Okinawa
Camp Hansen
En route to Vietnam
April 19-21 1969
We (our Staging Battalion) left CONUS (Continental United States) from El Toro
Marine Air Base in California about 3 p.m.on fight 4527 on April 18. We stopped in
Hawaii for about an hour to refuel. We got to go in the terminal and look out the
windows. We couldn't see much because it was dark. My very first time away from
CONUS. We landed at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa about 9 hours after we left
Hawaii.
We were in Okinawa for a couple days before going to 'Nam. There, we packed up our
gear that we wouldn't need in 'Nam (overcoats, gloves, dress uniforms, etc.) in boxes
and stowed them in a quonset hut. When we returned (hopefully) a year later, we
would get our gear back.
While we were there we took care of tons of paperwork.  Insurance forms, next of kin,
pay records, leave records, etc. They made sure we all had the proper gear and shots.
When it came time to leave for Vietnam, we left from Kadena Air Base again and got
to Vietnam at "zero dark thirty".
Chuck Poe and I in Okinawa.  He and I and Steve
Tabb were good friends. When we would go on
liberty from staging, Chuck's wife would come to
pick him up because they lived in LA. They always
gave Steve and I a ride to Steve's Aunt's house and
brought us back.
Chuck got killed in Vietnam.
(See Brothers In War page.)
April 21, 1969
Me, Wivell, & Johnson on the street in front of the barracks in
Okinawa.
April 21, 1969
This is a postcard I bought at the terminal when we refueled in Hawaii on the way to
Vietnam.  I mean, we're talking 1969 here. This was on display with all the other
postcards. Quite a shock for this somewhat naive Midwestern boy.
I even hesitated to send it because I was worried my parents might get in trouble for
something by the mail people.
I hesitated too, because I was worried they might get pissed at me for sending it.
I figured, "Oh well, I'm going to 'Nam, so they've got a year to forget about it. I might
die in Vietnam anyway."
April 20, 1969
Paul Pratt & I again in Okinawa
April 21, 1969
Paul Pratt & I between the barracks in
Okinawa.  Some of these pictures look
scratchy because it was a Polaroid camera
and when the pictures came out, you had to
wipe them with this wet stick type brush thing.
April 21, 1969
Around the table are Johnson at 12 o'clock, Hubbard (?) at 3
o'clock,  Wivell at 6 o'clock and me at 9 o'clock.
At the EM (Enlisted Men's) club in Okinawa.
April 21, 1969
All of the guys you see on this page and on the previous Staging page are guys that I
have known since we all got assigned to the same ITR Company on January 8th.
After I got to Vietnam, I never saw them again.  I think maybe I saw Johnson once over
there, but that's it.
It was good to stop in Okinawa for a couple days because it gave us a chance to drink
a few beers and say our good byes.
As we spent our time there, our thoughts were heavy. Everyone wondered who would
be coming back and who wouldn't. We all knew that some of us wouldn't make it.  We
just wondered who.................
Bob Rutledge and I - the barracks in Okinawa.  
Bob used to like those Hav-A-Tampa cigars with
the wooden mouthpiece.
April 21, 1969
*** Danger Will Robinson! Salty language below! ***
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