My Village ...
Tam Ky
by: Patrick Camunes
(© 1997)


DEROS, San Antonio - December 13, 1967

Tam Ky I was pulled out of Tam Ky and assigned new permanent duty station in San Antonio. I returned to the World without debriefing of any kind. Of course, I've still got the commitment of training the new meat assigned at Fort Benning. Huey: Tam Ky If I was smart, I'd tell them the truth about the "Nam", but I've got my medals pinned to my chest and can put on a good show for the trainees. I needn't teach them what scared crapless is, or to recognize the unmistakably putrid stinch of death, since they will learn that soon enough.

I arrive at my old village of San Antonio which undoubtedly has been pacified, as I've been removed of all my weapons. All I'm left with is my uniform and medals, which as soon as my fellow villagers see them, they'll realize what I've been through. I walk through a crowd and I can't believe the comments and resentment I get from my fellow villagers. What have I done to deserve this? other than what I thought was my patriotic duty. The crowd is angry and hostile and I must get away as soon as possible since I am unarmed. It is not me that I fear may be hurt---my instincts are still razor sharp and I feel coiled and ready to strike.
      I grab a cab and feel uncomfortable with no wire mesh over the open windows. It would be so easy for anyone to throw a ... never mind that---I'm home again. As I approach my old neighborhood, I notice the lack of sand bags and make a mental note of checking the fields of fire from my hooch. People are here to greet me outside but I hurry to get inside, under cover, even though the night has fallen and there shouldn't be any fear of snipers--- I'm home again.
      The villagers are the ones that I have grown up with, and many family members---why do I feel detached from them? A feeling of shame comes over me with a quick memory of where I had just came from, and I avoid any conversation. Besides, I've learned that getting too close to anyone only means more hurt and heartbreak when they are taken away.

Pat:2nd Row, 3rd from Left The years pass as I try to live in my home village of San Antonio, and the fortifications around my hooch have improved along with the weapons that I keep exceptionally clean and ready for use. The attitude of my fellow villagers has changed to the best, and I associate with others that have been through what I've been through.
      We need to talk about our memories, or quietly we will all meet again when the night falls---and dream the dreams and walk the walk again ... here in my home village of San Antonio. [photo: Pat is 2nd Row, 3rd from left]

APVNV Pat "Beanie" Camunes
D/4/31 196th Lt. Inf. Bde
Tay Ninh Dec.1966-Apr.1967, Tam Ky Apr.-Dec.1967
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