Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Snowed Out....and a Ohio State/Duke Blow Out!

The last thing I was thinking yesterday, early yesterday, when watching the steady rain fall, was that the JH Girls double header at Wayne Trace, some 35 miles north, would be canceled...but it was.  The rain, expected to stay through early evening, changed over to heavy and wet snow by 2pm...as I was preparing to leave Celina for Haviland, a call on my cell phone from the WT Athletic Director, told me "Pat don't start out, the game is off, Edgerton says they have snow and ice, and are not going to make it...."  Well, heck, that took care of that....I cannot remember a game being snowed out this early, at least in the handful of years I have officiated basketball.  December, January, February?  Sure, those are expected...but this first official week of the season, that has to be rare.

So with the games canceled, I drove up to the Celina Wine Store and grabbed a trio of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout bottles, drove home, fixed a pork chop supper for me and Patricia.  I wasn't sure when she would arrive home from work, so I ate, and kept her's warm....I polished off a bottle of the stout, and kicked back to watch some of the games in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.  After last night, the B10 leads 4-2, thanks in part to a Buckeye ass kicking of my favorite Duke Blue Devils.  Now being an Ohio State football fan, if Duke was going to lose, it might as well be against Ohio State...but by 85-63?   Ouch!

Sam was working the game, cutting video for the highlights on the Big Ten Network....so I'm sure he was pleased that his soon to be Alma Mater, came out on top....and he told me he especially enjoyed the boo fest that occurred when Ohio native and former Cleveland Caviler LaBron James, and his Miami Heat teammate Dwayne Wade were introduced.  Did I ever mention, I despise NBA Basketball?  So really, who cares about "LaBrown the Clown"?

As for Sam, he tells me he will be doing play-by-play for the upcoming Ohio State-Texas Pan Am match-up on the Ohio State Internet Network and his color commentator will be JJ Sullinger, former Buckeye star,  and older brother of Jaren Sullinger, the leading candidate for national player of the year....that takes place on Saturday at Noon on osu.com which can be found at the following link:
http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/

Meanwhile I will be back on radio tonight on WKKI 94.3 with my little buddy "Wulfie" working with him in the second half hour of his live from the Celina Moose Lodge sports talk show....which is available on-line here:
http://www.k943.com/

Celina boys basketball coach Chris Bihn will be the guest in the first half hour, as the boys tip their season off this weekend Friday at Bellefontaine, followed by the rival early season game at home on Saturday night against perennial power Lima Senior.  In the second 30 minutes we will take Urban Meyer's hire at OSU, the high school football finals this weekend, with two local teams, Coldwater and Marion Local playing for titles, in D5 and D6 respectively, and no doubt the pounding Duke took at OSU last night.

Tomorrow night I am back in action, officiating at Elida for a girls JH double, then Saturday morning I travel to Convoy to work two games in the Van Wert County Tip Off boys classic at Crestview High School.....

Out for my daily walk...back later>>>>

Photos-Not much snow, but enough to cause some slippery walks and roadways, the first of the winter season none-the-less, about 2 inches in Celina, more north.  The Buckeyes pound my Duke Blue Devils....and with the games canceled yesterday, I took time to decorate the Houseworth Christmas Tree.....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Snow.....The Seasons First....and Kasyn at 5{days that is}

A surprise snow canceled my scheduled JH double header basketball at Wayne Trace tonight...far north Edgerton had ice and could not make the game....we had about an inch, the season's first.   Might be some ice tomorrow morning....

Watching Duke at Ohio State Basketball, the #2 ranked Buckeyes are having the early success...leading by 10 or so, after jumping out to a 9-0 lead....my #3/ or #4 ranked Blue Devils will be hard pressed to pull this one out at Columbus...where oldest son Sam is working the game, doing video for the Big Ten Network....a long time OSU Football Fan, I am just as big a fan of Coach K and Duke Basketball....even though I attended other schools, Wright State, Hocking, Trans-American, and Ohio University....

And Hal sent the latest photo of the grandson.....Kasyn T. Houseworth at 5 days old...seen above.

back tomorrow>>>

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Basketball Season Tips Off......and Thanksgiving Weekend in Review

The Thanksgiving weekend flew by at warp speed.....

Grandson Kasyn arrived in the world, our first grandchild.....the parents Hal and Lisa got to take him home yesterday morning after the late Thanksgiving evening birth.....

Ohio State fell to Michigan for the first time since 2003 in Football....don't look for scUM to have a similar run....they just aren't that good....Ohio State has a coach to name, because sadly Luke Fickle, thanks to the previous moron, Jim "Vest" Tressel and his man-child QB, Toilet Paper Pryor left the program in shambles.  Too much talent however, and OSU will return to prominence in short order, probably with Urban Meyer at the helm.

The Bengals came from behind to defeat the Browns in Cincinnati 23-20 on a rainy Sunday afternoon, with a surprising record of 7 wins 4 loses, Cincy is still in the hunt for the NFL playoffs...something nobody could have or would have predicted before the season began.

Saturday morning I worked my final pre-season scrimmage in basketball...today the Junior High Girls season tips off...I have double headers at Wayne Trace both today and tomorrow.  I am at Elida for another JH Girls double on Thursday, before the boys High School season, for me, starts on Saturday Morning, for a tip-off Classic double header at Crestview in Convoy....after this week, the schedule, except for a couple of days around Christmas, gets pretty crazy....we will see if the old body can handle the load.

Other highlights this week______

Tuesday night the Duke Blue Devils roll into Columbus to take on the Buckeyes.  I will have mixed emotions with this one....I am an Ohio State football fan, but have rooted for Duke and Coach K in basketball for 25 or so years.  I will root for the Blue Devils, but if OSU wins, and the Big Ten can capture the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, I won't be to upset.  I just hope they don't meet for the National Championship....

Wednesday Night I will go back on the air for a half hour, as "Wulfie" needs a co-host for his radio sports show from the Moose Lodge in Celina....high school basketball will be the major subject, but I suspect we will talk football as well, especially with 2 local teams once again in the State Finals.  Marion Local will play for the State Championship in Division 6 Saturday against New Washington Buckeye Central, while the Coldwater Cavilers will play in it's third straight State Final in D5 on Friday.

Patricia and I headed to Centerville in the rain late yesterday afternoon, to take the new parents some Thanksgiving Dinner a bit late....no Turkey, but a large batch of Patricia's home made Chicken Noodle Soup and a large Strawberry Short Cake, homemade as well....we only stayed about 45 minutes...time to let the new parents enjoy the new arrival by themselves.  Of course we had their two dogs over the weekend, and took them back home to meet and greet Kasyn as well.  I am sure we will head back down for a visit next weekend, probably on Sunday, and hopefully Great Grandma Houseworth will go with us and meet the newest family member.

back later>>>>

Photos-Basketball, the regular season, starts for me tonight and tomorrow at Wayne Trace HS...Grandson Kasyn has arrived home....Duke takes on Ohio State in Columbus tomorrow night.  And The Grandparents, Poppa Hal, and young Kasyn on Thanksgiving Night.....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Catching Up with the Whirlwind Weekend....


It is is a rainy Sunday, a rare weekend post for me for sure....After 2 nearly perfect late November days, sunshine and in the 60s, things will be wet for the next few, then the bottom is slated to drop out, with highs hovering in the 30s and near 40 for the foreseeable future beginning Wednesday.

The Grandson Arrives_____

Kasyn Timothy Houseworth came along late Thanksgiving night, via C-Section...it wasn't planned that way, but having a mind of his own, it was the best for both him and Lisa....Hal held up, the grandparents, the first grandchild for both sets, survived as well.  As I mentioned on the last blog, he was 7 pounds 12 oz and just under 21 inches long...not as big as we or the doctors had predicted, and his head, average size, compared to the Houseworth melons...he does however have big hands, fingers, feet and toes.  My guess is, he will be someday in his dad's size body, which is somewhere around 6' 4" and about 250-260 pounds, but time enough to watch him grow...for now we are just glad he and mom are safe and healthy.  They will head home from the Kettering Medical Center today and Kasyn will begin his life in the Condo in Centerville....our plans are to take a belated Thanksgiving meal down late this evening, return the dogs, Kam and Avery, who we have been sitting with, and let the new parents and family, including dogs, get a chance to know and enjoy each other.

Football and Basketball _____

Friday we headed back down to the Medical Center, Hal and Lisa had requested we stop at LaRosa's and pick up Pizza for them....neither being thrilled with Hospital Food....we got a couple of large, one with just cheese and one with sausage and pepperoni, along with some cheese sticks, and ate lunch with them, and Aunt Anissa, since with Lisa having four bothers, Kasyn will have a total of 5 Uncles but just one Aunt.

We didn't stay long and headed home for some needed sleep...I was in bed by 7:30, but the dogs got me up several times, so my 10 hours in bed{rising around 5:30} did not net me 10 hours sleep...I ate breakfast and headed to Delphos for a Junior High scrimmage at 9am....the teams wanted done, so all could get home for the Ohio State vs Michigan game....if you don't live in this area, you no doubt really don't know how big this game is, regardless of records, in both states.  In a high scoring affair, scUM, as we OSU fans, call them, broke it's 7 game losing streak to the Buckeyes by a 40-34 score...it appears Urban Meyer will soon be named the new coach at Ohio State. 

On a side note, Michigan, not knows for it's high school football, usually has to raid Ohio for talent and coaches, this year was no exception...21 players from Ohio dot the Michigan roster, while only one from Ohio is on the scUM roster.  In addition, first year head coach Brady Hoke, is from Kettering, Ohio, where first grandson Kasyn was born on Michigan/Ohio State week.

On the high school scene...two Mercer County teams made the State Finals next week....no surprise in that they were usual powers, Coldwater in division 5, and Marion Local in D6.  In the Marion game, they had to face league rival and defending state champions, Delphos St. John.  St. Johns Blue Jays had defeated Marion Local in the regular season, but the Flyers turned the tables 21-14 in the State Semis.  Down 14-13 with less than 90 seconds left, Marion recovered a fumble on their own 23...and in 5 quick plays scored the go ahead touchdown and 2 point conversion to seal the win.

Delphos had entered the game with heavy hearts...their starting center, a 16 year old Junior, had committed suicide on Wednesday evening....making a silly game of football seem somehow even more meaningless.  You just shake your head, wondering why someone with talent and a good student would choose to end their lives during the football playoffs,  which he was such an integral part?  Only God knows....

The week ahead____

This will be a busy week, but compared to the past holiday weekend, not nearly so much.  The regular basketball season kicks off, at least for the girls.  I have Junior High games at Wayne Trace Monday and Tuesday, then following a rules meeting Wednesday I will be at Eldia on Thursday, Friday off and Saturday Morning I will officiate a Boys JV double header at Crestview in the Van Wert Country Tip-Off Classic....that will be the slow week, after this, most weeks will see me working as few as 7 or as many as 10 games, if you include Middle School double headers....only Christmas week and New Years will provide some respite, between now and February.  

It's going to be a long winter season....today I will relax watching the Bengals bounce the Browns, before heading south one more time......


back later>>>>


Photos-top Me and first grandson Kasyn on his day one...and right below that almost 33 years ago in February 1979, me and first child, Anissa on her day one...don't think I've aged at all....Grandma Patricia and Kasyn, and Kasyn sacked out....

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!...Kasyn Makes his Arrival....

We had Thanksgiving Dinner here, with Sam and Anissa...Sam headed back to Ohio State having to work a women's basketball game for the OSU Women at Noon today...Anissa was back at her house, and we headed to Kettering {Dayton} to await the arrival of Grandchild #1....

