Garry's stories about Vietnam bring back memories for me, some good some less so, all of them strong to this day. Sometimes they're stronger than I think they should be. Some of them seem to me to be so universal and pervasive that I take for granted that everyone who shared in the experience of Vietnam has the same sort of reaction. It is said that everyone's experience a Vietnam was different, but I think there are some experiences that are pretty much the same for everyone. This story involves reactions of Vietnam Veterans to certain circumstances long after we were home. In my case it was 15 years after I was medivaced home.
In the 1980s I became involved with a Christian veterans organization called Pointmen Ministries. There were several unique things about the group, not the least of which was that the group for not just for veterans but also for the spouse and children. It was a support group for the veteran and their entire family.
A typical meeting was in one of the members homes and the leader's wife or someone else had an activity for the children. The veterans and spouses met together in a group session for a short while with more for the purpose of socializing and to check in with everyone and see how they're doing is families. After that the group divided, spouses want to their own group and the veterans to their group. Then we would discuss issues that affected us individually. It was a very successful form of peer counseling that it was helpful to most all of the families that were involved.
One summer evening about 1987, we were sitting in the group with the spouses and the veterans just visiting and all of a sudden every veteran in the room stopped talking and begin listening intently. Most of the spouses were wives, I think there was one couple where the woman was the veteran, so when the wives noticed none of the men were talking they were all a little surprised and said "What?" "Whats the matter?" "Why aren't you guys saying anything?"
One of the guys said,"Don't you hear them?" One of wives said, "I don't hear anything! What are you talking about?"
After a couple more moments of silence we all heard from the distance the whop, whop, whop of a multiple Hueys several miles away.
The women couldn't believe we could actually hear those helicopters when we did, 15 or 20 seconds before they heard them. Several of them accused us of having selective hearing because we didn't hear our wives that well. But for the entire group it was a good illustration of how things affected the veterans without us even really being aware of them. The men in the group, I believe, felt the pop of those Huey rotors long before we ever heard them with their ears. It's one of those things that you become attuned to when you are in country and it seems like, at least to me, that it never goes away. Even today, nearly 50 years after I was in Vietnam, I still "feel" a Huey or other heavy helicopters long before I hear them.
I was wondering if anyone else had that type reaction to Hueys?