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Thread: strange feelings

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Central (upstate) NY

    strange feelings

    I heard a news story about the wars today and it gave me kind of a strange feeling that I get now and again lately. You see, back in 1999 I had attempted to enlist in the (Army) National Guard but failed MEPS (the physical, essentially) due to my left ear not hearing good and me floundering in general on hearing tests - I get all nervous and anxious and start having beep and bip auditory hallucinations and press the finish off the button. (Give me an academic knowledge test and I'm good to go - go figure, huh?) I would have gone into a combat arms position and given my geographic location likely would have been somehow associated with the 10th Mtn Div (I think - I'm not exactly sure how the whole Federalization thing works) and thus likely have been sent overseas at least for one tour.

    Anyhow, sometimes hearing about the war and thinking about other people getting shot and killed and mangled with me still here at home after trying to have enlisted makes me feel somehow strange. Partly because the little bit of ROTC I took in college was the single most important thing contributing to me having my stuff as together as it is now and partly because sometimes I feel somehow ... I don't know how else to say it, but more expendable than many others.

    It's not a strong feeling of strangeness and I can't even place a finger on what kind of feeling it is - kind of like a sense of loss about not fulfilling a duty or something. Intellectually I understand that it's the Army's loss by not taking me in the first place, that being shot at, killed and mangled probably really isn't a situation to aspire to and that in the end, I did make the effort to enlist - therefore whatever duty I have should be considered discharged when the Army said no.

    Like I said, it's a strange feeling.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Tokiwadai, Japan

    I'm a VietNam Era vet, but the computer sent me to Japan instead. Sometimes I feel "less" for not going to VN like so many young men in my generation, some very close friends. Sometimes people wish they had been the one involved in a tragic/fatal situation, rather than the loved one that was... I think it's a normal feeling, for a caring person like you to have. You can always volunteer for work with your local Vet assoications, or other worthy groups.

    Best to ya,

  3. #3

    I am an 8 year US Navy Vietnam era vet. I was in from Nov.'68-Nov-76.

    I have massive problems because I feel like I let my fellow vets down by not serving in Vietnam. Out of my HS graduating class of 127.......4 were killed in "Nam. One was my best friend. I got married in Dec. '68. When the letter arrived from my mother about Gary's death in October of '70, my new bride saw me cry for the first time.

    Two things you don't want to do:

    1. Get me in a real beer drinking situation.

    2. Bring up Vietnam while I'm in situation #1. You will get an education that you probably don't want.

    Don't be too harsh on yourself. If you tried to enlist and couldn't get accepted due to physical/medical problems....You tried. I have a brother that would have enlisted yesterday (actually in the early '70s) but he has scoliosis (sp?). He has a real problem. My reply to my little brother....You tried Bro...You tried.

    Don't be too harsh on yourself.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    There are many ways to server one's country, a lot of good, hard working, honest people serve their country by just being who they are, by raising the next generation right and living their lives, some serve with a rifle in their hands, and thank goodness for them.

    We each have our own way, find yours.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
    Don Taylor is offline Former Member (by the member's request)
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Mark you did make an effort, no one can ever fault you. I too am a Viet Nam Era vet. The powers that be stationed me in Hawaii!

    I was a Jet aircraft engine mechanic and thought I would much better serve my country working with the fighter aircraft and their pilots in the war zone.
    Three friends and myself tried four different times to volunteer for a tour in Viet Nam. We were told that our career field was too critical.
    To us, we were just over rated gas station attendants. We gassed them up, kicked the tires and made sure they would fly the last leg to Saigon.

    There were many opportunities to fight for my country in my 24 years service but each and every time they sent me to a safe and cushy assignment.
    It's true, I had no control of where I served but I never feel more uncomfortable than when my friends (All Vets) get into swapping war stories. Somehow, sitting on the beach with a girl listening to Don Ho and the boys from an open air night club behind us doesn't fit in.

    These days I tell myself I am one lucky man not having to go over there as a kid and being sent home in a body bag. It doesn't help. I still feel guilty.


  6. #6
    What a strange coincidence. I have been feeling the same way. On another forum ( I started a post about my dad. Hes a Vietnam Vet and lately he's been telling me war stories...

    Not the hero, bravado, Rambo stories but the bad ones. Stories he has bottled up for 38 years. Stories he has not even told my Mom, a woman he has been wed to for over 40 years.

    I voice how I feel in words, and this morning I got up and wrote this "letter". Its a true story about his best friend Butch. I was going to put it on here, but felt it might be close to being "political." I hope its not anyway its called...

