The Baby Killer returns home..

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Mithrandir, Jul 16, 2003.

  1. Mithrandir

    Mithrandir Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2001
    Messages:
    827
    Location:
    Durango Colorado, the right knee-pit of Colorado
    I know that I have not been here very much recently...

    forgive me....

    I do miss your talk and chatter and your stories....

    Life sometimes requires time of you and it has, and is, trying to take a toll on me.....

    I found some more notes about VN and I felt the need to write them down...and to share with you.....

    So..... with your permission, I present this tale.....

    "The Baby Killer Returns Home"


    so it begins.....


    Once, a long time ago, I volunteered for the Army and joined up during the time when many were being drafted.

    I had been out of high school for a year and was really bored with my job, the girls I was dating and the city in general.

    I felt that I needed a change and that change could be best served by serving my country.

    My brother and his new wife didn’t see it that way.

    To them…I was a baby killer….no matter that I was not in yet… that mere fact that I had been in ROTC in high school, “gave them the right” to say things like that about me..

    I think back and remember that I endured his insults fairly well as he had 60/60 vision, was flat-footed and had A++ grades. The government would not want him even on a bad day!!

    Hell…. I even ignored HER comments as coming from someone whose father had been a lifer in the Army himself and she was an “Army Brat”.

    But…. The one time it got to me was when I came home from Vietnam.

    Now…. I have told some of those stories to you in other posts….. but I have never told you about my home-coming. When my time came to leave Vietnam, I had already spent more time than was required… so…. I was ready to leave and would not look back……until many years later anyway.

    Rundles was with me…… we had been together a long time in Army time…..almost three years…..so now… we were ready to reintegrate into the “World”….

    Or set fire to it…. I was never clear on that one…..

    So…here we are…. Ready to out-process and go home for awhile….

    Most of you Army guys now the drill…..

    After a long and boring flight from VM…

    You land at Travis in California…..

    You had everything taken away from you before you got on the flight, with the sole exception of the booze you were allowed to buy in the PX before you left…..

    YUP!!! Needed that stuff on the flight by golly!!!!

    Once at Travis… …you go through a large double doors so that …..

    You wait in line to have all you clothes taken away from you..

    You wait in line to go to the showers…

    (now THAT was a HOOT!!.. I did not know that fifty guys in a shower at one time, just back from VN could produce enough mud to clog up the drains!!!!)…but the water was clean…. And it was actually HOT!!!!…..all muscle pains start to subside…..)

    You wait in line to get a physical check up….

    You wait in line to get a dental check up..

    You wait in line to get your hearing checked..

    You wait in line to get your eyes checked…

    you wait in line to get your records updated…

    You wait in line to get your pay straightened out…

    You go through more lines and get fitted for new uniforms…. Summer weight Greens where replacing the Khaki Tropicals then so they are brand new clothes, not recycled ones. New Greens are issued with all the right patches and rank and they even issued whatever ribbons you had received …but only the ones you had BEFORE you went to VN… they were always slow about that ……always behind the curve if you will.

    You wait in line to get your records checked AGAIN!!..

    And if you don’t get everything cleared/checked/recheck/recleared …you may have to stay the night…

    We were lucky (again), we arrived at 10 PM and started clearing at 11PM…. we finished the whole process in just under six hours so we got to leave for home at about 6 or 7 AM the next morning.

    We are given a chit that states that we can get a steak meal at the airport and a flight home from any airline that has room any bus or any train available… “Just present it to the person at the desk and they will do the rest…..the taxis outside are already paid for…just get in one for the bus station, train station or airport”

    My spirits were running high & tight!…

    I think that Rundles was just tight because our booze is gone!!!

    We walk out of the holding area, dragging a new duffle bags filled with new everything and we have our records and other paperwork tucked under our arms ….

    Dressed “fit-to-kill” in our new, fresh, and …….

    OH MY GOD DARE I SAY IT????….

    Yes I will say it ……CLEAN clothes that don’t smell of laundry starch spit-sprayed onto them and baked in the sun …. No more “burning shit barrel” smell for us!!!

    Out through the last set of double doors and on to the exit….

    We step out onto the front steps and descend onto the front side walk…..the California morning was cool on my face… a cool comfortable 98 degrees….(well… what the hell you think is hot after VM????)…

    Slowly, both of us turn…. And look up at the sign over the portico….

