Boys for Men
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The true stories of two soldiers. Though they are separated by almost 100 years, the similarities in their experiences are striking.
When Derrick Wolf left the U.S. for Vietnam in 1970 on January 6th, the day of Epiphany, little did he realize what a prophetic day it would turn out to be for him. Boys for Men is a journal of his tour of duty. Wolf tells of the grim daily routine of a tank crew near the De-militarized Zone just south of North Vietnam. From the near constant rain during monsoon to the unbearable high temperatures and humidity of the dry season, life becomes a series of long periods of boredom and hardship interrupted abruptly by deadly situations.
Combined with Wolf’s stories are excerpts of the previously unpublished 1876 journal of Sylvester Waltz, an infantryman during the Great Sioux War. Waltz was a member of the Yellowstone Expedition, which culminated in the Battle of the Little Bighorn where General George Armstrong Custer was killed and his forces defeated.
the terrain is especially difficult we have a bulldozer with us. In the movies tanks just push down and drive over huge trees and other impediments but in the Real World a bulldozer does a much better job. Tanks can run over a pretty good size tree but when you get into really thick vegetation and big trees it takes a bulldozer to clear a path. One guy drives the dozer while someone rides shotgun actually armed with a shotgun. Guys fight over whose turn it is to drive the dozer. Very surprising,
the empty parking spaces left by the other platoons. After positioning 2-3 I shut the engine down and climb into the tropical sun. No shade here, so it’s a good thing I have my boonie hat. We want to go to mail call since none of us on 2-3 has gotten any mail lately. We’re not the only guys hoping for mail by the size of the crowd here. We're not very hopeful, so I am pleasantly surprised when they call my name, and I get a boo coo big goodie box from my parents and my youngest brother, Ken.
dry. Finally I set up my tent just behind 2-3, and we are ready in the same amount of time it usually takes us even without Our Dear Platoon Sgt. The only thing he does while we set up is lift and tip his bottle. We decide on guard shifts, and I volunteer to take the last shift so Fanelli and the loader just have to decide who will be first and second. The loader is sitting behind the .50 Cal. while Fanelli and I are in the turret which seems spacious with Our Dear Platoon Sgt.'s absence. We
work ahead of us when we set up our RON tonight. We finish packing our supplies away, and soon the LT comes on the horn and tells us to prepare to didi. Fanelli and the loader bring in the concertina wire as I get into the driver's compartment and start 2-3, thankful to not have to touch the concertina wire yet. There's a lot of commotion as the platoons start to leave, and the locals start rushing into our now abandoned resupply site. As we start to pull out and follow the LT, I spot Lon and
Sheridans in the first place, but that the ARVNs have our old tanks is even more insulting to them. I personally don't care one way or the other. Although I must admit I'm becoming attached to my new driver's seat. I'm still a tee tee bit leery about sitting between all this main gun ammo, which is where I am right now. After the ARVNs pass, the LT tells Our Dear Platoon Sgt. to cross the road and proceed to the Cam-lo River. We cross over the redball with 2-3 still in the lead, and the loader