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I'm in no way comparing my situation with anyone who experienced combat, and I am not whining, I just want some feedback.
I volunteered for the draft/Army,1971, even had orders for Vietnam.Then Nixon started pulling troops out. I was sent to Germany instead. I could have volunteered for Nam, but I was scared, of course, and figured my fate was in God's hands, so didn't. While in Germany, I almost took a burst of 3ys to go to Nam in '72, only way out of Germany at the time, which I hated. I just wanted to eventually go to school (GI Bill) didn't want a career in the Army, so toughed it out.
When I got home,'73, many of my old friends, aquaintences had been killed/shot up,etc, from their tour in Nam. I too was also dispised by the public for being a "Vietnam Vet", even though I never went. My heart went out, and still does to anyone who served there. I felt guilty then, for not going ahead and volunteering, and I have tried to deal with it all these years, even as I have ministered to many Vietnam Vets. I found some who couldn't talk about it, some who wouldn't talk about it, and some who couldn't talk about it enough.
I am not saying I wanted to taste war, I just felt like I somehow cheated fate. I always felt like I "owed" these vets for not fighting, mostly my friends/relatives,etc who were vets. While they have always reassured me,and lay no blame to me, I still deal with conflicting feelings of guilt. I "could have" volunteered and went...but I didn't. Yes, I was a scared kid, but I didn't think then nor now I am a coward. Yet, I regret not going.
SO....for anyone who survived any conflict, to those like me, how have you dealt with it? I'm still searching...
 

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Preacher, you ask a question with an almost impossible answer.

I served '79-'85, and when the current Iraq- Afghanistan broke open I offered my services again and again. Unfortunately I am unable to meet requirement due to physical limitations. However I too feel as I owe it to our military members to go and do my part. I am not looking for glory or want to taste war, I want to contribute to my countries effort and too, in some way look out for our service members.

When in service I volunteered for assignments since it would keep others out of danger. Mind you that I served during peace time, there were "other things" going on. Survivors Guilt might not be the most correct diagnosis, more possibly regret due to the decisions a scared kid made. I am not going to question your courage nor your motivations, you served that is enough for me.

The fact that you were not called for that theater of operations and that was beyond your control. You could have volunteered but that did not occur, you did your duty as assigned. If God had planned for you to serve in Viet Nam he would have arranged the assignment and you would not have been able to avoid it.

I have no doubt that some people (not on this forum) will question or even belittle your service (that happens way to often) but your brothers and sisters in arms will not. I have met may vets that do not question my service during peace time, and I have met others that have a chip of some sort on their shoulder for those that did not serve in war. Each have their opinions, God has His and that is the one that matters.

Go in peace my brother, your service is enough.

God Bless you and all our veterans.
 

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Like you, I grew up in a post World War II America. I was raised to respect our flag and to believe in America – our government, our people, our freedoms, and our way of life. Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone were my American heroes. In the ‘60s I believed our President when he said that the fight in South Vietnam was necessary to ensure that country’s freedom from communism. I believed our President when he told us that all of Southeast Asia was in jeopardy of falling under communist rule if South Vietnam fell. So, like my father before me for WWII I volunteered right out of HS and went.

Once there, I learned the true nature of the war ... that our 'police action' was a very bloody affair and the citizens of Vietnam were indifferent to the aid we were providing. I lost friends and came away angry, which took me years to come to terms with. Now, my attitude towards all these wars we seem to become involved with is if a country's citizens are not willing to shed their blood and the blood of their sons and daughters for freedom then we should not get involved. Freedom is something that has to be earned, not handed over.

I believe Vietnam was wrong for our country and I believe you did the right thing. So, please please please do not feel guilty. You are courageous for talking about your feelings and I applaud you.
 

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Preacher, you did volunteer. The minute you took your oath you said that you were willing to do whatever your country demanded of you. I'm a combat veteran, but only because that's what I was assigned to do. You had the choice to run away and hide, like many did, or to hide behind professional student status, like many did. Instead you stood up like a man and said that you would follow the orders of those appointed above you. You answered the call of duty, and nobody could or should ask more of you. I thank you for your service and am proud to call you my brother in arms.
 

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Thanks guys. It's not often a Minister gets "ministered to". I certainly appreciate the kind words, encouragement. I always like to ask others how they have dealt with these things, and seldom bring my own experience/thoughts into it. I have helped others get through things, yet this one gets the best of me it seems. As a Minister, I am expected to know everything,ha. I need a Savior like everyone else! And He is the greatest comfort I get during these spells....thanks again guys.
About 2 years ago, I even tried to get into the Chaplaincy program, and go to Iraq. Seems I was 'too old"; over 50 ( I'm 58) I thought "Geez" can't even volunteer to go help the guys/gals in a bad place.
 

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Preacher,
Oh but by the grace of God go I!!! Remember those words. Like me you volunteered and didn't run and hide. If you were meant by God to go to
VN, you would have went! You were in Germany during a difficult time. What would have happened if for some reason those Soviet Tanks would
crossed over into Germany? You'd be a combat vet but not from the jungles of VN! Our troop presence in Europe kept the Soviets from attacking
for what ever reason they might have had. I'm not a combat veteran either but my parents had their two sons in the service of our country at
the same time during VN. They were very proud of my brother and I. At any time during that conflict, either or both of us could have been sent
there, and it was only by the grace of God that we didn't get sent there. I'm very proud of my service in the United States Navy! I know a bunch of macho, football playing, girl chasing, pick on me high school classmates who never served and I always know they were too scared to
volunteer and then hid behind college draft exemptions. I can look those high school classmates directly in the eye and know I did my best to do my duty, no matter what was asked of me. Sleep well my friend, you did your part.
Bob (358 Win)
 

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Preacher,
I'm a vietnam vet who recieved treatment from the VA for PTSD. I never filed a disability claim so I don't know if I've been "officially" diagnosed with it, however, they treated me with group counselling and individual counseling for almost nine years. I drew the line at taking the drugs they offered me, though. I have all the symptoms, including survivor guilt, but as the years have passed they seem to lessen.
At one time I felt I wasn't a real veteran because I hadn't been wounded. Sounds silly, doesn't it?
I found solace in a bottle, until that no longer worked. After a few years at the VA I took another big step and became a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.
There I found what AA calls a "higher power" and "a God of your understanding." I choose to call my higher power Jesus Christ, and as I came to believe and walk in the Sunlight Of The Spirit my life improved. Markedly so.
All I can say, my friend, is give it over to God.
It is a real calling to do what you do, to provide comfort and understanding to those who suffer, even when suffering yourself. I became involved with Pointman Ministries and they helped me also.
Sorry if I sound like I'm preachin' to a Preacher. :)
Pointman Ministries - http://www.pmim.org/
 

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I have no Miltary history, that was God telling you he had another purpose for you. The closest I came is having to sign up for the draft but the war was over by then. I did my duty at the time just as you where asked to do. Amen
 

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Preacher,
You have nothing to feel badly about and nothing to apologize for. You entered the armed forces and were sent where you were sent and did what you were sent to do, God Bless you. I went to Viet Nam twice and you owe me no apology. Am I a better person than you? Absolutely not. Like you I went, I saw and I did as I was told. I don't talk about anything but the funny things we experienced. In retrospect I think about some of the WWII folks I knew. They never talked about their experiences either. I had a number of uncles and cousins who were in WWII and some of them did some pretty remarkable things but they never talked about those things. I am reminded of a cousin whom I consider to be the last of the true "hillbillys". He went "over" in time to be in the Battle of the Bulge. He referred to it as "when them Germans come through in that big push, that time". I learned on the day of his funeral that he had earned a Silver Star "over there". He never spoke of it, not once. So you hold your head up high, you were a member of the Armed Forces of our Country. God Bless you.
 

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I'm not sure exactly how to say this, but I'll try. The Army was a career for me. I've known many who served and still have very good friends in harms way. To the veteran, I've never met even ONE that ever downplayed another vet's service. As already mentioned, you took the oath and you took the chance. The chance that you might come home one day in a flag draped coffin. Be happy that never came to be. I am. I have combat patches from both the 101st and the 159th Avn Reg. I've known fellas (and women) who paid the ultimate price from flying while still in flight school to the war in Iraq. You need not feel anything but pride by wearing the uniform as you did. I would like to thank you for your service!
 

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Marlin Owners can be powerful writers! All these testimonials have brought tears to my eyes.

I also spent a career in the Army and asked for a deployment to every United Nations, or NATO mission since the invasion of Cyprus but was never sent anywhere. Spent the last five years of my career working in Casualty Support. During that time, four members of my 11 member team were lost: two to PTSD, one to a heart attack and one to suicide. I left the team in 2005 before my emotional health failed, by retiring from the military.

When I retired, I presented the folks at my retirement luncheon with a whole bunch of career statistics like how many types of military AC I had flown in and how many times I had been posted. The most amazing statistic of all was that in a 38 year Army career, I had never had to kill anyone and no one ever tried to kill me! The colleagues from my generation applauded and the younger ones did not understand why.

Thank you all for the chance to write this.

Sincerely,

JDP
Team 35 # 88
Team 30-30 # 82
Team 39 # 31
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, you gentlemen are a real blessing to me. I appreciate your candor and support. I guess I have more "regret" than any kind of emotional trauma, I'm just haunted by it. I am very proud of my military service, heck, it was a Rite of Passage for me. And, to be fair, I had some good times in Germany, I just hated the mind games/spit shine/brasso stuff. Yes, we had a standoff w/Warsaw pact when the NVA made their '72 Easter Offensive, also when Nixon had Haiphong harbor mined. We had the Baader/meinhoff gang blowing stuff up, and unfortunate race riots. so it was not boring,ha! I just get to thinking about choices we make, what would have been different.
I did well on testing,passed up a chance at OCS, in boot camp, because I didn't want the responsibility of leading a platoon when I was only 18 years old. When I got my alert orders for Nam, Oct of '71, I called my dad and told him that I was going to wait and see if they cut orders for me to go, then I was going to re-up and try Ranger School, or volunteer for the Lurps when I got over there, anything to put me in the woods with as few men as possible. I grew up hunting,etc, an only child, so knew "I" could slip around, and be quiet, but not with 200 men around me,etc. I was in a 105mm light arty MOS, and 'knew for a fact" I didn't want to be on some hill somewhere with Charlie all around the bottom, working their way up to silence me! ,ha. I was relieved when they retrained me, sent me to Europe...at first. This was an 8" Unit, I was in FDC, nuke capable, but with all the crap in GE I mentioned, I thought "I'll just ask to be transfered for my last year in service to Nam". No dice, 2 yr waiting list for guys like me who wanted to get out of Germany! I just wasn't prepared for the 'Post Service" aftermath is all, most all my old friends, gone or ruined physically, just gets to me.. Thanks again guys, you are a swell bunch.
 

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I was to young for the Vietnam war... enlisted in the Corps after high school (77) while on the "Peace keeping" mission in Beruit, one of my good buds died in my arms after a sniper shot him, we were side-by side, why him and not me? Was I the intended target, and that rag-head pulled the shot, or was it dumb luck? Maybe it was his time-and not mine, only "the man" upstairs knows. Anyways, we all deal with it differantly, mine was NOT the correct way, but I got through it...Man I miss him.
 

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I served from 1969-1975, and believe me you didn't miss anything. I watched a lot of innocent young men go over, and when they went home you wouldn't recognise them as the same men anymore. They had that look that only combat fatigue can place in a young man's eyes.
I never had, and still don't have any regrets serving my country, no matter where they sent me. I hold no opinions as to whether it was right or wrong; to me there wasn't an option. I was raised to believe if my country called, then it was up to us to serve in whatever way we were asked to serve. There were 3 of us boys who all served, although my younger brother was young enough to miss VN as he didn't go in until after it was over.
It really doesn't matter how anyone serves; what matters is they did what was required when their country called them. Nothing to be ashamed of; nothing to feel guilt over.
 

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i served almost 6 years in the army, joined right after high school, just ETS'd last month. i have tours in iraq and afghanistan.

i was stationed at fort hood, preparing to deploy to afghanistan when the november 5th shooting took place at the SRP site. i lost one of my soldiers and a good friend. 2 more of my soldiers were wounded, a total of 5 out of my platoon. it was blind luck that i wasnt in the same room when it happened, but to this day my head is filled with "what if" and "why?"

while in afghanistan, my unit lost several outstanding young men and even better soldiers. you can replay every moment in your head but it wont change anything. the past is just that. the only thing you can do is learn from it, and try to move on. i still have a few demons that haunt me, my wife can tell you she gets awakened by my dreams from time to time. ive found that the more time i spend outdoors, the easier the days get.

i think the best way you can deal with such events is to just enjoy the life you are given. find something that makes you feel good, and keep at it.
sorry if i seem all over the place tonight, the news on Bin Laden seems to have taken over my thoughts.

I personally whave the utmost respect for anyone who has served, be it during wartime or peace. be proud of who you are. no man or woman should feel any sort of remorse/self blame/regret/etc..for ANY type of service they perform for their country/community. remember that everyone is a contributor, whether they feel like it or not.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.
 

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Good Morning Preacher

I served two tours in Vietnam as a heavy equipment operator in the Seabees with MCB-74 from 1969-1971. I was proud to have served this great nation and would do it again in a heartbeat. You have nothing to feel guilty about sir. You served this great nation the way they wanted you to serve it. Not every soldier is called to combat. I must admit I had a few hard times when I came back because of the fact I made it back here in mostly one piece. You felt guilty because you did not go to Vietnam and I felt guilty because I did make it back. I had a few buddies that did not make it back to home and I thought that I maybe I did not do enough because I did come back. Today I feel that I did the best I could and I came back because that is what God wanted for me. I no longer feel guilty about being a survivor but I will always feel that the real heroes are not only the soldiers that goes above and beyond the call of duty and survives but also that every solider that does not come home is a true hero. Feel proud that you served this great nation under God and hold your head high.

God Bless you sir.
 

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Thanks to all, I too appreciate your service and experiences, especially your experience of 'going on with life"...it's way too short to spend any time in the past, isn't it? ( I'm preaching to myself now..come to think of it, I do that anyhow,ha) God bless.
 

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Preacher, did you take a look at that link I posted for Pointman Ministries? They also have a forum as well as other things over there. Perhaps you could help some other veterans. We have to look out for each other, after all.
 

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No sir, I didn't, but I think I will surf over and prowl around a bit! Thanks.
 

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I served for 32 years active and retired with an honorable discharge. As far as man is concerned nothing more needs to be said. Somewhere along the way I learned about God and his son Jesus Christ and what he did for me. I was dead in sin and trespasses. When I confessed JC as my lord and savior and believed that God raised him from the dead things changed for me. I was made alive, I have been forgiven of my sins. The bible says I am now righteous. That means I now have the right to stand before God blameless. Romans 5:1 says "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: vs2 By whom also we have access by faith into his grace wherin we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

I take these things to heart and do not worry about my carnal past. I try to look toward the future and wonder how I can best serve him. This is how I try to comfort people by trying to share a bit of God"s heart. Lord knows that many people need to hear it. I sure did.
 
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