"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Soldier's Poems: by Mihanel Pabon

Mihanel Pabon


Intrusive Thoughts

by Mihanel Pabon

It's a memory embedded 
in your brain
that's not so much a memory
as it is a stain.
No matter how long ago it was
when most will say, let it pass

You are not trying to remember it
you're trying to dismember it.
Normalcy becomes an illusion
for when everything seems to be all right,
when it appears you're winning the fight,
BOOM, a trigger appears.

Unfortunately, you never know 
when, 
where, 
or what
a trigger could be,
a smell, 
a sound, 
or something you see.

I could go on writing for untold pages
and write a manifesto for the ages,
but I just want you to understand
that I'm really trying
 against this intrusion
to take a stand.

I'm going to go straight to the core.
You see, I want to enjoy
this precious moment of normalcy.
It was all caused
by war.




Why I Am

Mihanel Pabon

I Am, so you can be
What you choose to be
I am, so no one in your way can get
And in comfort, your roots you may set
I am forever in your service
Sometimes I do get nervous
But that's part of who I am
That's my humanity
Which does not include vanity

I will do everything I've learned
To stop inhumanity
It's not in vain
To be proud of who you are
And from where you came
To always be true to the cause
Never ever seeking, or wanting applause
It's who I am
So you can be
Above all things, happy and free
My family I love very much
But as a human being
In one way, or another, everyone's life we touch
Thank God
They understand who I am
So the old can be happy and free
And the same way the young grow older
Is why I fulfill my destiny
I am
Soldier


About the Author:

Mihanel Pabon was 11 Bravo (grunt) and in Vietnam from January 27 to December 20, 1970.

He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with Elaine, his wife of forty years.  As he says, "Talk about deserving a medal -- I mean Congressional -- I was fortunate to find someone so strong."

Mihanel and Elaine have two daughters, Mandy and Tara, and a four month-old granddaughter, Lei-Lani Olivia. 

A lot of Mihanel's writings were the direct result of requests, which he customized. If you need the right words for anyone, or any situation, feel free to leave him a comment with your email address, so he can contact you.  He will be happy to try and help.


“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 feel comfortable sharing. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history, sharing the truth about the Vietnam veteran, and what it was like in Our War.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Round Trip: by Lance Pinamonte

Some things stick with you longer than needed...

Recently, I found myself wondering why I am filled with a deep dread whenever I think of a "Round trip Ticket".

The reason finally dawned on me the other day when I was discussing prices for round trip packages with a friend.

In other posts, I have told the world what a normal day was for a flight crew in the RVN.  We started our days before daylight with pre-flight, our mission, or missions, fairly set before takeoff. On many days, our mission would change as the day went on, by changing courses, or schedules, as needed to support, or lift, troops and supplies.

This is an example of one of those days ...

It was a simple day. We were taking off from our revetment with a "Clear Left, Clear Right" from the Gunner, and Crew Chief, hovering to the main strip, calling for clearance, and quickly going into transitional lift, then climbing to 1500'. 

Our day was set:  lift an LLRP team into an area near Nui Ba Ra, then fly some resupply to various units in the field. So we flew into Lai Khe to pickup the LRRP's and dropped them without problems. We then went back to Lai Khe, and loaded C's and water for the first resupply run.

After a couple of sorties, we got a call for an emergency Medivac.  We were in the area, so we turned around, turned on the speed, contacted the unit, and realized it was the LRRP's we had dropped earlier. 

We came in high and they popped smoke, then dropped down to the tree tops and came in hot to the small clearing.  We picked up a few tracers as we cleared the trees, but nothing heavy.

Carrying an Injured LRRP
The LRRP's had two wounded.  One was serious, with a sucking chest wound.  Another had schrapnel in his leg.

I helped load them up and gave the pilots a green light to DiDiMoa!  

We cleared the LZ and climbed quickly to 1500', heading at top speed to the Lai Khe Medivac pad.

My gunner and I swung around and checked our passengers. Both were fairly stable and it looked like they would make it home.

We landed shortly, and the medics came out to the pad to help evac our passengers. I was most worried about the guy with the chest wound as his pulse was not very stable.

I then told the pilots I wanted to check the ship out, before we started back to the resupply pad, so they hovered off the pad and set down on the ready pad nearby.

After going over the ship, I found no holes, and we took off to finish our missions for the day. 

The rest of the day went smooth, except for a short message from our headquarters, saying we had night On Call, so we came in.  I finished my daily inspection, and we settled into a night in our hammocks on the ship. 

It was about midnight when the pilots woke us up. We had a Black Cross mission, Black Cross from Lai Khe to Bein Hoa.  Black Cross meant transporting our dead, and it was done at night.

We landed on the Black Cross pad in Lai Khe and helped the guys load up the body bags. I could see the tags under the marker lights of the ship. One of them was the LRRP we had Medivac'd earlier that day...

As I sat down in the gun well, my Gunner said, "He has gotten a round trip ticket today, God Damn It!"  It is the simple statements that stick with people sometimes ... 

We can watch a politician spout paragraphs of hyperbole, and maybe one sentence will hit us as meaningful. Or as my old gunner would say, "They don't pay us enough to give a shit, but many a shit has been given!"


"Cool Kid"



Lance L. Pinamonte
U.S. Army - 1967 to 1970
67N30
Crew Chief/Door Gunner
Helicopter Mech.
Champagne Flight





Other Articles 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 feel comfortable sharing. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history, sharing the truth about the Vietnam veteran, and what it was like in Our War.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Agent Orange: The Whole Story

Barrels of Agent Orange

by Frank Fox


After I came home from Vietnam, I worked for many years in the Environmental Health and Safety field.

While I was there, the puzzle finally came together ...

Back in the 60’s, companies made some fairly potent chemicals. 

That being said, what was lacking at these production sites was any documentation about it’s effects on humans -- by that, I mean there was no information available to give to workers who handled the chemicals, or for the public who sold them.  

That was pretty much the state of Safety in those days -- make it and then sell it. Once sold, it was up to the purchaser to use it as he wished. 

