Programs & Services

Operation  Honor & Serve

 

Operation Red, White & Blue attends to the social and relational needs of veterans through the Operation Honor & Serve program.   We do not provide financial assistance to veterans, but we can try and link you to the right agency if you have a need.  The main service is our Monthly Veterans Appreciation Luncheons whereby citizens, veterans and anyone in the community are welcome to attend.  The luncheon program begins with the National Anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation. Lunch is served and veterans eat free. The cost of the lunch for non-veterans is $10.   Then a guest speaker, usually a veteran, gives a presentation about his or her service history experiences.   Our guest speakers always have an interesting story to share and we have veterans of all service areas, even WW2, present (scroll to bottom to see a list of our previous guest speakers).  These luncheons are always the third Saturday of the month from 12:00pm  to 1:30pm.  Currently, we are using the Special Events room at the Riley Stephens Memorial VFW Post located at 3670 W. Hwy. 377  Granbury, TX 76048 for our monthly luncheons.  This is a non-smoking room and guests can enter through the side door. Free parking is available.  People of all ages are welcome, including kids. 

Another way we honor veterans is by posting Profiles on social media, that includes their service history and, when available, their service photo and a current photo.  If you would like a family member, or your own profile included on our Facebook page, please contact a Board Member or email to kelli@operationredwhiteandblue.org   But, the opportunities and ways we can honor and serve are endless! 

Operation  Educate

 

Operation Red, White & Blue wants to bring living history to our community, schools, and civic groups.  We can provide or recommend guest speakers for your organization's event or meeting.  It is important to  educate people about the sacrifices and service history experiences of our community's veterans.  In the picture below you can see a local Boy Scout Troop with some of our local veterans.

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Operation  Mail Call

Operation Red, White & Blue honors veterans through their Operation Mail Call program.  This is a personal way to show veterans they are appreciated , by sending handwritten cards for various occasions such as birthdays, holidays, and when they are ill.   From time to time we have special card campaigns on social media asking for cards for a veteran who may be very ill, or in need of extra encouragement or for a milestone birthday!  This is an easy way for people in the community to show their appreciation for veterans, and is also an easy way for school-aged children to get involved in our organization. 

More on our Monthly Veterans Appreciation Luncheons

Prior Guest Speakers

Since we began in March, 2019 we have had an All-Star Lineup of Guest Speakers!

April 2019 - Cpl. Don Graves, WW2 Iwo Jima Marine. Cpl. Graves landed on Iwo Jima February 19, 1945 carrying a 73 lb. flamethrower on his 145 lb. frame. He was just outside of the camera lens when the iconic photo of the Marines planting the flag on Mt. Sirubachi was taken.   Don is very active and speaks at various functions all over the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.   Here is a link to our Facebook Live video of Cpl Don Graves' presentation. You can also find him on Youtube or Google him!  https://fb.watch/v/9ugV7x1av/

May 2019 - Col. Denise Zanecchia, (Ret.) US Army Nurse  Vietnam & Desert Storm..  Colonel Zanecchia served during Vietnam at Walter Reed Hospital attending to wounded soldiers returning from combat.  She was deployed to Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm in 1990.  Colonel Zanecchia has a PhD in Nursing and ran a community health clinic in California and has been a professor at Texas Christian University School of Nursing.  She was recognized by the Texas Veterans Commission in 2018 in Austin, TX for the "I Am Not Invisible Campaign" for female veterans.

 

 

 

 June, 2019 - SFC George Spears, WW2 D-Day Survivor, 37th Combat Engineering Div.  Sergeant First Class (SFC) George Spears served in the 37th Combat Engineering Division of the US Army and landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He rolled up onto the beach in a D-7 Bulldozer with Nazis sniping and mortaring at his Unit. The 37th Combat Engineering Division was responsible for building the roads off of Omaha Beach.   SFC Spears was an accountant for many years and unfortunately passed away only several months after speaking at our luncheon and being featured on WFAA Channel 8 news' Fairpark Forth July 4th special.  Reporter Lauren Zakalik interviewed SFC Spears at his home in Granbury and aired her special segment on July 4, 2019.  Operation Red White & Blue had SFC Spears honored on the field during a Texas Rangers baseball game on the 75th Anniversary of D-day. 

