Person that supposedly advises you during your thesis work: in reality, slave driver, tyrant and dictator to poor, hard-working graduate students.

Most people think of an advisor as someone in school who advises students on subjects to take or schools to attend, but this is not the advisor I have in mind. When I was 20, in 1964, I was in the Air Force and was on my way to Vietnam. At this point and time we weren't officially engaged in war; we were merely advisors, advising the South Vietnamese on how best to battle the North Vietnamese Communist Army, otherwise known as Charlie.

As a crew chief on a fighter plane known as the A-1-E, it was my job to keep "my" plane ready to fly at all times; so therefore, early on, when "my" plane was forced down, it was my job to accompany other forces on a mission to find and repair said aircraft. What I'm getting at is when we arrived via another aircraft known as a C-123, we were initially alone on a small landing strip on a mountain top. But, we weren't alone for long. Shortly, several men in green, wearing berets, came ambling out of the woods from several different directions. These were the advisors we had heard so much about. We had, in essence landed at their home and I was introduced to men who knew the friendly forces as well as the enemy and were afraid of neither.

Advisors, such as these, were about to be extinct but for the moment, they were as much at war as any soldier had ever been. They fought alongside the south Vietnamese soldier and got credit only for advising. But the USA was about to commit to a full scale war and advisors would be "promoted" to soldiers. But,the advisors I met that day, I will never forget and will always honor, for they were doing what few had done before and something a whole country was about to do. They put their life on the line to defend what they believed would be a threat to the freedom of others as well as their own. It's a shame we couldn't give them better advice.

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