The 1,000 yard Stare is a look through the obvious, a stare beyond or
through to the other side of reality.
It's the stare all combat veterans get after prolonged trips into the
boonies and combat, and is usually related to extreme consciousness during
the most devastating of experiences, Today it has been better defined as
PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
The 1,000 Yard Stare is the immediate result of PTSD and is what separates
the Combat Veteran from the Non Combatant.
I always thought that PTSD was something that only the pencil pushers in
the rear suffered from, not us battle hardened Vets.
If you have
successfully completed USMC Basic Training, Then you are a Marine and will
always be a Marine, male or Female, no Question.
been a Grunt in Combat, I did however notice a slight difference between
the combat Grunt and those other Marines who had not yet experienced the
cracking sound of a 7.62x39 round as it snaps pass your head (it’s
the one with your name on it, but fortunately, you moved your head just
enough for it to miss or Charlie was a bad shot)
difference is the "THE THOUSAND YARD STARE" stemming from the stress
related to prolonged Combat.
I have to
say though, for the Marine who has not yet experienced Combat, there is a
different kind of stress, a stress that us combat vets can't relate to, or
more likely, have forgotten we once had to deal with the same issue.
Marine was the easy part. Being a Marine required constant effort.
always the first to fight. Anyone who enters the MARINE CORPS, regardless
of the era, has a one in 3 chance that he or she will enter a combat zone.
Today it's closer to 100%.
graduated Basic Training and now understanding for the first time what
being a Marine is really about, and what is required of you. One of the
biggest problems prior to actually going into combat, is contemplating
going into combat, dealing with the ever present questions, What will it
be like, will I survive, How hard is my Metal?
questions have been answered for us combat vets, hell I'm one of the lucky
ones, 3 Purple hearts and a Bronze Star, I’ve got no more questions.
But I can
remember back in Nam, on the few occasions when we would go back to the
rear area for some working R&R, those boys in the rear had it real nice,
or so it would appear.
really paid attention, you saw a STARE that was similar; they were num for
different reasons. They had a different kind of reality to shrug off.
Vet was actually more in control of his reality than the rear echelon
support troops and Chopper Crews. There was much more the Combat Vet could
do, to effect his survival.
SHIT hit the fan, we had options, we took the most appropriate course to
eliminate the enemy threat and affect a positive outcome with minimum loss
of Marines. Calculation, brute force and cunning saved many Butts.
rear, there was far less of chance that you would come face to face with
Charlie, but the Rockets and Mortars were always a threat and your
personal survival was always left to chance.
SAPPERS hit MAG 16 in Oct 65, aircrews were blown up in their tents, they
never knew what hit them, and they had no chance to react.
nights of SAPPER attacks, Lima 3/3 was called in to secure the base. We
spent 4 weeks building defensive positions, stringing barb wire and laying
trip flares and claymores.
share our bunkers at night with the base Ground Crew’s, training them to
take over once we left. One night we were all sitting in front of our
bunker, when a trip-flair went off, and the two Ground Crewman bolted
around and into the rear of bunker like a flash of light.
My A Gunner
and I just sat tight trying to see what had tripped our flair, actually
hoping that it was Charlie, but it was just a Dog scavenging for food.
rows of triple barb & trip flairs everywhere, it was pretty hard to get
inside without being detected, but these two Marines were not experienced
and very gun shy, they too were suffering from PTSD.. It took several nights of watch for them to calm down
and ease off the switch, by the time we left, their Metal was almost as
hard as ours.
Flew CH-47's in 69 & 70. He equates his tour as being two very abstract
worlds rolled into one. Rear Area and Combat Missions. He
was either flying to work in the Field or Flying home from work to
safety. He never experienced any hand to hand combat, never stood watch
all alone in the middle of the jungle, and only had one confirmed kill, as
a result of this sea-saw lifestyle, he came home very screwed up.
He didn't have the Stare, but he sure did suffer from PTSD.
most of my tour in the field, sleeping on the ground and eating C Rations,
and always the constant threat of danger that takes a little getting use
I had the 1,000 Yard Stare alright, Hell We all had it after our first few
times into combat, but I thought I had survived my Vietnam experience in
tact, however, after 2 failed marriages, several employment problems and a
serious bout with alcohol, I have come to realize that I to have been
suffering from PTSD.
is a subtle difference between those of us who have seen combat and those
of us who have not.
who have not seen combat, it's just a couple of unanswered questions that
Corps makes Marines, Combat makes Marines Heroes!
Combat Veteran is a Hero!
Golf 2/9 Lima 3/3