More memories and comments

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Guest, Mar 9, 2003.

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    nighthawk
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    (10/30/01 3:43:48 pm)
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    It seems a lot of our members have, perhaps only temporarily (I hope) lost their enthusiasm for posting on this board, so I will post a few more (probably boring) comments of those days. Actually, this is more of the days following my leaving the war, but it still relates.

    It amazes me how my thoughts so often return to Vietnam. I have read before that if a person spends time in a war, it is the dividing point of their lives. Everything thereafter is usually referred to as either before the war, or after the war. I know this is true of me.
    When I returned from Vietnam in 1969, I thought I had put it behind me. As I look back now, I can see it never left me. I lived with a feeling of unease, as if something was missing. Within less than 2 years of separating from the Army, I lived in 4 towns, went to 3 different schools, held 6 different jobs, got married, got divorced, and went back into the Army. And, no, I was not suffering from PTSD. I was never in any situation that may have generated that. Six months after going back into the Army, I requested assignment back to Vietnam. I do not, to this day, totally understand why I requested this. I was extremely happy to get out of there when I did. I am not at all sure why I wished to go back. This was at the beginning of ’72. I was informed by the Army they were not sending anyone in my CMF (Career Management Field) back at that time. Or ever again, as I was to learn. So, the Army, in its infinite wisdom, did the “next best” thing, they sent me to Korea. However, even in another country, I could not escape the hold of Vietnam. Every time something happened, the memories came back. Perhaps that is partly due to it being another Asian country. And that strange feeling of missing something remained. When the ROK division came back (I mentioned this on another post) I could not understand the attachment I felt for those guys. Hell, they weren’t even American. But, I was proud to stand out on the sidewalk and salute them as they passed in parade. And I must admit to a few tears flowing as I helped welcome them home.
    Returning to the States in ’73, I was astonished at how, at least to me, it seemed anything and everything regarding Vietnam was covered up, or swept under the rug. Even in the Army, very little was ever mentioned about service in the war. Usually, if a GI saw another with a “combat” patch on his right shoulder, there may be a few comments such as; “when were you there?”“ Where were you?”“ I was there in such and such year””, etc, and that would be the end of it. I very seldom heard many comments or much talk about the war. Even in the NCO clubs. It just seemed to be a subject that was not spoken about. In later years, this changed, plus we got the “wannabes”. But not in the early 70’s. I don’t think it was a matter of shame, or anything like that. I just think most were uncomfortable speaking about it. Probably due to how we were treated when we first returned.
    Towards the end of the 70’s, the Army decided maybe something had to be done about all those “crazy Vietnam Vets” they might have still on active duty. So, they had statistical reports generated (I had some dealings with producing some of these reports) and offered counseling to those who felt the need. Of course, the way it was done was more like: “If any of you crybabies need to talk to a shrink, come on in”
    Implied, but left unsaid was: “Yea, come on in,,,and kiss your career goodbye!!”. So, needless to say, not many went in. Oh, they did try some group “rap” sessions, but these were more directed towards racial or gender harmony than VN vet problems. I sat in on one (mandatory) and one guy was trying to explain what he had gone through, and constantly interrupted be comments such as: “Yea, but the blacks (or other minorities) had it tougher”, or “Yes, but as a man, you got the privilege to go and got promotions” . I am not trying to start a minority or gender argument here. My point is, these “rap” sessions was supposed to be about VN vets, and they ALWAYS got turned into other issues. Nobody wanted to talk about Vietnam. Even most of the vets themselves.
    I think the change in attitude was a gradual thing, beginning towards the end of the 70’s and on into the 80’s. By the time I retired in ’86, a Vietnam vet was looked on with respect by most of his fellow soldiers.
    I guess we vets just got caught up in an event that was much larger than ourselves. The Vietnam War (I refuse to just call it a “conflict”) had an extreme impact on the world in general, and our country in particular. No one can convince me that this war was not a dividing point, not only in my own life, the lives of other vets, but also in this country. The United States will never again be what and where we were before the war. Also, all actions taken now and in the future will be measured and balanced against the war. Everyday we hear referrals to the war, usually to the effect: “We don’t want to get bogged down like we did in Vietnam”, or words to that effect.
    Perhaps, if the Vietnam War is used as a guideline, and the mistakes made there are not repeted, then the dismal end to that war will not have been in vain. One can only hope

    I ramble,,,,,,

    Stan H ,, nighthawk

    btw, if any moderator feels this should be on a different board, please feel free to move it. I posted it here because it is about my memories of those days.

