Sunday, December 30, 2007

Press 1 for English (Strong Language)

The Guy from Boston uses some pretty strong language but I like what he says. The song is one of my favorites also. My regular posts should start back up sometime next week. Too much going on lately plus all the great bowl games. Not enough time to type out all the memories and work on the regular blog. Don't worry, they will come back very soon.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sleep in Heavenly Peace

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Christmas. I know I am ready for a nap after all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas Holiday. Enjoy your day with family and friends but also take a little time to unwind from all the excitement. Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

I won't be home for Christmas... .

I won't be home for Christmas... .

I am among the thousands of Americans who served in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan who are now gone. Many who survived their wounds will never be whole. Many will have life expectancies far shorter than others their age who never served in uniform... never seeing the same number of Christmases to come.

I am among the millions of Americans who served in uniform during WWII who are now gone... and it is estimated that less than eleven percent of the men and women who served during WWII are alive today, with more than a thousand passing away each day.

I am among the tens of thousands of Americans who served in uniform in Korea who are now gone... and it is estimated that less than four percent of the men and women who served in Korea are alive today, with more than seven hundred passing away each day.

I am among the hundreds of thousands of Americans who served in uniform in
Vietnam who are now gone... and it is estimated that less than one-third of the men and women who served in Vietnam are alive today, with more than a two hundred passing away each day.

I and those with me won't be home for Christmas. Please always remember us... and those who will join us before next

The Unforgotten Soldier

(Author Unknown)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Okay, maybe by now you have realized that I suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from combat in Vietnam. I actually feel that I am one of the lucky ones because mine was the late in life onset type. Many men and women find themselves in the grips of PTSD soon after the stressor. I had some symptoms early on such as inability to remember names, excessive responses to loud noises and anxiety after hearing the sound of Huey helicopters. These did not affect my life much so I lived a normal life for many years.

Many Vets feel the symptoms right away after coming back from the war zone. Some of the Vets in my therapy group have had multi-marriages, multi-jobs and addictions to drugs or alcohol. Their lives were affected as soon as they got back.

That is why I say that I was lucky because I lived a normal life for many years. I started having flashbacks about 1995 but they did not totally engulf me. The big problem with my flashbacks was because they started occurring while I was driving. As it turned out, certain songs on the radio would trigger the flashback. Luckily, I was able to get the car off the road before causing an accident. Even at this point, I did not really comprehend what was happening and continued with my normal life.

There were many changes at work that caused undue stress in my life and may have contributed to the old memories breaking through the wall that I had created. I did not associate with Veterans or even talk about Vietnam. I had done a great job of walling off that part of my life. Bad mistake.

About this time, I also became a little more negative about things at work. The administration of my area began to force things on us that I felt were not in the best interest of our department and the institution. An example was a new computer system that a department head was pushing for us to use. They did not want me involved with the main part of the development of this program even though I was the Manager of the area. Therefore, I assisted the accounting side of the program. When it came time to implement the program, old Mr. Negative stood up and said the program would not work the way it was set up. How did I know that? Because I had run, what I call “What If” scenarios repeatedly using different parameters and discovered they failed to include a "deliver to" location in the programming.

Of course, this created an uproar and I was the outcast, which upset me even more. However, when I explained that they had failed to create in the program a method to tell the Receiving Department where the material was to be delivered they listened to me very carefully. We receive over 40,000 line items daily so the Receiving Department would back up very quickly if they could not deliver the material. Accounting and I never liked this particular program anyway and talked administration into going with another program. Millions spent for nothing.

It was things such as this that started to upset me and the flashbacks started becoming more frequent. About the same time, a power struggle started taking place within the department and my boss and I decided to leave the area and stay out of the politics that was brewing. I began helping the Nursing Department create a bar code ordering system and a system for next day delivery of supplies for Nursing.

About this same time, another power struggle was going on by a VP who wanted control of my old department. He won that battle and got rid of the director and managers. At this point, my problems were getting worse but I was dealing with it by trying to ignore the problem. Even my wife could feel that something was not right. She was afraid that I might be having an affair. Guess I was starting to shut down socially and did not want to do things that we normally would do.

One day I attended an informational meeting that I thought was going to tell us the new structure of Purchasing. This VP laid out his plan for the future and informed the group that I (Stanley) was going to be the Manager again. Bad move on his part. You do not tell some one that they will be in charge of an area without first talking to them. I wanted to turn it down because of my problems. A couple people I talked to about it said that was a career-ending move if I did turn it down. Guess it did not really matter at that point because PTSD was ending my career anyway.

