Wednesday, 27 August 2014

El Zorro ruminates and spins wisdom for the children and grandchildren

(a note from James R. Hathorn, veteran)
Family and Friends,
I am about the oldest among us.  I do not have as much invested in the rest of my time here as do most of you.
There are real problems you might not want to be bothered with… and that’s okay; however, you are facing a future that is not pretty.  It is time to step up or step out.
The Constitution, specifically the Second Amendment, is probably the most important part of legislation Americans have to provide for our present and our future protection.  If you think I am a far out, right wing kook, so be it.  It doesn’t matter to me (well, really it does) what you think of me but we all need to consider what danger we face.  There are many Americans who understand but there are far too many who do not, and worse, do not care.  We were born into the most magnificent social environment possible, the United States of America.  We were not extra smart.  We did not work for it.  It was a gift.  Now we need to take care of it.
My father, who was not a vocal patriot nor was he a really special man to be admired but once he said something to that left an impression.  I was a young teen and found a screwdriver on the road somebody had lost and I was throwing it against a pile of rocks until it broke.  Dad said, “Just because you found it does not mean it does not have value.”  A small thing, however, the principle is important.  We found ourselves born here.  America is something to be protected and cared for.  It has more value than most anything else we have.  We are lucky.
There is a force that would take our country from us.  They would rip out our hearts and the hearts of our children.  They want to eradicate us and our way of life.  No joke.  Not paranoia.  If all ages do not recognize what is coming for us our lives will be changed terribly or taken.  And that of our children, family, friends, homes, faith, everything.  Radical Islam has no respect for you.  They want you dead.  They are coming… maybe not today, maybe not next week, next year, or later but they will come.  Maybe sooner than we expect.
Will you do me a favor?
I wrote a simple piece published on several web sites asking for participation in a survey.  The one I would refer you to is Memoirs from Nam. (included below by El Gringo Viejo)  The author of the blog is CJ Heck.  She is a writer, speaker, teacher, and poet who asked that I post something in regard to the serious threat to all of us and something we have to do.
This project is to gather support for organizing our militia under the Second Amendment for protection of the homeland.  All citizens of the United States in good standing have a part to play.  Especially older Americans who have military or law enforcement skills to contribute.
If you feel inclined to say something either constructive, or otherwise, to contribute it would be appreciated.  You are people I know and care about.  There are many others who are already interested and participating.  I hope you will not simply delete this message and ignore the link.  If you do, there is nothing I can do or say to get your attention on this very important matter.
Thank you and God Bless America,
James R. Hathorn
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Return to Vietnam: by Byron Edgington

Byron Edgington's Return Visit to Vietnam - 1992
For veterans of the war in Vietnam considering a return visit, I encourage you to do so. 

I went back in 1992, and the experience was not only healing, it was energizing, fun, revealing and filled with gratifying insights.

It was, admittedly, one of the stranger experiences of my life when the airplane stopped at the gate, and I looked out the window at a sign that said: "Welcome to Hanoi International Airport."
It was a bit unsettling, but oddly soothing in a way, to know that Vietnam might be just another tourist destination. (The sign was in English.) Indeed, many of the people I interacted with spoke English. This was one of the first revelations. Vietnamese kids study English very early in school. Indeed, I was told that more than ninety percent of Vietnamese people are literate.

I stayed in Hanoi two days, visited Hoan Kiem Lake in downtown Hanoi made famous by a certain Naval aviator who parachuted into it in October 1967, a fellow named John McCain. I drove by the old central prison where McCain spent the next six years as a POW, the infamous Hanoi Hilton. I went to the mausoleum where Ho Chi Minh lies in state, guarded day and night by the same North Vietnamese soldiers whose fathers likely took pot shots at me.
Speaking of which, the above photograph was taken near the national park forty miles from Hanoi. The fellow seated to my right was a retired NVA soldier. 
In the course of our conversation, we came to realize that he and I shared the experience of war. He’d been posted in and around Khe Sanh and the northern end of the AShau Valley, the same areas I flew, and at the same time. 
Sitting next to my old enemy, I realized—as I’m sure he did—that twenty years before we posed for this picture I may very well have flown my Huey over his position in South Vietnam, and he may very well have put my aircraft in his gunsights.

With a car and my interpreter, I traveled around my old AO, visited what’s left of Camp Eagle, (my old base), and toured the old city of Hue’. From Hue’ & Phu Bai I drove south, across the Hai Van Pass, into Da Nang, then to Marble Mountain and Hoi An. The accommodations were first rate, roads (mostly) excellent and when I went in October, the weather was perfect.

