Category Archives: Veteran Testimony
My Cam Ranh photos are the earliest I’m confident I can date. One (it’s of the parade ground) was taken on the 14th, four (more or less like this) were taken on the 15th, and three were shots taken through our airplane’s window of the sun rising over the Pacific on the 16th.
What the book does well is round out LeMay’s biography. Like most Vietnam vets, my memories of the man begin with his time on the Joint Chiefs and end with the 1968 Wallace campaign. There’s much more to this man than that, and the book is worth reading just for that.
My office phone rang. Since it was an external call, and I didn’t recognize the number, odds were it was either a vendor or a wrong number. Nope; Lauren Morgan introduced herself as an editor with Boston Publishing, and she was working with Vietnam Veterans of America on a magazine issue. They’d found a couple of my pictures on Flickr, and wanted to use them to illustrate an article. I asked which photos they were planning to use, which she described, and I said sure. We talked about some details for a few minutes, and the conversation ended.
One morning, after thirteen hours at the DSTE and on the teletypes, we hit the airbase bar for breakfast and a few drinks, only to discover that the club was planning to run the (then) new Ned Kelly movie. So we stayed and watched, as did a handful of Aussies who were stationed in the vicinity.
But boy he looked fine while he failed. Good days and bad, the man was impeccable, in a BCT sort of way. His fatigues were always starched, his boots always had a perfect shine, his comportment was beyond reproach. Everything was done with a flair. Even the failures were stylish.
There was a bookstore/candle shop/concert space just off the campus. The place doubled as a coffeehouse (only on weekends, I think), and the house band was a folky quartet–a girl singer, her husband on guitar and harmony, a bassist (I think), and a drummer. here was a bookstore/candle shop/concert space just off the campus. The place doubled as a coffeehouse (only on weekends, I think), and the house band was a folky quartet–a girl singer, her husband on guitar and harmony, a bassist (I think), and a drummer. It was the first time I’d found a drummer in a folk group, and the first time I’d ever seen a girl play a conventional drum kit. The group’s repertoire was pretty standard for a coffeehouse band, except they had an unaccountable affection for Tim Buckley. For me, the attraction (besides the drummer) was the opportunity to hear “my” music.
Sunrise, and we discovered the Huachuca Mountains, like an unexpected island in the plains. Never–never–have I been so astonished by the morning.
My memories of the cycle were that it wasn’t so much difficult as relentless; the pressure never let up, though the emphasis changed from week to week. It helped a lot that I was reasonably fit, and accustomed to long hikes. It didn’t help that I was only barely competent with a rifle. It was clear to us that, at least from SFC Charley Tucker, the pettiness and meanness were part of the course work, not part of the personality.