I still think about my Dad. A lot. It’s been almost 3 years now since he passed away and it seems like yesterday. And here it is Memorial Day weekend and it all comes back full strength. My Dad and his brother Paul, Uncle Paul, were both in the Army. Dad was older and was drafted but became a lifer. He retired as a full Colonel after 30 years. Pretty good run. His first major tour was in Korea. I always thought he fought in the Korean War but during his final months I interviewed him and asked him about all of the medals so nicely framed in his office. He told me then he had never killed anyone. He also told me that he was in Korea after the war was over. He flew dignitaries around in a chopper! But he was in Korea for 18 months doing that. My brother Tim and sister Judy were born during that time. My poor Mom!
Dad’s second and third major tours were both in Vietnam. He went twice – a year each time. In 65-66 he was in Nha Trang with the 14th Transportation Battalion which provided maintenance and supply of aircraft to the US Army. Then in 71-72 he was deployed with the 765th Transportation Battalion to Vung Tau where he was the commanding officer. Crazy times.
At one point Uncle Paul was in Vietnam too and they got together. Not sure where or when but it happened. I’m just glad they made it out alive and relatively unscathed.
In the summer of 1975 Dad was the commanding officer of Operation New Life which help with the evacuation and processing of 100,000+ Vietnamese refugees into the US. They had a base camp in Guam where the refugees came by aircraft and ship and lived in an “tent city” while awaiting their processing and transportation to America. Pretty much everyone came with the clothes on their back. The Red Cross provided clothing for them and some of the men came in their Vietnamese Army uniforms where they promptly changed their clothes as soon as their feet hit the ground!
Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before but in the final year of his life Dad worked with a man that had gone through that camp in Guam. Full circle!
Love you Dad and miss you every day.