The people I met were incredibly friendly, welcoming, warm and happy to see a returning GI. They were of another generation, mostly, so the war was a memory to them at best, a lesson in school for the most part. For those who lived through it, they seemed willing to discuss it, but preferred to move on to what the new Vietnam looked like.

So despite the fact that Vietnam is still very much a communist, one-party country, it has recovered very well from the years of war and sacrifice, and is taking its place in South Asia as an economy to be reckoned with. 
My return visit was a high point of my life. I encourage anyone who served there to go back. It’s a trip you won’t regret taking. 
Byron Edgington
Byron Edgington
The SkyWriter

Other Articles by Byron Edgington:
The War That Will Not Let Us Rest

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale
Add your opinion, thought, or comment, about this post. You are also invited to write about anything you want to share. Send it to me in an e-mail and I will be proud to post it for you.

Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Marine and The Cure: by Frank Fox

Frank Fox

It doesn't hurt to include a little humor from the days during the Vietnam conflict.

I remember when we were stationed at Kaneohe Marine Corp Air Station in 1967-68, we had this Marine who wanted out of the Marine Corp -- and he most definitely didn't want to go to Vietnam.
He would go to the library, look through some medical books, and then show up at sick bay, trying to convince the Doc that he had some exotic malady.  Doc easily saw through it and showed him where he was just fine. 
One night when I was was on duty in the emergency room, I heard someone running up the sidewalk. A Marine came in the front door, sat down on the stairs to the clinic and he was gulping large breaths of air. I recognized him right away from the stories the other Corpsman had passed along.  
At first, he wouldn't answer any of my questions about what was wrong with him (this time). Then finally, he told me he had seen a ghost in the barracks squad bay the last two nights in a row. 
Well, I took him back to the emergency room, told him to relax and I would be right back.  I said we had a new drug just for that and I would get it for him. 
In Corpsman school, the nurses would watch to see if we were paying attention when we practiced giving each other shots in class. 
When it was necessary to reconstitute an injectable medication (some came in powder form), we were taught to use sterile saline, since sterile saline doesn't hurt when injected.  We were to inject the sterile saline into the powder, shake it, then we could inject the patient.  (This isn't done as often these days). 
Anyway, the fun-loving Nurses would mix vials of sterile saline in with vials of sterile water, just to see if we were paying attention and reading labels. Sterile saline doesn't hurt when injected, but sterile water will hurt like the blazes. 
So in class every now and again, you would hear someone holler, and the Nurse would admonish us all about not reading labels. 

So anyhow, I figured if I could make his visit uncomfortable enough, we would stop seeing him and his list of symptoms as often -- some of which were female-related, if you catch my drift.  (This was no rocket scientist).

I woke up the duty MD and told him what I wanted to do. He said, "But Frank, that will be painful."  I smiled and he caught on to me and said, "Don't make it too painful."  I told him I would give him 1/2 cc ... in each arm. 
So I went back to my Marine and told him this was a specific new drug for people who see ghosts. I gave him the first injection and he started to wiggle against the needle a bit. "Damn Doc, is it supposed to hurt like that?" 
I said, "Unfortunately, yes. Just rest a bit and then I will give you the other injection."  His eyes dilated in anticipation. 
Ten minutes later, I came back.  He said, "I think it's working, Doc." 
I said, "Okay, that's good.  But I still need to give you the other shot for good measure, you know, to lessen the likelihood of a recurrence." 
After the second injection, I had him rest a moment to let it all sink in.  Then I turned him loose, and said, "I think that will do it. Come back in, if it happens again." 
That was the end of his visits to our medical facility.  He was cured.

Frank Fox
Combat Medic
Sea/Air Rescue
US Navy with USMC
August 1964 – August 1970 (6 years 1 month)

More Articles by Frank Fox:

Add your opinion, thought, or comment, about this post. You are also invited to write about anything you want to share. Send it to me and I will be proud to post it for you.  
E-mail CJ

Memoirs From Nam is YOUR  

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Homeland Militia Survey: by James Hathorn

James Hathorn
This veteran saw Vietnam some 48 years ago as a weapon control systems mechanic at Cam Ranh Bay, RVN primarily working on F4C-E fighter-bomber aircraft.
In addition to fixing jet radar systems, I saw combat first-hand through travel in country, which involved collecting parts for planes and augmentee duty in support of the Air Police around the perimeter of the base. 
Two tours gave me many opportunities to see and, to a lesser extent, be involved in actual combat situations. 
Counter insurgency operations found me dodging incoming mortar fire, sniper fire, sabotage operations and generally messy war time stuff that civilians cannot imagine. 
When fresh food was available, it was hard to enjoy due to the potential for contaminated fare (i.e. ground glass in sliced tomatoes, etc). But, it was not all fighting all the time. In fact, much of the time was spent waiting for something to happen, while making sure our pilots had worthy aircraft to take it to the enemy.

