I sent my earlier post on Wasted Lives to the archive. As Mage says, it stirred up a lot of discussion. Now that’s not a bad thing, but frankly, having literally lived through the Vietnam War married to an enlisted man who became a ‘Mustang’ in Marine lingo, divorced and remarried another vet from that war, then lived with yet another fellow who had too many memories of his experiences in Vietnam, I don’t want to go there.
I will say this, however, all three came from the lower class Isenberg writes about, and each one had become career military. None was drafted, and each one spent enough time in the service to retire. I know one or more of them are dead now, each having survived horrific experiences they relayed over and over.
Two of them joined as privates and worked their way up through the ranks. The third was an ROTC scholar who earned an appointment to Annapolis owing to his football prowess. Another became a “full-bird” colonel. Each one of them developed an issue with alcohol. None of them ever got sober. I imagine today they would be diagnosed with PTSD.
Then I met David. He says his war is the forgotten war…Korea. He served four years as a company clerk (like ‘Radar’ on the TV series Mash.) Although he had been drafted, he had some college (ROTC – UNC) and Army offered him a commission. He said, ‘no thank you.’ David too had an alcohol issue, but he’s been sober since 1977. God bless him. The other guys never got sober to my knowledge.
All three of the men I lived with prior to David joined during or just after Korea, two of them served in Korea. Still what they remembered and talked about was Vietnam over and over and over.
David was in Germany during the Vietnam War working with the Dutch as an engineer. They handled those missiles pointed at the U.S.S.R. Remember the Cold War? Nobody does. It’s always the hot wars in SE Asia.
Because life goes on, below are some recent family photos. (We think Li’l Chris will be a red-head.) Big Chris arrives home from Yemen in a few weeks (another place we have US troops).
Top photo: Auntie Joy with Li’l Chris. Below, Rita, or mom who will return to work next week. Daughter Connie, aka Grammy just back from Utah, will take care of Chris for the summer. The black lab is Naomi, Rita’s old dog.