The Pryor Times


November 11, 2009

Veterans honor each other at Salina

They say veterans should be honored. But who better to teach honor, than the veterans themselves? The members of Salina VFW are full of honor … and many other things if you perch in their presence and listen.

Ray Plumlee is better known as Blackie to his friends.

“I served from 1943-1946,” Plumlee said. “I’ve been to the Phillipines, Netherlands, Japan, New Guinea.”

“He still gets shot at,” nearby Glen Montgomery said. “Jealous husbands mostly.”

Montgomery is an Army veteran, who served from 1958-1961 in Italy.

“They made a wreck out of me,” Montgomery said. A voice from somewhere in

the room replies, “Those Italian ladies, you mean.” Montgomery’s wife enters, her hands on her hips, smiling.

Joe Brown served in the U.S. Air Force from 1965-1969, during the Vietnam era. Bill Burnett was also U.S. Air Force, 1965-66. Walt Kloster was stationed in Germany during his tenure in the U.S. Army.

“I was in from 1953-1956,” he said, adding that he

was with the German Occupations Group.

Mike Fanning stands tall, arms folded, easy smile.

“U.S. Navy, Vietnam Combat Veteran, two tours,” he said. In the Navy from 1967-1971 and was in Vietnam from 1968-1970.

Standing next to Fanning is Bob “Levi” Crosswhite.

“Navy,” he said. “1961-1975. I did three tours in Vietnam.”

From across the room, another voice, “A bunch of kids,” Plumlee said. “I’m the only one from World War II.”

“We’re trying to catch you,” Burnett kidded.

“Won’t be hard,” Plumlee replied. “I’ve slowed down.”

Not unlike the various wars that unite a soldier, no matter their age, these men are united by their history. Pride of the soldier in the branch in which they served still exists, as well as the inevitable teasing from the other men.

The conversation shifts to the wars of today, and the men and women currently serving.

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