Day is Monday to a Combat Soldier
Greg Phillips Class of 66 |
Where Everyday is Monday!
“Where Everyday is Monday”
probably sounds like a really strange title for an article, but
if you are a soldier or have ever been a soldier you’ll identify
with exactly what I mean. I arrived in Vietnam in late 1969--just
out of college and newly married. What I expected of Vietnam and
what I discovered were absolutely without comparison. Everyday was
Weekends are what most Americans
look forward to throughout the workweek. Imagine that suddenly there
are no weekends--only Mondays. When you can imagine this will you
just begin to scratch the surface of the life of a combat soldier.
Every day is identical. I lost track of all time. Suddenly, every
single day was Monday—the worst day of the week.
|Faced with the prospect of death at every
turn and forced to survive without typical necessities, there was
plenty to worry about in Vietnam. Having been raised in a Southern
middle class family, I took for granted things like food, water and
clean clothing. A combat soldier doesn’t have these simple luxuries.
Clean clothing was infrequent. If you were incredibly lucky, you received
fresh clothes every two weeks. Even if you ruined what you had on
your back, you would still have to wear it until clothes came again.
Clean clothing seems like an unrealistic expectation when I remember
that occasionally I had little or no food to eat in Vietnam. Periodically,
the only water I had to drink was collected from bomb craters. From
time to time, the prospect of death really didn’t seem so bad.
Not only did I have to contend with an elusive enemy in Vietnam,
I also had to deal with insects and the elements. The insects were
so insufferable during the night I had to use a net to cover my
face and any type of insect repellent I could find. A combat soldier
on patrol sleeps outside every night--rain or no rain. Sleeping
in the rain is one of the things I remember most about Vietnam.
After a night of Monsoon rains, my back would be puckered and uncomfortable--like
your hands feel after soaking for hours in water. As if this wasn’t
difficult enough, I continuously agonized about the actual combat.
To this day, combat is a topic I have never discussed with anyone
and never will. I’ll keep those “Mondays” to myself.
The point of writing about my experience in Vietnam from 1969-1970
is that those of us who served during those turbulent times never
felt appreciated. No one ever just said, “Thank You!”
To that end, I recently read an e-mail that Bobbye Wilson forwarded
to all DHS alumni from one of our own, Colonel Tony Wingo. Colonel
Wingo is a member of the Special Forces and is facing a war with
Iraq in the not too distant future. As Americans, we should email
Colonel Wingo and thank him for what he’s doing for our country
and for each of us. I’m going to write to him and I hope each
of you will too. As a matter of fact, when you see any man or woman
in the service of your country--please, please tell them “Thank
You.” It will make them feel valued and it will make you feel
Colonel Wingo, thank you for what you’re doing for me, I
May God Bless Our Armed Forces and May God Bless America!
Class of 1966
Greg served in the Infantry in
Viet Nam with the First Infantry Division (Big Red One) and the
101st Airborne Division(Screaming Eagles).While there he was awarded
the Silver Star, Army Commendation Medal, Air Medal, two Purple
Hearts and The Combat Infantryman’s Badge(CIB). He is married
Krystal Quinn Formerly of Dora.
This cartoon was in the Birmingham News
today (Sunday). I'm posting it for all the teachers.
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