American Veterans on War: Personal Stories from Ww II to Afghanistan

American Veterans on War: Personal Stories from Ww II to Afghanistan

Elise Forbes Tripp

Language: English

Pages: 460

ISBN: 1566568676

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The United States is embroiled in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan (and now Libya?) wars that seem as far from Americans understanding as the countries are distant from our shores. With American Veterans on War, Elise Forbes Tripp brings our current wars and their predecessors home in the words of 55 veterans aged 20 to 90. The veterans raise questions about when wars are worth fighting, what missions can and can t be won, and the costs and benefits of US intervention, both around the world and domestically. Veterans tell wrenching stories of coping with hostile forces without uniforms, of not knowing who is friend or foe, and of the lasting traces of combat once they ve returned home.

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we’d been shot at by .50-caliber weapons, though, it was a problem for him. He wanted to know why we thought so, and we’d tell him: we could tell from the loudness of the shots, or from the sound they made when they hit the helicopter, or we’d show him the .50-calibersized bullet holes in our helicopter. In response, the sergeant would smile and say (and we with him in unison), “Sorry, Sir, but there are no .50-cals in I Corps.” It seemed that whenever he turned in a report saying that fire from

The US authorities in Baghdad disbanded both the Iraqi army and the Ba’ath political party. What has continued is a US fight against all kinds of insurgents, many coming in from other Arab or Islamic states. At the same time, there are internecine killings between domestic factions, religious groups, and competing political leaders. General Petraeus launched a counterinsurgency, the surge of 2007, with additional troops, in which the US also supplied money and arms to Sunni groups to police

back to the firebase and asked for backup. I was the first platoon, we rolled out, jumped in our Humvees and went out to the ridge line to help. We went out with our company commander, Captain Worthan. I was an E-6, staff sergeant, the senior squad leader in the company, but I was also the senior squad leader in my platoon. I was in charge of dismounting, walking along the ground, getting into the area that the vehicles couldn’t go. So this day, my company commander, and my platoon leader Craig

smoke cigarettes, I chewed tobacco, I got everything I wanted, good food, and they taught me how to live. I just learned an awful lot about surviving, and every weapon they had, I learned. I could use explosives when they first came out with C-4. You can’t be at war except during the war. In July 1950, I reenlisted for three years. I had signed up, I got my opening, and I had experience [but] not a lot of rank…. I got there and I didn’t go with the 82nd Airborne or the 1st, or the 24th Division,

intelligence to become a special agent. Back then, this is the 60s, it had a romantic quality—it was about learning how to cultivate and work with people who would give you intelligence information. Berlin was the best place because there were large numbers of intelligence people on both sides, East and West, who were playing spy games with each other. They said no, we’re going to send you to Vietnamese school and then to Vietnam. They created a separate language school just for Vietnamese in

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