July 01 03
MORALE OF THE SOLDIER
(Rhymer in the Sunset)
A recent NY Times article spoke the natural inevitable--the morale of the troops has gone to hell.
Not surprised, they were told they were going home, then the mission switched to peacekeeping and they are staying. The wives are going out with Jody, other problems--even the chaplain is complaining. And, it is only going to get worse.
What to do! The basic truth is: we are in a mess and we think we are going to turn it around--maybe in ten years or more with a sword but no PFC or young Captain is going to do it.
It is as though the military had its head up its posterior. We're there, we've got to figure it out and thus far, we're don't appear to be doing too hot. In today's local paper, the killing of a young American was buried in the distant achieves.
This merely portends of things to come.
Invariably, soldiers don't see things in these global terms. Rumsfeld and the generals may sit around "cogitating their navels" in terms of strategy-not so with soldiers. They were told to do a job. They did it!
Now, they are told, you have to do another one. And, one for which they are ill equipped-peace keeping.
What is at play here is something simple: something that any soldier gets--Nothing is too good for the soldier and usually that is what he gets, nothing.
Some of my buddies argue that this is part of being a soldier.
I don't think so.
War fighters, to use the military term, simply do that; fight and win wars. And, then they go home. We couldn't do it in Vietnam because as it was fought, it was unwinnable with no clear strategy or objective and it kept changing. And, we don't' think it is beginning to look like Nam. Give me a break!
As the "keeping the peace" stretches out, soldiers will be lined up outside the Chaplain's door like Tom's barbershop: next! The adrenalin of the battle will be long gone, they are thinking of back home; their wives, girlfriends, potential careers, whatever waits. But, what they see is endless heat and hatred from the locals.
E-mail from VietVet about Iraq
Subject: Iraq Another Vietnam|
I am disheartened with the situation in Iraq. On the way to
work we hear of another casualty by some ambush or suicide bomber. And Bush declared the war over (what is that about)?
I fret that a Vietnam is starting all over again - I remember the news wasn't about individuals anymore - not about moms and dads, sons and daughters, or loved ones, but about cold and heartless news, body counts,Americans lost during the week, objectives taken and given back - a war that wouldn't be won and wouldn't go away.
I don't think there will be peace in the Middle East. We just joined ourselves at the hip into a place that has had unrest for thousands of year -
Reverend DB (former soldier)
Response to Subject: Iraq Another Vietnam
Feel exactly as you do and simply don't know what to do. Don't see any of those in Congress making any contributions; maybe they are frustrated as we are but still, so amazing. The Iraqis are going to pick off troops every day--troops that aren't equipped to be out there dealing with this sort of combat, not knowing who the enemy is.
And, this morning on the news, Orrin Hatch wants to destroy people's computers that steal music over the internet; now, here is a guy who has a handle on what is important.
What can we do? I think that the only hope is to vote Bush out but I don't think we can. I personally like the guy but what happens in politics is that to make a decisiion of the Iraqi magnitude, no way can he back up. He is constantly being reinforced with "atta boy" views.
His decisiveness is refreshing if it were benign but it is costing us precious lives.
It appears that nobody thought about the afterwards; and, let's face it he is surrounded by zeolots: Rumsfeld is a egomaniac but with smart and competent ideas. A mess and I don't think we have calculated the Arab scene.
They speak moderate, no way, they hate the infidels, all of us; and, it is not going to change.
Damn, what to do. How do we cut our losses?
OK, let's use that over used word; think "out of the box"--
(1) get the young troops out as soon as possible, at least pulled back to Kuwait.
(2) move in older more seasoned troops; Special Forces, CIA
(3) Get U.S. Iraqis involved, get them into the country and let them start doing some rebuilding. I mean the ones who have come to the American shores and stayed. Now it is time to go back and help with the rebuilding.
(4) develop a strategic plan for getting out and follow it.
