Steve Brandenburg


IWVPA Club Recognition of Outstanding Non-War Related Writing: January 25, 2006
Awarded: January 25, 2006
Cat Man is cool
he ain’t nobody’s fool.
Stands up and tells it like it is;
if you don’t like it – your problem not his.

Beef Jerky quiet and laid back
speaks his mind when something need said.
But don’t let him in a black berry patch.
He changes!

You ever seen a bear in shorts
eating the best in waist high thorns?
All we heard were grunts and sighs
he unaware of the scratches on his thighs.

“Come on man,
we need to get back to the cabin;
the day’s catch should be here soon.
Need to fillet one of the salmon
and grill it by the light of the moon.

Beer to drink, lies too tell
get your ass out of that bramble hell.”
Cat Man still picking around the edges.

“HEY Beef Jerky, look at the size of these!”
Turns his head and grins.

So the bear headed back down
to see the few that Cat Man found.
Salmon was good
the beer cold.
We had fun with all the lies told.

Jackie and Steve Brandenburg with Cat Man and Beef Jerky at the 5th Division Red Devils Reunion – August 2005. Cat Man and Beef Jerky served in the 1/5th which went to Vietnam in mid 1968. Steve was serving with the 2/5th which remained at Ft. Carson, Colorado

Author’s Note: We had a great day of sightseeing before the reunion. This is a photo of Jackie and me with two of my bro’s, Cat Man and Beef Jerky. Both were in Recon and Cat Man was a track driver. He’s real lucky to be here. He hit three different land mines in the time he was in Nam, last one hurt him real bad and they sent him home. The Chaplin went and talked to him just before leaving country and told him he hated to see him go as he was the best mine detector the 5th Division had. (Gotta love the military humor)

When we were fishing for salmon to have a dinner for the people at the reunion, we were on the ocean for 14 hours. During slack time we talked a lot waiting for a strike, I usually don’t say much about my feelings of that time, but these guys got me to talking about them and both said I have it. I knew something was wrong not long after I was discharged from the Army, but had no idea it could be PTSD, I thought I was just angry with myself for not going, and with a wife and son I couldn’t bring myself to volunteer to go. So since 1970, my family has put up with my anger, rages, crying and getting drunk a few times a week. I guess the shit comes in many forms. At least I now know what is happening and thank God none of the family seen me with a hand gun cocked and locked against at my head wanting to pull the trigger. Thoughts of them are the only reason I didn’t. I still drink, but don’t get shit faced anymore, still have rages but with meds I can control them better and life is good. But I still miss my lost friends, guess I will till the day I die.

October 24, 2005