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

Posts Tagged ‘Vietnam’

50- I served with these men- A combat infantryman’s story

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

From the Americal Journal, the quarterly newsletter and magazine of the Americal Division Veterans Association, comes a combat infantryman’s story–John Hastings, who earned his CIB in Vietnam as a sniper, Recondo and Ranger in G Company, 75th Ranger detachment of the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal).

His story is found on pages 29-32 of the aforementioned publication, and this episode is an audio narration of that article.

As you will hear in this audio episode, John Hastings left a stateside position in the National Guard and volunteered for Vietnam. He went to Recondo School in country (which led to being a Ranger and wearing the black beret of the 75th Ranger Detachment in Chu Lai — G Company), and where he eventually became a sniper (after several days of sniper training at the Sniper School in Chu Lai).

You can see the subdued CIB on his tiger-stripe fatigues as one of the Recon units of the Americal.  This article highlights the tremendous esprit de corps of the Rangers, as delivered by the man himself who walked in the shoes of the Recon Rangers of the Americal–a combat infantryman of the Vietnam War.

Copyright (c) 2011, Matrix Solutions Corporation and the Americal Division Veterans’ Association. All rights reserved.

41- Debunking the Myth wrongly created by the Media about the Vietnam War Combat Infantryman

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

In this episode of the H21 Southern Chapter of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association, we deliver the audio narration of the article from VFW Magazine’s February, 2010, edition titled:  “Debunking the Myth of the ‘Addicted’ Army.’

This is an article written by Jeremy Kuzmarov, in which the truth about the perpetration of a stereotype and myth was created by the Media, journalists, reporters, and even members of the US Congress and government about the Vietnam Combat veteran. This MYTH was so outrageous–but unfortunately, it caused so much damage–that is pictured the combat Vietnam veteran as a ‘baby-killer, psycho, dope-addict, heroin-addict and loser.’

As if a combat veteran needs more stigmas and more depression delivered by the rejection of an ungrateful American public, the Vietnam veteran had to cope with this for over 40 years. Now, the truth about the lies that were spread by TV, media, news and Congress is finally delivered–and even with the statistics and studies that show who the guilty parties were.

Thus, how can you blame a Combat Vietnam Veteran like myself that cannot trust the media at all? or who hates the mere presence of reporters and journalists and equates them to the lowest scum of the earth and slimiest creatures with nothing else on their minds except getting sensationalism to exaggerate the facts and get their story published?

And, most of all, don’t you think it is ironic that perhaps THEY THEMSELVES–the reporters and journalists who went out with the combat troops for only a couple of days (instead of the entire mission) and returned to the safety of the REAR and the security of hot water, clean linen and the comforts of ‘home’ to their typewriters would be the ones creating this sensationalistic exaggeration of the real situation about drugs in Vietnam?

I suggest that these same reporters, journalists and scum of the media were the ones who smoked the heroin, smoked marijuana and took the pills and got high while in the rear–because the could do so while the grunts kept them secure–and then blamed the partaking of drugs on the grunt himself. After all, he who wielded the pen controlled the media.

Little did they know how much damage, pain, loss of job and happiness, and how much misery they would cause in the lives of honest, returning Vietnam combat veterans who only did their duty, but would find the same words when they returned home to this frenzied stereotype:  “Sorry, we don’t want any Vietnam Vets; we don’t want any trouble from psychos, baby-killers or drug-addicts.”

Yes, Media and reporters and journalists. Thank you for the forty years of misery and pain–just so you could get your exaggerated story published, while the combat vets were spilling their blood and guts every day in the bush, the paddies and the mountains, the Central Highlands all the way from the DMZ to the Delta.

The question is: has the media changed since then?

In my opinion, I think not. Very little has changed, and the soldiers are the ones that have to fight the misinformation and exaggeration delivered to the public by the worthless entity called the Mainstream Media (or should we call it “Lame-stream Media”?).

Copyright (c) 2010, Matrix Solutions Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

33- Seeking ways to help Combat Veterans with Experiential Treatment

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

In this episode of the Southern Branch, H21, Austin Chapter, of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association, we bring you an excerpt from an interview that we had with Gayle Temkin, who has over 30 years experience in treatment of physical and cognitive issues.

In this informal discussion, Gayle seeks for ways to help the Combat Veteran with experiential treatment–either by trying to get a funding grant that would support the combat veteran audience, or by recommending to organizations (such as the VA) the type of treatments needed for veterans still suffering from the aftermath of combat.

