For The Nam Guys

While I'm busy here in Kuwait, fucking off and wasting more time on the internet than I have in a single month in Iraq, I'd like to address something.

Some of the coolest emails and comments I get come from Vietnam vets. If anyone gets it, they do, and then some. I've heard some amazing stories from these guys, and I also read John Leppelman's book Blood On The Risers.

It blows my mind, because I end up feeling a little guilty for all the gratitude I get, when we don't have it anywhere NEAR as bad as these guys did. Most of us don't get spit on, at most, an idiot will spout their mouth off about how evil and brainwashed we are, and we laugh it off and that's it. Nam vets got fucked every step of the way. I think the Thank You emails are vastly overdue.

You can't cut it by putting out movies with Sean Penn and Charlie Sheen and dramatizing and Hollywood-fucking their war. What kind of consolation is that? If they feel anywhere near as pissed off as I felt when I watched "Stop-Loss" or any of the bold new Iraq cash cow dramawhoring movies that are eeking their way into the box office, then we all owe some massive apologies.

Yet another reason why I won't wear the CIB. My deployment really wasn't all that bad all things considered. Now stand me next to someone who spent insane amounts of time out in the bush with rotting feet and 90 day wonder left-tenants, and you'll see a Wayne's World style "We're not worthy!"

Warm beds, phone connections, INTERNET FOR CHRIST'S SAKE, laptops and portable DVD players with bootleg movies that we can watch as soon as a WEEK after the movie hits theaters, showers, a chow hall staffed with little brown people working for KBR, and the list goes on.

The hell with me, thank a Nam vet. Or Korea vet. WWII.

Then again, most of us, we just watch our war movie reruns on Memorial Day, catch the repeat of Band of Brothers, and that's pretty much it. Doesn't bother me personally, I won't need a designated day to remember my guys. I'm sure the vets don't either. Guess we'll always have our shitty movies.


Pff. Gimme a break.

If I ever sat down at a VFW bar and ended up in a conversation with one of the old-timers, I think I'd just shut the fuck up and listen, because I feel like I really don't have a damn thing to say in comparison.

And then again, "Thanks" just doesn't cut it either. I draw a blank on this one. Whatever it is, I guess it's just unspoken. You can't really communicate it either. But this post's for you, boys.


  1. Anonymous said...
    Ditto. My heartfelt "thank you" goes out to every Vietnam Vet. We think it, not know how to say it.

    It's time for your parade.

    Anonymous said...
    Ya know, I sorta dropped yer sorry ass 'cause I was tired of listening to the whining.

    Anyhoo, I think ya got it right this time. And, yeah, it is a comfort to hear someone get it right.

    I didn't have it real bad. Some had it way worse. There always is. The spitting was bad. Sitting in an airport waiting for a flight, while self-righteous pricks walked by and stared. . . or opened their fukkin mouths. Youcouldn't bust their wimpy ass, 'cause that'd make YOU the crazy vet. That was bad.

    And yeah, it's still an ichi-ban fuckover. You can keep yer thanks, though. I've learned to get by without it.

    But, you see, it's their sons and daughters that are running the country now. And this is what you get.
    Anonymous said...
    Can I thank you *and* the Vietnam, Korea, and WWII vets? Of course, as you say, "thanks" really isn't enough.

    I'll say it anyway.
    Earl said...
    I was riding airplanes in Class A's finished the Nam and going home, a woman, her daughter and a hovering husband came over to my seat and she said they wanted to thank me for serving in Vietnam. I was dumb, couldn't mumble anything, wasn't ready for anyone to say thanks, didn't want to share my war, didn't want to think about my war, didn't want to admit to being in my war. 1971.

    Nam was different for everyone, I was on a firebase and when they stood us down an Infantry platoon came out of the bush to secure the base while we pulled out. One came over and asked if he could use our shower, an old oil drum with a shower head and a powder canister to burn diesel in to heat the water. We said sure and showed him how to fire it up. We watched in awe as their mail and packages finally caught up in two Huey loads. Yeah, everyone's war is different and very difficult to share, that is why I have been listening to you and yours.
    Anonymous said...
    I had a restaurant in a nice little town a quarter centary ago. We were a bit of a magnet for hungry/ homeless. I was stunned by the numbers of Vietnam vets. I would feed them and chat with them, and front them meals because their disability checks would run out well before the end of the month. They would be out of money for meds before the end of the month. They could pan-handle enough for beer for a daily dose, but not enough for a prescription. I came to the realization that the best way to help Vietnam vets was to volunteer at the soup kitchen, or donate to organizations such as Vietnam Vets of California.

    I do not want that to happen to this generation.
    BigD said...
    Hi Suspect,
    By virtue of your own combat experience, you now begin to understand what the Vietnam Vets went through, the price those soldiers paid, the conditions under which they fought, the physical and mental toll that was taken during their months of deployment, and the magnitude of the loss of soldiers lives. This knowledge is a powerful force and now you must take that knowledge and do something with it. You are right...thank you is not enough. The price of any war is far too high to settle for a mere thank you. We can all do so much more.
    And Suspect, you can be a voice in this war weary wilderness! It doesn't matter whose experience was more horrible or why...every soldier in every war that has ever been fought has a story to tell; and people must learn to listen. And those stories are told not only by the living, but, also by those who did not return. One need only go to the Wall and hear the cries. We must never let those cries go unheeded, that is our duty as citizens of this country. I know you will find your voice and when the time is right, you will know exactly what to say. My thoughts are ever with you and all of your 4/2 buddies as you traverse your way home. Fly home soon!
    Chris said...
    My dad rarely talked about Nam, but when he did...he would always take a deep breath first - even if the story was funny. He served in Iraq too 1991, and didn't have a problem telling those stories. Even though this is a controversial war, I am glad that we are doing a better job of supporting our troops. They deserve it.

    Anonymous said...
    I agree whole heartedly. Everybody before us had it way worse. Someday in some other conflict, when people are fighting with robot drones via joystick or brain-link from US soil they'll say the same thing about you.
    David M said...
    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 06/02/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.
    Anonymous said...
    Vietnam was a waste! I say to the Vietnam vets not "thanks", but "I'm sorry". I'm sorry that the gov't criminals sent them into that hell in the first place. I hope the criminals that fomented that war wind up in the hottest place in hell. Same w/ the Middle East--it's not in MY name. I wish the vets peace. But as for the criminals that sent the troops there, that's another matter altogether.

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