"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time. ~CJ/Todd Dierdorff



Friday, November 21, 2014

Military Life - Service or Career: by John McClarren


Published: Createspace Publishing
Paperback and Kindle
224 Pages


About the Book

Military Life - Service or Career is a book for young people who are interested in the military as a service, or a career.   It should help anyone trying to make such a decision

It is also for older readers who have had military service and would like a good read to reminisce about the old times and remember their own experiences.

It is also a good read for those who enjoy reading about military affairs or engagements. I include many of my personal experiences as examples of my major points in the book.

The book is informative, exciting, sad, and at times, very humorous, all in one volume. It is full of stories that are entertaining, as well as educational and emotional. It emphasizes the good, as well as the less than good elements and what to expect. 
Buy at Barnes & Noble


Reviews:
"John and Debbie McClarren are friends from my hometown in Oscoda, Michigan. John felt that joining service, or considering joining service should be no surprise, shock, or blind experience. He clearly shares his experiences in boot camp and in peaceful and wartime action. No holds barred. 
He offers many sides to the decision about whether to join or not join in the first place. He emphasizes PERSONAL ORGANIZATION and ACCEPTING STRESS and making it work for you. I believe even if a young man or woman chooses NOT to join one of the services he/she understands more about the importance of these two assets in any career. 
I am gifting this book to my own grandsons and highly recommend it as a GOOD READ and ESSENTIAL MANUAL in making a choice that could lead to a temporary term of service or a lifetime career. I bought this first in Kindle and then 2 copies in paperback to share with family and friends." --L. Bartus


"Good read! In "Military Life – Service or Career", John McClarren writes an interesting perspective on reasons why a career in the military can be a very wise choice for some people. It also acknowledges that it is not the life all may desire. 
McClarren shares many of his personal experiences from his military career, including tours to Vietnam. He writes with vivid descriptions, family experiences in their military service, and a sense of humor. 
Although today’s military life may be slightly different than the days of Vietnam with its more ‘strict’ military atmosphere, it should give a young person who is considering this as a career, or just a few years of service, an idea of what military life is like. Interesting and informative!" --D. Chase

John McClarren - US Army (Retired)
About the Author

John McClarren was born at the end of World War II in San Diego, California.  He grew up in southern California, developing into a "beach rat" early in life. 

Body surfing was one of his primary activities, and he developed his publishing logo because of that very strong interest. 

Some major influences caused him to gravitate toward the military for a lifelong career, although circumstances also oriented him toward education. 

He ended up majoring in German and minoring in English at the University of Arizona after having been active in the US Army and serving a tour of duty in the Republic of South Vietnam. Including reserve components, he served a total of thirty years with the Army, as well as being a high school teacher for twenty of those years. 

His first published book is currently available in print and e-book formats, titled Military Life - Service or Career, A Soldier's Perspective. He has a memoir coming out shortly, titled Taking Risks, Defining Life

John and his wife, Debbie, raised three boys together, two of whom have been on active duty with the US Army and one is a geologist. Of the two who have been in the Army, one became a heavy equipment operator, the other a forester with the US Forestry Department. 

John is currently living in northern Michigan. He is retired from everything but writing and substitute teaching, and Debbie is still an active special education teacher.

Besides his first two books, John is working on a humor book that most likely will be titled Hey, it Wasn't My Fault, and he is also working on a novel, but that may take a while before completion, and it is already looking like it may well become a lengthy series. The reason for that is because it is going off into a realm of no time and no space; at least not with any dimensions or limitations. It is a spiritual realm, but one with physical beings as well.

John's Website
John's Facebook Page


“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale


Feel free to comment on this post. You are also invited to write about anything you want to share. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history.

Send it to me in an e-mail and I will be proud to post it for you.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

History/Archival Sites for Vietnam Vets: Byron Edgington

"We Remember" ... and We Should Share
With the fortieth anniversary of the fall of Saigon approaching next April, there may possibly be a renewed interest in Vietnam veterans and their stories.

I compiled this short list of resources for my fellow vets who may wish to contribute their Vietnam stories, or to read the accounts of others.

The list is by no means exhaustive. A quick check of a local library or college history site will produce many more, and likely better resources. A few of these sites are taken from various college history departments.

Texas Tech seems to have a pretty thorough website dedicated to Vietnam vet stories, for example. Rutgers University does as well. 

