Honkytonk Hero
Chapter 1

Caution: This Historical Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Fa/Fa, Romantic, Harem, First, Slow,

Desc: Historical Sex Story: Chapter 1 - A coming of age story with a twist. Addle-brained Tommy works down at the feed store, stacking Purina and sweeping the floor. A Vietcong rocket scrambled his brains so thoroughly that was all he was capable of... or was it?

Night fell early in the triple canopy jungle of South Vietnam's Central Highlands. During the short early evening nautical twilight, the second platoon of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry, formed a perimeter on the military crest of Hill 887. Under the watchful eyes of their noncommissioned officers, twenty-seven exhausted soldiers quickly scraped out hasty one man fighting positions.

At the center of the circle, Second Lieutenant Thomas Bledsoe plotted his platoon's location on his map and called the coordinates in to the Company Command Post eight hundred yards down the hill. As his NCOs supervised the redistribution of ammunition and cleaning of weapons, Tom keyed the radio again and spoke softly into the microphone.

"Starfish one-six this is Starfish two-six, meet me on guard two, over."

Guard two were the code words for a radio frequency that was only known to Tom and his fellow platoon leader and best friend Jerry Chang. The two men could talk on that frequency privately. Jerry was the Platoon Leader of First Platoon. Chang and his men were set up on the next hill to the south. Jerry had been Thomas Bledsoe's roommate at OCS (Officer Candidate School). Being best friends named Tom and Jerry left them open for considerable razzing from their contemporaries. Jerry responded immediately, "Two-six this is one-six, roger, out."

Tom clicked the knobs of his AN/PRC-25 radio to his and Jerry's frequency then keyed the mike, "You there Jerry?"

"I'm here bro, but I wish to fuck I wasn't. This mission scares the shit out of me," Chang replied.

"Me too, man. I don't know what they are smoking back at Brigade, but it must be some good shit," Tom replied.

The two friends carped on the stupidity of the brass in the time honored tradition of field soldiers everywhere for another five minutes. Then Tom walked the outside of his perimeter checking on the disposition of his men. As he moved from position to position, his concern over the mission increased.

Bravo Company was split on adjacent hills between which meandered a small valley. The rest of the battalion was set up two klicks (kilometers) down the valley to the east. The two hills were only four klicks from the border between Laos and South Vietnam. The battalion was deployed in that manner, in the hopes of ambushing a Viet Cong regiment that the Intel pukes said was planning to infiltrate into South Vietnam from a safe haven in Laos. Bravo Company's mission was to let the VC unit pass by unmolested, then act as a blocking force to prevent their escape back into Laos after the ambush was sprung. First and second platoons were deployed forward to provide security against an attack from the west.

The plan looked good on paper, but down where the rubber met the road, it was a different story. For one thing, the battalion was woefully under strength; for another, the troops were close to exhaustion from two solid weeks of continuous patrolling. In Thomas Bledsoe's estimation, they were ill prepared to take on a fresh, well armed and well trained VC regiment, even in an ambush. And all that was if you could believe the source of the intelligence on which the plan was based.

Bledsoe returned to his position in the center of his platoon and dug a C Ration out of his rucksack. He sighed when he saw what he was having for supper: ham and lima beans, the most hated meal ever made. He fished his dog tag chain out of his shirt and used the P-38 hanging on the chain to open the beans and ham.

Adding to Lieutenant Bledsoe's feelings of doom and gloom was the letter that rested like a lead weight in his top jungle fatigue shirt pocket. He didn't have to read it again, because he had the short 'Dear John' note memorized:

Dearest Thomas,

There is no easy way to break this news to you, so I'll just come right out and say it. I have fallen in love with someone else. It wasn't something I set out to do and I am truly sorry that this letter is the only way I can let you know that I am breaking off our engagement.

You are a good man, Tom Bledsoe, and you deserve better than this. I will not insult you with any trite "I hope we can remain friends" spiel. What I will do, though, is wish you good luck in that horrid place and I will continue to pray for your safe return.



He had felt this coming, based on the infrequency and vagueness of her letters the last two months, but that did not make the reality any less painful. Cynthia Taylor made his Basic Training Drill Sergeant's favorite marching cadence come true: "Ain't no use in going home; Jody's got your girl and gone..." Bledsoe shook those thoughts from his mind and reset his thinking back to the task at hand. There would be time to lament lost love later; right now he needed to focus on keeping thirty-two men and himself alive for another twelve hours.

All of Lieutenant Bledsoe's concerns became horrible reality shortly after midnight, when the top of the hill erupted with small arms fire. The first few rounds were from the M16s of the Observation Post he'd deployed on top of the hill. Their fire was returned immediately by a withering fusillade of AK-47 rounds.

