CIB Badge

Of all the Medals Upon our Chest From the Battles and War we knew, The one admired as THE VERY BEST
Is the one of Infantry Blue. It is only a rifle upon a wreath,
So why should it mean so much?
It is WHAT IT TOOK TO EARN IT
That gives it that Magic Touch. To earn this special accolade
You faced the enemy's fire
Whether you survived or not
God dialed that one desired.
For those of us who served the cause
It is the
COMBAT INFANTRYMAN'S BADGE...
THAT REALLY TELLS THE STORY

CIB Badge

75- Music for the combat infantryman — even on combat missions

September 28th, 2015

In this episode, we explore the entertainment and music that followed the combat infantryman — especially in Vietnam (due to the technology of transistor radios for portable music via battery power).

afvn web page today

Because the nature of the communication infrastructure and technology during the campaigns of the Middle East (from Desert Storm to the preset), we will be limiting this episode to an overview of WWI, WWII and Vietnam.

In Vietnam, my personal experience comes into play to reinforce the need for the average-age 19-year old combat infantryman and helicopter crewman to listen to the music popular for that generation “back in the world.”

In fact, there is an original segment of clips from AFVN (Armed Forces Vietnam Network – radio) from the 1970 time frame, which was recorded, transmitted and published from Saigon, South Vietnam. This original recording comes at the end of the narrator’s introduction.

In addition, here are a couple of links of two of the most popular songs that followed the WWII combat infantrymen into the European and Pacific theatres — however, due to technology limitations, most of the time they were limited to rear echelon locations that had vinyl record disc players to provide for the entertainment and enjoyment for all the servicemen.

 

Select this link for the selection of WWII song called DON’T SIT UNDER THE APPLE TREE.

 

Select this link for the selection of IIWW song called THIS IS THE ARMY, MR. JONES.

 

Copyright (c) 2015, Matrix Solutions Corporation. Copyright (c) 1970, AFVN radio. All rights reserved.

Songs from WWII called DON’T SIT UNDER THE APPLE TREE and THIS IS THE ARMY, MR. JONES. Interpreted by the 82nd Airborne Division Chorus, Copyright (c) 1998, 82nd Airborne Division Chorus. All rights reserved.

74- Reunion of combat comrade-in-arms after 43 years

September 2nd, 2015

This episode describes the story of a “one-in-a-billion” chance meeting of myself and my best buddy and hootch-mate in Vietnam, the closest of the brothers that I had — after 43 years.

This meeting was surrealistic, euphoric, emotional and most memorable of all the events in my life — as I am sure it would be in yours, if you had met your closest buddy and best brother from your time in combat after over 4 decades.

As you will hear in this episode, my best buddy — let’s call him “Bob” — took this photo with a borrowed Instamatic(C) camera while we were in Da Nang, as we were getting resupplied, because we were to go out the next morning from the helipad on another mission in the bush.

A photo of me taken by Bob in DaNangAs you will also hear in this podcast audio episode, I differentiate this type of reunion (with Bob) from two other instances where I had run into very short meetings with other members of my company — but these were grunts with whom I was not that close, and who were not my best buddies.

The meeting and reunion with Bob was tremendous — 80 per cent of the time was spent in laughing and remembering the good times. However, 20 per cent of the time, we also communicated about the bad times (even though we never had mentioned it or spoken about it ever in 43 years to anyone else).

For those of you who may be wondering — yes, there was a negative effect of such a reunion. For several days of being in a surrealistic “fog” (very much like being in a trance or a dream), the evenings would produce flashbacks and nightmares for several days after the meeting. I don’t think you can EVER get around that, because those consequences are lifelong and unannounced.

But the end of the episode touches upon the wonderful situation you can encounter if you ever reunite with your best buddy from the war — especially one who was your “hootch-mate” from the bush when you were both GRUNTS in VIETNAM.

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Copyright (C) 2015, Matrix Solutions Corporation. All rights reserved.

73- Combat Camaraderie of Infantrymen

July 27th, 2015

This episode delivers an audio narration of a brief article published by the American Airborne Association. The article appeared in the Summer, 2015, edition of the Airborne Quarterly Magazine, pg. 21-22.

AbnQrtlyMag-coverThis article was written by Sam Holliday, a Korean War Veteran (armigercc@comcast.net).

