Thursday, November 8, 2007
July 1, 1969 I had just returned from Viet-Nam and I am in Port Hueneme, California. Our Mobile Construction Battalion 10 which is based in Port Hueneme was just given 30 days leave after returning. I have not seen the news or read the paper since returning from Viet-Nam. I gather the cloths that I will need for the 30 days leave and put them into a travel bag. Then I catch a cab which takes me to the local airport. From here I can catch a commuter flight to Los Angles. These commuter flights holds only 12 passengers and is a twin engine prop plane. The cab lets me out at the airports small terminal. I go inside to the check in counter and provide them with my plane ticket and have them check my luggage for the flight though to Phoenix, Arizona. At this time you are able to pay half price on the airline fares if you wear your military uniform while flying. This was later changed because of the exposure to danger the uniformed personnel had. My son and daughter are in Phoenix as is my sister and her family. I will pick up Tammy and Eddy in Phoenix and then head on to Pittsburg, Kansas with the kids to see my folks. I have not seen my folks and my brother since I left boot camp on my way to Port Hueneme then on to Viet-Nam and now I am back.
With my check in complete I head out to the small commuter flight. Soon everybody is aboard and the door is closed and the engines are started. Then we move out onto the taxi way which is only a short way to the runway. The plane turns onto the runway and gathers speeds and soon it has lifted off the runway and is gaining speed as we head down the California coast to Los Angles. We flight over the firing range at and naval air station at Port Mago, California and continue down the coast. We are passing over Malibu when my mind starts to wonder back to what happen last night at the K-Mart store.
Jeff and I are waiting in line in our dress white uniforms behind a man that is cashing a pay check. We have our beer and some snacks for the night since we will all be leaving in the morning and had just finished eating. We see the check out lady tell the man cashing the check that you really have a good pay check this week. The man says “Yes, it sure is good because of all the extra overtime I got to work because of the war in Viet-Nam.” Then he continues “I hope this Viet-Nam war goes on forever.” I see Jeff tap the man on the shoulder and before I can do or say anything the man turns around and Jeff lands a punch right on his chin. The man spins and falls down. Falling to the floor and knocking over the display of gum on the counter. The security guard comes a running and draws his night stick. Then the man gets to his feet. The guard starts to say something to Jeff when the man is on his feet and the man says. I did not realize how bad what I said really sounded. Then he says to the security guard that there is no problem as the man is holding his jaw were that Jeff had punched him. Are you part of MBC 10 just back from Viet-Nam he says? When we shake our heads. He continues you will be going on leave tomorrow then wont you? Again we shake our head yes. Well have a good leave. Then he draws his money and takes the sacks of things he bought in the store and leaves, as we check out to leave. A close encounter.
Posted by Ottster at 7:53 AM