Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

I sing what was lost and dread what was won,

I walk in a battle fought over again,

My king a lost king, and lost soldiers my men;

Feet to the Rising and Setting may run,

They always beat on the same small stone

--What was Lost
, W. B. Yeats


This Memorial Day I'd like to remember an old friend Rob Valentine, former Infantry Captain with 46th Company, Special Forces, Thailand (1970-'71).

Rob served in a SF combat role during those years in Laos. He was always chafed that he didn't get his Combat infantry Badge, though he was an active participant in ground combat operations there.

This is the nature of Special Operations -- you do the duty, but you don't always receive recognition or promotion as a result of your activities because they are by definition, secret. Even the promotion boards do not know of your activities.

Valentine died in 1998. Following his death, the CIB was retroactively awarded to the 46th Co. for combat in Laos. Rob never was awarded his coveted CIB.

I once had a photograph with Rob, myself and James (Jay) Goolsby taken in SFOC 3-70 before we all went our separate ways. Jay was killed in the Republic of Vietnam while serving with MACVSOG in 1970.

The picture is now lost, but my Memorial Day memory is of two friends, Jay Goolsby and Rob Valentine. Both good men and good soldiers.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post Jim.

I did one about my grandfather:

Grandfather on Kwajalein

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 7:27:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous mike said...


I would not drink in a vfw bar either - if I could find one. The only post in my state that I know of that ha one is just outside of Fort Lewis.

But I guess we live in different worlds. My own post meets once monthly (minus December) in rented space in a local senior center. A typical meeting discusses what funds have been used for purposes such as:
- assisting destitute senior citizen vets or their widows
- arranging for transportation to and from a VA hospital or medical center for sick veterans who cannot drive (these are usually 100 miles one-way)
- care packages for a unit in Iraq which our post has adopted
- contributing to the national VFWs program of sending free phone cards to OIF and OEF

"The mission of all the fraternal organizations should be to ensure that they become supperannuated."

Probably 95% of my post, myself included, agrees with that. In the meantime, we trudge on. We honor all those that served (like your friend Rob Valentine and Arkhamite's Dad) not just those that died in battle. I do not believe that honoring the dead is promoting war.

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 10:11:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

the vfw and i parted ways permanently when there was a huge influx of vietnamese boat people into southern california. my thinking was that, more than any other group of folks, veterans of that war should have been in the vangaurd of those trying to help ease the way of the people whose biggest mistake in life was to be born in the middle of that shitstorm.

i was appalled at the hatred, the bitterness, and the naked racism that was there. i left, and never went back.

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 11:46:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Thank you for your perspective.

Yes, this is another world, this N. FLA area. In a charitable mood I might call it a rural outpost. Many residents are people for whom Hillary's boilermaker would be a night of uptown drinking.

Think plastic half gallons of vodka -- Russian Prince and Aristocrat, and MD 20/20. If you don't of these things, count yourself lucky. Don't bet that the social Darwinists are right about progress. They are right about fitness to a given environment.

Some people are fairly obdurate about relinquishing their prejudices and ignorance and isolation.

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 1:03:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Mike, i hope i didn't imply your suyport of vet issues is/was support for the PWOT.I'm saying that it's generally true that support of the troops is the same as support for the war. My position is dicey and not easily accepted but i cannot accept that we vets should do homeless work, transportation or any of the other efforts THAT SHOULD BE FUNDED AND PERFORMED BY THE DVA.It's govt. negligence that civilian organisations must take up the slack.Why do we vets buy this crap?
Bob Dylan said " bury your dead they cannot follow you" We know that this is not true.It works as a lyric but not as a fact of life.

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 2:13:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous mike said...

Ranger - If it was not for organizations like the VFW, the Legion, and the DAV,then the VA would have been gutted years ago. And the gutting would have been done by either of the national parties. If not for the state apparati of those organizations and the IAVA putting pressure on Congress then the Webb GI Bill would never pass.

