Why is it called ‘Strange-Land”?

Because the whole Vietnam experience was strange. One minute you’d be at a party, drinking with your friends and a few hours later on a Boeing or a Herc heading for Vietnam.

If you were in the fighting arms and not a reo or remf they’d send you on a nice sea voyage to get the anticipation up.

If you were an Aussie landing at Singapore on the way, you’d have to take off your khaki shirt and put on a civilian one for the hour or so you were in Changi terminal so that the Singapore government wouldn’t be seen as being a staging post for the war! Khaki trousers and black shoes were the fashion rage.

A few more hours after that they’d throw you out onto the tarmac at Tan Son Hut into the incredibly humid oven they called Vietnam, and the next day, if you were a grunt, you’d be getting some incoming.

Then it was someone’s bright idea to spray poison from an aircraft over you. Or lay a minefield not covered by observed fire so that Charlie could lift them and use them against you.

What sort of reality check was that? Strange or what?

seiko watchHalf-way through they’d send you on R&R where you’d drink and shag yourself half to death, and ten days later be forced to start the cycle over again.
Coming home, people would call you “baby-killer” and throw paint while you were marching down the street; the supposed valiant hero.

Still, at least you had your Seiko watch and Pioneer stereo.

Strange, mate.

1 Comment

TerryJuly 7th, 2006 at 3:35 pm

The seemingly high incidence of PTSD from the Vietnam conflict is perhaps addressed in the book “The Sharp End” by Brian Hennessey. He states in part “The difference was betwen the types of war, not the generations. ….there were factors that reduced the veterans stress in WWII. These included justification for the war, identifiable military objectives, and a well defined hatred of the enemy , its exposure to combat totalled a period of six weeks only. WWII soldiers were rotated through the front lines, they were not exposed to combat every second of their tour of duty……The Big Red One for example spent 4 years in the pacific Theatre…..When the war was over they returned home as heroes, for their communities were united in their desire for victory.

A very interesting book and well worth a read.

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