Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Another Brother Gone but Not Forgotten

Lately I have been spending a lot of time on Facebook. It has been, for the most part, a rewarding experience. It has enabled me to meet people from all over the world and has taught me much about the different people and cultures we share this globe with.

One of the men I have met is another salty old Marine named Daniel Pickens. This morning when I opened my inbox, I found this. Daniel wanted us to remember his friend and mentor, Craig Matlock, Specialist 5, Gunship Crew Chief, United States Army, so this is for him. Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.

Craig Matlock
15 June 1946 - 1 May 2008

Crew Chief
1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry
Alpha Troop
Republic of Vietnam

1966 - 1967
"Head Hunters"
(Vietnam's first reconnaissance squadron)

From Daniel:

Craig was the husband of my friend Lois and father of my friends Paul, Matt and Steven. You really had to know him to understand the kind of man he was. He always said what was on his mind and if he didn't like you, you knew about it right away.

Specialist five, Craig Matlock, was drafted, run through the training mill, and sent to Vietnam. There he discovered what it really meant to crew a gunship. At the age of twenty he learned what it was like to kill to survive, to appreciate the beauty of a gunship run, and to feel pride in a unit.

It took me a long time for him to speak to me about Vietnam. These are a few of his words....

"I don't talk much about the war because no one ever wants to hear about it. When I came back through San Francisco airport, I got spit on. I didn't know what was going on in the States. We read the 'Stars and Stripes' over there and it printed what they wanted us to read."

"I had been drafted. I didn't ask to go over to Vietnam, but I still got called a baby killer."

"Almost everybody there was eighteen to twenty years old. They did their jobs well. We were damned good at what we did. The American people should have been proud of us, instead of treating us the way they did."

"I remember that country. It was really pretty country from the air, but sometimes you would see the bomb craters where men had fought and died. Vietnam was the kind of place you always wanted to get the hell out of, and once you left, you always wanted to see it again. I have a great regard for the MIA's and POW's who are STILL over there."

"I don't have anything against the people of Vietnam, even the Viet Cong. They were doing what they thought was right, and we were doing what we were told."

"People ignored Vietnam veterans and insulted us and treated us really badly, but I believe we will have our day."-- Craig Matlock Awarded: 19 Oak Leaf Clusters, a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart

I will always remember....

So will we...



Gordon said...

The Vietnam guys are starting to go too young. Damn it.

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Anonymous said...

the best as always thanks ........................................

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Short Poems said...

Like your post and your blog :)
All the best

matthew matlock said...

Thank you for posting this. Dad would have been proud, and quite frankly a little amused. He was one of a kind and is missed sorely.

Matthew Matlock

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