From this audio episode, it is interesting to note that many people — even the professionals who provide healing treatment for others — have a difficult time in trying to understand the plight, the suffering, the symptoms and the actual episodes that the veterans suffer. The textbook-type treatments have proven somewhat ineffective when dealing with actual Vietnam Combat Veterans.

How true is that addage: “if you haven’t been in combat, then you can’t be expected to really understand.”

Gayle’s practice has given her a wealth of experience from which to draw, and her recommendations are such that the VA should note.

In addition to her therapy practice for over 30 years, she is also trying to advance her Coalition for Emotional Literacy.

Coalition for Emotional Literacy web site

However, unless the formal organizations receive either grant funding from this administration; or unless the VA seeks to really help the Vietnam Veterans (and not just “set them aside” because they have to make room for those returning from SouthWest Asia during this present conflict), then these types of treatment alteranatives that can really help veterans may fall on deaf ears.

However, it is great to realize that there are those individuals who really do care about the appropriate treatment that should be given to the veterans who are suffering from PTSD and other symptoms, so that they can have a chance to improve their constant adjustment to the “World” upon their return from their tours of combat or improve their quality of life after suffering for over 30 to 40 years.

Copyright (c) 2009, Matrix Solutions Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

30- Author Joe Galloway and the CIB at the Vietnam War Museum

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Over 58,260 names are engraved on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. However, they are NOT just in Washington, D.C. or in the Moving and travelling WALLS that go from location-to-location in the US. Those names rest PERMANENTLY in an exact replica of the original Vietnam Veterans Memorial WALL found in Washington, D.C.

This replica is located in Mineral Wells, Texas, at the National Vietnam War Musuem gardens. And on Saturday, 30 May 2009, the dedication ceremony and the unveiling of the Memorial Wall took place.

Program cover for Unveiling event

The highlights of the event saw the following:

– A real, live UH-1 Huey Vietnam-era (“slick”) helicopter arrived, landed, and then took off with several passengers from the audience. It made several take-offs and landings after the ceremony–one of which you will hear during the interview in this audio episode.

Dana Bowman, parachute onto the grounds after skydiving from his jump from a helicopter. What is amazing is that Dana–a prior Special Forces Soldier and a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, as well as member of the U.S. Army’s elite GOLDEN KNIGHTS parachute team–lost both of his legs in a mid-air collision in 1994. However, with the artificial limbs, he still hit the target drop zone near the audience to begin the ceremony.

– The guest speaker was Joe Galloway, the author of the book, We Were Soldiers Once…and Young. Ia Drang–the Battle that Changed the War in Vietnam. This book later became a motion picture of the same title, starring Mel Gibson in 2002:

We Were Soldiers-book and movie

As you will hear in this audio podcast, we did get a chance to interview Joe Galloway after the ceremony.

– The ringing of the travelling and mobile Liberty Bell replica–a fitting mobile memorial dedicated to all those soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that have fallen in the line of duty.

– And finally, the unveiling of the replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, with all 58,260 names engraved.  This Wall is in the location of what is called the “Museum Gardens,” as the landscaping will add to the honor and respect for this solemn memorial.

Image of the memorial WALL now complete

After the ceremony, we had a chance to speak with Joe Galloway and get his perspectives of the dedication of this monument. Amidst the background sounds of the “chop-chop” turning of the Huey’s rotor blades (a sound you will NEVER forget), Joe explains to us in this audio interview how much he honors the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and what an honor it is to have earned it.

Now, although Joe was a civilian and correspondent during the Vietnam War, he is the ONLY civilian to have been awarded the Bronze Star, with “V” for VALOR, for what he did during the battle of Ia Drang in saving a soldier’s life. But you will hear him, as he states that the medal he most wishes that he could have is the CIB.

Joe Galloway after the ceremony

Joe is a noted author, now with the follow-on book, We Were Soldiers Still: A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam. He is also a public speaker at major events, as well as a supporter of the troops. His support and fervor agrees with the motto portrayed by the association of the Vietnam Veterans of America: “Never again shall one generation of Veterans abandon another.”

Our tribute to Mr. Galloway is to proclaim Joe’s mantra: “Hate War…but love the warrior.”

Thank you, Joe, for your service and for your support of the combat infantrymen–especially to those who have fallen.

