Friday, October 20, 2006

Why Am I Doing This?

As many of you know, I got my butt drafted into the Army in Sept '67. It was one of the low points in my life; at the time it was the very worst thing that had happened to me. I went. I had used up all my deferments, and jail or Canada were not options for various reasons. So I went.

This is not a recap of my Army career. I met a lot of really great guys. Two of them in particular, Gary Morris and Jerry Cochran, I spent my whole enlistment with. Together, we were at Ft Ord, CA for basic, Ft Rucker AL for aircraft mechanic training, and the 73rd SAC in Vung Tau for the Viet-Nam tour. We went home together, same day, same plane. We saw each other one more time a few months later, and then never again.

So a few years ago, bored in front of the computer, I Googled my old Viet-Nam unit just to see, and by God there was a web site. It had photos, a guest book and a history. There were a few names I remembered in the guest book (not Gary and Jerry, though). I fired off e-mails to several. I never heard from any of them. I sent e-mails to several that I didn't know, but were there at the same time. One, I have corresponded with for almost a year, and I'm glad we do. But our tours overlapped only by a few months, and we had never met.

I should explain about the 73rd. The company was fairly large and roughly divided into those who flew, and those who kept the planes flying. I was in the latter group, and most of the guest book entries are by those who flew, pilots and observers. There was another group that interpreted the film and other data that was collected by the radar and infrared cameras. These guys tended to be included with the observers who were all enlisted.

So here I am trying to find someone who clearly remembers me. I have sent 3 e-mails to the officer who was my boss in the parts supply area. Never got an answer. I have sent e-mails to the web master of the 73rd site, because I am convinced that we shared a barracks for over 8 months. No response from him either.

I have left messages on several other vet sites including Guest Book for Vung-Tau and Lost and Found. I have never heard from any that knew me. Perhaps, as I have mentioned elsewhere, I was a bigger idiot than I thought, and no one wants to remember me.

There is a Mohawk Association web site that I check from time to time, but they want dues, and I'm not much of a joiner. However they have reunions of Mohawk units each year, and let the public view the pictures. The last set of pictures from this year's reunion have many photos of past Mohawkers and no identifying captions. Two guys in some of the pictures I think I recognize, but who can be sure after forty years?

Months ago, I decided to hell with all this crap of trying to reach people who may remember me in the army. I was checking e-mail several times a day, and getting depressed when I got none. So to hell with them all.

Then I had another dream about getting drafted into the army. I have had this dream on and off for the last 10 years. In the dream, I am my current age and get drafted, and tell every one that I have done my duty, I'm 52 years old and what the hell is going on. I am in uniform and explaining to the kids in the unit what the army is all about. I hadn't had one of these for several years, until this week.

The twist in this one is that now I am 60 (which I am), I am in uniform, and I'm telling every one that this is just like a dream I have had for the past ten years. What the hell is going on?

So what do I do? I go to the Mohawk site and fire off an e-mail to one of the directors, identifying myself and asking about guys in the reunion photos. I can't seem to leave it alone. Do I need validation? Do I need justification? In a previous post "Looking back" I approached the question. Apparently I haven't answered anything. If it's an addiction, I have acknowledged it.

What now? I have an e-mail out there and I'll be waiting for the non-response. I'm off to the dump. I wish the refuse in my head was as easily disposed of as that in the house.

BRB is Write (and confused)


Anonymous David said...

I was in vung tau with 9 squadron RAAF from march 1969 to march 1970 and I do remember getting shit faced in your barracks anmd passing out about xmas 1969, it was a great place for alcoholics, I too have just turned 60 and look around and wonder why time flew so fast.

6:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Lewis said...

Picked up your comment from my site. Welcome. I was in USA, a draftee, from 71-73 and spent 17 mos on Okinawa in an Air Defense Unit.

I also notice that there doesn't seem to be many bloggers in our age group.

3:10:00 PM  

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