26 May 2023

Do You Feel A Draft?

In May of 1966 Uncle Sam decided my services were desperately needed to insure the U.S. Army could continue to do the good work it was doing all around the world.
"Greetings!", the letter said.
It then detailed when and where I was to report for duty.
Born into a family where virtually all my Uncles served, any thought of avoiding the draft by running to Canada never entered my mind. So I reported to the recruiting center in Indianapolis at the designated time and date.

Although I resented being enslaved by my government I decided to make "lemonade out of lemons" whenever I could. And having heard my Father at age 39 say, "If I had stayed in the ARMY I'd be retiring now with a nice pension", I also decided unless I absolutely HATED the ARMY I would stick it out.
I retired after serving 22+ years. I felt my service made the world a better place and I respected my superiors and my fellow warriors.

The news these days is reporting that all branches of the military are falling short of their recruitment numbers. The recruits that DO volunteer frequently cannot meet military standards due to obesity or other physical deficiencies.
Briefed by the folks in charge of the Officer's Candidate School at Ft. Benning, (now Ft. Moore), we were told that the main reason prospective Officers fail to graduate is because of bone structure injuries.
(Too much time playing video games?)
This ain't my Father's military.

How do we fill the shortfall we're now experiencing?
I know one way to do it.
But there WILL be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

18 May 2023

Is Worry Wasted?

People pass through your life. Some make an impact. Others? Meh.
One of the folks that made me take notice some years ago was one of my Flight Paramedics.
Smart. Quick witted. Compassionate.
He was one of those that if I had been involved in an accident and I woke in the back of the helicopter to find he was part of the crew caring for me, I'd have relaxed.

He met and fell in love with two boys and wanted to adopt them, but there was a problem.
He'd been arrested a year or so before because he had gotten "out of control" after overdosing on "uppers".
It was an "out of the ordinary" situation, he said.
I believed him, and wrote a letter testifying to his good character, signing it with my signature as a retired field grade military officer.
Whether or not that made a difference can be argued. The adoption was approved. Two years later his wife divorced him and he took sole custody of his two sons.
That was several years ago.

He's been a great Father. The two boys have thrived. I've watched their lives unfold via FaceBook. He's made me proud of the fact I stuck my neck out a little to vouch for him when he wanted to assume responsibility for the boys.

But now he's gone dark on FaceBook.
My attempts to contact him there are going unanswered. And I'm worried.

We are told there is a thin line between genius and mental illness.
I don't know how to contact him with no FaceBook link.

I hope he, and the boys, are okay.

17 May 2023

Lies and Deceit

The "Durham Report" has been released.
It points out the way the Hillary Clinton campaign conspired with the FBI, the CIA, and our major news media to put out disinformation about Donald Trump and help defeat him in the 2016 presidential election.
And it worked.

Now we have a committee reviewing the report, headed by Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Senator from Connecticut.
He's the miscreant that lied to us about being a Viet Nam Veteran.

How can we get to the truth of any matter re: our government when our govt. officials are liars?

13 May 2023

Combat Veterans-

I've been called "Hero" because of my military service to the Nation.
I'm uncomfortable with the label for many reasons.
When I was drafted, the Viet Nam conflict was beginning to explode and I was scared to death about what my future held .
I decided to do whatever I needed to do to delay any trip to Southeast Asia. That included signing up for any school that would use up time, hoping the folks trying to bring an end to the conflict could come to an agreement.
So I attended Officer's Candidate School: Six months.
Then the "Rotary Wing Aviator Course" used up another nine months. And still the negotiating continued as too much human treasure was sacrificed in Viet Nam.
And then the morning came when I woke and thought to myself- "Soon, people who don't agree with me  politically will be trying to kill me".
And some of the natives of Viet Nam did just that.

A few years ago I organized a reunion of Soldiers who had attended Armor Officer's Candidate School at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. At this reunion and others I have attended, there is a "Vibe" between men who served in Viet Nam and those that served elsewhere... for Armor Second Lieutenants that mostly was Germany. These reunions have made me realize how FORTUNATE I was to serve in, and survive, my experience as a helicopter gunship pilot in the Viet Nam conflict.

Addressing this gathered group of heroes I expressed my genuine thoughts:
ANYONE that signed up to attend OCS during this time, (1965-1968) knew fully their attendance might mean service where someone who disagreed politically with them might shoot live ammunition at them.
Only a few of us were chosen to serve there.
And it seems SO odd-

I signed up to attend OCS hoping that schooling would take long enough to eliminate any chance I would go to Viet Nam. But OCS and EVERYTHING that followed opened doors for me I could never have imagined when, at age 19, I signed that application.

