November 1

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Speaking with Cathy Saint John about One for the Boys

By Tracey Arial

November 1, 2018


Tracey [00:00:33] Now Cathy and I have known each other for years and years because this book ‘One For The Boys’ is all about the story of Sgt. John W. Blake who is a Newfoundlander from Canada who I did not have the opportunity to meet. But when I was doing the research for my book, ‘I Volunteered, Canadian Vets Remember,’ I met Cathy and some of her family members because they were dealing at the time with his death. You were fighting at that time, to have him buried in a Field of Honour, weren’t you?

Cathy [00:01:08] Yes, it was a Field of Honour here in St. John’s, Newfoundland and the only military cemetery here in Newfoundland. Fields of Honour is a coined phrase. It has the connotation of solely reserved for soldiers, and rightly so.

So, it often gets misinterpreted with ‘Oh, it’s a National thing’, it belongs to the Government of Canada. Well, some of the plots do belong to the Government of Canada, but most Fields of Honour are provincially owned but technically, at that time, I should say, back in ‘96, there were only four official Fields of Honour. And that one was not one of them, but I was restricted. I was not permitted to purchase a plot to bury my brother there and it became quite an upset.

Military Burial of John Blake in British Columbia

Tracey [00:02:00] Yeah. In the end, we actually buried him in a military portion of a private cemetery in British Columbia. I was honored to be able to go out and represent the veterans – the Vietnam Veterans from Quebec because they basically assigned me as their representative.

Cathy [00:02:26] Yes, you were there with David, I recalled the time very well. It was a five-year argument with the Canadian government and a devastating time in our lives. But what it did do was pulled together the Vietnam veterans in Canada and in that sense John’s work was now completed. Now, when we finally buried him because I think that’s what needed to be done here in Canada was to help bring those Vietnam veterans forward. They came out in fine style as did the Royal Canadian Legion (RCL) and millions of people across the United States and Canada in support of burying John Blake in Newfoundland but our government failed to realize that we weren’t going away.

Tracey [00:03:18] One of the wonderful things about our particular service too is that the U.S. military sent in an honor guard. And so, it was a full American military burial.

[00:03:28] So everything that could be done by everybody involved–except for the Canadian government–was done.

Winnipeg Vietnam Veterans left without military burial plots.

Cathy [00:03:37] Yes, eventually it was done. But what it left behind was a very bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths because it became poignant that the Government of Canada said “We don’t want Vietnam veterans in our cemeteries.” And that was bad. That was nasty. You know up until recently I thought, ‘well that will never happen again, in Canada.’ But I find out now that it can happen again and it may well happen again in Winnipeg.

Because, in 2005, without any notice to anybody, I found this out in my research for my book, that the that they have now inducted the military cemetery here (in Newfoundland) which wasn’t a true or official Field of Honour for the Canadian government (during 1996). The one in Winnipeg. Taking both of those under the umbrella of official Canadian ‘Fields of Honour’ in the country leaving both provinces without military service/burial provision for Vietnam vets in Canada. That is going to cause a great deal of stress for people, families, communities and the provinces in the future.

Tracey [00:05:00] Yeah people don’t realize how really devastating these kinds of arguments can be for family members who are already suffering because their loved one is gone.

[00:05:16] For a very long time, they (the RCL) wouldn’t allow Vietnam veterans to participate in Remembrance Day services and that has since been overturned in part because of members of the Royal Canadian Legion, themselves who actually went against their own leadership to vote in Vietnam veterans as full-fledged members of the Royal Canadian Legion. I really admire some of the World War II soldiers who actually headed up that fight.

Cathy [00:05:55] Yes, the Royal Canadian Legion has a very solid and important voice in the country when it comes to veterans and veterans’ services.

[00:06:05] I’d really would like to think that the Government of Canada can sit up and just listen – listen to these groups. This is the backbone of the veterans that was created by veterans, ran by veterans and its services veterans in the communities. I just wish more people would get more involved at the grassroots with the Canadian Legions because their support is necessary to continue services and respect for veterans of all wars in North America. We need to honour the people who served there and to protect us and give us the life that we live.

