I spent quite some time on the phone this morning with 'PoppaGringo,' aka 'Salty'. I wish to address all OPPers regarding our relationship and bits of that conversation.
Over our years on OPP, we have become especially close. This, in spite of my living in Central Texas and him in greater San Diego, California. Perhaps it came about soon after we became acquainted through the OPP forum, due to our both being USMC combat Veterans...he of Korea, myself of Viet Nam. For whatever reason, we hit it off. Both of us being Marines, he soon started calling me 'Boot,' while I reciprocated by calling him 'Salty.' Marines on OPP will understand both in the text of each serving as terms of enduring & endearing respect.
We have visited with one another on both home grounds and maintain steady contact via phone and email. In the past, when he was active on OPP, we also maintained close communication through PMs. As we have met several of each others family, we have also become as family ourselves. Thus, it saddens me to provide the following update that had been requested by several OPPers as of late. I was given permission to share this info.
Salty now describes himself as totally disabled. He is unable to walk or take care of himself, and recently moved in with his retired Naval Officer son. His daughter is now visiting with him, and in the near future, he will be traveling back to Florida with her for continuous home care in her residence. We discussed the likelihood of our working out a plan where we could all spend some time together in Texas on their way back to Florida by car.
I will point out that he & I had disagreements on...among other things, politics. However, nothing stood or stands between our common bond as proud American Veterans. A note: One thing he had asked keeping quiet about on the forum was his being a POW during the Korean conflict. Upon his return to the states after Korea, he had suffered criticism as a result of being a POW and was sensitive to such. BTW, he was injured and unconscious from incoming artillery fire when captured. I now reveal that because it explains to a even higher degree the level of sacrifice he made in service to our great nation. It also adds to the reasons I revere the man.
I ask that each of you who know/knew of Salty (or even if you didn't) give pause when you can and, in the manner you choose, address his health and well-being via prayers, best wishes, thoughts, etc.. He is as fine an individual as I've ever known and deserves all the love, honor and respect we can send.
SEMPER FI, Salty