9 Lies Soldiers Tell Their Loved Ones While in Combat

Sgt.-Michael-J.-MacLeod copy

Sgt.-Michael-J.-MacLeod copy


Sure, in theory it would be nice to tell loved ones the truth, but there are plenty of times when it’s probably a bad idea. Or maybe the truth doesn’t live up to loved ones’ expectations. Either way, here are 9 lies that usually do the trick:

1. “No, we never go outside the wire.” (or “We go on tons of missions.”)


Everyone knows the grunts go out constantly, but for support soldiers it’s a crapshoot. Some will go out constantly; some rarely. Oddly, both groups lie about it. Support soldiers who are with infantry their whole deployment will tell their parents they’re staying safely inside the wire. Guys who never leave the wire will tell outlandish stories about combat.

2. “It’s boring here.”

Sgt.-Michael-J.-MacLeod copy

Photo: US Army Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod

This is the combat arms soldier’s version of, “We never go outside the wire.” They can’t convince the family that they’re never going on mission, so instead they tell them that nothing is happening.

3. “They feed us pretty well.”


Photo: US Army Vaughn R. Larson

If the soldier is deployed to a large base like an airfield, this may be true. But if they are further away from large logistics hubs, the food choices become repetitive and aren’t always healthy. The worst is for the guys in the field or living in tiny outposts. They’ll get most of their calories from MREs and the occasional delivery of Girl Scout cookies and maybe fruit. Care packages are valuable on deployment, so send good stuff.

4. “I eat healthy snacks.”


Nope. The foods soldiers pick for themselves are worse than the ones in the MREs. Half the time, it’s just tobacco and caffeine. Again, send care packages. Maybe drop some vitamins next to the chips and dip they’re asking for.

5. “I’m learning a lot.”


Everyone has their plan for a deployment, especially cherries on their first trip. Some plan to practice guitar, learn another language, or work on a degree. For most soldiers though, those ideas go out the window when they realize they’ll be working 13 hours or more per day. Still, when they call home, they’ll bring a German phrasebook with them, just to keep up appearances.

6. “I couldn’t call because of all the work.”


Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Taylor

Though there is a lot of work, it’s not really enough to make phone calls impossible. Sometimes, troops just don’t feel like walking all the way to the morale, welfare, and recreation tent. Other times it’s because the lines for the phones were long and, for once, the lines for video games were short. The phones could have been cut off because of bandwidth issues or a communications blackout. Don’t worry, they’ll hit you up on Facebook when they’re able.

7. “Our rooms aren’t too bad.”


Like the food, this depends on the base. Some people on big airfields have real rooms they share or a really nice tent. On forward operating bases, the tents get pretty crappy fast. Beyond the FOBs it’s even worse. Soldiers in the most forward positions dig holes in the sand and spread camouflage nets over them.

8. “That’s not machine-gun fire; it’s a jackhammer.”


Photo: US Army Pfc. Adrian Muehe

There are variations of this. “That helicopter pilots are just doing some training,” or, “The engineers are just detonating some old munitions.” Anytime a compromising noise makes it through the phone, the soldier will try to explain it away. The soldier knows they aren’t in immediate danger, but they still don’t want their wife to know the base takes a rocket attack every 72 hours. So, they lie about what the noise was and get off the phone before any base alarms go off.

9. “I’m going to pay off my cards and put some money away for retirement.”


In their defense, most soldiers are lying to themselves here. They think they’re going to be responsible, but they come home with tens of thousands of dollars saved and realize they could buy a really nice car. The barracks parking lots fill with Challengers and BMWs in the months after a unit comes home.

classedit2 David Nye – Staff Writer at We Are The Mighty

David is a former Fort Bragg paratrooper who deployed with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team.


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  • Jeffery Wagner

    You forgot, “I’m a sniper”.

    • kevin hinson

      and the non-existent silver star

    • Jerry

      I drive trucks, and everyone out here is a Ranger, SEAL etc… As a lowly Seabee I feel well protected out here. Haha

  • Leon Suchorski

    In Vietnam, the Air Force had some guys in barracks next to us Marines. When there was incoming, they went to the head, because it was made o all brick blocks. They had indoor plumbing, to go with those two story barracks. What did we Marines have? We had 16′ X 32′ hooches on stilts so that they would be above the water level in the flood season. We had a bunker between every few hooches to run to when there was incoming. One night, when we had incoming, we pushed to the back, because there just might be one more guy coming. Since about half of us slept “commando”, one guy ended up with his nose pushed up another guy’s crack. In another hooch, the guys went through the wall in directly into the bunker for their sleeping area. That way they just slept right through the incoming. But on one night, one of the guys really got it scared out of him, as a rocket came through one wall of the hooch, and exited the opposite side without exploding. It had pass within one foot of his head. And then there was the night that one of the guys heard a scraping noise on the floor of his hooch. He grabbed his flashlight, and shined it over there, to see a rat dragging a half eaten hard salami out of the place. LOL Their rats were comparable to our turkeys for Thanksgiving. To take a leak, we headed to the trough, which emptied into a barrel, which was emptied once a week. To drop a load, we went to the crapper, which had half barrels to collect it all. They got pulled out once a week and got burned. Our showers, were just some piping on a wall that we turned on and off as we got done. On the whole, it was pretty good living for us, even if it was in a swamp.

    • moecephus

      Seems the Marines failed to take care of themselves when given the chance. You had the same that my units had in the rear, but 99% of us never got to the rear unless lightly wounded, sick, going on R&R, or going home. Most marines were in the same boat.

    • CherokeeDan

      What you describe was exactly our living conditions…1st MAW,VMA(AW)-242 DaNang 1970.

