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The Truth about Viet Nam Vets (oldie, but bears repeating)
D Magazine/POW Network ^ | June 1998 | B.G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley

Posted on 11/13/2006 11:08:25 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

The morning of Friday, April 18, 1997, Daniel Wells of McKinney took the stand in his own defense. Charged with aggravated sexual assault for fondling his girlfriend's 8-year-old daughter, Wells explained it was all a misunderstanding. Wells was a decorated Vietnam war hero, with two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Medals for valor. On cross-examination, testimony revealed that even the mother initially hadn't believed the little girl. It was the war hero's word against the child's. In desperation the prosecutor's office tracked down B.G. Burkett, a silver-haired Dallas financial adviser who has obtained a national reputation as a military researcher and historian of the Vietnam War. Within an hour, Burkett had obtained Wells' military record. That afternoon, Burkett drove to McKinney, was sworn in as an expert witness, and testified that Daniel Wells was a fake. He had a mediocre military career as a Navy cargo handler; he had never served in combat, nor had he ever received any valorous decorations. Wells' story fell apart. He was sentenced to 20 years. Like the nationally infamous Larry Lawrence, the big Democratic donor who invented a story of heroic action in the merchant marine and was briefly interred in Arlington National Cemetery, Daniel Wells had concocted his Vietnam war stories from true-life accounts in books and magazine articles. Wells' lies were no surprise to B.G. Burkett. Whenever a media story portrays a troubled Vietnam vet who relies on the war to explain or excuse himself, Burkett investigates. In most cases, the purported vet is an exaggerator or an outright fake.

(Excerpt) Read more at pownetwork.org ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: draft; draftdodgers; johnkerry; military; phonies; pxcowboys; sbvft; searedinmymemory; swiftboatvets; veterans; vietnam; ythelongfacejohn
Although I served later, I cringe when Vietnam Veterans are besmirched by the press, politicians and others. This article dispels many myths that exist about those who served their country in Southeast Asia. Hope it opens some eyes...
1 posted on 11/13/2006 11:08:28 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Is this Burkett the same dude who gave dan rather the phony story about President Bush?


2 posted on 11/13/2006 11:15:16 PM PST by ozzymandus
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I had a guy do some painting for me a few years ago and his story was...he stepped on a type of land mine that goes off when you lift your foot. He said he stood there while they got a Jeep and tied a shock cord around him and to the Jeep then snatched him off the mine with only minor injury. Would this have been possible? I always thought he was a fake vet...
3 posted on 11/13/2006 11:20:22 PM PST by tubebender (Growing old is mandatory...Growing up is optional)
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To: ozzymandus
That was my thought...Bill Burkett wasn't it?
4 posted on 11/13/2006 11:21:57 PM PST by tubebender (Growing old is mandatory...Growing up is optional)
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To: ozzymandus

I don't think they are the same person at all, but I will double-check...


5 posted on 11/13/2006 11:22:01 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (Second To None!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

It's not the same guy. I am set to marry a real Vietnam vet in April. He never tells me much, which means he really was there. Just like my uncles in Korea and WWII. If they tell you about it in any detail, they were not really there.


6 posted on 11/13/2006 11:24:53 PM PST by defconw (Gearing up for W2 in 08!)
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To: ozzymandus

NOT AT ALL THE SAME GUY! See this article in NewsMax:
http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2004/4/4/234750.shtml


7 posted on 11/13/2006 11:27:24 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (Second To None!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Good! I hate phony vets with a passion. I have heard so many obviously made-up "war stories" from so many drunken loudmouths I just have to get up and walk out of the room when these liars start their bullshit. I can't believe how many losers claim to have been Navy SEALS.

I was just worried this might be the same RAT nutjob that gave rather the counterfeit "documents". As I recall, 60 Minutes tried to interview that guy, but he had some sort of psychotic episode during the interview. Of course, that didn't stop CBS from running with the phony story.


8 posted on 11/13/2006 11:34:20 PM PST by ozzymandus
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To: tubebender

I highly doubt that he was yanked away faster than 3000 foot per second, the speed of a shock wave and schrapnel from the explosion. If military type explosives were in the mine, it would have been around 5000 fps.

Cute idea and story but absolutely BS.


9 posted on 11/13/2006 11:37:33 PM PST by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
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To: defconw

That was my experience when I was talking to a Korean War veteran (he is a customer who regularly buys produce from me at my produce stand). He was talking to me how he was going to march in a parade for veterans and I asked him how it was over there in Korea during the war (I didn't know any better). He choked up and teared up(he was embarrassed)and told me he had to go. I'll never do that again.

My Dad told me that his brother had the job of stacking the dead bodies of soldiers during WWII. He wouldn't talk about anything either.


10 posted on 11/13/2006 11:40:58 PM PST by Vinny (You can't compromise with evil.)
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To: ozzymandus

No, different person. This one is the author of the book Stolen Valor, an excellent read.

Rathers Burkett was a Bill Burkett, soured former Commander in the Guard.

B.G. Burkett actually served in Viet Nam as a junior officer.


11 posted on 11/13/2006 11:43:13 PM PST by DakotaRed (Kerry Should Resign!)
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To: Vinny
My man will tell me when he was there and things like jumping out of a helicopter and being dirty and thats about it. I get very mundane details. He, I don't think wants to remember the bad stuff. He earned a Combat Infantry Badge and that and the 8 years in the Colorado Guard are all he says about it. He was Air Cav. A Sergent and that's the extent of it. He gets real quiet if I push for more information.
12 posted on 11/13/2006 11:52:04 PM PST by defconw (Gearing up for W2 in 08!)
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To: Vinny
I knew a guy that was an instructor at the local university who was Nam vet. In one conversation we had, I asked him want he did in The Nam. His reply was, "Graves registration." I didn't say a word more.
13 posted on 11/13/2006 11:57:44 PM PST by oyez (Why is it that egalitarians act like royalty?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
B.G. "Jug" Burkett is the co-author of "Stolen Valor--How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of its Heroes and History." This thoroughly researched book exposes all the negative myths perpetuated by Hollywood and the news media about the Vietnam Veteran. It exposes phony heroes in high and low places. It investigates the forces that shaped the publics perception of Vietnam Veterans as alcoholic, dope-addled, dysfunctional losers. But provides solid statistics proving that most of us are well adjusted and productive citizens. He demolishes myths about African-Americans serving in disproportionate numbers (the percentage that served matched their percentage of the US population) and he demolishes the myth that Vietnam servicemen and women did not serve with the same honor and distinction as their parents and grandparents. Statistically, Vietnam era personnel committed far fewer offenses, deserted and surrendered less than US personnel in previous wars. It's a great book and Burkett is a great American.
14 posted on 11/14/2006 12:00:51 AM PST by Brad from Tennessee (Anything a politician gives you he has first stolen from you)
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To: defconw

"He gets real quiet if I push for more information."

That I guess is what happens to people who have seen combat, it's not something you talk about, brag about, or discuss.


15 posted on 11/14/2006 12:05:40 AM PST by Vinny (You can't compromise with evil.)
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To: oyez

Good for you. My Dad warned me not to bring up what his brother did in WWII. I didn't.


16 posted on 11/14/2006 12:07:30 AM PST by Vinny (You can't compromise with evil.)
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To: Vinny

Well I guess most especially with a woman you love. He wants to spare me the gory details. He's my hero anyway. He went, that's what counts.


17 posted on 11/14/2006 12:16:50 AM PST by defconw (Gearing up for W2 in 08!)
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To: defconw

Amen. ;)


18 posted on 11/14/2006 12:19:36 AM PST by Vinny (You can't compromise with evil.)
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To: defconw
If they tell you about it in any detail, they were not really there.

You can make a blanket statement like that but it would be wrong. I served two tours in Vietnam as an Army helicopter pilot and I'll tell you anything I know and can remember. Granted, I've surely suppressed many details about some of the more thrilling moments, but it was such a big part of my life that I don't want to 'not talk about it'.

Please don't take this in a personal way but your fiance may just not want to talk to you about it. He may talk to other Vietnam Vets.

May you and your guy have an eternity together.

19 posted on 11/14/2006 12:23:07 AM PST by leadpenny
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To: leadpenny
Thanks, that is my point. What he talks about with his buddies is a lot different then bragging about heroics, right?

He doesn't want me to know. He protects me from the horrors and inadvertently the thrills, if you will.

My uncle, was regular Army did three tours. Those who have done it, have no need to brag. I am aware that about three times as many guys that served, claimed to have served. Prove it or shut up is my point to them.

