"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

Monday, June 30, 2014

My Views: by Tom Peck

Veterans Have Earned Respect

I look at some of the comments that are posted in the vets group and I wonder why some would feel the slightest pity about how our enemy is interrogated, considering the treatment of our wounded and dead by our enemies who are supposed to abide by the Geneva Convention.

Yes, there are questionable interrogation methods, but water boarding is not as inhumane as what terrorists are doing worldwide, using their religion to justify it. 

We're not the ones who are deliberately killing innocent men, women, babies, children, and families on planes, buses, cars, in hotels, restaurants, office buildings and on the streets. 

When our enemies use the population to cover their activities, it's the innocent who always pay the price. The enemy knowingly set it up this way in every war and without a conscience as to loss of life -- as long as it's not theirs.

Why do those among us feel sympathy for heartless, unconscionable murderers, whether it be here, or anywhere else, worldwide?  Shouldn't we have sympathy for the victims?  To me, the methods we use to obtain information are far more humane than the acts of terrorists. 

The public doesn't have any idea about what the combatant goes through, the sacrifices made by our military once they are voted into harm's way. Their families are burdened with not knowing about their loved ones between letters, or locked in secrecy without knowing anything at all.

Waiting, always waiting, for a phone call from a loved one, or waiting and hoping not to get a knock on the door.  "We Were Solders" brought this home tragically and impersonally. Now, at least uniformed soldiers come to your door.  But the ignorant in our society disrespect the funerals of those who have paid the ultimate price. The misuse of our constitution allows this, but why?  Because those that sacrifice nothing expect everything at our expense.

Freedom Isn't Free
Freedom comes at a high price, but the malcontents of society aren't willing to pay, but again live off those that have. The wives and families of vets are the forgotten equation of the support system and they are not able to recover.

Understanding comes from being open-minded and compassionate. Lack of knowledge and reality closes a lot of doors to communication. Listening to the wrong people helps no one, especially you. A closed mind is a mind that lacks knowledge and compassion.

If the public isn't given all the the facts, it will repeat Vietnam all over again at our expense. Edited media is shameful and so is anti-military media. It goes against every sacrifice the combatants risk for their country to find out their country couldn't care less.

We of the past are still paying for those judgments, even now.  Every veteran suffers from misinformation, bureaucratic bungling, political trickery, wasteful foreign policy, budget cuts, fraudulent bailouts, fraudulent government contracts, and a government that just doesn't care.

So what do you think of my views? We sacrifice, the wives sacrifice, the families sacrifice, and for what?  An anti-patriotic, anti-military government?

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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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Argument with a Military Mental Health "Professional"

Things like this piss me off ...

by CJ Heck

A Special Caution:  If you go to a mental health professional to get help for PTSD, or any other military service-related issues, make sure they are experienced in helping veterans, specifically Vietnam veterans ...

The following is a conversation between myself and a so-called "professional" in a national military mental health group where I post to foster awareness of Vietnam veterans and what they deal with now, as a direct result of their military service.  For obvious reasons, I will not use his name.

The specific post the conversation was about:  My Experiences In Country: by Dannie Watkins

MH "Professional" [directed to Dannie about his blog post]:

Dannie, you say, "The mind never heals from the trauma of war." -- That's bullshit.

Your words are false. Your scars mean nothing. Being wounded should have been expected. It was no big deal.

You can't go about trying to help others, until you help yourself. Give your mind permission to release those negative thoughts and emotions.


With all due respect, (name omitted), each person is different. These things may be true for YOU, but not for someone else. The mind can and does recall the trauma of war and it reacts to that trauma by flashbacks, survivors guilt, and night terrors -- this is PTSD, sir.

Dannie's scars may mean nothing to you, but they do mean something to Dannie.  They are a constant reminder; however, Dannie was NOT complaining about his scars, or anything else, in his post.

The only negative thoughts and emotions that I see being expressed here are yours ...

MH "Professional":

CJ, I understand every word in the post, completely. War does, and always has, returned home. Today 1 in 3 people who return home will suffer from PTSD. It was once 1 out of 4 who had, or developed, a mental illness coming home from war.

An aggregate total of those who commit suicide from being in a war equals the casualty count during the war. It doesn't matter which war in the past 110 years is referenced, or what side is being studied. Only 6% of these people are in treatment, recovering. The others go untreated or cannot overcome their emotion, with recall of trauma by flashbacks and night terrors, just as you say.

Triggers, such as looking at your scars, creates a crisis. Once we had 600,000 beds for those in crisis. Now there are less than 40,000 beds nationwide with a greater need than ever before.

I discourage all memoirs, especially when promoted as a good read. Yes I am extremely negative on remembering the 'bad old days', as you explicitly noted. We have an unseen pervasive epidemic where no cure has been found and even less research to find one.


What?  Who the heck is promoting the writing of memoirs as a "good read"?  I'm certainly not, and I resent your implication, as well as your pompous attitude.

Writing is therapeutic and that, sir, is a fact.

It's obvious you haven't read the blog, so stop going on and on about it. Read any of the posts these men have written and shared with each other, or don't. That is your choice; but you are out of line to say what he wrote was "bullshit", or that his words were "false".

It is obvious you were never in Vietnam, nor in any combat situation, so there is nothing to be gained by taking a self-righteous stance and spouting facts and figures

I suggest in the future, you make sure your brain is in gear before putting your mouth in motion ...

**I checked a few minutes later, and I'm glad I saved what he had to say to my computer, because his comments were removed from Dannie's blog post in the group.  Only my answers to him appear.

I don't know for sure, but he may have been removed from the group, comments and all.  After sharing this conversation, I may be booted, too, but I thought this was important enough to share with you.

Please be sure, if you go for help for PTSD, that the person you're going to see is familiar with Vietnam veterans and their particular issues.  

I don't ever want you to be subjected to someone like this ...

“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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Friday, June 27, 2014

PTSD Awareness Day, June 27

The Wall - Survivor's Guilt

Understanding PTSD —Signs and Symptoms

by Richard Taite

June 27 is PTSD Awareness Day – a day that was created to help our communities understand some of the sacrifice our military veterans have made in service to our country. 

For the lay reader who may not know a lot about PTSD, here’s some general information that may aid you in better understanding those who suffer from it.

What is PTSD?

According to the Mayo Clinic, PTSD is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event. This may be abuse (as a child or adult), terrorist attack, combat, serious accident or natural disaster. About 61 % of men and 51% or women experience trauma in their lives. Of those experiencing trauma, 8% of men and 20% of women will develop PTSD.

What are Some Symptoms of PTSD?
  • Fear or anxiety
  • Feeling on alert, increased jumpiness, trouble sleeping
  • Sadness or depression
  • Crying spells, loss of interest in things that you used to enjoy, wanting to be alone all the time
  • Guilt & shame
  • Feeling responsible for the event, guilt that you survived the trauma that others did not
  • Anger & irritability
  • Lashing out at family, less patience with own kids, overreacting to small misunderstandings
  • Behavior changes
  • Alcohol abuse, using drugs, smoking too much, driving aggressively, neglecting health
  • Reliving the event (also called re-experiencing)
  • Nightmares and triggers that cause memories
  • Avoiding situations that hold reminders of the event
  • Crowds may feel dangerous, avoid driving if the trauma was a vehicle accident, keeping busy to avoid thinking or talking about event, feeling numb or feeling keyed up (also called hyperarousall)

Who Suffers Most Often from PTSD?
  • Women and minorities
  • Those with little education
  • Those that have suffered an earlier trauma or life-threatening event
  • Those that have another mental health problem or a family history of such
  • Those with little support from family and friends
  • Those with recent stressful life changes

How do I Know if I Have PTSD or if Someone I Love Does?

PTSD is diagnosed by a mental health professional, usually in one to two sessions. There are also a number of screening tools that everyday people can use to help them. These tools can guide a person toward the kind of help they may need to feel better.

Can PTSD be Cured?

“Being cured” or “getting better” are terms that mean different things to different people. But there are different therapies that can help people with PTSD live normal lives and get the support and help they need to feel better. Those therapies include:

Psychotherapy. There are a few different methods for helping those with PTSD, but most are done while meeting with a professional therapist once a week for 3-6 months.

Alternative Therapies. These may include writing, yoga, acupuncture, meditation, massage and other therapies that aid in physical healing as well as emotional.

“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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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Awareness: by Allan Bopp

(Clarence) Allan Bopp

I believe that being aware is the key element of any type of success.

Without awareness, you are at the mercy of all that is in your piece of reality, but if you are aware, you can be ready and maybe even control that same reality.

Brothers and sisters let me tell you a story.

I led a Recon team in Nam. On our very first mission, not even thirty minutes out, I noticed something strange about one of the trees on the other side of the clearing we were about to cross.

