Yonan, Bob

War Dog

posted Jun 1, 2013, 11:44 AM by Michael Wood   [ updated Jun 1, 2013, 11:44 AM ]

                                                            War Dog


     On one cool misty day, I surfed my last wave of the summer on a laid back beach, us locals called Hermosa of southern California. Its just south of Manhattan Beach. The sun setting, it was getting dark. I needed to hurry because my friends were throwing a party for me, a going away party.


     When I finally arrive at about 9pm the place was packed. I had so much fun throughout the night with my girlfriend by my side. We watched the beautiful southern California sun begin to rise.


     I heard a voice call, “Hey Bob, your cab is here!” “My cab? Oh yeah, I almost forgot.” I kissed my girlfriend goodbye, grabbed my bags and that paper on top of my dresser that said “You Have Been Drafted!”


     I reported to Fort Ord California at the age of 19, for four months of hard training. It was during this time I realized, there were men laying down their lives for freedom, liberty and the American way  of life. With that in mind, I had no right to do less. I was gun-ho and ready to fight the Viet Cong.


     In July 1969 I arrived at Bien Hoa Vietnam for processing. We were given an orientation to the enemies guerilla warfare tactics including booby traps. Our instructor took us into the last tent which was surrounded by sand bags. We gathered around a large table with a white sheet covering something. The light was dim, we thought it was another booby trap. As he removed the sheet .We could see the dead body of an enemy soldier, a Viet Cong. I could see the right side of his face, his shoulder and his stomach, which was very swollen. He couldn’t have been much older than we were. I didn’t know what the instructor purpose was in showing us this dead body. As I looked around at the men, I could see on my comrades faces that, the instructor had gotten our attention. It was only a few days ago we were enjoying life, our families, friends,  and beach parties. Reality had set in. We were in Vietnam and at War!


     Suddenly, a siren sounded, I heard a noise that I didn’t recognize. One of the guys yelled, “incoming” We dashed into the bunkers for cover. The explosions got louder and louder. The ground trembled. Then dirt between the sand bags began to fall filling the bunker with a dust cloud. Someone cried out, “ GOD! MOM!” Our bodies were huddled close together. We could feel each other shaking and gripped by fear we might die. Then suddenly another siren went off, I heard someone shout, “All clear!” That was our first day in Nam.


     I soon assimilated into my unit. My main job was driving a petroleum truck. One of the guys I made friends with was named Jim. Jim was a short timer with only two or three months before he would go home. Jim was from Huntington Beach, about 20 miles from Hermosa Beach. We had something in common, we both loved surfing. His favorite spot was south of the pier where the waves just rolled in. Hey Jim, “I’ll meet you there when I get out!” I told him. He smile and said, “okay, Bob!” We talked a lot about the old days back in the world. A couple of months passes, Jim time was getting really short. His family was excited, his mom, dad and sister were planning a huge dinner party for him. He was getting ready for his last run picking up the guards from all night duty. I was behind the armory shooting the breeze with  some of the guys, when a shot rang out. We ran around the armory. There right in front of us was Jim, shot dead by one of our own guys. According to the investigation the shooter mishandled his weapon,. It was an accident. The shooter remained free. I couldn’t believe it.


     About three weeks later, I saw the shooter. He was surrounded by his buddies. That guy had his nerve to show his face here. I wanted to get him alone and to do him great bodily harm. He saw me standing at a distance. I waited through the hours of darkness. I could still see the group of guys. Then all at once, they all disappeared going in different directions. I never saw the shooter again.


     Feeling sad and depressed my friend didn’t make it home. I couldn’t get even with the shooter, I started to drink more than usual. As I was headed back to my hooch with my poker playing buddy Reed late one night when, I spotted a small dog. It didn’t seem like anybody was looking after it. Reed, whom we called little Hercules because of his muscular build said, “Do you know they eat dogs in Nam?”I replied, “no, Didn’t know that.” He suggested, “Why don’t you get the dog?” that’s just what I did.


     Reed helped care for the dog when I wasn’t around. One day he asked me, “What are you going to name the dog?” I thought for a minute and said, “I’m going to name him Hugo,” because my dad back home had a dog named Hugo.


