by Frank Fox
I was a Corpsman stationed with the Marines during the Vietnam Era.
Also many wives have endured living with these men, so their lives are impacted, as well as their children's.
It is my humble opinion that there should be some kind of screening of potential combat personnel, prior to them going into combat. Combat is not for everyone. It takes a special DNA for that.
He was a door gunner/crew chief on helicopters, so he wasn't someone who drove for an officer, or typed paper work. Please don't be offended by that last remark. Everybody plays a part, when you are in uniform during hostile times.
His habit started in country, because it was readily available. Officers knew how invasive it was, but the troops did better when using marijuana. Trouble was, one day you were there, the next you were at home – and your habit went with you.
He was found with one (1) joint on his person and was subsequently kicked out of the Army that he loved. His exemplary service made no difference. Uncle Sam tolerated it in Vietnam, but once you were home it was a no-no.
You would think they would work with these men and women. Since then, the leaders of our country have been users and they were considered good enough to lead this country.
He lost his lower left leg to the effects of Agent Orange. He has long since finished the use of recreational drugs, but was left with the gut-wrenching humility of being booted from the military he loved.
My brother was an E-5 at 19 years of age, and had four rows of ribbons with several air medals. We will never know how many people got to be grandfathers, play baseball with their sons, or give their daughters away in marriage because of him. He is my hero for his service.
I write on the opinion/editorial page of the newspaper, whenever they will let me. They censor me fairly well, not for language, but for my thoughts. This is South Texas and they seem to resent my being sympathetic to minorities, or my defending certain groups.
I was the last man in our Legion group to leave the staging area and I rode with the County Sheriff. We met at the local Civic Center, in large numbers recognized by affiliation, and those just in plain street clothes.
We also had many WW2 vets in the crowd. Most were in wheelchairs. I have to stop as a lump has come in my throat and tears to my eyes.
These old vets bound in wheelchairs had to have help but struggled to their feet when the colors were raised and when their military branch was recognized, and when their name was called. One had to be helped by a vet on either side of him, but he got there standing tall.
The reporter at the event said there was not much participation, and the kids were better off not missing school – I guess staying in class pulling pigtails was more important. How wonderful for the young to see their parents or grandparents in a parade.
Anyhow, the newspaper would not put my letter in the paper. I get censored all the time, and they want every sentence fact-checked. They seem to have something against people who have served. It's a different world now ....
CJ, thank you for the compliment and recognizing my service which I was only too happy to do. It is not for everyone, but God Bless those who chose to serve.
US Navy with USMC
August 1964 – August 1970 (6 years 1 month)
“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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