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Archive for May, 2014

12—Commanded to Report

Silver wings upon their chest


These are men, America’s best


One hundred men we’ll test today


But only three win the Green Beret



Back at home a young wife waits


Her Green Beret has met his fate


He has died for those oppressed


Leaving her this last request



Put silver wings on my son’s chest


Make him one of America’s best


He’ll be a man they’ll test one day


Have him win the Green Beret

—Barry Sadler

 

 

In America, teens have two days they consider to be rites of passage—their sixteenth and their twenty-first. The former is when they are old enough to qualify for a driver’s license, giving them a measure of freedom from parental control, the latter, when they are eligible to be served at any bar in the land, signifying adulthood and complete emancipation from adolescence. In the 1960s, there was an additional day of equal important—at least for guys—our eighteenth birthday. That’s when we were required to register for the draft. So, like every other male who turned eighteen that year, I registered with my local draft board, signifying I was old enough to go to war.

When I registered, I received my 2-S deferment, which was given to guys who were headed to college after high school. My deferment meant the Army wouldn’t draft me during the following four years—the time allotted for a student to obtain a degree. It was a great incentive to stay in school. Besides, to guys like me, four years was an eternity. We quickly forgot about the draft, rarely thinking about it, unless we happened to open our wallets and spot our draft cards, which we were legally required to carry at all times—no ifs, ands, or buts.

By the second half of the 60s, the Vietnam War had become a major concern for every guy my age. As the war intensified, there was a need for a massive infusion of troops. I didn’t want to go—few did; but I certainly wouldn’t have considered dodging the draft to keep from going either. Fleeing the country to Canada, like some did, never entered my mind.

No longer protected by my student or ministry deferment, however, when I received notification to take my Army physical, I knew my time was up. So, one warm day in June, along with about five hundred other guys, I arrived for my physical, which was administered from 7 a.m. until noon in an abandoned warehouse on Ponce de Leon Avenue in midtown Atlanta, right next to Sears—where City Hall East is now located. I could feel the heat from the outside push hot air through the plate glass windows, while standing buck naked, except for my socks, on the second floor. The room smelled of unwashed men, mildew, and stale urine—like it was also a dwelling for homeless people.

The physical was long, poorly administered, and degrading. Even worse, the environment was hostile and intimidating. Standing in an enormous circle looking inward, a captain, who was also an M.D., ordered us to “bend over and grab your ankles.” We were required to maintain this position for quite a long time, while he circled the entire group carrying a yardstick. Every few seconds, I would hear a “Whap,” as he hit some poor guy on the rear with the stick. When he completed circling us, he ordered us to stand. As soon as we did, he bellowed, “Alright, every one of you sons-a-bitches I hit in the ass, head to the showers. You’re dirty, and I’m not going to examine you until you clean yourself.”

Nearly thirty guys broke ranks and headed for the showers, as the rest of us laughed mockingly at the poor guys who were swatted. This happened at 7:15 a.m., and it was just the initial salvo in a day filled with coarse, crude, taunting intimidations by the Army medical team—the men tasked to determine whether or not we were fit to hunt down and kill “Charlie” in Indo-China.

For me, the worst part was when each of us was given a cup to produce a urine sample. Standing in a long urinal line, with twenty guys behind me, I was so nervous when it was my turn to pee, I couldn’t. The harder I tried, the more reluctant my bladder became. Straining every muscle in my body to pee, I couldn’t squeeze a drop. Unwilling to face the ridicule, which I was certain would come, I borrowed some urine from the guy standing next to me, being careful not to spill any on my hands. As he walked off, he said, “You don’t need to pay me back,” which made me laugh—him too. The memory of this incident still makes me cringe. For me, it was the worst “shrinkage” experience of my entire life.

Knowing that I had a borderline hearing loss for mid-level frequencies in both ears, I insisted they administer a hearing test, which was no longer part of the standard physical. Needing more recruits than at any period since World War II, they had streamlined the physical by deleting numerous exams that might disqualify guys, and the hearing test was one of them.

