Honoring My Father The Veteran

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On Veterans Day the veteran I most like to honor is my father. This is a picture of a 19-year-old Ssgt. Rollie Port with eye-bandages on at Phonm Vinh in Vietnam.

My father was the leader of a long-range reconnaissance platoon (LRRP) which had come to the rescue of another group of soldiers pinned down by fire. My father’s platoon punched through the enemy and carried two bodies and five wounded into a crater for protection then radioed for helicopter rescue.

When the helicopter arrived it hovered over the crater as my father and others attempted the load the dead and wounded, but it was soon shot down. It landed partially on my father, pushing his face into the dirt and temporarily blinding him.

For twenty-eight hours my father and the other soldiers were pinned down in that crater, with the enemy forces being held off by air support. Eventually reinforcements arrived and dispelled the enemy, rescuing my father and the others.

My father received the Silver Star, America’s third-highest military honor, for the valor he showed. By the time my father’s military service in Vietnam was up he would also be decorated with four Bronze Stars, three Purple Hearts and an Air Medal.

I didn’t know much about this story until just recently. I’d always seen my father’s medals in the house. For one of his birthday’s, recently, my sisters and I had them taken out of the shabby frame they’d been collecting dust in for decades and had them mounted in a nice shadow box. But he’d never really shared the stories behind how he’d accumulated the medals. It wasn’t until my mom shared it with me recently that I knew the full story.

My father, perhaps understandably, just doesn’t see that era of his life as worth talking about.

Many of you have enjoyed a long weekend thanks to Veteran’s Day. While you’re enjoying it with your friends and family, also try to find out the story behind the service of some of the veterans in your life. They may be reluctant to share, but it’s important that we know and honor those stories.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Roy_Bean
    • yy4u2

      Thanks for posting. God bless those that have and continue to selflessly protect us.

    • $8194357

      This video always gives me the goose bumps Roy..
      I reposted it with some comments of my own..
      Thank you and GOD BLESS AMERICAN TROOPS..

  • Mike Quinn

    The best way to honor our veterans is to give them the benifits they deserve, even if it means the rich have to pay more taxes. While veterans suffer in so many ways it is insane to make sure that each or the richest 120,000 Americans each gets an additional three million every year from the Bush tax cuts. It is insane to make sure the children of the rich who never worked a day in their life can inherit millions and even billions tax free, while veterans do without. Veterans children struggle to go to college while Mitch McConnell struggles to protect the rich. The best way to honor our veterans is to stop their suffering and let the rich suffer a little by paying some taxes.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Veterans aren’t victims, Mike.

      • Mike Quinn

        When did I say veterans are victims? They are victims of Republicans that could use the 700 billion they gave the rich to help take care of the veterans.

        • Onslaught1066

          The best way to honor our veterans is to stick an apple in your festering gob and slow roast you on a spit.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          You did, by turning them into yet another victim class to leverage in pursuit of your big-government agenda.

          • Mike Quinn

            A veteran gets his legs blown off fighting for our country. I ask my government to help the man when he returns home, and you say I turned him into a “victim class”. I call it paying someone for something they did. When a person ask to paid for defending our country, I hardly call that person a victim. The person has been victimized, but it is the people who will not fulfill their end of the contract. Is a veteran asking to be treated fairly a victim? Are the rich not playing the victim game when they use the class warfare chant? The double standard is something you have perfected.

        • Roy_Bean

          This started out as a non-political post on a political blog. Rob was thanking his father and all veterans for the freedom to even have a blog like this. Can’t you let it go long enough to simply say thanks to those who we honor today and have your political arguments on another post?

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Exactly.

      • dakotacyr

        He didn’t say they were victims. He said they deserved their due.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Right. We have to raise taxes because of [insert victim group here].

          It’s tiresome.

        • Mike Quinn

          Thank you, it should be obvious.

          • Onslaught1066

            It is very obvious that you are a retard.

            Good thing you were impeached.

    • Tim

      Be patient little nebish. All the tax increases you want are just around the corner. EVERYONE will get hit, especially the middle class. Count on more unemployment, more on food stamps and welfare, at the same time the “first moocher family” continues their vacations at the tax payers expense.

      • Mike Quinn

        Are the children of the rich that inherit money and never work “Moochers”? Of course not, if a rich person never works they are a Romney, or a Bush, but if a poor person gets a bit of help they are a moocher. You silly dingers just cannot figure out why you lost an election when you call half of all Americans moochers? Keep it up so we can drive you rats completely away in the next election.

