Monday, June 26, 2006
Unless You've Been There

I wasn't there!

Not too long ago, a commenter at Sanity’s Bluff, demanded to know what branch of the service I was in and when. “If you have not served in the armed forces don’t talk about the military things” he spouted.
This type of narrow-minded thought is around everywhere today.
Many of you have probably heard something along these lines, “You can’t talk about us blacks unless you are black.”
While it is true, no light skinned person knows how it feels to be dark-skinned, it doesn’t mean a honkey cannot know what prejudice or racism is like.
Another one you may have heard is; “You can’t talk about children unless you are a parent”. Or when someone offers a point of view about children, we often hear the old, “How many children have you had?”

This kind of logic is wrong, and here are a few reasons proving it.

“If you can’t play the French Horn you can’t talk about the orchestra’s performance.” Okay is that true?
“If you’ve never been on a National Football League roster, you can’t talk about Pro Football.”
See where I’m going.

I was never in the military, but I can be proud of the military of my nation, and talk about it. I’ll now share a little snippet of my life.

The confused days of 1964-

The first wave (and the largest) of baby boomers turned 18 in 1964. How convenient for L.B.J. who was committing the armed forces of the United States deeper and deeper into a hellhole called Viet Nam.

It was April 1964, I turned 18. My best friend at the time was Rex H. We had spent the summer months of 1963 doing teenage things together. Rex wanted to get away from his parents, so he had enlisted in the Marines and his plans were to join the marines in the summer of 1964, after high school graduation. I wanted to follow the same path, so he talked to me about the Marines. I was in excellent health, was on the high school track, baseball and soccer teams at a private school in Oklahoma, and I wanted to be a Marine so bad, I could taste it.

I was swift of feet, (ran the 100 yard dash in less than 10 seconds, broadjumped over 22 feet in a meet, was on an undefeated relay team, both 440 and 880 yard relays), and of a sound mind. I loved my country and wanted to be a marine, nothing else.

Rex was a very fit teenager also, but he just made the weight requirements of 150 pounds.
During my senior year of high school in Oklahoma, I had to return to Kansas City to register, as every male was required to do within a few days of their 18th birthday. I had been planning this day out, I wanted to pass the intelligence and physical tests, so that I could join up in the summer of 1964.
On the evening before my appointment with the Selective Service I met up with Rex and we talked about the future. There was one problem we talked about that night. I only weighed 145 pounds and stood 5’6 ½. Rex told me that the Marines would probably take me if I could meet one of the two requirements.. Since I could not add a ½ inch to my height, I needed to gain 5 pounds overnight.
Someone had told Rex that bananas would add 2 pounds to your weight for every pound of them you ate.
Have you every sat down and ate 4 pounds of bananas? To this day I am not that fond of bananas. I polished them off early that morning, and Rex and I were off to the Selective Service Office. Rex had already turned 18 and his deployment date was rapidly approaching, and he went along with me, because he was my best friend.
The intelligent test was so simple, I about laughed. Next was the physical. Down to shorts and socks I stepped on the scale and “wow”….155 pounds and 5’7”. I must have had a little growing spurt, so I would have been all right without the bananas.
I was poked and prodded, and then someone told me to take off my glasses and step into the dark room he was pointing to. He told me to read the first line of the chart on the wall.
Problem, real big problem…
I felt my life evaporating, at least the life I wanted. My eyesight at best was 20/400, uncorrected, and I was forced to admit I could not read any of the chart, not even the biggest letter. It was a only a blur on the far wall. My heart sank as they sent me on my way to the rejected line. I came close to becoming physically sick. My glasses corrected my sight to 20/20, but there was no way for me to become a Marine. Rex and I talked about it on the way home, of course he was attempting to make me feel better, and he told me I should visit the army recruiting center, and ask them to give me a waiver of some kind. When school was out that summer I went to both the Army and Navy recruiting centers and tried without success to get in the armed forces.
Rex went on to serve honorably in the Marines, and did a tour in Viet Nam. I had many friends who ended up in Vietnam, and almost all of those that returned were screwed up somehow by what they witnessed and were a part of.

It was John F. Kennedy’s war and we can only speculate about how he would have fought the war if a madman had not murdered him. Lyndon Johnson took over as commander in chief and poured the nations treasure into the losing cause. Losing, because of the lack of will by the citizen government to command the military to win the war at all cost. It is best to stay completely out of a war, if you won’t fight as hard as you can.
In 1966 Rex came back to Kansas a different person. We roomed together for two years and it seemed like I was always apologizing for Rex’s behavior when we went out partying. He would always wanted to pick fights with people. I would try to soothe things over, it didn’t always work. I actually roomed with two returning Marines, Rex and Russ. Russ was so messed up it was sad. When he got a little drunk, Nam started coming back to him. He told me over and over again how he was strapped to a helicopter deck manning a 50 caliber gun, and the gunner next to him was decapitated and bled to death while a battle was taking place. I lost track of Russ and for several years Rex and I were close, but he no longer was the same Rex.