Bledsoe sat up quickly and turned to his radio operator as his platoon sergeant dashed off towards the uphill section of the perimeter. Sergeant First Class Wilson was on his way to assess the threat. Bledsoe would join him as soon as he informed the Company CP that the platoon was in contact.

"Call the weapons platoon, Jimmy, and tell them we are under attack from the West. Tell them I need illum (illumination mortar rounds) ASAP and stand by with H-E (High Explosive) on RP (Reference Point) one," Tom told his radio operator, his voice calm as he could make it.

The RTO nodded, keyed the mike and relayed the message while Bledsoe was talking urgently to his weapons squad leader.

"Bring the other M-60 up on the left of second squad, Mikey, and have them lay it in for FPF (Final Protective Fire). I think this is going to get ugly quick, so I'm going to run our IAD (immediate action drill) for breaking contact."

The young sergeant nodded curtly and took off down the hill. Bledsoe started moving in the opposite direction, his RTO one step behind him. They hadn't moved ten feet, when a couple of flares popped into life over the top of the hill. Both men froze in place as the brightening flares backlit dozens of VC guerillas boiling over the hill.

Bledsoe grunted and grabbed the radio handset from his RTO. He took a breath to calm himself and keyed the microphone.

"FDC this is Starfish two-six, fire mission, RP one, H-E, troops in the open, over."

The fire direction center repeated his fire mission and Tom confirmed a good copy. Twenty long seconds later, a single 81 millimeter, high explosive mortar bomb detonated near the top of the hill.

Tom did a quick estimate of the rapidly advancing guerillas and made a gun sight correction.

"FDC this is two-six, drop two hundred, fire for effect."

The FDC repeated his correction back and told Tom to stand by. Fifteen seconds later, a different voice was on the radio.

"Two six this is four-six, authenticate danger close fire mission, over."

Tom's blood throbbed in his temple as his adrenalin surged.

"Goddammit Stew, I got a battalion of Charlies pouring over the top of this hill, and no time to dig out my authentication key list so quit fucking me around!" he shouted into the headset.

Tom started moving forward again without waiting for a reply. He knew that Rick Stewart, the Weapons Platoon Leader would fire the mission, authenticated or not. That he was calling for a fire mission fifty meters in front of his position was bound to get everyone in the company's undivided attention. Rounds started dropping thirty seconds later, the explosions close enough to cause a shower of dirt and vegetation to rain down on the beleaguered paratroopers. Tom had a moment of hope as the wave of advancing VC faltered, but a lull in the mortar fire, coupled with the blossoming of illumination rounds on the opposite hill erased it. This was no accidental engagement, because it looked as if Chang's platoon was in the same predicament as Tom's. Since the weapons platoon only had three mortars, they were not going to be able to keep up the volume of fire the second platoon needed.

The young lieutenant used the brief respite to make a decision and put it in motion. He waved over the platoon sergeant and the squad leaders for the weapons and second squad. Once assembled, he quickly gave them their marching orders, starting with the second squad leader.

"Vasquez, on my signal, start pulling your men out of the line one at a time and beat feet down hill a couple of hundred yards. Find a place to cover the rest of the platoon so they can disengage."

He turned to the weapons squad leader. "Mikey, you stay with the M-60 you brought up and control its movement. When I shoot off a green pen-flare, you disengage and move down with Sergeant Vasquez."

Tom paused before he gave the order to his platoon sergeant. Sergeant First Class Wilson was an old veteran, hell, he'd even fought in Korea. He had probably forgotten more than Tom knew. In their IADs, the platoon sergeant normally controlled the screening element during the movement from contact. However, Wilson was only four weeks from his DROS (Date of Return from OverSeas) and he had a wife and three kids at home waiting on him. As of mail call two days ago, Tom had no one. He looked Wilson in the eye and addressed him, "Sergeant Wilson, you are the only person here that can get the platoon off this hill in one piece, so do it. I'll stay with the second M-60 and buy you some time."

Wilson studied the young lieutenant for a few heartbeats then saluted smartly.

"Airborne L-T," was all he said.

Wilson did his job almost perfectly, suffering only a handful of casualties. Unfortunately, three of those casualties were Bledsoe and the two-man machinegun crew he was controlling. They became casualties when an RPG-7 rocket propelled grenade hit their position. The machine gunner and his assistant were killed instantly. Bledsoe survived, if you want to call it that. See, besides hurling him twenty feet into the trunk of an ironwood tree, a fragment from the rocket, ironically about the same size and shape of the lima beans he hated, penetrated the lieutenant's skull at his left temple. The white hot, fast moving piece of metal scrambled Thomas Bledsoe's brain just as effectively as an egg beater.

