Luck

Luck, noun, success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.

This is Marine Private First Class Jerry W. Garner at age 19. He was a machine gunner attached to F Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines. He is seen here wearing his ‘lucky’ helmet that took an enemy round during a gunfight near Da Nang on July 15th 1969.

Mr. Garner died on May 22, 2012. His obituary read as follows…

JERRY GARNER Fulton – Jerry “Sarge” Garner, 62, died Tuesday, May 22, 2012, at Sanctuary Hospice House after a six year battle with cancer. He was born February 1, 1950 to Cecil and Helen Easterling Garner. He served from 1968 – 1974 in the United States Marines and served in the Vietnam Conflict. He was a member of Civitan, member of Post 49 of the American Legion and Past Master of the Masonic Lodge. He enjoyed target shooting, hunting, fishing and enjoyed watching John Wayne movies. Services will be 2 p.m. Sunday, May 27, 2012 at The Saltillo Chapel of W.E. Pegues with Rev. Ricky Parks officiating. Burial will be in Mayfield Cemetery in Saltillo. Survivors include two sons, James Garner (Liz) and Michael Garner (Jessica); grandchildren, Nigel, Roman, Megan, Daniel, Dustin and Kelsey, all of Pontotoc; siblings, Theresa Hamilton (Earl), Mary Ruth Jensen, Dale Garner (Shirley), Carolyn Gillespie (Frank), Cathy Dees (Hugh), Patty Bradford (Calvin) and Tommy Garner (Denise). He was preceded in death by his parents. Pallbearers will be Nigel Garner, Travis and Ronnie Kitchens, Mike Stahl, Steve Steele and Scott Williams. Visitation will be 5 – 8 p.m. Saturday, May 26, 2012 at the funeral home.

[Jo] I am fascinated by the visual representation that 1/2” could have affect so many lives. So many people that would never have existed but for a couple of millimeters.

During the Vietnam war machine gunners were probably the #1 priority target, unless radiomen and/or officers presented themselves as targets. Unfortunately it’s usually starkly apparent where the machine gun fire is coming from.

Da Nang and surrounds was also heavily exposed to agent orange (the herbicide/defoliaging chemical.

Da Nang is also known for having one of the highest contaminations of dioxin from the use of Agent Orange by US forces during the Vietnam war. Dioxin is one of the most highly toxic pollutants. It can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer. In most countries dioxin levels must not exceed 1,000 ppt (parts per trillion) in soil. Industrialised nations have much lower levels of dioxin contamination in soil, on average, less than 12 ppt. In Da Nang dioxin levels are found up to 365,000 ppt. During the war, when Agent Orange was used to destroy dense foliage used by communist forces as cover, it was sprayed at up to 50 times the concentration the manufacturers recommended for killing plants. – One Square Mile, BBC.

While speculative, I also wonder if his exposure to Agent Orange led to his eventual demise.

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