I was working point at the time. I used the scope to get a closer look. In that moment, it became REAL. What I saw was a sniper, very poorly hidden.

After a close scan of the rest of the clearing and finding nothing, I aimed, fired, and watched him fall and I felt my humanity hit the ground before he did. He had not even seen us.

We finished the mission without any other problems. Thus began a very intense conversation and discussion about awareness.

During the next 18+ months and 50+ successful missions with only one man lost, (another story), and not a scratch on any of us, we rotated back to the world, where we separated and were ordered not to have any contact with each other (ever) and not to tell anybody, ANYBODY, what we had done.

My orders still stand and yes, I have heard that everything about the Vietnam War has been declassified -- and this, I call BS. The orders given to me still stand!

That story ends here ...

Now for the rest of the story. Yes, we were very highly trained. Yes, sometimes we were very lucky, and yes, there were more than just a few times that God helped us. Taking all of this into account, I know it was our intense awareness that kept us alive and well.

I am NOT talking about the hyper-vigilance type of awareness. That is a very different thing than what true awareness is.

Being intensely aware of your part of reality makes you a part of your reality, not just on the outside looking in. You are a PART of your reality. From there, the rest is up to you.

For me, being aware has returned my humanity, my faith, and the real me, to me.

Allan Bopp
I do suffer with PTSD and I cannot hear, however, I am aware of what these problems do to me and now, with doctors and meds, I am no longer that hyper-vigilant, dangerous loner that I had become.

What I am trying to get across to all my brothers and sisters is to BE AWARE. Allow yourself to become part of reality. Yes, sometimes our country is really screwed up, but it's beautiful and it's free, and that is because of what we all had the courage to do.

Allow yourself to talk to and listen to God and be accepted for who you are:  one of His forgiven children. It is amazing to not have to feel guilty any more.

God Bless. Peace and Namaste, my friends

Allan Bopp

**Thank you for sharing your story, Allan.  I'm proud of you.  Namaste. ~CJ

“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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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Experiences In Country: by Dannie Watkins

Orange County Purple Heart Proclamation November 2013

Hello CJ,

I have never been one to talk much about my experiences in Vietnam. I was young, and I was exposed quickly to the realities of real combat.  I did what I had to do to try and stay alive. 

I was wounded twice and I bare the scars, as a result of the wounds. 

I returned from Vietnam on November 1st, 1968, and went to the 82nd Airborne at Ft. Bragg, NC.  I was there for four months and then I was sent back to Vietnam to the same unit I left, 173rd Airborne Brigade. It wasn't any easier the second trip. 

I stayed in the Army as a professional soldier and in combat arms for all but a four-year stint I spent on recruiting duty. I retired in December 1989, with twenty-three years, nine months, and seventeen days of service time. 

I spent tours with the 173rd Abn., 82nd Abn., 2nd Infantry Division, 7th Infantry Division, and a tour of duty at Fort Knox as an instructor. 

I'm proud of my service and understand the stresses of war and I feel for these young soldiers of today who make back-to-back tours at a young age, just as I did. The mind never heals from the trauma of war. 

When you remain a soldier, you accept what you have done and what you train to do daily to be ready for it to happen again. You are a professional and try to do your best at it every day. 

I received four Meritorious Service Medals during my Army service. Most soldier enlisted or officers seldom earn one. Being a professional takes daily dedication and a commitment to Duty, Honor and Country. 

My Legacy: Getting Orange County California to Proclaim the County as a Purple Heart County.

Dannie Watkins
U.S. Army - Retired
Life Member 173rd Airborne Association 
Life Member Disabled Veterans of America 
Commander Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 752 
Secretary Vietnam Memorial Westminster California
Gone Fishing.

If you are a veteran, especially one who was wounded in combat, I'm available to help you in any way I can. 

Also See: "Argument with a Mental Health "Professional"

“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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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Another Worthy Rebuttal: by Jack Durish

Rebuttal to: REMFs: by Tom Peck

[Note: this was left as a comment on the original post, but Jack brings up some excellent points and I wanted to make sure it was seen by everyone.]

I was a REMF. It shouldn't bother me but it does, because I was trained to be an infantryman and an infantry officer. 

However, the fates relegated me to the rear echelons because ... well, that's not important. Ultimately, I have a bad case of survivors guilt because those I trained with died in combat.

I don't hang out at the American Legion or the VFW, because I believe that those organizations belong to the "real soldiers". I can't even visit the Vietnam War Memorial. Again, I don't fee worthy. So no, I don't need you or anyone else to remind me of my shame.

That's my shame, not the shame of REMFs in general. Remember, the vast majority were relegated to the rear areas because that's where they were needed and were trained to provide support to those in combat. 

Without them (REMFs), combat soldiers could not have fought very effectively. So no, they don't need your derision, they deserve your thanks.

Unlike WWII, the rear areas in Vietnam weren't all that safe. Every base camp perimeter was a front line and everyone took their turns, many of them. Sadly, the rules of engagement caused many casualties in the rear areas, because they were built too close to civilian cities, towns, and hamlets. They weren't allowed "free fire".  Thus they were often merely targets.

Lastly, when they returned home, REMFs didn't wear a badge that shielded them from the hostility of the "peaceniks". They too were derided as "baby killers". They too were scorned for their service.

Just a few thoughts to keep in mind.

Jack Durish
Family man, Author, Vietnam Veteran, Proud American, Conservative

Jack’s Books:

Rebels on the Mountain
Buy at Amazon

A Soldier’s Journal

Infantry School: A Soldier’s Journal

Jack's Website

“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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Monday, June 23, 2014

A Worthy Rebuttal on REMFs

Rebuttal To:  REMF's: by Tom Peck (June 20, 2014)


By Lawrence "WarHippy" Blouir

Even though I disagree with your views of REMFs, Tom, I support your right to have them, and I salute your courage to carry out your job. 

However, if all the grunts in the Army and Marines were to magically disappear, those REMFs that you insulted with your post would step forward and fill your ranks -- and they would do as good, or better, than the soldiers they replaced. 

I arrived in Vietnam as a mechanic, but I didn't volunteer for the Nam to be stuck under a jeep.  So, I made myself such a big pain in the ass that, after I'd get an article 15, the company commander was more than happy to reassign me to a less-civilized job, with just my word that I would be a good soldier, if I was doing a soldiers job. 

And I kept my word. I was assigned to three different units, during my two years in-country, each time as a mechanic, and each time reassigned after I got another article 15 and busted to PFC. 

My first extension, I did exactly what you described.  I wanted to be a door gunner, and to be specific, on a ready reactionary slick. 

The battalion surgeon interviewed me.  He said, "Life expectancy for the job you want is only six months."

I replied, "I'm only extending for six months."  He called me crazy and denied my request. 

The company sniper was short, and my company commander was a little more agreeable.  So, I was sent back to the rear and trained on the match quality M-14.  That became my constant companion until the Cavalry stood down, leaving one brigade in Vietnam, and I was transferred up north. 

My long-winded point is this. You won't gain much respect here, by puffing your chest out and stating that you had the only important job in the war. Would you be alive today, if all the REMFs took the day off on the day you were wounded?  

Everybody did their job. There were areas designated 'rear'. My Division's R&R center took a direct hit from an ARVN 105 round the day after I left on R&R, killing everybody unlucky enough to be in the hootch at the time. 

Rockets and mortars could reach any place we thought was safe -- and Charlie made sure we knew it. The infantry wouldn't be shit without support. You should thank God you had it, instead of insulting it ...

Lawrence "WarHippy" Blouir
MOS 63B20 Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic
Vietnam ’69, ’70, ‘71

1st Cavalry Division (AIRMOBILE)
The First Team
8th Engineer Battalion
1st Air Cavalry Division
24th Duster Battalion
24th Corp Artillery
23rd MP Co.
23rd Infantry Division

(MONGOLS Motorcycle Club)

Other Articles by Lawrence “WarHippy” Blouir:
The Ultimate Cost of "Freedom"

“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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Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Warrior's Dream: by Roger Sanchez

Quang Nam Province, I Corps, So. Vietnam, July ‘70

A Warrior's Dream

In deep slumber I lay many years after my war

An American Patriot who answered the call

My war was not the one fought for independence

Nor the one fought at San Antonio

Yes, it was not the one to end all wars

Nor was it the big one where freedom hung by a thread

I was not at the Chosen Reservoir in Korea

So many had gone before me to stand for freedom

But not any freedom, but American freedom

It is an Ideal and type that many seek

Is was an ideal born of right spirit

The land of the free, the home of the brave

In dreams I still walk the rice paddies of Vietnam

My squad walks behind me spread out and watchful

I do not see them as clear as I once did

We are walking in a fog that sweeps in from nowhere

It is cold and wet and voices seems to emanate from it

It is the voices of those gone before looking for the sunlight

And yet from this dream I understood that freedom is not free

There is no true sunlight in war, or full days of rest

There is no let up against evil that lust for power and domination

A horrible truth I had learned at such a young age

That evil force, must be met with righteous force

While I wish with all my soul for only peace

I understood that it would never truly be

I wake up in a cold sweat and yell out into the darkness

My conscious mind slowly brings me back

And I think clearly, Iraq, Afghanistan, other wars in between

I see the faces of our young men and women

And in sadness I realize, we are still at war

GySgt Roger A Sanchez Sr.

