Early 70s, Marriage and Military

by Ricardo

This post goes back to the early part of 1970, God, can it be THAT long ago? I had lost my student deferment and I had a very low lottery number. I knew that I would be joining the ranks of some branch of service whether I liked it or not....it was my fault, no one could take the heat for this major goof up but yours truly.

I had a difficult time accepting the reality of it all, but, I was not about to become a draft dodger...although it did very briefly cross my mind. I had been dating a girl that I met in college for a year or so and it was getting serious, now the decision, do we get married before Uncle Sam takes me, OR, do we wait until I HOPEFULLY return?

We decided probably against our better judgements as well as what our parents thought and decided to "tie the not." At least with this decision, if I did not return we would have several months together....we could not live without each other and a few months was better than none...at least that was the thought process at the time.

We were married on February 21, 1970, and I was inducted May 9, 1970. i was transported just about half way around the world, 12,000 miles to a place called Bangkok, Thailand as a military policeman. I had NO idea where Bangkok, Thailand was, nor, what the hell I was supposed to do once I got there, let alone, would I even return to my young bride, we were both still kids and rather innocent, yet in the army half way around the world, you learn quickly, or you do not survive.

While I was in the air in that huge Braniff International flight, I was scared to death. I was leaving EVERYTHING that I had known all my life and it was very discomforting to a young boy, soon to become a man. Many thoughts flooded my mind, and even after all these many years, I can still vividly recall that feeling....it has NEVER left me.

After a very long flight we landed at Don Muyang Airport outside of Bangkok, the capital city of this strange new world that I was about to enter....leaving everything that I knew behind me. The intense humidity hit me immediately as we left the plane. What was in store for this "green recruit" from the Midwest in the coming years.....God only knew, and at that point. I hoped that he would guide and protect me and lead me back home to my loved ones half way around the world...to say the least I had many questions and an abundance of fears.

Each day dragged on as I counted the minutes, hours, days, and months. Reflecting back, those times were the longest in my life....but they did eventually come to an end with MANY experiences in-between that are perhaps left for another posting.

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