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Saluting our Veterans

This page is dedicated to those in our class who served in the Armed Forces with all our respect and deepest gratitude for your service.  We invite you to send in your stories and photos. We are honored to post them on this page.




HONOR TO SERVE - by Ray Boltz



Freedom is not Free

Our nation honors her sons and daughters, who answered the call to defend countries they never knew and peoples they never met.





Gerry Greven with 01 Birddog - Vietnam


    Bogner - 244th Aviation Co. signmaker                                                                   Kent Hinckley



    Steve Bogner - Nam 244th Aviation


Hinckley and company - Viet Nam


Bob Boaz - Fort Devans, MA - 1964



 Thank You Viet Nam Veterans and all Veterans





19 May 1944 - 29 Dec 1968  

(Died in the service of his country: Binh Long, South Vietnam)


Awarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, Purple Heart and Air Medal with 19 Oak Leaf Clusters: the last medal was for meritorious flight time over enemy territory

Buck is honored on Panel 35W, Row 5 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.

If you wish to add a Remembrance of Buck on the Wall of Remembrance, see


"If you are able, save for them a place inside of you....and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go.....Be not ashamed to say you loved them....
Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own....And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind...."
       Quote from a letter home by Maj. Michael Davis O'Donnell KIA 24 March 1970. Distinguished Flying Cross: Shot down and killed while attempting to rescue 8 fellow soldiers surrounded by attacking enemy forces.

REMEMBERING BUCK - Bruce Baum "I've been mulling over writing something about Buck Kingman ever since I came across his picture in the Veterans Day Tribute. At first I didn't recognize him, since when I last saw him during the Summer of 1963 he was bulked up from playing football at Cal. We were both summer camp counsellors at a camp owned by Craig Medlin's father, a former Canadian Air Force officer: Camp Laurel Glen in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It was pretty much an idyllic 8 weeks for me; I had a ball. I think all the other counsellors, including Buck, did too. I got to know him pretty well, much better than him being a year behind me in high school. He was a dynamic personality. I had previously dated his older sister Janie briefly, but never really got to know Buck until that summer. We all hooked up with girl counsellors or staff, and Buck was no exception. I can't recall at this late date whether he sat around late at night and drank beer with the rest of us. I don't remember when and how I learned he had been killed in Vietnam, but I do recall learning how devestated his family was over the whole situation. To my chagrin I never made a move to contact them to express my regrets over their terrible loss. I think at the time I was dealing with too many other such losses to adequately cope with yet another one. In closing it is only on Memorial Day or Veterans Day that I allow myself to think of those friends and comrads who gave all in Vietnam; otherwise it is too painful and I keep such thoughts locked firmly away. I don't think I am the only Vet who responds as such. Thanks for giving me the forum to express my grief over such a wonderful guy as Buck Kingman and my fond last memories of him."

Here’s to the Heroes

Here's to the heroes
Those few who dare
Heading for glory
Living a prayer

Here's to the heroes
Who change our lives
Thanks to the heroes
Freedom survives

Here's to the heroes
Who never rest
They are the chosen
We are the blessed

Here's to the heroes
Who aim so high
Here's to the heroes
Who do or die





Raising of the flag over Iwo Jima picture February 23, 1945.

"MEMORIES!  I was there on 19 February, 1945; AND for about a week before as an 18 year old "swab jockey" on a minesweeper, the USS Rebel. We swept the mines from the beachhead while our capital vessels (cruisers and battleships) shelled the enemy on Mt. Suribachi.  They responded shelling our ships! We were between the combatants praying for a high trajectory!

The landing was a terrible thing to witness. Our duty changed from sweeping to recovering our dead marines who didn't even make it to the beach! We were instructed to recover dog tags and any personal items to send home before performing a solemn burial at sea ceremony! Very sobering and maturing experience for an 18 year old!! From there we did the same duty at Okinawa and on to Kerama Rhetto; island hopping to an expected invasion of Japan! The A-bomb, as terrible as it was, saved thousands of  lives! Kerama Rhetto never became an invasion as the A-bomb ended hostilities before any landing! War stories!....enough already.

P.S. We saw our flag flying on Mt Suribachi, but didn't witness the raising! Still a real thrill!

I am having trouble with my short-term memory, but will NEVER forget these experiences. For a long time didn't want to talk about them; but it’s easier now."   – Cousin Ron  (This from my now 88 year old 1st cousin, once removed.)  P. West

Marines race across the beach to experience a fraction of the experiences the Marines who fought for Iwo Jima might have had on D-Day of the Battle. The major difference between today and 1945 is that today no one is shooting at them!

The guide for this trip asked the Marines to rush this dune to get an idea of what the Marines who took Iwo Jima faced upon landing. Every step you take up, you slide down and into the dune. You have to work hard to get to the top. Imagine doing that with 100 lbs on your back while being shot at and artillery raining down on you.


Mount Suribachi overlooks the landing beaches. During the battle for Iwo Jima , Mt Suribachi gave the defending Japanese forces a perfect vantage point from which to direct lethal artillery fire on the Marines' hastily dug positions on the beach.


Futatsune Beach , today known by visiting Marines as Invasion Beach , is where on 19 February,1945, the Marines landed on D-Day of the invasion of Iwo Jima . This picture was taken from near the top of Mt. Suribachi . Forward Observer's dream!


A heavy machine gun, possibly a Japanese Type 92 Heavy Machine Gun, lies abandoned in a bunker overlooking the landing beaches. There are still dozens of these bunkers all over the island. Most of them were destroyed during the battle. This pillbox still bore the scars of the fighting. It was pockmarked with bullet holes and the inside was blackened. I imagine a flame thrower was used to clear that pillbox.  