U.S. Marine Corps Retired 1969-1991
Copyright © June 2014, All Rights Reserved

“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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Friday, June 20, 2014

REMF's: by Tom Peck

105mm casings during second battle for Khe Sanh
We had REMF's (Rear Echelon Mother F**kers) that had no clue what it was like in the bush.

If you look at a few of the pictures on Facebook, you will see that the rear bases and cities were in no way like what a lot of us had to put up with.

We didn't have hot food every day, or showers, clean clothes, USO shows, mail, movies, BX, alcohol, soda, or candy. We were lucky to get once a week, once a month, depending on the Branch of Service, Army, or Marines (which I was).

We were almost always on the move looking for the VC, or stock piles, or rocket launch sites, or pushing them into a blocking force, after clearing village after village, or hamlet, mile after mile daily. Rarely did we see what they called the rear. We called it the Battalion Area. I can only remember being in the rear two times, possibly three, in seven months.

One time proved fatal for guys in a tent barracks two down from us. They were collecting all the ammunition from the time in the bush: grenades, claymores, bullets, laws (rockets), everything. Someone triggered something and killed and wounded a lot of guys. It was a mess outside. The tent was almost gone.

These are the things you remember, not the things like showers, shows, and BXs. You remember all the lives lost due to accidental discharge, because it could have been your own on one or two occasions. It was only for the fact that I moved, that another's life was lost instead.

You remember your own artillery coming in short and almost killing you, but not any VIP, for there weren't any. You remember inept officers and the stupid actions of those around you and wonder how you remained alive.

You read about the horrors others faced and you asked yourself, "Why was I so lucky?" and I was compared to thousands of others, compared to 58,000 plus, compared to MIAs, and compared to POWs.

Was it Worth it?
My wounds in no way were as serious, or traumatic, as those who fought in Hue, La Drang, Khe Shan, Hamburger Hill, or the LLRPs, or Snipers, or Huey Pilots. My wounds were from a booby trap, not by a bullet, or firefight, or ambush.

There are so many brave warriors that went unrecognized, due to bureaucratic jealousy, vindictiveness, revenge, false bravery on the part of those handling the paperwork, even Superiors who knew no combat at all. Bravery was denied on many, many, many occasions, falsely claimed by those who showed none.

I don't know how this all will be interpreted, but these are my opinions, my views, my thoughts about those who were short-changed so long ago, who died to prove a point that proved fruitless and meanless.

It was strategy for a future battle that ended up costing lives and wounded, and for what? To just give back the ground soaked in blood, sweat, tears, and lives? Not just once, but several times? This, by those disassociated with the Realities of Combat and the Sacrifices We Made Daily, following asinine orders by REMFs, who looked at a map, listened to a Radio, but couldn't face Reality,

They were there in the rear, not being shot at, not sacrificing anything, but words. What is their futility, their death wish, their epitaph? It wasn't their family's door that would be knocked on. What decoration would they award to themselves for the sacrifices they didn't make? Can you understand how some will perceive my views?

I don't believe it's time to move on. There are still between 1500 to 2300 -- if not more -- unaccounted for MIAs ...

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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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Ultimate Cost of "Freedom"

Lawrence "WarHippy" Blouir

by Lawrence "WarHippy" Blouir

I have Prostate Cancer.

The cancer is a direct result of my exposure to Agent Orange, a deadly toxic jungle defoliant, so strong that it would kill most of the smaller plant life overnight, and make jungle warfare easier.

Did our government fail to mention that it's own troops were ordered into that toxic wasteland the next day?  Or that when it rained, the toxin would float back to the surface months later, and expose even more of it's "Freedom Fighters" to it's toxic effects? 

No?  I didn't think they would.

Since the Vietnam War, millions of Vietnam Combat Veterans have suffered from the effects of exposure to Agent Orange.  A big percentage of them have died from the many forms of cancer and other diseases, directly linked to the toxin. 

We are still paying the price of Freedom, with our lives. 

Meanwhile, every top government official who ordered it's use, and every top executive of the chemical company that developed and offered the toxin to the American Government for use in Vietnam, have lived long, toxin free lives.  I can't recall ANY of them ever spending one day in jail for their part in the chemical assault of the American fighting force in Vietnam.

Freedom is NOT Free
Most Vietnam Veterans were raised with the belief, "When your Country calls, you, as an American, answer that call". That is the price of Freedom. We answered that call, and over 58,000 of our Brothers paid for Freedom with their lives. 

We came home to a Country who said our WAR wasn't a real war, when in fact, our average time in actual combat was ten times the average time in combat of the World War II Veteran. 

We carried our burden quietly, as we continued to drop like flies, from Agent Orange exposure. Many of us returned to Vietnam almost every night in our nightmares, re-living horrifying memories that the human mind was never meant to record. 

Countless thousands of our Brothers finally stopped those nightly horrors, the only way they could -- by taking their own life. For those who say God will never accept you into Heaven if you take your own life, I have to believe there is one exception, the Vietnam Combat Veteran!

The rest of us survivors are getting older now, and more of us are touched by Agent Orange, myself included. 

We are guaranteed medical aid for our service connected injuries and illnesses. But the VA Health system is letting us die, waiting in line for medical aid, and our government leaders talk about the scandal and how they promise help. Empty promises help not one Veteran. 

The last time I went to the VA clinic because I had a bladder infection, related to my Prostate cancer, I finally picked up my prescription of antibiotics FIVE DAYS LATER! That's the first time in my life that I've ever gone to the doctor, and left with nothing to help with my pain and suffering. 

I have an infection going on again today. Instead of being eager to call and get help for it, I'm avoiding that call because of all the crap I'll have to go through just to get the medicine to cure it.

If the VA Health Care System cannot provide us the medical care that our Military Service guaranteed us, our ID Cards should be accepted at any medical facility in this country, and our government billed for it. 

Watch how fast the VA Health Care System gets funded then.


Share this, if you're a Veteran.  Share this, if you know a Veteran who paid the ultimate price for Freedom.  Share this, if you believe Freedom isn't Free, because somebody has paid, or will pay, for it. 

If you can make an abused puppy video go viral, this should be a no-brainer ...

Lawrence "WarHippy" Blouir 
MOS 63B20 Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic
Vietnam ’69, ’70, ‘71

1st Cavalry Division (AIRMOBILE)
The First Team
8th Engineer Battalion
1st Air Cavalry Division
24th Duster Battalion
24th Corp Artillery
23rd MP Co.
23rd Infantry Division

(MONGOLS Motorcycle Club)

Other Articles by Lawrence “WarHippy” Blouir:
Vietnam Veteran Speaks Out
A Worthy Rebuttal on REMFs

“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

Do you have an opinion, or a comment, you would like to share about this post? Click on the comment button.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Veteran: WWII, Korea, Vietnam

Rick Turton - Vietnam 1970-1971

by Rick Turton

The other day, I was sitting in a Costco waiting for my family to arrive. 

I saw an older gentleman come in, wearing a black baseball cap that had “World War II, Korea and Vietnam Veteran” embroidered on it.

An Impressive Hat ...

Being a Vietnam Vet myself, I struck up a conversation with him. “Wow!” I said, “That’s a pretty impressive hat!”

He replied, (with no small amount of pride), “I signed on in Oakland, California, in 1943, as a Marine.  I was at Guadalcanal, the Philippines, and finally, I was in Occupied Japan. 

I spent eighteen months in Korea and I did two tours in Vietnam. I was a Drill Sergeant at Perris Island. I finally got out after thirty years!"

We played the “where were you stationed” game for a while and then he said, “You know, the Marines are a close-knit group. You’ll run across your friends several times during your time in. I made some life-long friends in World War II that I met in Korea, too. I buried most of them during Vietnam, though. 

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out why I survived. I finally got the answer when I found out that my wife of thirty years had cancer. My job was to take care of her. She died last spring.” 

With that thousand yard stare, he paused, eyes welling up a bit, remembering. ”Like everything else,” he said, “I saw it through to the end.”

“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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Monday, June 16, 2014

FNG Initiation and Humor: Michael Lansford

Michael Lansford's "Home" In Country

When you first get in country, there is no doubt everyone there knows you are an FNG.

Opening the door, the first thing that hits you is the heat, then the smell. It smells like death and that smell is still with us to this day. Any time I open some of my old things up, that smell is still on them, even after all this time.  

