Ed "Spooky" Nored

RVN Sep 69 - Sep 70

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9-1-70 Tokyo

9-2-70 Returned to Bien Hoa

9-3-70 Bien Hoa

9-4-70 ?

9-5-70 Song Be

9-6-70 Song Be

9-7-70 Song Be

9-8-70 Song Be

9-9-70 Song Be

9-10-70 Song Be

9-11-70 Song Be

L-R: Bill Belcher, Mike Eklund "Lefty", Ron Robbins "Tex", Chris Lueke, Larry Antici. This photo was taken at the Delta company rear at Song Be .  You can see the base of, the often referred to, Nui Ba Ra mountain in the back ground.

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(Nored) Ed Stoffel replaced Ed Bryson as company clerk. Both were from my squad. Stoffel is shown here at the company rear at Song Be. I  remember this is where I typed my last letter home on the same typewriter Stoffel  used. With the collection of pin up girls on the wall in the background, this scene is typical of many Korea and W.W. 2 photographs.

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9-12-70 Song Be

(Nored) Staff Sgt. Chris Luecke  looks thru the pages of  Bill Belchar's  photo album of family, friends and the real world back home. Photo taken in one of the sleeping quarters in the Song Be Company rear. It was evenings like this in my final days in country where the topics of discussion was about the future and what we were going to do with our lives after the Army and always about the war and what would happen to Nam after all the Americans had withdrawn. Such conversations about the war always left me depressed and it sure as hell didn't  help when I went to the dumps one day. There was an anger growing in me and using  the typewriter in the company clerks office I couldn't help but express it in a last letter to Linda.

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The following is the last letter I sent home to my girlfriend at the time, Linda Dalton.

My letter to Linda:

(to understand the feeling see the photos at the bottom of the letter.)

Last night the gang got together and was talking about the war and we all concluded that the war over here is a waste and those who have died have died for nothing. The people over here don't need the Americans. Sometimes I can type pretty good and other times I aint worth a plug nickel. Anyway as I was saying they don't need the U.S. or anybody cause all they need is there rice to eat and the ground to sleep on. That's all they want. They use the G.I.s and take their hard earned money. I'm tired of the place and these V.D. ridden people. I know I'm kind of pissed off cause I'm thinking about all my friends who are still out in the bush and just may not live through the night. God help us all! Love and Peace. That's the only thing that makes sense anymore.

Sept 12, 1970

Song Be Vietnam

Today I went out to the dumps. It's quite an experience, believe me. There's about 100 people out there at the dumps for the sole purpose of scrounging. But this isn't little unnecessary scrounging it's a matter of surviving for them. These people are a mixture of Vietnamese and Mountianyard, it isn't spelled that way but looks like that, anyway today me and this soul brother loaded a bunch of garbage cans and junk onto a trailer and took it down to the dumps. So we're driving along and turn off the main road onto a dirt road that goes to the dump. There are about 6 kids waiting there for you. You drive by at about 20 mph and they jump into the trailer and dig there way into the cans. Then you finally get to the end of the road and there they are. 100 of the most filthiest, raggedy, sad looking people or is animals a better word? Before you can back the trailer into the pile of trash they are all over the thing, and they are grabbing, digging, throwing and fighting over this trash, it just ain 't kids, it's old people shoving little kids out of the way. One old woman wearing nothing but and army towel around her waist and that's it, all bare breasted and bare footed she stomps through the mud of old food rotten milk that these people are picking up and drinking. Sour hot milk that would turn anybody's stomach. Then I saw this one girl carrying off about 50 issues of the 1st Air Cav magazine they send to us. There pretty good books and the guys out in the bush like to send them home cause they sort of explain what we are doing there etc. So I took these magazines away from her and wow did she bitch! She was really telling me off and then she said in broken english that she would give no. 1 boom boom to g.i. to get the magazines back. Good grief! Here's some 15 year old girl willing to lay me for some stupid magazines.

I took some pictures and I was surprised to see some of them even smile. It was the little kids it really hurt me to see cause you knew that in a matter of years they too would be in the piles of ruined food barefooted eating to survive in the only way they knew how. And then you think of Nixons great Americanization plan. I now realize this plan pertains only to the military and not to the people. But yet as I looked at these people, I saw smiles and even heard laughter, so I guess in that alone there is some hope.

Tomorrow the company is to come on to L.Z. Betty and the 15th or so start tearing it down, and so as I leave in 9 days nothing will change the beat will go on more L.Z.s and more people getting killed. So I guess I go home and forget about it. What a way to live. I better get this letter off soon honey. I just may beat it home.

Again I must warn you hon, please forgive the way I talk or the way I don't talk, I've spent 358 days talking to guys and the only words that seem to exist are swear words. So take into consideration I ain't no gentleman o.k.?

