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November 8th, 2009 Veterans Day Week. 37 out of 38 weeks of surfable waves.

I am a Veteran. And I am old enough to remember, when I could not say that out loud, let alone write it down for millions of people to read. Oh yea, it's true. A lot of you 30 and under surfers probably never knew what it was like for any Veteran back in the 60's and 70's. It was ugly. Veterans were scorned in the late 60's and into the 70's. There was none of this "Thank you for your service" sentiment that is very popular today. Hardly. In fact, the only time a Veteran mentioned he was a Vet, was to other Vets. If you don't believe me, simply ask other local Veterans from that time period. Ed O'Connell, Tom Woods, Bill Morrissey and John Carden.

The 70's in particular were awful.

That all changed after they erected the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC in 1982. It was like a collective awakening of America. Still many asked that nagging question. Why would America's citizens blame the men and women who served in Vietnam for the war itself? It was absurd. I know lots of Vietnam Veterans. Not a single one of them that I know, started that war. I believe it was the politicians. Starting with Kennedy in 1961 and perpetuated by Johnson in 1964. Nixon finally ended the war in 1975. But the damage was already done. And what about those of us who served honorably with a patriotic conviction to help the South Vietnamese? Well, we lived with a negative stereo typed, vision as drug crazed losers. Which in itself was ironic, if you stop and think of who was actually doing the pointing of fingers and whispering behind our backs.

The Hippies, college students and college professors. In short, the radical left wing drug users.

The Vietnam Veterans took it upon themselves to never again let a generation of Veterans be treated they way they were treated. It was the Vietnam Vet who started the "Thank you for your service and welcome home" to other returning veterans from the First Gulf War, to the current Global war on Terrorism Vets. It's too late for those Vietnam Era Vets who who passed away before 1982 to see the turning of America towards Veterans.

I think of my late best friend Joe Somgyi who died of cancer in 1978 from exposure to Agent Orange. I bet he's laughing in heaven as I write this. But I know Joe would of loved to able to tell his story to those who never knew of his heroic deeds. He was a real bona fide ARMY Ranger Hero. He saved the lives of 40 South Vietnamese Orphans as he raced into a burning Orphanage after it was rocketed by the North Vietnamese and pulled 40 kids to safety. He got the Bronze Star with a "V" device for valor. He was also awarded the Purple Heart when he was wounded in close hand to hand combat.

That was 40 years ago. 1969.

Why should you care about Joe Somogyi? Well, he Pioneered a lot of these Surf Breaks that we ALL surf today. Joe was a surfer. And he was a character. Oh man was he a character. From 1971 to 1978 we were best friends. We surfed and skateboarded everywhere together. I wish he were still around today. I know he'd be still riding a shortboard. And Skate boarding. And I'm sure, he'd be big into snowboarding. But one thing I absolutely know for certain. He'd be into the coolest and most rare music on the planet. He loved music. I wished he lived long enough to see some of the bands I played in and opened for. He was instrumental (pun intended) in me continuing to play my guitar. Despite what my then girl friend thought about Hendrix and Rock and Roll. I can still hear him today..."Don't listen to her...she's f-----d! You can play. Keep playing."

Well I did, and still am today Joe. But then again, you already know that. Thanks for believing in me at a time when I really needed it. Man, I miss you. We all do.

Speaking of surfer veterans. I want to acknowledge a few of the local Vets who surf. Starting with my fellow photogs. Ed O'Connell. Ed's a great guy who surfed through the 60's and beyond. He was a Medic in Vietnam in 1968. He was responsible for saving many young American lives. He's a quiet, humble man, who rarely talks of some of the things he did. But trust me. He saved lives. Chances are, there's some surfer from California who owes his life to Ed and his crew. Ed is a great surf photographer, you see his work here almost every week. Thank you Ed for your service. I'm glad you made it back. Hell, I'd be lost without your great photos.

My other good friend who served in Vietnam and who surfs every swell here in New Hampshire and travels to Indo to surf huge waves with Felipe Pomar each year is Tom Woods. Tom has an absolutely incredible story about his war experience. In fact, he's writing a book about it. And knowing what I know, it is hands down one of the most amazing SURF stories you will ever read in your lifetime. Long story short. Tom who served with The Sea Wolves Chopper Unit almost died in Nam in 1968 in a Chopper (UH1) crash. They gave him last rights! He recovered and ended up recuperating near at beach near Von Taug. He saved some Army dudes from drowning and became a Lifeguard after some ARMY Colonel set it all up for him. It was there that he met US Surf Champion Ron Sizemore a Combat Grunt. Somehow these two surfers were able to get boards and well...they were surfers! And surfers always find a way to go surfing. What a story can't wait for the book. Thank you for your service Tom. I'm glad you made it back.

