Friday, November 8, 2013

"Fighting for Pie"

                                                      
During my 22-year Air Force career I served two tours in Korea and three one-year tours in Vietnam.  While in Vietnam I don't ever remember any reporter coming up to me to ask why I'm fighting there.  Of course, with the media explosion of today we often see troops interviewed in the Middle East and are almost always asked if they believe the war is justified.  Sometimes a troop will echo a justification for the war that he heard from a military or political leader.  Often though, there is a hesitation before he or she just generally answers that they're "fighting for their country".

That's all it really is, or was, for all us who served in a war zone; serving our country.  All of us in the military are taught from the first day of basic training that our duty is to serve, to follow the orders of our commander in chief and to keep our political opinions to ourselves. 

The key difference between troops fighting today is that they are part of an "all-volunteer" force.  The War in Vietnam was fought with a small core of volunteers with the majority being involuntarily drafted or compelled to enlist in order to have choice of career field or branch of service.  And so, for the Vietnam veteran, it was particularly hurtful when, upon our return from war service, we were frequently called "baby killers" by a large number of Americans who were against the war and who were able to find, in the absence of a remote government official, a soldiers face to spit on or revile. 

And yet, soldiers in all wars have fought for their country, simply because they love their country!  How many times do you see or hear a soldier say "I just want to get home to my wife and kids".  Asking a soldier about a war's justification...or requiring a political opinion about the war is often useless.  To most of us it was always about love of home and country.

Most of us are familiar with the most decorated war veteran of WWI, Sergeant Alvin York.  Raised a pacifist as part of his religion, he was initially reluctant to fight in the war.  After finally on the battlefield York's anger at seeing his buddies die around him compelled him to his amazing heroics.  York's motivation was not driven by political rants but by the very personal feelings that make us human.

John Hersey, the famous war correspondent, was travelling with a group of marines on some god-forsaken pacific island during World War II.  Sitting around a camp fire with a group of marines one night, after a particularly bloody battle,  Hersey suddenly threw out the question to the group, "What are you guys fighting for, here today, on this island?"  After an extended time, one marine finally spoke up and said  "I'd give anything for a piece of mom's apple pie".   Several other marines joined in, commenting on what they missed about home.  No political slogans, no gung-ho platitudes; just a thought on "home". 

Fighting for Pie.

I watch the news and I see our troops coming home, tromping through airports or boarding airplanes or buses, all homeward bound.  I'm heartened to see the loving welcome given to our troops today.  But, try as I might, I can't help but remember the hurt when we came home from Vietnam when Americans spit in our face and called us baby killers; a time when America broke our hearts.

After all, we were all just "fighting for pie".

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

very poignant.

Anonymous said...

You fool. Soldiers don't fight for their country, they fight for a governments agenda which is to take over more land to grow the "empire". You kill innocent people so that another man can rake in the riches. You are a sell out. A murderer. You are no different than a drug cartel hit man. You just wear a uniform with fancy badges and get benefits when you retire. Thats the only difference.

If you really were fighting to serve your country and your commander in chief really gave a crap about his nation, he would have the troops on the border to protect us all from illegal aliens that have flooded our nations and overwhelmed our social and public services. He would have you stationed at airports and ports of entry on the coast. TSA would be non existant because troops would take their place. There would be no groping, just metal detectors and close scrutiny of luggage. Airplanes would have more US air marshalls on them. Politicians would not be allowed to take bribes from lobbyists. Big corporate would not be allowed to run the show.

Make no mistake about it, you did not protect your nation from any threats. Vietnam never attacked American forces and the USA did, in fact, go to war with Vietnam based on lies. Just like the Gulf of Tonkin, another war based on lies. Just like the iraq war, based on lies. There were never any weapons of mass destruction found.

The war in Afghanistan is equally unjust because there are still a lot of unanswered questions regarding 9-11 and osama bin laden was not even considered the man behind it, yet we spent billions upon billions looking for him and oh guess what, as soon as obamas ratings are in the toilet, all the sudden obama magically finds osama bin laden. But there is no photographic evidence, and the body has already been disposed of at sea in less than 24 hours where you will never see it again. What a joke.

Good job, soldier, on helping to make a country weak by aiding some extremely greedy, sick and twisted people.

America sucks today because of sell outs like you.

You want to fight for your country, join the border patrol or the coast guard.

