While on active duty, I served aboard a destroyer, the JONAS INGRAM (DD 938), homeported in Mayport, Florida. I was a Yeoman Third Class Petty Officer. Our ship did a seven month Mideast Cruise in 1977. The ship was part of Destroyer Squadron 14 (DESRON 14) at that time. I served with many sailors who did tours in Vietnam, and I was proud and fortunate to have been associated with these men.
I now work as a systems analyst for a Blue Cross/Blue Shield HMO in MIchigan. I am married and have 3 sons.
Looking at the wall tells it all. Boys who went to fight a battle no one could win, and came back men in pine boxes; dying their only sin.
Thousands of names columns and rows. It just seems like such a dream now, so long ago. A nightmare then. I hang my head, sorrow.
Lessons learned, bridges burned. But we can't escape, the past remains haunting, haunting. Fathers, sons, and brothers lived and died; now they're calling, calling.
Echoes from the wall remind us all. Give peace a chance, that's what they'd say from their graves. Listen to the wind as it runs past the names etched in black stone.
Faceless names 3000 score. They gave everything for us and now they're gone. We can't give them anything. But stone.
And peace. Forever. Peace.
James J. Carroll Jr., YN3, USN-R USS JONAS INGRAM (DD 938)