    Edited by: nighthawk at: 10/30/01 6:41:17 pm

    longshot1
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    (10/31/01 9:41:29 am)
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    Stan, couldn't agree more.
    As I recently read, the story needs to be told someday about what this country did to an army of teenagers, the youngest soldiers it ever sent to fight a war, who were brought home in disgrace and pushed under the carpet like so much dirt. I personally did not feel that way in the mid 60s but as I have said before, it must have been much more difficult for the later guys. Exposed to too much hardship and brutality at too young an age, we tried to make a game out of our miseries. We played it hard, tried to stay sane and then came home and went on with life, if we could. If surprises me today how what could then be looked at as almost humorous at the time, was in fact so horrific.
    Absolutely, I measure all things by that experience and as such appreciate the most simple of things, mental as well as physical. It is an insight I wish I could pass on to my son and one I wouldn't trade for anything.
    Good rambling with you
    NickG

    LarryJK
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    (10/31/01 6:13:04 pm)
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    I agree with Nick. I seem to compare things that have happened to me after Vn to my year in Vn and some of the crap associated with it. At the time I went to Vn I did not think whether it was right or wrong. The Army said go and I went. Even after I came back there was never any "right or wrong" conflicting thoughts. My only though was that we could have done things a whole lot different.

    Remf
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    (10/31/01 7:31:14 pm)
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    ALRIGHT!!!!!!
    It's great to see more postings here. Good job, Stan.
    Ramble all you want. I had gone to RVN after a tour of Korea & was then stationed on the ROK Tiger Div compound for a while.

    donbrails
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    (10/31/01 9:20:02 pm)
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    Just some random thoughts.
    I don't know what to make of my VietNam experience. I went because I was told by my government to go and I think that I would have missed this "great adventure" if I had not gone. I have never regretted my VietNam service and I would do it again if I had to. The people I served with were the greatest people in the world and those that died might have contibuted so much to our society if given the chance. We were young and some of our innocence was lost there. I look back on it with dread, laughter, and a resolve to live my lifeto the max each day. I can honestly say that I get up in the morning and enjoy going to my school to interact with my students and other teachers. One of my students today said "My brother told me you talk a lot about the war". I didn't really realize this until she mentioned it. I think the students of today are interested in what happened in VietNam. Three other teachers are preparing a community Veterans Day observance and they asked me if I thought VietNam should be referred to as a war or a conflict. Of course I told them it must be referred to as a war. On the other hand we did a project in August dealing with the American flag and most of the students had no idea what the flag stood for or what the history was behind it. I try to explain to them, not only in class but also by my actions, that the flag should be respected and honered. I do not find it embarrassing to stand and salute the flag before the entire student body and faculty when they play the National Anthem. I think most people in my community respect this. I think my service in VietNam has deeply affected my life in known and unknown ways and will continue to until the day they place that flag on my coffin. Enough rambling here!
    Just a sidenote...The last week of August we were designing stamps for a project in 2D design. One of my better students did a design showing the good and bad side of the United States. The right side of his stamp had green fields and mountains with beautiful buildings while the left side of his stamp showed a bridge going across the river into New York City. On the other side of the bridge were explosions and the Empire State Building. The World Trade Center was in flames.....
    Thanks,
    Don

    dap22
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    (10/31/01 9:27:50 pm)
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    Pretty darn spooky Don!! Suggest that your student is a psychic.
    Great to hear your random thoughts. Proud that you would honor the flag and National Anthem as you should and moreso for being a role model that peers and students alike can follow. This country needs more people like yourself in it.
    Let's hear more of those random thoughts more often!!!

    dap22
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    (11/1/01 9:44:03 am)
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    The best and worst of times, as has been said. I wouldn’t trade the experience for all the tea in China. Nor would I want to go through with it again. Excitement to the max, fright to the max, many rewards and much sadness.

    I’ve often said, particularly to my kids, that I’ve counted my blessings many times for having survived. And more so, as Nick pointed out, I’ve gained an appreciation for the small things in life that otherwise, I doubt I’d give much of a damn about. So, the experience has enhanced the quality of my life. Yes, there were many years that I harbored a sense of anger, particularly with the way things were handled in Vietnam. For the incompetency of our government for trying to fight a war half-assed and for tiptoeing around because of the likes of Russia and China and their interests in Vietnam. For the politicians no doubt taking large sums of money from big business lobbies while big business savored the ‘war economy’ as the GNP rose to an unprecedented level in 1969. In other words, a few GI’s could be used as cannon fodder at the expense of many filling their pockets, despite the public outcry for peace. It was truly a vicious circle.

