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Re:Drug Use

Post by Pat McAleavey » Mon May 09, 2011 10:03 am

Good day,

I was in Vietnam from April 1967 to February 1968. I served with an infantry unit - part of the 9th Infantry Division. When out on an operation drug or alcohol use was not tolerated....at all. We definitely self policed. We had to depend on each other for survival. We did not want someone impaired by drugs next to us. In the 10 months I was there I can recall only one instance of drug use - and that was a medic who was injecting himself with morphine. When discovered he was removed from the field immediately.

When back at our main base, Bearcat, things would be a lot more relaxed. We would have access to beer (near beer - low alcohol content) and sometimes pot. But even then I can't recall getting really blasted. There was always the chance of being woken up at 2:00 or 3:00 AM by a mortar attack or having to pack up and move out somewhere.

As far as some of the rear units or non-combat units - there may have been more drug and alcohol use. But I didn't have much exposure to these groups so I can't say for sure.

Pat

Re: you could have your individual questions answered

Post by dave » Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:14 pm

I was in Vietnam from late '68 to late '69 in a combat infantry unit. When we were back in the fire bases or back at our base camp most everyone I knew either drank or smoked dope to socialize, ease the pain of lost buddies or the stress of the last mission and try to get emotionally ready to go out on the next one. I don't say it was right or even condone it. We never did anything out in the jungle, not even smoke cigarettes. We were 10,000 miles from home, we were young and crazy but not stupid. We had to cope with life that was now extremely violent, totally unpredictable and made no sense from what we learned growing up.

I never did drugs and drank very little before going into the Army. I was in Vietnam for a month and a half when I lead our company into an ambush that took the lives of my entire squad plus 50% of our company were dusted off (flown out to a hospital). I was nearly overwhelmed with shock, grief, guilt and loneliness. Practically everone I had known since arriving in country were gone. Back at the fire base I walked around in a fog, just empty inside when I saw a group of survivors sitting around laughing and enjoying each others companionship. I desperately needed something and decided to sit and smoke with them for the first time in my life - to be part of a group who were supporting one another with humor and light heartedness.

At first I thought that getting high would make the pain go away or help me understand why things happened. It didn't, smoking and joking provided only a tempory relief but we would listen to one another, comisserate together, joke and laugh at things others would never understand (combat humor is strange). There was no official help for combat stress, soldiers were supposed to suck it up and "handle it", so we helped each other get through the horror and fear for 365 days.

I ended up walking point for a total of ten months. We rotated the three platoons to the point position each day, so I only was up front every third day. After that first big ambush I walked us into, we never had another casualty while I was on point. I don't think smoking dope back in the fire bases and base camp made me less allert in the jungle. I was no John Wayne, I just survived.

Re: you could have your individual questions answered

Post by Guest » Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:30 pm

drug use was not a big concern in the unit i was in and at the time i was there (jun 67-ju 68). our mission and operating mode was such that we needed everyone at 110% out in the bush. i am sure there was some minor use that went unnoticed at the time. it was more of a problem for units that spent a lot of time "in the rear", and of course, later in the war.

bill

Drug use

Post by ace1210 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:04 am

Hello, I am currently working on a paper that will be focusing on the drug use among soldiers in the Vietnam War? From what I've read, drug use was a big problem during the Vietnam. I would like to hear your own personal experiences.

Re: you could have your individual questions answered

Post by bill.mcbride » Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:13 pm

got it.

i am now officially retired so will spend a bit of time getting this forum updated and set up better. any suggestions or help will be welcomed.

thanks again

bill

Re: you could have your individual questions answered

Post by dave » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:53 pm

I was hoping to get a few of the students to ask individual questions instead of reviewing/copying whats already been done.

Dave Wright

Re: you could have your individual questions answered

Post by bill » Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:03 am

hello dave,

i wasn't sure who this email was directed to.

how can i help?

bill mcbride

you could have your individual questions answered

Post by dave » Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:16 pm

There are several vets out here who would love to help answer your individual questions regarding experiences they had in Vietnam. If your'e doing a interview for a class assignment, it might be more interesting to get your answers from the "horses mouth" so to speak.

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