The unpleasantness on hills 887 and 895 was saved from being a debacle by a quick thinking Air Force Forward Air Controller (FAC), attached to the battalion headquarters. The FAC managed to divert an AC-130 Spectre gunship that was loitering over the Ho Chi Minh Trail to their location. The gunship's infrared sights had a plethora of targets, because the VC regiment knew where the battalion was deployed, and was executing a large scale envelopment. The whole exercise, intelligence included, had been part of an elaborate Viet Cong trap.

Belching death at seventy rounds a second, the Spectre's four Vulcan cannons broke up the attacking Viet Cong formations and sent them scurrying back to Laos. Bravo Company suffered twenty six paratroopers killed in action, most of them from the first platoon. One of the KIA's was Jerry Chang.

At first light the next morning, Sergeant First Class Wilson and every ambulatory member of the Second Platoon trudged back up the hill. The platoon was walking point for Alpha Company, instead of standing down with their own company, because they weren't about to leave three of their brothers up on that God forsaken pile of dirt.

Wilson and his men did find their three missing soldiers. The two machine gunners were dead, but to everyone's surprise and delight, the Lieutenant was still alive. He was unconscious and unresponsive, but he had a strong pulse. The platoon medic and a medic from Alpha Company stabilized Bledsoe, started an IV drip, filled out a casualty card and called for a medivac. SFC Wilson went through the lieutenant's pockets and removed his personal effects so they wouldn't disappear when his clothes were disposed of, then he carried one end of Bledsoe's litter to the landing zone.

Wilson watched as the Huey medivac flight rose into the air, spun 180 degrees and sped towards the 173d Airborne Brigade's headquarters near the city of Pleiku. When the chopper disappeared over the hill, Wilson formed up his men and once again started down the hill.

Sergeant First Class Troy Wilson was a battle hardened career soldier. He had joined the Army when he was sixteen, partly to escape the coal fields of Eastern Kentucky and partly because he saw it as a duty. Wilson was mentally and physically tough. He was as hard as woodpecker lips, but he was fair and honorable. The men of his platoon respected the hell out of him, and were scared to death of him. The fact that Tom Bledsoe stayed in his place during the withdrawal was not lost on Wilson. He thought about it all the way back to the base camp. The combination of Bledsoe's unselfish actions and Wilson's strong sense of honor were probably what motivated him to fire off a reply to the letter he found in the lieutenant's pocket.

Miss Taylor,

As you are no doubt aware, Second Lieutenant Thomas Bledsoe was seriously wounded in action eight days ago. The latest information I have is that he is in a coma and on his way back to the States. What you probably don't know is that the lieutenant deliberately put himself in harms way to allow the rest of us to escape from an attack by a numerically superior force. Specifically, he stayed in my place because I have a wife and children back in Kentucky. I will leave it to your conscience to tell you if your actions might have influenced his decision.

All that aside, I am returning to you the enclosed letter I found in Lieutenant Bledsoe's pocket right before he was med-evaced. I read the letter and all I can say is you must have found a hell of a man to have tossed Tom Bledsoe aside as you did.


Troy A. Wilson

Sergeant First Class

US Army

Comatose Second Lieutenant Thomas Bledsoe was categorized as a critical care patient, and was quickly passed up the medical evacuation channels, all the way to Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He was evacuated to Brooke because it was the home of the Military Institute for Surgical Research. Some of the best neurosurgeons in the world practiced their craft at the Institute. The dual nature of the lieutenant's extensive head injuries would require the services of the very best surgeons, just to keep him alive. Bledsoe not only had the chunk of metal rattling around in his temporal lobe, he also had severe blunt force trauma to the cerebellum, from being hurled into the ironwood tree.

A Major from the Casualty Notification Branch telephoned the next of kin listed on Bledsoe's emergency data card, and broke the news to Lieutenant Bledsoe's sister, his only living relative. Telephone notification of the next of kin was standard procedure for those wounded in action; only dead soldiers rated a personal visit. Tom's sister did not take the news well.

Beth Taylor was nine years older than her brother Thomas. She was married and had two children. Her husband was a firefighter and she was a stay at home mom. The home in which she stayed was the home of her and Thomas's deceased parents. Their mother had died five years earlier from breast cancer. Their father, a Station Captain for the Country Fire Department, had been killed two years later, when the roof of a burning warehouse collapsed on him.

Beth had been having premonitions of something happening to Tom for two weeks, since that silly bitch Cynthia had handed Beth her brother's engagement ring. Cynthia had tried to smooth over her breaking of the engagement, because Beth was married to her oldest brother, Wayne.

