Some people know that i used to hang around the local VFW when i was a kid and sit and listen to the Vets stories about this and that from the time they were my age to times spent huddled in a hole on some damned hill in Nam.
I just got the phone call that a good friend from then passed away this afternoon around 5.
He used to always buy me an orange soda or a cookie and i still have a few of the things he gave me that he brought back from the rice paddies while he was there.
Can you believe that someone actually VOLUNTARILY took 4 tours?
We all called him Sarge, i think it was his rank as he took great fondness in the memories of chewing out other Marines while he was there.
I can still remember the time he told me the story of the time he and a buddy ran into a small group of Laotian people picking rice in a field while on patrol, one of the kids in the group had a small monkey thing that would sit on his shoulder. When his buddy gave the monkey thing an bit of his lunch, the monkey ran up his arm, grabbed him by the ear and nose and started to initiate a probing of his ear cavity! hehe They even named it Spegalman IIRC after some upper ranker that would give the guys trouble and i guess he looked like the monkey or the monkey looked like him
From him i have, a few old MI M16 rounds and empty casings that he kept from his first clip over there, His old hat, a Machete he picked up (not sure if it was used there but US ARMY is inked on the handle) a booklet of Vietnamese and Laotian phrases like "where is clean water" and "how far to the nearest road/trail"
A manual on how to tear down a M16 and properly oil the parts to prevent rusting of the weapon, one set of Tiger stripe BDUs in my size amazingly, a big knife that i use for gutting deer and any other animal i hunt down.
This guy lived a life like none i know, he ran away from home at 17, joined the Marines, went to Nam, came back, decided there wasn't anything here for him and then went back another three times.
He was wounded only once and that was a freak accident involving a hole in his water canteen by a careless recruit tripping and dropping his arm. The bullet hit a tree, ricocheted and hit his canteen, then just barely went into his hip, He was so concerned about figuring out who was hit, where the shot came from and setting up a defensive operation that he didn't realize there was blood coming form his left hip
That goes to show who this guy was.
All in all I'm sure he is finally done fighting that war where he is now and looking down on us all everyday.
RIP Sarge. You will be missed...