Chapter 3-3: Who Wants to Kill?

Right up to the day he died he was happiest observing and interacting with wildlife and the wild outdoors.  As a child he was a day dreamer. He quietly watched the adults around him; questioning why people behaved the way they did. School held little interest for him until college where he studied electrical engineering and began to solve real world problems. In the spring of 1969, less than a week after he graduated from college, he received his draft notice from the army to report to Fort Dix, New Jersey in August.  

By 1969, the fifth year young Americans were being shipped overseas to Vietnam, the Anti-war movement was in full swing pitting the young sixties generation against their elders. At twenty-three Bob was not a fresh-faced high schooler reporting for duty. He covered every inch of his intake papers with his opposing thoughts on American interference in the internal conflict within Vietnam. The young recruits were then asked to step forward at which point they were in the Army. Bob was asked to swear allegiance to the Generals, which he refused. He was pulled aside and told that he would never be given security clearance and so would never fight in Vietnam. “Fine,” he said as he did not want to kill anyone. Bob could not hurt a fly, and he watched as the officer stamped a big red ‘Security Clearance Denied’ on every piece of his paperwork.  

Bob in Vietnam, 1970

However, within six months he was shipped out to Vietnam where he worked as a clerk typing up discharge papers. To help him the army enlisted an elderly south Vietnamese woman, who typed slowly with one finger as Bob sat idly by. Meanwhile over the hill from his hut was the radar tower and Bob became friends with one of recruits working in it who knew nothing about radar and was terrified he was one step away from screwing up. And here was Bob, an electronic wizard, whittling away his days overseeing a one-fingered typist. To cap it all, halfway through his tour the base Commander’s clerk came up to Bob and said, “MacLeod, you shouldn’t even be here. You don’t have the security clearance!”

“That’s the Army for you,” Bob would chuckle.