Monday, November 10, 2008

A letter from Dick, in Hawaii.

The following is a letter/ message/ reply from a friend and fellow combat Veteran
that I consider very special.
I am going to take his advice. His greeting to
me is always 'DoorGunner.'
Song: Dirty Water - The Standells

Aloha DoorGunner.

You are not alone --- you are not a freak. We are all doing this same sort of
thing, but in our own particular way. You have infinitely more company than you
may be aware of.

Yours truly devotes endless hours on the internet reading other Vets websites.
Most all identify having the same sort of things that you described in your
posting, daydreams and flashbacks. I know that I most certainly do. The
emerging general consensus is that mentally reliving our experiences is quite
normal for combat veterans. The harsher the experience, the more vivid the

The best therapy, it is agreed and if any is needed, is to tell your story[s].
Doing so is not only good for you, it is also of benefit to others who are going
through the same sort of thing.
Knowing that many others share the same sort of thoughts about their
experiences, but in their own personal way, helps me to understand that my
thoughts are within the range of normalcy. If you were there ducking bullets,
you have one-of-a-kind experiences to relive and interesting stories to tell.

Back then we were young, tough as nails and were wired with energy. In our
aging years we miss that. It left us with a hunger that we can never again fully
satisfy. Nam is part of us forever.

After haunting many blogs for a considerable period, it becomes readily apparent
that those of us who both received incoming small arms fire and, in turn,
returned it to survive have an entirely different set of beliefs about what we
went through than those who were in logistical support units living behind the
safety of the wire. We 'line unit' Vets are a band of brothers who were forged
and then tempered by being Baptized Under Fire. "For he who sheds his blood
with me will be my brother forever." The behind-the-wire support types never
knew, let alone understand, this blood-bonding experience.

The threads posted by the support/depot types are full of bitterness and
residual anger. All they largely do is gripe about the years of their lives
wasted, endless days of boredom, the drugs they used, bad chow prepared by
indifferent cooks and playing grab-ass with the hootch girls. They never tell
stories of having pride in themselves, of their unit or of their service to our
wonderful nation. All they talk about is negative stuff.

Stories posted by those serving with SF, Airborne, Ranger, Long Range Recon,
Armored Cav units and AHC's are full of unit pride. Although many of their
stories are filled with hair-raising drama, they are stories of uplifting pride.
Pride in their unit, in themselves and in what they accomplished. This also
holds true for stories told by the combat engineers and the demolition explosive
guys. Some of the most positive, yet heart-wrenching are the stories told by
the dog handlers. I'm a dog person, love big shaggy Newfies, and it always
breaks my heart when the War Dog is hurt or becomes a KIA.

As you are aware, I was a MACV Adviser, living and working with the Vietnamese.
Therefore, my perspective is quite different from that of a GI who only served
with fellow Americans and who looked upon the locals as being lesser beings.
You don't entrust your life to others without accepting them as equals, showing
them the respect they have earned. Yes, I learned to love them, more so than
some members of my family. Its more than 40-years now and I still miss some of

On the personal side --- Most evenings when I close my eyes and begin to drift
off, I'm back in the triple canopy jungle or the mangrove swamp of the Rung Sat
Special Zone of over40-years ago. Being back there is not a troubling or
fearful event. Its more a case of being back where I belong. Aside from the
terrible firefights, having our compound mortared and always being a bit
on the hungry side, life was good. I never felt more useful to others or ever
having a greater sense of purpose than I did when living with the Vietnamese.
The experiences gained are a part of you forever. You earned them the hard way.
Learn to relax and enjoy the memories and to share them with others.

After all these years, I'm nothing more than a old, tired, rifle-carrying,
sweat-soaked, muddy-booted grunt. That is the way I continue to see myself and
I'm fiercely proud of being such a humble creature. I am one of the fortunate
few to have served with MACV and I would do so again in a heartbeat. No regrets
whatsoever. I know it had to end, but I would relish doing it again.

Enough of my ranting. Let me end by saying that if your dreams are of the
nightmare kind, you have a problem. If they are of good memories, then learn to
accept them as wanted old friends. Your stories are a portion of our national
heritage. Get them out in the open where we can all benefit from them. You
have a fine website going for you. Use it to post some of your experiences.
When and where it works, relate them to a passage in the Bible or a lesson
leaned from the Bible.

All in all, you come across as being quite normal as I understand you. Request
that you post other responses you receive on this topic. I'm most interested to
learn what our other brothers-in-arms have been experiencing.

Take good care --------


Narrow Seadog Two Two

Rangers are roping-in half way around the world, while the remainder of the Army
is still lacing-up their boots.


Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I Send? Who will go for
us?" And I said "He

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