Honoring Our Veterans

Marty Steucek

By Marty Steucek

Photo by (Marty Steucek)
Martin Steucek in his Navy uniform when he was young.

Annually on November 11, we honor our veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces. Veterans Day is a time for us to pay our respects to those who have served.

According to military.com, this holiday started as a day to reflect upon the heroism of those who have died in our country’s service and was originally called Armistice Day. It fell on Nov. 11 because that is the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I.

However, in 1954, the holiday was changed to “Veterans Day” in order to account for all veterans in all wars.

When Vietnam veterans came home 53 years ago today, they didn’t get the kind of welcome that veterans get now, according to U.S Department of Veterans Affairs. They are finally getting the recognition they deserve.


Martin Steucek’s IV ship that he went on. (Called the USS Cone)

“My role as Quartermaster was to assist with navigation, plot the ship’s course and record the weather… One of the important things you have to be able to do is know the time and log each of the clocks,” said Martin Steucek.

Martin Steucek IV was in the Navy through the years of 1966-70. He sailed on the USS Cone (DD-866). 

“With a full load, ammo, and 3000 tons of displacement the ship still weighs less than 1 turret on a battlefield …The top speed is 37 knots (42 mph),” said Steucek.

The ship was equipped with anti-submarine warfare, sonar detection, and torpedos. 

Over the years that he was on the ship, the 5 inch gun fired 13865 rounds.

“We used different search techniques like the surface search radar which goes for 25 miles and the air search radar that reaches 110 miles depending on the weather conditions,” stated Steucek.

“We also used Sextants to shoot the stars, sun, and moon; this was called celestial navigation”.

The Cone alternated operations along the east coast and in the Caribbean with the 2nd Fleet. She deployed with the 6th Fleet to the Mediterranean, participated in Market Time operations such as: the Sea Dragon (targets in North Vietnam), gunlines in South Vietnam, and the Yankee Station Naval air war. The Market Time was everything about what happened to the Tonkin Gulf.

“There was a lot of hostility when I came home, nobody was talking to you it was like chewing gum on your shoe,” said Steucek.

According to history.com the Vietnam War claimed the lives of more than 58,000 American service members and wounded more than 150,000. And for the men who served in Vietnam and survived unspeakable horrors, coming home offered its own kind of trauma. 

I call my grandpa year after year to thank him for his service ever since I could talk on the telephone. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.