War hero is deserving of a higher honor: What a life Tony Tercero's lived! And Paul Rubin tells his story well. Tony does indeed deserve a higher honor from our government, whether he and his brother ran a big marijuana operation or not. It all happened after his heroics in the Vietnam War, after all.
The most interesting aspect of the story was how Tercero used the knowledge he gained in the Army to successfully move drugs from Mexico. And they say that what you learn in the service is worthless in civilian life . . .
I was impressed that Tony has done so much for kids over the years. Good luck to him in his battle against bladder cancer.
Howard Wolf, address withheld
Nobody is perfect — even a hero: Tony Tercero's devotion to others, through most of his life, is astounding and to be commended. And we should all remember that nobody — not even a war hero like Tercero — is perfect.
After the harrowing experiences he had in Vietnam, it's no wonder he took up drug smuggling. Transition back into society after an experience like that is a bitch.
My hat's off to Tony for his courage. He deserves the higher honor he seeks from the United States, even though I get the idea he's not much concerned with that. He seems happy just to continue helping people, kids primarily.
Bill Snyder, Phoenix
What will the effect of the Iraq War be?: Interesting story. Like the one fellow in the story said, "War is hell, but worse." I wonder the effect of war on the men and women fighting in the Middle East nowadays.
It's sad that the poor and middle class get used in wars so that certain groups can raise the flag but not send their kids to fight. I wonder how many people have been killed over the years so assholes can drive Hummers and SUVs.
William Zaffer, Scottsdale
Tercero's story provides a classic example: Tony Tercero is just one example of the evolution from military service back to civilian life.
As a Marine and history major, I enjoyed Paul Rubin's "Full Medal Jacket." Having just finished a course on the U.S. experience in Vietnam, I found the story to be a classic example of the difficult transition that many veterans experienced after returning from the Vietnam Conflict.
Consider this comment from Thomas Paine in 1776: "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."
Jaime Jimenez, Mesa
Tercero is meant to serve others: While riding the train to work, I read "Full Medal Jacket." The story was very well written and quite moving.
My thoughts and prayers are with Tony. I hope that his doctors caught the cancer in time and that he'll have a full recovery. He needs to continue on with "what he's supposed to do."
It's obvious that Tony is meant to serve others, in whatever form it may happen. I hope his daughter and others get him the medal he deserves.
However, as I read the story, I got the sense that Tony does not need the recognition. His gift to others is a big enough "medal."
Jill Kolp, Tempe
Tercero is more than what "hero" implies: I thoroughly enjoyed reading the excellent article on Tony Tercero, the Vietnam Lurp veteran. It was very moving to me; I'm a veteran, although I never was in combat.
Here's my message to Tony: "Hero" is such a worn-out term. What you did is much more than that term implies. I have been yearning for a long time to volunteer my time somehow to help veterans. I contacted the VA but never heard back from them. So I guess I'm asking you how I can help with your efforts to reach out to veterans.
Brad Whipple, Tempe
Swashbuckling stuff!: I found Paul Rubin's description of Tony Tercero's exploits in Vietnam fascinating. This is truly the stuff of a great book. Tony should hire Paul to tell his story in book and screenplay form.
The description of him saving those men in his shower shoes is amazing. And if it isn't true that [Tercero] pointed the gun at the helicopter pilot who didn't want him to come along, it should be. What an image!
I would like to have known more about Tony's drug-smuggling days. I wondered how he and his brother got away with it for so long and how high on the hog they were living when the business was going strong. This is swashbuckling stuff!