Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Sunbeam Alpine left behind

May 31 - June 1, 1967

140 days, 31 May, 1967

My flight left right on time with no problems except a tear or two watching Mom and Dad on top of the terminal trying to find where I was sitting on the plane. They’d wave at the front of the plane and then at the back but I know they didn’t see me ‘cause I was in the middle. I stuck my “Sports Car Graphic” up in my window but they didn’t see it.

The plane took off and before I knew it there was Hoover dam and Westerville right below. (I saw Marlynn walking home from school and waved but she didn’t see me either. I thought I heard the Alpine running though.)

The flight was rather dull until we lit in Chicago. All I can say about that is if the Chicago area is as magnificent as the airport it has to be great. You can walk for miles and still not get anywhere. Portable tunnels snake out to meet the plane and you just walk off, no stairs, it’s built on two levels.

The plane on to Oakland was about ¾ army men so I knew I wasn’t alone anyway. This was the fifth time I’ve been up and finally the stewardess asked me if I wanted coffee, tea, or mild. I was so thrilled I almost lost control and asked her to marry me. Of the 4 hours flying over ¾ of the country I saw about 5 minutes of Wyoming desert, The Great Salt Lake, and a couple of the Rocky Mountains (they’re really covered with snow still.) The rest was clouds and snow (yes snow at 35,000 feet). Above the clouds it’s really beautiful though like you’re out crawling over a box of cotton balls.

A few exciting moments as we came down through the fog in Oakland. We had circled out over the ocean for our approach and all I could see was water. Closer, closer, no landing in view. We got so close the fish were worried; my ears popped and we lit – boom! The runway extends out into the water to accommodate jets. I’m glad they have good pilots. By my time it was 11:00, by theirs it was only 8:00. I took a $1.90 cab to Oakland Army Base (about Ft. Hayes’s size). So this is California! –

141 days, 1 June, 1967

After signing 49 senseless forms, getting paid and finally going to bed my time 3:00 am (actually only 12:00 pm)

Fine sleeping quarters; a warehouse with beds about 3 feet apart, the warehouse about the size of the [Ohio] Statehouse parking garage, is completely filled with bunks. Talk about sardines in a can, this would give a sardine claustrophobia!

We got up at 5:30 their time (8:30 mine) and had our formation in the rain. That’s all we’ve done is have formations in the rain. While we stand there they call about 500 names of guys shipping out and then give the rest ridiculous little jobs like watering the grass with sprinkling cans after it has rained all day.

I haven’t ever seen the “warm California Sun” since we left it above the  cold California clouds and fog yesterday, I don’t even know which way is north yet, no shadows or anything, just drizzle, rain, and fog, and about 40 degrees, not to mention the wind. I’ve got to get up at 2:30 am tomorrow (tonight) for K.P. (oh, boy!) They’ll wake us by the harbor foghorn. I think there’s a harbor out there. When the fog lifts for a moment I can see a couple of large boats across the street at what appears to be a dock; there’s a couple of buildings in the way though so I can’t be sure. Maybe they just ran ashore in the fog.

I have no idea when I ship out. Probably in a few (2-3) days. I hope I can talk to someone about my physical and my orders.

This is California?