First Stop was Oakland Army Base in Oakland, CA
That two-week leave just flew by and time for my departure had arrived.
Mom, dad and little brother (Randy) took me to Eppley Airfield in Omaha to begin my journey. We stopped in Charter Oak on the way so I could say goodbye to my girlfriend (now wife) Rebecca.
We landed at Oakland Army Base (US Army Overseas Replacement Station) that afternoon. That is where troops heading to and from Vietnam got processed. After a short briefing, we were shown our sleeping quarters for the next couple of nights. There must have been a shortage of boarding space because we slept on folding Army cots on the floor of a huge warehouse. That could have been a sign the war in Vietnam was escalating at a rapid pace and any space available was used to accommodate the huge influx of troops.
The next couple of days consisted mainly of filling out necessary paperwork and of course, getting fitted for jungle fatigues and boots.
One thing that stood out in my mind is the look the returning vets had on their faces. I couldn’t understand why they weren’t smiling and happy. After all, they were going home, or at least to a new duty station back in the world. Instead, they looked worn and burned out. Thirteen months later I understood…