Much like his dad, some 27+ years ago, Kasyn was not cooperative, and finally after 30 or so hours in the Hospital the decision was made to take him C~Section.....just like his old man.   At 8:53pm on Thanksgiving Night, Lisa delivered Kasyn Timothy Houseworth at 7 pounds 12 oz and measuring some 20 3/4 inches.   His scores were in the 8/9 over 10 scale, and healthy and noisy he was, when the bath proceedure was given to him.   Everybody was exhausted by the evenings end, and Patricia and I trooped home the 85 miles, arriving home at 1:30 this morning....at Noon today it's back down to the Hospital, where the new parents have requested LaRosa's Pizza for lunch....so, that's our day...back home later, with a Basketball Scrimmage at Delphos Jefferson tomorrow morning, and home to watch the Buckeye/Michigan battle...can OSU make it 8 in a row?  The stats and records say NO, but, this rivalry is one you can toss the records out, and despite Michigan failures in the past decade, it's still College Footballs Greatest Rivalry...

 back later>>>>

Photos-Kasyn Timothy Houseworth 11/24/11 Thanksgiving Evening at 8:53pm...The Houseworths....Pat{granddad}, Hal{dad}, Kasyn, Lisa{mom} and Grandmother Patricia...Patricia with her first Grandchild...Pat, Kasyn, and Hal Houseworth...



back later>>>

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gonna Spend the Day...screwing around with photographs

Yesterday was a complete wash-out in Ohio and much of the eastern Great Lakes region....40s for highs with moderate to heavy rain throughout the daylight hours into the early evening.....I didn't get out and walk for the first day in awhile, and just didn't feel like dropping down the treadmill into the "go" position.  I did however lift weights in the basement for about an hour, watched the Bogart Classic "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" in the afternoon, fixed a supper for Patricia and me, and then settled in to watch my Duke Blue Devils defeat hated Michigan in Basketball in Hawaii, and flipped it over to watch the Ohio University Bobcats squeak out a win over the Miami Redhawks{nee' Redskins}.  This morning the rains are gone, replaced by bright sunshine and cool but seasonable conditions, with a high slated to reach 50.

Tomorrow, with Sam, coming from Ohio State, and Anissa joining us, we will pack up bright and early, and drive the 90 minutes or so to Centerville, near Dayton, and Patricia will help fix Thanksgiving Dinner for Hal and Lisa.  This will be the first Thanksgiving for us together since Hal and Lisa were married in February.  We thought perhaps our first Grandchild, name of Kaysn, would be joining us...but the little guy has yet to make his appearance, they thought, given his size, and progress, he would perhaps be born by now...but it appears he will make his appearance closer to or perhaps after his due date of November 28th, another in a long line of December milestones in our family?  Maybe, but I'm sure they, at least Lisa, would like him to come along sometime before then...we shall see.

Today, not much on the schedule...I will get out and walk, do some pushups, and get to the bank...other than that, I think I have some older photographs I need to work on....changing the view and quality, by various means with my various programs...some of the stuff from 35 to 75 years old can be "tinkered" with to make them more viewable and enjoyable, without messing with the original.  Damn for all their faults and time wasting gadgets, computers, along with modern digital cameras and their programs, are something to behold.

That's the plans....no posting tomorrow, so enjoy your Thanksgiving tomorrow, with family and friends.....

back later>>>>>

Photos-Poster and Still, with Bogart, Tim Holt, and Walter Huston, from the classic "Treasure of the Sierra Madre"---Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rain, Dartball, Jefferson, and JFK...

A massive area of moderate and heavy rain has arrived in Mercer County in the past hour, it appears it will last the day, and drop an inch or more of unneeded moister....

When I headed to Mendon for our Dartball match last night, the combines were in the fields, trying to get the corn down and in the hoppers before this arrived, it they didn't get it done by this morning, it won't get done until December, if then.

Dartball, we took our 4 win 2 loss season record into Mendon, the team with the worst record of the 8 with a 1 win 5 loss standing...we took the first game 7-1, but then proceeded to be edged out 6-5, and then fell asleep in the final, losing 2-0.  So we sit at 5 wins 4 loses, but with 12 games on 4 dates to go in the first half, we still have the South Division to win or lose in our own hands.  As for me, after taking an out, leading off the first game, I got 8 straight hits, including a triple and a couple of RBIs....going 10 for 12 in the opening stretch...however, like the rest of  the team, I tanked in the final game, going 0 for 5, as I finished 10 for 17 on the night, to boost my average to .450 on the season, I suspect near, if not, the league leader in that category.  Next week, we are back at home, but I'll miss at least one game of the three, due to opening my basketball regular season with a Junior High double header at Wayne Trace.

Jefferson and JFK____

Liberals always love to invoke John Kennedy and Thomas Jefferson as heroes of the left...in doing so they take a blind eye to real history, but given the fact they are Liberals, it's in their DNA.

They claim Jefferson was an Atheist or a Deist.  Nothing could be further from the truth in the former, as for the latter claim, Jefferson did show some leanings as a Deist, after family tragedy struck...however, any true and honest look at Thomas Jefferson, shows he was a man of faith, and in today's world a Conservative/Libertarian.....and we are not talking Ron Paul the assclown Libertarian.  Check out these true Jefferson quotes, and there are many, do you see any "Liberal or Progressive" views?   I think not:

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/t/thomas_jefferson.html 

Told you.....

JFK...the legacy 48 years later___

John Kennedy was shot down in Dallas 48 years ago today....meaning he has been dead longer than he was alive{46 years old}.  The Kennedy family are the darlings of the American press and the American left{in the press case, one and the same}.  However, peel off the press clippings and it becomes obvious than JFK's dad was a Nazi sympathiser, while all the Kennedy men had insatiable appetites for women by the dozens, if not more.  In short, the Kennedy's are as dysfunctional as a family could be.  Murder, Sexual assault, drunkenness, and anti Americanism....at it's lowest form.

