“VALOR AND COURAGE”
by John Bugnolo, ©2019
(Mar. 30, 2019) — In 2017, President Donald Trump established March 29th of each year to commemorate this day to the 2.7 million veterans who served our country from the advisers (US Army Rangers) sent under President Kennedy in 1960/61 through the escalation under President Johnson, to its conclusion under President Nixon.
I had the wonderful experience of meeting three veterans during my military career in the US Army National Guard (October 1983 to October 1989). In 1986 when deployed in “Operation Team Spirit to Korea” as a PFC in the 279 Signal Corps (72E10) out of Huntsville, Alabama, I met a man who served in a Water Purification Unit during the Tet Offensive of 1968. He survived his two-year duty but mourned the loss 18 years later of his younger brother, who succumbed to a drug overdose during his action in the front lines. He told me it was a horrible way to go!
The second man I met was at Fort Drum, NY, home of the 10th Mountain Division in 1988. I was a member then of 1/102 Field Artillery Massachusetts National Guard (13E2 MOS) out of Danvers, MA. He was a front-line combat grunt (11?) and suffered from what is known today as PTSD. Under a novice 2nd lieutenant, a napalm strike was conducted on his unit while being overrun by the Vietcong. This poor man could not hold a job in civilian life because of the traumatic incident. It was only by the grace of the Massachusetts ARNG that he had a job on a permanent basis. It was probably not much on a sergeant E5 pay grade.
I did not learn the story of the third man I met in my professional career at the end of my service in the Massachusetts ARNG since we did not discuss the war. It was a horrible time with unrest here at home such as that at Kent State by the Marxists at colleges around America.
I was an E5 (Sergeant 1/102nd Battery “A” Field Artillery Massachusetts Army National Guard) with the final military occupational skill (MOS) of 13E20 Cannon fire direction specialist (1989) — 2nd in the class at Fort Sill Artillery School April 1984, Fort Sill, Oklahoma and a 72E10 (Communications Specialist) with 279nd Signal Division in Huntsville, AL 1986 with an 80 passing grade (promoted E3 to E4) on the MOS test.
I attended Boston University from 1978 to 1981, graduating with a BS/BA in Finance. At that time the politically-correct colleges/universities had withdrawn the ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Program) from their campuses to protest the war in Vietnam. It was offered only by Northeastern University, which visited, but due to conflicts with class scheduling at Boston University it was impossible attend.
I believe the stories of the unsung members of the US Army and Marines who were on the ground need to be heard. Mel Gibson’s “We Were Soldiers,” along with John Wayne’s “Green Berets” portrayed the valor and courage of the men of that time.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.