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Vietnam - What They Carried
www.veteransearch.com ^ | Unknown | Unknown

Posted on 11/12/2002 5:50:54 AM PST by SAMWolf

The Things They Carried...

They carried P-38 can openers and heat tabs, watches and dog tags, insect repellent, gum, cigarettes, Zippo lighters, salt tablets, compress bandages, ponchos, Kool-Aid, two or three canteens of water, iodine tablets, sterno, LRRP- rations, and C-rations stuffed in socks.



They carried standard fatigues, jungle boots, bush hats, flak jackets and steel pots.



They carried the M-16 assault rifle. They carried trip flares and Claymore mines, M-60 machine guns, the M-70 grenade launcher, M-14's, CAR-15's, Stoners, Swedish K's, 66mm Laws, shotguns,45 caliber pistols, silencers, the sound of bullets, rockets, and choppers, and sometimes the sound of silence.



They carried C-4 plastic explosives, an assortment of hand grenades, PRC-25 radios, knives and machetes. Some carried napalm, CBU's and large bombs; some risked their lives to rescue others. Some escaped the fear, but dealt with the death and damage. Some made very hard decisions, and some just tried to survive. They carried malaria, dysentery, ringworms and leaches.



They carried the land itself as it hardened on their boots.



They carried stationery, pencils, and pictures of their loved ones - real and imagined. They carried love for people in the real world and love for one another.
And sometimes they disguised that love: "Don't Mean Nothin'!"



They carried Memories for the most part, they carried themselves with poise and a kind of dignity. Now and then, there were times when panic set in, and people squealed or wanted to, but couldn't; when they twitched and made moaning sounds and covered their heads and said "Dear God" and hugged the earth and fired their weapons blindly and cringed and begged for the noise to stop and went wild and made stupid promises to themselves and God and their parents, hoping not to die.



They carried the Traditions of the United States military, and memories and images of those who served before them.



They carried Grief, Terror, Longing and their Reputations.

They carried the soldier's greatest fear: The Embarrassment of Dishonor.

They crawled into tunnels, walked point, and advanced under fire, so as not to die of embarrassment.



They were afraid of dying, but too afraid to show it.



They carried the emotional baggage of men and women who might die at any moment.



They carried the weight of the world.



THEY CARRIED EACH OTHER






TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: vietnam
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Please Let me know via freepmail or in a post if you want on/off my ping list.
1 posted on 11/12/2002 5:50:54 AM PST by SAMWolf
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To: souris; SpookBrat; Victoria Delsoul; MistyCA; AntiJen; SassyMom; Kathy in Alaska; bluesagewoman; ...

From an unusual vantage point, the distress of the despondent veteran standing in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall is evident, as he leans on his crutches, a hand partially covering his downcast face. The hope and uplifting assurance of the Guardian Angel that supports the soldier is depicted in the beautiful portrait of her face.

This piece won second place at the national 1995 Congressional Art Competition and was designated to hang in the office of Rep. John Ensign, R-Nev., in Washington, D.C. At the Congressional Awards Ceremony, Ensign not only expressed extreme pleasure in having her picture hang in his office but made a point to express his personal feelings. Ensign recalled his visit to the wall just prior to the contest. "It literally felt like angels were surrounding the place," he said. "When I first saw this drawing ... I just couldn't believe it."

He was even more surprised to learn that Ragen had never been there.

Although no one is buried at the memorial, it is hallowed ground. Everyone who visits is emotionally affected, and Ragen was able to capture that intense emotion while synchronously reminding the viewer of the strength and support lovingly given by otherworldly beings. Not only are the soldier and angel guardians, so are the gifts left at the base of the wall.