The company I worked for made the Herbicide 2,4,5-T, which was also known as Agent Orange. Monsanto and Dow originally made these herbicides (weed killers) for agricultural weed control and sold it around the world. It was a great herbicide -- and it was very effective.

During the Vietnam War, the DoD put the word out that it would be great if there was something available to defoliate the thick canopied jungles of Vietnam. 

Dow and Monsanto were looking for sales, so they said, "We have something."  There was a demand and they made it.  There were no questions asked, as to how it would be used.  They just filled the shipments for their newest customer -- Uncle Sam.

Agent Orange (Herbicide Orange) was only one of the herbicides and defoliants used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1967. For that, a mixture of equal parts of two herbicides, 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D was used.

The 2,4,5-T was shipped in bulk containers (55 gallon orange-striped drums, hence the name agent orange). The drums had no hazard handling labels, nor did the military train anyone on it’s safe handling, cautions, and proper use of PPE (personal protective equipment) while handling it. Back then, there were no cautionary measures taken, because it was not known that any were necessary.

As to the application of the chemicals, the military leadership was not yet aware of the environmental impact. To them, if a little worked good, then lets slap it on really thick to work even better.  Uncle Sam wasn’t in the chemical business and they didn’t know. 

It was probably one of those good ideas likely thought up by McNamara’s think tank.  Down the line, there was an order from above to handle, load, and disperse it until it could be seen as working in the jungles.

Applying Agent Orange
The pictures you may have seen of the military loading planes, or helicopters, with 2,4,5-T always showed G.I's stripped to the waist with no safety equipment, (suits, masks, or rubber gloves), and many were smoking cigarettes.

They got it all over them and on their smokes and they just puffed away as usual. 

There were no mandatory showers taken after handling the herbicide -- they may not have showered for days after.

The stuff is still toxic in the soil today. 

Impatient military leadership probably thought the action would be instant, but when it didn’t defoliate overnight, they likely hit it again and all the while, with unsafe handling.

Because it was happening in a land far away from the U.S., there was no alarm, nor monitoring. They just kept painting the jungle with it -- as well as animals, U.S. troops, and civilians. 

Now, of course, anything sold commercially has to have MSDS (material safety data sheets) that go along with every phase of handling it, for employees and for the public. There also must be documented training for employees in handling the material safely, as well as the use of PPE (personal protective equipment).  This must go along with the shipped bulk materials and it must also have warning labels.

I would like to think that these days, any company would require and document the training and safe handling of such toxic material.  At least I hope we handle toxic materials better today.  Sadly, it came too late for many who were exposed to Agent Orange, or any other chemicals. 

Just like anything else, AO affected everyone differently. Onset can be soon after exposure, or like what we're seeing now.  After lying dormant for decades, it is suddenly triggered by health, or immune system weakening, or maybe time itself brings it on.

Personally, I think the U.S. military leadership was only interested in the application of AO, not any lingering health issues. The DoD should be the donkey on this -- they were in love with destroying the jungle canopy at any cost. It was effective, but the casualties are still mounting up all these years later.





“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 feel comfortable sharing. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history, sharing the truth about the Vietnam veteran, and what it was like in Our War.

Friday, February 13, 2015

War Reinvents You: by Jeff Yarger

Jeff Yarger
Michael Lansford's The Demons From War was very well written. There were lots of thoughts and memories evoked and revived in my mind.

When l first got in country, a few days after turning eighteen, l realized that those l'd been thrown in with were ... well, crazy ... sort of immoral, compared to how l'd been raised. 

That scared me bad, because l'd come up a little different ... harder, more street wise, and maybe just a little tougher than most.

Then as days turned to weeks, l emulated and copied those around me, trying to learn everything they'd learned. 

Soon l also realized that if l wanted to survive, l was going to have to become just like them. That realization scared me even more.

One had to forsake the teaching and values of their youth, become tougher, meaner, and more cunning than those trying to kill you. All for the sake of survival, you quit thinking as you once had.

Many things in your life lost their meaning. You became hard and, in ways, insolent and uncaring. You learned to become as devoid of normal feelings as possible, (or tried to, anyway).  You wanted to care, but you couldn't allow yourself that luxury. You learned that man was no more than an intelligent species of animal and, like all animals, willing to do most anything to survive.

As weeks turned to months, those who'd been killed, wounded, or left, were replaced with new guys that were as dumb as you'd once been. 

Soon, every firefight, ambush, and operation became blurred in your mind and all of it blended into one nebulous event. Most things became so obscured, to the point that you weren't even sure they'd happened, yet when you looked around for those once there, you knew that it was all too real.

Actually, if you were single, it was a very simple way of life. You carried most everything you owned and lived wherever you were. Your clothes, food, medicine ... everything needed to survive was provided. You had nothing to worry about, except staying alive. If you failed at that, all the other things didn't matter anyway.  Then, what you had never allowed yourself to believe in, became real.

In twenty-four hours, or less, you were home, but home wasn't there for you. Home, was as maddening as the war once had been. Everything and everybody had changed so much. In time, you came to realize that everything was the same, but you had changed. You wanted even some small semblance of your old life back, but it always seemed just out of reach.

To worsen matters, you realized that in an insane way, you missed the war that you'd hated so much. At the same time, those around you tried to make you feel guilty for where you'd been and what you'd done, when they didn't even know what you'd done. 

In actuality, you did feel guilty, but not for the same reasons. You felt as though you deserted the friends you'd left behind, and felt even worse when you realized that you had liked the adrenaline rush of combat and the camaraderie of war.
 
Then you go to your next duty station, hoping it will be better. Once again, you were back to weekly hair cuts, shined boots, starched uniforms and war games. It was different, but still not right. It was as if you would never fit in anywhere.

Many of those with you had no idea what you had been through and didn't care. You talk to others just returning and band with them. But they have no answers, because they all felt the same as you.

Finally, in desperation I came to a decision. I just couldn't handle the world around me and I knew what I had to do (at least in my case). After putting in the paperwork, (DD Form 1049), l waited. Weeks later, l was feeling somewhat normal ... back in Nam and starting all over again!