As for war hero John Fitzgerald Kennedy, it turns out he really wasn't a Liberal at all...at least by today's definition of "Liberal or Progressive".  Sure he had some liberal tendencies, but he was a pro life Catholic, a Conservative when it came to fighting Communism, and a free trader.  Find me a Liberal that has those views today, and I'll show you a dead Liberal, like John F. Kennedy.  Murdered by Lee Harvey Oswald 48 years ago today...no vast right wing or Cuban conspiracy, he was gunned down by a lone gunman with mental issues.  Was Lyndon Johnson behind the murder?  My mom and many others think so....and LBJ, one of the worst Presidents in history, right up there, or down there with Wilson, FDR, Carter, and Obammy, had reason to kill both John and Bobby Kennedy, however, I think not.   It was Lee Harvey, all by himself.

So, if alive back then, where were you when Kennedy was gunned down?  

I was walking into 9th grade Algebra Class at the old Celina Insurance Building on a cold rainy November, much like today.  The Insurance Building had been converted into a Freshman Class building, because we had outgrown the old High School on East Livingston Street...and the "New" Wayne Street site would not be completed until the following 1964-65 school year.

That old insurance building would be part of my life for many years....my dad, Stan Houseworth, owned the Marathon Gas Station next door, giving me the chance to walk to his place, some 10 yards away, rather than bus it home.  The building, now sitting empty, would also hold my office at the Mercer County Health Department, and other County/City offices for my entire tenure at the local Health Department, before I moved on to Van Wert.   But 48 years ago, at about 2pm I would walk into the downstairs Algebra Class, and we would be told by our math department head..."President Kennedy has been shot in Dallas, he is presumed dead".  The age of Camelot was gone...

back later>>>> 

Photos-JFK, Dartball Darts, Thomas Jefferson, and JFK and Jackie Kennedy on November 22, 1963 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Processing the Memories, or lack of...part 3

After a quick basketball scrimmage at Delphos Jefferson Middle School on Saturday morning, I basically spent the weekend watching football....both Ohio State, who really sucks this season, and the better than expected Bengals, lost close games.  In addition to the basketball work Saturday, I did do some weight lifting and managed to get a 40 minute walk in yesterday.  Other than than, except for an occasion run out of the house to usual destinations, Patricia, Anissa, and I, spent the weekend around the homestead.  Pat began making her batches of Christmas cookies, although she vows not to make as many this season...good by me, it's hard enough to keep the 30 pounds I have lost over the past couple of years off, without that temptation.

Still no Grandson in site just yet...the official due date is November 28th, but Hal and Lisa thought Kaysn would come early...that doesn't appear to be the plan that he has however.  As of now, he's still not ready to come out, but we do plan on heading down to Centerville, with Sam coming from Columbus, and fix Thanksgiving Dinner for them.  A change over the past years....unless the baby decides to come before then.

Tan Son Nhut a final look(for now)_____

On Friday's blog, I presented a list of names from my tour at Nha Trang, names and faces I remember vividly.  Since Vietnam,  I have hooked up with some of those guys, some have passed, and others remain lost in time and space.  The same can be said for Dover, where I was from the fall of 68 until my Vietnam Vacation which began on 30 June 1969, and my final Air Force stay at Griffiss in upstate New York, from August 1970, until my quickie discharge in May 1972.  Names and faces are clear as a bell, even now, 40 and more years later....but as for Tan Son Nhut, not so much.

When I started thinking about Vietnam back in 1999, 30 years after the tour began, the memories, faces, names, and places from Nha Trang came flooding back.  From the flight out of TSN to Nha Trang, to the day I got my orders to return to Saigon and the 377th.  I wish now I had kept a complete diary of the time I was there, because although I remember many things from my 6 months at Tan Son Nhut, the names, almost all, are gone from my memory banks.

My drill instructor{TI in the Air Force, for Technical Instructor} from Basic Training at Amarillo, in the summer of 1968, Joe Prokop picked me up at the airport, but Joe would be on B flight, so I only saw him a time or two before he headed back to the states.  My buddy Aceavedo, a Hispanic from Texas, and I spent much time in downtown Saigon, in the bars and brothels together, but I don't remember his first name...we had Tuesdays off, so we spent a boat load of time together.  My cube mate in the barracks, was another Hispanic, a great guy, but frankly, although I remember his face, I cannot remember his name, Martinez? Manuel? Hell I just cannot recall....other names are completely forgotten, although I did connect with one guy through VSPA that I had worked with...but everybody knew Chris Godfrey, although I really didn't know or remember his name, we just called him "Surfer Joe".  Chris, from California, spent 4 of his 6 years at Tan Son Nhut working Security...and is a member of the VSPA...he saw a lot of faces come and go during his tour. I salute him for sticking it out that long, I only wish I had done my final two years there as well, although as I mentioned on a previous post, sometimes you don't know what would have happened, if you had stayed...I am happy with the way things worked out in the long run.

So there is my block or 'brain freeze" when it comes to Tan Son Nhut....I just don't remember the names...not sure why...maybe it was working nights, or having a bout of insomnia.  During that spell, I would get off duty on C Flight, first in Echo Sector, then with Blue Patrol, head to the NCO Club, and try to drink myself to sleep...it seldom worked...I battled the lack of sleep for at least 2 months, finally after returning from my R&R in mid April, and managed to get back to some semblance of normal sleep.

