Recently I ran across a story about a Veterans Service Organization called the Order of The Purple Heart. This privately funded group offers services to members and families of members who were awarded the Purple Heart. For example a Veteran of Foreign War who was awarded the Purple Heart can be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. I’m not sure I would want my ashes to wind up there because there’s a good chance what remains of Uncle Larry could be lost forever but I’m content to leave that up to God and posterity.
I go on-line and fill out all the necessary forms – of which there were several – including both the Certificate of my Purple Heart award and the Department of Defense (DD) written orders. In time I got a nice note back saying they need me to send a copy of my DD 214 – discharge papers – which show among other things the status of a soldier’s discharge – in my case “Honorable.” Psychologically damaged for life but Honorably Discharged.
Please remember my Military Service took place from August of 1968 to July 1970 so its been decades since I looked at my discharge papers. It’s hot today in Juno Beach so after my morning walk I’m staying in the AC and had time to read all my Military records.
Those of you who know me well have heard the story of how I was sent for five days to Cambodia with one other soldier – a sniper – to monitor and report on North Vietnamese (NVA) activity on what was called the “Ho Chi Min Trail.” We were not to engage the NVA because our beloved President Richard Nixon had assured the public that “we are not in Cambodia.” Unfortunately for me we were spotted and were engaged by a far superior force. For that engagement I was awarded both the Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal.
Here’s the interesting part. I was reading my DD orders for the Bronze and the ARCOM – with the specific dates listed – and where do you think it showed this action took place and in what unit? Cambodia – NO! My DD orders show that I spent five days in Headquarters playing in the HQ Band.
What a miracle. I learned how to play an instrument well enough to play in the HQ Ceremonial band in just five days. I’ve always known that I am musically gifted – a fact you can attest to if you’ve ever heard me do my Willie Nelson impersonations on Karaoke nights. I think it helps if there is some Tequila involved. In addition to my impressive musical skills it must have been a leading edge ceremonial band that was exposed to enemy fire that would result in my being awarded both the Bronze and ARCOM.
Well enough of this rambling. Can you believe the mindset of our Military Commanders that would go to such depth to cover up our black op missions to Cambodia – a Nation that we invaded just a month or so later – and lucky me because of my previous five days of experience (in the band) I was on the first wave of choppers in the Cambodian invasion.
Now I’m supposed to believe that no one in the Obama Administration leaked any secrets to the Press. Sure I do and along the way I met Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road with the Tin Man. She introduced me to the Wizard of Oz and he assured us that “we were not in Cambodia.”