Sorry the above comment turned out to be so long. As is often the case when l write, the thoughts just keep coming ...




Jeff Yarger
United States Army, Retired
Disabled Vietnam Veteran 
1969 to 1972







[Jeff has written an historical novel about a two-year period during the Vietnam War, which he hopes will be published this year.

Chronologically accurate, it covers the major operations of that period, as seen through one man's eyes. It is the story of his time in Vietnam, along with the experiences of others he knew, all woven into one character, who went to Vietnam a few days after turning eighteen and was used up and discharged before ever turning twenty-one.]


“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 feel comfortable sharing. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history, sharing the truth about the Vietnam veteran, and what it was like in Our War.



Thursday, February 12, 2015

Book: "Tiger Papa Three"

The Illustrated Confessions 

of a Simple Working-Class Lad
from New Castle, Delaware


by Edward Palm


Publisher:  CreateSpace
Pages:  264
Formats:  Paperback and Kindle

Paperback Edition
Kindle Edition


About the Book:


The Combined Action Program (CAP) in Vietnam was an enlightened gesture of dissent on the part of the Marine Corps.

The Corps recognized that our search-and-destroy strategy was immoral and self-defeating and that the war could only be won by winning those elusive hearts and minds out in the countryside. 

Toward that end, the Corps stationed squads of enlisted Marines, augmented by Navy Corpsmen, in villages to train and patrol alongside village Popular Force units. 

Through a combination of chance and circumstance, in 1967, I became a CAP Marine. This is my account of that experience, including how I readjusted to life back here in "the World" and the circumstances that prompted me to join the Marine Corps in the first place. 

As a one-time aspiring photojournalist, I have also included a gallery of the photographs I took during my time in Vietnam. --Ed Palm



Review:

"This book is outstanding. Ed tells what it was like to live during that era, growing up under the shadow of WWII, the attraction to the Marine Corps for many young men, and the closeness that developed between Marines serving in a very perplexing war that was not popularly supported by those back home. 
I have known Ed for some time. We went through Officer Candidate School, the Basic School, and Communications Officer School together. We lived close and our wives became good friends. 
 I of course have a signed copy of his book which he gave me several weeks ago during a visit. Ed writes extremely well – English is an art form for him. He is not afraid of controversy and his book represents the feelings of many who served through this era.  
The men he talks about remain friends and maintain a lively discussion through emails. I am fortunate to be included. I strongly recommend this book to those who served, or are interested, in this era. For anyone interested in a good read, this is it!" --Ed Meyer, Major, USMC Retired

About the Author


Ed Palm
A native of New Castle, Delaware, Edward F. Palm served in Vietnam as an enlisted man with the Marine Corps’ Combined Action Program.

He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania with a dissertation on the moral vision of selected Vietnam novels and has since published and presented on various aspects of American culture as well as imaginative representations of the American experience in Vietnam.

Returning to the Marine Corps in later life, Palm became an officer and taught military affairs at the University of California, Berkeley, and English at the United States Naval Academy before retiring as a major in 1993.

He went on to serve as a tenured professor and division chair at Glenville State College (in West Virginia) and has held dean appointments at Maryville University of St. Louis and Olympic College, in Bremerton, Washington. He has also taught full-time online for Strayer University.

Now retired, Palm devotes his time to photography and writing, including a regular opinion column for his local newspaper, the Kitsap Sun. His full CV is available at www.EdwardFPalm.com.

Through no fault of his own, Palm now makes his home about as far from Delaware as one can get and still be in the contiguous United States—in Bremerton, Washington.


Another Blog Post About Ed and his Books


“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 feel comfortable sharing. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history, sharing the truth about the Vietnam veteran, and what it was like in Our War.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Inner Demons From War

Inner Demons from War

by Michael Lansford


Strangely enough, nowadays, as I lay in bed at night, I think of a few more insights about our war and our time there.

I have learned to write those thoughts down.

For those of us who came home, we were, and are, faced with inner demons from the evil we saw, were involved in, and had to do --  inner demons that endure, even now.

We still fight a war with our inner selves and it's something I can't explain.

In combat, we lived and fought with the Angel of Death on one side of us and our Guardian Angels on the other side -- I can't even imagine the battles they waged over us and our fates – who would live, who would not. The reasons were unknown to any of us, but their decisions always became known, and they were final.

We had to learn early on to save life and to take life, without hesitation, feelings, emotion, and completely devoid of self-worth -- ours, or anything else.

It’s hard to empty your soul of everything you were raised up to believe in before your lives changed from war. Our values about life and the outside world were taken from us, and like it or not, we either adapted, changed, or we were gone.

Amazing, how young kids/men had to transform into what we still feel and endure inside us, to this day -- things we can't explain in mere words. Only another Combat Vet truly understands our inner souls.

Even our minds were emptied. No thoughts, except for how to survive just one more day, every day. Our single-most important thought was to live one day longer.

Now, years later, we still suffer and fight our demons. Some handle it better than others. Some never can and never will. It's hard to turn off war and combat, and just be home again, like nothing ever happened, yet it had and in such horrible ways. War scarred all of us inside forever.

One minute we were there, the next, we were home, and just trying to figure out who we were and had become. We didn’t know how we would deal with it, much less tell anyone else -- but no one was listening anyway.

We came home to a society that called us bad things, spit on us, threatened us, even hated us. They had no clue about who we were, or what we held inside. They didn't ask, because they didn't want to know.

However society thinks -- whether we won, or lost -- isn’t something we can control, or explain. However, we were looked on as losers who fought an unpopular war with no clear objective and no desire to win. If that was true, then we paid dearly for a lost cause.

If society has any doubts about what we vets gave in Our War to their "lost cause", they should all go to D.C. and visit The Wall. It has been paid for in full -- and then some.

Through every battle, mission, assault, conflict, contact, or whatever we had been involved in, we never backed down, never ran away, failed, or quit. We won at everything we had to do, no matter what the cost – even when the cost seemed too high at times. It was a high price we paid towards an end that ultimately had no end -- and at least for us, it will never end.