Hawaii April 1970_____

I'm really not sure why I choose to take my R&R in Hawaii?  Most of the guys who were not married, went to Australia, Hong Kong, or some other southeast Asia location...the married guys were hooking up with their wives in Hawaii.  Regardless, I headed out to Honolulu, and as luck would have it, another guy, unmarried, from Army Artillary, Denny Moneypenny, from West Virginia, was seated next to me.  Now, for some reason, I remember his name, clear as a bell.  Denny and I decided to save ourselves some bucks, and would share a room at a off beach hotel called the Kalakaun, we rented a car for the 5 days, and toured the Island, either together or on our own.  We hit the local bars at night, but pretty much went our own way most of the trip, especially during the daylight...each searching on our own, for whatever we were looking for...{insert obvious conquest attempts here}.  

On our final morning, before jumping on that 707 back to Saigon, we grabbed a cab, from an outfit called "Love Cab Company".  A "Hippy Dude" was our driver of the flower power Chevy, he took one look at us and asked "You guys heading back to Nam"?  Answering the affirmative, he opened his dash pocket, where a jar of small rolled joints was stashed....he fired one up, and we proceeded to smoke it on the way to Honolulu International....topping off that R&R, I slept most of the way, or at least a good portion, back to Tan Son Nhut, where I would face about 10 more weeks of duty.

The Final Days____

The next two and one half months rolled by, me and "Ace" continued to spend our Tuesday off days downtown...sure I had some concerns about safety, but I knew life would not be the same when I returned to the states, and wanted to do as much living as I could muster when in Saigon.  

With my insomnia clearing up{I think}, I would get my 5 or 6 hours sleep in, until the sun and heat would wake me....most days, I would head to the outdoor swimming pool, working on my tan, so I could at least look like I was in a tropical location when I returned home for my 39 day leave{30 days plus 9 days allotted travel time}....when 29 June 1970 arrived, I was ready to return home, sure I had my doubts, well founded, about serving 20 months in the USA, but I was ready to come home.....

I have no regrets about my service in Vietnam....no gung ho war hero am I, no draft dodging coward either, just somewhere in-between, someone who has no doubts about my service there, and I don't worry what people think of those of us who served....those that continue to dis us for our service, and those, now some 40 years later, who claim to praise us today, while when we were there protested us, do you hear me Bill Clinton and Company?  Can kiss my ass!

back later>>>>

Photos-top left...the only piece of the self-serving "Award" I received for my duty with the "Blue Patrol"...from March 24 through my late June 1970 final days at Tan Son Nhut...The Terminal at Tan Son Nhut....I traveled out and arrived here on more than one occasion.  The Monsoon Rains come down on our Barracks Compound 1300... On the Beach at Waikiki,  The Kalakauan Hotel, where I spent my five day R&R in Hawaii....and finally, getting ready to leave the Honolulu Airport and return for my final couple of months at Tan Son Nhut.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tan Son Nhut Memories, or lack of....part 2

As I headed out for my daily walk around the fairgrounds yesterday, after my weight lifting session, I realized that I would be needing a bit more clothing than I have in the past....so I donned my winter coat with "hoodie" attached.  The wind was whipping pretty strong from the southwest, and the temperature was in the mid to upper 30s, that would be the high for the day.  Today, and again tomorrow, it will be just as windy, coming out of the southwest at 25 mph or so, but temperatures will moderate, reaching the upper 40s today, and mid 50s tomorrow.

Tonight and tomorrow the Regional finals in High School football will be played.  Garry is still officiating, working the Backjudge spot at Wapakoneta tonight as WBL's Elida takes on one of the Columbus teams...due to Elida being in the playoffs, my Varsity girls scrimmage at Lincolnview has been canceled....tomorrow I have a Junior High scrimmage at Delphos Jefferson...taking next week off in anticipation of Thanksgiving, and the possibility of Grandson #1 being born...so far however, Kaysn is refusing to be rushed out into the world.

Tan Son Nhut part 2

I mentioned yesterday that my days and months at Tan Son Nhut, were completely different than those at Nha Trang.  At my first duty station, Nha Trang, I was situated on the South China Sea, we had a beach, and I worked day flight Law Enforcement... the 14th SPS was a small squadron, among the smallest, especially compared to what I would see at Tan Son Nhut.  I believe we had no more than a dozen of us working each shift, and perhaps, if you included Security and K9 handlers, maybe 75 or 80 Sky Cops at one time, on the base.  Also I remember many of the guys I worked with, and their names....Bevan, Claflin, Payan, Niemotka,Thompson, Walsh, Sloan, Lange, and others, and many of those I still have contact with today.  Fast forward to Saigon:


When I arrived at Tan Son Nhut on December 27, 1969, it was a completely different world...same country, still in the Air Force, still a cop,  but the location and duty were completely different.  Once I got situated in the 1300 compound, I walked over to the 377th SPS HQ and processed in.   It pretty much was a blur after that...I was assigned to C Flight Security with as many people as comprised our entire squadron with the 14th at Nha Trang...I ended up working mostly ECHO Sector.  My first night on duty was December 30th/31st and I {although I didn't know the history at the time} was placed at the infamous Bunker O51 location..."51" although rebuilt, was ground zero for the Tet Offensive nearly two years earlier, on the night and morning of 30/31 January 1968.  Four SPs lost their lives that night on that bunker, dozens of NVA and Viet Cong also lost theirs during the assault. 

Of course if you read news accounts of the day, or listened to the American Idiot Walter Cronkite, tell the world that we had lost the war, you would think TET was the American "Waterloo"...in reality, at Tan Son Nhut, and throughout Vietnam, the Americans and their South Vietnamese allies kicked the crap out of Charlie and the north...but of course in the minds of the haters of America, like Uncle Walter and the rabid left, that would never do....so they lied, and the suckers back home bought it, hook, line, and sinker.


After that first night at the new Bunker 051, I do not remember manning it again.  I would spend the next 3 months or so, working mostly the towers in Echo Sector, on occasion I would work foot patrol around the flight line and the LOX{liquid oxygen} Plant.  Then in March 1970, a new flight was formed...It was to be officially named "Resource Protection" or unofficially "Blue Patrol".  We were a small group of mostly trouble makers, long hairs, and guys they wanted to keep away from the inspecting eyes of superiors that liked "spit and polish", the men of Blue Patrol, were anything but spit and polish.


