to the Black Hills Veterans Writing Group which has helped veterans write up their military experiences since 2005. On the second Saturday of each month, a war veteran or academic tells his or her story at 900 am (first half hour is social period), until 1130. Come to Ellsworth Air Force Base's South Dakota Air and Space Museum. You and family are invited. It's free.
On January 14, Ken Delfino of Keystone talked about his combat experiences during the Tet Offensive with the US Navy's River Patrol Force in South Viet Nam. As he says, "this small segment of my life is dedicated to my brothers-in-arms with whom I patrolled the Long Tau, Soi Rap, Co Chien, My Tho and Ham Luong Rivers for 22 months."
Delfino's memoir is linked below, describing the violent onslaught of the Tet Offensive in the treacherous waters of the Mekong Delta: “WHUMP!…. ah, it’ll stop I thought…. KABAAAAM!!!!!!…the building shook…crap was flying all over the place and that, along with the close sounds of automatic weapons immediately woke me!”
Robert J. Moir, Delfino's executive officer, has written about their experiences: "During the Vietnam War, small U.S. Navy units patrolled Mekong Delta rivers in fiberglass boats armed with machine guns, four men to a boat. By day they stopped Vietnamese junks, sampans and water taxis, checked people's identification, and searched for weapons and contraband. At night, during curfew, they drifted silently with the current, watching and listening for enemy movement. They were often targets for Viet Cong gunners. Boats were hit and men were wounded and killed." more, YouTube
Listen to SDPB's Lori Walsh on the Dakota Midday program interview Ken Delfino on January 9, 2107. Advance the progress bar to #18:00 (that is, 18 minutes into the show). It lasts until #32:40.
Sunday, January 15 at 2 PM. Afghanistan and Iraq veteran Jason Brocar will speak at the Piedmont Valley Library. After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, where they met, the long-distance bug hit Anna Ball and Jason pretty hard. See stunning photography from their latest 1000 mile hikes across Scotland and the Spanish Pyrenees. Jason, a former Marine as well, chose to walk the Appalachian Trail when he was released from the Army in Afghanistan. They both have been to our meetings.
See more about "Big read" program, focusing on Vietnam veteran Tim O'Brien's book The Things They Carried, at the Sturgis Public Librry.
On February 11, Jim Dugan (USAF ret) of Rapid City will talk about his Vietnam war experiences as a dog handler. It is estimated that combat dogs saved the lives of 10,000 US military. He later was assigned in the nuclear weapons and missle industry at the Nevada Test site.
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On March 11, Alan B. Walker will speak about his combat experiences as a Marine on Foxtrot Ridge in Vietnam, two miles from the Khe Sanh Combat Base, described in his memoir Every Warrior Has His Own Song. He was born and brought up on the Winnebago Indian Reservation in Winnebago, Nebraska. His father was an Omaha Indian. His mother was a great granddaughter of "one of the original seventy-five braves who volunteered to scout for the U.S. Army in 1863." more
On April 8, Ray and Josephine Cowdery of Rapid City will present on their new book Jensen's War about Wasta rancher Leonel Jensen who served with the American Red Cross in World War II Europe. more, Jensen bio
On May 13, “How to Speak Communist.” MAJ Bob Liebman (USAF ret) and former Iron Curtain defector Peter Vodenka, author of Journey for Freedom, will talk about how the Soviets weaponized language in pursuit of a global socialist state, which is still a little-known but key player in today’s geopolitical world.
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