Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: I'm issuing an "Advance Warning" here ....

  1. #1
    pUMpHEAD SYSOp Thumper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Mickey Mouseville, Florida
    Posts
    23,990

    I'm issuing an "Advance Warning" here ....

    I'll be starting a Mother of All Thump Posts sometime soon. The loss of my buddy Scottie has stirred up some memories and sometimes, just writing about issues can be therapy for me. I've dealt with some demons over the years and up until just a few years back, nobody knew anything about them. I was at the VA Hospital in Tampa complaining of memory loss. It was getting worse and worse until I finally decided to get checked out. A doctor was interviewing me and .... I don't even remember what she said, but she hit some sort of trigger and I busted out bawling like a baby. I mean, crying like I've never cried before. The biggest surprise is, I DON'T CRY! Not even when my mom and dad passed away. I just tear up and get to the point I can barely swallow, but I DO NOT cry like a boo hoo cry, just get the eye drips. Once the doc got me calmed down, she convinced me to spill the beans on what set me off. I told her of a mission I'd never talked about (I'd been instructed years ago to never discuss it) and I unloaded. Lynn was with me and I remember glancing at her as her eyes were as wide as saucers. In all the years we'd been together, she'd never heard the story. As it turned out, unbeknownst to me, this particular doctor was an expert on PTSD and told me I was a classic case. I was NOT there for a PTSD issue, it just kind of happened. With her report, the military granted me 30% PTSD related compensation (I have other service connected disabilities also, but I never tried to increase any of it).

    After being in Intel, some things just don't get .... well, aren't "allowed" to be talked about. I remember during my debriefing, I was told not to discuss ANY of my missions for a minimum of 10 years (when they would be declassified). BUT .... I was also warned that SOME missions would NEVER be declassified. At that point, I asked, after the 10 years, how I would know what has been declassified and what has not? There was no answer to my question. WTF?

    Speaking of "debriefing", I was "officially" stationed in Thailand for a little over 3 years. During that time, I had never been home. When I left Thailand, I was scheduled to exit the military once I arrived in Oakland, Ca. I had been debriefed and given a flight home on a COMMERCIAL (Pan Am) airliner. WOW! No web seat on a C141 like the one I arrived in! But the luxury was short-lived. We landed on Guam for refueling and next thing I knew, a group of MP's boarded and asked me to accompany them off the plane. Without an explanation, I was taken to the Commander's office and he told me he had a "package" that had to be delivered to some mucky-muck in Hawaii. He said he'd checked and I was the ONLY one passing through within the next 72 hours who had a security clearance high enough to handle the job. I informed him I had already been debriefed and he responded, "Then consider yourself RE-briefed!"

    I was given a briefcase and a Colt .45 and instructed to release the "package" to ONLY this mucky-muck Commander in Honolulu and to not allow ANYBODY on that plane until I'd been relieved of the "package". Then ... you guessed it ... I was put on a frigging C141 and given a lunch box and a web seat headed for Hawaii! It was just the crew, myself and a bunch of cargo from 'Nam on board. So much for that "luxury" PanAm flight, complete with hottie stewardesses (now known as flight attendants). I got to Hawaii, the rear ramp dropped and a couple of dufes boarded with sprayers, spraying everything down. I ordered them off "my" plane and they threatened me with arrest as it was protocol to immediately spray down every plane upon arrival for pest control. (I don't know if this was just for military planes arriving from S.E. Asia, or all planes.) It turned into a standoff until I stood at the top of the ramp with my hand on the .45! I was finally rescued by the Commander, handed over the briefcase and the .45, then given a day or two to roam around Hawaii before continuing to California. To this day, I have no clue what was in that "package". Come to think of it, I was never RE-DEBRIEFED either! I wonder what that means?

    Anyway, I've got a few things to write about and even if nobody reads it, it'll be "therapy" for me.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness" - Mark Twain

  2. #2
    Senior Member (too much time on their hands) Hombre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    1,608
    I'd love to hear the stories that you can tell. I use to enjoy your month plus long non tourist trips you would write up, traveling with a buddy.

