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February 01, 2007

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SCI 2007: A Sad Side Note on Military Service

This isn't about guns, but I felt I had to pass it along.

Daves_uniform_3Just outside the main entrance of the Safari Club International Convention halls, the U.S. Army had a booth, and loitering there, a few minutes before the hall opened, I fell into a conversation with the first lieutenant working the booth. He was a big, strapping kid with a Combat Infantry Badge, and he asked if I’d like to enlist. I said I had some doubts about passing the PT test, and that I’d already done my time in the 60s.

Well, said the lieutenant, why not send in the details of your service and you’ll get a certificate thanking you for what you did from the Secretary of the Army?

I would have liked to tell the lieutenant the following:

  • I enlisted because if I hadn’t, they would have drafted me. There was as much patriotism in what I did as there is in paying your taxes. And I suspect this was the story for millions of other young men in that time.

  • I was never shot at.

  • The war during which I served got 58,000 Americans killed for no good purpose. And we have learned nothing from it.

  • When I was discharged, I received a letter of commendation from my company commander. He knew what kind of soldier I was. The current Secretary of the Army does not.
  • But there was no time to explain this because the show was opening and I had to go do my job, so I simply said I’d think about it and gave him my hand to shake.

    The hand he extended to me had no thumb.


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    can we trade david petzel in for jim carmichael? this guy is a friggin moron. You give upstate new yorkers a bad name. you make way to much money for the arrogant filth you provide us every month. are you related to the owner of field and stream or something?


    Where do these trolls come from?????

    Ralph the Rifleman

    Mark they come From the "troll patrol" they are even unionized, word on the street says*

    Christian Guntert

    Thanks Dave. I liked this story so much that I made my 14 year old daughter (MTV addict, self-centered, arrogant, immortal) read it and then discuss it with me. For a moment at least, I think the lights actually came on behind her eyes. I was even more proud of her when I found that she recognized the sacrifice, commitment, and pride that were in both yours and the lieutenant's lives. Thanks for sharing it.

    By the way, good job and thank you for your service to our Country.

    craig curtis

    thank you for serving my country no matter what the capacity! and for sharing this story gives us a little insight on the man and the myth.

    Jim R

    "The war during which I served got 58,000 Americans killed for no good purpose. And we have learned nothing from it."

    Thank you for an honest comment. I served in the military from 1958 until 1980, & also saw the sheer stupidity of our Vietnam involvement. Unfortunately, the American people were again led down the garden path in Iraq, & many still can't see the truth.
    Love your writing in F & S.

    Joe Leigh

    To Dave and all of you that served our country, thanks. I wished I could haved served but could'nt because of a physical problem. The best thing that has been given to all of us by those who have spilled their blood on foreign soil is the right to have this blog. Even to those idiots who are out there.


    Don't sell yourself short, it takes on the average 17 REMFs for ever combat soilder. You did not move to Canada or play hurt for a deferment. You did what you were ask for our country. The desk jockeys and people with their head in the sand don't seen to under stand. If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.
    Retired Special Operations


    America isn't being lead down the garden path, you're watching too much left leaning news!
    Speak with someone who works in the intelligence field and you'll learn of a different world.
    America has many enemies, just like we all do.
    No President wants to take a country to war(From either Party).
    There's lots of nations working feverishly to destroy America- Speak to British special agents,and others and you'll have a different view of 'The garden path' our enemies have in mind for us.(I have !!)
    The Cold War hasn't ended and freedom must be paid for on installments, not when the bill is overdue and can't be paid because we ignored reality.
    Have faith in our Presidents,( they receive briefings daily that would cause us to have difficulty sleeping)and they MUST ACT in a way that PROTECTS AMERICA !!


    we should drop a nuke on iraq and get the hell over with it

    William Smith

    "The war during which I served got 58,000 Americans killed for no good purpose. And we have learned nothing from it." - David E. Petzal

    Dear Dave, I too have served as a Senior Drill Sergeant and in “real” combat numerous times over the last 24 years.

    I am not sure if I fully understand your statement. Maybe it is a regional or a generational attitude that makes people like you make such small minded comments as “killed for no good purpose.”

    What BS!!! There are people all over this world who are alive today only because Americans have gone (and continue to go) in harm’s way to ensure freedom from tyranny FOR OTHERS.

    Hooray for today’s all volunteer military where better people than you can continue to serve their country without all the left-wing rhetoric from the offspring of America’s “greatest generation.” And thank goodness there are still the Norman Rockwell depicted communities in rural America where military recruiters have little trouble assisting volunteers do the things you are not capable of understanding.

    Also please accept my apology for my need to comment, but I just came across your blog after researching another subject and felt the need to address your condescending statements.

    William Smith

    PS: I bet Senator Hillary Clinton appreciates another writer urinating on the memory of the Vietnam soldiers.




    thank you for your service mr petzal


    thank you for your service mr petzal

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