Before I was drafted in January of 1967, I was living in a moderate sized town located between Newark, NJ. and the big city itself, New York.
I was single, had a girlfriend, worked during the day operating a small messenger service and attended evening classes at Rutgers University in Newark, NJ.
Since I was a part-time student, I was not eligible for a draft deferment so eventually the draft caught up with me. Eerily, I was drafted on Friday, January 13, 1967. Needless to say, I did not think this was a good omen at the time.
I did BASIC training and AIT (Radio Operator School) at Fort Dix, NJ. From there it was to Fort Gordon, GA for Radio Teletype School. After a short leave, I was assigned to an artillery battery at Fort Bragg, NC.
After several weeks of policing the battery area and cleaning out rifles, the entire battery was called onto the parade field, and the Sergeant Major began reading from a list of names. The guys selected were to form a new battery and go to Viet Nam to a place called Con Thien. (You may recall, the Marines there were being blasted daily by the NVA guns)
The mission of this new battery was to locate these guns by utilizing sensitive electronic equipment and then transfer this info to the Air Force, Army and Marines. It was hoped the battery could pinpoint the position of the guns, and then the Americans could blow them away. This in fact never happened, and eventually the marines simply left Con Thien.
My name was never called for this assignment! Shortly there after, my name came down on levy for Thailand. (Amazingly, that newly formed battery returned safely from Viet-Nam!!)
I arrived in Thailand in February of 1968 and was assigned to the 697th at Korat. Shortly after that, my platoon went TDY to Sattahip to do pipeline work on Camp Samae San. The platoon was attached to D Company, 538th Engineer Battalion.
My tour finished in early January 1969 and I ETS'ed on January 5, 1969 with a seven day early out. (Big deal!!)
Within a year, I was married, had a young son, was going to evening college again and was on my second job and my third car.
Eventually, I had two sons (now 28 & 24) and one daughter (now 17). I graduated
and taught High School English at various high schools for the city of Newark, NJ.
Recently, I took an early retirement, although I still teach adult education in the evening for another school system on a part-time basis. Currently, I'm looking for a part-time job during the daytime. We'll see where that takes me.
My wife and I are approaching our 30 year anniversary this coming April (1999). We live in Kearny, NJ, a nice town in which to raise a family.
That about covers the major events in my life. However, I must say, the details of my time in Thailand were some of the best of my single life. As I mentioned on some of these web pages, I wrote a novella based on the experiences of others and myself during that enriching time. I consider myself extremely lucky that I can look back with an overall sense of pleasure and even joy upon my military days. I know that there are many, who unfortunately cannot say the same, and my best wishes and prayers go out to them for their sacrifices.
There are so many people, both Americans and Thai, with whom I would like to re-establish contact. Thanks to the dogged efforts of Mike Ellis, this small 'puter platoon is a beginning effort.
Nevertheless, the one person who remains outstanding in my mind is SP/4 Petty. It is to my severe misfortune that I don't remember his first name. (recall that we referred to each other by our surnames for the most part.) I know he is the type of guy who would be on-line. He left me with a Thai language book which helped me immensely in picking up and using spoken Thai.
In conclusion, let me say again that if anyone wants a good read to help re-live and recall their own experiences in that wonderful country, simply contact me by E-mail , and I will try to get you a copy of "Soldiers in Siam".
Also finally, I want to thank Gary Adams for his interest in the 697th and all his help in establishing a small place on the web for guys like me. Gary, on behalf of the 'puter platoon, I salute you!!! Thanks again and ..........
Sah wah dee cops