May 10, 2007
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Great newspaper article of the book, Gun Totin Chaplain and interview with author.

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A few weeks ago, my granddaughter and I were crossing the street in San Francisco near my residence. Suddenly her eyes grew wide.

She didn't say a word but there in full burka was a rather large woman. I should have used the moment to discuss differences, diversity, and tolerance but I could not bring myself to do it. WHY?

Well, I am struggling in the same way that I think many Americans are struggling. When 6 men are arrested for wanting to kill as many Americans as possible at Fort Dix, what do we think?- certainly not that they were a bunch of right wing Christians or Jews or Buddhists. We immediately think radical Muslims after hearing such news; and, most of the time, we are right.


What the Fort Dix incident says to us is that the terrorism, hatched in Muslim minds, is indeed a war. The suspects include three brothers, ethnic Albanians from the former Yugoslavia, living illegally in the United States and working at a roofing business. The others are legal residents. All six were described as being in their 20s.

And, this is pretty much a "homegrown" plot. Young men enjoying the benefits of a free society succumbing to an ideology which to Americans is simply insane; and, of course, now their families are affected in ways that we have no way of comprehending. All we know are the news reports-one whose family owned a pizzeria and of all things named Family Pizza. One suspect was intimately acquainted with Fort Dix because of his pizza deliveries.

Even with the gross mismanagement of our involvement in Iraq, we see terrorism there on a daily basis-killing of Americans and innocent civilians, all based on a religious belief from the Koran which says "kill Americans."

WHAT ARE WE TO THINK??????????????? KT

   Iraq and West Point Grads...
emily perez, west point graduate killed in Iraq, new york times and family photo
Emily Perez
One constant and mostly friendly debate over the years has been the question of whether West Point, the Army's military academy, is in fact a university or a training school for soldiers.

Regardless, West Point, is a much sought after appointment. By all measures, only one in a dozen gets admitted.

They never have great athletic teams because they are cadets first and those who aspire for big lucrative athletic careers don't go to West Point or any of the service academies. After graduation, the cadets, now young Lieutenants, face a 4 year commitment to the military.

Iraq has not been kind to West Pointers or "ring knockers" as they are often called. Fifty-three have died in Iraq or Afghanistan- a higher percentage of West Pointers than in any other war in recent history.

Among those deceased include Emily Perez, a 2005 graduate, who was the first minority female command sergeant in the West Point's history. She was killed in Iraq last September at the age of twenty-three. Well Done, be thou at peace, is inscribed on the Final Roll Call, a listing the website of the Academy's Association of Graduates maintains. WELL DONE INDEED! KT

  Iraq ... will continue to speak out
U.S. army medics with the 10th Mountain Division treat a boy for burns after setting up a temporary medical clinic near Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, April 22, 2007. REUTERS/Bob Strong (IRAQ)
Iraqi civilians are caught in the crosshairs of a civil war.

After seeing a couple of families profiled,(one family profiled) the inevitable question to ask is were they better off under Saddam. Since I'm the one asking the question, my answer. Absolutely.

We are going to be haunted by Iraq for a long time just as we are about Vietnam. The vast difference is that Vietnam nowhere knew the violence visited upon innocent civilians.

In Vietnam, eventually, we were two armies opposing each other on the battlefield. The farmers were still growing their rice and South Vietnam was still functioning.

In Iraq nothing is functioning. A country with enormous oil reserves and lines for as many as 3 days is more the rule than the exception. What is wrong with this picture?

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  on serial killers...
Sidewalks are decorated with chalk messages outside a memorial ceremony for the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre sponsored by the Fairfax County Public Schools at Robinson Secondary School, 20 April 2007 in Fairfax, Virginia. The powerful US gun lobby, far from being weakened by last week's tragic college campus shooting, actually has emerged stronger, gun advocates said Sunday, stepping up calls for a better-armed US citizenry to prevent future attacks.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Chip Somodevilla)
(AFP/Getty Images/File/Somodevilla)
I'm always fascinated or appalled-may be the best term- about those whose moral compass has seemingly gone south.

Is there any pattern of behavior to those who commit awful atrocities like Virginia Tech? What made Cho do it? Alienation, bullying, hearing voices?

If we knew Cho's profile before the tragedy, could the incident have been prevented. No, not really, just as 9-11 probably could not.

As we keep trying to make sense out of the overwhelming sense of loss, we can do a few things. One of them is change the laws about guns.

Under anybody's definition who thinks, the laws are way to lax. What does someone like Cho need with an automatic 9mm glock? Give me a break. What does a hunter need an AK47 for?

