Saying Goodby to Family

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Guest, Mar 6, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Posts: 144
    (5/18/01 4:41:45 pm)
    | Del All Saying Goodby to Family
    Rather than wait to be drafted, I enlisted in the U. S. Navy in April, 1968, after completing my first year of college in Northwestern Minnesota.

    I was the second oldest of nine children raised on a dairy farm. My older brother was in the Army. He served in Vietnam during the 1968 Tet Offensive in Battery A, 1/30 Artillery, 1st Air Cavalry Division..

    I wanted to see California, so I asked to be sent to basic training in San Diego, California. After Classification Testing during boot camp, I was given the choice of being a Personnelman (clerk who works with enlisted men’s service records), a Storekeeper (clerk who is responsible for ordering and distributing supplies), or a Yeoman (clerk who works with officer’s service records).

    I chose Storekeeper but the Navy made me a Yeoman instead. Then I was sent to Class “A” school in San Diego, California. While learning the duties of a Yeoman, I was informed that I had to type at least 30 words per minute on a manual typewriter or else I would be given orders for sea duty. I worked extra hard and could soon type 50 words per minute.

    Once I graduated and received my designation as a Yeoman Seaman Apprentice (E-2) I was sent to a Navy base called Naval Inshore Operations Training Center (NIOTC) at Mare Island in Vallejo, California.

    In less than a year and a half I obtained the rank of Yeoman Second Class (E-5). I was the leading Yeoman at the maintenance department at Pier 22. This is where they tested Swift Boats, River Patrol Boats and many other small boats used in the Brown Water Navy.

    When standing watch at Pier 22, I saw many small boats that were used in Vietnam by the U. S. Navy. On one occasion I drove a PBR to the opposite side of the pier so it could be hoisted out of the water because it was taking on too much water and was close to sinking.

    Sometimes, during my watch, I would drive teams of Navy Seals and Riverboat Operators to a nearby area of swamps that was similar to the canals and rivers in Vietnam.

    In one training exercise two men drowned and I was a member of the team that dragged the bottom of the river late into the night until the bodies were recovered.

    After seeing the determination and dedication of the men who trained at NIOTC, I volunteered for duty in Vietnam. It was my belief that if I went to Vietnam, another young man would be able to stay with his family. I received my orders within two weeks, but first I was sent to San Diego for Career Councelor Training.

    I went to visit my Parents and other Brothers and Sister on our farm in Northwestern Minnesota. It was at that time that I first told my Parents I had received orders for duty in Vietnam.

    It was a very wet season in the fall of 1970 and many of the crops had still not been harvested. The weather was nice when I was home, so I helped with the harvest by running our tractor-pulled combine. My Father ran our other combine which was self-propelled.

    On the day I had to leave, I was putting my seabag into the trunk of the family car when I heard the roar of the big self-propelled combine. My Father drove it right up into the yard behind me. He was taking precious time out from the harvest just to say goodbye!

    My Father has never shown a lot emotion before, but on that day he reached out and gave me a big bear hug. He wanted me to know he was indeed proud of his number two son!

    Stan Lambert
    St. Clair Shores, Michigan

    Senior Chief Moderator II
    Posts: 548
    (5/18/01 6:17:57 pm)
    | Del Re: Saying Goodby to Family
    It was really tough saying good bye to my family. Recently married, a 1 1/2 year old son. And my parents who were pretty tough souls. It was the first tear I'd ever seen my father kind of gave me an idea of what I was in for I guess.....he'd been wounded in WWI and knew the horrors of combat. My mother babbled on for awhile and then gave me some pretty sage advice. Told me that I should never let my tank (fuel tank) go below a half since an explosion would be far more likely if a round were to hit it on the empty side. Not sure where she got that from but it made me realize that she knew more than I gave her credit for.

    Posts: 617
    (5/24/01 9:34:35 am)
    | Del Re: Saying Goodby to Family
    My parents threw a party for me and it was good to be able to see them along with relatives and friends before flying out to California.I had my tough soldier face on but guess everyone could see thru the false bravado.

    My buddies and I went out on a Tie-One-On also.Ronnie,Charlie and Ben would have some great fun at my expence before others with me being the FNG and Cherry-Boy and stuff,since they had come back OK.We did alot of laughing as they had the upper hand.

    The times we were alone tho,my buddies did fill me in on what to expect their experiences.Do know remember that they warn me to stay alert and maintain my rifle and gear...remember drysocks too...also to follow instuctions from the guys who had time.Common sence stuff as I recall in general.

    They knew I was scared cause they were scared once themselves.

    ...and two hard boiled eggs.