Ron White Memory Guy Salutes US Veterans On Memorial Day

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  • Posted on:May 30, 2011
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Two time USA Memory Champion and Ron White memory guy shares about his time as a member of the US Navy and celebrates Memorial Day with all other Americans:

READ ALL THE WAY TO BOTTOM TO SEE THE SIGNIFICANT NUMBERS OF 1,343,812 and 38,159

This Memorial Day I am not in the United States. Today I find myself writing this note from Melbourne, Australia where I am here on a memory training tour as the memory expert teaching memory seminars. It is an odd feeling for me because I served as a US Navy reservist from 2002-2010. If I had stayed in the reserves in 2010, I would be writing this note from Kabul, Afghanistan with my friends like Mr. Dugas, Mr. Ramirez, Mr. Hightower and others. Instead, I am in a luxurious hotel in Australia being catered to as a memory expert and there is some measure of guilt with that. My friends, I miss you and respect you for your choice.

Today I must take time to pause and salute the men and women – past, present and future who have chosen self sacrifice over self gratification as they wore the uniform of the US military and served with honor.

I joined after 9/11. Going to boot camp at age 29 was a tough but invaluable life experience. Each morning, we had seven seconds to get out of our racks. One morning I was disoriented and sat up to get my bearings. That extra five seconds cost my unit an hour of brutal, nonstop pushups, sit-ups and jogging. Everyone learned that day that a group is only as strong as its weakest link. But it was a lesson none of us ever forgot. Today, I am the two-time USA Memory Champion, but not because of my memory skills. I am the champ because of the discipline and attention to detail I learned in the Navy.

I have shared the stage with many powerful speakers and struck deals with big-time businessmen, but none have impressed me as much as Senior Chief Reid. While in Afghanistan, he and I were going on a convoy just days after a series of attacks on convoys. I walked towards the first vehicle and he said, “White, take the second vehicle. If we get hit, it is going to be me first.” The Navy is full of people like that, and it is with a saddened but proud heart that I am walking away.

As the corporate world—where the prize is financial—often struggles to plan and achieve goals, the military is planning missions in which life and death hinge on the outcome. At the very moment that a salesperson is giving up on his goals, a service member is going as far as he can and then further to grasp the victory of his mission.

To all with whom I served: From the 130-degree sands in Kuwait to the mountains of Afghanistan, to two-mile marches in 40 pounds of body armor in the brutal South Carolina summers, to that room without windows in Fort Worth, it was the honor of a lifetime to serve beside each one of you. I am proud of the work we did, and I know you will continue the fighting spirit of the Navy.

I joined simply to serve, but I got so much more than I ever gave. Thank you for making me a better man, leader, memory expert, businessman and person. Serving beside each of you was the highest honor of my lifetime.

Here is a photo of myself with an Afghanistan National Army soldier in 2007 in Kabul

So on this Memorial Day I find myself outside of the USA. No picnics, baseball, bar-b-cue or kids running in a park for me. No flags or red, white and blue ballons. Yet, as I travel outside the borders of the USA on this Memorial Day teaching memory training seminars on another continent my heart is with the men and women who wear the uniform of our military and sacrifice on a daily basis so that we may all continue to enjoy the freedoms that we all so often find it easy to take for granted.

The pay they receive pales in comparison to the work, but life isn’t all about the pay. They are giving so much for others and get very little in return – but they don’t do it for what they get…they do it for what they give.

To my friends that I served with and many who are still there – it was an honor. I proudly salute your courage and bravery and am honored to call you friend. It is with a humble heart that I take the lessons you taught me without trying and apply them to my daily life. Not a day goes by that my mind doesn’t drift back to you. I have a chair waiting for you at my table when you return – see you soon and come back safe…

 

 

 

