Now bear in mind this is an absolutely true story and the wife is my ex at the time of this account. So I had her fly out to Calif. and it was the first time she had ever been on an airplane and had a head cold at the time so it was not pleasant.
Being married we needed a place to call home. The only place I could find was a small apartment owned by this guy who would not be on the government list saying he would rent to anyone. He only wanted caucasions there. This being the case we could not get any government subsistence so the burden was totally on us. Fortunately she had saved a bundle working and living at home with her folks. We ate a lot of beans to make the money stretch.
California was really beautiful with fields of flowers with vivid colors and near Marina, which is where the apartment was. We were also near an area called the 17 mile drive which takes you along the coastline and I still have pictures of that lovely scenery. This adventure lasted from June through the first of October of 1968 when guess what? Real orders for Viet Nam.
We went home to Rocky Mount and got a small apartment while I prepared to leave again, this time for 13 months. I arrived in Viet Nam towards the end of October & was flown in an Army plane to my new home in Qui Nhon which is a coastal city. I was asigned to a quality assurance section of the 13th Finance Corp having the responsibility of auditing military pay records. After I had been there about a week some of us decided we would walk down the street outside of our compound which was secure with a very high fence all around it. The street was thick with mopeds and these 3 wheeled vehicles that operated like a taxi. As we were walking along I felt a tug and suddenly realized one of the Vietnamese guys on a moped or motorcycle had grabbed my watch which had an expansion band and it gave way and he had it so quick he was gone in no time. Learned a good lesson that day that you need the kind of watch band that is leather and buckles on.
I had a Vietnamese lady that took care of my living quarters, washed and ironed my clothes and shined my boots for $9 a month. She also did for other guys so the amount she received was decent for their economy. To iron my clothes she would spread out a blanket on the concrete floor and iron in a squat postion for hours.
Since my unit was the 13th Finance Corp and also the General's compound we were relatively safe from violence. Not a jungle atmosphere. We had an EM (enlisted men's) club where we could get steaks, burgers, etc. and the mess hall had some of the best food I have ever had so my conditons were excellent.
After I had been there just about a month I got a letter from my wife saying she was pregnant. Oh well, it would be a total of 13 month from the time I left until I saw her again, missing the entire pregnancy and finding a rather large daughter who didn't want me around her mama. To be continued......