Copyright (c) 2009, Matrix Solutions Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

28- CIB Association and 82nd Airborne Div Association host meeting

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

On 9 May 2009, the two associations gathered in Austin for a joint meeting of the 82nd Airborne Division Association (Alamo Chapter, San Antonio, Texas) and the Combat Infantrymen’s Association (H21 Southern Chapter, Austin, Texas).

Members assemble for joint meeting on 9 May 2009

The meeting was special because it centered around the annual memorial service usually celebrated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, at the 82nd Airborne Division Museum, around the monument with the bronzed jungle boots, rifle and helmet to honor those 82nd Airborne paratroopers who died in the Vietnam War, as they were part of the “Golden Brigade.” Ordinarily, this ceremony would take place during what is called “All-American Week” at Fort Bragg. But, because of the deployment of the 82nd Airborne Division in the Middle East, the veterans’ participation during All-American Week was cancelled.

Thus, we took it upon ourselves to perform this ceremony (called the “82nd Airborne Division All American Memorial Ceremony”) at the joint meeting. The crux of the ceremony is to remember each conflict in which the 82nd Airborne Division participated.

Since its activation in 1917 at Camp Gordon, Georgia, the 82nd Airborne participated in the following campaigns, and we had the following attendees at the meeting carry the photo of the campaign and render the memorial salute to those who gave their lives in the campaign:

– World War IGabe Garcia honored Alvin C. York, the hero of WWI, a member of the 82nd Infantry Division, for the heroic day of October 18, 1918, in the Muesse-Argonne offensive. A photo of Sergeant York was placed next to the 82nd Airborne Division wreath.

– Word War II Matt Rayson was in the World War II D-Day airborne combat jump uniform and equipment, to honor General James Gavin, the WWII Division Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, as well as the vets of World War II. He was accompanied by Darrell G. Harris, the WWII combat veteran of the European campaign (and author of the book Casablanca to VE-Day: A Paratrooper’s Memoirs), and Howard from the CIB Association, the WWII combat veteran of the Pacific Campaign in the Philippines with the 25th Infantry Division. The photo was a modern re-enactor boarding the C-47 for the D-Day parachute drop.

– VietnamFred Castaneda was dressed in his original Vietnam jungle fatigues, with weapons and LBE,  flanked by Bobby Briscoe and Tony Martinez of the CIB Association. All 3 were veterans of the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal) and served in Vietnam in combat. They honored the 82nd Airborne Division Golden Brigade with the photo of the Huey helicopter air-mobility of the war.

– Grenada – We had an Air Force veteran, Airborne-qualified with nearly 100 parachute jumps, place the photo of the first 2 KIAs in Grenada, from B Company, 2nd Bn, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division. The photo was of the Kevlar helmets placed on  the rifle butts which were staked in the ground with their bayonets along the Grenada coastline. This was the reminder of Operation Urgent Fury.

– Panama – We had Duane Williams place the photo of the 82nd Armour support in Panama. Duane was dressed in the woodland BDUs, with equipment and weapon–for Duane actually participated and made the combat parachute jump at night into Panama in Operation Just Cause.

– Desert Storm – We had Joe Franco of the 82nd Airborne Division Association place a photo of a combat infantryman of the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment in Kuwait/Iraq next to the wreath of the “double-A.”

– Afghanistan and Iraq – We had John Trevino and Fred Castaneda stand in for our local hero, Alan Babin, and place a photo of an airborne officer saluting those who have fallen in Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

– ‘WHEN YOU JUMP, IT’S JUST YOU…’ was the motto of the poster that signified the recruitment for the 82nd Airborne Division yesterday and today. This 1972 poster was carried by John Peed, the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, Alamo Chapter, to signify that our traditions of never forgetting those who have fallen will be carried on by our future recruits and members of the associations.

Matt Rayson and Duane Williams in uniform

After the ceremony, the group listened to the presentation from Fred Castaneda (filling in for Clint Riddell of the Austin Texas Veterans’ Commission) as he handed out literature and details about veterans’ rights, claims, benefits for education and employment, etc., for the State of Texas. Predominant in the conversation was the Hazlewood Act, which provides free college tuition for veterans who enlisted in the State of Texas.

Then the meeting wrapped up as each association conducted its monthly old business and new business –including events– with the update from the officers.

CIB Officers at Joint meeting

With the food having been provided by the 82nd Airborne Division Association, the meeting was a great success. And look forward to the next joint meeting during the final week of October to be hosted by the 82nd Airborne Division Association chapter on a Saturday in a favorable location in San Antonio. More details will be given at a later date.