If a local college offers veterans a chance to record their stories, we should do that. Many schools do, and it isn’t difficult to track them down.

One site includes methods for teaching students about the Vietnam conflict, and could be used for our grandkids’ teachers, or for those of us who’ve been asked to visit high schools. 

I was asked last year to visit a local school to talk about my Vietnam experience, and the time I spent with those kids was priceless. I encourage any veteran to seek out these opportunities, and take advantage of them.

With the war in Vietnam fading into history, and with current similar conflicts around the globe today, our stories must be told, because they still resonate. These history and archival sites should help keep our experience in Vietnam alive:

Memoirs From Nam
The Vietnam Graffiti Project
The Vietnam Center and Archive
The Vietnam Center and Archive/General
Research Military Records: Vietnam War
Military Resources: Vietnam War
Electronic Data Records: Military Objectives & Activities: Vietnam War
Digital Archive: Documents on Vietnam War
The Virtual Wall
The Wall of Faces
The Vietnam War Song Project
Veterans History Project
Vietnam War Student Project
Vietnam War Commemoration
Vietnam Era Veterans Oral Histories
The Vietnam War: Oral Histories
Rutgers: Oral History: Participate
Veterans History Project
University of Kentucky: Oral History Project


Byron Edgington




Byron Edgington
The SkyWriter

Website
Blog
Byron's Book





Other Articles by Byron Edgington:

Vietnam: Arriving at the Truth
Do Guns Equal Safety?
Laotian Rescue Mission
Ho Chi Minh
Terror and Hilarity
A Return to Vietnam
The War That Will Not Let Us Rest
War: A Waste of Youth
The Right Seat is the Wrong Seat
Jim, Frank, and The Snake
Smokey, The Alcoholic Pup


“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale


Feel free to comment on this post. You are also invited to write about anything you want to share. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history.

Send it to me in an e-mail and I will be proud to post it for you.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Crew Chief's Memory of Thanksgiving '68

Thanksgiving - Vietnam War-Style

by Lance Pinamonte


Sometimes one person’s story inspires another, only from a different angle, but still from the same day.

Like most days, a helicopter crew's day begins the day before. 

After landing from a 12-hour day, we went to work on the aircraft, most of the time in the dark.

The Pilots had already gone in to be debriefed and get their assignments for the next day. The Gunners took their guns to the cleaning station and began their tear downs for cleaning.  The Crew Chiefs were pulling intake barrier filters, wiping, lubing rotor heads, and inspecting every inch of the ship. 

When the Gunners were done with the cleaning, they returned to the ship to help the Crew Chief with maintenance. So around 2300, most of the crews were done, and many finished their aircraft and were helping those who had more to do, like intermediate inspections.

Maybe by 0100, all the crews were done and they had a chance to go in and check the mission board for the next day, grab a bite to eat at the mess hall, take a shower, and change clothes..

This was Thanksgiving and the mess hall smelled great, as they prepared for the next day. Nothing was ready, of course, but it smelled great.

After my shower and a change of clothes, I checked the mission board and saw "Resupply, 0600 report" and knew it would be an early wake up. If I could get to sleep, I could maybe get a solid four hours of shut eye. So I went out to my ship, strung my hammock, dug my poncho liner out and hit the sack.

The pilots and Gunner woke me up at 0500 by opening the doors.  I wiped the sleep from my eyes, put up my hammock and liner, helped the gunner haul his guns/ammo, and went over the pre-flight with the AC and Pilot. 

Once all was in place, we fired up the bird, and with a quick "Clear Left/Clear Right", we were on our way to the resupply pads of Lai Khe.

Contact with the resupply crews and landing in between their rows of supply's, we would usually load up the ship with C rations and ammo, but today was different.  Today they had deuce and a halfs just off the pads and were hauling insulated containers for hot meals to the pads. 

We loaded our ship with everything and took off, all of this while the ship was running. Then we flew towards the boonies.

Smoke popped in a small clearing in the middle of nowhere as we swooped down to deliver chow to a worn out looking group of grunts, 11B. They would be waking up in a bug infested jungle, tired, eaten, wet, and smiling at our arrival.

Sometimes the temps would be in the high 90's, humidity at 98%, and they had been walking for days. "Looking for trouble", is what my ex-grunt Gunner would say. 

