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Every Day is Monday to a Combat Soldier

Greg Phillips Class of 66
Combat: Where Everyday is Monday!

“Where Everyday is Monday” probably sounds like a really strange title for an article, but if you are a soldier or have ever been a soldier you’ll identify with exactly what I mean. I arrived in Vietnam in late 1969--just out of college and newly married. What I expected of Vietnam and what I discovered were absolutely without comparison. Everyday was Monday.

Weekends are what most Americans look forward to throughout the workweek. Imagine that suddenly there are no weekends--only Mondays. When you can imagine this will you just begin to scratch the surface of the life of a combat soldier. Every day is identical. I lost track of all time. Suddenly, every single day was Monday—the worst day of the week.

Faced with the prospect of death at every turn and forced to survive without typical necessities, there was plenty to worry about in Vietnam. Having been raised in a Southern middle class family, I took for granted things like food, water and clean clothing. A combat soldier doesn’t have these simple luxuries. Clean clothing was infrequent. If you were incredibly lucky, you received fresh clothes every two weeks. Even if you ruined what you had on your back, you would still have to wear it until clothes came again. Clean clothing seems like an unrealistic expectation when I remember that occasionally I had little or no food to eat in Vietnam. Periodically, the only water I had to drink was collected from bomb craters. From time to time, the prospect of death really didn’t seem so bad.

Not only did I have to contend with an elusive enemy in Vietnam, I also had to deal with insects and the elements. The insects were so insufferable during the night I had to use a net to cover my face and any type of insect repellent I could find. A combat soldier on patrol sleeps outside every night--rain or no rain. Sleeping in the rain is one of the things I remember most about Vietnam. After a night of Monsoon rains, my back would be puckered and uncomfortable--like your hands feel after soaking for hours in water. As if this wasn’t difficult enough, I continuously agonized about the actual combat. To this day, combat is a topic I have never discussed with anyone and never will. I’ll keep those “Mondays” to myself.

The point of writing about my experience in Vietnam from 1969-1970 is that those of us who served during those turbulent times never felt appreciated. No one ever just said, “Thank You!”

To that end, I recently read an e-mail that Bobbye Wilson forwarded to all DHS alumni from one of our own, Colonel Tony Wingo. Colonel Wingo is a member of the Special Forces and is facing a war with Iraq in the not too distant future. As Americans, we should email Colonel Wingo and thank him for what he’s doing for our country and for each of us. I’m going to write to him and I hope each of you will too. As a matter of fact, when you see any man or woman in the service of your country--please, please tell them “Thank You.” It will make them feel valued and it will make you feel good too!

Colonel Wingo, thank you for what you’re doing for me, I appreciate it!
May God Bless Our Armed Forces and May God Bless America!

Greg Phillips
Class of 1966

Greg served in the Infantry in Viet Nam with the First Infantry Division (Big Red One) and the 101st Airborne Division(Screaming Eagles).While there he was awarded the Silver Star, Army Commendation Medal, Air Medal, two Purple Hearts and The Combat Infantryman’s Badge(CIB). He is married Krystal Quinn Formerly of Dora.

 

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