41 years today was a very happy day for me. I was on a bus headed North from Minneapolis to Grand Rapids MN. It would be the last time I'd make the trip in a Army uniform. I didn't tell my folks I was coming. I asked the driver to drop me off at a bar/dance hall/grocery store about 3 miles from my parents house. When I called my Dad to come and get me his response was; "Oh no what happened now?" My mother said it was the best Christmas she'd ever had. It was so good to be home.
Welcome home Mike!
Mike and Bob:
When I was released from the Army in 1956 I was at Ft. Sheridan, Ill., north of Chicago. I saw a program in Chicago and then went o Gary, Ind and saw friends, and to to Missouri where we lived at the time I went into the ARmy The town was Mansfield, Missouri. I sent a letter by train, so no post office stamp would show, saying I was in the USA, and would see them in a while. I spent about a week in Mansfield and then headed for California where my parents was living. I arrived on the 13th of September and it had 3 years and 3 day since I enlisted and the last time I saw my parents was in October of 1953. My Army time went like this, enlisted Sept. 10th, October Basic at Ft. Wood,(Missouri), Ft. Belvoir Va, heavy equipment repair school, Camp Kilmer processing for overseas. A boat trip for the Army to Germany, 28 months there and then home. Been in Redding Cal since 1956. Love it even though it get hot here and now cold with rain and snow.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all
Thank you Bob. Lately I've been hearing that more and more and though it's late I have to tell you it's very appreciated. It creates a personal tie between people. And makes me feel proud for having served. I gotta ask is CoCo a Chocolate lab? labs are my favorite dogs. Though I've only had a few and usually get mixed breeds I still have a soft spot in my heart for Labs.
Bill, when you were in the military did you do most of your traveling by train? I flew everywhere I went.
The homecoming for getting out of the service was great. But the one that still kind of gets to me was the highs and lows that came along with coming home from Viet Nam. When we left Post at Ft Lewis Washington there were protesters outside the gate that we had to go past to go to Seattle/Tacoma Airport and they weren't very nice with what they were yelling at us. They spit at us and were very impolite. But meeting my Dad and Sisters at the airport in Minneapolis more than made up for it.
Mike, you are right...it's late but well deserved. I missed Vietnam by a year or so, my draft # was 64 when I was a senior in high school in'73. I have friends that served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam and have a great respect for all. We think CoCo is an English Lab mix, the sweetest, smartest dog we have ever had...she's an 80 pound lap dog and bed hog. I hope y'all have a great Christmas and New Year!
Bob, I graduated high school in 74. We were the last year to receive a draft card, but as you said, they had already suspended the draft the year before.
Bill, I also did basic in MO at Fort " Lost In The Woods" ( Ft, Leonard Wood).
Mike, it was always good to going home after being away.
Bob, I've had a 78 pound Lab/German Shorthair for about 8 years. My ex-wife and I share custody of her. She's a big baby. I also take care of my son's 80 pound Boxer/Shepherd mix. He even a bigger baby than the other. Both dogs have wonderful personalities and I treat them like best friends. I enjoy having them with me 24/7.
And thank you for your service. Up until 1975 any draft number, as I recall, was still a risk. It's interesting I've still got my draft notice and my notice to report for pre-induction physical. When I look at them I can feel myself shake.
Ah, memories of military transportation. How about a troop ship to Korea? The draft caught me pushing 240 pounds, and that ship helped me shed some fat. The thing was jammed so full that a lot of guys had to sleep on the deck. As soon as breakfast was over, the line for lunch started forming, and as soon as lunch was over the dinner line started to form. Somehow I wound up on the galley crew on alternating days. We'd work at the grill and graze all we wanted, all day. On days off, instead of standing in line waiting to eat, we played hearts. So it was eat a day, skip a day, eat a day, skip a day. A great weight-reduction plan.
