The most dramatic experience I can think of is when I first arrived in Vietnam in 1967. I was waiting for the company commander to pick us up at the company rear area when I made an observation that was life changing.
I had come there with nearly two years of training to lead a squad of men who were trained in small arms infantry. The company commander said that he would need to retrain some of the guys to be medics and mortar people and after speaking to a few I mentioned that i had noticed in the breakdown of the company that there was only one NCO in the mortar platoon. He acknowledged that and also said that he would be returning stateside soon....was i interested? I had very little training at all with mortars but he said that wouldn't' be a problem. After becoming the platoon leader it offered me a chance to remain with the company during the day as well as to stay within the perimeter of the company at night unlike the other units that left.
That experience of being aware and present may have been what allowed me to return a whole person.
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