If I only have one life to live let me live it as a Grunt! For a Grunts life is an appreciative, honored, proud, hard type of life the protected will never know.

("And God willing I hope they never will have to know!")



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Shown left is the last letter I sent home to Linda. My typing ability or lack of it shows well. I'm fairly certain this might be the first attempt at typing since taking a typing class in high school. In the letter where I refer to "Nixon's great Americanization plan" I meant to write the "Vietnamesation plan". The war had all ready been Americanized enough..... The "young man" who wrote this letter was certainly no sophisticated world traveler. I had been out of the bush for about 3 weeks now and had had time for the experience to sink in. The trip to the dumps didn't help. I was mad at the Vietnamese, North and south, and mad at my own government and mad and disgusted with the waste of it all. The same waste that exist in every war. It would take along time , if ever, to mentally deal with the experience.

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(Nored) These are 3 of the magazines I kept and brought home from the girl in the dumps.

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Photos taken at the Song Be Dump.

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9-13-70 Song Be

9-14-70 Song Be

9-15-70 Song Be

At some time during our processing to return home I received this certificate. I'm sure Mike Eklund received one also and would assume all personal serving as infantry would have received one..

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Left for home on 9-21-70.

At the reunion held in 1988 Dave Arronson showed me this picture he took as he left the world of the boonies for the final time. The small group of men seeing Dave off are some of the good friends he had served with. I found the photo very touching. He was kind enough to send me a copy.

We all looked forward to going home. I think we were all eager to return to the real world and get on with our lives. But having to leave everyone behind that you served with just didn't feel right. There wasn't much to feel good about when you left Nam. There was no sense of victory or sense of having accomplished anything positive. Though we had dropped our pack and equipment we were still "humping heavy" on our way home. Loaded down with the emotional garbage of the entire experience. The heaviest thing being the question, was the sacrifice worth it?

There was certainly a lot of things we would have liked to have left behind in Nam. But one of them was not the people we served with. Thank goodness most of them did make it home.

Ed Nored.....

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(Nored) After arriving at Travis AFB from Nam we traveled by bus to the Oakland Army base where we changed out of our jungle fatigues and were issued our dress uniforms. Mike Eklund is shown still in his fatigues  on the right and on the left is shown  removing  the ribbons from the medal boxes and is about to place them on his dress uniform. I remember Mike stopped me from putting the large full sized medals on my new uniform. That's how savvy I was concerning the dress uniform. Thanks Mike.

Mike Eukland and Ed Nored at Oakland Army Base. We just got back from Vietnam. Well I'm 20 mins away from home and Mike is on his way to the San Francisco airport via Taxi. Instead of calling someone to pick me up I grabbed a taxi and headed home. Every one of us remembers that day we came home......

  Shortly after the photo above of Mike and me was taken we said our good byes. I hopped into a taxi and headed for my house about 20 minutes away to the town of San Lorenzo Ca. As we pulled up to the front of the house everything was just as I remembered it. My black 57 was poised in the driveway. Spotless and pointed in the right direction. I carried a large duffle bag. Its was a nice day. I opened the screen door . The front door was already open. My mom was at the sink of the kitchen, her appointed position. We hugged and said some words. She cried. I asked where Dad was. She said the garage, his appointed position. My Dad and I hugged. He cried. Minutes later I asked if the car was good to go. It was and I was gone. I headed for Linda's house. All this time feeling very weird. I still had my uniform on. I was as proud as hell of it. Theres no telling when I would have taken it off. At Linda's there were more hugs and tears. Among the greetings I heard someone say, "what are you still doing with that thing on?". After all these years and on a day that really should have been one of the best days of my life I only remember those few words. The "thing" was my uniform. That hurt me more then anything. The person who said it didn't mean to hurt me, it was just that people were sick of this war and one of the pieces of that war was standing in their living room. I didn't say anything in response to it or make a scene. Linda's family were good people. Looking back on the 1st day home the only thing that I felt good about was my service to the country. I went to a war I didn't believe in and gave the tax payers of this country their moneys worth. I felt good about that and the vast majority of people I served with did the same. So dumb ass me thought I could wear the uniform for one day and feel good about something.


In the coming days while on leave I remember the following. Walking across a parking lot with Linda, hand in hand to go see a movie....Bang!....I went half way to the ground and turned to the sound in an instance. It was a backfire or firecracker going off. A few days later talking to friends in the street. ...Bang!......and again half way to the ground and at the same time turning towards where the noise came from. This would be quite normal behavior for most of us grunts coming home. I remember these 2 incidents in particular because it surprised me and caught me off guard. Here I was at home thousands of miles away from the war with family and friends. I was thinking this sensitivity to noise only happened to soldiers surviving artillery barrages in previous wars. In Nam the reaction made sense but while walking with your girl friend to a movie at home? As I wrote earlier in the Cambodia section...our nerves couldn't tell the difference.