In the meantime, I urge you to head over to youtube and search: iraq veterans against war. Go learn the truth and stop being a mindless little lamb.

JustCommonSense said...

Well...one thing I fought for is so you have the freedom to express your opinion...whether I like it or not.

Scott57 said...

Thank You for your service and those that are still on the field of Battle. I'm happy to say I am not one of those so called citizens that treated you and thousands of Vietnam Veterans with such disrespect. Do not pay any attention to the above knucklehead! he or she has read all the conspiracy theories from the internet and can not stand to listen or even read the truth, that the Military do not make policy they obey policy. My oldest son is of the same opinion as the above individual and I have tried to give him the truth and to even read it himself...all to no avail. They will continue to believe the lies with no facts to backup their belief...so be it. Always hold your head high! because you put your life on the line and this person does not the brass balls to do the same. Again Thank You from one proud American to another.

JustCommonSense said...

Thank you Scott57. My second veteran tribute which comes tomorrow addresses many of the points you raise. The parades and marching bands are for the "homefront"..millions of us were far too young to have a political point of view..we simply loved America and that has always been reward enough. Again, thanks.

Anonymous said...

i am in the navy have been for 12 years almost and am from a militray family. when i went away for basic my uncle drove me to the rexcruiters station while we were pulling away he told me to look back and i saw my mom and sister watching us pull away. he then said remember when things get tough and you have a rough day you are doing this for them. i did not relise how true those words are untill i was in bootcamp. you serve in the military for your family and country. yes you might join for college like some do, get away from a bad situation. but after you are in you relise you are part of something bigger than you. you are following in the footsteps of all that have awnsered the call when needed and if needed gave all so that we can be free. i want to say thank you sir and all that came before me for serving so i now can say i served my country. may she always have people that will raise there hand when the time calls.
STS2 SS Penyak navy aug 11 1999- pres

JustCommonSense said...

To Navy Anon: Thank you for your service. We who have served know what it's all about don't we. To those who denigrate our service; well, we served so that they are free to do it. God bless you Navy anon.

Anonymous said...

Muhahaha, you did NOT fight for my freedom to express myself. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, those guys fought hundreds of years ago so that people in America could have freedom of expression. You fought so that the united states government, oil companies, and "defense" contractors could get rich. Don't confuse the two. People like you break down a nation that was built by real men. These two men, in particular, the USA can thank because they are a direct result of the constitution and declaration of independence.

Here, why don't you educate yourself, since you clearly lack any understanding of who really fought for what.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Who_signed_the_Declaration_of_Independence

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Madison

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson

PS Good job, Scott, on helping to perpetuate a tyrannical government by teaching your kid that its ok to go and kill other people in their country so that the united states government can further their disgusting agenda.

No, I have not read "conspiracies", I have read FACTS about why the USG started wars. People like YOU have gobbled up the BS that mainstream media cranks out without even bothering to question its validity. People like you and your son are helping to destroy this nation when you give aid to corrupt men and women. Its unfortuante that you refuse to see that. Its too bad that a 14.5 trillion dollar debt, a poor economy, a high unemployment rate, 98% of goods shipped in from China or other nations, and 20 million illegal aliens about to be granted amnesty isn't enough for you to realize that supporting the very people who allow these monstrocities to happen is only causing more harm. But go ahead, praise the fools who help the tyrannts, maybe when we have a 18 trillion dollar debt, 20 million illegals rewarded for their crime, and a 15% unemployment rate you might awake from your coma and realize that enlisting to "serve" your country is a load of crap.

I'm sorry you were lied to and used, I am, it must really suck to realize it, but to sit here and deny it only makes it worse for all of us. Instead you should just suck it up and admit it for what it is and vow to not let it happen to anyone else who you care about. Vow to teach our youth that enlisting is really not serving your countrymen, but it is serving special interests of a government that clearly feels we are there for to work for them, and not them there to work for us, which is the principles in which this nation was originally founded. Take a look at those links I provided so you can refresh your memory.

Citizens that fear their government is tyranny. A government that fear their citizens is liberty. Which side are you on?

grenadavet said...

