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Tue Sep 8, 2015, 11:20 PM

Some people lie about their military service

some of those are politicians. We've got maybe a few dozen actual combat vets on this board. Many of them would be embarrassed to say "yeah me.". That is because real combat guys who are still alive, no matter how well they behaved in combat saw fellow soldiers who were, for whatever brief time, braver or crazier or less lucky than they perceive themselves.

The thing is that if you talk to a guy that by your standards is a hero you will never hear it from their lips.I can tell you all about how Bush the lesser won his wings. Can you tell me were or how Max Cleland came to be in a chair? Lindsay Graham will tell you he has 30 years of military service and never mention it was mostly guard duty deferred while he was in the congress.Ronald Reagan told stories of liberating concentration camps-that was a lie.Every barroom has posers and fakes with camo gear, thousand meter stares, and tales of adventure.

Everyone of them will talk about being under fire. In my 60 year lifetime I know less than a dozen who were. You probably know less.



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Arrow 30 replies Author Time Post
Reply Some people lie about their military service (Original post)
catnhatnh Sep 2015 OP
PatrickforO Sep 2015 #1
nadinbrzezinski Sep 2015 #2
jaysunb Sep 2015 #3
pinboy3niner Sep 2015 #6
madokie Sep 2015 #18
pinboy3niner Sep 2015 #22
jaysunb Sep 2015 #21
FreakinDJ Sep 2015 #4
pinboy3niner Sep 2015 #5
Eko Sep 2015 #7
pinboy3niner Sep 2015 #8
Eko Sep 2015 #9
former9thward Sep 2015 #10
Victor_c3 Sep 2015 #11
Eko Sep 2015 #12
YabaDabaNoDinoNo Sep 2015 #13
Scuba Sep 2015 #20
Ghost in the Machine Sep 2015 #14
pinboy3niner Sep 2015 #15
msanthrope Sep 2015 #16
trumad Sep 2015 #17
MrScorpio Sep 2015 #19
Snobblevitch Sep 2015 #23
tabasco Sep 2015 #24
GP6971 Sep 2015 #30
rppper Sep 2015 #25
shanti Sep 2015 #26
Maedhros Sep 2015 #27
vankuria Sep 2015 #28
Archae Sep 2015 #29

Response to catnhatnh (Original post)

Tue Sep 8, 2015, 11:25 PM

1. My dad was. He wouldn't ever talk about it.

He fought in the Philippines in the second world war.

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Response to catnhatnh (Original post)

Tue Sep 8, 2015, 11:31 PM

2. My dad never spoke of it until late in his life

 

the only two people he opened to with this was chiefly my husband (who saw some getting shot at) and me, (the drug war, yup)

When we asked, in two separate occasions he opened to us becuase of our very limited experience. For the record, I am glad mine was as limited as it was... I don't think I would like to have the consequences of a full deployment, Nor was it me going looking for it either.

So I know of two people, since my dad passed, ok 3 counting my BIL Vietnam.

And for the most part, we talk about it, but cannot talk about it with other people.

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Response to catnhatnh (Original post)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 01:12 AM

3. What is there to say......?

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Response to jaysunb (Reply #3)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 02:49 AM

6. Plenty, brother

I suppressed my Vietnam experience for 16 years. I couldn't talk about it to my wife, or even my little brother who served there with me.

Then I opened up, and when I did I began speaking about it at high schools and colleges and peace seminars.

I don't tell play-by-play battle stories of the horror and glory. Besides telling what I did and what that was like, I share vignettes that mostly are about after the war.

Hearing the sound of a laugh box at a party after the war and being surprised and confused to find tears pouring down my face. Taking a few minutes before I flashed back to a friend getting a laugh box in a package from home at Christmas '69, a month before he was KIA.

Seeing my son unpack his bookbag after school and take out my Purple Heart medal, which had been tucked away in a footlocker in the attic. When I asked why he had the medal, he told me excitedly that they had Show-and-Tell that day, so he took it to show eveybody. But he couldn't remember if it was WWI or WWII or WWIII I was in, so he guessed it was WWII. I told him it was the Vietnam War. I learned later from my wife the question our son had saved for her: "Was the Vietnam War a good war or a bad war?" I realized he must have heard some of the negative stuff about "baby-killer" VN vets, and that what he really wanted to know was whether his dad was a good guy or a bad guy.

