6:36 | Al Flory remembers the 40th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy and the work that went into making it memorable. It felt special to get to be a part of such a meaningful event and it will stick with him forever.
Keywords : Normandy France D-Day France reunion work ethic memorable loss of life time medical assignment
Growing up with his dad in the military, Al Flory always figured that he would join the military. After talking to an Army recruiter, he decided to join the medical service corps and deploy to Vietnam.
After his time at Fort Hood, Texas, Al Flory was happy to be deployed to Vietnam. Accepting a commission to go serve on a surgical team in Can Tho, Vietnam, he was able to serve the military and civilian casualties as they came in. After this deployment, he decided to go to flight school and was accepted, starting his aviation career.
Throughout his 8 months in flight school, Al Flory and his team worked with all sorts of aircrafts in order to prepare for a Vietnam deployment. After arriving in Can Tho, they were shipped to Chu Lai where they were ultimately stationed.
On his first mission, Al Flory and his detachment took a lot of fire as they tried to bring back some KIAs. On a particularly hairy mission he calls "Black Friday", the entirety of his unit was hit by NVA fire.
On a particular rescue mission, Al Flory and his detachment faced a lot of fire as they descended below the trees, battling brush, to airlift some troops with casualties. 33 years later, he had an unlikely phone call from one of those soldiers that sticks with him today.
"The Magic Hour" was the critical time period for Al Flory and his team, as they tried to give the soldiers they rescued the best chance of survival. Acting quickly during this time period was crucial and they did their best to do so.
The difference in climate in various regions of Vietnam affected Al Flory and his detachment as they tried to navigate the changing landscapes. After most missions, they found different ways to pass the time back on base in Chu Lai.
In his last few weeks in Vietnam, Al Flory was anxious to get home and took steps to ensure he would get there alright. On his way home from Vietnam, he had an unfortunate show of disrespect from a citizen he came across that disappointed him.
After his return home from his 2nd tour in Vietnam, he deployed out to Korea providing Medevac support for ground troops there. After that, he rose in the ranks of the military and ended up as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans and Security for the Army.
Justice details a too-close-for-comfort interaction with a vehicle-borne IED. The IED came as a complete surprise and the entire F.O.B. fell into what Justice could only describe as “chaos” immediately following the explosion. She suffered several injuries and had to work with the nurses back in Bagram and depend on the friendship of comrade Colonel Ellison to come back from the injuries.
Jack Martin finished out a long career as an Army engineer at Fort Belvoir where the engineering school is located. Once again, he participated in high level planning for war contingencies, as well as dealing with lower level problems like officers who wouldn't mow their grass.
Working in Civil Affairs, it's essential to understand the nuances of what is going on in the place you're deployed. Christina Cross made sure she was well-versed in the intellectual part as well as the physical training. Being given the honor graduate award at airborne school meant a lot to her.
As part of an effort to integrate education in the services, Army engineer Jack Martin was sent to Quantico for the Marine equivalent of the Army Command and General Staff College. Then came the plum assignment, Hawaii, where he could learn to do something he'd always wanted to do.
A few years into his career, the Corps of Engineers sent Jack Martin to M.I.T for a year of civil engineering study. Then it was on to an ROTC teaching assignment at Auburn. Finally he put his engineering mettle to the test in Greenland, where a giant RADAR installation was needed.
It was an old Iraqi Air Force base in northern Iraq that the Americans settled into and began to fortify and improve. Dale Beatty noted the grass and trees near the base and they gave him the idea that maybe they were far enough north to avoid the heat of the desert. He was wrong. The base kept taking fire from the surrounding area, so patrols were started to find and eliminate the threat.
Within four days of being injured in Iraq, Dale Beatty was at Walter Reed hospital in Maryland where his wife was waiting. During his recovery, he was inspired by the actions of those who helped him to do something himself to help other wounded veterans.
He joined the same National Guard unit that his father had joined. Dale Beatty wasn't ready to leave his North Carolina home, but the guard offered a taste of military life, even deployments during weather emergencies.
After his Vietnam tour, Army engineer Jack Martin served with an agency testing technical equipment developed for the unusual circumstances of an insurgency war. His next assignment was at Fort Hood, where he fought a different enemy, the barren environs where the Army wanted a golf course.
As Dale Beatty's truck convoy moved through the southern Iraqi desert, he encountered crowds of children begging for food and water. The soldiers were instructed not to throw them anything, but when a father sees children in need, the rules sometimes get overlooked. As he moved into populated areas, the begging turned to selling.
Jack Martin was a new lieutenant out of engineering school by way of West Point. His first post was in Cold War Germany in support of an armored division, where he faced a great challenge, moving tanks across the Rhine.
His National Guard unit was activated, trained and deployed, and Dale Beatty was on his way to Iraq. Nothing had prepared him for what he experienced when the ramp dropped on the plane and the heat and the smell of the desert engulfed him. As he moved from Kuwait into Iraq, he looked over the civilians around him in his convoy. Are these the guys who are going to shoot at me?
After Advanced Individual Training, Aaron Cox shipped over to Kuwait and stayed there until their deployment to Iraq. After enjoying Kuwait, the transition to Iraq was a more difficult place to live, especially with all the added complications that came from war.
Jack Martin was having a fine time his first year at college when his father asked him this question, would he accept an appointment to West Point? Having answered the only way a real man could answer, he chose engineering school at Fort Belvoir upon graduation.
Though he was severely injured in Iraq, Dale Beatty has no animosity towards anyone. He acknowledges the good leaders that he had in the Army, who all shared one important quality which he tried to emulate, and he shares an experience he had in an Iraqi family's home that gave him a sobering perspective on our mission there.
After returning to college after airborne school, Christina Cross prepared herself physically and mentally for the prospect of heading off to war. More training at Fort Polk and Fort Benning got her ready for her deployment to Ramadi, Iraq.
National Guardsman Dale Beatty was at work when he saw the 9/11 attacks unfold on TV. He knew immediately that he would be going to war soon. That was confirmed when he was sent to California for desert training. After further training at Fort Bragg, his unit readied to deploy.
First arriving in Iraq, Christina Cross and her battalion had to adjust to life in the desert. She was tasked with working with the Iraqis to improve the local schools which had suffered from the war. Her experiences with the Iraqi people were also memorable.