It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

What were you doing at 19 years of age ?

page: 1
13

log in

join
share:

posted on Oct, 25 2017 @ 10:03 PM
link   
Many of us dream of flying just once in our lifetimes in a helicopter. In 1970 times were so-so and being 19, I was doing nothing either creative or productive. The times were about the War and the demonstrations against it, many facing the draft still. I was one of those, and at least to have some choice in what I was to be doing in the service, I joined the Army. During those years virtually everyone except "Some Senators Son" was sure to end up in South East Asia, specifically The Republic of Vietnam. The Day I left for Vietnam, I was at Fort Lewis, located in Washington state, it was a gray drizzly day filled with gloom, which was intensified by someone there at the staging center who thought it cool to be playing the bag pipes. That along with the gray drizzle cast a surreal atmosphere about the place. I was leaving all I had known up to that point, all that was familiar, behind. Upon riving in Cameron Bay, I spent several days before being dispatched to Camp Eagle, to the far north of the country, and then to Quang Tri, only 3-4 miles from the DMZ of North Vietnam and the South.

Spending a month there I saw some firefights that will forever be in my memory. Some two or three months later we stood down to Camp Eagle again in a seemingly unwind of where I had come from, and finally to the South, to a fire base known as Camp Bearcat. It was at Camp Bearcat that I was afforded the opportunity to become a Doorgunner on a Huey (slick) and jumped at the prospect. Having heard all the horror stories of short lifespans of Crew Chief's and Doorgunners, it was admittedly a scary proposition to undertake, but never the less I jumped on board. Our typical day consisted of inserting Blues Platoons and Rangers. Otherwise we would fly to an airbase and spend the day 'waiting'. Some days were intense others life threateningly boring. Lift off was a feeling of being lifted by some invisible rubber band, then the tail rising to an extreme angle and collective applied, the Birds' were on our way, quickly rising to an altitude of 2,000 feet and leveling off at that point as a cruising altitude most commonly. Morning was a mixture of many things, and prop wash on my side intensified everything to the point, there was no guessing the weather, you were in the thrust of it. Some mornings the cold chill of low temperatures was apparent, or the occasional rains would dampen out 'Jets' and gung-ho,edness, by virtue of a good collateral soaking. Other times in the early dawn stillness it was beautiful, almost too beautiful to be a war zone, never the less there was an ever present danger all around us as often times we went to places not allowed, to retrieve downed crafts or rescue pilots or soldiers.

Often times after the monsoon season, flying was much different, there were smells not present the rest of the year, and while flying over low clouds or jungle mist the shadow of the Slick's prop on the clouds would appear as a circular rainbow, very unusual and pretty to see. Cold days brought the wop,wop bounce felt as the prop was in dense air, much more so than in dry conditions. Late night incursions were few, but we had our share. Ar night there was an absence of ground based lights, as many 'Villes' had no electricity, the only thing seen might be a small fire or a lantern, often times extinguished at our coming presence. The stars were so bright in the night sky, they seemed to be your one familiar sight that you could cling to, the sometimes cold was all around you when flying at night because our altitude was often times increased to 3,000 feet. During the warm summer months there was less lift and a feeling of comfortable warmth, but being in a huge fan, never too hot. Rising to altitude, there was a significant 'feel' change as the temperatures varied. But during the days it was much more uniform in temperature. I did this every day for nearly a year, either finding My way somewhere on foot, or by air. What many would pay to fly as much a I have flown. To experience the seasons, the smells, and all the nuance's of flight. The feeling of power with two Cobra's, two Loaches and three to four Slicks indescribable, simply you just had to be there.

This..... is Reality.




posted on Oct, 25 2017 @ 10:12 PM
link   
What a rush. Great detail-I was in the moment with you. Nice ride.



posted on Oct, 25 2017 @ 10:37 PM
link   
a reply to: Plotus

I was getting super #ed up.



posted on Oct, 25 2017 @ 10:48 PM
link   
a reply to: Plotus

Thanks for sharing that.
So many veterans and so many different experiences.



posted on Oct, 25 2017 @ 11:04 PM
link   
a reply to: Plotus

WOW,when I was 19 I was living with my husband in Tacoma, he was stationed at fort Lewis, getting ready to deploy to Vietnam, I was pregnant with our second child, it was Christmas time.

