Military News

Sunday, April 07, 2013

A Neurosurgeon in Wartime Vietnam



The May 23, 2013, episode of American Heroes Radio features a conversation with United States Navy Vietnam Veteran and Neurosurgeon Dr. Paul Pitlyk.

Program Date: May 23, 2013
Program Time: 1500 hours, PACIFIC
Topic: A Neurosurgeon in Wartime Vietnam

About the Guest
Dr. Paul Pitlyk “graduated from St. Louis University School of Medicine where he then left for Rochester, Minn. to participate in the five-year program studying neurosurgery at Mayo Clinic. After operating in a private practice in Milwaukee, Wis., he joined the U.S. Navy where he was sent to Vietnam for one year as a neurosurgeon for wounded marines during the war. Upon his return, Pitlyk was assigned to work in the Naval Hospital in San Diego. He then returned to private practice for 40 years. Currently retired, Pitlyk is married with two children and lives in San Francisco Bay area.”  Dr. Paul Pitlyk is the author of Blood on China Beach: My Story as a Brain Surgeon in Vietnam.

According to the book description of Blood on China Beach: My Story as a Brain Surgeon in Vietnam, “More than once during his yearlong duty, thirty-two-year-old Dr. James J. Paul wondered what had possessed him to leave the security of a neurosurgery practice in the Midwest to experience the blood, guts, and gore of brain surgery at a forward marine hospital during the Vietnam War. In Blood on China Beach, Paul, a neurosurgeon from the Mayo Clinic, shares the story of how he learned his craft in a rudimentary hospital in Vietnam, twelve thousand miles from home. This memoir picks up where most Vietnam battlefield memoirs leave off-when the choppers deliver the dead and gravely wounded to the field hospitals and the dedicated doctors and medical staff struggle under primitive and unsterile conditions to preserve life. In this environment, Paul was charged with carrying out emergency neurosurgery on those soldiers sustaining head injuries. He details both the emotional and professional factors that played a role in his service and provides a unique perspective to the Vietnam War. Insightful and historically significant, Blood on China Beach shows Paul's reverence for life and his admiration for the bravery of the marines he operated on, even as he questioned his own ability to make a difference. This memoir shows Paul's evolution from child to man and from neophyte to surgeon.”

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life.  Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years.  He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant.  He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University.  He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement technology and leadership.  Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One.  He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

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Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA
909.599.7530

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U.S. Cavalry: Horses to Mechanization



The May 16, 2013, episode of American Heroes Radio features a conversation with former United States Navy aviator Gary W. Palmer on his book The U.S. Cavalry - Time of Transition, 1938-1944: Horses to Mechanization.

Program Date: May 16, 2013
Program Time: 1500 hours, PACIFIC
Topic: U.S. Cavalry: Horses to Mechanization

About the Guest
Gary W. Palmer, “was an aviator in the U.S. Navy for ten years. He flew the E-2A Hawkeye, a tactical early warning aircraft, during the Vietnam War. Following his military service, Palmer joined the San Diego Sheriff’s Department while simultaneously serving as a tank commander in the Army National Guard. Palmer retired from the San Diego Sheriff’s Department in 2007 after 33 years of service. Meanwhile, in 1994, Palmer became interested in his father’s World War II service with the 106th Cavalry Group. Palmer subsequently became a member of the 106th Cavalry Association and began researching and writing about the history of the U.S. Cavalry.”  Gary W. Palmer is the author of The U.S. Cavalry - Time of Transition, 1938-1944: Horses to Mechanization.

According to the book description of The U.S. Cavalry - Time of Transition, 1938-1944: Horses to Mechanization, “During the 1930s and into World War II, the U.S. Cavalry wrestled with a fundamental question: should its horses be retired and replaced with tanks and other mechanized vehicles—or should the horse remain the mainstay of the cavalry? Time of Transition is historian Gary Palmer’s colorful, detailed look at this game-changing period for the American military establishment. Ten years in the making, Time of Transition is Palmer’s tribute to his father, who served in the 106th Cavalry Group during World War II. Deftly blending official wartime records with fresh interviews, stories and rare photos from personal and archival collections, Palmer follows the 106th, a unit of the Illinois National Guard, as its 1,500 personnel make the transition from horses to mechanization and participate in the landmark Louisiana Maneuvers of 1940-41.

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life.  Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years.  He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant.  He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University.  He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement technology and leadership.  Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One.  He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole:

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Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA
909.599.7530

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Combat Search and Rescue Helicopter Pilot



The May 2, 2013, episode of American Heroes Radio features a conversation with former United States Air Force Combat Search and Rescue Helicopter Pilot L. Todd Wood.

Program Date: May 2, 2013
Program Time: 1500 hours, PACIFIC
Topic: Combat Search and Rescue Helicopter Pilot

About the Guest
L. Todd Wood, USAF, “left Savannah in 1982 to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO where he studied aeronautical engineering.  Upon graduation in 1986, he immediately left the Academy for flight school.  His initial assignment was flying Combat Search and Rescue helicopters at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska.  In the UHAE (Unique Harsh Arctic Environment-pronounced "Yoo Hay" by Alaskans) he flew local rescue missions and was also deployed throughout Asia. During this time he was credited with saving many lives and even more assists.

