THE “CHOCOLATE COWBOY” IS REALLY GONE
by Ron Barrett CHS 1965
Click on the photo below for the rest of this
heartfelt tribute to Ron's dad.
I gave Dad the nickname “Chocolate Cowboy” late in his life. He loved chocolate everything; he ate Chocolate Cheerio’s for breakfast every day. If you have never tried them, don’t get your hopes up. The “Cowboy” came from the Willie Nelson song and movie “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys.” Dad never did anything many would consider heroic, but I saw the Hero in him many times. Upon returning from WWII, he married Mom and they settled in Wilson, near Dad’s brother’s widow. Nola had been married to Dad’s brother, Roy, prior to the War. Roy paid the ultimate price for freedom in Europe, leaving Nola to raise their boys alone. I watched with pride while Dad helped Nola in various ways, putting bicycles together at Christmas, making sure everyone got in the cellar when storms came up, etc. That was just the natural thing for him to do …
CLICK ON THE SILVER STAR IMAGE ABOVE FOR JIM'S STORY AT KUSH
AND ON THE CIB IMAGE TO READ ITS HISTORY.
*** The Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) is an award of the United States Army which is presented to those officers, warrant officers and enlisted soldiers, in the grade of Colonel and below, who participate in active ground combat while assigned as a member of an infantry or special forces unit, brigade or smaller size, during any period subsequent to December 6, 1941. It, and the simultaneously created Expert Infantryman Badge (EIB) were created with the primary goal of recognizing the sacrifices of the infantrymen who were disproportionately likely to be killed or wounded during World War II.
CLICK IMAGE BELOW AND READ ABOUT THE MAY 2009 MEMORIAL SERVICE
A WWII Veteran, prior to his recent death, made provisions in his WILL for the anonymous funding of an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., in honor of his son who was killed in Viet Nam. Jim Pugh had applied for one of the regular 4 Honor Flights that originate each year from Toledo to D.C. The majority of the flights are for WWII and/or Korean Veterans. 2012 is different because of this fifth flight for Viet Nam Veterans only. Jim received the phone call this morning (9/30/2012) at 9:00 Eastern Time. At that time, he was informed that he had been chosen for the Honor Flight. AND of course, he accepted, and will make the trip. Jim says each Vet will receive an Honor Flight T-Shirt and Cap. LET’S HEAR IT FOR OUR FRIEND, CHS ALUMNI, AND LOYAL AMERICAN GI, JIM PUGH CHS 1963!
The chartered flight will take place on October 23, 2012, and 150 Viet Nam Veterans will be on board. The Vets are to be at the Toledo, Ohio airport between 6:00 and 6:15 A.M. where they will enjoy a catered breakfast. The flight is scheduled for departure between 7:30 & 8:00 A.M. Activities in D.C. will include their viewing the Viet Nam Walland other monuments, if time allows. The Veterans will be met at the airport in D.C. by motor coaches, and bussed to the Memorial areas where volunteers will conduct the tours. Wheelchairs will be provided for Veterans who are unable to walk long distances. (Jim is second from the right in the photo above. Click for a closer view.)
Exact itinerary for the remainder of the day is not yet known, but they will return to Toledo airport at 8:30 P.M., where dinner will be served in their honor. Each Vet is allowed to invite up to 5 people to join him/her for dinner. Guests of the Veterans will arrive early at the Toledo airport to honor and welcome them home!
Each state in the Union provides yearly Honor Flights for veterans from their major cities to the Nation’s Capital. They are funded by a variety of groups and charities. HONOR FLIGHT is a national organization.
In Honor of Our Veterans: http://www.honorflight.org/
“HONOR FLIGHT Network is our way of paying a small tribute to those who gave so much — a memorable, safe, and rewarding TOUR of HONOR!!!”
“We can’t all be heroes. Some of us have to stand on the curb and clap as they go by,” Will Rogers.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012:
Honor Flight NWO (OH)
Honor Flight Chicago (IL)
Honor Flight Arizona (AZ)
Honor Flight Greater St. Louis (MO)
Honor Flight Chicago (IL)
1st LT. WALTER JAMES PUGH, U.S. Army (ret.)
written by Peggy Randall-Martin
Submitted to 1600KUSH.com
Click on photo for closer view
Jim Pugh served in the United States Army from 1966-1970 and was stationed in Viet Nam July 1967-1968. He was a Helicopter Pilot with the 1st Cav Division and a Warrant Officer until Dec '67; it was then he had a field commission to Lt. Jim went to Hue during the TET offensive of 1968 and it was in March of that year, while flying a recon mission near Hue, Viet Nam, Jim was shot down and had to exit the area on foot. Jim captured an enemy combatant who had the entire plans for the TET offensive and successfully defended himself against other enemy soldiers while making his way to his rescue troops. In March of 1968 Lt. Jim Pugh was awarded the Silver Star near Hue, Viet Nam. For those of you who do not know, this is a U.S. military decoration awarded for gallantry in action. When Jim received his honorable discharge from the Army, he was ranked as a 1st Lt.
During my telephone interview with Jim (6-20-08), he laughingly told me that as a U.S. helicopter pilot in Viet Nam he was a magnet. Jim was shot down 9 times!
Jim's daughter, Erin, is carrying on her dad's service tradition and is a member of the United States Air Force. She just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq (Spring 2008). He wrote to me that he is proud of her. You know what? WE ARE PROUD OF BOTH OF THEM.
After graduating from CHS in 1963, Jim attended OSU for 3 years (Fall of '63 - Spring of '66). In May of 1966 Jim joined the U.S. Army. In June or July 1968, LZ Snapper near Key Soson, Jim was a liaison officer for his unit to an artillery battalion supporting Marines during the siege with recon patrols on the ground. He says he didn't volunteer - it was Commanders orders! Jim said the CO thought an infantry Officer should have the Combat Infantryman Badge *** (CIB) and Jim was a 2nd Lt. with an M16. After his tour in Viet Nam and admirable service to our country, Jim worked for the U.S. Dept of Defense in Iran from 1974 to 1979 as a Helicopter flight instructor. As an employee of Gulf Oil Co. (1979 to 1985), Jim flew helicopters in support of oil fields in Nigeria. During his years of overseas employment Jim studied and got his Aviation Management Degree in 1985 from Emery Riddle, Orlando, FL.
Jim came back to the States in 1985. He flew 1 year for St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa and then flew EVAC for Tulsa's Hillcrest Hospital until the mid nineties. Jim then found time in his busy schedule to design the Cushing Hospital Heliport. He moved on to Toledo, OH and flew for the hospital there for 1-1/2 years.
In 2000 Jim had open-heart surgery at which time he retired. I am happy to tell you that Jim reports he is in good health and enjoying his retirement. During summer months, he sells recreational vehicles. At the time of his retirement, including military and civilian flight time, Jim had logged 17,500 flying time hours. Jim was proud to say that his civilian hours were flown accident free.
Memorial weekend of 2008 in Toledo Ohio , Jim Pugh and Chaplain Claude Newby conducted Memorial Services honoring our U.S. Military fighting men and women, Veterans and fallen Comrades. Jim would like to make this a tradition.
Chaplain Newby is the author of "It Took Heroes - A Cavalry Chaplain's Memoir of Viet Nam." Lt. Col. Newby and 1st Lt. Jim Pugh, one of Cushing's favorite sons, served in the same unit. Jim told me that he met Newby one time in Viet Nam and that was the only time they saw each other over there. Newby and Pugh's Viet Nam service in the same unit overlapped by two months. "It Took Heroes" was written about that same unit. Chaplain Newby resides in Salt Lake City, Utah.
When our phone interview was winding down, I said, "Jim, who would've thought it - when we were back at Highland Grade School - that I would be interviewing you for a story?" We laughed and I knew then that I had reconnected with a childhood friend. Life really is good, isn't it?
We know Jim's fellow soldiers were proud to serve with him during his tour of duty, and the Class of 1963 is proud to have served with Jim in the hallowed halls and classrooms of the old Cushing High School! 1st Lt. Walter James Pugh (retired), friend and fellow 1963 CHS classmate, thank you for your honorable service to our country and your continuing dedicated service to fighting men and women, Veterans and America's unforgotten fallen comrades.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
— John Gillespie Magee, Jr
Jim Pugh &
(Jim is a retired pilot and an active 100mph duct tape connoisseur.
He believes TAPE is an acronym for Tape And Paste Everything!)
The song can be purchased here: AMAZON