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Proudly Honoring Our Veterans

November 12, 2018

TODAY, WE SAY THANK YOU

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today, and every day

Net Friends would like to take a moment to recognize our Veterans - our families, our friends, our brothers, our sisters, our parents, our grandparents - each and every man and women who has selflessly served our country so we can enjoy freedom every day.

Veteran's Day is important to us here at Net Friends, because we truly care about our people - and this holiday is about real people; real families, real friends, real stories, real sacrifices. And these people mean a great deal to us.

This Veteran's Day, November 11th, 2018, was extra special since it marks the 100 year anniversary of the cease-fire in the 1918 armistice which was scheduled for "the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month."

We would like to use this particular Veteran’s Day, 100 years after this momentous day, as a time to reflect on how much our freedoms have cost and to give thanks to those who sacrificed on behalf of our freedoms.

So, from all of us here at Net Friends, Thank You - today and every day.

Honoring our [net] Friends who have served

Eric Meek

United States Marine Corp. 1989-1997 2nd battalion company B. Okinawa. 3rd LAM (Light Aircraft maintenance (South Carolina) and was a 2512 communications specialist.

Jackson Vipperman

Sgt. 13B Artillery and worked on the worlds largest land based gun. The M110 Howitzer. Jackson also served on the US Army marksmanship team winning the bronze medal in the US championships shooting with iron sights at 1,000 yards. Ranked 6th in the US military for long range shooting, and was the two time Virgina champion, Texas 300 yard champion, and won countless other medals across the country. Jackson served from 1984-1992 and finished his career at the Pentagon.

Ronald Viles

FC-1 (Naval Special Warfare). Served in Desert Storm, Panama, Cuba, and Key West. I was a weapons specialist by trade, working with guidance systems for large guns, missiles, and torpedoes. Served on the hydrofoil pegasys, frigate Moinester, cruiser Arliegh burke, and eventually landed on the tender Yellowstone. I was also a Search and Rescue Swimmer, led ships security teams, and boarded ships at sea checking for drugs. I did receive a Humanitarian Citation for lifesaving efforts of Hatian immigrants, and spent several months as a NATO Peace Keeper in Port Au Prince Hati…

Shawn Pate

Shawn was in the United States Navy, PN3 and served for 4-years active and 4-years inactive.

He was stationed in Atsugi Japan attached to the VF154 – F14 fightersquadron, and San Diego, CA on the USS Chancerllorsville which is a Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser.

Shawn is well decorated- out of a 4-year enlistment he earned 14 medals and was at sea for 3 years, 2 months, and 27 days (volunteered arduous forward deployed) That’s one salty dog!

Forrest Zimmermann

United States Airforce Reserve: Staff Sgt. Still on active duty and attached to the 51st NOS (Network Operations Squadron). They provide cybersecurity and protect the world from hackers.

Stories from our [net] Friends

The constant travel and exposure to multiple cultures has broadened my depth of knowledge that we are all, truly, a single human race. We all have similar wants and desires and it’s simply, borders and politics that divide us.

Shawn Pate

Q+A WITH SHAWN

What motivated you to join the service?

Family Tradition as well as an overwhelming desire to serve my country

How has your experience impacted your life?

My time in the Navy has taught me to be detailed, disciplined, strong-willed, and vigilant. I will never complain about what I have because I have known and seen people that have, and will always have, absolutely nothing. These people were still happy and made the absolute best they could out of life.

What lessons did you learn?

The constant travel and exposure to multiple cultures has broadened my depth of knowledge that we are all, truly, a single human race. We all have similar wants and desires and it’s, simply, borders and politics that divide us.

What powerful memories or stories do you have that you’d like to share?

I was in Jabel Ali in the United Arab Emirates and our driver took a couple friends and I over an hour into the desert to an oasis resort. We had to pay to become a member of the resort, so we could get into the bar to get a drink.  After about an hour of relaxing with my friends I felt a hand on my shoulder. The hand belonged to one of the 30 people in my class in High School. This was no just an acquaintance, but a friend. My High School was in a small town in Harwich, MA… the complete opposite side of the world. I knew at that moment that the world we lived on was much smaller than I had previously imagined.

How did your travels ultimately lead you to Net Friends?

Sometimes you just put your finger on a map and go…the rest works itself out. My travels taught me to take risks and believe that no matter what you do or where you go that everything will be just fine.

AN INTERESTING FAMILY HISTORY:

John Kendrick (American sea captain, 1740-1794)

One of Shawn's ancestors was an American sea captain, both during the American Revolutionary War and the exploration and maritime fur trading of the Pacific Northwest.

