A Vietnam Vet's Reflections: 'When I Think'

The Long March
US Army

My mind’s eye sees the truly great.


The line of grunts, stooped and low.

Running to the fire.

Grasping life by the handguard.

Always to the front.

Exhaustion, pain, frustration, and fear.

They walk through each soul’s history.

Through corridors of light, dark, and haze.

The memories firm and the pain less.

The fog of war and the mournful mutter of the battlefield.

Of this, I think.

Youth in body.

Full of endless sun and boundless energy.

Singing souls and sacrifice.

Their spirit as the flowers, bright and attracting.

Their bodies hard and unyielding as their countenance.

Touched with fire and forged to wicked edge.

To think this is precious and never to forget.

To be with men quenching at ageless springs.

Marching still to sounds long lost

The perimeter of the soul.

Never to deny the pleasure of a morning’s reveries.

The bright light of life.

Time does not diminish with its noise and fog, the flower of the spirit.

They are the blades of grass—green, growing, and endless.

They appear as the streamers of white clouds and the whispers of the sky.

Their names, obscure. Their faces forever.

Their actions never lost.

This is what I think.

The furtive figures fight for life by dealing with death.

Their hearts are the center of the fire and the forger of their spirit.

They are the sun of my mind

The air forever signed with their honor.

This is what I think. 

Col (Ret) Keith Nightingale commanded four rifle companies, three battalions and two brigades.  He regularly practiced field sanitation techniques. He is a member of the Ranger Hall of Fame.

(DoD photo)

Five people have been indicted in federal court in the Western District of Texas on charges of participating in a scheme to steal millions of dollars from benefits reserved for military members, U.S. Department of Justice officials said Wednesday.

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In this March 24, 2017, photo, bottles of hemp oil, or CBD, are for sale at the store Into The Mystic in Mission, Kansas. (Associated Press/The Kansas City Star/Allison Long)

Editor's Note: This article by Patricia Kime originally appeared onMilitary.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

As the military services each roll out new policies regarding hemp-derived products like cannabidiol, or CBD, the Defense Department is not mincing words.

"It's completely forbidden for use by any service member in any of the services at this point of time," said Patricia Deuster, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.

The warning, along with the policies issued recently by the Air Force, Coast Guard and Department of the Navy, comes as CBD is becoming increasingly ubiquitous across the country in many forms, from coffee additives and vaping liquids to tinctures, candies and other foods, carrying promises of health benefits ranging from pain and anxiety relief to sleeping aids and inflammation reduction.

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While the sea service is famous for instilling in officers that they are responsible for any wrongdoing by their sailors – whether they are aware of the infractions or not – the recent rash of firings is a lot, even for the Navy.

A Navy spokesman said there is no connection between any of the five officers relieved of command, adding that each relief is looked at separately.

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Then-Vice Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville. (U.S. Army/Spc. Matthew J. Marcellus)

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Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said Tuesday at an event with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies that what people can to hear service leadership "talk a lot about ... our people. Investing in our people, so that they can reach their potential. ... We are a people organization."

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(U.S. Army/Pfc. Hubert D. Delany III)

Two U.S. military service members were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, the Resolute Support mission announced in a press release.

Their identities are being withheld pending notification of next of kin, the command added.

A total of 16 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan so far in 2019. Fourteen of those service members have died in combat including two service members killed in an apparent insider attack on July 29.

Two U.S. troops in Afghanistan have been killed in non-combat incidents and a sailor from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln was declared dead after falling overboard while the ship was supporting operations in Afghanistan.

At least two defense contractors have also been killed in Afghanistan. One was a Navy veteran and the other had served in the Army.