     Reed and I made sure the dog ate everyday. Boy, Hugo sure grew fast. Hugo and I became best buddies. Hugo had so much energy and personality and was so affectionate. I taught him basic commands. Hugo was my dog, but he was also the company dog. Everybody knew Hugo. He slept next to my bunk on a blanket because of the mosquito netting that surrounded my bed. When I came home from duty, I always found Hugo under my bed wagging his tail, so happy to see me. When we mustered one morning the C O spoke to us, there was Hugo right in front of the company, barking at the C O. It was so funny.

     One night I wanted to play cards. I asked someone where Reed was. He responded, “haven’t you heard?” “ They found him naked and badly beaten with one of his arms cut off.” “What happened?” I asked? He said “It was the Cowboys.” “Who are the Cowboys?” I asked. “ They are gangs, like the hells angels in America. They don’t like Americans screwing with their girl-sans.”


     Little Hercules paid a high price for his actions. It was difficult seeing him going home with only one arm a muscular man, my friend little Herc. By that time I had seen the faces of many dead gooks, but that didn’t affect me as much as seeing my friends dying senselessly or getting mangled for some stupid reason.


     On a hot humid night, we heard a shot fired near our hooch A siren went off. I heard Hugo crying as he ran back to my bunk bleeding. Someone had shot my dog’s nose off. I picked up my dog and ran for help. I ran to the orderly room because there was always someone there. The shooter was apprehended. It was one of our guys. He looked like he was on something or just thought it was funny. By this time there were about 12 people in the room. My sergeant was standing next to me, I asked, “ would you hold Hugo?” As he took my dog I snapped . I went after the shooter with a vengeance . There were so many people there I couldn’t get close to him. My sergeant yelled, “We need to get Hugo to the hospital!”


     I carried Hugo in my arms in the back of the jeep. I cried, “Please GOD, don’t take Hugo! Please GOD!” Then I stopped hearing that hissing noise from Hugo’s nose. I opened my eyes, I looked down , Hugo was dead. I can’t remember what happened after that.


     I have come to this spot on the beach a lot through the years. I don’t  enjoy surfing  anymore, or parties. I just like it here, it’s so peaceful. The waves keeps rolling in, just like Jim said. “ Sometimes I spend the whole day here deep in my thoughts.”


         Sitting here, sad and depressed all day,

         I simply exist as I decay

         I seem stuck in my thinking, not moving,

         In my sixties, my life nearly gone.

         War changed me from what I might been,

         Took the happiness from many men.

         Although we can’t change the past,

         Forty-two years later, who thought I’d last.

         Vietnam ruined an entire generation,

         Is this country better off as a nation?


     The sun is going down, I need to pack it up. Hiking back up a  

  trail, I saw a lost dog. I took this hungry and frail dog home. Then name it Hugo, turn out to be the best friend I ever knew. A gift from God.


                                                   By; Robert Yonan  ( 09-30-2012 )

Three Phase In The Life of Leroy

posted Jun 1, 2013, 11:41 AM by Michael Wood   [ updated Jun 1, 2013, 11:41 AM ]

Three Phase In The Life of Leroy


Not the way I was raised, my street fighting phase.

It was a street king thing

No timers or rules like a ring

A poor area, the neighborhood rough

The last man standing, I thought I was tough

Not liking school in spite of my mom cries

I didn’t need books, I was street wise.

Being bad in front of the other guys.

I only cared how I look in their eyes.

It was just a phase ending during the war in Vietnam.

I left a street punk and came back a man.


   So happy coming home to America in one piece and alive. Sure I party and chase women like there are no tomorrow. Some years later I married, a baby girl was born, I name her Precious. Divorce follow soon after that I didn’t put up a fight just signed the papers, paid her child support payment.

   She blamed me, still chasing women and pouring down beers. I kept saying I will quit but that day never appear.

   My Precious will soon be 18 year old. Today was that day, so glad that this was going to be my final payment. Months after month, years after year, all those payments. I called my baby girl over, told her to take this check to your mothers house and tell her this is the last check she’s ever getting from me. Come back and tell me about the expression on your mothers face. I waited anxiously to hear what she would say and the look on her face.

   My daughter came back through my front door and I ask, “what did your mother say about that?” She said to tell you, “you aren’t my Dad,” and watch the expression on your face.

   I never forgot that day my Precious said I wasn’t her Dad. I stopped drinking after that.

   Having just entered into retirement age

   Entering into this new unknown phase.

   A phase in my life where I must set new goal

   To stay busy, keep that zest in life, not to grow old.

   Children, friends, and family move on.

   I watch in wondrous amazement from sunset to dawn

   I look back to reminisce, and reflect.

