Thursday, August 30, 2012

I am on vacation with my wonderful wife at the beach. I'm sitting on the great porch drinking a gin and tonic, looking out into the ocean and I start thinking about the Nam. How come I can enjoy this life so much when my brothers from my earlier life have left this earth. Guilt, Guilt, guilt. It never leaves you. I look at the skies and see Vietnam images, I hear helicopeters flying overhead, I listen to music and remember Vietnam. I close my eyes and see it all again. It will never go away. no matter how much you drink, do drugs, or put yourself through "therapy" it will always be there. I miss those guys and those days when you didn't know if you were going to live or die. Sometimes I think that Louie and the others were the lucky ones. I got a great family and a good job to go to but I can't shake the feeling that Louie and the others are calling me. I'm not stupid, I know its the PTSD but it damn sure don't make it no easier. The booze just makes it more comfortable. The f###ing idiots in DC and those who want to be in DC are a bunch of woosies who will send our sons and now our duaghters into harms way just to get a little more oil, or whatever. F##k them.
I ain't gonna get no better. All I can hope for is to be a good husband and father and f##k the rest of it.


Thursday, January 19, 2012


Been awhile since I've written in this post. Just when you think you've about got to a place where you can handle it all Vietnam rears its ugly head. All I have done today is think about Vietnam and those I left behind. I knew it was going to be a bad day because right off the bat the subject of Vietnam came up. Many have asked me if I am going to the "Welcome Home" celebration in Charlotte in March. Probably not. Whats the point. This should have happened a long time ago. Then I heard from a couple of guys from the Ia Drang and that didn't help matters any. Depressing to say the least. Survivors guilt to say the least and when you try to explain it no one understands. Yeah they say they do but you can look into their eyes and tell they don't. Only other Vietnam Vets understand. When will this shit stop?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day

Its been 45 years since the war for me and it seems like yesterday. I had a young boy interview me for a class project. He asked me about my "experiences" in Vietnam but I knew that if I told him about the horrors of that war he would not understand so I just told him that war was a bad thing and told him about my friend Louis Castillo that got killed over there. He later sent me a letter thanking me for my service and a rubbing of Louie's name from "The Wall". It made me feel like he at least appreciated the time I had spent with him during our interview.
It made me stop and wonder for the unpteenth time about why I had been the one to survive. I spent time with my former Platoon Commander earlier this week and we talked about that amoung other things. He says that it was fate and no one can explain why one lives and another dies. Thats true but it still doesn't relieve the pain of surviving. November is always a bad month for me so I guess I'll just have to suck it up and endure as I have done for the past 45 years. Sometimes life sucks.

Its just a Nam thing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I was watching a show about Woodstock which happened August 15 through 18 1968. I was still in the US Army at the time. I was irritated by the commentator who stated that the reason our country is still a place of freedom was because of this event. Three days of Peace and Love is what he said. I guess I was so pissed because I was jealous and angry. Jealous because on the one hand I wanted to be a part of that kind of happening where everyone was free to do whatever they wanted to do and not be scared to do it. I was angry because I had gone to Vietnam and lost friends that would never be able to experience that kind of happening. I was also angry because while these people were having the times of their lives, my brothers were experiencing what it felt like to be dejected after returning from war. This so called time of peace and love only applied to those who were anti-establishment and anti-military. Many of those same people were standing at airports and jeering our brothers when they came home. I experienced this in San Francisco when I got out of the Army in September. 1968. I'm sure that most of us would have preferred Woodstock over Vietnam but many of us felt an obligation to our country's call and became warriors. That being said, I loved the music and the spirit that came from that event but I am more proud that I experienced the love and brotherhood of my comrades in arms, both living and dead. I have always said that the only person that understands and cares for the Vietnam Veteran are other Vietnam Veterans. We received "the ties that bind" us together while we were in "The Nam".
The other interesting thing was looking at those folks that went to Woodstock then and looking at them now. Its interesting to note that they look a lot like their parents looked back then. Guess being a part of the "establishment" isn't so bad after all. 
Charles "Doc" Nordan

Thursday, June 16, 2011

PTSD rears its ugly head

It is interesting to me that I can be sitting on my front porch and all of a sudden be slammed by some sound or smell that takes me back to the jungles. The other night I was sitting on my porch playing a video game on my Ipod when all of a sudden I had this "weight" hit me squarely on my head. I could feel the presence of some of the guys that I had seen die in Vietnam. Just standing in front of me wondering why I was there and they were where ever the hell they were. Sometimes this fucking world seems so overpowering that I don't know what to do. Were it not for my family I would check out.
Just another "Nam" thing.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rock and Roll to the Rescue

Today I listened to part of my collection of songs. They are mostly Rock and Roll with a few 40s and 50s favorites.
While listening I realized that Rock and Roll probably saved my life and kept me from going crazy while I was In-Country. I can remember walking down trails looking for the enemy and at the same time, hearing the Beach Boys in my brain. It helped me from being scared shit less. Now that my friend PTSD has reared its ugly head, I have fallen back on listening to those same songs that kept me sane. Yeah, I know that I am older but the songs are still as young as they were when I was 18. Sort of makes me feel anchored. I am also reminded that the only people that understand Vietnam Veterans are Vietnam Veterans. Family can love and try to understand but when the rubber hits the road, its the Vietnam Veterans who I rely on to help me make it from day to day. (My Vet group)
Don't misunderstand me, my family (wife and sons} are great and very supportive but I know that they can not understand what we went through in that place so long ago. Its the people that actually went there, humped the hills, smelled the gunpowder, seen the bodies, the destruction, the tears, the heartaches, and the total commitment we had for each other that I know understand.
So as the song goes, "Rock and Roll to the rescue, you know it rescued me and it will rescue you."
Thanks Brian, Dennis, Carl, Mike, Al, and Bruce: The Beach Boys.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Friends, Vietnam, and this Blog

I haven't written in the blog for awhile. A very good friend of mine told me that he had found my blog and read some of my postings. After he told me that he read some of the blogs, I immediately went to the site and erased everything. It kind of unnerved me. I have always kind of hidden my experiences about Vietnam from most of my friends and shared some only with immediate family. I have never told about some of the more horrible things that a lot of Medics experienced because I just don't feel that people, including family, would understand. I guess I thought that I would be looked on as "crazy" by anyone but family who read of my experiences and feelings about the war. Anyhow, that changed today when I received an e-mail from the Nephew of Louie Castillio, one of my Medic friends that got killed in Vietnam. It was a poem that he had written about soldiers. After reading it I just broke down and cried. He mentions his uncle and me in this poem. I was very humbled and honored.
Vietnam, as I have said before, left me with an extreme feeling of guilt for leaving behind those that died because I couldn't help them and those that were still fighting when I left. I felt that I was abandoning them and doing a cowardly thing by leaving. It still haunts me to this day and I don't know that I will ever be free of it.
I am more fortunate than other brothers who returned in that I have a wonderfully supportive family but the feeling still lingers and I still have nightmares about that shit hole place. Therapy has helped but like I said before, it will always be there and I must learn to accept it and continue to move forward. Sometimes I feel like it is a losing battle.
Anyhow, that's where my head is today.