|Dennis journey part 2
In Dennis journey part 1, we wrote the story from the view of Father Founded, in part 2, we let Dennis write hes part
The summer of 71, my best friend and I had just graduated from high school. My parents and grand parents were so proud that I would set an example for my younger brothers and sisters.
Brett, my best friend, invited me to go flying with his dad, a former WW2 pilot for the navy. Aviation was always interesting to me , and flying in there Cessna was inspiring to me. N8481X, the tail numbers I still remember.
Later that summer Brett and I decided that we make our career in this field. My parents were struggling financially, so I knew college was something they could not afford. The military was drafting at that time and the lottery system was in effect.
Unfortunately my numbers were drawn, I was to be drafted in to the Army. Brett and me decided that the best way to get an education was to join the Army and let uncle Sam pay for our college .
Doing so this would let us decide on our choice of MOS. After a visit at the recruiting station we enlisted, my mother was not to happy to here that. 3 years of our life would go to serving our country.
Talking to the recruiter we excepted to enlist on the buddy plan , which meant we would stay together thru our military experience. a ploy to draw young kids into military. We wanted to be helicopter mechanics, thinking this would later in life be an accet.
We signed and off we go. Completed basic training at Fort Lewis were off to Fort Eustis for UH 1 Huey training. After 3 months we became UH 1 crew chiefs, but just one thing , Our Commander says the field we are in is full , they have no place to send us. This was very depressing , I wanted to be on a gun ship, that was my dream , and now I see it fading away.
The CO gave us a choice, chose another MOS, they gave us three choices , fixed wing, sky crane , or chinocks, Brett and me thought again that fixed wing would later in life be productive. So after another 3 months in school we get our wings, we are now crew chiefs for a U21, ( Twin Beechcraft)
Before our orders for placement the CO gave us a so called dream sheet to fill out, this was a form that gave us a choice of where we wanted to be stationed, Arizona, Alaska, Vietnam. Brett and I took Vietnam.
Our whole class was given orders to Nam ,finally we get to see action After 23 hours in a DC8 we unload at TSN I remember the heat wave getting off that plane, thinking what have I gotten my self into. Processing through Camp Alpha , we were assigned to TSN, I was depressed , I wanted to be more out where the action was, the Vietnamese gal at the processing said I was lucky . later on I would agree.
Our compound was at the end of the runway, very nicely set up , surrounded by bunkers, mess hall, theater, hooch's to sleep in. After a few days went by , learning the ropes, and getting settled in, some friends suggested I join them for look around of base.
A hospital in town was a meeting place for GI s to meet .I cant remember where it was. Out of the blue this pretty doll grabbed my hands, I was stunded, I wasn't expecting this, she asked me to come with her, At first I didn't know what to think. I looked back at my friends and they were all clapping there hands .
Since they where more experienced at this sort of thing I trusted there judgment , they said go. 20 years old , in a foreign country, I was nervous to be off base where I new there was protection. She brought me to a one bedroom shanty, the alleys were dirt and running with water, I did not sleep well that night.
She held me so tight it felt like she had just one a prize, Anna she wanted to called treated me with so much respect I was overwhelmed. I could not compose myself to engage in intementsy. Anna asked me if I would return, I said yes, the seconded night she tagged my neck with hickys, marking me, later I learned this will keep other women away.
Gun fire erupted out side our door in the alley, I rushed to see what was going on but Anna grabbed me before I could open the door, VC she said. Later we found out a GI was killed . We have to respect the 10 o'clock curfew, the CQ are patrolling the streets. After some time I became more at ease, learning Vietnamese , getting around in cycilos and such.
I found my self drawn to her more as time past, I wanted to be with her all the time, she found a better house with a roof top that at that time had a good view of Saigon. This is when our relation ship started, her friends and family seemed to always be around, she was a caretaker of kids, which I adored.
Our rent was 50 dollars a month, that paid for everything, I always maxed out my PX card on Pall-mall cigarettes for her to sell on the black market for extra money. Anna gave me a gold cross to around my neck, I later found out it was to protect me.
On my days off work she would take out to see things, Always in a taxi, never a cycilo. Saigon zoo, Markets, theaters, and just to go get something to eat. I remember coming home one night and she was very upset, she accused me of butterflying (cheating) she learned I went to party with some friends and spent the night, this was true, but I did not sleep around on her, I was always faithful to her.
She told me to DE DE MOW (leave) I was shocked Later she learned the truth, as I was passing thought the main gates one day one of her friends past me a letter, in the letter , written in English from a friend of hers said she loves me and please come home, I still have this letter.
Thing are ok now, I have my girl back Many of my friends would come by to visit at our house, Anna liked this, it was like family, Brett became involved with Anna's friend and moved in with her , I've never seen him so happy.
We enjoyed teasing the girls and playing with the kids, Came home one night to find a spider monkey in our house, one of there friends didn't want it anymore Life was good , other than the war, dealing with rockets that would almost take my friends life at are bunker.
Nixon signs the treaty, talk was that deployment will start soon, this was sad for me , for I new I was going home. Anna knew this too,I could never come to grips to tell her, I was crying inside. Stay hear with me and I will find you work she said, my mind was racing , and the thought went thru my mind, going AWOL would not look good on my record.
Anna takes the cross back, I gather some things,photos,scrap books , and tell her I will see you tomorrow night ( not true) that night I still regret, walking down that alley knowing I will never see her again has stayed with me my whole life. A few days before she told me she was PG, I am still crying to this day not knowing what has happened to her , and if she had a child.
My time in NAM is where I grew up, Anna taught me how to be a man, she treated me like a king, I will always love her for that. I will always love her. My resent trip back to VN brought back memories, I thought to my self why Iam doing this ,Its just going bring back all the pain of losing her. I must sign off for now , this was very hard for me to write,