"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, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

USMC Vietnam '69: by Tom Peck

"CJ, Don't let anyone ever say different:  Women paid a dear price in any conflict when their husbands, or fathers, paid the ultimate price.

Wives and families are the forgotten ones, when their loved one returns, escorted by Comrades In Arms. But we Brothers try to show espirit de corp the best way we can, not knowing those in other Branches.

I was USMC, Nam '69, January to August (WIA 28 July) and I knew a medic that was with my unit who died, but I've forgotten his name. I was 1st Mar Div Hotel 2/1. Our medics were all super nice.

I considered myself lucky with my leg wounds and my right hand. I was able to rehab my right hand and go on to a career in the Air Force for another twenty years, (twenty-two plus total), and with an 80% service-connected disability.

My last sixteen years of service, I was part of a four-man flight crew. There was the Pilot, Co-pilot, the Navigater, and me, the boom operator (inflight refueling of military aircraft).

We flew all over the world: Saudi Arabia, Panama, South Korea, England, Okinawa (I was stationed there for three years), Diego Garcia (Iran Hostage Crisis), Alaska, Goose Bay, Labrador, Spain (we were broke down for one week), Wake Island, Philippines, Guam, Hawaii, and many bases stateside which are now closed, or reserve bases.

I just retired two years ago from the civilian job. I'm now a part-time farmer with my brother -- only part time, due to the seasons. We raise steers for his grandsons to show. He raises corn (cow corn and sweet corn) Hay, and Soybean. His family all were dairy farmers and I used to help when I was younger.

Facebook helps me cope with the past, but my time was not as traumatic as some, due to the area I operated in, south of DaNang.

I do think of Nam a lot. My brother was there, too. We talk about it and try to face today and let yesterday go, but you can't. There's always a reminder of the yesterdays. This is why there are those of us who welcome you into the group and say you are not, nor should you be, forgotten.

Support comes from many directions, and in many ways. Healing is a step we must take to survive, but it doesn't mean we have to forget a cherished part of our past to move forward.

Take Care, God Bless and Guide You.

Tom Peck
USMC Vietnam
January-August '69
WIA 28 July "69

“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

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