Cradling a cup of coffee in a coffee shop and having tears come to my eyes. Remembering how much that warmth and comfort meant on a cold night socked in on a hill in the A Shau was overwhelming.

Our stories are important, and need to be told.

Those of us who did make it have an obligation to build again...to teach to others what we know...and to try, with what's left of our lives, to find the goodness, and meaning, to this life.

--Epilogue from 'Platoon'

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #6)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 07:32 AM

18. Only though this site have I been able to open up a bit

for years I kept the memory suppressed. There are a few things I still don't and won't talk about. It took me a long time to work through the horror that is war and I have no intention of dredging those memories back up now. I'm 67 and on my way out so what would be the point? War is hell.
Children such as those of us who fight in them is not good for us and our kids.

War is an admission of failure. madokie

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Response to madokie (Reply #18)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 02:45 PM

22. I get by with the help of my friends--including you and our other brothers here

Just seeing your name on a post brings a smile to my face. We may razz each other, but it means a lot to know that's a guy who knows, who's been there, who will always have my back.

It takes a good man to come through all that shit and and be where you are today.

I love you, brother.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #6)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 02:16 PM

21. It took a while for me too, but, like you, after some years

I've been able to be a little more open about my experience. As a member of a MASH (7th Surgical ) it was up close and personal every day, and not something I often feel like sharing. But these days, it all seems like a surreal dream that just lingers around the edges of my life, until the slightest word or name triggers the monster. A boy crying for his "mommy " to make the pain go away. A body missing limbs that would eventually be the cause of death some time later. The delirious soldier begging for more morphine when you know it will just keep him calm until the end comes.....

Nope...I don't have much to say. That's why, when I hear blowhards giving blow by blow details of some exploit I get really pissed and decamp as quickly as possible. VFW,AL and like organizations are the worse and avoided at all cost.

I live in the largest Vietnamese community outside Vietnam (San Gabriel Valley in So. Cal) where I occasionally were my service cap. It provokes interesting responses, from , thanks for your service, to my ____also served. I also meet plenty other Vets who always meet and greet with a sense of camaraderie and good wishes. Those are the moments that give me comfort and sometimes a laugh at our shared stories.

Years ago, when asked about my service, my stock reply then and now, " the only people I killed died from laughing at the piss poor soldier I was."


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Response to catnhatnh (Original post)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 01:45 AM

4. You wern't there

 

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Response to FreakinDJ (Reply #4)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 02:06 AM

5. Were you?

The OP author's brother fought in hard combat as an Infantry troop with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. You can look up the nightmare he went through in the A Shau Valley in the fighting at Firebase Ripcord.

The OP author knows and understands a helluva lot, even without having been there.

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Response to catnhatnh (Original post)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 03:03 AM

7. I certianly know way more than

3 dozen. So?, does that give me some great insight? Nope, not at all.

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Response to Eko (Reply #7)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 03:29 AM

8. Do you TALK to them?

I know a lot of people as friends whom I really know little about because we don't get into deep conversations.

It's those deep conversations with people that yield insight, whether it's vets or someone else with other experiences.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #8)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 03:56 AM

9. As much as we can.

But as with most people its the things they don't say that ring the loudest.

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Response to catnhatnh (Original post)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 03:56 AM

10. I have caught several on DU.

They claim they were in Vietnam but when you ask their age they don't know math. It turns out they were 12 when they claimed they were in Vietnam. I remember one guy who claimed his 18 year old brother has been killed in Iraq. He did not know the army posts the Iraqi war dead and their ages on the internet. He had all sorts of sympathy posts until I exposed him.

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Response to catnhatnh (Original post)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 04:03 AM

11. I've found people will often use your military service against you

The message I get when I talk to people is:

"Thanks for your service, but keep your mouth shut. Your PTSD makes us uncomfortable and scares us."

My wife once threw my military service in my face and called me a "coward" and a "killer" during an argument. I reacted by running to get a razor blade, slashing both of my wrists multiple times in her face, and covering her with my blood.

