No One’s Grampa

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Erick W. Miller

I met a man during training at Fort Polk. He was a gentleman and a good soldier. He was quick to assume responsibility and tackle a tough job. Everyone liked him. He and I became friends.

After training was over in Tiger Land, we were assigned to different Divisions in Vietnam, still in the infantry. I never thought that I would see him again. President Nixon’s policy of Vietnamization brought us back together in April or May of 1970. We had both changed, war does that to people. We spoke, but the closeness of innocent youth was gone for good. Now, we were just professional killers, point-men in different squads. One day on Fire Support Base Veghel, I watched him thirty meters away across a small ravine as he carried a milk crate full of Claymore mines. Someone had carelessly put some trip-flares in the same crate. One of the flares popped. Jim Miremont dropped the crate and turned to run to a fighting position. At that moment, the entire crate of forty-plus pounds of explosives erupted and Jimmy was no more.

I lived through the next several months of hell. Today, I am a 48 year old grandfather of two. If only Jim could have lived he would have made a terrific Grampa.

Erick W. Miller 8 Nov. 1997