I did quickly turn the department around and speeded up the process for ordering via the new computer system. What was a 5 to 7 day cycle was reduced to 2.5 days and I felt that I could get that below 2 days. This was a large department and we processed one million dollars per day in orders. By now, I was experiencing about two flashbacks per day. Not a good thing. I was afraid I might hurt someone if I had a bad flashback.

One day I met with the VP and he informed me that he wanted me to get rid of one of my best buyers. Good buyers are trained to question things and to find the best solution to a problem. He did not like her questioning his authority. This is when I went ballistic. I called him an ‘asshole’ and felt that I was ready to pound the shit out of him. He must have sensed that he was in big trouble and made a quick exit.

We had a department called EAP (Employee Assistance Program) which helps employees with work or home problems. I went down to them, told them I have a problem, and needed help. They sent me to the Psychiatrist and she said at the end of our session that I had classic PTSD.

I immediately went on Long Term Disability and finally decided to take early retirement. I did not want to hurt any of the wonderful employees that I had hired and had dealt with for many years. I was able to get Social Security Disability and the judge that heard my case told me to go to the VA and apply for benefits.

If you are already familiar with the VA, you know that process is a long drawn out one. Mine did not take as long as some that I have heard about. I did have an advantage in that I already was rated at 30% disability due to my mangled foot. After talking with the VA Psych department, I was awarded 100%. So now, you know that part of the story.

If you feel you are having problems adjusting after combat, please seek help from the VA and do not wait for 30 years as I did. I hope our little talk helps someone and good luck.

Monday, December 17, 2007

"In God We Still Trust" sung by Diamond Rio

As long as we are on a patriotic theme, I have to include this great song by Diamond Rio. Our country was founded on religious freedom and a few are trying to eliminate God from the National Anthem and from our currency. Let the majority stand up and be heard that "In God we still trust".

Welcome Home, Vietnam Vets

Welcome Home. If you were like me, you flew in by military charter from Okinawa or the Philippines after leaving Nam. I think I came back via TWA by way of Okinawa to Alaska and then to San Francisco. There were no parades, no welcome home banners and no one thanking us for a job well done. We tended to sneak back into the United States. The only welcome I got was from my family when I finally got back to my hometown for my 30-day leave. I am sure most of you got the same kind of welcome. I hope that not many of you ran into protestors when you flew into California.

To my Vietnam brothers, “Welcome Home”.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Soldiers With PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a recognized disorder thanks to the Vietnam Veterans. Sometimes it strikes right after the stresser and other times it will not appear for many years. If soldiers or their families feel that something is different after being in combat, please get help as soon as possible. Many WWII and Korean War Veterans are coming forth with PTSD so it is just not within the Vietnam Vets. Go to the VA for help and get the process, not for recovery, but for help in adjusting to a normal life. The VA can help through counseling, EMDR and group therapy. You do not need to have a Purple Heart to have terrible memories of combat. Please seek help at your nearest VA.

Tribute to Our Troops

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Do You Remember These?

Some miscellaneous things that I dug up related to Nam. I must have had it nice in May of 1968 because I have a laundry slip from Lili’s Laundry. What really made it special was the slip shows six pairs of underwear. While in the jungle, we never wore underwear because it was too hot and they were not comfortable. Guess I was used to the weather and did not have to go on long patrols in May 1968 so I was able to wear underwear. Isn’t it odd the things you remember? I do not know where I got the “Life in Vietnam” but I always laugh when I look at it and wonder why they gave us a travel guide for Nam. The little magazine is full of ads for hotels and bars in Saigon. The little “Airlifted by” tag was stuck to my ditty bag when I was airlifted to Cam Rahn Bay. The combat phrase book is the one I carried around Nam in case it was ever needed. I do not recall using it very much. Click on picture for larger view.

Old Pictures from the Military

I dug up some old pictures from my military days and scanned them for the blog. If you recognize yourself or anyone in the pictures, please attach a comment and let me know. The only name that I can remember is an old friend from both boot camp and Corps School, Steve Sabin. I am not sure of the spelling of the last name but Steve is the person kneeling in the Boot Camp picture. We both did very well at Corps School. I was ranked number one and he was close behind me in score. I would not be surprised if Steve went on to become a Doctor. I was close to being admitted to Medical School but was number two on the waiting list for RushMedical School in Chicago. Never did get there even though I was close. I did spend the next thirty years working in the medical field as a Purchasing Manager. Guess my Medical Supply training at Camp Pendleton did pay off. . Click pictures for larger view.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Doc Getting A Medal

I do not remember what this picture was about other then I was getting a medal for something I did in Nam. It might have been my official presentation for the Purple Heart. Thought I would include this picture for old Navy or Marine buddies that might recognize me and send a note off. Of course, in Nam, I had a big handlebar moustache but could not wear it stateside. Click pictures for larger views.

