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.
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
|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+|||
|First Barbary War||1801–1805||35||39||74||64||138|||
|Other actions against pirates||1800–1900||36||158+||194+||100+||294+||[b]|
|War of 1812||1812–1815||2,260||~17,000||~20,000||4,505||~25,000|||
|Second Barbary War||1815||4||134||138||10||148|||
|First Seminole War||1817–1818||47||47||36||83|||
|First Sumatran Expedition||1832||2||2||11||13|||
|Black Hawk War||1832||47||258||305||85||390|||
|Second Seminole War||1835–1842||328||1207||1535|||
|Third Seminole War||1855–1858||26||26||27||53|||
|Civil War: total||1861–1865||212,938||~625,000||[c][not specific enough to verify]|
|Dakota War of 1862
(Little Crow’s War)
|Snake Indian War||1864–1868||30||30||128||158|||
|Red Cloud’s War||1866–1868||126||126||100||226|||
|Great Sioux War||1875–1877||314||314||211||525|||
|Nez Perce War||1877||134||134||157||291|||
|Ghost Dance War||1890–1891||35||35||64||99|||
Pillager Band of Chippewa Indians
|Occupation of Haiti||1915–1934||10||138||148||26+||184+|||
|World War I||1917–1918||53,402||63,114||116,516||204,002||320,518||3,350||[d]|
|North Russia Campaign||1918–1920||424|||
|American Expeditionary Force Siberia||1918–1920||160||168||328||52+||380+|||
|China||1918; 1921; 1926–1927; 1930; 1937||5||78||83|||
|US occupation of Nicaragua||1927–1933||48||68||116|||
|World War II||1941–1945||291,557||113,842||405,399||670,846||1,076,245||30,314||See Note DA below|
|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|||
|China Cold War||1950–1972||16||16|||
|1958 Lebanon crisis||1958||1||5||6||1+||7+|||
|Bay of Pigs Invasion||1961||4||4||4|||
|El Salvador Civil War||1980–1992||22||15||37||35|||
|Persian Gulf escorts||1987–1988||39||0||39||31|
|Invasion of Grenada||1983||18||1||19||119|||
|1986 Bombing of Libya||1986||2||0||2||0||2|||
|Invasion of Panama||1989||23||40||324|||
|War on Terror: total||2001–Present||4,628||1,244||5,796||41,221||47,017||3|||