After high school, went to college where my study habits followed and
lasted 2 semesters. Turned my hand to working but back in 1965, there
was a thing called 'the draft', that was ready to knock on my door.
Fooled them, I joined the Marine Corps.
Within 6 months I was on an airplane headed for Vietnam. I was suppose
to be in the infantry, but when I got to Vietnam, after sending me out
to my unit, the captain in all his infinite wisdom, wanted me to be his
radio operator. Maybe they saw I was one of the few who had some
college, I don't know. At first I refused, wanted to get out there on
the front lines. They kept it up, thought, hey, this could lead to
something. Worst mistake I ever made. I'm saying, one of my very best
boneheaded mistakes that I will admit too.
Found out after the first time in the field why radio operators are
lucky to last their tour not being wounded. Although, I didn't get hit,
sure got the %$%$# scared out of me. The VC wanted to shoot me and my
fellow marines didn't want me around them. You see, I'm carrying a
radio that's located on my back with a 3 foot antenna or I as called it,
an aiming stake, just 2 inches from my head sticking up.
Well with the first patrol or outing, I learned about bullets that are
close, within a foot to 10 feet away. They kept yelling at me, you'll
learn. You don't have to hit the deck (ground) everytime you hear a
bullet going by. &^&^&. Can't remember any war movie growing up that
had this kind of crap I had to put up with.
Second outing, chauk up one antenna. Bullets flying everywhere and the
captain wanted me to find out what was happening. There were some much
%^%$ flying, I'm laying on the ground trying to dig the deepest hole
with my fingers. The radio wouldn't work. Took the hand set and hit it
on the gound. Then remembered, check the antenna.
When I reached around it was gone. Lucky for me, a bad shot or well,
maybe he was aiming for the antenna. Probably telling his grandchildren
right now about how he shot an antenna off this emeny radio operator's
back. All I could think about was changing my underwear.
Well 56 days into my sunny vacation tour, they got me, almost lost my
left leg. Spent 6 weeks aboard a hospital ship and because I only had 2
months in Nam,.back I went, bad leg and all. When I reported in, I had
fogotten how to talk. Put me back in a platoon where it was safer.
Along came another transfer, where once again the captain is telling me
about this great job, that the regiment and my country will be proud of
me, heard this once before when I first got to Vietnam, should have
learned the first the time, off I went to an advisory unit.
After my first tour and came home, well, I went back again. Hey, my leg
ws feeling better.
After being discharged, I went back to college, but didn't finish.
Been married for a touch over 30 years to Rebecca and have two wonderful
(hope they don't see this) boys, Jeff, Jr., age 22 and Michael, age 17.
Becky works for Prudential Insurance, Jeff is a cabinet maker and Mike
is still in school and works p/t time for Mcdonalds.
I work for the State of Missouri, in St. Ann, Missouri, at the Missouri
Career Center as a Veteran Representative. Help vets with their resume,
application and interview skills. To me, these are the most important
areas where you have control, well, not total control with the
interview, but I will help them bridge that problem.
Its been a long time. Looking forward to the reunion next year.
USMC....0311....VietNam 66 - 67
'M', 3/3....CAC/CAP 3-1