   Everything loved lost, thoughts to collect.

   The things these strained eyes have seen.

   The sorrow, joy, beauty life brings.

   Learning crises are events that are blessed.

   I watch and cried while family and friends laid to rest.

   No one knows when its their time to go.

   How many more mountains high or low.

   I’ll keeps Jesus close to my heart.

   When I finish this life, I’ll get a new start.

   The start of a new phase, never ending Bliss.

   To all that have now or will ever exist.

   The last and final phase never ends.

   Its is as they say, “TRUE LIFE BEGINS.”


                                              By: Robert Yonan  (04-29-2013 )

The Cliff

posted Jun 1, 2013, 11:40 AM by Michael Wood   [ updated Jun 1, 2013, 11:40 AM ]

                                                                The Cliff



     Hawaii waves   are the best in the world, Sailing, Snorkeling,

Scuba, Surfing, Kayaking and whale watching are all part of the fun.


    Our vacation was almost over. My wife and I love it here, we talked it over, Hawaii is where we want to spend the rest of our lifes. Kauai is one of (8) eight islands in Hawaii. The locals call this island (the flower of paradise).


    We did a short sell on our house in Texas along with everything we owned. So excited making a new beginning. Everything was let go at bargin price and still made a nice profit. In the mean time our agent in Kauai called us. She said the house we were interested in, near the cliffs over looking the ocean was still available. Do you still want it? I ask our agent, “ is the Pope catholic,” she said yes and laughed.


    Lisa was so happy that we were going to move to Hawaii. I knew it would save our marriage. The decision we make was the right one. Lisa was a Marine, a dam good Marine. She did two combat tours in the middle east. A very physical, joyful up beat beautiful girl. I call her my lady the leatherneck. She could be tough as nails or gentle as a flower. She was not only my wife but my best friend. We did everything together. When she deployed to a far off land, we wrote to each other everyday.  When the opportunity was there we’d go on web cam every chance we get. 


    For a long time my life was empty and lonely. My world began when I meet Lisa. I remember the first time she caught my eyes. We were both at lake Isabella for the summer kayaking races. I couldn’t get her attention so I intentionally hit her kayaka on the side with mine. We both went overboard into the cold water. It was so funny we laughed so hard. Every since that day we had so much fun together. I married Lisa (3) three months later while she was still in the armed forces.


    We received news that her company was ordered back to the middle-east. The news devastated me. I didn’t want her to go. We were newlyweds. We tried but couldn’t alter her orders, she had to go. Just then Lisa made a promise to me. She ask me to look her in the eyes and said, “I will be back Bob.” For nine long months, nine long months I thought about her every single day. One day the door bell rang, I open the door, there was Lisa in uniform with that big smile on her face. What a beautiful day. Lisa kept her promise to me and soon was honorably discharged from the corps at Fort Bliss, Texas.


    Employment was scarce and we didn’t plan any kids yet. Lisa stayed home a lot. However I could see the change in her. She became less affectionate, disinterested in activities we would normally enjoy. There were nightmares. She would wake up at night screaming, drenched in sweat. She never told me about the nightmares she keep saying , “Bob you would never understand,” it was kept from everyone. Our house was located near a military base in Texas. There were times went the base was engaged in military exercise the sound of the big guns would go off. Lisa would go down on both knees with both arms around her head. A convoy rumbas by, she just stares at them. I have to snap her out of it. I knew I had to get her out of Texas, get her away from all of that. Little did I know it wasn’t the enviroment.


    After landing on Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands. We drove up in a rental car toward our new home near the top of the mountain. I told Lisa, “now I know why the locals call this place the flower of paradise,” there were arrays of beautiful flowers everywhere. She looked at me and smile. I love it when she smiles.


    It took months before we completely settle in and finished our renovation to the house. At last all was completed. A house warming party was in order. We invited some of the local neighbors over. One of our neighors was a general contractor. Some of the contruction Frank did was taking the spare room and expanding it. It was converted into my office space with build in bookshelf’s and redwood cabins. This is where I do my work as a stockbroker. My most prize renovation was in the master bedroom. We demoed the west outside walk and added double French doors. When you opened it and walked out you are then standing on a newly constructed balcony over looking the cliff. I enjoy showing this balcony off. You could hear the mighty ocean waves crashing on the rock below. I fine it so soothing, I could sleep to that sound at night.


    I noticed Lisa wasn’t socializing with our neighbors. When the party was over she would go back into the room and sit in the dark she seem depressed, unmotivated, tense. I thought she might be a little home sick.