I would work the first week walking the building areas of the inner base..."protecting" the huge base from thieves both military and civilian....then, being one of the few NCO types, a  Buck Sargent, with time in country, but little left, I was assigned the Coffee Wagon.  I, armed with my M16 and .38 Smith and Wesson side arm, would drive that Jeep around for eight hours in the dark and make sure the dozen or so other Blue Patrol guys were awake, BSing with them, giving them coffee, fruit, milk, or a smoke...it was a great way to finish off my duty in Vietnam.  First however, I would take R&R in Hawaii...that, and more Tan Son Nhut, in Part 3, coming on the next post.


back later>>>>

Photos-Me, on typical duty at Nha Trang, before heading to Tan Son Nhut...The firefight at Bunker 51 with Tango Tower 4 in the background.  Bunker 0-51 in it's better days, before the attack of TET...Who Won the TET Offensive?  Not this group of VC who met their maker at the hands of the Security Police and Army at Tan Son Nhut on 31 January 68.  And finally the map of Tan Son Nhut the day following TET....Bunker 51 is located on the Western Perimeter of the base.

  {First photo is from my collection, the others, in order, ASIS International, TSNA, TSNA, and VSPA, with my appreciation}

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Processing the Memories, or lack of...part 1


Got out and walked yesterday, also began alternating my weight lifting regiment with Gladiator push-ups and other weight training in addition to those I do 3 days a week...why?  Frankly, Hell if I know, maybe it's the ego as I approach 63 this coming March, to show that I can still do this....what doesn't kill you just breaks down your body.

On the coming Grandson thing... youngest son Hal called, still no baby, and no plans on inducing labor...so Kaysn will come, it appears, when he is ready.  The actual due date is November 28th, but Lisa is more than ready, as the coming youngin' is already at the 8 pound plus mark....looks like he will be a Big One...just like his old man.

Weather~wise things have cooled, but he sun is shining, 40 for a high today, with some wind, so the walk may be a brisk one this afternoon...tonight I head for Coldwater to have a brew with "Wulfie" and Kent....

Processing Tan Son Nhut_____

I have written many times over the past 4+ years on this blog about my Vietnam "Experience".  Regular readers know that Nha Trang Air Base was my favorite duty, not only in Vietnam, but for my entire 3 years and 10 months in the Air Force....my "other" Vietnam base, Tan Son Nhut, located on the outskirts of Saigon, at times gets shorted in my flashbacks and memories.  As far as why?  Frankly I'm not so sure...but I have my guesses and opinions.

First off let me say, all of our Vietnam experiences are unique and different...no two could ever be the same.  As for the men of the Air Force Security/Air Police, I have not in the past 41 years since my return found two to be the same.  Some have, or claim to have PTSD{Post Traumatic Stress Disorder}, others suffer from the ravages of Agent Orange exposure.  I cannot, or will not, claim either...in my life, neither is something that I see as a part of my post Vietnam life.  My two duty stations, while different to the maximum in the Vietnam setting, are not something as I see as a negative.  We were cops, Air Force cops...some died, some were in short term combat, some like me, suffered from no more than a bout of insomnia.  Frankly, after the first few days in country, I never remember be scared, except perhaps while on a tower one stormy night on the Tan Son Nhut perimeter, when lighting was hitting near and around that 30 foot tower, and I climbed down out of that metal death trap and laid in the roadside ditch with the snakes and rats, figuring I was safer there than in that damn tower, not because of 'Charlie", but because of Mother Nature.

Despite the war around me, I just did not dread that year in Southeast Asia, and as I have said before, if not for the worry from the family back home, I would have spent the final two years in Vietnam, rather than with the Chicken Shit workings of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) at Griffiss Air Base in frozen upstate New York.  In fact, sick of SAC, I walked myself to base opts in the late spring of 1971, and volunteered to go back to Vietnam...but was told (1) The War is beginning to process down, so you can't go back unless (2) you re-up/extend for another 2 years.  Well, that took care of that, no way was I staying in the AF longer than I had signed up for.   I never regretted  joining, but that is not to say I liked military life...I hated every minute of it...I could not take orders, didn't like haircuts, and sure the Hell didn't like calling people "Sir" or saluting those,  that I had little respect for, and thought frankly that I was far more intelligent than{arrogant little prick that I was}.  So there I was...one more year at Griffiss, and then out on my own....perhaps in the long run, things were best that way...who knows what would have happened if I had returned, nobody but God, that I can say with confidence.

But back to TSN and the 377th SPS, my original purpose of today's blog post...

My friend from the VSPA, Charles Penley, created a web site for veterans of the 377th SPS a dozen or more years ago....and I discovered that site, about the same time I found the Vietnam Security Police Association{VSPA}....it was about that time I finally started to come to terms with my Air Force and Vietnam Service.  Not that I ever regretted either, but frankly for almost 30 years following Vietnam, I just choose to move on with my life and did not dwell on those years...they were in the past.  I hardly was ashamed that I was a Vietnam Veteran, but neither was I going to relive those days, while sowing my wild oats either...life had moved on once out of the Air Force, and back then, I was not into reminising, it just wasn't in the make-up, time sure has changed me, at least in that respect.   Now I embrace the bases and men I served with while in Vietnam and even those at Dover and Griffiss, my non-Vietnam bases...no I still hated the military service, just not those I served with or the service I performed.

