After marrying Shiela Miller in May of 1967, I went in the army. By July of 1967, I was in Vietnam. By January 1, of 1968, I was with the 196th light infantry brigade d 4/31. I returned to the states on December 25, 1968. By September of 1969, I was back in Coshocton working at GE (General Electric) full time, Buckeye Mart part time, selling Amway, and building a home.
I'm sorry I don't remember Doug's funeral. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was probably trying to foget my time in Vietnam and trying to make my life normal. For years, I tried everything, good or bad, to help forget Vietnam. Shiela was always there for me, although not knowing what, if anything, she could do to help. We have one beautiful daughter who has turned out wonderful. I regret that I wasn't in the right state of mind and I couldn't be fully there for her as she grew up. Julie married her high school sweetheart, Chris Yaw. I understand Chris's dad, Paul Yaw, was a friend of Doug's and he escorted Doug home from Vietnam.
In the '80's, I was part of the group of Vietnam vets that started the VVA Chapter 159 in Coshocton. As a group, we tried to do things that would help Vietnam vets work through something we didn't understand. After becoming president of the Chapter, we decided we should erect a monument on the courthouse lawn to honor our brothers lost in Vietnam. We had a lot of help from the community to accomplish this. Marlene Shroyer Griffith and Robin Coffman also helped organize a welcome home parade for the Vietnam vets and then recognize and honor our lost Vietnam vet brothers.
I worked at GE until I retired in 2000, working most of the time on the night shift. Lots of overtime gave me an excuse to go through life in a blur. By 2008, life was catching up with me. By chance, I met up with Jessie Maple on County Road 10. I first met Jessie in Vietnam, after I got to d 4/31 196th lib. Jessie, like Doug and me, was also from Coshocton County.
Jessie had three months to go in country when I arrived. He taught me how to walk point, watch for booby traps, and how to stay alive. I owe him my life -- again, I owe him my life. In 2008, he took me to the Veterans Service Office in New Philadelphia which got me into a PTSD group.
Now we know what we know about PTSD and head trauma. We can't let today's veterans go forty years before they get help.