One Veteran’s Journey

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Happy Veteran’s Day!  It’s been a patriotic week, beginning with Election Day and ending with Veteran’s Day.  As always, I am very proud to be an American!  I want to start by saying thank you to all of our Veterans.  Thank you for protecting our freedom.  Thank you for sacrificing.  Whether you’re currently serving or have already served in the military, all Americans owe you an enormous debt of gratitude for your service.  So to you we say THANK YOU!!

In honor of Veteran’s Day, I wanted to pause and write a post that focused on our Veterans.  I asked my mother-in-law, Sandra, to tell us her story about our family’s favorite Veteran and one of my favorite “Dads,” my father-in-law, Jim Schmidt.  She graciously agreed.  So here is one Veteran’s journey:

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“In 1968 Jim served in Viet Nam with the MCB 53 battalion of the US Navy Seabees.  He was deployed south of Da Nang and this was during the TET offensive.  The Seabees were and still are a remarkable service.  They build whatever is required of them and truly live up to their motto “Can Do.”  During this tour they built the entire Southern Command Center bunker in Viet Nam.  It often involved pouring concrete 24 hours a day.  They also replaced the decking of an important transport bridge during night time hours.  They worked under spotlights, stopping at times while under enemy fire.  Thankfully, the Marines supplied great security for them.

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During this tour Jim and I were engaged to be married.  We wrote each other everyday, but often his letters were delayed due to the situation in Viet Nam.  After 9 months Jim came home, safe and sound just in time for our wedding!  We were married just 4 months when he was redeployed back to Viet Nam.

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This time (now 1969) his battalion, MCB 53, was deployed closer to Da Nang.  Again, Jim was involved in many different projects.  Their unit rebuilt an entire Marine base that had been destroyed by a blown up ammunition storage site.  They were given 45 days to rebuild this base, but accomplished it all in just 23 days!!  They also had to make major repairs to Da Nang hospital which had been hit by mortar fire.  They built and completed roads and watchtowers.  Again, during this tour, we wrote letters to each other everyday.  Again, mail service was often interrupted by the circumstances in Viet Nam.  Each day was marked off on our calendars and 9 months later Jim was finally home!  He was healthy and whole, thanks be to God!!

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Jim states that it was very difficult to serve in war-time Viet Nam, but he learned so much about team work, responsibility, and loyalty during those years.  He always says he is proud to have served his country in this capacity.

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On Veteran’s Day it is good to remember that every veteran has a story to tell.  Every veteran deserves our respect and our thanks for his or her service!”

~ Sandra Schmidt, guest writer

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