Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Dan, I love this map. Honestly, it is so terrific. Where did you find it?

Jerry, I think I found the map on the LZ Sally website. About three years ago I started a hunt for information because my son Shane wanted to take a 45 day backpacker style trip to Ti land, Cambodia and Vietnam. While in Vietnam he wanted to visit our old AO. His trip was an outstanding experience as he spent a week in Hue and explored the area. He wants to take me back on his next trip.

NEW COMMENT: Something that is fascinating to me, especially now that we realize Iraq is here to stay--how the troops operate there and how we operated in the Nam. I know that all wars have their peculiarities but the commo and the going out and coming in that they do is so vastly different than what we did. Imagine things like email or being able to literally call home anytime they want. From my perspective, not sure this is a good idea. If there were problems at home, we didn't know about it and by the time we did, it was over, solved, or something. Imagine a young married soldier who is calling his wife. She's not at home. His imagination runs wild. Is she out with "Jody?" No, she is at the grocery store but he doesn't know that. Or, maybe the young son or daughter is having trouble at school: think of the myriad of potential hassles that in our day, we simply didn't know about. Now, of course, with instant commo, soldiers know. How does this affect their soldiering? No small problem and fuels the debate of the married Volunteer Army.

Think about the difference in daily life for the American soldier serving in Iraq. They go out to fight but then return to base or most do. They could have omelettes for breakfast, Big Macs for lunch and steak for dinner. And, of course, we know how it was mostly for you guys. I had it somewhat better. So, what does this say? Easier in Iraq or just different.

My brother who is a Korean war veteran--just drives him crazy with the thought that we are pouring so much adoration on the soldiers serving in Iraq. I keep trying to tell him that it is just a different time, soldiering is still the same. Hard to know where he's coming from--I think it is a generational thing. In his day, you saw your duty and did it and you suffered the ills of war. And, then when you had problems, you just sucked it up and moved on. Not sure, other than he was not a casual warrior: severely wounded and awarded the Silver Star.

One thing that did disturb me and I've known it but my time in North Carolina reinforced my view. I am amazed at how truly uninvolved and uninformed most are about the war. It is the "nobody is home" look. And, being surrounded by a bunch of Republicans who are "don't confuse me with facts, I have my mind made up" was not easy to say the least. Oh well...

RESPONSE: I am convinced that the day the first caveman warrior picked up a club and went into battle/combat they encountered the same emotional, psychological and spiritual experience as we did in Vietnam. It was hard. I believe that there is a Universal Warrior Experience that transcends time; the war is different. So what does this say? Any war is hard on warriors, family and loved ones; Iraq is just different as different as D Day was to Tet.

God Bless


Wednesday, April 16, 2008


This is what Catholics believe--Thus, the concept of the confessional and the Priest being able to forgive sins. Railing against the Pope is not one of my interest, merely the mystery of the pomp and ceremony of his visit to the States. First of us, for a religious leader to be accorded such lavishness is beyond me; any leader for that matter but the Pope. Please!

It is not a matter of disrespect and I am giving the benefit of doubt whether it sounds like it or not. He is, I guess, the head of state, the Vatican. Someone said that George W. met the first ever dignitary on the tarmac: the Pope. Let's face it: with the lowest rating of any President in History, anything or body in a storm.

I am not anti Catholic but I'm a Protestant and a Bible thumber. I believe that Protestants and their adherence to the Scriptures is very important. And, one cannot read the Bible and not know that much of all of this about the Pope is simply not Scriptural. Protestants do not believe that a Pope is anything other than a man. In fact, the absolute cornerstone of Protestant belief is the Priesthood of the Individual Believer, meaning every man is his own Priest.

The bowing and scraping to a religious figure is beyond the pale of what Jesus would do. Jesus constantly eschewed pomp and ceremony. This is what He said, "Beware of these experts in religion, for they love to parade in dignified robes and to be bowed to by the people as they walk along the street. And, they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and at religious festivals. But even while they are praying long prayers with great outward piety, they are planning schemes to cheat widows out of their property. Therefore God's heaviest sentence awaits these men." Luke 20: 46-47

Sunday, April 06, 2008


When I was draft eligible, meaning 18-26, contending with the draft was simply a way of life. You couldn't do anything unless you figured it out. And, "draft dodging" could be a part of it. Most anybody who had the means and was smart could escape the draft: (at least for awhile) school deferment, married with children and naturally the classification of 4F which was a physical thing. And, the stories of how guys got 4F status are legion. It is hard to know how serious most of us took those who dodged the draft. In many ways, at the time, it was more power to them. From a philosophical standpoint, 40 years past Vietnam: we saw our duty and did it--at least it's what we tell our grand kids.

A new term has arrived on the scene; WAR DODGERS. What this means is soldiers who for whatever reason have come to believe the war in Iraq is not worth it. Or as one put it, when he was halfway into his second deployment, "This is what my buddies are dying for." Noway, he deserts. During Vietnam, Canada and Sweden were havens for draft dodgers and deserters. I had a little personal experience with Sweden.

When I was in Europe during the early seventies, I was in missile battalion and one of our officers was this fine, young West Point graduate. He had "orders" for Vietnam and since I was just back, wanted to talk about how I saw Vietnam and what was going on over there. We had a great talk. He asks probing questions and I tried to answer honestly, not supporting all we were doing but discussing the various party line at the time which I believed. We had a moral obligation to keep the North from taking over the South, had to stop communism, the domino theory. (at that time I didn't know enough or had not read enough to know about the corruptness of the South Vietnamese government or Hoi's determination to unite the country which was little related to communism and had to do mostly about nationalism. I only got this years later). The young Lieutenant stood up. Saluted, did an about face and promptly drove his MGB to Sweden where he asked for political asylum. From then on, it became a joke, "unless you want a guy to desert, don't send him to see the Chaplain."

Something is vastly wrong when you have the equivalent of an entire Division of soldiers deserting--since the war began, over 20,000. This may mean from being gone for 31 days which the military categorizes as desertion or forever. This is awful. And, another example of how everything about this war has been mismanaged.