November 11, 2004

Stephen Maxwell woke up Tuesday with soldiers on his mind.

During a morning news report on U.S. troops preparing for an assault on Fallujah, the Chandler resident began thinking back 39 years ago to his days in Vietnam.

When shipping out at age 23, he recalls hearing "I’ve Got You Babe" by Sonny and Cher on a loudspeaker. To this day, the tune brings back a feeling he had at the time — thinking that he would never see his wife of three days again.

Maxwell, now 62, served three tours in Vietnam as part of the 1st Air Cavalry. Like so many Vietnam veterans, he cites the movie "We Were Soldiers" as an accurate portrayal of what he went through.

Maxwell was one of "the old men" because "most of these kids were 18, 19 years old."

He also refers to young troops in Iraq as kids, and knows what they face. Some of these young men and women may never experience the joys of parenthood or a legal drink.

For their service, as well as his own service years ago, he remains proud and grateful.

And if he could take a young soldier’s place in Iraq, he would.

Maxwell believes that aging veterans, if physically fit, would be more than willing to gear up and join the fight in Iraq.

But he’s completely serious about wanting these young troops to make it through this war.

"Just remember these kids," he said.

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