The 1968 Era

Tracey [00:06:53] This particular book is about one of your brothers, but you actually have two brothers who served in Vietnam. Can you tell me a little bit about that? That was 1968, I think, right that they went.

Cathy [00:07:07] Yes, that was a long time ago. Yes, I had two brothers. Not just one. You’re right in saying that David and John well actually I’m going to use the word Wayne. OK. David and Wayne. I grew up with my brothers David and Wayne Saint John. When I was 16, we were living in Montreal at the time and the war was the war on television. We were all affected by it. I guess we felt it – in our little family more because we come from a family of military people. Our father was a War I veteran and he was much older than Mom. We were his second family and he died when we were young. Mom was raising us. She had served also in a war, World War II. She was in the Navy during her time with that. So, we always had that presence of military structure in our lives.

It was no surprise then when the boys came home. A bit of a surprise, but you know we understood it fairly quickly that they were going to go and join the United States Army and eventually serve in Vietnam. And that was their plan and they stuck to it. They were young. OK. David was 17 and Wayne was 19. So, they went through the process and approval and enlisting and they required documentation from Newfoundland – birth certificates.

So, we had a bit of a surprise when the birth certificates arrived. They both grew up in St. John’s Newfoundland, went to school here, in Topsail. There was never any question about who they were -their names. But when the certificate’s arrived, David’s came up as David Saint John and Wayne’s came up as John W. Blake and that created quite a kafuffle.

[00:09:04] Poor mom never had the strength or the will to tell him exactly why that was like that. So, with little notice, he registered and went on and became John W. Blake. He served honorably in the service of the United States Army. Yeah, that’s how they both ended up going.

[00:09:34] Another time, you were telling me another time is that John actually stopped his training in order to now we’ll call him John because that’s what he is in the book.

Tracey [00:09:44] But this is Wayne Saint John who you proved later on that he is actually Wayne Saint John or was. He lived his life from the time he was signed up to the military until the time he died as John Blake.

[00:10:02] He actually stopped his training in order to protect his brother. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Vietnam Experience

Cathy [00:10:13] Yes. Well, they enlisted and they went through basic training together (Fort Bragg) and they went through Airborne Training in Fort Bragg (actually it was Fort Benning) together, parachuting and then they were split up. David went to learn about mechanics and was to be kept on stateside because mom had intervened. At the time, she said you got both my sons. One is John Blake, the other one is David Saint John. They can’t both go to Vietnam. But anyway, so you know at the time something was arranged that well the younger one would stay stateside and that would have been David. I wrote about this in the book. So, he ended up temporarily being stateside. He was a clerk in an office and he was typing the orders that were sending men and boys to Vietnam. After a short while about six months, he typed his own orders. His orders came through and he’s going to Vietnam.

Cathy [00:11:23] So he went and visited John who was in training as Special Forces, he earned his Green Beret – he was selected. You know, he’s extensively trained as a soldier. John was selected to continue his training as an interpreter. So, David tells John, ‘I am going to Vietnam’ and John was furious with him because that shouldn’t have happened but now it happened and orders are orders. You don’t just get to change them when you’re in the United States Army. So, David’s going on to Vietnam before John. John was furious and he was scared. We are all scared because we knew that John was getting extensive training. David didn’t have that kind of training but David was going there as a mechanic for the choppers. We didn’t know much about Vietnam, the country. John did and he was fearful. So, he stopped his training and requested the immediate transfer to Vietnam. I guess maybe in the back of his mind and in his heart that if the United States government realized that they had two brothers there that were from Canada that they would send one home and preferably they would send David home. But that didn’t happen because the United States Army said ‘orders are orders.’ They both had to pull that duty now. But David, he, everybody is in harm’s way there in Vietnam at that time. But to what extent. David remained on base and was in Cu Chi and that wasn’t a walk in the park either but John was more extensively trained than he was. He was there as a Special Forces personnel and eventually he volunteered with the Airborne Rangers because that is a volunteer position. It’s highly dangerous and it requires that you be highly skilled yourself. So, he worked. That was his work. He worked with the November 75th Rangers with the Airborne Regiment there in Bong Son.