The final round of camaraderie had everyone look forward to our next gathering — both in San Antonio and Austin — to honor those who have fallen at the Memorial Day Ceremonies on 25 May 2009.

Copyright (c) 2009, Matrix Solutions Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

22- Combat Camaraderie- what it means to a Combat Infantryman

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

In this audio podcast episode of the Southern Chapter in Austin, Texas- H21, of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association, we deliver some thoughts on the theme of Combat Camaraderie.

Combat Camaraderie

We also try to address these common questions that are being asked now by some of the combat infantrymen who are returning from their tours of duty in the Middle East:

– what is this type of enduring and internal bond between comrades who are combat infantrymen?

– how is this bond created, and how does it last during combat–and even afterwards–for the combat infantryman?

– why is this something that the school-trained counselors at the VA cannot totally comprehend nor understand?

– what are some of the examples of this type of camaraderie that has existed in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Desert Storm and the current conflicts in the Middle East?

Take it from one individual’s experiences in how this type of camaraderie saved his life and kept him going–solely to go above self and put the lives of his men before his own during the combat. Also, you will see in this audio podcast how this type of bond still endures to help those Vietnam Veterans that are being treated for mental health issues (like PTSD) because their trust, understanding and non-judgmental empathy is the real treatment that provides the healing and possible closure.

Copyright (c) 2008, Matrix Solutions Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

15- Tony Martinez- Vietnam CIB Vet who avoided near tragedy

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

In this episode of the Austin, Texas, Chapter – H21 Southern Branch of the Combat Infantryment’s Association podcast series, we continue the interviews with CIB veterans from all the wars and campaigns since World War II. Here, we interview a combat infantryman during the Vietnam War who served as a member of a six-man SRRP (Short-Range Reconnaissance Patrol)  team with the 11th Light Infantry Brigade of  23rd Infantry Division-Americal.

Tony Martinez was only 19 years old when he was in Vietnam. In a candid moment, he was captured in a photo by his buddy as Tony was ready to guide in the resupply helicopter during a mission, and he was ready to “pop-smoke.”

Tony Martinez on the LZ in Vietnam

As you will hear in this podcast audio episode, Tony returned to an ungrateful American public that rejected the Vietnam Combat Infantryman.

After withdrawing from everyone and everything and being what he called a “vagabond,” Tony was saved from near tragedy by the patience, understanding and dedication of his beloved wife (to whom he is still married after 35 years). It is important to note that she did not harass Tony with the same expressions as most wives did to returning Vietnam vets suffering from PTSD and other disorders:  “Get over it” or “the war’s over” or “what’s wrong with you?” or “you’re crazy,” etc. Instead, she helped him through his adversities and helped to guide Tony to set his foot on a road to success — after 38 years of struggling with the post-Vietnam “demons.”

Tony reached a milestone recently by attending a reunion of his combat outfit and seeing his company after all these years at this event.

Tony Martinez today at his combat unit's Reunion

What is interesting is Tony’s perspective of the wonderful help offered to him by the Mental Health clinic of the VA today–but also, the overburdened system that does not offer the right treatment in other departments.

Tony now sees his direction as a “giving back” to the returning CIB veterans from their Middle East tours-of-duty, so he can (in his own way) ensure that they do not suffer for 35 years the plight of the “Vietnam Veteran Syndrome” of anguish, suffering and misery due to the neglect and rejection of the American public.

As Tony says in his departing words, “Welcome Home, guys. . .We love you, and we’re here for you.”

Copyright (c) 2008, Matrix Solutions Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

14- Combat Infantrymen from Vietnam- plagued by PTSD triggers

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

In this episode of the H21 Austin, Texas, Chapter of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association, we share with you the complete and unabridged article about the current problems of the resurrection of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) symptoms for the Vietnam Veterans– especially for the combat infantrymen. Thanks to the VFW Magazine for their article in the November, 2007, issue.

'Ghosts and Demons'-Vietnam Vets Coping with PTSD

As you will see when you investigate this article, even some of the officers of the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) organization are still haunted by the symptoms of PTSD, especially with the triggers caused by today’s environment, as well as the time they have on their hands as they retire.

However, as you will see, the VA does have recognition of the problem and treatment available for Vietnam Veterans. And for the Combat Infantrymen who earned their CIB (Combat Infantryman’s Badge) during this conflict, that badge is recognized as a “stressor” in the qualification and administrative requirements section for getting into the VA system for assistance.

