Fear is what ever reality you have. Most of the kids I grew up with played all sorts of competitive games as kids and I think that effected our reality. At least for me it did. One time, I mentioned to the wife that I thought playing computer games changed the driving habits of our son. Push reset and get a new game (car). I was soon reminded that I too crashed my share of vehicles and was the one that had to hire a lawyer to keep my license. Go back to your corner Dennis and shut up.
Back to the theme of Was I afraid? When I went to Vietnam, I was subjected to a lot of periods of boredom interspersed with moments of sheer terror. If I had tried to maintain a constant vigilance the entire time I was there, I would have been a shell of myself in about 30 days. You cannot maintain that level of adrenalin for more than a few moments. So, afraid or Skeardt is just not a description I would use. I tried to be as prepared to do my job as well as I could and reacted to my training when called upon.
Near the beginning of my time in Vietnam, we stood a mortar attack that killed 13 and seriously wounded about 47 out of a battalion of about 500. I was near the main body of the battalion and luckily did not get hit by any of the mortars or shrapnel. During the mortar attack I tried my best to hide under my helmet and flack jacket. As soon as I could, I got up and ran out to the battery and tried to help keep everything together. My training kicked in and I was awake for the next 48 hours. I can't say I was afraid we would get hit by a ground attack, just concerned that it might happen and I did everything I could to make sure that didn't happen. There was more the matter of taking care of the wounded and dead.
Near the end of my tour, I was on a mountain top LZ and we started getting RPG file from another hill near by. I rushed out of my bunker and started directing the fire of one howitzer to shut that sucker up. I had no concern for my safety, I wanted it stopped and shooting him before he got us was my goal. When the firing stopped, the firebase was shot up pretty bad but there were no fatalities on our side and only a few wounded. During the time when a rocket he fired at us was coming in, I can remember getting down behind a tree stump. When it was all over, I looked for that stump and the only thing I could find was a 3 inch stump of a bush. My perception was it was bigger but it was not.
I think that has been the story of my life that while I might have an increased adrenalin level, I am more prone to action rather than frozen with fear when something happens. I hope to die in my sleep at least 15 years down the road, but I am not afraid of dying.
In fact, I tell people that I am so glad to have such a great life and I am not sure I would have changed a thing were I to get the chance to do it all over again. Well, I might have bought more 57 Chevys back in the day.
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