People have asked me to share my "war stories" about Vietnam.
I have no war stories. I was not in daily combat. I was in a military support command. We re-stocked, re-assigned, re-supplied and basically ran the Army's entire logistics operation in Vietnam. The big advantage to having a job like that was that you could have something of a normal life, an illusion of safety, and, in my case, having the opportunity to travel around Vietnam while performing your duties. Many people were not interested in traveling, or learning, or experiencing. They just wanted to do their time and go home. I was eager to learn everything I could while doing my one-year tour.
My life was rarely in jeopardy, but when it was you lived second to second. A sniper’s bullet flying within inches of your head in the middle of the night while on guard duty on a dark mountain ridge. Or upon waking in the morning, you discover a deadly Bamboo Viper sleeping under the head of your sleeping bag. Or one moment you are flying in a helicopter doing your job and suddenly experience a near mid-air collision. Or you get stranded in an unknown area of Saigon one night at curfew because your mission ran late and have to spend the night with an unknown family in an unknown location, in an unknown situation, with your whereabouts being unknown to your superiors.
My story is not what happened to me as much as it is about what I learned. I try to show that in everything I do. I do not glamorize or romanticize war or the military. I am not particularly proud of what we did there. But, it is what it is. My words, actions and art are a direct result and reflection of my time in Vietnam and of the things I observed there. They are my story.
Many Vietnam Vets have used their experiences in the war as a catalyst and fuel for causes and projects they immerse themselves into to try to make the world a better place. I know of some and I call them my friends.