2 posted on 11/12/2002 5:52:32 AM PST by SAMWolf
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To: SAMWolf
Hoo-rah, brother, hoo-rah.
3 posted on 11/12/2002 6:01:42 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants
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To: Vic3O3; cavtrooper21
PING!
4 posted on 11/12/2002 6:02:35 AM PST by dd5339
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To: SAMWolf
"What They Carried" is the title of a wonderful book. I cannot remember the name of the author. It might be O'Brian.
5 posted on 11/12/2002 6:08:43 AM PST by Bahbah
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To: SAMWolf; Nam Vet
Oh SAM, what a beautiful, emotional thread. Thank you so much. The pictures are wonderful.
6 posted on 11/12/2002 6:10:04 AM PST by SpookBrat
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To: SAMWolf
Bump
7 posted on 11/12/2002 6:10:55 AM PST by Fiddlstix
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To: SAMWolf
Thank you Sam. Yes, please keep me on your ping list.
Tom
8 posted on 11/12/2002 6:12:34 AM PST by tomkow6
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To: SAMWolf
BTT for absent friends.

Stay well - Stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown

9 posted on 11/12/2002 6:17:27 AM PST by harpseal
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To: SAMWolf
Great post. That isn't an M-16 rifle. It is an M-14 and it looks like the barrel has been shortened somewhat.
10 posted on 11/12/2002 6:18:42 AM PST by Flint
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To: SAMWolf
Bump!
11 posted on 11/12/2002 6:22:10 AM PST by The Mayor
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To: SAMWolf
Thanks for a great post.
12 posted on 11/12/2002 6:27:04 AM PST by txzman
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To: Flint
Correct. It's a picture of an M-14Bush.

I had a hard time finding a good one of the Standard Military Issue Rifle.
13 posted on 11/12/2002 6:30:23 AM PST by SAMWolf
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Comment #14 Removed by Moderator

To: SAMWolf
They also carried chocolate.

When she was a very young girl, my wife - who is Vietnamese - was lost in her town on the Delta. Just beyond toddler-stage, she had forgotten how to get home, and she remembers that she was crying and afraid.

An American soldier - "very big and with a moustache" - gave her chocolate, took her by the hand, and led her house-to-house until he finally got her home.

Sometime I'd like to see a movie about the war, but from the South Vietnamese perspective.

15 posted on 11/12/2002 6:35:43 AM PST by angkor
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To: SAMWolf
Good post SAM. I've still got a P-38 on my keyring. It still works great and gets a good workout opening coffee cans, soup cans or any other kind of can, and makes a handy-dandy little screwdriver.

336th AHC -- Soc Trang AAF, Sep 69 - Sep 70

SCOUTS OUT!

16 posted on 11/12/2002 6:36:25 AM PST by ladtx
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To: SAMWolf
And if they lived at a firebase (which I did not) for any length of time, they carried a smell, a body odor, that came only from being there. Even two or three days of out-processing at Cam Ranh Bay couldn't get rid of it. I'll never forget the smell of the Grunt.

Oh, and they carried a bottle of Tobasco Sauce, if they could get it.

Nice post SAMWolf.

17 posted on 11/12/2002 6:37:05 AM PST by leadpenny
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Comment #18 Removed by Moderator

To: Bahbah
The book is, "The Things They Carried" and you're right, the author is Tim O'Brien IIRC.
19 posted on 11/12/2002 6:38:10 AM PST by Trust but Verify
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To: SAMWolf
Just my little contribution...

One more hill!!!
One more hill they tell us to take
in my mind I know it must be a mistake
One more hill from the enemies hands
a capable foe who surely can
bring death and despair on me so clear
just like the friends i lost over this last year
one year in hell one year of my life
so many friends dead at the beginning of their lives
One more hill number 875
one more time the fear bottles up from deep inside
a crash of mortars the roar of jets
lets me know the time is not far off,yet
my hearts in my throat with trouble and fear
knowing at any moment i shall definetly hear
the sound of death come oh so damn near
alas comes the call to get on the move
as we make our way out it seems all like a bad dream,but i know it is true
One more hill i shall take to my dying day
To many god damn friends did i loose on the god awful day

Just a little something to show i will never forget My dad who was in the 173rd airborne. Or all the vets who fought died and continue to fight...
20 posted on 11/12/2002 6:40:59 AM PST by daapfe
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To: ladtx
Same here ladtx. I always tell my kids I have a can opener older than they are.

It's amazing how people at work look at you when you open a can at work with your key-ring.
21 posted on 11/12/2002 6:47:08 AM PST by SAMWolf
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To: souris
Thanks for the "carried each other" pictures, souris.
22 posted on 11/12/2002 6:48:00 AM PST by SAMWolf
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To: angkor
Thank you for sharing the story about your wife's childhood.

