I Have Donated My Body to Scienceto Thwart Pentagon Body Snatchers
My body has been bequeathed to the
Università degli Studi di Firenze
(The University of Florence) in Italy. My reason for doing this is twofold: I want to express my appreciation toScience for all it has done both for my fellows and for me; and, I do not want to giveadolescent-minded Pentagon pranksters the opportunity to pull a dirty trick on me.Few have ridiculed and discredited the world's most potent military force more than I have—soI am told. I revel in this distinction, and I am proud as punch that I could have seen throughthe camouflage of the United States Army, arrive at its essence, and thus reveal itsperfidiousness to all.I want to relate two incidents that will explicate my thinking for you, my dear reader...In the autumn of 1967, I was assigned by the Fourth Division Headquarters in Pleiku, Vietnam,to assist the assistant Adjutant General of the infamous Snowflake Division in the writing up of awards and decorations for soldiers who had served in the Central Highlands. If an individualhad been cited for performing in some exceptional, exemplary fashion, and it had beendetermined that recognition was forthcoming, I had to evaluate eyewitness accounts toascertain what reward might be warrantable for a soldier's particular performance. Myrecommendations would have to be approved by higher-ups. Strict guidelines and SOPs(Standard Operating Procedures) were referred to and then applied accordingly so that asemblance of rationality and righteousness might be meted out.It was not long before I realized that many of my written good words—carefully studied and inaccordance with regulations as best I could judicate—were being rejected by senior officers. Iactually had been requested to rewrite most of them. I was awkwardly disappointed because Iconcluded that I was doing something wrong. When I questioned my superiors I was informedthat I was being too strict in my interpretations and that I should be more “liberal” in gradingwhat medal was deserved by whatever soldier. I asked why. The response: “Lieutenant, wehave to give the boys something to go home with.” Two or three months before my DEROS (date of separation from the Army) euphoria, I wassummoned to the 11
Infantry Brigade's HQ (Americal Division) by Lieutenant Hooverassigned to the Adjutant General's section. I was informed I had been chosen to receive theBronze Star—the Army's fifth highest medal awarded for bravery. I was shocked. Iimmediately told Hoover that there was no logical reason for me to be decorated because Ihad never performed an act of derring-do in Vietnam—except for one: I had put up with theUnited States Army for two years! He explained that no officer in our unit had left Vietnamwithout some medal or decoration or other. I was “ordered” to accept the medal! Hoover, anOfficer Candidate School product (“90-day Wonder”) and more dull-witted than a West Pointer—if you could imagine that, then asked me if I would be so kind as to help him scribe thenarrative for my medal because he was not good at writing in English, and besides, I had hadexperience composing awards and decorations! I was dumbfounded and went along with theruse. I corrected his grammatical errors and then he submitted the paperwork to Division HQ.It was disapproved. Reason? There was not enough “blood and guts” in it! On his own,Lieutenant Hoover falsified further my merits on the battlefield, and later told me thatbecause of his knaveries, the kudo was authenticated.