Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Vietnam -- It was my evil twin

The one thing you get to know as fact when you're on everyone's radar is that it isn't what you do that people remember, it is what you did not do or got caught doing it wrong.

On one hand, you can't say, "the devil made me do it" or "it was my evil twin" when you get caught with your pants down. On the other hand, you can't be perfect either. You can make mistakes and you can have your bad days.

Problem is, you can get remembered more for your mistakes than for all the positive things you've ever done for them.

Why am I pointing this out?

Because of all the positive things I did for the 4/77th, none of my efforts ever got recognized. No letters of appreciation, no Army Accommodation Medals, no Air Medals,  and no hand shakes for a job well done.

Vietnam, the one place where stand up and be recognized, valor, bravery and going beyond the call of duty totally was not normal; failed me. 

Sure, SFC Valentine and I had our moments, yes, I was once told by our Battery XO to slow down while driving through the Battery area. 

But how does that equate to diminished or lack luster recognition for basically saving the unit from not being combat ready, racking up tons of hours on the flight line without being told to from 8am to 2am every day, 7 days a week and dealing with anguished officers or rebuilding our entire unit? 

It doesn't.

When I got involved as a stringer for the battalion, I got them publicity in Stars and Stripes, Army Times and Rendezvous With Destiny Magazine.

Again, no recognition for doing this in 90 days.

Compare this to the following:

Between 1974 and 1975, while working for the 2/17th Cavalry, I got published in the Fort Campbell Courier, Army Times, Clarksville Leaf Chronicle and Hopkinsville New Era

This netted me a Commander's certificate and an Army Accommodation Medal.

In 1976, while assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, I supported the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault with pictures that got published in the Fort Campbell Courier as well as other national and international publications and was put in for an impact Army Accommodation Medal but was turned down by the 3rd Infantry division because I just got one.

Between 1976 and 1977, while assigned to the 3rd Combat Aviation Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, I got the unit publicity in Army Aviation Magazine, EurArmy Magazine, Soldiers Magazine and others.  I also got the unit on American ABC News.

That netted me another Army Accommodation Medal.

In 1978, while assigned to the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault, I supported the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault with pictures that were used by MG John M. Brandenburg for his after action report on the Task Force 229th role in the 1978 REFORGER Exercise.

That netted me a personal letter of recognition MG John M. Brandenburg himself.

Funny thing about all of this, the one person who could have done something is still alive today. 

No comments: