Yawn! What's happening today?..............Oh! I'm leaving for Vietnam!
IT'S TODAY! I'M REALLY GOING! WOW!
Ed, "I'm not
really hungry." Sigh!
"Goodbye, Biscuit, my favorite doggie."
"Goodbye, Donnie! You're the man of the house, now!" Heavy load to place on a 7 year old.
"Goodbye, Liliane, my love!" Sigh! Choke! Tears! The door slams! I go down the stairs, into the car. (I don't remember who the driver is, but he asks if I am ready, and I nod, because I can't speak). One last look back as we drive off; and I remember what my best friend said a little less than ten years ago as we left Ogden, Utah, and his wife and kid behind on our way to active duty at Ft Belvoir: "It's a hell of a world where you have to leave your family behind and go off to war! (Or something like that, most of you know what I mean.)
not new, for I have been in the Army almost ten years; but this is the
hardest one yet.
The stew asks
how far I'm going, and I tell her, "Saigon." "Army," she asks?
And I nod. I'm not in first class, but the scotch is on Pan Am.
We fly over the Alps, and they are gorgeous.
Now, I don't remember the time, but we land in Beruit, Lebanon, and I get off the plane to get the smells and see the shops of another new airport. I get down the steps, and look at the brightly lit hills of Beruit, and remember that it has been called, "the Paris of the East."
I gotta take a few pictures, and whip out my camera. Why are those men with guns shouting? Wonder what's going on? The stewardess comes flying down the steps, "Sir, get on the plane, now. Put away your camera. ON THE PLANE, NOW!" The shouts are directed at me! I get back aboard, fast, and the stew tells me that because of the 1967 mid-east war, "....they think you could be an Israeli spy!"
Me! A Spy! Naw! But, I go to the john, take off my dog tags, and stick them in my jockey shorts. The tags have imprinted on them, "ST. CLAIR, EDWARD B., JR. 05700405, CAPT. A+ HEBREW!" I stay in the john until the plane starts to load, and go quietly back to my seat.
We take off. I have another scotch, or two, on Pan Am, and joke with the stewardess about being an Israeli spy.
Nothing happens, and around mid-night we land in Karachi, Pakistan. It is late, the airport is a dump. I walk around a bit, and get back on the plane.