Posted by Dave Wright on 5/29/2011, 5:56 pm, in reply to "Interview"
: My name is Kristina Simionov, I am
: from Romania and I study at The Univerity of
: Bucharest, Illicit drug abuse prevention,
: Masters program.
: First of all I am sorry for disturbing
: you… and let me send you all my sincere
: appreciation and respect for your sacrifice.
: I hope you are truly valued for your effort
: and bravery.
: I am one week away from presenting my
: Masters degree and I would really need your
: The title of my paper is “The social
: and military policy regarding drug abuse”
: and the research is about drug use/abuse
: during the Vietnam War.
: I know this is a sensitive issue, but
: I don’t really know any other way to obtain
: the information I need.
: I have a list of questions (regarding
: drug during the war) use and I would be very
: grateful if you could help me, by answering
: it or forwarding it to other people that
: might do.
: If you have the time and the
: availability please respond to
: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you
: my interview.
: Thank you,
: And please excuse my boldness…
I don't see your questions but because of the short time frame I will tell you about my knowledge of drug use during the Vietnam War.
I was in the Army infantry and we spent most of our time out in the jungle. We would spend one or two days a week back inside a fire base to rest and resupply. No one did drugs while we were out on field operations, we didn't even smoke cigarettes because the smoke could be smelled a 100 meters away.
Back in the relative safety of the fire base were were very limited in our activities. We ate, slept, read mail, wrote etters home, played cards, listened to the radio or socialized. It was a time to try and forget what happened on the last mission and prepare our minds for the terror of the next.
We didn't talk about the fear or loss of those close to us, it wasn't the time or place to grieve or let ourselves be overwhelmed by the dangers of the job. I was a new point man (leads the column) and walked our company into an ambush. Lost my entire squad and about 50% of our commpany was flown out to the hospital. You can imagine how I felt - unimaginal anger, guilt and helplessness.
I had never done drugs before and only drank a few times and got sick every time. I needed to talk to someone. I didn't know what to say or ask others but I was just ripping myself apart while I was alone.
Back in the fire base I saw a bunch of guys from my platoon who were sitting around, laughing and joking. I couldn't understand how they could seem so light hearted but I needed somethng so I joined them. A joint was passed over and I took a hit. Of course everyone laughed as I choked on the smoke but I was accepted and brought into the discussions and jokes.
For months I thought there might be some answers to all the "why" questions that might materialize when I was high. No answers magically appeared but I was socializing with others and we supported one another. Out of my platoon, everyone used either alcohol or pot to try and get their head "straight". As I mentioned, we never used drugs or alcohol out on operations.
Looking back, I think drugs and alocohol in Vietnam were used to help us talk to one another and and support each other with terrible times.
I hope this perspective helps your research.