You’ve met our Editor-in-Chief, Allen Ness, who is a real-live E-8 jump master Paratrooper, and as any of you infantry types know, never learned the idiocy of jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft.
I’m the Garritrooper of this outfit, which, as the Bill Mauldin cartoon explained in 1943, “was too far forward to wear a tie, but too far in the rear to git shot.”
I was shot once, while in college, in commission of a minor felony (trying to set fire to strip mine equipment) about 100 miles from campus. Being an Eagle Scout, and fearful of being thrown out of school if I showed up at an emergency room, I tended the wound myself. It was only buckshot.
My brother, four years my junior, enlisted in the Navy a couple of years later when his birthday came up fifth in the draft lottery, then stayed for 32 years. When asked by recruiters if he was afraid of being shot at, he said “Hell yes, that’s why I’m enlisting. To get away from the shooting.”
That event, plus two broken noses inflicted by the same fellow, for the same crime…lying…proved I was lawyer material, so I ended up spending five years in the Army as a JAG officer, almost all of it in the Far East, where I had the good fortune to know men in history books.
Although way removed from the war zone, I was too far forward in the human-story war zone to always wear a tie, and I became the father confessor, and sometimes defense lawyer, to thousands of PFC-through E-6’s, with a few lieutenant-colonels thrown in.
So between a poet-warrior, an artist with fire still breathing out of his nose after all these years, not the least bit tired of loving Freedom and hating the enemies of America, and this old cold warrior who spent more duty hours “out of uniform”, you’re going to get a heap of history, interesting stories, all with the connection to the shoulders we all stand on, going back to 1776.
Your stories here will add to that never-ending handshake, and its history.
I may even tell you how I came to be called Vassar. That too is a Cold War tale.