An FNG is easy to spot -- you look too clean, clothes too new, skin too soft, and there's no 1000-yard stare. You have that lost puppy look and they're right. 

I landed at 5:30 a.m. on Friday 13th, December 1969. Lucky? As we landed, the base came under attack and we were the only ones standing around not knowing what to do. You learn fast and watch what a long timer does and follow his lead. 

Flying up north, we were in a C-130 with no seats, just nylon straps across the floor that we put across our laps. We couldn't see a thing outside and all the crew knew we were new, so upon landing, they banked the plane straight down, wide open.

I thought we were going straight into the ground when suddenly he pulled up so sharply you felt like you would go through the floor. As soon as the plane was level, the wheels touched ground. It was great flying I learned later on. That's how they got in and out of tight spaces without drawing too much fire. It made for a harder to hit target.

As we landed, the pilot called out to us, "Welcome to the Nam FNG's." It was one of our first welcomes.

As we got stationed, we drew all our gear and got on our first chopper. The pilots knew that too. They threw the pitch in so hard, I thought we were being sucked up by a vacuum, then nosed over for a fast run. We got up to speed and suddenly dropped like a rock down towards the Perfume river.

We thought we were nosing in, but the pilot put runners just above the water headed straight for the big bridge over the Perfume. I thought we would lift over it, but Nooooo. We went straight under it, then straight up. I thought I was gonna die. They all laughed and it was the same story, "Welcome to the Nam."

Michael with "Bad Boy in the Valley Cobra"
Flying out to the fire base, they suddenly went up so high I thought I would freeze. It's cold up there. I found out why the crew always wore long sleeves and gloves in that heat. The pilots and crew started looking at each other and shrugging their shoulders like something was wrong.

We as FNG's had no clue. We thought we were about to fall out of the sky. Suddenly, they cut the engines and we dropped like a rock, seemingly forever. They kept fidgeting with the controls overhead and then they threw their hands up.

The ground was coming up faster and faster when suddenly, the pilot pulled the collective in the Huey and did a hard bank, putting us parallel to the ground. I thought I was going to fall out, but the G-force kept you in. It was just something you learned the hard way. The pilots and crew were howling and we got the same answer,"Welcome to the Nam FNG's."

When you're first there, no one even gets close to you, talks to you, nothing, as you are too new and you haven't put your time in and paid your dues.

One of our guys used to play a game with new guys. He somehow took the firing part out of a grenade and every time he was around new people, he would accidentally pull the pin to see who froze, who ran, who picked it up and tossed it, or who would fall on it. That cleared up the fear factor real fast, and you found out who would do what in a crisis.

Michael and "The Mule"
We had this four-wheel buggy we called a Mule and we used it to move things around on the fire base. Well, we would put sandbags on the back and do wheelies to see how far we could go on two wheels. That was low cost humor for us.

Living out on the fire bases, we lived underground like Charlie did. Depending on how safe you felt, that was also how deep you dug your home. We covered it with sheet metal, or PSP as we called it, then sandbags, then a rubber mat to keep water out, then more sandbags. Our entrance was always like a maze to get in. It kept Charlie from throwing satchel charges in.

Our FDC center used a generator to run the computer to adjust coordinates and at night, any light drew fire. So I made a trip, one of many to base, and procured some commo wire, and a light outlet with a bulb.

I spent most of a night digging a trench from our hole to under the generator to hook up the wiring and light to our hole. Just like that, we had lights. We just had to be careful no light leaked out anywhere. That way we could write home or whatever we needed, then turn the light out when we were done. We had the only light there was out in the Valley. Pretty cool, we thought.

On one trip in, Sarge sent me to shop for supplies, so I found this very upscale hooch facility with way too much stateside stuff for the Nam. Turned out, it was some general's place. Hell he had A/C and everything. So when he and his aide left, I shopped.

I didn't touch any personal stuff, just things like steaks, veggies, other meats and snacks, but the best of all was the ice machine. That thing pumped out blocks of it! I got an idea as to how to relocate the ice before it melted. I procured some rocket boxes from the Cobra area, lined them with ponchos, and filled them with block ice. 

That stuff lasted about two weeks out there, as long as we kept it out of direct sunlight. The thing about living underground was, it made the jungle cooler so things would keep longer. Hell, we had ice, so we were living large.

Outdoor Movie Screen
The next trip, a few of us went to the base and some of the guys went over a hill where headquarters had an outside theater, so they decided to enjoy the movie which headquarters didn't take to. They beat them up but they made one fatal mistake. They let one get away.

Sarge got us together, had the choppers crank up and as we left, we procured all the supplies, clothes, food, beer, burned down the movie screen, and best of all, we took the projector. We left them a note saying if they wanted it back, we were out in the Valley and they should feel free to come get it. Man, we had a fine projector, assorted movies, but no electricity, or screen. Still, it was too cool.

At night on the fire bases, we used to have what they called Mad Minutes, where everyone just fired weapons straight out in the jungle. We kept our fuel, water, and munitions in a deep hole just outside of our first perimeter for safe keeping.

Well as luck would have it, and coincidentally it was the 4th of July, someone accidentally fired a tracer into the ammo dump. The first thing it did was set fire to the fuel, which in turn spilled into the rocket and ammo pit setting them off. The rockets were for the Cobras. Man that stuff was flying everywhere! No place was safe as the ammo and rockets had no direction, but what a show! The best fourth of July ever. 

Hanoi Hanna got wind of it and all we heard on our radio was how the Peoples Republic of Vietnam had overrun and destroyed the American camp with all personnel. Now that made our day. Hell we blew up our own stuff. I still wonder who put the tracer round out that way. No one was suppose to fire tracers anyway, but with that light show, it must have been seen and heard all the way into space.

Which reminds me of Neil Armstrong's walk on the Moon. We looked up there when he was there and each of us said, "How can they put a man on the moon and not end this war?" It was a question without an answer.

This one base in the Valley had a stream running through it right beside our perimeter, so we used it to wash. Eventually it became a water hole, swimming hole, and a diving contest aqua-marina. Two boxes of grenades made for a deeper stream for diving.

The downside was, Charlie had it zeroed so we had to work fast before the mortars hit, but all he did was make the swimming hole deeper and better -- we could hear the mortars leave the tubes anyway. Plus, someone was always on watch for snipers. Still, it was a cool place to get clean, except for the leeches, but we adapted to them too.

Another thing I just remembered.  I noticed every time we loaded up the chopper to fly somewhere, the crew would ask if anyone checked the Jesus nut, before cranking up. I thought this was one of those new guy (FNG) tricks. 

It turns out, it was a real nut and that was it's official name. It's the big nut that holds the rotor blades onto the chopper. That was the only thing between you and Jesus.  Every time we landed, the crew said, "Thank You Jesus," with real feeling. It gave a whole new meaning to comparative religion. Truer words were never spoken. That got me to saying it also, and it really worked.

Sorry, I forgot one more humorous thing we used to do. We would take the C-4 out of claymores, roll it up and play catch with it, or just throw it at each other. As long as there weren't any blasting caps in it, it was harmless. The only rules we had were, if you lit it, let it burn out.  Stomping on it got your foot blown off. Once lit, it burned fast. We heated our food with it. It was kind of like 60-ish microwaves, but without the oven. 

You always had to throw away the shell you took it out of. Claymores don't work well empty. We would play marbles with the ball bearings at times. The main rule when setting up claymores was be watchful for bad weather, or choppers close by. The static from the blades would be all the spark needed to set them off. Bad weather always had static, especially up on a mountain top.

Our lives over there took lots of ups and downs every day. We somehow found humor in whatever situation we were in. We had to.

For us, our greatest joy was seeing the sun come up every day and knowing we lived another day. That was how we measured our lives. I still do that to this day

The most exciting thing I did was when I got enough seniority to go on R&R to Sydney, October 7, 1969. Seven days and six nights of another world. They were just building the Opera house back then. The people there were very gracious to us and treated us like family.

Day one, you learned they drive on the other side of the street. I nearly got run over, but I learned that if a pedestrian steps off the curb you are suppose to stop. We picked up on that fast and just like being new in Nam, the locals knew we were from out of town. Gee, I wonder how they knew that?

They loved my Texas accent and I loved theirs also. It was a trade off. I learned what Tea Time meant, too. No matter what was going on, when it was Tea Time, everything stopped, so I learned how to drink hot tea with crumpets.

I never did understand their monetary system. What the hell are quid, bob, six pence, crowns, half crowns, shillings, and on and on. If I bought anything, I just handed them what I had and they made the change. Sydney to this day still is very vivid to me. I still have the address where I met two sisters and where I stayed.

I couldn't believe the hotel. I must have turned on every light a million times, took several showers, and then I realized just how dirty I was. I never slept in the bed. I made a pallet on the floor facing the door, with the lights on. I do that a lot now days too.

