|Gary Jacobson - Vietnam '66-'67|
Forty years ago, I was sent by my rich uncle to work in his vineyards in a land all white and ready to harvest ~ hereinafter referred to as Vietnam.
I served with 1st platoon, B Co 2nd/7th 1st Air Cavalry '66 - '67, as a combat infantryman. We called ourselves 'Grunts', operating out of LZ Betty near beautiful downtown Phan Thiet, Vietnam.
My unit was the same unit that was depicted in the Mel Gibson movie, "We Were Soldiers," only I came along one year later.
Vietnam changed all who served, indelibly and forever. I'm now on a 100% disability rating with an extra hole in my head, covered by a 3x4 inch plate.
Shrapnel the size of a quarter is currently embedded three inches into my brain. This traumatic brain injury was compliments of a tripwire booby trap that triggered a grenade, that in turn detonated an artillery round ... and in the process, it completely ruined my whole day on April, 22, 1967, during a combat operation in the boonies near Phan Rang, Vietnam, April 28, ‘67.
My greatest motivating desire in writing about Vietnam was first, a cathartic one, to heal the demons of war within me where I'd stashed them so long ago. Writing brought them out, so I could confront and deal with them face-to-face, looking them in the eye.
Parents, brothers, sisters, children of vets, write to thank me for helping them to know their loved one better. Now they understand why he acts the way he does, why he won’t talk, where he'd been and why he'd changed, what he'd experienced. He would not, or could not, talk about it. My writing helped them connect and feel closer to their veteran. As a writer, that is always humbling. I write for them!
I write because I feel a great need to promote a better understanding about the realities of war in those that haven't the foggiest idea of what war is really all about. There is no glory in war! War isn't the clean and antiseptic fare we see in the movies. War is a deep fear of lingering death in the mud and blood (ours and theirs) that stays and haunts soldiers for the rest of their lives.
A Vietnamese legend says, "All poets are full of silver threads that rise inside them as the moon grows large." So, when I write, it is because these silver thread words are poking at me, and I must let them out.
|Walk the Point of the Spear|
WALK THE POINT OF THE SPEAR
by Gary Jacobson © 2013
Today I walk the point of the spear
First to hear
What’s lurking in shadowed dark
Waiting for you…
Walking the park.
In this jive jungle joint,
I’m first to see… Lucky me
Who or what waits for me
Be he good time Charlie
To kill me… maybe just maim me.
Sniper in the tree
Can’t you see
Or Mr. Charles gift without warning sound
Booby tramp tamped in the ground
When it goes boom… somebody will die
Somebody will cry.
See his tripwire across the trail
Quick transport to hell
Somebody’s got to do it
Be first in line to meet the sh__
Uh, er, welcoming surprise.
Besides… be ye Sinner or Saint
You don’t want to live forever,
Do you? You do!
Too bad, so sad…
No joy! Zin loi!
“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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