[00:13:37] David was probably only about an hour away from him but not near the theater of war in Vietnam. Yeah. So, they both served the same time in Vietnam.

Tracey [00:13:47] Both of them came back.

Coming Home

Cathy [00:13:52] They did – they both came back. We enjoyed one Christmas with them as they both came back at that same time then and we really enjoy that we were living in Prince Edward Island at the time on base. Stepfather was Air Force and shortly to retire. So, we spent one year there and that’s when we really had our last Christmas.

[00:14:11] All of us were together and it was wonderful. David went back to the United States after his furlough and he worked there as the honor guard duty. That is a service that is given to soldiers who return home to be buried. John went back, he pulled a second tour, and he went back to Vietnam so he could opt out earlier from the United States Army and not have to do any work stateside. So, he went back to his unit that’s where his heart was anyway, to do another six months and he would have been released. They came back together.

[00:14:58] And then they, I have to pause here because I said they came back together but they were not the same. David was not so much different but John was. He was tremendously changed. He looked the same but he hadn’t seemed the same. But we didn’t know much about things after the war then.

Tracey [00:15:16] And you found out that it was because of I mean many different incidents but one in particular got that really marked him.

[00:15:26] Can you tell me a little bit about that.

Cathy [00:15:30] Well in the journey of researching John’s life and work in Vietnam I knew nothing. We knew nothing. There were no pictures. There were no stories. He never talked about it.

Discovering John’s Unit

[00:15:40] We didn’t ask. But in the research of his book after John passed away. It wasn’t until 2012 when I found his unit and they responded. You know there are some Vietnam vets who are a little slower in getting up and saying, ‘hello I’m here.’ But anyway, I found them finally by 2012. I met a lot of his members that served with him in Vietnam and did the same type of work.

[00:16:11] Then I found out, you know, about many traumatic events that transpired but the one – the one that really hurt John the most was when George Morgan, his team leader, died in front of his eyes.

[00:16:28] It was an accidental death and it was had to do with a grenade. Some grenades, the Rangers would fix a grenade that would have to have a short fuse on it. In the event they were ever captured, because Rangers were never to be captured. There was a bounty on their heads in Vietnam but they were never to be captured. They knew they had to do not to get captured. George made a mistake and he grabbed the wrong grenade and it blew immediately. John was standing in front of him about 10 feet away from him – that is how I was told. John took shrapnel in front of his legs. And it was it was a deep wound. Another man took some serious shrapnel and two others. They were airlifted off of that hill. They (the team) were out on a radio relay. And that was the one that crippled John. To read about it in the book, to read what he had written about it in poems that he wrote about some of the men, who deeply affected him – their deaths. Those were things that deeply affected John’s life and set him up to ultimately live and try to live with his post traumatic stress disorder.

Tracey [00:17:47] Right. And so, they came home and they came home to a society. You said that. Where did they live?

Cathy [00:17:54] Well, they returned to Canada because they were discharged then right from the United States Army. So, they return to Canada to go to work or go back to school.

[00:18:08] John went back to school. So, he, the family was living in Winnipeg then and the stepfather, a very nice person. He retired in Winnipeg. We always wanted, many of us wanted to come back to Newfoundland. So, John came back to Newfoundland as did David and my twin sister and six months later I got here. We were all here together for just a short time together and it was rather nice. John went back to university actually and did some courses and worked in accounting and bookkeeping. But his life was starting to fall apart. David and my twin they moved out to Vancouver with some other friends.

John Moves to the United States

[00:18:48] David still lives in Vancouver. But John remained here. He had left and came back but anyway; he married and had a small family and but his life was impacting him. He wasn’t doing well at all. So, he left without the family. He left them here because he needed to sort himself out or see where he was going with his life. He couldn’t make any sense of his life here. So, we went back to the United States and that it was then and he realized that he was about as normal as any other Vietnam veteran. Because he had met a lot of Vietnam vets who were exhibiting the same injuries as he was; the nightmares, the flashbacks, the anger, the vigilance and things like that.