    • Tom Kerley

      SP/4 Tom Kerley,
      I was there in 65 and you described it perfectly, God bless our Troups and screw Viet Nam.

    • James Ives

      I must have been there the same time. 65 & 66 USMC. Now retired as a CW3. Semper Fi Guy.

    • Old gray guy

      Well, I had both kinds of AF quarters. True, the AF in Viet Nam tried to give pilots as good as was available. In Pleiku, the “hootches” were Masonite walls around concrete pads surrounding the latrines. The “sandbag bunkers” were places to avoid for two reasons during a rocket attack. They were full of creatures you didn’t want to meet in the dark, and if you left your cozy place under your bunk, where you huddled in your flak jacket and pot hat during the attack,,you stood a better chance of having flak damage (shrapnel). I also had the luxury of Tan Son Nhut two story air conditioned concrete billets with running water and daily maid service. We frequently went out of the way to find some of the Lai Khe grunts coming in on a resupply and said “C’mon In and get a real shower”. For some weird reason they thought our canned “C” rats were a fair trade for some of the best steaks I’ve ever seen. I did understand that 10 or 20 steaks, with no refrigeration after about a 4 hour drive aren’t always the best answer to next weeks meal. Thanks much, guys. We hope some of the recce we were doing saved a few.

    • Bob

      I was in armored cav (tanker) down in Cu Chi with the 25th Inf Div, 3/4 Cav. I remember being back at base camp THREE times and EACH time we were in for “stand down” we got rocketed. Out in the bush most of the time. Had one R&R in 9 months and I was lucky I got it right before I got zapped the last time. I was there in 1968

    • Chris Gedney

      There’s a reason why the Air Force requires the highest scores to get in…Nuff said…:)

      C.G. Lt Col, USAF (RET)

  • Brian

    As a ten year Air Force vet……solid meme in number 5.

    • Nico

      As a sixteen year Air Force vet…Guess that depends on your job…

  • Jeremiah

    Very true article except the very first one. I was in a support unit in Iraq in ’05 and we went out every night. Now I was not part of every mission, we usually got a night or maybe two to rest, but our unit had a mission every single day…

    • SFC D (RECON)

      I grew to appreciate the support troops but the missions of the Infantry and us SCOUTS were VERY different then your “nightly resupply missions” outside the wire. Support troops NEVER got on a bird at 0200 and landed in a
      hot LZ to conduct a Raid for an HVT or conduct cover Recon of insurgent
      strongholds. You guys also never covertly set up OPs for 72 hrs+, conducted up ambushes,
      conducted BDA with the CIA and other 3 letter agencies to collect DNA samples after intense contact (or in “POG” terms “firefights”,
      hollywood wanna be’s) nor did you collect the dead innocient men, women and CHILDREN to return them to Iraqi or Afghani authorities
      after your Unit killed them, nor did you conduct search n destroy mission or “kill or capture” raids. As a RECON SCOUT I was in both invasions of the Afghan and Iraq wars along with 3 additional tours including 1 special missions Unit tour ( thats a toatl of 72 months in REAL combat, I rather use months then those that claim 7-8 tours which where really 3-6 month tours) I DO NOT AND WILL NOT discuss what I did or saw during my time in hell. But you John Waynes ( and we combat arms guys and the insurgents could tell the difference thats why you guys got hit so much when you went out “soft targets” and its such a pitty that my brothers in arms that where support troops lost their lives because they wanted to see some action, you cant spend a day at the range or a shoot house and think your SF, it takes years for a small Unit to be 100% combat effective. Just know when you are telling these “combat lies” that REAL combat harden vets are know you are lying and are laughing inside. Please stop the lying! I prayed every mission that we WOULD NOT come into contact especially after losing 27 friends in the 72 months I spent there! Anyone who has REALLY been in serious contact “firefight” does NOT want to do it again! Dont lie just be proud you did your job to SUPPORT us combat guys theres nothing wrong with NOT being a shooter, you did what less then 1% of americans would do and that is honorable in itself! Thank you all VETS regardless of “job title” one team, one fight”! SCOUTS OUT!

      • Mike B

        unless you were SOF you werent doing any of this

      • SFC D (RECON)

        Mike D-

        Obveously you yourself are or were a support element otherwise you would know what we (scouts (recon)) and the Infantry did during the wars. We DID infact conduct everything I stated and more. Yes SOF…or as they are REALLY called ODA teams conducted similer missions as in tier 1 and tier objectives. And if you did some research or actually knew what scouts and infantry did you wouldnt havr made your comment…again another soldier clueless about REAL combat arms missions. You would also know we were attached to 5th group ODA 4177, we worked with SEAL Team 3 snipers in Bagdad and conducter counter Recon (CRD) for Delta during Operation Anaconda. Besides SOF, ODA,s and BLUE, GREEN and ORANGE TEAMS WE SCOUTS ARE THE FURTHEST UP FRONT TO THE ENEMY…GOOGLE US AND STOP THE LIES ONCE AGAIN!! Again I THANK ALL VETS WHO SERVED! WE DID IT TOGETHER REGARDLESS OF JOBS, just be proud for being apart of it all!

  • NeoConVet

    Long ago as a too young Infantry Lt. in a small unit out in the valley west of DaNang on a whim tracked down the O2 FAC that frequently flew for us. That effort gained a night on a real bed, with sheets in an A/C room, followed by a real breakfast on a plate…. I almost did not know how to act.

