Tuesday, November 20, 2012


The other MRMacrum (Lost in the Bozone) posted a clip of The Mamas and the Papas on his blog and it made me think nostalgically about radio days.  

For some reason it also made me think of the Vietnam War, because radio was the major entertainment and release for the troops – a touch of home.

Veterans Day just past and I didn't celebrate it.   I spent 22 years in the military and I now have bad feelings about it.    Coming back from Vietnam I was confused about the war.   I had been hyped by the military with the ‘kill them all and let God sort it out’ mentality; but actually being in country conflicted my view.  

Armed forces radio was the program we all listened to – there may have been TV’s on some sites, but I never saw them.   Good morning Vietnam was a wake up call I often woke to.  

And “ Chickenman; He’s everywhere, he’s everywhere” is a battle cry everyone was familiar with – and my favorite.  

My main emotion on returning home was elation.   I had that cheated death feeling that that military personnel experience: that everything I was seeing and able to do was wonderful and should be appreciated and lived to the fullest.   But there was also a down side: it is almost a cliché that is now bantered around by vets, and perhaps it was not an uncommon experience; but, my return flight to the states was on Quantas Airline out of Saigon that landed in me in San Francisco – I was in fatigues and as I went through the terminal a young girl ask me how many babies I had killed.   For weeks after my return you would have to wake me up from sleep by shaking my foot, because I might come up swinging.  

My only good memory of Vietnam is Armed Forces Vietnam Radio Network - and I had almost forgotten about it.  

There were 58,000 men military men killed in Vietnam and hundreds of thousands wounded – and no one can tell me what was accomplished. 

I feel the same way about current wars: the politicians that declare them do not fight in them, so the justification only has to be vague.   The men that fight and suffer, often coming back to broken homes and relationships, want to believe their service was valuable; but don't ask them what was accomplished - they probably can't tell you.  And no one here at home really cares.

The Ol’Buzzard  



  1. I have conflicting views on the veteran thing because I didn't really have a choice, I joined the Air Force to avoid the draft. So being a veteran is just something I did because I was coerced, not because I had any real desire to join. (I was lucky in that I never had to go to the land of fun and sun, I was stateside the whole hitch.)

    These days I see how the military and vets are treated at various events like sports and on the one hand am glad they are getting recognition and on the other hand can't help feeling how they are being fucking used, just so the organizers of the event can say, "Gee, look how patriotic we are!! Ain't we great??"

    I think that bothers me more than the disrespect for the military during the Vietnam War. (Then again, I didn't really have any bad experiences because of being in the military.) The Vietnam War seems to have made cynics of a lot of us!!

  2. Soldiers are always used. They may be separated when defining the things that military use for war, but they are no different than a gun, a missile, a pair of boots. They are materiel to throw at the enemy. My father, a career officer in the Air Force, called me on my lottery night and offered me a plane ticket to Montreal. He understood too well the little regard the politicians who create the wars had for the grunt on the ground. And he did not want me to be part of their mad plan. I declined his offer and took my chances in the lottery. I was safely in the 200s that draw.

    The fact that the military is now an all volunteer outfit does little in my book to dispel the fact that the soldiers are still being used. But at least now, it is a choice and not an obligation.

  3. thank you for serving your country..I was proud of the soldiers then(even though I was a dove) and I'm proud of them now..I love you..js

  4. There was a well known local event in RI called Gaspee Days that included a big parade through the streets of the little village where we lived for a few years. Veterans of WWII and Korea always took part but not the Vietnam veterans because they weren't invited. I well remember the year they were invited. There must have been 100 or more wearing jungle camo and headbands carrying an empty tiger cage in their midst. I don't think there was a dry eyed adult on the street.

    I've always sympathized with soldiers but I've also read enough history to understand the reasons why democracy and empire can't coexist. Unfortunately, what's happening these days is that those who enlist often don't have much of a choice either.. and then there are the mercenaries.

  5. I just missed Nam, got out before it became 'official', it's all bullshit, we just fight wars for the rich. That and fear that someone will take us over.


COMMENT: Ben Franklin said, "I imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who believes, and a good deal of boldness who affirms, that all doctrines he holds are true, and all he rejects are false."