These guys were our reason to be thankful. They were the ones who were sleeping in the mud, while we slept, showered and were clean. 

We would sometimes steal ice cream from the VIP supply pads for them -- it was always good to see them smile -- they were our brothers. When they said "Thank You", we knew it was felt and it made our day...  on this day, the smiles were contagious.  

We helped them unload the containers, then took off for another sortie to another group. This went on all day and then we returned to the outfits later to pick up the empty containers.

The funny part is the fact that we only got to eat some beanie weenies from our C's, and had very little time to think about what we were missing meal-wise.

So another day ended and once again we went to work on our evening inspections, cleaning, then finally going to the mess hall for our turkey sandwich, a cold shower -- and if we were lucky, the "Thank you’s" would be our reason for a good night’s sleep ...

Happy Thanksgiving to all the 11Bravos out there.

God bless America.


Lance
Lance L. Pinamonte
U.S. Army - 1967 to 1970
67N30 Crewchief/Doorgunner Helicopter Mech.
Champagne Flight


Other Articles by Lance:




“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale


Feel free to comment on this post. You are also invited to write about anything you want to share. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history.

Send it to me in an e-mail and I will be proud to post it for you.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Landon's Odyssey: by J.A. Gasperetti


Publisher: Author House
Paperback
492 Pages


About the Book

Gil Landon, a returning Vietnam veteran, has a pervasive feeling of angst.

His love is gone, his graduate studies interrupted, his prospects for a job are bleak, and his treatment for a war wound mediocre.

This is quite a plateful for a veteran to handle while trying to acclimate back into civilian life.

To make his current state more tolerable, Landon begins a journey, an odyssey, if you will, to find some relief by seeking his past to improve his future. 

His voyage of discovery is prompted by the discovery of six letters, which he inexplicably finds in a shipping crate he sent back to himself from Vietnam. They belong to six wartime buddies, who Landon plans to visit and belatedly deliver their respective letters. 

The letters are the mysterious glue that holds the story together and propels it forward. 

As if by black magic, one of the letters brings him back to an old college anti-war adversary, Josh Hannigan, who knows the location of Landon's lost love: Becky Morris. 

Unknown to Landon, Hannigan is the fortuitous acquaintance of one of the letter recipients: Johnnie Krupke. Krupke's letter links him to Hannigan and Corsican heroin dealers. The hunt is on to find Landon and the evil contents found in Krupke's letter that Landon has in his possession. 

Through a series of flashbacks, both to Landon's college days and his Vietnam experiences, the characters are defined and shaped. 

The major players all come together for a climactic ending in the psychedelic kingdom of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco during the turbulent year of 1968. 

To give added flavor to this evocative age, the songs of the 60's are included throughout as a thematic emphasis in the respective chapters they are inserted. 

Painted over a broad national and international canvas, Landon's Odyssey is truly an epic journey. It is a unique and relevant tale for a generation, one still coming to grips with the tumultuous times.


Buy the Book

Joe's Website



Primary user Picture
Joe Gasperetti
About the Author

Joe (J.A.) Gasperetti was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Wisconsin, with course work at both the Madison and Milwaukee campuses. Now retired, he enjoyed a successful career in sales and marketing. 

Joe is a Vietnam veteran, who served with the 4th Infantry Division in 1966-67. His novel, Landon's Odyssey, is loosely based on his wartime experiences, as well as providing an historical fiction glimpse into the turbulent 60's. It will also provide the uninitiated with what all the buzz was about.

Landon’s Odyssey is his first novel. He is actively looking for a screen play writer, since a number of readers believe it would make a good movie.

Joe now lives in Iowa City, Iowa, with his wife of 43 years, Anne. They raised two daughters, Talia and Larissa.

J. A. Gasperetti
4th Infantry Division
Republic of Vietnam, 1966-67


“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale


Feel free to comment on this post. You are also invited to write about anything you want to share. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history.

Send it to me in an e-mail and I will be proud to post it for you.



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Enough: by Lance Pinamonte

Reverence ... or Shame?


Hope you like, CJ...















Enough ...


For the people who give their lives to this nation,
then watch the same war in different name take more
For it's not enough ...

To those who die from the chemicals we lay down,
then we ignore the death for the profit
For it's not enough ...

When the waters rise above our heads, lands lost,
we shun those with the reason
For it's not enough ...

