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27th, 2007 Memorial
Why did this happen you ask?
had just finished surfing a 2 hour session in waist to shoulder
high surf, with total glassy conditions, under a cloudless blue sky with
NO ONE out. Repeat. NO ONE OUT...not even anyone walking on the beach.
Now, I guess I should be backing up a bit here, to around 8:30-9:00AM
that morning. I was sitting in my office working away, when I noticed
a wave pop through on the wave cam. I looked on intently as another one
came through. It looked like it was about waist high. So I leaned back
in my chair, took a sip of coffee, and waited. Sure enough, another one
came through. I glanced at the clock on my wall and thought "what
the hell, it's worth a first hand look" so I got in my vehicle for
the 2 minute drive down the street to see what was cooking.
nodded my head and then....I waved. He hesitated at first, and then, he
waved back.Yes my friends, I waved at a boogie boarder and he waved back.
I got to my vehicle, Chris Valhouli pulled up and asked me how
the surf was. Before I could answer, the wind suddenly came on strong,
and blew a straight hard onshore, completely blowing out the remaining
While I was surfing during my ultimate soul session I thought about what I would be writing this Memorial Day Weekend. I thought about my friends who have died in different wars, and about the surf connection to several of them. I know how hard it is for some of you to connect to this day, and what it means to some of us. I know that most of you have Veterans in your family. In fact, I know some of you are Veterans. But to those who have never served and have Veterans in your family, imagine what your life would be like, if that Veteran in your family had died in a War.
Most of us would not even be here. Think about it. If your dad, or grandfather had died in the war, you more than likely would have never been born. You guys getting this? This is the surf connection to this special day. It's the one day each year, that we stop and pause to reflect and remember those that lost their lives for our country, and the very freedoms we all enjoy and take for granted. Memorial Day. So I'd like to share two stories with you, about a couple of my friends.
Mike Guezzetti was from Cambridge MA. He was my "Homey". That's what we called anyone who was from the same neck of the woods as you in the Marine Corps. Mikey was my homey cause I was from North Shore of Massachusetts. And Cambridge was close enough for both of us. I went through training with Mikey. He had a baby face. In other words, he didn't need to shave. We sat on the plane together for the long 18 hour trip overseas.
We talked about everything under the sun on that long flight. I mean everything. Girls, home cooked meals, girls and... we talked about surfing. I was going to take him surfing when we got back from the war. I was going to take him to Hampton Beach and teach him how to surf. He seemed pretty excited about learning how to surf. I don't think he really believed there was surf in Hampton. (Sound familiar?) I convinced him there was surf there and there were girls in Hampton, and we would be going surfing after our tour.
When we landed, we both got our orders. I shipped off with the 3rd Marine Division, and Mikey went to the 1st Marine Division. I said good-bye to him in that blazing heat and humidity, and told him to "watch his ass and keep his head down and I'll see you in one year." We both laughed.
It was the last time I saw him.
He died a few days later in an ambush. I was devastated. How could they kill Mikey? I thought about him on Tuesday as I was surfing those waves by myself. Every time I go Washington I've looked up his name on that black wall there. I have several other friends on the "Wall", but I always take the time to look Mikey up.
The other story is about Joe Somogyi. I've posted his photo below. Now Joe died a few years after the war, but he died of the wounds and cancer (Agent Orange) that he developed while he was there. Joe was a special person.
You might not know who he is, but you've surfed some of the breaks that he's personally named and discovered around here. I won't bother going into naming them, but suffice to say, many, many of you have surfed these breaks.
named them and pioneered them. I know, because I was a reluctant
participant. I though he was crazy at some of the spots he first dragged
us out to. Keep in mind, Joe was a very tough cookie. He was
an ARMY Ranger who was involved in some hand to hand combat with
the enemy. He was also credited with saving the lives of 40 orphans
when the bad guys had rocketed the orphanage they were staying in. Joe
was a hero. He was a Surfer who served his country, and was awarded
some of the nation's highest awards. Like: The Bronze Star with
V device for valor.
day he died, he told me he was ready for a new adventure. I believed
him. In fact, I would not be surprised if Joe Somogyi has discovered
and already surfed some new hairy breaks in heaven.
my friends...Surfing heals all wounds....
1977 Joe Somogyi, War Hero/Surfing Pioneer at 10th Street
2007 Last week in Bali...John Carden Returns with the goods
2007 The Phantom Weighs In Again