    ”WELCOME TO TRAVIS AIRBASE” it reads…..

    We look at one another, because we did this same thing when we reported to Travis some months ago.. and as some baseball player once said (I think it was Casey Stengle) it was deja-vue all over again….a wave of relief falls over us…..a weight is lifted from our shoulders….we stand taller in our newly issued Greens and we turn to cross the circle drive to the taxi stands….

    Just as we turn… there is six or seven Hippies rushing across the lot to confront us…with yells and screams of “KILLER”….”MURDERERS”…and “BABY KILLERS”…..”FACISIST”.. and many other things…

    Neither one of us knew just what the hell a Hippie was!! We had been out of the country for almost three years.. so these weirdly dressed people were a shock to us….

    One of them… a girl…who couldn’t have been but 16 or so by the look of her….

    Spits on me……and continues to yell insults and strange epitaphs at me….

    I do not react… neither does Tom…..

    And within seconds there are MP’s all over the place and some regular police too…..

    “Sorry about that” says some MP….”they usually don’t get here until about 10 or so”…as if that explains way they did what they did…

    We still do not react…..

    As I look back on it…. I think that we didn’t react because they were not armed and they were our own people……if that had happened back in the black hole…… I think we might have shot them and laughed about it…..we WERE armed!!!! Both of us had pistols on us…..(but that is another story….)

    Another MP produces a handkerchief and starts to clean my uniform… I stop him…..I didn’t like to be touched by strangers…….he is a private and I am a Sergeant.. it would be unseemly …..

    He and the other MP’s are still apologizing ….

    “Its OK”.. we say..

    Tom and I say nothing more….. we know that this is goodbye… but we must get on with it…

    He takes the taxi to the train station…

    I take a taxi to the airport…..

    At the airport….. I find the restaurant that access the chit for the meal….. and after a few minutes I decide that I don’t want it…. So I look around and spy a table that has about six privates sitting at it, and they are talking about what Vietnam might be like….. I gather that they are about to find out…..

    I walk over to them and ask “you guys going to Vietnam?”

    The table bursts with unexpected activity as they all…as one…. Stand to attention…. I forgot….I am a sergeant….and wearing a combat patch now…..

    “Yes Sir Sergeant… we just got here and are waiting for a shuttle bus to Travis”….

    “I am NOT a sir and here is chit for a steak dinner…. Use it soon….and ….”

    I start to say “good luck”…. but it sticks in my throat…..luck …..I must have it…. Because I am not dead….but their luck may be quite different then mine…..so I say….

    “fight well”….

    I turn and leave… not looking back…

    I find an airline that is going home….

    Luck…..

    Luck again stands too for me… a flight is ready to leave and there is almost no one on board…

    Just me…. And five young stewardesses!!!!….and one of them was the spitting image of a girl friend that I had once up in Massachusetts…..(but that is a different story)

    I do get waited on hand-and-foot and I notice that the air smells fresher….. after the morning breakfast is served…..I spent time with two of the girls……now I can smell the girls…..the odor is still fresh in my minds-eye….it relaxed me….

    And I forgot all about the Hippies…

    The war….

    The Army…

    And flew home……..to new and unusual things, that I had not seen, heard, smelled for three long years….

    Home…..

    The “Baby-Killer” returned home……

    My brother??? Well… he divorced that Bitch many years ago… remarried and has two great kids…and he was here just recently to visit with our mother…who is dying…..he knows that he may never get another chance to see her again…He is no longer a young hippie anti-everything….he is older…pressed down by time…and so very sorry for those hurtful words so long ago…..

    I had forgotten his words…he was guided by the mind of a evil creature and he was an easily lead sheep to boot!!!…..

    It was the words spat at me upon my return that I have never forgotten…

    Now, after 35 long years… I forgive them….. but I have never forgotten it….

    But.. as I have said before……that is a different story……



    Out….
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2003
  2. Logansdad

    Logansdad New Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2003
    Messages:
    222
    Location:
    Alabama's Gulf Coast
    Thank you for your service !...don't now quite what else to say
  3. tuckerd1

    tuckerd1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    Messages:
    3,243
    Location:
    Paint Rock Valley, Alabama
    I was in uniform, Navy 71-79. Never went to VN, but remember the time well. The hate for the service men & women who served. You were looked down upon like rabid dogs. The young hippies, if you want to call em that, thought they had every thing figured out.