July 2019 - James Lee, US Navy WW2.  Mr. Lee served in the South Pacific during WW2. He also served during Desert Storm aboard a ship as an instructor. James graduated from Abilene Christian College (now university) in 1949 with a Bachelor’s degree in English and earned his Master’s degree in education from Southwest Texas State University.  Starting with his WWII service in the U. S. Navy from December 1944 to July 1946, James has led a varied and interesting life as a successful salesman and educator. Teaching aboard U.S. Navy ships as a civilian P.A.C.E. instructor (Program for Afloat College Education) for five years from 1989 to 1994, he traveled extensively in 36 countries, most of the oceans of the world, and “more islands than I can remember.” During this period, he had 16 deployments on 13 different ships—from guided missile cruisers to aircraft carriers. His interests included traveling, writing, (6 books) and physical fitness.  Sadly Mr. Lee has passed away in 2020.

August 2019 -  PFC Fred T. Harvey, USMC WW2 Iwo Jima Survivor.  PFC Harvey was born in 1923 in Memphis, Texas east of Amarillo about 90 miles. He joined the Marine Corps in 1942. In early 1943, he went to demolition school at Camp Elliot, then to New Caledonia,  Bougainville and finally back to Camp Pendleton where the 5th Marine Division was formed. He trained there and at Camp Tarawa in Hawaii. He landed on Iwo Jima on February 19th at something like 9:20. There was a lot of chaos. He was with the 26 Marines on Red Beach. They were really close to the foot of Suribachi, lying there while mortar shells came in like rain.  He was wounded by grenades and  was put on a Higgins boat and carried to the USS Ozark.  He was operated on and didn't think he would make it.  He got out of the USMC December  1945.  He attended junior college and played football.  He ended up teaching and coaching for 45 years.  He decided he wanted to travel more and enrolled in the Department of Defense schools. He  coached in Korea, Okinawa, Japan, and Turkey.  Harvey coached one year of pro football in Italy.  He wrote a book that sums up my life’s experiences called Hell, Yes, I’d Do it all Again. *

* Content taken from http://www.dclarkeevans.com/portfolio/harvey-fred-iwo-jima-veteran/  Contents copyright © 2014 - 2021 D. Clarke Evans. All rights reserved

September 2019 - Bettye Jo Prior, Flight Attendant during Vietnam 

October 2019 - 2nd Lt. Fiske Hanley, US Army Air Corps B-29 Flight Engineer, POW. 

Hanley was born in Brownwood, Texas on Jan. 14, 1920, His family moved shortly thereafter to Wichita Falls before settling in Fort Worth in 1923. They lived on College Avenue in Ryan Place and he graduated from Paschal High School in 1938. In 1937, he drove with two friends to Michigan where he flew his model airplane and won the Art Oakley Trophy. That year, his plane also won the Texaco National Championship.  He entered North Texas Agricultural College (now UTA) before attending Texas Tech and receiving a degree in mechanical engineering on May 31, 1943. Later that day, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps (now Air Force) at the Lubbock County Courthouse and was immediately placed onto a train bound for basic training. Texas Tech later honored him as a distinguished alumnus. While there, he was a Saddle Tramp and served as president of Socii which soon after became Sigma Nu.   After finishing Officer Candidate School, he was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant and served as a flight engineer on a B-29 Superfortress while flying bombing raids from Tinian Island. He flew on the infamous fire-bombing raid over Tokyo on March 9, 1945 and on March 27, his plane encountered anti-aircraft fire and he parachuted and fell into a rice paddy in northern Japan. He was taken as a prisoner, moved by train to a Tokyo police facility and imprisoned, fiercely interrogated and tortured until his release in August, 1945. He lost almost half of his body weight. Flak fragments remained in his legs throughout his life.  Upon returning home from WWII, he joined Convair's Fort Worth plant (now Lockheed) in late 1945 as a flight engineer. In 1959, after his maiden flight on a Convair B-58 nearly descended into Tampa Bay, Betty convinced him to become a design engineer in the plant, where he remained until his retirement in 1989.  He spent the remainder of his life authoring two books and touring locally and internationally to provide lectures. His first book was titled "History of the 504th Bomb Group" followed by "Accused American War Criminal."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9aLwA0F0tQ

