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War Stories 51

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As with everything else, there's always a lesson to be learned or a price to be paid for what you do.

So far, just in South East Asia, I have been shot at, one of those times by a "friendly" marine who didn't load his weapon correctly. threatened by a petty thief who I almost shot, almost run over by one of our A.P.C.s, in a near miss with a fighter while in Pedro, almost run over off base a few times, among other things.

As I was getting down on my short calendar to almost being a double digit midget and getting to be called a short-timer, I had picked up my mail while on the way to the armory. I had to wait to read it until I got there because it's hard to read anything while you carry a gray canvas A-4 bag loaded with your helmet, flak vest, gas mask and whatever goodies you can hide in it besides your radio/tape player.

When I arrived I dumped my bag with the others and got in line to get my weapon, ammo, portable radio and a couple day/night flares, I gat a chance to read the letters I picked up. Things were looking good when my parents informed me that my new Duster would arrive about a week before I got home and they would have it waiting at the house. Then I got to the letter from my fiancé (who doesn't see this coming), she was in her second year in college in North Carolina, and had met someone else (probably some long haired hippie type), So much for the good day.

I put the letter in my left leg side pocket, got my things from the armory and went to the clearing barrel to load my weapon. Let's see, radio in the inner pocket of my right leg side pocket, radio case in the bag, hand the extra ammo to the clearing supervisor so I can load my .38 and holster it, take the extra ammo out of its holding block, give that back to the armory, and load the spares into their pouches.

Not saying anything I joined the others to wait for the last shift's jeeps to arrive for relief. I must have been a bit more noticeable than usual because the flight chief asked what was wrong, a girl? I just looked at him and said flatly, "Not anymore." He just looked at me for a moment and said nothing but I got the feeling that he was keeping an eye on me as we happened to meet more than once at some incident or other all shift.

A few years later I met my wife while on duty at Littlerock. At the time she was a C-130 crew chief so by all accounts we shouldn't have met at all considering the status of relations between the cops and most of the rest of the base. We got married in the base chapel at Littlerock and the next day I had to return to Loring Maine. When we got assigned to Kadena we lived at Makimanato housing outside Naha, the capitol city. The chaplin there happened to be the same one who married us. small Air Force. We're still married today.

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