Being sensitive to loud noises still exist today. I certainly dont dip as much as I did those first  few days home. At 60 years old Its more now like a tension in the neck and me trying to pull my head down in between my shoulders. "going turtle" might be a good way of describing it. Sometimes there's no physical reaction at all, but mentally it registers and you are always reminded of those bad days. Another mental thing that happened to me during these  first days home was when I was sitting on the couch at home. I was just sitting there quiet and  relaxed alone in the living room, when I began to see the jungle again. The year had gone by so fast. It was if someone had rushed into the room pulled me outside and beat the crap out of me then dragged me back in and threw me back on the couch. My mother walked into the room and said something that brought me out of "it".

After my leave at home I had orders to report to Ft. Dix New Jersey and then fly to Germany. Because I only had 5-6 months left in my 2 years of service. They,instead,  sent me to Ft. Hood at   Kileen ,Texas. My mood at this time is one of a very mad and disgusted person. I cannot wait to get out of the Army. I am placed with Co. C 1st. BN. 50th. Infantry attached to the 2nd Armored Division. They have nothing for us to do. Nothing! Many of the soldiers are just back from Nam. Some are picked to serve as Honor Guards at military funerals. We train on how brake up riots and control demonstrations. We go to the motor pool and pretend to work on the APCs that are there. They don't need maintenance since they never are put to use. One night in our barracks a drunken E-6 Sgt. went crazy in his room. As I knocked on the door asking him to unlock it one of the men quietly said, " Sarge....hes got a loaded 45 with him."  I stopped knocking. The MPs took care of the problem.

Photo on the left shows me in my barracks room I shared with 3 other NCOs at Ft. Hood. I'm holding a model of a Huey I  built. The black and white photo matches my mood at the time perfectly..

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During my leave after Nam Linda and I went to Berkely. I'd been there before and it was always interesting.  There was an open minded air about the place on and off campus. Ashby street was a world of its own with great shops and of the course the people. Every cliche of the 60s was there. It was Woodstock 24/7. The music, the smell of insense and pot filled the air. I happen to see the flag ,shown on the left, in a store and thought it was cool. Weeks later when I was stationed at Ft. Hood I had it hanging on my lower bunk on the wall side. I was sleeping late one morning after pulling Sgt. of the Guard duty all night. The Battalion commander was doing a walk thru inspection and spotted my flag. I pretended to be asleep and heard him tell another Sgt. he wanted to see me as soon as I got up. Later in the afternoon I reported to him and he proceeded to give me a 20 minute lecture me on communism and how radicals were trying to take over the government and how the peace symbol was sort of the insignia for it all. His speech fell on deaf ears. I was a person who loved his country very much  and was as patriotic as any one on this base. To me the symbol only meant peace and that's all.

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The photo shown left as well as the next 2 show a group of us learning riot control tactics. Fellow soldiers dressed in their civilian clothes taunt and harass their peers in this mock demonstration.

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Shown left is one of the APCs we worked on and on rare occasions got to take out on exercises. The man in the photo was a good guy and also was fresh from Nam. I forget his name but he was a very nice person. I remember he had an operation for a Hernia and when he returned to the barracks we noticed when he was kidded about it he'd wince with pain every time he started to laugh. We naturally began telling him every joke we could think of. We finally gave him a brake and let him alone before he ripped one of the fresh stitches out.

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I had this naive notion when I first went into the Army that I could leave home for 2 years and when I got back everything would be the same. Within in a few days of getting back home from Nam I wanted to sell the 57. I had no interest what so ever in fooling around with cars anymore. I either sold it at the end of my leave or after I got out of the Army in April 1971. I can't remember which. Linda had always anchored what I wanted to return home to. She deserved a medal of her own for being there when I came home. Not to mention putting up with all those boring ass letters and my crazy ideas what we would do when I got out of the Army. She stuck it out with me till early 72. One day before she got out of the car she said she was going to start seeing other people. I remember that day. I didn't blame her. She wanted marriage, kids and a life that lead into a positive future. I was headed for no mans land. Close to a year later she married a fellow classmate I knew in high school. He was a good guy and I was glad it was him instead of some jerk. ...But there is this anger I'm carrying around inside me concerning Nam. I definitely did not feel sorry for myself. I came home in one piece and am very proud that I served. Even after 40 years I find this very difficult to write about or find the words to express or describe it. I kept the anger inside and to myself and accepted it like I had accepted being jumpy at loud noises. Its the new "me". Get used to it Ed. Find a place for it in your pack, saddle up and drive on. 

