Stickman Readers' Submissions July 12th, 2010

In Arm’s Reach

I was eighteen years old and a virgin. I never had intercourse with a woman, never seen a woman naked and had only one girlfriend during my short time on this earth whose tits I touched just once. It was 1967.

I volunteered for the U.S. Army and stationed outside of Washington D.C. for training. When my two months of training were over, everyone in my class got orders to go to either Germany or Vietnam; I got orders to be an instructor in the course
I had just finished. Hoorah; that lasted for three days.

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New orders came down, not from the Department of the Army but from the Department of Defense. “You ten men have just volunteered for an experimental NCO program in the Corp of Engineers to become Terrain Analysts! Upon completion of
the program you will be awarded the rank of E-5 and proceed to Vietnam where your expertise is desperately needed.” Fuck!

The training was surprisingly exceptional. The Captain in charge of our training brought in seasoned NCO’s to give us the scoop on what the hell was going on; they taught us what the Army could and could not do. He also brought in
professors from Georgetown University to school us in geology, map reading, aerial interpretation, military intelligence and just plain “stuff”. We had professors not only from Georgetown but also from Maryland University and Virginia
Tech. We had free run of the Congressional Library and visited just about every Civil War site within driving distance of D.C to hone our skills. All was heaven except for our cherry ass CO.

I don’t recall his name but I do remember that he was fresh out of the Engineering Officer Training Course. Our barracks were dead smack center of the Engineering OTC Regiment and come hell or high water he was going to make us into
obedient little troops. Not!

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Our regiment consisted of two weeks of class training followed by two weeks of military training. After about three months of this horse shit, we had enough. One of the things that we learned from our senior NCO instructors was that an enlisted
man had the right to put in for a transfer under any circumstances. After a bullshit night of slugging it out through the swamps of Virginia, all ten of us put in for transfers. In two days we had a visit from a bird colonel.

He wanted to know what the problem was. We told him that we were perfectly willing to undergo the training that the Department of Defense so desperately wanted us to complete and to go to Vietnam and do our part to win the war, but we would
not put up with the military bull shit that our cherry ass second lieutenant was shoving down our throats.
Cherry Ass was relieved of his command, we finished our training and we all went to Vietnam. That was in 1968; I was nineteen and an

I had my 20th and 21st birthdays in Vietnam; I remember my 20th but forgot all about my 21st. Life in Vietnam was harrowing to say the least. We withstood midnight attacks, visits from standing Presidents, changes in MPC, intense hangovers,
military incompetence and of course sheer boredom. (Do you know what the difference is between the military and the Boy Scouts? The Boy Scouts have adult leadership!)

That was 40 years ago. I lost my virginity to a whore outside of Saigon. When I returned to the U.S. I had trouble relating to Caucasian women. With the help of the GI Bill I got both my bachelors and masters degrees in accounting and finance.
During my years as a CPA, I progressed professionally but had few girlfriends. I just could not put up with their trite bullshit no matter how hard I tried.

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When I reached 50 I had had enough. I returned to Thailand, the site of my first R & R in 1969, and after 5 trips I met my wife. We have been married four years now; we are happy and live with her extended family in the central provinces
of Thailand.

To “Young Chinese American Girl” I say this in all due respect – FUCK YOU. Until you have walked in my shoes, don’t you dare criticize my life or my life’s choices. My Thai wife is the best thing that has
ever happened to me. I lived a lonely, miserable life until I met her. And if anyone dares approach me and tries to tell me that I am a loser, they had
better not be in arm's reach.

Stickman's thoughts:


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