We were broke living off base, with a three month old baby, he stole a Christmas tree off a lot on Christmas eve, I made paper ornaments,

Small world



posted on Oct, 25 2017 @ 11:21 PM
link   

originally posted by: Aeshma
a reply to: Plotus

I was getting super #ed up.



Yeah me too. Not much to add.



posted on Oct, 26 2017 @ 02:17 AM
link   
I was going to college,and working,had my own apt 2 blks from beach,life was fun back then



posted on Oct, 26 2017 @ 05:38 AM
link   
a reply to: Plotus

When you enlisted to join the army, did you know exactly what you were fighting for?

Did you feel assured that you were fighting for a good cause?



posted on Oct, 26 2017 @ 07:08 AM
link   
Her name was Lori.....I married her. Oh you asked WHAT I was doing not WHO.
edit on 26-10-2017 by openyourmind1262 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 26 2017 @ 07:18 AM
link   
a reply to: Plotus

At 19 I was on an aircraft carrier. I saw some sights. Really wanted to fly. Eventually did it in a TA4, S2E and a HS748.

I liked scooters best. I'm older now. Don't put me in a passenger plane/jet unless it has an Escapac.

Kind regards,

bally


edit on 26-10-2017 by bally001 because: Flamin sausage fingers on a laptop mate!



posted on Oct, 26 2017 @ 10:26 AM
link   
a reply to: Plotus

I didn't experience anything nearly as intense as you, but at 19 I had my come-to-terms moment of either staying in my hometown and continue to be a peer-pressured pothead, or do what I really needed to do and go find myself. I was driving one day, just disgruntled with the fact that I had chosen to stop going to college because I "needed a break from school," but in reality I just didn't have much motivation or direction.

As I was driving, puffing on a cigarette in my '66 Mustang (I miss that car) with the windows down and Less Than Jake's "History of a Boring Town" playing, I caught the cluster of military recruiting stations out of the corner of my eye and make a squealing turn into the parking lot--I had both found my out and a way to honor my grandfather who had passed away three years earlier (he drove Priest tanks across Germany in WWII).

There was no recruiting involved--I walked into that office knowing that I needed this.

So, after waiting 30 days before going to the MEPS center in Los Angeles (like I said, I was a pothead...needed to ensure I'd piss clean), at 19 years old I was flying off to basic training and leaving my old, self-destructive lifestyle behind. From May through September, I dealt with the oppressive heat of South Carolina, learning how to be a Soldier (pre-9/11, so it was different then), and then was on a plane to live in Germany, alone, for 3.5 years.

It was literally the best decision that I ever made--I went from an unmotivated pothead who had been kicked out of his high school because of habitual truancy (to smoke weed...I think that I had well over 300 unexcused absences my senior year) to a veteran who ended up graduating high school with Summa Cum Laude honors, met my wife while serving, and am in a very good place in my life 15 years later.

I wouldn't change what I was doing at 19 for the world. Funny how some of us make really life-altering decisions right around that time, isn't it? Maybe it's just the coincidence of high school ending for most people, but it sure does seem to be a pivotal time for many. Some of my friends made the wrong choice at that fork in the road...I'm glad that I didn't.