    In the aftermath, many bizarre changes have occurred. Public opinion of the Vietnam Veteran has seemingly changed. We once were considered ‘losers’, ‘baby killers’, ‘drug fiends’, and generally somewhat despicable characters. Lately, however, it seems that we’re all quite envied, judging from the numbers of ‘wannabes’ that have claimed to have served in Vietnam, such as professor Joseph Ellis of Mount Holyoke College. From left wing academia no less. What thrills me the most is that the majority of us who served, have held our heads high with pride. We have a special kinship for what we did under the most adverse of circumstances. And despite what the media has contorted, regarding the demographics of the Vietnam Veteran, the true and accurate statistics show that we’re not losers, and that most all of us have fared very well. Most of us are far more successful than our WWII predecessors, are better educated, yes….. a lower suicide rate, and generally better off than the “Greatest Generation”. While they deserve their due, we did what we did under more adverse circumstances and have turned out OK.


    nighthawk
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    (11/1/01 4:06:02 pm)
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    One of the jobs I had after VN was in Columbus, OH,,it was selling and delivering 8 track tapes (remember them?) to small stores and gas stations (remember them?) throughout the region. Anyway, one day after returning from a trip, the boss sort of got on my ass about not selling enough, and I guess I just sort of shrugged it off, even laughing a little about it. He said to me; "You don't take things very serious, do you?" to which I replied; "I just left a place where a million or so people where trying their best to kill me and everyone like me. That I took seriously. This?, Not even!"
    He "suggested" I would be bettter off finding another job. A polite way to get canned. Plus (and you will love this), he said if he had known I was "one of them" (meaning a VN vet, I guess), he would not have hired me in the first place.
    So I took my leave,,,,,

    Stan H ,, nighthawk

    homer4
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    (11/5/01 6:44:06 pm)
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    I've read and then reread the posts here and identify with them all.

    I've written my gut feelings about the Nam for the first time fellas when I joined this site and never had before with my own family...wife and children included...but only a few times when Charlie Krepps, Ronny Hagy, Donny Hartman and Benny Drum and myself would get together. Don't recall anyone wanting to hear about the Nam except those who were there and sometimes we weren't talking either.

    I love this Board. I 've been a bit quite of late but I know that if I need to dump or lash out or spill my guts or roar with laughter or any of the humaness I possess...I can come here.

    I identify with you guys! Girls are guys too.
    You fellas have a way of saying the things I feel.


    ...and two hard boiled eggs.

    dap22
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    (11/5/01 6:54:22 pm)
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    Homer:
    It's good to read your words. You're absolutely right, the purpose of this board is to share our memories and discuss various other things non-related, enjoy jokes or whatever. But you must keep in mind that sharing ideas sometimes leads to differences in opinions and getting pissed once in awhile is not necessarily a bad thing. It's a good way to hash out some of the things that are still stuck under your saddle. Look at the 'firefight' we had with LTS and his flag burning thing. Even that turned out well because I believe it united us as a group who, despite what the law says, would, to a man, kick anyone's pitute that we saw burning a flag in our presence...... atleast the vast majority of us would!
    As I said in my post above, one of the things that being a Vietnam Vet has provided for me is a kinship to those who have served. I don't care whether a pencil pusher or front line troop, we each have a common bond that we went, we did what we had to, and we came back to face a whole lot of emotional and political upheaval. Yet, we've done OK for ourselves. We can hold our heads high my friend.

    Edited by: dap22 at: 11/5/01 6:55:50 pm

    LarryJK
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    (11/5/01 7:29:40 pm)
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    Oh man...I wish I could hug you guys!!!!

    oneknight
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    (11/5/01 8:37:09 pm)
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    I wish I could hug you guys too..........

    THANK YOU ALL FOR ALL YOU GAVE!


    Donna

    longshot1
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    (11/5/01 9:40:28 pm)
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    That was good Homer, really good. The best points are often stated with the least amount of words.

    I'm up for a group hug, but Donna's watching. lol

    Nick

    oneknight
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    (11/5/01 10:41:14 pm)
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    Homer said I am one of the guys.....so I wanna be in on
    these hugs.....he was just teasin' about me bein' one
    of the guys, she winks at Nick................lol!

    homer4
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    (11/6/01 9:30:02 am)
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    Yes, a bond Dave.
    Amazing that we can share so much with one another over a monitor that we can't with those in our own house. As you fellas say, it's the experience we all have in common all tho each of us had our own unique experience within our Tour.

    Good Post!

    ...having hugged each of the guys in turn and enjoying the comraderie... He goes back to Donna for a second,
    a third,
    a fourth,
    a...


