Saturday, October 07, 2006

Outposts

















We had few news reports while serving in the countryside and jungles of Vietnam. We knew the USO and Bob Hope were putting on shows in country, but that was in rear areas far away from where we were. Nobody in our units attended such entertainment that I'm aware.

We did begin to get word of mouth information that indicated some people in the United States were protesting our assistance to the government and people of South Vietnam. When I was there the year of 1966, the protests on campuses and in the streets back home had not escalated to the degree reached in the late sixties.

Throughout U. S. History up to the early 1960's, famous and important people put careers on hold to serve in the military. Some volunteered while others were drafted. Several famous major league baseball players were drafted and served during the 1950's. One famous draftee was Elvis Presley who served two years in the Army.

In the mid-1960's a famous athlete and world champion boxer received a draft notice. His name was Cassius Clay who had recently won the heavy weight title to become the world champion. Mr. Clay refused to enter military service amid much publicity at the time. A showdown between patriotic duty and willingness to serve in the military ensued. The final result was that Mr. Clay was stripped of his world champion title, but he did not enter the military. He later changed his name to Muhammad Ali.

Today, it is rare to hear of famous citizens volunteering to serve in the military. Pat Tillman, ex-NFL football player, was the most recent one I remember. He put his career on hold, joined the Army, became a Ranger and was killed in tragic confusion of ground battle in Afghanistan by friendly fire. This was most unfortunate because Mr. Tillman was setting a good example for other United States citizens of prominence to volunteer. The facts are, however, that only a small percentage of military personnel die or get hurt while serving our country.

Two pictures here show fellow soldiers digging a protective encampment to set up mortar support for upcoming foot patrols to engage the enemy. I took these pictures and then returned to help fill sandbags. The bottom picture shows soldiers in my unit moving to patrol an area.

Return here on Monday, October 9 for more.

Have a good day!


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