What we as innocent naive kids became defies description. We can never go back and start over, or be the innocents we once were. There is no on-off switch. War changes a person and it’s embedded in our beings forever.

We live war’s horrors day and night. Some days are better than others, some are not.  The nights are the hardest. Sometimes, it seems the demons are more real now, than when we faced them in combat and yet there’s no way to defeat them. We will just fight them until our time runs out and, for what it's worth, we will never lose to them – we’ll just run out of time to finish the mission.

We came home physically, yet we never really came "home" and we never will. Little things remind us of war. A song, a movie, a saying, the sounds of choppers flying over, or close by (we feel them even before they can be heard). And then there’s the 1,000-yard stare. That's something that stays with us always. 

No one can truly understand our hearts and minds.  Society couldn't handle it, but that's not their fault -- at times, neither do we.  

Sometimes, I envy those that never went.  They should count their blessings, because they have inside them what we as Combat Vets wish for -- Inner Peace.  I can't help but wonder what it would be like to feel genuinely safe and unafraid of the dark. Most vets still fear crowds and being closed in -- there's a paranoia about most everything.  

Our souls cry out for help and yet there is no sound, or anyone to hear, or know those fears. We have only each other and the ones we lost -- they will always know and watch over us.

When we left for war, none of us knew, or thought, would we be heroes and warriors, scared and remorseful, angry and revengeful, religious and sad, hateful and every other feeling a human can have, or imagine. Combat has a dramatic and immediate effect on you and your life, no matter what you may think you can, or cannot, do.

In an instant, the will to live makes your decisions for you -- there's no going back. You get cold and indifferent and all that matters is seeing the sun come up one more day and know you lived to see it.

So how will we be remembered from our war? Good, bad, evil, hurt, heartless, cowards, or even losers?  Truth is, we have no say in what will be thought of us. 

What we do have is our soul, heart, mind, and the knowledge that we did what we had to do -- like it or not -- just to come home again. 

We will always seem different from others. How could we not? We walked a whole different path when we were young and it changed us, inside and out.  Sadly, it turned out to be a one-way street …

Michael Lansford


“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 feel comfortable sharing. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history, sharing the truth about the Vietnam veteran, and what it was like in Our War.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Sentinel at the Gates: by John Puzzo

The Sentinel at the Gates















The Sentinel At the Gates

Alumni et Patriae Asto © John Puzzo 2002

Without them Standing Sentinel,
as ever must they be,
not one American would be free.

I know they're all still out there,
together evermore,
From the Continental Army 
or maybe long before

When the 1st American casualty fell,
on these now ancient shores.

They wear tri corner hats, 
coonskin caps and kepis,
wide-brimmed Western cowboy hats, 
helmets and berets.

But no matter what they wear,
They belong to us.
It is from us they came
Through distant mists of time and place.

They’ve come and gone to stand and wait
and come they will,
To the Sentinels at the gates.



Father, son, husband, brother,
Important things these are,
But to stand with men of honor,
Is a better thing by far.

For without such men of honor,
ready to give their most,
what father, son, or brother,
would be left with any hope,

That there would be tomorrow 
for this Nation proud?
Lest men as these we find, 
fit America for a shroud.

Yes there they all are waiting, 
they’re all together now.
From every war and conflict, 
shot and shell they found.

At peace, eternal wait they now,
On holy, hallowed ground.
















How can we ever thank them, 
these selfless angels past?
Thanks are but such trifling things

Instead we must dedicate
our every waking moment

…To the Sentinels at the gate,

For there they all stand waiting,
watching how well we do.

Will we let slip away,
That which they loved so well?

Their full measured honored duty,
Will we so cheaply sell?

Yes there they all stand waiting,
All together now,

They know some soldier stands at ready.
He will show them how.














Then they’ll welcome him 
as they once all were called:

“Brother, home my brother, 
See your name upon this wall?

You have done what was your duty.
The load you proudly carried 
is left for them to bear,
those others over there.

“So take your place beside us, 
hang your cap upon this tree.
And wait not long, you Sentinel.

In time you too will see
others coming to these gates,
That America will be…free.”


[Written for the Memorial Day Project, 
National Cemetery at Arlington, in 2003] 


John Puzzo






John J. Puzzo
K Company (Ranger)
75th Infantry (Airborne)
United States Army 1968 - 1971













Other Articles by John Puzzo:

Poem, "Waves"
Humor in Vietnam
The Lantern


“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 feel comfortable sharing. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history, sharing the truth about the Vietnam veteran, and what it was like in Our War.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Sharing the Burden, Vet to Vet

Travesty of the Vietnam War

by Doyle Watters


It makes me quite sad, when I talk to other Vietnam Veterans. What burdens their souls, the average person could never understand. 

If someone were to ask me to describe the price of freedom, I would have to say, "Those white crosses on foreign soils and the sick and dying in Veteran Hospitals -- that's what the price is and it's what the price looks like." 

Vietnam Veterans are now sixty plus years-old, with worries of health, and left with that age-old question, "Did I do all I could have done?" 

"Hero" is not how they want to be labeled, and "Thank you for your service", comes too damn late, to have any healing power.

When they returned home, the haters and peace demonstrators met them at the airports. Called baby killers, while often being physically and/or verbally abused, many have never fully recovered. 

Jane Fonda betrayed them and they will never forget, nor will they forgive her, regardless of her youth. The grudge they hold has kept them prisoners in its very tight grip.

Haters and Peace Demonstrators
Sure, they have been known to say, "58,222 names are written on a black granite wall in our nation's capital". Yet, those numbers are small, compared to the vast numbers of American youth that went away whole and returned so much less than whole. 

More labels were placed on them, after they decided to trade their military uniforms and weapons for a chance to compete in a civilian society. 

Senior citizens now, they are gray, balding, wrinkled, with numerous ailments, divorces, and the deaths of their moms and dads have left them struggling, knowing that death is just on the other side of the horizon for them, as well.

