A Warrior’s Words


My start in a more personal way of supporting the troops/vets began soon after I joined Google Plus. Some of you may be familiar with the social site and that is the link to my page for any of you who may be curious.

Needless to say, I have had many conversations with servicemen, veterans from the Vietnam era, the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans too.  I’ve learned a great deal about the military; the tactical aspects as well as the emotional aspects. I’ve been blessed with trust from these men who opened up to me, even if just a little and I consider myself lucky.

It’s difficult for me to relate and to hear the anguish they deal with daily and have since leaving the war,  but I try to understand their pain and their own way of dealing with their  daily struggles; I am  a shoulder or sounding board for any who needs to talk.

Earlier today I was having such a conversation with a Vietnam Vet, Special Forces with 4 tours under his belt. The conversation was a good length and he told me his tale.

With his permission, I am posting one of his comments that I  thought most veterans could relate to in one way or another. I thought it spoke volumes and paints a vivid picture of ‘A Day in the Life of an American Vet.’  His name has been withheld.

When I dwell on the past, Lady Anna, I have to think about it for a moment and dwell where it is very dark. “Remember when, and how I continue today…”, was never something I wanted to do. I am starting to heal, but it was a hell of a ride. A nightmare for a childhood, and Nam has given me a Hell I just wish I could forget but cannot. There was a time that the losses really tore me up inside. I had brothers in arms, guys I loved, killed all around me and I thought I would be next. Over the years I did not want to know anyone’s name because it hurt to see them die. I never got over it all but now I deal with it by moving forward and fill the time used to think about it, with other things. My dreams I have no control over but my waking hours are mine to fill. I am glad you somewhat understand how quick things change, even though you were a different kind of survivor. I have lost every friend I ever made, guys with new brides, or babies, or short timers going home in boxes because they became complacent. All had much to lose, I had nothing to lose, and after the killing stops and I look around at who stands beside me, it’s never someone I want to see go home to family, it’s only the hard cores like me who lived to kill and revelled in the blood and gore. Much later after the high goes down, the beers are drunk, the whores are used and another mission crosses your palms and you realize some good people didn’t make it and it hits you. Years later it is still there…the smells, the sounds, the faces, all flashing like things lit up in a dark room by lightning. I have no release from this and guess I never will as I walk alone in the world and find solace in my woods on so many levels…with my cats. I plan and work on the future and choose not to Remember when….and in my personal life, I still walk with no friends beside me and its by choice. My only question is…..why me? My purpose has yet to be defined to me and that is a mystery I want to solve. Perhaps my path is to teach others..

War is Hell
War is Hell

Is There Beauty in War?


I visit a website  [Plinky] from time to time for that helps spark ideas and acts as practice for  bloggers and writers by posting daily prompts that are replied to. I came across this prompt on the website the other day and is provoked me to take a look at one of the ugliest truths we all know; War.

Write about something you consider “ugly” — war, violence, failure, hatred — but try to find beauty, or a sense of hope, in your thoughts.

Here is my answer to the prompt:

Beauty and Hope in war? Is it possible for these things to exist?  Don’t they cancel each other out? 

 Being  American born, I don’t know any other way of life but…free. I owe that freedom to the men and women who fought in wars willing to give the ultimate sacrifice [many did] in order for me to live the way I do.

Citizens of other countries whose children don’t know what it’s like to live without the sound of mortar fire, or gun battles in the streets of their city probably couldn’t find hope in war and they will probably live their entire lives despondent of it. I am a very lucky woman to live in the country I do.

I’ve seen beauty in the midst of war in photographs. I’ve seen it in the brotherhood shared with the men that stand side by side in battle. I see the compassion these warriors have in the treatment and concern they have for the citizens and animals in the war-torn country they are in. I truly believe that without these qualities; along with countless others is what helped us win  the wars we did. The honor, sense of duty and willingness to go up against our enemy, against all odds knowing what the outcome could be to me, is a beautiful thing.

As for hope in war I think that lies in knowing that the people we went to defend and/or lended aid in their conflict were able to benefit from our presence both by eliminating any threat to them, by education–be it the smallest amount–or by the hope that has been restored in their hearts and lives.  

Soldier in Vietnam carries an elderly woman to safety.
Soldier in Vietnam carries an elderly woman to safety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newsreel 1945


This was probably the best  Newsreel produced. At least for the Americans (and allies) in 1945. It was the  broadcast covering the end of the war with Germany. This is a glimpse back in time when our country came together–United–and Took Care of Business, both on the battlefields and here at home.

