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Vietnam ? No, Vietnam Era....."Oh" #14272959 11/11/19
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Jim_Knight Offline OP
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I volunteered for the Army in 1971 ( prior post). After AIT ( 105s) I had "Alert orders" for Long Binh, RVN. Waited around for 10 days or so, wondering where the orders were, when told that Nixon was pulling troops out, no new Arty guys needed. I would have went if they came through, of course, and done my best. We all knew they (politicians) were not trying to win the war, it was just a meat grinder. So I was relieved when I was sent to Germany. Afterward, upon ETS, I attended Jr College, but was shunned by most. I was not ashamed of my service, nor of the service of Nam Vets either. I developed "survivors guilt". I felt I "owed" Nam Vets something I was never able to give, I wasn't there. My Cold War experience meant very little. I'm better, but its still there. Whenever I have had Veterans business, and they call me a "Vietnam Vet", I correct it and stress that I am Vietnam Era, same time, but different place. Fast forward a few years...I have a Veteran's cap that came pre printed "Army Vietnam Era Veteran." People seem to either not know what that means or just see "Vietnam". Nam vets say "where in Nam did you serve? Or Where were you at over there? I say, "Vietnam Era, I had orders for Nam, but was sent to Germany. They get a look in their eyes and say "Oh". I had that happen again today...it brought back a lot of guilt for not having "volunteered" for Nam anyhow. I did try, with a year left, but it made no sense to re-enlist for 3 more years just to be sent to Nam ( and get out of Germany) and then come right back to Germany when done with Nam! My girl back home ( and future wife) was not an Army Wife type. Nor later, a Law Enforcement Wife". I wanted her more than a military career, though I was very good at my job, any job they gave me. I'm not whining, not at all, I just feel like not even wearing anything that says Vietnam Era. I don't want to give false info for anyone to even "think" I'm a Vietnam Vet, not because I'm ashamed to BE a Nam Vet,...but ashamed "I wasn't". Am I really just crazy and don't know it or what is up with this? Help guys...

Last edited by Jim_Knight; 11/11/19.
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Re: Vietnam ? No, Vietnam Era....."Oh" [Re: Jim_Knight] #14273275 11/11/19
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cecilb Offline
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I understand.

Re: Vietnam ? No, Vietnam Era....."Oh" [Re: Jim_Knight] #14273301 11/11/19
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Reba Offline
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A lot of stories like yours.

Hell I was there and never received my Viet Nam service metal. A very complex story.

I am a survivor of the 1968 TET OFFENSIVE, even had a runway blown out from under our C-47. Only two or three people even knew I was there!

I know a Navy pilot that when I question him if he ever thought about the men who work on his aircraft the said, "why would I" He is a real jerk.

The cooks and the clerks never get any credit for keeping things running and have the same feelings you do.

God bless you.

RA all the way. Straight leg and tough as nails at 75 years.

BTW the first US Army service member kill in Nam was a TRUCK DRIVER

Last edited by Reba; 11/11/19.

When the tailgate drops the BS stops.
Re: Vietnam ? No, Vietnam Era....."Oh" [Re: Jim_Knight] #14274140 11/12/19
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Jim_Knight Offline OP
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Thanks guys...when I told one couple ( again, yesterday) that I was not in Nam, but Germany, they said, "Oh at least no one was shooting at you", I said "There were plenty of knives and boot heels" where I was"! "Racial trouble" I replied....blank stare. smile

I don't believe in anything that even has a "wiff" of Stolen Valor. Awhile back, I saw a man in Cracker Barrel, well worn "Vietnam Vet" cap on, along with ribbons of Nam. I went to say thank you and he said, "Oh I never left the states, I was in Ft. riley, I was "Vietnam Era". Even though it was none of my business "what some stranger did", I didn't like it! I didn't say anything to him about my service. I told my wife that was wrong. He didn't "earn" that right. I told the local American Legion that too when they sent me material with "Vietnam Vet". I called and corrected it. Said I was proud to be Vietnam Era, if they wanted to print me something, but to get it straight. I attended far too many Military funerals as a teenager to treat it lightly.