This monument was erected on the spot where Franklin Sousley, Harlon Block, Michael Strank, John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, and Ira Hayes raised the American flag four days into the Battle for Iwo Jima.  Visiting Marines leave personal mementos behind during their 'pilgrimages'. The Eagle, Globe and Anchors on the left and right side of the monument are completely covered in dog tags left by visiting Marines and service men to honor the 6,821 killed. Remember what they did.


This monument was erected on the spot where Franklin Sousley, Harlon Block, Michael Strank, John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, and Ira Hayes raised the American flag 4 days into the battle for Iwo Jima. Iwo Jima is like Mecca for the Marines. Visiting Marines leave personal mementos behind during their 'pilgrimages'. The Eagle, Globe and Anchors on the left and right side of the monument are completely covered in dog tags left by visiting Marines and service men to honor the 6,821 killed. Remember what they did.  




          It looks like we did some good after
 all! On Saturday, July 24th, 2010 the town of Prescott Valley , AZ,
 hosted a Freedom Rally. Professor Quang Nguyen was asked to s
peak on his experience of coming to America and what it means.  He spoke the following in dedication to all Vietnam Veterans. Thought you might enjoy hearing what he had to say:

      35 years ago, if you were to tell me
 that I am going to stand up here speaking to a couple thousand
 patriots, in English, I'd laugh at you. Man, every morning I wake up
 thanking God for putting me and my family in the greatest country on

 I just want you all to know that the
 American dream does exist and I am living the American dream. I was
asked to speak to you about my experience as a first generation
 Vietnamese-American, but I'd rather speak to you as an American.
  If you hadn't noticed, I am not whiteand I feel pretty comfortable with my people.

  I am a proud US citizen and here is my
 proof. It took me 8 years to get it, waiting in endless lines, but I
 got it, and I am very proud of it.

             I still remember the images of the Tet
 offensive in 1968, I was six years old. Now you might want to question
 how a 6-year-old boy could remember anything. Trust me, those images
 can never be erased. I can't even imagine what it was like for young
 American soldiers 10,000 miles away from home fighting on my

          35 years ago, I left South Vietnam for
 political asylum. The war had ended. A t the age of 13, I left with
 the understanding that I may or may not ever get to see my siblings or
 parents again. I was one of the first lucky 100,000 Vietnamese allowed
 to come to the US. Somehow, my family and I were reunited 5 months
 later, amazingly, in California . It was a miracle from God.

      If you haven't heard lately that this
is the greatest country on earth, I am telling you that right now. It
was the freedom and the opportunities presented to me that put me here
with all of you tonight. I also remember the barriers that I had to
overcome every step of the way. My high school counselor told me that
I cannot make it to college due to my poor communication skills. I
proved him wrong. I finished college. You see, all you have to do is
to give this little boy an opportunity and encourage him to take and
run with it. Well, I took the opportunity and here I am.

This person standing tonight in front of you could not exist under a

socialist/communist environment. By the way, if you think socialism

is the way to go, I am sure many people here will chip in to get you

a one-way ticket out of here. And if you didn't know, the only difference

between socialism and communism is an AK-47 aimed at your head.

That was my experience.

In 1982, I stood with a thousand new immigrants, reciting the Pledge

of Allegiance and listening to the National Anthem for the first time as

an American. To this day, I can't remember anything sweeter and more

patriotic than that moment in my life.

      Fast forwarding, somehow I finished
high school, finished college, and like any other goofball 21 year old
kid, I was having a great time with my life. I had a nice job and a
nice apartment in Southern California. In some way and somehow, I had
forgotten how I got here and why I was here.

One day I was at a gas station and saw a veteran pumping gas on the

other side of the island. I don't know what made me do it, but I walked

over and asked if he had served in Vietnam . He smiled and said yes.

I shook and held his hand. The grown man began to well up. I walked

away as fast as I could and at that very moment, I was emotionally rocked.

This was a profound moment in my life. I knew something had to change

in my life. It was time for me to learn how to be a good citizen. It was time

for me to give back.

You see, America is not just a place on the map, it isn't just a

physical location. It is an ideal, a concept. And if you are an American,

you must understand the concept, you must accept this concept, and

most importantly, you have to fight and defend this concept. This is about

Freedom and not freestuff. And that is why I am standing up here.

Brothers and sisters, to be a real American, the very least you

must do is to learn English and understand it well. In my humble

opinion, you cannot be a faithful patriotic citizen if you can't speak

 the language of the country you live in. Take this document of

46 pages - last I looked on the Internet, there wasn't a Vietnamese

translation of the US Constitution. It took me a long time to get to the

point of being able to converse and until this day, I still struggle to come

up with the right words. It's not easy, but if it's too easy, it's not worth doing.


Before I knew this 46-page document, I learned of the 500,000

Americans who fought for this little boy. I learned of the 58,000

names scribed on the black wall at the Vietnam Memorial.

You are my heroes. You are my founders.

       At this time, I would like to ask all
the Vietnam veterans to please stand. I thank you for my life. I thank
you for your sacrifices, and I thank you for giving me the freedom and
liberty I have today. I now ask all veterans, firefighters, and police
officers to please stand. On behalf of all first generation
immigrants, I thank you for your services and may God bless you all.

If you’d like to see the video of his entire address, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7idswNHEY9g

          "One Flag,   One Language,  One Nation Under God"