To be admired–our ancestors.  Enjoy.  🙂

 

 

Related articles

A Soldiers Cry


A Soldiers Anguish
A Soldiers Anguish

A Soldier’s Cry

Jagged heart

Souls plead

Voices cry

No time to bleed.

Whispers linger

In the night

Death all around

Horrible sight.

Face to face

You’re just like me

Sad to think

War has to be.

Killings fields

Battle sweeps

End is near

Soldiers weep.

by~

The Trauma of Being Alive


Trauma never really goes away.
Trauma never really goes away.

“Trauma never goes away completely,” I responded. “It changes perhaps, softens some with time, but never completely goes away.”

Follow the above link to read this article in its entirety. 

Have we as a society come to believe that there is specific way and a limit on time when it comes to grief, loss, trauma? I’m here to tell you that’s not the case.

As everything in life we each deal and see the world through our own eyes and in our own way.  We make our own judgements and opinions on based on or experiences.  One of my favorite explanations to this is: Our experience is our only truth.  All I know as being real is through my life’s experience. A good example of this is–a man living in the African Safari without access to the outside world in any way, sees and deals with life differently than a man who works as an international stock broker. They each have their own opinion and their way of dealing with everyday events, none of which are the same. This is largely due to the difference in lifestyle–or experiences.

The following article touches on how we all deal with the traumas in life; there are traumas everyday that occur, just in different levels. I highly recommend this, it opened my eyes to an understanding of not only my process of trauma, but those close to me as well.

 

The willingness to face traumas — be they large, small, primitive or fresh — is the key to healing from them. They may never disappear in the way we think they should, but maybe they don’t need to. Trauma is an ineradicable aspect of life. We are human as a result of it, not in spite of it.

 

21 True War Stories Told In Only Six Words


In the age of social media, (mainly twitter) telling stories about the war can be done–and done well–in 6 words. Follow the link below to read more ‘War Stories told in 6 words.’  Here is an example of what you’ll see:  

“I can’t believe she shot me!”

i-cant-believe-she-shot-me

21 True War Stories Told In Only Six Words – Business Insider.

A Good Soldier!


The 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry served in Vietnam from 22 September 1967 to 13 December 1970 in II Corps (Central Highlands), providing our combat power to major units as and where it was most needed. At times we were attached to the 1st Cavalry Division, 4th Infantry Division, 173d Airborne Brigade and 1st Field Force Vietnam. What we did is now history.   So here’s our story. Like most history, ours still lives. Many battles we fought are not yet finished.

“How can a contact that merits only a few lines in the official record be so meaningful years later? After years of searching, I finally received the Staff Officer’s Journal for a little-known action that occurred the evening of 17 January 1970, when Sergeant John Murl McDaid was killed. I have never before acknowledged the nature of John’s death to anyone, but I have often thought on it. His struggle to stay alive and strive to do his job despite a mortal wound is an amazing testimony to his strength of will and character. John was the first man to die “on my shift” as Charlie 6, and his example has inspired me to strive to work at my absolute peak in everything that I have ever done since. I fail from time to time because I’m only human, but I pray that I will never stop trying to give my all. Thank you, John, for your personal example… and for your sacrifice.” ~Ray Sarlin

You might think that memories would dim after more than 30 years, but some memories won’t go away. One was the night of January 19, 1970 when I sent John Murl McDaid to lead his squad on a patrol in the bush in Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam. I was John’s company commander, and had held the position for just over a week, but had already determined that Sergeant McDaid was someone to rely upon, a good squad leader. Squad leaders hold perhaps the most important position in the Infantry, because they lead by example, by day-to-day and second-to-second life and death decision-making, by personal influence, by pushing and pulling… and they are responsible for everything that their people do or fail to do. There are higher ranks and broader responsibilities, but no one is closer to the action. No one.

 I was more than a click (1,000 meters) away when the contact started. It started sharp and heavy like all contacts tended to do in Nam, with a burst of fire and then a grenade blast followed by a heavy volume of automatic weapons fire and more explosions. The event unfurled like this, we would place ambushes out each night in many ways, being careful to never set a pattern. Although we didn’t know it at the time, that contact was to be the first of nearly two weeks of heavy contacts as North Vietnamese regulars tried to chase us out of the area because we were hurting them so badly. An ambush patrol would set up a temporary location, and then relocate after dark to another in case they had been seen.

