(Contact Info: larry at larryblakeley.com)
Important Note: You will need to click this icon to download the free needed to view most of the images on this Web site - just a couple of clicks and you're "good to go." For reasons why - go here.
A listing and access link to all:
song lyrics and mp3 audio files http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/songs/ (all of which are a part of this Web site) can be accessed simply by selecting the "htm" file for the song you want;
quotations http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/quotations.htm; and
essays written by Larry Blakeley http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/articles/articles_larry_blakeley.htm,
all of which are used to tell the story in this Web site, can be accessed by going to each respective link set out above.
My son, Larry Blakeley http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/larryblakeley_photos_jpeg.htm manages this Web site.
Major Roy James Blakeley (December 10, 1928 - July 22, 1965) - USAF (KIA)
When I was young my dad would say
Come on son let's go out and play
No matter how hard I try
No matter how many tears I cry
No matter how many years go by
I still can't say goodbye
- "I Still Can't Say Goodbye," Performer: Chet Atkins
MP3 audio file/lyrics http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/songs/still_cant_say_goodbye.htm
For a larger image click on the photograph.
"Letters written by Major Roy James Blakeley from 19 days in Hell, Republic of South Vietnam, Da Nang Air Base, July, 1965" - Larry Blakeley, August 23, 2004
Letter emailed to William B. Rood, Chicago Tribune, August 23, 2004 at 4:00 AM CDT; 0900 GMT, Larry Blakeley
Mr. Rood - There are some of us that will die after you that are still hurting for inequities to our American father that put his life in harm's way on July 15, 1965 - and, then 7 days later after being suffering severe damage from more strafing for the Army and Marines was killed while attempting an emergency landing at the Navy and Marines short 4,000' strip at Chu Lai - to much sand surrounding this beach strip (until extended later in 1965).
I have read that you have "felt a calling" to speak out.
The difference between you and me is that you have access to the media to spread your words of your truth after only 30 years. We have waited a decade longer, Mr. Rood. But, before they lay me down 6' in the ground I swear I will spread across cyberspace the inequities that Americans do to other Americans - even after giving it all - your life.
And, yes - even Vietnam Veterans that proclaim that "none will be forgotten."
Within only days, my grandmother received her letter back with: "Return to Sender - Deceased," signed Major Arriaga - my father's squadron commander. What's the chance of being recognized for July 15, 1965 with a superior with this attitude of human life?
In 39 years, not one single living Vietnam Veteran has knocked on my door looking for the son of the man that saved his life.
No, he's walking the streets of America today with his lovely wife and children - if he survived his tour.
And, to top it off, I grieve longer - my pain started a decade sooner and will continue several decades after he's lowered 6' under for his "Return to Sender - Deceased." And, I continue to grieve decades longer, again - if I'm unlucky enough to have to stay on this god-forsaken earth for that long.
But, my sweet and precious grandmother kept everything all these years. When she died several years ago this box went to the highest shelf in the closed - forever fearful to bring that dreaded box down. But, always knowing sooner or later I was going to have to lower it down.
So, I came to that point in life were I realized I better do it. Nobody else could.
So, I open up the first envelope and read his sad, prophetic words written within a day or two after settling his F-104C Starfighter fighter aircraft gently down on that massive runway of concrete in the humid air of Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam. .... "this is a poor tired lot - wish we could get out of here and save face."
And, after each word of each line of each letter my pain mushrooms like a cumulus in the late afternoon of the hot summer Texas sky - until it's suddenly a thunderstorm ready to release it's brew - and I cry - alone, again - after 39 years.
And, I think - no, Dad we stayed for another 8 more years of hell in that god-forsaken place of death. And, the souls of every American sent over there died over there, too.
And, my father speaks to me from the grave and asks, "Larry, how was your day?"
And, I tell him, "Well, Dad - I got up, went to school, but I could tell something had happened somewhere inside that made me different? So, I learned how to change color like a lizard in the desert and look just like the rest - and, it worked because I became very good at it over the years. I learned to walk through life and forget that I had a dead heart. But, when I got home I changed back to myself of loneliness, sorrow and pain. And, the 6 o'clock news - every stinking single day for the next 8 years was tough. But, I still miss you so after these 39 years."
Maybe, they figured - oh, what the hell - why bother - he's dead - we're busy over here. Whatever - but I just bet they never realized that he described enough of what had happened to his family. I mean it's here - in his own handwriting - words describing low-level strafing with Viet Cong with rifle shooting at him as if he were dove flying by.
What do you want to bet that he knew he wasn't going to make it long at this rate? Every good soldier has a nose for the smell of death.
So, sure enough he smelled it from day 1. Within 19 days - he was gone - just like that. Well, the idiots of the headquarter of higher command of the Pacific Command suddenly took notice and must have thought - "well, that little experiment didn't go over too well - better change things up a bit or at this rate we will run out of our most experienced pilots that we have invested $1,000,000, or more in, not to mention the $3,000,000 aircraft brought down out of the sky with a pea shooter. Not, to mention the kind of humiliating media attention that will receive to be spread back to the U.S.." No, these idiots weren't that stupid. So, the pilots thereafter went to what my father knew was more realistic - I mean, it's there in his own handwriting for anyone to read that give a damn - escorting the F-105's north for their bombing runs - protecting them from the MIG's.
For anyone that knows anything about the F-104C Starfighter - it was the fastest aircraft in the world at that time - in fact, today's F-16 Fighting Falcon uses the same jet engine, except these much more electronics and better aerodynamics - it was built to intercept the enemy and make the "kill," then return home. If you don't do it in a reasonable amount of ammunition and distance you are dead meat. Why? Because it was not made to go far without refueling and it's bank of ammo was fairly limited.
