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Hometown Hero Goes to Washington

Chief Master Sergeant David Ash Served in Three Conflicts in the 20th Century
AMARILLO -- Chief Master Sergeant David Ash is a rare veteran.  He served his country in three different wars.  World War II, Korea and the Vietnam war.

        "We've had a few of them on some of our flights.  They're amazing individuals.  They were in all three major conflicts.  As he will say, he's lucky."  Said Larry Lewis, the President of America Supports You Texas.

        The Chief Master Sergeant made his first trip to Washington D.C. this fall with the 2013 Texas panhandle honor flight. 

        The attractions at the top of his list?  The World War II memorial and the Marine Corps memorial which features a statue of the iconic photo of Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima.

        The statue and memorial have significant meaning to Ash.  He was there.

        "What was supposed to be a 72 hour operation turned into 31 days before we walked off of it."  Ash said.

        Ash found himself involved in one of the fiercest battles in the Pacific shortly after joining the Marines when he turned 18.  He had only been on the island a short time when he was injured.

        "It felt like someone hit me in the head and the stomach at the same time.  I went down so they shoved me in the hospital ship and that's when the first flag went up and you could hear all the yelling and  hooting and hollering."  Ash said.

        He adds, "Shortly after I was back on the island I was at the base of mount Sirabachi.  I just happened to see the flag go down.  I dropped down, because i didn't know if it was the enemy or whether we had taken it down.  Shortly after I went down there, i saw the other flag come up.  The big one.  The first one was just off the Navy ships and think it was too small."

        Chief Master Sergeant Ash sees the Iwo Jima statue much the same way most people do.  As a symbol of U.S. victory in the Pacific.  But, he remembers the fellow Marines and service men and women who weren't as lucky as he was.

        "Just lucky..  Lucky to be here."  Said Ash.  He went on to say, "I just can't believe all the things.  Memories, like I say, I just visualize myself on Iwo Jima and seeing the flag come up, I couldn't see the men or the hands.  All i could see was the flag come up, but that was good enough."

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