November 2019 - Karalyn Martin, USMC, Operation Enduring Freedom. 

       Sgt. Karalyn Martin is a US Marine Corps veteran from Corsicana, Tx. She  enlisted in the USMC at age 17.  Kara was an Aviation Hydraulic Structural Mechanic  and served 5 1/2 years, with one forward deployment to Iwakuni, Japan and one combat  deployment  - Operation Enduring Freedom in 2011.  She overcame numerous obstacles  while in the military.

      Upon her Honorable discharge, Kara obtained a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Social Work, concentrating on veterans' services and mental health issues.  Karalyn is an Adult Probation Officer for Tarrant County, TX and serves as a Veteran Specialist  for justice-involved veterans at the satellite office   where she works.  She is an ambassador for Air Power Foundation and is also very active in the community with several veteran non-profits.    Karalyn was a finalist in the M. Veteran American Competition in 2020 helping to raise awareness for homeless female veterans.                                                                       

December 2019 - No luncheon

 

 

January 2020 - No luncheon

February 2020 - Roy Hawbaker, US Navy WW2.  Roy Hawbaker, age 95 served in the US Navy in the Pacific Theater. He was aboard the USS John W. Weeks, a destroyer that escorted other ships.  He told the harrowing story of witnessing a Japanese Kamikaze attack on US ships. He was standing on the deck of his ship when it dive bombed another US ship  nearby his and blew it up!  They tried to pick up the sailors in the water.  That never left him and haunted him until the end. He was very open about the PTSD he suffered from  because his wartime experiences.  He told the crowd, that included younger veterans, that you have to find something productive to do  to work through the PTSD.  After WW2 he worked for 40 yrs. as an Investigator for the government doing things he could not talk about. He said  his wife probably thought he was cheating on her;  finally got tell her years later about his work!  He said, "I just knew shew as gonna leave me!"  Mr. Hawbaker passed away in 2020 from natural causes. He was  the  inspiration for forming Operation Red White & Blue because he lived at home by himself until he passed and was lonely and liked talking to people and telling stories.  

March 2020 - September 2020 Luncheons canceled due to COVID.  

October 2020 -  SCPO  Eddie Rodriguez, US Navy  

Eddie Rodriquez is a native of Snyder, Texas, SCPO. Rodriquez started his Navy career at the age of 17 through the delay entry program in 1992. During his military career he was instrumental in several deployments in support of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.   Eddie served Operation SOUTHERN WATCH, Operation CARIB SHIELD, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM,  and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. He retired in 2012, as a U.S. Navy Chief, to Granbury, Texas. In 2016, Eddie completed the pursuit of his educational goals. He holds a Masters degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Information Security Management, with a second Masters degree in Cyber Security. Eddie has continued to work in the Information Technology Industry. Eddie is married to Margaret Rodriquez, who is a principal for Granbury ISD.  

November 2020 -  Dr. Sharold Ferris, US Army & US Navy, Vietnam . 