  • Mark R

    There are plenty of things you don’t tell your spouse or girlfriend or they may have a harder time sleeping than we do! Number 9 was the one I did acomplish, not completely, but paid off a lot of things & saved some for a vacation & a gift to me, my 1st custom fit golf clubs!
    Don’t know of any reason to lie about what you did unless it’s the attention! I down played plenty of the real serious stuff & rarely would say anything about shells, mortars, etc!
    We joked about how stories start while on my 1st down range in Afghanistan! Things that we would all know it was a lie comming if the first words are “No chit, there I was”, or some other type red flag for the story teller!
    Went out on mission to the palace to be part of the talk between President Karsi & D. Rumsfeld! At least the press conference part, & it was a crazy day after some very hard rain! Things flooded as you would expect in a place with little trees & greenery, along the route, but we made it past the bad road conditions only to get back into it near sunset & with worse conditions to the road! The bridge was out over the road & it’s try 4 wheel it or go back! Needless to say we worked with the civilians helping them get across after getting stuck & a crowd of on lookers who cheered everytime someone made it through & heckled them when they got stuck, were having a blast! The funnest one was the poor guy on the burro that got stuck! Yes, stuck & they jerred him bad!
    It was one of those situation where you could almost forget where you were for a few minutes! The laughs were real fun at the dining facility that night! I actually managed to get an LTC to flip me off! That was priceless as the crew almost fell out of their chairs laughing so hard! To me that was the MC (Mission Complete) we needed!

  • rvn1970

    13 hour days and mre’s…sounds luxurious….in nam the 13 hour days were the good ones and mre’s are great compared to c rations dated 1944.

    • Jeff_SP5_ADA

      Hey, those WWII cigarettes made good fuses. The K-ration canned bacon was better than the fresh stuff. The canned chicken was still edible and the chocolate candy wasn’t bad either. What got me was, who was the idiot who figured three sheets of TP was sufficient for a GI.

      • Tim

        Holy shit… I can’t stop laughing.. I remember bitching about MRE’s to my Dad who served in Korea. He would look at me and proceed to tell me about eating on a troopship.

      • Casper_ US Army

        What ever your Dad told you about eating or even trying to survive on a troop ship, believe him. I had the “Honor” of traveling on a troop ship twice. one in 1956 to Germany, and, one 1960 to Korea. Each about 2 Weeks travel time.
        But, Golly, what an experience to never forget.

    • moecephus

      You never got any c-rats dated before the late 50s or early 60s. By 1970 most of those were all consumed and if you were a grunt a 13 or even 15 hour day was a luxury. I hate it when the first liar has no chance,

      • George

        I ate plenty of them (c-rats) in my unit in I-Corps (27th Combat Engineer Bn) 1971 when we could get them. Most of the time we dined on ritz crackers and girl scout cookies from care packages. Our Bn Commander finally sent a squad of us to drive from Phu Bai to Da Nang where we robed steaks from a Navy supply depot by gunpoint. When we got back we had a big party for our unit on a beach at Hue. The steaks were delicious.

      • bob

        I may have been there around the time you were there. 138th AVN Co. (RR) We were there after everybody else stood down. No more troops north of Da Nang was a bunch of lies. We also had the 1st Cav airmobile there with us along with the 196th. Hue was OK.

    • Ray

      How True nam 67-68

    • Abn 66-67, 68-69

      In the 60’s before Germany was un zipped and dumped into VN, I was stationed in Berlin. To rotate the tons of C Rations stored in the Olympic Stadium in chance of another Russian blockade, C-Rats were served in the mess halls one day per week. Good mess sergeants would come up with rice, pasta, what ever and convert the early 50’s C-Rats into very palatable stews, sauces, etc. The lazy ones just heated them on the hot line if the CO let them get away with it. There were C-Rats dated in the 40’s show up occassionally, probably due to the laziness and lack of supervision of the men who unloaded and stored incoming rations.

  • marineseabee

    When I was at ITR at Camp Pendleton in 1968, we would get C-rats when we had a field exercise. So, by the time we got to “the Nam”, we’d be used to the C-rats. BUT, the only C-rats most everybody did NOT like was “ham & motherf*ckers”.
    After my enlistment was up, and I was living in Tucson, AZ, I enlisted into the Seabees (Navy Reserve) in Feb1980. We may have been given C-rats even then. I don’t remember what year they began to give us MRE’s. But, I ate the MRE’s like they were gourmet meals. I even brought some home to eat when the wife wouldn’t make what I wanted.. She thought I was crazy for eating MRE’s at home. She said I should’ve stayed in the Marines.

    • Icorps 1970

      At one time I could name everything in every ration in a case of Cs. I got hold of one of the freeze dried LRRP rations once. Stole from the supply on a FSB and it WAS like gourmet food.

    • Messsgt

      What I hated about MREs was the Chicken Ala-King. In our unit it was called Chicken Ala-S**t. Also the accessory packet was the slimist of all.

  • Hulagu

    Um 9 lies, 9truths, and 9 gray area’s Who Cares??

  • Hulagu

    Um 9 lies, 9 Truths, and 9Gray area’s Who Cares

  • Richard

    I was in Saigon in 1975 need a say more

  • lryness

    Marines I knew slept on the ground, I was army LRRP our hootch was poncho over head poncho liner and a lot of mud, bugs snakes leeches etc.

    • moecephus

      funny, if you were a LRRP near me with a poncho hootch I would have kicked your ass. BTW every LRRP unit I visited lived in a base camp between missions and they were living in squad tents or wooden hootches with sheet metal roofs, nam part of all years 64-71

      • Bro Mann

        You are so right Moecephus cuz that is how itwas for me too. Sure we went out a lot and most of the time I was not ready to do what I had to do. But, the way I am reading the 1970 in the nam is totally different from when I was there. Now,that is all I have to say. But not all of you are fabricating the war that I was truly in.

