Monday, March 28, 2011

Introducing Jack's Flash!

As of March 1, 2011, my new posts will appear at:

Prior posts may continue to be viewed at:

5B (and me) 3/19/2010 - 7/26/2010
5B (and me) 7/22/2008 - 2/4/ 2010
What Knotts 2/2/2008 - 7/23/2008

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Blg Location

To my most excellent and loyal blog readers:

Going forward, my blogs will be posted on:

Old blogs will remain here and on: also has links back to both for your convenience.

Thank you for your continuing readership and undying support!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"These little town blues, are melting away...

"I'll make a brand new start of it in old New York..."
After nearly a year in Knotts Island,

I'm moving to the Big Town.

It's hard to imagine a greater contrast.

What will become of What Knotts??!!

My cousin Tom suggested Not Knotts. Very good, Tom, but I felt it best to go forward with a more positive moniker.

Here forward you may visit me at:

Thank you for your support of the only known blogger from Knotts Island. I wonder if there are any bloggers in New York? Perhaps, but I will be the only one Live from 5B.

Bookmark the new link and join me from my perch high above the George Washington Bridge EZ Pass Lane.

Thank you for visiting.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"Hello darkness, my old friend, I've come to talk to you again"

We Remember

L.Z Loon

June 4-6, 1968

Barbour, James Wesley, PFC 6-5-68 New Rochelle, NY
Brazier, John Kenneth , S/Sgt 6-6-68 Baltimore, MD
Carbaugh, Woodrow Franklin, Sgt 6-5-68 Thurmont, MD
Eaton, Clifford Lyman, PFC 6-5-68 Cortland, NY
Garcia-Figueroa, Juan F., L/Cpl 6-5-68 Yabucoa, PR
Haralson, William Scott, PFC 6-4-68 Everett, WA
Kilderry, Michael J., L/Cpl 6-6-68 Philadelphia, PA
King, Jr., George Louis, PFC 6-5-68 Clatskanie, OR
Klein, Joseph, Cpl 6-5-68 Highland Park, NJ
Langston, Melvin Doyle, PFC 6-6-68 Valentine, NE
McDorman, Darl Kenneth, Cpl 6-4-68 Lyndhurst, VA
Morrissey, Jr., Thomas, J.Cpl 6-5-68 Dover, NH
Ortiz, Eliezer, Pvt 6-5-68 Bethlehem, PA
Uutela, Derris Lee, PFC 6-5-68 Duluth, MN
Wilson, Eugene, PFC 6-6-68 Water Valley, MS

Burgard, Paul Edward, PFC 6-6-68 Portland, OR
Casares, Manuel, PFC 6-6-68 Tehachapi, CA
Enix, Jack Gene, L/Cpl 6-6-68 Lorain, OH
Frankenstein, Jackie, L/Cpl 6-6-68 Cincinnati, OH
Frazier, Jr., Timothy Joseph, L/Cpl 6-6-68 Cohoes, NY
Roberts, Gary Kenneth, L/Cpl 6-6-68 Summerville, SC
Smith, Donald Lee, L/Cpl 6-6-68 Ino, VA

Ebright, William Raymond, Cpl 6-6-68 Miamisburg, OH
Flores, Felix Frank, L/Cpl 6-6-68 Los Angeles, CA
Hannings, William Elwood, L/Cpl 6-6-68 Lansdale, PA
Harper, Ralph Lewis, L/Cpl 6-6-68 Indianapolis, IN
La Plant, Kurt Elton, L/Cpl 6-6-68 Leneza, KS
Morelos, Jr., Catarino, PFC 6-6-68 Sanger, CA
Palacios, Luis Fernando,L/Cpl 6-6-68 Los Angeles, CA
Porter, Lawrence Eugene, L/Cpl 6-6-68 Dalton, OH
Sanchez, Jose Ramon, PFC - 6-6-68 New York, NY
Satter, Donald Stephen, PFC 6-6-68 Minneapolis, MN
Stoops, Jonathan Lynn, PFC 6-6-68 Union City, IN

Rest in Peace, Brothers
Semper Fideles

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"I love to take a photograph, so mama don't take my Kodachrome away"

"No pictures, sir. Please put the camera away."

