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American Homefront

On Memorial Day, Remembering Fallen Friends

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Bobbie O'Brien
/
WUSF Public Media
The U.S. Special Operations Command Memorial at MacDill Air Force Base includes a wall inscribed with the names of fallen Special Ops Forces/

The American Homefront Project talks with service members and veterans about who they're remembering this Memorial Day.

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Credit Harkins Family
Jim Harkins

Jim Harkins, who served in the Air Force from 1954 to 1974, recalls a buddy shot down in Cambodia during the Vietnam War. He says his generation has "patriotism in our blood."

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Credit American Victory Ship
James Powell

World War II and Korean War veteran James Powell recalls joining the service at age 16. In an interview aboard the American Victory Ship Mariners Victory Museum in Tampa, he talks about the high casualties suffered by WWII merchant seamen.

On Memorial Day, Remembering Fallen Friends
World War II and Korean War veteran James Powell remembers the loses among merchant seaman.

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Credit AMERICAN ARMED FORCES
Mark Lubeskie

Master Chief and Navy SEAL, Mark Lubeskie, who is retiring after 31 years of service, pays tribute to fellow sailors who were lost in the 1989-1990 Panama invasion. Lubeskie is based at Special Operations Command Headquarters on Florida's MacDill Air Force Base.

On Memorial Day, Remembering Fallen Friends
Navy Master Chief Mark Lubeskie honors his colleagues who were killed in the Panama invasion.

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Credit Engasser Family
Ken Engasser

Ken Engasser is a retired, Army Chief Warrant Officer with 20 years service and now, is an instructor with the JROTC at Steinbrenner High School in Tampa. He named his son after a fallen friend.

On Memorial Day, Remembering Fallen Friends
Ken Engasser named his son after a friend and Army buddy who was killed in Iraq.

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Credit AMERICAN ARMED FORCES
Joe Kilgore

Joe Kilgore is chief of staff for the Joint Special Operations University based at the U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa. As a retired colonel in the Special Forces with 30 years service. he remembers “those who stood up when the wolf was at the door.”

On Memorial Day, Remembering Fallen Friends
Joe Kilgore remembers family members who served and how he honors their memories on Memorial Day.

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Credit HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Erick Bertram

Erick Bertram retired as a Master Sergeant in 2005 after serving 20 years in the Army. He was part of Desert Storm, Desert Shield, OEF/OIF. He shares his thoughts on the meaning of Memorial Day for him as a veteran and instructor with the JROTC Newsome High School, Tampa.

On Memorial Day, Remembering Fallen Friends
Erick Bertram, as a veteran and instructor of young JROTC cadets, shares his thoughts on the real meaning of Memorial Day.