Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Flashback to the Early 1970s

I'm a big fan of small world stories -- the connections that are made between people and events.

This morning my husband asked me if I remembered the first name of the lieutenant colonel who had headed the 18th Military Intelligence Battalion in Munich when my husband was stationed there from September 1970 to May 1972. I recalled his first name started with "Ro."

My husband had just read an article about seven soldiers being inducted into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame. We agreed that the retired Brig. Gen. Roy Strom below was who we knew.

• Retired Brig. Gen. Roy “Bud” Strom, who served for 31 years. He entered the Army in 1954 and ended his career as the deputy chief of staff for intelligence at Forces Command at Fort McPherson Ga.

Not a big coincidence. Then later today I started reading an article in the July 6th and 13th New Yorker that had just arrived in the mail. The article is about Colonel Michael Dane Steele and Operation Iron Triangle in Iraq in May of 2006.

I got to this paragraph:
At the Army's Command and General Staff College, Steele has been compared to William Calley, the lieutenant who, during the Vietnam War, led the massacre of villagers in My Lai.
This is the small world connection: While my husband worked under LTC Strom, I worked as a civilian for the 66th Military Intelligence Brigade.

With free time between typing secret reports on a manual typewriter, I read my issues of the New Yorker shipped through our APO address. And I clearly remember reading the article in the New Yorker about Calley and the massacre at My Lai.

In this 2009 New Yorker article the reporter, Raffi Khatchadourian, says:
As General Oates told me, "The story of Colonel Steele and Operation Iron Triangle is about a fundamental difference of opinion about how to prosecute the war in Iraq."
I'm not a U.S. war historian so I can't write an erudite opinion as to whether the story of Lieutenant Calley and My Lai was "about a fundamental difference in opinion about how to prosecute the war in" Vietnam.

I just know that today feels like a day anchored in the early '70s.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL and the co-author of the Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION. She also blogs as a National Internet Business Examiner and at Operation Support Jews in the Military and Fiction Marketing, and she is the co-host of the BlogTalkRadio show Your Military Life. Her newest military-related project is the book/website project In Support of Our Troops.

Phyllis' company Miller Mosaic LLC provides internet marketing information to help people promote their brand, book or business. On July 1st the company launched the Miller Mosaic Internet Marketing Program.


Anonymous said...

Lt Calley was a young man thrust into an environment that had become politicized without him knowing it. In WW2, we did not collect prisoners unless it was absolutely safe to do so. They were executed on the spot usually. Calley fought Vietnam as our fathers fought WW2, the war should be fought, if victory is expected.

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