Story Of A Veteran By James Smith
This Article On Story Of A Veteran Was Written By James Smith, A Decorated Vietnam Veteran And Retired Chicago Police Sergeant
Fifty years ago, I reported to the Selective Service Center on West Van Buren Street in Chicago, Illinois. Although I had no clue as to what my experience would be from that point on, that day would change my life forever and propel me into who I am today. We were taken by bus to O’Hare Airport, placed on propeller driven planes and flown to Fort Polk Louisiana where we stayed for about two rainy weeks while processing into the United States Army.
Story Of A Veteran: Reporting To The U.S. Army
Forty-Eight years ago I was preparing to leave the United States Army and was looking forward to going home to Chicago to be with my wife, family and friends. After spending the last ninety something days readjusting to being back in the World a term used to describe our United States of America. As I sit here reflecting on the past fifty years of my life, I can’t help but think that I had been blessed. Although I regret having had fought a senseless war, especially after participating in the killing of so many people. To finally realize that these killing were all in vain.
Story Of A Veteran: Basic Training
After the Fort Polk Processing we were flown to Fort Lewis Washington where we underwent Basic Training, Advance Infantry Training, Basic Unit Training, Advance Unit Training, Desert Training and Jungle Training before being shipped out via ship to Vietnam. That was a trip I’ll never forget. A once in a lifetime experience; especially for a kid from Chicago who had never been out of the city except to go to summer camp in Michigan during the summer.
Story Of A Veteran: First Firefight
My very first firefight occurred while my unit, the infamous Triple Duce as we were called or 2/22 Mechanized Infantry Battalion of the 3rd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division. We were on Operation Attleboro and as the point squad leading company B, we were on a search and destroy mission near the Cambodian border, a place where we would be spending most of our time while serving in Viet Nam. The team on my right flank suddenly spotted enemy soldiers walking in the jungle. The team member yelled out to the enemy, “Halt”, showing our inexperience. The enemy soldiers ran in my team’s direction and my team opened fire on the enemy. At the time, I had begun carrying a M79 with a canister round chambered. It had the effect of several shotguns and I like its power and effectiveness in the jungle. The one drawback of the weapon was that it could only fire one round at a time. Lucky for me and my team, on this day only one shot was needed to accomplish the task at hand. Upon inspecting the body of the enemy, we found that my weapon had blown the top of his head off and you could see the pellets imbedded in his tissue.
Story Of A Veteran: Killing Another Human Being
As a rookie combat soldier, I was in denial about my actions. I guess that was the effect my Catholic upbringing had on me. I gave the credit for that kill to my machine gunner until my top sergeant commended me on the kill after he had inspected the body. I guess that I didn’t want to acknowledge having had killed another human being. I didn’t focus on that kill until shortly after retiring from my job as a Chicago Police Sergeant. I remembered hearing the rounds of his AK 47 flying over my head as if it was yesterday. That particular kill is the most memorable because it was my very first and I actually got to see result of what my weapon could do. None of the other kills we made, bothered me like my first.
About The Author: James Smith
James Smith is not just a decorated veteran of the United States Army but also a decorated 30 plus year veteran of the Chicago Police Department and a cancer survivor. James Smith retired as a sergeant from the Chicago Police Department and is still an icon among the 13,000 plus members of the CPD. James Smith, a long time Field Training Officer and instructor of the Chicago Police Department has trained thousands of police recruits, many of them who have been promoted to leadership and management positions. James Smith is a consultant to police agencies throughout the country and we are proud to have him as a guest writer for Gustan Cho Associates. Sergeant James Smith is an expert in social issues and race relations and is an expert in racial profiling issues and race relations. James Smith will continuously be writing about his life experience where it will benefit our viewers on a variety of topics from his experience working as a Chicago Police Officer, the neighborhoods of Chicago, terrorism, safety, security, and life in general, especially the toughest challenge he had in his life, which was surviving the painful battle of stage 3 cancer. Like to welcome my dear friend James Smith to Gustan Cho Associates and will be looking forward to his future writings.