Monday, June 23, 2008

It's a small world

I’ve always heard the saying, “It’s a small world.”

Well, it’s true. In 1968, I was in Vietnam, a small corner of the world, but truly across the ocean.

I had been over there a few months, long enough to back my fuel truck into the wing of a jet, and have my driver’s license taken away for 90 days. However, when I was back driving again, one of the things I had to do was dump the contents of my truck into a bladder, or a storage tank.

Our trucks carried around 5000 gallons of fuel and we had to dump them constantly into these bladders, because Bien Hoa, the place I was stationed, was one of the busiest airports in the world, at the time, so our trucks had to be full when a plane came in for refueling. Thus we kept the bladders, at the end of the runway, full.

One day I was dumping my truck, and I received a call on my radio, that I needed to report to the terminal. I thought to myself, “What have I done now?”

Anyway, I went to the terminal and was told I had a visitor. (See picture above. That's me on the left!)

It turned out to be Larry Pennington, whom I had known in Heavener. Larry was stationed at Long Bien, an Army post not far from me. (I was in the Air Force.)

You can imagine my amazement, being in Vietnam and getting to see someone I knew from Heavener.

That wasn’t the last time I got to see him, either. One day, I went to Long Bien and visited him where he was an x-ray technician.

Larry, upon his discharge from the Army, later visited with me at Altus AFB. Larry wasn’t the only person I saw from Heavener.

Stan Wedge, also in the Army, was another I got to see. And John Roop. I was refueling a commercial aircraft and, lo and behold, there was John. John was just then reporting to Vietnam.

When I got my driver’s license back (I mentioned earlier why I had it taken away), and was no longer just dumping my fuel into the storage tanks, I was promoted to refueling commercial planes, a cushy job, because we got to visit with the stewardesses and get some of the sandwiches and/or goodies left over from the flights.

I also got to see one of my cousins, Harold Rogers, from Sallisaw, a helicopter tail-gunner.

Before I even went to Vietnam, I was stationed at Hamilton AFB (CA). .I was in the San Francisco bus station and someone there discovered I was from Oklahoma. I’ve never made any secret where I was from. Anyway, that person, obviously an Oklahoma fan, asked me if knew John Titsworth. I said, “Do I?! And I proceeded to tell this stranger how I knew John Titsworth.

When I was stationed at Altus, I was able to run on to John Owen, another Heavenerite. John was an officer working with the KC-135s.

Yes, it truly a small world.


At June 24, 2008 at 9:33 PM , Blogger Glen Lazalier said...

Small world indeed! I have heard it said that a total of six to eight contacts can put any two people in the US in touch.


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