We need to get this out of politics. I'm surely not a gun control nut but being smart and a zeolot are not one and the same. Come on!

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    SUCK IT UP...
 war poster-world war II quit bellyaching poster
Combination of WWII Posters
Retired soldiers, like myself, are absolutely amazed at the continuous coverage of the war. As someone has said, it is a "victims" war.

We are not reading about or watching news reports about war fighters who are doing what soldiers are paid to do which is fight. What we see are overall depictions of problems that soldiers have because of the war.

Overall, I don't think it's healthy for us as a nation and surely not for our soldiers to constantly be in a "woe is me" mood. The constant use of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) language is almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. Does this mean it does not exist? Of course not, but there are all kinds of other questions.

For example, the news media reports a Pentagon panel said that more than one third of American soldiers (this means Marines, all servicemen and women) suffer from psychological problems when they return. Of course, they do. They have been in combat. We are not talking war as a "day at the beach." What do we expect? And, the media is aiding and abetting it, constantly making the soldier out to be a victim. And, they do it in the light of "supporting the soldier." It is the media, not liberal or Fox news, simply the media.

You cannot watch a news show on TV that does not deal with the war and mainly its aftermath. Understand always that the news media is not interested overall in the truth, but rather a story. It is just a fact of life. All along, I was somewhat against the embedding of journalists with the military for lots of reason. War is not something to be fawned over but a serious dying business.

We are in a difficult time as a nation. We want the news, to know what is going on, but there is a price to be paid." Remember "If you lay down with dogs, you are going to wake up with fleas." KT

gun totin chaplain book jacket
Gun-Totin Chaplain by JA
Review of Gun-Totin Chaplain

I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed GTC. I received it yesterday and just a few minutes ago finished it. Thank you for being open and addressing subjects that many believe are not relevant or didn't/don't exist. Every page, every subject, brought something to my mind. I have a ton of questions I would like to ask you...

I was at Camp Eagle from Mar 68 to Dec 68; visited LZ Sally a few times and know FB Mongoose and Coco Beach. One question: Do you remember the 1/501st Bn Commo Chief's name? Something tells me it started with an S and that he and I reported into the 101st at the same time, Oct 67; we both had been levied out of the 509th in Mainz Germany. That is one assignment if you had been there you would never forget; The Animal Farm, Robert E Lee Barracks, Mainz, Germany. Our Chaplain there was Chaplain William (Bill) Zudima, a priest, a true Master Blaster like yourself, he retired I was told in Panama.

Again, Thank you, Thank you, for writing and sharing A True Memoir: Gun Totin' Chaplain. God Bless. Old Army, Airborne.

Sgt. Maj. who served in Vietnam

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Gun-Totin Chaplain Review (Posted April 22, 2007)

Hi Jerry,

I just finished your book, and I must say that I am extremely proud of this accomplishment of yours. I felt that I came away more informed about the nature of that war, and your dedication to and passion for the welfare of your fellow service men and women came through loud and clear.

I related your experience to my own during that time period. The stress of internship, residency, and fellowship was very intense at times, but I was reminded by your book that the shots taken against me were, after all, only verbal! (Some of my professors had intimidation tactics not unlike drill sergeants.) At the end of that period in my life, I had developed my own passion: the health and well being of my patients and my community.

If we look back to our high school days we should have known that we would both grow up to be men with passions for improving the lives of other people. I remember your mantra from high school: "Grow old with me; the best is yet to be."

I also share your belief that young people today are impoverished by the lack of opportunities to serve others. Whether mandatory service would correct that, I do not know, but politicians who might advocate mandatory service would have a hard time getting elected these days.

I especially liked your quotes which headlined each chapter. The one for chapter 48 reminded me of a posting that I kept at my desk at work, attributed to the Greek philosopher Aeschylus and used by Bobby Kennedy at Jack's funeral (reportedly recommended by Henry Kissinger):

Pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop

Upon the heart until, in our own despair,

Comes wisdom

Through the awful grace of God.

Your book also brought to mind my belief that it is the American fighter person who should have been named the person of the century at the time of the Millennium as so well expressed by the Rev. Dennis Edwards, Chaplain, USMC:

It is the soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us the freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet
Who has given us the freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us the right to demonstrate.

It is the soldier
Who salutes the Flag
Who serves beneath the Flag.
It is the soldier
Whose coffin is draped by the Flag
Who allows the protester to burn the Flag.

I know that this is much too long for an email, but your book stirred these
emotions in me, and I thought you should know.

Best regards. Stay in good health...

