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The Warrior

Do you remember the dreams you had when you were young?
Those many goals in your life that you had been planning
All of those places and things that you had wanted to see

It's funny in a way that things never went the way planned
But our lives seemed to have reacted to or followed events
Altering our own lives forever and led us in new directions

I didn't go to college after graduating from high school
I went to work to save up my own money to go to college
I was a mailman but events took me in another direction

There was this war going on over in Southeast Asia then
The government was drafting young men to go into the Army
I was called five times but they had reached their quota

So each time I was sent back home and not drafted that day
This procedure became like a damn game of Russian roulette
Never knowing each time if I would be drafted or sent home

After the fifth time I decided to enlist into the Air Force
They delayed my date to report until after Christmas 1967
I was told to report for my enlistment on February 2, 1968

This event would change my future and all the plans I made
I would not go to college but to technical school instead
I'd become a Special Purpose Heavy Duty Maintenance man

Two years of intense training were crammed into ten months
I'd become a specialist on crash-fire & crash-rescue trucks
Making sure that these trucks were always ready to respond

I had volunteered to go to serve in Vietnam as an advisor
To train South Vietnamese mechanics to fix their trucks
But I would also service our own crash-fire trucks as well

I took extra training on advanced weapons and procedures
Learning how to fire and maintain different type weapons
The M-60 machinegun and the heavy .50 cal. machinegun too

I ended up serving as a Security Policeman as well there
My first two months were served as an advisor & as a cop
Teaching the Vietnamese during the day and a cop at night

After I was Honorably Discharged I returned home again
I went back to being a mailman and went to college too
Using my hard earned GI Bill benefits to go to college

But after one year the government decided to change
No longer could you have no time limits to finish up
They decided to cut off your benefits after 2 years

So in mid semester of my second year I was cut off
No longer would the VA pay for me to go to college
So I was forced to drop out and never finished up

In the end I decided to leave the postal service
I became a machinist and later on a truck driver
I had medical issues from my service in Vietnam

The Agent Orange used to kill jungle plants there
Was found to have contained poisonous dioxins in it
It was found to cause many different medical problems  

Depending on the amount of your personal exposure
You could become crippled, have heart, lung issues
But worst of all it can cause many types of Cancer

I was forced to take a medical retirement due to it
After 28.5 years of loyal, hard and faithfully work
My company let me go because of my own disabilities  

So I was laid off permanently not to be called back
My loyalty and faithful service counted for nothing
At 60 years old I was tossed out like old garbage

Thankfully the Veterans Administration approved me
They said my medical issues were from Agent Orange
I would be given a life time pension from them

Afterwards I was told to apply for my Social Security
They said since I was let go because of disabilities
I was approved for SS disability for the years I worked

I was very lucky many times while serving in Vietnam
Many times I had faced deadly events with my buddies
Yet most of us survived those times during our lives

I'm proud I served my nation defending freedom for all
I'm even prouder that I had served with these buddies
They were an elite unit of the Air Force in Vietnam

Terry Sasek - Alwaysawarrior - All Rights Reserved.

It seems that no matter what plans we make for our lives things can and will
be changed by events & circumstances that come up in our own lives. What had
appeared at first to be a financial disaster for my wife & I, had turned out
to be a blessing in disguise for us because even though I had lost my company
pension because I did not complete a full thirty years employment with them,
I was given a lifetime disability pension from the VA because my service in
South Vietnam and also because of my own heavy exposure to those chemicals in
the Agent Orange defoliants which were deemed to have caused all of my service
connected disabilities. Because I was also forced out of my own job due to my
disabilities becoming worse with each year that passed by, I was also awarded
my Social Security Disability pension from the age of 60 until the age of 66
when it was then converted over into my regular Social Security pension from
all the years that I had worked during my life time and paid into that system.

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