Vietnam, The Cold War, Iraq, Afghanistan

Discussions among Morgan Park 
High School Alumnae
Chicago, Illinois

Written in 2002-2010, During the War on Terror. 

We were exactly the right age to enjoy participating in or protesting the Vietnam War.  Our parents had survived the depression and World War II.  We got Vietnam, and our children got the War on Terrorism.

The following was extracted from a series of emails produced by our classmates.
We would appreciate the stories of anyone, whether you opposed the war, fought in it, went to Canada, jail, etc. And women please contribute - you did not get drafted, but you also went through tough times.  Or if you know of anyone who had an interesting story, please ask them to email it to: 


morganparkhigh@gmail.com


or call Craig at 309 634 5557.

Your choice if you want not to be identified in the story - let us know and we will just use your first name. Or use your real name, in case this becomes a best seller.

If you have already contributed, please feel free to update and expand your contribution. Or if you know of someone from MPHS or the “Hood” who had an interesting experience, please let us know how to contact them.

There is an old curse that says "May you live in interesting times".  The late 60's and early 70's were certainly that.

So if you are interested in contributing, please send an email to this blog or email or call me.  

Thanks
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Louise S

I disagreed with the war back then and tried to persuade many to be objectors or leave the country for a time. I am terrified because I truly believe our government uses war as an economic tool as well as for population control. If you look at the statistics you will see by race and age how many died "for us". I hated it then and I hate it still. I would hope if there is another war not on American ground you would think long and hard and talk with your children and grandchildren before you let them blithely go off to fight for "freedom and the good old USA"

I married a vet while the war was still going on and had to watch as PTSD ate us up. No one knew what it was yet. He dug fox holes in the driveway and booby trapped the house. Sometimes he thought I was cong. We battled his alcoholism and Vietnam daily.

We hurt and destroyed many families on BOTH sides during that war. I took a foster son off the first flight that came to this country from the camps. He no longer had a family. I did my best to help him get over the things that war did to him and think I succeeded somewhat. But NOTHING ever erases what war does to us. Not for the ones that go or the ones that stay home. Or for the children.

Maybe too many of us listened to our fathers war stories of WW2 .. the funny little incidents they chose to tell. We are doing the same about Vietnam.

Lets stop and tell the truth for once. War is Hell on everyone.
________________________

Nan B

Louise, I admire you for taking the responsibility and making a commitment  which has contributed to healing the wounds of that war. You have made a difference in this world.

Is your husband better? Have you ever heard of Figley's research on PTSD in Vietnam vets? Or Shapiro's work with EMDR? Also some of the Energy Psychology methods for dealing with trauma?
_____________________

Louise S

I don't know where my first husband is. I was 20 years old and very scared and his family said they would get him the help he needed if I divorced him. I loved him so much but was at the end of my physical and mental strength by then. So I finally gave in and did as they wished. I never stopped loving the man that I married but I understand that that man was a result of PTSD himself and I never really knew the real person. That came after years of struggling with my conscious.

I married another man and thats when I started taking foster children. I had three boys. One Deaf, one Vietnamese and one the son of a policeman. I also had a biological child, a daughter that was born deaf. My boys are all grown and married now and my daughter graduated from college in San Marcos Texas. She currently lives in Austin and is a graphic designer.
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Our thanks to all of our fallen High School Comrades

We know of ten of our classmates who died in Vietnam. Morgan Park High School was a big City of Chicago High School.There surely are more who died that we do not know about.

We appreciate their service and sacrifice.

Morgan Park Alumni 
1962-1968 
on the Vietnam Memorial Wall


Jim Beck

Larry Dart

Ricky Green

Sgt Holstein

Bruce Huff

Al McNabb

Mills Miller

Warren Muhr

Robert Nawrocki

William Newbold

William Lee Owen Jr

And thanks to all the ones we don't know about:

___________











Vietnam - The Virtual Wall


Remembering our Friends who gave all in the War. Click on Find a Name to find your comrade.