20 posted on 11/14/2006 12:32:18 AM PST by defconw (Gearing up for W2 in 08!)
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To: ozzymandus

My brother-in-law lost both legs in VN. He is a missionary in Thailand today, with his second wife...my sister-in-law, and their 12 adopted children.


21 posted on 11/14/2006 12:38:21 AM PST by Shery (in APO Land)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

There is another truth about Vietnam, and that is that the great majority of draftees who served - served honorably.

Throwing the draft out as the Vietnam War was winding down was a knee-jerk reaction to the protests from the Left.

I don't want to beat up on W because he's going to be beat up enough over the next two years, but one of the biggest mistakes he made after 9-11 was to not call for a Universal Service Bill which would have included the authority to draft men and women into the Armed Services. Not doing so has helped put the country where it is today.


22 posted on 11/14/2006 12:40:54 AM PST by leadpenny
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To: defconw

Give me a fellow for a few minutes and I can usually tell. They give it away with their demeanor. What I've learned to do is never push to hard. You never know what else is going on with someone.


23 posted on 11/14/2006 12:45:37 AM PST by leadpenny
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push too hard.

I've pushed to hard but that's another story.


24 posted on 11/14/2006 12:50:28 AM PST by leadpenny
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To: Brad from Tennessee
It exposes phony heroes in high and low places.

You mean like that guy from Massachusetts, the one who served in Viet Nam?

25 posted on 11/14/2006 3:19:50 AM PST by Hardastarboard (Why isn't there an "NRA" for the rest of my rights?)
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To: American in Israel

"I highly doubt that he was yanked away faster than 3000 foot per second, the speed of a shock wave and schrapnel from the explosion. If military type explosives were in the mine, it would have been around 5000 fps."

Might be a good one for the Mythbusters."


26 posted on 11/14/2006 3:48:35 AM PST by TangoLimaSierra (Personal responsibilty; the remedy for PC.)
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To: tubebender
I had a guy do some painting for me a few years ago and his story was...he stepped on a type of land mine that goes off when you lift your foot

That's from a movie I saw about 15 years ago.

27 posted on 11/14/2006 3:55:20 AM PST by bad company ([link:www.truthout.org/docs_2006/083006J.shtml | The Path to 9/11])
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To: oyez
I escorted the dead heroes on their final trip home. Remember the black armbands on the airlines back then?
28 posted on 11/14/2006 3:58:30 AM PST by primatreat (Alzheimer's in all its glory is knocking at my door. Driving into the sunset with my prius+ Nav.!)
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To: ozzymandus
Good! I hate phony vets with a passion. I have heard so many obviously made-up "war stories" from so many drunken loudmouths I just have to get up and walk out of the room when these liars start their bullshit. I can't believe how many losers claim to have been Navy SEALS.

If you should ever run across any more people who claim to be Seals and you have doubts, contact Capt. Larry Bailey (Boot Murtha and Vets for Truth) and give him as much info as possible.

Capt Bailey is a decorated Seal and has been doing for phony Seals what Burkett was doing in general about other phony Nam Vets. Worked him him back in 04 to help expose Kerry and he's a stand up guy.

29 posted on 11/14/2006 4:26:02 AM PST by Traditional Vet
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To: defconw

True.....I knew a vet, and after many beers, he would only tell me 2 things, "I was at Khe Sahn, and I was never the same after that" and that was all he ever would say...


30 posted on 11/14/2006 4:36:17 AM PST by joe fonebone (Israel, taking out the world's trash since 1948.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
B.G. Burkett was on a local Tucson radio show a few years ago when Stolen Valor came out and I called in since I read his book. Bert Lee, the crusty and somewhat liberal radio host was surprised to find out the American Embassy in Vietnam was not overrun.

Stolen Valor is a must read. See if its in your local library.
31 posted on 11/14/2006 4:38:53 AM PST by \/\/ayne (I regret that I have but one subscription cancellation notice to give to my local newspaper.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"Bonner hadn't entered the Army until 1978, three years after the war ended.."

They just never seem to get that date right do they?

32 posted on 11/14/2006 5:04:04 AM PST by Jaxter ("Vivit Post Funera Virtus")
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To: leadpenny

Good advice. Thanks.


