"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

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Fearful America: by Lance Pinamonte

Lance Pinamonte
I have been scared many times in my life and, in most cases, I have faced my fears.  There is a time to run, and a time to stand. 

Lately, I have noticed a very distinct pattern of fear in this nation.  Our media has spurred much of it and the politics of fear are raging like a fire..

Once after looking at my pictures of the Vietnam war, my grandson asked me if I was ever scared. I answered him, " Yes.  Only a fool was not."

I remember my father's words, when I asked him about his service in WW-2. "I crawled into my helmet and made myself as small as I could during the bombing raids in China."  

Let me tell you a good old war story.  Maybe that will get us back on track ...

I had very little time left in Vietnam (SHORT!), when I was sent to the 101st AB.  My flying days were over and I was to be stationed in a base camp called Camp Eagle and put onto a PE crew for a Cobra outfit. 

It was to be an easy assignment, at least compared to what I had already been through.  It would consist mostly of night PE's, and most of the time there were none. I really didn't care anymore.  Oh I did my job, and I did it well, but I was tired of the Army. I had seen too much. 

One night I reported to the hanger where I had to finish up a PE inspection.  Then I headed back to my hooch, crawled into my cot, pulled up my poncho liner, and went to sleep. 

I was sleeping pretty good when the rockets hit.  I was used to it, as I had been in so many attacks that it was normal to roll off my cot onto the floor and continue sleeping.  (Running to the bunkers usually got you killed). 

It was only few seconds later when suddenly a loud "WHOOMPH" hit the hooch.  There was dust everywhere and present was a sound I had not heard before. Opening my eyes and trying to make out what had happened brought me the horrific sight of a 2.75 rocket warhead only inches from my head!  It had penetrated the sandbags around the hooch.

In Country
When things wound down outside, I did a high-speed duck crawl to the nearest bunker. Later, I found out that a NVA rocket had hit the ammo dump for our outfit, sending our own rockets all over the camp. We lost the hanger as well as several aircraft..

Fear set in from then on.  I went into a mode I had seen before in many guys who had a short time left in country. Thing is, I had always laughed at them. 

I moved my cot to the local bunker, kept my weapon closer, and I was always looking over my shoulder. I continued this way until I thought I was going to go mad. 

Then I came to the realization, that anything I did had very little to do with the outcome, with fate.

Yeah, I would do my best to stay safe, but the rest would have to take care of itself.  I figured once I was back in the world, I would never be afraid again. That was some real bull also.  But that's a different story, for a different time.

So that brings me to today, with the media shouting Ebola, terrorists, healthcare, climate change, and political turmoil. It is the survivalist mentality taking a front seat to common sense. 

Everywhere, I see people willing to sacrifice personal freedom to be safe, willing to sacrifice our youth to wars that can last forever, willing to spend our tax dollars on a military machine that is 48 times that of the rest of the world. 

People are reacting, without educating themselves on the dangers, blindly following others who have no knowledge of the situation -- and the media and politicians are feeding on their reactions... 

So ask yourself, "What does fear do to common sense?" My answer to this type of fear is the fact that we have already lost, if we bend to every terrorist, disease, and tactic in this world. 

Real fear is looking at a un-exploded ordinance just inches from your face.  Real fear is standing in the freeway watching a semi trailer truck bearing down on you.  Real fear is NOT some talking head looking for reactions and ratings and talking trash ... 

I no longer fear for myself.  My fears include watching my wife fail, and the world I am leaving for my children's children. 

God bless America.


Lance L. Pinamonte
U.S. Army - 1967 to 1970
67N30 Crewchief/Doorgunner Helicopter Mech.
Champagne Flight

Also by Lance:

“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

Feel free to comment on this post. You are also invited to write about anything you want to share. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history.

Send it to me in an e-mail and I will be proud to post it for you.


  1. I know exactly where you're coming from, my brother. Society has no clue as to what real fear is until it's face to face with you. Our fear in country drove us to become very aware of even the most remote things usually taken for granted. For me I still look over my shoulder & take nothing for granted, not even going anywhere where there are lots of people around. Everyone to me feels like the enemy in many ways. I to truly know the feeling of a round landing right in front of you & not go off, not once but twice for me. Fate, timing, divine intervention, angels watching over us, any &/or all fit what we dealt with. Glad the rocket didn't go off my friend. So true about the media & politicians fueling the fear factor here. As I see it, it gives them more control over our lives, at least for those who never lived in the world we did.

  2. Thanks Michael, I to have a very rough time in crowds. Lance

  3. Hey Lance,
    Thanks for posting this one. You have convinced me, especially after Michael's comment, that I need to respond. In my book, MILITARY LIFE - SERVICE OR CAREER A SOLDIER'S PERSPECTIVE, after encouragement from my wife and my youngest son, who is also an Army veteran, my introduction is an incident (firefight) from Vietnam (199th LIB) in the Mekong Delta. In that intro. and during the firefight, an RPG round stuck in the mud between me and my platoon sergeant, only three or four feet from each of our heads, and did not detonate. It was the scariest moment in either of our lives. I will post an excerpt from that book, and I am quite sure many here will be able to identify with it.


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