That nameplate, fashioned by a craftsman at the request of troops in Vietnam in 1967, still sits proudly on the desk where I write every day. It reminds me of the years I spent with the troops, how much I enjoyed them, and how I grieved when one of them was killed. My days of helping U.S. and friendly troops on the battlefield are sacred memories for me.
During my Vietnam years, I acquired a “chop,” a small stone implement with a carved seal on the bottom to allow the owner to stamp his unique signature character on an official document. I had my initials, TG3, as I wrote them back then, carved on the bottom. The result looks something like a handwritten Chinese character. So to this day, I can “chop” a document. I mainly use the chop on greeting cards.
Even though I’m still stuck with the same payroll signature, almost no one calls me TG3 these days. But I have my nameplate and my chop to remind me of my glory days in combat in Vietnam. I can’t say I miss those days. But I am proud of my work to help U.S. and friendly forces on the battlefield. I always will be.