First, please tell us a little about your background and how you came into the Army where you served in the Vietnam War.

I was conceived in Texas, but born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I was well aware of anti-war protests because the first anti-Vietnam war “teach-ins” took place at University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. But to me, this was just more of the same old leftwing pacifist showboating that was already endemic to college towns.

Being young and rebellious, I figured anything those people were against just had to be good, so I enlisted for the Airborne Infantry after high school. The young Americans who came of age during the Vietnam War had grown up with toy guns, toy soldiers, war movies, playground battles, uncles and dads and coaches and teachers who were veterans, and even in Ann Arbor, there was almost universal patriotic pride in America’s liberating role in World War Two and our postwar mission to stand up to communist tyranny.

It was interesting to find out after our generation’s war was over, that none of the boyhood playmates I remember being most fond of military play ever served in the military. Like Dick Cheney, they too had “other priorities” when the Vietnam War and the military draft were still reaching out for others less fortunate than themselves. Like Steven Spielberg, they played field marshal when war was all play and they owned the most toys, but played hookey when their generation’s real war came around.