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Sidney Alvin Lee - U.S. Army Airborne Ranger

I carried a rifle into the field until my last day in country.  I even went on patrol the night before the morning I got on the plane to come home.  By the time my second tour was over, I was exhausted, spent and disillusioned.  I was ready to go home, but I regretted parting with my team.  I felt guilty for leaving them and knew I had left a big piece of me behind.  Emotionally and mentally drained, I knew things would not get better in Vietnam.  Nothing good would ever come from all the fighting and dying.   Politicians ran that war not generals, and a great many people died because of it. 

I also knew I had only myself to blame for serving a second tour in Vietnam.  Deep inside me, I had wanted to go back.  Something inside had pushed me.  During my first tour, I’d seen so many young men die needlessly, killed by inexperience, and every dead American boy broke my heart because chances are, with proper training and leadership, he didn’t have to die.  The newcomers – the guys with little training and no experience in combat – were always first to find a bullet.  You know what?  The whole God damned war was a God damned mess.

I had once believed the Vietnamese people wanted us there, but now, I wasn’t sure anymore.  Over and over again, we were told the Vietnamese loved us because we’d save them from Communism.  By the end of my second tour, that line of crap carried no more weight than the line the NVA tried to sell to me on that hill two years earlier.  I never met a Vietnamese peasant who wanted anything but the safety of his children and enough rice to feed his family between harvests.  After two years of combat, I finally understood why Vietnamese children sold bottles of soda to Americans with ground glass inside and why prostitutes put razor blades in their vaginas.  I knew why if you left a jeep unguarded, you risked getting a grenade in the gas tank with tape around the handle that blew an hour later when the gasoline dissolved the adhesive.  I knew why women pushed baby carriages packed with explosives into American compounds.  No matter what our leaders told us, I knew above all else, the Vietnamese people wanted the foreign invaders gone from their land.


1. Racism in the Military
2. Tossed into a River
3. Dad's Death
4. MLK
5. Jump school
6. Rosie Marie
7. A lot of action
8. The world turned to shit
9. Attacked from three sides
10. Green tracers
11. The last day
12. PTSD symptoms kick in
13. Too petrified to move
14. No support from Uncle Sam