MAJ Donald G. Carr

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Army Maj. Donald G. Carr, 32, of San Antonio, accounted for on Aug. 19, 2015, will be buried May 11, at San Antonio National Cemetery. On July 6, 1971, Carr was assigned to the Mobile Launch Team 3, 5th Special Forces Group, as an observer in an OV-10A aircraft that supported an eight-man Special Forces reconnaissance team. During his mission, his aircraft encountered bad weather. Shortly afterward, the ground team heard an explosion to their northeast, which they believed to be that of an OV-10A. They failed to locate the crash site, however, and Carr was declared missing in action.

Between September 1991 and March 2014, joint U.S./Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic teams conducted more than 25 investigations and site surveys, but could not locate his remains.

In April 2014, a Vietnamese citizen contacted American officials, claiming to know about possible American remains in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Wreckage, photos, personal effects, and remains were located and transferred to DPAA, and later identified as Carr’s.

To identify Carr’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used circumstantial evidence and DNA analysis, including mitochondrial DNA.

The support from the government and the people of Vietnam was vital to the success of this recovery.

Today there are 1,598 American servicemen and civilians still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Carr’s name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with others unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

We honor you, Donald Carr.

(Submission by: Miah Parry #Repost @powmiafamilies)

1SG James W. Allen

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For James Allen, joining the Army was a means of escape from life in racially segregated Florida in the 1950s. He served in various administrative capacities in Korea and Vietnam during the wars fought there, always ready to take on a new challenge, even if he wasn’t specifically trained for the job assignment. After retiring from the Army, he wound up back in Florida, where he has immersed himself in community and veterans programs in booming Flagler County, ready as ever to make the most of his talents.

(#Repost @Veteran History Project)

SGT Michael Ball

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How a country treats it war veterans says a lot about its values. Not the values it purports to cherish, but those it actually holds. Whether one comes from a family where fathers, son, mothers and daughters have always served, or from one that hasn’t seen a member in uniform for generations, most of us believe that when a nation sends its young people off to war, they deserve recognition and, more importantly, help—psychological, medical, financial, whatever it takes to make sure they’re whole—when they come home.

In the spring of 1971, LIFE magazine published a remarkable story, “A Veteran Comes Home—to Limbo,” written by Colin Leinster and featuring photographs by John Olson, who made some of the most indelible pictures from Vietnam. Focusing on one particular vet, 21-year-old Michael Ball from Midland, Mich., the article and photos captured the singular troubles faced by countless veterans, then and now, returning from war: the doubts; the troubled sleep; the anger; the longing for normalcy.

As Leinster wrote in the April 16, 1971, issue of LIFE:

We’re back in the world. No more heat or red dust or sodden patties. No more incoming to spatter you around like paint, no more snipers. No more silent jungles or quiet dead, no more clattering choppers or friends moaning and you too busy to help. No more barracks-room boredom with thumbed letters and magazines you know backwards . . . No more dawns over mountains that scare you. Most of all, better believe it, no more Vietnam. We’re out.

Last year some half-million GIs came home from Vietnam. This year another 200,000 are expected to return. The lucky ones come back with two arms, two legs, genitalia intact, alive. But that’s it, no more parades. The Calley Case sealed America’s dismay over Vietnam. Still, veterans of this war had already learned not to expect any band music. Even before they got back they knew the rule; don’t talk about it. Don’t volunteer to a pretty girl that you served in Vietnam. Don’t expect anybody to give you a job just because you are a vet. . . . You survived, so forget it.

Twenty-one-year-old Michael Ball is one of those who came back. Returning to his hometown of Midland, Mich., he finds himself caught in a limbo between war and peace. He cannot find a job. He’s alone, but he doesn’t know why. His Bronze Star lies in a tin box in his parents’ home.

In Vietnam, Ball was a staff sergeant with Alpha Company, 5th Battalion, 7th Regiment, First Cavalry Division (“the proud Air Cav”). He led a mortar platoon that saw action in both Vietnam and Cambodia. The whole time he was away from home, he was “shoving away the present and dreaming of sensible trees and fields and weather, of his mother’s new kitchen, of girls who speak English. . . .”

As the article and the pictures here—most of which never ran in LIFE—remind us, there are many types of homecomings. More often than we’d like, they fall short of what we hope and imagine they’ll be.

We honor you, Michael Ball.



