Deployment is never easy, not for the service member, not for the family. The service member must be sure his or her family can manage on their own. The family is ever worried about the safety of their loved one.
Deployments are made easier when the nation recognizes a need. No one questioned the necessity of deployments during World War II, or even Korea. Vietnam was different. At first that war was seen as vital to stopping the advances of a potential enemy, but later, as casualties mounted and motives became more murky, the majority of the nation turned against the war and to a certain extent the soldiers who waged it.
This attitude further complicated the more common concerns about deployment and caused a great many military men and women to question their role in the war.
“My father was still on active duty when our planes crossed over the Pacific. He was on his way back and I was heading to where he came from. He was notified that we had all been lost but I fooled all of them. Dad knew I would not give up that easy. After some extensive surgery and re-hab I was back and ready to go again.”
Julio Caratini, US Army
“I was four when my father left for Vietnam. I remember saluting him as his bus left. I also remember hoping he returned safely because my brother was soon to be born. I also recall telling my mother that I was going to take care of her. Four-year-old man of the house. I look back and realize even then I knew what war meant.”
Mark Greer, Army Brat
“Deployment is when reality sets in that you are going to a war zone or to a combat theater. Not knowing what the future for you holds– much less for your family and loved ones. Sitting at the airport with family and friends trying to pretend that you are OK and prepared– it is a heavy burden to carry into the unknown future. There is no turning back to your childhood and one says an internal prayer, ‘Please help me become a man for my country’.”
Ernest P. Garcia
US Army (Avionics Specialist 5 and Helicopter Door Gunner)
Served 5 May 1969 to 23 December 1971