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Sgt. Shaft: Nephew Mourns Williams' Fate
Sgt. Shaft: Nephew Mourns Williams' Fate


About the Author

Sgt. Shaft was hatched in April of 1982 at the home of the veterans' newspaper, Stars & Stripes, in Washington, D.C. This moniker combines the name of its creator, John Fales, Marine MOS in Vietnam and "Scout Sgt.," with the military expression when wronged, "Shafted."

Sgt. Shaft's wry sense of humor, empathy for the underdog, and strong love of country and fellow veterans closely mirror the nature of its creator. The weekly advice column resided in the Stars & Stripes from 1982 to 1985, and laid dormant until its rebirth in the Washington Times in 1991. The column, Fales is proud to say, gives an outlet for the concerns of active military, veterans, and their families in a national newspaper.

In addition to writing the column, John Fales is President of the Blinded American Veterans Foundation. Fales was born in New York City and served in the U.S. Marine Corps until his retirement on disability. His decorations include Purple Heart, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal, New York State Conspicuous Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Action Ribbon, and South Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Sgt. Shaft has no twin.

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Dear Sgt. Shaft:

I recently read your column requesting dignity for my uncle, Ted Williams. I'm afraid the time for outrage has long since passed.

Ted's eldest daughter, Bobby Jo, waged a long, expensive battle at great personal expense with the estate to have her father's wishes followed as outlined in his will. Presidents and senators didn't say a word.

My brother and I succeeded in gaining access to the paperwork from Alcor, the cryogenics facility where Ted is interred. Our intention was to discover the truth of how he arrived at such a place against his will.

As anticipated, a majority of Ted's children (John Henry and Claudia), signed him up to his final resting place. Legally that is their right, as it was their right to go against his will. I don't believe there is much left to say on the issue.

Interestingly enough, now at Alcor, TW is no longer Ted Williams, the great ballplayer, Marine hero, champion for the health of children, family member and individual. He is a number, a specimen, stored tissue, an experiment. He has lost his identity as a real American hero and has become simply a donation to science: a lab sample property.

More disturbing is the thought of his being resurrected in the coming years.

Cryonogists are imagining an age of atomic-sized, nanotech robot machines, thousands and thousands of them rebuilding the cells of a frozen body over the course of a year or two.

With millions of people without adequate health coverage today, it's hard for me to imagine an altruistic society of the future that would willingly finance the reanimation of frozen corpses. And assuming they do come back, who will house them, feed them, or provide the ongoing health care that is bound to be required? Friends and known family members will be long gone.

But for now, unless Claudia chooses to release him, his frozen interment is permanent. No amount of legal hairsplitting will change that. His kids got what they wanted. Sadly, he did not.

Ted Williams, nephew

Dear Ted:

Sorry to hear that your uncle, a Marine hero and baseball hall of famer, remains hanging upside down in a dark and dreary frozen chamber. This great American should be laid to rest in the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.

Shaft notes

The Sarge is looking forward to joining the Blinded American Veterans Foundation (BAVF), Rep. Michael Bilirakis, Florida Republican, and their guests at the 20th annual congressional awards reception from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. June 14 in Room 334 of the Cannon House Office Building. The annual event, held in conjunction with the foundation's Flag Day observance, honors members of Congress, the media and volunteers.

The recipients of the 2005 George "Buck" Gillispie Congressional Award for Meritorious Service are Rep. Rob Simmons, Connecticut Republican, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat. The award is named in honor of the late "Buck" Gillispie, a blinded World War II veteran who devoted more than 40 years of service toward efforts to aid in rehabilitation of visually impaired veterans.

The Carlton Sherwood Media Award, named in honor of the Pulitzer and Peabody Award-winning journalist and highly decorated U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam veteran, will be presented to Bob Madigan, WTOP-AM Radio's "Man About Town," and Greg Pierce, columnist for The Washington Times.

This year's recipients of the George Alexander Memorial Award for Volunteer Service are Stephen Miyagawa and Jim "The Milkshake Man" Mayer.

The George Alexander Volunteer Service Award was created as a memorial to a great friend of American veterans. A joint armed forces color guard will set the stage for the awards ceremony and the Marine Corps' Brass Quintet will entertain guests with a medley of patriotic music.

The congressional reception follows the BAVF Flag Week picnic on June 12 in Silver Spring. This year's picnic will honor the wounded and their families at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Bethesda Naval Hospital.

For more information, call the BAVF at 202/462-4430.

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, PO Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330; call 202/257-5446; or e-mail sgtshaft@bavf.org.

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2005 Sgt. Shaft. All rights reserved.



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