Interesting Fact:
Kendrick was killed during a thirteen-gun salute celebrating him when he was struck by grapeshot from one of the cannons!
         ...whoops!
Kendrick's Wikipedia Page

I have a great appreciation for this country and what it’s done for us and what we’ve done for it.

Eric Meek

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Q+A WITH ERIC

What motivated you to join the service?

I joined because I knew I wasn’t ready for college. I was immature and pretty rebellious. I would have dropped out quickly. Both of my grandfathers were Army. I never met one and barely met the other, but they were in wars and it made me want to serve. The one I did meet told me a story about meeting my grandmother, she was Jewish and he met her in Italy. They ended up getting married and she came back with him.

How has your experience impacted your life?

I have a great appreciation for this country and what it’s done for us and what we’ve done for it.

What lessons did you learn?

The greatest lesson I learned is that you have an obligation to do the things you promise to do.

What powerful memories or stories do you have that you’d like to share?

The most powerful memory is probably ugly. I just remember the bonding I had with my mates in Japan. Whether it was partying, grabbing something to eat, being sad, crying. We were kids thrown over there. I’m still in touch with all of them.

One quick story

We had typhoons in Japan. Similar to our hurricanes but a bit worse because we were on an island. My squad lived on the 2nd floor of the barracks. They’d shut everything down during a typhoon. But we, we’d wait until the mud piled up, jump out of the second story and climb the base fence to get out to town if we were hungry.

The best food ever

The pictures above are of the best food ever. I still make it every once in a while, though not as good as Oki’s.

How did your travels ultimately lead you to Net Friends?

I was a geek before the military but being in comms stretched it along. I went into IT as soon as I got out and have just continued.

My Dad passed in 2011 and never got to know that I enlisted in the Air Force 🙁 He was a shining example of patience, humility, compassion, and what it means to be human.

Forrest Zimmerman

Q+A WITH FORREST

What motivated you to join the service?

I joined the service mostly just to serve and give back.  I wasn’t motivated by benefits at all, I just wanted the experience. The rest of my reasoning was due to past family history and wanting to continue the tradition. I’m still serving in the Air Force Reserves. I’m currently Staff Sergeant, E-5.

How has your experience impacted your life?

It’s definitely increased my confidence and I’m a much better and more decisive decision maker now haha.

What lessons did you learn?

I’ve learned how to stay cool under stress, how to lead, especially in a deployed environment, and that if you can’t trust the man or woman beside you, then you’re done for as a unit and as a team. Also, you are capable of more than you think; the mind limits you.

How did your travels ultimately lead you to Net Friends?

I came to Netfriends after I graduated from Appalachian State in 2006 and later enlisted in 2012.

A Family History to be proud of

I have a long line of family history serving our country and I wanted to continue the tradition. Below is a quick summary of the men that served before me, starting with myself and working my way back:

Forrest Mackinlay Zimmermann
(self)


• USAFR
• Staff Sergeant, E-5
• 51st NOS (network op. squadron)
• TS Clearance
• 1981-

William Mackinlay Zimmermann
(father)


• US Army Intelligence
• Specialist, E-4
• Panama, shadowed Fidel Castro and reported on his movements – he couldn’t tell me what he did exactly and his files are still classified. I do know he saw a lot of action in the Jungles of Panama and he spoke of gunfire in the night several times. He passed in 2011 and never got to know that I enlisted in the Air Force 🙁 He was a shining example of patience, humility, compassion, and what it means to be human.
• TS Clearance
• 1938-2011

Max Guinn
(Maternal Grandfather)


• US Army Air Core
• 1st Lt., O-2
• B-17 and B-25 Bomber Pilot during WW2, saw attack in the European Theatre, later called back to Georgia to train bomber pilots as he was one of the best. He died when I was 13 years old, and I lived out of state, so I never got to ask him about any of it L
• 1920-1999

Samuel Goodman Jr.
(Paternal Great Grandfather)


• First City Troop of Philadelphia (Nat'l Guard of Pennsylvania)
• Private
• Puerto Rico Campaign
• Died young of heart problems
• 1877-1905

William Earnest Goodman
(Paternal 2x great Grandfather)


• Pennsylvania 147th Infantry Regiment, Company D (Union Army)
• Brevet Major, O-4
• Medal of Honor Recipient
• 1838-1912
Wikipedia

John Joseph Abercrombie
(Paternal 4x great Grandfather)


• 1st US Infantry
• 7th US Infantry (Union Army)
• Brigadier General, O-7
• Served from 1822 to 1869
• Father-in-law is Maj. Gen. Robert Patterson
• 1798-1877
Wikipedia

Robert Patterson
(Paternal 5x great grandfather)


• 2nd Pennsylvania Militia
• US Army
• Army of the Shenandoah (Union Army)
• Major General, O-8
• 1792-1881
Wikipedia

Jose Matias Zapiola
(Paternal 3x great Grandfather)


• Commander of the Horse Grenadier Regiment of Argentina
• Commander of the Fluvial Naval Squadron of Buenos Aires
• Naval Commander and Minister of War and the Navy in the Cabinet of Governor Valentin Alsina of Buenos Aires
• Was General Jose de San Martin's right hand man in Argentine Civil War for Independence
• Brigadier General, O-7
• 1780-1874
Wikipedia

Unfortunately, that is all I have. I hate that I never asked about stories or gathered more information before his passing.