That is one’s typical experience of the war itself. In addition to the time in a war zone, there was significant training to prepare us for being in it. 
Boot camp consisted of physical training, firearms training, training for capture situations, hand to hand combat training and most of all, self-discipline that would last a lifetime. 
Vietnam veterans are generally in their 60’s now, but the war experience is still fresh for most of us.
This has all been the background for something I am going to suggest:

In the world today, we are faced with a war that is unlike any of the previous wars. This war is asymmetrical, in that it is not state-sponsored, and the enemy is as anxious to die, as we are to live. 
They want a caliphate (Caliphate: a millennium-old dream of a single empire to unite all the Sunni Muslims of the world) that will literally take over the world. 
They indoctrinate their children in this deadly ideology. They abuse their women by cutting off sexual organs, and kill them for indiscretions. They kill homosexuals for being gay. They are taxed until they have no resources left, then they are killed. 
If they convert an individual from faith other than Muslim, they call them apostates (Apostate: a person who renounces a religious or political belief, or principle). The apostate is treated as less than a true believer. 
Our government announced the war is over. The President has withdrawn and critically downsized our Armed Forces. But the war is not over for the jihadists. Their jihad is against all but Islamists and they are all to be killed. 
The jihad is everywhere. The war will not be over for them, until their caliphate is complete. The world will be populated with Islamists and their apostates, if left to their ideology. All other religions and non-religionists will be exterminated -- if America does not act.

That may sound absurd, but it most assuredly is not. Evidence is everywhere. In France, the Parliament is infiltrated with Islamists. In Germany, there are communities where the Islamists do not assimilate into the German culture. Norway, Sweden, all the Nordics and  Scandinavia are the same. 
In all of Europe, the Islamists have jihadist training camps and enclaves. The people of the European countries are intimidated and afraid to go into the Islamist neighborhoods. 
Israel is surrounded by Hamas and the Middle East is being consumed by killers. The radical Islamist objective is to make a caliphate of the entire world.

In America, we have seen terrorist training camps.  There are enclaves of Islamists in Michigan, New York, and many other places, that will not assimilate into the surrounding cultures. We have an extreme leftist Muslim in the House of Representatives. 
Our borders are wide open and the OTM (other than Mexicans), (we don’t know who they are), can come in at will, especially through the southern border, where the government will not act.

The radicals are not to be dismissed as an inconvenience for the rest of the world, or the “JV Team”. They can and will be coming here -- they are already here. To eradicate us is their goal.

This message is to stress the urgency of the situation and what we, as veterans and older Americans, have the opportunity and responsibility to do to protect our homeland.

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is second to the First, The Freedom of Speech and Religion of all Americans, and purposely so. 
The Second Amendment is to ensure that the people have the granted authority and duty to protect not only the First Amendment, but to empower individual citizens to protect their Homeland:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed upon.”
We, as individuals, who are of good standing as citizens of the United States of America, are the designated "Militia" referred to in the Second Amendment (see above).

In the present time, there is a greater enemy than any we have ever faced. It is time for a Homeland Militia to step up and be prepared for what is surely to come. Our way of life is threatened around the world. For the first time, our liberty is threatened more than ever before, and from within our own borders.

In order to keep and protect the freedom and respect we treasure as Americans and expect with, or without, our leadership, it is time to consider how we can do just that.

There are veterans of all wars with the values and skills that can be tapped to make a difference when our communities are actually under siege. There are many of us from the Vietnam era with the values and expertise to contribute once again to our country. It is time to put our affairs in order.

This preamble leads up to a very important subject that could change the balance of the argument over the Second Amendment, gun control, and power of the American people.

Until recently, Americans have been complacent. The vast majority of the population wants to know, “What can we do?”

The time has come for action. We need to come together to protect our families, our homes, and our neighbors. In order to come together, we need to communicate and communication requires structure.

