Gut Rumbles

April 16, 2007

John Kerry and Vietnam

Originally published August 29, 2004

Anybody who reads this blog knows that Recondo 32 and his lovely wife Georgia are two of the best friends I have in this world. I've known them both for about 30 years now, and we've had many a grand adventure together, from Key West, Florida to Tacoma, Washington.

Recondo is not a violent man. In fact, he's so goddam decrepit now that I believe Georgia could whip his ass. The three of us ARGUE--- but we don't FIGHT.

A long time ago, Recondo was a 17 year-old boy from the mill-town of Clinton, South Carolina. When he got out of high school, he had three choices: either go to work in the mill, go to JAIL (it seems he had a few problems with the local constabulary) or enlist in the service. He chose door #3.

He enlisted, went to Vietnam and decided that he wanted to jump out of pefectly good airplanes. He ended up in Recondo school and was the 32nd graduate, shortly after the army started the training program (hence his internet name). He became a LRRP.

He didn't ride swift-boats up and down a river. He went on six-man teams via helicopter to be dropped in the middle of nowhere behind enemy lines. Their mission was Long Range Recon and Patrol. They weren't supposed to be seen or heard. They were supposed to scout, report, get out and call in the big boys once they were extracted.

The plan didn't always work that way.

If you read The Phantom Warriors, you'll find Recondo's story somewhere around page 54. His team fucked up that day and got caught by a several hundred NVA regulars that resembled fire ants swarming out of a freshly kicked mound. The extraction point was too hot to call for a helicopter, so they ran for their lives.

I won't go into any more details here, except to say that it wasn't a pretty sight. Go read that book.

Recondo hates John Kerry. He'll tell you right now that LRRPs were responsible for killing more enemy soldiers that ANY rifleman or regular army unit was during that war. If they found the enemy, they called in an air strike and blew everybody to hell. Then, they got out of there.

Recondo also says (and I believe that this fact is VERY IMPORTANT) that anybody who shot civilians or took ears for trophies would have been court marshalled in an instant and his commanding office would have faced charges, too.

"We didn't do that shit and I didn't know anybody who did," Recondo said. "Maybe some of the regular units went crazy and pulled a Calley, but WE never did, and I resent that boat-floating sumbitch for accusing us of WAR CRIMES when I believe that he committed the worst one of all: TREASON!!!"

And you wonder why some Vietnam vets don't like Kerry?

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