By Jesse Church
Aloha all my fellow veterans and residents of Molokai, old Jesse here with all the veterans news and upcoming events. The Marine Times has reported that Lt. General Lewis B. Puller, better known as “Chesty,” has received another honor. On Feb. 17, the Navy christened the mobile landing platform afloat forward staging base the Lewis B. Puller. The ship is the Navy’s third mobile landing platform but the first afloat forward staging base variant. The Puller boasts a flight deck, space for fuel and equipment storage, maintenance area and can berth 250. Lt. Gen. Puller is the most decorated Marine in history, the only Marine to have earned the Navy Cross five times, and had 14 personal combat decorations, plus campaign medals and unit commendations. Chesty began his career in the Marine Corps as an enlistman and ended it 37 years later as Lt. General, beloved by all who served with him and those who wish they had.
It’s been two years since the death of Marine veteran Chris Kyle and the jury recently decided the fate of the man charged with his murder. The trial of Eddie Ray Routh, the man accused in the deaths of both Kyle and Chad Littlefield, went at break-neck speed two weeks ago. Just two hours after the judge turned the case over to the jury, they returned to the courtroom with a guilty verdict in the double murder. He was sentenced to life without parole, meaning he will die in prison. Kyle was the Navy Seal whose military life was the lead character for the movie American Sniper. Recently, Texas Governor Grey Abbott established Feb. 2 as Chris Kyle Day in Texas where Kyle was raised, and flags statewide fly at half-staff.
When I was in Vietnam, there were so many slang terms that we used to describe things that you would think we had our own vocabulary. Here are some of the terms we used. Beaucoup (pronounced “boo coo”) was a big amount of something. If you did not like something, it was “number 10” and if you liked it, it was “number one.” An LZ was a helicopter landing zone; a simple Vietnamese dwelling was a hooch; if you called someone an FNG, he was a bleeping new guy. An animal was a soldier or Marine who was able to endure all manner of hardship and pain to complete the mission. A band aid was the corpsman, a bird was a helicopter, boobies were a trip wire, and the boonies were a jungle. Crispy critters were enemy personnel killed Napalm, and DOW meant died of wounds. My favorite was freedom bird, the plane taking troops home to the U.S.
I want to thank everyone for supporting our troops, they are doing a very difficult job and I think they are doing it very well, so we send them a big mahalo. If anyone has any questions, suggestions or news, please contact old Jesse at 553-3323. Please remember that old Jesse loves you all very dearly, so until next week, aloha.