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 In mid 1972 I got an apartment with Chuck Spencer and about the same time bought a brand new 72 Harley Davidson Sportster. The price was about $1500 if I remember correctly. As I fiddled with the bike in the apartment complex, someone set off several packs of firecrackers out in the street. The sound echoed between the walls of the complex. Setting off fire crackers right out of the pack and still tied together you get a sporadic burst of explosions that sounds just like the beginning of a firefight. The more I listened to it the more I became withdrawn and extremely uncomfortable. I began to get scared and headed for the apartment, went inside and sat down and just tried to reason with myself what was going on inside my head. "Stay calm. Its just firecrackers. Your not in Nam.Your at home sitting on your couch. It's just memories. This will past. Your not in Nam. Its just firecrackers. Your not in Nam. Its just motherfucking firecrackers!".......Shown left is the Harley at Yosemite. I needed a pack to fasten to the rear so I naturally went to an Army surplus store and bought a tropical rucksack and aluminum frame. The very same equipment I carried in Nam. Trips to Yosemite by myself helped mentally to sort things out.

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 My first job out of the Army was working at a local Home supply and lumber store. The boss there noticed I was "jumpy" and every time I was on the fork lift he would occasionally come up behind me and whack the fender with a piece of lumber or hammer. He got a kick out of the way I reacted. This went on for about 2 weeks till I told him to stop it. I'm not sure why I didn't stop him the first time he did it. I really don't. Months later, thank goodness, my brother in-law Sonny Hinkel had enough work to call me back to my old job. Shown left is me on the go cart in Richmond Ca. I chose to replace one of the red safety flags with the American Flag. As time passed I paid more and more attention to the trucks driving by. Seemed like a nice job to get into. Trucking was where I was headed.

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  In 1974 I had bought my own truck and made a good living doing it. During this 74-87 period I made new friends, had fun, worked long hours driving, bought a new home and then a second one for investment. I had also bought a second truck and put a driver on it with the same company. During this period I had relationships with several women that lasted anywhere from weeks, to months to over a year. I remember each and everyone of them and can provide a total but that would sound like a score and each of those fine ladies deserve better. Every day my Nam experience would pop up. A thought or an image but it didn't seem to handicap me...Around 1980 another driver asked me if I wanted to try some "crank" (methamphetamine) to help us stay awake . It was at a can manufacturing company in San Jose California just before we loaded are trucks and were about to leave for yet another run to Los Angeles. I tried some and felt more alive and better then I had in a very long time. And so began years of abuse of this substance most of the 80s. At some point I also started have night mares. It was always the same. An enemy soldier charging me with his weapon. I would raise my weapon and squeeze the trigger but the weapon wouldn't fire. As he got just a few feet away from me I would let out a scream and wake up. I was hyper sensitive to any images that appeared on TV about Nam. In my dads backyard there was a bare spot on the lawn about 2 feet by 4 feet. It had the deep imprint of a bicycle tire made when the soil was muddy . That little piece of my Dads yard was a piece of Nam. That sense of dread in working the trails. I use to just stare at it. The crank and the dreams went on till 1986 when I finally physically and emotionally crashed. By 1987 I had sold both trucks and any real estate I owned. I had been living with a girl 10 years younger then me named Laura Silk. She had put up with me during the last years of my abuse. I took about a year off and was just trying to get back to normal. My love relationship with crank was over. Each day I got stronger but had to do something about Nam. Going to the VA. was not a consideration for me. I don't know why. Maybe cause I saw it too much as just another government institution. Instead I turned to the letters Linda and I had exchanged. I cant begin to express how vivid some of the memories were especially concerning Linda. Plus all those photos Sgt. Nored had taken. I made some phone calls to some friends I had served with and thought about a reunion. As weeks passed by I had my last dream of the enemy soldier charging me. Instead of awakening with a frightful scream I instead woke up swinging my arms. I was fighting back and now it was his turn to run scared. I have not seen that son of a bitch since. As best as I can figure. This is the same enemy soldier who appeared in my dream I mentioned in the July 6 1970 letter to Linda. Back then I was on a war footing and shot him. Years later after weakening my spirit with crank and no sleep this imaginary soldier returns to take advantage of me. Maybe he'll show up again when I'm a very tired and an old man at a rest home when my spirit is weak.

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I'm shown left in 1986. Photo of me loading my truck in L.A. My friend Dave Linvingston took the photo. Dave would occasionally make a trip with me and was a spare driver if I needed one. As an owner operator you just dont let anybody drive your truck. I'm only a few months away from collapsing from the years of my own stupid abuse. Most of the 80's was wasted away because of my abusive habit and we all know you only get so many years. I have only myself to blame for that. I was lucky to survive it for so long. One of the other owner operators  in the same company didn't.  Gary Lane got caught up in the drug and one early morning went to his x wifes house and committed suicide by hanging himself from the tree in the front yard.

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Photo taken by Ed Nored. Copyright Lucasfilm.

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Grunts & the gear we carried (start here)







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