The only graphic images that this article contains are black-and-white images of the Combat Infantryman’s Badge (aka CIB) — actually 4 of them:

– The CIB for the first campaign and enemy engagement;

– The CIB with a star;

– The CIB with two stars; and

– The CIB with three stars.

The editor’s footnote at the end signifies the song “Dogface soldier” — a favorite of infantrymen since WWII, and the theme song from the movie about the story of Audie L. Murphy called “To Hell and Back.”

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Copyright (c) 2015, SamHolliday and the American Airborne Association Magazine called The Airborne Quarterly, Summer 2015 edition, pages 21-22. All rights reserved.

72- The HUMP- the Army’s 1st major battle in Vietnam, 1965

July 23rd, 2015

In this episode, we deliver a description of the Army’s first major battle in the Vietnam War. Known as THE HUMP, this battle was fought by the 173rd Airborne Brigade (nicknamed “The Herd”).

Cover-img-theHUMP

This episode is delivered as an audio narration of the article from VIETNAM(R) Magazine. It is delivered complete and unabridged. The author of the article is Al Conetto,  a veteran who also served as commander of D Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, 1967-1968.

The article is a detailed account of the planning, the execution and the aftermath of the battle that took place in November, 1965.

The description is factual, from a participant of the event and an eyewitness. It does not glorify war from the eyes of the combat infantryman, but merely relates the day-by-day happenings.

173rd under sniper fire 1965====

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Copyright (c) 2015, VIETNAM(R) Magazine, Vol. 27, No. 6, pages 26-33, June, 2015 edition. Article by Al Conetto.  All rights reserved

71- Jan Scruggs – infantryman responsible for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in D.C.

July 19th, 2015

In this episode, we have the audio narration of a one-page interview taken from page 16 of the April, 2015, edition of VIETNAM(R) Magazine.

This is a description and interview with Jan Scruggs, the author of the book To Heal a Nation. This was then turned into a movie made for television (which starred Eric Roberts — that is, Julia Roberts’s brother who played the part of Mr. Scruggs).

JanScruggs2015-EBefore getting into the audio narration of the one-page interview, we hear about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial — both in Washington, D.C. and the fixed and permanent replica (60 per cent scale) of THE WALL in Mineral Wells, Texas, at the National Museum of the Vietnam War. This is different than the “moving wall” (of which there were 4 traveling walls — but with time and movement, some have had to be restored due to usage and wear in setup, tear-down, movement to other locations, etc.).

We also hear about my own personal interview with Mr. Jan Scruggs, which occurred several years ago, and which was published in a prior episode in this same podcast series — see episode 54 in 2012 of www.cibaustin.org.

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Copyright (c) 2015, VIETNAM(R) Magazine, Vol. 27, No. 6, April 2015, ISSN 1046-2902,  published by Weider History Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

70- Gulf War Syndrome for the Combat Infantrymen

April 12th, 2015

For the combat infantrymen who fought in the Middle East during the first Gulf War in the 1990s, an article gives hope for treatment to those who are suffering from what is called the “Gulf War Syndrome.”

This episode will provide an audio narration of an article that describes a possible treatment. It is complete and unabridged.

This Article by Jeanette Steele provides the information for that hope.

Article by Jeanette SteeleAs you will hear in this audio episode, the cause of the physical disorders for these combat veterans could have been created by measures taken by the government to protect them from nerve gas agents, as well as pesticides that were used to prevent aggravations to the troops.

However, the good news is that no detailed proof other than the fact that the combat veteran had served in the region during the campaign would be needed.

You can read the text of the article and see the photo of Dr. Beatrice Golomb at this link:

https://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2014-11-03-CoQ10-helps-gulf-war-illness-symptoms.aspx

__________________________

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Copyright (c) 2015, Matrix Solutions Corporation, the Combat Infantrymen’s Association and Jeannette Steele of UCSD. All rights reserved.

69- Airmobile Insertion & Extraction in Vietnam for the Combat Infantrymen

April 1st, 2015

In this episode, we describe the airmobile insertions and extractions from the point of view of the combat infantrymen during the Vietnam War.

