November 13, 2016
7th Sunday in the Season of Creation, 2016
I am fuming. I have been fuming since mid-morning. Last Friday was Veterans’ Day here in America and part of the Sunday service today was to celebrate that. Typically on Sundays that have some patriotic significance I carry the American Flag during the Procession (the entry into the service) and the Recession (the departure from the service) but I got blindsided this morning and I was told I shouldn’t do this because of people having their feelings hurt and not wanting to be reminded that the American philosophy is the Rule of Law. Then during the service there was a prayer for animals and veterans. Yeah, we veterans are animals it seems. I served in South East Asia in 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1974. I was put guarding the perimeter of Udorn RTAFB even though I was an electronics repairman. The bases in Thailand were attacked, some more than once, and until enough Security Police could be trained and assigned, many of us were halfway trained (a three month course done in one week) and put on guard duty. And yes, I did get shot at. In addition, when I returned from my first tour and my last tour, (1970-1971 & 1973-1974) I was abused by civilians at the airport as I was waiting to go home. Used and abused, shot at and spit on, and this is the thanks I get. “Thank you for your service” was never much of a repayment but it was often sincere. The insults I got today was also sincere.
I am fuming. Maybe it was because I was at church or maybe it was just the timing but a lot of old wounds got ripped open today. When the 432 TRW ordered me to become a Security Police Augmentee, and I had to take the one week version of a three-month course, part of the training was to qualify on the M-16. I had qualified in Basic Training in 1967 but I had to requalify in 1970. So March 26, 1970 I and several other Airmen were on the firing line ready to fire off a portion of our qualifying rounds. There were several Security Policemen qualifying on the .38 caliber revolver off to the side. They were not firing at the targets but just firing in the air wildly. After they stopped, the instructors had some words with them, I discovered where three slugs landed within an inch (about .4 cm) from the little toe of my left foot. I still have nightmares, not as often as before but once or twice a year 46 years later. I do not believe I have PTSD, or if I do it is a mild case, but I don’t need that mental wound being torn open.
My family was living in Ohio when I joined the USAF. The church my family attended while I was in Basic Training and Technical School had a priest who declared that anyone serving in the military should never have been born in a sermon. After that service he came up to my parents and said that he had heard that I was in the service and would my parents like a Service Cross blessed for me. My parents were so angry at his hypocrisy that they stormed out and never went back. And my parents were deeply religious, as am I. So you can see where a lot of bad memories got stirred up this morning and why I am fuming. How long it will take for me to settle down, I do not know. Writing this helped a bit but I am still fuming.