I've subsequently spent nearly 5 months out of the last year in a VA psych ward. I've lost my job because I make people feel uncomfortable with the suicide scars on my wrists.

Now I'm getting ready to lose my family because they are convinced that I'm dangerous and might go all murder-suicide on them.

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Response to Victor_c3 (Reply #11)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 04:15 AM

12. There arent any magic

phrases to make things better for you. Most of the guys I know think the "thanks for your service" is pretty lame. How about this, Thanks man, thanks for being you, for still being you and for keeping on keeponing. Just keep doing that.

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Response to Eko (Reply #12)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 04:37 AM

13. Thanks for your service and the yellow ribbons are total BS and completely meaningless

 

Want to REALLY thank a vet or those on active duty, vote for people who won't send the military off to die for corporate profits.

That is how you thank a vet or buy them drinks all night at the bar that is also appreciated.

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Response to YabaDabaNoDinoNo (Reply #13)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 07:59 AM

20. /\_/\_This right here_/\_/\

 

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Response to Victor_c3 (Reply #11)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 04:41 AM

14. I am so sorry that you are going through this rough time....

Sorry, too, that I have no magic words or anything to make things better.

PLEASE take care of yourself and try to keep your mind and body strong. Keep yourself determined to keep going forward with your life, no matter WHAT the outcome of your family situation is right now. I only mention them because you did. I will refrain from commenting about your wife, but just keep your children reassured that their daddy loves them very much and always will, then focus on YOU. YOU are what is most important now, and you need to take care of YOU first. I don't even know you, but I want you to be around for a long, long time. It sounds like you are trying to reach out to somebody, anybody, for some comfort by the way you opened up like this.

Please, please, PLEASE keep yourself Strong and SAFE!

Peace within, Peace between, Peace among...

Ghost

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Response to Victor_c3 (Reply #11)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 04:53 AM

15. You know I love you, Victor

But I have to tell you that the problem is not just them--it's YOU. You can't expect everyone to change to adapt to your PTSD. If you REALLY want to make your family situation work, YOU can make it work.

I credit you for all the hard work you've done with with therapy, but you know something is still wrong.

I lost a long marriage to my PTSD from Vietnam. You DON'T have to lose yours. The worst thing for a vet in your shoes is to just accept that "This is just the way I am" instead of understanding that "I can be better than this."

If your therapists are not helping you to manage your trauma reactions, maybe you need new therapists. Or maybe you need a new you. And that's not a joke. You really can change this shit.

You don't have to be a constant victim of war trauma. It will always be there, but you can choose to change things. Like me, you served as a platoon officer, in charge. As hard as it is, you need to take charge again.

Wishing you all the best, brother.

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Response to Victor_c3 (Reply #11)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 06:37 AM

16. Victor, you have my number, and I can PM

 

it to you again. Be well and safe. Call anytime.

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Response to catnhatnh (Original post)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 06:55 AM

17. I know hundreds...

 

Simply because I joined the 82nd Airborne Infantry a year after NAM ended. Most of my NCO's were in NAM.

They told us horrific stories about their experience....experiences that were still fresh in their minds. I quickly realized it was easy for them to tell their stories to their fellow enlisted men rather than to civilians.

Today I know several who served in NAM..a couple with Purple Hearts who were shot up pretty bad...they dont talk about it at all and I'll never ask them.

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Response to catnhatnh (Original post)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 07:42 AM

19. I was never a combat vet, I was a paper pusher in the AF for 22 years

Except for the technicality of Korea being classified as a continuing war zone, I've never been in one.

I'm still proud of my service though. I also never wanted to kill anyone else while I was in uniform and I was fortunate enough to never have been put in that position. As an Air Force support troop during mostly peacetime, that was a highly unlikely scenario during my career.

But I'm with you, I can see the frauds from miles away. Serving, no matter what any of us did, was serious business and none of us have any stomach for bullshit.


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Response to catnhatnh (Original post)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 03:00 PM

23. A neighbor of ours when I was a kid

landed on Omaha Beach D-Day +1. He won a bronze star. I learned about his service when I read his obituary.

