Bill Powers, Vietnam veteran
Junction City, KS, USA
In 1968, I was 19 years old when I went to Vietnam as a U.S. Marine
infantryman. The son of a professional soldier, I had been "groomed"
for war. Ironically, I thought the war was ill advised, but I wanted
my shot at "my generations war". At some level, I believed there
may be some value in the fight, but I never really thought we had
the right goals in that country. All that aside, I went and I served.
I was wounded in March of 1969. I spent a month and a half in the
Naval Hospital in Guam and was then returned to Vietnam. The confusion
of the goals, the surrealistic rules of engagement, the trodding
over the same turf time and again with no measurable gains lead
to disillusionment with "the mission". I was, like so many of my
Vietnam brothers, eager to get out alive and forget the war. Obviously,
I got out alive, but the latter did not happen. The courage, strength,
committment to one's fellow Marines, and sacrifices in the face
of a "no-win" strategy, are the memories I cherish most. At the
time, coming home to a hostile and ungrateful nation for that sacrifice
took years to recover from. As with all young men who have gone
to war, I came away changed forever. But I will never forget, never.
to scrapbook index