Monday, February 27, 2006

In the Sandbox...

Veterans on Military Missions

"I just read “Vietnam vets in Iraq for a second chance” (Washington Post article, Feb. 20, Stripes Mideast print edition). To the reporter: Great story, however, you forgot a few of us.

The story addressed veterans performing nonmilitary jobs. Is that because Vietnam vets may be too old for active duty? Well, you’d be wrong if that was your idea. Don’t you think that maybe there are a few Vietnam veterans still in the military and performing missions in Iraq?

I’m a Vietnam veteran. I was drafted on Sept. 5, 1968. I went through Special Forces training and worked in the Command and Control North section in Danang, assigned to an exploitation company.

I rotated home in 1971. I spent another 11 years on active duty, leaving to attend law school in June 1982. I entered the Army Reserve and spent 12 years with Company A, 1st Battalion, 11th Special Forces Group. Then I switched to the National Guard when the two Army Reserve Special Forces Groups were disbanded.

I spent nine years with the National Guard Special Forces. I left the Guard in June 2003.

At that time I had 35 years in uniform. I was sent to the Individual Ready Reserve. On Feb. 7, 2005, I received orders. I was assigned to a civil affairs unit and arrived in Iraq in June 2005, first in Kirkuk, then to Baqouba.

I’m 56 and I can still perform the mission. I wear a combat patch that’s older than most of the troops I support. Maybe you should send out a feeler to determine where the rest of us “vets” are serving and do a story on the Vietnam veterans who are still performing a military mission in Iraq.

You better hurry with me though, I’m due to rotate in May."

-Master Sgt. Charles F. Eddings, Forward Operating Base War Horse, Iraq (Stars & Stripes: Letters to the Editor)

...the girls of OEF & the Navy...
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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