It was back in February of 1968 and I was 20 years old having a good old time in Indianapolis, Indiana stationed at Ft. Benjamin Harrison Army Finance School. After basic training at Ft. Bragg and being agrivated at Ft. Jackson, SC I was now actually having fun.
School was from 8 to 4 and after that I pretty much could do whatever I wanted to do. So on the weekends I would get a room at YMCA in town and enjoyed being in civilian attire and interacting with people other than soldiers, namely USO girls. Don't get me wrong, they were really nice girls that helped you keep from getting bored by playing board games and even taking us roller skating. Gave me a break from the Army routine.
All was going pretty good until one day I received orders reasigning me to Viet Nam. The dreaded tour. Well, back home I had this girl friend in NC so I broke the news to her and her immediate response was that we should get married. Now bear in mind that I was just 20, stupid, inexperienced and gulible. I fell for it and swallowed it all, hook, line & sinker.
Now of course I was a buck private, without a vehicle. Happens though that I had a cousin stationed there with me that I had never seen that actually lived near where I lived back in NC. Somehow I convinced him to drive me to NC on a (3 day pass) so I could get married. We traveled all night through the mountains of West Virginia and made it home. My dad let me use his car so we hurried over to Tarboro, NC shopping for rings and then tried to line up her preacher to marry us. Turns out he was gone fishing, true story. She attended the Pinetops Baptist Church. Well we had to scramble and found that the Methodist minister was available so we lined him up. My folks met us there along with her mother, since her dad never went to funerals, I mean weddings. The service lasted about 15 minutes and off we went to Rocky Mount, NC about 20 minutes away for the quickest honeymoon on record.
My cousin & I make it back to Indiana and what do you think happened. I got more orders recinding the Viet Nam orders. This time for Ft. Ord, California. All that and I am not going to the war zone after all. So here I was, married, a buck private making (less) than $100 a month headed for California & trying to understand how I am going to get her out there and we survive 3,000 miles away from family & friends. More to follow.......