|From: TimF||3/27/2019 2:03:03 PM|
|Maj. Bambi: Meet The Marine Who Was Disney's Famous Fawn|
July 31, 2015
Donnie Dunagan is a hard-nosed Marine, a highly decorated veteran of the Vietnam War who served for a quarter-century before retiring as a major. First drafted in the '50s and subsequently promoted 13 times in 21 years — a Corps record at the time, he recalls — Dunagan found the Marines a perfect fit. That is, so long as he could keep a secret.
A dark reminder of the past Dunagan left behind still lurked unspoken: He was Bambi.
As a kid, Dunagan did a brief stint as a child actor, and he was tapped by Walt Disney to be the voice of the lead in the 1942 Bambi, the now-classic animated film about a young deer learning about life in the forest. And not one of his fellow Marines knew.
"No chance!" Dunagan, now 80, tells his wife, Dana, on a recent visit with StoryCorps in San Angelo, Texas. "I never said a word to anybody about Bambi, even to you. When we first met I never said a word about it. Most of the image in people's minds of Bambi was a little frail deer, not doing very well, sliding around on the ice on his belly."
Now, imagine the man who was once Bambi as a commander in a Marine Corps boot camp, responsible for hundreds of recruits. Dunagan didn't want his recruits drawing any connections, mocking him or calling him "Maj. Bambi." So, he kept his mouth shut.
Of course, it got out eventually. Decades later, a Marine whom Dunagan had worked for several times, twice in combat, called him into his office in the early morning about a month before the two of them retired.
"I go in his office and he says, 'Dunagan! I want you to audit the auditors,' " Dunagan recalls. Swamped with other duties, Dunagan respectfully asked him: "General, when do you think I'm going to have time to do that?"
And, finally, the nightmare he'd harbored for years came true.
"He looked at me, pulled his glasses down like some kind of college professor. There's a big, red, top-secret folder that he got out of some safe somewhere that had my name on it. He pats this folder, looks me in the eye and says, 'You will audit the auditors. Won't you, Maj. Bambi?' "
When Dana asks him how his life is different from the way he might have imagined, Dunagan points out that all the wounds he suffered in service, all the honors he's earned along the way, still haven't changed a thing.
"I have some holes in my body that God didn't put there. I got shot through my left knee. Got an award or two for saving lives over time," he says. "But I think I could have been appointed as the aide-de camp in the White House, it wouldn't make any difference — it's Bambi that's so dear to people."
No matter how he tried to escape it, that voice from his past always found him.
"But I love it now — when people realize, 'This old jerk, he's still alive and was Bambi.' And I wouldn't take anything for it, not a darn thing for it."
Newspaper clippings of young Donnie Dunagan from the early '40s.
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|From: Neeka||10/15/2019 3:46:36 PM|
|Loganville Master Sgt. Mark Allen dies |
Allen earned Purple Heart in Afghanistan in 2009
Editor's Note This story has been rewritten to better reflect the incident that led to Allen's injuries.
Retiring master sergeant
From left, Shannon Allen looks on as a hat is placed on her husband, Master Sgt. Mark Allen, by Brig. Gen. John King, director of Joint Staff, Georgia National Guard. The hat was part of the promotion and retirement ceremony Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013.
Posted: Sunday, October 13, 2019 10:49 am | Updated: 5:26 pm, Mon Oct 14, 2019.
David Clemons | The Tribune | 8 comments
LOGANVILLE, Ga. — Retired Master Sgt. Mark Allen, who was severely injured in Afghanistan, has died.
Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. Thursday at Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 670 Tom Brewer Road, Loganville.
The funeral will begin at 11 a.m. Friday at the First Baptist Church of Snellville. Burial will follow at Corinth Memorial Gardens in the Youth community.
Allen spent 21 years in the U.S. Army and the Army National Guard. He retired in 2013 upon receiving a Purple Heart.
Allen was shot by a sniper while on foot patrol in Afghanistan in 2009, and required three years of care at a military hospital in Florida. He was left unable to walk or talk, and in need of 24-hour care.
Colleagues said Allen was searching for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had left his post in eastern Afghanistan. Bergdahl was captured and held for five years until released in a 2014 prisoner swap.
The community rallied around the Allen family when he returned home. Volunteers built a playground for Allen’s young daughter and did landscaping, and helped buy adaptive jackets for other soldiers who had been wounded.
Allen is survived by his wife, Shannon; son, Cody; and daughter, Journey.
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