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Old 11-06-2006, 10:09 AM   #1
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military secrets

This summer, I found out that my uncle flew helicopters in Vietnam and last night I found out my father was on one of the ships blocking the Russian's from entry into Cuba during the Cuba Missle Crisis.

Why is it that military guys don't talk about serving in a hot zone? I've heard all sorts of stories from my pops and my uncle. You know, the drunken bars and traveling all over the world, but never did either mention these aspects of their time in the military.

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Old 11-06-2006, 10:16 AM   #2
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sometimes people don't talk about it because of some of the things that they had witnessed durring that peroiod of time. i had an uncle in vietnam that was in the middle of the fighting and I've been able to piece together throughout the years that he saw some horrible things and didn't really want to remember them, let alone glorify it. I'm proud that he served his country and I apreiciate what he experienced, and what all Vets have experienced. and while not all of us may agree on why we are fighting, its how we fight and who fights for us that should be applauded.

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Old 11-06-2006, 10:22 AM   #3
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Yep some vets definately don't talk about their experience so they don't relive them or they are not allowed to. My dad served in the Airforce with Stratigic Air Command and thats about all i ever get out of him besides the time he was on the beach getting drunk at Guam.
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Old 11-06-2006, 11:39 AM   #4
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This is a little off topic here, but about ten o'clock last night a tank drove by me house. That isn't something you see everyday. There is a collector in town that has quite a few military vehicles for sale, but I don't know if test drives should be allowed on public highways.
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Old 11-06-2006, 11:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
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This is a little off topic here, but about ten o'clock last night a tank drove by me house. That isn't something you see everyday. There is a collector in town that has quite a few military vehicles for sale, but I don't know if test drives should be allowed on public highways.

LOL that must have been an odd site. We run military trains every once in a while and they are always accompanied by MP's or special agents.
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Old 11-06-2006, 11:43 AM   #6
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Who would buy a tank? I mean, I guess if you have property to cruise around in it, but it's just really weird that they would be test driving it. Gotta make sure all those buttons work somehow I assume. Did they take out any cars? Shoot the cannon? Maybe it was Simple Scout, he's got a gun turrent on his jeep, maybe he's trading up.

(yeah, I'm avoiding work)
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Old 11-06-2006, 11:45 AM   #7
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Does anyone remember the event(i think in the late 80's) when that reserve member stole the tank from the armory. Video of it showed him cruising down the road in Cali somewhere running over just about everything on the road.

Tiny I'm avoiding work as well but only 1 more day till a 2 week vacation here
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Old 11-06-2006, 11:54 AM   #8
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I know guys who saw action don't usually talk about it, but for your entire family to unaware that you served in Vietman is just unbelievible to me. It reminds me of that episode of MASH when Klinger has his mother convinced he's in the circus.

And my dad, I been dragging stories out of him for years (he was a major bad kid, cars in lakes, dynamite in turkey farms) but that just seems like a detail he would have enlightened us about. I know more about his tattoo than about his actual service which is sad.

He was just real casual about being there too. They were watching something on the CMC and he just said "I was there." It wasn't a big deal, nothing that brought back bad memories I don't think. It was like he'd forgotten. I just found it odd and very cool. He's looking for the pictures he took of a Russian ship during the stand off for me.


(I have a novel to finish and a short story due in a week that I've not even started, I should bag everything for two weeks and be on vacation too )
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Old 11-06-2006, 12:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiny terror
I know guys who saw action don't usually talk about it, but for your entire family to unaware that you served in Vietman is just unbelievible to me. It reminds me of that episode of MASH when Klinger has his mother convinced he's in the circus.

And my dad, I been dragging stories out of him for years (he was a major bad kid, cars in lakes, dynamite in turkey farms) but that just seems like a detail he would have enlightened us about. I know more about his tattoo than about his actual service which is sad.

He was just real casual about being there too. They were watching something on the CMC and he just said "I was there." It wasn't a big deal, nothing that brought back bad memories I don't think. It was like he'd forgotten. I just found it odd and very cool. He's looking for the pictures he took of a Russian ship during the stand off for me.


(I have a novel to finish and a short story due in a week that I've not even started, I should bag everything for two weeks and be on vacation too )

Your dad was definately in the middle of some major stuff there. Alot of people dont know how close we did come to Nuclear War. After the collapse of the Solviet Union we found out that the Russian escort subs that your dads ship might have confronted were equipped with nuclear tipped torpeados. The Russian captains were also on their own being out of communication with Moscow they had orders to do what was needed. Its ironic how this was on the boards today, the History channel had a show about this just last night.
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Old 11-06-2006, 12:11 PM   #10
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That's the show my parents were watching. What I meant by not a big deal was that he was so casual about it, like it wasn't a big deal. I, however, think it's a huge deal.

