March 8, 1967
Peekskill (NY) Evening Star
Letter to the Editor/Mike Lapolla
Viet Commander Praises Ability and Stamina of GIs
Pleidjerang, Central Highlands, Vietnam
To The Editor:
I understand that many people back home do not really understand the Vietnam War. The war is like anyhing else, if you or your loved ones are involved, it will be much more meaningful. Otherwise, the natural incentive to learn about what is going on is stifled by lack of participation. This is human nature.
But there is one phase of the war that everyone should be concerned about. That is the actions of America's young men under presure and emotional stress. This war, among other things, is a gauge by which the quality of our young men can be accurately measured. Today's young men are tomorrow's national, state and municipal leaders. And, by judging from the men I work with, America will be strong and stable when the younger generation takes responsibility of national leadership.
At the present time I am Detachment Commander of a select group of soldiers. They are all volunteers for dangerous and lonely missions in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Our missions are classified, but I can tell you about the men. They are aged anywhere from 19-24 years old. The detachment is a cross-section of America. We have men from Alaska, Virginia's mountains, others from the Philadelphia Main Line and Chicago; an orphan from Wyoming and another from Wisconsin; several men from Tennessee and many others.
These men possess nerve, stability, common sense and dedication to the cause of the United States and the Free World. Every day I become more proud of them and the work they are doing. Their jobs are neither pleasant nor comfortable, but they never complain.
Be proud of these men and the thousands of men like them in Vietnam. They are the world's finest examples of mankind and have been tested under pressure and emotional stress.
Out of this cruel and dirty war will come men the United States can rely upon. These men will get things done. They are men of decision and action. With them the United States will grow, prosper and remain the world's bastion of freedom.
LRRP, 2nd Brigade, 4th Division
(Lt. Lapolla, a graduate of Peekskill High School in 1961 and the United States Military Academy in 1965, has been in Vietnam since July 21, 1966.