Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Vietnam -- My life And Times With Lt.Jeffery Johns

Going on R&R in a CH-47 Chinook is in itself a story. But the real story is the Officer who left with me to go to the R&R.

As a flight officer in charge of determining whether or not a pilot was qualified for flying combat missions, I had already seem him in action. I watched while he put both man and helicopter through the paces of  extreme flight conditions.

He was good, darn good. His name was  Lt. Jeffery Johns.

Now, I was about to meet the man from a different light.

"You're PFC Edwards, aren't you?"

"Yes sir,"

"I want to shake your hand." So we shook hands. "What you did for the unit goes well beyond the call of duty. Do you realize that you just saved our unit from not being combat ready?"

"You must be talking about the push pull bearings I found."

"Exactly. You may think that was just a part. But the truth is, if you hadn't found that part, El Toros would have been forced to stand down. You saved the day.

"Sir, I just happened to know a friend of mine who carried a pair in his pocket. I didn't want Lt Craig Geis or CAPT. Denny Kramp to lose their jobs."

"Well, they would have if you hadn't found it."

"Sir, I felt like I really had nothing to gain from finding it. But I'm glad what I did helped. Isn't that really what this is supposed to be about?"

He nodded his head in agreement.

"So, where you going on R&R?"

"Osaka, Japan.  I hear there's a big Expo going on down there.  How about you?

"Heading for Australia.  You know, pretty girls, good times."

"Sounds like you'll have a good time, then."

"Hey, when we land at Da Nang, want you to come with me.  I have something to show you."

"Will do, sir."

After we landed, we headed over to the Air Force operations area. A place where Jeffery Johns was familiar with. A place where his dad had been stationed.

I suppsoe here of all times is the best place to put this. 

There was a world of difference in the living conditions between Camp Eagle and Phu Bie and between Phu Bie and Da Nang.  It was as though the closer the environment was to the world of the Air Force, living conditions improved in leaps and bounds.

So, Da Nang was more a stateside environment with the biggest difference being evey once in a while the enemy let them know they were still in Vietnam.

Anyway, so Lt. Jeffery Johns's dad was stationed at Da Nang.

Mine was on a boat somewhere in the China Sea.

While Lt. Jeffery Johns took a joy ride down memory lane, I enjoyed coffee untained by chlorene purficiation pellets and skiimed through all the latest copies of Playboy.

"That will warp your mind, soldier."

"Consider it warpped, sir.

"Glad to see and hear many of the men still remember your dad."

"Yep.  Nice touch.  Time to go, soldier."

From there were went to the R&R processing center and prepared to go on R&R.

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