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Peter Feldstein 
Bob Stopko 
[The Oxford Project] 
1984 
  
Inkjet print 
Welcome Books 
 
LL/30684 
  
I enlisted when I was seventeen. I served twenty-two years, ten days, eight hours, and ten minutes. I was a Pennsylvania coal miner's son. What did I have to look forward to?
 
I was stationed at Cu Chi. When the rockets came, if you weren't scared you'd be crazy. Some of my buddies got killed. One was a Jewish kid. He forgot something and went back to the barracks when the Vietcong started lobbing mortars. The Vietnamese didn't give a shit who won the war. They had nothing before and they had nothing after.
 
I was sprayed with Agent Orange. They sprayed all around the bases. It took me twenty-five years to know. I got cancer, teeth removed, diabetes, heart trouble, high blood pressure, my feet ache, the corneas in my eyes have been replaced. They tell us the bad things about Iraq. They don't tell us the good things. He made a mistake by going in there, but if we pull out, we're gonna have more terrorists.
 
You get into some of these places and the people aren't civilized. They'd kill their own mothers. I think everyone should spend one tour in the military. They'd see what's going on, they'd grow up, and they'd get some discipline.
 
I can still fit into my uniform. My daughter Holly says that if anything happens to me, she wants it.
 
Bob Stopko
 
From The Oxford Project. Welcome Books. Photographs © 2008 Peter Feldstein.
Text © 2008 Stephen G. Bloom. www.theoxfordproject.com 
 

 
  
 
  
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