My name is Bill Shultz and I am a retired US Army First Sergeant and a Vietnam Vet. I am also a 100% disabled veteran, but that has nothing to do with who I am or what I believe..
First: I’m sure you have heard all the horror stories about what happened to Vietnam Veterans upon their return to this country. I number among them.
Some of their stories are true and some are exaggerations.. Not every returning soldier was spat upon or run over by a drug crazed hippy. But many will tell you they were.
Second: The Vietnam Veterans of this country are kind of in a loose alliance to insure that what did happen back then will not happen today.
I know now, and I see it happening all over the country, men and women from Iraq are receiving hero’s welcomes. And that is as it should be.
They volunteered for the military, but I assure you that not one of them wants to put their life in danger at the dawning of each new day. No, when our guys come home, we will not let them get put in the crap that we had to face. We will be there, and we are a big part of America.
I had a good friend, a subordinate of mine decide to get out of the Army back in 1968. He gave up a promising career. He was a young Buck Sergeant but sharp as nails. He went home to Oklahoma City and was shot to death while in uniform when he got home by a protestor. He was standing on a street corner waiting for the light to change when it happened.
We can’t let stuff like that happen again, and we won’t.
Third: The problems will lie in what our government does for these combat soldiers when they do return. There were no programs offered to help us make a transition into civilian life.
One day these young men were soldiers, in the jungle or the highlands, fighting for their very lives and the lives of their buddies and the next day they were back on the block, at home, still dodging bullets, but this time they were word bullets and most of them came from the media.
I saw this happening. But I was not really affected by it because I was a career soldier…a lifer as we were called. But it happened and they did not know how to cope with the world around them.
They had spent the previous year of their lives living in a jungle or a forest and could spot a VC Tunnel from a long way off, but they did not how to spot the bad guys in their own country.
The media who would ruin them at every opportunity was more of an enemy to these soldiers and marines then any VC could ever have been and a government that ignored these fine men.
This is why that group of men had the highest suicide rate in our country. It is why the divorce rate for Vietnam Vets was something like 10 times the national average, and it is why over a quarter million of these fine brave young men turned to crime, were caught, and flooded our penal institutions across the country.
Do I think it will happen again? No, I do not. Because we are now the public and we will stand in the way of anyone trying to harm our brave sons and daughters who serve this country so proudly.
Media beware. You see what organized Veterans did to John Kerry. Don’t mess with our heroes when they come home.
Don’t make them look like monsters for VOLUNTEERING to defend their country against all enemies foreign and domestic.
Cause if you do, you too will become the enemy of a new generation of American Warriors.