Because of my perseverance, they agreed to administer the test. A sergeant put me in a soundproof booth, placing a large earphones on my head—like the ones pilots wear. When I was ready, they put the sound on full blast, turning the dial from the lowest to the highest frequencies in a matter of seconds. My head felt like it was going to explode from the piercing sound, which made me rip the earphones off my head and bolt indignantly from the booth. Because it affected my equilibrium, I staggered like I was drunk.

With the medical staff laughing hysterically at my indignation, I said, “I’m not subjecting myself to this kind of treatment. I’m leaving.”

Incensed, I went to where my clothes were and started to dress. As I was buttoning my shirt, a captain, with a stethoscope draped around his neck, walked up and said, “What do you think you’re doing?”

Maintaining my wounded deportment, I told him what had happened and why I felt justified in leaving.

When I was through, he said very calmly, “Young man, I have the power to induct you into the Army today, and I will if you’re not back in line within sixty seconds.” Without another word, he left.

That was all he said, but I knew he meant business. So, I took off my shirt, dropped my trousers, and scurried back into the line in half the time he gave me. When the physical was complete, there were less than fifty guys still present—the others having been dismissed for one reason or another. I was one of the few men who were totally qualified.

That’s when they changed their demeanor toward those of us who remained. In a warm, heartening way, they gave us a pep talk, encouraging us to enlist on the spot, which all but a few of us declined to do.

As I left, I knew my life was about to change radically. Just a few months earlier, having left Crusade, I wasn’t sure what the future would hold for Val and Me. Now, I did. My teaching career would have to be placed on hold. Uncle Sam needed me to serve in Vietnam. As I drove home, I felt alone, trapped, and powerless. Forces beyond my control were about to change my life irreversibly.

I’ve noticed that when difficulties occur in life, they usually come in threes. That summer, instead of experiencing spiritual rejuvenation at Crusade headquarters in Escondido, I nervously looked in the mailbox each day, waiting for my draft notice.

Once an integral part of a movement destined to change the world, my life had taken a radical turn. By this time, I rarely heard from my old Crusade friends, increasing my sense of isolation. I felt purposeless, discouraged, and dejected.

Then, one evening, my dad called. Broken and sobbing, he informed me that my mom had passed away, while taking her afternoon nap. Although her health had been declining for several years, her death was unexpected and came as a shock. This was my second piece of bad news.

Hastily, I made arrangements to fly to Texas. Val wanted to come to the funeral with me, but she was not feeling well. Unable to keep food down, especially breakfast, we decided that I would travel to Midlothian alone.

Within a few weeks of my mother’s death, I received a letter, which stated: “Greetings, from the President of the United States. You are hereby commanded to report to Fort Dix, New Jersey. . . .” This was the letter I had dreaded—just like every other guy in America. I had been drafted, which meant that after basic training, I was headed to Vietnam. I was going to war.

Once I received my notice, I should have informed Fulton County that I would be unable to teach that fall, but I didn’t. I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t bring myself to admit I was headed to Vietnam.

Val, now working at Citizens & Southern Bank, couldn’t believe what was happening to our lives either.

One evening, as I returned from the grocery store—just ten days before I was schedule to leave for basic training—Val was sitting on the sofa crying. Putting the groceries down and going to her immediately, I held her tightly, as she wept. Finally, I asked her what was wrong.

“You’re going away; that’s what’s wrong,” she replied, angry about the situation—like I had any control over events. Refusing to get engaged in a meaningless quarrel about having no control over the situation, I just held her and allowed her to continue crying.

Finally, pushing me away, she said angrily, “This couldn’t have come at a worse time.”

“I know,” I replied.

“No you don’t know, Ryan,” she insisted, which was perplexing. Although I didn’t ask her why, my expression conveyed my bewilderment.

Angrily, she said, “I went to the doctor today and found out that I’m pregnant. So, I guess I’ll just have our baby alone, without you being here. You’ll be somewhere in Asia.” The way she described where I was headed sounded like I was going on vacation, rather than trying to survive in a jungle, where people would be shooting at me.

Ignoring her irritability, I asked, “We’re going to have a baby? Really? Are you sure?”

She just nodded her head that she was. Starting to cry again, she put her head back on my shoulder, and sobbed for quite a while.