33 posted on 11/14/2006 5:07:51 AM PST by defconw (Gearing up for W2 in 08!)
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To: leadpenny
Give me a fellow for a few minutes and I can usually tell. They give it away with their demeanor.

It was the spring of 1998 and Dad was sitting at my table and I asked him straight out, how did you get hurt? You see, Dad was a scout/radioman in the 45th Division and served in North Africa, Sicily, Salerno Casino, and Anzio. He was wounded on the road to Rome after surviving all of that. Never could get him to talk about anything except while I was on leave from the Air Force during Viet Nam (I am an Era vet; Europe/Middle East), he gave a brief description of the beach at Salerno.
I didn't think I would get an answer, as usual, but a facial expression I had never seen on him before, like a trance, he described what happened and how he was originally left for dead because of his injuries. He was forward as he always was and was hit by artillery. Dad passed away that January and I am thankful he told me. But I will never forget that face.

Hope you don't mind, I've been looking for the opportunity to tell this.
34 posted on 11/14/2006 5:15:03 AM PST by Wilum (Never loaded a nuke I didn't like)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I've read several studies that repudiate myths about Vietnam vets. One of the myths is that Vietnam vets suffer from mental illness at a greater rate than those who didn’t serve. According to the study, this is false. Another myth is that the enlisted forced were made up of mostly poor minorities. This is also false. Compared to the demographics of the US at the time when blacks made up about 16 percent of the population, only about 11% of the frontline combat troops were black. Most were middle class whites.

I entered service when I turned 18 in 1974 and volunteered for Vietnam, but they weren’t sending any new troops over because the troop withdrawal was under way. I still run into guys who are several years younger than me that claim to have served in-country. I told one guy that he would have been 15 when the last US troops left Vietnam. He stammered a little bit and hasn’t spoken to me since.

35 posted on 11/14/2006 5:44:08 AM PST by mbynack (Retired USAF SMSgt)
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To: Wilum

That's a beautiful story. I'm glad he shared it with you.

My dad was too young for WWI and a bit too old for WWII and was a laborer at Ford in Detroit anyway. When I came back from my first tour early in 67 my dad asked me about the big strapping fellow who sat across from he, my sister and I at my flight school graduation dinner at Ft. Rucker. Big Dave from Big Sandy, Montana had been killed early on as the copilot of a gunship. I told my dad that. He never again asked me anything about Vietnam and he died ten days after I came home from my second tour in November of 70.

Like I said before, I like to tell stories about Vietnam. One thing I suggest to any Vietnam Vet is to get the movie, "Apocalypse Now" and watch it with a pen in hand. No one had that kind of Vietnam but it will remind a Vet of the things that happened to them. Many stories, big and small, will be brought up that have been forgotten.


36 posted on 11/14/2006 5:59:23 AM PST by leadpenny
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To: oyez
I went to aircraft maintenance school in Phila. in '72/'73. As you can imagine, class was full of vets on the GI Bill. I was not a vet and was working nights to pay my way thru. More than once I had to remind the instructor that I wasn't paying for a trip down memory lane.

Day after day we were subjected to these tales from mostly Airforce guys who flew above the fray and even had locals who they paid to clean their bunks and wash their clothes, but they loved to talk.

Meanwhile, seated next to me was a guy about my stature, 5'8" about 130lbs who just listened and never said a word. I had noticed that he would be missing from class once in a while. One day I decided to talk to him since he wasn't going to talk. I asked if he'd been in the service, "yes", were you in Nam? "yes". What branch of the service? "Marine Corp" What did you do for the Marines? "Tunnel Rat"

Here was a guy who would go behind enemy lines, sometimes 10 miles in, alone in the jungle to search out and go into the Viet Cong tunnel systems on search and destroy missions. The military eventually trained dogs to do this most dangerous job.

I later learned that Mike would sometimes miss class because of the malaria he had contracted in the jungle.

Mike reminded me of another hero I knew who fought in the Battle of the Bulge and saw horrors that will never be told, was taken prisoner and watched as many of his buddies died of cold and starvation.

He wouldn't talk about it either, he was my dad.

37 posted on 11/14/2006 6:40:59 AM PST by Shadow Deamon
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To: leadpenny

IF you like stories of the 'Nam

Try this site, http://www.vietvet.org/warstory.htm
Sonny Hoffman, a funny guys who cuts to the chase pretty quickly.