JT(Ret. Physician and Philanthropist)

Gun-Totin Chaplain (Posted April 22, 2007)

Thanks so much for sending Gun Totin Chaplain book...received it on Wednesday. I will make sure that Ava gets it. I have started reading my copy. Does read like a novel...I like the way it is presented in short chapters....easier to grasp that way. For some reason I have always been intrigued with the vietnam war....the politics of it all...the aftermath.....I remember the movie Forrest Gump..the vietnam scene...the firefight seemed so realistic. In my did really young guys cope with all that happened? Thanks again for your generosity. WA

Gun-Totin Chaplain (Posted April 22, 2007)

Have really enjoyed reading your book. Different perspective from a Chaplain. I read about 3 or 4 chapters a night will probably finish reading this weekend. I can't imagine what it must have been like Vietnam..but not really. It was hot in the Persian Gulf when I was there in 1980...and our cooling system on our ship kept breaking down so really it was hotter inside the ship (felt like 140 degrees) than on the outside. I remember we had to conserve water, they allowed 2 minute to lather 1 to rinse off...they even had security patrol posted in the head to make sure each man was following the rules
Name Withheld

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Gun-Totin Chaplain by JA
Review of Gun-Totin Chaplain

Hi Jerry, since becoming a fire chaplain 3 years ago, I have been reading every chaplain book I can get my hands on. Your book Gun-totin' chaplain just became my favorite.

I could so relate to your "what the hell do I do now" approach to being a chaplain. I so often find myself on the "battlefield" with no answers and a ton of needy eyeballs looking to me for some kind of answer.

Do you ever travel and tell your story? I would love for the other fellow chaplains to hear your heart. Being a chaplain is the best ministry I have ever had.... but most times: I dont know what the hell to do. your fellow Chaplain. -- J. Hetschel
Gun-Totin Chaplain**Now at discount

gun totin chaplain book jacket
Gun-Totin Chaplain by JA
Latest Review of Gun-Totin Chaplain

Just received GTC. It's beautiful and so well put together. Looking forward to reading it. Of course, already read jacket flaps and looked at the photos. Photos sure brought back memories. Especially like the one of the sign "Chaplin." Reminded me of the guys who built a pulpit and pews for my first tent chapel out of scrap material they scrounged around our base camp at LZ Betty - Phan Thiet.

The photo of the Chinook reminded me of the day one was hanging over our tent area blowing sand and as many of us looked at it, it suddenly just dropped to the ground, caught on fire and killed five guys inside while we looked on in horror.

I didn't know you got two purple hearts. You never spoke of it to me unless I have forgotten. And that reminded me that I never got the one I earned - that is, if getting stabbed in the leg with a poisonous pungi stake qualifies. But, I wasn't there to get a purple heart. Excuse was, "paper work got lost." That was also the excuse I was given for not getting the air medal after I had meticulously logged all my hours from being up in the chopper getting out to where the troops were almost every day of the full 395 days I was in country. Plus off shore to a Navy destroyer that had no chaplain. Well, again, I wasn't there for an air medal. So why am I even recalling it? I guess it sorta irked me at the time. gp

gun totin chaplain book jacket
Gun-Totin Chaplain by JA
Review of Gun-Totin Chaplain

A couple I lent Gun Totin' Chaplain too raved about it and asked permission to lend it to another neighbor. Sorry, I told them fine but should buy a copy. They are all frustrated and crazy in thought as we are about Iraq and the entire Middle East countries, thinking we can change their culture. They too are frustrated as to what can we do??????????? we need a grass roots effort with those of our age groups that went thru the Vietnam times. Any guidance or leadership??? Give us some of your rebel leadership about the Middle East issue.

I loved and appreciated your book and your style.
lc, Col, retired, USA

gun totin chaplain book jacket
Gun-Totin Chaplain by JA
Review of Gun-Totin Chaplain

I experienced some of the same feelings, sensations, and thoughts during my time at the front lines in the ETO during WWII as you expressed in your book: the camaraderie among the troops, the concern that the front line officers had for their men and the almost complete turn about in the rear areas.

My assignment for several months beginning right after D-Day was to take sound systems to forward lines in the hedgerows of France and broadcast messages to the German troops for them to surrender. So, I went from army/brigade headquarter (maybe two/three miles from the front line) where my unit was stationed to the farthest forward point I could safely (???) get. Consequently, I saw the dichotomy in existence almost daily. It seems that experiences don't change much from war to war.

Your book got me to thinking about things that happened to me 50 years ago and I am surprised at how much I have dredged up. Names long forgotten, experiences, etc. S. L.

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