The sisters took me everywhere. Most of the guys wanted to go to the clubs, but I wanted to see things I would have never seen. One lesson about Sydney is you can insult anything you want, just not the Queen, or you had problems. We went to see the Queens Palace, an opera, a ballet, museum, and a zoo with exotic animals that were nowhere else in the world. Here I thought we had all the exotics in Nam.

I also got to see the original version of the stage play Hair. Now in 1969, you just didn't see naked people running around and that's when mini skirts just came out. Too cool! Much less, round eyed women.

I made the mistake of getting in a cab there. It was kind of like the Cobra ride, only we just never left the ground. I thought I was riding with Mario Andretti. We made several blocks and I got out fast. I should have known when I saw the scarf wrapped around his neck that he liked driving fast.

I got to see Bandai Beach, where years later, the summer Olympics were held. I noticed these nets stretched across way out in the bay and asked what they were. "Shark nets", was the reply. They kept the sharks out so they could surf. It was a great idea, but I believe sharks could just roll over them. But hey, it made them think they were safe -- kind of like The Nam at times.

I don't think I slept at all during that time. I knew that was my one and only chance to see that place and I didn't want to miss anything. A beautiful place, and people, and cherished memories always.

The sisters wrote for a while and even sent me a Christmas card but I had already come home by then. I still have the cards and letters, along with all the fond memories. I always thought I would go back some day but life needed me here and here is where I will be.

Over the years I miss the guys most of all, both the living and the passed. I miss the humor, brotherhood, jokes, everything. I guess we all do in so many ways.

Just like I said, when I first landed, when one of the old timers said, "You can leave The Nam, but The Nam will never leave you. Welcome back to the world FNG's".
Michael "Surfer" Lansford
Viet Nam 68-69.

A Bob Hope quote: "Thanks for the memories", both good and bad. God bless and protect us all always.

“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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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Poll Results: Vietnam War Movies

The movies mentioned most often were:

"We Were Soldiers"
"Full Metal Jacket"
“Hamburger Hill”
"Forrest Gump"

The general consensus seems to be that each movie has something that rings true, based on each veteran's personal experience, but none portrayed the War in Vietnam as it really was.

Hollywood tries, but it cannot duplicate what cannot be duplicated.

Here Are Your Opinions:

Mike Hudzinski: For the basic training part, Full Metal Jacket!  I'm sure some of the fat guys wanted to shoot our DI, but they didn't.  I played the game and kept my mouth shut in basic.

Stanley Silva: It would be the fire fight in Forest Gump, We Were Soldiers, and some parts of Platoon.

Wayne Selby: Full Metal Jacket!

Chesapeake Bob: Yeah Full Metal Jacket was true about basic training. We had a Sgt. just like that, Seg Humphreys A-7-2 Ft. Bragg NC.  My whole 2-year hitch, kept my mouth shut and eyes and ears open 68-70.  I lost my brother 69/2/2 America Div 198th.

Took AIT at Ft. Lenard Wood, cold as hell when I was there.  Its funny, I only went to 9th grade, could not even get a job, but Uncle Sam sure gave me one when I turned 19.  I was a combat eng. with I Corps in Korea up in DMZ (wejounboo) I hope you guys can understand my spelling. I am sorry. I always had short term memory.  I can't remember too much for a long time and never knew what was wrong up till maybe 6 years ago, but I am a suvivor.

Daniel Bailey: Parts of Hamburger Hill

Tommy Stringer: I felt like all the Vietnam movies were over-dramatized.

Craig Latham: Full Metal Jacket. Not only was it about what I did (journalist/photographer), it also took place in I Corp where I was stationed out of Phu Bai. Although it was about Marine Basic, it was close to how ours was at Ft. Bragg in 1970.  Some scenes in Platoon were very real. Brought back many feelings.

Most, if not all of the movies, came out after the Vietnam War. The first one that I saw was Green Berets.  I did like Uncommon Valor. I'm sure our Government left men behind. And I think some stayed because they wanted to. But it would have been nice if some were found and the Government would have had egg on their face and some very big questions to answer.

Anthony Pingitore: Platoon. Gave me more of the real feel I felt. 67-68.

Steve Ostoffie: Cut out all the Hollywood BS and I agree, the fire fight in Forest Gump, We Were Soldiers, and some parts of Platoon.

Ed Bull:  The Vietnam movies made in Hollywood are in my opinion mostly crap. They do not display the real substance of the war or the soldiers honorably commitment. Most of the movies are built on the sensationalism of war and most do not portray the soldiers (veterans) true agony of the war or the human suffering the return veterans went through after their tour of duty, once back home. I have always said, “the tour of duty was a harsh survival, but surviving 20 + years after the tour of duty was almost equally painful”.

That being said: the last few scenes of Rambo have proved out the effects of war on our returning Vietnam veterans. I believe we will find similar circumstances from Iraq and Afghan returning veterans.

One movie does stand out is Heaven & Earth a 1993 Vietnam’s war film. Although, directed by Oliver Stone it is a portrait of the war from the Vietnamese perspective. The story was written by Le Ly Hayslip a Vietnamese woman.

Russel Stabler:  My opinion is first "We Were Soldiers" Others came close, just not up there as Soldiers.
Robert Lobbestael:  My opinion would be “Apocalypse Now”.

Steve Jenne:  Several good, yet early-made movies come to mind: "A Yank in Viet-Nam", I thought, was an excellent movie made in 1964, in Vietnam, while the war was on-going. Another good film was "Go Tell the Spartans", which, by title alone, sort of spoils the ending, if you know your ancient history. 

As far as scenery, I thought that "American Graffiti II" was fairly close. I agree, somewhat, with some of the other opinions offered in this survey, i.e., "Full Metal Jacket" (first half only; D.I. R.Lee Ermey was an actual drill instructor in the Marine Corps, and absolutely nailed his character and role!); "Platoon" was mostly "Hollywood", in my opinion, although the interaction of the characters within the portrayed platoon was very close to my own experiences; and "We Were Soldiers" was one of the best, due to the scenery and historical accuracy. This movie also closely portrayed the importance and agonies of the families back home (or, "back in the world", as we used to say).

Michael W. Lindley: All good movies, but nothing is close to real combat! For my money, the movie "Uncommon Valor". Also, please forgive me, but Firebase Ripcord was in the A Shau Valley. It was overrun by the NVA but the 101st Airborne took it back. Then the air force burned it to the ground.

Jimmy Hill: We Were Soldiers gets me emotional the most. I had to keep trying to regain my composure. Very disturbing.
Robert Weeks: Full Metal Jacket was like basic in C-1-1 at Ft. Jackson, SC., Nov 67. DI had just returned from Vietnam. Hard ass.

Ivan Mumaugh: Full Metal Jacket

Johnny Pancrazio: Can't handle war movies.

Jim Richards: We Were Soldiers and Hamburger Hill.

Dennis Haines: The movie, "We Were Soldiers" portraying Lt. Col. Hal Moore and UPI reporter Joe Galloway. I met them both in DC.

Carl Cook:  Bat 21 with Gene Hackman and I think Hamburger Hill was very close.

Gian Mari Samonte:  Platoon.

Ric B Burnam: To be honest, I haven't really seen one yet that is really accurate, except for the Discovery Channel documentary, "Brothers in War".  Platoon is close.

John Mccullough: Good Morning Vietnam.

Neal Benore: Vietnam as far as the movies go, the closest would be the beginning of Full Metal Jacket (Boot Camp). The middle would be Platoon, and the ending would be Hamburger Hill. 9th Marines Au Shau Valley and Laos, 69.

Dan White: I'm with you Neal Benore. 35th Combat Engr Bn. 68/69.  Took AIT at Ft Leonard Wood also, 1968. It was spring so I got some cold and hot.

I got to experience Da Nang to Con Thien on one hand in 68 then the very far south Delta in the middle of nowhere in 69 Soc Trang to Bac Lue. No NVA down south.

Neal Benore: Vietnam was 3-4 different wars all at once. We Were Soldiers is maybe the closest, but it doesn't have the mountains of I Corps. If I had to pick one only, We were Soldiers, but add lots of mountains.  No place was a good place over there, but some were worse than others.

Deborah Denning: After talking with George Thomas we agreed on Platoon. His words were "It's the closest but nothing can show what really happened."

John M. DeCillo: I can't be a true judge. My Vietnam was spent at Da Nang Air Base in 66 and Phan Rang Air Base in 67 as a ground weapons crew man. I only got out in the countryside a few times while at Phan Rang.

From what I have seen and read, my pick would be "We Were Soldiers" because it depicts the fact that the VC and NVA were willing to lose as many men as it took to continue the war. They fought on without any air power except for a minor role of the Migs up north. The body count war instead of a win ground and hold it war wasn't a great strategy.