Being as young as we were and not married for very long, we had decided to wait several years before having children. There was only one problem. Val couldn’t take birth control pills. When she tried, she had an allergic reaction. Then, we used foam, which was so unappealing we avoided intimacy. Condoms worked, but had several drawbacks, especially for me.

Finally, Val came up with a solution. Reading an article about avoiding pregnancy by determining when ovulation occurred, based on a slight dip in her body temperature, we learned to refrain from having intercourse during that time. This system worked for a while—a good while—but it obviously wasn’t foolproof, as I had just been informed.

When I finally accepted what she had said, I told her I was happy we were going to be parents. Then, another thought occurred to me. Leaving Val on the couch, I called my dad and told him the news, which didn’t excite him as much as I had hoped. With Mom having died less than a month earlier, he seemed lost—like life no longer had any meaning. My parents had been very close. Knowing this, I would have preferred not to bother him, but I needed his help.

Despite living in Atlanta, my draft board was in Ellis County, where Midlothian was located. Once a guy registered for the draft, his draft board never changed. As far as the draft board was concerned, I was still a Texan.

Although I was supposed to report to Fort Dix ten days later, I wondered if there might be enough time to make an appeal and have my orders changed. By becoming a father, my status would change from 1-A to 3-A, meaning all of the ones and twos would be drafted before me. My dad understood the importance of this development immediately and sprang into action. Obviously, Val didn’t understand the workings of the draft.

That evening, my dad called Senator John Tower, who had taken LBJ seat, when Johnson became Kennedy’s Vice President. Being political allies, the Senator took his call. Telling Tower about my situation, the Senator’s office contacted my draft board and had my orders temporarily suspended.

When the board determined that Val’s pregnancy was real, my status was changed and my draft notice was rescinded. Relieved, I called my dad to thank him for his help, but the phone just rang. I tried numerous times to reach him the next day but couldn’t.

Late the following afternoon, I received a call from my aunt, telling me my dad had died of a heart attack. They found him at the kitchen table, slumped over.

I was shocked and heartbroken. Because my dad had always been so fit, unlike my mom who had become frail, I hadn’t anticipated losing him.

Because Val was fearful of miscarrying and still experiencing morning sickness, I traveled alone a second time to Texas to bury my father beside my mother. His death was so soon after hers that the grass on her plot still hadn’t taken firm root. I think my dad died of a broken heart. Without my mom, he just didn’t want to go on living. I understood completely, feeling the same way about Val. It was a difficult week for me in Midlothian without her, but I knew she was better off not accompanying me—not as sick as she was.

My last day in Midlothian, Dad’s attorney read the Will. That’s when I learned my dad had left me $50,000 immediately and an additional $250,000 when I became thirty-five. The second payment was being held in trust so that I would be a little older and wiser before receiving it. Being the beneficiary of such wealth was surprising, but this is the way my dad was—always thinking of the needs of others.

As I flew home, realizing my father’s death had been my third piece of bad news, I thought about all that had happened in such a short amount of time. My life was filled with both heartache and expectation—sadness and joy. I guess this is what life is all about, isn’t it?

Jack Watts

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Lord,

Where are Your mighty men—Your men of old?

Those who want to serve from a willing heart—

Never for sordid gain, exploiting the helpless and weak.

Why are men like these missing from our public life?

Where are the women of integrity and honor?

Women who would rather die than be disloyal to You?

Why do we have to settle for representation that can do

Nothing more than lead by doing what seems expedient,

Seeking wisdom from polls rather than from Your will?

These miscreants smile reassuringly, always playing the role,

But in their calculating hearts, they seek nothing more

Than personal fame and fortune—all at our expense.

Their duplicity is astounding, as they seek an advantage

Over those they have sworn to serve and to protect.

Lord, raise up a new generation of leaders—

Men and women who will bow their knees to You and You alone,

Never choosing Evil over Righteousness.

Jack Watts

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Father:

We may not be many, but we are strong and resolute.

Empowered by You, we will not fear the wrath

Of those who currently rule our nation—

Those who support darkness and deceit,

Rather than the truth they have sworn to embrace.

