Of Swords and CIBs

JD Allen, over at Mouth of the Brazos, joined the Marines because he wanted a sword. The officers carry them in dress uniform. He wound up enlisted, instead. And by the time his enlistment was up, the sword didn’t seem so important after all.

Me, I wanted to avoid the draft. When I couldn’t I enlisted for Army OCS under a college op program they had then. By the time I got my lieutenant’s bars it was obvious I was going to Viet Nam. In which case all I wanted was a CIB (Combat Infantryman’s Badge: an ancient Long Rifle surrounded by a wreath).

I got it alright. But by the time I did it didn’t seem so important after all.

8 responses to “Of Swords and CIBs

  1. Charlie Button

    I am with you all the way my 2nd Platoon OCS brother. Except I did not want a CIB. I wanted a branch transfer to Finance or Administration. Did not happen. I was assigned to an advisory team of the South Vietnamese Infantry Division. Got a CIB even though I did not want it. What really set me off was they assigned an Armor Lt Colonel to be head of our brigade. So I am risking my life so this armor guy can get a Combat Infantry Badge.
    Best wishes to you Dick. Hope all is going well with you.

  2. Sennacherib

    Funny how the original reason for wanting one seemed so far away and came from another person.

  3. Hmm, Your Excellancy. Maybe.

  4. Thanks for the comment, Charlie. I was armor branch myself, and also an advisor, but to RF-PF militia. I was glad to be infantry with its flexibility and not to have to ride slowly to death in an armored turtle. All’s well with us. Just hectic preparing the house for sale and applying for a loan on a smaller place, a condo.

  5. Sennacherib

    It just all seems not just far away, but almost as if it didn’t even happen, or was another place and time for somebody else. In a word….. Surreal.

  6. For years after the war I wished I’d been wounded (not terribly, just more than the gouge in my hand from a P-38 can opener and a chipped front tooth from hitting the rifle butt when dropping to the ground) so I’d have some tangible evidence (other than medals and paperwork) that I was actually there.

  7. Lol, yeah.

  8. Charlie Button

    Yeah Dick, I was always impressed with the Armor and Signal guys whose classes were closed and they had to go to Infantry OCS to get commissioned. My problem in Vietnam was I was getting short time and I was getting frustrated with our government and the way they was handling the Vietnam war. I just wanted to be done with it. Any little thing would just set me off.