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d_r

(6,907 posts)
Tue Oct 2, 2012, 04:50 AM Oct 2012

3rd Graders and war

Last night after talking to a group of third grade cub scouts about "citizenship" I realized that there has never been a time in their lives that the USA has not been at war.

The things they said were so interesting - it was like they just assumed that there would always be people off fighting in war somewhere, that it was just a part of life that there would be some kids whose parents were at war, that it was a constant.

I was five when the US involvement in Viet Nam ended, and we weren't as saturated with media then, so I don't remember thinking about the world that way when I was in third grade. To me wars were things that had happened that had a beginning and end.

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3rd Graders and war (Original Post) d_r Oct 2012 OP
That is really sad that they don't understand avebury Oct 2012 #1
I grew up during the cold war Madam Mossfern Oct 2012 #2
That is a startling realization Victor_c3 Oct 2012 #3
What a sad story. jerseyjack Oct 2012 #4
Thanks Victor_c3 Oct 2012 #13
you have the beginning right here d_r Oct 2012 #22
thanks Victor_c3 Oct 2012 #23
Coontinue please momsrule Oct 2012 #7
Thanks, I'm giving that some serious thought right now. Victor_c3 Oct 2012 #14
I'll bet your story isn't too different from many other soldiers' stories. The cultural valerief Oct 2012 #8
thanks Victor_c3 Oct 2012 #15
Bless you sir, Risen Demon Oct 2012 #12
stay safe Victor_c3 Oct 2012 #16
Keep your head down Doctor_J Oct 2012 #18
The son of a friend of mine Doctor_J Oct 2012 #17
Keep in mind, WE ARE THE TERRIORIST NATION OF THE WORLD. jerseyjack Oct 2012 #5
I have to agree. Vidar Oct 2012 #11
I was born in 1946 left-of-center2012 Oct 2012 #6
Rich people get richer from war. That's its purpose. nt valerief Oct 2012 #9
I think we did go into Serbia sakabatou Oct 2012 #10
I'm much older than that, and the statement is still true: "never been a time in (my life) that the Romulox Oct 2012 #19
we have always been at war with EastAsia phantom power Oct 2012 #20
I don't know if this is frowned upon on this forum Victor_c3 Oct 2012 #21

avebury

(10,967 posts)
1. That is really sad that they don't understand
Tue Oct 2, 2012, 06:15 AM
Oct 2012

that we used to live in a time when we were not perpetually sending troops to fight.

Madam Mossfern

(2,340 posts)
2. I grew up during the cold war
Tue Oct 2, 2012, 06:17 AM
Oct 2012

I think it was much scarier. Air raid drills, bomb shelters....
We all assumed that we were going to die in a nuclear holocaust.

Victor_c3

(3,557 posts)
3. That is a startling realization
Tue Oct 2, 2012, 06:58 AM
Oct 2012

I think I started cub scouts when I was in second or third grade. That would have been 1988 or 1989.

My grandfather was a WWII Infantryman (Glider Infantry to be exact. And there is a reason you probably don't know much about glider infantry - it was used just once by Americans on D-day and deemed to be a failure and too costly in terms of human life) and he never talked about what he did in the war. This kind of left an air of mystique around what war was to me. My other grandfather was a clerk stationed in Japan during the Korean war. My father was too young for Vietnam (he graduated in 1973 or 1974) so I never knew anything about that war.

I spent much of my childhood playing with G.I. Joe (and legos) and playing out war.

I remember being in 5th grade around the time of the first gulf war in 1991 and I remember watching the footage of the scuds being launched toward Israel. I remember being so proud of our country at that time. I don't remember seeing anything directly about death and the horrors of the war in Iraq. I wouldn't find out more about that war until I was a Junior in high school.

I forget if the mess in Haiti was before or after the Bosnia/Kosovo thing. I remember watching little updates of what was going on in Haiti when I would watch the news in the morning. My brother, father, I would joke that the Army "bagged" another Haitian whenever we'd here something about a firefight and some Haitians were killed. My mother was not amused by this at all.

I was in 9th grade when the Dayton Peace Accord was signed and NATO forces went in to clean up the Balkans. Again, I was proud of our military and our country and I saw Bill Clinton using our military as a force of good. This had a profound effect on me.

