Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Milestones---The End of June 40 years ago and beyond

With the rains having been less frequent of late, we are getting in most, if not all, of our tournament games...tonight I go back to Crestview for one last regular season ACME Varsity contest, which will decide the "seeding" for the upcoming Van Wert County ACME Tournament. A day off tomorrow, which will be followed by at least 9 or 10 straight days of more Tournament Games in the ACME and Junior ACME Ranks before the State Tournaments begin in Celina, later in July. Garry and I were at Crestview last night, where we finished off the finals on the Van Wert-Auglaize County Junior ACME Sectionals, St. Marys the Champions, and Wapakoneta, the runners-up, move on to the Districts at Parkway High School in Rockford....I'll be there on July 4th and 5th....no Holiday for me, but I'd rather be umpiring, despite the heat and humidity which were surely be back by then.

End of June Milestones____

The last days of June always bring back memories of my military days....it seems lots of the final days of this month are days which I remember as milestones of sorts:

June 28, 1968....After a night of bar hopping(18 year olds could drink beer back then, legally) my friend Doug Giesige and I spent our last night of freedom in downtown Columbus. Doug was getting inducted in the Army, I had joined the Air Force, rather than taking a chance on the draft. We hit a few bars, pool halls, and other nightspots, before being shipped off to different locations via the Columbus Airport. June 28th, 42 years ago, was the first time, at the age of 19, I flew in a plane...a 707 from Columbus to Dallas, and then on to Lubbock, and then a small puddle jumper to Amarillo, where I was to spend the next 7 weeks are so in Air Force Basic Training....I would fly many times to many lands and far away places over the next 4 years....and have flown many times since. But I have to say, I do not enjoy it, don't like flying, don't like airports, but sometimes it is necessary.

June 30, 1969(41 years ago today)....1 year and 2 days after my induction in the AF, I was on another place...actually several planes in the next 36 to 48 hours or so. From Dayton to Chicago, then on to San Francisco. After getting orders cut, I would clime on board a Braniff International Airlines Jet and head for Hawaii, and on to Guam, the Philippines, then on to Saigon and Tan Son Nhut Airbase....after an overnight stay at TSN, I was off to Nha Trang, Air Base, in a Air Force C-130....I would spent the next 6 months at Nha Trang, playing Law Enforcement, before heading back to Tan Son Nhut, where I would work Security for the final 6 months of my Vietnam Vacation. Before I left however, I would fly back to Hawaii for a 5 day R&R on the beaches of Waikiki.

On June 29th of 1970...my tour of Vietnam was completed, and I climbed aboard an American Airlines 727, and headed back across the Pacific Ocean. Looking forward to my 39 days(including travel time) of leave, before heading to Upstate New York for my final 22 months of Air Force duty....I said at the time, and will say it today. If I had to do it all over again, I would have finished my tour of duty, in Vietnam. Life, despite it's dangers, was not so bad for an Air Force Security Cop..we had beds to sleep in, real food in the chow hall(at least twice a day), and NCO Club to drown our sorrows, and free access to Downtown Saigon(and Nha Trang before that), where we could unwind....life, even in the Air Force's 2nd most dangerous field(flying over those jungles, now that was real danger), next to being a pilot or flying crew member, was not all that bad.....my tour in Vietnam, especially at Nha Trang, was my favorite time in the Air Force. The Chicken Stuff was at a minimum, and the duty, although boring and somewhat dangerous, was not all that bad.

So there you have it....the final 3 days of June, at least those of some 40 years ago, stand out in my memory banks, like they happened yesterday.....now let's bring on July!





back later>>>>
Photos-My Basic Training Squadron at Amarillo AFB, Texas, 42 years ago, with the late SSgt Joe Prokop as my TI...I would see Joe again at Tan Son Nhut, where, after his stint as a TI, he went back to becoming a Security Cop....sadly Joe, a great guy, died a few years ago before I could find him. The night before I left for Columbus and the induction...I believe this was June 27th of 1968, my neighbor and high school buddy, Bob Jones with me on the left, all 135 pounds, my how that would change in short order...Bob joined the Navy and left a few days after I was inducted into the Air Force. A Braniff International Jet, much like the one I flew on going across "The Pond" to Saigon....and another photo of my skinny ass days at the Honolulu Airport in April 1970 on R&R...I was getting ready to board the Jet back to Tan Son Nhut for my final 10 weeks in Vietnam.

3 comments:

Cookie..... said...

Great read mate! Seems we both are feeling a bit nostalgic over the past couple of days. Found myself posting a submarine story yesterday, and today a song about the kind of "boats" I served on. "Diesel Boats Forever". Ahhh Yes, back in the day....

PRH....... said...

Good to look back on occasion Cookie, as long as we don't try to live our 40 year ago yesterday's in the 2010 Body. :)

Anonymous said...

were you stationed at dover afb in 1968?my name is howard pritchard.was also in sec police and at dover delaware.my email is bartdr@sbcglobal. net.the time makes it possible.i too left for viet nam in aug of 68.just curious.thanks