Looking for information on military units like the one Bob served with in Vietnam is incredibly frustrating. Bob was in a special warfare unit in the Navy. This means that he was a UDT, or a SEAL, or a “Navy Scout” or something. So he was in one of these shadowy things like the “Maritime Studies Group” or “Studies and Observations Group” that were just killing machines. When you look for that stuff on the web there’s this mountain of macho horseshit to plow through. The official histories and some sites run by veterans are there, of course.
But good God, the fixation this country has on elite military units! Message board fights about who a real SEAL is, dissing of various public figures about their war records, lots of debunking of people who claim to be SEALs or Special Forces or whatever but aren’t. Every meathead in the country claims either to be a SEAL or claims to know all about them and have the real scoop, unlike those other poseurs. Regular soldiers aren’t enough; the poor bastards may get blown up, shot, underpaid, mistreated, and dumped to die but they don’t have flaming death’s head patches and special medals and really really cool face paint.
You know what that is? It’s pathetic. Bob killed so many innocent people and saw so many unspeakable things in his time at war that he spent the next 25 years marinated in Crown Royal and wreaking havoc on himself and everyone else. It was a nauseating, terrifying Hell that makes a very unlikely craggy cynical old bastard like Bob tear up and flinch when he sees a Vietnamese person to this day. Special Forces, in his case, meant an especially bad war that made him an especially bad person. If these web warriors and message board heroes had to see any of that they’d never stop shitting their Dockers. I suppose they have an image of a straight-jawed Hollywood actor heroically cutting down uniformed bad guys and saving his buddies. The reality was more like a gang of maniacs blowing up and burning houses and schools and hospitals, and one of the maniacs is you.
Dude Ranch Nation gives me ennui.