    Also remember all the young soldiers, sailors, marines airmen who came home for their last journey. And those that were left over there as POW's or MIA's. Only respect they got was from their service and family. I still salute them!

    It was a sad time in our country's history and it should never be allowed to happen again.

    Thanks Guys and Gals for your service.
  4. SouthernMoss

    SouthernMoss *Admin Tech Staff*

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Messages:
    10,656
    Location:
    SW MS
    Mithrandir, your narrative leaves me with a lump in my throat and an emotion in my heart that I can't seem to put into words. Thank you for sharing your story, and thank you for your service to this country.
  5. Hope 69/70

    Hope 69/70 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2001
    Messages:
    2,549
    Wow!

    Mith, you brought back many memories and you still know how to hold a captive audience.......Excellent Story! Excellent memories?.......well, yes and no. Sad?.....you better believe it.

    It still continues to pull at my heart but then I stop and remember those who did not come home with us. So many young years were lost and we came back far older and I hope a lot wiser.

    Always enjoyed the memories of the escapades that you and Rundels had. Great stories and I do hope you continue to write those stories and give others the chance to know about the life and times of the two Army buddies, Mithander and Rundels.

    Very sorry to hear of your Mothers illness. We here on the board will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

    Take Care Mith and please return when you get the chance. If you need us, you know where we are at.

    Thank You for the post!


    Hope
  6. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff*

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2001
    Messages:
    10,581
    Location:
    Marty Robbins old hometown, Glendale Arizona--a su
    I echo the thoughts and comments of Hope---Mith, you need to tell us stories like that now and then---we get too complacent with the way things are here in retired life, and forget how they were back in those 'tangled times'. May I have your permission to pass this story along, exactly as you have written it---I await your reply at rooterjohnw@msn.com . Thanks a lot. Wilborn
  7. Mithrandir

    Mithrandir Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2001
    Messages:
    827
    Location:
    Durango Colorado, the right knee-pit of Colorado
    To those of you who have expressed a thanks for my service…..

    I appreciate your thanks…

    But “thanks” needs always to be remembered to those I…and many before me left behind in the mud and stink of far off and evil places in Liberties name..

    If you don’t know what to say… say nothing…and offer a prayer in remembrance of those lost ones…

    and to those who have not yet gone.

    Especially them….

    ………………………..

    Rooter….Anything I post on this site is for all of you… and my mental stability…..without my God, my family, my country and this site….. I have nothing.. do with it as you will…………. just never forget….

    THAT is what I really fear now-a-days…… no one remembers the Alamo, Midway, Wake, Pearl Harbor, Belleau Wood and a thousand other places and times that forged us as a nation. You hear or read nothing about who we were and why we, as a nation, did things. Nor of what we stand for and why…all you ever hear/read is that we are evil, imperialistic, grasping, greedy, our Constitution is a “Living document” that needs to “change with the times”.. and so forth….

    Sorry…got carried away… you get the picture I am sure..

    Out…
  8. 4 eyed six shooter

    4 eyed six shooter New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    Teton Mountains, Idaho
    Mith,
    Thank you and all those who are no longer with us to thank. Please remember that there were many of us who did not spit on our brave military men and woman. We held you in a place of honor and still do. It's the old silent majority thing. Those who chose to dishonor you, the others and our country have no idea of how much hurt they caused. My father was in Nam 3 times and received much of the same as you did upon his return home.
    I am glad that you are able to forgive and am sorry that you can't forget.
    I will never know the horrors that you experienced, but I thank God that there are men and woman who chose to stand up for what they belived in.
    My American flag is put out every day to honor every American who ever fought to give me the freedom that my family and myself enjoy today, those who are still with us and those who are not.
    May God give you peace in your heart, You are not forgotten. John K
  9. Admin

    Admin Active Member Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2001
    Messages:
    11,654
    Mith,

    I echo what everyone else has said, good to see
    your posts again.

    Also,

    I've updated your post count to where you left off
    at our Ez location.

    Good on ya Mith!