Justcommon, first let me say that being trained by Vietnam vets made all the difference in the world during my combat duties,and for that I salute them. I also think that serving our country is of the highest calling, no matter what branch you serve in. However,my service and ensuing experiences have left me with a bitter taste in my mouth vis-a-vis' our government. I carried a TSSI clearance in Military Intelligence (oxymoron??) and was privey to some highly disturbing facts. When I participated in Urgent Fury, I was under no illusions as to what and whom I was fighting for (unlike many in Nam) and it wasn't for kith and kin and country or Mom's pie. We invaded the sovereign territory of a NATO ally to prevent establishment of a forward Cuban/Soviet military base and to free the Grenadians form the oppression of the same. But you and I understand these things. I must say that one of the reasons I left the military (the largest) is that I was becoming extremely jaded with the Machiavellan machinations of our government. My analysis is that our government,due to faulty foreign and domestic policy, has become our own worst enemy. Remember your oath "against all enemies foreign and domestic" and then remember the Declaration of Independance ( the document that made this country- not the Constitution ) "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends". Now go back and read your own blogs, look at the news, and take a good look around you.

In WW2, war correspondent Ernie Pyle reported to the War Department that most combatants were not actually engaging the enemy. In Korea a study was conducted and, amazingly, sometimes as few as 15% of combat effectives were actually fighting (these are frontline infantry troops we are speaking of-where the rubber meets the road so to speak). Consequently, training changes were made, such as getting rid of the bull'seye for rifle training and using popup sillhoutes. Now,firing and hitting your target becomes Pavlovian, so engagment numbers rise. I can cite many other training methods that are along the same lines. And we wonder why PTSD rose so dramatically during Nam?? I don't.

In WW2, frontline troops were asked during debriefing what they were fighting for. 67% said along the lines of " To save my ass!!" which, of course what it really boils down to in combat. There ain't no apple pie,Mom and Dad ain't there, and the only flag may be on the shoulder of the guy next to you. It was a small minority the said the "to save the world from tyranny" line. Now, wars have become way less clearcut than WW2,and,call me conspiracy theorist if you wish,seem to have hidden agendas. I could go on all day about Afghanistan,opium,heroin,Xe (formerly Blackwater)but you can read these FACTS for yourself. When 9/11 happened, we had all sorts of Intelligence folks saying "The public needs to scrutinize this event". These were not conspiracy crackpots-they were well regarded members and ex-members of our Intelligence community. If you listen to anybody,these are the ones, because they deal and dealt everyday with the "shadow world" WHEW!!! 'NUFF SAID!

grenadavet said...

BTW, I missed a point about Grenada. The public was fed the pap about "rescuing American medical students". Not to say they weren't in some danger due to the combat, but the Cubans were under strict orders not to molest or harm them in any way, and to keep them confined for their safety during the coup. So,was there not a "conspiracy" by using subterfuge to enable a military response?

grenadavet said...

Damn somehow my entire previous post to the last disappeared. I will iterate when I have time.

JustCommonSense said...

Grenadavet; your post was automatically sent to my spam folder (I guess because of the word "ass". I didn't delete it; After reading your post I read the spam folder and saw your post..as you see it's reinstated..thanks for your comments.

grenadavet said...

Thanks Just!!

Darlene said...

Thanks brother for your years of service and sacrifice! I hope you don't pay any attention to the one that spewed his sanctimonious bs!! Happy Veterans Day to you!

JustCommonSense said...

Thanks babe...and also to John.

John said...

Hey brother in regards to the idiot talking crap above it is pretty clear he or she never served in the armed forces. And has no respect or love for his/her country. It is true that the greater percentage of the men that fought in Vietnam Nam were drafted but there were many many volunteers that joined to fight for their country. The draft is not going right now so how are men and women that are fighting for us today get there they volentire. Tell me they are not fighting for their country! Somebody needs to put a Rigel in the hands of that idiot and send him to afganistan and see how fast he is ready to fight back against someone trying to kill him. thank you for helping the public understand some of the things the veterans had to go through when coming home from war.

JustCommonSense said...

Hey brother John. The guy's ranting above really doesn't bother me. After what I went through coming home from Vietnam nothing he could say can hurt me. When we flew in to Travis from Vietnam we were told to take off our uniform before transfering to SF Airport because we would be attacked by anti-war protesters if we wore our uniform into a civilian airport. I don't know if you remember but, after coming home from Vietnam I spent every Saturday for six months standing outside Castle Air Force Base in full riot gear as we stood watch over the base to deny the war protesters entry to the base. Not an especially good welcome home. So, the ranting of someone who knows nothing of sacrifice does not bother me at all. It is enough to know that I gave full measure so that he can have the freedom to rant.