The Marine Corps Years
Feb 99 - Dec 99
I left my sales career shortly after the Welcome Home parade
and completed a transition to the world of Training. Around 1988
I began to recognize that an ideal career for me should I never have to
work for money would be teaching middle school kids how to solve puzzles.
Not how to solve a particular puzzle, but how to think about solving puzzles
when faced with them. Sounds like life, doesn't it?
I spent many of the last months teaching at a volunteer organization,
in Sunnyvale, California. I learned a lot about myself from my "students".
To my surprise, I also learned about Vietnam through my first and only
flashback which occurred on July 29, 1999. Somehow I had taken on
responsibility, more like blame and guilt, for my friends and fellow warriors
who did not return from 'Nam as they had left it:
I had unknowlingly, even unconsciously, laid a path of recrimination for
myself. Why did I get to fly home and have an active life instead
of returning home in a body bag? How come them and not me?
Just because I scored well on a boot camp test so was ordered to an intelligence
school? Well, yes; however, I see little justice in that and keep
working to unload the guilt of surviving.
"Mayday" - a radio call from many miles away. Bob was manning another
radio as I and another man raced to get action from HQ to help this unit
as they were being overrun. They all died.
Bob Hrisoulis - I would have volunteered to ride that chopper with the
same enthusiasm he displayed at all times.
Nearly sixty thousand fellow men and women who did not return whole to
Thousands of homeless men and women who would have benefited from better
transitions and acknowledgment than we received.
Reading about my fellow Vets helped a lot - "The Etiology of Combat-Related
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder" by Jim Goodwin was a life saver for me.
It helped me discover and answer this very basic question: "Why
am I driven to be hyper-vigilant for danger to anyone around me, even when
they a) did not ask, and b) somehow got through the decades before we met
without my assistance?" The "Mayday" flashback guided me to
seek help from wiser people than I and enabled me to lift a great weight
from my shoulders. Now I can walk with
people instead of 2 to 10 feet ahead of them constantly alert for an ambush
(rare in these United States.)
I'm not yet in that position to work for no money and begin my paid
training career December 6, 1999.
Best wishes to all.