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.

I have at least some contempt for Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, Joe Biden, Mitt Romney, Ted Nugent, Rush Limbaugh, Gary Hart, Sylvester Stallone, Tommy Lee Jones and that whole smug slacker lot that includes almost every conspicuous success among American males of my generation. I might try to be generous, and I might personally like some of these opportunistic bellicose pussies, but I just can’t help holding their manhood cheap, and thinking them unfit to urge younger generations to war.

Shakespeare knew the type: “But for these vile guns, he would himself have been a soldier.”

I’m told that you are the only Ranger to have served in 101st LRRPs, Bde LRRPs, Division LRPs, and 75th Rangers. Could you begin by explaining to our younger readers what the LRRPS were and what the LRRP mission consisted of?

I am one of two guys who served in 1/101 LRRP, F/58 LRP, and L/75 Ranger, not the only one. I don’t know about other soldiers, but back then it was pretty much standard for a LRRP or a Green Beret to voluntarily extend the tour a few times, and there were lots of guys with as many missions as me, and almost everybody saw more or worse combat than I did—me happening to be weirdly lucky in those days. With the normal exceptions made for the occasional obnoxious asshole or idiotic dolt, the men I was lucky enough to serve with were the best I’ve ever known.