The Things They Carried

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Guest, Mar 12, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    SixTGunr
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    (4/3/02 5:16:07 pm)
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    The Things They Carried
    They carried P-38 can openers and heat tabs, watches and dog tags, insect repellent, gum, cigarettes, Zippo lighters, salt tablets, compress bandages, ponchos, Kool-Aid, two or three canteens of water, iodine tablets, sterno, LRRP- rations, and C-rations stuffed in socks.
    They carried standard fatigues, jungle boots, bush hats, flak jackets and steel pots. They carried the M-16 assault rifle. They carried trip flares and Claymore mines, M-60 machine guns, the M-70 grenade launcher, M-14's, CAR-15's, Stoners, Swedish K's, 66mm Laws, shotguns, .45 caliber pistols, silencers, the sound of bullets, rockets, and choppers, and sometimes the sound of silence.
    They carried C-4 plastic explosives, an assortment of hand grenades, PRC-25 radios, knives and machetes. Some carried napalm, CBU's and large bombs; some risked their lives to rescue others. Some escaped the fear, but dealt with the death and damage. Some made very hard decisions, and some just tried to survive.
    They carried malaria, dysentery, ringworms and leaches. They carried the land itself as it hardened on their boots. They carried stationery, pencils, and pictures of their loved ones - real and imagined. They carried love for people in the real world and love for one another. And sometimes they disguised that love: "Don't mean nothin'!" They carried memories for the most part, they carried themselves with poise and a kind of dignity.
    Now and then, there were times when panic set in, and people squealed or wanted to, but couldn't; when they twitched and made moaning sounds and covered their heads and said "Dear God" and hugged the earth and fired their weapons blindly and cringed and
    begged for the noise to stop and went wild and made stupid promises to themselves and God and their parents, hoping not to die. They carried the traditions of the United States military, and memories and images of those who served before them. They carried grief, terror, longing and their reputations. They carried the soldier's greatest fear: the embarrassment of dishonor.
    They crawled into tunnels, walked point, and advanced under fire, so as not to die of embarrassment. They were afraid of dying, but too afraid to show it. They carried the emotional baggage of men and women who might die at any moment. They carried the weight of the world. THEY CARRIED EACH OTHER

    I happened to come across this and felt that it pretty much sums it up. Six


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

    SixTGunr
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    (4/3/02 5:26:43 pm)
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    Happiness is a "Free Fire Zone"

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    Reply | Edit | Del Re: The Things They Carried
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    Happiness is a "Free Fire Zone"







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

    high2fly
    *Senior Chief Of Staff*
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    (4/3/02 7:25:26 pm)
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    See Gunner, we told you that you could tell usstories we hadn't heard or had forgotten about---the feelings as you string your words together catch up and takes one back---you did good Marine---real good. Wilborn

    haggai69
    Member
    Posts: 20
    (4/5/02 10:27:45 am)
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    Where is that last picture from? The one with the Marines in and the dead woods? It seems familiar for some reason. Not the picture, but the location. I was on another site a while back that had similar scenery. Of course for all I know that was the common lay out...
    I really enjoyed 'The Things They Carried'. Makes you realise what all was involved. I think the emotional baggage was probably heavier than any ruck sack...


    SixTGunr
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    (4/5/02 10:37:12 am)
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    Last pic was from somewhere in the Arizona Territory (Central Highlands) and may look similiar to others as this particular hill has the aftermath of a napalm run by F4 Phantoms. Six Out

    "What more can I say ..... I was at the wrong place at the wrong time"
     
  2. Hope 69/70

    Hope 69/70 Active Member

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    Okay guys, you been watching TV and taking notice of those big packs on the troops backs.

    What have you noticed is different now as to contents then when you packed one in your day? If anything? Has it been made easier? - Your thoughts!


    Hope
     

  3. pointman

    pointman Guest

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    More things they carried

    The things they carried has great insight! There are a few more things we carried: the accumulated grief of war's inhumanity, loosing a war we should have won, and the wrath of our society for serving our nation instead of going to jail or moving to Canada. We saw, and many participated in the darkest side of human nature when confronted with the horrors that our culture didn't prepare us for.

    We carried unresolved frustration, helplessness, fear, confusion and anger back to our hometown and our families who didn't understand because we couldn't tell them what happened to us. We carried the crushed ideals that life should be fair and that bad things shouldn't happen to innocent young men and women. We carry a burning desire for the answers to WHY - why did we survive when so many others didn't, why weren't we able to do something/anything to prevent those tragedies, why couldn't/wouldn't God intervene in this war that seemed in the end to be driven by so much greed, lust for power and politics?

    Many of us have been dysfunctional in some areas of our lives for over 30 years. We ask ourselves about those lives that were cut short - wouldn't they have done better than we have if they had come home? We carry disappointment in humanity and ourselves; like an open wound, it festers and causes pain and revulsion to those around us.

