Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Admin, Mar 15, 2003.

  1. Admin

    Admin Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Feb 9, 2001
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 260
    (5/9/02 10:43:56 am)
    While I'm takin' a deep breath from the K-Bar Surgeon I thought I would step in here and give you my perspective on "Attitudes" which was mentioned in that particular posting.

    Now there is no doubt that many of you may disagree with me here and thats fine because everyone is entitled to their opinions and others may have had different experiences than I but this was "exactly" the way it was for this combat vet.

    I remember it extremely well ..... it was the later part of 1966 ..... I had recently graduated high school and had landed a pretty decent job at a local packaging plant back home and was doing quite well. During these times I used to watch all the news coverage and film footage of the VietNam War on national television and I was readin' everything that Life Magazine had been putting out on this conflict.

    I am not quite sure of the particular issue but I happend across various articles with "touching" photographs of Marines in action over there and I was "inspired" immensly by what I had observed. I had my mother save that particular magazine issue for me and many years later I had found it stuffed with all other various momentos in a cardboard box in the back of the closet. I immediately removed the page and had this particular photograph matted and framed and it hangs on my wall today. To many it does not make any sense at all and occassionally I am questioned about why I would have such a photo displayed as I do for all to view. It shows four Marines carrying a mortally wounded Brother through the tall elephant grass .....

    Anyway ..... When I saw this particular photo it inspired me to the point where I had made the decision to enlist and I wanted so desperately to go to Viet Nam and help these guys because thats what I felt inside for them at that very moment. When asked about the photo today ..... I simply reply to those inquiring minds ..... I call this my "Inspiration" .....

    Soooooo ..... Now that I have been inspired I enlist in the Marine Corps and although my family was somewhat against me enlisting during this time frame and with all thay had been watching on the tube, I'm off to boot at SanDiego MCRD. Now anybody that tells ya they "loved" boot camp has got to have a screw lose somewhere but I made it along with others and was trained highly in the art of taking lives and then sent off to machine gun school for additional training while all the time I just knew that I was destined for Nam.

    No problem ..... Thats exactly where I "wanted" to go and along the way up until I got into my very first firefight ..... I was pumped up so much that I was primed and ready ..... for anything!

    Thats attitude number 1

    After months of training and whatnot I finally get my chance and arrive In Country during the later part of June 1967 and although it's all so very strange to me I am gettin more pumped up and at the time things just ain't goin' fast enough (you know the military .... hurry up and wait routine) for me. I arrive at AnHoa (finally) and what do they do ..... ? Make me go through yet another two days of orientation. I remember sittin' in the hootch and watchin' these guys draggin back in and the anxieties, adrenelin and eagerness was sky rocketing with each passing minute. I remember a Marine tellin' me to ease up ..... you'll get your chance soon and although I disagreed with him at the time I later realized what he was refering to when he also added that I would be wishin' I was somewhere else when finally got "out there" ..... Pumped up NOW even more .....

    Thats attitude # 2

    I'm FINALLY here with them ..... My Brothers ..... My turn to do my part and my first trip outside the perimeter lasted about four days total. Holy Shit! This place sucks bigtime! The bugs, the flies, the mosquitos, the snakes, the leaches and most of all the damn heat. Attitude check here ..... Just exactly what in the hell did I get myself into here? Now I realize that I am not going anywhere sometime soon and I have accepted that but my gung ho attitude has dropped somewhat from what it used to be and so far we have not had any contact ..... YET!

    Thats attitude # 3

    CONTACT! I don't truly remember just how many seconds or minutes had gone by in my first firefight but I CAN tell you this .....

    I went from 19 years of age to about 52 in one big helluva hurry. Damn! These people are trying to kill us here. I am not afraid to admit it folks but I "literally" shit in my drawers and I did'nt even have the time to wipe my ass here either. I have GOT to find a way to get outta this place ..... Alive if at all possible!

    Scared????? That does'nt even come close to describing the 19 year old pumped up kid that wanted to get out here and kick some a$$ ..... ALL the training in the world will not prepare you for that split second when the first round cracks over your head and bodies start dropping around you like flies.
    It's DEFINATELY time to wake up here and for a bit you realize just how badly you want to get as far away as possible from all of this .....

    Thats attitude #4

    Okay ..... After a short time goes by and you have survived a few firefights, patrols, mine sweeps, ambushes and possibly have gotten your feet wet on an operation of some sort .....

    AND ..... Managed to have been coping with all those bugs, flies, skeeters, snakes, rats, leeches, disyntery (did I spell that right?) and all that other good stuff in the heat and torrential rains .....

