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Posts Tagged ‘Marine Corps’

She’s Not For Sale

Posted on: May 28th, 2012 by R.W. Hampton 5 Comments

American Flag @ Washington Cemetary

Not For Sale

There’s a trail of blood

Back through the sacred halls of history

Follow it back to where our fathers fought and died

Across the waves see the crosses on the hillside

On the wind hear their voices as they cry

We’ve got to get back

To the faith of our fathers

And find our way back

To the Liberty Bell

And never forget that ol’ flag

And all she stands for

It’s time to rise up and say

“This country’s not for sale!”

She’s not for sale

From Valley Forge they’re callin’

Not for sale

From Gettysburg they cry

From Belleauwood to the battle for Fallujah

She’s not for sale no, not at any price

There was a time

When we all stood together

There was a time

When by fire we were tried

But we lost our way

And it’s a way that cost so dearly

It’s not too late

To saddle up and ride

We’ve got to get back

To the faith of our fathers

And find our way back

To the Liberty Bell

And never forget

That ol’ flag and all she stands for

It’s time to tell Washington

“My country’s not for sale!”

From the Alamo hear ’em call

To the sands of Iwo Jima

From Normandy hear ’em cry

To that Chossen Reservoir

Back to Battan

To the muddy Mekong Delta

From the Helmand Province

To the Solomon’s bloody shores

They cry

We’ve got to get back

To the faith of our fathers

Written by R.W. and Lisa Hampton – ©June 2010

Flags at Sunset

Hampton’s Cimarron Sounds, BMI

R.W. is in the process of recording this song as well as another, “Hell in a Helmet” with the proceeds to be donated to a Wounded Warrior program close to his heart.

If you are interested in contributing to this cause please contact the Hamptons at rw@rwhamton(dot)com or call their office in New Mexico 1-800-392-0822.

To see R.W.’s Youtube Version of this song recorded on his porch at Clearview Ranch right after the song was written click here:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChXt_c0uOwg

Veteran’s Day thoughts… For Those Who Have Signed the Dotted Line

Posted on: November 11th, 2011 by Lisa Hampton 3 Comments

If you have been a fan of R.W. Hampton music for longer than, well, let’s say 4 minutes, (which is the amount of time it takes to listen to most of his songs), you know that R.W. is feverishly patriotic.

Yes, patriotism runs deep in the Hampton family and days like Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day are not merely for putting out the flag, but a time when we pause to honor those around us who have served our nation or are currently serving. 

On these special days we get a chance to stand up and thank those around us who have signed that dotted line saying “America, I’m yours.  I will stand up and fight for you, your citizens, your government, your flag and all that it stands for.  Regardless of whether I like that government, those citizens, or the cause I have been sent to accomplish.  Because as an American, I believe that in the end, right will win; evil will be conquered; freedom will reign and my family, my country, and my fellow soldier/marine/sailor/airman needs me.”     

Yes, these are special days.  Not just to honor men like these.

Members of the US Navy in Pacific Theater - WWII                    And these.        Sgt G Meisner, 2/9 Fox Co

 

But also these.                        2/9 Golf Co Ar Ramadi 2009

And women like these.   WAAC WWII

 

Violet Askins aka Violet Hill Gordon

Women Soldiers in AfghanistanAnd these… 

They are what make our country great. 

It’s what’s inside them.  They know that they were willing to stand up for their country and sign that dotted line. Willing to face our enemies in that  moment of battle and know the courage it takes.

Neither R.W. nor I have done this.  Signed the dotted line.  Faced our enemies across a battlefield.  

Brig General TC Lyster - Theodore C. Lyster is a familiar name to aerospace medicine physicians. His early recognition of the unique physical requirements of aviators, the specialized training necessary for flight surgeons, and the need for altitude physiology research provided the foundation on which the specialty of aviation medicine was built. Lyster's medical career, however, encompassed much more than aviation medicine. From his earliest assignment as a contract physician in Cuba in 1899 until his entry into private practice in 1921, he was heavily involved with the fight against yellow fever. In the era before medical residencies were commonplace, Lyster sought out training in ophthalmology and otolaryngology in the U.S. and abroad. His clinical and organizational abilities made him a valuable asset during the construction of the Panama Canal and during World War I. Lyster's many talents and his philosophy about aviation medicine make him a worthy role model for flight surgeons today.

Brig General TC Lyster, 1875 - 1933da

 

Army, Navy, Air Force & Marines. 
Our fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, and our oldest son, Cooper, have all signed it. 
Lieutenant General Wade Hampton III, 1818 - 1902

Lieutenant General Wade Hampton III, 1818 - 1902

For as R.W. said to me one day, “My greatest disappointment in life as an adult is that I will never know if I had it inside me to do what they have done; to face what they have faced and to know that I did my part for my country.”