 Airmobile-insertion-Vietnam-combat-infantrymen-Feb2015

As you will hear in this audio episode, there were problems, dangers and challenges for the combat infantrymen when they were delivered to the landing zone (LZ) and dropped off to begin their mission (usually from 7 days to as much as 50 days or more) in the jungles, rice paddies or mountains of Vietnam (including some parts of Laos and Cambodia).

In addition to falling down from a hovering Huey chopper within the 2-seconds of time before the helicopter lifted and left (so that the next chopper coming in could also insert the infantrymen), the terror that was felt by the infantrymen was tremendous — since they were basically sitting ducks or appeared to be the targets in a “turkey-shoot.”

Since the Vietnam War was the testing ground where airmobile operations on a grand scale were perfected (more so than the Korean War), the benefits of such knowledge that was gained by shedding blood now have proven to save lives since the ’70s, and especially in the Middle East with today’s troops.

As you will hear in this audio episode, the respect that I have and will always deliver eternally will be to the two brave and courageous men that have literally saved our lives — the combat medic and the helicopter crews during these airmobile assaults and operations. The latter include the pilot, co-pilot, crew chief and door-gunner. For, without their sacrifice and courage and help, we would probably not have survived.

The photo in these show notes comes from Vietnam Magazine, the April, 2015, issue, pages 52-53.

 _________________________________

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Copyright (c) 2015,  Combat Infantrymen’s Association. Photo copyright (c) 2015, Vietnam Magazine, April 2015, issue, p. 52-53. All rights reserved.

68- Monument to combat infantrymen dedicated in Texas

March 16th, 2015

In this audio episode, we briefly review the dedication of a monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capital — a monument for the memory of over 3,000 Texas who were killed during the Vietnam War — most of them combat infantrymen.

Texas Vietnam Veterans Monument 2014We also describe our perspectives of a movie documentary on the Vietnam war that highlighted the combat infantryman. This documentary was recommended by Don Dorsey, the president of Texas Association of Vietnam Veterans.

The title is Vietnam: Service, Sacrifice and Courage.

Vietnam-Service sacrifice and courage movieThis movie / documentary can be viewed at the link of:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/6_5gJVXK0gI

As stated by Don Dorsey’s quote in the audio episode, even though this movie is 28 minutes in length, it describes in great deal some of the accurate depictions of the war for the combat infantryman.

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Copyright (c) 2015, Matrix Solutions Corporation and Combat Infantrymen’s Association. All rights reserved.

67- The ‘War at Home’ lingers — due to Media editors

February 7th, 2015

Since Veterans’ stories are becoming more and more prevalent to be published on the Internet, some projects (like ORAL HISTORY PROJECTS for certain groups or minorities) want to publish their content from interviews they have had, especially with combat infantrymen. In our case, it was the story I told about my experiences in the Vietnam War.

This episode deals with the experience of one of these Veterans Oral History Projects — and the struggle to tell the story without the meddling of media editors who want to change the truth to promote their own agenda, and to retell history– but retell it THEIR WAY — which could many times not be the truth, and thus, put the veteran in a negative and unfair light.

OralProject-Latino-web site

As you will hear in this brief audio episode, my own story was delivered in the form of a video interview for this type of oral history project from the University of Texas.

However, the web posting was going to be edited from my story by one of the project editors. This is where the issue started.

As you can see from the web site where the story was finally posted, the editor took liberties that no journalist or media editor should ever do. She literally CHANGED my story and added her own agenda, politcal point of view and words (which were NOT mine and contradicted my story and content) — and this was unacceptable.

What this did was bring back the intrusive thoughts of THE WAR AT HOME (which we, as combat infantrymen, suffered from when we returned from combat). For those who are combat veterans of the Vietnam war, we remember all too well the rejection of an ungrateful American public and the mistreatment we received — mainly from our own peers of our generation (who, as you will hear, sometimes can be spotted today as having the yellow ribbons with “support our troops” written on them–what hypocrites!). We also remember how the media lied about us, pictured us as “psychos, baby-killers and dope-addicts” and how they tried to spin their content to suit their sensationalism and sometimes just plain LIE.