The wealthy grow to hate the poor, grow richer,
to where they hold the future of all
For it's not enough ...

A place where lies and hate take the place
all for the promotion of fear
For it is not enough ...

So we ask the question that lies in wait,
"When will we be free of these things?
When will it be ... enough?"


God bless America.


Lance

Lance L. Pinamonte
U.S. Army - 1967 to 1970
67N30 Crewchief/Doorgunner Helicopter Mech.
Champagne Flight


Other Articles by Lance:




“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale


Feel free to comment on this post. You are also invited to write about anything you want to share. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history.

Send it to me in an e-mail and I will be proud to post it for you.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Waiting for Willie Pete: by Byron Edgington

Revenge: Capt. Ahab ("Moby Dick") and Cdr. Ahearn 
CJ: Here's a piece for the blog if you want to use it. It's an excerpt (Chapter 57) from my novel in progress about Vietnam.

A cross between "Matterhorn" and "Moby Dick", "Waiting for Willie Pete" is about a lift company with a commander who's a madman.

Captain Ahearn seeks revenge on his old nemesis, Colonel Dung, an NVA infantry commander who wounded him several years before.

Ahearn will find Dung and kill him -- even if it means losing his entire company.
 
Steve Piper is the company goat, the man no one likes.

It takes place in the club the night before a big mission to find Colonel Dung.

Piper's speech defending himself is a tribute to my fellow VN vets, guys who share the honor of having served.  As Steve Piper says, "...when the cause seems hopeless, the only thing to honor is the call, and each other."

Enjoy the piece, and share it if you like. And happy Veteran's Day to my colleagues.

I’d finished presiding over Benning’s initiation. He’d failed in his first attempt with Lady Hooker and rushed outside to compose himself. 
In his absence, I grabbed a Strohs from Ted and settled at the bar, listening to the company song. 
“…goin’ home in a body bag, doo dah, doo dah, you’re goin’ home in a body bag, all the doo dah day..’ 
Frank wandered over. “Hey, Foot, big day tomorrow. Gonna finally get that bastard Dũng." 
“Or he’s gonna get us, Reverend. Seen the latest?” 
“G-2 hasn’t got it right yet, Frank.” 
He sucked his PBR. “Let’s hope they’re wrong this time, too. Army intelligence is one of them oxymormons, you know?” 
Cold Strohs filled my nose, but I fought it back. “Aren’t you getting short, Frank?” 
He took another pull. It wasn’t like Frank Tiberi to ponder. This time he pondered. “Don’t matter, Rev,” he said. Then he sucked his beer dry, slapped my back, and got up to leave. 
“Frank?” 
“…in the morning, Reverend.” He eased toward the door. 
CCR filled the speakers. 
‘…I see the bad moon arising…I see trouble on the way…’ 
I went back into my Strohs, what was left of it. It was ten P.M. and I was about to retire to my hooch. 
A shout from the pool table turned my head that way. “…give it up, asswipe!” 
“Stebbins, you don’t know…” 
“…know an asshole when I see one, Piper. Nobody cares about your dead brother anymore, okay? Knock off the sob story and go the fuck home to California.” 
“…think you’re so damn smart, Stebbins, got it all together…” 
“…none of us got it together, Piper, especially you.” Stebbins stabbed Piper’s chest, backing him across the room. 
I’d seen Tony in his more aggressive condition, and knew that beer fueled it.

