Thursday, June 30, 2011

30 June 1969...off to Vietnam, and Rising Early on a Summer Morning

Sometimes I would like to go to bed earlier than I do, and get up much earlier than the 7:30 or 8am I do most mornings....last night and this morning I finally got it done. You will find that the older you get, the less sleep you require or get, and with that the later you tend to hit the sack.  After my retirement at the age of 53 back in 2002, I immediately went into driving RVs for delivery around the country, so my sleep pattern went to Hell.  While on the road I would sometimes go to bed in the RVs at 9pm, but be up and on the road by 3 or 4am.  And of course traveling against the time zones on many of those western trips really screwed up my sleep cycle.  When I stopped driving those, back in 2008, I returned to a somewhat normal sleep pattern.  Go to bed at Midnight and getting up some 7 or 8 hours.  What I would like to do is go to bed at 10 and get up at 5 or 6...but that has not happened for the most part.

Last night, with no games, I had several beers, watched "Die Hard" and hit the hay at around 11....after getting up to let the old Airedale, Reagan, out at 4:30, I went back to bed for another hour or so....then at about 5:45 I awoke, and decided right then and there to get up and go take some photos of the sun rising across Grand Lake St Marys.  I didn't have much time to think about it...the sun would rise over Grand Lake about 6:10, and I had to get to the West Bank Road.  The sun this time of the year, rises in an almost North and East direction over the lake....so I knew I had to get down towards the park to get my shots.

I grabbed the keys to Patricia's Dodge Nitro, and headed out....as I approached the park in the quiet and gloam, a doe and her two fawns jogged across the roadway..."It sure is peaceful this morning" I thought to myself.  I parked the vehicle, and while the Canada Geese and their nearing adult young went on feeding, I began to take photos of the approaching sun coming up through the trees along the north side of the lake,  the trails left by passing jets, and a few skittering clouds.  Some of the results are posted here, and on my Western Ohio Weather Blog(link on the right side border of this post).

Yep, I really do need to get up early more often...my mind says I will do that, my body?  Well let's say, that part of me needs to be convinced....

June 30, 1969...off to Nha Trang, RVN

42 years ago this very morning, I awoke early, much like this morning.  But there would be no photo shoot of the sunrise over Grand Lake....this morning was to be my last spent stateside(except for 5 days in Hawaii the following April).  I would get up, mom, dad, and youngest sister Kelly and I would within the next few hours, head south to Vandalia, Ohio.  Vandalia is where then as today, the Dayton International Airport is located.  We arrived, a connecting flight to O' Hare Airport in Chicago was up next....I said my good-byes and climbed aboard.  The morning, like this one, was clear...and as the flight pattern played out, my American Airline 707 rumbled Montezuma on the shores of Grand Lake...from my window seat I actually saw the lake, the runway at our small airfield on could make out our house just off the grassy runway on the east end.  It would be another year before I would see home again.

Chicago was first, then onto San Francisco, where I boarded a bus for the trip to Travis AFB.  From there it was a whirlwind of paper work and processing, and finally I boarded a Braniff International 727 and was on my way.  After quick stops in Hawaii, Guam, and the Philippines, our plane circled over the shoreline and heavy jungle of central South Vietnam....we would set down at Tan Son Nhut AB, or Saigon's Airport.  I really don't recall much of that first day, except I was housed in a transit barracks with maybe 40 other guys who would also be sent to their final in country destinations.  Mine would be Nha Trang, to the north of Saigon, where I would work out of the Law Enforcement division on day shift, or A Flight.  The next 6 months would be the only time I would work LE in my 4 years of Air Force duty...6 months later I would be back at Tan Son Nhut, but not as a "transit"...as a Buck Sergent for C Flight(overnight) Security...

So...it began, this day, 42 years ago...how time does fly by.

The tournament action begins for me tonight...as I have a Winner's Bracket final in the Jr ACME tournament in Convoy at Crestview...tomorrow I will be back there for the final elimination game in the double elimination tournament.  The action will pick up in the Varsity ACME Tournaments as the month of July begins...baseball will draw to a close for another season my next month's end.

back later>>>>

Photos-Three of the 40 some photos I took this morning looking out from the west side of Grand Lake St. Marys....still working on them, to see which are the best, my best guess is I have about a dozen "keepers"....also June 30, 1968 mom and me the morning of my departure for Vietnam....and TSgt Phil Lange my old NCOIC at the Law Enforcement desk at the Airport at Nha Trang....LE with the 14th SPS would be my home for the first 6 months in country, and my favorite duty station in my four Air Force years.

6 comments:

Gene Bach said...

Great pictures and stories Pat. Never a dull moment on your blog.

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

Thanks for stopping by Gene....baseball tournaments start for me tonight, and then the season will wind down, 4 weeks to go.

Munch said...

Great pics, Pat. I need to do that one of these days. Maybe pull the kdis out of bed so they can sit with me, too. Of course, you want to talk about the sleep patterns of a 31 year-old with an active social life? Heck, maybe I'll just stay up to watch the sunrise this weekend!
Duck hunters see that view every morning. I've always hunted to do some duck hunting and pics like this make me want to get out there even more!
I'm sure sitting out there alone with your thoughts really brought 6/30/69 back to you like it was yesterday.

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

Thanks Munch...that was the plan, to do a story on the morning I left, but with the great sunrise, I decided to split the difference....it sure was peaceful out there this morning.

Gene Bach said...

You can join me in the blind any time Munch. I spend a lot of time in the marsh during duck season. The HUGE added bonus now is my daughter loves to come out there with me and slay God's creatures. The Good Book says to raise up your children in the way they should go...I assumed that meant with a shotgun or fishing pole in their hand.

Lin said...

Those of us who have had a special pond or river full of memories are truly blessed. Just wish that ALL those places were still alive today for a new generation to make indelible memories with.