Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Name Change

Since I will be writing about my life and experiences as well as being a soldier I will change the title.

I welcome any input as to the name.

I am considering the name "Rogue". My life seems to be one of contradiction after another moving between normal, lawless, rage and defiance.

Friday, June 25, 2010


I recently spoke with a friend from back in the day. He looked at my blog site and we talked about a lot of things. I think we were in a contest to see who could hold back the emotion the longest. Seems he went to drugs while I went to alcohol but there were a lot of similarities in our lives. We have agreed to keep in touch and maybe even look up others for a reunion.

He also reminded me that my favorite song "in country" was "The Sounds Of Silence." I had a reel to reel tape recorder and every night we all lay in our bunks listening to Simon and Garfunkel. He told me how I would play it over and over.

The words as I recall were ---

"Hello darkness, my old friend - I've come to talk with you again - Because a vision softly creeping - Left its seeds while I was sleeping - And the vision that was planted in my brain - Still remains - Within the sound of silence."

Now that I think back I realize these words were not only poetic but prophetic.

Not only were my thoughts and memories hidden in the darkness of my mind, the darkness was a blessing in disguise since I could hide from life in it. I have always felt safer in the darkness and even hated it when a flare was lit. To this day I find myself moving, at night, from shadow to shadow so I can remain undetected. Perhaps that is how I have lived my life. Moving from one shadow to another.

Each time I went back to Dong Tam I slept in the NCO barracks. Every night I could hear what I thought to be a Front Loader working down by the docks. For some reason whoever was operating the machine would stop and turn off the engine just before a rocket attack even before the siren sounded. It happened so many times that I would be cognoscente of the absence of sound even in my sleep and would come fully awake and sprint to the bunker. V. Veterans seem to have a common reaction and that is to not fully go to sleep and always wake around 3AM

When I came back we lived in a duplex close to the volunteer fire department. They would sound the siren to summon volunteers to the department when there was a fire. I seem to remember being asleep next to my wife when the siren sounded. In my foggy memory I think I jumped from the bed and ran smack into the apartment wall.

I also seem to remember my brother meeting me at the airport and taking me to the apartment. My wife was there in a, well, never mind. My oldest daughter was at her grandparents and my youngest asleep in her crib. I seem to remember having to see her right away or my wife taking me into see her and being torn between waking her up to hold her and holding my wife. I think the wife won that one. Most soldiers live for there children. I wonder how many faced the same memory.

I can see now that there are good memories if I will just let them in.



Sunday, June 13, 2010

His Battle

It is June 1969, a ¾ ton truck slides through the gate into the early morning fog then accelerated for the mad dash down the mountain to the base in the valley. Just a few clicks down the road to a helicopter ride back to My Tho. The worried faces of his friends watching as he left is etched on his mind. Frankie “T” yelling in bravado “It’s a fine day to die!” Danny just raising his hand. The rest of the camp is visible, preparing for battle unaware of the truck leaving them alone.

The driver and front guard are unusually quiet and concentrating on the jungle flashing by. The soldier riding shotgun in the rear of the truck peers nervously into the jungle. He is setting on highly classified instruments the Army was worried about falling into enemy hands. Armed with only a 45 cal. pistol, an M79 grenade launcher, several thermite grenades and orders to destroy the equipment rather than let it fall into enemy hands. But no orders about the safety of his men just an implication that they are his responsibility and not as important as the equipment.

Get it back here. How you do it is your responsibility, it would be nice if you all came back but only with the equipment.

Still shaken from the nightly rocket attacks memories of the morning briefing intrude on his concentration. “Enemy in area preparing for attack.”; “Tanks moving south.” “Hostiles impersonating locals.”

Then, “maybe I should have waited for the supply chopper” interrupts those thoughts. He rationalizes his decision by telling himself that it is only a short 20 minute run and the enemy could attack the camp before the chopper arrives. Besides patrols are out and reported the road clear.

Forty years later as he types these words hazy memories and flash backs interrupt his thoughts. His body can feel the truck slowing as it enters a turn then accelerate past a line of Vietnamese soldiers. One near the rear of the line steps out clear of the rest and levels his M60 machine gun. The soldier in the rear instinctively launches a grenade in their general direction. The truck veers wildly and crashes into a paddy but he is aware of the grenade landing near the machine gunner and its explosion as he is ejected from the truck..

As he comes to he sees the Vietnamese regrouping to attack. Gasoline vapors surround him. He pulls his 45 but is shaking so badly he has trouble cocking it.

Then God began to pour rain on him and across the road. Not a rain of water but a rain of shell casing as a gunship passes over strafing the Vietnamese. The ship banks to the right as another come over finishing the job.

His mind is confused and there seem to be hands pulling him from the mud calling for him to lie down. Being strapped to a stretcher, looking around and wondering where “they” are why aren’t they on the chopper? Then the pain starts. First the hands then the crotch and legs followed by relief and a feeling of not being there.

The briefing comes days later along with the guilt and anger brought on by the words, “This didn’t happen.” Apparently the equipment had disappeared during the confusion but they were sure that it was not in enemy hands and were covering their ass. The morning after the soldier had left, the camp was overrun with all defenders killed or captured so the brass just reported the equipment as destroyed in the battle.

Later his calm bearing hid the anger, guilt and rage inside of him, brain fogged with alcohol the soldier’s battle began….. He Lost.

His description of events hides the flat, sharp edged memory of the event. Maybe some how putting it into fancy words will help.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Wolf

Over the last few years I have become fascinated by wolves on seeing the wolf picture I use as my logo. I see the wolf as a watcher. Showing no fear just evaluating everything it sees and classifying it as a threat or not a threat.  The wolf watches and waits with inhuman patients, silently going about his life unmolested and unmolesting. A predator to a food source only, not wantonly destroying as we humans do.

Some say the wolf will slink away on seeing a human but they read the signs incorrectly. Since the wolf does not see you as a danger he lowers his tail to show he means no harm and avoids contact by sliding into the brush. His howl puts fear in men but he is only calling his pack to the hunt for food. He is furiously loyal to his pups and pack. The pack is led by a alpha male and female, the guardians, and the pack returns the loyalty submitting to the dominance of the pack leaders.

The next time you are in the woods and hear a slight rustle of the bush. . . it is not a wolf for the wolf makes no sound as he approaches.  He will pass you by without your knowledge leaving neither foot print nor scent.

Learn from the wolf.

About Me

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69 years old married 20 YEARS. Have a boy 21 and girl 19 plus two grown daughters and 3 Grandchildren. Served in Vietman. Combat wounded.In country 3 times. longest tour 8 months. Rated as totally disabled from injuries and PTSD. Friend of Bill W.

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