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War Stories From VietVet Reunion 2011

There's something about being with individuals that you were literally in combat with that's different than any thing else. It is a strange feeling. There you are looking at each other; most of the time, age has either crept in or hurdled headlong at you. Most of us have put on a few or lots of pounds and male pattern baldness has, without mercy, leapt on us. But, for us, we are as we were in Vietnam. We have pictures and memories. We have war stories. And, as someone said, "There is always an element of fiction in our war stories." I try to remember most of them, especially if they are unusual or I can relate. The following two stories are about drug use in Nam.

One of our Lieutenants recalled a story about the effects of drug use on a young soldier. A soldier in the Lieutenant's platoon was known for his appetite for weed and his kindness in sharing it with others. This soldier was shot by a sniper through the heart. It was suspected, at the time, that he was high on pot which made him less sharp, more vulnerable to his own stupidity. The young soldier stood up, walked past a prong soldier on alert for an enemy soldier spotted to their front. The prong soldier said to him "you better get down or you're going to take one." He did. The anniversary of this soldier's death took place while we were together at reunion.

Another story told at the reunion was about a Company Commander, a Captain, revered by his men. He was a no-nonsense type who was unrelenting in his attempt at protecting his men while accomplishing his mission. He assembled his platoon leaders inside a village hooch. Outside he stationed a soldier (the one who is telling the war story) with the instruction not to let anyone in or out. Once they were inside, the Captain took out a pouch of pot and meticulously rolled a cigarette. He then took a long draw and passed it around. Some of the Lieutenants began to get a little giddy. The Captain said, "See what this does to you. It makes you stupid, cross-eyed and will get you killed or your men." The Captain began to slap the Lieutenants, poke them in the chest, "Understand me Lieutenants," he began yelling over and over. If I catch you or your men smoking this poison, I will waste you." Point made.

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