To the point Patrick, to the point....Charles Penley, who served on "Charlie" Flight during the bloody Tet Offensive against Tan Son Nhut and the 377th SPS,  has updated his web site honoring those of us that served with the 377th SPS...and as was my point in this posting, the updated and new look 377th SPS web pages can be found at this link:
http://www.377sps.org/index.html 

You might even be able to find a photo of a 21 year old smart ass...listed on the ECHO Sector link, around the years 1969-70.  As for the Vietnam Security Police Association you can always find more about the life of the Air Force Security and Air Police in Vietnam there:
 http://www.vspa.com/aspprotect/vspa-nav-index-menu.asp 

And this is why I added "Part 1", as usual I've waxed nostalgic way too long for one sit down and read....more on this tomorrow, where  I will compare my memories, or lack of same, of service at Nha Trang and Tan Son Nhut.

back later>>>>

Photos-Top Left..the 1300 Compound of the 377th SPS, my living quarters were on the top floor of the second barracks in...there were two rows of 8 two story barracks, 16 in all, sandwiched between the Base Exchange/Movie Theater and the MARS Radio HQ...The map overview of Tan Son Nhut...I spent 4 months working the towers, bunkers, and flight line of Echo Sector, before working the inner sections of the base with the Resource Protection{Blue} Flight, both jobs under the cover of darkness on Charlie Flight.  Tango Tower 1{I believe}, me on my 21st Birthday, March 16, 1970, heading out to work my final days of Echo Sector duty, before switching to Resource Protection...The aftermath of the Tet Offensive at Bunker 051 in Echo Sector, where four Air Force Security Police heroes, including Charles Hebron(pictured) met their final fate on January 30,31, 1968...

{All Photos, with the exception of the one of me, are from Charles Penley and other Tan Son Nhut Veterans, with thanks}

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Yuengling Arrives in Ohio, Coack K wins #903, and My Roundball Season Begins

After I finished my blog posting yesterday, I received an e-mail telling me of a cancellation of a Friday basketball scrimmage, due to one of the schools football teams still involved in the playoffs....lucky for me that happened, because as I cleaned up my calender, I noticed that I had a scrimmage at Spencerville on the schedule for last night....one I that had slipped my mind, due to the trip to Wisconsin, and other things rolling around in my aging brain....so, with the scrimmage gone on Friday, at least I made it to my first of the year, last night.

7 of us worked the two gym floors as Spencerville hosted Lima Bath....I stayed on the JV side, and worked a combination of 2 man and 3 man mechanics for six 10 minute quarters....and, after a decent workout, getting my sea legs back, I headed out....avoiding the moving White Tail Deer through the St Marys River region along Ohio 197, I arrived home without incident around 8pm.

Yuengling Come To the Buckeye State____

I've been a beer drinker since I turned 18, back in 1967, late in my Senior Year at Celina High School....sometimes heavy, sometimes I would go months without a beer.  For most of those nearly 45 years I drank what was available....in my youth it was Pabst Blue Ribbon and that skunk pee out of Detroit called Strohs...while in the Air Force, it was either the local favorites, such as Ballentine while at Dover, Delaware, and Genesee and Utica Club, while in upstate New York.   In Vietnam it was whatever was available on the loading docks at Nha Trang or the NCO Club in Saigon/Tan Son Nhut.  I Finally settled for Miller Lite a dozen years ago, when I first tried to lose weight via the "Adkins" Diet, and until five years ago, I was pretty well satisfied with downing that.  Frankly during the summer months, after working a baseball game or double header, I still prefer to sit on the back steps or front porch, and down a few while smoking a good cigar.  Of late however, I finally learned to enjoy good dark brews...yes they have more calories and more carbs, but the taste, alcohol content, and the fact you can drink much less to satisfy, makes them more appealing....Yes!! I've become a Beer Snob!

I particularly like Stout Beer, especially Irish, and dark porters or black lagers...and on occasion I like a draft mix of dark and lager while sitting at the sport pubs or Buffalo Wild Wings.  However, seldom can you get those in a bottle or can...last February while in West Virginia for son Hal's wedding, I discovered that the oldest in the USA eastern brewery, Yuengling had done just that...mixed a good tasting, low cost Black and Tan brew, called simply "Original Black and Tan".  But I only got a case, and that was gone soon enough....so with the news that Yuengling was coming to Ohio, western Ohio no less, I was looking forward to making reacquaints with this low cost dark brew....and yesterday, I finally got my chance.

Yuengling and it's various flavors finally has arrived in my neck of the woods....much like Coors of the 60s and 70s, things always seem to taste better when you can't have them, isn't that the way of most things in life?  Once they are available, the thrill is gone.  Yuengling Lager is a decent tasting beer...but IMO nothing out of the ordinary...for the most part, when I want a lager beer, I will stick with the lower calorie, lower carbohydrate brews, like Miller Lite...but as for Dark Beers..."Black and Tan" has a place in my refrigerator...at less than $11 for a 12 pack of long necks, as compared to most stout and black lager 6 packs costing between $9 and $10, I will be keeping a supply of this brew on hand.  In fact I downed 4 when done with basketball last night as I sat down in the recliner with remote to watch both the Duke and Ohio State games.

Coach K reaches 903 wins____

Anybody who reads this blog on regular occasions knows I have been a Duke Basketball fan for many years.  Since the early days of coach Mike Krzyzewski, "Coach K" for short, because nobody could pronounce his name the way it is spelled.  I like the way he coaches his teams, I like the fact that they are students, and let's face it...being a white guy myself, I like to watch a team with some white boys do well.....nothing racist about it, but let's face the facts, I have a hard time rooting for a bunch of inner city guys that I have nothing in common with.  If that makes me a "racist or bigot" then so be it....must be why I read Thomas Sowell and would like to see Allen West be our next President.  Anyway back to the Coach K saga....