And so, although we are not Veteran’s ourselves, our part now is to support and honor these men and women who are.  To encourage them, to enlighten our community to their sacrifices, and to keep their memories alive; this is our job now. 

 God bless everyone of our Veterans.  We go to sleep tonight safe because at one point you had the courage to sign that dotted line.

OXO – Lisa H.

Marine Corps 236th Birthday

Posted on: November 11th, 2011 by R.W. Hampton 3 Comments
Sgt Hampton with President GW Bush

Sgt Hampton, USMC with President GW Bush in the Oval Office

Happy Birthday Marines!!!!

Our Marine is in California this year celebrating with his wife at a Marine Corps Ball. We know he’ll be wearing his dress blues tonight and she’ll be decked out too.  We can’t wait to see the pictures! But, since they haven’t sent us any yet from the evening we thought we would post this picture instead.

Of course, this moment in time was a few years back; our Marine had a chance to get his picture taken with the President after completing his “tour” of duty in DC.  He went on to do two combat tours in the Middle East, returning this past February from a tour in one of the “Hot Spots” in Afghanistan with his battalion, the 2/9.  He recently transfered to the West Coast and will be stationed state-side for a while we hope, enjoying his family and being a machine gunner’s instructor/evaluator.

To those of you who share this birthday, we wish you the very best.  And the rest of you, we hope you have a chance to get to know these fine men and women who have been defending our country for the past 236 years.  Semper Fi friends.

Sincerely,

R.W. and Lisa

The Homecoming of the 2/9

Posted on: March 18th, 2011 by R.W. Hampton 19 Comments

The night of February 10 found me in Camp Lejeune, NC, to welcome home the 2nd Battalion 9th Marines from their combat deployment in deadly Marjah, Afghanistan. More specifically, I was waiting for my oldest son, Platoon Sergeant Cooper Hampton of Golf Company. This was Coop’s second deployment, so the waiting was not new; but somehow, with the constant flow of almost instant information via email and Facebook, the months passed by slow and long.

I had made a conscious decision from the start to be “in the know.” This meant being familiar with Helmand Province, its people, geography, topography, politics, customs and even weather. Our clock on the fireplace mantle was set to Marjah time, 10 ½ hrs later than our Mountain Standard Time.

Platoon Sgt. Cooper Hampton on patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan

Being “in the know” also meant starting and ending every day checking emails, Facebook and the news reports, trading information and updates with other family members. Even though our boys had no electricity or running water at their FOB (Forward Operating Base), we were able to receive short messages and even photos by virtue of generator-powered laptops. At times when all communication ceased, we knew we had lost one of our boys and the next of kin were being contacted. Through photos, video clips and short messages, we knew that our boys were “mixing it up” with the Taliban on an almost daily basis.

And so it seems in a strange way that somehow the lives of these young warriors, their families and our lives are forever entwined, and that on some level we, too, had fought and experienced the joys, sorrows, victories and losses.

It was all of these things and more that had my heart full and running over that cold, wet night. Along with dozens of others, I crowded into a Marine base gymnasium to wait. The scene could best be described as like a Norman Rockwell painting where people of all ages, carrying banners and balloons, eating hotdogs and drinking coffee, were passing the time visiting, playing bingo and doing crossword puzzles. There were grandpas and grandmas, moms and dads, and pretty young women dressed in their finest pushing baby strollers. Charlie Daniels’ music played over an ancient P.A. system that also brought us an occasional update on the status of our loved ones.

We were told that our boys had flown from Germany to the Marine Corps air base at Cherry Point, NC, and were being bused from there to Camp Lejeune. Although I’d never set foot in that gymnasium before, I felt as much at home there as any place I’ve ever been before or since. I felt as if I’d walked into a church social that had no beginning or end, no specific time or location. Just anywhere, anytime USA.

The spell was broken when a fella with a strong New England accent walked up and said, “You must be Coop’s dad.” 

“You got that right!”

My new Yankee friend explained, “I’m Nate’s dad!”

We visited a while, then a new update came over the P.A.: Fox and Golf Companies were on base. They’d check in their weapons at the armory and be marching in soon. They’d be here in 30 minutes to an hour.

You could feel the level of excitement grow as folks lined up to use the restroom and get one more cup of coffee before going out into the cold, damp, North Carolina night. As I refilled my coffee cup, a man beside me, sporting a ball cap that read “Proud Grandfather of a US  Marine” was doctoring his coffee with a little Red Stag whiskey.