"I hope this doesn't affect our friendship, Beth. It would only hurt Wayne if you held this against me," Cynthia said.

Beth gave her a withering look and pointed towards the door.

"He'll get over it," Beth said through gritted teeth.

As soon as she was off the phone with the Casualty Assistance Officer, Beth called Wayne. Wayne called one of his fellow firefighters to complete his shift, and sped home to be with his distraught wife. Beth wanted to rush off to Texas to be with her baby brother, but Wayne talked her out of that course of action.

"He's in a coma Honey, and won't know you are there anyway. Why not wait until he regains consciousness, then go see him?"

Beth understood right away that Wayne's suggestion was the way to handle it. She didn't like the idea of sitting home doing nothing, yet what could she do anyway? That afternoon, she and Wayne took turns on the telephone, until they tracked down her brother. She even felt a tiny bit better after talking to the compassionate sounding chief nurse on her brother's ward. Beth religiously called the nurses' station on the ward twice a week after that.

Thomas languished in a coma for almost four months. While he was unconscious, he underwent three brain surgeries to repair some of the damage from the shrapnel in his temporal lobe, and to relieve the pressure from the swelling of his cerebellum. Lieutenant Bledsoe also received what the Army euphemistically called 'facial reconstructive surgery' while he was on the operating table for surgeries two and three. It was, in reality, plastic surgery to fix up some of the damage to his face caused by the exploding rocket.

The plastic surgery was at the insistence of the nursing staff on Bledsoe's ward. Thomas Bledsoe became a cause for the nurses on Ward 4B. For some reason, they all felt compelled to do their absolute best for the forlorn young soldier who seemed so alone in the world. The doctor assigned to do the facial surgery had been in the Army for only a few weeks. He was too new to know that in effect, females ran the military health care system. Doctors came and went, but nurses and administrative staff, ninety-eight percent of whom were women, stayed and kept the system running.

So anyway, Doctor Irving Glickman received a copy of Thomas Bledsoe's chart and instructions to consult with the patient for facial reconstruction. All that was fine, until Glickman saw that his patient was in a coma that bordered on being a persistent vegetative state. Glickman reported that fact to Colonel Hunter, the Chief of Surgery. Glickman's argument was that it was a waste of the procedure because the patient might never regain consciousness. Hunter reviewed the chart and frowned when he saw that his counterpart, the Chief of Nursing, had actually requested the surgery.

"I don't disagree with you Captain, but this operation was proposed by Colonel Phipps and I am not going to countermand her decision. If you really have a problem with this, you need to take it up with her," Colonel Hunter said.

That is exactly what Glickman did. Ironically, he tracked down the Chief of Nursing as she was walking rounds on the same ward on which Bledsoe was a patient. In the medical world Glickman came from, nurses wielded much less power than they did in the military. With that mindset, he approached the three women standing in front of the nurses' station.

He determined which one was Phipps by her insignia of rank. Using what he thought was proper protocol, he broke into their conversation.

"Excuse me Colonel Phipps, but I'd like to speak with you about the extraneous surgery your staff seems to feel qualified to recommend for this patient named Bledsoe," he said.

Sarah Phipps was a small woman, standing five foot one and weighing one hundred and five pounds. She was forty-four years old, and on the fast track to become the Commander of the Army Nurse Corp, one of the two Brigadier General positions open to women in the Army. Sarah's stature and delicate features made her look years younger than her actual age. The same traits also caused people to assume she was as delicate as she looked. Doctor Irving Glickman was about to find out that nothing was farther from the truth. Colonel Phipps looked up into Glickman's face and skewered him with her piercing blue eyes.

"Really?" She said and then she turned towards one of the other nurses.

"Margie, you recommended the procedure, didn't you?"

Margie was Major Margaret Wilcox. Major Wilcox was married to Lieutenant Colonel David Wilcox, the Chief Orthopedic Surgeon at the hospital. Wilcox was about a foot taller than her boss and a few inches taller than Glickman. Glickman's eyebrows climbed into his hairline at the hostile tone of the nurse's reply.

"Yes ma'am, I did. If the doctor had read the complete chart for Lieutenant Bledsoe, he'd have seen that the prognosis for regaining consciousness is very good. I thought doing the facial surgery while undergoing another procedure would save time, money and most importantly, discomfort for my patient later."

Colonel Phipps thanked the Major and dismissed her and the other nurse. When her nurses were out of earshot, she fixed Glickman with that steely gaze again.

"You just used up your one free pass with me, Captain. In the future, you had better be more tactful and respectful with my nurses, or I'll have you shipped off to somewhere cold, lonely and unpleasant ... got it?"