I was drafted. If I'd had the chance to avoid my ARMY experience, I'd have jumped at the chance.
I ain't no hero.
But all those signing that "Blank Check" back then, and those signing it today?
They ARE.

Thanking them "For their service" may seem like a throw-away comment to them.
Thank them anyway.

12 May 2023

The Border Situation

Four years ago we cruised across the Atlantic from New York to Lisbon, Portugal with a few stops along the way.
Neat trip.

We departed Lisbon to drive to Gibraltar. I was surprised to find the border between Portugal and Spain was unmanned. If you weren't paying close attention you wouldn't notice you had crossed from a Portuguese speaking country to one speaking Spanish. No lines. No mass of people.

I've been thinking about why there are thousands and thousands of people amassed at our Southern border desperate to enter the U.S.A., and the most obvious reason is economic.
People are leaving "garbage" countries to come where there is more money and a better quality of life.

I think the quality of life in Portugal and Spain is relatively equal, so there's no reason to leave one for the other.
And that points out how to resolve our problem here-
Equalize everything about the U.S. and the countries these folks are fleeing.

So as soon as the U.S. is equal to Venezuela, and we become a garbage country, the rush to cross our border will cease.
With the amount of traffic down there now that should happen pretty quickly.

Estar Preparado.

07 May 2023

I HATE "Can't".

In our little community I had this friend named Dennis. He was a couple years older than me.
Dennis had a problem... he had a newspaper route. His family was moving, and he had to find someone to take the route from him.

I had tagged along with Dennis on the paper route a couple times. Dennis was a generous kid...
He always had a "jingle in his pockets" and when I accompanied him delivering papers he always bought me a candy bar and a soda.
I liked that.
I wanted to be Dennis.

"Can I take Dennis's paper route?" I asked my parents.
I was 10. They were worried. The Regional Manager of the Newspaper was unsure.
No question, I could remember where the customers were and deliver their newspapers. BUT... what about the money side of things?
When collecting for a week's worth of newspapers, could I make change without making mistakes?
I proved I could. I delivered "The Indianapolis News" (which no longer exists) for four years.
And always had a "jingle" in my pockets.
I even saved enough along the way to buy my first motor scooter when I was 12. (Law Enforcement in our area ignored the 12 year old delivering newspapers on a motor vehicle!)

My parents encouraged me.
The Regional Manager encouraged me.
And that set me on the "Positive Mental Attitude" (PMA) course.

Thomas Edison failed a LOT.
And in failure he learned what DID NOT work. Using that knowledge, he kept moving, trying, failing, until he began to see things that worked better and better until he succeeded.

Looking at the world today I am dismayed. I think we are more and more fearful of failure.
"That won't work."
"I can't do that."
If you tell yourself you can't, you won't even start, and therefore you're right- YOU CAN'T!

It's the Elon Musk's of today that are succeeding and getting rich.
Try. Fail. Try again.
If you fail, learn from they experience. Learning is a good thing. Like Elon, try again and again until you succeed.
Your PMA will rub off on others, making their world AND YOURS a better place.

Be Elon Musk.
And surround yourself by people with "PMA".
You'll be richer... maybe even beyond your wildest dreams.

01 May 2023

Military Reunions II

Where do I start?
Let's start here-

For YEARS I thought I was unaffected by my Viet Nam experience. Heck, I had returned to "Life in the World" with few complications
(I thought). And then in '95 one of my Huey Crew Chiefs called and asked me to come to a Unit reunion. I hesitated. "I don't want to spend time with a bunch of guys crying in their beer, still living in 1969."
"No... you'll enjoy it, I PROMISE" says he. It was in Dallas. I have family there, so I figured if I was upset with what was going on I could just spend time with my kin.
But I was surprised. We had a great time. We laughed. We listened. And I must admit, we cried a little.
All good.

My wife, 10 years my junior, learned much about her husband (also her older brother who was a Marine VN Veteran).
Good too.

I mostly let my buddies talk. She also sat quietly and listened to the stories my fellow Vets were telling.
She heard, "You mean he's still alive?! His legs were gone when we loaded him onto the helicopter!"
This kind of conversation is why these reunions are so important.
It is THERAPY of the best sort... at little cost.

And now our Viet Nam Vets are dying at a similar rate to what we heard about our WWII Veterans 20 or so years ago. Which means these reunions are doubly important for those of us still healthy enough to attend, (and some NOT so healthy).

IF you are a Combat Veteran, DO get together with your fellow Warriors, even if you are reluctant.
You may not think you need the therapy, but you may be wrong.
And remember there are others that need someone to listen to what they experienced.
Your attentive listening may prevent a tragedy.

That's Doc Greybeard's advice.
No charge.