Ray Sherron: We were soldiers

WarHippy Mffm: "We Were Soldiers", is probably the closest Hollywood will ever get to the reality of the war.

Pete Ticknor: I have a picture of my Grandfather, my Dad and I in our uniforms W1, WW2 AND VIETNAM. (Taken before I went overseas)

James Howell: Mel Gibson's movie, We were Soldiers.

Greg Kopilchack: I can say that the worst Vietnam war movie was the Green Berets.

Frank J Mallard Jr: We Were Soldiers and Platoon.

Terry Stevens: We Were Soldiers, I.E. ME USMC RVN 676869

Robert Elliott: Mel Gibson in When Were Soldiers

Doug Prescott: We Were Soldiers.

Ron Carew:  None. too many memories.

Ross Azzolina: We Were Soldiers

Ken Bosc:  Medivac the ride of your life.  Most of them have parts that are real, but most are hard to watch.

Ronnie D Spell: Platoon

Earl Pogue: We Were Soldiers. An account by Col. Hal Moore. I watched it again today on AMC. My tear glands don't work. I cried again when they were loading our dead heroes in those choppers.

Paul DeFedele: I am not a veteran, my Uncle is a Vietnam Veteran. We were watching Platoon and in the first 5 mins he got up and walked out. He told me the next day it was too real.  How about the boys in Company C?  I think it was made in 1978.

Cliff Sperry: Full Metal Jacket sure looked like the real Hue. Platoon was very realistic.

Les White: Platoon

George Tabor: We Were Soldiers with Mel Gibson.

Mark Jensen: Parts of Platoon.

Raymond J. Hughes Jr: Platoon

Don Carrico: For combat, some of Hamburger Hill. Documentaries actually are, of course, the real deal.

We lost two corpsmen on April 13, 1968 1st Plt., Bravo 1/27th Marines. Will never forget them. Under fire, didn't stop them, saved me and many others that day. I owe my life to Corpsman R.L. Dodsworth.  I saw a lot of pot smoking and a lot of abuse to the locals unfortunately.

I suffered for many years before I put down my experiences in writing. One of our brothers was writing a book dedicated to one of our Corpsman and asked for contributions.

When the book was published (Youngblood the History of the 27th Marines) we had a reunion (our first not until 1999). It was very healing.

Tommy D Calabaza: Platoon was somewhat real except for the pot smoking and abusing the locals.

Stanley Silva: For me the worst was Apocalypse.   I am with all of you on the feelings. Sometimes we need to cry.

If any of you vet are interested, I made a DVD of the times, places and music. It is my story, which ended up being every body's story. It's called "From the Summer of 67' to Vietnam".

It can be viewed at www.stanleysilva.com (just click on it).  It tells my story of the summer of 1967 to my journey through Vietnam as a U.S. Army Ranger.

I am not a writer, but I did find a release in making the DVD. I have never made one before this one. I allowed my emotions, thoughts and a little humor to guide me. It was somewhat in the same manner that you guide these veteran to write. I share their pain. I share their emotions. It took many tears to make this DVD.

The tears were all healing. I was able to make peace with the past.

Calvin Combs: I find it hard to watch movies about the war. What happens in a combat zone, is never scripted, but just honest reactions of the moment. There is no way to truly act out the will to survive and what you will do to do so.

Robert LaBrode: None of them. The horror and reality of war can never be caught in a movie made in Hollywood.

Gian Mari Samonte: At least there is a close depiction in PLATOON from the point of view of Oliver Stone who directed it and he is a Vietnam Veteran.

Bob Staranowicz: Not many, but We Were Soldiers, some of Platoon and Hamburger Hill -- Nothing with Rambo in the title.

Ron Erskine: The Deer Hunter. I live in Alaska, where everyone hunts; people here thought I was a little odd when I would invent some reason for not wanting to walk around in the bush with a rifle. It just wasn't fun anymore.

John J Ball: None.  You had to be there.

Earl Pogue: I thought there was a lot of sensationalism in Platoon.  The life and time of an artillery man on an LZ while there was tame compared to what a grunt went through.

I think the one where the guy stayed in Nam after the war, but he was obsessed with Russian roulette. Deer Hunter I believe.

Dick Buzik: None.

Paul Sharon: Platoon.

Pa Ro: I have no idea as between my bad memories of my two tours as a USMC medic and my PTSD; I cannot and will not watch any of them.

Tom Peck: Take "a little" of each movie, get an opinion from someone who was "actually" there and experienced the hell in "their" AOs and they will tell you which movie describes their sacrifices, their frustrations, their terror, their PTSD moments to this day, their buddies lost, so many Pros, so many Cons about their tour. These would be "honest", unedited, not sugar-coated biased opinions. Boys in Company "C", Platoon, Full Metal Jacket (for the boot camp).

Larry Sweeney: None.

Angeles Libres MC: There is no movie that can explain each man's emotional state of mind having been there. Every individual's recall of experiences then and now are private and can't be explained. Not really. Movies are just that -- Movies and nothing more.

If you really want to know what it was like, visit the wall and stay a while. That is the "Reality of War". Each of us has our own memories and ghosts and they belong to us. Good or bad, they belong to us. If you were there you understand; if you weren't, then thank your God and move on with your life.

The only thing all Vietnam vets have in common is we never really came home. Until all of our lost Brothers are here, We Will Never Forget.

Most weren't injured by the enemy, we were hit the worst by our own people. One thing that has stayed vivid in my mind were the chants "Bring our boys home", which translated really meant, "Don't send me".

Tom Haines: Platoon.

Abe Cardenas: Platoon.

Casper Sirakowski: Hamburger Hill.

Ron Erskine: Here's a story: shortly after I dero'ed, my girlfriend took me to a movie. "The Professionals". I didn't know Sam Peckinpah movies were close-up shotgun-to-the-face gore fests.

When I saw the insanely bloody bank robbery scene, I lost it. I got up and went into the lobby, where my girl found me ten minutes later, shaking like a leaf.

I told her I couldn't watch this, sorry, sorry, no way. Sweet woman walked me to her car, hugging me all the way. Best movie I ever walked out on.

John W Harris: I think platoon was closest to reality. It overplayed our differences instead of our common pains, joys and friendship. Though much of the war part were not realistic, it told our story through the impact it had on those we left and returned to. It displayed the pain of coming home to a different world. I couldn't wait to come back to the World. But when I did, I almost went back to get away from the pain and anguish of dealing with people here.

Ron Laboe: I can't watch movies about the war without problems so I haven't seen any.

Doyle Lemaire: Platoon

Cliff Davidson: We Were Soldiers 1st Cav 1st 21st Arty.  Not all the dope crap.

John Frost: Hamburger Hill

David N. Wheeler: Platoon.  In Platoon I felt very close to Sheen being the fng in the unit and experienced the feeling of trying to fit in.

It took a couple months when Platoon came out. A few other Nam vets and myself went to see it together. Yes there were tears but we made it through the movie and we related to the characters portrayed.

I myself now can watch some Nam movies.  It helps in the healing process though our inner scars are never going to leave us and we will never deal with the memories. We learn to live with them. Vietnam became a part of who we are and will be.  Don't let it destroy you -- there is help available through the VA.

John Bisbee: We Were Soldiers

Herbert Smith: Hamburger Hill.

Robert D Workman Sr: We were Soldiers and Platoon. The first was about units in combat and Platoon showed the attitude of the solder on the ground.

Joseph Mckee: Platoon.

Dan Wyngarden: Platoon

Sidney L Helms: Full Metal Jacket

Robert D Workman Sr: We fought for the guy next to us not the President or a General and we fought to get home as a group as best as possible.

Larry Brewer: The Boys of Company C. I lost a lot of good men there in Khesan.

Bob Snuffy Smith: Full Metal Jacket and We Were Soldiers.

Michael Lansford: For me it was Hamburger Hill because I was there. All the sounds in the movie sounded like I was back in country. I only saw it to compare what was real and what was Hollywood.

The incoming mortar and rocket fire made me leave the room because it sounded like I was back in country. Chopper sound was the same also.Close for the most part. Should have known better. Made my nightmares worse.

No matter what movie is out there we all lived part of them in real time. My hill was officially called Hill 937, but we all had hills with names, numbers, and each was as bad as the other. Bottom line was, we either lived or died, period. Every battle was bad.

I have a Vet friend who flew air support for the 9th infantry at Bear Cat in the delta. That was brutal. Whatever branch we were in we are all as one. Vietnam Combat fought for each other and No One can ever take that away.

Robert Aichele: Full Metal Jacket.

Robert Aichele: We were Soldiers was very well done.

Tom Thomason: I can't watch those movies, I have tried.