I was going through many changes at this time and not all of them were good.

As I look back upon that time and remember how much I wanted to join the Marines, I felt like a shunned lover.

But back to 1964, In college I took a political science course, and worked for the campaign of Barry Goldwater, who was ahead of his time, and was the father of conservatism in America. One of his campaigns, was to do away with the draft all together and to raise an all volunteer military. I wonder how Vietnam would have gone if Barry had been elected? I was becoming more and more embittered about the whole matter. I had been given a 4-D classification, it was the closest to 4-F. It did not exclude me from the draft altogether, but 4-F would have. To me they were telling me that if things got completely out of hand, they might reconsider me.

I was losing direction in my whole life, but I tried one more time to get in the service in 1965, but to no avail, and I guess to keep me from bothering the recruiters, I was given a permanent 4-F classification.
I dropped out of college after 1 year and worked for awhile, but I couldn’t stay put anywhere. My politics were changing too; I spent a lot of time around college students who were in college to escape the draft. Well they had an influence on me, not a good one either. My writings started to be anti-war, and anti-establishment. I let my hair grow, and took a lot of flak for it while I worked for a year at the Ford Assembly Plant. Some other time I may share some of the hippie days of John, not at this time though.
Somewhere I threw off the chains of liberal thought and have never been happier. So when I argue with a leftist, I can say….”Been There, Done That.”

There was some opposition to the draft even before the major U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. For example, Senator Barry Goldwater proposed ending the draft during his unsuccessful 1964 campaign as the Republican candidate for President. As U.S. troop strength in Vietnam increased, more and more young men were drafted for service there. The draft was unpopular both for its impact on those drafted and as a focal point for opposition to a controversial war. Conscription ended in 1973.


Anonymous Sodapop said...

Thanks for stopping by the Soda Stand. I loved that picture. I don't believe any of the mainstream media has helped the efforts of our military over seas.

Throwing a vote your way on BOTB. :)

Blogger web_loafer said...

Thanks for the shoutback, I lost that battle. Wasn't even close. Should have looked at who's online at BE....some of my worstest enemies in the blogosphere were lurking, waiting. My fault, always check out the Who is online before challenging. But Sanity's Bluff will win a few more.

You sure know how to pick pictures that tell a story...

Attention all Bluffers.....check out soda pops blog.

And don't be so slow fingered the next time Sanity is on the Bluff, or should that be Sanity is bluffing, or Bluffing is sanitizing...or even

BLUFFING SANITY.....hey that might fit, I have spent 60 years bluffing sanity......

Hopefully if that is the case, it will continue a few more decades.

Love you all,

and thanks sodapop........

Blogger Jay said...

I think what the reasoning is that it's rather silly to call somebody a coward for not sharing your politics...especially when that person has demonstrated bravery in things you have never had to demostrate yourself. There are indeed many ways to demonstrate one's patriotism, and it doesn't have to be in placing your life on the line. However; if one is going to demand that others place their lives on the line for a cause, it only displays the most basic of traits of a coward to be only NOT willing to give what they demand of others, but to label as "traitor" those who have done their duty and survived to try and prevent others from experiencing the horrors they went through.

I don't call you a coward because you never served....I call you one because you do not understand the sacrifice of those that have, and see yourself as a better man because of it.

Just my two cents in observation of your fruits.

Blogger web_loafer said...

Jay, murtha is a traitor, I will never change my mind.
He called some Marines who were in a firefight "cold blooded killers"

Marines that have not been charged with anything, and the investigation is ongoing. From all apperances, the whole Times Magazine article was based on dubious accusations. If terrorists will kill 3,000 civilians in one day, they sure are capable of killing 20 some civilians and set it up to look like our Marines did something wrong. Once again a brief civics America, murtha, one is assumed to be innocent until proven quilty. I give the Marines the benifit of the doubt, you have not murtha. You are a traitor, murtha, and a popular Democrat. They seem to run together more and more.

In case you didn't get it, murtha is a traitor, and has committed treason.

Maybe he was a good marine 40 plus years ago, he is a disgrace now.
Selling out his country for votes. I hope he loses his seat in the house this time around.

