Doug Bomarito has been my closest friend almost since the morning he stepped into my office on the 2nd floor of the Pioneer Courthouse in early 1970. Doug had just been assigned as the Navy Officer Recruiter for Oregon and I'd been the Marine Officer Recruiter for over a year. We soon learned that we saw with the same eyes.
THE STORY OF THIS WEBSITE
(by Jud Blakely)
VIETNAM VETERANS OF OREGON
Were it not for my close friendship with Doug, I doubt that I'd have become involved with the Memorial. But when he became President of the VVOMF (Vietnam Veterans of Oregon Memorial Fund) back in the mid-1980s, his level of commitment sparked my interest. If Doug cared about it that much, then I cared about it.
Since I left Oregon in 1975, I'm more an Oregonian by default now. I grew up in Eastmoreland (Class of '57 at Duniway GS); then Class of '61 at Sunset HS in Beaverton; then Class of '65 at Oregon State. I beat the Draft by fleeing to Quantico, VA for 10 weeks of OCS followed by 5 months of The Basic School.
Before Doug and I crossed paths, I was blessed to meet Maj. Nelson Olf, as fine a Marine as our Corps will see. Nelson, after a combat tour in Vietnam, was the Inspector-Instructor (the CO) of the Marine Combat Engineers Reserve unit based out at Swan Island in Portland. He and I saw things in much the same way.
Major Olf was the senior USMC officer on active duty in Oregon at the time and was tasked with notifying the next of kin (of record) face to face when a son, a husband, a sibling, or a relative had been killed, wounded, or hurt in some other way. He had earned an Engineering degree at Oregon State via Navy ROTC.
The Marine Corps had designated this as two-man duty so I went with Nelson on several of these searing existential moments. They were never not awful. I felt pretty much like ants had looked after I'd burned them up with a magnifying glass as a 9-year-old in SE Portland giving science a bad name.
Back in Portland, I had the good fortune to work closely with a number of Marines whose respect meant a great deal to me. Those guys set the "get the job done" bar very high. If they had your flanks, you were absolutely golden. I hope I lived up to what they needed me to be amid all the historical oddness of the time.
Doug earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. SSgt John Lord and Captain Pat Kahler were both recommended by fellow Marines for The Medal of Honor. 1st Lt Ancer Haggerty was badly wounded and was awarded the Silver Star. Ancer went on to serve as a federal District judge for many years in Portland.
Bob Furer, my OSU classmate and predecessor as the USMC Officer Selection Officer, came home with 3 Purple Hearts and 2 Bronze Stars. All in all, our Marine Officer Recruiting Team was a battle-tested, battle-proven, and richly decorated group. Pat Kahler was actually the senior man and a 1964 graduate of Idaho.
But there was one more human key motivating me to create a website to capture the spirit of the Living Memorial: Doug Macy had designed it. Doug was an SAE fraternity brother from Oregon State and the younger brother of Gregg Macy, a long-time friend. They have shed a lot of glory on Madras, their hometown.
And so, my motive for doing the website is a brace of relationships tied to Portland and set within all those stormy and fateful years of angst, rancor, and political tumult that hacked so deeply into the nation. We are still living with the toxic radiation of those days and still trying to deal with its vicious disuniting impact on us.
If you have an interest in the technology of how this website has come to be, then go to Site Design. This is version #4 in that the first two programs I used have "vanished" and #3 gives indications that it won't survive. As a result, I've done this version using Wix. Not likely that Wix is going south in the next couple of years.