Capt Mark Weber

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Seven U.S. Armed Forces members — including one whose parents live in southern Denton County — were when a military helicopter crashed in western Iraq, according to information from Moody Air Force Base and Bartonville Mayor Bill Scherer.

Bartonville residents Ron and Margaret Weber lost their son, Air Force Capt. Mark Weber, 29, in the crash on March 15, 2018, according to the news releases.

A graduate of the US Air Force Academy, Capt. Weber is survived by his parents, according to Scherer, as well as four siblings: Leah Weber, currently serving overseas in the U.S. Air Force; Kathrine Weber, serving in the U.S. Coast Guard; Lori Weber, a nurse; and Kristen Weber, a writer and Christian stand-up comedian.

Capt. Weber was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force in 2011 and served as a Combat Rescue Officer, according to Scherer’s statement. Capt. Weber was assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron, 23rd Wing, Moody AFB, Georgia, and was serving in Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) pilots and crews face the most highly dangerous and hazardous missions risking their lives going into combat zones in an effort to rescue the wounded and downed pilots.

Capt. Weber also did rescue work in the United States during the hurricanes just last year.

“We are indebted to Capt. Weber’s service, commitment, and sacrifice to our nation,” Scherer’s statement said. “Because of his bravery and selflessness, we enjoy daily freedom and security. It is our duty to honor and never forget the sacrifice that Capt. Weber made.

“The Town of Bartonville extends heartfelt prayers and condolences to the Weber family and all affected by this tragedy.”

We honor you, Mark Weber.

(#Repost @Cross Timbers Gazette)

CAPT Margaret R. Riley

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On 8 June 1973, OCS Class 2-73 graduated from their training at Yorktown, Virginia.
The entire class was twenty-nine strong. In their ranks at graduation for the first time were five women. One of those women graduates was Margaret R. Riley. During
her thirty-year career CAPT Riley served as the Executive Officer of the Integrated
Support Command, Boston, Massachusetts and was later assigned to the Coast
Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC. She also served as the Commanding Officer
of the Supply Center, Baltimore, Maryland; and the Commanding Officer of the
Integrated Support Command, Boston and retired in 2003 as Director of the
Leadership Development Center at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London,

CAPT Riley died in January 2008 following a long illness.

We honor you, Margaret Riley.

(#Repost @Coast Guard Women in History)

CPT James A. Taylor

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First Lt. James A. Taylor was serving in South Vietnam as Executive Officer of B Troop, First Cavalry, American Division on November 8, 1967 when he was notified that his commander had been wounded in action.

He was ordered into the combat zone to take command and make preparations for a search and destroy mission the following day.

Early on November 9, Taylor resumed his duties as Executive Officer in charge of evacuation of wounded personnel, calling in air and ground support, and arranging for supplies and ammunition for the pending attack. As the troops moved forward, they came under heavy attack from a North Vietnamese regiment. Taylor reacted immediately to aid the first crippled personnel carrier before it exploded from the intense fire. But that was just the beginning of the battle – and an extraordinary display of courage under fire.

On November 19, 1968, in a ceremony at the White House, James A. Taylor was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Johnson.

His official citation reads:

“CPT Taylor, Armor, was serving as executive officer of Troop B, 1st Squadron. His troop was engaged in an attack on a fortified position west of Que Son when it came under intense enemy recoilless rifle, mortar, and automatic weapons fire from an enemy strong point located immediately to its front. One armored cavalry assault vehicle was hit immediately by recoilless rifle fire and all five crewmembers were wounded. Aware that the stricken vehicle was in grave danger of exploding, CPT Taylor rushed forward and personally extracted the wounded to safety despite the hail of enemy fire and exploding ammunition. Within minutes a second armored cavalry assault vehicle was hit by multiple recoilless rifle rounds. Despite the continuing intense enemy fire, CPT Taylor moved forward on foot to rescue the wounded men from the burning vehicle and personally removed all the crewmen to the safety of a nearby dike. Moments later the vehicle exploded.

