was a HAWK Missile Operator in the Marine Corps. HAWK is a mobile, medium-range, guided surface-to-air missile system. When I served it was designated MIM – 23 HAWK (Homing All the Way Killer). Made by Raytheon, HAWK was and still is used in several countries around the world. And this is how I got introduced to Ulrich.
I was looking for a video of the missile leaving the launcher when Ulrich Kroemer reached out to me on Facebook. As we talked, I discovered that not only was he a fellow HAWKer but had collated information about every HAWK unit past and present. As with other HAWKers I have run into over the years, there is a real sense of kinship when you meet anyone who has crewed this system. There isn’t a lot of us and in the case of Germany and the U.S. HAWK is no longer being used. Ulrich and I talked over Zoom and the amount of information that Ulrich had gathered was simply amazing, and then Ulrich told me his story.
He joined the military and was attached to FlaRakBtl 36, his unit a MOS 24C. There he got certified for the HPIR radar, LCHR radar, the Missile Loader, Missile Crew, and Missile Pallet. Ulrich spent time at Fort Bliss, Tx at the Army’s Air Defense Artillery school. Ulrich left the military with the rank of Master Sergeant and went to work for the German Post Office. Now, he is arguably the single greatest source of HAWK information in the world.
I had a great time talking about differences in radars, target engagement, and site setup. He had static radars, ours we always towed from site to site.
Currently, Ulrich enjoys time with his grandchildren and when is not chasing them around keeps HAWK alive by being a part of the Reservisten Arbeitsgemeinschaft (RAG) Flugabwehr, a private group composed of HAWK Veterans who keep HAWK alive by displaying a working battery for people to see. You can find out more by checking out these links:
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Episode 115 – In Memory of John Gollner, Veteran X
Like I said this is a different kind of podcast. On September 29th, I got word that a Marine I served with had passed. I couldn’t believe it. I was riding motorcycle when I got a Facebook Message from one of the Corporals I served under.
In the message was a picture of John Gollner. I served with and under him Charlie Battery, Second Platoon. I sat beside my motorcycle for a while and could not do anything. Disbelief set in and I started making phone calls and reaching to others to get confirmation on a situation I could not fathom.
As I talked with others about his passing I wanted to do something to make sure he was not forgotten. I received permission from his father to do this podcast. John and I tried several times to sync up to have him on Oscar Mike Radio. He had started Veteran X and I wanted to find out more, but we could never make it happen. Schedules and time zones make for their own challenges…… I wish I could say otherwise.
I hope this will provide John’s family, friends and fellow Marines some sort of comfort. The most valuable thing we have in life is each other. Semper Fidelis John, I can hear you singing our anthem now.
Please go to the Veteran X Facebook Page and check out what John was doing. (Veteran X Facebook Page) . My view on Veteran X is some of us are Veterans. We have either given all or are prepared to do so. Hence, Some Gave All. X is anyone us at anytime can be a force for those in need. John ran his talk and it is a regret I will carry with me for a long time that we could not sync up to have him talk more about what he was doing.
This episode is dedicated to John Francis Meath. I went to HAWK School with John, we served in the same HAWK Battery (Charlie). John passed away Monday, January 9th 2017. He was 52. Everyone who knew John in Ist LAAM BN loved the big Irishman from NY who loved the Yankees and his Jeep. I always found John to be a voice of reason when things were going haywire. He always told us to think of the Marine Corps as a game, and we would be just fine. John had the distinction of serving in all four branches of the military. You read that right. John served in the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy. That is what he wanted to do, and while it took him almost 20 years, he did it. I personally do not know anyone else who can make that claim. John was like that though, he lived life on his beat. We were all better for knowing him, and we all mourn his passing, but we all spent time celebrating his life. All I can say from all of is Semper Fidelis John, we will meet again at Heaven’s Gate.
EPISODE 27 – Smitty’s Kitchen
I met LaShelle over 21 years ago. We both served in Ist LAAM (Light Anti Aircraft Missile) Battalion at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.
LaShelle Smith – Marine, HAWKER, and now Business Owner
You never had to guess where you stood with LaShelle. We both got out the Marine Corps and went our separate ways, but like many of my brothers and sisters we kept in touch.
I started see that LaShelle was getting into cooking. I thought that was awesome. So many times people in the military re-invent themselves as they through life. I think that is because we have had to adapt to more times in our lives than others who have taken a traditional career or life path.
Like I said in Episode 25, I want to talk to active duty service-members and veterans who are starting or have started their own businesses. I think we call can learn from a person who decides to take the risk to build a brand or company that we all can learn.
LaShelle is looking to launch her business which will be a food truck called “Smitty’s Kitchen”. As you will hear on the episode her love of food and family started at an early age and in some ways was honed in the Marine Corps. Whether it was eating different food and watching food from different countries being prepared, listening to LaShelle reminded me that good food is more than just watching a cooking show on the food network. Preparing, serving and enjoying good food with people is an essential part of the human experience. I think we all heard that in her voice as she spoke about what she wants to do with her life.
I can’t wait to see her launch her business. A big thanks to everyone who joined in on the Live Chat!
Check out some of Lashelle’s thing tasty dishes prepared with fresh ingredients from her kitchen.
Gazpacho & Avocado
Check out Smitty’s Go Fund Me Page and YouTube Link. Spread the word, especially if you live in the Richmond, VA area.