Bien Hoa, An Khe, Pleiku, Vietnam
Door Gunner, Pilot/Huey Cobra
He was 20 when he was drafted and barely turned 21 when he was sent there.
My family lost count of the number of times the casualty officers came to our home and said that he was killed in action, missing in action, missing and presumed dead. Once, no one could find him The Red Cross tried to help, but they couldn't locate him. We were told that he was shot down and lost. We were told he was captured.
We were told he was never in Vietnam. Oh really? We had to pay for his airfare to get to San Francisco from Florida because he came home to see his family first and the Army wouldn't pay his airfare to go to war.
He came back to us both bent and broken. But, we were able to love him back to life. It's all we could do. He never talked about any of it. He still doesn't. It doesn't matter. We don't care.
I call him. I call him a lot. He answers the phone and says, "What's up, Baby Sista'?" I tell him, "Not much". He says, "Why did you call?" and I say, "Because I can"...no more explanation needed.
But, how cute is that face, anyway? Looks exactly like my Dad.
Have a peaceful Veteran's Day, Jack. I love you forever.