(5) Don't try to be military governor, get a civilian government operating immediately, one friendly to the US.
Expect criticism but the hell with 'em, have a plan.
OK, this is starters and tell Orrin to shut up about destroying people's computers.
Operation Iraqi Freedom: over 200 Casualties so far; 63 since major conflict operations stopped;(23+ due to combat)
Actual combat deaths. Total number of American soldiers killed in battle
WW1-53, 402-length of war, 19 months
WWWll-291,557—3 years and eight months
Korean War-33,741—3 years and one month
Vietnam-47,414—8 years and nine months
Gulf War 1-148—officially, Jan-Feb 91
Gulf War ll– 129+ (officially) March-April, 2003
Source, NY Times
One thought that really struck home again was that none of these SOBs that are sending our kids into war have any relatives themselves who are affected. What a telling piece of information that is. I don't know for sure, but I suspect that's always been the case although not nearly to the obscene degree it is now.
And they keep dying over there; on average one every other day.
But, not to worry. I also heard some guy from the Pentagon say that these were just minor incidents; sort of the cost of doing business so to speak. That's only if you're not related to the deceased. Some of these idiots just ought to be taken out and beaten with a stout stick.
Col BCR, USA infantry, Vietnam, class of 68.
FOG OF WAR
Since the infamous day of 9/11, we have, as Americans, known a fog of fear. All Americans live dramatically changed on that day and the lives of everybody in American.
On that horrible day, it became incredibly clear that war could happen on our own shores. Europeans and others have known this for decades, and have learned to live with it.
But, for Americans, since the Civil War, the very idea of war has been confined to someplace else; or as the snappy, popular WW 1 ballot says, "Over There."
But, suddenly, war came to our shores, in our laps. We're still working on the idea of carrying on, living our lives even as the peoples of the world have been doing. We've chased the terrorist to Afghanistan and now to Iraq as though it is going to end. No way!
This is a heavy issue and Americans will have to struggle with it for years with the very fabric of our lives; the candidates we elect, the finances and the future--nothing is going to be untouched. And, to me, there is only one choice, Learn to live with terrorism. Do the best we can to protect ourselves and live with it. To do otherwise and we are ever in turmoil.
In one sense, those killers that took over and crashed our planes into the WTC and the Pentagon, did what they set out to do. However, it is now up to us--we will continue to live in a "fog of fear" or face up to getting on with our lives.
GoodByeFred Ellis, We Will Miss You
Comments from Phil Woodall:
I talked to Fred's daughter Jen last night and she wanted to make certain that George Page was aware. Fred died of cancer on June 12 in St Louis.
There will be a service for him on Saturday June 28 @ 9:30 AM at St Victors in Calumet City, IL a meal will follow at the VFW. Fred Ellis was a true American hero and he faced his death bravely and with honor.
Geronimo Phil Woodall, author of
Rhymer in the Sunset
A Brother in Arms-1/501st Company
by Gary M. Joyner
On Thursday, June 12th, Fred Ellis - D 1/501 passed away. Earlier this year he was diagnosed as having multiple cancers and the prognosis was not good. Unfortunately the doctors were right.|
Fred arrived in Vietnam in Dec 1967 with the original 2nd Brigade and served as an RTO with D 1/501. He eventually made his way to HHC 1/501 as a radio operator in TOC and extended his tour for six more months.
In May 1969 Fred was serving in TOC on LZ Professional during the start of operation Lamar Plain. In the early days of the operation the CO of B 1/501 was killed and his RTO severely wounded. The CO of TOC, Cpt Gay, assumed command of B CO and took Fred with him as RTO. Both were seriously wounded the next day. It was Freds third purple heart and the end of his tour in Nam.
Fred was a real character, funny, wild and just plain crazy at times. A typical combat vet and just another "grunt." He had really begun to warm up to the reunion scene the past few years and he will be missed at Kokomo this year. Another "Brother In Arms" has soared.