“Want some?” he asked.

“You bet!” I said, “If there was ever a night to celebrate, this is it!”

“Amen to that!” was his reply.

I looked at the clock. It was a little after 11 p.m. I got a little nostalgic thinking that almost 24 years ago I was anxiously awaiting my son’s arrival into the world. Now here I was, waiting for that same son, no longer an infant but a hardened combat veteran, to return home from yet another world. Somehow I find that this waiting is just as intense as that first waiting was so long ago. And the questions are the same, too. What will he look like? How will he be? Will he be glad to see me? What will I say? How strange, I thought, these circles life takes us in.

Platoon Sgt. Cooper Hampton

As I look around I see that others are dealing with these strange emotions as well, and I’m glad we’re all going out into the night together where tears of joy and raw emotion can have their way. I watch as a lovely young woman checks her makeup one last time while another tells her three young kids that “Daddy’s on his way!” An older couple readies their balloons; they even have a bottle of champagne to open. I nervously fumble for my phone to send a quick text to the family back home, “It won’t be long now!”

As folks are making their final preparations, it occurs to me this scene is as old as time itself. Many, if not most, have had long, hard trips to get to this place. All have been waiting for hours, but no one is complaining, just counting down the moments, the seconds! This scene has played out for as long as men and women have gone to war.

My thoughts are interrupted when a woman at the gym entrance calmly but urgently announces, “They’re coming!” All talking stops as everyone heads for the door and out into the night. It is pitch black, but almost as if by instinct people line up around the edges of the cold, wet parade ground. Not a word is spoken and not a sound can be heard but that of marching boots as they get louder and louder. Eyes strain to see in the blackness and then, like ghosts, I can see the silhouettes of men getting closer. Then, in perfect formation, they halt in front of the waiting crowd. Faceless and unidentifiable, yet only an arm’s length away. Time and breathing seemed to have stopped as one lone voice said, “At ease, men. Well done and welcome home. You are dismissed!”

The waiting crowd started making their way forward to find their loved ones. Some called out names, while others held up cell phones to see. As I waded into the crowd to start my search, I could faintly make out forms as they reunited and quietly slipped away. In the shadows I could see couples locked in embrace, oblivious to their surroundings, as if they were earth’s only inhabitants. I saw tall, straight, young, fighting men holding tiny babies for the first time, and whole families, holding each other, laughing, crying, as if one. I could hear children crying, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!” I felt almost as if I was on Holy ground as I wandered through these scenes looking for my son.

“Cooper, Coop, Sergeant Hampton!” I called over and over, each time a little louder until a faceless voice said, “He’s in here somewhere, sir, just saw him.”

“Thanks,” I said as I wandered on. Finally I stopped and stood but an arm’s length away from a silhouette that I knew that I knew. After what seemed like forever, a strong voice said, “Dad!” and my not so strong reply, “Coop, oh son, my son, you big, beautiful son of a bitch, God bless ya, welcome home!” I held his face in my hands, making sure this was not a dream. We hugged as men do, laughed, cried, slapped each other on the back – afraid to turn loose, as if this was not real and would all go away.

The circle was complete.

9.11.2010

Posted on: September 9th, 2010 by R.W. Hampton 4 Comments

It seems like only yesterday that I watched in horror, disbelief and anger as our world was forever changed. Changed in the way we travel. Changed in the way we view our neighbors. But most profoundly for me, it is the fact that once again, we are sending our sons and daughters off to war.

Now let me be the first to say that I believe this is a must! For when you are attacked by a ruthless and cowardly enemy, you cannot shiver in the darkness waiting for the next hit. Nor can you afford the naïve and idealistic thinking that sanctions, trade embargoes and talks will stop it.

No, I believe that “taking it to them” is not only the right thing to do, but the only thing to do. I can say this with honesty because my oldest son is, as of this writing, doing just that, “takin’ it to ‘em!”

Coop and his buddy TBird

The problem for me is the nagging doubt I have that our government will let our sons and daughters do the job for which they are trained and willing to give their lives for. This doubt is strongly reinforced every time I read about how the troops remaining in Iraq are already back in the action and under fire. It is reinforced now when I hear Washington has already told our enemies in Afghanistan when we are going to be done and headed home. We need to let our sons and daughters know that we are behind them and let them win for a change and the payoff is a safer world for them to come home to. We owe this to our finest so that no one will have bled and died in vain.

At a time when elections are on the horizon and much is at stake politically, I want to tell our politicians from all parties , “Do what you must, but do not use my son or anyone else’s as your pawns. No, let them do their jobs. You cannot fight this war from your cherry-wood-and-leather-appointed chambers. No, it must be fought outside and over there, and it must be fought to win, and your Senate or Congressional seat be damned!”

