Senior Connections Senior Connections Jan 2019 - Page 7

LEGION from Pg 3 Meyer was deployed to the Middle East several times after 9/11, serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom III 2004 to 2005. He was then deployed again, “Essentially, I was mobilized from pretty much 2005 to 2012 in stateside capacity or overseas. Then we got deployed for Operation New Dawn, which was the fi nal run in Iraq.” Service similarities Remer and Meyer noted that despite the 20-year gap between their enlistments, they had trained in some of the same locations and there were marked similarities in their combat tours, even though the tours had been on opposite sides of the globe. Meyer said, “Some of the similarities I think for sure would be the heat and the inability to really identify your enemy.” “Who’s the good guy?” Remer added. “Yeah,” Meyer responded. “You don’t know. We were urban and desert warfare, but it was very much ‘jungle.’ You didn’t know. You’d get shot at and then go to the village that you got shot at from, and they’d all be sitting in their huts and acting . . .” “Having tea,” Remer interjected. “Acting like they had no idea what had happened,” Meyer continued. “Or they’d blow up a road or a convoy that you’re on. You’d go over to the village that’s right next to it, and they’d have no clue what happened.” Remer was among the troops involved in the Cambodian Incursion authorized by President Nixon in 1970. “That was probably one of the scariest [times],” Remer stated, “because that was getting toward the end, and it seemed like guys got knocked off near the end of their tour. I was getting toward the end of my tour, and I thought, ‘Oh, boy, this is a bad way to go.’ But we made it.” Meyer added, addressing Remer, “You can probably speak to this, too. This probably travels all wars. You normally have an idea when you’re going to go and when you’re going to come home. You have a pretty good idea when you’re going to come home, but when you get there [into combat], you’re nervous and excited. You don’t really know what to expect. After two or three months, all right, you kind of settle into a numb state. You’ve seen a couple people die. You know what war is all about at this point in time, and you kind of become devoid of emotion. Then, as you start creeping toward that end again, then it’s like you come right back up.” “Yeah, yeah,” Remer murmured, nodding. Meyer continued, “At that point you’re afraid. You’re scared for a whole different reason, because you’re so close now. ‘I’m so close.’ People get on edge and it’s like, all right, you clean your weapon extra well. You make certain you pack that extra magazine of ammunition. You rehearse that one more time.” “That’s very true, that’s very true,” Remer said. “I can remember three guys that I know at three different times; they’re on the convoy. They gave us all hugs. They were getting hauled away, and they never made it to the airport. They got RPGed before they got there and got killed.” Waverly welcomes, honors all Waverly Post Commander Ken Borrell noted that the Legion provides a welcoming environment in which members can share their experiences of military service and combat. “We try to do it every meeting. We’ll get someone from our group to share their military history. That is really benefi cial. It’s too bad more guys don’t come to the meetings where they can hear this. We had one of our members; he was still actually suffering from post-traumatic stress, and Judd got him connected with somebody who could help him a little bit. This was like 50 years later; you just kind of keep it in. It’s kind of a neat thing when we can get people to share their story, and sometimes just talking about it helps.” Remer added that he believes an important function of the American Legion is its advocacy on behalf of all veterans. “Legions and VFWs have been fi ghting . . . to reassure that we do have [adequate resources for veterans]. They’re our lobbyists, I guess. A lot of people go, ‘Why are you in the Legion?’ I totally feel if somebody wasn’t there lobbying for it, it would get shoved under the rug. . . . I think that’s one of the main things the Legion and VFW are for.” Holmes spoke about his concerns that membership in the Legion should be open to more individuals with military service. He explained, “There are periods of eligibility, mandated by Congress, embodied by law somewhere by the way they [the Legion] were chartered. But, there are periods in between the wars, where a veteran could not be eligible. First of all, the noncombat injuries, in other words, from training and things like that, there’s not a lot of difference in there. There are a lot of veterans during those inter-war periods, who were involved in some pretty risky operations. They’re not eligible, according to the national leadership of the Legion, and it needs to be fi xed.” National American Legion is currently considering a resolution to change eligibility. Borrell went on to say that Waverly Post 305 is more welcoming in its policies. “I think, our Legion, we will take these guys no matter what period they served. We will take them into our Legion. They just can’t hold an offi ce, but they are certainly welcome at our organization. Whether it was peacetime or not, these guys were putting their necks out there.” Meyer added, “Even further on that, regardless [of their duties] . . . at one point in time, and this sounds dramatic, but they wrote a check payable by their life, and it should not matter whether or not they went, they made the choice. Because there was not a combat scenario where they were placed, it does not mean they didn’t make that commitment.” Honoring that commitment is at the core of Wavery Post 305’s mission, ensuring that the dedication and sacrifi ce of all who served is acknowledged and never forgotten. Senior Connections HJ.COM Senior Sergeant David Remer was awarded the Bronze Star during his service in the Vietnam War. Sergeant Major Judd Meyer at ceremonies where he received the EIB (Expert Infantryman Badge), an Army special skills badge, awarded for successfully complet- ing grueling testing, including weapons profi ciency, communication, navigation, etc., culminating in a 12- mile ruck march with a 65-pound pack with full weapon and full combat load. Connections January 2019 7