It reminds me of stories my mother told me about hers.

Growing up in a war torn county is something we American's haven't seen since the Civil War. We really have no concept of what it's like.

23 posted on 11/12/2002 6:51:52 AM PST by SAMWolf
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To: ladtx
Good post SAM. I've still got a P-38 on my keyring.

Make sure you don't try to take it on an airplane with you or it might get confiscated. A friend of mine had his Vietnam-era P-38 confiscated several months ago at an airport. I kid you not.

24 posted on 11/12/2002 6:52:17 AM PST by Fred Mertz
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To: Fred Mertz; ladtx
Good post SAM. I've still got a P-38 on my keyring.

Make sure you don't try to take it on an airplane with you or it might get confiscated. A friend of mine had his Vietnam-era P-38 confiscated several months ago at an airport. I kid you not.

A guard took mine when I reported to the courthouse for jury duty!

(She gave it back to me when I left the building, though.)

25 posted on 11/12/2002 7:04:05 AM PST by facedown
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To: Fred Mertz
A friend of mine had his Vietnam-era P-38 confiscated several months ago at an airport. I kid you not.

Well you can't be too careful! He could have slit the aircraft in two with it. < /sarcasm>

26 posted on 11/12/2002 7:11:37 AM PST by Valin
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To: SAMWolf
Most South Vietnamese have similar memories about American soldiers. I've heard the stories.

I think it's unfortunate that in the dozens of American movies about Vietnam, the South Vietnamese are portrayed at best as nothing more than cardboard cutouts, as mere scenery. Worse than "forgottten," their story is completely nonexistant.

There were of course many instances of South Vietnamese dishonoring their own soil and nation, but those are hardly the only stories.

From 1965 to 1975 - and much more so thereafter - the South Vietnamese lived in a veritable horrorshow, a nightmare. I'm amazed that in 27 years no filmmaker has seen fit to tell that story. Maybe Tony Bui will do it someday.

27 posted on 11/12/2002 7:12:07 AM PST by angkor
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To: SAMWolf
My God, were we really that young?
It's rapidly becoming a long time ago.
28 posted on 11/12/2002 7:15:18 AM PST by Valin
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To: SAMWolf
Awesome, Sam. Truly Awesome.
29 posted on 11/12/2002 7:24:42 AM PST by MistyCA
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To: SpookBrat
Good morning, Spooky. This thread is so moving. It's stunning and gives us so much to think about. All these years later, to think that the burden of some of what they carried is still weighing them down. God bless our troops and please, give them the strength to move forward in life free of the heavy chains most of us will never know or understand fully.
30 posted on 11/12/2002 7:30:19 AM PST by MistyCA
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To: souris
oh, Souris. You really do give Sam a run for his money in the Scrounging department. These are very moving photos. Thanks.
31 posted on 11/12/2002 7:32:25 AM PST by MistyCA
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To: SAMWolf
Good Morning SAM
32 posted on 11/12/2002 7:33:00 AM PST by Soaring Feather
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To: angkor
Yes, you are right. There are so many people around the world whose most comforting memory was of the American soldier who gently took their hand and led them to safety. Someone from Germany told me not long ago about the impact of her memory of the soldier who also put candy in her hand and protected her from harm. Your wife's memory is one I appreciate your having shared. Thank you.
33 posted on 11/12/2002 7:36:39 AM PST by MistyCA
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To: daapfe
Wow...thanks for sharing that.
34 posted on 11/12/2002 7:38:53 AM PST by MistyCA
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To: SAMWolf
I've carried my P-38 on my key chain for 34 years. Most folks have no idea what it is.
35 posted on 11/12/2002 7:44:04 AM PST by BRO68
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To: Fred Mertz
I remember as a child opening up the ration packages that my dad and uncle had brought back from WW2, and my own children grew up with rations from Vietnam perched above the books in our study. I just sat with my husband a few months ago and opened up one of the duffle bags he carried home from Vietnam. It had not been touched for many years. It was quite an experience sitting there and watching him once again go through some of what he had carried. Most striking were the memories.
36 posted on 11/12/2002 7:45:01 AM PST by MistyCA
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Comment #37 Removed by Moderator

To: SAMWolf
Great Post Sam

They carried memories...
Being one who researches lots..and is into all things visual...my impression concerning Vietnam..is that those who participated might find rest for their souls ...in this lifetime.

