Brothers In Nam

001 (8)

Roger & Victor Sanchez, Chicago 1964

 

Fate or destiny, are words I think about often today, some forty-three years after my older brother and I, had left the Vietnam War behind.  My brother and I are exactly four years apart because we were born on the same day, four years apart.  He lives in Illinois and I in Oklahoma.   One thing I can say for sure, is that destiny sure kicked us around a lot.

My older brother was born in San Antonio Texas, and I in Waupun Wisconsin.  Our parents also hailed from San Antonio.  But when my brother and I were ages six and two, we ended up on the south side of Chicago.  There we would live our lives until the Vietnam War Broke out.

In our early years my brother and I being four years apart, had nothing in common.  Growing up he had his likes and friends, and I was the pesky little brother who was told to take a hike more than once.  We would go our separate ways, until fate stepped in and changed our lives forever.  We had no Idea that the Vietnam War would last long enough to see us both join the Marines, and be pulled into the war. It would be a war that would have a significant impact on American history.  It would be a war that split a nation, as did the Civil War.  Of course the Vietnam War split us only in ideology.

The war would bring my brother and me together in more ways than we could imagine.  My older brother was on his second tour of duty, when I landed in Vietnam in July of 1970 for my tour.  Again, fate stepped in, and my brother and I ran into each other at Da Nang Air Base, just before I was trucked out to my unit with Seventh Marines.   I was an infantry Marine, and my brother a Crew Chief in CH-46 helicopters.

 

Sgt V. Sanchez Jr. & Cpl R. Sanchez, Da Nang Air Base Vietnam, July 1870

Sgt V. Sanchez Jr. & Cpl R. Sanchez, Da Nang Air Base Vietnam, July 1970

 

I would see my brother twice with my unit in the field, as both those times it was his chopper that was re-supplying us.   Both times I signaled the chopper into the Landing zone, as my brother looked out the gunner’s door and spotted me.  As I ran onto the bird to unload supplies, we had a few minutes for a quick hug and a thumb’s up.  As the chopper lifted off, my brother stuck his head out the gunner’s door again and saluted, as I stood in the rotor wash in the LZ and returned his salute.  Both times I was asked, “Who was that”, and both times I replied with great pride, “That was my brother!”

 

Sgt V. Sanchez Jr USMC HMM 262, Vietnam, 1970

 

Cpl R. Sanchez USMC Vietnam 1970

Cpl R. Sanchez USMC
Vietnam 1970

 

My brother and I would make it out of Vietnam.  He after being shot down multiple times, and I, after being wounded in action twice.  We both ended up In Okinawa for a few months together before he rotated back to the States.  Our relationship from that point on again, had changed forever.  We were now not only brothers, but fellow Marines, and fellow combat veterans of the Vietnam War.  We would go our separate ways after the war, and not discuss the war with each other for over forty years.  But our respect towards each other was that of two fellow Marines, who had fought in a war that American history would rather bury than speak of.  It was a long and arduous road, and yet fate had seen us through.

 

Sgt. V. Sanchez Jr. USMC Okinawa, April 1970

Sgt. V. Sanchez Jr. USMC
Okinawa, April 1971

 

Cpl R. Sanchez USMC Okinawa April 1970

Cpl R. Sanchez USMC
Okinawa April 1971

 

 

 Roger A. Sanchez Sr. @ Gunny’s Mail Call.Com

A Warriors’ Dream

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Quang Nam Province, I Corps, South Vietnam, July 1970

 

In deep slumber I lay many years after my war

An American Patriot who answered the call

My war was not the one fought for independence

Nor the one fought at San Antonio

Yes, it was not the one to end all wars

Nor was it the big one where freedom hung by a thread

 

I was not at the Chosen Reservoir in Korea

So many had gone before me to stand for freedom

But not any freedom, but American freedom

It is an Ideal and type that many seek

Is was an ideal born of right spirit

The land of the free, the home of the brave

 

In dreams I still walk the rice paddies of Vietnam

My squad walks behind me spread out and watchful

I do not see them as clear as I once did

We are walking in a fog that sweeps in from nowhere

It is cold and wet and voices seems to emanate from it

It is the voices of those gone before looking for the sunlight

 