November 2020  -  Dr. Ferris graduated from high school in 1967 and was drafted into the US Army during the Vietnam war. He served two years in the Army, then in 1969 he enlisted in the US Navy. He attempted Navy Seal Training and went to jump school in 1969. He served in Training Command VT-2 in Pensacola, FL and in 1970 was stationed at the Naval Air Station in Miramar, CA working with F-8 jets.  Sharold served aboard the USS Handcock from 1970-1972 in Vietnam and later was transferred to the Naval Air Station in Glenview, IL. He has been deployed to Japan and Korea and assisted forward Marines from 1974-1978.  In the early 80s he was assigned to Navy Recruiter duty and was the 3rd highest recruiter out of 2,300 other recruiters! From 1988-1992 he was at Point Mugu, CA and assigned to HCS-5 Combat Search and Rescue and later Security Force for Anti-Terrorism.  He has served aboard the USS Kennedy and USS Roosevelt. His last station was at then Carswell Naval Air Station in Ft. Worth, now called the Joint Reserve Base.

December 2020 through February 2021 - cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

March 2021 -  SGT. Chris Watson, Texas Army National Guard, prior USAF service 10+ years. Chris enlisted in the USAF as Crew Chief on the heavy cargo aircraft C-141 and was stationed at Norton AFB, California. From there he deployed to the first Gulf War and served with a medi-vac unit in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.  Sgt. Watson met his wife in California and they had their first child. Then, Chris and his family were transferred to Altus AFB in Oklahoma for another 7 years. After earning his degree from Colorado State, Pueblo, Chris got out of the USAF in 1998 as a Staff Sergeant.  Upon return to Granbury with his family, Chris joined the Texas Army National Guard at Weatherford, Texas. At that time Charlie Company 2-112 was an Armor Tank unit operating the M-1 Abrams main battle tank. After 9-11, in those uncertain times, Sgt. Watson volunteered for 9 months as security at DFW Airport. In 2004 Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion 112th Regiment, 56th Combat Brigade was activated for 18 months - 6 months training and a full year of deployment in-theater in Iraq.  Having no need for heavy armor in-theater, Charlie Company quickly transitioned from tanks to infantry during this train up period. Sgt. Watson entered Iraq as an Humvee Gun Truck Commander and Sniper Team Leader in January 2004, attached to the First Marines at Camp Taqqaddum, Iraq in the Anbar Province.  Sgt. Watson finished his deployment and returned home in December 2005. Having sustained multiple injuries in combat, Sgt. Watson would no longer be combat deployable. He spent the next 3 years training young soldiers the "lessons learned" from his combat experiences and was offered a medical retirement in 2008. By the time Sgt. Watson retired in May 2008, he had served a total of 18 years, 15 of them on active duty: 3 combat tours in two wars and was recipient of multiple ribbons and awards.

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April 2021 -  Paul Metz, USAF  

   Paul Metz is a retired military and civilian test pilot and manager.  From 2016-2017 he served as a consulting test pilot for the SNC Freedom Trainer program being offered for the USAF’s T-X next generation advanced trainer.   In 2008 he was the Chief Test Pilot for Rocketplane global, a privately held company building a suborbital vehicle for space tourism.  He was responsible for all aspects of flight test, crew and passenger training, test and operational facilities and flight, crew and mission safety. 

     He previously served on Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and was named the Vice President for Integrated Test and Evaluation (Flight Test).  He was responsible for a 1600-person, $750 million dollar flight test organization for the USAF, USN, USMC and 7 other countries.  He served in this capacity until his retirement in February 2006.  

    He served as Lockheed Martin’s Chief Test Pilot for the F-22 Advanced Tactical Fighter from 1992-2001 and made the first flight on the F-22A Raptor on September 7, 1997.  He and a staff of test pilots worked closely with the engineers on subsystem design, flying qualities, simulation, avionics, cockpit layout and man-machine interface.   Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, he was an Engineering Test Pilot and Chief Test Pilot for Northrop Aircraft for 12 years and served 12 years in the U.S. Air Force as a fighter pilot and test pilot.