You are Almighty, but the Prince of this world is not.

Although our victory is assured, our enemy remains strong,

As do those who govern perversely, mocking Your Name.

Despite their ridicule, castigation, and mockery,

We remain true to You and to Your ways.

We have no alternative, nor do we desire one.

You are the one true God; there is no other,

And we are Your people—despite having failed to abide

By Your Word and Your Will so often.

 

There are those who have bowed to the false god

Of Progressivism and to cultural Pantheism. The fruit of their

Damnable “group think” dominates our landscape,

As right becomes wrong, and wrong becomes right.

They rule unjustly, championing Evil and perversion

Over truth, righteousness, and justice for all.

Father, our lives, and the fate our nation, are in Your hands.

Multiplied millions have strayed from You,

Accepting falsehood over truth, abandoning the ways

Of our forefathers and those who have died since,

To preserve truth, liberty, and the American way of life.

 

Progressives have squandered the accumulated wealth of generations,

As they pursue a worldview that denies Your existence.

Their regulations repudiate Your Will and our traditions.

Yet they smile arrogantly, believing their way

Is superior and the enlightened way to fulfillment.

Their foolishness has become obvious to millions,

But they refuse to admit it, choosing instead to revise reality,

Making it suit their fanciful and fallacious beliefs.

Professing to be wise, they have become fools,

But in their pride, they cannot admit their failures.

They lack the character necessary to do so.

Father, expose their Evil deeds for all to see,

And let their perversity be known to all.

Use them as an example of error, as an example

Of the ways of the foolish, for the entire world to see.

Jack Watts

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I am grateful for Barack Obama; I really am. We were destined to have a Progressive for President. Al Gore nearly pulled it off in 2000. Even if Obama had lost, there would have been another Progressive who would have eventually won. Because of who Obama is and what he has done, I couldn’t be happier that he has been the Progressive who has led us from the Oval Office.

 

Think of it this way:

  • What if Obama had been competent, which he certainly isn’t? Just think of how much worse off we would be.
  • What if Obama had integrity? Despite his failed policies, people would continue to believe in him, which only the militants now do.
  • What if Obama had been transparent? If he had been open and honest about his mistakes, people would have forgiven him, but he hasn’t been, has he? From his first Executive Order, the day after his first inauguration, a shroud of secrecy has protected his administration from divulging the truth about who he is and what he has done.
  • What if Obama respected and honored the Rule of Law? Much of what he has done would be the law of the land for decades, but that’s not going to happen. Instead, one initiative after the other will be struck down, and Obama’s legacy will make Jimmy Carter’s failures pale in comparison.
  • What if he had been pro business? If he had strengthened our economy, rather than done everything in his power to regulate us into decline, all else would have been forgiven. But he hasn’t done that either, has he?
  • What if he behaved like the Christian he says he is? People of faith would have rallied around him, just as they have George W. Bush, despite W having made some colossal blunders. But Obama hasn’t done this either. Instead, he has chosen to do everything in his power, which is considerable, to undermine Christianity in America.
  • What if Obama supported a strong military and had enhanced our position in the world, rather than tarnished it badly. As a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, he had everything going for him, but now he is the laughing stock of the world. Can you name even one foreign leader who either respects or fears him?
  • What if his administration had not been overwhelmed by scandals? Without Fast & Furious, Benghazi, the IRS, NSA, EPA, and VA scandals—all pointing to an administration that is manipulative, lawless and corrupt—Obama might be remembered as a tragic hero. But he isn’t a tragic hero, is he? No, he’s just another corrupt politician from Chicago with criminal inclinations.

Once Obama is gone, the truth about all that he has done will come out—all of it. Count on it. When it does, the liberal media will look like the foolish sycophants they have been, rather than the fourth branch of government, ever watchful for the interests of the people. Even worse, Obama’s name will become synonymous with corruption—like Benedict Arnold’s is with treason. Once it does, and it won’t take long, it will be a long time before another Progressive puts his feet on the Commander-in-Chief’s desk in the Oval Office. All of this is why I am grateful for President Barack Hussein Obama.

Jack Watts

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