This site isn't really about the war. It's about "the warriors" - who were really mostly just a bunch of 20-year old kids trying to do a job and stay alive - and stay sane in the midst of the insanity of war. It is more a matter of telling stories of events that ocurred 30 years ago, had a major impact on our lives, yet until now have been available only from our own lips. The purpose of this site - this exercise - is more archival and expungatory (!?) as in "let's look at this, understand it, accept it and get on with our lives.."
The purpose is to make our combined histories real - so that we can factor them into our lives objectively and see who we really were and find out who we really are today.
It tells a story - my unit's and my own - and asks for related stories from others who were "there" - where ever "there" really was.
I am also looking to share my stories and find other people who were "there" but also worked in a virtual vacuum. One of the problems of warfare is that you visit places with names you cannot pronounce and that later cease to exist and work with people whose names you don't always know and who also may soon cease to exist.
One day you're sharing the misery of heat, hunger and fear; life, death, danger, food, shelter and adventure, and the next day they're dead, wounded or heading home. - And this happened to everyone many times over. In every single case - to every single sailor, soldier, airman and marine who served in Vietnam - the guys you worked with were there one day and gone the next. It happened over and over again. Sometimes you had to ask "where's so and so?" - not knowing whether the answer would be "wounded", "dead", or "rotated out heading home". Fortunately, the most frequent answer was "heading home to the World" - but certainly not in every case.
In my particular experience, we moved so frequently - constantly, in fact - that we never really got to know just where we were at any given time. Only the discovery of my flight documents let me reassemble the path my tour took.
In the case of those who were
wounded, they began a day just like another, but then all hell broke
loose and they woke up in a hospital somewhere. The course of your life
just shifted radically and you can't go back..And, if you were killed,
we missed you, but mostly, your family "back in the world" missed you
most of all.
It's a mind bender - kinda like Dorothy and Kansas.
We called home "the World" - as in "back in the world" or "when I get back to the world"... To us, we were in another world, not any place we could understand.
But, at the same time these places - Tay Ninh, Song Be, Bu Dop, Tonle Cham, Binh Thuy, the Mekong River and Delta - are very real places - with very real histories - and also with some very real inhabitants - people with lives and a culture of their own.
Some were our friends, some tried to kill us...