerque, some of the airlines were starting to fly and i came on home.
Ask the question, "Who was drafted and who raised their hand," and I don't mean that as a slight. It was a good start for me, and stayed with it for 24 years. I didn't get where I wanted but I was looking at bigger fish to fry as an engineer with TVA in their nuclear program.
Funny, I have nothing in my engineering career to hang my hat on, although I was right in the middle of some really big projects. But having retired from the Naval Reserve as a Petty Officer First Class, is the most sustaining thing I did. And I carry an ID card to remind me of that fact. When you flip those lights on every morning nothing says I helped bring you that power. But that ID card says I was part of our National Defense.
Memphis, TN - Once again we dedicate this issue of Lee's Traveller to the men and women who served in our country's military forces and to the families that supported them during their service. I have tried my best to collect the names and branches of service of our classmates and while our primary audience is still the classes of '64 - '65 - and '66, I have included other years due to the various requests of members of other classes. Those of you who were seniors in the class of '66 still walked the halls with '67 and '68 and '69 classmates. We are all Generals, and we are all Fami-LEE. In the video is a list of some classmates who we know served, but either do not know their class year or the branch of service in which they served. Please email me if you can add any new insight into these classmates.
I hope you all have a very special week and for you veterans, check out local businesses which might be offering free meals or deals as a way of showing their appreciation.
Your Favorite Songs Prior
To High School Graduation
Featuring Silver in the Title
Jeff Fussell, LHS '66 - “Silver” songs brings to mind the 1956 Wanda Jackson tune “Silver Threads and Golden Needles”. This was an interesting song that crossed multiple genres such as rockabilly, country& western, then appeared as a cut on a live Johnny Rivers album from the Whiskey-a-go-go era. In the post-Lee years, it got a pop cover from Linda Ronstadt.
Hat tip to “That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine” which was the first hit for Gene Autry. This is another durable song that was successfully covered by great artists like Johnny Cash, Jim Reeves, Marty Robbins, the Everly Brothers, and Simon & Garfunkel.
Tommy Towery, LHS '64 - The first song from my teen years that came to my mind featuring "Silver" in the title was Bill Black's Combo version of "White Silver Sands." This was another one of those songs like "Kansas City" that seemed to be picked up by ordinary bands to play when they wanted to sound like they were playing Rock and Roll. It was usually speeded up a bit and relied heavily on a saxophone backup. The words and music to "White Silver Sands" were written in 1957 by Charles 'Red' Matthews, although partial authorship is also claimed by Gladys Reinhart.The song became a hit for Don Rondo in the summer of 1957, and peaked at #7 on the Billboard Charts. Versions have also been recorded by Dave Gardner and the Owen Bradley Quintet (also in 1957), and The Bill Black Combo in 1960. The latter version also reached #7 in the Billboard Pop Chart and #1 on the R&B Sides chart. Sonny James revived the Argentine-themed song in 1972. The record hit the top five on Billboard's country chart.I could not find the one version that I remember the most, but it was played by a group like Johnny and the Hurricanes or Duane Eddy and was a fast, loud, version that had a big saxophone echo of "dah-da-dah" to the verses - such as "Where the deep - DAH-da-DAH..." in a real rocking fashion. Does anyone remember the version I am talking about?
What Was Your Favorite Song Prior
To High School Graduation
Featuring Gold in the Title
Remember, it does not have to be a song that came out while you were in high school but only one that was a favorite before you graduated from high school. This is basically any song that you liked before you graduated. (or left school).
Email me with your picks
Put this date on your calendar.
LEE LUNCH BUNCH
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Logan’s (in the fireplace room)
by Patsy Hughes Oldroyd
The next Lee Lunch Bunch gathering will be held at 11:00 a.m on Thursday, January 9, 2014. It will be at the same place as the last time - Logan’s Roadhouse on Balmoral Drive in Huntsville . Only the planned date has changed, and that is because our regular date, the last Thursday of December, falls on the day after Christmas this year.
Anyway, at the last LLB we decided to move this one to January since it might be too inconvenient for everyone to make it the day after Christmas. I think we will have a similar situation in December 2014, but we will deal with that one later.
We had such a great crowd at the last get together in August, and we do hope to have the same in January. Do try to come if at all possible and join the fun. Also, remember to let me or Judy know if you plan to come. Logan’s likes to know about how many will be there each time.
Thanks and hope to see many of you there in January. In the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a blessed Christmas.
From Our Mailbox
Subject: Lee's Traveller
Carolyn Burgess Featheringill
Tommy, We should all be delighted that there is a Lee's Traveller that arrives in our in boxes every Saturday or Sunday without fail and full of fun! Formats come and go, but the Fami-Lee is forever! Thanks to you and to Sue as well for keeping us connected!