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Veteran history seen in their hats
CINCINNATI (Rich Jaffe) -- On a day like Memorial Day you can tell a lot about a man or woman by the hat they choose to wear.
For veterans, a hat is actually called a "cover" and it's a crucial part of their uniform. Local 12's Rich Jaffe looks at some of the history our vets are wearing on their heads.
With his ever famous western hat on, rich explained, "Now I know a little something about hats and I know for many people there's a story or an emotional connection behind the hat they choose. I also know that in some situations those connections are a lot stronger than others."
In Newport Monday morning, Jaffe met Army Command Sgt. Major, Hal Gladson. He and his sons are all Army. The Sgt. Major's burgundy beret is iconic. His nickname, with good reason, was Sergeant "Rock."
"I served in Korea, Vietnam, Germany. 32 and a half years I've served quite a few places. In the states I served mostly 82nd Airborne Division, 101st Airborne Division, 11th Airborne Division, I was an instructor in jump school," Sgt. Major "Rock" said.
Standing right next to his dad, son Hal Michael Gladson told Local 12, "He was a tough guy, the ultimate warrior I assure you."
Hal Michael went on to explain, "When I was in the Airborne we had a glider patch on this...I loved that hat....I don't know much more about it, but I loved wearing it."
For many vets, like Korea veteran Arson Deborde, the hat on the head signals a kindred spirit.
"Sometimes I run into fellas that were in the Korean war and then we have something in common you know," he said.
They are worn proudly by our service men and women on a regular basis. But it's especially on the older ones that you can find a guidebook to the wearers history, if you know the language.
In the Blue Ash Parade Jaffe caught up with 11th Armored Cavalry Sgt. William Waugh, wearing his purple heart hat.
He showed it to Local 12, saying, "I was wounded, 156 purple heart chapter. I don't wear it for my recognition I wear it for the ones that didn't make it home and I'm proud of it."
Around the world the "covers" that cover some of these now silver heads are links to history. So next time you see one, take a moment, take a look and say thanks.
Sergeant Major Gladson told Jaffe he retired in October of 1983 and made his last jump in September of that year. He says he knew it was time to get out because the "young guys" were running him ragged, but we doubt that!
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