Tag Archives: Oakland Army Base

Going Home

Back to the ‘World’

Although 26 March 1971 officially marked the end of duties in Vietnam for the 1st Cavalry Division, President Nixon’s program of “Vietnamization” required the continued presence of a strong U.S. fighting force.

My DEROS (Date of Expected Return from Overseas) was near so the first part of April, I transferred to Firebase Di An about 12 miles north of Saigon where I waited for my official orders to depart from Vietnam.

My final days in Vietnam were either uneventful or perhaps my mind shut down wanting to forget it all. I do not recall boarding the ‘Freedom Bird’ or where we flew out of, but I did take these pictures.

‘Freedom Bird’ leaving Vietnam taking us back to Oakland Army Base where the journey began.

I remember arriving at Oakland Army Base around midnight to process out of the Army. I thought back thirteen months earlier when I was processing for my entry to Vietnam. The men coming back looked burned out and lacked emotion. That night I understood why because that’s how I felt.

Although I physically left Vietnam, the experience of combat had a profound and life long effect on my frame of mind.

After receiving my last payment from ‘Uncle Sam’ (about seven-hundred bucks) I signed a bunch of papers, releasing me from active duty in the United States Army.

In the wee hours of the morning, a bus took us to a nearby airport where I caught a flight to Los Angeles International Airport. There I boarded a non stop flight to Eppley Airfield in Omaha, where I would be greeted by my family. I recall the strange looks I got from people as I walked through the airport terminal at LAX carrying my war trophy.

My eyes closed as soon as I boarded my last flight and didn’t open until our approach into Eppley. I looked out the window and saw the Missouri River.

I was home at last…

Eppley Airfield Omaha, Nebraska where my parents, two of my brothers and girlfriend (now wife) waited for my arrival…


Filed under Vietnam War

Songs of the Vietnam Era

When your Vietnam tour was complete, you flew to Oakland Army Base in the San Francisco Area to process out…

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Filed under Vietnam War

Journey to Vietnam Begins

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…


Filed under Vietnam War