SGT Douglas Ray Martin

2018-2-20 Martin

Sergeant Martin served with the A Battery, 5th Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Division during the Vietnam War. While serving as a sentinel guarding the Đắk Pôko River Bridge, Sergeant Martin and his comrades were attacked by a North Vietnamese Army force. During the action, Sergeant Martin received wounds when an enemy hand grenade exploded in his position. Although injured, he continued to lay down a heavy volume of fire until the enemy was driven off.

We honor you, Douglas Martin.

(#Repost @National Purple Heart Hall of Honor)

SP4C David V. Rhoads


During Reconnaissance the night of April 25th 1967, Rhoads’ unit was ambushed near the DMZ in Tay Ninh Providence, South Vietnam. During the firefight, several members of the armored unit, including Rhoads, were struck by small arms fire from enemy combatants. Rhoads’ injury resulted in a severed upper right humorous which required multiple surgeries for fixation.  As a result of injuries during combat, Rhoads was awarded the Purple Heart on April 26, 1968.

Rhoads was serving with  B Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 9th Infantry.

We honor you, David Rhoads.

(#Repost @National Purple Heart Hall of Fame)

SGM Mary L. Aurtrey

2018-2-6 Aurtrey

Born in Maryland, Sergeant Major Mary Aurtrey was an eighteen-year-old living in small-town South Carolina, craving travel and adventure, when she made the decision in 1969 to join the Army. In her roles as typist, stenographer, and administrator, her service during the Vietnam and Persian Gulf eras led her around the world–from locations stateside to Korea, Germany, and Belgium–and to support high-ranking officers such as General Alexander Haig. Beyond simply providing her with an education, she cites personal interactions as one of the highlights of her military career; as she explains, serving in the Army taught her to appreciate people, fundamentally changing her outlook on life. Aurtrey served a total of 22 years.

Aurtrey continued in a lifetime of public service, both as the current chaplain for the American Legion Women’s Post #438 and a Systems Accountant at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) Center, Indianapolis.

(#Repost @ Veteran’s History Project and US Army Reserve)

HM2 (E-5) Karen T. Meter

2018-2-5 Meter

Karen Thompson Meter served as a US Navy Corpsman during the Viet Nam War in hospitals on both the East Coast and in the Midwest.  Her love of her job and of veterans is a testament of her commitment to her country and her fellow service members.

Always an intellectually curious and social person, Ms. Meter grew up in a log-house in North Dakota. Karen liked school; it was a place where she felt accepted. However, small town life was not the plan Ms. Meter intended for her future. Fed up, a nineteen year old Ms. Meter marched four miles in heels to the Navy recruiter’s office where MM1 John Densley impressed upon her that in the military “no two days are ever the same.” Marveled by this prospect, Ms. Meter left Bismarck, seeking opportunities not available to women in her small town. When Ms. Meter enlisted she wanted to be a Musician; however, even this occupation was closed to women at that time. Ms. Meter’s recruiters guided her down the path to becoming a Corpsman. She later encouraged her younger brother, Charles, to join the Navy and become a Corpsman as a result of – what she describes – finding the job of her dreams.

After completing Basic Training in Bainbridge, Maryland—a training center that is no longer in operation—she moved to Great Lakes, Illinois for training as a Navy Corpsman. The experience put her close to Chicago—the city Karen would return to after leaving the military years later. When Ms. Meter arrived at her first duty station she was met with shock and surprise: there were no women stationed at Parris Island, South Carolina. After looking over her orders the Marines who greeted Karen quickly realized their error – her orders were for the Naval Hospital at Beaufort, South Carolina only miles away.

Ms. Meter fell in love with the community at Beaufort. The hospital staff, the Marines, and the surrounding community were her new home. She spent off hours assisting good will missions to the rural areas neighboring the Hilton Head islands to deliver much needed medical care to the civilian inhabitants.

Ms. Meter was then transferred to Naval Hospital Great Lakes, Illinois, during the height of the Viet Nam War. She recalls the day that the space shuttle Apollo 11 landed on the moon. She was on call as an ER technician assisting the triage effort. Sick and wounded were being flown in on helicopter from Glenview airport, service members fresh from the battlefield in Viet Nam. They were being brought to Illinois to be closer to their hometowns while recovering from their injuries. Ms. Meter’s recollection of the support she and the other Corpsmen provided to those who sacrificed is a story of sacrifice in and of itself. These were men who needed care, physically and emotionally, and Ms. Meter and her fellow Corpsmen answered the call.

We honor you, Karen Meter.

(#Repost @Pritzker Military Museum & Library)

CSM William E. Vicars

2018-1-30 Vicars

William Vicars spent 21 years in the Army to learn something about himself—that he was a born teacher. Vicars enlisted a year out of high school and did two tours of Vietnam. On his second tour, at the age of 29, he was called “The Old Man” by the recruits in his platoon. From an early career encounter with an officer named David Hackworth, Vicars had learned to watch out for the lowliest soldiers. He maintained tight discipline within his platoon, even as morale was disintegrating around him. After he retired from the Army in 1980, Vicars became a high school ROTC teacher in El Paso, where he grew up. He has thrived on giving young people a sense of purpose and discipline in their lives and is especially proud of turning around the lives of troubled youth.

We honor you, William Vicars.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project)

SGT Gregory C. Conant

2018-1-23 Conant

Sgt. Conant, a member of the 25th Infantry Division, was killed Feb 12, 1968 on the eve of his 20th birthday. He had enlisted in the Army in March, 1966, and had been in Vietnam for 11 months, during which time he had received two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. Prior to enlisting in the Army he had attended both Austin and Burges High Schools.

Sgt. Conant had been nominated for the Distinguished Service Cross. the nation’s second highest award, as a result of his actions Nov 30, 1967, while on an ambush patrol outside Cu Chi, Vietnam. At that time, Sgt. Conant threw himself on a live enemy grenade that had fallen just behind his squad. The grenade did not explode.

Sgt. Conant lost his life when the Armored Personnel Carrier that he was traveling in was struck with hostile small arms fire.

We honor you, Gregory Conant.

(#Repost @National Purple Heart Hall of Honor)

SPC John A. Vargas

2018-1-20 Vargas

John was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA, and was raised in NYC. After his military service he earned a degree in marketing.

He was “drafted” into the U.S. Army and assigned to the 4th Infantry Division at Ft. Lewis, Wash. while serving in Vietnam, he voluntarily transferred to the 25th Division 3/4 Air Cavalry, aka Centaurs. John was a door gunner on a Huey gunship that was consistently engaged in daily and nightly raids.

On May 19, 1967, while on a combat mission in the Hobo Woods, South Vietnam, John was seriously injured, sustaining bullet wounds to his right shoulder. In spite of his wounds, he continued to engage the enemy with M60 tracers while making their position with smoke grenades. Subsequently, he saved the other three crew members while assisting to kill at least 17 Vietcong. For his bravery and dedication to duty, along with the Purple Heart, John was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal for Valor. He is one of a few in the Army to have received the DFC, which is usually awarded to an Air Force pilot.

While in Colorado he joined the executive staff, eventually retiring from a technical college as director of placement. Always being community minded; John was a volunteer with the Colorado Springs Police Department. He is a member of Highlands Ranch, Colo., American Legion Post 1260, VVA 1106 and PH Chapter 1041.

We honor you, John Vargas.

(#Repost @The American Legion)