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A GATHERING OF WARRIORS

Catching up with old friends—fellow warriors is always something I look forward to. Reminiscing old times is inevitable, but this trip I really had something to show my old comrades. Fellow marines Ken Furr and Paul Trenn fought alongside me in those mud-sucking rice paddies of Vietnam. It’s hard to put into words the surprise on their faces when they saw the cover of my first book in The Heart of a Marine series.

‘Rambo’ and ‘Bad Ass’ were bandied around, and I had to have a bit of a chuckle. I’m catching up with so many Marines during the Fox Company Reunion including my Charlie Squad Leader, Dwight “Mop-head Anderson,” and Fox Company Executive Officer, Pete Korn.


What’s really interesting is the emergence of two groups of Fox Company warriors, the 1968 Hue City Tet Offensive group, under the command of Mike Downs, and us—the 1969 Arizona Group, under command of Ken Furr.


The remarkable thing is that one group thinks the other group had it worse than the other in those battlefields of Vietnam.


The 1968 group fought a conventional NVA enemy house to house in Hue City, whereas we 1969 group fought a mixture of insurgents and regular NVA in the mud-sucking rice paddies and leach infested jungles.


But how do you compare one horrendous war experience to another and draw the conclusion of which was worse? How can you compare watching civilians being ripped from their homes, slaughtered for no other reason than simply being there, their very right to live being taken from them without a second thought … to the psychologically debilitating day-to-day battles fought in the jungles. The invisible enemy, boobytraps, which were a hideous threat and could unexpectedly strike at any moment, with every footstep we took. When they struck, it permeated the unit with psychological terror! Each and every Marine visualized that at any moment he might be the next one to inadvertently trigger his own death.


Consequently, no matter how or where you fought in Vietnam, it is no wonder, that today there are as many internally wounded as there are those living with external wounds from that war. I have to say to the Marines in the 1968 group that there is no comparison. We were there, we fought, we suffered, but we are here to tell the story. My fellow Marines are heroes … anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger … and that strength shines through in every one of them.

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