March 30th has been declared Vietnam Veterans Day by the Congress of the United States... As a Vietnam Veteran I've elected to post this video here. The original was done for Veterans Day last year. It didn't have the complete narration and for this version I've only used pictures taken of and by the 243rd ASHC - my hook company for the first part of my tour... Welcome home to my fellow Vietnam Veterans!
I must have watched this video a hundred times putting it together, gathering pictures and listening to the sound track in the background. I really didn't have to fight to find the words I wrote and spoke, they seemed to just roll out into place. But seeing the faces, hearing the sounds always seemed to bring on a sense of loss and of love at the same time. Loss of the friendships over the years as we all went our ways, the death of a a good friend I flew with, the love and camaraderie I experienced as we worked and flew and drank and lived day to day together. Looking out the front window into the dark, images of twisted safety wire, red hydraulic fluid, OD green sheet metal, roads of psp, sounds of whining auxiliary power units, the thunder of 6 blades churning up hurricane force winds, the spinning growl of transmissions and turbine engines, the acrid odor of burnt jet fuel, musty smells of 100 percent humidity, spent gunpowder, barbecued pig, tepid beer, burning refuse... all crowd my head. Tears begin cloud my eyes... so young, so proud, so invincible, so courageous - so vulnerable, so naive... I remember, I will always remember...
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