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03Foxtrot

To Blog or Not ?

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I'm thinking of starting my own blog, for the same reasons as the Gunny S.. Also I'm very sensitive to being unintentionally disrespectful to someone else's story or distracting from their presentation. If comments are welcome, that's one thing, but there are some that only want to vent, no discussion needed. And this particular subject is very personal to those of us that still inhabit our young combat self, despite our advanced current peacetime older bodies. I myself, if I attempt this, hopefully will be able to say what I feel needs to be said in order to remember people and events that still have such a hold on me. There is much that was good and more that was bad, and I make no claim to being better or worst then any other Marine grunt that served in Vietnam. My blog will be my way of allowing some of my demons and ghosts that haunt me to possibly see the light of day, instead of the world of darkness that seems to be their constant companion. Hopefully, this will be therapy for me and hopefully something positive may happen, possibly for me and maybe for others like me who still cling to their world of silence. Please remember, I am one of you and I speak not only for myself but if I may be granted the privilege, maybe I can say a few words for some of our brothers who remain young Marines forever. Again, my story is mine alone and yours is no less valid, but all of us shared much of that war in a personal way that only we know the truth about. The first lie was that we fought for our country. That may have been why I enlisted but after becoming a pretty good bush Marine and finding out early the fallacy of our political leaders, we Marines fought for two reasons really, to find, close and kill the enemy before he killed us and we fought for our brothers to the right and the left of us... our family. Country and Corps were noble ideas.
Semper Fi, Scott
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  1. Gy7ras's Avatar
    I'll support you in your blog! Your thoughts pretty much mirror mine. We will always be brothers who know what hanging out in a fighting hole and or night ambush was like. Those long hot day patrols and a hundred other experiences are ours to share. While I respect all my fellow Marines and their contribution and their time in Nam, Grunts pretty much stayed in the trenches all the time. Our lives pretty much was death on our heels and the future only living the short timers dream; to get to that last day in one piece and home again if possible. I'm with you!
  2. 03Foxtrot's Avatar
    Gunny S.,
    I respect your opinion and value your input and comments because we share what others probably can see but probably not appreciate, the importance of our shared experiences as Marine grunts in Vietnam. I have always tried to separate the war leaders from those who fought the war and to be perfectly honest, I can read about other occupations, but I can only relate personally to what it was like to be a Marine grunt in Quang Nam Province with the 1st Marines during my tour of duty. We all know that each year of the war and where you were assigned and what capacity or uniform you wore dictated differences unique to that individual. You can disagree with the direction and control of our war, as most of us do that fought it do, but regardless of the war's merit or not, my story is the only one that I can speak of with the authority of the first person, not information gotten form some book or after action report, after the fact so to speak. Because of this, my facts, dates and names are far less then perfect, but what I try or want to say is much more then dates and names. What I want to say is what I have kept inside for so many years and what I need to say is probably more concerned with how I feel and why I feel the way I do, not the kind of recollections that most people want to read or digest. The substance of what I believe and need to say is, what war does to the man inside the body. The wounds that you can't see. The wounds that never heal and remain hidden to all but those who carry them. My problems and my questions and observations about the war through my eyes are both personal and private, and yet I wish to make some of them public so that I may help bring some kind of resolution to what I have lived with for so many years. I may very well fail as I'm not sure if I will or won't pursue this latest endeavor very long. You and I have no monopoly on courage or sacrifice or commitment or even on days or months in harms way. I pulled only one tour of duty and was quickly discharged back into the civilian world. I exchanged one set of rules for another in the blink of an eye and as far as I'm concerned, both were worlds of hurt. I did not stay a Marine as you did, except in my mind and even though I left Vietnam far behind in physical distance, it remained with me and inside me forever. I see you have a website of your own and from what I can see, it is a good one that is I'm sure not only has been a positive experience for yourself, but for many others I'm sure, and for that I am grateful to you. I'm not where you're at and I'm not sure I ever will be. My limitations are not only my lack of computer skills but also my lack of trust with others and my inability to share or communicate what I consider sacred and precious memories. Memories that give me pause to reflect, why am I here and what have I done with my life since Vietnam to justify my survival. Enough for now, the more I write, the more I remember and for that I am both glad and sad, if that makes sense to you. By the way, I read the story that Captain Kirk posted on your website and it touched me in a way that only someone who walked in our shoes can relate to. That is why those of us that still carry with us the last look into the scared eyes of our buddies know that we are all on borrowed time, purchased for us by the blood of the fallen.
    Semper Fidelis, Scott
  3. Gy7ras's Avatar
    Scott!

