Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Vietnam Memories by Joseph A Rehyansky

A wonderful true story.......

1968. I had been working as a clerk-typist in the personnel office at Fort Benning, Georgia. I was 21 years old. My levy for Vietnam was imminent. One day, there it was. I typed my own orders for The Big Muddy......

I had a 28-day leave. Katy and I got married. A sleepless, scared last night. We dozed watching an Abbott & Costello movie. Which one is it that has a bunch of letters going down a big old-fashioned office mail chute? Then we overslept. Panic. I got her to Kennedy Airport. She had about 30 minutes to make her flight back home to Daytona Beach to be with her parents. No parking spaces, unbelievable traffic. I pulled up in front of a cop. I was in uniform, and I told him we were in a bind.

“Leave it here. Give me your keys.” If I had gotten his name and badge number he’d be in my will.

My sister, Roberta, only recently told me that when I left Mom spent the entire night crying. I had never known. But then it hit me. She had seen a 21-year-old husband off to war and now a 21-year-old son.

McGuire Air Force Base to Washington State to Anchorage to Tokyo to Saigon. We had a layover in Anchorage. The most spectacularly beautiful mountain ranges I have ever seen were right outside. Will Rogers and Wiley Post were still out there somewhere, lost forever in 1935 in the wreckage of their small plane.

On the first leg of the flight, we hit wind shear. The plane dropped several thousand feet without warning. Meals and guys bouncing off the ceiling. Stewardesses -- as they were still called -- strapped in and not answering calls. I hadn’t undone my seat belt and had not been served a meal, so I was OK, just terrified. You have never seen whiter knuckles. It took me 20 years to get over my fear of flying.....

(To read the rest click on the title for a link)

"Every day since, bad and good, has been a gift."