I missed out on a lot of stories from my grandfather because I wasn't old enough to understand how important those tales are. Now I learn my dad was at this major event in history and he never told anyone?!?!

I guess I'll be spending the next couple of weeks standing out in his woodshop pestering him.
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Old 11-06-2006, 12:20 PM   #11
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nah I knew whacha ment, I didn't mean to come across wrong. My dad also served around that time and it was very intense times. I just had to write a thesis for school about the Cold war and talk about to intense stuff. I remember when we first moved to minnesota in 1979( I was just a kid) I was deafly afraid of Nuclear War, every time the tornado siren went off I would freak out thinking it was an attack.

As far as secrets, my family is full of them. With the military influence of my Dad I and my 2 brothers all served. I was in the Marines until i blew out one of my knees, my oldest brother was in the Navy UDT SEAL, and the middle was an Airborne Ranger. We were so secretive noone knew who was coming or going, lol
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Old 11-06-2006, 12:27 PM   #12
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I remember being terrified of Nuclear War, too. My mom didn't help, she told us that they would take us away to the mountains if it happened when we were in school and that we weren't to get on the buses but to come home.

I spent every day planning how I would escape when it happened. I told her years later that she'd scared the hell out of me and she was shocked. Ah, moms, they're all nuts.

Those special forces guys are scary
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Old 11-06-2006, 03:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daddyjeep
This is a little off topic here, but about ten o'clock last night a tank drove by me house. That isn't something you see everyday. There is a collector in town that has quite a few military vehicles for sale, but I don't know if test drives should be allowed on public highways.
i live right by one of the largest millitary basses in the world, that's common sight around here...... it's actually not unusual to be hunting and all of a sudden hear a couple tank blasts and some automatic machine gun fire
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Old 11-06-2006, 03:49 PM   #14
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Not sure if it was the same show but one of the interviews with the cuban general he stated that if the US landed on the beach the were going to drop a nuke on the landing site. I have a friend who was on on of the ships that had the Marines on board. He said when he heard that it was like death held his hand.
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Old 11-06-2006, 04:14 PM   #15
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i just found out by my dad that my grandpa (who has been dead about 10 years) was a marine sharpshooter in the pacific and fought in Iwo Jima. he has all these awards and i just realized he got a purple heart, i just wish i could have talked to him about it
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Old 11-06-2006, 04:21 PM   #16
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Yup, talk to your dad and get all the info you can. My great-uncle received the silver star (WWII I think) but the stories are fading away as that generation ages. Snag them while you can.
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Old 11-06-2006, 04:35 PM   #17
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My granddad was a machinist mate on a tin can (destroyer) in WWII, had 3 kamikazes hit his ship, he lost a lot of friends. Never really could talk about it, but, he kept a really detailed journal and scrapbook so that we could know about his experiences in the pacific theatre during the war. A lot of sadness for many of those vets. I still remember what it was like on base when 9/11 hit, the weather, my friends, the uncertainty, and the anger. Every generation has it's shared times, it already seems as though many americans don't care what happened anymore, it's a shame.
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Old 11-06-2006, 04:46 PM   #18
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Tiny, bear in mind that many of his experiences are things you will NEVER understand. He can tell you the words but unless you also understand the state of mind and a million other little things that were going on at the time, it won't give you the full picture. Many times, Vets don't talk about where they were or what they saw because there's a huge gulf to bridge and words alone just can't cover the distance.

Let him (and your uncle) know you're proud to know they served and you really would love to hear anything they cared to tell you. You really can't push a string and the habit of silence might be harder to overcome than you expect.
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Old 11-06-2006, 05:49 PM   #19
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Problem is, Nuthin, if Vets want us to remember and understand or at the very least empathize in a small way, the rest of us have to know. The stories have to be told. I come from a military family, and though I've never served, I'm proud of the members of not only my family but everyone who did and do serve. I'm not asking for details. I don't honestly want to know, but keeping those sorts of events from your family means that the rest of us are doomed to forget. And isn't that something that no one wants? When we forget, we repeat. Though, I do agree with you Nuthin, no one should have to relive those days, ever.

