Talked with an old friend yesterday who had been drafted after graduating high school in 1968. When he was discharged and passing through an airport on his way home, a young gal called him “baby killer” as he passed by. Even though he was trying to catch another flight, he stopped and talked to her. I think he felt the need to straighten her out; mentioning that she had no reason to insult a service member under any circumstances and the fact that he was returning from Panama, for crying out loud.
I had to think about my own trip home at that point. It had been a long time since I had recalled that.
As far as my last day on active duty…we flew into Travis AFB from Vietnam. We were discharged at a personnel center in Oakland. A few of us headed over to San Francisco and got a room. We headed out to the bars and strip clubs, I think that was called the “North Beach” district, but I quickly tired of that and turned in early. I wanted to get up and catch a flight home! I had an SKS carbine slung over my shoulder, maybe that kept anyone from calling me names at the airport. No one said a f-cking word. It went in the checked baggage and I remember when I got to St. Louis and met the family, we all went down to the baggage area and it came sliding down the chute with the other bags! My father, Ike, snatched that up and said, “Look what he brought me!”
Terry Fauquher says
Nice piece here. Got me to thinking about my return home. I was discharged from the Hospital at Ft Gordon Ga and pointed toward the gate. When I got to the gate the NCO guard advised that I did not want to wear my khakis out in the world. So, I retreated to the base exchange and bought some “civies”. I don’t know why I bothered, it was obvious where I was coming from. I had the shortest hair cut in Georgia and the best tan. I got lots of looks but no comments. When I got to the Delta counter I was told that had just missed the last flight to Indy. The ticket agent asked if I was returning from Vietnam . When I replied “affirmative”, I was told to wait while she made a phone call. The next thing a golf cart pulled up and told me to get on. Down two levels we raced and out on to the tarmac. They had stopped the plane and rolled up a mobile stairway for me to get on. The pilot met me at the doorway and saluted me and directed me to a seat in the front row. I slept during the entire two hour flight and the attendant woke me up to tell me, we had arrived. I was led off the plane first and the crew shook my hand. It was not until the next day that I realized, I had not been charged for the flight.