Well, this content spun by the editor of my story caused me anger and frustration. We went many rounds of dialogue, where I specifically mentioned that her content was not valid, and I finally put my story that I wanted to be told in quotation marks with a warning that she was NOT TO CHANGE WHAT I SAID IN ANY WAY (otherwise, I would not sign a release for my story to be published). After nearly six rounds of frustration and warnings in this confrontation, the story was finally told with my quoted content, and this editor finally quit trying to change my story to suit her political agenda — or, as they would try to defend this practice by saying that they were just “adding their own value.”

Just a word of caution to veterans who tell their story to these projects that are titled as “ORAL HISTORY” ones — do not sign releases or give permission for these editors to publish what THEY want and spin your truth to suit their political views or their agenda.  Read everything and hear everything they will say about you and your story

Your signed release for these projects to publish your story is your weapon to safeguard the truth AS YOU TOLD IT — not as they will spin it to promote it as what could be construed as propaganda.

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Copyright (c) 2015, Matrix Solutions Corporation and Combat Infantrymen’s Association.  All rights reserved.

66- Holidays, Anniversaries and Monsoon for Combat Infantrymen

December 6th, 2014

In this episode which is during the holiday season of 2014, we discuss what the holidays meant to the combat infantryman of the Vietnam War — especially Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s. And because it was during the Monsoon season, the added climate of wet, muddy and dirty constant rain added to the misery of combat during the war.

As you will hear in this audio episode, the term ANNIVERSARY takes on a different meaning, as the Vietnam Veteran today may suffer from intrusive thoughts, nightmares and depression from the memories that arrive — whether flashbacks or triggered by an image, a thought, a sound or an experience from the media.

The Anniversary for the combat infantryman during that war could be the Thanksgiving holiday — as was the case for me, personally — if entire companies or batallions were extracted out of the jungles, then inserted the next day, just for the sake of a commanding officer saying that every man of his unit received a hot, Thanksgiving day dinner.

But what about the casualties in such major extractions and re-insertions by airmobile assault? Somehow, in my opinion, the bragging rights seems to diminish in value and bring only the memories of enemy fire during the arrival and departure of the Hueys as they came in and out to either deliver the men or recover them.

196LIB-prepares-for-Airmobile-Assault

As you know, the most dangerous moments during a Vietnam War Airmobile assault was the arrival of the helicopters, as they either hovered over the LZ (landing zone) for a second or two as the troops jumped out and ran for cover. And the Monsoon climate made it even worse, as foot-deep or knee-deep mud areas buried the combat infantryman or filled the barrel of his weapon with wet dirt and mud.

Airmobile-Assault-Monsoon-Anniversaries

Or it could be the Christmas day holiday, also during the Monsoon season. For me, personally, it was an experience of misery during the wet rain and mud where our ambush unit was almost killed by friendly fire in the night due to an error of miscommunication with Cobra gunships.

Whatever the ANNIVERSARY may be, the misery of the wet and constantly rainy Monsoon season only meant cold and filthy conditions that always kept the combat infantryman feeling more muddy and abandoned.

Monsoon dirty weapons- 9thInfDiv-RVN

However, the misery of the monsoon with the anniversaries they bring with them as baggage from the wartime experiences are not for the Vietnam Veteran alone.

The Monsoon and jungle misery also extends to the WWII veterans who fought in the Pacific — like my old unit, the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal) in Cebu, Bougainville, Guadalcanal and the Philippine Islands. And other units who fought in New Guinea and other islands shared the same misery during conventional war from either an entrenched enemy or one that fought as strike-and-run guerillas.

However, thanks to the counseling and treatment given to Vietnam Veterans for PTSD and other disorders, many sessions have been oriented to focus on the Anniversaries and how to cope with them to minimize the depression and trauma that they bring back –especially by the latest peer counselors, who are themselves Vietnam combat infantry veterans.

Perhaps now the family members and loved ones that could not understand earlier why the Vietnam Combat Infantry Veteran got the “jungle-jitters” during the Holiday season with rainy climate can appreciate the strained relations of miscommunication due to the mental anguish when Anniversaries (such as holidays) are celebrated by civilian non-combatants, but avoided by those who suffered during the war.

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Copyright (c) 2014, Matrix Solutions Corporation. Photos, copyright (c) 2014, VIETNAM magazine, Oct. 2014 – Bettman/Corvis and Feb. 2015 cover, and Carl Jacobs, Americal library, 2014, 196th LIB).