    Metz joined Northrop Aircraft in 1980 as an Engineering Test Pilot.  He conducted flight tests on the F-5E/F, the F-20 and the Antonov Colt, a Russian bi-plane.  In October 1985, he was appointed Chief Test Pilot for Northrop Aircraft and was responsible for flight tests of the F-20 Tigershark, the RF-5E Tiger Eye Reconnaissance Aircraft, the F-86F Saber and other programs. He and his staff of test pilots worked closely with the engineers in the detailed design of the YF-23, the Northrop-McDonnell Douglas entrant in the Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) prototype program.  He made the first flight of the YF-23A  ATF  in August 1990. He continued to test the F-22 at Edwards AFB, expanding the flight envelope to maximum speeds, Gs, altitudes and angles of attack.He subsequently spent 2 years as an engineering test pilot on the B-2 bomber program prior to leaving Northrop to become  Lockheed Martin’s Chief Test Pilot for the F-22 Advanced Tactical Fighter.

    Metz entered the USAF in 1968 and flew operational missions in the F-105G Wild Weasel in the U.S. and Southeast Asia. He flew 68 missions over North Vietnam and took part in the pivotal “11 Days of Christmas” raids in December 1972.   His combat day and night missions against surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft gun sites in support of strike missions in North Viet Nam earned him two Distinguished Flying Crosses and six Air Medals.  In 1976 he was a distinguished graduated from the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB and he remained at Edwards AFB conducting avionics, flying qualities, engine and flutter tests on the F-5E/F.  In 1978 he became an instructor pilot at the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland.

    Metz was born in Springfield, Ohio, January 1946.  He received a bachelor's degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the Ohio State University, Summa Cum Laude, in 1968.  His graduate studies have been in Aeronautical engineering at Ohio State and California State University, Fresno and Aviation Safety at the Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, California.

     He is a Fellow and past-President of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.  In 1992, he received the Kincheloe Award, the test pilot profession’s highest award, for his flight testing of the YF-23 Advanced Tactical Fighter prototype.   In 2002 he was enshrined in the Aerospace Walk of Honor at Lancaster, California, the gateway to the USAF Flight Test Center.   In 2008 he was inducted into the USAF Gathering of Eagles.  He has written numerous articles on the flight test of modern fighter aircraft.  He has over 7,000 hours and more than 37 years of experience flying 70 aircraft types including the F-86, F-105, F-4, F-5, F-15, F-20, YF-23 and F-22.

May 2021 -  David Huntley, Survivor of "London Blitz" during WWII.

   David E. Huntley is a semi-retired  businessman and widower who was married to his late French born wife Sophie for 62 years and lives in Dallas Texas. David has 4 children and 7 grandchildren. David E Huntley was born in London , England and survived the London Blitz in World War II. His late wife Sophie lived under German occupation in France. As an engineer he worked in the UK aircraft industry before moving to Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia ) in technical management for a major British company.  
   In 1968 he moved to South Africa where he started a manufacturing company and a trading company. During this period his Group also acted as an agent for a major Japanese trading house, C.Itoh Corporation.  In 1978 Mr. Huntley sold his business interests and moved to the USA . He formed Huntley Associates(Dallas) Inc., in 1979 to conduct business as international corporate consultants. These activities include a division that is engaged in executive recruiting and contract engineering for hi-tech industry.
    David Huntley was a co-founder and a member of the original steering committee of the British-American Commerce Association of North Texas. He retired from the Board of Directors in 2001 after serving for 17 years since inception in 1984, in various capacities including Chairman of the Executive Committee, and as a past President of the organization.  
He was awarded an Honorary Life membership to the organization, and to its Board of Directors in recognition of his services for the promotion of British and American business interests in North Texas and the Dallas/Fort Worth region in particular.
   In 1996 Mr. Huntley was chosen as an expert on Japanese/American trade negotiations to appear on a panel (Strategic Alliances) with Marjory Searing , U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Japan . The panel was part of the "Sun & Star" three months' business and cultural exchange program in Texas sponsored by the Japanese government, the State of Texas and city governments.  He has also appeared on several occasions as a guest panelist on Public television. He was a guest on the nationally syndicated McCuistion show, where Mr. Huntley was invited to participate in a discussion on Japanese/American business issues. Other panelists on the show were senior executives of two major American corporations together with the Consul-General of Japan and a professor of Asian business at Southern Methodist University.  His last appearance on the McCuistion Show was June 20th 2004 entitled, "Outsourcing: Lost Jobs or Positive Free Trade?" Fellow guest panelists included a Senior Economist from the Federal Reserve Bank, an Executive Council Member of the AFL-CIO from Washington D.C. 2005, Mr Huntley was honored with an appointment to the American Advisory Board of The Historical Royal Palaces (HRP) of the United Kingdom.
    He assisted the HRP in identifying American patrons willing to help the charity in its mission of the maintenance care, conservation and presentation to the public of the unoccupied royal palaces- HM Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace State Apartments, the Banqueting House at Whitehall and Kew Palace with Queen Charlotte's Cottage.
     In March 2010 he was appointed a Director of Historic Royal Palaces, Inc., and until his recent retirement in early 2013, he continued to raise awareness of the charity in the United States through lectures and fund raising.

