Gregory Karger

Greg Karger and I (Vernon Swanu of Duluth) were fraternity brothers in Sigma Tau Kappa fraternity at UMD. I enlisted in the Marine Corps in October, 1969. Greg enlisted about 6 months later. After boot camp and infantry training I was assigned to the 3rd Marine Division then stationed in Okinawa. After 9 months in Okinawa I received my orders for Vietnam. As I was being processed for transport to the Nam, in walked Greg Karger at the transient personnel barracks in Oki. He was on his way to Vietnam also. We were on the same plane to Nam, arriving in country on January 13, 1971. We were both assigned to 1st Battalion, 1st Regiment, 1st Marine Division. I was assigned to Alpha Co., Greg to Bravo Co. Two days later I was sent to the bush to join my company. Six days after that, January 21, 1971, Greg was killed when the chopper he was on crashed. It was his first trip to the bush. He never made it. I think about Greg often. I wonder: why him, why not me?... The scars of war are not always visible to those that have never been there.

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