It’s November 15, 1966 just after our offensive attack “Operation Attleboro” near Tai Ninh in
South Vietnam. I am a helicopter pilot and my Assault Helicopter Company has just completed
a combat assault dropping 80 ground soldiers in to a very “hot” landing Zone (LZ). We are the
second flight of five helicopter units to fly into a heavily defended position of a North
Vietnamese Regiment.
Three choppers are down and burning in the LZ from land mines, mortar rounds and 50 caliber
machine guns and 2 pilots are dead. Our units have all taken heavy casualties, I have been hit
in the right arm and two of the troops in the back have been hit as they tried to deplane by
jumping into the high grasses.
I have managed to keep my emotions under control since I arrived as a “green” Uh-1 Huey pilot
three months earlier. I have avoided the feelings that a heavy combat engagement and the
resulting wounded and dead comrades can elicit. I just don’t cry…never have. Somehow, we
work as a single living unit…we have one body, one soul and we live or die together. Our
strength is in that trust and assurance. We are White, Black, Native American, Asian, Australian,
Korean, and represent every religion.
That day on the battlefield many of our colleagues died or, like me, were wounded. Two of our
passenger soldiers were hit before they could get out of the chopper. Hundreds of enemy
soldiers were burned to death with Napalm drops by the Air Force jets. It was “Living Hell” and
the intense emotions reached such a high Apogee that …I completely lost control and, I CRIED!
There was no color, no race, no religion, no nationality, no Rank amongst us…we were “one”
and we were all dependent on and affected by one another’s behavior and actions.
So how is it that we can’t see that our “world” is also “One”. We’re on this “little blue planet”
together and we (or our progeny) will eventually live or die based on the way we take care of it
or abuse it. There is no difference between us…everyone follows the same life patterns and
eventually dies. When one person feels better than another, we lose the strength of trust,
unity, commonality, respect and integrity. The recent events with CoVid and the Chauvin state
of race equality have made this abundantly clear. It is now that we need to act and change.
Divided we will be conquered by our own weaknesses…and unified, well, maybe we can make
this a world that will flourish with a common Global Ethic where we are all treated equally,
giving the world a chance at solidarity and peace.