When I was 16 and started my junior year of high school, a kid that was a year older than me who washed dished in my parents restaurant enlisted in the Army. He told me and my parents that I could enlist in the Army and do what they called the "split-op" enlistment program. Basically, when I turn 17 years old, my parents could sign a waiver and I could join the Army Reserves. I went to basic training during the summer vacation between my junior and senior year of higschool and I served one weekend a month in the local Army Reserve unit during my senior year of high school. I served as a 91B (combat medic). I could write quite a bit about that experience and what it was like to go back high school after going to basic training (I had a blast, I was a local celebrity of sorts and that was one of the best years of my life).

I was a nerd at heart and I received an Army ROTC scholarship and I went to college to get a degree in chemistry. When it came time for me to select what functional branch I wanted to be within the Army (i.e. medical officer, field artillery officer, military police officer, quartermaster,...) the Colonel in my ROTC unit must have seen something in me and he talked me into being an Infantry Officer. I was in phenomenal shape (two things I've always been good at is physical training (I could run 3 miles in under 19 minutes and I almost held the world record for bench press for a 168 pound man (which used to be 425 pounds at the time)] and shooting). Basically my Colonel mentioned that I would always have my degree to fall back on if/when I got out of the Army so he thought I should use the Army as an opportunity to try something completely different with my life. If I didn't like it, I could just get out and have a lifetime's worth of stories from my time. I really took that conversation to heart and I opted to be an Infantry Officer. I finalized my choice to be an Infantry Officer either the day before or the day of the September 11th attacks in 2001.

I graduated college and received my commission as a Second Lieutenant in May 2002. I spent about the next year training at Fort Benning Georgia where I spent 16 weeks going through the Infantry Officer Basic Course, I went through Ranger School (which kicked my ass), Airborne School, and I completed the Mechanized Infantry Leaders Course. I had about a month of training left to complete when the war broke out in Iraq in April 2003.

I arrived to my unit in Germany in June 2003, right as the unit was returning from a year in Kosovo. I was given a platoon in January of 2004 and I found myself getting deployed to Iraq in February 2004. I spent 13 months in Iraq as an Infantry Platoon leader and, without getting into the details right now, it kicked my ass and completely changed me.

During the year that I was there my platoon was credited with killing 46 people and wounding an astounding number. 5 of the 44 guys in my platoon were killed when I lost a Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

I got out of the Army in 2007 and I've been struggling for years with PTSD. I get a lot of help from the VA and I have a 70% disability rating. I could go into some depth about it all what what life is like, but I'll just say that it is a complete struggle at times. Driving to and from work is an adventure, I'm a complete basket case when I'm out in public, and my relationships with my family is crap and I don't have any friends. I've been out of Iraq for about 8 years now and my head is still stuck there. I just can't move on or get away from it no matter how much I try.

Even though I don't have the time or energy to talk about how the war impacted me, I really need to get that out there. I'll have to save that for another post.

I don't really know what my point is, but I suspect that I really want to get it out there that believing war and service to your country is a good thing is a very dangerous and destructive path. Yes, the war is out there and talked about on TV, but nothing is really shown about the true horrors of the war. So much of what is shown on TV is sterilized. You don't see pictures of maimed, dying, and dead men, women, and children that the war produces. The pictures of flag-draped coffins aren't there either. The only thing we in America have to look at is some spiffy looking monument showing Soldiers in all of their glory - which presents the wrong impression of war. I think that monuments for war should focus on those who pay for it - the civilians and even more so the children. If/when they get around to making a monument for my war in Iraq, I want to see one of dead unarmed male Iraqi lying face down on the dirt with his crying wife in a burqa sitting indian style next to him holding a mangled and dead toddler in her lap, face up with it's mouth and eyes stuck open and gasping. That would be an image that would make nobody think the war in Iraq was a good thing.

