Category Archives: ‘Nam – Some Came Home

Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida: There is a long story behind this song. First of all – this was never my style of music – not even “growing up” in the late 60’s – but this one single song defined my time in-country. It was released within days of my arrival and I KNEW from the moment I heard it – exactly what it’s meaning was… In the Garden of Eden – but of course no one believed me. I guess that Brutha Smoove was too stoned along with Foxworthy and the rest of the guys. And Leonard – he was just swapping beer for ice… It took nearly 40 years for the truth to come out. Considered the first Heavy Metal song.

This was my war – this was YOUR war. Many of our brothers and sisters never made it home, but in spirit. Others made it home in body – but not right of mind. These are OUR stories.

I’ll see you all in the Garden someday..

In the Garden of Eden: A Tribute… and thanks

~ Forewords ~
October 1, 2017 ~ Several years ago on a reunion trip with several of my cohorts from the rice paddies, the boys went out for lunch, while I stayed behind at the hotel in Newport, California to make some notes and write a bit of remembrance. The three of us had spoken for several years about collaborating on a book about our time together over ‘there’ – but I began to realize that both of the guys were bullshit artists, and really had no desire to follow through, and so I decided to write a preface – to what I hope would become my story about the twenty-one months I spent in the Far East – VietNam. What came out of that several hours of peace, can be read HERE. I would highly recommend that you read it before you continue… but – at your discretion…

As for now – we pick up where we left off… ~ Jeffrey Bennett, Publisher and Veteran
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The Story of a Marine Grunt in the First Battle of Khe Sanh (April 1967)

WARNING: This video contains much offensive language and much vulgarity. Even so, Al’s story is absolutely compelling, historic, and even emotionally touching if you watch all the way to the end.

I was with Al White at the Khe Sahn 881 Hill Fights that he just described. I was in 1st. platoon. Met him at our reunions, but he was in weapons platoon. Knew Lt. Cannon well. My platoon commander was Lt. Izenhour. The worst hell in three weeks of our lives. People only remember the Siege, which they should in 1968, but we were fighting these North Vietnames for three weeks a year earlier. Some of the worst fighting in the war. . Lost 32 Marines on May, 3rd., 1967, when we were overrun. The Marine hero he mentions that got the Navy Cross was Fred Monahan. He saved a lot of us. If you want to learn more of this battle go to Amazon, and order the 881 Hill Fights. I am in one of the last pictures he shows at our reunion. ~ Dick Backus Semper Fi

Memorial in Perpetuity

As veterans we see the empty places in our ranks where friends once stood. We see shadows when we remember something funny with them and start to laugh realizing only you will be laughing. And we look across the table or the bar stool next to you and realize that it’s filled with another you don’t recognize because your brother hasn’t been there for a while.

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A Lion in the Streets

May 17, 2009Like an old Blues song, this column should open with the proverbial line, “I woke up this morning…”

Shortly after I began my ‘career’ in broadcasting in 1995, I met a man, who I would interview on numerous occasions, and who over the years, would converse with me due to a common-connection: We were both Veterans of the Rumble in the Jungle – the Police Action known as Viet Nam.

In an age, when the political stage is filled with near-do-wells, queer-do-wells, and well-funded perpetual dilatants, who occupy offices of influence, Ted Sampley spent many years exposing these ‘heroes’ for what they truly are – cowards. Continue reading

Back to the ‘Nam

I’m sitting here watching a documentary about the Vietnam War. It is about to bring me to tears. I look at these 18, 19, and 20 year old boys who have just graduated from high school, and they are so full of pride and love for their country that they are more than willing to go half-way around the world to somewhere they have never even heard of to keep America from falling to the evils of Communism.

These young boys knew about the atrocities that Communist countries had committed throughout the years because they were taught actual history in school by real teachers, which is a lot more than I can say about our education system of today. Continue reading

Preface: In the Garden of Eden

“Write drunk; edit sober.” – Ernest Hemingway

~ Preface ~
The Vietnam War in picture 03March 17, 2014 ~ February 15, 1968: Being the Chef, bartender and janitor at the off-post Officer and NCO club near the North Point, Germany home of the 619th Ordinance unit, I was cleaning up the club after the monthly combined wives club luncheon, when Holroyd informed me that I had a call from Division Headquarters which I needed to take. It was Frank (our former Company clerk) telling me that my tour of duty was nearly at an end, and asked how many days leave I wanted to take in the States. I told him that I had no desire to return home, “What’s up?” The answer was the one, which most of us dreaded at that time. TET had taken its toll that month in Viet Nam, and I was being called up. “Oh shit,” I thought to myself, but, what the hell? – I was ready for a new adventure anyway. After all – it was easy in the movies, wasn’t it, John Wayne and all? I told Frank that I would take 45 days and began to make my preparations. Continue reading