    • JoeK

      Nothing special, only a grunt for a year in Nam (Feb 67 – Feb 68) with the exception of 2 months in hospital. However, my memories are about 30 days in the field, then about 2 or 3 days back to a Base Camp to clean up. One time it was 63 straight days in the field. Came back, cleaned up, new clean jungle fatigues, then out again being dropped off in a chest high swamp. This along with the fire fights, bugs, leaches, snakes, bobby traps, ambushes, LPs, mosquitoes, 3 very large battles (two we won, 1 we lost) including getting overrun, etc., etc. But was always grateful I did not serve my time in the Delta!

  • 2 mo bunker bldg 2mos hooch bdg finally got to be a pillroller in delta 81mm rain most nites. were not heroes we dabble in our first aid agent orange lymphoma aint worth the 100%

  • J. Griff

    Viet Nam 68-69 101st. Abn. Div. 101st. Air Assault, Huey door gunner. Flew mostly I Corp. region. Did some med-evac. too. Some of these stories sound like soldiers that saw no action at all I’m sorry to say. The only time we talk is in a closed group at the VA. Outside of that nobody know’s the difference between truth and bullshit!!!

    • dirtyrob

      I agree with “Griff”. My Father was a Bn. S-2 in the 8th Cav and he would always say, the guys who talk all the time were “in the rear with the gear”. The rest of us are trying to forget all that S#!&

    • Trish

      I know i’m out of my league here but my dad was also in vietnam in 68-69 and he described the rain and the bombs and the guns but never in detail the conditions.. We didn’t know until about 4 months before he passed in June that he still heard bombs going off in his head.. Anyone know Edward Weaver? LOL

      • ajhowey

        Was he a Drill Sergeant at Ft. Dix in 1979? If so, I may have been in his platoon. I had a SSG Weaver as A/PSG. The PSG was SFC Raymond Oyler, a very soft-spoken but tough individual.

      • ajhowey

        Was your father a Drill Sergeant at Fort Dix, NJ in 1979? If so, he may have been the A/PSG of the training platoon I was assigned to in A-4-3. The PSG was a SFC Raymond Oyler, a very soft-spoken but tough yet fair individual.

    • Al Spikes

      I salute my 101st Abn Div brother. I was with the 101st in 69-70…the 1st Brigade: Al S.

    • Judy

      My hubby was in the 101st at the same time. He worked in radio/ dispatch. Do you happen to know
      ” Crazy Pattie” Pat Shea? He was one heck of a door gunner! Thank you all very very much for your service!

  • Merle Johnston

    I did two tours in Vietnam on a demo team/ tunnel rat team with the 1st Engr Bn. My mom could never understand why I couldn’t write home more often since her little boy was working in the supply room all the time.
    It was years later before my Dad told her what I really did over there. I think he pulled the same thing in WWII.

  • sabotsixdelta

    If you lie to your spouse you set a stupid precedent for your marriage. We, the US military, have it so damn good compared to how it used to be as far as instant communication with our loved ones. For some stupid reason we feel the need to tell our loved ones everything that goes on in a war zone. If you do that, especially if you’re in a hot zone for a lot of your deployment, then you’re really stupid. I don’t know if it’s touchy feely movies, but for some reason this current younger generation feels a compulsive need to over share combat experiences. Unless you are in it, our loved ones and others will never understand. We need to stop blasting what war is all over the TV because you can never accurately project it. War is horrible, we fight it so our families hopefully will never have to be exposed to it. When you get home and you want to talk with your wife our whomever about thing to get it off your chest that’s one thing, but skyping crap in theater is idiotic.
    My opinion, don’t lie. If you don’t or can’t talk about out just say that. Out tell them that you’ll talk more when you’re home. No need to lie. Before this great technological age we live in, the best one could hope for was a letter. We’re just a spoiled society debating whether we should lie. Nope.

    • Mike Olson

      My Dad came home from Korea in 1952.
      My Mom recently gave me his papers. She even saved all his letters home. Anything to indicate where they were was cut out before the letter was sent on.

  • Marvin anderson

    Things were not that good ,but I made it home 68/69 101st .today 100% not coping well today.ready to move on.to my next journey .

    • steve eckert

      I understand Marv. same thing here. Not coping-same boat. I cant laugh at any of the posts either.
      101st Abn. Phu Bai , 71. If your next Journey is what I think it means-I honor your decision. Might just be my next ticket.

    • Mark

      Marv, if your “next journey” is what I suspect, then before you buy that ticket…please call the crisis line @ 1-800-273-8255 and press #1 or alternately call a veteran friend who will understand.

    • Fontaine

      …out of all the posts I was reading yours caught my attention. May you experience the Peace you seek, for you have already been through hell on earth. Allow God to touch your heart through prayer brother, you have a lot of living to do experience here. Peace.

    • steve eckert

      Back at you Marv: Fontaine is right, your time in Vietnam opened the gates of hell and allowed you in. It is such a shock to view humanity as it really is, something no one ever asks for and it tore your soul from your body. Your mind tries to make sense of it but it will always fail.
      I found that this is also a rare opportunity to partake of your own dark side which most people deny. Now the really strange thing is to embrace that dark side, it really is a part of you, but you probably denied it before going to Vietnam. You are both the light and the dark. When you accept yourself 100% and Really allow yourself to Feel that darkness a miracle happens.
      Just on the other side of that really dark foreboding feeling is a peace that only Jesus talked about. I am not a Jesus freak and I dislike any religions but for the last year I been in your shoes and planned my exit also…it was very close many times.
      Go ahead and dive into that hell and Feel it. When you allow yourself to feel it a transformation will occur-I guarantee it, as I have a guru that told me the same thing (he experienced it also) and it happened. New wonders and dimensions will open up that only the Saints had access to.
      Rare is the soul who can enter here. The rewards are far more than you could ever guess.
      I also worked with a good counselor during this time and if meds help temporarily go for it.
      Start looking at your state of affairs as one of opportunity and a rare one at that.
      Thinking of you. your not alone. steve

  • Rangersfan

    Back in the Vietnam, there wasn’t too many contractors who complained about living conditions. , and the cooks actually cooked. I think that helped us on the bigger bases. I thought on KAF, the civilians outnumbered the military.

