Court-martial or Reassignment ?

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With my daughter, Kelly in Sedona, Arizona. October 6, 2016.

My daughter recently posted this comment below on her Facebook page with a photograph of us taken in Sedona, Arizona by Aaron, my Son-in-Law:

Thank You for your service just doesn’t seem enough. Can’t imagine what you went through in the war but grateful you made it home. Maybe someday you will write a book about it. Many veterans never share their full story, and I can understand how painful it would be to relive it. However, the younger generation aka your granddaughters would greatly benefit from reading about that time in your life. Many veterans pass never sharing their amazing stories. I hope someday you share yours ❤️ Love you Dad

This story is for my daughter, Kelly, and my grandchildren Courtney, Brittney, and Sydney. I will share more Vietnam stories in future posts on this blog and publish them later in a book as part of my general autobiography, primarily for my daughter and grandchildren.

While serving my U.S. Army tour of duty in Vietnam, I published an ‘underground’ newspaper in addition to my regular medical responsibilities, for several issues while I held the rank equivalent of E-4. The staff box listed me as Editor-in-Chief along with other staff members and a disclaimer that stated it was an authorized publication and that the views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Department of the Army. The content included interviews of military personnel, Commander’s Corner, Short Timers, Tips for R&R, illustrations, and satire. I later learned of my promotion to the rank of E-5 equivalent to a Sergeant.

After I believe three issues, the Commanding Officer (CO) a Colonel, called me into his office and immediately shouted.

“The satire you wrote will end in a court-martial with hard labor at Fort Leavenworth, or be sent to a location in-country where life expectancy is 12 days or less.”

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Death: A Curious Habit

Years ago when I was the Publisher/Editor of the Arizona Literary Review, a 64-page monthly literary art and photography magazine, we had an exclusive telephone interview with the actor, James Stewart. I was appreciative of the time we shared with such a generous and interesting person. He died a few years after the interview. I became curious about how he lived his life those last few years. Did he know how much time he had left? I know he was very active in saving elephants, and we ran a full back page advertisement without charge to promote his cause.

Since then, I have developed a curious habit of looking up the biographies of actors while watching old black and white movies. It is interesting to watch their performance while reading about their personal life. I read about their childhood, acting background, relationships, how and when they died. I find it fascinating to know how much longer they lived after they made the movie. What captures my attention is contemplating what they did not yet know. How many more years they had to live. Did their lifestyle, such as drinking or smoking contribute to their death? What would they have done differently? There are times that my heart goes out to the actors who did not know what their future holds for them.

I wonder what it would be like if each of us knew this quality of information during our own life. What would our decisions be and how would they be different? How many of us would want to know this information in advance?

I visited a website called The Death Clock and took their death test. The site provides a friendly reminder that life is slipping away… second by second, reminding  you just how short life is. My results? According to the rather unscientific website I have until Saturday, June 4, 2022. Now that just does not seem nearly enough time! It might be wise to live as though I only had those few years left (or less) and live passionately with a foundation of compassion for all living things.



The New England Journal of Medicine published a fascinating article on July 26, 2007, A Day in the Life of Oscar the Cat, by David M. Dosa, M.D., M.P.H. Dr. Dosa is a geriatrician at Rhode Island Hospital and an assistant professor of medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University — both in Providence.

Oscar the Cat, was adopted by staff members of Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island as a kitten and bailed him out of a nearby animal shelter. He has had an uncanny ability to predict when residents are about to die. Thus far, he has anticipated the deaths of more than 25 residents.

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