    JD
  10. Mithrandir

    Mithrandir Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2001
    Messages:
    827
    Location:
    Durango Colorado, the right knee-pit of Colorado
    thanks for the encougement guys.....

    you may live to regret it!!!:D



    out...
  11. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff*

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2001
    Messages:
    10,581
    Location:
    Marty Robbins old hometown, Glendale Arizona--a su
    I/We doubt that---try us on---keep telling us stories Mith---someone sore=ass may take offense, but we'll be on them like gray paint on a navy bulkhead!!! Chief
  12. Hope 69/70

    Hope 69/70 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2001
    Messages:
    2,549
    Mith......By the looks of the board, it looks as if everyone is on Stand-By waiting for your posts.

    Don't worry about us regretting it........what Chief is politely trying to say is........."if we don't like it, "You" will be the one painting that bulkhead.".....LOL

    (Teasing you Mith)


    Everyone have a good day!


    Has anyone heard from berto???


    Hope
  13. berto64

    berto64 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2001
    Messages:
    7,505
    Location:
    Owyhee County, Idaho
    Yes, indeed, mith.
    It's great to see you back posting your memories for us again!
    I've been scarce myself what with travelling and dealing with my 16 yr. old son. He's living with me now and we're getting to know each other.
    Thanks again for that wonderful telling of that experience. It brought back memories of my outprocessing at Oakland Army Base in '71.

    Thanks again,

    berto
  14. Mithrandir

    Mithrandir Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2001
    Messages:
    827
    Location:
    Durango Colorado, the right knee-pit of Colorado
    "Traveling & dealing with a 16 year old"....

    hhhuummmmmmmmmmmm...

    been there ..did that....

    and NOW.. you know why some species eat their young!!!!




    out....
  15. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff*

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2001
    Messages:
    10,581
    Location:
    Marty Robbins old hometown, Glendale Arizona--a su
    Sir, I have rec'd much response to the story I requested your permission to send around to my friends and contacts---The Baby Killers. You make a good point above about what some species do to their young---around the farm cats for instance, just happened---they kept the barns, silos, and granneries (sp) free of vermin such as rats, mice, skunks, etc. They were not pets---didn't belong to anyone, and the only human contact was offering them a big feed pan at milking time. Sometimes the old Tabbies would have their litters in a manger feed box---often the old Toms would get to the litter and tear their throat out---for us young farm kids it become a fact of life---if some city visitor would experience those occasions on a farm visit, they would simply be overwhelmed. I bring that example up to you now because that is how many of those I sent your story to were when they'd get back to me---OVERWHELMED !!!! Sometimes these facts in history are not talked about or tought in our schools----we remember back almost 4 decades ago when the Beat Generation run amuck and the returning warriors were not greeted on rose petal covered paths but to have shit and foul epitaths screamed at them.
    Just a thought Mr. Mith--just the mind meanderings of an old farmer--an old veteran--- a proud American. Wilborn
  16. Mithrandir

    Mithrandir Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2001
    Messages:
    827
    Location:
    Durango Colorado, the right knee-pit of Colorado
    Hope keeps admonishing me to "Keep thinking-keep writing"

    so I will pass it on...

    keep thinking Rooter....keep writing...

    and so will I..


    out..
  17. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff*

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2001
    Messages:
    10,581
    Location:
    Marty Robbins old hometown, Glendale Arizona--a su
    No matter that we live in the electron entertainment age, there are still loud and clear calls for the storyteller. The movie making industry has never had it so good---you will hear the weekend predictions of how much money a newly released film is going to pull in at the box office---what's a few more millions, more or less, and then the next weekend you hear the same predictions again on another raft of flicks. I submit to you that there is still a crying need for story tellers--the old fashioned types like perhaps you recall from your childhood days---listening to some elderly man or woman tell the tales of yore. Chances are some of the stories have been told and retold many times but always there are those who will almost wait in line to hear them again, especially children. I have noted over the years that old men embellish their stories a great deal more than old women do--the old gals tend more for the documentries while the old guys 'just let it all hang out' in the best dramatic fashion. Yeah Pilgrim, keep it up--keep telling the stories---here I am almost 70 years old and I recall stories my Grandpa Hankins told me when I still had my milk sucking teeth--that's how he would have described them in the presence of little women or Grandma Hankins---he would have called them something else for just the boys. He specialized in ghost stories---I remember later when it was time to go to bed, how you'd lay there in your rack, so damn scared you couldn't go to sleep--you'd already checked under the bed for 'boogie men'--in the closets, out side the windows--so happy next morning when in the light of day you discovered no one had packed you off to that terrible land that only existed in your wild, childish imagination. Chief
  18. Salvage33

    Salvage33 New Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Messages:
    477
    Location:
    Shreveport, LA why leave the USA to visit a 3rd wo
    Well written Mith, and as I read it my mind went back to my return to the real world. Being Navy, when you time was up, it was up, so I got a hop off the carrier into DaNang, then a shuttle to Saigon, and a MATS flight out of there. Stopped at Clark AFB, the on to San Francisco. Got off the plane, found my parachute bag with almost all of my worldly belongings, and was heading through the airport to the area where the shuttle bus would carry us to Treasure Island, (what a joke that is) for out processing.

