(Contact Info: larry at larryblakeley.com)

Important Note: You will need to click this icon to download the free needed to view most of the images on this Web site - just a couple of clicks and you're "good to go." For reasons why - go here.

A listing and access link to all:
song lyrics and mp3 audio files http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/songs/ (all of which are a part of this Web site) can be accessed simply by selecting the "htm" file for the song you want;

poetry http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/poetry.htm;

quotations http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/quotations.htm; and

essays written by Larry Blakeley http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/articles/articles_larry_blakeley.htm,

all of which are used to tell the story in this Web site, can be accessed by going to each respective link set out above.

My son, Larry Blakeley http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/larryblakeley_photos_jpeg.htm manages this Web site.

Major Roy James Blakeley (December 10, 1928 - July 22, 1965) - USAF (KIA)

When I was young my dad would say
Come on son let's go out and play

No matter how hard I try
No matter how many tears I cry
No matter how many years go by
I still can't say goodbye

- "I Still Can't Say Goodbye," Performer: Chet Atkins

MP3 audio file/lyrics http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/songs/still_cant_say_goodbye.htm

For a larger image click on the photograph.

Note: This is my summary of the article - Larry Blakeley

“We killed a lot of people,” .....Carl and his men had to establish roadblocks, which was notoriously dangerous duty. “We started out being nice,” Carl said. “We had little talking cards to help us communicate. We’d put up signs in Arabic saying ‘Stop.’ We’d say, ‘Ishta, ishta,’ which means ‘Go away.’” But people would approach with white flags in their hands and then whip out AK-47s or rocket-propelled grenades. So Carl’s group adopted a play-it-safe policy: if a driver ignored the signs and the warnings and came within thirty metres of a roadblock, the Americans opened fire. “That’s why nobody in our whole company got killed,” he said.....“And still some people wouldn’t stop.” He went on, “A couple of times—more than a couple—it was women and children in the car. I don’t know why they didn’t stop.”

Kilner and a number of observers inside and outside the Army worry that the high rate of closeup killing in Iraq has the potential to traumatize a new generation of veterans. Worse, they say, the Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs avoid thinking or talking about it. Although both organizations have produced reams of studies on every other aspect of combat trauma—grief, survivor’s guilt, fear, and so on—the aftereffects of taking an enemy’s life are almost never studied.

In 1947, in a slim volume entitled “Men Against Fire: The Problem of Battle Command in Future War,” Marshall took the military by surprise. Throughout the war, he declared, only about fifteen per cent of American riflemen in combat had fired at the enemy. One lieutenant colonel complained to Marshall that four days after the desperate struggle on Omaha Beach he couldn’t get one man in twenty-five to voluntarily fire his rifle. “I walked up and down the line yelling, ‘God damn it! Start shooting!’ But it did little good.” These men weren’t cowards. They would hold their positions and willingly perform such tasks as delivering ammunition to machine guns. They simply couldn’t bring themselves to aim a rifle at another human being—even an armed foe—and pull the trigger. “Fear of killing, rather than fear of being killed, was the most common cause of battle failure in the individual,” Marshall wrote. “At the vital point, he becomes a conscientious objector.”

Within months, Army units were receiving a “Revised Program of Instruction,” which instituted many of Marshall’s doctrines. It was no longer sufficient to teach a man to shoot a target; the Army must also condition him to kill, and the way to do it, paradoxically, was to play down the fact that shooting equals killing. “We need to free the rifleman’s mind with respect to the nature of targets,” Marshall wrote.

Once the Army put his notions into practice, they bore spectacular results. By the time of the Vietnam War, according to internal Army estimates, as many as ninety per cent of soldiers were shooting back. And some were paying a price.

Rachel MacNair, who studies the psychological effects of violence, earned her Ph.D. at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1999 with a dissertation that examined data from the congressionally funded National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study, which, in the nineteen-eighties, interviewed almost seventeen hundred Vietnam veterans. MacNair found that soldiers who had killed in combat—or believed they had—suffered higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (P.T.S.D.). The fact that in Vietnam more soldiers were firing their weapons, MacNair argues, suggests that there was more killing for soldiers to be troubled by.

Major Peter Kilner, a former West Point philosophy instructor who went to Iraq last year as part of a team writing the official history of the war, believes that most infantrymen there have “looked down the barrel and shot at people, and many have killed.” American firepower is overwhelming, Kilner said. He ran into a former student in Iraq who told him, “There’s just too much killing. They shoot, we return fire, and they’re all dead.”

Dave Grossman, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and a professor of psychology at West Point, travels constantly to sell the idea that the killing warriors do is one of the major factors that cause them to crack both in battle and later....In “On Killing,” Grossman writes, “If society prepares a soldier to overcome his resistance to killing and places him in an environment in which he will kill, then that society has an obligation to deal forthrightly, intelligently, and morally with the psychological event.”

To win wars, the Army must turn soldiers, momentarily, into reflexive, robotic killers.

During the Second World War, the American military lost more front-line soldiers to psychological collapse than to death by enemy fire.

....the rate of suicide among soldiers in Iraq is nearly a third higher than the Army’s historical average. At least twenty Army men and women have committed suicide in Iraq since the war began, and seven others killed themselves after returning home. “I haven’t killed anybody here and I hope I never have to kill anybody,” one soldier, a father of two, wrote to his mother from Baghdad before killing himself.

Dan Knox, the son of a Presbyterian minister (he is my wife’s cousin), takes no comfort from the Old Testament; he figures that his moral upbringing not only got him into a war but also left him disabled by it. A compact, wiry man of fifty-seven, Knox joined the Army in 1966, after seeing a photo essay on the depredations of the Vietcong in Life. He felt that it was his duty to defend Southeast Asia from Communism. Knox’s infantry suffered huge casualties, but what bothers him most, more than three decades later, is not the fear, the carnage he witnessed, or the loss of friends but the faces of the people he killed while serving as a helicopter door gunner....Knox occasionally speaks to high-school students about war, but he is rarely invited back. The message he tries to leave behind is: “Killing people sucks.”

V.A. psychologists I spoke with, at all levels, say that the organization doesn’t have a clear, medically oriented treatment model for helping soldiers cope with the killing they’ve done.

Dr. James Marquardt, who ran the in-patient psychiatric ward of the veterans’ hospital in Denver for twenty-five years, dismissed the utility of the exercise. “You kill somebody and you feel bad about it,” he said. “What more is there to say?” The V.A. will try to treat veterans who are struggling with the aftereffects of combat, he said, but he added that “the vast majority of the guys do O.K. with killing armed enemy soldiers.” He went on, “I think the training insulates the average troop. The gestalt that goes with it—‘I have a just cause, I’m fighting for my country, my group’s doing it, God is on my side’—relieves the guy of this individual sense of conscience that might otherwise come to bear.”

Veterans since the American Revolution have complained that the government doesn’t do enough for them. Given what combat does to soldiers, it’s hard to imagine any amount of services being “enough.”

Go here for the full article:"The Price of Valor: We train our soldiers to kill for us. Afterward, they're on their own," by Dan Baum, The New Yorker, Issue of 2004-07-12 and 19, Posted 2004-07-05, http://www.newyorker.com/printable/?fact/040712fa_fact