Forward March

My claim to fame is in here.  It is my story, what I think about when I write this half a century later.  That in itself will excuse my errors and lack of judgement.  The idea to write has been there ever since.  The will to write just came to me, spurred in part by a recent Viet Nam memoir.   My audience will include teenagers such as my daughters, middle age folks and vets from other wars, people my age like my family who never knew what we did and my friends along the path to sober living.

  If a video game, then this is a first person shooter.  If porn, then POV.  If psychology then in need of treatment.  If history, then this is Recollection.  If apology, then sort of.   If cathartic, then successful.  All my life folks thought I didn’t want to talk about it.  Maybe sometimes I did not.  Now I do in connection with my worldview.  Today I loathe being in the company of TSA, flow charted directly from taking orders in Viet Nam.  In plainer terms I have issues with authority.  Big deal.  So should we all.  This story tells why and where I learned about a case of the ass.  

  In short, stupid orders resulting in unnecessary deaths can give you a case of the ass.  See?   The obvious fight in this book is with the enemy VC and NVA.  If only them it might have been easier.  I fought the Army, fought with stupid soldiers and fought with the terrors in my mind.  When I go beyond writing about a firefight it is because the real fight extended further.

  A Glossary for those cute and pesky acronyms.  Don’t wonder about some details, eg type of weapon AK-47.  The context should make it clear if the  explosion was to us or from us.  I use terms appropriate back then and maybe not now.  Too bad if it ain’t PC.  Neither was the damn war.

  The blend of details with flashbacks, first person speaking, past tense and skipping around in time and place should be at least somewhat confusing.  It is to me.  And that’s the way it was, Walter Cronkite’s sign off.  (His sign off was questioning the war.)  I don’t watch the News anymore, most especially Foxy News.  The Viet Nam war was all over the three TV journalism news networks.  Endless war rarely makes the news today.  I am concerned for the war vets since Viet Nam.  I cannot quite dig what they did but I get it. 

  I have read history books my whole life, probably four dozen Viet Nam books of all type.  For me history is one big connected story - paradoxically the truth stranger than fiction. I wanted some understanding about Viet Nam.  On the GI Bill I received a Master of Philosophy degree.  I wanted to know “how”, maybe “why” can people do THAT to each other.  I didn’t find my answer there but I’m much better at obfuscation.

  Not only historically well read, he said modestly, I like my arcane web of knowledge.  Recent studies of birds, other animals and just maybe humans too show they have a built in magnetic direction detector.  I have a good sense of direction.
 Follow Me, the Infantry slogan, is appropriate. 

Steven M Schopp
October 2016
Columbia, MO
Maggielu, LLC