Thanks for the thread!



posted on Oct, 26 2017 @ 10:29 AM
link   
I had a steady well-paying job when I was 19, so I was travelling: cruise to Alaska, train ride through the Canadian Rocky Mountains, visiting New York City etc. and checking out the singles scene in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in the 70's.
edit on 110CDT10America/Chicago030101031 by InTheLight because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 26 2017 @ 11:39 AM
link   
a reply to: SlapMonkey
Mine was something like yours..... the characters a bit different. I had been hanging out in Laguna Canyon from
late 68 through 1970. I was friends with the people who lived there, the place called Sherwood Forrest. There was the Krishna Temple house in front of what was called the Water House. In the water house My friend Oden, a Chinese son of a Hollywood actor, and my source of Orange Sunshine, a type of '___' manufactured in Berkeley by a chemist named Owsley, along with his mentor Timothy Leary. Those were indeed enlightening days....

I often saw some strange hippy folk there, along with a bit of the Laurel Canyon crowd. My friends there were 'The Brotherhood of Eternal Love' which were mostly all about Pot, Hash and '___'. Peter, Stanley, Pedro and Oden. They always had loads of money, and it was a wild ride there, unlike my hometown Corona that rolled up the sidewalk at 6:00pm. I met several famous people there, Jimi Hendrix, Stephan Stills and the infamous Charles Manson. And yea, he was the devil incarnate as I remember him, and I always went down to the beach and messed around in the tide pools while he was around, or went and hung at Taco Bell on Coast Highway there in Laguna.

There are volumes of stories related to the canyon, but ultimately I had to get out of there. During 69 there was a lottery for the draft and my number had been chosen, it was 118. I was getting drafted that week like it or not. Most all my High school friends were just bouncing around, doing mundane jobs, staying loaded and really accomplishing nothing, figuring ways to dodge the draft. My life had to change. I went to the recruiting station in Riverside and attempted to join the Marines. About half way through that I decided on the Army instead. Good thing in my opinion. I joined and by the weekend I was on my way to Fort Ord for Basic training. Four months later I left Fort Knox Kentucky bound for Fort Lewis, and off to RVN, the Republic of Vietnam. My Uncle had died there two years earlier. I was not prepared for any eventuality to come, I had no expectations beyond the fear of the unknown.

That was the start of an epic journey in my life. Scary to be sure, and with enough adrenalin to never make it dull. So yea, mine was much like yours, different names, different characters, but part of my growth into a responsible person. It was the time of my life.

nOraKat..... was it worth it..? did I believe in it..? Was it a good cause..? Those questions are all speculative at best. To me... yes would be my reply.

Would I change any of it..? Never. My nickname was Gohot229. which described a state of action, lock and load, go hot. A state I was often in. So...... how was your 19th birthday spent ..?


edit on 26-10-2017 by Plotus because: (no reason given)

edit on 26-10-2017 by Plotus because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 26 2017 @ 02:46 PM
link   
a reply to: Plotus

What a time to be teenager/young adult, at least as far as cultural icons are concerned.

I was grew up in the "Crotch of the Central Valley," as I like to call it: Bakersfield. At least you had tidal pools to go to...I just had keggers on farms to find out in the middle of nowhere. But, hey, I went to school with Casey Mears (NASCAR driver) and David Carr was my high-school quarterback (and I used to hang out at his house and pick on his little brother, Derek).

Yeah, your time was better, even if I love wearing my Derek Carr Raiders jersey now.



posted on Oct, 26 2017 @ 04:58 PM
link   
a reply to: SlapMonkey
Maybe not better, I had regrets, they were just different. I went through Bakersfield as a kid of about 9 or 10. I remember it was HOT and our car, a Corvair had no AC.



posted on Oct, 26 2017 @ 05:03 PM
link   
a reply to: Plotus

By 19 yoa I was moved out of my parents, finishing up technical school about to become a dad...

edit on 10/26/17 by Ophiuchus 13 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 27 2017 @ 08:50 AM
link   
a reply to: Plotus

I feel you...I drove that same '66 Mustang (no AC) from Bakersfield to West Virginia back in '02 during July, Driving through the Mojave Desert, Needles, CA, and all the way east on 1-40. I think that the thermometer in Needles was registering at 114-degrees when we drove through, and that was at about noon.

Gotta love wing windows and vinyl seats...keeps the front dry but the back soaked.




top topics



 
13

log in

join