    You kinda come to grips with yourself and realize that "THIS IS IT" ..... Live ... Die ... Whatever ... But ... THIS IS IT! Thers no ifs ... no ands ... or no buts about it! You become hard and callous and life means nothing to you. You certainly do not want to die ..... but you are not afraid anymore. When before, you used to duck and take cover ... Now you stand and expose yourself and fight like theres no tomorrow cause you just don't care. If it moves ..... Kill It! ..... Before it kills you! And maybe ... Just maybe ... some day you will go home ... But for now ..... #@*K IT!

    So here it is ..... the ole' "I just don't give a shit anymore" attitude and the whole ball of wax can be summed up in that infamous saying that I am sure all Nam vets have heard at one time (some of us a lot more than others) or another .....

    "It ain't nothin' but a thing"

    Thats attitude # 5

    From the time of "my inspiration" until such time I set foot back on American soil ..... This is what I had experienced and felt as did so many of my Brothers in combat. We all went through these various attitude stages during our In Country visit and maybe it was why it helped some of us come home. We were a very close brotherhood of combat Marines. Words can never explain just "how close" we really were.

    "All Gave Some ..... Some Gave All"

    My apologies here if some of the language was slightly overdone but it was my way of getting my point across. Though I meant not to offend anyone here I am sure that most of us have heard far worse before in our lives.

    Take care ... Stay safe ... And have a great day! Six Out!

    "What more can I say ..... I was at the wrong place at the wrong time"

    Edited by: SixTGunr at: 5/9/02 11:56:06 am

    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 785
    (5/9/02 11:56:15 am)
    Re: Attitudes
    Six.... you must be readin' my mind... I was just thinking to myself... "I have to ask Rick about him enilsting..." and, there it is..... damn you're good!

    There's a lot of attitude changing goin' on in that memory of yours... hence it's title I suppose!! Yet with all the attitude changes goin' on you came out on top of it all with the best of 'em!!

    Damn - you've got to be one of the strongest people I've ever "talked" with!

    Always Faithful

    Edited by: Winter11 at: 5/9/02 12:56:57 pm

    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 261
    (5/9/02 1:04:11 pm)
    Re: Attitudes
    Yupper Winter ..... I did enlist and I would gladly do it again in the beat of a heart if I was allowed to.

    Your comments have been well appreciated .....

    Never really thought of myself as being a strong person but I can tell you that some years ago when I was going through some very tough times, I had the opprotunity to contact one of them Vet Outreach Centers for Nam Vets and I got hooked up with a counselor that helped me out considerably. He always admired me for one particular trait that stood out in me is the way he put it .....

    He told me that he had never counseled (at least up until that time anyway) a Nam Vet that had been through what I had and yet managed to have soooooo much "control" .....

    Sure hope to hang on to that .....

    You have a fine day and as always ..... Semper Fi

    "What more can I say ..... I was at the wrong place at the wrong time"

    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 786
    (5/9/02 1:47:37 pm)
    Re: Attitudes

    I'm glad you found him.... he's right you know... that's only one of the things constant in your reflections.... the ability of your control.... it's not easy... and it's very admirable.

    I don't think you have to worry about "losing it" - it's a part of you, it's in you... and I don't think it's going anywhere. In my opinion, without even meeting you, I can tell, both by your stories and the way you speak of things, that as you've grown and matured, your control has only grown with you.

    You've given me a huge look into some very intense parts of your life and you've amazed me each and every time. To have gone through and witnessed all that you have, and I know that I don't see what you do, but to come out of it the way you have... Six, you exude confidence, strength, control. You've (from the memories you share) had that control and strength when you were younger and you've only enhanced it over the years.

    It's an incredible thing... maybe a Rick thing... maybe a Marine thing! :)

    Eh - all are one in the same!!!!

    Always Faithful

    Posts: 24
    (5/10/02 8:22:01 am)
    Re: Attitudes
    I'll second Winter... you are a very strong person, Six.

    You paint a good picture of what it was like to head into war as a 19yr old kid and leave as a 19/20 yr old man.

    Rick from Mich
    Posts: 4
    (8/6/02 6:51:00 pm)
    Re: Attitudes
    SixTgnr, your story and mine are very similar. Enlisted Marine, MCRD San Diego 1966. Vietnam July 1968, South of Danang, closest 7th Marine Battalion to An Hoa, on the north/west side of Arizona. Thanks for the memories. My overall attitude was very similar to you. Must be a Marine thing....

    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 421
    (8/9/02 10:18:47 am)
    Re: Attitudes
    Thank ya sir ... Yup ... We was neighbors for sure as I believe you meant arrival in '67 as opposed to '68. I believe I arrived in AnHoa on 07-02-67 if my memory serves me correctly.

    What a 4th of July that was hey ... ?