October 30, 2013
Warrant Officer Martin James Coronis
1st Cav Div Airmobile Army Reserve
Bunker 65 Quon Loi, South Vietnam
I never got the pleasure of meeting you! My mother is Angelica Coronis, your youngest daughter. Which makes me your grandson.
I’m writing you this letter because I’m in high school and in my history class we watched a film called “Dear America-Letters Home From Vietnam.” We listened to letters from soldiers from Vietnam, watching the film I couldn’t help but think of you. Every time I saw a helicopter I was thinking maybe you were flying it.
After I got the assignment I looked you up on the Internet and found that one of your roommates and friend from flight school, Tony Kernagis, wrote a post about you.
It said he heard a Mayday call on one of his first flights and he flew to the side of a mountain and picked up the down crew, among which was you. The next day he had the honor of presenting your helmet on an altar during a ceremony in your tent. He said he “will remember you forever.”
I also have one of the last letters you wrote to your wife (my grandmother). You explain how you got shot down your last mission and carried your wounded crew through a rice paddy to another helicopter. You said you were wounded from the crash and it was going to take a few weeks to recover. I’m unsure if I could have the courage to do what you did that day. I think you were very brave to do what you did that day. I think I would have been in shock from the crash and probably wouldn’t have been able to do what you did. I don’t know if you were aware, but you did receive a few medals from your few months of service – one of which was the Purple Heart. I believe you received that from you carrying your crew to safety.
I heard a letter during the movie that was interesting to me. PFC George Williams stated in his letter that “for a second, we weren’t at war but on vacation.” I think he could have been right because it seems like it could have been very peaceful when you weren’t on patrol or an operation. I wonder if you ever felt like that and if you did, I really hope you enjoyed the time. It’s a little hard to imagine it being peaceful enough to feel like your on vacation when your at war with another country. I would think during that time the base would get attacked by Vietcong, it wouldn’t have felt like that. But if he felt it, you must have also felt it.
I have learned a lot from hearing the letters and also reading your letter. You were very heroic and I wish I could have met you. It seemed like a very hard place to be in at that time. I learned that you could have fear but you had to overcome it to continue fighting. It would have been hard to lose a friend that you had been rooming next to. I don’t know if I could have been as brave as you but I would have tried my hardest to make you proud. It was a tough war and you were a great soldier. You will always forever be loved and missed.
I talked to my grandmother last night and she told me to tell you she loves and misses you. I hope when I reach my point of life, you will be at the gate to greet me and welcome me in.
Your grandson Matthew Hawks