Rachel Clarke

Edwin

Edwin Frey served in the Air Force as a B-17 Co-Pilot. He was responsible for bombing German military targets in cooperation with advancing allied ground forces in WWII. In November of 1944 he missed shipping out with his original group because of his father’s passing. Those men were all shot down by the Nazis. In 1945 at 21 years of age, he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant of the 388th Bomb Group. He received a European Service ribbon with 3 stars. He was honorably discharged as Captain in Oct of 1957.

Louis

Louis Vidunas joined the Navy right after high school graduation. He was stationed in the Philippine during WWII. Unfortunately, that is all I have. I hate that I never asked about stories or gathered more information before his passing.

My family’s involvement in the United States Armed Forces makes me proud that they were unselfish enough to defend our country. No matter what. They put their lives on the line for our freedom and that is something I look up to and am grateful for.

Lori Petta

Lauren-Neil-Petta

Neil PettaBrother

Born 1979. Served in the Air Force from 1997 – 2003 and was stationed in Japan. He is now Biomedical Maintenance Operations Manager at US Army Medical Material Agency (USAMMA) and lives on base, Fort Detrick, in Fredrick, MD. His current job involves him traveling the world to various US military locations, fixing and writing software for medical equipment.

Lauren-Neil-Petta-2
Lauren-Hap-Petta

Hap (Harold) Petta | Uncle

Born 1948. Served in the Air Force from 1969 – 1971. He served as Security Police while in South Vietnam during the Vietnam war.

Harold Petta | Paternal Grandfather

1919 - 2004. Served in the Army during World War II (1941-1945) as a medic, stationed in South Pacific and was wounded by gunshot. Company G 135th medical regiment.

harold-petta

The VFW post in Hillsville Virginia is named after my Great Great Uncle, Grover C. King. He was the first serviceman in World War 1 to die from Carroll County, Virginia. He died in France in 1918, making it 100 years this year since he was killed in action.

Dan Jones

My Grandfather was in the Navy stationed in the Philippines in WWII and I have had several uncles and cousins that served, but really the most famous in my family is my Great Great Uncle Grover C King. He was my grandmother’s (on my dad’s side) Uncle and was the first serviceman in World War 1 to die from Carroll County Virginia where I grew up. I don’t know much about him as he never married or had any children, but the VFW post in Hillsville Virginia is named after him. Grover King VFW Post 1115 in Hillsville Virginia is a very well known post because it houses a VERY large gun show every year around Labor Day and it is also the state's largest Flea market.

I think it’s a really cool thing that the post was founded many years after Grover King’s death and several individuals from WW! And the Spanish-American War could have been chosen, but instead, those chose to honor my Great Great Uncle. He died in France in 1918 making it 100 years this year since he was killed in action.

You can read more about Grover C. King here.

“Grover King VFW Post 1115 has been an active force in the Hillsville and Carroll County community for more than 80 years. They decided the Post should bear the name of Carroll County’s first serviceman killed during the First World War, Grover C. King, who died on the battlefield in France on July 15, 1918, three days short of his 28th birthday.”

“Forty-seven years ago, this building and the expansive grounds around it became the site of what is today the largest gun show and flea market east of the Mississippi River. The event each Labor Day weekend has helped to put Hillsville on the national map.”

My kids won't ever know my grandparents, but visiting them in Arlington makes them more real and gives me a chance to talk about the lives they lived in ways that my kids might remember.

Colin Cannell

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Their memories live on

My grandfather commanded a landing craft in WWII during the invasions of various Pacific islands. This photo was taken when my grandmother was being buried in their joint plot in Arlington.

My kids won't ever know my grandparents, but visiting them in Arlington makes them more real and gives me a chance to talk about the lives they lived in ways that my kids might remember.

For example, we recorded 8 hours of interviews with my grandmother before she died. Are my kids going to be interested in that person as a sort of abstraction? Visiting their graves, driving by their old house, those are things that anchor the person in the video as someone who was present in the world.

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To all our men and women, friends and families, past and present who have served, thank you. As you can see here, there are many powerful stories - both told and untold - and this Veteran's Day, and every day, we honor the sacrifices they have made for our country.

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