View Full Version : Angry, depressed, etc., Viet Nam Vets?
19th Jul 2001, 14:46
What's with the 'Angry, depressed, etc., Viet Nam Vet' thing. I've been at this, well since Viet Nam, and can't tell any difference in attitude between my vet colleagues and others.
I am not saying I don't know combat veterans with problems, some specific to the S. E. Asia thing. I will say that without specific knowledge, you couldn't tell them from their pure civvie counterparts with several failed marriages, years of experience and a bad attitude.
20th Jul 2001, 05:56
I work with a whole bunch of Vietnam Vets (I am one also) and they are hard working, well adjusted and very normal (as normal as helicopter pilots can be!)
There is some good info on the VHPA web site about the myth of the maladjusted Vietnam Vet. As I recall, there is a lower incidence of drug use than the population of the same age, a lower suicide rate and a higher level of income. Many other myths also exist, such as that of the use of draftee black Americans as cannon fodder (the combat deaths favored white college educated soldiers more) and that the combat troops were not in as intense a combat environment as their WWII fathers (the average Vietnam infantryman saw significantly more days of combat than the WWII vet, thanks to better recon and helicopter transport to the battle.)
I think the war was a tragic mistake, but one made by a whole country, and I was proud to serve with some of the best men I have ever known. I would stack up my Veteran buddies as a group against any other cohesive bunch, and they would stand out. More competant, more decisive, harder working, better disciplined, and able to prioritize ("what are they gonna do, send me to Vietnam?")
I watched desert storm with pride, and know that the US Army (USARV) I served in would do just as well.
20th Jul 2001, 07:44
Hats Off to Nic. I can say that I have a hard time with a lot of folks who are "Stressed" due to SEA service. Of the many many who went; many, many were support types who never heard a bang. They now use the fact that they were in country to garner support for their self imposed problems. I have lost many friends who were in the heat and it disturbs me greatly that these other wimps run around in Cammies claiming it was conmbat that made them useless.
20th Jul 2001, 09:36
I know a lot of Vietnam Veterans; about 98% rotated back into society as very well adjusted men--the others are still haunted by the ghosts of war and, quite frankly, aren't doing real well. I've noticed a lot of the same hardcore PTSD in some of my friends who're in Beirut... It really does break my heart for them.
It seems like those who handle the combat experience best are able to compartmentalize their tour(s) and purposely don't revisit it much mentally.
The guys I know that're still being torn apart are beside themselves... they just can't seem to turn off that hyperfocus.
But I digress... ;)
I think it's primarily a Hollywood concept--the shifty, paranoid, moody Vietnam Vet.
I'm sure y'all have seen this before, but some may not have:
EVERYTHING I EVER NEEDED TO KNOW IN LIFE I LEARNED AS A HELICOPTER AIRCREWMAN IN VIETNAM.
- Once you are in the fight, it is way too late to wonder if this is a good idea.
- It is a fact that helicopter tail rotors are instinctively drawn toward trees, stumps, rocks, etc. While it may be possible to ward off this natural event some of the time, it cannot, despite the best efforts of the crew, always be prevented. It's just what they do.
- NEVER get into a fight without more ammunition than the other guy.
- The engine RPM and the rotor RPM must BOTH be kept in the GREEN. Failure to heed this commandment can affect the morale of the crew.
- Cover your Buddy, so he can be around to cover for you.
- Decisions made by someone above you in the chain-of-command will seldom be in your best interest.
- The terms Protective Armor and Helicopter are mutually exclusive.
- Sometimes, being good and lucky still is not enough.
- "Chicken Plates" are not something you order in a restaurant.
- If everything is as clear as a bell, and everything is going exactly as planned, you're about to be surprised.
- Loud, sudden noises in a helicopter WILL get your undivided attention.
- The BSR (Bang Stare Red) Theory states that the louder the sudden bang in the helicopter, the quicker your eyes will be drawn to the gauges. The longer you stare at the gauges the less time it takes them to move from green to red.
- No matter what you do, the bullet with your name on it will get you. So, too, can the ones addressed "To Whom It May Concern".
- If the rear echelon troops are really happy, the front line troops probably do not have what they need.
- If you are wearing body armor, they will probably miss that part.
- Happiness is a belt-fed weapon.
- Having all your body parts intact and functioning at the end of the day beats the alternative.
- If you are allergic to lead, it is best to avoid a war zone.
- It is a bad thing to run out of airspeed, altitude, and ideas all at the same time.
- Hot garrison chow is better than hot C-rations which, in turn, are better than cold C-rations, which are better than no food at all. All of these, however, are preferable to cold rice balls, even if they do have the little pieces of fish in them.
- Everybody's a hero ... on the ground ... in the club ... after the fourth drink.
- A free fire zone has nothing to do with economics.
- The further you fly into the mountains, the louder the strange engine noises become.
- Medals are OK, but having your body and all your friends in one piece at the end of the day is better.
- Being shot hurts.
- "Pucker Factor" is the formal name of the equation that states the more hairy the situation is, the more of the seat cushion will be sucked up your asshole. It can be expressed in its mathematical formula of S (suction) + H (height) above ground) + I (interest in staying alive) + T (# of tracers coming your way)
- Thus the term '****!' can also be used to denote a situation where high Pucker Factor is being encountered.
- Thousands of Vietnam Veterans earned medals for bravery every day. A few were even awarded.
- Running out of pedal, fore or aft cyclic, or collective are all bad ideas. Any combination of these can be deadly.
- There is only one rule in war: When you win, you get to make up the rules.
- C-4 can make a dull day fun.
- There is no such thing as a fair fight-only ones where you win or lose.
- If you win the battle you are entitled to the spoils. If you lose you don't care.
- Nobody cares what you did yesterday or what you are going to do tomorrow. What is important is what you are doing-NOW-to solve our problem.
- Always make sure someone has a P-38. Uh, that's a can opener for those of you who aren't military.
- Prayer may not help . . . but it can't hurt.
- Flying is better than walking. Walking is better than running. Running is better than crawling. All of these, however, are better than extraction by a Med-Evac, even if it is, technically, a form of flying.
- If everyone does not come home, none of the rest of us can ever fully come home either.
- Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media, for they will steal your HONOR.
- A grunt is the true reason for the existence of the helicopter. Every helicopter flying in Vietnam had one real purpose: To help the grunt. It is unfortunate that many helicopters never had the opportunity to fulfill their one true mission in life, simply because someone forgot this fact.
- If you have not been there and done that . . . you probably will not understand most of these.
[ 20 July 2001: Message edited by: Mriya ]