The last Vietnam War vet retires from the service

Discussion in 'Warfare / Military' started by APACHERAT, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. APACHERAT

    APACHERAT Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Is this Green Beret the last Vietnam vet on active duty?



    [​IMG]In the 1970s, he was among the last Marines sent to Vietnam.


    [​IMG]

    In the '80s, as an Army Green Beret, he deployed into Honduras during the Contra Wars.

    In 1991, he was gassed in Iraq.

    And after 9/11, he fought terrorists in Afghanistan.

    He's an environmental conservationist and holds a master's degree in creative writing.

    He is not the Most Interesting Man in the World.

    But with 42 years in uniform, 59-year-old Michael Jarnevic is likely the saltiest sergeant major serving in the U.S. military. And when he retires July 8, he'll likely be the last person in uniform whose service record includes a tour during the Vietnam War...




    There was a bit of culture shock when he joined the Army, but he adjusted quickly.

    "It was certainly a transition, because you know the Marines are so steeped in tradition, have their own ways of doing things and lingo. So when I transferred to the Army it was a different language, a different world."...


    [​IMG]

    https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/ne...en-beret-the-last-vietnam-vet-on-active-duty/
     
  2. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    I remember returning from deployment in 2010, and meeting one of the guys that joined my unit while we were out of country.

    He was a Motor Pool clerk, and was 59 years old. An E-5 Sergeant that had an impressive rack of ribbons, including the Vietnam Service one and a Bronze Star with V as well as the EIB.

    I talked with him many times, and his history was impressive. An Infantryman in Vietnam, he saw combat on the ground before reclassing to being a helicopter crew chief. After one more tour as a door gunner in Vietnam he returned and became one of the early Warrant Officer pilots. Did his 20 years, retired as a CWO3.

    Became a school teacher, and served in the National Guard as well. Retired as a teacher at 55, and with the Iraq War still going strong got a hair up his butt and went back full time Army at the age of 56. But because he was no longer medically qualified to fly he gave up his Warrant and returned as a Sergeant. Which he held for the next 4 years until he hit mandatory retirement at 60. Right before he retired for the last time, he joked with me that his pay was actually going to be going up when he did. His retirement would be as a CWO3, which was actually more than his active pay of a Sergeant.

    At his retirement ceremony, the Base CG and Command Sergeant Major were there as he was the last Soldier on Fort Bliss who had served in Vietnam.

    I also remember in the mid-1980's when the last Marine who served in WWII retired. It is funny to think that it will not be to much longer before the last Gulf War vet retires.
     
  3. APACHERAT

    APACHERAT Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I served in the "Crutch" 69-71.
    Just about all of the battalion CO's (Lt. Col.) were veterans of either Iwo Jima or Okinawa.

    Many of the senior SNCO's were either WW ll or Korean War vets.

    I remember one Sergeant Major who was "Old Corps" a veteran of Guadalcanal and was already in the Corps on Dec. 7th 1941.

    Old Corps being China Marines or any Marine who was already in the Corps on Dec. 7th 1941.
     
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  4. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    When I was in Infantry School (1983), the senior instructors were primarily Vietnam vets. Our actual instructors were mostly Sergeants and Corporals who had served in Beirut in 1982 (I remember one had a nasty facial scar from a mortar attack).

    But most of our Gunnery Sergeants and above had spent time in Vietnam.

    It was interesting returning to the military in 2007, and being basically the only one under Staff Sergeant that had served during Gulf War I. We would sit back and reminisce (because we were age peers if not rank peers) about what things were like during the Cold War, and the younger kids could not even grasp what it was like, most having not even been in grade school at the time the Iron Curtain collapsed.
     
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  5. APACHERAT

    APACHERAT Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Those WW ll vets who were still serving during the 60's and into the 70's like our fathers they rarely if ever talked about their experiences in the Pacific.

    But the Korean War vets had more than a few sea stories to tell.
     
