When I left for Viet Nam I flew to Dallas, Las Angles, Guam, and thin to Da Nang Viet Nam. The plan landed early in the morning, I can’t remember how many hours we were on that plane but at least it was a big TWA airlines so the seat was fairly comfortable then we disembarked and got on a bus with my duffel bag and thin down to a pier where we caught a small boat, and thin out to a ship. We pulled alongside the ship it was a LPD “Landing Platform Dock” I do not remember which one it was. If you have seen any Navy war movies you probably have seen where the men were climbing up the side on what looks like a big net, well that is what I had to do with my duffel bag on my shoulders, I just knew I was going to fall into the water bag and all but thank goodness I made it all the way up. The ship thin got under way to meet up with my ship, I can’t remember where we met the Monticello or how we went aboard I just know I did not have to climb that net again.
There were two of us reporting aboard and we served in boot camp together, we reported to the engineering officer to find out our job assignment. He said he had two openings, one electrician and one mechanic. Be for I could say any thing the other guy said he could do electrical work and so that is how I became a mechanic.( I knew nothing about either one at the time.) After hopping around the Pacific the ship headed back to home port in San Diego. I had written to Charlotte that the ship was coming home so she set up to drive to San Diego to meet the ship. I remember to this day as the ship was coming up to the pear seeing Charlotte for the first time in months, man did she look GOOD!
She had already found a place for us to stay it was a nice apartment close to Balboa Park; it was also purity much in the landing path of the air port, when the planes came over it looked like you could throw a rock and hit it. We lived here for about three months and we got to know a young couple up stairs. We remember one day when the wife came down and talked with Charlotte and asked her if we liked brown beans, Charlotte said sure we do so the girl gave them to her and said she had been cooking some for an hour and they were as hard as a rock, Charlotte did not have the heart to tell her she needed to cook them pretty much all day. We did not know it yet but we became pregnant y’all
The ship was going to Bremerton Washington for dry-dock so we got to load the wives and cars on board the ship and it took us three days to get to Bremerton. We had fun on the ship but of course we could not sleep together while on ship. When we got to Bremerton the captain let the men with family leave the ship to go and find housing off base, so Charlotte and I headed out. We began to thank we were not going to find any thing until we came up on what we called a rose-covered cottage. The couple who rented to us were x Navy and they wanted to help us. We soon found out that Charlotte was pregnant Praise God we had been trying now for five years. Of course we could not afford it but it was wonderful, in fact when the landlord found out they got us our first baby present. I remember one day Charlotte was doing some ironing on the floor and the landlord’s daughter came by to congratulate us on the baby and when she saw Charlotte ironing on the floor she left and came back with a brand new ironing board.
Charlotte was making a little money playing in the Bremerton symphony this helped some but we were barely getting by, in fact our fourth wedding anniversary came up and I had to spend my duty on board ship, Charlotte came up to see me so I gave her a banana and told her happy anniversary and to this day that is one of the most remembered ones.
Time went on and it was getting close to time to load every thing back on the ship to head back to California, and the car was acting up and I could not seem to fix it, yes I am a diesel mechanic now but I did not know what to do with the car at this time. Well we did not have the money to get it fixed so I decide to call home and ask dad for some money. Here again Praise the Lord before I got to ask him he told me that one of my old milk customers had paid their bill and we had a check on the way for ninety dollars. This more than paid to get the car fixed and let us relax just a little. We got all loaded up and the ship left for San Francisco where the ship had to pull in to reload on all that military stuff, here again the captain let us leave to go find housing in San Diego.
Charlotte was starting to show on her pregnancy and every time we looked at a place we were told they did not accept children. We did finely find a place that looked nice and clean, well the first night Charlotte got up to get a drink and she screamed the floor was covered with roaches, yuk. We would spray and set of bug bombs and every thing else we could thank of but we could not get read of them.
Charlotte’s brother Andy was also in the Navy at the same time and he and his wife and daughter were living there and so we stayed with them for a little while. We did finely find a place after we got out from under the roach place, and that is where we stayed until time for me to take Charlotte back home to Amarillo. We brought Sheila back with us I thank she was about three at the time, don’t quote me on that Charlotte would probably know for sure. We got caught up in a blizzard in the mountains of New Mexico and had to spend the night, the people were so rude to us their until I had to go to the car and I was cold so I put on my Navy wool jumper, when they saw that I was in the Navy the started being real nice to us and even opened up one of their cottages for us to sleep in. The next day I had to buy a set of chains to fit the car and then we could head on toward Amarillo.