by Alan Quale
He supplied everything his infantry company needed: their weapons, ammunition and gear. He also supplied replacements for those who were wounded or killed. He could never have imagined himself doing this. At 23 years old, he was drafted into the army and named supply sergeant for an infantry company that was sent to South Vietnam. It would be a hard, dangerous and seemingly hopeless assignment.
As the war continued, casualties soared when his company was sent to patrol one of the most dangerous areas in Vietnam. As more men fell dead, more replacements arrived. He quickly realized the futility of the Vietnam War and his own role in the deadly campaign. But his Vietnam story didn’t end there.
When he left Vietnam, the war followed him home to America during the 1960s anti-war movement, when veterans were often viewed with suspicion and sometimes scorned. He became as anonymous as possible, a veteran without a past. But years later, his memories of Vietnam returned when he found a shoebox filled with letters he had written home. The letters, stained and frayed at the edges, are his Vietnam story from so many years ago.
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