[00:19:43] So he was in his comfort zone there and then he started to rise up from that and become more, I think, more who he was and is.

Tracey [00:20:00] That’s because he was helping some of the Vietnam veterans you know with their own troubles and he was like an activist almost.

Cathy [00:20:14] Exactly, he places his anger and he placed his energies with the people. It was at the time then when you know back reaching up to the 80s then when the Wall was being discussed and designed. It was going to be you know a memorial site there for Vietnam veterans, after a decade of anger, mistrust and misunderstandings. So, when that was announced, John was hearing it on the television and he said, ‘well that’s kind of low key. They’re not doing enough to promote this. Maybe the boys will come out. They’re pretty upset.’ So, they took it upon himself he’s going to walk across the United States and bring awareness of the Vietnam veteran and you know ‘check the pulse of America’. So, he dressed like he did in Vietnam in the fatigues and the rucksack and the boots and the camo hat. The only difference was that he wasn’t carrying an M60 machine gun he was carrying the United States flag, which had never been carried across the nation of America – ever. And he did that.

Tracey [00:21:28] And that’s the picture that you have on the front of your book right. Yeah. It’s a very, very, poignant one.

Cathy [00:21:37] Yeah.

[00:21:37] That picture was actually taken by one of John’s friends who lives here in Newfoundland, Ron Whalen. David, John and Ron knew each other for years. Ron and David were living in Vancouver and they met up with John in Seattle Washington when he arrived there to start the walk. The boys were all together. Just as they were all together, especially David and John when they were sworn in to the United States Army. They stood by side by side by a American flag. And now here they were side by side again. John is walking – walking across the United States. Who does that?

Tracey [00:221:10] Yes, that was about 3700 miles or kilometers.

Healing from Mistreatment at was 30Tracey:

[00:22:28] It was 3200 miles and it took him seven months but he learned a lot along the way. He learned that the American people were sorry, very sorry for treating the veterans so poorly when they came home.

[00:22:51] It wasn’t the veterans that they were angry at -it was government. Everybody was angry with the government. But the veterans bore the brunt of it. But they (the society) were deeply sorry about that, they wanted to be forgiven too just as the Vietnam veterans wanted to be forgiven. Every veteran who comes home from war gets a parade you know and that’s a sign of society saying “we forgive you – we thank you for what you’ve done for us.” You went there and you had to do horrible things for us. But the Vietnam veterans came home and there was no parade, no thank you. And there was no forgiveness until the Memorial Wall.

Tracey [00:23:32] Which I’ve been to. Have you been to the wall?

Cathy [00:23:36] Absolutely. John and I were supposed to go there together. And, as it happens a little side story here, I found my father’s people in Wales – in Pontypridd, Wales. And I found that they were there and John and I were supposed to meet up. We hadn’t seen each other for a decade or more and he was going to take me to the Wall and I said, ‘yes’ we would do that. But then a letter came into our lives saying that we had family in Wales, where Dad was from. And John said, “You’re going to Wales.”

[00:24:09] But I said, “What about the wall? I got to go to the wall.” He said, “no you’re going to go to Wales.” But then that opened up another door in our lives that brought a nice surprise to us. I did find my Dad’s family. It was wonderful. I didn’t get to the Wall then and then I never, you know, I never got the opportunity for to be with John ever after the day he left Newfoundland. That hurt, that hurt but I had the opportunity to go through his life on paper and been able to finish his work and write his book.

Tracey [00:24:40] He kill himself in what year?

[00:24:52] He took his life, made the decision to end his life in 1996. There are reasons for that and it is all in the book. It was something we understood was going to happen in our immediate family. We knew this would come one day. Because, you know, John’s life with PTSD back in 80’s was far different than how we perceive life now. There are people that fall and can’t be caught. You know, you can’t catch them. And that’s what I’m hoping you know is that this book might help open up people’s eyes and hearts and minds and help everybody or many to understand you know what it’s like to live with PTSD because you’ll be taking a journey through John’s life. And with today’s resources, it’s doable to live with PTSD – it’s manageable.