Another neighbor received a silver star in Vietnam. His son told me that when his mom and dad were watching Saving Private Ryan they had to leave the theater after about ten minutes. My brother's neighbor's FIL won the Congressional Medal of Honor because of his actions in the Korean War. He survived and died in his 80s.

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Response to catnhatnh (Original post)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 03:07 PM

24. 90% plus of the military is rear echelon.

 

Very few people outside of certain specialties are ever engaged in actual combat. That is, prolonged firefights. Many people have been stationed in a "combat zone" but never left the base for their entire "combat" tour. Lots of the rear echelon types brag about being combat vets but never were in real danger.

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Response to tabasco (Reply #24)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 07:21 PM

30. So true

If I remember correctly, the ratio of support troops to combat troops was 10/12 to 1 during Vietnam.

I just loved the MACV guys......I worked with a lot of them after Vietnam and their fake war stories were something else.

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Response to catnhatnh (Original post)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 05:10 PM

25. The "thank you for your service" thing...

I'm not comfortable with it, I drove submarines for a decade...I had a reasonably comfortable place to sleep, 4 hot meals served daily, movies, a/c...I didn't see it as hard. Hell, I got paid to drive a 7000 ton death machine under the water at highway speeds...it was fun to me. I simply tell people that I had it easy on the boats and they should find a marine or soldier who had to sleep on the dirt, eating canned food and had bullets flying over their heads. I have a lot of pride in my service. Subs weren't easy, and I've done things people wouldn't understand outside of my fellow submariners, but I never once felt my life was truly in danger.

My father was a green beret and spent 63-65 in country in Vietnam. He was also sent to Korea prior just as the war was ending. I grew up in the Canal Zone as pop trained other green berets for combat. He earned two bronze stars for his service. My mother told me this, as dad never talked about what he did there, neither did my airborne army brother, nor my regular army niece, who's third run in Iraq left one of her friends vaporized all over the front of her. My father and I only talked about our service after I had been discharged, and there has been only once me and my niece discussed Iraq. Her experience was painful and it showed...dad had the "look" when he talked about how he got the stars. It is easier for a vet to communicate with another vet, even those of a different service. We all talk about what we did at the VA....mainly sea stories sprinkled with some details about the combat they went through.

I can't offer a combat get any real perspective on what they went through, but I can listen to them and help them take the weight off of their shoulders.

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Response to catnhatnh (Original post)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 05:14 PM

26. dad served in the korean war

as a marine. he never spoke about it to me, but he did tell one of my sons that he had to kill a NK with a knife once while he was there....it must have been pretty traumatic - i can't even imagine killing someone in hand-to-hand combat, but that's what he was trained for.

i also had a close friend who served in vietnam in the AF. he came back with PTSD, and again, told my son about his experience, but not me. on occasion, he would wake up in the middle of the night, screaming and thrashing.

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Response to catnhatnh (Original post)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 06:27 PM

27. My dad served on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific during WWII.

 

All he ever mentioned was "launching a few planes," and he never told us any stories.

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Response to catnhatnh (Original post)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 06:38 PM

28. My husband is a 21 year Army veteran

served in combat during Desert Storm and he is very humble about his service, you will never hear him discuss it unless someone asks him. He even hates to take advantage of deals they give to veterans on veterans day, stating they should do it for everyone not just veterans.

He also truly detests those that use their service as a means to impress or get ahead. He even hates when businesses use veterans as a way to advertise or make themselves look good.

My husband is a very humble man and I'm proud of his service, he is a true patriot.

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Response to catnhatnh (Original post)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 06:41 PM

29. My uncle was a flight engineer/top turret gunner on a B-17 over Germany.

He never told anyone, even his kids, any war stories.
Saw too many friends die.

My Dad was in artillery in Korea.
Only story he told about getting shot at was the time he and a buddy got lost while driving a truck, and suddenly bullets started hitting their truck.
They turned around and drove back the way they came as fast as they could!

My BIL said he wouldn't kill at the draft board.
He was sent to Vietnam as a medic.
He will tell us about the literally BALES of pot they smoked, in addition to all the drinking.
And he still has nightmares of being back in Vietnam, getting shot at.

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