BUT, GENERAL....I'M AWOL!!!
I'm here, but...I got a little problem, General!
completing my first tour in
looked into the “Bootstrap” program that the Army was offering.
This program allowed you get a college degree.
The problem was that Army said
that I didn’t have enough “credits” to join the Bootstrap Program.
didn't have any credits. Sounds like the military's famous
"Catch-22"...you need credits in order to get credits. But…this
problem was one that, strangely
enough, only an artillery shell could fix. The
Army was gonna trade me entry into the
“Bootstrap” program if I would go back to Nam for another tour.
Okay...but I want some negotiated terms here, buddy! I wanted the Army to send me to Jungle School down in Panama (the Jungle Operations Course or JOC), I wanted to go to Jump School (where you learn how to jump out of perfectly good airplanes) AND I want to be assigned to the 173d Airborne Division once I get to Nam. "Okay," they said, "Done, Done and Done!" Sure enough, I completed Jump School, got my wings, and completed the Jungle School and got my coveted JOC patch. However…there was a small problem with the third request, i.e., going to the 173d Airborne Division in Nam.
I arrived in
Well, I’ve never been known to be afraid to get things done on my own and in my own way, so I left this clown alone to go shuffle his paperwork.
Then I promptly found out where the 173rd Airborne Hq was located. Having already spent a year in
Here I am at the 173rd Airborne Division HQ, General Hubert S.
Cunningham, Commanding. I get
permission to go in and report to him. Gen
Cunningham says: “Boy, are we glad to see you!
We haven’t been getting any officers up here in months!”
General…”, I replied, “that’s because the boys at the reception station
keep diverting them to Cu Chi!”
frown crossed the General’s face and he said, “That would explain it”.
General…there IS one small problem that
I have here”, I said.
that?” he asked.
“Well, sir…I am AWOL!”
"AWOL?!?" "What in the devil are you talking about?" asked Gen Cunningham.
Then I told him the whole story of the broken promise given to me back in
the States, etc, etc.
I’ll fix that”, he said. He
promptly picked up the phone and made some calls.
I don’t think anyone in the entire US Army relishes getting a phone call from a pissed-off general officer.
I got used to the smell of shit burning from my first tour in Nam…now
it was time to learn the smell of somebody’s ass burning…much more pleasant
smell to me, I assure you.
worry, son”, the General said. “You’re
HERE now…and possession is nine-tenths of the law”.
you just gotta do things your OWN way!
Lt Don Keith