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Ah yes, the dudes in the old unit.

I remember some but not all. Some with faces but no names and some with names but no faces. Then again there are those whose faces and names are forever etched upon your mind, heart and soul.

Like as not they were your closest of friends. Having shared with you the special brotherhood of being part of such an elite unit. You worked, ate and played together. You shared your innermost feelings with each other and relished in your triumphs together. Together there were no obstacles too obtrusive; therewere no dragons that could not be slain.

Then the dragon came. And it had no face. And it had no name. It was altogether more terrifying than anything you had ever encountered.

And it left your close friends and brothers horribly maimed, mutilated and dead all about you. Then with blood still dripping from it's wretched claws it reached in and ripped a gigantic hole in your heart and soul.

And after our roles played out in this tragedy of tragedies we each went our various ways to try to heal. To heal not only the wounds of our bodies but also the gaping wounds in our hearts and souls.

All these thirty years or more hence we tried to mend ourselves but guilt and shame and anger and an entire plethora of other emotional stumbling blocks were there to hinder our convalescing.

And although we each gave our solemn oath to forever keep in touch it was a promise we knew would not be fulfilled.

Isolation and alienation and quite often drugs of any and all kinds were used to lessen the pain and anxiety of remembering.

So we stayed apart these many years and each on his own did the best they could.

And yes, some names have faded and some faces have faded but never, NOT EVER the brotherhood we all share.

Whether clear in my mind or faded over time I love all those faces and names of the dudes in the old unit and I have an everlasting respect and brotherhood for any and all who have come face to face with the dragon beast called "COMBAT".

Michael Bradshaw, Sgt. E-5
E Co.- Recon, 1st/501st Inf.
101st Airborne Div.
I Corps, RVN 1967-1968

This writing was extracted from the old website.