Terry Tibbetts

Don holleder  




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Hi, I am Terry Tibbetts and I welcome you to my Blog site. This Blog will be used to communicate information relative to my new book "The Spartan Game", the life story of Donald W. Holleder.

Future Events





June 17
6:00-8:00 p.m.

I will host a program at the Forest Library in Oklawawa, Florida which will feature the two men alive today that can tell you how and exactly when the Vietnam War was lost. We have previously made this presentation before some 50 people, who watched and listened spellbound. They had scores of questions during and following the session. If you live anywhere near this location or the one below, please come.

June 19

3:30-5:30 p.m.

The same presentation will be presented at the Belleview Library in Belleview, Florida.

Monday, January 27, 2014

As noted above, on February 24, I conducted a presentation about Vietnam's battle of Ong Thanh as a part of the "Master the Possibilities" program at On Top of the World in Ocala, Florida. I was assisted by Clark Welch and Jim Shelton, two of a very small and dwindling number of surviving men who were connected to the battle.

Clark and Jim explained how the battle was poorly planned, how the men, outnumbered ten-to-one, fought valiantly but futilely, how Don Holleder lost his life attempting to go to their aid, how 58 men died and 75 were wounded, how the top-level military attempted to masquerade the disaster as a victory to the press, and, and perhaps most importantly, how the press never again trusted the military and how they passed that distrust on to the American public.

That was the moment Americans began to lose confidence in the Vietnam War.

The audience gave Clark and Jim a hearty round of applause when the program was done.

We wish all of you could have been there.

Please let me know if you would like us to do a presentation for your group. I don't know whether Clark and Jim could travel up from Florida, but I'll see what I can do.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Recently, Bill O’Reilly, on his TV Program The O’Reilly Factor, speculated whether a student would actually report a fellow student he or she observed cheating. He concluded that it would NEVER happen. Well, Bill, West Point cadets have been bound by an honor code for nearly two centuries.

At the end of Thayer Walk, adjacent to the parade grounds, just behind the statue of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, is the THAYER WALK HONOR PLAZA, presented to the Academy by the Class of 1957. Inscribed thereon are words that should be the guideposts for not just cadets, but for each and every American.
From its earliest days, the U.S. Military Academy has sought to imbue cadets with an understanding of the importance of individual honor and integrity in the military profession. Colonel Sylvanus Thayer (Superintendent, 1817-33), “The Father of the Military Academy,” placed special emphasis on developing a steadfast sense of honor in cadets. He included an unwritten honor code, a presumption of trust and dealt severely with those who violated that code....A simple statement evolved which clearly expressed the honor code: “A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal” (the words “or tolerate those who do” were added in 1970). The Cadet Honor Code endures as a cherished and respected part of cadet life. It demands firm adherence to the timeless principles of honesty, integrity, and non-toleration of those who violate its tenets. The code remains the noblest statement of the soul of the profession of arms. It is a legacy to the generations of the Long Gray Line yet unborn—may they be leaders of character and commitment prepared to meet the challenges of tomorrow with courage and honor.

HONOR—Your word is your bond. Truth, honesty, and character are your watchwords never to be forgotten. Gen. Colin L. Powell
There is a true glory and a true HONOR: the glory of duty done—the HONOR of the integrity of principle. Maj. Robert E. Lee, USMA Class of 1829, Superintendent, 1852-55

In 1951, a cadet had a most difficult decision to make. He had observed that most of the football players were engaged in an organized cheating activity to provide answers to quiz questions. True to the Honor Code, he reported the activity, and it resulted in the expulsion or resignation of almost the entire team…including the son of the head coach.
Was it worth it? Ask yourself: In a foxhole with bullets flying over your head, would you want to be with a man of principle or a cheater?

...Grasp hands, though it be from the shadows,
While we swear, as you did of yore,
On living, or dying, to HONOR
The Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps.