The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington DC honors the fallen of the Vietnam War. Relatives and friends leave letters, poems, and photographs there and on this web site named The Virtual Wall ®. We bring the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to your home.
The Memorial Pages:
 By Last Name
 By State & City
 Wall Panels by Date
 By Military Unit
 Send Us A Photo
 Height of Valor
 Faces Of Freedom
 MIA Status
 About The Wall
 About Us
 Who We Are
 Links       FAQs



New Format 11/11/09
The Virtual Wall












Sunrise Vietnam
_______________________


Ken S

I saw on a recent message from the reunion group that Alfred McNabb had been identified as deceased. McNabb and I went through Marine Corps boot camp together in the summer of '67. He went directly to Vietnam after completing ITR (Infantry Training)arriving on Dec. 17, 1967. He was killed by small arms fire on Feb. 2, 1968. 10%  of the guys I went through boot camp with were killed in Vietnam, and if the casualty statistics are right, 60% were wounded. I was still 17 after finishing ITR and got to spend several more months in the states. Any other Vietnam Veterans from the classes of '66 and '67 want to check in here? I am aware of some, including my brother, Andrew Sauvage '66 also Jim Aten '66 and Barry Yocum '67, I ran into Barry while we were both doing time at Great Lakes Hopital.
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John W

This is one of the things I wish we'd talk candidly about, either here or on our new MPHS Forum - how each of us was affected by the war in Viet Nam and that whole era. Maybe everyone else has succeeded fabulously well in moving on, but I'm still living intimately with the consequences of decisions I made back then. Apparently more so than many of you who actually fought there. I hope you're doing well, Ken.

It's funny what we remember. I don't think you and I ever had a conversation of any length, Ken - but I remember your Marine haircut and the "Sat Cong" tattoo as if it were yesterday. What did "Sat Cong" mean, if I may make so bold as to ask once again?
__________________


David C  - Friday, Dec. 13, 2002


Hello to the Empehi Group and especially to my old 107th Place best - bud Ken Sauvage. After traveling through time over the past few weeks it's great to see another name still around. Remembering nude swimming, all the radio contests, Snackville Junction and those Roman "Y" parties including the formal dance lessons and the rest, I'm in the middle of a time-warp that I'm not to much in a hurry to leave. I am glad that some of the political discussion will be shifting.This old Daily Democrat, transplanted into a hot bed of Republicism in Southern Illinois, needs a little free zone without the tempers always on the edge. I do remember walking out of Spanish I class our Freshman year at Clissold Branch and being told that Kennedy had been shot.We were gong into Algebra I with good old Miss O'Brien. Anybody remember the tall blond English teacher that married the history teacher while we were there? My Empehi yearbooks are in the attic and when we put all the Christmas junk away, I will have an excuse to look for them again. I know I have all 4 years, just finding them is the challenge.


Ken Sauvage-----bring me up to date on your side of the world. Do you remember that lion head you carved for me? It is hanging in the hallway of my real estate office. It has been a fixture of my life since you gave it to me.

On the Butkus time frame. Old Butkus was ahead of all of  us. He kicked my brother in the back during a regular season game between MPHS and CVS and was thrown out. A guy by the name of lee Burnett got even with him during the championship round game between our two schools. It was Lee's tackle that hurt Butkus' knees for his first season at U of I. Somewhere in this house of mine, I have an old 8mm take of that game with that tackle. My dad took most of the game when my brother was playing. Anyone from the early 60's remember my cousin, Donnie Craske? He was the team doctor for 2-3 years. The only time I remember a doctor smoking on the side lines of a high school football game!


Life goes on----Anyone heard from Jimmy Klenk? Last time I was in Chicago, his mom was still living in their home on 107th Place next to our old house. Jimmy was on the north side somewhere. Any contact with him about the reunion?


Best wishes to everyone----As Red Green from PBS says--keep your powder dry and remember duct tape is mans best friend after a good dog or wife which ever one is in the room when you mention it.
________


Ron M


Ken, Did you play the drum's at Clissold??

I think I remember you from that..

I was in the USAF but never went overseas. I guess I was lucky being stateside my whole term. I did loose some friends I served with that went to Vietnam and never came back.
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Ken S
I didn't expect as much a response to my posting, good to hear from all. That war shaped us all, no matter whether, or where we served. One of my reasons for posting the message I did, besides that fact that it hit me pretty deep to see Al McNabb's name again, was simply as a reminder of the human cost of war.

Yes John, that was me with Sat Cong tattooed on my arm, which gives you a pretty good idea of my low level of maturity and ability to romanticize BS at the time. It was removed many years ago.

Ron McComb, yes also that was me that played drums at Clissold and also all four years at Empehi.