    We had heard about hippies, and had even seen some, between deployments, but none of us were expecting the absolute hatred and vitriol that was to come. As I strolled along five or six long hairs came darting out of a waiting area and started screaming at me, "baby killer" was the favorite saying, one spat one me, and another grabbed my shoulder. Without even thinking, I dropped him...blood pouring from what used to be his nose...and the last thing he screamed before he was fully on the floor was "police." Something I've always found amazing is how "brave" people get when they have so called "superior numbers." The other amazing thing is how cowed they get when you take the "leader of the pack" out! :D

    Two San Fran cops came hustling up asked me to be still, and talked with the moron who had grabbed me. Almost everything he said was a lie, and backed up by the others who were with him. Needless to say, I was "detained," handcuffed, and hauled downtown. As I sat in the police station, I wondered what in the hell was going on. I had been assaulted and had done nothing more than defend myself, and I was the one in the police station. I finally was taken into an interrogation room and sat down with a detective, an older guy, and we had a nice little chat. He explained that no charges were going to be filed, at least not until the long hair had receieved medical attention and came to the station to formally file charges against me. Now I was really getting angry...and a bit scared. The detective called Treasure Island and told them of my status, and that I might be a bit tardy in reporting.

    After a couple of hours the long hair shows up, tape across his face, nostrils packed with cotton, eyes black, (he looked like a raccoon at that point) and says he DEFINITELY wants to file charges against me. They take me outside again, and while I wait, the detective takes him into the same room to take his statement,etc. Now I'm in the mood that when the long hair exits that room, I'm going to show him what an ass whipping REALLY is! As I'm planning exactly what I'm going to do, I can hear the long hair really screaming and yelling at the detective and the tirade goes on for a minute or so, then the door is yanked open and the asshole comes storming out of the room. I jumped up and was ready to beat his ass again, when the detective comes out and smiles at me. The hippie hardly glances at me as he leaves the station, scurrying quickly along like a rat caught in a lighted room.

    I looked at the detective with a puzzled look on my face as if to say "what the hell is going on" when he comes over to me and says that I am free to go, that no charges are filed. I asked how that worked. He smiled at me, and said, "while I was talking with him, two joints "fell" out of his pocket, and I told him that he had a choice, go to jail for possession or drop the charges against me and get the hell out of the building." It was apparent that he chose the latter course of action!

    I didn't ask, and he didn't say, but I shook his hand, thanked him, and then got a ride in another police car to Treasure Island. Never did get the detective's name...but he was really one of the good guys. I just hope the idiot I drilled has had a screwed up sinus condition since then.

    After I got home, Dad and would talk about various things, since I was in aviation and flew, and he had flown B-24's during WWII. But he never asked about my experiences, and oddly, I never asked about his. Since then, we have talked more about it, but both of us know that there are some things better left unsaid. It has led to a tremendous bond between us. So I guess some things about having to go to war are good. Never told him about the San Francisco incident...but I might when I see him in a few days.

    Thanks again for having this area where we can let out a few of the ghosts that still haunt us. Merry Christmas to all who visit here.

    John
  19. SouthernMoss

    SouthernMoss *Admin Tech Staff*

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Messages:
    10,656
    Location:
    SW MS
    Thanks for your story, John. It never ceases to amaze me how clueless the peace-nics were. Glad the detective was able to see through the BS.
  20. inplanotx

    inplanotx New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2002
    Messages:
    8,889
    Location:
    Texas
    Great story John. Glad it all worked out. I had a similar situation with my Dad. We never did talk about our experiences before he died. Kinda wished we had. I inherited his albums from his Navy days in both the Atlantic and Pacific. Wish we had a few minutes together to talk.
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
Vietnam Memories Forum “Got Killer Milk??” Mar 15, 2003

Share This Page