Saturday, March 22, 2008

Where were you?

When I woke up this morning, my mind was wandering again, and took me back forty years.

This was the month I reported to Third Marine Division, Republic of South Vietnam, in Danang. As we deplaned, there was a line of Marines waiting to get on the "Freedom Flight". Over, and over, I heard someone say as I walked by, "Welcome to the land that God forgot, BNG". Then someone made that comment, "I'm going home, but you won't be rotating until they have finished the bridge between Danang and California."

To a boy from Colorado, the heat and humidity were unbelievable, fortunately we had received our gamma globulin shot in Okinawa before we left and our blood was sufficiently thinned to help us accomodate, or acclimate.

I remember, shortly after stowing my gear, I was walking around checking out the area when I heard some funny sounds that sounded really strange to me. When I asked someone what the noise was, he yelled, "That's incoming, stupid! get into a bunker.

Well, being brand new, I had no idea where the bunkers were located. I did find one, and when I stepped in someone said, we are full, you need to find another bunker. As i ran to another bunker, I could hear rounds impacting near, and as i ran head first into the bunker, I learned my first good lesson; some bunkers have upright poles in the middle of the entrance.

I suppose I looked pretty funny bouncing off the pole, but then, I suppose there were those in the bunker, who had done the same thing at some point.

Fortunately, I only had to spend one or two nights at Danang, and then was put on a transport plane that stopped in Phu Bai, and then delivered some of us to Dong Ha. From there transportation was available that brought me to Cua Viet.

Unfortunately, I had not been forwarned to bring along a swimming suit, nor a beach blanket. Cua Viet was right on the beach. It cornered between the Dong Ha river and the Gulf of Tonkin. Well, at least I was home, and beginning the course of training that would assist me in making it through thirteen months.

So, forty years ago, I was living in a place far from home, and learning to cope in a new way. Where were you?

No comments: