A number of months before Ruck-Up's A.J. Paige was able to get me to consider this retreat in the woods of Vermont. It's probably fair to say that I was afraid, not knowing what would be expected of me, not knowing what I might find there. I'd spent 40 years quite sure that Vietnam had had no effect on me. (The two birthdays I'd spent there didn't count since that was all lost time.) Did I really want to explore that piece of my past?
The Army's Basic and Advanced Infantry Training, with in-country Ranger School and OJT, had prepared me with the warrior skills and sharpened instincts I needed to serve in Vietnam for fourteen months. But there was no preparation for returning to a different world at the height of the anti-war rallies. William Calley was just being sentenced as a war criminal for his role in the My Lai Massacre three years earlier. All people wanted to ask me in return was how many women and children I had killed.
But The Warrior's Journey was a game-changer for me. I was a visibly different person after those six days. I walked with a different posture, and there was a new peace about me. I'd gone into the depths of my
soul, a primal scream zone, heaving and sobbing, and grieving finally for losses that happened four decades ago. But in the process, I found a piece my old self that I thought I'd lost forever. And it was very good. I'm not sure who was the most grateful -- me or my long-suffering wife. (Finally understanding that there was not so much "something wrong with me but something that happened to me" was helpful for both of us.)