Brothers in Arms

Two wars, one regiment…..nice piece in LAT.

The two most unpopular American wars of the last century have found an intersection of sorts here in Washington, where an unusual friendship has taken hold between veterans of a war that ended in Southeast Asia 33 years ago and newly battle-honed soldiers with the “4/9” brigade, who shipped out for Iraq in March 2007.

Over the last 14 months, as the soldiers spread out through the date palm groves and dusty villages north of Baghdad, battling insurgents and building alliances with local leaders, they have been in constant communication with 4/9 veterans of the Vietnam era. They have exchanged photographs, e-mails and packages, and — unit commanders hope — established friendships that will help guide the returning servicemen through the newly difficult terrain called home.

“They always compare this war to their war,” said Cpl. John Joss, 25, who lost a leg to a roadside bomb near Tarmiya, Iraq. “The enemy’s the same, almost. It’s not fighting like it should be. They just blow our stuff up and run off. I always knew when we went over that the Vietnam guys would be behind us, because they know what it’s like to fight an enemy that doesn’t fight right.”

The Vietnam veterans say they feel a sense of kinship to their old fighting unit.

Read more:   Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times


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