Dave Craske, good to hear from you neighbor. I'd forgotten about the lion carving until you mentioned it, but then again my memory is pretty selective. My standard line is that I have become Buddhist and am living only in the present. Last I heard of Jim Klenk was that he was lawyering for the Tribune, but that's going back a few years. Before he passed away, my Dad stayed in touch with Mrs. Klenk. I came across a picture recently, probably from 7th grade or so, of us with ice skates heading down towards Crescent Park, I don't think we've had a winter cold enough around here to ice skate outside for a long time.
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David Estes













I served as a grunt with the 25th and 101st Airborne divisions in Vietnam in 1971. I live in Normal IL now, but work 3 days a week at a museum founded by my father - The Livingston County War Museum in Pontiac IL. We have exhibits from World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our blog is: 


We have a lot of photos and articles about the museum on it. We also have a Facebook page under "Livingston County War Museum". Please check it out and become a friend of the museum.

Hope you will be able to visit our museum. Please contact me before you visit, and I'll be sure to be there to show you around.

Sincerely,
David Estes
Education Director
Livingston County war Museum
Dal Estes Education Center
Pontiac IL
email: lcwarmuseum@yahoo.com
museum: (815) 842-0301



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Gary Underiner MPHS June 66


I was drafted in July, 1968. I spent my first year in the Army stateside, training and attending Non-Commissioned Officers Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. I deployed to Vietnam in July, 1969.  I served with A Company, 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry, 199th Light Infantry Brigade as a platoon sergeant for 7 months and later as a platoon leader of a heavy weapons platoon for my remaining five months in country. I returned home in July, 1970.

__________

Randy L  Jan '66


I was in Vietnam in 1971 as a medical supply specialist in the army. I was in Cam Ranh Bay from January to June and in Long Binh for the remainder of the year.














a pet story














I was driving my deuce-and-a-half on Long Binh Army Base in Vietnam in the summer of 1971 when I saw a puppy without tags sitting on the side of the road, watching me drive by. Since we made eye contact, I decided to stop my truck and see what happened. Lo and behold, the pup trotted up to my truck… so I let him on. The company clerk said we were already over our allotment of pets, but we went to the XO anyway to see if there was anything we could do about keeping him. Unbeknowst to us, the pup had wandered into the CO's office. So, as we were pleading our case to the XO, the CO came in with the pup in his arms and told the XO to figure out a way to keep the pup, which he did. So we named him Scottie, after the clerk's son, and got his rabies shots. Then we got the order that all dogs vaccinated in that period were to be destroyed because of bad shots. Good thing our company had a vet who knew the vaccinators. The shot records got lost and, after confining Scottie for 21 days to make sure he was clean, we got him vaccinated again. He received a purple heart for the insult and the official records are buried under pfc Scottie L, 9th Medical Laboratory, United States Army, Long Binh, Republic of Vietnam.



















Buti

What happened to him, Randy? Please finish the story.


Randy


When I returned to the states, scottie stayed in vietnam to finish his tour of duty, but i brought home one set of his dog tags and his purple heart with the corresponding authorization orders.
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Craig - Going to the Dogs



Reminds me of a story. One of our Morgan Park High School Vet friends (Name withheld to protect the innocent and/or guilty) was due home. We assembled at his home for a welcome home party, but the family told us he would be a few weeks late because his platoon had been put on medical hold - The story was they had a dog who had bitten a number of the guys, and they were on medical hold until it could be determined if they had been infected with rabies.  


I was suspicious of that story, wondering if they had been infected by a different type of human disease caused by a different type of contact. This sounded more likely to me.  I never got him alone to determine if my guess was correct.
________________


Dave G ‘66


I was assigned to the 12th USAF Hospital Cam Ranh AB from 68 – 69 as a MEDIC.

Skeeter Holler Kaintuckee

________


Anita R


It was great hearing from you Dave. It does make one feel like they are living in a time warp when remembering things from 35+ years ago. Now that my mom no longer lives in Beverly, it has been awhile since I have been back there. I might have to make the trip to the old neighborhood while in for Christmas. Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season!!!!!

____________________


Jim Seamon










When I was a high school teacher, my students would sometimes bring up Vietnam, usually because they’d heard from someone that I had served there. When they asked me why I went to Vietnam, my standard reply was “Because I was a coward so I took the easy way out.” They usually laughed at that, but I explained that my only other options were to leave the country and possibly never see my friends and family again, go to prison, or lie outrageously enough to get “conscientious objector” status by telling them I wouldn’t even use violence to protect my grandmother if she was being attacked by a rapist, which was the kind of question they tended to ask back then. So I took what I figured was the easiest way out. When it became apparent that I was going to be drafted I joined the Navy Reserves and ended up on an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea.

It was never my intention to go to Vietnam and I had been a participant in several anti-war protests, including the massive November, 1969, gathering in Washington. I was a senior in college when the first draft lottery was held and was my number was bad enough that I was called for a physical fairly quickly, but since I was studying to be a teacher, and teachers had draft deferments, I never really worried about it. Then in the middle of my student teaching, having actually received a couple of job offers already, President Nixon surprised everyone with an executive order ending all new teaching deferments and I was suddenly officially screwed. So as I said, I took the easy way out.

And in many ways I did have it easy, at least a lot easier than those poor guys who lost their lives, their limbs, or their minds in the jungles over there. The few times I was actually in country I felt fairly safe most of the time. And even though aircraft carriers aren’t the safest places to work because of the danger of fires and explosions, my job as a journalist didn’t expose me to too much of that stuff. The U.S.S. Midway, now a floating museum in San Diego, was an efficiently run machine with a crew of good hard-working people. Sleeping on 3-tiered bunks in a room with 70 other men was a little claustrophobic, eating powdered eggs and drinking powdered milk every day was not my idea of a good time, nor was working long shifts seven days a week for 45 days at a time without ever seeing a woman or even a bottle of beer. But I know I could have had it a lot worse. I look at it more as a couple of years of my life when I had to take an annoyingly long detour. The detour itself had a few surprising advantages--some interesting experiences and some good friendships--but all-in-all I could have done without it.
  
If our pilots reported that they killed a water buffalo, we were supposed to report it as a WBLC (water-borne logistics craft). Absolute truth was another casualty in Vietnam.

I once got put “on report” for taking too long of a shower.

After the peace agreement was completed in January, 1973, we stayed for a few more weeks flying more sorties, probably technically illegal (although it’s hard to believe our Commander-in-Chief Richard Nixon would approve anything illegal). Our Commanding Officer would come on every morning with his daily announcements and would always start with something like, “Sorry, I still have no information about when we’ll be returning home, but I guarantee I will let you know as soon as I learn anything.” We were all anxious to get back to our home port of San Francisco since we had already been out at sea a lot longer than they told us we would be. Then one morning, in place of the CO’s daily announcement, the intercom system started playing the song, “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.” We all started cheering, both because we knew that was the signal that we were going home, and also probably partly because our Captain gave us that signal by playing a hippie song--very cool, really.

Because we got back to the States a couple of months after the war ended, we didn’t have people celebrating our return or spitting on us and calling us “baby killers” or anything like that. When we returned, everybody just seemed to want to pretend all of it never happened.  That seemed to be fine with most Vietnam vets I knew, since they really didn’t want to talk about it with anyone who hadn’t been there. Unfortunately, some of them wanted to get involved in veterans’ organizations, but many of the organizations didn’t want to have anything to do with Vietnam vets. While I had a few unpleasant conversations with some old anti-war acquaintances, my most unpleasant ones were actually with WWII veterans who ranted about us Vietnam druggies who destroyed our “undefeated” war record.  I told them I had done my duty, earned medals, ribbons, and commendations and had received an honorable discharge and asked what more they wanted. One of them said, “To win, damn it--that’s what it’s all about!”  

An aircraft carrier is a floating city, with 5,000 men and 90 jet airplanes and a number of other aircraft. We had a daily newspaper and closed circuit radio and television.  We did our television and radio news live and had a number of volunteer disc jockeys who did much of our radio shows, including a Marine corporal, “Sweet Daddy” Lincoln Ware, who was named AFRTS Soul DJ of the Year in the early 70s. One day he said he had received a new record from AFRTS and wanted us to call in our opinions on it. It was “Candy Man” by Sammy Davis, Jr., and I called him and said, “Jeez, Linc, you call yourself a soul disc jockey? Even I’ve got more soul than this song.” From then on he played it every day, saying it was “a request from petty officer Jim Seamon, because it’s his favorite song ever,” People started stopping me when they saw my name on my work shirt and asking me to stop requesting the song because they hated it. I don’t think they believed my protests that I, too, hated it.