I do remember China Beach. I was Medevaced to 95th Evac in DaNang after the Hill. Our op stations were full so I was told so that was best option at the time. All I remember is docs and nurses covered in blood but this one nurse kept holding my hand and telling me I would be ok. Hell she had more blood on her than I did. Never knew her name but saw only blue eyes and helping save us all. Always wanted to say thanks but never could.

We all have stories like this that most will never understand. Like it has been said, you just had to live it to know.

Harry Andrus: Cannot say. Cannot bring myself to watch any of them. They bring the wrong kind of memories that I am trying to forget. I heard We Were Soldiers was one of the best, but I have heard that all are good in some ways.

Larry Adams: Does anyone remember "Tour of Duty"?

Larry Smith: Check out a little known film called "84 Charlie MoPic". It was filmed in 1989.

Júlio Edson Brum Dos Santos: Platoon e Além da linha vermelha in Portuguese Brazilian!

Bob Beam: 'America, Letters Home From Vietnam'. The whole movie is actual film and will take you back in a heartbeat!

Here is a good read: 'Tears of a Warrior'. To order this book for free, you can call (703) 256-6139, or go to the web site: www.mophsf.org, then click on PTSD Book. This is an excellent read!

Rik Bellerue: Since Vietnam was fought over varying types of terrain, there's something in almost all of them that someone can relate to. We Were Soldiers brings the most to me because of the Huey scenes, as I was a doorgunner and not a grunt.

Butch Donahoe: I like Letters from Vietnam.

James W. Harris IV: I wrote to my wife almost every day that I was there and she kept all those letters all these years. I know they're there, I've just never sat down to read them for fear of bringing up old memories.

Danny Cotten: Platoon.  Smoking pot was an everyday thing when I was in Nam. And please know I was 11B in an infantry swing battalion normally humping in platoon size elements, staying in the field almost my whole tour.

Richard Mclaughlin: We Were Soldiers

Daniel Marthers: Forest Gump and We Were Soldiers.

George Samek: Saving Pvt Ryan.  I had very close contact with the "yards" in Pleaku In 64-65. To This Day I Remember Their Kindness and Their Brave Stand In Battle.

My Unit Adopted A 11 Year Old "Yard" Orphan Boy. The Troops Tought Him English and Math. I Think One Troop Took Lin Home When He Left Vietnam.

Dennis Haines: Saving Pvt. Ryan was a World War II movie and not at all like it was in Vietnam.  Platoon was good, but dealt too much on smoking pot! We never were any where that we could or wanted to do this! My whole tour in Vietnam we only had three two day stand downs at brigade! The rest on the time we were in the field and there was no doing this then.

Mike Hudzinski: I used to like the TV series "Tour of Duty".  It was soft core war if you can call it that. I think they did like 58 Episodes before it was yanked. Some of the guys on that show displayed the same emotions we had back then.  Truth is, you can never come close to the emotions that real firefights and war deals you.

All movies have scripts, blank ammo, planned explosions by experts, and paid actors who try their hardest to portray battle...looks good but you know that on the end of the day they go back to the trailer or home, and get up and do it again.
Geoff Keeno Keeney: Platoon wasn't bad.

Richard Mclaughlin: I liked the TV show China Beach.

Carl Adams: If you came right down to it, none of them really show you as a human being and up tight when you get into a firefight and your adrenalin is sky high. Platoon and When We Were Soldiers.

But you can see live footage of some battles from the news media that shout film. Just look up some of the news broadcasters like Dan Rather, Walter Croncite, and there are a lot more.

Harry Guenterberg: None of them.

Larry Sweeney: No way can a hollywood movie with fake heroes even come close to a grunt's 365 tour in Nam.

Bobby Wilson: Forest Gump.

Mark Jensen: In 71 -72  not only were a lot of people smoking pot, but heroin was running rampant.

Joseph L. Shepard: Dear America--Letters from Vietnam.

Jean-Philippe Paré: Tour of Duty the series on CBS is the closest.

James Estes: I never saw a movie that was like Vietnam was.

Joseph L. Shepard: Dear America is real--movies such as Platoon, etc., are all Hollywood and can't come close to the reality of the place. If you decide to watch it, be prepared.

Richard Bryan: The Deer Hunter, Platoon

Dave Ramsey: I have never seen "Heaven and Earth" but I can understand the confused thoughts of some of the Vietnamese of our time line. I remember how they were very confused in the early 60's of us being there. For years they had seen war with the French. I don't think most of the peasant's understood why we were there and that we were trying to help. It's very understandable how the North could turn these misguided people against our effort.

Herbert Smith: Viet Nam High Def. That takes me back.

Richard Croom: When I watched Forrest Gump the combat scene caught me off guard and it seemed so real.  I was in a similar situation.

Herb Adams: It was hard to watch The Green Berets with John Wayne. It has a lot of what I did over there. In our base camp [Junction City] we were over run by VC and NVA on 1 st of December 1968.

If you want to check it out: Steven W. Stone at 1497 Ravinia Rd. in Charleston, WV. zip 25314-1858.  He will tell you the rest of the story.

Ed Hepler: Platoon  Leader is one of my favorite Nam movies. I don't ever hear too much about it, though.

Curtis Riley: Through July and August 1968, at Ft. Lost-in-the-Woods (Leonard Wood), I thought my DI couldn’t read -- he kept calling me Shit Head and that wasn’t on my name tag.

Byron Thiel: Can a movie ever replicate what it was like? I don't think so, unless they can get one with the VC shooting back at the audience. That's a no.  Doesn't matter how realistic they try to make them!

Walter Costello:  For accurate history, We Were Soldiers. Second place: the Grunt and REMF experiences, and the pathos and black humor in Good Morning Vietnam. For just the grunts, Full Metal Jacket. I can't think of one about the air war. Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now both sucked.
84 Charlie Mopic wasn't bad. I don't recall seeing Flight of the Intruder but the book was good. And what was the name of the Gene Hackman flick about the A-1 pilot rescue in the Ashau? Wasn't there also a flick about Dieter Dengler? Born on the Fourth of July, Forrest Gump.

Darrell Nelson:  We were Soldiers depicted just how it was on the battle field and at home. Hands down the most realistic.

Tony Flores:  I would say, We were soldiers for the portion of the home front and the battle that lasted a specific time, but I don't think we will ever duplicate that war.  It was different in different sections of Vietnam. The Marines were in I Corps and the Army in the 2-3-4 th Corps. The Navy was all over and the USAF was in most. B52s came from Guam came just for Bomb runs and the Allies were all over with U.S. Units that had Muliservuce members. 

I choose "We were Soldiers" for those specific reasons. Some of the Vietnam movies must have been made in someone's imagination because they were far out. Some like Patoon do have some truth to it. We are still finding out things about WWII. I just know that the U.S. Government gave the G.I. an assignment and we did it. That other political history reflects on the Politicians. We did our job.

Michael Kwas:  Until recently, I never watched a war movie although I owned Full Metal Jacket and Platoon both unopened for years.  I have just started watching Vietnam movies. I was concerned about PTSD flashbacks for these many years, opposite!  Seems reliving through movies seems to help forget the REAL experiences and serves as a form of therapy. Go figure?

John Larkin:  "We Were Soldiers" and for the air war I believe it was" The Flight Of The Intruder". I liked "Full Metal Jacket" because it related to me when I went through Parris Island.

Duke Schechter:  Definitely "Full Metal Jacket" - the first half almost dead on, the second half more indicative of the 'general attitude'. "The Deer Hunter" had its moments, but - even with a Marine's 'general opinion' of the Army, I thought "Platoon" was little more than a propaganda 'hit piece' and "Apocalypse Now" was less about Nam than Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" replayed in camouflage.

Graham “Tom” Town:  Head and shoulders above all the others "84 Charlie MoPic" was the most real to me. It was not a widely distributed film and definitely low budget but it takes me back to 68-69 like no other. The first half (training) of "Full Metal Jacket" was good and the homefront in "We were Soldiers" (as well as the Combat Assault footage). "Platoon", "Deer Hunter", "Apocalypse Now" were all anti-war political pieces.

84 Charlie MoPic is a documentary style film that follows one LLRP Patrol of Soldiers from the 173d Airborne Brigade "Sky Soldiers" who are accompanied by an 84C (MOS) reporter and cameraman to document the patrol. It is authentic down to the detail of taping each others LBE to eliminate "Battle Rattle". It is available to watch for free on You Tube and I encourage all of my fellow Sky Soldiers to check it out.

Thomas Chase:  Like so many of my "brothers" here as well as others I know - "We Were Soldiers".  I feel it depicts the Vietnam War accurately in many ways. Both in-country, as well on the home front back in the days. The "realism" is depicted in the expressions on many of the actors faces in various life or death situations as well as the mental anguish of war and the horror of death. The helicopter "crash" on the LZ was likely the most accurate I had seen in any movie and I was unfortunately privy to witnessing a number of Hueys "go down" during my tour (including mine)!

I do believe the movie captured accurately a time period in the mid 60's - and the stage the war was at then. As mentioned by Tony F. - not only was the war different in Nam based on sections geographically but also by time periods as well as terrain and military strategy.

"We Were Soldiers" - however depicted most accurately a good overview of what Nam was like and the interaction of: A Commanding Officer and his troopers in combat - the enemy mindset - the home front - and the birth of air assault via choppers.
Another seldom discussed movie with Sally Fields and Henry Winkler - "Heroes". It may not rate as a "Vietnam" movie - but is related to it. It deals with the initial publicity relative to PTSD.


A Vietnam vet (Winkler) turns out to have a case of lacunar amnesia, escapes a mental ward in New York City intending to start a business as a worm farmer in Eureka, California.

At the bus station, he accidentally meets Carol Bell (Field), a woman unsure of her engagement and imminent marriage to a man she has confused feelings towards. Initially annoyed by Jack, Carol gradually warms to him as they set off on a trip through middle America towards the Northern California: she traveling to think things over about her impending nuptials, he to locate his three old war buddies and involve them in his scheme to raise worms.

It becomes clear that the first two of the three men Jack and Carol locate are in poor condition to do much work of any kind, and when a visit to the parents of the third of Jack's wartime friends results in the disclosure that the friend had died in the war, Jack, who knew the fact but cannot accept it, is launched into a hallucinatory episode based on the tragic battlefield death that Carol helps to pull him out of, so he can finally face reality.

Niko Lorris:  General Hal Moore who wrote the book We Were Soldiers Once and Young told Universal the only way he would allow them to do the movie was to hire veterans from the Ia Drang Valley, to oversee the production as advisors. He made them agree not to embellish it like Hollywood does. They kept their promise. It was named by veterans organizations as the one movie Vietnam veterans can be proud of. If you saw the movie it was as close as if it were a documentary, almost like being there. 

The Ah Shau Valley was the 1/9th Marines and they earned the name "The Walking Dead". I had a good friend that was there. Glen Guarino.  Later in life his wife and her new lover shot Glen in the head while he was sleeping. They are both in PRISON for LIFE with no parole ever. R.I.P. my Brother. --Niko 7th Cav RECON (lrp)

Charles Brown:  We Were Soldiers.  I’m 7th Cav Airmobile. I’ve never seen the movie but by all accounts, it was as close as they could get.

Ioniel Green:  7th Cav. Air mobile.  We Were Soldiers.

Joseph Crawley:  Can’t watch any of them.  Also tried to watch Lone Survivor, but had to turn it off.

James Hathorn:  I haven't seen too many related movies but I liked Full Metal Jacket. I was not in the Crotch but most of my family was. In the AF boot camp was a lot less brutal but the movie did seem realistic except maybe a little too dramatic. Then the actual combat movie I liked was Hamburger Hill. The scenery was realistic and a lot of the attitude was real too. We Were Soldiers has to be the best overall expression of how it was.

These are just movies. I watch them too and some of them disgust me because it is obvious the filmmakers know crap about it. But then I just say to myself it's a shame that this is done to make a buck at the expense of real mortality lost and lives changed. They ought to be ashamed for exploiting us and it does make me sick; however, there are some movies that are good, if nothing else, for entertainment value. We knew what really happened where we were and when we were. That movie never lies. I like this forum because I know you guys and you know me. This is real! Love you brothers, James Hathorn, Weapons Control Systems, 12 TAC Fighter Wing, Cam Ranh Bay, RSVN, Sgt. USAF

Cam Ranh Bay, USAF 12th TAC Fighter Wing I volunteered for augmentee to the APs to defend the base perimeter. It was unbelievable how nerve wracking it is to dig in on the perimeter, pitch dark waiting for something. No smoking was infuriating. Sappers, snipers, Viet Cong (Charlie) coming across the concertina or maybe not. We would hear noise and imagine we could see movement. Sometimes it was real and a fire fight would commence somewhere down the line. It was crazy and I never knew what was exactly what was happening but the gunfire incoming and outgoing was wild. It lasted for seconds or minutes. We may have been hit or not but it seemed like a life time until finally, "Hold your fire". Then quiet for hours until we were relieved and headed back to the armory and turned in our M-16s.. I had been to Phan Rang but only for A&E scrounging for the Phantoms. I know you guys went through the same stuff. I know the grunts and juggies had it full time. My view of combat is from a different perspective than Army or Marines but the war was "all war all the time".

John Rinaldi:  84 Charlie Mo-Pic

Dave Waldron:  Having been with a Marine Detachment with HQ Company, 3rd Medical Btn, 3rd Marine Division, the movie M.A.S.H. was to damn realistic. I saw the meatball surgery and the doctors who did whatever was necessary to save a GI.

Gary Waits:  "Full Metal Jacket" would be my choice for best Vietnam movie. The toughness of basic training was taken very seriously by those of us who knew the odds in winding up in South East Asia. When I received the order to report for Jungle Warfare Training, I knew what it was for...and again it was taken extremely focused on learning how to survive what I would be facing. The Army did a great job of preparing us for combat and war.

Ken Flauding:  For the TET offensive, "Full Metal Jacket". Years ago I read dispatches from units in that area and believe me, they did a good job in the movie; albeit, still falling short of the reality. 

For me, "Platoon" was close to some of our experiences; but "We Were Soldiers" nailed it for that specific battle. Nonetheless, it mimicked a number of other altercations that took place over the ten years we were there.

 I was there for the TET offensive of '70. Sappers hit our ammo dump and took out a few good men in the process. None of us got sleep that night. Lucky for us, no further action that night that we couldn't handle with air support and a few rounds from the USS New Jersey.

Robert Walters:  For those outside the wire, definitely, "We Were Soldiers!" I lost many friends that were in the Army. 

For myself, USAF Phan Rang AB Security Police/Security Forces, it had to be "Boys Of Company C;" waiting for Charlie or the NVA to hit us, and the Shake Sheets drove us crazy. While waiting, we got drunk or smoked at the MARS station, always pissed off at everything. After a ground attack or rockets and mortars raining in, we did our job and the perimeter was secure. We had two 50 cal. towers, mini guns on jeeps, our own heavy weapons squads and towers and bunkers everywhere with M-60's, M-79's, our M-16's and claymores, etc. Our first line of defense was our K-9 section. In most cases, Charlie knew to stay away from such well-defended bases.

I wish they would make a movie about the Marines on and about K Sahn.  I think Hill 880 and 881, too.  The Marines, like the Army never quit.  I was there in I Corp 70-71 A Shau Valley, 101st Abn Div Sgt 11B4P (airborne infantry NCO) leader of a 10-man S & D TEAM.  The greatest guys I ever knew.

Vicki Ruggiero-Diaz:  Go tell the Spartons. I believe this movie describes the beginning of war accurately.
The boys from company C, Hamburger Hill. Apocalypse Now. We Were Soldiers. Casualties.

Gregory T. Smith:  “Hamburger Hill” and “We Were Soldiers”.

Timothy Welker:  Anyone who knows will never tell.

Michael Pyykola:  For me it was definitely "When We were Soldiers". I would never talk about my war experiences and was trying to forget them for forty years. My granddaughters brought the movie over and insisted that I watch it with them. I cried through most of the movie. It was so authentic. I had seen most of the Hollywood produced movies and I felt that they were crap. They were meant to hurt the military or dishonor the bravery of our Warriors.

John Yelton:  Platoon is the best for me , not the story line but the conditions. The only thing that looked half way real in We Were Soldiers , was when they were passing out the telegrams. LTC Moore standing straight up all the time directing the battle , is a joke. You cant put like how it really is in words or a movie. When you feel that shrapnel hit you and , have blood on you , from your dead friends then you know.

James Oberg:  "We were Soldiers" is the one that hits home. Can't watch it again.

Anthony Kirkland:  “We Were Soldiers”. This was the movie that hit home for me. I Drang Valley 65 & 66. Directly involved with the 2nd Bn 5thth Cav. 1st Cav Div. I will never forget.

Ralph Hiildebrand:  What about John Wayne and "Green Beret?"

Ed Jackson: To me it was 'Hamburger Hill'. A story of the 101st Airborne assault on Hill 937. Continuous American assaults to take the hill from the NVA, very high casualties, and when troops come home are treated like sh!t from just about everyone

Frank Ritter: No movie can duplicate what we feel or are thinking either in battle or between battles. Try being one of the guys who had to take the WIAs & the KIAs off the huey and take them to be worked on by the doctors or to the morgue. Then going into the MASH unit and assisting the doctors all the while mortars and rockets are incoming to your base camp. Dau Tieng, S. Vietnam, Co. B , 25th Med Btn, 25th ID- 67-68

Gary Fox: I thought "The Siege of Firebase Gloria" was pretty good. It was written by R. Lee Ermey.

“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