 John was leading his small patrol of some eight to a second site, travelling carefully in single file down a trail through tall elephant grass that reduced visibility and masked movement. John became aware of other movement behind his group, and signalled for them to cut 90 degrees off the trail to the left and set up a hasty ambush. They silently moved into the thick grass and hunkered down as the first NVA troops moved by along the trail that they had been on. John quickly saw by the way the NVA were arranged that the unit was at least a platoon (some 30-40 men) and maybe more, so he signalled his squad to hold their fire. But the situation was tense, with help a long ways off and heavily outnumbered, but then things took a turn for the worse.

Another line of NVA troops appeared on the other side of the tiny ambush patrol, a second column travelling along a parallel path. Now the patrol was surrounded, but still unseen. And then one of the new soldiers panicked and fired his M-16. The two columns of NVA broke into a run, tossing grenades towards the source of the firing as they ran to the edge of the clearing and whirled to continue the fight. John was severely wounded in the head in the first blast, but his will to live was strong. He had kept me informed by radio as events unfolded, and when he was hit his RTO began shouting incoherently into the radio; when we got him calmed down, he reported that John was down, but still alive.

 Judging the enemy force to be at least a company (100-150 troops), our mechanized infantry reaction force set out to close the gap within minutes, and found our pinned down patrol under heavy fire but giving plenty back. The heavy firepower of our Armored Personnel Carriers changed the tone of battle, but the enemy had 51 caliber machine guns and rockets to fire back. It was a fight to the bitter death, and then the U.S. Air Force came on station, diverting airstrikes and, more importantly, Spooky to our aid. As our reaction force reached the patrol, John was holding on but past pain. We had already called for dust off, the medevac chopper, and it came up on our radios asking for directions as it looked down on a battlefield alight with crossing red and green tracers.

One of our Platoon Sergeants, a Ranger, had reached John with his medic, and told me that we had to get him out immediately. I talked to the dust off, who asked for a position and then some of the bravest, or most foolhardy, selfless acts I ever witnessed occurred as John was rescued. The sergeant gathered John in his arms and waving a flashlight to guide the chopper, ran into the middle of the exploding battlefield, enemy rounds flying all around, as the chopper flew in over the NVA tracers and John was loaded aboard with barely a pause and then flown off straight over the head of the enemy unit. John continued to fight for his life in the chopper, but he was simply too badly wounded. By some miracle, the sergeant wasn’t hit, but died only days later in another incident. May God bless them both.

By Ray Sarlin, webmaster of the 1st Bn (Mech) 50th Infantry website http://www.ichiban1.org/

Ray Sarlin Vietnam
Ray Sarlin Vietnam

What the Sound of Helicopters Meant to Us – The Veterans Site


Veterans from the Vietnam war recount what goes through their mind when they hear a bird flying over; and what it meant on the battlefield.

What the Sound of Helicopters Meant to Us – The Veterans Site.

VET_HelicopterDeployment_400x450

Navy’s Big Surprise: Carrier Drone To Make A Comeback


NORFOLK (May 6, 2013) Sailors move an X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS)
NORFOLK (May 6, 2013) Sailors move an X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS)

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American Soldiers

Everyday more soldiers have to leave
to fight this war so we can be free.
they pack light to set out on their way
praying the war will end some day.
we have lost young and lost old
but all of those men were so strong and bold
In reality it doesn’t seem to fair
but when at war there is no time to care.
once in a while they may get a letter
from loved ones at home feeling a little bit better
They let them know they miss them so
but no time to cry the men must go.
They fold their letters up real tight
Putting them away for another lonely night.
slowly they rise to take their stand
as each American soldier salutes with right hand.
They yell that they will be home soon
but tonight their going to sleep with the moon
but not alone they have one another
To an American soldier those men are his brothers.
Each and everything they do
Is without a doubt for me and for you.
honestly, how many sit and pray
for each and every soldier on the field that day?
They don’t draw names to see who they protect
So why need a face to match the respect?
They don’t get hot home cooked meals
and I bet they would love a steak from the grill.
They are American Soldiers standing tall and proud
They deserve our respect, don’t be ashamed ,scream it out loud.
but at times, a soldier has no choice but to sleep
with those words I will close for now.
Saying as I go GOD BLESS

© Cynthia Barton