Taking all types of pills, to include group therapy sessions, Vietnam Veterans continue to ask, "For what do I have to live?"  

Putting a Bandaid on the Problem ...
Needing to talk, their frustration kicks in, because there is always a lack of trust.  I have heard so many times, "I can talk to you, but not to them, because they wouldn't understand."  Their follow-up phrase is, "They haven't been where I've been."

Yes, there were those that fell into a bottle and never managed to climb out. There were those that pretended drugs were the answer to everything -- and they are no longer with us. 

For those who got out and become successful in work, family, and community, you will never receive due credit, nor an apology from any president. What I can proudly say is, "I am one of you." 

After having said that, the nightmares and dreams continue to haunt my soul. I know I will never be free from the screams of pain, the smell of flesh, and the words,  "Please, help me", and knowing there was nothing that I could do, except watch helplessly ... and punish myself from that day forward. 



CSM Doyle Watters 
Vietnam Veteran
US Army Retired


Other Articles by Doyle Watters


“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 feel comfortable sharing. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history, sharing the truth about the Vietnam veteran, and what it was like in Our War.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Book: "Content With My Wages"

A Sergeant's Story 

Book I-Vietnam

by Gregory H. Murry


Publisher:  No End To Publishing Company
382 Pages
Format:  Paperback and Kindle
Release Date:  January 6, 2015


About the Book:


This is a history, memoir, and a critique of certain combat actions of the 1st Infantry Division during the years 1966 and 1967 in Vietnam.

Growing up in California with an intense interest in military history and surfing, the author joined the National Guard in 1963. In 1965, he joined the Regular Army and was assigned to the 4th Armored Division in West Germany. In 1966, he requested a transfer from the 2nd Battalion, 54th Infantry to the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam. 

Arriving shortly after the disastrous battle of August 25th, 1966, at Bong Trang, he joined a rifle company that was being rebuilt by a Special Forces captain who had replaced the former company commander, KIA in that battle. 

He describes the battle in detail by blending official history with the recollections of two of his comrades who were there. He then returns to the battle and dissects it, using personal accounts and official interviews of many of the participants, to include MG William DePuy. 

Assigned as a machine gunner, the author began to learn the ways of a combat infantryman in a jungle war. Three months later he was given more responsibilities and began serving in leadership positions as an acting sergeant, until he was promoted to sergeant.

He recounts a number of road clearing operations, ambush patrols, and search and destroy missions, which took place shortly before his battalion’s participation in the largest operations of the Vietnam War: Operations Attleboro, Cedar Falls, and Junction City. 

During Junction City, he participated in the battles of Prek Klok I and Ap Gu, one of the most lopsided victories of the war. Between operations, are descriptions of medical evacuations, hospitals, base camp amusements, rest and recuperation (R+R), and more. 

In June of 1967, the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry and the 2d Battalion, 28th Infantry fought the 271st VC Regiment in the battles of Xom Bo I-II during Operation Billings. During Xom Bo II, on June 17th, the author’s platoon was at the center of the main enemy assault. 

Out of forty-three men, he was one of eight who walked away. Once again, blending his own narrative with those of his company commander, an RTO, and one of his machine gunners, he presents a grim picture of close quarters infantry combat against a determined enemy. 

He describes the battle of Onh Thanh in October, 1967, which took place shortly after he left. There, the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry was almost completely destroyed by the 271st. Using published accounts, documentaries, and official histories, he shows how soldiers react to leadership that attempts to paint a rosy picture of a disaster. 

Returning to the chaos of American society in 1968, where he was assigned for a short time to the 1st Battalion, 3d Infantry (The Old Guard) in Washington, D.C., he finished his enlistment at in California at Fort MacArthur, near Los Angeles. 

Finally, he relates his own struggles with the memories of the war after he returned home and tells how he found peace by overcoming PTSD. 

A professional soldier, the author used official after-action reports, histories, studies, and recently released information, to paint a more accurate picture of the successes and failures of the leadership, tactics, techniques, and procedures of the U.S. Army and Generals William Westmoreland, William DePuy, and John Hay. 

He also describes the lessons learned at the squad, platoon, and company levels. These are timeless and should be of great interest to anyone considering serving, or a making career, in the armed forces. At the same time, he warns us of the pitfalls that will be encountered when studying military history.



Review:

"A revealing account of the Vietnam war as seen through the eyes of a young infantryman. 
This is the real-life version of “Platoon” with all of the na├»ve expectations, confusion, fear, camaraderie, and the courage many young American solders experienced in the fog of war. 
The Author writes, not just to tell his story, but to pass on “lessons learned”, in hopes that future generations of soldiers will benefit from his experience. 
I enjoyed it immensely and look forward to the next two books on the Drug War and Afghanistan." -- Tabbed783 (January 9, 2015)

About the Author:


Greg and Wife, Faith
Greg Murry retired from the Texas Army National Guard in 2005, after returning from Afghanistan, where he served as an Intelligence Advisor to the Afghanistan National Army.

After his discharge from the Regular Army in 1969, he returned to the surfing beaches of Southern California, before drifting down to Mexico, Central and South America for several years. 

Back in the states, he moved to Texas, where he worked on a drilling rig and on a road construction crew. In 1985 he became a police officer in Austin, and four years later, he re-enlisted in the National Guard. There, he co-founded an ad hoc special operations unit that supported law enforcement agencies, by conducting low-visibility surveillance operations in the War on Drugs. 

He also served as the operations sergeant in a Long Range Surveillance unit, as an intelligence analyst with G2, and as a BNCOC and ANCOC instructor/small group leader. He has written memoirs of his service in Vietnam, the Drug War, and Afghanistan. 

Greg Murry is married with children and grandchildren.  He lives in Austin, TX, where he continues to read and write about military history and the situation in Afghanistan.




