Some would have us believe Henry Kissinger was a great statesman. Others consider him a deranged war criminal. Contrary to some beliefs, Dr. Strangelove was not based on this warmonger, but it may certainly have been a premonition or influence (perhaps he saw the film himself) for his own rise to power and world view. Substantial controversy erupted when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973.
I was living in St. Louis County, Missouri when I received my draft notice back in late 1966. In order to avoid going to Vietnam, I joined the Navy, having been assured by the recruiter that there were no Navy personnel in Vietnam. As this was exactly what I wanted to hear, presented by a well trained liar in a uniform, and encouraged by my WW2 Navy veteran father, I signed up.
Some startling events have transpired during my lifetime that had a profound effect on my beliefs (principally my lack of beliefs). I’ve always preferred the truth to beliefs and realized early in life that beliefs, particularly those that are commonly accepted, are often not the truth. In many cases they’re the product of childhood programming by the public school system combined with adopted familial, societal and cultural beliefs.
I was well aware of the VietNam War in 1966 when I started my first year at an obscure Missouri state college. I had no particular interest in continuing my education, but it was the accepted next step after high school graduation. My lack of interest was evidenced by my dismal high school grades, but the enrolment requirements were obviously minimal at Northeast Missouri State Teacher’s College providing you were a resident of the state. (more…)
A couple of weeks had passed since my basic training when I began my trip to Japan. I hadn’t received anything specifically naming the cozy minesweeper I’d be cruising around in yet, but I did have travel documents to Japan, so this was really going to happen!
I don’t recall the precise route, but when the last flight touched down I was at a sprawling air base somewhere in Japan… not on the ocean though. No ships in sight and an odd mix of military personnel …. Navy, Marines, Army, Air Force…. Hmmm. I was assigned a bunk in a dormitory style building and told to regularly check a large board for my name. In between checks, there was decent food and cheap beer to be infused. I didn’t socialize much and checked the postings frequently. I was anxious to get off the base and assumed I’d be heading to Sasebo, a large naval facility apparently nearby. It was only a few days before my name appeared with my flight number and take-off time the next day. (more…)