I received my draft notice in March 1968. I was scheduled to report for active duty in April 1968. We were told that 1/3 of those drafted in April would go to the Marines. I did not feel very lucky and the thought of being drafted into the Marines was not a pleasant one, so I ended up joining the Army (yes, I know, this meant an extra year in the Army) with the condition that I would be assigned to the Army Corps of Engineers. I had worked as a surveyor for almost 2 years before entering the Army.
After 8 weeks at Fort Bliss, TX for BASIC training and 8 weeks at Fort Lenordwood, MO for AIT, I was on my way to Thailand.
Within a week of arriving in Thailand, I was on my way to Camp Samae San assigned to the 697th Engineer Company (Pipeline). I was part of the Water Main installation group.
It did not take me long to realize that if I had to spend 2 1/2 more years in the Army, the place to spend it was in Thailand. I put in for a one year extension. The extension was approved so I spent almost 2 years in country. I did not ETS from Thailand as in mid 1970 there were troop cutbacks as part of the phase out of troops in Viet Nam.
I was in the 697th untill the company was deactivated. From there I moved over to HHC, 538th Engineer Battalion and worked as a construction surveyor at Camp samae San. I was with the 538th until it also deactivated. I then was assigned up north with the 809th Engineer Battalion. I have very little recollection of what happened there but do remember that I was TDY over to the Air Force base where we were the Base Engineers. There really was almost nothing to do there so we spent a lot of time just avoiding work.
The numerous weekends at Pattaya Beach and Bangkok were a part of the Thailand experience. I also went to Chaing Mai twice (that's me on the elephant on one of the trips), the site of the "Bridge on the River Kwai" twice, the saphire mines in eastern Thailand and many other places too numerous to mention.
Upon ETS'ing from the Army, I took advantage of the GI Bill and went to college. I majored in civil engineering and I am now a senior engineer in the drinking water field.
Being a young lad from the midwest, Thailand was my vision of the Endless Summer. When ever I hear the surfing sounds of groups like the Beach Boys, it takes me back to those great times I had in Southeast Asia.
Well, that's enough about the past, as for now and the future......?
This year I ran in the biggest race in the Des Moines area. It was 20 Km (about 12.4 miles). I came in 2nd out of 150 in my division, so I was real pleased with that.
Over the summer I participated in a RAGBRAI (a week long bike ride across Iowa). A one day ride was 67 miles or longer. Please understand, these are peddle powered bikes, no motors allowed. There were about 10,000 bikers.
I currently run about 40 miles a week. I have signed up to participate with a team to train for the Walt Disney Marathon to be held in Orlando, FL. (26.2 miles). Each member of the team must raise $2,500 for the Leukemia Society, so my weekends have been tied up doing fund raising. If anyone would like to donate (for a very good cause) please email me and I'll give you the address to send it to.