Posted by: guinness222 | May 31, 2010

“Sometimes, you just don’t want to know……..”

       I’m 65 years old, I am a veteran of the 1960’s Viet Nam war period, and I had a life before Viet Nam,……so did a lot of guys! But as I sit here pecking at my keyboard on Memorial Day, a holiday in honor of all our fallen brethren who gave the ultimate, their life, for our country, and the freedom and life those of us that are still here enjoy.

          I was never in Viet Nam, in fact I remembering that I hoped the hell when my orders came in the fall of 1966 that theywere not for Viet Nam. Even as I was going through “A” School in the U.S. Navy for Aerographerers Mate (Weather Forecaster) I was always mindful of the fact that all the U.S. Marines in my class were most probably all going to Viet Nam to see action as forward spotters or trying to predict what the weather would be for the countless guys who simply “did what they were ordered to do”.

        I remember guys like Faulkenberry, Hinton, and the rest in my class who were totally proud to be Marines, and, as JFK said in his inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you,…but what can you do for your country”. To this very day I wonder if they made it. As a “squid”, the euphemistic nickname for United States Navy Sailors by the Marines, I was pretty sure I would not be in the front line, but on a ship or base far away from the actual fighting trying to predict the weather for the places many of my “brethren in arms”  were called to go. I knew that my skills in part, regardless of the degree, would or may make the difference as to whether they grew to have families and children, and careers and homes and were able to pursue the “American dream”,……or came home to their parents in a box, and became a name on “The Wall”.

        I remember praying that God would not put me in that place where I could make a mistake that would cost these brave 18 year old “men” their lives. He did not, I was assigned to duty at a “stateside” base doing weather observation and forecasting for “trainees” whose next stop WAS Viet Nam, but riding in the back seat of an F-8 Crusader jet as an RIO (Radar Intercept Officer). I treated every task I was given there at my base in Southeast Georgia, as if I were in Viet Nam, and my skills were the factors which meant that a man came home walking, as opposed to in a box.

         Personally I was against the War. All war is bad, all war has no “winners”, only a nation of political “winners” burying their sons and daughters the same way the “losers” were doing. But I was determined that if it were based on the observations and forecasts that I would present these RIO’s it would be their “ticket home” without the sadness of being in a “box”.

            To all veterans, “Thank You!”, to all current members of the United States Military, “Thank you for your hard decision to be the front line of defense for America, and to the rest of you “clowns” that don’t know what America is about and what we really stand for, and what being an American really means,……………………………….”stick it in your ear!”, you are not worthy of my contempt.


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