Last edited by Jim_Knight; 11/12/19.
Re: Vietnam ? No, Vietnam Era....."Oh" [Re: Jim_Knight] #14274175 11/12/19
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Reba Offline
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Jim,

Maybe you are giving to much info,

How about a hat the has "US ARMY, 1971-1975" or what ever.


When the tailgate drops the BS stops.
Alpha

Re: Vietnam ? No, Vietnam Era....."Oh" [Re: Jim_Knight] #14274227 11/12/19
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Jim_Knight Offline OP
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You know, I came home yesterday and was looking at the Custom Veteran caps, to order one that's Like that. Army "71-"77 .My dad was with MacArthur's Army and so I ended up in the Army, like most sons. I think that's the best...at least for my own peace of mind, ha. Thank you!

Last edited by Jim_Knight; 11/12/19.
Re: Vietnam ? No, Vietnam Era....."Oh" [Re: Jim_Knight] #14275569 11/12/19
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This isn't just a Vietnam era situation. My dad was a WW-2 vet who served from 1942 through all of 1944 state side working in hospitals on bases where bomber crews were being trained. There were lots of accidents, injuries and deaths in training. He was transferred to the infantry for training in the fall of 1944 and finished his training just in time to go to Europe in January 1945 as a replacement during the Battle of the Bulge. Once in Belgium they took his rifle, painted a red cross on his helmet and assigned him to a field hospital. He spent the rest of the war driving an ambulance picking up wounded and bringing them back to the hospital. Dad never fired a shot. The only time he was shot at was crossing the Rhine on a pontoon bridge while the Germans were taking blind artillery shots at it.

Before his death dad pointed out something to me that I'd never thought about concerning WW-2 vets. Back in the 1940's 90% of the soldiers were in support roles just like my dad. Many were cooks, truck drivers, mechanics, clerks, and a large number never left the USA. I had an uncle in the Navy who spent the entire war in Seattle loading cargo ships. In the Pacific the number of servicemen actually in combat was closer to 5% of those who served. I've since verified those numbers, dad was correct. Dad was always honest about the role he played in the war. But the thing that bothered dad was that he had never met another WW-2 vet that hadn't fought somewhere. He had never ran across anyone who would admit that although they did serve during WW-2, they served in a support role and were never near combat. Considering that only 5-10% of those who served were ever actually in combat the odds just don't seem possible.

My dad was no hero. But he did the job he was assigned to do. Just as you did. I'm still proud of my dads service, and I thank you for your's. Be proud of what you did. There was a real threat from the Soviets in the early 1970's.


Most people don't really want the truth.

They just want constant reassurance that what they believe is the truth.
Re: Vietnam ? No, Vietnam Era....."Oh" [Re: Jim_Knight] #14276789 11/13/19
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Jim_Knight Offline OP
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Thanks JM, that was kind of you to share that. I guess I was just shocked to realize I still have some that "angst" in me, ha. I thought I was long past it until this veterans Day. I work Pt Time for Home Depot as a Greeter ( I used to work Freight, so I know where most everything is) and they like me to wear my Veterans cap. We have several veterans who work there, as you can imagine. The first one to say anything was a Nam Vet, 4th Infantry, out of Pleiku. I have a great friend who was a Section Chief on a Huey back then, also at Pleiku. The guy was nice enough. I guess I caught him off-guard as well? ha. Appreciate it guys.

Re: Vietnam ? No, Vietnam Era....."Oh" [Re: Jim_Knight] #14281668 11/14/19
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Mr Knight, Great credit to you and it reflects well on you personally that you even worry about it. So many try to steal just a tiny bit of valor with their bs stories. Yes, if you saw their dd214's, they may have been there, but only 1 in 7 if I'm correct, could be considered to be in combat units, the rest of us were mechanics, cooks, clerks and such. But when the bs starts flowing, everybody was Carlos Hathcock and Chuck Mawhiney(sp?). Sad but true.


