1,309,554 poems read


 photo IMG_NEW-1-1_zps9a931f4c.jpg
Terry at Binh Thuy Air Base, Vietnam 1968

November 14, 2016 will be the 48TH anniversary of my deployment
to Vietnam. I had just turned 20 years old in July of 1968 and though
I was scared to death that morning I left home to go to South Vietnam,
I was not about to let anyone in my family know that fact. It is really
hard for me even today to believe so many years have gone by that fast,
but I had a strong faith in God and I had always told everyone that 100
guardian angels would be there surrounding me to protect me always from
any dangers there and I had always felt and had known I would get back
home in one piece safe and sound. I must admit that I had never thought
or dreamed that the Viet-Cong who would shell our air base on a regular
basis with 75mm pack howitzers, mortar rounds and occasionally some of
those very scary Russian built 122mm rockets would try so very hard to
disprove my theory of my getting back home in one piece safe and sound.

I know that I had volunteered to do many things over there to help out
many others and also because I was using what little free time I would
get during my tour of duty there to get everyone in my hometown to help
me and my friends to help six Catholic nuns with the sixty orphans they
were trying to take care of and feed and clothe, that God would protect
all of us and the nuns and kids from the constant dangers we all faced.
On some Sundays it wasn't safe to travel down the road between our air
base and the orphanage outside of Can-Tho city in the Mekong Delta, but
on those few occasions at least two of us would say to each other those
kids have been looking forward all week to us bringing supplies to them
at the orphanage and we weren't going to let the VC stop us from seeing
them that day. So we loaded our jeep up with the supplies then locked &
loaded our weapons and asked God and his Guardian Angels to protect us
and help us to get through okay to help the nuns and the orphans out.

There were a few times when we were very worried about those motorcycle
boys, the VC who dressed liked the local peasants and then come hauling
up the road to Can-Tho city very fast and the guy riding on the back of
the motorcycle would then toss a homemade explosive or a hand grenade
into the back of a truck or a jeep as they flew past them and then sped
off like a bat out of hell just to get as far away as they could before
their explosive blew up. We had always been very lucky and though we had
at times seen some of these guys come flying by us we weren't targeted
as they would usually go after bigger trucks which were more likely to
have ammunition or fuel drums on them. So now here I am some 47 years
later and I'm still kicking and alive, but now I suffer from the after
effects caused by the chemicals that were used and sprayed around our
airbases by our own government to kill the tall wild grasses and plants
which were blocking our views outside of our defensive bunkers around
the perimeter of our base so we couldn't see the enemy trying to sneak
up to attack our base with mortars and rockets.

And now many of us had become ill and some have gotten cancers and have
died or like me suffered severe nerve damage from our heavy exposure to
those chemicals that were used over there and in the end if it gets as
bad as they say it can get or has with others I had served with there
at Binh-Thuy air base, then that is something I will have to face and
deal with at that time. I'd finally received my veterans 100% service
connected disability rating for being permanently and totally disabled
from all the after effects from my heavy exposure to those defoliants
called Agent Orange and Agent White which were those used on the spray
missions over and around my airbase. I have suffered from  the constant
pain from very severe nerve damage, but I'll not feel sorry for myself
in any way, shape or form at all since the government has finally after
six and one half years of denying my claim to receive medical treatment
relented when the proof was more than they could deny any longer.

I also had claims filed too for veterans compensation for myself since
I was not able physically to work any longer due to all of my health
issues related to Agent Orange in Vietnam and they have finally done
what had been the right thing to do and they are now providing me with
a full compensation for the rest of my life and that I can get any of the
medical care I shall need in the future. I know that all of us had done
whatever we could there to help the South Vietnamese people to try and
save their nation despite what some people may have said back then or
still do say even still today about our efforts to save them in that
war. I truly do believe that God took care of us then, is now and that
he will in the future as well. I'm extremely proud I'd chosen to enlist
and that I had done my very best to do my duty for my God and my nation
and always have ever since that day back in 1968, it was a bitter cold
day on that November morning when I left to serve my own tour of duty in
South Vietnam and I was shocked after arriving in country for I had never
realized just how damn hot that year would be both weather wise and the
actions we would face there as well.

It is still hard for me sometimes to believe that so many years have
flown past so quickly since that day when I left for war not knowing
then if I would ever be able to return back home alive to be reunited
with my family and all of my childhood friends once more or to be able
to find that very special woman some day who would become my wife and
that we could raise our own family in a far more peaceful and friendly
world. I was also hopeful that we would never again have to see other
young people going off to fight in a war and leaving their family and
their childhood friends behind as they were leaving to go join the war
where they'd be forced to grow up way to quickly in their young lives
and face the death and the destruction we saw or just how inhumane some
people can be to other human beings like we had seen in our war that we
had fought in to defend the freedom for both our nation and also that
of our allies in their defense of their own families and their freedom.  

Terry Sasek - Alwaysawarrior - all rights reserved.

I thank God everyday for allowing me to have survived that damn nasty war
over in Vietnam, I know that as well trained and as good as we all were
for our fight to defend their freedom, there was no way that I survived
on my own over there. It was God and his Guardian Angels who'd shielded
me and my fellow warriors from all those things that should've killed us
or at the very least wounded us severely, but it was also because we had
fought as one unit, like those knights of old whose motto was " ALL FOR
ONE AND ONE FOR ALL". It's very hard to believe that it was 48 years ago on
this morning of November 14, 1968 when I was just a 20 year old kid that
I was leaving my home and my family to fight in that bitter & nasty war.

Comment On This Poem ---