38 posted on 11/12/2002 8:15:51 AM PST by Light Speed
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To: onedoug
ping
39 posted on 11/12/2002 8:37:04 AM PST by windcliff
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To: Light Speed
Wouldn't it be nice to think that the wounds of war that are carried in someone's soul will be settled in their own lifetime? I have my doubts. I see my uncle's struggle almost on a daily basis as he talks about WW2, the loss of friends, the dismemberment of people he knew and many others he didn't know, the cold that it doesn't take much effort to recall vividly, the wet, storming the beaches with no supplies because they were all lost in the destruction. Yes, at 83 I see the struggle to make peace with all of that. And I see the same struggle in those who went to Vietnam....all wanting to settle what lurks within their soul sometime within their own lifetime. Wouldn't that be nice.
40 posted on 11/12/2002 8:39:37 AM PST by MistyCA
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To: SAMWolf
3rd Bat/9th Marine in the A'shau Valley


1st Marine airwing [VMFAW-316] putting it down on Victor Charlie...1966


41 posted on 11/12/2002 8:42:27 AM PST by Light Speed
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To: Snow Bunny
You're in my thoughts, SB. Especially when I remember how the 'Donut Dollies' and USO Tours lifted the spirits of hundreds of thousands of GI's in country.
42 posted on 11/12/2002 8:42:37 AM PST by leadpenny
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To: leadpenny; cardinal4
I was going through security at Logan last month. I had been selected for the throrough search. The lady saw my P-38 on my keychain and asked what it was, concerned that it might be a WMD. One of her male colleagues set her straight.
43 posted on 11/12/2002 8:45:37 AM PST by Ax
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To: windcliff

44 posted on 11/12/2002 8:50:47 AM PST by onedoug
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To: MistyCA
In someways...the internet has helped untold numbers of vets find lost friends..and contact points to memories.
I would not venture to make a comment regarding thier view of government...but this is true...they have found healing amongst each other.
I would like to think that we here at Free Republic join with them in that healing process...
An outstretched hand and a smile is a good beginning.
45 posted on 11/12/2002 8:51:19 AM PST by Light Speed
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To: MistyCA; SAMWolf
My Father-in-Law, a WWII vet, went through the same struggle, but he never let anyone else help him. All he would ever say was that he was an ambulance driver, he was promoted to PFC so many times he lost count, and that was it. Any questions beyond that were met with an icy stare and silence.

Whatever demons possessed him remained until the day he died. What a tragedy...
46 posted on 11/12/2002 9:20:19 AM PST by HiJinx
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To: SAMWolf

47 posted on 11/12/2002 9:24:09 AM PST by Jaxter
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To: Light Speed
I know. You are very right about that. My uncle is one of those people who has stayed in touch and gone to all the reunions over the years, and there is much healing to be done through that. My brother and husband have been very involved in the Vietnam Vets organization, doing what they can to provide avenues and outlets for all of those who do not have access to the internet. There are many who do not. But I sure do agree with you. There are always those who simply can not touch their deep grief in the midst of a crowd, or even with another person, but they can turn on their computer and type away to their heart's content. God Bless all of those who have helped provide yet another way to find peace.
48 posted on 11/12/2002 9:39:11 AM PST by MistyCA
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To: HiJinx
Oh, HIJinx, I am saddened by that. I know it is true. I know many people who talk around their experiences but never really tell about them. My uncle is very different. He sits for hours and recounts things to great detail. He remembers dates, times, names, places....as though they were yesterday. And, for him, it was.....just yesterday. But even so, it doesn't erase the memory or make it any lighter to bear. War is hell.
49 posted on 11/12/2002 9:43:03 AM PST by MistyCA
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To: tomkow6
You got it Tom.
50 posted on 11/12/2002 12:48:28 PM PST by SAMWolf
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