I was drafted on Nov. 28,1967 and sent to Fort Ord for Basic. About three weeks later we were told the post would be closed down for Christmas and New years and we would be sent home.
On the day we left, the entire parade field was a caravan with Greyhound Buses. There was a actual caravan of buses just headed for Los Angeles with a scheduled rest stop in some small town where sandwiches were provided and many of us headed for the nearest bar for a beer during the break.
Instead of being sent to Vietnam, I was sent to Germany. Christmas of 1968 was away from home, but a nice surprise.
Myself and some friends headed to a small town called Marbourge (sp). A town where there was a nurses college on Christmas Eve. Everything started to close down so we, along with a couple German soldiers, decided to head for Frankfurt where we were sure everything would be opened.
But prior to boarding a train some people approached us and asked us if we wanted to go to a party. We were assured there would be young women there, dancing and drink.
As it turned out the party was at a church for people who had no where to go to celebrate Christmas. The drink was lemonade, there were young girls to dance with and we were all given Christmas presents. But most of all, I recall singing Christmas Carols in German.
I was home for Christmas for 1969.
My Christmas's were happy, those who were sent to Vietnam were not so happy, some of which never made it home from that terrible war.
With Christmas 2016 upon us, I still have those who I trained with, and served with in my thoughts.