Victor_c3

(3,557 posts)
13. Thanks
Tue Oct 2, 2012, 09:11 AM
Oct 2012

I'm not sure if it really helps immediately, but I like getting my thoughts out there. I have a lot of problems talking to the people around me and telling them about the war and what it was all about. I didn't really go into depth on this post, but I do post some details from time to time. I want to talk more to my family about it, but part of me is scared out of my whits about what my family would think about me if they found out some of the specifics of what I did. My parents know roughly that I was awarded a Bronze Star and an Army Commendation Medal with "V" device for valor, but they don't know what I did to get those awards. I think they are proud of them, which isn't exactly what I don't want them to be (does that makes any sense?). My opinion on the war is very sloppy and is filled with conflicting points and ideas. Part of me is ashamed of my wartime awards and what they represent, yet I use a Bronze Star picture for an avatar on this forum. I walk around work with my Combat Infantryman's Badge on my lab coat. Go figure. I know it doesn't make sense.

I hope talking about it here in a semi-anonymous forum will make it possible to one day tell my kids (who are now 2 and 4 years old) about the war when they are old enough.

Unfortunately, telling my stories on this forum is kind of like preaching to the converted. I'd imagine that most of you are generally in the same anti-war mindset as me and most of you do support the veterans.

Anyways, thanks for the reply.

d_r

(6,907 posts)
22. you have the beginning right here
Wed Oct 3, 2012, 10:09 AM
Oct 2012

One thing you might do is get some index cards. On each card write a thought or a sentence or something you want to say. Then you can take the cards and arrange them in stacks and move them around. Stacks of sentences become paragraphs and ideas.


I've read through your posts here a couple of times now. I think you should keep at it.

Victor_c3

(3,557 posts)
23. thanks
Wed Oct 3, 2012, 10:48 AM
Oct 2012

That really gives me a sense of validation to know that some people have been following my posts. Thanks for letting me know.

I've been saving my posts kind of for that reason. I frequent this forum, a conservative one (that I've been getting away from posting on as of recently), and a PTSD veterans specific forum from time to time. I have a lot of things that I've written over the last couple of years to pull from - including all of the emails that I sent to my family when I was in Iraq.

If/when I get something written, I'll be sure to let everyone on this forum know.

The notecard idea is a great one. I'm going to go see if I can steal some from work right now...

momsrule

(100 posts)
7. Coontinue please
Tue Oct 2, 2012, 07:37 AM
Oct 2012

Your writing is compelling and you should keep at it. There are no winners in war only terrible losses! If you continue writing about your experience you will be doing a great service to all and in the process start to relieve the burden placed on you. God bless you and all your good intentions in a cold and cruel world.

Victor_c3

(3,557 posts)
14. Thanks, I'm giving that some serious thought right now.
Tue Oct 2, 2012, 09:17 AM
Oct 2012

I've been writing stuff like the above post on this forum since I joined a few months back. As much as I don't like to relive the events, I like to write about it. Thank you for the compliment on my writing.

I've mentioned this on another thread, but I've been thinking about writing a book or writing it all out in long-form for years now. I came up with the general plan that I would just write whatever came up into my mind on forums like this, save the posts, and after a while compile them/mine them for ideas and work it into a manuscript of some type.

When I sit down and think that I'm actually going to write a book at the war, the task is very daunting to me and I don't know where to begin. There is just so much that I want to get out there and I don't know where exactly to begin - and I don't want to forget anything. I'm kind of worried that people I know will read it and that the people I served with will think that I'm just a whiny bitch writing this, but I haven't talked to them in years sso why should I care?

Thanks you for your comment.

valerief

(53,235 posts)
8. I'll bet your story isn't too different from many other soldiers' stories. The cultural
Tue Oct 2, 2012, 07:41 AM
Oct 2012

brainwashing of the glory of war and then facing the reality of it is stark, as you illustrate. And what's it all for? So the very richest can get richer. That's the only reason why you risk life, limb, and sanity.

I wish you well and hope you're able to recover.

Victor_c3

(3,557 posts)
15. thanks
Tue Oct 2, 2012, 09:18 AM
Oct 2012

That is exactly the point that I wanted to get accross. Unfortunately I didn't realize that until after I spent some time in Iraq.