As I close, I am looking at the picture of a young, proud, square-jawed Marine. At the bottom he has written, “We are the unwanted, doing the unthinkable, for the ungrateful. WE ARE THE MARINES.” This is my own son, and I pray his sentiments are wrong, and I pray for our leaders.

God Bless America and May We Never Forget September 11th!
R.W. Hampton

22 Years and 5 Days: A Life Well Lived

Posted on: June 4th, 2010 by R.W. Hampton 9 Comments

Last Monday, Memorial Day, Lisa inspired me to do something different, something special that would teach our boys and remind us adults about the real meaning of this day.  And so, about sundown, we found ourselves at a little mountain cemetery almost hidden in the shadows of the pines, sagebrush and yucca plants.

We were there to visit the final resting place of Lance Corporal Chad Hildebrandt U.S.M.C. As Lisa, the boys and I laid flowers on his grave, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of a life well lived. Lisa and I talked about how Chad’s sacrifice in Operation Iraqi Freedom has blessed and inspired so many and continues to do so even today. It would seem that laying down one’s life to help buy freedom for a stranger on foreign soil would be enough, but it doesn’t stop there.

Lance Corporal Chad Hildebrandt U.S.M.C.

My song, For the Freedom, was partially inspired by this man. I know my own son’s choosing to join the Marine Corps was influenced by Chad’s service. This life that lasted only 22 years and 5 days has birthed friendships and bonds that will last forever. A career in teaching rose up and grew from a mother‘s love and grief. Now countless children reap the benefits of this woman’s love and nurturing, not the least of whom is my 3-year-old son, Ethan. And on and on it goes.

Many of us could make it to the century mark and not make such a positive impact and leave so rich a legacy.
 
And so a life well lived, no matter how short, is still a life well lived. Especially when that life ends while performing one’s earthly calling, passion and duty. I know when this man met his maker, he was greeted by the words, “ Welcome home, warrior. Well done. Well done!”
 
Is there any greater achievement than this? I think not!
 

 

Living While Waiting

Posted on: May 5th, 2010 by R.W. Hampton 7 Comments

The last time we visited, I was waiting for our mare, Molly, to foal. Well, a little after midnight on a stormy night in late April, she finally did. It seems that she was on a different timetable than we were. We never consulted Molly with our precise breeding dates and gestation period tables, so in the end, despite all our preplanning and anticipation, Molly gave birth when she was good and ready – and not a second sooner. 

Mother and colt

Mother and colt? Everything went as it should. The colt is a dandy, let me tell you, well worth the wait. I have to smile, though, when I think of all the sleep lost getting up in the middle of cold dark nights to go down to the barn because we were sure it was time!

We spent what seemed like an eternity waiting for our youngest son to walk. All the books and experts said he was behind schedule. But when he was good and ready, he stood, got his balance and promptly ran off. We’ve been chasing him ever since.

It was the same with talking. According to the specialist, our lad was behind the curve. A team was assembled to study him and make recommendations. It was even thought that perhaps his facial muscles were underdeveloped, so cheek massages were ordered. Then one day he did start speaking; now at almost four years of age, we can’t shut him up. People are astounded at his vocabulary and gift of oratory! And when bedtime rolls around, this little guy can filibuster for hours.

As of this writing, we are waiting for our oldest son to receive the dates for his deployment to Afghanistan. Of course, when he does leave, then the waiting really begins. One thing for sure, though: despite my desire to know, nothing will happen until the Marine Corps is good and ready, and not a moment sooner!

It seems like a good deal of life is spent waiting. I could write a book about waiting on women. I could probably write that book during the time I spend waiting to catch planes or waiting for the traffic lights to turn green.

Musically, it seems like I am always waiting for inspiration or a block of quiet time to work on a song or idea. Right now, I am waiting on my next project, wondering when it will be released. It seems so long between when we start a project, when I do my part with the recording, and when you get to hear it; but this time, because the process after mastering has been somewhat out of my hands, it has seemed like an eternity. I have to tell myself that although I wait, there are people working on it and like that dandy little colt, it will be here when they have it done, and although this may not fit my timetable, it would be foolish to send it out into the world before it’s good and ready.

I suppose by now you’re waiting to find out where I’m going with all this. Well, here’s the deal:  we’ve got to learn how to live while we’re waiting, ’cause what we’re waiting on may or may not be quite what we hoped for.

Have I learned how to do this? No, but I’m working on it. My guess is that like Molly’s foal, understanding will come when it’s good and ready and not a moment too soon. Till then, I’ll do some living.