Scattered Memories of My Military Days

Please forgive me but I am going to do a lot of rambling on this post. So many things have popped into my head that I will attempt to put them down on paper. If you are looking for horrible war stories, those will remain tucked as far back in my brain as I can put them. They only come forth during flashbacks and I would just as soon forget about them.

I started my four-year military career at boot camp in San Diego, California. After boot camp, I went to the Naval Hospital Corps School at the US Naval Hospital in San Diego. I graduated first in my class so I got to choose my next duty station. I chose Pharmacy School in Portsmouth, Virginia. The school was already underway so I would have to wait until the next starting date. In the meantime, I worked in the Operating Room at Portsmouth Naval Hospital and drove ambulance during my duty nights. When the school was ready to start, they said that I would have to extend my tour another year to get into the school. I did not want to extend another year. About two months later, I got my orders to Vietnam.

Before going to Nam, a Hospital Corpsman must go to Marine Corps training to get some education on how to survive in combat on the ground. We carried rifles (I did not in Nam) and learned how to field strip them. By the way, the ones we learned to field strip at Camp Lejeune were not the same ones used in Nam. Not sure why I needed that training.

We learned how to treat soldiers wounds under combat situations, how to care for jungle rot and to take care of snake bits. Did I tell you that I never saw a snake in Nam? We did get a lot of good physical training to prepare us for long patrols in 100+ degree temperatures. They also taught us basic Marine Corps jungle fighting tactics and we got a feel for what it would be like under combat conditions. After this four to five week training, it was off on an all expense paid trip to South Vietnam for thirteen months.

My aunt Blanche (my Mom’s sister) was dying of cancer and that was the last time I would get to see her just before going to Nam. That was difficult because my Mom and aunt Blanche were so close and we were very close with the family. It is tough leaving and knowing that is the last time you will see someone. In Nam, you never really thought about your own vulnerability. You just did what you had to do and I guess I trusted that God would get me through my thirteen months. The only time you really started to feel vulnerable was, as you got closer to your tour end. You tend to develop a short-timers attitude and get nervous at loud noises.

Vietnam was both a beautiful country yet also a run down poor country. The cities were run down but the countryside was very beautiful. It was especially nice out near the jungle and mountains. Some of the old temples were situated in such beautiful settings. Please read some of my earlier posts where I talk about the jungle and mountains.

Guess I did not get very far with this post but I am sure more junk will pop back into an old brain of mine. Have to save some stuff for a later post. Take care.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Gary, Joanne's Baby Brother

Joanne’s brother is Gary. He is about 9 years younger then she is but looks a lot older (heh heh). I know who sleeps on the other side of my bed. I am no fool. I do not have many pictures of Gary or at least I could not find many. Gary lives on the other side of the state with his wife Jenny. The first picture is Gary holding Joshua when he was young and the other picture is at a birthday party for Josh. Gary is in the red shirt.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Oz Fest and the Grandkids

Okay, this took place back in September, but I have not talked about our grandkids yet in the blog. Therefore, here goes. We have three lovely grandkids named Joshua (call me Josh)(12), Allison (call me Allie)(10) and Lauren (call her wild)(7). They are our pride and joy and we love them so much. They are great kids that love sports (Josh and Lauren) and singing and dancing (Allie). Allie was into sports but now has become more girly girly.

Joanne (Nana) is a collector of Wizard of Oz so we had to attend the Chesterton Oz Festival in September. That same weekend, we also had the kids so they were able to go with us to the festival. The pictures above are of the kids at the festival and at the Wizard of Oz museum. The last picture is of our Son (Mike) and daughter-in-law (Kelly) with the kids.

Aren’t they just special. I believe that you can click on the picture to get a larger image.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Time for Giving

My mind was drawing a blank today. Usually, the more I write about Vietnam, the more miscellaneous memories that pop into my head. Much of it is just random stuff so I avoid just dropping it into whatever I may be working on. So, that being the case, let us think about the Holidays and helping those less fortunate then us and do not forget about our wonderful soldiers overseas.

“Toys for Tots” is a wonderful charity run by the Marine Corps. Help them with toys, gifts or money. In addition, there is a nice website that you can send a card to a service man or woman overseas. gives you the opportunity to send a FREE pre-printed postcard greeting card to military personnel overseas to say Thank You for their service. What better time than Christmas to send some cheer? Remember, Christmas is a time of giving and volunteering and do not forget those protecting our Freedoms.