I believed in my war, and in 1972 tried to volunteer for a 3d tour of duty but was denied because we were pulling American forces out of Vietnam. Three years later I sat in shock and horror as I watched the evacuation of Saigon unfold on the TV set. Bitter and angry, I shot off a telegram to my senator (and Senate Majority Leader) and anti-war activist, addressed to "Senator Mike 'Ho Chi' Mansfield." All these years later, I still cannot bring myself, however, to believe it was all for nothing. But I focus on what I and my comrades did, how we answered without question when our country called, and served with hope and dignity. We did buy the South Vietnamese people a small respite from decades of war, but I was ashamed of my country for turning its back on the ARVNs, Montagnard's, and desperate boatloads of civilians trying to escape. I understand your pain now. And, despite my best efforts to remain proud of my service, I cannot point to any single objective we achieved in Vietnam. We went into Afghanistan with the goal of capturing or killing Osama Bin Laden. While there were other objectives, that was the chief goal espoused by our leadership. And in that regard, though it took ten years, YOU accomplished your primary mission. I salute you all, and while you struggle with questions and disappointment, hold your heads high. YOU did your duty. SALUTE!!!!
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