    Yes I know it's tough talking about our experiences and I deal with the same trust issues of just telling anyone about my most private experiences about the war. For the most part I only write in general terms about the war on these forums and blogs.

    I've already had many tell me to stop writing on these blogs and forums and write a book about my experiences, that way those that really want to read them will. I don't know if that's what I want to do so I'll just keep writing in general terms here on the forum while I make up my mind. As for what you write, like I said before much of what you write are my same experiences and feelings. One thing for sure I believe we walked the same ground and slept on the same dirt in Quang Nam province, and fighting the Viet Cong and the NVA gave us pretty much the same fight for life and limb. Yes we did get more time because of our fallen fellow Marines, and being glad and sad at the same time makes sense to me. Here's another kick in the ass for me; I want to forget but I can't, I'm not sure if I should write but I'm compelled. I heard it once said; it's a Nam thing and maybe that describes it best for me because I can't put another name on it.

    I just really started to write about some of my experiences this year and have kept it to myself for the last 39 years I was in Nam July1970-April1971. I might have stated it before, but just Maybe I want to write about not just the SH**t part of our tours, but also about all the noble and good things I saw our Marines do that most don't talk about. The Marine Combat vets that I knew were hard when they had to be and compassionate were it counted and in a place that made no sense at all. I feel what you're saying through your words and I wish you well.
  4. 03Foxtrot's Avatar
    Gunny S.,
    I thank you for your professionalism and honesty, too traits that I recognize in you and I believe you are an honorable man. Your bio and your photos show a very dedicated and squared away Marine, a career to be proud of and I thank you for your service to our country and the USMC. The information provided by your website, especially on PTSD is helpful and the stories are very personal and heartfelt. I have read much on the subject for many years, long before it became fashionable to admit having this curse. I have far too much pride for my own good and I have never expected to be in a position that I have to ask for something that I find so distasteful. There are far more people out there that have much more reason then I to expect and get the assistance they so rightfully deserve. I feel the need to speak and the need to be heard, yet at the same time, I don't want the attention that possibly goes with it. It was a shock to me to go to blogs on this site and see all of my words there for the world to read. I know this is a public forum and yet my first instinct is to delete it all and disappear, something I have done before. It is a dilemma that seems to have no easy answers for me. The most obvious and to most people, the only right choice, is the most difficult for me, and so I seem to remain at the same place. As of lately, for many reasons, some understood by me and some not, I have gotten much more prone to the depression and flare-ups that we all know so well. Bad dreams and even more hyper-alertness, never good but especially this time of year. I seem to be less in control and more at the mercy of what was more dormant, then active, as of late. My wife is correct when she says that part of my recent new activity on a few sites such as this one and the increased time I have on my hands because of retirement, along with my own feeble attempts to reconnect with my past and reading several books lately, have all contributed to my need to address this curse. I have friends who have already accomplished what I seem unable to do and all of them tell me I should get in the system and at least open the door to the future instead of remaining in the past. Easier said then done and since so many people seem now able to do so and since so many people now seem to suffer from we once thought to be rare and very significant only to those of us that never talked about the why and when of our curse. There was a time when keeping quiet was not only condoned, it was expected and I guess I still have a problem with speaking out about my own problems with something that has been with me since 1969. Thanks for your kindness and listening and once again, the brotherhood is intact and alive and well.
  5. 03Foxtrot's Avatar
    I may be wrong, but it seems once you start a blog on here and you want to add to it or develop it further, the only option is to add under the comments. No matter, I suppose as long as it ends up where it was intended, that's all that really matters.
    As I said earlier, I care very much about not being unintentionally disrespectful to a brother on here. I am very aware that many of us are flawed to a degree that sometimes makes communication between us difficult, as many of us are so sensitive to being under real or imagined attack against our character or our honor or our person. I suppose so many years of being discarded by our country and our Corps and all of the residual baggage that most of us keep inside has made us very defensive, and yet at the same time, very offensive when we feel we are being misunderstood or misinterpreted. Like many with PTSD I have anger and trust issues and so I have over the years worked very hard to control my emotions and try to avoid that which can trigger a possibly inappropriate response to a perceived threat. This recently almost happened to me on a thread on this site. A thread where all I did is speak about myself and how I felt offended if someone expected me to produce some kind of acceptable identification card to prove the veracity of my status. I am aware that because of the over abundance of posers and those real veterans who seem intent on embellishing their records, at the expense of others, there is a real need to seek out some kind of proper way of verification of what some say about themselves. I still have the opinion that I am capable of asking and inquiring and listening to what information and knowledge and experiences someone relates, as well as body language and eye contact that they have, as well as how they present this to me, and having an opinion that tells me to either leave this person alone or to confront them or to wrap my arms around a newly found brother. Because I unintentionally offended another veteran, after I myself was unintentionally offended, I think that I will offer that particular thread (Fake Heroes) and what happened as an example of what and why I am trying to convey to others about how difficult this journey has been. I believe, in retrospect both parties involved know that no such disrespect was intended and both of us have valid opinions and that both of us have much in common and very little differences for that matter.
    Semper Fi
  6. Gy7ras's Avatar
    Brother!