The other Vet from that time period (actually it was few years later) is my other Photographer buddy John Carden. John was an Airforce Vet who worked in the Flight line for F-4 Phantoms. Those planes were some of the fastest and loudest planes we had in our Air Force. We used to call in F-4's for Air Strikes. Man they were loud. I can't imagine what it sounded like on the Flight Line. I do know that John takes a special pride when he speaks of his time working with those planes. He was in the service in 1979. The end of the era of when Vets were treated like crap. Thank you for your service John. And thank you for your great photos too.

There are so many Vets who surf today, that need to be acknowledged. Bill Morrissey, Wes Osswalt, Nate Schontag, Chris Sullivan, Jeff Shapiro, Tim Baily, Mike Velstos, Master Sgt O'Shea, Jerry Anderson, Col. Joe Collins, Ron Sizemore and my very good friend Col. Jay Hammer. I am sure there are many more who I have forgotten. I apologize to you. But please know in your hearts that your service to our country, has not been forgotten. I hope you all have a great day and that you get good surf. Thank you all for serving and surfing.

And a special nod of Thanks to those who did not serve, but always go out of their way to help Vets and volunteer their time to doing things for the Vets. From the Pease Greeters to the Wounded Warriors. Thank you all.

So can we talk a little about the Surf this week? Oh my God. Tuesday- Wednesday and then Friday and Saturday. Are you kidding me? What an amazing run we've been having. I posted a few photos this week that reminded me of my time in Central Cal (at the not so secret spot where we can't mention the name. But there's a clothing company with the same name.) You know what I'm talking about...any ways, the surf on Wednesday looked like that. Clean, green and just reeling. So good. So I'm thinking, that after seeing these waves all week, that maybe November is my second favorite month. So let's make it Official.

is my 2nd favorite Month behind October.

Now for some of my weekly Global observances:
So can we call what happened at Fort Hood Texas this week what it really is. An act of terrorism by a Radical Islamic Muslim Extremist. Major Nidal Malik Hasan (oh no, I used his middle name I must be a racist!) drank the Radical Islamic Terrorist Koolaid. He's not worth the typing of his name here but it is the news story of the week by far. What a COWARD. A total coward who I hope suffers until his dying day on this earth. And what a hero that woman Police Officer was to stand toe to toe with that Coward and take him down. Officer Kim Munley is a hero. She was shot in both thighs and still managed to put a whole clip into that Coward. I heard that he is paralyzed. How fitting. He should spend the rest of his cowardly life behind bars in a wheel chair. There are so many things wrong with this story that it's hard to not just scream.

Two days before this horror story broke I was involved with an email exchange with a fellow colleague. We were talking about President Obama's reluctance to send more troops to Afghanistan. Here is my exact exchange verbatim. "The Office of the Presidency is a tough spot. Sending Troops to War? That was part of his campaign rhetoric. Sending troops to Afghanistan to finish the job. Remember this campaign line? "Bush took his eyes off the ball. He sent troops to IRAQ when he should of been sending them to Afghanistan." Well...?

Look, there's boots on the ground fighting this war. They can win it and get home quicker with more help. Men and women have already died with him in Office. This comes with the territory. We are at war. Not with a country. Not with a conventional army. Not with a single foreign leader. We are at war with radical Islamic ideals.

Look he's doing the right thing by sending unmanned CIA drones into Pakistan. He's doing the right thing by leaving troops in Iraq. And he's doing the right thing by recognizing who are enemies are. There are many, but right now it's The Taliban and Al Qeada. North Korea and Iran, will have to get in line.

If I had a son or daughter in Afghanistan, I'd want him to have some help. The top General says he needs 40,000 more troops, or else. Obama better make the right call. This is his war now."

All of this points to losers like Major Coward Nidal Malik Hasan. This the stuff that scares me. The doctrine that America is evil. That Israel must be wiped off the map. This is reality. This is the world we live in. I know that most Americans do not want to see Obama fail. I don't. With each passing day and week, I'm sure he's getting eyefuls and earfuls of what is going on around him. I just wish he'd let the Generals make the decisions on Military matters, and the economists make the decisions on our economy, and the Health Care Experts make the decisions on health care. Quit trying to do it all. You are not Superman Mr. President.
Listen to those who know better than you.