guilty of white privilege : for 55 years I had the privilege to get up and go to work...to help feed the folks that wanted to sleep in.
Re: Vietnam ? No, Vietnam Era....."Oh" [Re: Jim_Knight] #14282563 11/15/19
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Jim,
I understand and feel the same. I spent the war as a T-38 instructor at Columbus AFB. I sent a request about once a month for an assignment to Vietnam, and they kept coming back rejected, telling me I was too valuable where I was. Finally got tired of sending requests, and shut up. I've had several vets tell me don't think about it, it wasn't your fault, but I still have the guilt. In my own mind, I guess I consider myself on the plane. I was in a situation where the peopel trying to kill me were riding about 4' in front of me. I trained quite a few Iranians, Vietnamese, and other foreign students, and, with most, it was a circus. I just wear an Air Force hat, so I very seldom get asked those kind of questions. Just remember, you were ready and were not called. Don't think that there can be more than that.

I think I have grown to just accept fate, and press on. I'm proud of my service, as you should be. We are brothers that can hold our heads high as we did not run and we answered our country's call and did not skip the country. You are welcome at my table anytime.

Jim

Bravo

Re: Vietnam ? No, Vietnam Era....."Oh" [Re: Jim_Knight] #14282607 11/15/19
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Originally Posted by Jim_Knight
...I have a Veteran's cap that came pre printed "Army Vietnam Era Veteran." ...I don't want to give false info for anyone to even "think" I'm a Vietnam Vet...


Don't wear anything that gives others the false impression you are a Vietnam vet if you are not actually one. That would border on stolen valor and could make you feel guilty unnecessarily.


"There's more to optics than meets the eye."--anon

"...most of us would be better off losing half a pound around the waist than half a pound on our rifle."--dhg

Re: Vietnam ? No, Vietnam Era....."Oh" [Re: Jim_Knight] #14285458 11/16/19
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I understand.

On the flip side are those veterans of periods like the Cold War who were actually under fire or at extreme risk of it and are not considered war veterans. A few hundred lost their lives due to enemy action. Of course some of the missions were classified, at least at the time. The C-130 shot down over Soviet Armenia on 2 Sept 1958 was one such incident. The USS Liberty was an example from the Vietnam era, and the skipper received the Medal of Honor, even though the ship was nowhere near Vietnam. Point being, the Cold War is a misnomer, it was not cold.

On a personal note, I am a life member of the VFW but am not eligible for membership in the American Legion, even though veterans who never left the states can join the Legion if their service was during an eligible period.

A salute to all who served honorably.

Paul

Re: Vietnam ? No, Vietnam Era....."Oh" [Re: Jim_Knight] #14286505 11/16/19
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FYI,
All veterans can join the American Legion.

Re: Vietnam ? No, Vietnam Era [Re: cecilb] #14286620 11/16/19
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Originally Posted by cecilb
FYI,
All veterans can join the American Legion.

You are correct. Thanks for the updated info. The change is recent, and was signed by President Trump.

I recall getting an invitation to join the Legion addressed to "Dear War Veteran", and the fine print saying "...but you're not eligible". grin

Paul


Re: Vietnam ? No, Vietnam Era [Re: Jim_Knight] #14286873 11/17/19
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That's right.

Re: Vietnam ? No, Vietnam Era [Re: Jim_Knight] #14290219 11/18/19
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I understand that feeling, Jim Knight.

I graduated high school in May 1973, and to be perfectly honest I don't recall just exactly what was going on at that time...it does seem that the writing was on the wall, though. I never gave it much thought over the next couple of years. I had no earthly idea what I wanted to do and no ambition left (my parents did all they could to dissuade me from getting involved in the only real passion I had ever harbored, which was automotive racing).

I did enlist in the Navy in late '75 on a delayed enlistment program, and left for boot camp the following April.

Since my Navy days, I have always felt guilty and pretty much second class in the company of those who actually went to Vietnam. Such men are deserving of all respect that can be rendered. On the other hand, I did play a crucial role in the Cold War, but that was more or less just a protracted political situation in my mind.

