My Vietnam

 

The Vietnam war started while I was still in high school. It seemed like a small, far away conflict our troops would soon be home from. Upon leaving high school in 1966 I joined the service and got married. Being stationed state side with my wife by my side the war was there but still seemed distant. This changed for me in mid 1967 when friends I had gone to school with, grown up with started coming home in body bags. To this day I don't know the exact reason, but I went into the personnel office and requested a transfer, to Vietnam. Maybe it was the loss of friends, the guilt I was sitting comfortable with no worries or other personal reasons but I had to go. It didn't take long and I had orders for advanced schooling and training; destination Vietnam. In early January 1968 I found myself on a plane destined for Vietnam, wondering what I was getting myself in for. It didn't take long to realize what this was all about. It didn't take long for the world I had left behind to become a small far away place. I seemed to become a different person. The letters from home were from another place, another time. What I remember most from that far away world was the occasional newscast from home. Newscasts that showed parents and loved ones sitting watching the nightly body count while protesters in the streets and campus' called us war mongers and baby killers. During my first tour my firstborn arrived. Yes, I was excited about this event but taking away from that excitement was the apprehension would I ever see him. Reasons unknown to me now I signed up for a second tour. Possible not wanting to leave friends there, afraid to return to the "world" or "short timers syndrome". Looking back probably the most upsetting time during my tours was coming home on leave. I met a son I had never known, small things like a power line arcing in the middle of the night, a siren, sudden noises put me in a panic. I felt I didn't belong here, my mind and body were still halfway around the world. I did finish my tours and came home in one piece physically. Mentally I do not believe any who served will ever be the same. I believe we all went to another identity while there. An identity that went against our upbringing as far as morals and value of life. I have lost many friends to Vietnam. Some childhood friends, some while there and still some today to things like Agent Orange. I still have one unanswered question that I will never have the answer to. Why did I come home and they didn't?

 

To my hometown Hero's. I salute you.
All friends, some close friends.

Rolland Shubbuck
Date of loss January 16, 1966
Panel 04E  Line 75

Roger Cook
Date of loss January 15, 1967
Panel 14E    Line 33

Charles Seefeldt Jr.
Date of loss May 7, 1967
Panel 19E    Line 54

Leroy Keller
Date of loss May 12, 1967
Panel 19E    Line 97

John Albanese Jr.
Date of loss May 23, 1968
Panel 66E    Line 5

Nicholas Natale
Date of loss May 29, 1968
Panel 63W    Line 10

George Underdown
Date of loss April 1, 1970
Panel 12W    Line 76

Wilson Tanner
Date of loss December 3, 2002
Victim of Agent Orange

Long as we live,
We will remember,
You are not forgotten.