  3. #3
    pUMpHEAD SYSOp Thumper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Mickey Mouseville, Florida
    Posts
    23,990
    TBH Hombre, I'd love to read those old posts myself, but they were lost when the old site shut down and we opened this one. I have all the old pics, but they were scanned to floppy disks back in the day and I have nothing currently on CD, so it would be a LOT of work to rescan everything. Besides, the posts here were made during or immediately after those trips and I'm sure I've forgotten 75% of the details now. Many of those old pics, I could probably look at and recognize the pic itself, but not remember where I was or when I was there ... or why. That sucks.

    BTW, the buddy I traveled with on those adventures was a Navy SEAL from SEAL Team 2. We worked some of the same missions back in the day. He's older and in ill health these days (just got out of the hospital a couple weeks ago) and has multiple issues from Agent Orange exposure. He was originally UDT and when Pres. Kennedy (a Navy dude himself) was in office, he wanted a Navy equivalent of Army Rangers/Green Beret, etc, so the SEAL's were created. He went from UDT to SEAL Team 2. Two teams were formed, SEAL Team 1 (west coast) and SEAL Team 2 (east coast), so he was on the very first SEAL Team established. A fascinating guy and always in for an adventure. My head swelled up so big once, it almost exploded (the swelling never went down ) when he once told me I was the best wingman he's ever had. That meant a LOT coming from him. I felt like I was made of steel any time I heard him say, "I got 'yer six Kribbs!"

    My favorite (craziest) "non-touristy" trip was the time we slipped into Laos and picked up a couple of communist "minders". We knew they were tailing us and slipped into a little bar in Vientiane. They came in and sat down next to the front door. We had befriended a local who had a van and we promised to pay him "handsomely" (for the local economy) and asked him to park in the alley at the back door of the bar. We sat down and ordered a couple of beers and once they were brought to the table, we headed for the restroom (leaving the full beers on the table), then headed out the back door, jumped in the van and skidaddled!

    At that time, all maps of Laos had a few large areas up north that were marked off and had "Forbidden Zone" (Closed Military Zones) written across those areas of the map. The Hmong Rebels, who were previously financed and supplied by the CIA, until we abandoned them, were still fighting the communist Lao government and the areas were marked as Forbidden Zones for civilians. Of course, when somebody told my buddy and me that we were NOT allowed to go someplace, that's the first place we wanted to go! We came across quite a few government check-points along the way, but a bit of cash slipped into the right hands, always got the roadblock gates opened for us. It was a VERY interesting trip and once we got into the Hmong villages, we found them still using much of the old CIA equipment we'd given them. I have pics of little water-wheel generators in the streams that had wires running up to shacks for running a lightbulb or two. We'd given them those generators to power communications radios back in the day. They actually had fences around their shacks that were made from UXO's (unexploded ordnance) .... hundreds of them. I found one small kid running around playing with an old, live M16 round and bought it from him for a few cents (then threw it in the river).

    I really should dig up some of those old photos just for old times sake. Lots of memories. That trip was a classic example of the things we used to do when traveling and our trips took us to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia. Burma (now Myanmar) and Vietnam. One year we'd planned to purchase a small boat in Myanmar and travel the Mekong River from Myanmar, through Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and finish up in the Mekong Delta south of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). We'd just camp at small villages along the way and depend on the local economy for food (would never be a problem). If we lived through it, we planned on giving the boat to some villager in the Delta, making our way up to Saigon, then catching a flight back to Thailand. The year we planned it, we got there to extremely low water levels on the Mekong and postponed the trip for another time. Then my medical issues kicked in and we never made the trip, something I'll always regret.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness" - Mark Twain

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body.
But rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming...WOW, What a Ride!"

Our Friend, Tony "Gator" Hunter 1953-2007