    ...and two hard boiled eggs.

    dap22
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    (11/6/01 9:35:38 am)
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    Homer:

    Same as in my house. Even the ones closest to you can't and don't fully understand. It's just the way it is.

    As for the hugs..........are you kidding me? We'll have a gang hug and Donna will be in the middle!!!!!!!!!!!! OOOOOOOOOooooohhhhhhhhhhhweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

    homer4
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    (11/6/01 9:56:00 am)
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    Hehe!
    ...he wiggles and squirms till he is face to face and chest to chest infront of Donna and shouts aloud,

    Group Hug!!!
    ...and two hard boiled eggs.

    Edited by: homer4 at: 11/6/01 9:58:10 am

    longshot1
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    (11/6/01 10:24:53 am)
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    Couldn't agree more. If you haven't been on one end of a gun or the other, you do not understand the gun.
    If you have, it's nice to know there are those who not only know, but who can feel what you are talking of.
    Not trying to start an argument, it was different for all, harder for some, easier for others but if you didn't dodge it, or cut and run, you did your duty. Isn't that what it was all about, doing what you perceived as your duty regardless of what others thought?
    Damn ribs hurt, all hugged out.
    NickG

    oneknight
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    (11/6/01 11:01:48 am)
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    Nighthawk,

    I try very hard to keep these guys on track, but they insist
    on giving me hugs.......see, Nick hugged me so tight, his
    ribs hurt..........................lol!

    nighthawk
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    (11/6/01 11:41:39 am)
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    Donna,,I don't mind the topic drifting,,that is one of the cool things here,,it is almost like a actual group of people setting around talking,,the subject invariably drifts ,,,

    as to the hugs,,,hey, I am all for hugging,,

    Stan H ,, nighthawk

    btw, I think Homer hit it on the head,,, there is a lot said here that would never get said elsewhere. Plus, I remember a lot of times, while still on active duty, we would perhaps have an office party or some sort of gathering and it seemed the VN vets would be sort of drawn together,,we would talk, and the those who had not gone were not really able to get into the copnversation, or understand what we were saying. It was almost as though the VN vets spoke their own language

    oneknight
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    (11/6/01 12:39:57 pm)
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    Your right Nighthawk, it is very much like sitting around
    and talking, a laugh here and there, does wonders for
    the soul.

    I also agree....THE VIETNAM VET.....A BREED APART!

    I wasn't there...I didn't have the experience...BUT I LISTEN
    AND I CARE!

    Okay......you get the first hug!



    Genog
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    (11/6/01 2:29:45 pm)
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    Love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Geno G
    God Bless America

    longshot1
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    (11/6/01 2:43:07 pm)
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    All in favor of making Donna an honorary Vet, raise their hands.
    All opposed, sit on yours.
    Anything to stop this mass orgy of hugging. lol
    NickG

    dap22
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    Party Pooper.........it was just getting fun!!!!

    Gunship
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    (11/6/01 3:25:14 pm)
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    Wew..!! How come >>> It's so romantic here now Guys..!!
    I bet It comes from Homer's beautiful post.. lol.
    GS.


    oneknight
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    (11/6/01 3:45:18 pm)
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    Hey Gunship,

    I'm not leaving you out of this group hug....come here!

    Pssssst! Don't tell the others I gave you the first hug!

    oneknight
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    (11/6/01 3:46:37 pm)
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    Geno,

    A big hug for you! We love you too!

    longshot1
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    (11/6/01 5:22:28 pm)
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    I think Gunship is still trying to hug that Atty. Gen. from the Florida elections.
    Nickg

    Gunship
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    (11/6/01 5:36:20 pm)
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    NickG, You have very good memory (256k) my friend.
    Well, we are big birds, big asses.. big everything.. and very big heart. So what the heck,.. I'll take all ..
    Glad to see these Oldies still have fun..!!!!! really.

    GS.

    dap22
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    (11/7/01 10:21:09 am)
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    I forgot to vote...........I say yea to making Donna an honorary vet! The delay wasn't for any deliberation, I just forgot.

    longshot1
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    (11/7/01 11:48:04 am)
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    no problem dap. I already counted the raised hands. Looked like a room full of parking meters. Just a few single finger salutes, but I counted those as well.
    Alright now that she's a raw recruit, an E-0 if you will, what chores can we can up with besides KP for life? This ought to be interesting.
    NickG

    oneknight
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    (11/7/01 1:00:42 pm)
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    She looks at Nick and Dave and whines, "are you REAL SURE
    I have to do this KP duty thing??"

    longshot1
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    (11/7/01 1:17:46 pm)
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    Yup, everyone, just once in their life should become closely acquainted with the darkest of KP duty secrets.

