1. Get Gear'd Up! Enter to WIN $1000 in gear!

    Please Click Here for full details and to enter. You will need to be registered and logged in to view the details and to participate.

    Thanks and good luck to everyone

Thirty Years in 3 Hours

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Guest, Mar 8, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Misterstan
    Moderator
    Posts: 156
    (5/21/01 3:51:08 pm)
    | Del All Thirty Years in 3 Hours
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    He was from Wisconsin and I was from Minnesota when we both joined the Navy. We served together in the Mekong Delta area of Vietnam on board the USS MARK (AKL-12), a Navy light cargo ship. He was an Electronics Technician specializing in Radar (ETR2) and I was the ship’s Yeoman (YN2).

    We met once again on the Internet in April, 2000. I came across a web site representing the “Brown Water Navy” in Vietnam called the Mobile Riverine Force Association (MRFA). I have never joined any veteran’s organizations because they just didn’t seem right for me. After reading the book STOLEN VALOR, I can understand why. I have since become a member of the MRFA. (www.mrfa.org )

    One day in late September, 2000, I got an email message from Dan saying his business was bringing him to Detroit, Michigan, for a couple of days. Maybe we could get together.

    That’s when the question of “Who am I and why am I here?” began to take over my consciousness. Just what have I done with my life in the past 30 years and who have I become? I have been married for almost 29 years and my wife and I have no children. My wife works as the Director of a Children’s Day Care Center not far from our home and I work with computers from my house. I call my business “Mr. Stan’s Computer Services” because when I sub as a teacher in a computer class at school or when I do computer work at the Day Care Center, everyone calls me “Mr. Stan”.

    I guess I have become “Mr. Stan the Computer Man”.

    I answered his email with my full address including my phone number at home as well as my cell phone number. I told him I would do whatever was necessary for us to get together. I would be happy to meet with him at anytime or anyplace even if he could only spare a few minutes.

    One afternoon in late September, 2000, as I was monitoring three different auctions of computer equipment I was buying on eBay, my cell phone started ringing. It was 5:04 P.M. and only a hand full of people had that number….

    “Hi, Stan. This is Ninedorf. I am about an hour out of Detroit and I will be staying at the Super 8 Motel in Roseville on Erin Street. I’ll call you again when I get there”. Wow, it was really happening! And he was staying at a motel less than 5 miles from my house!

    As any mature adult veteran would do at a time like this, I immediately placed a call to my wife at work. She would be home in about 45 minutes. She suggested we could all have dinner at our favorite restaurant.

    Dan called back and said he was in room 108. I told him my wife and I would see him in about 15 minutes. When we pulled up at the motel, we noticed a middle aged man walking from a his car and entering the motel. He was about 5 feet 6 inches tall with a full beard and his clothing was loose fitting and well worn. He was wearing a red bandanna around his neck.

    My wife said that if that was Dan, she was staying in the car. We both went into the motel and asked permission to visit their customer in room 108. I knocked on his door and it was opened by a man about 5 feet 5 inches tall with gray hair and a full beard. He was well dressed and his firm handshake and warm smile told me he was as happy to see me as I was to see him. His first comment was, “It looks like you have put on some weight too”.

    I introduced my wife to him and then he showed us all his Vietnam memorabilia spread out over the top of his bed. We studied all the pictures and mementos that he had saved. It was really true. I had been to Vietnam a lifetime ago and all his stories and pictures brought the memories back to life in vivid detail.

    Then I asked him about his trip to Detroit and his upcoming meeting with Detroit Edison. At 8:00 A.M. the next morning he would demonstrate a bi-spectral camera manufactured in Israel that could show leakage from high voltage lines and equipment not seen by the naked eye. This device will pinpoint the discharges that can lead to radio interference and eventual equipment failure long before it happens. Dan seems to be a very confident and pleasant individual and I hoped he did well on his sales call.

    Then off we went to grab a bite to eat. My wife offered him the front seat in our car and he refused saying he would be more comfortable riding in the back. (I wonder if that other guy would have been such a gentleman?).

    At the restaurant we got started talking about old times when the waitress asked if we were ready to order. We politely asked for more time. We had to ask for more time once again before we finally placed our order.