June 2021 -  CWO4 Doug Petersen, US Army, Vietnam "Dustoff"  Helicopter Pilot.   Doug grew up on the East Coast and shortly after he entered a military college, he enlisted in the US Army and went to flight school to learn to fly helicopters. He is a decorated Vietnam veteran, flying medical evacuation helicopters, DUSTOFF, saving hundreds of lives. He continued to serve more than 20 years as an aviator in the United States Army, including two tours in Germany and multiple stateside assignments. Doug continued to serve others by working in the financial services industry for 25 years, helping families with their financial security.  He is an award-winning author of six (6) enlightening, thought-provoking books, reaffirming the good in all of us. His fourth, fifth, and sixth books were Global eBook winners under the Inspirational/Visionary Non-fiction category. Doug went into professional speaking, facilitating workshops for organizations, as well as some personal coaching on core values and discovering a person’s life’s purpose.  Doug was honored to present a TEDx talk in San Antonio on one of his combat missions in Vietnam as a Dustoff (medical evacuation) pilot.

July 2021 -  SGT. Chris Watson, Texas Army National Guard, prior USAF service 10+ years. Chris enlisted in the USAF as Crew Chief on the heavy cargo aircraft C-141 and was stationed at Norton AFB, California. From there he deployed to the first Gulf War and served with a medi-vac unit in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.  Sgt. Watson met his wife in California and they had their first child. Then, Chris and his family were transferred to Altus AFB in Oklahoma for another 7 years. After earning his degree from Colorado State, Pueblo, Chris got out of the USAF in 1998 as a Staff Sergeant.  Upon return to Granbury with his family, Chris joined the Texas Army National Guard at Weatherford, Texas. At that time Charlie Company 2-112 was an Armor Tank unit operating the M-1 Abrams main battle tank. After 9-11, in those uncertain times, Sgt. Watson volunteered for 9 months as security at DFW Airport. In 2004 Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion 112th Regiment, 56th Combat Brigade was activated for 18 months - 6 months training and a full year of deployment in-theater in Iraq.

Having no need for heavy armor in-theater, Charlie Company quickly transitioned from tanks to infantry during this train up period. Sgt. Watson entered Iraq as an Humvee Gun Truck Commander and Sniper Team Leader in January 2004, attached to the First Marines at Camp Taqqaddum, Iraq in the Anbar Province.  Sgt. Watson finished his deployment and returned home in December 2005. Having sustained multiple injuries in combat, Sgt. Watson would no longer be combat deployable. He spent the next 3 years training young soldiers the "lessons learned" from his combat experiences and was offered a medical retirement in 2008. By the time Sgt. Watson retired in May 2008, he had served a total of 18 years, 15 of them on active duty: 3 combat tours in two wars and was recipient of multiple ribbons and awards.