The guard's admonition did not surprise me. I'd been snapping pictures with my cell phone camera in the lobby of The Random House Publishing Group for several minutes. The space is anchored by a large security desk surrounded by walls of enormous glass-enclosed bookcases that, given the vintage of some of the contents, may have included every book ever published by Random House.

In a year, my book would be slid in among the thousands. Having just returned to the lobby from meetings upstairs, I could not resist the temptation to record the scene for posterity. I had, after all, just become the newest author in the Random House Group.


Pippy Longstocking and me. Now THAT will impress my three daughters.

The day dawned at the legendary Algonquin Hotel, home to visiting authors for nearly a century. I'd stayed there before - perhaps with hope that some of the fairy dust would rub off on me one day.

In the previous month it had.

I met my agent at her 62 Bleaker Street office, a classically preserved Louis Sullivan treasure from the 19th century. I later met my publisher for the first time 60 blocks uptown, across from the Random House corporate headquarters. He subsequently took me through the office and introduced the individuals who had acquired Loon and will publish it next year. It was a dream. The praise for the book was without condition.

Among the players was the head of publicity. We talked about Terry Gross, Oprah, and Imus.

We talked about a book tour.

He said I needn't be concerned about going to (for example) Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They no longer invested in whistle-stops for turn outs that drew less than 10 people.

Wayne Wood is from Cedar Rapids. Woody was the most severely wounded survivor of the Battle for LZ Loon. He received the Last Rites of the Catholic Church three times and survived. He returned to Cedar Rapids to marry Jan, his high school sweatheart. They now have children and grandchildren.

Cedar Rapids?

I'd begin in Cedar Rapids.

Woody Carbaugh was from Thurmont, Maryland. Joe Klein was from Highland Park, New Jersey. Cliff Eaton was from Cortland, New York. Jim Barbour was a 19 year old PFC from New Rochelle, New York. George King, a 19 year old PFC from Clatskanie, Ohio. Tom Morrissey was from Dover, New Hampshire.

They all were killed during those three horrific days in June 1968. They were joined by several dozen others.

Where to start?

Take some pictures, Jack.

Mark the moment.

Know that now - thanks to my agent, thanks to Random House, and thanks to so many supportive friends - what happened outside of Khe Sahn, Vietnam during those three days in June 1968 will never be forgotten. Years, decades, a century from now, a new Random House author will note my weathered book behind the glass case as he too proudly joins the legendary house that told the world about the Charlie Company Marines of LZ Loon.

Thank you for visiting.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"And it's one, two, three, what are we fightin' for?"

Woodrow Wilson won reelection as the 28th President of the United States in November 1916. With war raging in Europe, Wilson campaigned on a neutrality platform as the man who "kept us out of war."

Five months later, he asked and received from Congress a declaration of war on Germany.

Franklin Roosevelt won reelection as 32nd President of the United States in November 1940. With war raging in Europe, Roosevelt campaigned on a neutrality platform saying that he "would not send American boys into any foreign wars."

Thirteen months later, he asked and received from Congress a declaration of war on Germany.

Lyndon Johnson won election as the 36th President of the United States in November 1964 (he was not technically reelected as he was completing the first term of the assassinated President John Kennedy.) He pledged that he would not commit "American boys to fighting a war that...ought to be fought by the boys of Asia..."

Days later, he asked and received from Congress approval for the Gulf of Tonkin resolution which, in effect, began the War in Vietnam.

Richard M. Nixon won election as the 37 President of the United States in 1968. With war raging in Vietnam, he pledged that he a had a "secret plan" to end it. He of course could not tell us what the "secret plan" was or it would not have been secret anymore.

The war continued for another seven years during which time - INCREDIBLY - he was reelected.

George W. Bush won election as the 43rd President of the United States in 2000. Openly critical of Clinton administration's efforts in Somalia and the Balkans, he pledged that United States troops will never "be used for what's called nation-building" during a Bush administration (you just can't make this stuff up!)