  • J. Griff

    I know exactly where you’re coming from Marvin. Be careful, I know what you’re saying. I’m in the same place, you’re not alone.

  • John Adams

    For 9 months of my tour in Nam, I was on RNA so we were furnished “C” rations from WWII. I was MACV so I was kind of lucky in that I could mix my 25 yr old chicken with hot rice from the Vietnamese that they gave us. I have to laugh about showers, because for 9 months we never had them and the toilet was a hole in the ground with foot pads on either side. Didn’t have electricity either. Radios worked on batteries. (I was a radio operator 24/7. I got one leave to Vung Tau and I got to talk to my fiance’ once by Ham radio / telephone combo and had to say “over” after you finished talking. I never told my fiance anything about what went on over there, good bad or indifferent. Came home with Two Bronze Stars, a Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and a Purple Heart, guess that sums it up. I couldn’t relate to any of the 9 lies myself.

    • Bro. Mann

      Now you are saying how it really was. Some of the others on here, well I will not go there. So good luck to you John Adams. I feel you and know how you feel. Peace!!!

  • Mike & K9 Zorro S590

    Thanks to all for your service. It was our duty and we did it so others could do their thing. Nobody can take it away. Keep your head up now.

  • Quinlan, L

    We all had a job to do, many had it better than others but unless everyone did what was expected, from the grunt in the field to the guy in Saigon that did weather forecasts (as my brother-in-law did) it was a team effort. I was in the I Corp TCZ in ’67-’68 with an Army Engineer Co. Our job was water purification. HQ was based in Danang at Marble Mtn but we were distributed to Phu Bai (with the131st Aviation & 8th RRFS); Camp Eagle (101st Airborne); LZ Betty; and Dong Ha. Spent ’68 TET assisting in Hue from Phu Bai. Sure, sometimes I had the luxury of a tin roof barrack but we also used tents that flooded during monsoon or slept under the purification truck. I also got to occasionally enjoy a mess hall otherwise ate C rations heated with C4. Even in a secured compound I experienced being shot at and of course there would be the occasional incoming rocket or mortar. As with rule 8 above on one occasion I was recording a tape letter to my wife when we started receiving incoming. I guess I didn’t stop the tape soon enough and I did not replay it prior to sending home so in a couple of weeks I received a letter of concern after she heard the sound of the impacts. She also scolded me because yes I had previously written about how safe I was. I have a great respect for the grunt on the ground and the guys in the air. I will tell stories of my experiences and sometimes I might embellish actions but I never take the honor from those who actually endured the hardships of combat. It wasn’t called PTSD after Nam but a lot of guys came home with it. Today with the fear that IED’s present it is no wonder our soldiers come home with PTSD. Thanks to all who have or are currently serving.

  • Richard Iaeger

    I got married on my R&R in Hawaii in 1969 and went back to Vietnam . I did not tell her much about what I did or where I was. Except for mail address she never knew where I was. Sgt. track commander M42 -A1 “DUSTER,” my unit was made up of Quad 50 gun trucks and twin 40mm auto cannons track mounted. Convoy security, perimeter defense, close infantry support

    If you were there ,you know what “DUSTERS and QUAD 50’s did!! Attached 173 rd, 101st, Tiger div ROK, 1st Cav and ,MACV . I still think it was better that parents and spouse did not know what was really going on!! Of course in my time everything was by mail and a week to two weeks old going either way, just like my father in Europe in WW11.



      • SPILLMAN


      • Brian

        QUAD .50 aka South East Asian Lawn Mower?

  • Larry Akins

    Looking back in the Nam seemed easy compared to the years afterwards. Went over at 18 and will be 65 this year. Can’t count the number of girlfriends, 2 wives, two daughters, about 45 jobs. I pray my grandson never has to serve under fire.

  • Priscilla Pressley

    To all those who served in the military, I give you much respect. Each one deserved a lot from the V.A than what he or she is getting. Stay strong and be encouraged.

  • Everett Franks

    Everett “Doc” Franks
    John just because you weren’t affected by your “flying combat” expierence don’t sit in judgement of those who saw “ground combat” and came home with PTSD. They are not weak. Have you considered their circumstances and trauma’s were different from yours? They didn’t get to fly into battle for 5 minutes and leave. Killing eye-to-eye as a door gunner? B.S. and you know it ! So lighten up “Rambo.” You need to reach out to fellow vets with problems and not be so critical. Me, 101st Airborne Div., Combat medic (on the ground), 1967-68…..and in heavy combat, Tet Offensive, etc.

