5
   

BACK IN THE DAY . . .

 
 
Setanta
 
Reply Sun 2 Feb, 2020 11:13 pm
On this day, fifty years ago, I was sworn in as a member of the Regular Army of the United States. Time sure is fun when you're having flies. (Yesterday was the 47th anniversary of the day I "separated" from the Arny.)
 
edgarblythe
 
  3  
Reply Sun 2 Feb, 2020 11:22 pm
I separated in January of 1965. I felt so light I damn near floated above the brow as I departed the McKean with a seabag on my shoulder. Not to say it all was bad, but I was ready for a long break. I had no idea why we were at war in Vietnam, but I left thinking to have a bit of vacation and then reup in the Army. Once freed from the military mindset, however, I read enough in magazines and newspapers to realize I could no longer serve and so began my days of protest.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Sun 2 Feb, 2020 11:27 pm
I had wanted to be career military since I was a small boy. They offered me OCS after I enlisted, but something made me take a wait and see attitude. That was a badly demoralized army. I looked back with no regrets.
edgarblythe
 
  3  
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2020 12:05 am
Morale was relatively good on our tin can. But we had not approached the war zone. At the time, only volunteers went to Nam. Our one big incident was the Cuban Missile Crisis and we sat in port in Long Beach CA the whole time. I just got tired of several superiors acting dumb, often for no reason other than to feel the power. One minor incident illustrates the dumbness, but many such happenings were more serious: Three minutes before the call to dump the trash on the pier I dumped it, to give myself a little more time for something rather important. As I was putting the can back in its place, I was ordered to dump it. "I just
did," I said. I tried to show the empty can, but he refused to look. "Dump it," he said. So I went back up the ladder and came back down to avoid a situation that could blow up on me. This dumb **** was too often for my peace of mind.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  3  
Reply Tue 4 Feb, 2020 07:35 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

I had wanted to be career military since I was a small boy. They offered me OCS after I enlisted, but something made me take a wait and see attitude. That was a badly demoralized army. I looked back with no regrets.

I enlisted in 1990 and left in 1994. I was offered a chance to go to intelligence school because of my earlier ASVAB and language test scores. I was a demoralized individual at the time (emotionally and socially). I sometimes look back with regrets in not accepting this opportunity.
hightor
 
  4  
Reply Tue 4 Feb, 2020 08:25 am
A draftee, I returned from Vietnam with a bad haircut and a huge smile on my face in December '69, got my discharge from the Green Machine, and headed for home, stopping for a brief visit with an army buddy in Salt Lake City. It all felt very surreal. The smile hardly left my face for the next few months. I'd dream I was back in my unit, wake up, and the smile returned.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 4 Feb, 2020 08:51 am
@tsarstepan,
I had no regrets because my situation had revealed to me that at the deepest level, the lifers only cared about themselves, and to hell with everyone else. Even as a boy, long before I enlisted, I had come to realize that there has to be a sense of belonging, and of community, for a military force to reach its peak efficiency. EB's account of the chickenshit he had to put up with can stand for what I saw too often to ever have had regrets.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 4 Feb, 2020 09:21 am
After I had been aboard the McKean for about a week, I had a panic attack. I recall taking stock of the stupidity I had thus far encountered and considering, "This is what stands between us and the Russians." After further consideration, I decided that Russian sailors were likely at least equally screwed up if not more. So then I let it go.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  3  
Reply Tue 4 Feb, 2020 09:46 am
50 years ago, I'd been already in German Federal Navy as a conscript for 7 months, was four weeks (after basic training and afterwards Naval School) on board.
At that period - and especially at that time - there were more vacancies for navigators than school leavers. Since the navigation petty officer as well as the enlisted/conscript had left, I became part of the "navigation department" on a minesweeper together with another conscript (both got the best marks at school [in navigation!!!]).
However, my colleague ['Kamerad', comrade in the armed forces] was incurable seasick (he really became terribly ill even by the movements of the tide).

So I was left alone after a couple of days.
It was planned that our boat sailed for a couple of weeks to France, huge NATO exercise.
But I didn't have a pox vaccination.
Which actually wouldn't have been such a big thing - but my hometown (=official residence) was part of a restricted area due to a pox outbrake (with several deaths) in the neighbouring district.

My father - a physician himself - didn't allow me to get the vaccination (legal age was still 21 in those days).

Our squadron's surgeon got a workable idea: I got a pre-vaccination 14 days before I had my birthday, the vaccination exactly on my 21st birthday, stayed two weeks in quarantine and then got onboard.

So, I didn't have a birthday party but my first day of quarantine in our garrison's medical centre.
Since even a week after the vaccination I didn't show any reactions, the nurse heightened my temperature a bit - but not too much, since from that day I was the only one on that (interior) ward, who could be send to the cafeteria to get sausages, chips, coke and crisps for the other patients (Crisps was the most important since I could hide the beer bottles below).

Unfortunately, I wasn't flown with a helicopter as scheduled to my boat (it was already waiting on Borkum island) but got a lift a navy auxiliary boat (civil crew).
0 Replies
 
Joeblow
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2020 05:20 am
50 years ago I was 10. My only claim to fame was that I knew all of the lyrics to Sgt. Pepper's AND Judy's turn to cry. It would take another two years before I bought my first 45.
hightor
 
  3  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2020 06:14 am
@Joeblow,
Quote:
It would take another two years before I bought my first 45.

If I heard someone saying this I'd think they were referring to .45 caliber. ("...and Johnny came back to me.")

Joeblow
 
  2  
Reply Wed 5 Feb, 2020 06:43 am
@hightor,
ha. Yeah, I can see that...

I knew how to weigh down the arm with pennies on the old portable record player too. Mom and Dad's hi-fi was reserved for Johnny Horton

0 Replies
 
 

 
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