1st Cavalry Division Veteran Recounts Combat Tour in Vietnam

Within the late Nineties, prompted by the recognition of the movie Saving Personal Ryan and the push to construct the World Conflict II Memorial on the Nationwide Mall in Washington, the conclusion that America’s World Conflict II technology was quickly disappearing entered the nation’s collective consciousness. In digital panic mode, a number of efforts erupted by way of web sites and different media to seize the wartime tales and accounts of surviving veterans earlier than it was too late.

At this time, a technology or extra later, the give attention to preserving veterans’ reminiscences inevitably has shifted to a different vanishing warrior cohort—those that fought our battle in Vietnam.

Though roughly 9 million People served worldwide on energetic obligation in U.S. navy forces throughout the Vietnam Conflict period (1954-75)—round 10 p.c of the corresponding age group—solely about 3 million People of all navy providers served in-country in land forces, flew air missions over Vietnam or sailed within the nation’s surrounding waters throughout these years. By 2019, it was estimated that about 775,000 of these 3 million “in-country vets” have been nonetheless alive. Since then, a median of about 400 have died every day.

Capturing and preserving the first-person accounts of their Vietnam service have to be a nationwide precedence.

Vietnam Conflict veterans themselves can assist in that effort by writing memoirs recounting their service, as Dennis D. Blessing Sr., a fight veteran of the seventh Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), has finished along with his concise however participating new e book, Vietnam in My Rearview: Memoir of a 1st Cavalry Fight Soldier, 1966-1967. Importantly, the creator begins his account with a really revealing level. There isn’t a “single” Vietnam Conflict expertise representing all who served, as Blessing notes:

Someplace, someday…somebody, little question, will say: “This man received all of it incorrect!” Every American soldier’s expertise on this battle was completely different, whether or not you have been humping by means of the jungle or one of many multitudes of assist forces, every of us has his personal story…After 54 years since my time in Vietnam I could not have every little thing precisely proper, however that is my story as remembered with the assistance of my 212 letters dwelling…Penning this e book gave me a chance to inform the total story of what it was like for me to function a fight soldier in an infantry unit in Vietnam…[and]…has helped me in some methods to come back to phrases with a battle I usually discovered arduous to grasp.

That insightful commentary—that no two Vietnam veterans’ experiences have been, nor might ever be, precisely the identical—is probably the most profoundly vital level that readers ought to take away from Blessing’s well-written memoir. Aided by his 212 letters dwelling, fortunately preserved, Blessing has revealed a wonderful account of his tour as a fight infantry “grunt” with the first Cav. The e book offers a snapshot, naturally considered by means of his private lens, of his unit throughout his 1966-67 tour.

Blessing has finished an admirable job of taking readers on his private “Vietnam Conflict tour.” The very minor errors discovered by this Vietnam vet by no means detract from his well-written narrative. What he recalled as “Flagstaff” beer was “Falstaff.” His clarification of “left shoulder vs. proper shoulder” unit patches was very clear and concise, however he sadly received them reversed. The present unit of project patch is worn on the left shoulder, whereas the patch of the unit the place one served in fight is worn on the correct, not vice versa. Nonetheless, these are insignificant errors and simply ignored.

The e book stands as an articulate and compellingly written instance of what Vietnam Conflict vets must be striving for: recording their experiences, tales, ideas and, finally, efforts to come back to phrases with the battle, their service in it and the way it affected their postwar lives.

Blessing included a 15-page glossary of about 300 widespread phrases. A few of them, as all Vietnam vets will recall, come from the Vietnamese language, ceaselessly utilized by American service members. His checklist ranges from “Artillery Ahead Observer” by means of “Beaucoup Dinky Dau” (actually loopy) and “Sinh Loi” (sorry ’bout that) to “‘Yards” (GI slang for Montagnard tribespeople).

So, come on, Vietnam Conflict vets! Comply with Blessing’s excellent instance. Choose up your pens or stubby pencils or laptop keyboards and begin recording your individual Vietnam Conflict experiences…earlier than it’s too late!

Vietnam in my rearview

Memoir of a 1st Cavalry Fight Soldier, 1966-1967
by Dennis D. Blessing, Sr., McFarland, 2021

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