  • John Adams

    John, please don’t confuse fake PTSD with real PTSD. There are those who can’t cope with what they were demanded to do or with what they saw. I saw my Captain’s head swelled up with shrapnel and one of my fellow soldiers dead from a grenade thrown in to the fox hole he was in with his foot dangling from a piece of flesh. I saw Viet Cong bodies stacked up in the village square and saw a child blown to bits at the order of a Vietnamese General who was cohersed by the Cong to strap explosives to themselves with promises of candy with the intentions of killing our soldiers. (American sniper scenes were reality) I saw Viet Cong bodies with insides blown out by a claymore. I did not let PTSD take over my life when I came back because I knew of the horrible life I would put myself through, but those memories still live in my mind 48 years later. Some can deal, some can not. Some can’t deal right away and some can’t deal even after years of departure so don’t make yourself out to be a hero at the expense of those who can’t deal with it.
    Fake PTSD yeah, I get it, real PTSD I also get and the mind doesn’t have to be weak to realize that.
    Seems to me you might be hiding from your real feelings to appear strong, but I don’t know you so it’s only an opinion. If it has helped you to lead a somewhat normal life, that is good, but don’t dismiss the feelings of those who aren’t as strong.
    Not all of us can achieve that level.
    This was not High School or College even though some never even get over that experience. Not everyone had the same experience in Nam. I was Military Advisory Command and one of 9 Americans in a compound of about 250. I got to know the Vietnamese people and saw many things that many other soldiers never saw about those people who knew nothing but war their whole lives, even the oldest of them, for that war went on beyond the years one has to live and no one alive ever knew peace like we do.
    If you have shot many as you say you have you would have to be a different breed than most of us to not have that bother you in some way, war, duty, your job, not withstanding. You would have to possess a Cold Heart to not realize your actions. The average North Vietnam soldier was around 15 yrs old and forced to fight for something they might not even believe in just like many of us. Governments fight wars, not soldiers.

  • AL

    I was there 1 Div. And still trying to get benefits. Welcome Home to all who serve over there.

  • chuck

    OK Rambo your a killing machine, my grandpa was a lot like you he jumped into Normandy and was injured, funny thing though he came home and had every symptom of PTSD you could imagine a heavy drinker a bar fighter he couldnt keep a real job lived his whole life mowing lawns and doing odd jobs lived in a hole in the earth til the day he died, if you ever said anything to him to get help you would get hit lol! But 55 years later he realized he had PTSD to but proud to admit it I’m not saying you have it or not but its real john I know I have it and took me 20 years to admit it, I don’t understand guys like you you say you were in the army but I have doubt’s, where’s your brotherhood for your comrades I see none all I see is a bitter man who in my opinion probably was denied benefits, you talk like one, plus a firefight isn’t the worst thing about war I’ve been in 2 the worst thing is seeing children tore apart or soldiers being killed or bodies laying in the baking sun with maggots crawling all over them.

  • galloglas

    The boy called from his FOB/COP to check in and I heard the familiar thump….thump, thump on the phone, I said what is that out going or incoming?
    He said neither some idiot keeps slamming a door.
    Another day…another dollar.

  • R K NiceWater

    Nam 68 – 69 trained as a 36C20, pole lineman……when i walked into the cc office they asked me if i could type, “wanta be a clerk”? didn’t see anyone with a weapon and there were big screened in barracks. Hell yea! 3 weeks later,” OJT’s over, pack your bags, your going out to our aviation det and be a doorgunner, aviation operations nco, [caps only work on machine sometimes] and what ever else they want u to do”….the gentlemen with 360hrs should thank his creator he isn’t suffering from the night horrors, etc.,of this disorder. As a retired vet center readjustment counselor I can attest shell shock, trotting heart, combat stress, war neurosis, rape, trauma, and ptsd is very real………my mother recently returned my letters i sent her while I was in-country, man, people go to hell for lying the same as they do for killen………

  • Gary Policastro

    We lie to them to protect them, or because some family members just don’t believe what we had been threw, We mostly just don’t say what we went threw because most of us who had been threw what we had because we just want to forget what we did and saw. Sad but True…….

  • Butch

    I wote a piece .. this site said it was too long . directed it to the door-gunner ( supposedly ) AH . I personally think you are a phony ! You couldn’t have possibly BEEN in ‘NAM !

  • Dendy

    Was a Pathfinder with the 101st in 69-70 when we reopened the Ashau. When at FB Birmingham got some LRRPS rations that were great compared to C rats we had at Blaze, Currahee, Airborne and others. Could eat good at Eagle except breakfast which was dog food.

  • Dendy

    Just have had one wife but now 45 years later been diagnosed with PTSD, chronic depression,and some other BS so but will make. Jumps at Bennington screwed upmyknees but getting jump and PF wings worth it.

  • Richard Sevigny

    I served in Cambodia & Vietnam in 1970 -1971 with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Blackhorse unit. I was a mine sweeper & booby trap specialist combat engineer. The LED cell phone detonated explosives they use today are much more powerful than the ones the enemy used in Vietnam. It was really scary over there living in the bush not knowing if the next would be my last day. We were an armored unit so we were able to carry our guns, C rations & stuff on our APC’s & tanks. We also had bunkers & tents to sleep in while in field. They tried to feed us well while we were in the jungle so that they could keep us healthy so that we could fight the war. I never told anyone what I doing while I was over there. I came home laying on the stretcher after 2 month in a field hospitals and a Army hospital at Camp Zama in Japan. The red cross worker made me call my mother when I arrived in the States to tell her that I had been wounded in action. War is Hell! I think spending a lot of time talking about it with combat vets is helpful but talking to those who have never experienced is useless. They will never understand. Thank you and welcome home to all you veterans out there no matter where you served your country.

  • paulsw

    We went so our kids wouldn’t have to go. My mother hand wrote me a letter every week I was over sometimes I got two or three at a time. Today she is 86 and I remember everyday what it was like to get her letters.

