When I was still a young man i found myself in the National Guard.  There was a war going on in Vietnam.  I had avoided going by joining the Guard.  Now, in 1972, we were being tasked with quelling expected riots for the upcomming Republican Convention. 

I wore a short haired wig to Guard.  My hair being shoulder length.  I lived with about 15 other folks in a 2 bedroom apartment.   Most of my friends planned to attend the convention as protesters.  Some even claimed to be associated with the Weathermen.  They were planning to boil eggs and put razorblades in them to throw at the cops and national Guard.  They preasured to have me to help them in numerous ways from providing information to help stealing weapons.  I was torn between loyalties.  I chose to help neither side.

One day at Guard after they had told me I would run the tear gass machine (horrific things that shot CS crystals), we had drilled with nightsticks ("don't hit the face!  It splatters and looks bad on TV"), I found myself standing information with several thousand others and the PD droned on and on about how to hurt the protestors.  I started saying to myself "no way, no ******* way" over and over.  I then noticed my Sgt looking at me and telling me to shut up!  It was then that I realized I was talking out loud.  Very loud.  Soldiers murrmered and stared.  I shouted out "NO ******* WAY!" took off my helmet and threw my flack jacket and rifle to the ground.  I trew down my short haired wig and shook out my hair.  I walked away with voises yelling after me "you're going to Ve-it-nam, boy! Vietnam!".  "I will see that you go!"

Now the perspective. 

I experienced this as my thing.  About me.  I dealt with the consequences of my actions and did not think it effected anyone other than myself.

I didn't find out until many years later that after I left, one after another soldier threw down his rifle and walked away.  Dozens, scores.  The officers could do nothing, the PD watched in horror.  The planned Republican Convention in San Diego in 1972 was moved at the last minute to Miami. 

Leporid Leporid
56-60, M
1 Response Mar 14, 2010

you know, I find all of your stories that I have read riveting. you have led a very interesting life.