Tracey [00:25:51] The services are still relatively limited compared to what they should be when it comes to PTSD and a lot of our listeners won’t know that when Saving Private Ryan came out that particular movie was so precise in terms of what people lived through in World War II. A lot of the Vietnam vets actually helped some of the World War II veterans deal with effects of PTSD that they hadn’t realized with still there under the surface. So, this is not a disease. This is something that can happen almost any time depending on the triggers.

PTSD

Cathy [00:26:33] It can happen to anybody. Yes, it can happen anytime to anybody at any time to any degree. John had complex PTSD that was caused largely from combat and many of our veterans will develop that or first responders who are you know exposed numerous times to traumatic events. You know, they can and probably will, but you know not everybody will develop PTSD but some can. And it happens – it will happen. Getting the right service for yourself is like shopping for the right thing you’re wanting to purchase. You just have to get out there and share with the mental health community. Let them know that the help that you need. And if you’re not matched up well with somebody, you keep asking, you keep searching, you get until you’re matched up with a person who can help you with your needs.

Tracey [00:27:32] That is not easy.

Cathy [00:27:37] Because it is doable. I know, I went through it in ‘97 and for six months I was in and out of doors because I live with post-traumatic stress disorder and I never disclose that until later on in my life because I had an illustrious career. I enjoyed what I did. And I think the people around me might never have understood and I know they would not have understood. It didn’t change who I was in front of them. I was certainly able to do my work. But the stigma attached any mental health illness precedes the person. And that’s not fair. And I’d like to say that this book may put a stop to that.

Tracey [00:28:17] That’s one of the reasons why people in 2018 should be reading about this particular era.

[00:28:24] What are some of the other things that you’re trying to accomplish with this book.

Cathy [00:28:32] Well, as you know Tracey you were there and there was a time when well John had died and we returned his cremains to St. John’s, Newfoundland and John always wanted to come home and grow old on the mountain but he couldn’t because of the lack of services here for his needs, his mental health needs. So, he was best served in the United States at that time.

[00:28:58] He passed away and we brought his remains home and you know proceeded to have a family funeral as you would. When it came for to set up the burial arrangements at the local military cemetery here which was named ‘Field of Honour’. There are thousands of Fields of Honour throughout the country but only four, at that time, were National. This one was not a national one but DVA as you know plots in all of them. So, they kind of call it as to who can be place there. So, we requested a burial plot for cremains and there’s only a small piece of land. They would not sell it to us. So, the fight began because now I had John’s remains home and we want to bring closure. It was a long, long, journey with John and his life. I wrote about it. Well-documented through his documentation too. So, we did this and for five years we were denied the right to burial and bury him there solely because he was a Vietnam veteran.

Tracey [00:30:08] Yeah that’s where we started our interview with our understanding that now you’re going to have to be in another fight because of Winnipeg’s decision.

[00:30:18] But there are other issues that you raise with this as well because we’re talking about an era. We’re talking about links between Canada and the United States in terms of military links.

[00:30:34] These are not the first people who have served with the other countries war.

Cathy [00:30:40] Oh no, no, Canada and the United States have been neighbors for centuries – centuries, and yes, they’re going to have a little falling out and kerfuffle from time to time.

[00:30:51] But you know when Canada went to WWI and WWII, and Korea each one – they went there before America joined those wars. American citizens came over the border to Canada to serve with Canada under the Canadian colors. And at the time, all those wars were considered foreign wars.

[00:31:15] But until, you know, the United States, became affected by the wars with the sinking of the Lusitania and the Pearl Harbor bombing. That, you know, that they jumped in and became a part of these wars. We shared our citizens in warfare because of NATO and when Vietnam happened. Well, you know it was no different in the minds of Canadians.

Peace-keeping Missions by Canada

Tracey [00:31:46] But, it was a question of whether or not Canada would get involved in Vietnam and we did because we actually sent military soldiers over there a lot of people don’t realize that that was our first and second peacekeeping missions.

