Saturday, December 6, 2008

Some Pain just doesn't go away.

Old Soldier Tom's Journal.

I am sharing a letter from a friend [with his permission] who used to live in a small town, La Crosse, Kansas, where many of my own Schuckman relatives were born and raised. They are descendants of the noted Volga-Germans who escaped from great oppression in Russia and came to America for FREEDOM! Long story...that includes many thousands of German people who migrated in the 1700's... Mark and Jim went to school with my first cousins. His dear, close brother, Jim, served in the same helicopter company that I did in my 2nd tour of Vietnam, 1969-70, the 240th Assault Helicopter Co., at Bear Cat, RVN. I went home for good on 30 March 70, and then Jim, who was a young Warrant Officer and pilot got killed [KIA] about 6 months latter, unbeknownst [sic] to me at the time. I was at home in the States out of the Army but "still at war"... with my mind--PTSD, etc, starting my own family and trying to re adjust to civilian life... Ha! I am just finally starting to mellow out and settle down-- thanks to God Almighty, Praise the Lord!
It's a small world and some 'common events' and a war on the other side of the world has brought us all together and formed many bonds of friendship, comraderie and encouragments.
Thank you, Mark Eisenhower.

First,I need to share this with you.Yesterday Mom and I were outside and busy trying to downsize the shed of it's 25 + years of accumulated stuff. We were listening to a local AM radio station that plays Christmas music.They played Blue Christmas and she not only listened she heard it and it made her sad.I didnt notice the impact the song had on her.Maybe 10 minutes later I heard a huey fly over.I always listen when I hear them. That may sound strange but for 15 years after Jim was killed I always heard them and listened as it was somehow a link to my dead Brother.Eventually I could hear them and not listen.After a short time Mom said was that a huey that just flew over? I answered yes but wasn't ready for the next question.She then asked me if that was Jim in that helicopter? I know it wasn't Jim and was hoping she knew that too.With the music on the radio and the flyover it was too much and she started crying and saying it is a sad time of the year for her.I know how that goes.I've been there and done that and now I still miss Jim and my Dad not just at Christmas but year around.For the most part she is skilled in keeping her emotions in check so no one sees her show that emotion.she is 86 and she thinks God doesn't like her or he wouldn't make her live this long.She is tired and easily frustrated with her eyesight going south on her and she gets tired faster than she thinks she should.
The independent sites that exist for 240th Veterans is all that I ever go to.Ragman,Texas Twister, and Frenchy gave me their word. I believe they will never foresake the memory of men and women who gave all or allow that sacrifice to be forgotten.The yahoo group is good when you want to get the word out fast.Any other value I have yet to see.
My job keeps me redirected with attempts to get ads out so we don't remain a small obscure funeral home in an area that has 60 + small and large mortuaries to serve families.Our numbers are good but I am trying to reach a new consumer group.Veterans and their families often rely on the pretense that the VA will take care of the financial aspect of funeral service.Not so!Proving character of service is the number one obstacle we run into when helping failies with completing fuenral arrangements for the Veteran.They want burial in a Veterans cemetery,flag to drape the casket,rifle salute,and taps to be sounded.Without the veteran's DD-214 to verify character of service we can't even speak to a National Cemetery.We are trying to market a low cost funeral to honor the veteran and do so with the dignity he or she has earned.All this and please the family by meeting their needs and desires for disposition of their loved one.
I have your phone number in my address book and will use it when I need to talk .There are still some issues about 18 Aug 1968 that I struggle with and was so happy to hear from Dwight Olson ,Jim's Crew Chief that day.We have been hearing from him more and more as time passes and we are glad he feels he can communicate with us and is comfortable doing so.I am sure remembering is not easy for any of you and sharing those memories with us helps to bring closure to the reality of a loved one being killed doing what he thought was right.Variations in the accounts of that day are based on which side of the helicopter you were on, which helicopter you were in,whether you were pilot or AC or door gunner.Jim isn't going to be any less dead if I am able to piece together all the accounts I have received.
Don't dismiss me as someone who is not interested.You have to really cluster f - - k for me to speak out.If I can't say something good I usually don't say anything.I will advocate for any one who I believe is in the right and has something to say.In most cases if it is a forward I don't even open the e-mail unless I know the person sending it to me.
Say hello to your lovely bride and you two be good to each other.

Make your life easier with all your friends


Janie said...

Hope you have a blessed week. Have been to busy recently to post or comment. Blessings, Janie

sober white women said...

You know it is the little things. Like your friend I stop and listen to the choppers fly over.
While my husband was on active duty we moved away from base. I was happy to never have to hear the sound of choppers again. Then one day I was standing in my back yard and they flew over my house! I called one of my friends that worked in the wing and said "I did not move away from base to your choppers flying over my house." My friend "that is the sound of freedom" and then he hung up on me!
Today those people are in Iowa, and I still want to pick up the phone and call him.


Found your post on Dirk's page; my husband served in Vietnam - pilot; fighter, reconnaissance, and also ended up in helicopters on his second tour.

Just thought I'd say hello; I spent 3 years volunteering with the Vet Outreach Center in Long Beach helping former Vietnam vets recover; get back into life, and saw many who suffer from what you do (in combination or certainly 1 or 2 of the afflictions and maladies as a result of the war).

I correspond with one now who lives in Missouri; he's battling cancer right now, and is only 49 years old. His story of his time in the marines isn't pleasant either.

My husband is 73; I'm 68 - and I also was born in Battle Creek, Michigan; lived in Michigan for a number of years before I moved to Texas, back to Michigan - then to New York - back to Michigan; to Ohio, then Washington, then California, and retired in Nevada.

No, I wasn't in the military; just married more than once, and husbands and/or my career relocated me.

I've been recovering from a critical auto' accident; survived cancer 3 times, polio, and a number of injuries that have let me know the meaning of being disabled and in pain. It's not a good thing - the days we are free from pain or the pain isn't as severe, are those 'miracle days'.

Keeping busy; keeping in touch with friends, and 'blogging' has helped me - I imagine it helps you as well.

Take care.