  • ‘Se

    J. Griff, J. Adams, and L. Quinlan. Y’all absolutely right!!!! These new era “John Wayne’s soldiers apparently have seen to many heroes movies and apply them to themselves and become “Wanna Be’s”
    No Viet-Nam Vets will talk or brag about what, when, who, where and why they did, except like one of you said it, unless we’re in a group of Nam Vets and we can relate. There are times that I may be watching one of those Nam Documentaries and gees and I just get transported, my other half be calling and I can’t hear her until she comes and touches me, brings me back and there may be times when I start talking about a certain incident, but, never finish……my boys and her know better not to come from behind me, they always approach me from the front., at eating places they always reserve my place looking out at the door or never giving my back to the front. Went to the VA and it appears to me that we Nam vets are all categorized as there’s something wrong in our heads, some sort of from minimum to extreme concussion.

    • Tim Irving

      I lied about what I was doing all the time, said it was the same old boring shit day after day. But it was anything but boring.. Had a little trouble adjusting when I first got out but got through it by drinking A LOT and thought it was all behind me. I never watch the movies or specials, they take me out of the present and into shit I never want to think about. Now I’m having some problems with depression and anxiety, night terrors that sort of thing. But the end is near, thankfully, and I’ll have peace soon.

      • Veronica

        I am sorry to hear that. Would you say you have more demons because you lied about it? Or because you were never able to get it off your chest? Or do you think your experiences would have been a burdeon no matter how you reacted after the fact?

  • Barbara Goldin

    I love you all-forever!

    Barbara Goldin
    SSG, US Army, Retired

  • Frank

    I’ve heard guys tell lies about an MRAP seat only holding 6 cases of beer…

    Lies, all lies.

    It’ll hold 13. That’s 65 cases of beer safely delivered to destination X…or so I have I heard.

    Lighten up guys. One guy always has it worse off than the next. Everyone served. Everyone had an important job that contributed to the overall mission. One thing I realized over the years that quality guys/gals that are roughing it become humbled over time and truly appreciate the support. The support that gives them that fresh pack of Reds, the cardboard box full of melted ice and thawed out burgers, the half busted up case of hot Rip-it’s or even the much needed lithium batteries for our NOD’s over the old BS regular batteries. I’ve seen a “POG” mechanic from 7th GRP run into full on fire put out a LMTV on fire and plug a gas leak while the boys defend the position just to build a CP.

    Everyone has a job. Most people served. Everyone of them had it rough in some shape or fashion. Let’s appreciate we live in the greatest country in the world and make the stories a bit more interesting every time we tell them.


  • huahgirl

    Much love , honor and respect to all who served and are serving now

  • E

    Speaking as a military spouse, I appreciate the truth. But this is something that every couple needs to discuss pre-deployment. If my husband lied, I would know it, which would increase my concern for him even more. Without know the real situation relayed, my mind would rush about trying to imagine what he was facing. That’s unnecessary. Without endangering OpSec, I want as much truth as he can share. He’s good with that. But you can’t know what works for you as a coue unless you discuss it. Cavalierly sanctioning lying in this article sets a poor example. The key is, engage in TWO WAY conversation with your spouse BEFORE you deploy. Decide what’s best for you both within OpSec reason. If it changes once deployment happens, be truthful about that. It’s even okay to say you just don’t want to talk about it. That would beat lying, to be sure. Trust me, your spouse who is waiting for you back home will appreciate your candidness.

  • Don

    In 2009 AFG I was at firebase Fiddlers Green as an arty Marine. Nasty nasty NASTY conDitions. In 2011 the whole firebase Looked like disneylAnd.

  • rosey rosalez

    What happen in Nam stayed in Nam enough said

  • fdgsr

    Buyers are liars and sellers are too. In all combat cases The President Lies, too. Human instinct is to lie. My father used to say, “Why tell the truth when a lie will work better?” I was the only officer in charge of the Central Blood Bank in Vietnam. The hooch next to mine was a bare concrete slab where a building used to be. Just beyond that was a latrine. We could shower, and had flush toilets. My hooch was air conditioned by one half ton AC I brought in my hold baggage. I sold it to the next officer to occupy my hooch when I left. Double spaced plastic was in the insulated opening. My M-16 was over my bunk and my 45 was in a drawer. Before I left I had stereo with woofer and four speakers. I even borrowed a disk player to copy to my tape machine. One red alert per month was not normal, but expected and we never knew if it was practice or real. One time it was confirmed real for sure and a few months before I got there the lab officer and several nurses and patients were killed (hooch slab) at the 6th Convalescent Center, 1979. War is Hell, Yes; or Hell, No. You choose.

  • Heidi

    On this Memorial Day, I want to thank each and every one of you who have served and fought for our country. I honor you, not only for your bravery in the field, but for your strength in all you have to deal with when you get home. I pray that you find peace and know that so many of us here at home love you and respect your sacrifices. I got to work with some of you in the “sandbox”, and I was honored to stand next to people of such integrity. God Bless You!

  • humann

    9-Lies somehow reminds me of those old Morris the Cat commercials. Hey, maybe you could do a follow-up article about the 9-Lies that loved ones back home tell their deployed soldiers. Wait, that would be less funny somehow.

  • Matthew S

    I used the construction lie a lot. We were hit almost every single time I called home, so much, that I started skipping calls to see if that made a difference, nope.

  • Skip kershing

    In the korea days I had a hard time figuring out what and where I was going to spend all my money I saved from my E4 pay of $124 bucks a month.

  • Cris4

    Survived 16 mos between Dec. 64 & Apr. 67. Was under fire of small arms, mortars & some rockets at DaNang, Pleiku & Dak To more time than I cared to be. Good old “It won’t hurt you” Agent Orange – Non-Hodgikins, Ischemic heart, fractured back, PTSD (with depression & anxiety along with it). Three marriages, Drank too much (gave that up), 2 chemo’s, a bone marrow transplant, 1 heart attack, 4 stents, and 7 years fighting for my 80% disability.
    I’m 75 (never thought I would get there many times )with 23 years USAF Retired and with a good 15 year career retirement from the private sector and of course SS and the disability. Still kicking and doing things (not like I did at 25). All in all not doing too bad. I wouldn’t want to do it again – once is too much.