    We talked about the times when we were on supply missions that took us into hostile waters. How we were escorted by a gunboat in front and one behind us as well as helicopters and fixed wing aircraft (the Black Ponies). He remembered the time when we delivered cement blocks to a place near the Cambodian border and we were caught on the river when night fell. As we came upon our destination base on the river, it was under heavy mortar attack.

    I told him about the time I was working in my office when we were under way and suddenly most of the ship’s guns were being fired. I stuck my head out the port hole to see what was going on. The XO saw me and from that time on when we went to General Quarters I was stationed above the bridge manning the twin 20 millimeter guns. I later learned they were anti-aircraft guns.

    He explained to my wife that most of the firing was outgoing. The only time we took any enemy fire was when he was on leave just before Christmas in 1970. It was only small arms fire and nobody was hurt. He also explained how we could only shoot in designated areas and could only fire when fired upon in other areas of the rivers. We could shoot at any logs or clumps of grass floating in the river because they could have been mines. We didn’t see any mines and the only time we saw something in an area we were not allowed to shoot was the time we saw a Viet Cong Flag tied to a tree alongside the river.

    We talked about the concussion grenades that we tossed overboard every 15 minutes when we were tied up in port. He remembered the time someone just dropped one over the side one night instead of throwing it out at least 30 feet.

    When I was paying the bill, I talked with our waitress and explained to her that we both served together on a ship in Vietnam some 30 years ago and this is the first time since then that we have seen each other. She said “Oh, you guys are Army buddies?”

    We drove to our house for a quick tour and I showed Dan all my computers and pointed out that my wife has the best computer in the place. With my wife’s permission, I also showed him my basement workshop with literally hundreds of computer parts spread out all over the place. He said it made him feel right at home.

    I drove Dan back to his motel and he pulled out a 3 by 5 pad from his pocket and drew me a map to his house in Wisconsin. My wife and I plan to visit with him and his family when we vacation in Minnesota in the next few weeks. We shook hands at least three or four times thinking we were finished and then one of us thought of something else.

    Soon I was heading back to my house and Dan was preparing for his meeting with Detroit Edison.

    This was a reunion that lasted no more than 3 hours which brought 2 men together to re-live their shared experiences of some 30 years ago in a far away place called Vietnam. We didn’t have the chance to drink a few beers together as men often do, but I can tell you this is one experience I will always cherish.

    Stan Lambert
    St. Clair Shores, Michigan


    Edited by: Misterstan at: 5/22/01 9:08:52 am

    Copr6
    Senior Chief Moderator III
    Posts: 200
    (5/21/01 7:06:12 pm)
    | Del Re: Thirty Years in 3 Hours
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Stan...that's powerful! Glad it went well.

    gorourke
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 30
    (5/21/01 9:31:05 pm)
    | Del Re: Thirty Years in 3 Hours
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Stan,

    Thanks for sharing your Reunion. It’s great you were able to meet someone you served with in-country.

    P. Gary


    low2go
    *Senior Chief Moderator*
    Posts: 316
    (5/22/01 7:47:24 am)
    | Del Re: Thirty Years in 3 Hours
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Stan, what a wonderful story and you told it so well. I truly beleive that there are some things women friends will recall when they meet and socialize, and there are things that men will experience when they meet and remenise like you and your former shipmate did. Totally and completely different, as well it should be. Two warriors, under different situations, and at different times in their lives meeting as you did. Thanks for telling us that story Stan . Wilborn.

    homer4
    Moderator
    Posts: 625
    (5/24/01 6:28:59 pm)
    | Del Re: Thirty Years in 3 Hours
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    What a good story Stan! Would love to have the same experience with some of the fellas I served with.
    ...and two hard boiled eggs.