From “The Corps”
Bishop H.S. Shipman,
USMA Chaplain, 1896-1905

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I recently watched a documentary about the Alamo on the History Channel. As the conclusion, the various commentators summarized the battle's historical significance. As they spoke, I bolted forward in my chair in amazement of the direct parallels between the decisions and sacrifices made by the 186 patriots in the Alamo to those of Don Holleder, Pinky Durham, and others at the battle of Ong Thanh. In both instances, though some of the specific details have been lost to the ravages of battle and the passage of time, the survival of truth remains. Americans paid the supreme sacrifice in the name of freedom for people who cherish liberty. When we doubt the tenacity, strength, and courage this country was founded on, we should read these words below, spoken by historians commenting on the heroism at the battle of the Alamo.

*All Americans can identify with the heroic sacrifices of the men in the Alamo. No matter of the details of how someone died. No matter whether a line was drawn in the sand. No matter how many Mexicans there were in Santa Ana's army. No matter whether there was any strategic value to that defense or not. These men still fought and died for liberty. They fought and died for their democratic ideals. That's something we always need to remember in this country.

*In a time when America talks about values, what does it take to give up your life for someone else? That is the story of the Alamo.

*Some things are so important you do them, even if the odds are against you.

* (This comment was made by a Texan decades after witnessing the aftermath of the battle) The Alamo is burned in my brain and indelibly seared there. Neither age nor infirmity could make me forget. The scene was of such horror that it could never have been forgotten by anyone who witnessed it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Some time ago I read the book The Games Do Count: America's Best and Brightest on the Power of Sports, edited by Brian Kilmeade. Kilmeade investigated the role that sports had played in the development of prominent people today. He found that in the majority of cases it was significant.

Furthermore, he discovered that Tom Burnett, Todd Beamer, Jeremy Glick, and Mark Bingham, four heroes who stormed the cockpit of Flight 93 on 9/11/01, had formed many of their ideals through sports. Below are excerpts from the four chapters on the four men named above. 

Read these excerpts and see whether these actions remind you of those of Don Holleder.

ON MARK BINGHAM, by his friend, Dave Kupiecki
I can't imagine he showed any fear (in the plane planning their assault on the cockpit), because I never saw him show fear in any circumstance. I've been to Hawaii with him and seen him jump off a giant cliff. He just walked right off it. I never saw the fear emotion in him.

I can imagine him springing into action—that zero-to-100 percent kind of explosion I saw from him so many times. It always used to amaze me how he'd go from calmly standing there to an explosion of action and tackle somebody. I just see him doing something like that in that situation.

Mark lived his whole life larger than life. I think he had to go out like that. In a big way. That was Mark.

ON JEREMY GLICK, by his father, Lloyd Glick
Like all athletes, Jeremy learned to think under pressure, to deal with difficult situations, as well as to deal with winning and losing. We knew they were going to take action, that they were formulating a plan, because Jeremy had a half-hour conversation with his wife from the plane. He even joked. At one point, he described to Liz that (the terrorists) had box cutters as weapons, and he said, “Aah, but you know, we have our plastic knives from breakfast.”

ON TODD BEAMER, by his friend, Doug MacMillan
As a leader, he was always the one to be there to coach, to help others,to chime in with his opinion about a particular situation of play. He was very competitive. He had that kind of leadership ability where he could say, “This is what we're going to do, this is how we're going to do it. We're going to win this thing, and let's just go do it.

(H)e was a great leader, a great listener, a great motivator, and a great communicator. He was very quick to listen and slow to speak. He would process everything and then very succinctly come out with what was needed, a plan to be put into place to accomplish things. He was very analytical and then from being very analytical, he would become very practical, saying, “This is what you need to do.”

ON TOM BURNETT, from his wife, Deena Burnett

I listened (to the tapes of the struggle on the plane) twice....I heard his voice. I heard him yelling directions. There was no doubt about it; he was in charge of what was going on....He took those people down the aisle, and, yes, he played the quarterback. It's comforting to know that he was busy with the task at hand, instead of being afraid.

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