We have to form an organized Homeland Militia that consists of every able-bodied individual. The exception might have to be active and reserve military and Federal law enforcement. 
We have to organize everyone into a national, standby, paramilitary entity with structure and leadership. This entity should be, under ideal circumstances, a functional extension of the existing U.S. Armed Forces. 
The members would be assigned rank, based on ability, skill, and resources (personal time and availability). There has to be a leadership structure with a commander at the top, regional leaders and local leaders, etc. 
Coordination and communication are essential, so the Homeland Militia will know what to do in any situation, where mobilization would be required. 
Those situations would be times when our homeland is threatened by invasion, as could happen with the expansion of the Islamic caliphate, internal disturbances such as what occurred recently with the Treyvon Martin and Michael Brown shootings, and also in natural disasters.

All members would have a verifiable ID -- ID cards should be issued.  In order to be a member, background checks and clearances would be imperative and required, to ensure that the Homeland Militia is not populated with undesirable and/or criminal types that would subvert the organization. 
A lot of the necessary identification is already available for many people. We have retired police, military, and private law enforcement who already have the necessary documentation, i.e. DD-214, security clearance, background checks, etc. 
Applications for the Homeland Militia ID will need to be designed and made available to all potential members. 
All Americans are eligible, per the Constitutional Amendments; however, in order to effectively communicate, we have to know who the members are. A roster for assignments necessarily would have to be created and maintained.

Leadership would be chosen by methods to be determined, but would necessarily have to be selected through the democratic process. 

The Homeland Militia leaders would have strong coordination with the U.S. military leadership. Caution in that regard would dictate that the Homeland Militia have autonomy, due to the nature of the current administration. 
The Homeland Militia necessarily cannot be controlled by the U.S. military, or government. The whole purpose granted to citizens by the Second Amendment is to protect the people from the government. 
In these times, the government is adverse to the military and even more adverse to the people being organized, armed, and informed. The Second Amendment is slowly being diminished by the government.

Lastly, I believe the majority of the leaders and ranking members of the Homeland Militia should come from our U.S. military veterans, who have experience, but are not part of the present military. 
There are thousands of older veterans who are able and could serve again and they should be given that opportunity. They are a valuable resource that cannot be overlooked, nor under-utilized.

There are many parts and pieces that will need to be developed for this association to happen.  No one person can do this in a vacuum.  It will take the input and ideas from every one of you who reads this.

At this point in time, this is only a survey.  I do not claim to have the solution. We need all of us to participate. 

Please send your comments and suggestions. All ideas will be coordinated into a plan to be published for further refinement. Please also inform family, friends, and associates you know, anyone you feel would have the character and values to be a part of this Homeland Militia Project.

James Hathorn
Sgt. U.S. Air Force
November 1966 – July 1968
Cam Ranh Bay, South Vietnam

Armament & Electronics, 
Weapons Control Systems 
F4C-F4E Phantom fighter bomber 
E-mail James

Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog 

Friday, August 22, 2014

3/5 India Company - call sign "Diesel"

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Vietnam War Commemoration Logo and Seal


About the Logo

A representation of the Vietnam Service Ribbon rests atop the inner rings of the logo.

"The Vietnam Service Medal is awarded to all members of the United States Armed Forces serving in Vietnam and contiguous waters or airspace thereover, and members of the Armed Forces of the United States in Thailand, Laos, or Cambodia, or the airspace thereover, during eligible periods and serving in direct support of operations in Vietnam."

The red, white, and blue inner rings represent the flag of the United States of America.

The outer black ring serves as a reminder of the prisoners of war and those missing in action.

The Great Seal represents the contributions of Federal agencies, governmental and non-governmental organizations that served with, or in support of, the Armed Forces, and the contributions made on the home front by the people of the United States during the Vietnam War.

The six additional seals represent the service and dedication of the men and women of the following organizations, presented in order of precedence, left to right, top to bottom, the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Merchant Marine.

The seven white stars between the seals symbolize the contributions and sacrifices made by the United States and its allies: Vietnam, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines and Thailand.

The center circle contains a map of Vietnam in black, with outlines of Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand representing the contiguous territories where U.S. Armed Forces served.

The gold color of the banner and the center circle represents the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.

The laurel wreath signifies honor to all who served.

Commemoration Seal


"The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration" is the official title given to the Department of Defense program in the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act.

A representation of the Vietnam Service Medal (ribbon) rests below the inner rings of the Seal.

The red, white, and blue inner rings represent the flag of the United States of America and recognize all Americans, both military and civilian, who served or contributed to the Vietnam War effort.

The outer black ring serves as a reminder of those who were killed in action, held as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action during the Vietnam War. 

The black ring surrounds the red, white and blue rings to call attention to their sacrifices, the sacrifices of their families, and the defense of our nation’s freedom.