And though I think there are a percentage of people who don't care anymore about what happened on 9.11, I think what you might be mistaking for disinterest, MoneyPit, is the way different people deal with grief. It's such a personal thing, you never know what's deep in someone's heart, what they might be struggling with. I did not attend any memorials over 9.11, but it doesn't change the depth of anger and grief I still feel over those events. There are only a few days that will forever be burned into my mind, that is one of them.
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Old 11-06-2006, 06:06 PM   #20
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I have to say, I grew up on the stories of WW2, only from the library. Both my grandpa's served one in the Army in Europe, the other was to young for WW1 and to old for WW2. Even though he could not serve in combat he signed on with the Corp of Engineers and was sent to the Pacific to build runways. I have old pictures of him on a bulldozer unarmed with one guard who has a M1 Carbine. Unfortunately both of them passed before I was born so I never had a chance to meet either of them. I do have an old shoe box of stuff from the grandpa that served in Europe. When I looked through it for the first time I found a Hitler Youth knife, had some damage but otherwise in good shape with no rust.
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Old 11-06-2006, 06:11 PM   #21
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My dad was in the army in the Pacific. He fought on Okinawa, amoung other places. He refuses to talk about it. We ask questions and all he'll do is shake his head and say that he's seen things he hopes his children and grandchildren never see. It's only been the last 10 years or so that he's been willing to eat any kind of pork, because of what he experienced there. (I don't think I want to hear the details of that.)
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Old 11-06-2006, 06:17 PM   #22
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Wow, Odhinn, that's a pretty special shoe box. My dad still has some Japanese money and the ID card of the first enemy soldier he shot. He had a Purple Heart but it's been gone for a long time. I don't know what happened to it.
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Old 11-06-2006, 06:27 PM   #23
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Both Odhinn and MoneyPit have treasures in the things they received. And honestly, I don't want details. Knowing they were there isn't actually the same as knowing what exactly happened.

I do have my father's dog tag, and well as my grandfather's. Funny though, when my dad gave his tag to me, I noticed the last name was spelled wrong. He'd worn them for years, and never saw the error.
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Old 11-06-2006, 06:57 PM   #24
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I noticed the last name was spelled wrong. He'd worn them for years, and never saw the error.
Actually thats not that uncommon. I reordered my tags three times for a correction on the blood type. I figured that might be important if I was ever wounded in action.
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Old 11-06-2006, 07:12 PM   #25
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HA! I remember I had dog tag issues too.

Anyway, back sort of on topic. I never talk about my time either really. I think the main reason is, that it seems like someone elses memories in a way. Doing stuff that I have trouble even imagining myself doing. None of it is really a big deal. Most of the really cool stuff from my time is in the confidentiality agreement though...
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Old 11-06-2006, 07:23 PM   #26
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You guys gotta understand, I write. I've spent the last couple months gathering stories from my mother about catholic school (what a wealth of hilarious stories).

I want some from my dad. I know he might not want to talk about some of the stuff, I respect that. And I do have some great ones about the turkey farm and his short time as a taxidermist, but being in the center of the Cuban Missle Crisis is really interesting. He even said today his ship had a "fish" for searching for subs.

He'll talk, I'm a terrible pest And if he doesn't want to, I'll be happy writing about his first car, which still resides as the bottom a lake in Jersey.
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Old 11-06-2006, 07:24 PM   #27
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None of it is really a big deal.
That's exactly what pops said. You guys are all the same
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Old 11-07-2006, 06:25 AM   #28
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Both of my grandfathers served in WW2. One has never spoken about it much and the other only talked about it when he had been drinking. By that point it was kinda hard to make sense of it. He drove a tank. He had some really cool german weapons that he brought back, but he sold them years ago. He also had a whole box of money that he found in a bombed out hotel. 200,000 dollars or pounds or whatever they were. I don't know where any of this stuff is now. That is about the only story that I really remember from him was about the hotel. There was no running water so they had to drink champaigne. He said they were even shaving with the champaigne.

Back to the tank driving by...I don't hink they were actually test driving the thing. Probably just moving it.
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Old 11-07-2006, 08:55 PM   #29
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As a Desert Storm veteran and now Iraqi Freedom, I don't mind sharing my stories, even the ones where I lost friends. I have other buddies who did see a lot more but usually will talk about it. I work for the VA and now I see more Viet Nam vets bringing out stories not that the horrors they faced are being faced by a new generation. They are finally starting to get the credit they deserve so we find out more about their experiences. For me, I've spent two years total in a combat zone but probably no more than two months total over that time in contact with enemy troops. Viet Nam vets went for a year at a time, some for several years, spending most of it under fire. WW2, Korean, and Viet nam vets are my heroes and I will be celebrating them this Veterans Day.
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Old 11-07-2006, 08:59 PM   #30
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WW2, Korean, and Viet nam vets are my heroes and I will be celebrating them this Veterans Day.
Amen, Brother.

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