A-Bout-Face: Forward March

A-Bout-Face: Forward March

by Stephen Paul Campos

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Overview

Today's News Headlines:
• Military suicides rise to a record 349, topping number of troops killed in combat By Washington Post, January 14, 2013
• Suicide Crisis Mounts For US Soldiers And Veterans, July 16, 2012 Home Headline News
• Topics in Brief: Substance Abuse among the Military, Veterans, and their Families National Institute on Drug Abuse, April 2011
• One U.S. veteran attempts suicide every 80 minutes: Hidden tragedy of Afghanistan and Iraq wars Daily Mail Reporter 3 Nov. 2011
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The above headlines caught the attention of the media in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Since that time the suicide rate in the military continues to increase.

A-bout-FACE. A TRUE story about Stephen Paul Campos. At the age of 19 he enlisted in the US Army as a combat infantry rifleman. From April 1968 to April 1969 he served one year tour of combat duty with the 199th. Light Infantry Brigade. Within just two weeks he and his platoon experience a "horrific" friendly-fire tragedy that shakes him to his core. Along with many other veterans he returned home with Post-traumatic stress syndrome unable to integrate fully back into society. Two decades later, on the verge of suicide, he was able to turn his life around. Mr. Campos shares his experiences in combat and struggles with PTSD while trying to transition back into civilian life. This story will bring to light the effects of post-war stress, drugs and alcohol abuse. Also, included are his personal Steps to Recovery. "You CAN Heal from the Demons of War"
Gerald M. Korson - award winning journalist and editor

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781481723473
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 03/20/2013
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.67(d)

Read an Excerpt

A-BOUT-FACE

You CAN Heal & Recover from the Demons of War


By Stephen Paul Campos

AuthorHouse

Copyright © 2013Stephen Paul Campos
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4817-2347-3


Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

RESPECT – ARETHA FRANKLIN


The Assignment Editor for a large newspaper was sitting behind his desk with a letter in his hand.

Across from him sat a reporter, named Jonathan. He had a notepad in his lap. His head was down and he was taking notes, as fast as he could.

The editor spoke, "Jonathan, I received a letter from the editor from our affiliate newspaper in Northern California. They want to do a story on their hometown war veteran. They didn't say much, except that three combat men were meeting to honor a vow "unto death" made after a firefight in 1968". Jonathan stands. The editor hands him a note.

The editor continued, "They're meeting together for the first time in forty years. Here's the phone number for one of the vets who lives in Baltimore. Find out why it's taken them so long to meet".

Jonathan takes the note and places it on his notepad and heads back to his seat. He takes out his notepad and places it out in front of him. Then he takes the note and dials. The telephone on the other side rings a few times and someone finally answers.

"Hello". "Hello, I'm calling for Stephen Campos, the Vietnam veteran. My name is Jonathan Miller. I'm from your home town newspaper.

"Yes, this is he", I answered.

"Mr. Campos. The newspaper would like to do a story on you and your two combat buddies.

I smiled and took a deep breath. Next, to my phone was a framed photograph on the table. It was a picture of three twenty year- old Army soldiers.

Jonathan spoke, "Mr. Campos, uh, Mr. Campos"?

Tears filled my eyes. "Yes". I said.

"I understand you haven't seen each other since you were together in combat".

"That's correct, I said.

"That was in 1968?

"Yes, that's correct".

"Well, we're going to run your story on the front page this coming Memorial Day. So, we need to meet, but first I want to ask you a few questions".

I was suddenly angry. "Questions"? "Look, I served in combat and risked my life. And then when I came home I was called a "baby killer and loser". We veterans were looked down upon like dirt and scum".

"That's why we're talking, Mr. Campos. America is ready to hear the rest of the story. We know now that you soldiers were mistreated and we want to make things right. I just need the truth".

"Okay, I understand. Excuse me for my anger. I guess I still have a lot of deep rooted feelings inside. Please, call me Stephen".

