I’m going back.
My eldest son has suggested I stop talking about it and do it. That is, go back to Vietnam and face my demons. So sometime this southern summer, most probably December, myself, my wife, my son and his fiance are heading off to look at Vietnam, Ancor Wat, Thailand and whatever inbetween. I served in Thailand during the war and look forward to visiting again. Maybe have a Singah beer at the old Asia Hotel where I lived for several months and generally play the tourist that I wasn’t in 1972.Vietnam though, will be a trip of discovery. Everything old will be new again. Different eyes, different experience. No fear. No having to fit your entire life in a 36 hour leave pass in Vungtau because your days may be numbered. Man, they were pretty heavy leave passes. You haven’t partied unless you’ve done so thinking for tomorrow we die!. Lends strength for party games, allows for consumption of huge amounts of alcohols which in turn makes you taller, stronger, wittier and able to beat the provost at any game they call. What I want from my readership is useful advice on Vietnam today. I know some of my peers from all those years ago live in Phuouc Tuy province today. I know some of my readers are from Vietnam. I know others are vets and may have travelled there lately.I need contacts. I want to meet our old enemy – the soldiers, not the communist party stooges – and have a chat and a beer with them. I’d particularly like to meet Vietnamese veterans who served in C2 D445 Battalion.The last time we met, in August 1970, I didn’t get a chance to say hullo. They fired and killed a mate of mine and then ran. On reflection it most probably wasn’t the time and place for a chat – it was time for death and I was looking to create some. Maybe I did – we found plenty of blood trails but no bodies. C2 D445 Vets are the only ones who would know. Love to meet them.I’m a different man now. Have a beer, a chat, swap stories and photos of wives and kids. Civilized now.Help me readers – leave some meaningful advice.
Go with a family member, Kev.The sights and sounds and the triggered memories will not be pleasant for a while, and you will need a reminder that the soldier is no more and that life has moved on.Keep the anchor firmly fixed in the present, and enjoy the trip for what you see now, not what was 30+ years ago.It won’t be easy or pleasant, and I wouldn’t go back there in a fit, but you are not the first nor will be the last ex Dig to seek some reassurance by returning.I hope it works for you.\r\n’,’2004-10-29