As he was returning to his vehicle, a bursting mortar round painfully wounded CPT Taylor, yet he valiantly returned to his vehicle to relocate the medical evacuation landing zone to an area closer to the front lines. As he was moving his vehicle, it came under machinegun fire from an enemy position not 50 yards away. CPT Taylor engaged the position with his machinegun, killing the three-man crew.

Upon arrival at the new evacuation site, still another vehicle was struck. Once again CPT Taylor rushed forward and pulled the wounded from the vehicle, loaded them aboard his vehicle, and returned them safely to the evacuation site. His actions of unsurpassed valor were a source of inspiration to his entire troop, contributed significantly to the success of the overall assault on the enemy position, and were directly responsible for saving the lives of a number of his fellow soldiers. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military profession and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.”

We honor you, James Taylor.

(#Repost @Pritzker Military Museum & Library)

COL Sam Floca

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Retired U.S. Army Colonel Sam Floca is a sixth-generation Texan, as proud of his Lone Star State heritage as he is of his two tours in Vietnam in the First Infantry Division. One of his most prized possessions is the Texas flag flown at the Capitol in honor of the wounds he received in action and sent to him during his recovery.

As an infantry soldier, Floca was part of the core fighting force during the Vietnam War, and as a soldier with the First Infantry Division, he was part of a famed unit also known as the Big Red One.

Floca joined the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1966 and served as an artillery forward observer with armored cavalry, airmobile infantry, and Long Range Recon Patrol (LRRP) units. Returning to Vietnam in 1968, he was the senior artillery officer with the 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment of the 1st Infantry Division.

The First Infantry Division is the oldest division in the United States Army, and, consistent with its name and tradition, was the first Army division deployed to Vietnam. Within two weeks, its soldiers were engaged in battle, and during the next five years the Big Red One would see 6,146 of its soldiers killed and 16,019 wounded and 20 taken prisoner. As a veteran of the unit, Colonel Floca wears the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, five Purple Hearts, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm.

We honor you, Sam Floca.

(#Repost @

William J. “Doc” Boatman

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Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class
Served with 3rd Bn. 7th Marines and Aboard USS Eldorado (AGC-11)

First of all I joined the Navy in Oklahoma, not in Texas, although my parents lived in Fredericksburg at the time, so technically I am a Texas Vet. In 1965 I was a Pharmacy Major at the University of Oklahoma fighting to keep my grades up and working to pay for college…a battle I eventually lost when I did not return to school after my freshman year. I dropped out for a semester….not a smart move in 1965 and ended up getting drafted just after Christmas. I was going back to school in January, I thought, but the draft board had a different kind of education in mind for me.I guess I considered myself a conscientious objector at the time – I knew that I couldn’t shoot someone, so I had to make a choice, go to Canada or become a Medic. I talked to the Army recruiter who told me that if I was drafted I could not be guaranteed a medic position. The Navy recruiter told me that if I wanted to go into the Navy, he would sign me up as a Hospital Corpsman Recruit. I liked the sound of that and the idea of sailing the seven seas was definitely appealing to me, so I signed on hoping to be a pharmacy technician, the field I was interested in the first place.It went well to start, I was a platoon leader in boot camp and after boot camp I got posted to Hospital Corps School at Great Lakes, Illinois. Upon graduating from that training in the top 10, I got a spot at the Pharmacy Tech School in Portsmouth Virginia, although the class did not start for 6 months. I was posted at the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth to await the opening of next class at Tech School. After about three or four months working on the wards at the hospital, I told to report to the personnel officer. I went eagerly, thinking that I was soon to be reassigned to the Tech School. Instead, I was given two weeks leave and told to report to Camp Pendleton, California to start a different Tech School, Field Medical Service Technician School and assignment to the Fleet Marine For ce. I was going to combat in Vietnam with the Marines.I think I was more afraid of being trained by Marines….I had heard all the stories about Marine boot camp, than I was of going to Vietnam. Training went well, however, even though I called a Woman Marine Major a BAM thinking it was the same as the calling a woman in the Army a WAC. No one told me that BAM meant Broad Ass Marine. Needless to say she was not amused!Upon arrival in Vietnam, I was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines who were then located in the DMZ at Dong Ha. I stayed in the rear with H&S Company for the first week because 3/7 was moving to an area Southwest of Danang, which in later years would be known as the Arizona Territory. My first job was to work with the 7th Engineers making road sweeps for mines. I eventually was transferred to a line company; India Company whom I stayed with until I was medivaced six months later with what I was told was Dengue Fever. After spending a few weeks in the hospital in Japan recovering, I was expecting and wanted to go back to my unit. Again, the Navy’s plans and my plans ran afoul. I received orders to the USS Eldorado, AGC-11. I objected to no avail, and found myself back in the Navy, doing what I had initially signed up for, running the ship’s Pharmacy. I made two Westpac Cruises with the Eldorado, spending a little over two years aboard.

