At this time I was flying gunner for Major General John H. Hay, Jr., the commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division.
It's hard to see in this photo, but I kept my back body plate of armor on my seat. I never wanted to get shot in the ass. As far as my back side goes, I was protected by the metal guts of the chopper and the chest of the gunner on the other side.
I had no life in the infantry. We referred to the United States as "the world". I did buy a small cheap camera to take to the field, but roles of film got lost or destroyed because of the elements, and then my camera broke. Nothing lasted in the bush. I didn't even slightly enjoy things until I got into aviation. Yeah, war is hell and all that shit, but in aviation I was able to sleep in a hooch or at least in a full-sized tent with bunk beds, eat actual hot food and every now and then I was able to go to town and make new "friends" at a local bar.
When I flew with MG John Hay I often ate the same food he did. Frequently I would sneak into the general's mess tent (literally crawled under barb wire) where his cooks were preparing steaks and other goodies, and they fed me right there in the "kitchen". Yes, I gained a little clout being the gerneral's gunner.
PHOTO GROUP ONE
2.7 million men served in Vietnam during the official Vietnam era of August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975. And yet, according to the 2000 census, 13.8 million claimed to have served there!
That means 4 out of 5 five are wannabes....
She looks a lot like "Suzie". Good ol' Suzie. We became very close friends....