[00:32:03] And at the time, peacekeeping missions were significantly different than they are now. The countries would choose each country in a conflict would be able to choose one other country that was actually an ally. So, in Vietnam North Vietnam chose China on their side and South Vietnam chose the Americans chose Canada on their side and then the two of them chose India.

[00:32:34] So there was actually a three party peacekeeping mission and there’s a very, very, complicated history that I think hopefully after reading your book if people are interested in that era they’ll start getting a little more informed about how these things were developed because there were people who died with the Canadian military in Viet Nam and those, if the Vietnam veterans are forgotten then Canadians who died in Vietnam are forgotten even more so I’m on a bit of a mission to get them some attention.

Cathy [00:33:08] Well, yes, you’re right.

Tracey [00:33:09] There are few you know considered Canadian Vietnam veterans and then there are tens of thousands who are Vietnam veterans who are Canadian for example veterans who are fighting in this country.

Cathy [00:33:25] Exactly, I mean these are people who went out to you know make a difference and protect our rights. Canada had a big hand actually in the Vietnam War and Victor Levant was probably the best who had discovered all that. But I was very surprised and how extensively Canada was involved with the Vietnam War. Even as peacekeepers there – their sole functions were to assist South Vietnam, not North Vietnam – South Vietnam.

Cathy [00:33:55] Right. So, there’s a bit of a taste in my mouth about all that. I’m not that familiar with that.

[00:34:04] You know I am not going to go beating on the history door. And what concerns me the most is now you know right now. In 2005, Canada has taken in the beautiful huge magnificent military cemetery in Winnipeg as a National Cemetery. And it too is the only military cemetery in Winnipeg and there is a large number of Vietnam veterans living in Winnipeg, all their lives. And these are veterans and they will not and I say this now. They will not be permitted to be buried in a national field of honour in Winnipeg, solely because they are Vietnam veterans and that is disgusting.

[00:34:50] That is anarchy that is so wrong and, in this country, we have, you know as the Royal Canadian Legion who are fighting for all veterans and benefits for all veterans. But this is one fight that I couldn’t win back in – back before the military cemetery here in St. John’s was considered a national.

[00:35:14] It wasn’t a national one. I was fighting them. Now they took that one plus the one in Winnipeg. That’s two provinces in this country that do not have military burial properties for veterans – Vietnam veterans. And that is very much wrong. We talk about being open and being a country who embraces everything and everybody, in this world. Well, we’re so giving we’re so open and welcoming – well we can’t still after 45 years, we can’t welcome home our boys from Vietnam. There is something wrong here.

[00:35:44] Now. It’s definitely a mission to keep carrying on with that and getting services for PTSD which is still really not available as much as they should be in Canada, for anybody.

[00:36:01] Well you’re right – you’re right. When we have people around here that have the experience like the Vietnam veterans with PTSD – many of these men are well versed with it and are well-adjusted in their lives and living with PTSD, as I have adjusted my life. Nineteen ninety-seven was a long time ago. I’m still here. I’m doing OK. And you know I have my supports around me. I have my little dog. That’s a no brainer by the way. And you know just recently in the news where you know we have Canadian veteran who are trying to get service dogs. We have a government that’s holding up the process because now they want another, you know, a survey from the United States saying how good that is for veterans. Well, it doesn’t take. It’s a no brainer. Service dogs are excellent. They are the best source of healing and working with and managing PTSD. Everybody should have one.

[00:37:04] I’m serious. Everybody who has PTSD. I mean it is the best thing you can come home to is an animal that can bond with you and gives you that sense of belonging and now you know because they need to be feed now. And that keeps you in the now.

Tracey [00:37:21] That will be the last half of your book was talking about these kinds of issues that are still going on. And the first part of the book is about John Blake’s story. Can you tell us what where will the book be available? You have a website; I understand that will be live as of tomorrow. [00:37:48] And you’re doing something at the local Chapters right.

One for the Boys launched

Cathy [00:37:55] Right we’re going to have the book The Official launching here in St. John’s. News that had Chapters between 2 and 4 o’clock. There on Kenmount Road. The book will be live and available on Amazon.com. It’s ‘One for the Boys’ by myself Cathy Saint John. I look forward to people reading it.