After my release from the Navy, I attended the University of Texas and graduated with a BBA in Management. In reflection on my military experience, I am able to justify my service in Vietnam… I kept to my personal conviction to not kill, and was able to assist many who were injured or sick. I was proud to be a Corpsman, and prouder still of my service with the Marine Corps, short though it was. The Marines made a man of me, and I was honored to be counted among them. I am glad that I went into the service instead of Canada, although I hold no grudge on those who chose that route. I am a proud member of the Texas Association of Vietnam Veterans, and Vietnam Veterans of America. I have spent many years as a veteran’s advocate, especially concerning Post Traumatic Stress issues.

We honor you, William Boatman.

(#Repost @

PFC Mario Ybarra

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Posted in his honor by his son

It was March 5th, 1966, eight days before my first birthday, when my father (PFC Mario Ybarra) was killed as a result of a gun shot wound to the head in the jungles of Vietnam. He was with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines “India” Company. My father was from Weslaco, Texas and was one of the first ten to be killed in action from the Rio Grande Valley.

Without warning, I joined the ranks of countless other orphans of this tragic war. As the only son born to this fallen Marine, I have lived my life wondering why? And what if? The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument is to honor and remember those that fought in this most tragic and controversial war, but it is important for people to know that there are others who were just as deeply affected and impacted by this historical incident. I believe I can speak for others and safely say that we (orphans and surviving children of Vietnam Veterans) are also a BIG part of the “forgotten.” Countless of us suffer from the day-to-day repercussions of this war, if not directly, but indirectly. We “relive” the war just as much as our fathers/mothers do. And for those who lost a loved one, we will always wonder.

In 2009 PFC Mario Ybarra Elementary School in Weslaco, Texas was named for my father.

Please remember him.


All I have is but a stone…
A stone to look at
A stone to shine from time to time
A stone to weep on
Cold to the touch
That stone is mine.

All I have is but a plot…
A plot to admire
A plot to weed when covered by spines
A plot to pray upon
Walked on by many
That plot is mine.

All I have is but a memory…
A memory of silence
A memory of tragic acts of crime
A memory of death
Ill fate of war
That memory is mine.

All I have is but a dream…
A dream to see
A dream to love by all things divine
A dream to touch
Reality shattered
Never to be mine.

by Mario Ybarra, Jr.

We honor you, Mario Ybarra.

(#Repost @

1st Lt. Mary L. Hawkins

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On Sept. 24, 1944, 1st Lt. Mary Louise Hawkins was evacuating 24 patients from the fighting at Palau to Guadalcanal when the C-47 ran low on fuel. The pilot made a forced landing in a small clearing on Bellona Island. During the landing, a propeller tore through the fuselage and severed the trachea of one patient.

Hawkins made a suction tube from various items including the inflation tube from a “Mae West.” With this contrivance, she kept the man’s throat clear of blood until aid arrived 19 hours later. All of her patients survived. For her actions, Hawkins received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

We honor you, Mary Hawkins.

(#Repost @National Museum of the US Air Force)