Highest Rated Comments

markvgarrison119 karma

I was treated like shit. This has become a cliche, and a lot of people don't believe it because of that, but when I flew back in to Seattle Tacoma air field, we were met by a group of war protestors who called us mother f*ckers, baby killers, and war criminals. They also spit at us. Some of it hit its mark. Even after the war when I went back to college, I would not wear my military flight jacket or anything else military because you never knew when it was going to generate hostility. The country tried to make an apology to the Vietnam vet in the 80s, but the damage had already been done to us. The apology was a day late and a dollar short, so to speak.

Now, everybody that puts on a uniform is considered a hero, which is bullshit.

markvgarrison40 karma

To be a good pilot you can't think about your mortality, it's all about the mission.

markvgarrison36 karma

Everybody, including me, that went through what I did has PTSD whether they know it or not. One thing people do not understand is that PTSD is a lifelong condition. You cannot cure it, but you can learn to live with it. One of the most difficult things when you come home is that you have this devil in you and you didn't know what it is. It's hard to fight something when you can't recognize your enemy. This condition was called shell-shock in WW1, battle fatigue in WW2, and now it's evolved into PTSD. This is the first generation where it's accurately understood. It has nothing to do with cowardice, as they used to believe. It's all about incredible sensory overload that no one should have to go through. I received counseling through the VA that helped me recognize what I was fighting and helped me deal with it much more effectively.

markvgarrison35 karma

The missions that I enjoyed the most and dreaded the most at the same time where we were able to get American soldiers out alive. Other missions that I enjoyed were called "Lima Charlie" missions, which military lingo for Lawn Chair. In these missions we waited for hot missions that sometimes never came and were able to go home unscathed. Another one that I really liked was what I called the Cheo Rio river runs where a team of gunships would low level down the river, so low that the rotor wash from the blades would churn up the water. The game was to see who could stay on the river at low level, which was tortuous, and the first to pop over the trees and chicken out, lost. Oftentimes you would receive automatic weapons fire from the river banks and we would go back and engage the enemy. At this point we were adrenaline junkies.

Yes, after the war I flew Robinson helicopters just be able to take my family up to show them what a helicopter flight was all about. Needless to say, we didn't do any family river runs. My wife wouldn't let me get any higher than a 5 foot hover. I did teach my corporate pilot who has 20,000+ hours in turbojet and jet aircraft how to fly a helicopter.

markvgarrison35 karma

Your training was so good in military flight school that it allowed you to leave fear at the door when you started the mission. Frankly, you were entirely too busy to even think about fear. That's not to say that it wasn't there, but you had to put it on the back burner. The guys that didn't tended to not to make it home. You could not panic. On the other hand, when you were walking toward the aircraft to start the mission, fear often prevalent. When you returned from a successful mission, it wasn't unusual for your hands to be shaking. Anyone that says that they weren't afraid at some point is either a liar or a fool.