Milwaukee, WI, USA
My father is dead. Dead from a heart attack. He was 54 years old and he was a Vietnam Veteran. Not just any Vietnam; the shit. The real thing.. He was a medic with the 101st Airborne in 1965 through 1966.
Imagine this...the youngest son of the ne'er-do-well father. His blood should have afforded him ease of life and the education that our leaders of today got for nothing. He had few choices in life and chose Airborne; the glorious Airborne.
In 1963 he was part of the human fence that surrounded the state of Texas when Kennedy was shot. Later he was among those haunted few who "jumped on Santo Domingo". But the best was yet to come. In the spring of 1965, on a relegated World War One troop ship as an officer explained that the terrain was just like Hawaii, they set off.
Doc (my father)saw what no human should ever see. He was at Ia Drang 1 & 2. Remember the movie Platoon? The name of the man that called in the napalm strike on his own unit was Cpt. McDougal. It happened in late summer of 1965.
My father heard the voice of god in a minefield of elephant grass as he was carrying a third wounded man to a helicopter, while he himself was wounded. That man died; my father blamed himself for that man's death. If only he hadn't stopped and listened to god speak that man would have been alive today.
My life began after his time in Vietnam but is shaped by it all the same. God damn you Robert MacNamera. God damn you John Kennedy. God damn you Henry Kissenger and God damn all of you spit on my father when he came home. God damn Jerry Rubin and his millions of dollars. God damn Sylvester Stallone and his teaching girl's gymnastics in Sweden. God damn the government that denied him the Congressional Medal of Honor recommended him that day in 1965. God damn all you to hell; it may have taken 35 years for his flesh to finally to die- but he was killed by that day in the minefield in 1965.
Robert J. "Doc" Ward
A Company 101st Airborne 1965-1966