    106RR196LIB
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 121
    (5/30/01 2:22:29 pm)
    | Del Re: Thirty Years in 3 Hours
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    My First 196th Reunion

    After the reunion started, a latecomer showed up. I noticed the name in our signup book, but I thought it was a mistake because the guy had been so badly injured he would never walk again after the age of 19. I called his room and Chuck answered. I was prepared for the worst when we met.
    He was a daredevil driver from Headquarters Company. His deuce and a half kept the infantry companies supplied with food, ammo, and replacements. His theory of driving was that if you go fast they can't kill you. He drove the legendary Thunder Road every day with a 106RR gunjeep escort. He was the only non infantry driver to go out daily. He survived a record three landmines. In the first two he was uninjured but the third one shattered his legs.
    About one third of our AT platoon was killed or injured in six months on Thunder Road.
    While in the field hospital he asked the platoon for advice. The doctor gave him a choice of having his shattered legs permanently fused in the sitting or laying down position. We had a platoon meeting and voted for the sitting position. Chuck was an athlete and we knew there were wheelchair sports. It was a tough choice for a 19 year old. We never saw him or heard from him again.
    When Chuck WALKED in to the room I was stunned. It turned out that they cancelled his surgery and sent him to a specialist in the US. They amputated one leg and saved the other. He was walking on a prosthetic! Great job from the medical service.

    nighthawk
    Member
    Posts: 8
    (5/30/01 3:49:05 pm)
    | Del Re: Thirty Years in 3 Hours
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Misterstan, I envy you. It must have very emotional to go through a reunion like that. I have been searching for a lot of years to find compatriots from my VN days. I just never seem to have enough information to locate any of them on the net, and the more time passes, the more info I seem to forget. (Old-timers desease?)Anyway, glad things worked out for you and your buddy.


    oneknight
    Moderator
    Posts: 1032
    (5/30/01 5:28:16 pm)
    | Del Re: Thirty Years in 3 Hours
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mike,

    That is a great story. Took a lot of determination for
    Chuck not to give up.


    Donna

    homer4
    Moderator
    Posts: 695
    (5/30/01 8:42:26 pm)
    | Del Re: Thirty Years in 3 Hours
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ain't it the truth Donna...some just seem to be able to rise up out events that absolutely flatten most.

    Good story Mike...all happy endings are good.
    ...and two hard boiled eggs.

    gorourke
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 48
    (5/30/01 10:07:43 pm)
    | Del Re: Thirty Years in 3 Hours
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mike,

    Great story! First, how wonderful to have a Reunion, then to meet someone you thought would never walk again comes walking into the room.

    I wish I had a better memory for names. I can remember incidents where guys were hurt bad, dusted off and you never hear from them. I have no idea if they are on the Wall or they recovered from their wounds. I don’t know why we didn’t follow up when we were there. I guess we were just happy it wasn’t us, or we were just shut it out, or we were just to fatigued and brain dead to care. I think about that and it seems like such a callous attitude, it troubles me now and is one of my regrets from my tour.

    P. Gary


    106RR196LIB
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 126
    (6/3/01 11:15:12 pm)
    | Del Re: Thirty Years in 3 Hours
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Addendum Chuck

    Chuck (with prosthesis) drove out to Las Vegas from Pennsylvania on a motorcycle with someone elses wife on the back seat.
    He had bad luck with relationships and had tattoos of womens names crossed out and tattooed over with other names. One was marked with the phrase JODY GOT HER.
    On the way home to PA, he crashed the bike at high speed (90+) in Utah and shattered his good leg. I thought of all the miraculous work on that leg that was about to come off in the OR. The surgeon in Utah replaced the shattered bone with cadaver matrix. This is a donation from a dead person. The bones of the corpse are boiled for sterility and processed to provide a matrix for new bone growth. He walks again to this day! Three land mines and a high speed motorcycle crash!
    Mike H

    hope6970
    Moderator
    Posts: 378
    (6/3/01 11:25:08 pm)
    | Del Re: Thirty Years in 3 Hours
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    MikeH, I would have to venture to say after everthing that guy has been through, there has to be some reason that he is still on this earth today. Has the wreck slowed him down any? - Hope

    homer4
    Moderator
    Posts: 790
    (6/5/01 4:34:52 pm)
    | Del Re: Thirty Years in 3 Hours
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I agree with Hope Mike...life always has reason,and sadly so does death.

    We aren't pawns as some think or question...we are puposefull and with an intent.

    Like I said...I like the happy endings best.
    ...and two hard boiled eggs.
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
Vietnam Memories Forum A DOZEN YEARS AGO..... Sep 11, 2013
Vietnam Memories Forum After 43 Years He Is Home Jun 10, 2012
Vietnam Memories Forum Memories . . . 35 years later Dec 20, 2006
Vietnam Memories Forum Music from the War years Mar 11, 2003

Share This Page