  • steve eckert

    Just finished reading; “Living Hell, The Dark Side Of The Civil War” by Michael C.C. Adams…..not a modern war but a lot of parallels to Vietnam. Tells what it was like in the front lines to going back home. Not for the light -hearted. Tells of a Southern soldier who carved a ring from the bone of a Northern soldier he killed.
    Maybe some day a book like this will be published…..”Living Hell, The Dark Side Of Vietnam and How It Affected Its Soldiers.”

  • TopEd

    I have NO Respect for the Air Force in “Nam” came back from 1 week of Patrol up North 25 miles from DMZ.. I was givin a days pass for my Squad to go to Da Nang for R&R and the Air Force with their a/C Barracks would not let us in. I asked for the Officer on Duty, this 1st Lt came and told me that NO Marines were a lot on the base! I said we only wanted a good meal and some cold beer. Answer…. NO Marines aloud!

  • David Singman

    I’m at the beach.

  • Vyvyn

    What makes me angry is that a US Army soldier pretended to be my bf in real time just so he could borrow over 5k from me. While I support the troops, I’ll never again trust a soldier. And no, he didn’t pay me back and left the area. There are good men & there are bad. He was a recruiter…very deceptive.

  • LEO

    Today is Memorial Day. I’m at work, driving around in my patrol car, in a coastal community. I’ve been here since 0500 & just had the opportunity to eat some snacks out of my lunchbox while reading these posts. I am not, absolutely not, complaining. I am saddened as I watch these people launching their pretty boats, cooking their food on the barbecues and wonder how many of them really understand the sacrifices that our Military men and women have made and the things they still suffer through. Those who walk among us and are currently serving, those who are combat vets from Iraq, Afghanistan, Nam and other deployments and wars carry so many mental scars of wars. Some are blessed with being able to cope (my guess is that it’s never 100%) and others suffer with the guilt, anguish and physical pain from their service and don’t know if they can carry on another day. I am blessed to live in this great Country that they fought for and continue to fight for. I am so sorry that we do not know quite how to “put people right” when they suffer with the images and nightmares that crush them. Just know that I am not the only one out here that feels that way. Sure, I have my own nightmares from my patrols and, yes, I don’t share them. I have those little boxes in my head that don’t open often – thank goodness – as many others who serve do. Again, today is Memorial Day. A tough day for some and for others it seems it’s just a holiday. But I thank each and every one of you for fighting so that I can be who I am and live the life I choose. Thank you, not only from the bottom of my heart but my soul too.

  • keith wilson

    I was in the peacetime army from 1973-1994. Six years as an infantryman (combat boots PT.). Balance of service as electronic warfare technician. Tennis shoes for PT, but when the 5 event PT test was replaced with the 3 event test and commanders were given the authority to conduct diagnostic tests at will; heavens the PT tests I endured. I guess the moral of this story is that I am 59 now, and I have lost track of the number of knee, back, shoulders and elbow surgeries I have endured. The military leaves us all with our own crosses to bear in one or MORE ways. I salute all who have ever served with honor on this great day before Memorial Day. God bless you all and God bless America!

  • Mỹ Ngọc Nguyễn

    Thanks all for the service that you were and are sacrificed for our country
    Wish you all have a wonderful holiday

  • M. Boyd

    My brother was a marine in Nam , it changed him, as it did other marines. He past away 2 Jan 2315 from brain cancer ( SIDE EFFECT AGENT ORANGE) till the day he died he was a proud Marine. I think ALL Nam Marines held the Honor of USA. Being a Vet will always make me proud of other services. But the Marines and Pilots opened the door for all the rest.

    • ‘Se

      I’m sorry for your loss, RIP

      • My heart goes out to all that served. That serve now. Although today’s military is way different. Its still war. Death & killing & lies like always.

  • Ronald R. Glaser

    I arrived in Pusan, Korea, on 2Aug50 with Machine gun plt, Dog Co, 2/5, 1st Marine Brigade. I have a couples sea stories to add buy my wife just informed me it was time for my nap. Maybe later. Semper Fi, RRG.

  • CavKitty

    I just want to say thanks for posting. Even though I’m an army wife, this day is tough for me. We lost a friend last deployment and the 4 combat deployments my husband has had have been hard on both of us. I’m away from my army family now and it comforts me to read all ya’lls posts. It’s hard when the people around me don’t understand but I try to be grateful for their kindness just the same. There is a lot of hurt, but I wouldn’t go back and change my decision to love and support my husband. God Bless all of you, and I mean it. Psalm 147:3

  • A big salute to those who have and are served/ing. Lets not forget those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the great country that we live in The United States Of America. My heart goes out to all those families of fallen soldiers and wounded warriors. Thanks for your service and for fighting for my freedom. And on another note this piss ant isis militia t group SCREW THEM!!!! America lets show them what we are made of and kick some ass and take some names. God Bless.

  • Bless all the men & women who share on here. It was different for each one. Memory may be scrambled. Who cares. Just love & be loved. Blessings to all! Amen!

  • Sammy

    ”Thailand sucks. Its hot, and nobody speaks english”

  • Rick Abraham

    13 hours? During the invasion of Panama in 1989 my day was usually 16 or sometimes 18 hours. Army retired 1976 to 1997. Lots of good times. Korea was great in the 70s and 80s.working at the DMZ wasn’t so good though. I feal for you vets that went to nam. missed it by a few years.