Within the blue ring are the words "Service, Valor, and Sacrifice"; virtues demonstrated by our veterans during the Vietnam War. 

The gold-rimmed white star located between the words "Service" and "Valor" represents hope for the families of those veterans for which there has not been a full accounting. 

The blue-rimmed gold star located between the words "Valor" and "Sacrifice" represents the families of those veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the war. 

The blue star at the bottom of the inner blue ring represents the families of all veterans and symbolizes their support from home.

At the bottom of the inner blue ring are six white stars, three on each side of the blue star. These six white stars symbolize the contributions and sacrifices made by the United States and its Allies Australia, New Zealand, The Philippines, Republic of Korea, and Thailand.

The center circle contains a map of Vietnam in black outline relief, signifying both the country and the Vietnamese veterans who stood with our veterans. The subdued outlines of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and surrounding waters represent the area of operation where U.S. Armed Forces served. 

The white number "50th" emblazoned over the map, and the outer and inner gold rings which make traditional use of the color to signify the 50th anniversary, symbolize the specific mission of the Department of Defense program as outlined in the Congressional language "to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War."

The green laurel wreath signifies honor for all who served.

The seal’s blue background is the same color as the canton in the United States Flag.

"No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now."   Richard Nixon, New York Times, March 28, 1985

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale
Add your opinion, thought, or comment, about this post. You are also invited to write about anything you want to share.  Send it to me in an e-mail and I will be proud to post it for you.
E-mail CJ

Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The War That Will Not Let Us Rest

Comancheros of 'A' Co, 101st
 AHB, 101st ABN, Sept 1970

by Byron Edgington

Recently, I had the privilege of addressing a local High School World History class about the war in South Asia. 

Like many of my fellow Vietnam veterans, and most of my fellow Americans, even fifty years after the fact, my opinion and belief about Vietnam and our efficacy in prosecuting that war has changed time after time.

I was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam. I flew for a year with the 101st Airborne Division based at Camp Eagle in Northern I Corps. In my one-year tour, I logged 1,200 hours in the cockpit. 
I left Vietnam March 17th 1971, and within two days, I mustered out of the Army. I was, quite literally, flying combat sorties on a Monday, and back home in Columbus on Friday. It was surreal, and more than a little disorienting.

I believe my experience matched that of many, if not most, of my colleagues, troops who filtered back into the world alone, unheralded, with little fanfare or opportunity to tell what happened to us, let alone uncover its meaning in our lives.

Here’s what I believe. This may be a minority view, but, as I said, my opinion about Vietnam has altered and changed many times over the years. 
Today, without meaning to be patronizing to my fellow vets, I believe that our actions in Vietnam may have been more heroic than what our fathers did in their war. 
We’ve heard the tales and trials of the Greatest Generation, their unbelievable exploits to defeat the Nazis and the Japanese war machine. We’ve read the books, seen the movies, and heard the trumpeted war stories all our lives. Those men and women were indeed heroes of the highest order for what they did.
Here’s the crucial difference, in my humble opinion: they were faced with a nation at risk of being defeated, subjugated, and crushed under the tyrannical rule of Nazi Germany. The threat to our way of life was real, harsh and immediate. 
It’s no stretch to say that, had our fathers’ generation not fought tooth and nail to defeat those two armies, we may very well be living today under a fascist form of government. The upshot is this; those troops had no choice but to fight through to final victory.

The military we faced in Vietnam was little more than a rag-tag collection of insurrectionists and rebels, a nationalistic band of determined little men, who fought valiantly to unite their small country. The North Vietnamese military and the Viet Cong posed no threat to America. 
They had one goal in mind, to create a unified Vietnam, and to end the artificial separation of their country by foreign nations after the World War.

In other words, those of us who went to Vietnam did not go to protect the borders of this nation, or our culture and way of life. We went simply because we were told to go, and we did. 
Again, in my humble opinion, perhaps those Vietnam vets who still labor under the disillusion that we ‘lost’ the war, or we ‘failed’ in some way, I say take heart. Regardless of how anyone feels now about that war and our part in it, we answered the call, even when it was unnecessary to do so.

Byron Edgington
Byron Edgington

The SkyWriter

Other Articles by Byron Edgington:
War: A Waste of Youth
The Right Seat is the Wrong Seat
Jim, Frank, and The Snake
Smokey, The Alcoholic Pup

Book:The Sky Behind Me: A Memoir of Flying & Life
Byron's Website
Byron's Blog
“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

You are invited to add an opinion, thought, or comment, about this post. Or, write about anything you want to share and send it to me in an e-mail and I will post it for you.

Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog