We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Its been 38 years and I haven't run into anyone who might appreciate this moral dilemma.
Friendly fire vs Dumb shits.
My last week there. Due to horrible terrain the Co. was humping single file. A well laid ambush had stymied the point some hundred yards up. My squad was descending a ravine when the '101st' (they were just taking over I Corp) Cobra cut loose, next squad up on the ascending slope took several hits. Bad ones. I had a good squad, in an instant there where many 16's, a 60 an a 79 aiming at that Cobra, who was less than 50 yards away. We would have brought him down.
I yelled 'hold fire' and popped a purple, though everything in me wanted to yell "Fire."
My dilemma all these years - did I save lives, or lose them because this same dumb shit would move on to other choices and perhaps make the wrong one again.
BTW, we later received short rounds from a 101 '105' unit. They damn near got me on that one.
There was no way for the guys in the chopper to be sure, it was not their fault, they were doing what they thought was the right thing.
That's the way of war - plenty of conviction and too much confusion.
I'll tell you this ... I cringe at the sound of the backwash of chopper blades even today.
To many times I found myself either in their sights or too damned close to it, for confort.
Never once, did it occur to me to shoot back.
They were doing their job.
And for every screw up - there were a thousand 'well dones', that resulted in the countless deaths of the bad guys and many good guys were saved to fight another day by the cover, those guys in the chopper provided.
You lost lives to save more lives.
That too, is the way of war.
You not only did the right thing, you kept your head in the face of it, when another man might now be destroyed by a lifetime of guilt in the (*certain*) knowledge that they had been responsible for the deaths of those guys in the chopper...
Jeez, Luther--that's a load to tote. I was thinking about that today, I heard a news blurb that today is an anniversary of D-Day Iwo Jima. News said that just that first day, there were 550 KIA on the beach. I was thinking, that when my little baby ass was born just a couple years later, the guys who were with each one of those 550 must've still been feeling very raw, like it was all just yesterday.
Then I remembered that those guys--you guys--show up on the History Channel from time to time being interviewed, and even when they're 80 years old talking about WWII, it was still just yesterday.
Yeah tis true Buddy. Its as real as yesterday in some ways. Back in the early 80's I was drinking with the bro-in-laws father. He was at Iwo. I asked, innocently, if he still thought about it (his war), as I did my mine. He answered, every fucking day, and then he starting crying, then I joined him. I have gotten better, but you never forget. Second guessing my life away, different decisions, maybe I could have saved a few.
You know better than anybody that you have got to let yourself be human. You made the sacrifice--that's the big story. That's the one that counts for all the beneficiaries, on the outside looking in. Just words--but true.
Thanks for the response. Perhaps I expect too much. But there were several incidents where I faced the "not being sure" choice, I held fire in each. Which, had I not, would have resulted in 'friendly fire.' Yes, it is a very fine line with decisions to be made in microseconds, but as you seem too be aware, seconds can be hours in some situations.
BL - If H. did head south I hope it is somewhere south of Tucson, I'd sleep better at night for sure :-)