“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 feel comfortable sharing. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history, sharing the truth about the Vietnam veteran, and what it was like in Our War.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Black Velvet: by Jeanette Zobjeck

Black Velvet - The Wall

BLACK VELVET 

(Written in 1987)

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: August 22, 2004 Awarded: August 22, 2004

What did I know?  21 years old, mostly a dreamer, filled with visions of moving and doing things to make a better, kinder world.

A believer, I was taught by loved and respected family members that the greatest good I could do in this world would be to fight with my every resource to make this a world where people are respected and treated with dignity.

Vietnam was a controversial topic, depending on where you were and who you listened to. It was anything from an outrage – to the devils work – to a great altruistic undertaking, and there were even people who paid no attention to it at all.  I fell somewhere in the middle.

I think John F. Kennedy’s line about what we could do for our country, what I might be able to contribute, had been guiding me for years and I just never realized that fact.

I knew there was a war; I knew people were dying; I was no stranger to death. When you have a big family, you attend lots of funerals as older relatives die off. The difference is that they were just that, old people who had been suffering for years with most of the afflictions of old age.  It was a release for them from the pain of living, a kindness, because at last they had rest; at last they had no pain.

I’ve already said I studied a lot of history. I knew about wars, from inside books, all the way back to the crusades. Nothing in books can prepare someone when it comes down to being in a war.

Being in Vietnam was worse. There was not even the preparation of association with previous wars. This was a war with no lines and you could not identify the enemy by looking at him. There were no “safe areas” and only some grease pencil marks on a plastic map showed where "the war” was going on.

The fact that those marks changed often, sometimes in the course of a day, was not a piece of information widely shared.  I was unprepared for the intensity, not only of the conflict, but of my reactions to it.

You have already read my baptism of fire. Draw in your mind, if you can, the picture of this young kid fired up, not just with the wish to prove that he was as good as grandfather and father, not just with a love of country that told him that his country could do no wrong, but with the fires built and banked by army training, just waiting for a chance to flare up. All that was needed was the fuel.

It wasn’t just the nightly harassment by Charlie that became a game, after a while. He’d drop a few mortar – enough to get us out of bed – and then stop and move on somewhere else, or just sit back and wait till the next night.

It even got to where we would set up a pool, with each of us drawing a time of day when the first round would land, because they rarely did any real damage. He just wanted to yank our chains and, like a nest of ants suddenly kicked open, watch us scurry around in useless circles.

For me, it was the times he’d only drop one or two. I’d sit there sweating and waiting for the next one to come, praying, “Please God let me live through this just one more time”, knowing that the spot I sat in was probably as well sighted-in, as if I had been sitting on Charlie’s sighting range.

Knowing he could drop a round on the thin sheet metal of the guard post, or into one of the sandbagged pits as easily as if he were standing there tossing it in as part of a game of horseshoes.  Day in, day out, although usually daytime was better, but then we made better targets as individuals during the day, so it’s hard to say.

In 1967, even the end of ‘67, things were, according to the media, all going our way. So much so, the US Army had decided that in a gesture of good will based on the power of being ahead in the game, they would allow the celebration of the TET holiday for 1968, complete with fireworks.

This was like giving Charlie a safe conduct pass to the places he most wanted to be, no questions asked. We used to joke about it, but at the 1st signal compound on plantation road in Saigon, we kept a field telephone on a post outside the compound hooked into the Army/ARVN switchboard. We knew Charlie used that phone, and we listened in. Of course Charlie never said anything that was important, but it was there all the same.

Each day brought new tensions.  After TET, it seemed like all hell fell through the bottom of the basket and ended up lying in our front yard, like something the neighbor’s dog left waiting for you to step into.

I had friends who were wounded, or killed, just like a thousand others, or more. I spent 8 hours on the order line with our compound at Hue, while half the operation’s building was gone from mortar and rocket fire. The only line they had to the rest of the world was the direct tie line between us that no one else could get onto.

The radio hop was Hue to Da Nang to Chu Lai, but the control circuits never broke out in Da Nang and they didn’t have the equipment to spare for repairs; I was already there, so I fed the information via teletype back to Washington through DCA Arlington. From there, it was sent back to Saigon and to wherever it was needed.

Because our compound was inside the walls of the city, it wasn’t as well revetted as those at Chu Lai who were more or less in the open and easy targets.

I think each day I aged a month; each time I went to Quang Nghi and didn’t lose a guard, or didn’t get hit, was more a miracle than normal. It almost seemed that at times Charlie left me alone on purpose, just to make me crazy; when would the second shoe fall? After a while. I began to think it was personal, but that’s the way the screwy situation was.

On the days when nothing happened, I still couldn’t breathe easy, because it wasn’t until the day was passed that the unbroken day counted. In the end, when I had a chance to leave, I took it without a second thought (at the time) and now I will never know if I did the right thing or not.

What if I had stayed that extra few days? Who else would I have known that died? Would I maybe have found my plot of ground somewhere on that road, or maybe in a downed 117 in the jungle between Chu Lai and Da Nang? I will never know.

But inside my head today, still the jungles of Vietnam and the fear chitter at me daily, telling me what I don’t know and just making noises in the night; noises that still frighten a little girl who never had a chance to grow up like other little girls because she got caught in a grinding mill with a war on one side and a deep dark hole on the other.

In the confusion of youth, I was torn on one hand by a part of me I really didn’t understand, and on the other, by a belief and a desire to serve my country, strong enough to take me into a war we could not win. The evidence was there, if I had known where to look and what questions to ask.

But I couldn’t and wouldn’t, because I was naive and idealistic and when you come right down to it, not very bright. Oh I’m smart enough, but I have a blind side (like a lot of other people – I have no corner on that market) when it came to my country. I hadn’t reached the point where I could admit that we could, as a country, make mistakes, make bad judgments, and kill thousands of our own troops, because of stupidity in the management department.

I’m older now. I know that we can and do make mistakes. We’ve still got the best game in town, but it’s not perfect, yet, and I pay a price each day. I share a load with thousands of others, knowing that there is no cure for the pain in my heart, an echo of those days of fear and stress and horror.

