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Christmas in Vietnam


Old Guy
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I figured this one is topical. I posted it before, but it's been a long time.

Christmas in Vietnam, 1967

We celebrate Christmas in the Mekong Delta,

though war won't wait for a holiday.

No white Christmas here; our colors are mud and green.

It hasn't snowed in the Delta since the last ice age.

In our hooch we have a tiny silver tree,

somewhat worse for wear.

An APC sits in a nearby revetment, festooned with garland.

Down the hill a howitzer sports tinsel and a plastic angel.

It ain't New England in winter,

but we try to keep up appearances.

No mistletoe, though.

We haven't seen a woman since the last Bob Hope show.

Santa dropped by this morning.

He arrived in a Huey, escorted by two gunships.

The jolly old elf looked a little too fit and too trim,

even with a flak jacket to fill out his red suit.

There'll be turkey and trimmings for dinner.

Fatigues and helmets are required,

weapons cleared and on safe at the door.

Later, when tropical night has come,

men will gather at their bunkers

and someone will produce a guitar.

We'll sing the old songs,

talk of Christmas and home,

under the light of parachute flares.

JR Hume, 2007

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Thanks for posting this again.

This last week 4 Canadian soldiers committed suicide. They all had PTSD from time in Afghanistan...but our illustrious leaders cut back on the programs to help them and in some cases forced them out of service because they " were not fit for duty" ....it was also "just coincidence" that they were just short of the time they needed to get full pensions :(

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Thanks for posting this again.

This last week 4 Canadian soldiers committed suicide. They all had PTSD from time in Afghanistan...but our illustrious leaders cut back on the programs to help them and in some cases forced them out of service because they " were not fit for duty" ....it was also "just coincidence" that they were just short of the time they needed to get full pensions :(

Sorry to hear of this. Suicide among returning U.S. military has also been a problem and one that seems to get little attention.

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Don, Christmas decorations were reminders of the holiday at home, with family. They were also an attempt to bring a degree of celebration into the boring routine of daily life in a combat zone. It helped us to feel a part of things, even if we were a long ways from home.

Stans, suicide among US military has been a media topic, for sure. Fortunately, the story is overblown -- as usual. The Navy just concluded a massive study of military members returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, following them for several years. The results? Even service members who had multiple deployments commit suicide at rates significantly lower than their civilian counterparts.

Vietnam vets have had to put up with bullshit like this for over forty years. Some samples:

Vietnam was fought by draftees: Wrong. 70% of those who served in VN were volunteers.

Blacks were killed in greater numbers than their percentage of the general population (about 12-13% at that time): Also wrong. The percentage of blacks killed in VN was slightly lower than their representation in the population. The segment of American society with the most casualties was that of men in their early 20s with some college experience. That makes sense, since aviators and junior officers tend to get killed in greater numbers than the rank and file. At that time, most of those men were white, but I'd be willing to be the casualties suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan would show the same age group as bearing the brunt of the deaths.

Service in Vietnam was a death sentence: Hah! Overall, 2-3% of those serving in the war zone were casualties and the vast majority of those were wounded. Of infantrymen, about 10% were casualties, around 3% died. The most dangerous job in the theater was that of aircrew, at least on a percentage basis.

It's simple math in the case of the death rate. Around 3 million men served in the war zone. About 60,000 died. That's -- um -- 2%. If you include only those who served in VN proper or participated in the bombing campaign up north, the percentage approaches 3%.

The media has never been good at math. The same lack of knowledge and perspective is still rampant among the talking heads.

Jrh

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Liberals are odd ducks. They think the world needs "free Bubble-Up and rainbow stew" and then we'd all just get along.

Naturally, they see themselves as giving the orders. In the real world, the starry-eyed dreamers get knocked in the head and your everyday liberal is a natural fit for the unthinking sub-directors of a prison society. In the Soviet Union they were called apparatchiks.

We don't need to invoke Communist plots or KGB agents to explain liberal fascism. Plain stupidity works just as well.

Of course, those pesky aliens from the Frog Nebula are responsible for many of the things that go wrong. Donnie's frequent abductions play hob with morale in the Babe Bunker.

OG

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Yeah, and I keep trying to wrestle the control of the Babe Bunker from Donnie. I think I would be the natural choice as the commander of the Babe Bunker, seeing as how I spent years developing an immunity to the drugs and psych techniques used by the aliens from the Frog Nebula. Do I ever get control of the bunker? Nooooo, and I think it is because Donnie is being controlled by the long fingers of those aliens.

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