Several times today, I reflected on July 27th, 1970- my day of departure from the United States for Vietnam. My wife went with me to Cincinnati, where we said our goodbyes (and may have felt strangely unusual this time with the slight potential of never seeing each other again- pangs of war's effects). I flew to Oakland, CA then cabbed to Travis Air Force Base, where I reported in to someone and was assigned a flight to Vietnam via Alaska and Kubota, Japan for fuel stops. Before I left Alaska, I got word of the birth of my nephew, Matthew, who timed his birth on his older brother's birthday (and my departure day), so I remember their July 27 birthdays easily.
I blogged about this subject on the 40th anniversary in 2010 here.
The Vietnam thoughts have many layers of meaning to me. The War (never declared), flying helicopters (initially from our aviation section- see photo above of our building- in Phu Bai until moving to Danang in Dec., 1970), mostly in areas of I Corps- northernmost military designation of Corps I-IV, friends, playing cards, serving the Army and the nation, planning, solving problems, Operation Lamson 719, OH-58 training in Vung Tau (top photo above) and later instructor pilot training in Vung Tau.
The Bob Hope USO Show (above photo includes Bob Hope and The Golddiggers) flying along the beaches of the South China Sea (two of photos show aerial view and beachfront view of HQ 45th Engineer Group after December, 1970), flying for the 45th Engineer Group to engineering sites (in above photos) and to the northernmost Army outpost in South Vietnam to take "donut dollies" to entertain the troops (Was it to Camp Fuller? We could see the North Vietnam Flag across the DMZ, by the way) , and R & R in Hawaii with Rebecca (seeing the Don Ho Show). R & R in Sidney, Australia and a trip to the Sidney Zoo. On and on with memories, stimulated by hundreds of photos of the experience on my laptop computer. Coming home, meeting my wife in Cincinnati and going to the zoo. Trips to "The Wall". More next July 27th. Peace to all.