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Nobody’s Children: Recollections From The Maintenance Line Viet Nam 67-68, by WD Olive

We began as nobody’s children.

Shuffled from military confinement in Tennessee to the battlegrounds of southeast Asia, we were conscripted to defend democracy against imminent threats. Transitioning from a carefree frat party mindset to the harsh realities of war, diverse groups of young men faced conflict, displacement, and the constant specter of death while occasionally contending with destructive typhoons. Assigned to an Assault Helicopter Company, these valiant airborne cavalrymen persisted despite unequal measures of prosperity and hardship. Constrained in a foreign land, beguiled by illusions of vacation ambience, we braced ourselves for escalating assaults wrung from malignant odors, menacing rhinoceros beetles, errant rockets, aggressive monkeys, and waves of NVA and VC forces lurking beneath parachute flares.

In this poignant account, we delve into the months leading up to and following the first Tet Offensive of Vietnam, offering profound insights into the fear and loss that defined our experiences. Early harbingers of rock-n-roll warfare, we navigated life-altering situations with bravado, confusion, and sorrow reminiscent of generations before us. Paradoxically, our generation sought solace in marijuana-induced relaxation and soaring guitar riffs, while simultaneously enduring perverse humor and belittling tragedies. Through unwavering determination and resilience, we proudly transformed ourselves into individuals worthy of recognition.

But upon returning home, we were treated once again as nobody’s children.

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