Time to Tighten Up

Archie,

I was in ‘Nam in ’68 … one night we were dancing to Tighten Up.. Some of the guys.. next day we lost 4 of my squad.. ambush.. we fought all day and night.. but I always remember that night and day. One minute we were back in the world… hours later some of us had left it behind and died at 20. I didn’t know I had PTSD ’til maybe 15 years later.. I was driving with my wife and Tighten Up came on the radio… all of a sudden I thought of that night… the guys dancing – then losing them the next day and my eyes swelled up with tears because the memory of them was so strong.

We were with Charlie Co. 2/506th 101st Airborne Div. We were the 1st Platoon. This song carries a lot of weight with me Brother.. … you got hit too. Yeah man me too. ~ Pop Dada

Why So Many Vets Are Angry At Jane Fonda

Sorry – my ass!

I was young and was watching TV in the mid to late 70’s and Jane Fonda came on the TV and my dad happen to walk by in the living room and I heard the words “Traitorous fucking Bitch ” as my dad continued to the bedroom. I was very young but smart enough not to ask my dad what all that was about. My Dad did 2 tours in Vietnam and lost friends over there and he was really bitter about how things turned out after the “Peace with Honor”. I finally asked my Dad in the early 80’s right after Jane Fonda “workout Craze”, when I heard him muttering something really ugly ..something about burning in hell with the devil’s pitchfork jammed up her…….Well you get the picture. I asked him and he took a deep breath and explained what the deal was. He knew that I knew a lot of history so I knew a lot of background and would grasp the particulars of what he said. Since then, I and many people my age have said the same thing, talk about generational hate. ~ Mr. Garabaldi Continue reading

Brave Ex-Chaplain Still Haunted by the Vietnam War’s Most Desperate Siege

Retired Navy chaplain Ray W. Stubbe leaned over his diary and ran his finger to the entry for Feb. 23, 1968, the 34th day of the Vietnam War’s siege of Khe Sanh and the day the bunker was hit.

The small, sandbag fortress was on the perimeter. He had spent the night there three weeks before, as a half-dozen nervous young Marines sat under a single lightbulb, making coffee in a ration tin and playing a recording of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” over and over.

Now the bunker had been smashed with some of those Marines inside, and Stubbe, then 29, a bespectacled Lutheran minister, rushed from a nearby medical shelter to help… Continue reading

Why Were Vietnam War Vets Treated Poorly When They Returned?

American soldiers returning home from Vietnam often faced scorn as the war they had fought in became increasingly unpopular.

I had gotten this article from “CherrieWriters”, It was one of the sites I get regular emails from. The site is full of information about Vietnam. I found the site years ago when I was researching the A-7 strikes near Hanoi if memory servers. This article means something to me because I remember the treatment my Dad got when he came home from his 2nd tour in Vietnam and it infuriated me, I was too young to really remember his first tour. How could the people blame the G.I’s for the war, they had to go when their government sent them. Going to Canada was a non-starter for most of the draftee’s, “only cowards and cocksuckers ran to Canada” was the prevailing theme. Then the way they were crapped on after they returned, from the people on the streets to the VA and the government. I recall the sentiment during Desert Storm that we were massively supported by the people on the street to Hollywood celebrities. It was almost surreal compared to the treatment my Dad and his generation got. I am glad that we as a society has matured, even during the unpopularity of the Iraq war most people didn’t blame the G.I. although there were a few asshats here and there. ~ Mr. Garabaldi

Twenty-one-year-old Steven A. Wowwk arrived as an infantryman in the Army’s First Cavalry Division in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam in early January 1969 to fight in an escalating and increasingly unwinnable war. By June, Wowwk had been wounded twice – the second time seriously – and was sent back to the United States for treatment at Boston’s Chelsea Naval Hospital.

It was after returning to the U.S. and while en route to the hospital that Wowwk first encountered hostility as a veteran. Continue reading

Class of 2020

Now hiring signs everywhere. My feelings get hurt because of your free speech, ban all guns, legalize drugs, single parenthood is cool. I deserve free everything.

Class of 1970. Boeing lays off 70,000 in Puget Sound, Gas doubled to 50 cents, no jobs, and your headed to Viet Nam.

The 1970s were a time of turmoil in the United States, beginning with the civil rights movement which set the standards for practices by the anti-war movement. The 1969 draft lottery only encouraged resentment of the Vietnam War and the draft. Continue reading