 

August 2021 -  SGT. Samuel Gary Werley, USMC, Vietnam . 

 

   Samuel Gary Werley, Sgt. enlisted in 1967 for 4 years in the Marine Corps during his first year of college at 18 years of age. Until then, he had grown up wanting to be a Navy frogman, as he already had over 70 hours underwater. Vietnam changed that, and so at 18 he wanted to go to war and carry a rifle.  The Marine Corps, because of its smaller size, almost guaranteed he would get his wish. He departed Dallas from Love Field Airport on his first commercial air flight on his way to boot camp in San Diego in 1967.  His goal quickly became "do not do anything to get noticed."

    He attended Infantry Training at Camp Pendleton, then was sent to mortar school, 0341 mos. SGT. Werley was chosen to go to Monterrey Language School to learn Vietnamese. The Commandant wanted every 10th marine to speak some of the language; his training consisted of 5 days a week for 12 weeks.

    SGT. Werley left San Francisco at the end of February 1968, and joined 3rd Squad, 3rd Platoon, Delta Company, 1st Btn., 9th Mar. Regt, 3rd Div, at Khe Sanh on March 8, 1968 for the end of the TET Offensive.  On April 28, 1968 his squad leader was killed (he received some shrapnel in this exchange and received his first Purple Heart), and at 19 he was promoted to Lance Cpl (E-3) and made squad leader. He was then promoted to Corporal in October 1968; his combat tour was extended. Next, he joined the Combined Action Platoon outside of Dong Ha as CAP commander in January 1969, until he was wounded on April 16, 1969. Werley made SGT. in October 1969 and served as Military Police officer in Barstow for 3 months, and then went to 3 months of Intelligence School in Baltimore, MD. Next, he went to El Toro for 3 months of peace time corps, and quickly back to WestPac and joined 2/4 in Okinawa and ran a S-2 at Battalion level until May 1971 upon discharge.

    SGT. Werley graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1973 and Southern Methodist University Law School in 1976. He has been practicing law for 45 years as a civil trial attorney.  SGT Werley is the recipient of the Navy Achievement Medal with Combat "V," Purple Heart & Gold Star, Combat Action Medal, Presidential Unit Citation with ribbon bar, Navy Unit Commendation with ribbon bar & one Bronze Star, Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal with ribbon bar, Good Conduct Medal, National Service Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with one silver star & one Bronze Star, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit citation, Republic of Vietnam campaign Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with silver star, Rifle Expert Badge, and Meritorious Mast.  At age 40 he became a follower of Jesus Christ, which has been another adventure for him, he says!

September 2021 - Lt.Col. Brian Birdwell, US Army 9-11 Survivor

     Lt. Col. (Ret.) Brian Birdwell is a native Texan, decorated military veteran and lifelong conservative Republican proudly representing Texas Senate District 22. Born in Fort Worth, Brian is a graduate of Lamar University in Beaumont, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he earned a Master of Public Administration degree.
     As the Distinguished Military Graduate of the Lamar Army ROTC program in 1984, Brian was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army and served a 20-year career with numerous training deployments and two operational deployments. In 1990, he deployed to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, where he was awarded the Bronze Star for Exceptional Meritorious Achievement. In 1998, he deployed to Central America as the Joint Operations Officer for Joint Task Force Aguila to execute humanitarian relief operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch. In 2001, Brian was serving on the Department of the Army staff at the Pentagon as the military aide to the Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management.
     On September 11, 2001, when American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed just yards away from his second floor Pentagon office, Brian was critically wounded and severely burned. Of the burns that covered more than 60 percent of his body, nearly half were third degree in severity. Today, following 39 operations, months of hospitalization and numerous skin grafts, Brian has made a miraculous recovery. Despite physical limitations, he testifies not only to his physical healing, but the ultimate miracle of grace through Christ. He was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received that day. Upon retirement in July 2004, he was awarded the Legion of Merit.

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