Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - United States Air Force
I figured I was going to get drafted so I thought maybe it would be better if I tried to get in the Air Force instead of becoming a soldier in the field because I had heard a lot about Vietnam. Fortunately, I was accepted into the Air Force and things got better from there.
There was a lot of death and destruction. There was a lot of bad times. I don't talk about that. I'm going to tell you about the good stuff. I want to tell you about how being in the Air Force was such a blessing and that I was able to do things that other people didn't even think about.
When I was stationed at Danang [Air Base], there were two young boys. The one boy was 17-years-old. I think he knew he was going into the military and he didn't have much choice. The other boy was 13 and they would come on the base. I don't know how they got on there. Maybe they had family that worked at Danang, but they would walk down to our tent area and visit. We had a basketball hoop on a telephone pole that somebody had put up probably years before and, they wanted to play basketball. I told them, “Okay. If you want to play basketball, you've got to teach me Vietnamese, and then I'll play basketball with you all day.” So, they started teaching me Vietnamese and I learned to speak the language. This helped me a lot because if I did go someplace, I could actually talk to people and have a conversation with them.