SSgt R. Lee Ermey

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In 1961, at age 17, Ermey enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and went through recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in San Diego, California. For his first few years, he served in the aviation support field before becoming a drill instructor in India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, where he was assigned from 1965 to 1967.

Ermey then served in Marine Wing Support Group 17 at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa, Japan. In 1968, he was ordered to Vietnam with MWSG-17, and spent 14 months in country. The remainder of his service was on Okinawa where he was advanced to staff sergeant (E-6). He was medically discharged in 1972 because of several injuries incurred during his service. On May 17, 2002, he received an honorary promotion to gunnery sergeant (E-7) by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James L. Jones.

He is most well-known for playing Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in “Full Metal Jacket,” which earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Ermey appeared in more than 60 films, including Full Metal Jacket, Apocalypse Now, Purple Hearts, Mississippi Burning, The Siege of Firebase Gloria, Dead Man Walking, Se7en, Fletch Lives, Leaving Las Vegas, Prefontaine, Saving Silverman, On Deadly Ground, Sommersby, Life, Man of the House, Toy Soldiers and The Salton Sea, as well as the remake of Willard, and as an evil sadist in two The Texas Chainsaw Massacre films.

On Sunday [April 15, 2018], R. Lee Ermey’s long-time manager informed the world that a little after 6:30 p.m. EST, the beloved R. Lee Ermey “The Gunny” passed away in the morning due to complications from pneumonia.

We honor you, R. Lee Ermey.

(Submission by: Ninzel Rasmuson. #Repost @American Military News and Wikipedia)

PFC Cordell Grove

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PFC E3 Cordell Grove was a casualty of the Viet Nam War. His tour of duty began on April 19, 1969. He died on July 1, 1969 during an 82mm mortar attack. He was 22 years of age. He was 22 years of age. He was also a native of Oakdale, LA, born on June 6, 1946. His father was Bill Grove and his mother is Vivian Grove. After graduation from Allen High School in 1965, he moved to Compton, California where he registered with the Draft Board. Shortly after registration he was drafted into the US Army and due to his registration in California, Compton was listed as his home. Because of this, he is not buried in Oakdale cemetery, nor was his death widely known in his hometown. Cordell Grove has for years been overlooked as an Allen Parish military casualty. On Friday June 21, 2103, a monument was unveiled on the 6th Avenue Boulevard, commemorating his service to his country.

Mos. Vivian Grove, 91, lived to see her son honored by the city of his birth, almost 44 years after his death in Viet Nam. Family, friends, and classmates of PFC Grove sat or stood in scorching heat to honor a young man who gave his life for his country. Allen High School’s graduating class of 1965 worked very hard to raise funds for a memorial plaque to honor their classmate. They worked with the city and American Legion Post 56 to get the plaque in place and plan a dedication ceremony.

We honor you, Cordell Grove.

(#Repost @Louisiana Journal)


LTC Charles Dean James Sr.


Combat gun shot wound as I remember it:

Hot weather, 1966, I was Aircraft Commander of a UH/D Army helicopter, heading south on the eastern side of our 1st Aviation Battalion of the 1st Infantry Division base camp. The aircraft was fully loaded with personnel even sitting on the deck. We had not experienced much VC probing or firing into the camp, but I dropped to about 5 feet off the ground at 110 knots, 20 knots above normal cruise; two farmers were working in the field we were crossing. We would pass them about a half click east of their position. We had enfilade fire across this entire field of crop stubs and saw absolutely nothing. There was a sudden explosive sound and I said, “I’m hit.”

Instinctively, the pilot said, “I have the controls” and pulled us into a climbing right turn, during which time we realized that the shot had come in directly from the belly and caught me in the back of my right (cyclic) upper arm. I squeezed the right flight suit covered upper arm with my left hand until we landed, to stop any bleeding, so I’m left with no scar.

We honor you, Charles James Sr.

(#Repost @National Purple Heart Hall of Valor)

COL Naldean “Nan” Borg

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Nan Borg was teaching nursing in Minot, North Dakota in 1961 when she decided to join the Army Reserves. A year later, she went on active duty and continued to serve until 1989. In 1964, she was assigned to an evacuation hospital in Korea, her introduction to intensive care, which became her specialty. She served in Vietnam from 1970 to 1971, where she counseled junior officers, teaching them to deal with issues of death and dying.

We honor you, Naldean Borg.

(#Repost@National Museum of the US Army)