        • Mike Peterson

          I consider it an insult you’re politicizing this unto your own agenda, and you completely miss the point of an incredible story and veterans day itself for that matter.

          • Mike Quinn

            I honor the people who fought for our freedom. The best way to honor them is to do what we can for them when they return. We owe it to them to help their families. These men fought for 100% of our country not just the top 1%. You might recall the veterans that had to camp on the mall in DC from other wars to get what they deserved. It is a slap in the face to our veterans when we can fight to give each of the richest 120,000 Americans another three million each year, but we will not fight so the veteran to get a job. Republican obstructionist have fought every attempt of Obama to put Americans back to work. Many of those out of work are veterans. When you support the Republican agenda take responsibility for what you do to the veterans.

          • two_amber_lamps

            You honor nobody but yourself… but we don’t hold it against you. It’s the disease talking. Get better soon Mike-Robert-Albert-Wilbert-Phil.

          • Onslaught1066

            we don’t hold it against you.

            I do.

          • two_amber_lamps

            Sorta like holding it against a rabid dog… not much you can do other than put em’ down.

          • Onslaught1066

            You don’t let a rabid dog run around loose.

            The fact that a rabid dog can’t control himself makes it even more imperative that he not be left to his own devices.

            And an addle brained retard with delusions of suffrage is no exception, and is as great, if not a greater danger to society at large than any rabid dog.

          • two_amber_lamps

            No argument here… suppose then the question isn’t the necessity of the eradication of the pestilence, rather the eradication of vermin done out of mere necessity and objectivity or with extreme prejudice?

            I’d think most of your more experienced professionals would ascribe to the clearheaded approach to the required task.

          • Onslaught1066

            It’s a job that has to be done and getting worked up over one dumb animal doesn’t do it, or you any good…

            The rabid dog on the other hand, well, that’s different.

          • Mike Peterson

            Obstructionists now, we are? You sound like you think Republicans should be outlawed. Enough with class warfare. In all honesty, a man’s private income should be no business of the government’s; I could care less how much any one individual makes; that’s of no concern to me.Perhaps if we stopped spending to oblivion and trying to maintain the welfare/warfare state, we could afford to take care of veterans the way we’re supposed to without eating away at peoples’ earned incomes that is rightfully theirs.

          • Mike Quinn

            How does that work. The wages of the working man went up 5% in the last 20 years. The wages of CEO’s went up 750%. Ya sure ya betcha. Of course Donald Trump earned all the money he inherited from dad, just like Mitt did. Only a fool would believe one man can “work” 350 times harder than another man. Most of these people who “earned” all that loot stole it from hard working people. In pre civil war days you would have argued the plantation owners “earned” their riches. The slaves earned the money, the plantation owners spent it. Nothing has changed as much as you would like to believe the Republican fantasy. That is why the rich hate unions, because they no labor produces wealth, and the last thing in the world they want is labor controlling labor. If the rich do the work, then why do they need employees? Is Papa John making the pizza? , no but he has a 22 million dollar home he stole from the people putting the toppings on. It is fun being a peasant on the Republican plantation. Lets all chant Muslim, terrorist, Kenyan, community organizer, socialist, beared Marxist. The Hoopleheads just love it.

          • $8194357

            You only honor false American ideologies of divide and conquer.

          • banjo kid

            How about the liberal jack wagons that spit on our vets when they returned . Was you in that group that called them baby killers and spit on them ?

        • Tim

          Romney worked all his life, and gave away any inheritance he received. obama is rich, and he never worked, except to find ways to extract money from tax payers.You can’t drive anyone away, too many people know where you live.

        • banjo kid

          Hijack any threads lately ??

      • $8194357

        Pre WW II Germany inflation and governmental takeover.
        Know it all know nothings on the left do not understand histories
        lessons due to revisionsit terminology and ideological blindness.

    • $8194357

      Shut up.

  • LastBestHope

    Rob, we all live in the shadows of men and women like your father. They answered a call to serve and they did, as their fathers did, as their fathers did.

    My dad married my mom in June 1941. They were 20 years old. Pearl Harbor was in December. He joined the Navy in the spring, leaving his then pregnant wife with family. He served in the Pacific and returned home some 4 years later. By the grace of God, he never saw combat. But he was marked forever, they all were. Men did not “share feelings” in those days, so they went back to work building a new post-war America and said very little. They were the Greatest Generation.

