Reason I had to leave Virginia in the middle of the week disrupting work was to drop the fam off in Atlanta, then drive early in the morning to make the morning funeral for my Uncle Doug Hodge. He passed away last week peacefully.
He’s a Green Beret who fought in Korea, Vietnam, and did a ton of training even when a civy. He had 50 billion medals that I only understand a few of them. 3 purple hearts; 1 from Korea where he refused to become an officier and instead returned to fight in Korea once they pulled the bullet out of his stomach and I think 2 in Vietnam. He had a couple bronze & silver stars. The first was when the Chinese/North Koreans sent in men, it was 3 riflemen and 1 machine gunner. Doug would kill 3 rifleman and after the 4th went down, take his machine gun, and repeat the process in hopes of keeping the ammo up. If you don’t know much about the Korean war, this was a huge problem; supplies were in short supply to our men & women on the ground, and guys would constantly run out of ammo, especially with the vastly superior numbers of the Chinese. I heard a variation of the story, which started to sound like a fish story, where he started throwing rocks once he ran out of ammo, and apparently the bluster ceased the firefight, lol! There are documented reports of “last seen” squads fighting with just their shovels when running out of ammo. Craziness.
The 2nd was a similar scenario when he got shot attempting to destroy an enemy position. Both of his squad commanders were killed almost immediately, he was ordered to retreat, and then he got shot in the stomach. He ensured all his men were moved to safety until they finally airlifted(?) him out.
He had a lot of crazy stories of training the Marines. They’d do a night jump into some Army base, unbeknownst to those on base, land in a lake full of snakes, and have to swim out to escape before getting caught. w…t…f….
He had like 1,500 or some insane number of jumps (basically 12+ hours spent in the air falling). I think his last one where it ripped part of his heart was the one that ’caused so many challenging health issues later in life; can’t remember.
I remember Uncle Doug teaching me to fire my first hand gun & rifle. He tried the composite bow, but at 11 or 13, I wasn’t strong enough to pull back the 30lb(?) test line. He also let me ride his asshole pony and allowed me to beat the shit out of, Aunt Barbara (his wife) and he both commenting on how proud they were how far I had made that damn horse go. I kind of felt bad. Not really.
Everyone at the funeral commented how harsh and unrelenting he was. Getting into bar fights even in casts with the 101st or 82nd (I forget which), and then later in life becoming a devout Christian, he clearly affected his 11 brothers and sisters (my mom being #12). I don’t remember that; he was like my grandfather; always patient and always positive.
When 9/11 happened, I guess he was 74 or so, he went up stairs to pack his bags. His wife asked what the heck he was doing. He said he was waiting for the Commander in Chief to call, haha.
One of his sons is currently fighting Somali pirates for a private org in Africa a few months out of the year, I think his 2nd son is Army retired, and his daughter gave a good eulogy.
While sad, there was a lot of cool things about it. He went peacefully, he had an awesome life, had a huge family that loves him & this country, and I got to talk to a bunch of old military guys and hear rad stories. We’ll never know ALL of what Uncle Doug did because some I’m sure was secret, but it’s obvious he fought for this rad country, and that’s all that matters.
SSgt Barry Sadler, Ballad of the green beret