It starts with --

It has often been said that the difference between a fairy tale and a war story is that a war story begins with, "Now this ain't no bullshit!" Combat veterans know that these words signal the time to roll up pant legs, and in some cases (if spoken by a Marine), to put on hip waders:-) Semper Fi!

When veterans gather in groups, war stories naturally begin. Each tale told inspires two more. Each tries to outdo the last in a version of war story one-up-manship.

Vets tell war stories for two reasons: first, to establish themselves in the group pecking order; second, to entertain.

When a vet comes into a new group, he tells his stories that (like subtle name dropping) tells everyone where he has been and what he has done. Dogs sniff each others butts; vets tell war stories.


38 posted on 11/14/2006 9:55:14 AM PST by ASOC (The phrase "What if" or "If only" are for children.)
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To: defconw

My Mother has told me more about my Dad's VN tours than he has.... Maybe its because Im too afraid to ask him directly..


39 posted on 11/14/2006 10:02:50 AM PST by ▀udda▀udd (7 days - 7 ways Guero ╗ with a floating, shifting, ever changing persona....)
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To: leadpenny

If you're interested in such things, a good friend and Vietnam Marine has a book he wrote (as therapy) which is OUTSTANDING... Here is some info on it:

http://monumentbooks.us/todd/index2.html

Here's a sample of his work:
http://www.portraitsoffreedom.org/marines/d_bailey.html


40 posted on 11/14/2006 8:49:18 PM PST by dcwusmc (The government is supposed to fit the Constitution, NOT the Constitution fit the government!)
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To: dcwusmc

Also much more here:
http://allpoetry.com/list/1370


41 posted on 11/14/2006 8:54:54 PM PST by dcwusmc (The government is supposed to fit the Constitution, NOT the Constitution fit the government!)
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To: ASOC

Thanks for the piece. A variation of it is that you can always tell it's a war story if it starts off with, "This is no #hit, there I was, . . ."

When I got back to Ft. Knox in the early seventies I was in the Air Cav Squadron. Just about every pilot was a Vietnam Vet, so down-time usually meant war story time. One of the Troop Ops Officers decided to put a "war story poll" in the middle of his ops office. If someone started with a yarn they were required to hang onto the poll and put on a combat helmet before they could finish the story.

Back to your link, the examples at the end of the piece are very interesting and I guess you could call them 'tells', and I've heard some like them in conversations.


42 posted on 11/15/2006 3:51:36 AM PST by leadpenny
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To: dcwusmc

Thank you Gunny. Very moving. I'm going to track down "Aftermath."


43 posted on 11/15/2006 3:58:45 AM PST by leadpenny
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To: dcwusmc; ASOC

Speaking of war stories - a joke. Maybe I can tell it:

Teacher asks her 5th graders to bring in a story from their parents that has a moral. The next day she asks if anyone has a story.

Cindy raises her hand and the teacher calls on her. Cindy tells how her mother grew up on a farm and counted the eggs that were about to hatch. A few days later some of them, but not all, hatched. The teacher then asked for the moral. Cindy said, "You can't count your chickens before they hatch."

Bonnie has her hand up. The teacher calls on her. Bonnie said her dad also grew up on a farm and one day he put a basket of eggs on the front seat of the P/U truck and headed to the market. On the way he hit a bump and the basket fell off the seat and many of the eggs broke open. "The moral" said the teacher? Bonnie said, "You don't put all your eggs in one basket."

The teacher is trying to avoid Joey but he's the only one left with his hand up. Okay, Joey, what is your story?

Joey told about his Uncle Bill who had been in Vietnam. Uncle Bill had been a door gunner on a Huey and he always carried a machete and a bottle of Jack Daniels. One day the Huey took a lot of enemy fire and he knew they were going to go down. Uncle Bill first chugged what was left of the Jack Daniels. The Huey crashed in the middle of the enemy. Uncle Bill got the M-60 and his machete and attacked. He fired the M-60 until he ran out of ammo. He then fought them with his machete until the blade broke off, and then he fought with his bare hands.

The teacher didn't want to ask for the moral but she did.

"That's easy" said Joey, you don't f with Uncle Bill when he's been drinking.


44 posted on 11/15/2006 4:50:01 AM PST by leadpenny
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