“Vietnam Era Veteran”…

AB JOHN W. Gray, USAF, Basic Training, Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Tx, July 25, 1971
In the last few years there seems as though there has been a Split Among Our “Vietnam Veterans”, some in their minds. There was a time, still accepted by many, that if you Served in Military Service during The Conflict we were involved in, in Vietnam, you were/are considered a “Vietnam Veteran”. In recent years some have expressed the opinion if you didn’t serve “In-Country”, if your weren’t part of the “Boots-On -The Ground”, you aren’t a “Vietnam Veteran”. This has appeared in many ways but the most obvious in the phrase “Vietnam Era Veteran”. So, lets think about this. Young men & women were volunteerin’ or acceptin’ being drafted (I volunteered) for Military Service. We all took the same oath ” I, state your name, do solemnly  swear…Pledge to Defend & Support…”. Basically we all wrote the US Government the Same Blank Check, time from our lives, to use us as they saw fit. Many were selected, from all Branches, to serve “In-Country” or as “Boots-On-The-Ground”. The others were selected to serve/assigned to/ordered as “Support Personnel” around the globe. These “Support Personnel” did the jobs to make sure that those “In-Country”/”Boot-On-The-Ground” got what they needed, where they needed it, by those in  need of it. Well as best they could anyway (for Government Work). It always seemed as though there were always differing opinions on that, as there still are today (did I hear someone say Benghazi?). I personally serve 4 years of my life in the USAF, June 1971 -June 1975. I received my ORDERS the same as everyone did in the Branch in which we all served. Was I dodging bullets everyday, lookin’ for land mines, huntin’ out the Enemy, livin’ in Monsoons, was I trompin’ through the Jungles of Southeast Asia, NO! I was Sent/ NO ORDERED! to go to Germany, Ramstein AFB, to Serve as a Aircraft Control & Warning Systems Operator. I went there on a 2 year tour. Yes, I took advantage of that. I found out I could extend if I so choose, as most anyone could in any Theater (military term). Well I so choose! Hell, I’ve heard tale of some even extended “In Country”.  I spent 3 years 8 months of my 4 years right there in Ramstein, Germany. We supported the efforts goin’ on in Southeast Asia. So much came through Ramstein AFB both commin’ & goin’ as part of the Support Effort required, as did the many other personnel did around the globe. So, if some decide not to consider us, those that never were “In-Country” or “Boots-On-The-Ground” as a “Vietnam Veteran” then so be it, in their minds. I’ll proudly accept the tag as a “Vietnam Era Veteran”. Oh, and I was “Honorably Discharged” & I have the same “DD-214″ as other Veterans…Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>

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