Copyright (c) 2008, Matrix Solutions Corporation. Copyright (c) 2007, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and VFW Magazine. All Rights Reserved.

03-Interview with Chapter Commander and XO- part 2- Mental Health closure and a Book

Monday, May 19th, 2008

In this podcast episode for this post of the Austin, Texas, Chapter of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association, we deliver the second part an interview with the Chapter Commander (Bobby Briscoe) and the Executive Officer or XO (John Torres). This interview took place on 25 April 2008 and was conducted by Fred Castaneda, the Public Affairs Officer for the chapter, which is one of many and belongs to the National organization of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association.

(Below: John Torres discusses the value of a “Welcome Home” to the Combat Infantryman with Fred C.)

Fred C and John Torres

As we continue this discussion, we examine the motivation and dedication of the individuals who earned the CIB to start the Combat Infantrymen’s Association Chapter in Austin, Texas. We finish our discussion of the problems that plague the Combat Infantryman upon returning from the overseas campaign. From PTSD to anxiety and panic disorders to the broken marriages and the lack of understanding and communication with the spouses and the family — these are real issues that are burning into the heart and spirit of all combat infantrymen.

The final part of this interview describes the book written by Bobby Briscoe of his experience in Vietnam. This book is called The Jungle Warriors- A True Story. As said by John Torres during this interview, this book has provided closure to some of the infantrymen, while at the same time providing understanding to the spouses.

However, Bobby Briscoe ends the interview by explaining how a great deal of the funds obtained from the sale of the book (either via audio podcast or the paperback version) will be used for programs by the CIB Association chapter for outreach to disadvantaged veterans, as well as different types of assistance to the families and children of the veterans. The idea is certainly to “give back to the community.”

The final part of this episode gives you an excerpt from the audio version of the book, The Jungle Warriors (the beginning of Chapter Six- Big Bloody, Big Red).

Copyright (c) 2008, Matrix Solutions Corporation and Bobby Briscoe. All Rights Reserved (Podcast music licensed from www.MichaelandMike.com)

1A- The “thousand-yard stare”–the eyes of a Combat Infantryman

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

In this post of the Austin, Texas, Chapter of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association, we are reminded of the familiar phrase that has been echoed in the movies, in the books and plays of the 20th Century literature, and in the journals of the media reporters…the “thousand-yard stare” of a combat infantryman. This phrase reveals a look that is laden with the burdens borne by the Combat soldier of the Infantry:

The 1000-yard stare of a Vietnam

This photo shows you the hollow stare of a combat infantryman of the Vietnam War after returning from a combat mission in the jungle, and while waiting for the next day’s insertion by choppers again to the “bush.”

For our brothers in the Army that earned the CIB (Combat Infantryman’s Badge), this type of look is all too common for the combat-weary soldier who had to endure the hardships of the combat zone in whatever campaign in which he was serving–while at the same time come face-to-face with the threat of death. And sometimes, he had to experience the injury and death of his comrades or his buddies during a mission against the enemy.

Whether it was in World War II or Korea or Vietnam or Grenada or Panama or Desert Storm or Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom — the campaigns really don’t matter — the Combat Infantryman feels the pangs of exhaustion, sleepless nights, the fear and sheer terror in a firefight or enemy contact or even booby traps or IED situations. He somehow keeps the machine of his body going against all odds, even surprising himself that he could keep himself moving or going through the situations where even he thought were beyond human endurance.

However, the casualties of war go far beyond the physical wounds and injuries–they strike at the very heart of his mind, his soul and his desire to survive. As the strain takes its toll both in the combat zone and also for years after the return from the campaign, the affects start rearing their ugly heads–from the “hyper-vigilance” of the grunts who fought in the bush and the rice paddies of Vietnam, to the World War II infantryman on the South Pacific Islands.

Thus, we respect and honor those men who earned the CIB because they still carry in their minds and spirits a lot of the weight from the burden of those days in combat, where the experiences they lived gave them something that they did not even know they had picked up — the “thousand-yard stare.”

In the History Channel’s 1993 video in the Weapons at War series titled The Grunts of Vietnam, one veteran who was interviewed mentioned that “If I see him in the eyes, I can tell if he is a Vietnam Veteran … you can see how it was caused…it is like a ‘shining’…”

Copyright (c) 2008, Matrix Solutions Corporation.