Vietnam Poems

A Student’s Class Project

Hello Sgt,
Well, I’ve just wrapped up another semester of teaching my class on the Vietnam War. This year, instead of a multiple choice or essay final exam, I had the students put some sort of project together that showed what they had learned in the course. One in particular stuck me and I thought you’d appreciate it, as well. It is rather lengthy, but if you can find a way, please share as much as possible with other vets!

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A Vietnam Veteran’s First Experience in Combat

Hey Sgt Grit,
I have been reading your newsletter as I have always done for the last several years since my retirement in 1994. I just read a story in your recent newsletter #76 of the wife who fortunately enough, got some good hard advice from another Marine wife and made a very smart decision by staying with her Marine husband and being there for him!

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The Legend Of The Cubi Cat

A Cat Story: Retired Cmdr. John L. Sullivan, presents the Cubi Point Catapult story to National Museum of Naval Aviation Director retired Capt. R.L. Rasmussen.

Submitted by From a former “Mud Marine” who tried to ride the Cat and failed. Doug Talley

If you’re old enough to have served in the Navy or Marine Corps during the Vietnam War and particularly if you were an aviator, chances are you’ve heard of the infamous Cubi Point Catapult. Cubi Point Naval Air Station and the adjoining Subic Bay Naval Base in the Philippines was a place where war-weary Navy and Marine Corps aviators, Marines and Sailors, could let off a little steam after flying combat missions over Vietnam or spending weeks on the gunline aboard ships on Yankee Station. The managers of the Cubi Point Officers’ Club, as well as their counterparts at the other officer and enlisted clubs, were forever tasked with devising new and challenging ways of keeping the warriors entertained. Enter Cmdr. John L. Sullivan and the now famous Cubi Point Officers’ Club catapult.

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Pay Their Dues

Pay Their Dues
SITREP From Machete Alpha 6

(March 1995, Military magazine, PO Box 189490, Sacramento, CA, 95818)

The other day I had occasion to think about an old friend of mine, Major (Chaplain) Aloysius P. McGonigal…I’m not kidding, that was his real name. Father McGonigal with his real name. Father McGonigal with his smile and wonderful Irish brogue could have played Barry Fitzgerald’s part in a remake of an old Bing Crosby movie about Catholic priests. In combat he was one of those chaplains who had a calling to be with the troops…out where the body bags are filled…where that old saying “there are no atheists in the trenches,” means something…but that’s another story. He loved the troops…but never try to BS him.

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A story about a bus ride in Vietnam

Friendly and Exotic People
Submitted by Dick B

If you’re looking to meet new, friendly and exotic people in an intimate, group setting, I strongly recommend taking a bus in Vietnam. It doesn’t matter where you go or for how long. If this is your sort of adventure, there are some things you need to know. You absolutely must find the bus at its orgination early enough to get a seat. Make sure you make a head call, take on bottled water and charge up your sense of humor. By the time the old rig leaves the city limits it will be SSSRO. That’s standing, sitting and squatting room only. You can be sure every inch of floor real estate will be covered with the feet of those hapless beings who did not have the foresight to find or be able to get to the bus station. Experiencing the bus is one thing, liking the bus is an acquired taste.

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Remembering our Heroes

Heroes of the Vietnam Generation
By James Webb

The rapidly disappearing cohort of Americans that endured the Great Depression and then fought World War II is receiving quite a send-off from the leading lights of the so-called 60s generation. Tom Brokaw has published two oral histories of “The Greatest Generation” that feature ordinary people doing their duty and suggest that such conduct was historically unique.

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Vietnam Story: Captain James Kyle

Vietnam Story
by: Captain James Kyle

IN SEARCH OF HEROES

It was a cold and wintry day in February, 2007 when I received a phone call from a former Navy Corpsman. He told me he was responding to my request on the First Battalion, Ninth Marines, Third Marine Division website for anyone who knew PFC Danny Nicklow during the time of his tour in Vietnam from 1966 to 1967. After exhausting all previous efforts I had made during my search to find the answers to the ending of my personal hero’s life, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to give this website a try, not expecting any real results. The Corpsman proceeded to tell me that he was with Danny the day he was killed in Quang Tri Province, in the hills east of the KheSanh Marine Base almost forty years ago. I was completely stunned and became incapacitated for a moment to answer back. Here for the first time I had come full circle with the man who answered my hopes and prayers over the last four decades. I had been determined to find the answer to the question that had lingered over that time span. Was it really Danny who came back to us in late March of 1967 or was it another unknown Marine who was part of the now famous ” Walking Dead” Marine Battalion? Finally here was the person who knew the answer to all my questions. The quest began almost immediately after the military funeral for PFC Danny Nicklow of Friendsville, Maryland took place in late March of 1967. My feelings for this young man from the farmlands of Western Maryland had developed over a brief moment in life. The story of my relationship with Danny and his effect on me began in 1964 and has lasted a lifetime.

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A former Marine talks about working in Vietnam.

A Job’s a Job
Submitted by Dick B

Yes. I got my first paying job in Vietnam a while ago. And a good job it was.

We were visiting Thu Ba.s house to discuss with the family a little baby-sitting we needed done while we were in Sai Gon. Her brother Duc was on the floor with Thu Ba.s daughters making paper shoes. Since everyone was talking turkey, I offered to help him in exchange for the cup of coffee he had just made for me. He looked up at me, laughed at my offer and cleared a spot on the floor next to the girls. These are paper shoes not for walking but for offering up to dead ancestors. The dearly departed appreciate their survivors sending to the spirit world dapper paper clothes and shoes for them. After a short ceremony these will be set on fire. Duc makes these shoes for the retailers of such things as a little cottage industry.

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Memorial Day Reunion

Marine Memorial Day Reunion
by Lcpl Lyons

I have been seeing quite a few letters to Sgt Grit about Memorial Day…Let me share this story with my fellow Marines about a very Special Memorial Day that took place 2005. 35 years ago I left a Few Good Men and some of the best friends that a person could ever have on a barren hill called Hill 34. Charlie Co. 1/5. RVN. This separation occurred because it was my time to rotate back to the World……..

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