The small amount of people that actually know me, already know I have a very deep love, admiration and respect for Vietnam Veterans. Let me be more specific; it is African American and other Minority Vietnam Veterans that I have love, admiration and respect for. With that being said, some people may say that I’m discriminating amongst Vietnam Veterans – and that may be true, but so what?! Like D.M.X. says: “Fuck you gon do?”. Anyways, I have that love, admiration and respect for African American and other Minority Vietnam Veterans for a couple of reasons.
Some of those reasons are surrounded around the fact that they really didn't have a choice unlike many of their Draft dodging wealthy Caucasian counterparts. What’s even more funny is that the same people (wealthy Caucasians) that placed African American Vietnam Veterans in harms way are the very same people who’s sons did not have to fall victim to the Draft and their daughters did not have to bear the pain of having to provide Medical Care for and or write to the families Killed in Action (KIA).
Vietnam Veteran tells his story PART 1
Another reason why I have a deep love, admiration and respect for African American and other Minority Vietnam Veterans is because not only did they not have access to the mission critical equipment that we have today such as GPS and Body Armor, but they where more often than not purposely not given even the bare necessities to complete their missions inside and outside of combat. This was due to the seemingly “business as usual” social pathology of prejudice and discrimination that ran rampant within the United States Military at the time and still continues to this very day.
Another thing that makes me have a deep love, admiration and respect for African American and other Minority Vietnam Veterans is that they not only had to fight the so-call enemy of the day but they had to fight within the realm of the Military to be accepted. But even more than that, they are still having to find themselves having to fight for Health-Care even to this very day just to get 50 percent and sometimes even a mere 10 percent of Health-Care coverage from the Veterans Administration.
This is what hurts me the most. The saddening fact that they did not have equal access to simple equipment such as hearing protection. Through it all they still made those missions and objectives happen. Beating these odds demonstrates the strength of my forefathers, my legacy.
Vietnam Veteran tells his story PART 2
Even though the Vietnam War was a war that was not about Communism taking over South Vietnam as told to the unknowing U.S. Citizens. It was a war that was about weapon manufactures testing their weapons on human subjects and making a profit off of it. It was a war that was about experimenting with Chemical Weapons in it's "Herbicidal Warfare Program".
One such Herbicide (chemical) used was the famous Agent Orange that not only killed off the vegetation of the land in which it was sprayed over. But it [Agent Orange] was also killing my forefathers in the fact that it subjected them to Cancer, Acid Reflux, Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and Leukemia. Furthermore, Agent Orange negatively impacted their DNA. Thus, it also affected their future sons and daughters well being!
So while they (Vietnam Veterans) were exposed to premature deaths and DNA mutations while they were living; the manufactures of those chemicals used in Agent Orange such as Diamond Shamrock, Monsanto and Dow Chemical got the opportunity to reap the profits from the Vietnam War and they still continue to do so to this day. As a side note every business entity that could business with the U.S. Government did do business with the U.S. Government and gambled on the lives of my forefathers. If they did not gamble on their lives they simply said fuck’em in the name of profit.
It was reported in an article by The Guardian entitled: “War Within War”, they reported the following:
“The extraordinary increase of mostly reluctant troops - black and white - to Vietnam, covert and overt racism was now rife. The fledgling black American conscript was expected to endure the sight of the Confederate flag painted on Jeeps, tanks and helicopters, and sometimes encountered menacing graffiti, such as "I'd rather kill a nigger than a gook", scrawled on the walls in the latrines of US bases. Other grisly practices, such as cross burnings, were uprooted from Alabama and Mississippi to the war theatre of Vietnam, and some commanders tolerated Ku Klux Klan "klaverns" on their bases.”
This is something to think about because this same thing goes on Military Bases such as Fort Bragg while I was in service (just more low-key). I would hear other Para-Troopers talk about how they saw “Trees with brown figures hanging from them” made out of construction paper on the bulletin board in the Captains Office. Trust me ain't nothing change, and it won't change until we as African Americans and other Minorities make change.