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Ronald J. Wichers was born in Lake Ronkonkoma, New York. He studied History and Literature at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, until drafted into the United States Army in 1970. He was assigned to a rifle company with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam and, after sustaining the loss of a limb, was awarded the Purple Heart Medal, the Army Commendation Medal for Heroism, the Bronze Star Medal. He later studied theology, at the Graduate Theological Union, in Berkeley California.
“My God. I honestly don’t know how that kind of stuff could happen. I come from a really good family.” Among the other items collected here, the nine Myrmidon stories are of men drafted into military Service and assigned to an infantry company, in a combat zone, and once there to fight to the death if need be. These are glimpses of little people trapped into a wide and sweeping conflagration; moreover, they are descriptions of the kinds of things that can and do go wrong in war, any war but especially one in which the troops are given no clear reason as to why they are to kill or be killed. While there were many stories of true heroism that came out of the war in Vietnam, those examples of self-sacrifice are, in a way, clouded, by an overall sense that none of it should ever have been allowed to happen. If there was any “Glory” to be had there it was on the side of the Vietnamese people in defense of their homeland. Myrmidons was written not because I’m a glass-half-empty type but, rather, as a kind of prayer, a cry, a hope that this kind of thing – our nation’s propensity for wildly and recklessly careening around the world, guns blazing – may never happen again. They are intended as a warning to anyone entering military service to be made aware that, when it comes to war, there is no such thing as a neat “surgical strike” or a “cake walk.” It’s a ragged, messy, bloody affair in which, even with the best of intentions, everyone suffers, especially the “little people.”