I am not special, but if my words are, then perhaps it is because it is somewhere written in some book that it is left for me to be a voice for those who cannot speak up; who cannot talk of their pain and how they feel and how they felt, and if I can say anything, if what I say can be placed against that wall of silence which holds so many others and keeps their souls from crying out and being heard and perhaps act as a listening post for them, perhaps it will do me some good, as well.

For 20 years now, more than that, but round numbers work, I have been alone. Oh, I have friends -- one yesterday told me that what I was feeling was all in the past and I should stop dwelling on the past and move ahead.  After all, Vietnam was 30 years ago for me and I’m not there anymore.

Of affection, love, and support, I can’t speak from firsthand knowledge, because I don’t have any – only the remembered echoes of a damaged 10 years after I returned; damaged by what I carried inside me and a fear that I would do untold harm to the very people I loved the most.

I think I may have used the wrong word: intense is a weak, watered down, politically-correct word for what Vietnam was to me. Hell would be the proper word.

Even that sounds insufficient, inadequate, as if there were a word which would, by its utterance, bring forth for any mind a picture of fear, a picture of destruction, a picture of death up on its hind legs and pawing at us, dragging us into the sticking, cloying, red mud of Vietnam – trying to bury us in blood and mud.

There is no one word strong enough, not in the American language, nor in any other that I have heard of, because words are woefully weak in describing the stronger emotions, good or bad. It is equally hard to describe love, but people are content in that, because this is an enjoyable emotion, one that every last one of us seeks in one way, or another.

No one, if they are sane, actively seeks out the experience I and others had, in Vietnam.  It remains difficult for me now, to use a singular in talking about the after-effects of Vietnam. I may be one person, my experiences were my own. The legacy of Vietnam is a shared commodity, shared by all the men and women who served there. I am not just one, I am part of the many and using a singular makes it sound as if I was the only one who suffered and the only one damaged.

I know that is not true. I cannot, in honest discussion, exclude those others, because they aren’t there to speak for themselves – but they need to be heard. Heard here, heard everywhere; yelled from steeples and towers and carved in six -foot letters on the sides of tall buildings for the entire world to see and to know and for those who don’t care to read and maybe feel a stirring of guilt in their souls for their indifference.

I went to war for you; I went through things which would make you sick and which you might discuss (but never over dinner or cocktails). I put my life on the line so that some stupid b3&#@*% somewhere could have a nice comfortable life, free from the raw details of death and mayhem.

I and a hundred, 500 thousand, 2 and a half million others, fought, sweated, cried; some died, not to protect a high ideal – the ones we took with us. We fought and cried and died so politicians could beat their drums, ring their welkins and point with pride at the generous and wonderful things the government of the united states (note the lack of caps) was doing for its beleaguered brothers in Vietnam.

Black Velvet - The Wall
The list of names on “The Wall” is longer than the population of many American towns. The number of those who served there could easily overfill many cities.

I grew up in a city whose population was 500 thousand. There were fewer people who died on the highways of the United States in all of 1968, than arrived in country in the month of January of the same year.

Even after “The Wall” was a reality, it was years before any monument was even thought of to honor the women who died in that war, and years more, before one was finally placed. Fittingly enough, since most of them were nurses, they were placed near the wall of names of the ones they were there to care for, the ones they had to hold, and smile at, as they watched them die.

I carry on as best I can today. Sometimes I feel I take more backward steps than forward, but I have never given up, although there have been times I wanted to. I get older and it gets more difficult to face each new day with a cheerful face, and many days see my tears.

Who am I that I should still be here? A question I have asked and heard asked for 30+ years. And I still am no closer to an answer. I only now begin to admit there is no answer.

In the eyes of one person, this one person, Vietnam was a terrifying experience. In the soul of this one person, Vietnam was a tearing, destroying beast which devoured much of the person I once was and most of the ideals I started out with.

Do I feel robbed? Yes. We all, somewhere in our lives, find that some of the things we believe in are unreal, unattainable, and unrealistic, and we discard them as useless baggage and find new goals to strive for. That is living, that is as it should be, to have them ripped away, stripped off, and then the remnant left exposed to senseless death of innocents as a mere tool to trap the unwary.

The constant knowledge that violent death laid a stone’s throw away and that at any given moment you could be greeted by a smiling person who, at that moment, the next, or perhaps that night, might be actively working to end your life.

I left home with a nicely inscribed book of rules for living. While I was there, I learned a new set of rules, hoping that when I returned home, I would be able to unlearn those and be able to fit back in where I came from.

While I was gone, somebody re-wrote the rule book. I could not use the old rules; they were lost to me forever. I could not use the rules I had lived by for most of a year -- they didn’t fit in a peaceful society; I didn’t know the new rules. I didn’t have a chance to learn them, so I wrote my own, again. I never have fit back into place.

I can’t walk away again. There were good things, even in war; you make friends who don’t die. Even in war, you have days when good things happen. If I strip away all of Vietnam, (if I could), I would lose those memories as well, and the memories which are all that remain of some who did not come back and I am the only one who remembers their last minutes – a legacy I cannot just throw away, because as long as one person remembers, they aren’t gone for nothing, they weren’t wasted. I know their courage and I know that they died with honor and I was the last person they saw before they died. I had to tell them they were going to make it and … I CARRIED THEM BACK WITH ME!

Live in the present, they say. My life, my world, is very much the present. Put Vietnam behind me and get on with my life! I cannot. It is not a thing you can put behind you.

Vietnam is, and remains, a living place which travels the roads with me, inside me. For good, or bad, it is there and while I would control my memories so that they do not run my life, I will not shed them, for I earned them, and for all the damage that they have done to me, they are also my testament of dignity and bravery for those whose memory I honor.

Thirty years have passed. Some have been happy, some sad, all growing, learning, maturing, so today I look back at Vietnam with different eyes. I see that kid climbing into that plane on a cold Chicago night, a plane load of strangers who would travel half way around the world together; play cards, get drunk, sleep, tell tall stories, or talk about their families. Some would even admit that they were afraid.

