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Friday, October 28, 2011

28 OCT 11

This blog entry is in response to a question asked on the U.S. Army's facebook page.

 Fill in the blank:
"The nicest thing someone has done for me (or that I have done for someone else) in uniform is ______________."

I'd like to answer with a short tale.
Ten months into a two-year tour and I was taking my wife and two infant children home, to CONUS, from Japan. The plan was to fly military Space-A from Tokyo to Travis AFB, CA. We'd figure out how to go the rest of the way to the East Coast from there. I was burning up leave days that I couldn't really afford waiting for a flight out. We were living out of suitcases in the Yokota AFB terminal waiting room. Finally, a flight out of Japan was available but it was to Hickam AFB, HI. I was being forced into buying tickets for the family, on commercial transport, from Hawaii to CONUS. I had to use an AAFES vendor's travel office that was located there, in the Yakota terminal. One problem emerged... because of my rank (E-4), I needed an officer to co-sign for the purchase. (The airfare was treated as a loan.) While waiting in the terminal, I'd struck up a conversation with a USAF captain. He was traveling, with his wife, on a PCS move. He'd noticed my campaign ribbons and had asked where I'd been in Vietnam. He told me that he'd overflown Vietnam, ferrying F-4 Phantoms, but never served there. When he overheard the vendor tell me about needing an officer as co-signer, he stepped right up and volunteered. He didn't know me from his elbow but was caring enough to help me. I cannot, this day, remember his name, only his deed. I try to emulate him, daily, in my dealings with people.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

22 OCT 11

A lazy Saturday...

Have been exploring my family roots via the Ancestry dot Com site.

To date, this is what I've discovered:

Joseph Welsh Family Tree
(Click image to enlarge.)


Going to view the Vietnam War "Traveling Wall" later today.

While visiting the Traveling Wall, I found Bill Stewart's
name and made a rubbing. Bill was a friend and mentor
when I was a nug 98C at the 8th RRFS. Bill, along with six or
seven other 8th RRFS personnel, died when the C-130 they were riding
in flew into a mountainside while trying to land at Da Nang AFB.
It was on October 8th 1967, in the rainy season, and I remember
the day as full of fog and rain.

Bill Stewart was on his way home. He'd done his year, his 365 days. Most of the others from the 8th were on their way home too. That's the irony of this tragic crash.
(It was an article of faith that the 'Nam was not done with you until you had your boots on the ground at home... and sometimes not even then.)


Friday, October 21, 2011

21 OCT 11

Ho Hum...

According to some, it's supposed to be the "End Of The World" again today.
Guess not.
It's nothing but quiet around these parts

Gaddafi is dead.
I'm glad for that.
I spent much time in the '80s looking
over my shoulder whilst living in Berlin.
(Bombs scare the crap out of me.)
Besides the Libyans, there too was the RAF.
(Red Army Faction - AKA, the Baader-Meinhof Gang.
On the day Ulrika Meinhoff was buried, in a Mariendorf
cemetery, I moved my two U.S. plated cars onto the air base.
There was a very large crowd of her supporters marching just
two blocks from where we lived on Paradestrasse. My wife
and I were the only Americans living in the area and the
distinctive USA license plates might have brought us trouble.)

The White House announced today that U.S. soldiers would be
gone from Iraq by the end of the year... all because the Iraqis
couldn't accept a status-of-forces agreement with us.
I don't think it'll be long before the two Muslim factions are
at each others throats again.


PS: It's now 22 Dec 11. The last American military unit left Iraq 18 DEC 11.
Today, 14 bombs were set off across Baghdad, killing about 60 people.
Sunni insurgents are thought to be guilty.
Took all of 4 days for it to begin.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

16 OCT 11

Mid October...
the trees are not turning much this year.
The leaves become brown and wrinkled
while remaining on the tree.
It's thought this is caused by all the snow and
rain we've had this past year.
The ground is soaked.
The roots continue to take water from the soil
and transport it to the leaves,
thus delaying the change in color...
delaying the fall.

Stopped to eat in a Wendy's.
The girl at the counter took my order, then asked,
"Would you be dining in or dining out today?"
She was only about 16, or so, and was spouting
company training... so I didn't lay into her about how
I wouldn't be "dining" anywhere... that "dining," in my mind,
conjers the image of table service, china plates, flatware...
there are no styrofoam boxes, no plastic sporks, no tiny
paper cups of ketchup in my definition of "dining.".

My band, "Artsongjazz," has a paid gig in two weeks time.
We're playing at a new coffee shop, situated within the confines
of "Museum Village." This is a family attraction located in
Monroe, NY. Am looking forward to it. While I enjoy hearing
us play the music, it's always better with an appreciative audience.