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Letter: Fallen comrades

Being a retired career soldier, I am disappointed with the recent slights directed at our military personnel. Those who have served in actual combat can’t believe the reports depicted on television news. Each of those individuals killed in combat since the so-called government shutdown was honorably serving their country. Their families, even under the best circumstances after losing a loved one, are devastated. I cannot imagine the impact of total disregard by the country they love.

I served a one-year tour during the Vietnam War as an assault helicopter flight leader. Each time we lost one or more men killed in action, all of us felt a large dose of remorse. Wondering if we would be next followed those thoughts. That year seemed like it would never end. I flew more than 800 combat hours and we received hostile fire approximately 20 percent of the time. Night operations were more intense because the sky seemed filled with tracers.

To this day, I vividly remember hearing the last radio transmissions from pilots moments before crashing. One was especially heart breaking when we heard. “Oh MOM!”

LOU BARBER

Ruston, La.

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