The briefing an hour before hadn’t helped. Ahearn had ordered us into the room, seething at men who’d come late, even though we’d flown from dawn to dusk. 
Waiting for us to file in, he'd paced, grumbled, and smacked the map with his cane. “…here, men, right next to LZ White! 
Tomorrow we will find him! Tomorrow is the day, men. Launch at first light. We will find that bastard, or…" 
“…or die trying…” 
“…asshole…” 
“…total insanity, Ahearn…”  
The commander had stormed out, hobbling across the compound in the ominous dusk.
Creedence wailed through the club. 
…I see earthquakes and lightnin'…I see those bad times today… 
From out of the shadows, Fisk loomed over Piper. “…take my dog and get him killed, Piper. You must have the reverse Midas affect, everything you touch turns to shit.” 
“…sorry about Major Barkley, Mike, I never…” 
“And what’ve you been doing in ops, Piper? Cassady says you harass him every damn night.” 
Stebbins shoved Piper toward the door. “…skating out of flying, on sick call all the fucking time…” 
“…never lets me fly, Tony, you know that.” 
“’cause you never want to, Piper.” 
“Goddamit, listen to me for once!"   
Piper staggered toward the center of the club. Reeling, drunk, he pulled out his .38 and waved it around. His arm came up. He aimed the gun overhead, and his eyes clamped shut. 
The clap slapped my ears, a single shot popping into the ceiling. Dust filtered down, coating Piper’s shoulders and hair. 
“Just goddam listen!” 
Beer cans slapped the bar. Heads came up. 
Fisk staggered backward. “…take it easy, Steve…” 
“Back off, man, nobody meant…” 
“Whoa…” 
My ears ringing, I eased off the stool and started toward Steve Piper. 
‘…I hear hurricanes a blowing…I know the end is coming soon…’ 
Ted snapped the toggle and the music stopped. The only sound was Piper’s ragged breathing. 
I eased closer to him, and stared into his hollow eyes. 
Chest heaving, the pistol sweeping back and forth, Piper fixed each of us in a ghostly stare. Saliva dripped from his open jaw, and sweat beaded on his forehead. But his gun hand never wavered. The dark pistol stuck into the dim light, rounding on each of us, an evil presence that could not be ignored. “Just…god…damn…listen!” 
We listened. 
“Since my first day in this unit I’ve been the guy everybody picks on. Find one guy to harass so you don’t have to deal with your own fear.” 
“…not it, Piper…” 
“Shut up!” He raised the gun to chest level and swept the room again. “Just shut the fuck up and listen. You always gotta have a nigger, a guy who gets the shit end of the stick, ain’t that right, Double D?” 
Daggert’s voice sounded. “Seems like it, doesn’t it?”

“A guy you gang up on so you feel like you’re part of the crowd.” 
“…sorry, Steve, we…” 
“Shut the fuck up, Tony!” Piper centered the room. Tears streamed down his face and the little gun bobbed and weaved. 
“Here’s what I know about being an outcast. I understand what it’s like. Hey, Palmer!” 
My neck prickled. “What?” 
“You ought’a know better’n anybody. Think I didn’t see you and that Chrisman guy?” He creased his eyes and sneered. “…love you, Cal…love you too, Jimmy.” 
At that moment I knew enough to do what Piper ordered. I just shut up. 
“Stebbins, you think I don’t hear you almost every night in your bunk? That girl kicked your ass, so you beat yourself to death dreaming about her? She’s gone, Tony. You took your hits, get over it.” 
“…don’t have a clue, Piper…” 
The pistol swing toward Stebbins. “Wanna take a few more?” 
Tony’s palms rose, and he fell silent. 
“Frank, you know the number of times I wanted to laugh in your face? Got your insignia ‘embroiled?’ A bull in a Chinese shop? Do they really talk like that back in Jersey, Frank? Dad must be really proud.” 
Tiberi shook his head. “Guess I need to pay more attention, Steve, I…” 
“Guess so. Mike, do you really think that goofy novel’s going anywhere? GIs screwing native girls? There’s a unique idea. That’ll sell a million copies, Mike.” 
Piper examined every one of us. “You guys’re right; I shouldn’t bring Keith into every damn conversation, but he’s why I came here. I could’a skated, as you say, Stebbins. But I didn’t. I volunteered to come here, to make up for my brother’s death. 
I’m no different from any of you. As a kid, I listened to all those war stories. Saw the movies growing up, John Wayne, Audie Murphy, The Longest Day, Sands of Iwo Jima
Hell, my dad didn’t just go to that war; he knows the guys I saw on the big screen. They were my fucking neighbors. 
I read all the comic books, the heroes of that war—our heroes! Then what? Then they sent us to this shitass little place and it ain’t like any of that. Vietnam ain’t a thing like we were told it would be. 
They told us we’d be fighting for freedom, and liberty and to defeat the commies. Bullshit. None of that’s true. 
Here’s the biggest thing: I want to know what the fuck it means when we’re told one thing all our life and then learn something completely different. Does that give us the right to beat up on somebody else?” 
Piper studied all of us, his chest rising and falling. He lowered the pistol. “Have I ever shamed any of you? Harassed you because you’re here without even knowing why? Have I?” 
Heads sagged. Outside in the compound, two men shouted about guard duty, their battle rattle clanking as they crossed the gravel. 
At a remote sector of the base a mad minute started, outgoing rounds popping and cracking. 
“Have I ever made your lives miserable? Made you the butt of the joke? Why the fuck’re we here, anyway? To pick on somebody weaker? I thought we came here to stick up for people like that? 
Those ARVN guys board our aircraft with their damn chickens and ducks and rice, and I see the people we came here to fight for, to give them a shot at what we have. And you pick on me, because I volunteered to help with that?” 
“…hopeless cause, Steve.” 
“Doesn’t matter, Mike.” 
“It does matter, Piper. There ain’t a fucking thing we can...” 
“Heroes, all of you.”