On a related item. The USS New York was christened this week. For those who don't know, she was made from the scrap metal remains of the World Trade Center. She is a War Ship and her Motto is "Never Forget". God Speed to her Captain and her crew.

OK the H1N1 is no joke. The Swine Flu is NOT funny anymore. And what's really not funny is giving the detainees in GITMO the anti virus shot before our children can get them. Are you FREAKING Kidding me? They should be the last one's in line getting that shot.

How about them Patriots? Another BIG WIN today against the Dolphins. That was a great game. I happened to be on the phone with my son Max who was at the game right when Brady hit Moss for the long TD. There's a delay from the live game and the TV broadcast. So I was hearing Max and Jesse and friends cheering before the play happened. That was so cool. So here we sit in first place on top of the AFC East. Enjoy it while you can. We have some tough games ahead.

Speaking of Max and Jesse and their team. The Warriors needed every win to make the play-offs, and they did it. They now face arch rivals Exeter next Saturday- November 14th. They are the 3 seed in Division II. Exeter lost last night to Bishop Guertin. This is gonna be one hell of a High School Football game.

Once again my old coaching motto
If you're losing - Don't Give Up. If You're winning -Don't let up!

Good Luck to the local Seacoast High School Football team the WHS WARRIORS
this weekend. Beat EXETER! Saturday November 14th in Exeter!
Happy Birthday George Masten November 9th!

Happy 234th Birthday to the United States Marine Corps. November 10th!

Happy Veterans Day to ALL Veterans November 11th! Call your Vet relative or friend and say Thank you for serving.
The 2010 Chris Shipley Local Surf Calendars are now in the shops.
Finally a BIG GET WELL shout out to Linda Paugh.


*Check out the updated DROPPING IN ON RALPH blog Section.
*Molly Video by Joe Carter has been moved to the Community Page.

Please Support ALL The photographers who contribute to Ralph's Pic Of The Week
every week for the last 6 years. **Think about BUYING a Photo from any of the weeks on RPTW as a GREAT Gift Idea. A nice framed photo of your favorite Surfer!

Remember my friends...Surfing Heals All Wounds....
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.


Yesterday- 1975 Thank You Joe Somogyi.
(Below) Joe never lived long enough to hear anyone say thank you. Too bad. Because he earned that simple gesture and then some. He was such a good man. Joe was a great surfer who pioneered so many breaks here in New Hampshire. He was a war hero who got the Bronze Star in Vietnam. He was also wounded in Hand to hand combat. He was the real deal. For those who knew and loved him, he is missed every single day. For those who didn't know him. Your world is a better place because of him. Photo by RALPH SFOD.

Today- 2009 Saturday, November 7th, 2009
*Click on Photos Below To See Photo Galleries

(Above) Saturday morning sunrise. Saturday Nov. 7th, 2009.
Photo By Kevin Doherty Click on the photo above to see the whole gallery.

(Above) Saturday morning racetrack. Saturday Nov. 7th, 2009.
Photo By Kevin Doherty Click on the photo above to see the whole gallery.

(Above) 1968 THANK YOU Ed O'CONNELL US ARMY Vietnam Veteran.
Photo courtesy of Ed O'Connell Click on the photo above to see the Surfer Vets Gallery.

Today- 2009 Friday, November 6th, 2009
*Click on Photos Below To See Photo Galleries

(Above) Friday November 6th, 2009. Brian Tabor taking off in the offshore wind.
Photo By Ed O'Connell Click on the photo above to see the whole Gallery.

(Above) Billy Ritchie ducking for cover. Friday November 6th, 2009.
Photo By Ed O'Connell Click on the photo above to see the whole Gallery.

(Above) 1968 THANK YOU TOM WOODS, USN SeaWolve Vietnam.
Photo courtesy of Tom Woods Copyright 2009.
Click on the photo above to see the whole Surfer Veterans Gallery.

(Above) Friday afternoon. November 6th, 2009.
Photo By RALPH Click on the photo above to see the whole gallery and more.

(Above) Jared Velstos driving hard in the wind. Friday afternoon. November 6th, 2009.
Photo By RALPH Click on the photo above to see the whole gallery and more.

(Above) 1943 THANK YOU DAD and Big Handsome Daddy 1969. My dad Gus left in WWII and me in Nam. I still miss you.
Photo courtesy of RALPH

Today- 2009 Wednesday, November 4th, 2009
*Click on Photos Below To See Photo Galleries

(Above) Wednesday November 4th, 2009. Perfection comes to Cementland.
Photo By Ed O'Connell Click on the photo above to see the whole Gallery.