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  6. Paul7

    Paul7 Well-Known Member

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    My dad who recently passed away remembers seeing Civil War vets in his youth.
     
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  7. APACHERAT

    APACHERAT Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I remember when the last American Civil War vet died.

    I was six years old.
     
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  8. BuckyBadger

    BuckyBadger Banned

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    Wow, great story. I'll never forget the Command Master Chief of my first squadron. An old salt with 39 years in and they forced him to retire. At the retirement ceremony, I was still pretty green but remember thinking that I outranked him and had less than 5 years in. It was a bit surreal but I made sure to give him all the respect he deserved. He told me his first paycheck was $13, fresh out of boot camp and newly married. The crew loved him, what a great sailor he was.

    One thing about the Navy, no matter what your rank as an officer, you never, ever, mess with the Chiefs. period. We had an an officer who was in charge of Maintenance Control. If you know anything about Maintenance Control, it might be headed up by an officer, but it's really the chiefs that run it. Well, this Lieutenant liked to stick his nose in the door and request meetings about MAF's (Maint. Action Forms) and aircraft moves and who was working on what and slurp some coffee and be annoying. Thought he ran the place and wanted everyone to know it. Finally the Chiefs had had enough and one of them picked him up and threw him out the door.

    Of course he made threats and ran to the Commander who I just happened to be meeting with. this Commander was an old enlisted salt who served the beginning of the Vietnam war as a Navy medic and ended it flying combat missions in an A-7. He listened intently but quite amused. After listening to the Lieutenant fluster on he raised his hand and said: "Listen up Terry (not his real name), how many times have I told you to keep your nose out Maint. Control. The next time you step one foot in their space I will personally come in there and throw you out and send you off to run the tool room. You get me Lieutenant"

    After a meek "Yes sir" and a sullen exit, I couldn't help but stifle a laugh. The Commander looked over and said with a grin "How would you like to be the new Maintenance Officer?"

    "Yes sir". I made sure to never step one foot into their area, not even to drink coffee.
     
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  9. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    That is actually pretty common from what I know of those that served in the Pacific in WWII.

    I had one grandfather that served in the Army in WWII. An MP in a transportation unit who served in both Italy and France-Germany. He would tell me some stories of some of the things he saw. One thing he did talk about was the "gutsy bucks" who drove the Redball Express. He served on it for 3 months, and had nothing but praise for the things they did to keep things moving.

    My other grandfather though, he never talked about his experience. He served in the Navy, and worked in the engineering section on the USS Suwanee. I did not even learn this until well after he died, the only reason I knew he had been a Sailor is because of a photo with him in his whites, and he had a Navy bumpersticker on his truck. My grandmother finally told me the name of his ship, and that he had lost a lot of friends when the plane was hit by 2 kamikaze pilots. His ship was underway after repairs and going to Okinawa to stage in preparation for the invasion of Japan when the war ended.

    He was aboard when they pulled into Nagasaki as part of the occupation forces. They then also went to Hiroshima before being transferred to ferrying Marines and Soldiers who had been staging in Okinawa back to the US.

    Most of that I was able to put together almost a decade after he died. My grandmother told me some of his experiences, and said that he did not even tell her very much of what had happened. My uncle told me some more, part was that he had never attended a single ship reunion. He always read the newsletters, and always donated to their reunion fund but never attended himself. And it was not like he did not have the money or time.

    I have no doubt that today he would be diagnosed with PTSD. But he remained a sailor the rest of his life. He alternated between sailing a 35' cabin cruiser up and down the West Coast in the summer, and skiing in the winter until he was finally diagnosed with cancer in 1995.

    And his wife was really no different. She finally stopped skiing in 2008, at the age of 92. She had broken her ankle that year while doing her daily 5 mile jog.
     
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  10. APACHERAT

    APACHERAT Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    upload_2019-6-3_7-22-42.jpeg
    USS Suwannee CVE 27 -

    https://www.facebook.com/USS-Suwannee-CVE-27-216146005077259/
     
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