Occasionally when I was working nights on the ship and I was waiting for the final proof of the newspaper to read I would go down to the studio and play some tunes for the night crew so they didn’t have to listen to elevator music all night. One night I went down and put on “Gimme Some Lovin” by Crazy Elephant and turned the volume up. Within a minute the phone light lit up and I figured it was somebody on the night crew thanking me for putting on some good music. Instead, it was the Admiral’s orderly. Apparently, the Admiral had fallen asleep to the easy listening crap on the radio and I had suddenly awakened him at 3:00 a.m. with a very loud rock song. His orderly called to with the admiral’s demand to know who had done that and why. I said, “Well, I really don’t know. Let me ask Linc.” Then I waited a few seconds and said, “Sorry, he says it’s none of your business,” and then got the hell out of there. A couple of days later, Linc came into my office and said, “I had a meeting with the Admiral yesterday.” I said, “Wow, that’s the big time--you must really be proud.” “Okay,” he replied, “I figure you’re involved in this, so if you promise me no more admirals I promise I won’t play that song any more. I can’t stand it either.”
____________

Will H

All the talk of military experiences prompted me to add my 2 cents worth.

I had dropped out of school and was knocking around southern Kansas, hauling hay to supplement my partying habit, when oil was discovered on the North Slope of Alaska. My buddies and I seriously discussed going to Alaska to make our fortunes in the oil fields, but I realized I had never been warm once during the winters in Chicago, and the thought of going some place colder was too intimidating. So I passed on the opportunity. But God works in strange ways.  I guess I was supposed to go to Alaska for some reason, because having dropped out for a while, I got drafted and sent to Alaska. I remember getting my orders to go to Alaska and thinking I don't want to go to Alaska, it's cold up there.  Then I realized that everyone in front of me when to Korea, I and another guy were sent to Alaska, and everyone behind us went to Viet Nam. All of a sudden Alaska didn't seem so bad.

But as someone who likes to think for himself rather than take orders, I hated the Army. Ooooh I hated the Army. However looking back, I realize the Army elbowed me out of my chosen career, but my current career is actually a lot better, I made Alaska my home for 15 years and found my family there, and used a zero down VA loan to make my first serious money in real estate. I have a lot to be grateful for, and as ironic as it seems, I have to be grateful to the Army, Alaska and all of you who were standing behind me in that orders line.

The aftermath of the Viet Nam war was not one of kudos for the vets like WWII was. That combined with my bitterness toward the military left me feeling sort of empty about the whole thing. I remember about 10 years ago, being at a show and they did a tribute to all the services, asking us to stand as each service's song was played, and actually be thanked for being in the service. I had never been thanked by anyone for being in the service, and actually ended up with tears in my eyes. I guess that was part of the process of dropping the bitterness over what might have been and replacing it with gratitude for what I have.

Either that or I am finally growing up.
________________

Craig 

Dave DeVerdier also served in the Marines in Vietnam. He got home the day I left for Vietnam.

Warren Muhr was one year ahead of us. He was a great guy, who died in Vietnam.

Bob Burgoyn and Jack Davia  lived at 105th and Lawndale. They attended Brother Rice, but  took some classes at Morgan Park. Both made it through Vietnam, but both died soon after returning - Bob from a truck accident, and Jack from Hepatitis.

____________


Craig Hullinger

I served 4 and 1/2 years on active duty with the Marines, including 18 months in Vietnam, from XMAS Eve1969 until late June 71. I spent another 28 years in the Marine Reserves.

Photos and a blog about one of my old Vietnam units below:


Beautiful Vietnam






Helo / Explosion / Ghost Marine


The Bay in Danang, I think.



My Hootch. They just don't build them like they used to.

Rice Paddies

My wife and I went back to Vietnam in 1999 (Did my last  Marine Reserve Day there, without telling the Vietnamese Communists - Kind of liked it that my last day in the Marine Corps Reserve before I retired was back in country). It is still a beautiful country. Stayed on China Beach in an ultra luxury hotel, next to the old R and R hotel, which is still there.





Vietnam is a nice place to visit but I would not want to live there.

___________________


Judy H


Thank you, Craig, for mentioning Warren Muhr, my neighbor on Drake Street. I checked out The Virtual Wall and  remembered the day years ago when I did a tracing of Warren's name for his family. ( I live in Aspen Hill/Silver Spring MD which is a suburb of Washington, DC.) To all of our classmates (and their children) who served in some branch of the military, Thanks! Thanks! And, Thanks again! Glad you are home with us.
___________


Ken S


Craig, thanks for posting the info about Dave Devedier. I ran into him at Camp Lejuene right before I went over, and have wondered over the years about him, glad he made it home.

__________


John W 67


Me too. Dave Deverdier (spelling?) saved my bacon once in gym class when this moon-faced bully - Terry somebody - was making noises like he wanted to beat me up. Deverdier calmly stepped forward and said menacingly, "Leave him alone, Terry." Dave and I weren't friends at all; he was just standing up for the underdog. What a memory of the pecking order that was high school!