A Moment of Clarity

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Sleepy Doc
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A Moment of Clarity

Post by Sleepy Doc »

A little something for the new Rangers, and all the younger Soldiers and Sailors, to contemplate..

It was kinda surreal when it first dawned on me it. It just seems like yesterday when I was a young private in the Guard. Half of the medics in the Troop (and I would say at least half of the soldiers..) were over 40 and Vietnam Vets. My PA that I worked for was a former Navy Corpsman with the Marines. Initially, I was getting a little full of myself and a little too big for my britches. I was saying how bad-assed of a medic I was (I was not..) and how other than the PA, I was the only one who was currently working as a medic. (again, an erroneous assumption..) I must have been too vocal about it, and getting a little too barrel-chested, so my PA took me aside and set me straight. He was one of the most humble and self-effacing men I have ever met, and had a quiet and calm demeanor that would be the envy of the Dalai Llama. (and had quite possibly the best bedside manner I have ever seen..) He reminded me that the older men, whom I had been so quick to discount, had done things, in some instances before I was born, that I had only read about in books. These men had been shot at in anger, and hunted their fellow man with malice and forethought. They also carried the lessons and the scars, both mental and physical, having done it. However, hey did their job in accordance with the standard, sometimes heroically. All I had done up to this point in my life was to get a little training, a little smoking, and hand out some ear-plugs. He also reminded me that if I was such a superior medic, I would not have to say word one. Every one else would be saying it for me. Thus endeth the lesson..

Even though I had been to boot camp and AIT, now is when my actual learning began, because it was at this point I was finally receptive to the treasure-trove of knowledge and experience around me. Believe me when I say I tried to drink it up as much as I could. I also started to hear some of the stories from the other men, and they were as varied as you can imagine. We had no less than 3 Troopers who were 173rd vets of the Battle of Dak To, as well as vets from every one of the major divisions. The was at least one (that I know of..) who was also taken POW. He escaped, and then allowed himself to be re-captured to bring more out a second time. The list goes on and on..

I have mentioned before that when in Panama while training at JOTC, I immediately realized that the only thing that would make the jungle suck more would be if you were being shot at by someone. I had always had the highest respect for those who had served in S.E. Asia, but now it increased tenfold, and my humility increased exponentially. The same thing happened with my most recent moment of clarity. It dawned on me that my time in the Guard, while almost 20 years ago, seemed as recent as the blink of an eye, and that I am the same age now as those men were when I was a private. Their experiences in Vietnam must have been vividly real to them at the time. Again, my respect and humility have changed exponentially. It is even more humbling now that I find myself in a position to be mentor to a new generation of Rangers and Soldiers, and pay forward some of the lessons of the past.

I told Gary and Jake at the linkup, and would like to tell you now all those who served in Vietnam, how I cannot begin to properly honor and repay the legacy left by you and your comrades. The legacy of the men of your generation has never been fully manifest, and in my small way I am helping to pass on the honor won in the jungles and rice paddies of South East Asia. Regardless of one's particular stance on the war, whether they were alive to see it or not, everyone in this country owes the men who served in South East Asia a debt of gratitude. . In a just world, every single day, total strangers would stop you and offer their humblest thanks for you having done what was asked of you.

You certainly have mine.

Rangers Lead The Way!
B Co 3/75 '95-'99
4th RTB '00-'01

"ahh, Daniel-san.. When balance good, Karate good...everything good!.." K. Miyagi

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Re: A Moment of Clarity

Post by IEDmagnet »

Truer words Brother....

I have said it over and over, the Veterans of Vietnam have always been my heroes. While other kids were playing cops and robbers, I was "humping" an imaginary M60 through the jungles of Vietnam.

I echo the fact that you will never know fully how much you are admired or appreciated, but WE do.

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A/3/505 PIR, 82nd 96-98
B/2/121 Inf, 48th BCT Iraq 05-06
B/1/118 Inf, 218th BCT Afghan 07

I'm not stupid, I'm crazy...there is a difference.

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