Darn Wright: Please do not leave me behind
Last updated 5/15/2020 at 11:13am
As an Army medic veteran, oftentimes with great sadness, and now maybe more so with Memorial Day in focus, I am obsessed by a whispering, begging voice: “I was lost on the water, or on the battlefields. Please do not leave me behind. I want to go home.”
Yes, our fellow compatriots, we too want you to come home.
Thankfully, it is patriots like Mark Noah and his staff and volunteers who are involved in his Virginia-located, non-profit who are answering them: “Beloved warriors, we know you are missing, and we will find you, and we will bring you back home to your USA soil.”
Mark Noah is the founder and president of the non-profit, History Flight. This devoted and honorable American started to restore vintage aircraft in 2003 to help preserve our nation’s aviation history.
During this time, Noah was constantly hearing extremely distressing and brokenhearted stories from loved ones and combatants regarding many of the 80,000 U.S. military members who are classified as Missing In Action (MIA); however, they are now presumed dead due to their combat actions during World War II.
Those accounts became implanted in Mark’s being, and his thoughts led him to develop an overwhelming desire to use his and his staff’s knowledge to expand his non-profit organization. He did so by diverting many of his resources towards finding the remains of our lost combatants. The organization’s number one goal then became to bring the warriors’ remains home so they can be properly interned on their homeland soil.
Such an objective was directed around the human toll the Marines suffered during a battle on an atoll. It was reported on Smithsonianmag.com on June 27, 2019: “Remains of 30 Service Members Killed in WWII Unearthed at Tarawa. The non-profit History Flight discovered the Marines and sailors as part of its decade-long mission to find on the island of Betio, part of the Pacific atoll of Tarawa the over 500 men buried around the area. It’s believed most of the remains belonged to members of the 6th Marine Regiment.”
Prior to these remains being located back in 2015, Mark’s team uncovered the bodies of 35 other U.S. military personnel, including a Marine combat engineer, who posthumously was awarded the Medal of Honor 1st Lt. Alexander “Sandy” Bonnyman Jr. Then two years later, these body searchers found another 24 sets of remains.
In total, over the decades, these dedicated men and women have located and exhumed the remains of 272 Marines and sailors from the island. Even with these bodies returned to their motherland, Mark believed there are about another 270 remains yet to be found and brought home.
So far 325 “lost” warriors have been retrieved by the History Flight personal. Of those individuals, an innumerable number has been identified and their remains are now back in their hometown communities.
Noah’s group is helping our military leaders to carry out its long-term honorable ethos: ‘No man or woman will be left behind!” Along with this mantra, Noah’s patriotic team members are going further, saying: “We know you are out there and will we find you and bring you back home to the USA.”
Due to Mark Noah’s strong bond with the Marine Corps, and his team’s assistance in locating those who gave their all for their (and our) country, the commandant of the United States Marine Corps has given Mark Noah’s name the distinction of being one of the extremely few chosen to have and use the title of being an honorary Marine.
Please, in due respect, take some time and focus on all those who dared to serve, and by doing so gave their lives, so we and our later generation may live a life under the umbrella of our natural and cherished “inalienable rights.”
Darn right, we as a nation, and as individuals, must always respond to those who gave their last breath and blood whose final plea was “Please do not leave me behind!”