Blogger Jay said...

General George Casey, the top military commander in Iraq, recently proposed a withdrawal plan of troop forces....pretty much the same proposal that Mutha made some time ago.

I suppose he's a traitor too.

Blogger prying1 said...

Apples and oranges Jay - Your pic of you holding your hand up with the peace sign tells me a lot. I went through the hippy scene too. I grew out of it as Web Loafer did. - I doubt you ever will because you prefer twisting the truth as opposed to accepting it whether you like it or not.

Many on the right said, "Lets wait and see." concerning Haditha. Murtha refused to do that and accused the Marines involved of murder.

Your defense of him even at this point shows you to be the sum of that which you accuse Web Loafer.

A real man admits when he is wrong. -

Blogger web_loafer said...

If I was a do nothing politician, the best thing I could do to do nothing and get some credit would be to listen to the ones doing something and try to jump aboard. Anyone with an IQ in double digits knows that we will be bringing our troops back from Iraq.

We will never bring all of them home, we need a presence in the middle east; but most will be gone in 2 years. We will have secure bases in Iraq, and plenty of assests.

So the do nothing donkeycrats rant and rave 'bring the troops home'.

There are 30,000 less boots on the ground today, then when we beefed up our presence to guard the elections.

Terrorism will be defeated, just like the do nothing donkeycrats will be defeated, again, again and again. In fact the donkeycrats will not regain any say, until they start saying Nice Things About America....and the ones who sacrifice to keep us free.

They hate our president more than they love America....that is crystal clear, and Americans aren't as dumb as the msm paints us....we know who loves could not be any clearer.

A pollster can ask anything, but when it comes down to pulling the lever in the voting booth.

Most Americans will think about murtha, kennedy and pelosi, and ponder...."Do I want these haters of America to run America?"

Blogger Jay said...

Peace sign might tell you something, but not everything for your narrow little mind. Want to see a picture of me in my uniform?

BTW...Murtha didn't accuse anybody of anything, he just wanted an investigation into the incident rather than putting up a couple of enlisted ground-pounders as scapegoats, like the chickenhawks at the White House have been doing all along. As a one time combat commander I guess he figured that accountability means something. I think he's in error of expecting an aspect of character from men who demostrated that they hide and run when it was their opportunity to serve.

Blogger prying1 said...

Thankfully my mind is narrow. I'm also close minded.

One advantage I have is that being narrow and closed minded I do not have breezes blowing in one ear and out the other.

Blogger Jay said...

An nescis, mi fili, quantilla sapientia mundus regatur?

Blogger web_loafer said...

Don't you know then, my son, how little wisdom rules the world? ...

I still remember a few latin phrases...actually...I googled the phrase.

Let me guess Jay, you are saying no one is wise except you and those that you agree with?

Or, that you know more than anyone else about ruling the world.

For you information, America doesn't want to rule the world: But,your buddies the islamafacists and howie dean want to rule the world.

Albeit, it would be a sick world if it was ruled by howie or bin lardin.

Maybe I am harsh, but I still have yet to see you saying anything nice about America, but thanks for reading and commenting....albeit in latin.

It is only our political views that clash, I am sure you are a gentleman, hard worker and want peace.

Peace never comes by sitting down with killers at a table of discussion.

Peace comes by brave young warriors defending their homeland.

Now I know just what you are thinking....

But, Jay, our warriors are all volunteers, they are a cut above the LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON'S Drafted military. LBJ poured out the lifeblood of our nation....for no good reason. No skyscraper with thousands of people had fallen in New York City. Viet Nam was war started by Democrats, and fought by the sons of Republicans for the most part, because most of the Democrat children fled to Canada, or turned into traitors in uniforms......kerry and murtha....two examples. Once was a war started by DEMOCRATS in Washington D.C. and one that was finally ended by REPUBLICANS in Washington D.C.

You cannot distort history to the point where Viet Nam was anything but a mass murder perpatrated by the Democrats in power at the time.

I saw what the callous disregard for American youth did to my friends, and I lay it at the feet of LBJ....and the lackey Democrats of the day...lacking a backbone and more.

No, the volunteer warriors of today are many many cuts above the average Viet Nam Vet....they are
willing warriors.....People like J.Kery or J. Murdertha were drafted,or signed up before being drafted, and that's that. They didn't have the cohunes to go to Canada where the rest of the cowards went.

As long as real Americans are in control of America there will be enough volunteers to defend America.

But, as soon as the loons of the left take over (Please God, NO) again, a draft will have to be reinstated....????

Why is that????


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