Months later, with Congressional approval, he invaded Afghanistan and subsequently Iraq and has mismanaged nation-building in both countries ever since. Let’s just put aside that 17 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Egyptian and Saudi and that there were no weapons of mass destruction. We now know that there never was an attack in the Gulf of Tonkin that night either.
Incidentally, not one of these countries - Germany, Vietnam, Afghanistan, or Iraq, ever directly attacked the United States (in fairness to FDR, I don't begrudge his declaration of war on Japan which came three days prior to the declaration of war against Germany.)

So what?

Next month, I will participate in the American democratic process for the first time in eight years (I have heretofore been a resident of the unrepresented District of Columbia - a blog for another day.) Let's pretend that I have the opportunity to choose between the three presidential contenders which, of course given their party differences, I don't.

I am a one issue voter. My issue is war. I will not vote for the candidate(s) who gets us into war or promises to keep us there. I will vote for the candidate(s) who promises to get us out (for this very reason, I once voted for Richard Nixon two months after I returned from Vietnam.) All things being equal, I will always vote a veteran, especially one who served in harm's way. McCain would have had my vote in 2000 had he not been slimed out of the race. Kerry got my vote in 2004 despite being slimed out of the race.

I will never vote for a draft dodger or anyone who actively tried to avoid Vietnam service. Thereby, I voted for neither Clinton ("the famous draft board letter") nor Bush (the Texas Air National Guard was the preeminent Vietnam dodge of the 1960's.)

By my own rules, however, I can no longer vote for McCain, given his support of the war, nor can I vote for Clinton given her own vote in favor of entering the war. That leaves Obama. He seems like a good fellow and he meets my criteria.

All that being said, Wilson, Roosevelt, Johnson, Nixon, and Bush II have all demonstrated that "words", in the lexicon of my former wife, "are just words." On this score, she is, sadly, correct.

History and the Constitution teach us that foreign policy (including war) is about the only arena in which an American President has the leverage to do whatever he pleases. All domestic issues (education, health care, transportation, social security, etc) are so bound, tied and regulated that, no matter what promises are made, the machinery of government will simply slog along through them all. But foreign policy? War? Now those are places where a President can make his mark with little interference from the electorate or a helpless Congress.

History has taught us that those Presidents who pledged to keep us from getting into a war haven't (Wilson, Roosevelt, Johnson, Nixon, and Bush II) and he who pledged to get us out of war didn't (Nixon.)

Thank you for visiting.


Editor's Note: Boomers will recognize this blog's title as coming from Country Joe McDonald's "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag." Since the 60's Joe McDonald has been a tireless and selfless supporter of Vietnam Veterans issues for which we owe an enormous debt. Thanks Joe, and best wishes to the Fish.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

"Don't punish me with brutality. Talk to me, so you can see what's goin' on"

Forty years ago I was serving with C Company of the 1st Batallion, 4th Marines near Con Thien, Vietnam. I wrote in an earlier post, that numerous events to which we were horrifically exposed as a Marine company and as individuals occurred during the spring of 1968.

Several of these occurred back home and gave us pause to wonder what it was that we were fighting for.

Early on the morning of April 5, 1968, as we dragged our filthy, smelly, exhausted bodies inside the perimeter through the south wire, fresh from an all night ambush emplacement to the west, we were greeted with the most awful of the escalating bad news from home. The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., while spending a day working at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis to plan a Poor People’s March on Washington, DC, was killed with a single shot from a 30.06 rifle.

Despite pleas for calm and a powerful extemporaneous eulogy from Senator Robert F. Kennedy, we heard that rioting had broken out in cities throughout the United States killing dozens of people and causing untold millions in property damage.
That morning, I became aware of a thin line that began to divide the black Marines from the rest of us – nothing that ever manifested itself in combat – but a “something” that began to appear in a thousand little ways in our day-to-day lives.
© Loon - A Marines Story

Thank you for visiting.