    A couple of days later I asked Lisa,” lets go out and do something”, How about snorkeling, kayaking or just drive around the island. I wanted her to come out of that depressed state of mined she was in. I couldn’t figure it out, what she was so depress about. Lisa then got very angry with me and wanted to be left along.


    One day after a late kayaking I came home just before sunset, I put away my kayak. Then went into the house. I couldn’t fine Lisa. I looked everywhere. I then started to search the grounds.The sun was already setting, the moon was bright and full which gave me some light in my searches.


    Suddenly there was Lisa across the road near the very edge of  the cliff. She didn’t see me as I approached her. I was getting closer and closer toward the cliff. Lisa then turned around as the moonlight reflected off her face. I could see tears from her eyes. Without a word spoken…SHE JUMPED…


    I wanted to share this story with you, so it wouldn’t happen to you. Its been over 10 years now since that jump. Lisa was my rock, she will never die in me as long as I live. I love her so much. May her soul rest in peace. I never recognized the signs and was never told about, PTSD.


          Once alive,vibrant,soul

          No more the person I grew to know

          Happiness is no where to be found

          Alone in a darken room, no one around

          It affects me too, so close to the stress

          To witness someone once happy, now so depressed

          The difference is like night and day

           PTSD took the person I knew and love away……




                                                                                                                 BY: Robert Yonan



The Messenger

posted Jun 1, 2013, 11:38 AM by Michael Wood   [ updated Jun 1, 2013, 11:38 AM ]

                                                          The Messenger



     On December 25,1998 I died at the Los Angeles Harbor General Hospital in the city of Carson, due to a massive heart attack. My time of death was recorded by Dr. Burstein M.D. in the emergency room at 7:15 pm.


     In route to the hospital I was in and out of consciousness, I could hear the sound of the siren in the ambulance. I was wheeled in the emergency room the last thing I remembered was becoming very angry at my 14 year niece. Her mother and a friend of the family were in the house as this happen. They tried to calm me down, I keep yelling at her. I cant remember why I was so mad, however I died on Christmas day.


     Suddenly I awoken. as my eyes open I realized that I was in some kind of a dark cave. The air was so disgusting! It smelled like rotten dead animals. The ground that I was standing on was ankle deep with this sticky gooey, gunkey sludge. I began to feel a severe headache. The heat was unbearable. I asked myself what is this place? Why am I here. At a distanced I could see a hazy light. As I got closer toward the glow. I could hear howling sounds coming from the same direction of the light. I  turned a corner reaching what look like the end of a cliff. It was a cliff, I looked down then soon realize that terrifying sound was a sea of people in torment. I was in HELL!


     I couldn’t do anything but stand there and watch. Why am I here? I keep asking my self. I began to yell and scream out somebody help, please somebody help me. I could see the blasting fire from hell, eternity was there. To both of my knees I fell. I never shook so hard as I was overcome by fear. It was to late to plea, judgment day was here. I had plenty of time to pray, ask forgiveness and repent but I didn’t worry about my sinning and how my life was spent. I cried and cried. I was condemn forever and ever.


     I didn’t want to see anymore. Just then I heard a thunderous sound erupt. I looked up and saw hundreds of thousands of people falling into hell in two different locations. The one below me was like a huge lake of fire and brimstone. The other location was toward my right where the liquid was much thicker like molten lava and redder. I could see little cubby holes and huge cave along the side of a wall above the lava. Still shaken, I lean forward to get a better view. I watched as the people splash down. You could hear their horrible eerie screams, as their body bobbled up and down. With no mercy in sight they were tormented beyond belief. I saw there skin pealing off there bodies, disfigured, in excruciating pain on their faces.


     As I saw the last humans fall in hell. Demons looking creatures crawled out of there caves. There were so many of them. The demons would reach down and pull up some of the humans. As soon as the humans were on the foot of the caves 20 to 30 more came out and did unimaginable pain onto them. I watched as the demons  tore their bodies apart in anguishing pain over and over. As their body parts would grow back, there torture was forever and ever.


     I heard Satan demonic laughter coming from the fire and smoke. I couldn’t see him but he knew I was here. He yelled at me calling my name, and said “your mine”! I will torture you forever, and never tire.” Satan ordered his demons to drag me to hells torturous eternal fire and smoke.  I was crying, screaming, trembling, pleading to GOD. The demons were getting closer here on the same ground I was standing on. Suddenly, a bright light surrounded me like a shield a soft voice saying,“ come here.” At that moment my trembling stopped and a sense of peace came over me. I turned around and walked toward the center of the light. There in the midst of the light were two doors. One was marked Heaven and the other door Earth. The voice of peace told me to choose.


     I am here today because GOD allowed me to see the different levels of hell and the torment there. I chose to be here on earth to tell you what I saw was real. I don’t what anyone to go to hell. Take heed to my word. I tell you the truth. There is a spiritual realm and its real, a place of future punishment. The final destination for all unbelievers. I asked GOD, “what do I have to do to stay out of hell.” I hear a voice saying to me in four words, “GET TO KNOW ME.”


     GOD wants me to share my story. Its has been over 15 years since I had that out of body experience. Today I travel throughout the land. I speak in churches, villages and everywhere telling this story. My time will come, I have no fear of death, for I know were my soul will rest. I learned of GOD.GOD is love. He has an eternal kingdom. There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor pain.


     Blessed are you who keeps my saying of this story.  I am the Messenger…..


                                             By: Robert Yonan  (02-02-2013)



Battlefield Of The Mind

posted Jun 1, 2013, 11:36 AM by Michael Wood   [ updated Jul 9, 2018, 4:57 PM by Bruce Rowe ]

                                                   Battlefield Of The Mind


   Its has been a long journey since we set foot in that country we call Vietnam. Vietnam has never left us, it will always be there in our mined. We have seen the faces of death both the enemy and our brothers at a younger age. As a United State soldier I had the honor of serving with a company of heroes in a life and death struggle in the Vietnam war and survive.

   Upon coming home to a unwelcome world. I discovered another battlefield, a battlefield of the mind. They use to call it shell shock, battle fatigue, now it is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The symptoms are anxiety, intrusion, flashback, nightmares, deep depression, out-burst of anger, isolation from others. These are attacks of the mind. There is a war going on and your mind is a battlefield. This battle I learned will never end. Its been going on in most of us  for over 40 years. We are soldiers that don’t just want to survive--- we want to be healed!

   I was honorably discharged at age 20 from the United States Army. After my 14-months tour in Vietnam in September 1970. However, my transition in coming home and assimilating back into my community was another event that I will not forget. People everywhere were against the war and against us . They despised us, they spat at us, calling us baby killers. The world we came to was compromised. Many Americans had turned their backs on us.

   With all of these negative emotions targeted toward us, many of us decided never again to talk about Vietnam. Never again wearing anything showing that we were Vietnam Veterans. We kept it from everyone, even from our family and friends. Now the war is locked up inside us.

   As the years have gone by we have gotten older, we can see on street corners someone holding a cardboard sign saying Vietnam Vet, need help. We could see homeless Vietnam Vet in the parks and street by the hundreds. We hear and read about them in newspapers titled “Combat Veteran Commits Suicide.” For many of us treatment was never there in the beginning, nor were there proper help for these combat veterans. Their wounds are deep and invisible with emotional scars that will last a lifetime. The battle suffered is still in their mind. They had no control of it nor knew what it was.

   Still the numbers keeps growing and growing finally America asks why so many veterans are homeless? Why are there so many in jail? Why so many combat veteran committing suicide?

   The times they are changing my comrades. The spirit of America has changed, they now open up their arms for us and say “Welcome Home Solider.” I have changed, Never before have I been so proud to be a Vietnam Vet. Today, they honor, remember and, care for us. There is help through the VA for all of us. Sure it’s a struggle out there. I will be the first to tell you. There is no retreat. We need to win this battle, suicide is not the answer.

   I urge you to make up your mind not to quit nor give up until total victory is complete. Take possession of your rightful self, by renewing of your mind. You now have the choice to change or suffer remaining the same.

   May the most high GOD of all understanding bless you with peace and joy in every road you roam. Never forget we are the Vietnam Vets. We stand tall for all to see, for we are the soldiers and keepers of this legacy.

   Here is wisdom my comrade:

                Wisdom is something learned through the ages;

                 Not something found in book pages.

                 Wisdom is the teacher, Wisdom is the writer.

                 Wisdom is the fighter, the soul survivor.

                                                   By: Robert Yonan  (12-08-2012)





Men of Vietnam Era

posted Aug 23, 2012, 9:05 PM by Michael Wood   [ updated Aug 23, 2012, 9:11 PM ]

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