Mike Sehl

I attended Belknap College during the scholastic years September 1964 through May 1966. I attended the Southeast Asian War Games in the Republic of South Viet Nam during the period of October 1968 through the middle of February 1969 when I was brought home on emergency leave due to illness in my family. That’s only five and a half months in country for those who are counting. But, I have stories none the less.


Following a year at the University of Miami, I attended Basic Training at Fort Polk Louisiana, and graduated from Military Police School at Fort Gordon, Georgia. I served as a Military Police Provost Marshall Investigator for nine months in Alabama before heading to southeast asia. Because of my deployment I can correctly say that I was in Hawaii, Guam, The Philippines and Alaska, even if only for an hour at each place. During my glorious five and a half months I got to guard Orange Juice and Milk at the enormous Army base at Long Binh, outside of Saigon. I also got to spend nights in a perimeter tower with my M60 Machine Gun, and alternately drove security patrols inside our assigned area of the base. I spent Thanksgiving, Christmas and my first wedding anniversary at Long Binh. Outside of seeing tracers streak across the sky outside of the base, I was personally lucky not to be involved directly in the war.



If I were to be asked what I though about the Viet Nam War, I would answer that President Truman should have met with Ho Chi Minh in Paris when Ho asked for an audience back in the 50’s. If that had happened we probably would not have supported the continuing French Colonial presence in Cochin China as it was known at the time and fifty seven thousand of my brother baby boomers would not have their names listed on the wall in Washington D.C. As we witnessed Richard Nixon’s secret plan to end the war on television as the American Armed Forces retreated and left town with the locals holding the bag for this political waste of lives, time and honor.



My wife and I have travelled often to visit the “Wall” and pay respect to those who died in service of their country albeit for all the wrong reasons. Most recently, we were there for Memorial Day weekend in 2009. The Nations Capital was invaded by Baby Boomers and Viet Nam veterans from all across the United States. The most visible of these were all the Motorcycle clubs of veterans and riders mostly on Harleys and mostly with long receded and gray hairlines. Whether they thought that the Viet Nam War was an honorable military mission or like myself thought it a major waste of my generation and tons of American Taxpayers money, we all walked the wall in silent respect for our fallen brothers and sisters.



I have always felt that I owe those men and women through my life to live life to the fullest, to serve other people and do what they would do if they were given the chance to watch their families grow, take vacations, have careers, and enjoy life in the United States of America. Anyone who has chosen or has had to serve their country in a foreign theater of war knows or should know that we who are lucky enough to be Americans and we are not just about following orders, but are about having the freedom to chose our paths, and freedom to not only express our thoughts and ideals, but to respect the thoughts and ideals of others with whom we may not agree.



I am proud to have worn the uniform of the United States Army, I am proud to have been a student at Belknap College. And as has been said by others, I may not agree with you, but I will defend with my life, your right to speak out. I only ask that whatever you may express, just get it right.



Mike Sehl

Leave a Comment

Log In To Submit A Post