Spit On ...
                               Spit Hurts to the Soul
Then the Healing

by: Tony Dodson
Tony Dodson,
A Trp, 2/1 Cavalry, A Btry and Svc Btry, 6/32 Field Artillery
1969-1971 SCOUTS OUT!
© Copyright (2001)

Was reading through the message board on this site. Came across one titled, "Professor says Vietnam Veterans were never spat upon - What's the truth?" The following is an edited version of my reply.

"SPIT UPON" -- It's all relative. I remember being a small kid growing up in the African American community in Philly. In our neighborhood all the soldiers were our heroes. I remember those starched uniforms and spit shined boots. Man!! I couldn't wait to grow up and be a soldier. My Dad was a Sergeant in the Army during World War II. My Cousin Bobby served in the Army during the Korean War. I loved when my older brother Davis came home in his bell bottomed Navy uniforms at the very beginning of Vietnam.

In 1969 I found myself in Advanced Infantry School at Fort McClellan Alabama. I was summoned from the range artillery class by the First Shirt. My favorite uncle had suddenly died, and I was being allowed to go home for his funeral (still can't figure out how my parents made it happen). I was told to cover down in my dress greens (ooooh yeah!!!) and get my butt on a bird to Philly. How proud I felt in that uniform. Got back to the block, duffle bag on my shoulder. Across the street stood a group of my old friends. Some of these guys were pre Nam vets. I will never forget someone yelled, "TAKE THAT G-- D----- MONKEY SUIT OFF!" Not one soul crossed that street to welcome me back to the hood. Even though I was in shock and in pain, I showed no weakness. I was a soldier. I was on my way to fight in Vietnam. Screw them (not my exact words). I buried Uncle Leroy and got my tail back to Infantry School

I shipped out to Nam in 1969. Didn't get back to the world until 1971. Didn't want to do any state side duty. ETSed from the Nam. I arrived at Fort Lewis Washington only to quarantined for five days. Was issued another set of dress greens. This set had a lot more goodies hanging from it. I felt like a million bucks in that uniform (U.S. , that is). Called my family from Fort Lewis to tell them on which flight I would be arriving

I can still clearly see my Mom, Dad and my nineteen year old Baby Sister standing at the bottom of the ramp. The next sound I remember is the sound of my heart breaking as my Baby Sister, and childhood running partner, yelled to the top of her lungs in laughter. "LOOK HOW SKINNY AND BLACK HE'S GOTTEN." To this day I cant remember what I did with those dress greens. I can remember (now) all those innocent people I unleashed my rage on for the next 30 years. YES!!! IT'S ALL RELATIVE. THE SPIT HURTS:TO THE SOUL.

I got this computer a little over a year ago. I went searching for the missing links of that period. With the help of the people I found at War Stories, I found my old Vietnam Doggies. The guys invited me to the 2000 Blackhawk reunion in Washington DC. I was very hesitant. I didn't know what to expect. Would I find a bunch of angry grizzled war dogs? Would I find a bunch of stiff flag waving zealots? Was this only going to rekindle my rage? NO! NO! NO! What I found was my long lost family. What I found was a place to finally heal those old open wounds. I could tell that the healing had been going on here for a long time prior to my returning to the fold. I walked into that room and was instantly embraced by all my old Doggies, their wives, and children. The mending of the wounds began instantaneously. We sat around the tables until the wee hours of the morning; talking; laughing; crying. Atop those same same tables a couple of old Nam Blackhawks and a couple of young currently serving Blackhawks treated us to a lively Irish jig. All these ingredients made for a powerful healing potion.

Attached is a photo of A Troop from the reunion. From left to right: LT. John Mavon, LT. Fred Wilson, me, and the one and only Sgt Auchy. Take a good look into each and every face and you will see that powerful healing medicine hard at work.

Tony Dodson,
A Trp, 2/1 Cavalry, A Btry and Svc Btry,
6/32 Field Artillery,
1969 - 1971 SCOUTS OUT!

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