Anyway, so 39 years after all this happened I climb up on the stool reaching for that dreaded box of pain.
So, I cry and wipe my eyes so I can see the computer monitor - and write - just like he did http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/roy_blakeley_desk_vietnam.gif
And, I proceed in his honor through the valley of death - and the same damn pain, again - attached to the hip together, again.
So, that's why I'm writing this email to you. I believe you just might read it.
My father wrote over 9 letters back to his family describing what was going on.
And, as for me I swear I will write many more than he did in those 19 days, but yet my writing will contain nothing more to say than my precious father did.
But, I swear - if there's a god in heaven I will continue to write .... and write ... and write some more until the lord takes the last breath from my lungs.
I will tell everyone what the death of every single American will do to the living left behind.
And, I will write about how my father was treated and how he was not recognized for that day on July 15, 1965 when there came a call over the radio for "AIR" support.
And, I will write about how an American can be forsaken by other Americans.
Why? Because "I LOVED MY FATHER, HE LOVED AMERICA, AND I LOVED AMERICA."
Well, it's 4:00 AM CDT and 0900 GMT, August 23, 2004 here in Dallas, Texas - so I had better wrap this one up and go to bed for a couple of hours.
Oh, by the way - earlier I emailed a copy of what follows, "Tell Me, Why? General McPeak" to the editor and editor-manager.
Then later in the evening I started on the article and somehow ended up here.
http://www.royblakeley.name (home page)
P. O. Box 9280
Dallas, Texas 75209
P. O. Box 9280
Dallas, Texas 75209
Article: "Tell Me, Why? General McPeak," by Larry Blakeley, August 21, 2004.
This is to General McPeak http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/articles/monthly_articles/merrill_mcpeak_bio.htm - wherever you are in this God forsaken country and to anybody else in America that gives a damn.
For the remaining majority, throw it in the trash.
Several months ago I gathered the strength to go through an emotionally challenging project - a Web site (located at http://www.royblakeley.name) in honor of my father, Major Roy James Blakeley, USAF - killed in action on July 22, 1965.
I opened letters written by him in July, 1965 that I had never read before.
Every minute that I have be listen to Kerry's Silver Star "heroics?" - I am left with an empty feeling of betrayal of truth and justice in America.
Why should my father be deprived of a medal for this engagement and John Kerry receive one? Can you explain this to me General McPeak? Even when you know fully well that my father gave his life for this country - nobody awarded him a Silver Star. Everything he did during those 19 days in Vietnam he wrote about. Tell me why, General McPeak after 39 years I "still can't say goodbye?" MP3 audio file/lyrics at http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/songs/still_cant_say_goodbye.htm
Tell me General McPeak - why? Why did it take so long for the Pacific command to realize that after they pulled the F-104's off escort and put them to strafing that their pilot's were sitting ducks? Tell me why my father's squadron commander, Arriaga returned my grandmother's letter with "Return to Sender - Deceased?" Tell me why General McPeak you expect us to know the truth and still be patriotic? Why General McPeak did your commander General Horner - standing next to my father in the book, "Every Man a Tiger" devote 2 pages to those of us "left behind" - the women and children. Tell me this too, General McPeak - why did my father and his widow and children have to live on a Captains's salary when his promotion was effective in December, 1964. Tell me why, General? Tell me your answer to these questions. I don't see you on my father's "Bearer" list in front of me, but I see Capt. George Carey and Col. Ed McNeff from the fighter school at Luke AFB, Arizona. And, Brigadier General Darryl Cramer is saluting during the missing man formation flyover - all of these men you know. Tell me why, General McPeak you believe John Kerry deserves a Silver Star so that I can tell that to my mother, and my children - so that they can pass your words down to their children - until nobody remembers what the story was anymore. Or, even cares - like today.
Tell me why we were forsaken, General McPeak. Tell me why I'm still "Broken" MP3 audio file/lyrics at http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/songs/broken.htm
Tell me why, General - I should care who you are going to vote for.
"Flew an outstanding mission the 15th. We had just got airborne and an Army unit was being ambushed and were pretty well cut up (lost 66 men) and they called us and asked for help. We spotted them and their attackers (Viet Cong) and rolled in on them. We killed 166 in about 10 minutes. The squadron here (436th) put all 4 of us in for an air medal. Will let you know if we get it. It made the papers over here." - July 19, 1965 letter to James Louis and Violet Blakeley (his parents) http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/letter_rblakeley19650719.htm
"The 15th I flew a mission and we lucked out and caught a bunch of Viet Cong out in the open after they had ambushed an American convoy and we killed 175 and Zeb put me, Walt and Larry and Olson in for a medal!! How about that!!" - July 18, 1965 letter to Johnnye Blakeley http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/letter_rblakeley19650718.htm
"Flew my 10th combat mission - 10 miles off the end of the runway!! Viet Cong had just finished ambushing a convoy and we were diverted from our original target. Caught about 200 Viet Cong in the open and really "ate" them up. The Marines were taking out casualties & we were striking over their heads. The Marines really appreciated the quick response to their call for "AIR." The Zip 4's were there immediately!!
Don't know when I'm going to get promoted. Supposed to be today but who knows." - July 16, 1965 letter to Lt. Colonel David Blakeley, United States Army (his brother) http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/letter_rblakeley_david19650716.htm
- Larry Blakeley, son of Major Roy James Blakeley, USAF F-104C Starfighter pilot out of George AFB, California