Risen Demon

(199 posts)
12. Bless you sir,
Tue Oct 2, 2012, 08:14 AM
Oct 2012

from a 31 year old Army SPC who joined during a time of a rough economy. I'm about to take a 9 month tour of Afghanistan in a month. Although I'm a 25B(Commo/Info Tech) I'm attached to an infantry unit. Most of my time will be inside the FOB, but I've come to know alot of these young and ambitious infantrymen and I'm proud to call them my comrades and friends. Just the thought of one of them becoming killed, or badly injured makes my heart sink in my chest. I don't see them as just another number or body: these are human beings with families, goals, and dreams.

I've always believed that every person is like a book being written, and when their life ends, that book is closed and put on a shelf to be remembered.

for respect.

Victor_c3

(3,557 posts)
16. stay safe
Tue Oct 2, 2012, 09:29 AM
Oct 2012

Don't do yourself any favors and volunteer to do anything extra while you're deployed. I was kind of bitter when I was in Iraq towards all of the "fobbits", but there is no shame in staying safe so long as you are doing your job and everything you are asked to do. If I were to do it all over again, I'd probably be an Airforce Finance Corps officer. Same pay, none of the dangers.

You might feel like you are missing out on some of the "action" by staying on the FOB, but all you need to do is experience one firefight and you'll wish that you never have to live through that again.

It was kind of funny (in a way). When I was in Iraq my platoon was biting at the bit to get out into sector and to get into a firefight. For the first month we stayed on the base in QRF (quick reaction force) role in case we were needed to back up any of the lighter units in the battalion. My platoon was kind of a weird mix. I had two Bradley Fighting Vehicles, two Tanks, and 2 squads of dismounted Infantry, so I had a lot of firepower. My platoon was attached to a combat engineer batallion that conducted all of its missions with HMMWVs and 113s.

Anyways, after our first little taste of combat, the guys in my platoon totally shut up about wanting to see anymore action!

Your deployment experiences, both good and bad, will stick with you for the rest of your life. They were very formitive to me and made me a much kinder and gentler person. I got out when I was 27 and I feel like I aged 30 years mentally. I'm basically in retirement mode at this point in my life (I'm 32 years old now)! It's kind of funny. The war sucked and I hated it, but those were the best years of my life.

Stay safe!

Victor

 

Doctor_J

(36,392 posts)
18. Keep your head down
Tue Oct 2, 2012, 10:25 AM
Oct 2012

A friend of mine was a radio operator in Da Nang and that benign-sounding detail didn't keep him from emotional scars. and battle fatigue. Stay safe

 

Doctor_J

(36,392 posts)
17. The son of a friend of mine
Tue Oct 2, 2012, 10:22 AM
Oct 2012

went to Iraq as an enlisted marine. He was in "clean-up" detail in Mosul, was awarded a Bronze Star, IIRC. when he returned the local paper wanted to do an article about him but he refused. Apparently you don't get a Bronze Star unless you've killed someone, and he didn't want that fact to receive mass attention.

Do you think that most of our enlistees "believe war and service to your country is a good thing" at this point? Do they think they're "protecting freedom"?

 

jerseyjack

(1,361 posts)
5. Keep in mind, WE ARE THE TERRIORIST NATION OF THE WORLD.
Tue Oct 2, 2012, 07:24 AM
Oct 2012

If you haven't already done so, wiki General Smedley Butler. Read, "War is a Racket."

left-of-center2012

(34,195 posts)
6. I was born in 1946
Tue Oct 2, 2012, 07:31 AM
Oct 2012

I was born in 1946.
Since then, the US has fought in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. (Did I miss any?)
We didn't win in Korea or Vietnam.
Can't say we won anything in Iraq, having lost 4,000+ troops and killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.
And looks like we're losing Afghanistan.

We did win on the island of Grenada.

And now the GOP wants a war with Iran.

"Beware of the military/industrial complex."

Romulox

(25,960 posts)
19. I'm much older than that, and the statement is still true: "never been a time in (my life) that the
Tue Oct 2, 2012, 10:26 AM
Oct 2012

USA has not been at war..."

Victor_c3

(3,557 posts)
21. I don't know if this is frowned upon on this forum
Tue Oct 2, 2012, 06:12 PM
Oct 2012

but I just wanted to give this thread a bump. The war is a huge part of my life and the threads about it seems to never last long here. I just want to keep the conversation alive.

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