Glickman gulped and nodded contritely.

Four months after he was wounded and sixteen days after his third bout of surgery, Thomas Bledsoe woke up. He woke up in a panic, lying in a strange bed in a large room with three other head injury patients. Bledsoe was paralyzed on his left side and unable to speak. He had no memories past the age of twelve, and a mental age that corresponded to his memory. The paralysis and speech problems were a result of the trauma to his cerebellum; the rest was caused by the metal fragment that penetrated his temporal lobe.

A year's worth of physical and speech therapy had him walking and talking almost normally. Unfortunately, there was nothing anyone could do about his other problems.

Beth Taylor did not come out to San Antonio until two months after Thomas woke up. On the advice of the ward nurses, she forced herself to stay home until her brother could at least say hello to her. It was a strained meeting between the siblings, because Thomas was floundering over learning that his parents were both dead. His last memories were of being home with them, right before waking up in the hospital. Beth was shocked and saddened that her brother was so mentally challenged, but pleased that he at least remembered who she was. Thomas's memories of his older sister were from when he was twelve. Back then, she was just another adult with whom he had to deal. They had not become really close until he was an adult himself. Beth returned to Florida with a heavy heart. It would be a strain for her to take care of him and her own children, yet he was family, so she was determined to make it work.

Seventeen months after he was wounded, First Lieutenant Thomas Bledsoe was discharged from the Army. He was officially classified as permanently medically retired. His departure from the hospital caused many mixed emotions, both for Bledsoe and for the staff of Ward 4B. Thomas was frightened at having to face a world in which he was at such a disadvantage, but determined to make his own way. The nurses, medics and orderlies on the ward were sorry to see him go. When the women discussed it among themselves, they were all amazed at the strong feelings they had for him. To a woman, they felt attracted to him as a man, yet protective of him as if he were a child.

As a long term patient in a military hospital, Lieutenant Bledsoe was assigned to the Medical Holding Company for command, control and administration of his records. The Medical Holding Company did a very thorough job of activating his VA disability benefits, computing his pay and allowances, and documenting his awards and decorations for his military records. The only hiccup in the process was the actual discharge day itself.

The captain who commanded the Medical Holding Company thought it would be easier on all involved if Bledsoe did not put on a uniform for his discharge. The Captain did not think it appropriate to put an officer's uniform on a mentally challenged man with the intellect of a twelve year old. The plan was to simply give him his awards, final pay and retirement paperwork, and send him home to his family in Florida.

It was a plan that didn't stand a snowballs chance in hell when the nurses on Ward 4B got wind of it. Before the flag was lowered on that same day, Colonel Phipps met with the Brigadier General who commanded the hospital. The upshot of the conversation was that First Lieutenant Thomas Bledsoe, wearing a khaki uniform, was retired during a ceremony on the hospital parade field. During the ceremony, he was presented with the Silver Star and Purple Heart he earned on hill 887.

After the ceremony, three of the nurses drove Thomas down to the bus station and waited with him as he purchased a one-way ticket to his sleepy little seaside hometown of Palmdale, Florida. Thomas was taking the bus because it was medically inadvisable for him to fly. The ticket he purchased required he change buses in Dallas, and again in Jacksonville, but the nurses had confidence in his ability to do that. Thomas's mind was slow, but he was very responsible, and he was excellent at following directions.

That, my friends, should have been the end of the story. You've surely heard these sad tales before where only two things seem to happen. In one, Thomas goes back to his hometown and moves in with his sister. He finds a little job and carves out an existence for himself that brings him some limited happiness and satisfaction. In the other, he becomes just another tossed aside mentally deficient veteran living in a cardboard box under an overpass. Either way, it should have been the end, but it wasn't, and the fault lay squarely with Louis L'Amour.

See, Thomas Bledsoe's brain had reverted back to the age of twelve, complete with an encyclopedic knowledge of cowboy lore, as espoused by his favorite writer, Louis L'Amour. L'Amour's tales of the old west fired young Tom's imagination from the age of ten, until he reached puberty and discovered girls. Now here he was in Texas, the center of the cowboys' universe. Yes, he planned on eventually going home, he'd promised too after all, but who could blame him if he made a stop or two on the way? That was Thomas's mindset, when the bus pulled into a small station about half way to Dallas.

"Welcome to Brantley — the Cowboy Capital of Texas," Thomas read out loud..."Perfect," he said to himself as he stood on the curb with his duffle bag and watched the Greyhound pull away...

For the rest of this story, you need to Log In or Register

Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Fa/Fa / Romantic / Harem / First / Slow /