Fort Polk Guardian 11-16-2018

Editor’s note: This is second part of a two-part column by Mark Leslie honoring veterans. Part one ran in the Nov. 9 edition of the Guardian. FORT POLK, La. — Probably the Vietnam veteran that had the biggest impact on me was one I never even served with in uniform but who mentored me for many years: Retired Lt. Col. Win- ston Dahl, known as “Win.” I met Win in Colum- bus, Georgia, when doing some work for him. We had much in common and quickly be- came friends. Win had a distinguished military career and even more success as a civilian businessman. He was an air- borne Ranger, Presidents 100, distin- guished marksman (he once hum- bled me with a shot to remove some mistletoe from a tree for Christmas; I missed with two shots and Win hit it with the first shot – with my rifle) and a scholar. Win had two tours in Vietnam and none of them, like Win, was typ- ical. He had been an advisor to the South Vietnamese Army on one tour and in his last tour, had been on the Army staff and assisted in drafting the Peace Treaty of Versailles for Viet- nam with Henry Kissinger. He truly was an intellectual war- rior. On one deployment when I was an advisor to the Iraqi Army, I spent a lot of time corresponding with Win via snail mail and even managed to call him a few times. He always had time for me. Not surprisingly, many of the same tough spots I was experi- encing, Win had experienced in Viet- nam as an advisor. Seems that cor- rupt counterparts, illiteracy, and in- digenous personnel that wanted nothing but to live, were common ground in the advisor world — Viet- nam or Iraq, it made no difference. Win gave me a few pointers on how to deal with problems that are not in any field manual, text book or class, pointers that I credit with keeping me and those in my charge alive. Win was not only a smart man, he was a wise man — there is a dif- ference. When I was wounded later in that tour, Win did more than his share of worrying and checking on my Family. Sadly, Win passed a few years ago. Win made me a better man, leader, father, husband and Sol- dier. He taught me that not only are you never too old to learn, but you’re also never too old to lead, teach or mentor. Once a leader, al- ways a leader. Last, but definitely not least, is an- other Vietnam veteran that I met in some strange cir- cumstances. In 2004-2005 I was in the 1st Cavalry Di- vision, on the above-mentioned ad- visor tour. We lived “outside the wire” at an Iraqi patrol base and the daily routine was much different than for many of our fellow infantry- men in normal units. This is when “advising” was in its infancy. We saw our share of combat and often had “staffers” assigned to us by all levels of command to show them what happened outside the wire. So, when I got a radio message to meet my battalion commander and pick up another “VIP” battle- field tourist, I was less than en- thused. My battalion commander shows up and introduces me to a civilian dressed in a desert camouflage uni- form with a Combat Infantryman Badge sewn on his uniform and a 1st Cavalry combat patch on his right sleeve. I immediately sized the man up and knew this wasn’t the normal staffer. First, he was wearing no rank, he was fit, a little older than the average staffer and had the look of someone who knew what he was doing — and I could tell, he was siz- Viewpoint 2/ The Guardian , a civilian enter- prise newspaper, is an authorized publication for members of the U.S. Army. Contents of the Guardian are not necessarily official views of, or en- dorsed by, the U.S. Government, De- partment of Defense, Department of the Army or Fort Polk. The Guardian is published weekly by the Public Affairs Office, Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk. Printed circulation is 13,000. Everything advertised in this publication shall be made available for purchase, use or patronage with- out regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation or any other nonmerit factor of the purchaser, user or patron. A confirmed violation of this policy of equal opportunity by an ad- vertiser will result in the refusal to print advertising from that source. All editorial content of the Guardian is prepared, edited, pro- vided and approved by the Public Af- fairs Office, Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk. The Guardian is printed by the Natchitoches Times , a private firm in no way connected with the Depart- ment of the Army, under exclusive written contract with Fort Polk. The civilian printer is responsible for com- mercial advertising. The appearance of advertising in this publication, including inserts and supplements, does not constitute en- dorsement by the Department of the Army or the Natchitoches Times of the products or services advertised. Guardian Editorial Staff Brig. Gen. Patrick D. Frank Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk commanding general Col. Jarrett Thomas II Garrison commander Kim Reischling Information strategies officer Chuck Cannon Editor Jean Dubiel Angie Thorne Staff writers Editorial Offices Building 4919, Magnolia Street Fort Polk, LA 71459-5060 Voice (337) 531-4033 Fax (337) 531-1401 Email: Trading post ads: Fort Polk Homepage Advertising For advertising contact (337) 404-7242 Email: In our view Guardian staff asked Fort Polk residents, "What is your favoite cold weather activity?y? " Here are their responses: Adrian Marshall: "I make gumbo. I love to eat it when the weather turns cold." Sgt. 1st Class Brad Johnson: "I love to go camping when the temperature drops. It's too hot here normally." Spc. Chris Molitoris: "I like to hike now that it's cooler." Guardian Nov. 16, 2018 Staff Sgt. Nyakeni Chan: "I'll either lock myself in my house where I can stay warm or go out for a run, which warms me." Commentary Vietnam veterans provided lessons for writer Leslie Please see Veterans page 4 By Retired Lt. Col. MARK LESLIE DPTMS chief, Plans and Operations For advertising contact Theresa Larue ( ) E ail: sales