Jonathan starts to write, "Ah, Mr. Campos, I mean, Stephen, are you from an Army family?

"No, I said. But, I always played soldier when I was a kid".


* * *

It was 1958. I was 10-years-old. I was walking down the street near my grandfather's house by Baldwin Street and I had to take a leak. So, I looked around, nobody was watching. I dashed behind a home. You know, when you got to go, you got to go!

I had to pee so bad that I didn't realize what was before me. When I finally looked up my eyes widen. It was a bright forest, colorful with big trees. It looked like a jungle. I was amazed. Hurriedly, I tried to zip up my pants. Halfway, I gave up. I turned and started running back towards my grandparent's house. In the front yard all my cousins were playing. I turned the corner and jumped over the hedges onto the grass.

My whole family was there. We were celebrating Easter. All my aunts and uncles and cousins attended during the holidays. We always had a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. My grandmother always made sweet-tasty tamales and Pumpkin pie, yum!

I was so excited I had found my jungle, that I yelled, "Hey, you guys! You gotta see this! Come on". I waved my arm. "Follow me! And, I sprinted back down the street. I turned and yelled, "See what I've found".

Most of my cousins followed after me. "There was Ronnie, the oldest, then Wayne, Roger, my brother, Mike and Pat, Rennie and Joann, Chris and Jeff.

A few minutes later we reached the spot.

"Look, over there". I pointed

"It's amazing". "Wow", said Pat.

"Yah, double wow, said Mike. It's, it's a jungle".

Ronnie, 15, the oldest, took charge. 'This is a great place to play Army".

"Yah, I'll be the captain", said Chris.

"Well, I wanna be da captain, too", said Jeff.

"No, you can't" said Chris.

"Yes, I can", said Jeff,

"Shut it, all of you", said Ronnie. "I'm the oldest and I'm in charge. Get in single file from oldest to youngest. We're all going in, Army style".

Everyone took our places, as we slowly entered no man's land. We were all frightened. We walked a few hundred yards, past two signs that read, "No Trespassing" and "Keep Out".

Boy was I scared we might get caught and get put in jail.

"Keep on the alert men. Look out for signs of the enemy men and watch your step".

Wayne, who was the second oldest at 14 years old, said, "keep your weapons in a ready position, men".

Well, we didn't have any weapons. So, we pretended with our hands like they are holding rifles.

Roger, my brother, was in front of me. He turned and said, "You heard what he said, Butt Head, be on the alert. I don't want to be killed, because of you".

Ronnie, in the front, signaled with his hand in the air, "QUIET! We're deep in enemy territory. The enemy is all around us, so be quiet".

"I'm getting hungry, said Jeff. I want to go back".

A few minutes later Ronnie stopped." Let's go back to Grandpa's work shop and make some weapons and get some grub. Men, we can't fight on an empty stomach."

Personally, I think Ronnie was scared too. Relieved, we all turned around and headed back to grandpa's house.

Back at grandpa's we entered the garage where there was wood, nails and grandpas tools.

"I'll grab the grub", said Joann. She ran out of the garage and into the back door. Everyone else was busy making some kind of wooden gun, pistol, rifle or wooden block to use as a grenade.

Ronnie got finished with his rifle first and said. "Okay, men, five more minutes and we're heading out."

I hurried to find something that resembled a pistol or a rifle. I found a wooden stick. "That will have to do", I said to myself.

Just then, Joann runs inside holding a small paper bag. "I got the grub, let's go".

Ronnie heads out the garage and we all follow.

Hey, wait for me", Jeff starts to cry. "Wait"!

"Catch up, kid or you can't come with us" said Wayne.

"Okay", said, Jeff, "I'm coming, I'm coming". He ran to catch up.

One hour later we're all walking deeper and deeper into the jungle, we called it.

During our search for the enemy, Chris and Jeff were eating everything in the paper bag. Joann gave it to them to keep them quiet.

