Veterans’ Tales by Allen Ness

I’ve been avoiding telling stories from my time in combat areas.  You never know when something is gonna set off a shitstorm.  I’d just as soon avoid that.  Remember the Marine Sergeant who was giving blood wings to his Marines who’d made their first jump with a Marine unit?  Poor bastard got kicked out, all he was doin was living up to a tradition.  You shoulda seen my airborne school graduation, there were half a dozen Paratroopers in my Company, they made my blood wings memorable, I can still see the scars.  As it should be, I’d joined an elite fraternity.  Unfortunately not everyone see’s such things as they are.  I’m already out and there ain’t a damn thing the internet can do to me but thats not true for all of my Soldiers.

Additionally, I’m going to run out of stories eventually, twenty years makes for a shitload but sooner or later…

I’m going to start telling Iraq stories with fiction, stories I lived through with my men, stories my friends lived through with theirs, fiction based in fact.  It’s nothin new.  You just won’t know who did what and the characters are just composites of every good Soldier I ever knew.

Try to imagine the writer speaking rather than writing, you’ll recognize the Army accent, I hope you enjoy the “tales.”


August 17, 2003

Uncle Hank,

I was supposed to be getting out but they told us a few days ago that our unit was going to Iraq.  I re-enlisted.  I was really looking forward to seeing you an everybody but I couldn’t leave.  I’ve heard you talk about why you went back for your second tour in Nam, “I’m good at my job, if somebody has to fight it oughta be the best.  I’ve got a better chance.”  That’s me and my p’toon.  I had to go, I had to stay, I’ve got brothers here..  I know you understand.  Maybe you can explain it to Mom.

They told us a few days ago, I had to jump through hoops to cancel all the ETS shit but my P’toon Sarnt helped get it pushed through after I asked him.

We flew all the way on a C17, got to watch a mid-air refueling[…]

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