Steve, my brother went to Viet Nam on board ship. He had nothing nice to say about the ship. He went into Okinawa on Christmas. I guess they stayed there long enough to have liberty off the ship. It sounds like they didn't treat Okinawa with the most respect. It seems their greatest pleasure was standing out and directing traffic until they had the streets so jammed up no-one could move. Then they walked away. I heard, and I don't know where and I don't know that it was true but, I heard, the 26th Marines were never able to disembark onto Okinawa again. I know when I was there they held us at the airport terminal for a couple hours before we left.
Mike, we also have a little yellow lab, Dixie...she loves me best.This is their most popular pose....
Quick story, in the sixties my cousin wanted to join the Navy, he wanted to be a cook so he asked my dad what to sign up for, dad told him to sign up as a gunners mate....they made him a cook. I think it's a little different now.
That's funny Bob. I have a small Settee in my living room. Only one of the dogs fits on it at a time. So I bought 2 dog beds for them both to lay on. Now when I'm in the house they lay on their beds. And when I come in the house from being outside for awhile I invariably catch one of them on the settee and one on my bed. So now when I go out I shut the bedroom door. And I learned to shut both spare bedroom doors too. I'm to the point where I'm afraid I'm going to come in and catch one of them sleeping on the kitchen table. But what's really funny is the rush to get to the dog beds once I'm all the way in.
Now you've brought up another memory. The ship's stop in Yokohama coincided with payday. With a bunch of other guys I went to a bar, where the girls were very, very, very friendly. Fortunately I was smart enough not to go with them. The guys who did go with them came back to the ship with all their money gone, but I had mine stolen on the ship.
Ha, hindsight is a terrible thing Steve. During the war, dad told a story about a sailor that brought a souvenir Japanese rifle on board he shouldn't have. The Capt wanted to court-martial him, dad would have none of that. Bringing a bottle of "officers whiskey" to the Captains quarters they began to "examine" the evidence. As they disassembled the rifle over drinks dad would go to the door and throw parts over board...by the time it was over there was no evidence left. Maybe it was just a good excuse to have a few toddies.....
Geez Steve, you have the best luck.
And here's another story:
When I was in basic training, at Fort Bragg North Carolina, we did so good as a unit that after 6 weeks in, they let us have an off post pass, into town. It was a one night deal and the closest town was Fayetteville.
Now, I grew up in Northern Minnesota about 90 miles south of the Canadian border. And we lived 15 miles outside of the closest town, which was a small town on the southwest end of the Mesabi Iron Range. So industry was, and still is, mining and the paper mill. And if your not a miner or a logger or both you work in the papermill. I was naive and wet behind the ears. Oh there had been a couple introductions to the girls in school that I'd grown up with, but that was the sum total of my experience with the opposite sex.
So anyway here we were in Fayetteville at about 9:00 PM waiting for the bus back on base. We'd already been to one of the two topless gentleman's clubs in town and I was nearly shaking I was so in love, confused, embarrassed and pretty much out of sync with the world around me. While we were standing there this long black car pulled up to the curb. And there we stood, Donnie Garret, Willie Lackey and I, and out of that car climbs this tall long-legged African Lady who asked us if we were interested in a date. I immediately broke out in a cold sweat. There were guys of her lineage in our barracks but, to be honest with you I had never met an African American till I got to Fort Bragg. And here was one of the women standing like a gorgeous Cameroon Queen right in front of me. And before I could say we had to go back to post, Donnie asked, "How much"? She said ten bucks and I swear that's when I fainted. And before I could get my wits back Donnie and her jumped into the long black car and it drove off. And Willie and I were getting on the bus. And that was definitely a lesson to me.
Three days later, after we'd covered for Donnie as well as we could, he showed back up in formation. He was broke, he'd been caught coming back on post and he looked like death warmed over. And of course now that I was experienced and so much smarter I asked him "What happened"? I guess I figured my heart could take it. I'll spare you the details, however he did end up with an Article 15 and a good workover by the drill sergeants. But when I asked him if it was worth it, he said, "hell yes". And the rest of the week he kept after the rest of us to work our butts off, so he could get a pass back into Fayetteville. Needless to say we never left post again until training was over and we left for A.I.T.
I am trying to forget the time between Fort Puke La and Lost In The Woods MO.
I did basic at Puke and ended up in Lost in The Woods as a DI.