I am not here writing about these things to show you how ugly the war was in terms of death and destruction it has been done ad nauseam by the media and others what I want to do is bring a another face to this tragedy.As I said in part three I was able to make friends with the very people we were told we were told we couldn’t trust and were out to kill us they needed us to hate in order to fulfill their mission in all this which was purely political in nature. I came to Vietnam during the time when we had the highest troop levels of the war under President Johnson in 1968 we had 549,500 that’s a lot of young men focused on killing and mameing people.So you see I was just spit in the ocean in the grand scheme of all this,really nothing to be even noticed but I want to say that each of us was changed by this in someway,from minor to major changes depending on the level of carnage we were exposed to.
As for me I saw my share of things no 18 year old should ever be exposed to I was airlifted to the jungle with a Marine rifleman on a bulldozer many times to clear landing zones so marine troops could be brought in via chopper to forward assault positions.
One of the Marine units in our area was the 5th marine division they were among the fiercest most feared of all units by the enemy,when there was a trouble spot they were moved there and soon the enemy left or was driven out. These were guys who spent most of their time in the jungle staying so long their socks would rot off their feet ,guys with such bad attitudes they wore fingers and ears around their necks no one the enemy was anxious to encounter in battle.
So you see these young men had been transformed to almost an animal status by being involved in this horrible political game,so I consider myself one of the luckier of groups While I saw my share of gore it must have paled in comparison to what these guys went through.
Tragedy was happening on all fronts of this, family’s were being killed and separated and young men’s minds were being changed forever.
Thousands of us came home with varying degrees of mental illness,over 50,000 would be lost and their names enshrined on a wall in our nations capital,tragically some who came home were just as dead as the ones named on the wall they fell through the cracks of society and are still out there by the hundreds homeless defenseless and alone suffering a slow death in an ungrateful nation that forced them into service.I lost nearly all my respect for my country over this and don’t think I can ever be on the side of a government that can allow this to happen to men and stand by for over 40 years as they suffer sleeping under bridges in alleys or boxes any where they can with no dignity left stripped of their humanity by the people of a self serving nation that they served with pride.Even as I went down in 2010 with cancer and needed help I was denied by the veterans and the government only to be rescued by my son before becoming one of those fellows.How do I find respect for a government who allows inner city drug gang members to pop out illegitimate children one after one and get there rent and groceries free, while these men of honor suffer in the streets and alleys of my country.Am I bitter about how we were treated by our country damn right I am and so should every one in America with half a conscious.None of us was offered any counseling or mental heath help when we came back we were left to just deal with our issues on our own the best we could and for me and I’m sure hundreds of thousands of others that took years.I feel like I am very lucky to have the level of sanity I have if it were up to my country I would surely have met the same fate as my fellow soldiers who remain in the streets begging to get by day after day. If I ever win one of those mega lotto prizes not one of them will be left out in the cold alone for another minute they will get their lives back and the dignity they deserve for their service to country.I salute you all every one of you and spit back in the faces of those who spit on us as we returned home.
More in part five