    But we also carry the seeds of hope for coming generations. The vary demons that hound us also drive us to find the good that might balance all the evil we have seen. We carry on the search for things that are right. Though often disappointed and discouraged, many continue the struggle to find peace that is real and lasting. Some are casualties and have given up trying to understand. They blindly fall in step with the rest of society or drop out to become hopless and maybe homeless. They have been brought so close without realizing it.

    We can carry Vietnam as a gift that blesses those around us. We've seen the darkness in men's hearts, we've struggled to make things right but couldn't. Our failure is the failure of mankind - through all the pain and despair we've learned that we're not able to overcome the darkness in ourselves. Some learned to servive using skills developed in Vietnam (numbing emotions, avoidance, isolation ...) but that isn't really living.

    The one who created us knows us. He knew our limitations. He knew we would separate ourselves from him by trying to "do things our way". He knows what's best for us but won't force it on us and violate our choices. Provision has been made for us if we choose to re-establish our relationship with him. He will wipe our slate clean. It's up to us.

    As Veterans, we know more than most of the capacity for mankind to become totally self absorbed while ignoring the consequences to anyone else and we've seen over the years that we can't break the cycle for others or ourselves. We have been pushed to brokeness trying to find the way back to all that is good and right. One more choice can make the difference between hopless disallusionment and obtaining the true desire of our hearts for things to be right again. God really can use all things (even Vietnam) for our good when we trust him.

    We can carry one more thing - healing and peace to our brothers and to a nation who has forgotten the way.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2003
  4. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff* Supporting Member

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    Pointman, thank you for sharing what you have here. I'm going over to one of the other areas and mention this composition of yours. Thank you again. Wilborn
     
  5. ruffitt

    ruffitt Guest

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    WOW, that be some heavy hittin an thought provoking comments ya made there pointman. You have outlined a portion of the burdens carried by those of us who served; burdens portraying the complex and continuing existence of our brothers who were, and are, our comrades in arms.

    Thank you for sharing these burdens with us. They are sometimes forgotten by many in this present day and age. Many of today's 20 - 30 year olds have no idea at all of the horrors and complexes of that era; - that unforgettable period of time between at least 1964 and 1975 when many of us served. They may read about it in text books, or see television "stories" of battles, as we did of Korea and WWII. The major difference being on the spot reporting from Vietnam, versus sometimes week old footage from WWII and Korea. But they have absolutely no "experience" as to the real life of a combat soldier.

    I am of an age where I can still remember some of the "headlines" and pictures depicting the Korean "Conflict" in our daily newspaper. As a youngster I was interested in the war, - the curiosity of a ten year old knows no bounds -but not a tiny but not concerned about the consequences. I did not become concerned about the consequences of war until I joined the military. Doing that changed my perspective in one hell of a big hurry.

    Glad you stopped by and shared with us. Hope you return soon to enjoy our site and become a regular.

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    Regards
     
  6. Logansdad

    Logansdad Guest

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    My dad was carried around in a F-4 Phantom for two tours...not trying to be disrespectful but I thought it was a M-79 grenade launcher "The Super Blooper"...BTW Thank y'all for your service to our great nation !
     
  7. Sherry

    Sherry New Member

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    WOW!

    Welcome to the board Pointman that was an incredible post.
    As Ruffit pointed out, those of us that were not there (born in 74) have no idea what it like but thanks to people like you we have a chance to learn and maybe get a glimpse and some understanding because your willing to share.

    Thank you for your service and thank you for that post.
    love to you and yours,
     
  8. Hope 69/70

    Hope 69/70 Active Member

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    As I sit here soul searching, I can feel Pointmans post tugging at my inner most thoughts. That is one heck of a post and one I so wish many more Nam Vets could have the chance to read.

    I am so glad that someone was able to reach a little deeper within that bag that has carried so many precious items and come up with the inner most hidden contents within its seams.

    I being a female type Nam Vet never had to carry one of those heavy packs upon my back. None the less, the baggage we all carried within our very souls seemed as though it was the weight of the world. A weight that each one of us keeps shifting from heart to mind just to be tucked away until something happens to jar it lose.

    Thank you Pointman for your Fantastic post and please, do come back and join us. We would really appreciate your company here with us.

    Hope

    (BTW, do like your part of the country.......nice place and excellent climate)
     
  9. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff* Supporting Member

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    Logansdad--this is Wilborn--I have a photo of an F-4 taxiing out on a field of Martsten Matting the Seabees had just repaired after being cratered by 122 mike-mike rockets--DaNang 69. Give me and address and I'll fwd it to you---I don't know how to put it on here.
     
  10. ruffitt

    ruffitt Guest

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    Chief -

    Email me a copy of the picture at [email protected] and I'll see that it gets posted here.
     
  11. Admin

    Admin Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    Welcome Home Pointman!
     
  12. ruffitt

    ruffitt Guest

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    Here ya go Chief/Logansdad -

    The F-4 and a couple of other pics that Chief sent me -

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  13. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff* Supporting Member

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    Thanks a lot Mr. Ruffitt---I hope Logansdad will see them---I have some interesting shot of the Montangard Tribesmen and their familes up around Khe Sanh also--may I impose on those --perhaps the troops would enjoy. Much obliged to you. wilborn