Lunch Money


"So what is a Gestalt"

My intent was to post a series of stories about my recent visit with my daughter, aka webmonkey, in Sydney Australia. There is plenty of material to write since it was, for me, the trip of a lifetime. But as usual life changed and I got distracted in another direction. So to close up this side trip I took, I will leave the stories of "Down Under" for a little later.

A couple of things that have happened to me as I ply my way through this life. First, as I grow older, I find myself trying to close those unfinished pieces of business that are a result of earlier, lets say negative experiences in my life. Fritz Perles talked about such in his Gestalt Therapy theory. Closing those Gestalts or unfinished emotional experiences we can carry around like jewels instead of realizing they are old bags of garbage we need to take out to the dumpster. Second, I try to live my life today in such a manner as to not create any new pieces of garbage that I will have to deal with later. A task not as easy as it might sound.

On Veterans Day 2003 I posted a story about one of my experiences as a Veteran. On that day, after finishing the story, I decided to Google search around for any links to something that might resemble what I remember was my experience in Viet Nam. As an aside let me say here that I hope someone, somewhere has documented the fact that Google is only an Internet search engine. From the way we refer to it in our current society I fear that future archaeologists will assume that Google was some for of Cyber Deity that we prayed to for the answers in our lives. But enough of that. My search led me to the site ATAV Army Transportation Association Viet Nam. Entering the site was like a time warp for me. There I found a group of a few hundred vets who had bound together to document on the site their experience in the Viet Nam war. More specifically, as members of the Transportation Corps serving in Viet Nam. Now trying to explain what that means to me, or to those guys, is like trying to explain to a non-drinker what it means for an alcoholic to find AA. They hear the facts, understand the principle but never rely can "grock" what it is all about. We were the support troops, the ones who operated "behind the lines" in a war where there were no lines. During the war the press and focus was generally on the grunts, the combat soldier or fighter pilot etc. Mind you I say this not taking away anything that those guys did or went through. Nothing I experienced could equal what the average grunt went through. But as a result of that focus, not too many stories were written about the support troops. But the truth is, support troops suffered and some died just like the rest of their brothers in arms. If you doubt me look at the statistics of who is dying in the current piece of insanity we are asking our young soldiers to endure. Many who are killed are truck drivers and repair persons just like in Viet Nam.

So there I was, surfing through pictures of "Deuce and half’s" with fifty caliber’s mounted on them and LCM’s (Landing Craft Mechanized) and Helicopter repairmen and skinny young men with cigarettes and M-15’s and all the images I had long since buried. And even though I did not know the name of any of these guys I knew these men and these places and had lived as they had. I joined the ATAV. No small event for me for I am not generally a joiner.

The memories evoked by my visit to the ATAV site lead me to dig through some old boxes I had long since tucked away. And there in the bottom of one box were more than a hundred 35mm slides I had taken during my "in Country" tour. I dug out my old slide projector and as I strolled down memory lane I wondered if these pictures might be of some use to the ATAV site. I contacted Dr Ralph Grambo the site webmaster and, as I learned later, quasi historian. His answer was a firm yes. He wanted to use them in adding a section to the site documenting the MMAV (Marine Maintenance Activity Viet Nam) Unit the unit I was assigned to. We corresponded back and forth. In one message I referred Ralph to my 11-11 blog entry about Cleve and his untimely, tragic death and, my frustration at his absence of his name on the Viet Nam Memorial. There is a Memorial section in the ATAV site but I was pretty sure it would be like the wall, for combat related deaths only. Today I received this simple email from Dr. Grambo. " Today I created a section on the ATAV Memorial Page for the 82nd TC and posted the name, Cleve Jackson".