In addition to flying exciting missions, Todd also managed to graduate from the University of Alaska Anchorage with an M.S. in Engineering Management.  In 1990 he volunteered for Special Operations and went back to flight school.  In 1991 he was assigned to the 20th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, FL, flying MH-53J Pave Low helicopters.  Immediately he was deployed to Kuwait.  Over the next three years he was active in  classified missions in support of counterterrorism under the control of the National Command Authority and deployed throughout the world.  His customers included SEAL Team Six and Delta Force.  He left the Air Force as a Captain in 1994.”  L. Todd Wood is the author of Currency.

According to the book description of Currency, “It is said that if you don’t know history, you are doomed to repeat it. Currency, combines multiple historical strands that converge on the number one issue of our time, the geographic location of economic and military power in the 21st century. Economic Thriller! An incredible story of power, romance, revenge and international finance spanning three centuries. The issues could not be more timely! "Currency combines history, finance, romance and action into a timely and entertaining read on a subject that has serious economic and national security implications.”

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life.  Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years.  He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant.  He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University.  He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement technology and leadership.  Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One.  He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole:

Listen from the Archive:

Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA
909.599.7530

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Air Force Reserve colonel hits high notes in traveling quartet

by Master Sgt. Amaani Lyle
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs


4/6/2013 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- By the time Air Force Reserve Col. Michelle Barrett attended her first barbershop singing performance, she didn't even realize women had long since made their mark in the genre.

Four years ago, the Reserve Advisor to the deputy assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Reserve Affairs attended a performance by the Alexandria Harmonizers, a Virginia-based men's chorus in which her Navy friend sang and she was hooked.

"They would sing, dance, perform and it was entertaining," Barrett said. "I loved the music and I told him, 'It would be so cool if women could do that.'"

And though her friend quickly informed her that women are actually well-versed in the four-part harmony a cappella singing style, Barrett admits it still took her a while to leave her comfort zone and take on the new hobby.

"It took me about three years to get up the courage," the colonel said. "Finally, I went to go listen to the Vienna-Falls Chorus of about 80 women, but you can't just go listen."

The vocalists, she said, often involve the spectators, voice-place them, and direct them in harmony.

Barrett recalled that after muddling through harmony in a rendition of "Happy Birthday," the singers placed her as a baritone, cementing her involvement with Sweet Adelines International, a worldwide organization of women singers committed to advancing the musical art form of barbershop harmony.

The Oklahoma-based organization which includes the Vienna-Falls Chorus, claims a membership of 24,000 women and encompasses more than 1,200 registered quartets and 600 choruses.

The women all sing in English with choruses in most of the fifty United States as well as in Australia, Canada, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Scotland, Sweden, Wales and the Netherlands.

Barrett said Sweet Adelines helped unite the members of Excel, Barrett's quartet within the Vienna-Falls Chorus. Their popular "singing valentines" in the Pentagon in February as well as their performances in nursing homes has made has helped establish the quartet.

"We delivered (singing valentines) in the Pentagon last year and it just stuck," she said. "We get along, we have a good time."

Formerly a C-27 and C-5 pilot at Howard Air Force Base, Panama and Travis Air Force Base, Calif., Barrett said music has always been a part of her DNA.

"I've grown up singing with my parents, so music has already been a part of my life," Barrett said, noting stints in church choirs and the Cadet Chorale at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Aside from crooning selections such as "Heart of My Heart," "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" and "Crazy About You Baby," the quartet, Barrett said, has even "barbershopped" the Air Force Song - despite the fact that the colonel is the only active serving military person in Vienna-Falls Chorus.

"It's neat to share my military community with them, but also take the things I learn from this organization into the military - the communication, the support, the encouragement, it's honestly the most positive thing I've ever done," Barrett said.

Currently regional champions, the Vienna-Falls Chorus is fundraising in preparation for a trip to Hawaii in November to compete internationally.

"After my dad died, it was the 'year of the yes,'" Barrett said of her inspiration, who passed away in April 2009. "So any opportunity that came up I said yes."

Tortuga Sailors Visit House of the Heroes Orphanage

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amanda S. Kitchner, PHIBRON 11 Public Affairs
MANILA, Philippines (NNS) -- MANILA, Philippines -- Sailors assigned to the forward-deployed amphibious dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46) visited a local orphanage April 4.

House of the Heroes is a non-profit organization that houses children found by government officials and provides them with shelter, basic necessities, education and even medical care.

"Seeing this part of the Philippines was an eye-opening experience," said Cryptologic Technician (Technical) Seaman Kelsey Seitz. "But seeing how these children take what life gives them and continue on was so inspiring."

The orphanage houses 14 children ranging from seven to 16 years of age. The children are given a chance to live in a family that they may not have had otherwise.

"This being my first community relations project, I didn't know what to expect," said Seitz. "I definitely thought the children would be more shy, but I was pleasantly surprised by how excited the children were to play with all of us."

While visiting, Sailors were given an opportunity to play games, tell stories, and make art with the children.

"I wish that would have been able to stay longer," said Religious Programs Specialist 3rd Class Bryant Fossier. "It was great to sing and play with the kids, I had an amazing time."

This was the Tortuga's first time visiting House of the Heroes, but community relations (COMREL) projects such as these are always available for Sailors to participate in any port.

"Events like this are a great way to engage the local culture, step outside of what is socially comfortable and extend your ability to serve in a meaningful way," said Lt. Adrienne Townsend, Tortuga's chaplain and coordinator for this event. "It is an honor to represent our nation in this manner. The places we visit give to us just as much as we give to them."