    The Bullet Not Taken

    Dear Butch,

    I know you remember that day well, 38 summers ago standing in the rice patty with my father as you heard the thud of a bullet hitting a body. Nanoseconds later you heard the rifle report and for a split second you and my father knew one of you had been hit, but was not sure which one. Unfortunately it was you.

    You never returned to the United States again, even though you made it through boot camp, became best friends with my Dad and did two tours of duty in Vietnam. To die three days before your return home hardly seems fair.

    The Survivor Guilt is deep within my dad, even now, but he picked himself up by his boot laces and did well these past 38 years. He has used his medic training to save two lives, doing tracheotomy’s on the side of the road to save car accident victims. He also opened his home to hundreds of foster children, had three children of his own and adopted six more. He’s done some good despite the memories of Vietnam.

    The sad thing is, I will never know your real name. Dad never talks about Vietnam and it is too painful to ask what your real name is. Butch is all I will ever know.

    I have touched your name once though, on the wall in Washington, DC. I was too small to remember the name, but small enough so that I could be put on my Uncles shoulders and rub your name with chalk onto a piece of paper as Dad cried…really cried. I had never seen my Dad cry before, but of all the names…one name…your name…touched him the most.

    Despite 38 years of silence, one thing needs to be said. Not from my Dad, but from me Butch. Thanks for taking that bullet for my Dad.

    Written by a Son of a Disabled Vietnam Veteran
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Mark, in life, we do what we can do and respond in our own way. I have no doubt you have served your fellow man, and America, in other ways. Whether it was as a Boy Scout leader, Little League coach, church elder, or whatever. You need feel no guilt. In the service, one serves as much by what one might have to do as by being in the action. I was an Air Force weather observer with side skills. Most of my service was at an air station in the U.K. that looked more like a college campus than millitary installation. We didn't have airplanes. Duty was cushy. But, during the Cuban crisis, I got quick orders to update my world-wide shots and pack my duffel and be ready. I wasn't told what for. After the crisis ended, I was told that I was one of only about 20 airmen in the word who had my 'side skills'. It was a type of code reading and I was a natural whiz at it. If necessary, I was going to be air dropped onto a hilltop in Cuba to direct air traffic and send back weather reports. I had never even seen a parachute and, at that point, had shot only 40 rounds of ammunition from a rifle in the military. But, my service remained clean and off-hours spent in my local pub. However, if orders had come, I would have gone and done what was necessary to the best of my abilities. Life calls the shots many times when we can't. Carry on and enjoy life.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Central (upstate) NY
    Thank you for the replies.

    The replies help me to know that these occasional feelings are just strange feelings and don't need to be given any more weight than a passing bit of feeling strange.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Villa Park, CA
    I served in Vietnam in the signal corps and had pretty good duty - I was not in the front lines fighting. But from the day I went in (I was drafted) I had one goal - To survive my tour. Not to save Vietnam or the United States but to survive. Most of the people I was friends with had the same goal.

    While I understand your feeling about missing the chance to support our country, you have to also consider whether the leaders of our country are "spending" the lives of our soldiers on something worth while.

    In Vietnam, we got in the middle of a civil war and into a situation where we couldn't possibly win (because we couldn't invade North Vietnam). We lost over 58,000 soldiers killed and 153,000 wounded.

    Now, in Iraq, we're in middle of another civil war. Consider yourself lucky you missed this war.

    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Southeast Pa
    US Navy

    1967 to 1971

    Patrol Squadron 8

    Home Port Pax River, Md.

    Now 60 Years old..

    Knew no one personally that died in Vietnam

    Still stood at wall and Shed some tears..

    Lots of names
    Lots of widows...
    Lots of Orphans...

    Lots of walking wounded yet today..

    Not all of them all went to Vietnam...

    Jump to Desert Storm..

    Repeat story..

    Jump to Today in Iraq.
    Repeat Repeat story

    Only the names change.
    Go to Gettysburg. Older Story even sadder..Brother against Brother..

    I alway try and thank a Vet..
    Mark I thank you for even trying.

    Some one may make sense of it...

    Won't be me....

    But I'd probably be a Vet again....if I had it to do all over again..

    Yes I have a serial number, but its only tattoed in my mind not on my body. Hasn't been used since 1971, but I can sound it off as easily as I could in boot camp..

    Freedom isn't cheap and and it not always fair..

    Yea Mark the mind can be strange.


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