Last night he went into the game with Michigan State at New York's Madison Square Garden, needing a win to top his former coach and mentor, Bobby Knight's record of 902 wins....in typical Duke Blue Devil style, almost blowing a 19 point lead late in the game, Coach K and Company held on for a 74-69 win.  The 6th ranked Devils are now 3-0, and can concentrate on improving their relatively young team...meanwhile down south of Celina in Columbus, oldest son Sam was broadcasting the play-by-play of the 3rd ranked Buckeyes against the 7th ranked Florida Gators.  In a game, looking much like the Duke/MSU contest, Ohio State held on late for a hard fought victory.  Sam was working the game on the Scarlet and Gray student network, I'm not sure how he manages to stay above a 3.3 GPA in Actuarial Science, officiate high school sports, and work for OSU and the Big Ten Network, but early on in his senior year, he has been able to handle that situation quite well.

With the Friday cancellation, I have no scrimmages until Saturday morning at Delphos Jefferson....then am off until the Girls regular season tips off, for me, on November 28th, with the boys season following in short order.

back later>>>>

Photos-Yuengling has come to Ohio...featuring my favorite out of that old brewery, "Original Black and Tan"...My roundball officiating kicked off last night with a Varsity/JV boys scrimmage at Spencerville, it's going to be a busy 4 months....Coach K of Duke breaks the win record with 903 as the Blue Devils take down Michigan State...and Ohio State beats the Florida Gators for the 2nd straight year.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Still Waitin'....Wisconsin, Fish Fries, Beer, and Thunderstorms....

Patricia, Anissa, and I, headed north and west towards Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, on Friday, Veterans Day....the trip was pretty uneventful, and the traffic on our new route was light to moderate....avoiding the I-94 mess around Wisconsin's very own craphole, known as Milwaukee is a must, and doable by taking a combination back roads.  After 35 plus years of making this trip, I think I've finally got down a route that is less stressful than any in the past.  Of course there really is no good way to get around Chicago, but this route, if driven at the right time of day, isn't bad....plus no issues with the Nitro this trip, made the trip that much more pleasant...at least going up...coming back?  Will talk about that later in this posting.

Pre-Thanksgiving in Wisconsin____

 With still no baby news  from Centerville, Ohio, we figured it was safe to head to Patricia's home town of Oconomowoc, a growing but old city of 16,000, which has turned into a version of "Yuppieville" on it's own, with the help of an influx of move ins from the bergs of Milwaukee and Chicago.   It's still a nice area, but the 50 Cent millionaire types have changed Oconomowoc forever, and in my eyes, not for the better.

Patricia and I were married there 35 years ago next month....and for years, even while living in Northern Wisconsin, we rotated Christmas and Thanksgivings there and in Celina...that was until about 5 years ago, when we decided the winter driving through Chicagoland was just no longer feasible or safe...so we started to spend the second weekend before Thanksgiving with her parents...and it seems to have worked out well.

After arriving Friday afternoon, the first order of business was to head The Golden Mast on Lake Okauchee, for a fish fry.  If you've never had a Wisconsin "Fish Fry", I guess they would be pretty hard to describe.  Wisconsin Friday Night Fish Fry's are like nothing you'll find anywhere else.  The Golden Mast is where Patricia and I had our pre-wedding meal back in December 1976...and where she was a waitress back in her high school days in the late 60s and early 70s.  The Weissgerber Family who owned the restaurant at that time, are still in control, although I believe the sons now run the daily operation.  Once done we returned to Bill and Bev's condo, and after that meal, along with a dark draft beer of generous portions, combined with the 7 hour drive, was ready for an early sack time.

{here is the link to the menu and facilities of the Golden Mast}
http://www.weissgerbers.com/goldenmast/html/banquets.html 

Fast forward to the rest of the quick moving 4 days "weekend":

We had Bev's Turkey meal, our "Pre Thanksgiving Dinner" on Saturday, and ate well throughout the visit. Over the weekend I did get a couple of long walks in, also drank plenty of beer, along with watching too much football{including a pathetic loss by Ohio State to a bad Purdue team, thanks to no offense and a blocked extra point}.  On Monday morning, after breakfast at the "Around the Lake" restaurant in Oconomowoc, with Patricia's parents and sister Sue....we headed towards home and the "Eye of the Storm".

The rain started as a few sprinkles on the toll roads outside Chicago...but by the time we were 100 miles out from Celina, near Warsaw, Indiana, the temperatures jumped from the mid 40s to the 50s, and lightning and heavy rain accompanied us through Fort Wayne...and by that time the temps had soared to 68, and after a call from Hal, telling us that Tornado warnings and watches were out in the area, we switched the car radio from the Satellite to WOWO Fort Wayne, and followed the progress of the mess.  We made it into Ohio, outracing the front, for a short while...but by the time we arrived home, the heavy rain, lighting, and winds, joined us, although the did weaken somewhat as the night progressed, with no damage in our area.


Dartball~Week #2

I'm not sure if it was the long rain/storm filled drive or just a bad night, but I stunk up the darts and board last night....going without a hit the first 8 at bats, before connecting on 2 in a row, and finishing the night a paltry 2 of 11, which dropped by second in the league batting average from .636 down to a more "normal" .409.  Regardless, the team, after losing the opening game, came back to defeat Rockford Methodist in the final two games.  So we sit at 4 wins and 2 loses on the season, as we head for Mendon next Monday.


So, that was the last 4 or 5 days in a nutshell...lots of miles, lots of food, lots of rain, lots of beer, but no grandson just yet....so we will continue to wait.

back later>>>> 

Photos-Bill Callies, the 88 year old World War II Veteran of the Pacific Theater,  with his daughter Patricia. on Veterans Day 11-11-11 at the Golden Mast for a Friday Fish Fry.  The main items, at least for me, a plate full of breaded Cod and other fish, along with a tankard of in house Oktoberfest Beer on Tap.  The view from out table next to the fireplace of Okauchee Lake in Southeast Wisconsin, and one of the new beers that I tasted for the first time, Murphy's is a dark Irish Stout in the Guinness tradition, but with more of a "Kick"...after just 1 pint and part of a second, I could feel the effects of the alcohol.