"Where's the grub, asked Wayne, I'm hungry".

Joann put her hand down the bag. "Ah, well, it's all gone", said Joann.

"What do you mean, gone, said Wayne? He was angry. "That's all the food we got"? Well, I'll take some water then".

"Ah, I didn't bring water, Wayne. All I got was a few pieces of candy, a pack of bubble gun and some graham crackers. Chris and Jeff ate it all".

A few minutes later, Ronnie dives for cover and yells. "Enemy fire! Bam, Bam, Ka-Bam! You're dead, Chris". You too Jeff, you're dead". The enemy killed you".

Chris, screams, grabs his chest, and falls to the ground. So, does Jeff, both casualties of war.

"Gather round them men. Wayne, you be the Chaplin. Say a few words for the dead, said Ronnie.

We all gathered around
(Continues...)


Excerpted from A-BOUT-FACE by Stephen Paul Campos. Copyright © 2013 by Stephen Paul Campos. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Preface....................     vii     

Dedication....................     xvii     

Foreword....................     xix     

I: THE AGE OF AQUARIUS....................     1     

Chapter 1: Respect – Aretha Franklin....................     3     

Chapter 2: Another Brick in the Wall – Pink Floyd....................     12     

Chapter 3: I Got You Babe – Sonny & Cher....................     24     

PART II: YOU'RE IN THE ARMY NOW....................     35     

Chapter 4: People Are Strange – The Doors....................     37     

Chapter 5: And It's 1, 2, 3 What are we fighting For – Country Joe and the
Fish....................     48     

Chapter 6: Run Through The jungle – John Fogery....................     59     

PART III: JUNGLES, RICE PATTIES AND MORE RICE PATTIES....................     75     

Chapter 7: I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die – Country Joe & the Fish..........     77     

Chapter 8: I Can't Get No Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones................     88     

Chapter 9: Highway to Hell – AC/DC....................     95     

Chapter 10: Yesterday When I Was Young – Roy Clark....................     102     

Chapter 11: Turn, Turn, Turn – The Byrds....................     114     

Chapter 12: Oh Happy Day – Edwin Hawkins Singers....................     123     

PART IV: SEARCH AND DESTROY MISSIONS....................     133     

Chapter 13: Riders On The Storm – The Doors – Jim Morrison.................     135     

Chapter 14: These Boots Are Made for Walking – Nancy Sinatra...............     144     

Chapter 15: 96 Tears – Question mark and the Mysterians....................     150     

Chapter 16: We Got To Get Outta this Place – Eric Burton and the Animals...     161     

PART V: LAST DAYS IN NAM....................     177     

Chapter 17: Bad Moon Rising – Creedance ClearWater Revival.................     179     

Chapter 18: What's Going On? – Marvin Gay....................     190     

Chapter 19: Dust In The Wind – Kansas....................     198     

Chapter 20: California Dreamin – The Mama's and the Pappa's................     207     

PART VI WAR PROTESTERS AND A NEW WAR WITHIN....................     217     

Chapter 21: I Just Want To Celebrate – Rare Earth....................     219     

Chapter 22: Eve Of Destruction – P.F. Sloan....................     230     

Chapter 23: Sympathy for The Devil – The Rolling Stones....................     239     

PART VI: BORN AGAIN....................     245     

Chapter 24: Homeward Bound – Simon and Garfunkel....................     247     

Chapter 25: On The Road Again – Willie Nelson....................     255     

PART VIII: HEALING, HOPE AND RECOVERY....................     259     

Chapter 26: Amazing Grace – Chris Tomlin....................     261     

Chapter 28: You Raise Me Up – Josh Groban....................     267     

Chapter 28: United We Stand – Tony Hiller and Peter Simmons................     270     

IX: STEPS TO RECOVERY:....................     281     

Chapter 30: All You Need is Love – The Beatles....................     283     

Epilog....................     293     

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