For 18 hours, they flew westward to Hawaii and the Philippines to Vietnam where, for the most part, they went their separate ways; most never saw each other again. Many never knew the names of the ones around them on that plane. It never occurred to anyone to ask. Brave, eager kids who had no idea what they were walking into.

A year later, in ones and twos, they trickled back home, the lucky ones, but they weren’t kids anymore and many times they proved their bravery during that year. The eagerness was gone and from inside, through their eyes, a different light shown out – older, changed, no longer the simple teenager who had left family, friends, or maybe a girlfriend, or a wife; someone different, but not different.

I didn’t see it in myself, but I could see the difference as I traveled home and came across those who were on their way to hell. You could tell by looking which direction they were going. It was in their eyes, in the way they walked, even in the way they talked.

The eyes are supposed to be the windows of the soul. Most of those eyes were empty, but in a few, a terrible light showed through, as if the gates of hell had been opened and the fires flared out through those eyes. Eventually, that light would break out from all too many, as we fell victim to our ghosts, some sooner than others, some lucky enough to conquer most of the ghosts and find some peace, others to survive for many years, before being struck down by Vietnam, but all casualties of the same war.

I can go no further. The thirty years have never passed.  But I am not the one who went to Vietnam; I am the one who returned. The young kid with a life and a world in front of him never made it. I cannot bring him back and he could not exist long in the struggle within me.

©Copyright August 2004 by Jeanette Zobjeck
Vietnam - Dec. '67 - Nov. 1968


Author’s Note: 

I volunteered for the Army and for signal corps training but, as things would be, I was also trained in 32d, (fixed station facilities control), originally 32C, (fixed Station Transmitter repair) Chu Lai.

U.S.Army Signal Corps 1st Signal Battalion North Danang 32d 20 f8.  The F8 for presidential communications was earned in 1969, when President Nixon went to Hawaii. I was the NCOIC in charge of facilities mainainence. 

Years ago, when I was just beginning to open up enough so that I could talk to other vets and friends of veterans, I was writing to a very wise woman about how I felt about Vietnam. The above narrative is the end product of some of my thoughts.

Since then, I have met many people, veterans, families of veterans, people who are trying, today, to understand the Vietnam experience. I have tried many ways to answer their questions, but in the end, I return to these thoughts, presented for your own quest to understand and live with Vietnam.

To clear any confusion, I was born Transgendered and I tried so very very hard to be "normal" for the era. It just didn't work, and in the late 1970's, I went through transition to female.

Visit Jeanette'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


Feel free to comment on this post. You are also invited to write about anything you feel comfortable sharing. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history, sharing the truth about the Vietnam veteran, and what it was like in Our War.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

My Brother, "Bear": by Frank Fox

Dale Allen Fox - "Bear"
My brother, Dale, spent two years in Vietnam with the 1st Air Cav., as a crew chief and door gunner.

He was a very good door gunner/crew chief, well-respected, and the guys all called him "Bear".

In spite of being on helicopters day in and day out, he never even got a scratch -- I was stunned he was not wounded, or killed.

One thing he constantly did was keep his M-60 on either side cleaned and operational, and he always loaded his feed belts with tracers every third round, instead of every fifth round. 

When asked why, he said he wanted to better see where his rounds were going.

There are many vets alive today, thanks to the cover and protection he gave to ground troops in an LZ. We will never know how many got to be grandfathers, play baseball with their sons, or give their daughters away in marriage because of him.

One time, there were some Army troops pinned down and they couldn’t get picked up right away.  They were running out of ammo, so he was firing very close to their position.  The way he loaded the tracers every third round, afforded him more accurate fire power, because the tracers were just like drawing a straight line. 

The pinned down Captain said over the radio, “I don’t know who’s doing the shooting up there, but if you send him down here, I'll kiss him!”  

Once, he sent home some black VC pajamas that he harvested after some fighting.  Dale loved the army and he loved what he did -- he is also my hero for his service. 

He joined the Army in late 1966, and was on his second enlistment.  They discharged him in '71 or '72.  He was going to go yet a third time, but the mother of the baby he is holding (photo below) talked him into staying home and getting married.

The Army agreed. Twice was enough, and he went to Fort Benning, Georgia.

By the age of nineteen, he had four rows of ribbons and several air medals and he was an E-5 in rank.  We're talking career material here.  He could have been a poster child for the Army.

How Vietnam took its toll on Dale was through exposure to Agent Orange and giving him a drug habit ... one marijuana smoke when he got back to the States took that all away.

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 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 so much. His exemplary service made no difference. Uncle Sam tolerated it in Vietnam, but once you were home it was a no-no.

He has long since finished the use of recreational drugs, but he was left with the gut-wrenching humility of being booted from the military.
 
I tried writing to our Texas congressman in Washington to have the blemish struck from his record, but it fell on deaf ears.

Of course, now, we have high ranking politicians and even Commander and Chiefs saying they smoked pot, or like G.W., they also did cocaine ... but hey, that was okay ...  

Dale and daughter, Stephanie




The photo on the right was taken not long after the Army gave him the boot.  The baby is his first daughter, Stephanie. 




Dale with lower left amputation 




The more recent photo on the left is what two years in Vietnam, exposure to untold quantities of Agent Orange, and two bad marriages can do to a person. 
Dale said the VA hospital in Houston told him his amputation was a direct result of his exposure to Agent Orange. It did something to the circulation in his foot. 




As you know, there are many more of the same kind of stories out there. That’s why, since Vietnam, I am against aggression, unless we absolutely have to and then we should be in it to win. We have to stop having images like the one above be the result for so many.

Dale Allen Fox - "Bear"



This photo was taken during a peaceful protest by members of the local chapter of The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) Saturday, along North Street near the Stephen F. Austin State Campus in Nacogdoches TX.

The group came out in support of Texas House Bill 507, calling for the decriminalization of the possession of one ounce, or less, of marijuana, as well as legalizing whole plant medical marijuana in the state.
More on Medical Marijuana






“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 feel comfortable sharing. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history, sharing the truth about the Vietnam veteran, and what it was like in Our War.