    I couldn't have expressed it better myself. You are absolutely right about the difficulty in expressing your thoughts about experiences we had in Nam out here on the Internet. While we are really just trying to reach out to other brothers and let people in general know about a time in history from a personal experience, that's not always easy.

    It is not easy because people will doubt us and want us to prove what we say, or because we run into those who served who are bitter about their life and experiences, and can't understand why we who have kept quiet after all these years would not finally want to express our thoughts. These people would want to belittle us just as those who did when we came home.

    But I still say like you do, my intentions are not to disrespect any of us that were there or in any theater or war, but only to try and find solace with brothers who are now for the most part in the last part of their journey! I suppose the only thing we can do is continue our post and ignore the trash throwers as they will always be with us. I'm here for you and know by your lingo who you are.

    I believe that from the content and emotion in which you write that what you say are not things that anyone can research, but from things only one who was there can express from the heart. If I am wrong in believing that then so be it. Thanks for what you write, it does mean something to me!

    Semper Fi!

    Gunny S.
    Updated 01-20-11 at 07:32 PM by Gy7ras
  7. 03Foxtrot's Avatar
    Gunny,
    Once again you seem to get it ! I have nothing but respect for my brothers from Nam and they know who they are. Like you, I assume, my life has gone forward since Viet-Nam and I have led what I consider to be a good life with many ups and downs. Most of the downs, long ago, were caused by my inability to either recognize or admit to my many demons and ghosts from Viet-Nam. You gave of yourself to the USMC and to the defense of our nation and I can see by your rank and various occupations that you excelled at it. I eventually became a professional firefighter and I served my nation and my city also in a way that I hope was appreciated for what public service should be. Many times, I'm sure, both you and I performed our duties, not for money or fame, but for that opportunity to make a difference in someone's life. To save a life or to train someone else to save a life or to take a life in defense of our nation, both are noble endeavors and I have nothing but respect for your chosen field of expertise. My own Dad served our beloved Corps for 25 years and retired as a Sergeant Major of Marines, so I know a little something about what it means to be a career Marine. I know that my writing on a few select sites, such as this one, can be both positive and negative and I am willing to take the risk because I have reached a point in my life, retired now, that allows me too much time to dwell on some things that are better left alone. I must reach a compromise between saying too much and not saying what I need to say. I want to be heard but I don't want undue attention brought to myself. It is a dilemma that is easily resolved if I just quit and go away but I have done that too many times in the past. Perhaps it is true that the closer I allow people to me, the further I push them away. At any rate, I hope I continue to have the patience to hear what others say and to reflect on what they really mean and where they are coming from before I react in a way that will cause either myself or them to return to a silent existence. Always on the fringe, listening and watching and keeping inside me what I need to shout to the world. You know, there are some who wish that women could be or should be in combat, as the infantry. They may have good reasons but I can only say that as someone that has had my life altered forever in a way that I seem helpless to change, from combat, I pray that American women never become Marine grunts.
    .Semper Fi Brother
  8. 03Foxtrot's Avatar
    Another long gap between my attempts at public introspection on a very personal subject. I am a proud Marine Vietnam combat vet that cares more for the past then the present, usually, with few exceptions. I have never and never will apologize or try to embellish what I did or accomplished in Vietnam. The truth is more then enough for me and all I need is an audience of one, if that is all I deserve to be heard by. Gunny S..... thank you for listening and actually hearing what I'm trying to say. He ain't heavy, he's my brother.
