Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sharon

Today is my good friend, Sharon's birth day. I love to honor those who have meant lots to me and have departed this life for the next. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHARON. Thinking of Sharon reminds me of my best bud in Vietnam, John Kerr. A West Pointer, good looking, slim, had that natural look about him. Could have easily posed for a "reup" poster. One of those guys who had it all. When I got to the Unit, (1/501 Infantry Battalion) he had been in country six months, commanding B Company. I met him, seemed like really a nice guy, kind of soft spoken. In those days the Chaplain resided back at the FSB (fire support base), the "Aide Station" or the Brigade area, way away from the fighting. 

I had been at the battalion a couple of weeks and really didn't know what I was suppose to be doing. One day, I am standing around and some soldier walks up and says, "Sir, Captain Kerr wants to speak to you and he hands me what I guess was the hand set for the radio (PRC25). I say, "this is the Chaplain."  Captain Kerr says, "Chaplain, where the fuck are you. My soldiers need to see you. You are not doing shit back at the rear. I will expect to see you before close of business today." Thus began this terrific relationship with the Company B Commander. He commanded respect and absolutely was leadership personified. He said to me one day, "Chaplain you don't know anything about what it means to be in combat but I am going to teach you." So, for the next couple of months I was his shadow. It was unbelievable. We would be in firefights, calling in artillery. Things that you did in Vietnam. We talked. He was like a master tactician, my mentor: "if this happens, we do this." It was a great continual "classroom in combat." One day he tells me, "you need to start carrying a weapon." Why? "Well, my soldiers will try to protect you and they need to be taking of themselves. If you have a weapon, my bet is they won't worry about you." 

Captain Kerr ran a tight ship. He seemed to be on top of everything. I got to know the other commanders and troops but nobody like John. He was always after me to come to his Company. I had to tell him a couple of times, there are other companies. It was like he didn't hear me. "Where are you? When are you coming out?" I loved the guy. A typical example of how he was is that he despised the S3, Operations guy. He calls him up and says something like, "since you never leave your bunker, I want you to give the Chaplain that little Car15 you have." An argument ensued. I really don't know what happened but the next thing I know, the S3 finds me and hands over the weapon. In those days there were at best a few of these--they were a little cut down version of an M16. I loved that weapon and only fired it at the range in the "rear" a few times. But, John was right, it seemed that the attitude of soldiers changed when they didn't feel they had to protect me. I had my own weapon. 

I was going on Rand R, meeting my wife in Hawaii. John came to the FSB to see me off. He said,  "Chaplain, your mission is to bring me a fifth of "Chives Regal." (SCOTCH) You bring me one back or I am going to kick your ass." He laughed big. It was the last time I would see John. He got killed in a kind of freaky way. The headquarters element was walking through a ville when a VC popped up out of a spider hole and killed John and three others. I was devastated. I was so angry at God, the war. My grief overwhelmed me. It was like I had lost a part of myself. I sat in my tent literally for two days. Finally somehow I moved on but  think of my good buddy John, often. I am always sad when I do. I kept the bottle of "Chives" for a long time. 

Sharon and her good friend, Flora, at the Infusion Center. Sharon loved Elvis. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Rest and Relaxation

Recently, I was hanging out at my favorite bar, meeting a buddy for lunch. Sitting at the next table was this older couple. They never said a word to each other. I was already thinking to myself, some OMC (Old Married Couple) together for years and don't have anything to say to each other. Suddenly, Don McLean's, "American Pie," began playing and I said to nobody in particular, "I love that music." The woman said, "We do too and we're from Australia." We started chatting. 

I almost asked them about something I had seen on a news report recently. The Australian government has a little island close to them. They won't allow immigrants into Australia and send them to this little island. It is all hush hush but some reporter sneaked onto the Island and reported back about the deplorable conditions. Little kids living in these heartbreaking and Inhuman circumstances according to the reporter. I decided not to mention it. 

