An R & R to Remember
by John Morgan
An R & R to Remember
It is Dec. '67 and it is getting close to Christmas. We are on routine patrol when contact is made and have comrades wounded. One of those, who were seriously wounded, had an R&R to Hawaii coming up where he would be leaving on Christmas Day. The word went out to the Company that if anyone wanted this opportunity to go to Hawaii it was there for the taking. After a full day of waiting we had no takers, and this R&R was about to go by the wayside. I thought to myself I can't let this happen so after discussing my options with the C.O. I decided I would go ahead and take it. Here was a chance to spend the Christmas Holidays away from any Combat Zone.
I left the field on the 24th and we flew out of Cam Rahn Bay on Christmas morning. We arrived in Hawaii in the early morning hours of the 26th, and were taken to the Introduction Center where we would be informed of the cans and cannot do while in Hawaii. Of course first on the list was we could not go to the International Airport and fly stateside. After about a thirty minute talk we went to the base store bought some civilian clothes and waited for taxis to exit the base. Well it would be easy to say tat Hawaii would be a great place for an R&R but some of us had other plans that we had talked about while waiting to leave from Cam Rahn Bay. It was now time to put those plans into action.
We were a group of six and got two cabs and of course we told them to take us to the Forbidden Airport. Our whole purpose had been to go home and spend the Holidays with families. What were they going to do send us back to Nam sooner than later, what did we have to lose? We got our tickets to our stateside destinations and went through the Ag. checkpoint where they proceeded to open our bags. Of course they noticed our Uniforms and we figured we done. They smiled at us then told us to enjoy ourselves as we passed through. We were on our way to what would turn out to be one my best Holidays ever.
I got to enjoy family, my Girlfriend, what would soon turn out to be ex-girlfriend, and actually relax and sleep in for a change. As the week progressed the San Francisco Bay Area Fog started rolling in thicker and thicker. I had scheduled my return flight as a red eye out of San Francisco on Jan 1. On New Years Eve the Fog was so thick that SFO was shut down. I figured if this happened the next night I would not be back to Hawaii on time and I would be busted. New Years Day was Foggy so my parents kept checking the Airline schedule. As luck would have it a wind blew in and the fog was gone. I left on the red-eye and arrived back in Hawaii with a couple of hours to spare. The six of us who went home were all in Hawaii and back to the base at the same time. Our stories to our fellow soldiers were quite different than what we had shared with our families.
At the cost of a fellow vet wounds, I was able to avoid being in Nam for the Christmas Holidays. For those who did not want that R&R because it was Hawaii I am forever thankful. To be able to see your family while serving in Nam was an emotional lift that can never be forgotten. It was worth all the risks that we took, not that we really cared if we had been caught, and the best thing was that because it happened on short notice it was never put into my records as having taken an R&R.
At least for one week of my tour I was able to truly enjoy life with Family.
D co 67-68