    Just the thought sends shivers up one's spine. You guys know what I speak of, you know of the nightmares

    You know it's the "GREASE PIT" Egad what a foul memory. Yous got to pay your dues.
    NickG

    oneknight
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    (11/7/01 1:38:13 pm)
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    I AM WOMAN......I CAN HANDLE IT!!!!!


    She looks over her shoulder to see if anyone is listening
    and whispers to Nick.........uh, am I gonna break a nail
    doing this KP thing?


    DARK SECRETS TO KP DUTY???? Let's hear them guys!

    Gunship
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    (11/7/01 2:09:01 pm)
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    Wait a minute!!
    You guys make me dizzy; are you speaking English or Taliban bin-guage..? KP? Secret? GREASE PIT...?
    OK, never mind, I'll find out.

    GS.

    longshot1
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    (11/7/01 3:54:54 pm)
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    Guns: when you get KP duty, (kitchen police), you have to do some things that just go against a guys upbringing.
    The grease trap, is a large cement pit in which all the kitchen grease collects and some lucky bugger gets assigned to clean it out. It is the absolute worst thing a lowly enlisted man can endure in stateside duty. It makes you slippery for a week.
    It is not as glamorous, as peeling spuds, washing pots and pans or serving food, but the memory sure lasts a lot longer.
    Nick

    Gunship
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    (11/7/01 4:21:21 pm)
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    Thanks NickG,
    Last year I learned from your guys about duty of Shit-Burner (laugh so loud), now some more things from American GI..
    GS.

    Remf
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    (11/7/01 7:30:06 pm)
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    Pots & pans have there benifits, Donna. I would aways take pots & pans because I could get there later. Which meant I don't have to sleep in my clothes & rush to beat everyone for a chance at diningroom orderly. As long as there were dirty pans (and there always were) I wouldn't have to hit the grease trap.

    This reminds me of the soap we had this bar stuff. it came in chunks about 6" long & about 3" square. Lye soap?

    We had one guy who seemed to have something against water, never would shower. We had our fill one night, grabed him up & headed for the shower. We scrubed him with that lye soap & bristle brushes, every square inch of him. From that night on he was the first man in the shower.

    .........Anyway Donna, I reccomend pots & pans. But you probably will break a nail or two. But then they'll grow back befor you know it. <> ...........(is tomorrow a special day)?

    oneknight
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    (11/7/01 8:05:35 pm)
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    Remf,

    I remember LYE soap and what a funky smell it has.

    If you say pots and pans.....that's what I'll do, but how am
    I gonna keep these 44's out of the grease pit?

    <>

    Remf
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    (11/7/01 8:30:29 pm)
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    Just take it sloooww & easy. That way they'll find someone else for the pit..... They need clean pots more than clean pits.
    But the pit will make them 44's nice & shiney. Heh, heh

    Edited by: Remf at: 11/7/01 9:08:24 pm

    dap22
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    Caution...........slippery when wet.

    longshot1
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    (11/8/01 10:22:24 am)
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    So damned slippery you could slide through the crack of dawn.

    NickG

    oneknight
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    (11/8/01 8:09:44 pm)
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    THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID!!!! lol!

    BARTAL
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    (11/8/01 9:56:29 pm)
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    Really good post everyone, this looks alot like the old MSNBC board.........
    Nam? You know what bothers me the most is knowing that all the feelings all the guilt all the hate all the memories will never ,never leave. Not that all was bad but, the bad stuff will always be there right on the edge. Just waiting to come out, but wait you can't just open up about Nam, people will think your crazy. So we hold it in and move on. Hold it in, we sure are good at that arn't we? Thank God for this Board..............at least here we can talk or at least type and read and hug eachother..........Hugs to all.
    Oh my God.....I almost opened up

    Peace....Barry

    donbrails
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 71
    (11/8/01 11:43:29 pm)
    | Del More memories and comments
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    Just a coupe of random thoughts.
    My Grandpa, God rest his soul, had a small fishing boat named "Crack 'o Dawn". What a wonderful memory!
    We had parent-teacher conferences tonight and during a lull in the action the tech-ed teacher stopped in my room. We were talking about VietNam and he mentioned his brother-in-law who didn't talk too much about the VietNam war. When he did talk, it was about the times he spent flying with Air America and later on they gave him a rifle and assigned him to sniper duty. He had these terrible memories of shooting these people and the blood flying and the victim being knocked off his feet. I just kind of smiled......!
    Thanks,
    Don
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