    If you know a veteran, be sure to call him/her today and say thanks. It’ll mean alot.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Is your father in those pictures?

  • Dick Dever

    Thanks Rob, for sharing this story about your father. As a Veteran myself, I find Veteran’s Day to be extra special. Your father was a real hero. My father was a hero also in World War II in the Navy. We had a special program at Rotary this morning about the history and the heritage of the 164th Infantry Brigade. We have so much to be proud of in this state and this country — and so much to fight for.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Thanks Dick!

      I would love to hear about your father’s story some time.

  • ctomrun

    Thanks to Rollie for his serviice. Also to you for sharing.

  • The Fighting Czech

    Because of my job, On occasion Im able to work with our soldiers at the local Air Force Base. Ive never met a group of people that deserved our respect then these people. Despite the ridicules antics of our political leaders and the idiotic spending priorities, they have to endure . They still stay to defend this country. These are the people our president needs to be bowing to….

    • $8194357

      And the Dems won’t even count most of their votes.

  • $8194357

    10X
    Port

  • $8194357

    THE 8th OF NOV. 1965

    LOVE, HONOR, DUTY, and BROTHERHOOD knew no color..

    Americans love of country and sacrifice was shown in Viet Nam

    Also showing no COLOR was the “New Left Comunist”

    take over of the Democratic party. You see…IDEOLOGIES of division know

    nothing but division and hate..IT AS WELL IS COLOR BLIND

    The Alinsky radicals of the 60’s protested and spit

    on Americas soilders in “distain” for our Rule of Law Constitutional Republic

    because of their marxist communist sypathies and hatred for the lie of American

    imperialism…

    TODAY

    We have a studied expert on Alinsky and third generation communist running DC.

    The communists where black, white, brown and pink with purple polka dots,

    JUST AS THE SOLDIERS THEY DISGRACED WHO
    LOVED AND DIED FOR AMERICA.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozpdBvB0hek

  • SigFan

    My dad and his 5 brothers and my mom’s 4 brothers all saw combat in WWII. By the Grace of God they all came home, some with wounds, all with unseen scars that they carried for the rest of their lives. All but one of them are gone now but never forgotten. God Bless every man and woman that ever put on a uniform to defend this country – we owe all of you more than can ever be repaid.

    • $8194357

      8 of 10 of my dad’s family served.
      six boys and a girl in WW II
      and one boy in Korea..
      God Bless American soilders past and present.

  • Carol

    How dare some of you turn a tribute to Rob’s dad, and other veterans who so bravely fought, into a pissing match. Shame on you. It is because of those veterans that you have the right to say your piece and act like jerks. They carry scars or you. Some scars are seen but many go unseen on the inside. Shame on you.

  • borborygmi

    Bless your father and all vets Rob.

  • Tim Heise

    Thanks Rob for posting this and thanks to your dad.
    My grandpa, 1LT Alfred J. Muglia also earned a silver star but in WWII, “The Big One” as he would call it. He too would not talk about it until I joined the military. He had many great stories. One was that he was the first person to enlist on a certain day in his town in New Jersey, so the officer made him a sargeant to process the other enlistees that day because the previous processing sargeant was transferred.
    He was a medic and later recieved a field commission as an officer. One time he told me that he and his medics and others were briefly captured by the Germans and they did not believe him that he was an officer since he had not shaved in a week. So he took off his 2LT insignia and went with the enlisted of which he was proud to do. They were transfered back to the US later that day.
    We have it easy.

  • Waski_the_Squirrel

    Thank-you for sharing this story. It’s important that we not only honor the abstract concept of veterans’ sacrifice, but we know the specifics of what exactly that sacrifice is.

  • Tim Heise

    I love talking about vets so here goes.

    My Aunt, 1SG Linda Muglia was an US ARMY Drill Sargeant Instructor at Fort Jackson, SC in the 1980s. She told me as a kid that she was the first female drill sargeant instructor. I have not been able to prove this yet. I believe her, I just want to get proof for my records. I have contacted the US Army Womens Musuem and the US Army Historian with no success. She was not one of the first 6 female Drill Sargeants in 1972. She joined the Army in ’75.
    Rob, Would a Open Records request to DoD help?

  • banjo kid

    Thank your dad for me when you can, I was in but never saw combat . He is truly a hero in my eyes . I know what it takes as I trained for that rescue stuff , it is not easy

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