I guess guys like us were really just caught up in circumstances just like everyone else. We did sign on the dotted line and we knew the risks and what the potential price was, though. All things considered, I'm proud that I served and you should be too (and I sense that you are).


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Re: Vietnam ? No, Vietnam Era [Re: Jim_Knight] #14290591 11/18/19
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Originally Posted by Jim_Knight
I volunteered for the Army in 1971 ( prior post). After AIT ( 105s) I had "Alert orders" for Long Binh, RVN. Waited around for 10 days or so, wondering where the orders were, when told that Nixon was pulling troops out, no new Arty guys needed. I would have went if they came through, of course, and done my best. We all knew they (politicians) were not trying to win the war, it was just a meat grinder. So I was relieved when I was sent to Germany. Afterward, upon ETS, I attended Jr College, but was shunned by most. I was not ashamed of my service, nor of the service of Nam Vets either. I developed "survivors guilt". I felt I "owed" Nam Vets something I was never able to give, I wasn't there. My Cold War experience meant very little. I'm better, but its still there. Whenever I have had Veterans business, and they call me a "Vietnam Vet", I correct it and stress that I am Vietnam Era, same time, but different place. Fast forward a few years...I have a Veteran's cap that came pre printed "Army Vietnam Era Veteran." People seem to either not know what that means or just see "Vietnam". Nam vets say "where in Nam did you serve? Or Where were you at over there? I say, "Vietnam Era, I had orders for Nam, but was sent to Germany. They get a look in their eyes and say "Oh". I had that happen again today...it brought back a lot of guilt for not having "volunteered" for Nam anyhow. I did try, with a year left, but it made no sense to re-enlist for 3 more years just to be sent to Nam ( and get out of Germany) and then come right back to Germany when done with Nam! My girl back home ( and future wife) was not an Army Wife type. Nor later, a Law Enforcement Wife". I wanted her more than a military career, though I was very good at my job, any job they gave me. I'm not whining, not at all, I just feel like not even wearing anything that says Vietnam Era. I don't want to give false info for anyone to even "think" I'm a Vietnam Vet, not because I'm ashamed to BE a Nam Vet,...but ashamed "I wasn't". Am I really just crazy and don't know it or what is up with this? Help guys...


I enlisted for three years in 1968 unassigned. Upon graduation from basic training at Fort Benning I fully expected orders to Fort Polk for 11 Bravo. They give me 16 Bravo and I didn't even know what that was. It was Nike Hercules so I was a black boot Cold War soldier. It was a lonely thankless MOS and I too have always felt guilty that I did not go to Vietnam. You take what they give you but I still feel guilty after 53 years.

Last edited by model70man; 11/18/19.

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Re: Vietnam ? No, Vietnam Era [Re: Jim_Knight] #14291902 11/18/19
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I enlisted in March of 1975, delayed entry. I went active in June, did basic and AIT at Fort Knox. We were almost finished with AIT, when one day in formation, we were asked if anyone would like to volunteer for Vietnam. I'd enlisted to go to Germany. I hardly considered it. Now I wish I would have volunteered for it. I've regretted it for years. I also wonder what we would have been doing in Vietnam in October of 1975.

Re: Vietnam ? No, Vietnam Era [Re: Jim_Knight] #14292054 11/18/19
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Gentlemen, your humility really impressed me. Just to serve during that time in a very unpopular effort is something to be proud of. No matter what or where you served, you served. I thank you for it!

Semper Fi

Re: Vietnam ? No, Vietnam Era [Re: Jim_Knight] #14293676 11/19/19
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Thanks MGunns.
And thank you Jim Knight.

My story is similar. Joined in early '71. Basic, then AIT, then shake-n-bake. Rolled around to December by then and we were shipping home more Huey mechanics than were going over.

Got sent to an artillery unit at Ft Lewis which then moved to Ft Sill. Spent my entire 3 years stateside.
Like you, Jim, feel some "survivors guilt".

Am proud of my service and careful to let anyone who asks that it was Vietnam Era and not Vietnam.

Much respect to all who went over, and welcome home, guys.

Bob.

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