“…shit…” 
“…fucking crazy, Piper…” 
“Get over it, man…” 
Piper’s head wagged. “All heroes, including my…” 
Stebbins’ voice. “Jesus, the brother thing again…” 
“All heroes, Tony. Know why?” He slammed fingers at his chest. “Because we came, that’s why.” 
Tears flowing, Piper scanned the room. He swiped an arm across his runny nose and went on. “Enemy’s no threat to us. Shit, our biggest threat is our own damn commander.” 
“How’s that make us heroes, Piper?” Stebbins said what all of us were thinking. 
“Because, you came, Tony.” 
“…dad’s were heroes…” 
“It was easy for those guys, with Hitler, the Japs, the Germans. The threat was real, and everybody knew it. There’s no threat here, and nobody knows why the fuck we stay. 
At home they say we ought’a pull out. Mom sends me clippings. It’s bad back there, guys. People are sick and tired of Vietnam, the body count, the terrible command decisions, lost battles at places they can’t even pronounce.” 
Piper pointed the pistol at each of us, one by one. “Outcasts,” he said, an evil smile playing on his lips, head bobbing. “Your day’s coming, my friends. You’ll get back to the world and no one’ll give a shit about what you did here. No one will give a fuck that you risked your life for your buddies and did your duty. 
You’ll want so bad for someone—anyone—to ask about it, to be interested in what you did over here, and how it went. No one will. They’ll ignore you, change the subject, and walk away. They’ll talk about their own lives instead, their kids, their jobs, their new Chevy. They won’t want to hear about Vietnam. 
As soon as you start talking about it they’ll give you a look that says I don’t care and please don’t bring it up again in polite company. Hell, even our girlfriends, our wives, our kids and grandkids will ignore what we’ve done here. 
Then you’ll see what it’s like to be the outcast. People will shun you. They’ll shun all of us.” Piper licked his lips. “We’ll have war stories. We’ll just have to tell them to each other and move on. You’re all heroes, every goddam one of you.” 
Piper’s head bobbed and his chest shuddered. “My brother died over here. But your dreams died over here. 
There’s a special kind of honor in serving at a dishonorable time, in a dubious cause. A special place of honor in serving when the cause seems hopeless, and the only thing to honor is the call, and each other. All heroes, and all my brothers, every damn one of you.” 
Piper riffled his shirt and produced a tattered scrap of paper. He balled it up and tossed it to the floor. Then he shoved the pistol in his belt, grabbed his cap and walked out of the club.
Mike Fisk retrieved the paper and unfolded it. He scanned the lines, cleared his throat. “…be dipped in shit.” 
“What’s it say, Mike?” Tony moved into the light. 
We all shuffled toward Fisk. 
“Dear David…a pleasure to see you and Colleen at our home in Palm Springs before your departure for Vietnam.” 
“David?” Frank leaned over the letter. “David who?” 
Fisk went on. 
“…Peter and I have lost our older son, Keith. We know your options as Steven’s commander are limited, but please see that he’s kept out of harm's way as much as possible, if that can be done.” 
Fisk looked around at all of us. “Piper’s mom. Guess his folks and Ahearn…” 
Silence. One by one we grabbed our hats and filed out into the night. 
The next morning, as we lifted off to engage Colonel Dũng at last, Steve Piper was ensconced in the right seat of Ahearn’s Huey. 
As he took off, I raised my hand and saluted. He saluted back. Then he flew off toward the far horizon.


“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale


Feel free to comment on this post. You are also invited to write about anything you want to share. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history.

Send it to me in an e-mail and I will be proud to post it for you.