Instead, I said, "I was in Vietnam and many of our soldiers went to Australia on R and R (Rest and Relaxation the military called it) and loved it. I mentioned that Vietnam was a sorry war but GIs couldn't help it. The man said he didn't go to Vietnam but knew several Aussies who did. I didn't tell them about what many of our GIs told me about how great the prostitutes were, not just the sex but the girls would show them around like they were their tour guides. I remember saying to this one soldier who was very shy. "How did it go?"Great
I said, "Was it hard (no pun intended) to say goodbye." He said, "Yes and they would always say, send your mates, send your mates." I didn't want to tell the couple that Americans were good mates of the Australian prostitutes. 

I bought their lunch. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

AIRBORNE ALL THE WAY

Paratroopers 'relevant as ever,' leaders say at National Airborne Day celebration. 

National Airborne Day should be celebrating its "founder." General William C.  Lee was in his last military assignment and wanted nothing more than to return to his tobacco farm when he was plucked out of obscurity by American military leaders to develop a paratroop unit that could parachute behind enrmy lines. In somewhat of either a myth or fact, President FDR saw Germans training in airborne operations. He asked his military liaison about any such unit in the American forces. The only person who knew anything about airborne was a Lieutenant Colonel Lee. The rest is history as Lee led the airborne from nothing into fhe very formidable forces of WW||. Lee became the first commander of the Screaming Eagles, the 101st Airborne Division. 




{{{{{Jerry}}}}}
If I had my way, I'd give the President another four years. His first term he had to learn  how to to do it. He did. I haven't always agreed with him especially on foreign policy. I think he has been way to quick to embrace the generals military strategy. But, he is holding his own. The generals always want more troops and have these grand strategies. Our biggest challenges are the Mideast. We don't even know who the players are.  

Saturday, August 13, 2016

PROJECTION

Psychological projection is a theory in which a person defends themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.

One of my all time favorite movies (Looking for Mr. Goodbar) has as one of several themes, projection. Without spoiling the movie, by day the protagonist is a school teacher but at night, something altogether different. My experience has been that when you see someone like this preacher who makes such an outlandish  statement, "Christians who don't vote for Trump will have gay children." I simply want to say, "SO?" But, I have a point to make. And, remember the Sacramento preacher who wanted to blame the  shooting in Orlando as God's punishment for being gay. Using the idea of projection, these TWO BIGOTS ARE PROBABLY GAY. 

PHARISEE

All along, I've had about as much interest in Trump as in "Duck Dynasty". To be honest, I don't think talking Trump or politics is very useful but talking about his following fascinates me. My wife recently  interrupted my contemplation to say, "just when you think you've heard it all, along comes this preacher, Kenneth Copeland, only worth something like $760 mil, who says,  "Christians Who Vote Against Trump Will Be Cursed With Poverty and Gay Children." LOL. THIS f..ker is obviously, crazy like a fox. Google the Pharisee. 

Got to love it. God bless "Merica."


Friday, August 12, 2016

BENEFITTING FROM A TOUR IN THE MARINES

Yesterday, I had lunch with this millennial kid, 28. His dad is an old Army buddy who wanted me to talk to him about the military. I actually think that he would be a good fit. The military appears to be regressing back to the "Cold War" scenario which is not good from my perspective. Worse is what we are now doing, with more troops to Iraq and already a too big contingency in Afghanistan. The Prez is listening to the generals again. 

This kid is really like the movie, "Failure to Launch." He just thinks differently. "Well, what do you and friends do?" We play alot of video games. I actually think this youngster might "work" for the Marines. He is in great shape and the Marines don't want you to think. "Drop down and give me twenty." He could do a hundred. 


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Evangelicals

TRUMP DECLARED THE MESSIAH BY EVANGELICALS 
Recently, a friend sent me this long harangue where evangelical leaders met with Trump and anointed him as "The Messiah." My answer to my buddy: You don't have to be religious to be a bigot but it helps. These bigots are a minority of Christians and they are not getting any, let's face it. 

I personally am ashamed. The religious bigots have hi-jacked the term, "evangelical" which merely means propagating the faith. Those who met with Trump are sorry MFs and will have little to no impact in the election. My belief. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Pluralism

When I was in the Army as a chaplain, one of the first things I learned was the Army's peculiar definition of pluralism. Simply that the majority had an obligation to look after the minority.