These were four years in which almost two were spent in combat. If an old white guy wanted to tell you what shaped them look no further than serving one’s country. Of course, I wasn’t the only one and what I took from relationships with other races is we all bleed the same color. That goes for Russians and Chinese also. It would seem, given this similarity, that we all have to look a little deeper to figure out who to hate. Given the chance, none of us hate anybody else. Well, Hitler might be the exception but then he’s deader than a door nail isn’t he and you can’t carry a grudge past the grave now can you?
Now Vietnam was a senseless exercise in futility due to the administrations that oversaw the pathetic loss of life. We gave it our all while the politicians were having cocktails and expensive dinners with friends. I have many memories of friends who never came home in a body bag or other contrivance. There wasn’t enough left to put in a small paper bag much less waste the money to send what was left home. MIA is saying something. Vapor!
Coming home was in February ’72. I left the base I was stationed at and drove all the way home. I remember the top down and my lack of hair not blowing in the wind. Free is an odd feeling all of a sudden. Suddenly you’re in the wind with only a half formed idea that you are not going to have to go back. It’s really quite invigorating. Now it is a distant memory so I occasionally get out my DD 219 or Honorable Discharge. I could look at my medals but I lost half of them.
I got home, registered for college and got a job. I then got a call from a buddy from the service who was going backpacking. I quit that shabby little job and was off to the Sierra-Nevadas. Two months covering miles upon miles of high country terrain in the snow mostly. It was much later that I started drinking. How’d that work out? Not Well.
What the hell, it is all in the past is what they say. They can say what they want it never goes far from one’s head. Peace to you all.