    Each of us who walked the same walk in Nam have similar, yet different and very personal memories. We share much, yet speaking for myself, except for my time in country as a grunt, mostly in the bush, I felt like I arrived and exited the war all alone. After I left the hell that existed for those of us proud to call ourselves Marine grunts, I returned to a civilian life and a time that I did not belong to and to a world that seemed to care little for the daily sacrifice in blood that many Americans were making every day in Nam. I longed to return to the place I belonged, but the Corps was done with me. This was not the first time that veterans were treated so badly by America for the previous war in Korea had also become a political liability and America seemed to make no distinction then or later between the war and it's causes and the warriors who fought it.. But this was my war and this was my life and this was my turn to do my duty and so this war was very personal to me and I was no longer able to forget or forgive a nation that seemed intent on blaming me for whatever afterthought they chose to lay at my feet. I had committed no war crimes, I was no baby killer and I didn't do drugs or try to frag my officers or disobey orders, no matter how many brave men died for political objectives. Saddle up and run that next patrol or ambush and do another sweep or begin another long operation or insertion and find the enemy before he finds you and then kill him first and all the while watch men fall one at a time from booby traps, snipers and mortar and rocket attacks. Let your guard down for just a moment and walk into an ambush and know what it feels like to be in the kill zone or how in just a second life can be over. We know well the intimacy and the immediacy of combat. It changes you forever. I have been remembering a lot lately about my first contact with the enemy. I had already seen death up close when a South Vietnamese Popular Forces man had accidently pulled the pin on a grenade in a bunker and how one minute he was laughing like a child and pointing at me and saying "babysan" and the next he was splattered all over the place. But my first contact with the enemy was soon to follow and like all lessons taught in combat, it stays with you forever. When I arrived by chopper and reported to 2nd Platoon, Foxtrot Company, 2/1 and met with my first combat leader, 2ndLt Ing, it was raining and under a poncho hootch he welcomed me to the platoon and told me to listen up and do everything I was told to do, nothing more and nothing less.He seemed squared away to me, larger than life and I listened intently. He assigned me to 1st squad, Alpha, and I found my squad leader and began my education and participation in becoming a good Marine. Not long after Fox company moved out into the bush on foot with the intention of setting up a new perimeter and then expanding to Platoon Patrol Bases further out. During this walk in the sun we were ambushed in a thick treeline. There were many Marine casualties, killed and wounded and one of the first to fall was my first combat leader with a bullet through the neck. He bled out before a medevac was landed. Another platoon sent to our aid was also ambushed. I remember the noise and the confusion and how quickly everything changed from bad to worst. I fired my rifle towards the enemy without actually seeing anyone to shoot at and when it was over the wounded and dead Marines convinced me to never take anything for granted. My prayers and my love to all Marines that fell that day on December 23, 1968. 2Lt. Herbert Edgar Ing, USMC, 26 January 46--- 23 December 68, on panel # 36W, line #69 on the Wall.
    Semper Fi
    Updated 01-02-13 at 02:34 PM by 03Foxtrot
  9. joe mccormick 3's Avatar
    thank you brothers for your service is an honor to be apart of your clan SEMPER_FI
  10. 03Foxtrot's Avatar
    Thank you Joe for taking interest in my blog. I have been intentionally absent as I found too many mental and emotional issues reawakened, most of them having a negative effect on my present. I try not to live in the past, you can push it aside and move on, but there are always hidden triggers that seem to always bring misery along with the good. The Gunny is special, isn't he ? Semper Fi
  11. chulaivet1966's Avatar
    I don't do blogs myself but I read your's and Gunny's responses which expressed many aspects of our experiences clearly enough and quite well I would add..
    For me...I still 'cling to my world of silence". I don't sport any overt USMC/Vietnam paraphernalia but I do wear my USMC fatigue cover.
    I've never whined, complained, played the victim or asked for anything from the VA or anyone else. Those resources belong to others who would deserve it far more than myself. Demons don't go away...we just learn to deal with them privately and tuck them away as food for wisdom as we get older.
    I probably haven't contributed much with my brief response. Just wanted to acknowledge the candor expressed by yourself and Guns.
    That's my nickels worth. SF Brothers...stay tough and carry on....