War or conflict Date Deaths Wounded Total dead
and wounded
Missing Sources/
notes
combat other total
American Revolutionary War 1775–1783 8,000 17,000 25,000 25,000 50,000 [a]
Northwest Indian War 1785–1795 1056+ 1056+ 825+ 1881+ [1][2][3]
Quasi-War 1798–1800 20 494[4] 514 42 556 [4][5]
First Barbary War 1801–1805 35 39 74 64 138 [6][7][8][9]
Other actions against pirates 1800–1900 36 158+[10] 194+ 100+ 294+ [5][11][12][b]
Chesapeake–Leopard Affair 1807 3 0 3 18 21 [5]
War of 1812 1812–1815 2,260 ~17,000 ~20,000 4,505 ~25,000 [13]
Marquesas Expedition 1813–1814 4 4 3 7 [7]
Second Barbary War 1815 4 134[14] 138 10 148 [15]
First Seminole War 1817–1818 47 47 36 83 [16]
First Sumatran Expedition 1832 2 2 11 13 [5]
Black Hawk War 1832 47 258[17][18] 305 85 390 [19]
Second Seminole War 1835–1842 328 1207 1535 [20]
Mexican–American War 1846–1848 1,733 11,550 13,283 4,152 17,435 [21]
Third Seminole War 1855–1858 26 26 27 53 [22]
Civil War: total 1861–1865 212,938 ~625,000 [c][not specific enough to verify]
Union 140,414 224,097 364,511 281,881 646,392
Confederate 72,524 ~260,000
Dakota War of 1862
(Little Crow’s War)
1862 70–113 70–113 150 220–263 [23][24][25][26]
Shimonoseki Straits 1863 4–5[5][27] 0 4–5 6[5] 10 [5][27]
Snake Indian War 1864–1868 30 30 128 158 [28]
Indian Wars 1865–1898 919 1,025 [21]
Red Cloud’s War 1866–1868 126 126 100 226 [29][30][31]
Korea (Shinmiyangyo) 1871 3 3 9 12 [32]
Modoc War 1872–1873 56 56 88 144 [33][34]
Great Sioux War 1875–1877 314 314 211 525 [35][36]
Nez Perce War 1877 134 134 157 291 [37][38]
Bannock War 1878 12 0 12 22 34 [39][40]
Ute War 1879 15 0 15 52 67 [39][41]
Ghost Dance War 1890–1891 35 35 64 99 [42][43]
Sugar Point
Pillager Band of Chippewa Indians
1898 7 0 7 16 23 0 [44]
Spanish–American War 1898 385 2,061 2,446 1,622 4,068 [21]
Philippine–American War 1898–1913 1,020 3,176 4,196 2,930 7,126 [21]
Boxer Rebellion 1900–1901 68 63 131 204 335 0 [45]
Mexican Revolution 1914–1919 35+ 70
Occupation of Haiti 1915–1934 10 138 148 26+ 184+ [5][46]
World War I 1917–1918 53,402 63,114 116,516 204,002 320,518 3,350 [21][d]
North Russia Campaign 1918–1920 424 [47]
American Expeditionary Force Siberia 1918–1920 160 168 328 52+ 380+ [48]
China 1918; 1921; 1926–1927; 1930; 1937 5 78 83 [49]
US occupation of Nicaragua 1927–1933 48 68 116 [49]
World War II 1941–1945 291,557 113,842 405,399 670,846 1,076,245 30,314 [21]See Note DA below
China 1945–1947 13 43 56 [49]
Berlin Blockade 1948–1949 31 [50]
Korean War 1950–1953 53,686 92,134 128,650 4,759 Note: 4,759 MIA-See Note E below
U.S.S.R. Cold War 1947–1991 32 12 44 [49]
China Cold War 1950–1972 16 16 [49]
Vietnam War 1955–1975 47,424 10,785 58,209 153,303 211,454 2,489 [21][51]
1958 Lebanon crisis 1958 1[52] 5[52][53] 6 1+[54] 7+ [55]
Bay of Pigs Invasion 1961 4 4 4 [56]
Dominican Republic 1965–1966 13 200 213 [49][57]
Iran 1980 0 8 8 4 12 0 [58]
El Salvador Civil War 1980–1992 22 15 37 35 [59][60][61][62]
Beirut deployment 1982–1984 256 266 169 [63]
Persian Gulf escorts 1987–1988 39 0 39 31
Invasion of Grenada 1983 18 1 19 119 [63]
1986 Bombing of Libya 1986 2 0 2 0 2 [64]
Invasion of Panama 1989 23 40 324 [63]
Gulf War 1990–1991 113 148 258 849 1,231 0[65] [66]
Somalia 1992–1993 29 14 43 153 [63]
Haiti 1994–1995 1 4 3 [63]
Colombia 1994–Present 0 8[67][68] 8 [69]
Bosnia-Herzegovina 1995–2004 1 12 6 [70]
Kosovo 1999–2006 1 19 20 2+ 22+ 0 [71]
War on Terror: total 2001–Present 4,628 1,244 5,796 41,221 47,017 3 [72]
Afghanistan 2001–present 1,081 332 1,413 9,971 12,035 1 [73][f][74]
Iraq War 2003–2010 3,510 920 4,430 31,965 36,395 2 [73]
Grand Total 1775–Present 848,163 437,421 1,343,812 1,529,230 2,489,335 38,159
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