Re: Oh No Bill ,,, Ortiz
posted at 3/5/2013 12:33 PM EST
In response to softlaw2's comment:
I am a combat Marine Officer Viet Nam Veteran.
Since my early teens, in the late 60's, I've regarded Vietnam veterans as the best of my geneartion. None had to go, and every two out of three entered military service as volunteers. Even those who were drafted didn't really have to go. For those who didn't have political cover, it was relatively easy to get deferments as a student taking almost anything. Paying Doctors to write "mentally distrubed" letters to the local draft board, fasting to drop below the weight to height physical requirement, etc. etc. And for the few that remained and didn't want to go, conscientious objector assertions resulted in non-combat duty, and for those who didn't want to do that there was the safe haven of Canada or, worst cast, probation or, in most cases, 18 months prison sentence in which, typically, only a fraction of that time would be served. My generation was entirely responsible for the disgraceful treatment of the best of part of that generation, those who served this Nation by doing what they absolutely did not have to do. In fact, it was popular for members of my generation to be a draft dodger and, instead of petitioning and legally harrassing their federal representatives to end the war, it was popular to publicly protest and support the communists while our troops were in harms way. This created the climate where the communsits knew that the clock was on their side. In addition, my generation (virtually silent during the aid and advisor years from the 50's to the mid 60's) provided the climate for the insane politcal micromanaged limited engagement policy that resulted in our "no boots in Cambodia and Laos and Vietnam north of the DMZ" diplomacy. The communists (PAVN/"NVA" and NLF/"Viet Cong") simply used this policy to attack and terroris and retreat, sending shells from these safe havens. Thus, despite the fact that our troops forced the communist militants to vacate and or retreat from virtually every major engagement in Vietnam, they had safe havens to stage and restage from Cambodia, Laos and north of the DMZ. Politically, our troops were not allowed to use airborne deployed troops into Cambodia and Laos and North Vietnam to block the communist militants returing to regroup and resupply from these staging havens, in what would surely have resulted in the virtual wiping out of their trained armed forces capabilities to such an extent that the communist politburo would have had to surrender or obtain active troop involvement from China and other communist military powers, a prosepct that almost surely would not have been politically palatable and which would have likely resulted in an international accord which would have resulted in a long term result similar to North and South Korea.
Regardless of the speculation about the politics of the Vietnam War, no sane man can make a valid argument that the best of our generation is anyone else but those who served this Nation by going to Vietnam and doing something they absolutely did not have to do. And I am certain that this Nation would be strong economically if our contempoary leaders were predominantly members of my generation who voluntarily walked the dangerous road less traveled. Instead, the worst of my generation has been remaking American public policy.
Since you are Marines, my best guess would be you served in I or II Corps? My father is a WWII combat veteran, but he always tells me he was "lucky and never had too worry too much". I have studied the military records and know he had plenty to worry about.
Because Vietnam is the war during my generation, as sensitive a subject as it is, I have learned as much about the facts as a I possiblly can. Ultimately, only those in harms way have the moral standing and can authoritatively speak on the facts. I certainly can't pretend to do that. Bur, from all the words from virtually all of the Vietnam veterans I have read, the brotherhood and self sacrifice is profoundly humbling. And, despite the horrific physical environmental circumstances and politics, the performance of our teams of troops is amazingly inspirational. Am I and my generation deserving of such acts of selfless sacrifice? I certainly don't feel that I am, and feel beholding and ever grateful to our veterans who did, and who do. To me, perhaps the darkest moment in American history during my lifetime is my generation's treatment of our Vietnam veterans. Do the leaders of my generation owe them a private and public apology? No question in my mind.
Anyway, my brother-in-law is a Vietnam veteran, 1967-1968 68th Assault Helicopter Compnay, Top Tiger-Mustang Gunship UH-1C, III Corps. I see him once a year during Christmas. He's used his military training after retiring with 20 years of military service, flying a Sikorsky S-61 for Ratheon at AUTEC, Andros Island.
Sorry to digress on this thread. Despite my comments on Ortiz, all how who know me since I've been here, since 2007, know that I've been a huge supporter. My support remains, but I'm a realist in regards to professional athletic performance and age.
Softy, from my heart I thank you for your insightful and thoughtful comments about the VietNam war & its veterans.
In my day, the early 60s, I did not just join the Military because I was gung-ho. I did not want to go to Viet Nam, but I chose to honor my obligation. Unless one was in school or 4 F, if one had a 1A draft classification, they were subject as a patriotic duty to enter the military. If not, conscientious objector did not work frequently, so one would go to jail or flee to Canada. What you say may be true re: people getting deferments, doctors to falsify medical reports, staying in school an extra year or two etc., but, I repeat, as a child whose parents came through Ellis Island from Italy, I wanted to be as patriotic as I could be and honor my citizenship.
As I am in my mid 70s and was not a career military person, I still had a draft obligation but the 3 years(1963-1966) fortunately terminated before the heavy fighting in that horrible conflict. But I did see combat action as an Advisor to the Vietnamese troops(ARVN---army of the republic) in engagements on various hilltops against the VietCong in the Que Son Valley area( not to be confused with Khe Sahn in NW South Vietnam where many Marines lost their lives in fierce battles in 1969 early 70s ) ,Tam ky, Thang-binh, Hiep duc, Tuan duong. These battle sites had hill #s(numbers). I flew into Da Nang on a C-130 and fortunately in one piece flew out on that troop carrier. I was in San Francisco in the late 60s when the beatniks and love children flourished in Haight Asbury. It was so sad for me to see peacenik marches in which we were accused of being baby killers.
Viet Nam was a horrible war in that when we returned home there was little celebration and many time we were spit at. Troops today from Iraq & Afghan get heroes welcomes. I say today, irrespective of one's political differences, respect our troops because they are the real heroes and I, reiterate, we had to go as it was our obligation so why were we treated so miserably by many civilians at home. Mea Culpa, sorry, I am way off tangent here. Viet Nam is an experience I would like to forget.