Veterans Day Tribute from Conshohocken!

I have been honored this Veterans Day through a recorded interview about my book on the Vietnam War for a program called “Good Morning Conshy” where I share the broadcast with two companion pet managers for what is known as PACT. Many of the animals had assisted veterans who could no longer care for their pets and needed help for animals they viewed as their children.

We all had contacts with Conshohocken, a small borough just outside of Philadelphia, and learned that the interview would be recorded and made available on U-Tube. Watching it, I noticed how white-faced I look after recovering from a stomach illness. I am glad I wore my “boonie hat” that I had saved from the Vietnam War. It shows one silver bar that was subdued to prevent the enemy from spotting an officer. I wore it only once before and that was at Omega Institute at a five-day meditation retreat for veterans with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.)

I tell about my life starting with serving as an altar boy, a Doo-Wop singer, a printer, and then a draftee who ended up in Officers Candidate School graduating as the second youngest in the company at Ft. Benning, GA. Fortunately, I got toughed up by going to Airborne School (aka “jump school”) and then jungle training coursework.

Soldiers reacted differently after having served in combat for a while. On my first day, a large burly trooper refused to go into the “field” and ended up going to the stockade after he decked my company commander while refusing a direct order. This happened my first day in the base camp with the platoon I was to lead.

Another incident dealt with one of my medics. He was a young man who wanted to get out of the war zone so bad that he wrapped his foot with a bandage, put on his combat boot, and then shot himself in the foot. He was medevac’d by helicopter to the nearest hospital and never returned.

The worst tragedy involved First Lieutenant Victor Lee Ellinger, who was shot and killed by a Viet Cong sniper. I force-marched my platoon to get to Vic’s location, but we were too late. He had died from the gunshot wound. I pushed so hard to get him two of my own men had to be medevac’d out after suffering from heat exhaustion. I dedicated my book to Victor Lee Ellinger. It is entitled “Vietnam War Recall, the Best and Worst Days of my Life.”

The U-Tube link is provided here thanks to Theresa Browne-Parris, president of Conshy Courier, and interview for this “Veterans Day Special: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qU6Xy7cZGww.

2 comments on “Veterans Day Tribute from Conshohocken!

  1. cabrogal says:

    Yeah, signifiers of rank can sure be a target when there’s snipers about.

    Why frag a despised commander when you can get rid of him with a salute?

    Liked by 1 person

    • contoveros says:

      I never thought of it that way but it was one way to deal with a hated and despised leader.
      Unfortunately, he hardly placed himself in harm’s way like regular grunts in the bush.

      Liked by 1 person

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