(Above) Surfrider Foundation NH rider Dale gets a good one on Wednesday November 4th, 2009. Photo By Ed O'Connell Click on the photo above to see the whole Gallery.

(Above) 1961 THANK YOU JERRY (Dad-Grampy) 101st Airborne. We miss you.
Photo courtesy of the Bunton Family.

(Above) Is it the infamous HR or The Wall? November 4th, 2009.
Photo By RALPH Click on the photo above to see the whole gallery and more.

(Above) Ginger Kellar at first thought she'd be too cold. After a couple of waves like this she was ready for the 3/2. November 4th, 2009.
Photo By RALPH Click on the photo above to see the whole gallery and more.

(Above) Jill Caisey is back after a brief lay-off. I don't think she missed a beat. In fact, I think she got better. November 4th, 2009.
Photo By RALPH Click on the photo above to see the whole gallery and more.

(Above) Dave Cropper went out and caught one wave then raced back to check on his little girl who was up all night with a fever. Dads are all the same. November 4th, 2009.
Photo By RALPH Click on the photo above to see the whole gallery and more.

(Above) Unknown LB on Red board. 11-4-09.
Photo By RALPH Click on the photo above to see the whole gallery and more.

(Above) 1960's THANK YOU JOHN (Grandpa) Rastl Lt. Col USAF Fighter Pilot.
We're all very proud of you.
Photo courtesy of the Rastl Family.

Today- 2009 Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009
*Click on Photos Below To See Photo Galleries

(Above) Scott Campbell off the Blueboard and on the Yellowboard.
Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Photo By RALPH Click on the photo above to see the whole gallery and more.

(Above) 1979 THANK YOU JOHN CARDEN USAF. Look how young you were!
Photo courtesy of John Carden
Click on the photo above to see the whole Surfer Veterans Gallery.





FOR a VIMEO VIDEO CLIP. See Veterans Day 1984 by RALPH and CORY


Veterans Day 1984 from Ralph G. Fatello on Vimeo.

This was shot on Veterans day in 1984 in Northern New England. I used my old GAF Super 8mm movie camera. My then Girlfriend Cory shot the footage of me. We got married 3 years later and she still shoots me and the kids surfing every now and then.

The surfers, are Kevin Grondin who's dad Frank was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge in WWII. Gregg Smith who's dad was KIA in Vietnam in 1968. And myself. I'm a Vet and so was my dad who served in the Fighting SeaBees in the South Pacific in WWII. Cory's dad Jerry was also a Vet who served with the 101st Airborne. Her step dad John was a Fighter Pilot.

The music is by my band Big Handsome Daddy.

It's sort of a Veterans Day theme. Thank you to ALL The Vets who served and who are serving today. Hope you enjoy the craggy old scratchy Super8mm short.



Today 2009- The BLATANT DROP IN of The Week. 11-4-09

(Above) All Rise: 10th Street District Court of Surf Justice is now in session, the Honorable Judge Ralph G. Fatello presiding. CASE # 29 BLATANT DROP IN OF THE WEEK.
Click on the image above to see the complete DROP IN Sequence.
Photos and forward
By Ed O'Connell

Today- 2009 More Images from Oct-November-6-2009

(Above) Ross Kunkel on the clean greeny. Photos by Jamie Wade
Click on the image above to see the complete Sequence.

(Above) Southern New England. Click on the image above to see more.

(Above) WHS Warrior-Surfer/Football players Max Fatello (top) and Jesse Gould (Above) head for the Play-offs on Saturday against Exeter after the whooping they put on Rochester on Friday November 6, 2009
Photos By RALPH

(Above) Korean War Memorial . Photo Bob Consentino

Today- 2009 From G&S 50th Anniversary October 2009

(Above) Surf History 101. Click on the image above to see More.
Photos By Dennis and Kevin Moran

(Above) Lenny Nichols Fall of 2009. COMING NEXT WEEK. Photos By Lenny Nichols


(Above) 1969 RALPH. Holding a Blooper and M-16 Southeast Asia.
Photo courtesy of RALPH
Click on the photo above to see the whole Surfer Veterans Gallery.

The TRUE Invisible Surfer Man Story

(Above) OK if you click on this image you will be taken to the page where you can read all about the origin of the Invisible Surfer Man. I waited until this week Veterans Day to emphasize my ruling. *Also in light of what just happened at Fort Hood Texas this story has even more meaning why this whole thing happened.
*Put the cursor over the photo to see the Real image.



Today 2009 PARTING SHOT- Whoa Big Fella...

(Above) When SUPS and Longboards collide.


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