Grey Eagle

I REMAIN THIRD

The above words were spoken to a small boy in the spring of 1945 when WWII visited his small American town, by the boys Grand-Father as a way to explain to a small child the reason for the soldier’s demise and the sadness that followed.

The boy grew into a man, as all boys must and when his country called, he served, as all men should; he served with honor and with pride in his country.

The man was an American Soldier in South Vietnam. He served in III Corps AO, in and around Tay Ninh; he served in places with names like Parrots Beak, Fishhook, Black Virgin Mountain.

As he served in tour in his AO, the soldier heard stores of other soldiers, Shadow Soldiers that no one ever saw; soldiers whose existence was denied, but soldiers that existed so that others would not be surprised and die.

Shadow Soldiers who lived and dies in a dark green void.

The soldier heard of places like Ban Me Thout, Kam Duc, Kontum. He heard stories of hammers and saws and chisels; he heard stories of rattlesnakes and sidewinders. He heard stories of Texas, Tennessee and Idaho. He heard stories of Shadow Soldiers disappearing into the dark green void: Soldiers never to be heard from again. He heard the strains of “Ole Blue” testament that another Shadow had met his doom.

The soldier served his tour with honor and with pride for, to him, it was quite enough to be a soldier, and an E5 Sergeant as well.

The soldier lost his friends to the horrors of war; he became battle hardened and to some calloused. In time, the soldier came home and settled into his life. His life was his God, his Country and in his heart he always remained third.

Then the unthinkable happened. His beloved country was attacked in the most evil and vile manner possible. The soldier wanted to go to her defense, to strike at and to destroy the evil that had hurt his beloved country.

It was then to his dismay and horror, he found that no one wanted him anymore, even if he was still third, he was too old; he had become one of the protected ones instead of the third.

His heart and soul cried out, “I can serve, I am the third!” but no one listened except for one old Shadow Soldier who used to patrol the dark green void of South East Asia.

Just two old soldiers who would willingly give their lives for their Mother Country; two old soldiers that no one wanted anymore; two old soldiers who have found a kinship forged in the brotherhood of arms.

Two old soldiers who, until they die, will always remain the Third.

The boy was L.J. Klaiber and it was his grandfather who spoke those words, “The Third”.

VAYA CON DIOS MUY AMIGOS

Author’s Note: The above is dedicated to “Caliber” a.k.a. “Red Cowboy” and to all the other old soldiers who will always be third!

First comes God, second comes Country and we, the Citizens, the people, are part of this Country. The Soldier places himself third; he vows to protect us, and he is willing to die for us.

A lot of Soldiers have died for us, and a lot more will die for us. Soldiers belong to their God and to this land that we call America. Soldiers are very special in the eyes of their Lord.