Trained Killers

That was me in 1966, a trained killer. That was what I was trained to do at MCRD—to kill the enemy and not fight him—but to destroy him or her.

When I read the title, The Threat From Within, Some soldiers become murderers by Jim Frederick, Time Magazine, February 22, 2010; my first thought was that this issue was more complicated than that.

I read the piece, and then looked up the author’s bio. I saw no mention that Frederick served in the military or in a combat zone as a member of the military. No matter how many military men he interviewed or how much research he did, Frederick will never understand what it is like to be the hunter or hunted in a combat zone and what it does to that person.

The Threat From Within never mentions PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I have a PTSD VA rated disability from serving in combat in Vietnam in 1966. When I was in Vietnam, I knew men who did horrible things probably driven by PTSD.  Current research shows that PTSD causes permanent brain damage. I’m sure that the reason the military handles incidents that would appear to be crimes in a civilian world the way they do, is because the officers know the horrible blood price that comes with winning a war and many people like Jim Frederick do not.

Frederick indicates that the military should find a way to root out these potentially dangerous individuals so these types of killings do not take place. It’s bad enough that our soldiers are put in harm’s way with rules that do not allow them to shoot unless they see the shooter with weapon in hand. They did that to us in Vietnam and America lost that war.

After years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan and a military stretched to the breaking point, if every solider damaged by PTSD were pulled from combat, there wouldn’t be enough troops left to accomplish winning a war America cannot afford to lose. Consider that Al-Qaida and their allies have sworn the utter and total destruction of our entire civilization.

In war, the military has a job to do. If that means sending partially damage troops into combat still capable of fighting and killing, that’s what’s done.

From history, we learned that great military minds like Alexander the Great understood that war is hell and must be fought as if the battlefield is hell itself. America fought like that in World War II and won. In a war zone, there are no innocent people no matter what the media prints or says and only ignorant people and fools support putting limits on our troops doing their job. Even in the Korean conflict, the harsh reality of war existed.

If the rules that our troops fight under today existed during World War II, America would have lost and eventually been split between Japan and Germany.  If you lived in the West, the flag to salute would have a rising sun and in the east a swastika.

In my opinion—Jim Frederick and people that think like him are ignorant fools. Let them have their say and politely ignore them.

Discover The Public Image of PTSD and the Vietnam Veteran


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

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6 thoughts on “Trained Killers

  1. What is the down to earth reason the USA is not winning in Afghanistan? | USA best places

  2. Yes. As non military I’ve not thought about the fact that you are actually trained to think in a specific way, that you have been brain washed to be able to kill as you did/do. No wonder why your recovering isn’t that easy, because you are no longer aware of some parts of your self in order so survive the environment in combat. It’s even harder if you happen to have used drugs during war, it actually can disable any treatment of the opposite nature, to undo the killer in you.

    I came to think about one sentence from that bad Viet Nam movie “Apocalypse now”. It goes like this: “There are two of you, one that loves and one that kills.”

    Now. Do you think it is possible for you guys to let go of the trained killer of your self in the past with your own will power ? I guess you also have to leave the good memories from war behind you as well. This because your thinking doesn’t benefit or save you in this environment, outside war.

    • The more training, the deeper the ability to kill and survive goes. The US Marines do a good job training warriors. They’ve had a couple of centuries to learn how and many wars.

      The training never leaves you. There is an “old” saying. Once a Marine, Always a Marine. There a lot of truth to that. I haven’t left any of the memories behind–the good or the bad. I knew one Marine who went over there for three tours and he slept with a loaded Colt 45 caliber automatic pistol under his pillow with his hand on it all night. If anyone woke him up, the first thing you saw was that barrel aimed at your face. I know, it happened to me once. He said if my face had been Asian, he would have pulled the trigger since the safety was off.

  3. I see. I understand, they have pulled you right through your barriers, got very deep in to your minds to undo your natural reflects of any logical thinking and now you don’t find the way back in your thoughts. I can also believe it’s not possible for the pain it will cost, to turn around. It would force you to experience it all just at it really was with that mind you had before your training. I trust your words, it sounds logical to me.
    The only thing I can think of is deep and highly professional hypnosis to lock in those memories that bothers you most.

    Yes, I understand that the instant reaction is still there. Weird that your shrink told you to get rid of your gun just like that. Didn’t he see what made you do that ? Not that I say it’s that good you having a weapon with you in bed, but there is a reason for that behavior.

    Good four you that you wasn’t Asian. The brain is a tricky organ.

  4. Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”: Viewed as a Single Page | The Soulful Veteran's Blog

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