At some point during my last four months of active duty at Fort Campbell, while sweating it out on KP (Kitchen Police), I was told that my presence was requested at an awards ceremony to which I would report. (The Army is well-versed in the not-so-subtle art of persuasion.) I returned to my room, shit, showered, and shaved, and put on a set of freshly starched fatigues. When I arrived, there were twenty or so people gathered to receive medals. That day I received the Air Medal, the Purple Heart, and the Army Commendation Medal, which was given for merit, not valor. Because it was given to almost every enlisted man below the rank of E-5 who served in Vietnam, it wasn’t something I wrote home about. Feeling a little like Cinderella as I left the ceremony, I exchanged my highly starched fatigues for my grimy KP garb and resumed the life of an unwanted stepchild.