Soldiers serving today would not be here without the blood, sweat and tears of servicemembers who served before. Whether it was World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, etc., our brave servicemembers have fought to protect the nation.
One thing with Soldiers serving today, they will jump through hoops to do anything for veterans. Spc. Joseph Brown, unit supply specialist for Headquarters Headquarters Battery, 18th Fires Brigade is no exception. He spent some time with James Butler, a Vietnam War veteran and said he loved every minute of it.
“He was very interesting, he has a lot of good stories to tell about the history of Fort Bragg, what he did on Fort Bragg and what he did in Vietnam,” said Brown.
Along with talking about the differences between the Army then and now, the two men got to spend quality time together by playing a few games in the common room.
“We did some activities together, we played a matching card game and I lost to him at checkers. He is definitely better at checkers than I am,” said Brown.
The smile Butler had from just a short time with Brown shows that no matter what your job is in the military, what your rank is, or time of year it, spending time with veterans is important to understand where we are today.
“I think he was excited to see me and talk about how things have evolved in today’s Army,” said Brown. “He was definitely inspirational because he sacrificed so much for us while serving in a time when most people didn’t support the war. You look today and we have much more support available to us.”
Butler, 64, was drafted in 1969, came to Fort Bragg and shortly after was in Vietnam from 1970 to 1971. Butler said he is proud of being in the Army despite being drafted into the service as it gave him greater opportunities in life.
“If it hadn’t been for the military, I probably wouldn’t have ever gotten out of North Carolina,” said Butler. “I visited sixteen states in my time in the active service and the guard.”
Butler, who spent 23 years in the National Guard after returning from Vietnam, retired in 1994 as a staff sergeant. Butler still fondly remembers the time he spent at Fort Bragg and serving in Vietnam.
“We (me and my unit from Vietnam) had a reunion last June in Nashville, (Tenn.)” said Butler. “We got together and had a great time.”
The Army was a like any job said Butler, you went to work in the morning like anyone else but the difference was you didn’t know when you were coming home in the evenings.
“I think everybody should spend time with veterans. They are an important part of our history and if (Butler) seemed excited to see me, I imagine other vets would be happy to spend time with Soldiers regardless of rank or what month in the year it is,” said Brown.