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Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:Military / Special Forces
  • Language:English
  • Pages:102
  • Paperback ISBN:9781483594927

May You Live in Interesting Times: My 1960's

by Calvin Seybold

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“May You Live in Interesting Times: My 1960s” is a collection of "G-Rated" short, mostly humorous, “War Stories” of my experiences as a 2LT of Infantry in 1964-65 Korea and then two tours as a 1LT in 1966, and then CPT in 1968-69, with the U.S. Army Special Forces in Vietnam. The short stories deal with the events and escapades of a junior officer; the stories are a lot funnier now than they were when they took place, fifty years ago.
I spent the entire decade of the 1960s following the leadership of the Greatest Generation in military college (Virginia Military Institute) and the Army. Therefore, I concede, my recollections are a little “lopsided.” Yes, I missed the college “free speech” campaigns and the “Woodstock” revivals of the 1960s. My stories are mainly about the “Cold War” and the occasional “Hot War” (Vietnam) against International Communism. It was a different world in the 1960s. More so than just through the innocence and enthusiasm of youth. There was a real threat to America and the world from international communistic aggression. In American society, abortion was illegal, and divorce was rare. Society ostracized teenage pregnancies, and most teenagers had never heard of marijuana. All that would change by 1969 and the end of the decade. The movements for racial equality and free speech on college campuses got their start in the early 1960s. There was social turbulence and change throughout the nation. Upon graduation from college and receiving my commission as a second lieutenant of Infantry, I attended the Infantry Officer Basic course in preparation for service with troops. The first real crisis was the Cuban Missile Crisis, which fortunately was resolved when Russia agreed to withdraw their missiles from Cuba. This was followed shortly thereafter by the assassination of President Kennedy in November 1963. The nation had heard little of Vietnam until the presidential elections of 1964. President Kennedy was dead; candidate Goldwater was a “war monger”, and President Johnson promised that only Asian boys would fight Asian wars. President Johnson won the 1964 election in a walk. By 1965, President Johnson had decided that American boys could fight Asian wars after all, and shortly thereafter, the Vietnam War protests were in vogue. The draft and the potential for thankless service and possibly death in Vietnam for the young men of the 1960s was a great motivator for many to protest the perceived illegality and immorality of the Vietnam War. In my opinion, the young men who were drafted or enlisted and served in Vietnam, in spite of the social and media pressure not to, are the real “heroes” of Vietnam. By 1969, the youth of America had irrevocably changed from the innocence of the post-World War II to that of the “Woodstock” generation. As Thomas Wolfe said, “You can never go home again.” I really do not want to talk about “blood and guts” battles; you know they were there. I want to tell about the people and anecdotal stories that gave me such pleasure, in later years, to remember and to share. Not only did we fight a war, we were also very real participants in the social revolution of the 1960s. All that war and social revolution could not have happened without some folly. The intent of this undertaking is to relate some anecdotes from that era without identifying the other people involved except in very special circumstances. I must confess, that at the time of the events we participants often failed to see the humor in the situation; the insulation of time and distance allows me to better see the humor in what, at the time, seemed like a “social disaster”. It has been said that every good war story must have an element of “truth”, as well as a lot of “bull”; but, with a really good war story, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between the “truth” and the “bull”. It was an exciting time to be young. The cauldron of war mellowed by the possibilities of “free love” was enough to invigorate any young man. The mantra of that era was, “Never trust In the words of the progressive three curses of increasing severity of a supposedly ancient Chinese proverb or curse: “May you come to the attention of those in authority.”; “May you find what you are looking for.”; and, finally, “May you live in interesting times.” I believe the youth of the 1960s in the United States could definitely be defined as quali
About the author
Calvin C. Seybold, graduated from the Virginia Military Institute (BA), the University of Oklahoma (MA) and the University of Utah (MA & PhD). He retired from the U.S. Army as a Lieutenant Colonel of Special Forces in 1993, and currently resides in a small mid-western town. He has worked as a Government contractor since retiring from the Army.