On facebook, this is what I said about this photo:
“Almost forgot Throwback Thursday. Photo is of me during on leave between training and shipping to 'Nam. Farm dog/family pet "Trixie" with me.”
I have posted other photos of me during my service in Viet Nam. This photo prompted this comment from a friend of mine, “You had to be very nervous.“ Nervous is not the state on mind that I remember having. Let my try to explain.
Live has been one big adventure for me. Like all farm kids in those days, I learned to drive a tractor as soon as I was big enough to read the pedals. My dad and I did farm custom work. At 16, I went off to Pittsburgh for the summer for a science/engineering session. There were week-long trips for 4-H exchange, Student Council, and Boy's State.
College was in Cleveland, OH over 400 miles from home. Senior year of college, I did not pay attention to studies and did not finish studies.. I did not protest the war, nor was a supporter. Tried to beat the draft (moved to Cincinnati area for a “draft defered” job. The company screwed up with the deferment and the post office mis-delivered my draft notice. Once I had the notice, I felt it was my duty to serve.
I had one week to move from Cincinnati to Wisconsin for induction. During that week a grandfather passed away. I attended his funeral and the next day I was off to the induction center and the military. That whole week was a blur. My head was filled with confusing thoughts.
Off to Fort Campbell, KY for Basic Training. The Drill Sergeant assigned me as a road guard. During Basic Training, one of our speakers was the Chaplain. He was making the pitch for serving as a Chaplain Assistant. Now I have never been particularly religious. The job was to be the driver and “jack-of-all-trades” for the Chaplain – including his bodyguard.
Sounded pretty good. I could help my fellow soldiers and not be out pounding the boonies. It was one of the best jobs I volunteered for in the Army (Chaplain Assistant was yhe onlt MOS that you had to ask for and would not be assigned to without asking for it).
After Basic Training, it was off to Clerk School, Chaplain Assistant School and finally a week of Nam training before shipping out. This was about Thanksgiving time. I was home on 14 day leave before shipping out to my tour in Viet Nam.
I guess I was nervous, but I tried to not show it. I was trained, and did not to add to my parents' stress. I made the rounds of the family. Dressed in my fatigues, and dressed in my Class A dress uniform. Finally, off to war.
As it happens with most of us, I really grew up mentally during my service. It wasn't any game. One of my jobs was to visit the sick and wounded in our unit. I did everything I could do to support the guys in my unit. After 19 months (and with a rank of SP5E5), I got an “early out” and returned to college.
During my 30 years career at GM, I moved around the country and did my job. Over the last 9 years, I have faced various health issues. Always facing it head-on. Yes, some concerns and some nervousness, but as the title of a book “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway”.
Life is a journey and an adventure. And an interesting and exciting one, at that.