And yet from this dream I understood that freedom is not free

There is no true sunlight in war, or full days of rest

There is no let up against evil that lust for power and domination

A horrible truth I had learned at such a young age

That evil force, must be met with righteous force

While I wish with all my soul for only peace

I understood that it would never truly be

 

I wake up in a cold sweat and yell out into the darkness

My conscious mind slowly brings me back

And I think clearly, Iraq, Afghanistan, other wars in between

I see the faces of our young men and women

And in sadness I realize, we are still at war

 

GySgt Roger A Sanchez Sr.
USMC Retired
Copyright © June 2014, All Rights Reserved

Remembering Normandy

Photo from Wkipedia Commons

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

 

Today June 6, 2014 many nations are paying tribute to those who landed on the beaches of Normandy France.  It was one of the biggest battles of World War Two, as American and ally forces continued the battle for democracy and freedom.

We have lost many of those who were there on that day to the marching on of time.  To those of us who have lived our lives in free nations, able to voice our opinions and pursue lives filled with freedom of choice, the debt can never be repaid.

Mostly remembered by those they served with and family members, we should all make an effort as we think of freedom, to remember those who have served and gave their all for us.  God bless them, their families, and the sacrifices they have made.  

 

By Roger A. Sanchez Sr. @ Gunny’s Mail Call 

 

 

A Marine’s Marine!

10x10_USMC-Old-Logo_V01

By Roger A. Sanchez Sr.@ Gunny’s Mail Call

 

In March of 2013 I finally published my first book “Black Dragon Red Sun“, that is one of three that I plan to complete, hopefully before I leave this life.  As I contemplate the last part of that statement, I hope that won’t be for quite a while.  The books are about my time in Vietnam as an infantry squad leader with the First Marine Division during the Vietnam War.

Vietnam was tough going as I am sure many Marines who fought that war can attest to.  I look back on that time and a twenty-two and a half-year Marine Corps career and wonder how I made it?  Yes, by the grace of God I had made it.  Being part of the 7th Marines Association, I had met and talk to other Vietnam combat Marines who had also lived to make it home again, and make the same comments today as I had about making it through a harrowing time. 

As I completed my first book, I sent out a few copies to some of my fellow 7th Marine association members. During this time I was introduced to another author of a Marine Corps memoir.  I was introduced to 1st Sergeant Charles Carmin by way of receiving a printed copy of his book titled, “My Twenty And Then Some.”  

I have to say that I was very impressed with not only his book, but his career as a Marine who not only served during the Vietnam war, but also during the Korean War as well.  after I read his book, I found his phone number through the association roster and called him.  I found out that I was fortunate to have a printed copy of his book, because it was no longer in print.

Like me, he had written his memoirs mainly as a history to leave behind for his family.  He made me realize that as we leave these books behind for posterity, we are also leaving behind something else, “Marine Corps History.”  In reading his story I found that while we were a generation or more apart, our experiences in War as Marines were not that much different.

I for one, had always looked at those Marines that went before me with great respect.  With a great respect because they had paved the way for us, and made the Marine Corps what it was.  If ever I had come across a Marine that I would call a Marine’s Marine in my lifetime, it is 1st Sergeant Charles Carmin.  For Marines like the 1st Sergeant, while just as dedicated in their service to the Marine Corps like the majority, are truly unsung heroes of wars gone by.

I laugh today when I think of the great acts of heroism I saw during the Vietnam War that rated high praise, but were met with usually more than not, a common notion that as Marines, we were just doing what Marines do, and nothing more. The comment was usually one that went something like this: “What do you want, a medal, or a chest to pin it on? You would have had to be there to get the gist of it, as we all laughed, we trudged our way back into battle.

Many years and emotions have now gone by, as another generation of Marines fade into legend in the sunset of their years.  God bless them, God bless America, and God bless the Marine Corps. 

 

My+Twenty+And+Then+Some

1stSgt Charles Carmin 


Hit Counter provided by technology news
%d bloggers like this: