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War Stories

My Loss of Innocence

Rolland "Fletch" Fletcher

Artillery Forward Observer 1968

As a young Lieutenant you were not briefed on any over all war strategies; just assigned to a unit; somewhere in country.

Searching for meaning; even some stable point; you were attached to many units as a forward observer, sometimes never even knowing anyone in the unit. You ended up like most just trying to live through your 365 day ‘tour’. Anyone questioned you ; ‘why are we here?’ “I’m not sure, jobs at home?” Boy, my answers were weak. Then you ask the chaplain about the 6th Commandment and sin. He made your answer seem smart. Oh, he could dance around, but he never answered.

Then the killing and the dying as you spiraled down into that rage and lust for vengeance upon the enemy. But many who died were the innocent old people, woman and children.

Some days the targets were unseen, others you saw them running under the smoke and raining hot lead. It allsat on your soul. There were days you mitigated the damage; not always.

You lived out the story in the Book of Genesis, you ate at the tree of knowledge of good and evil; as a consequence, you were expelled from the Garden of Innocence.