We did have two private signings. One was in Vegas with his unit the Airborne Rangers and the boys came out to meet me there. They have read the book. They are very proud of what I’ve done for John. The same was the Winnipeg Vietnam veterans. I dropped in there. I have a sister there and dropped in to say hello and my sister. I met up with the Canadian Vietnam vets and we had a private signing there to give them their heads up and to read on it. So, they’ve read it and have come back and said, “I did good.”

Tracey [00:39:02] When the military people enjoy it too, you know that you’ve done a good job. So, congratulations.

Cathy [00:39:23] Thank you on that I couldn’t have done it with without John’s unit. And it took when I found them that we stay in close proximity. And they shared with me the pictures that are in the book.

[00:39:34] I had nothing. They share with me the stories that I never knew, it actually blew me away. I fell in love with this man. This John Blake soldier you know because he’s my brother. I love him in the sense that I’m so proud of him I could just burst.

[00:39:56] You know he was quite a guy. And I didn’t know that. And you know he kept all of that away from us and me because he might have thought that I was too delicate because I grew up playing with dollies. But he didn’t share with me that and I wish he had. I wish he had told me more. But I know everything about the man. I took a walk in his life and there wasn’t an easy journey. Tracey, there was times it was so heartbreaking. But, I do it again. I’d do it again if I needed to finish a book for him. I would do it again because I would not want to miss this man.

Tracey [00:40:33] So that out now, One For The Boys, the true story of Sgt. John W. Blake. Now my last question which I ask all of my podcast guests.

[00:40:44] My last question is completely about you. Do you consider yourself a Canadian? And if so, what does that mean to you?

Proud Newfoundlander who loves Canadians

Cathy [00:40:57] Well, I got to say this I’m sorry. I’m Newfoundlander. OK. I live in Canada. And my heart got broken back when John die. And, it hasn’t healed from my government, had thrown us to the curb leaving us out there without a burial for John – that hurt and you could tell now it still hurts. I love Canadians. Absolutely. I love this country. It’s beautiful. And I’m fortunate to live here. But, I’m a Newfoundlander.

Tracey It’s fabulous to have been able to talk with you Cathy.

[00:41:37] And I really appreciate the work that you’ve done on this. It’s a tour de force and I hope everybody reads it. Thank you very much.

[00:41:48] Thank you Tracey.

Vietnam-Courage


George Reischling

"TO THOSE WHO HAVE FOUGHT FOR IT, LIFE HAS A FLAVOR THAT THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW!" I came upon this site while surfing the net and wanted to give a special shout out of recognition to the brave Canadians who stepped up and volunteered to serve in the war in Vietnam. Those of us who served in Vietnam will always be brothers. Thank You! Vietnam has left us all with many memories of those with whom we served and those who didn’t make it back. I saw that you served with 2/12th out of Cu Chi. I served with 3/22nd, 25th Infantry Division out of Tay Ninh as an infantryman. Fought the NVA on the slopes of Nui Ba Den twice with numerous firefights in and around the area bordering the Cambodian border. Remember your Christmas in Vietnam? Mine was spent on an ambush patrol near the Cambodian border. Awarded Purple Heart and three Bronze Stars with “V”. After 5 months in the field, I was pulled to the 93rd Evac at Long Binh to work with soldiers suffering from combat fatigue. Coming home was one of the most difficult parts of our tours. Over the last 10 years, I chronicled my tour of duty and the response has been overwhelming. With your military background, you may find it interesting. There are presently over One Hundred 5 Star Reviews worldwide. It’s free to Amazon Prime members. Courage on the Mountain I believe that you will relate to this true story of the fight for Nui Ba Den and the struggles and sacrifices that the soldiers who served their country in Vietnam endured. Thousands of Vietnam Veterans have proudly endorsed these memoirs. Please check out the website at courageonthemountain.com with the accompanying introduction. It will make you proud for your service and all the men and women who served our country during the Vietnam war. I proud that you made it home brother! Thank you for your service and May God Bless! George Reischling Courage on the Mountain courageonthemountain.com

Tracey Arial

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