Ray Harris, MACV-SOG, 1969 to 1970

Ray Harris, MACV-SOG, 1969 to 1970

What’s funny is that after I wrote the book, I bounced around doing a number of different things, but then we got involved with Iraq and Afghanistan and although I was against those wars, and I’m convinced that the only reason we got into those wars was because it was voted for by the very draft dodgers that escaped Vietnam. But I realized we were going to be making money over there. The book had not filled my pockets. I had spent a number of years writing adventures, mysteries, things like that. I’d always get close, but I could never find a mentor who would help pull me along and get me published. I invested probably half a dozen years into writing five or six books and promoting them myself. I’ve done it on and off since. Finally, I said, ‘OK, you’re an old man. You’re 59. What are you going to do?’ I went ahead and started getting jobs in the strike security forces, so I could brush up on the resume. I worked in Atlanta and up in Michigan, and finally in the early summer of 2007, I was hired on by an outfit called Armor Group North America… With them, I went over to Afghanistan and worked as a supervisor of Nepalese guards at the American embassy in Kabul.

I was there for about four months, and then I got blood poisoning. Kabul is a filthy city. It’s just unbelievable how bad that is. In the early mornings going in, the trucks would swirl dust… but during the course of the day, it would swirl higher and higher and higher… then sift back down at night. I had blood poisoning and my lymphnode in my left arm was infected. I was given medical leave to come back home, heal up, and I did so. But I found out the medic over there had sandbagged me, said: ‘Not qualified for overseas duty.’ I came in country with the guy. Obviously, I was depressed. I put out my resume some more. Early that summer, I got hired by an outfit out of Tennessee — EODT, Explosive Ordinance Destruction Technologies. They used to handle the destruction of explosives, but then they found there was more value in making money in regular contracts like guarding American compounds. Americans did not want to put a soldier in a tower. That was a waste of resources and 30 years’ worth of expense for the United States Army. They would hire these companies and put Iraqis in the towers with weapons. As they became more and more cheap and greedy, they would go and hire Ugandans. At the very end, they were hiring Bosnians… And I worked the military gate for two years on night shift. The contract ended in October 2010, and I came home. Since then, I’ve basically been retired.

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