Yes, sometimes the VFW and these other vet organizations are whores in Washington that suck up to whoever is in power. Sorry if that offends you, but that is reality and apparently the only way to get things done in that town.

MinstrelBoy - I and the VFW have no beef with the Vietnamese here in this country or elsewhere. A former VFW National Commander helped to evacuate them from Saigon. A VFW member I know helped to evacuate about 8000 Vietnamese in cockleshell fishing boats off of the coast of Phan Rang south of Cam Ranh Bay. That was done of course without permission of President Ford and the Congress. I make it a point myself to visit Little Saigon when I visit Orange County, or to visit the Viet district when I vist Seattle.

As for the hatred you experienced in SoCal for those boat people, my father who fought in North Africa and Europe and his greatest generation brothers felt the same way about Germans and Germany. My uncle who fought in both the Pacific and later in Korea felt the same hate for the Japanese, the Koreans, and the Chinese. That does not stop his children, my cousins, from buying Toyotas and Hyundais and Chinese-made barbiedolls. And if I could afford one, my father's hatreds would not stop me from buying a Porsche.

Lisa - I have no problem with strong spirits. When I get a good year in my mini-orchard, I brew up a little homemade Cherry Brandy for the wife and I and our neighbors. However, I do not support the use of cheap drinks at O-clubs, NCO-clubs, or E-clubs on military bases or in VFW or Legion posts.

Monday, May 26, 2008 at 10:08:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Homemade cherry brandy...

(Smiling) No Carrie Nation here! I absolutely approve of all healthy, good things from the earth, and homemade cherry brandy sounds like one.

I think I shall have to move to the West Coast to partake in this sort of conviviality. And you prove to me that not all of your cohorts are lemmings on the O-wagon!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 12:07:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous mike said...

Lisa -

Thanks. One might suspect that you and Ranger play good cop - bad cop with us mortals.

But what is an O-wagon?? Please never mind answering if it is going to set me off on another tirade. :-)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 12:35:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

mike, you do not offend in any manner but if you did you'd be incroaching on my turf.
It's sad but true what you say- the vet organizations do force congress into action sometimes.BUT MANDATORY FUNDING COULD/WOULD CHANGE THIS .It's insane that vet issues are political footballs.
Lisa and me do not play good cop bad cop b/c she will not agree that i'm the good cop. jim ps Happy Memorial Day;sorry i always forget the niceties./Your viewpoint is certainly welcome at RAW.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 9:14:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

arkhamite; what a wonderful photo of your Granddad-at his prime and glory. Remember him that way. jim

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 9:17:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Funny you are! Jim and I are just temperamentally opposites--it's a fact! He can swing with the orangutans, whereas I'm game for a move to a more enlightened area. . .take me, I'll go! (to quote the wonderful Brazilian leopard in a Nick Park claymation.)

"O-wagon": sorry--"Obama chuckwagon" Obama-train, Oprah-Obama bus. . . (Nothing naughty, that might be predicated by too many sips of cherry brandy...!)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 10:00:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


I am changing my comment about drunk Marines in the name of inter-service cooperation. You have rightly chastened me, and it will b/c "old men talking at a VFW post."

You have taught me some politesse, and that's a trick.

Oh, and per your last comment: thanks a lot; Lisa now wants me to buy her handcuffs :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 5:20:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am Rob's younger brother and stumbled across this as I was doing some research of some SOF operations. Thanks for remembering him - it really made my day to see this.

Would love to hear more of what you can tell and see if I can still get him his CIB.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009 at 10:14:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Dan V,
Nice to hear from you.
If i were you I'd simply bury a CIB at his gravesite. A dd215 would have to be issued by DA to amend his DD214.
Do you have the picture of our training A team from SFOC 3/70? If so I'd like a copy.
If you send a photo of Rob i'll post it with the blog entry. I'd prefer one of him in uniform. If you're ever in my area please visit.

Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 10:33:00 AM GMT-5  

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