By Juan Ramirez
Juan Ramirez continually believed he could die in Vietnam. As growing to be up within the San Francisco region within the early Sixties, "Nam was once there, simply over the horizon, just like the far away thump of artillery. His father and uncles had served in international struggle II, one other uncle in Korea. a variety of cousins had enlisted. At nineteen, Ramirez made up our minds to embody the warfare. In 1968, the 12 months of the Tet offensive, Ramirez joined the U.S. marines. bloody excursions later, Ramirez survived, yet at gigantic fee. two times wounded, undesirably discharged, and stricken by survivor's guilt, Ramirez surveys the toll of Vietnam on flesh and spirit during this beautiful memoir. Ramirez tells his tale in a voice hardly heard from the conflict, that of a Chicano soldier. via tracing his roots, and exploring the cultural pressures and social demons that weighed on his relations and neighborhood, Ramirez deals an unflinching examine the autumn and redemption of 1 Mexican American veteran.
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Additional resources for A Patriot After All: The Story of a Chicano Vietnam Vet
Instead of avoiding it like most sensible people, I would rush to it prematurely to get it over with. I played sports that way. I dealt with my parents that way. I fought other kids that way. I entered Mountain View High School in 1964. I also started a new job the summer before school started. Other than sports, what I remember most vividly about high school is chasing after girls, hanging out with friends, and excessively drinking and brawling with whomever. I hung out with a mixed group of boys Chicanos, Filipinos, Anglos, Portu- Page 20 guese, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese kids.
I became very good at other sports as well, but I lived baseball. I coveted my equipment and, like a favorite teddy bear, slept with my glove always. I even kept a ball in it, the newer the better. There was nothing like the smell of a new ball and glove, each similar but distinct in its own way. I often would go to sleep listening to a San Francisco Giants game on a small transistor radio. Throughout my childhood and on into high school I was what a coach might call a steady, reliable player who gave his all every game.
Sergeant King's immediate superior, Gunnery Sergeant Olsen, gathered us all together a few days after to tell us there would be an investigation regarding the recruit's injuries. Gunny Olsen was a huge, bearlike man who was also black. Page 31 There were times when he would abuse us, either as a group or individually, but he had boundaries and controlled himself, as did our other two drill instructors. Sergeant King was totally unpredictable, with little or no conscience about what he did. Gunny Olsen told us that what had happened was a mistake and regrettable but added that it would be an even bigger mistake to misunderstand what had happened.