getting a grip



Originally uploaded by jayfherron

This comic book clipping has been in my possession since weeks before I went to boot camp in 1969. 

On my 18th birthday-July 28 1969,I bought a King James Bible on Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring (MD). The bible store was just on the corner only steps away from the Navy recruiters office. I still have that bible. 

My birthday that year was a big day-I registered for my draft card at the post office…walked down the street and bought the bible…and went around the corner and at the recruiters I was formally discharged from the pre-enlistment reserves and legally signed in to the real service. I had to wait til the first week of August before being sent to boots…then being sworn in with what must have been a thousand other men (not many woman enlisting-or being sworn there) at Fort Holabird in Baltimore. There I dropped my draft card into the cardboard box that was passed among us. 1969! 

When I was a kid growing up-comic books were the item to have. In the 1950’s-television was boss too,but the availability was not as full as it is in these days…so comics filled the gap. 

War heros were fresh-many living heros from World War One and Two and Korea were alive then,the men from World War Two and the Korean veterans as fresh to us then as the veteran from Viet Nam and the two conflicts now are among us. 

When I was a kid my friends and I spent every free day playing soldier-we killed nazis and japs in our imaginary battles…all that inspired by the things we saw and read. Vic Morrow played Sgt.Chip Saunders on the television show ‘Combat’. We kids would battle to be Sgt.Chip when ever we played war. 

When I was a kid-we were taught to protect and defend our Constitution and freedom was expected from us as citizens. Those who ran were cowards! We were too dumb to fully recognize what war was doing-indoctrinated by the thrills of being a comic book hero,not knowing what war really does. 

I never saw war. 

I am not a kid anymore-my next birthday proves that…except my mind seems to be stuck in the immature world of the 18-year-old that has had as abrupt an awakening of tragic proportions as I had. 

I am getting a grip-sometimes. It’s not always,but I work at it! 

This ‘blog’ is not a guide of any sort. Yes,there are links to the side of the page-one can use them to work through things on their own. I’m not anything other than a survivor of MST…and chose to write about the way my life has been-how it goes from one extreme to the other-how I lived with the PTSD without knowing what it was that screwed up me up so bad…but always knowing why it was. 

I use this place to tell anyone that will read how wrong it all has been…I hardly believe it can be used to encourage anybody-but that I hope it does in ways that I had not expected (and I’m told it has) by allowing others to know how much it hurts a pain that nothing can ease. 

I write about the disability from the VA-that is what started my venting here! It is almost as disabling for someone like us-the MST survivor-to go through the experience of asking for consideration of disability as it was to be hurt! 

18 years old and I was still playing war games like I was still a kid. I remember how neat it was to be in boot camp. Everyone dressed in uniform-denim blue with white spats. As we marched we looked like birds in flight-it was all so uniform and correct. I remember the time our ship went out into the Atlantic and met the fleet-we followed the various ships towards the Caribbean,there is just something so majestic  seeing these huge vessels all going together out in the ocean. An excitement I am glad that I experienced. 

I’m stuck there. 

I can trace the decks in my mind-I remember the route from my berth to the mess decks,the social area on ship for off duty sailors. My ‘rack’ was at the top-but I had a port-hole! I had to climb past ten others to reach my rack-but it was so cool to open my port-hole and look out at the fleet. 

Like the kid in the comic clip…I never knew it was going to be like this! 

2 Responses to “getting a grip”

  1. yeahmykid Says:

    It has been such a long time since I have read your blog and much has changed.

    You need to know that your words comfort me when I feel a sense of injustice and I lose my patience with the system. You give me hope and through your words I read, what I cannot express myself. I am thankful for your honesty, I truly am.

    • jayherron Says:

      I am glad you find hope here…I am not sure how-my confessions of weakness towards drugs and drinking are not exactly the strength I should be giving…but,it is truth that I am wanting to convey-truth about the injustice and the damage.
      I hope for you that strength is available and within,thank you for sharing with me-and fact is-honesty is all I have to offer!

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