November 11, 2019
Today, in honor of Veteran’s Day, we proudly present a personal story, as told by our own C-Vine member, Sidney Fox.
Written from a heart of gold, it’s a beautiful read. Enjoy.
My Life Stories by Sidney A. Fox
The Saga Begins
I met the girl of my dreams back in the summer of 1968, introduced by my best friend Jim.
Peggy was a tall girl with long brown hair. I introduced myself and was totally tongue tied at first sight.
No, I didn’t ask her out to dinner or a movie. I was so taken by her, the only thing I could say was that I was going Quail hunting with my best friend, Jim, and asked her if she would like to go along. She said she would to my surprise… No, I’m not related to the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty. I managed to get a Quail and guess who carried my bird…my date…Peg.
Though it was Love at first sight, carrying that Quail sealed the deal, and I was head-over- heels, hopelessly in Love. Ha!
We went to a movie, “Gone with the Wind” later that night. During the movie, I made my move and held her hand. My stomach did flip flops and I knew she was the one. I knew she felt the same way too. I proposed to her on that second date. She accepted and 7 months later we were married. Now, 47 years later, we’re not only married, but we’re more in love with each other than we have ever been.
A Father’s Love
Here’s a story of a Vietnam Vet’s fatherly love for his 3-month old daughter.
I left for Vietnam when my daughter was only 3 months old. I feared I would never get to see her again.
I kissed her on her forehead and on her cute little feet. I stared at her for a moment, trying to burn the memory of her into my brain before turning my attention to the distraught look in my wife’s face. It took all I had to keep from breaking down in front of them all. Right then and there, I made a decision that would save my life. I vowed not to hesitate to take another life to save my own.
I would receive many letters about how and what my daughter was doing, things I would miss that I could never get back. One day I received a letter telling me she had taken her first footsteps, I was so happy, yet sad to know I wasn’t there to share it with my wife. My wife told me she would say, “Daddy” whenever she showed her my picture. What a fantastic wife and mother. I was so proud of them both.
All the way home back to the states I would think of Charity and how she would react to seeing her Dad. Nervous???? Hell that doesn’t even do justice to how I felt. I arrived at the airport and saw Peg holding Charity. On the drive home, I wanted to hold her hug her, and smother her with kisses so bad. Only one problem, she was afraid of me and every time I tried to hold her she would cry. Peg saw the tears of disappointment in my eyes. She said, “maybe she doesn’t recognize you with your hat on” – I removed my Air Force hat and…..”WOW!!!”
She said, “Daddy!!!” She sat in my lap and I got to hug her. I was so happy. I have to put this as one of the “BEST” and happiest day in my life. I love her so much. In that moment I realized how strong a father’s love for his children can be.
As a Vietnam veteran, I’m familiar with a lot of military abbreviations. One such abbreviation is CYA. It means “Cover your _ss”. Here’s a little twist on this abbreviation from a veteran who took action and implemented CYA for real. As most Vietnam vets, I was flown into Da Nang on a Tiger Airliner. As we circled Da Nang waiting to land, we were informed that we were being shot at from below. We were ordered to put our helmets under our seats, in the hopes of stopping the bullet coming from underneath, or at least deflecting one.
Whenever I heard the abbreviation “CYA”, I will always remember how I used my helmet to protect my butt for real! Ha! Hope this gives you a smile today, and Happy Veterans Day.
Remembering a Vietnam Buddy:
Today I’m remembering a Vietnam buddy of mine who passed away…
Determined to get my daughter her first birthday card from her father, I risked it all. In order to get the card, I would have to travel 27 miles south to an Army base that had a small PX. The only obstacle at the time was the fact that the Vietnamese were staging anti-American demonstrations in the region. Due to the threat to Americans, all personnel were restricted to their base. I made the decision I was going anyway.
John, my new roomy, said he was going to go with me, even though he knew the dangers of going through the villages we would have to go through to get to Phu Bai, including Hue Vietnam.
We started walking early in the morning and caught a Vietnamese three-wheel lambretta, used as a Vietnamese taxi. It took us all the way to Hue. When we got to Hue, we found ourselves the only ones – or should I say the only Americans – in Hue at the time. The army had pulled its guards and patrols back to their base due to the anti-Amercan protests. I was carrying an M-16, had a K-bar knife and had three baseball grenades in my side pant pocket. I stole the grenades from our armory – after all I was a military cop. Ha! We made it through Hue without any trouble and arrived at Phu Bai Army Base. I got my daughter her first birthday card from her father and sent it from their Post Office.
We had to bribe an MP at the gate with a six-pack of beer to get off the base. Then we headed back to Tan My. After walking a ways, we were offered a ride by a Vietnamese in a jeep. When we got to Hue, he pulled a 45 pistol on us before we could defend ourselves and ordered us out of the jeep right in the middle of the “Four Corners of Hue” which was a marketplace for all the Hue vendors, and then he left. We immediately locked and loaded our weapons.
Vietnamese on motorcycles surrounded us, I think Americans called them “cowboys” – a version of our Hell’s Angels. John and I stood back to back threatening to shoot. Several came at us – John, being very good at physical fighting – dispensed a few of them very quickly, while I kept the others back with my M-16. A helicopter had flown over seeing our plight and nearby MacV sent out help to get us out of there. We held the Vietnamese off until MacV got there and rescued us. We were given a lecture and sent back to Tan My with a report of the incident for our site commander to decide our fate.
Without John at my side, I never would have made it back alive. What a brave man John was at only 19 years of age. No wonder Peg and I chose him to be our kids Godfather.
Thank you for your service, John, your buddy will never forget you!!!
The Vietnamese Gift Shop
Another Vietnam war story… While at Da Nang,
I happened to pass a very small Vietnamese gift shop, actually made out of recycled pieces of plywood. It was only about 8 foot long and probably 3 feet wide. There were guitars hanging on the back wall and watches and jewelry on a makeshift shelf in front. The Vietnamese lady operating the stand said they could make me my own guitar for 40 dollars.
“WOW!!” my own guitar made especially for me, a one of a kind. I couldn’t pass it up.
I noticed she was eating something I couldn’t even recognize out of a bowl. I told her I wanted to try Vietnamese food. She said when I came back for the guitar, she would have some Vietnamese food for me to try.
It took only three days for them to make my very own guitar. It was awesome, dark wood front, pearl-looking tuner knobs, plus it sounded great too. I was very pleased. She handed me a bowl…. I swear it looked like fresh lawn clippings….and I swear if I knew what lawn clippings tasted like, I would have recognized the taste… it was awful.
I took the guitar back to the barracks to enjoy it. I observed its construction and on the inside and made a startling discovery….stamped on the main brace inside the guitar was a stamp placed on ammunition crates. My guitar was a recycled ammunition crate.
I was shocked. Ha! The Vietnamese were so resourceful. I had the guitar for a long time and played it a lot because it sounded so good. Later on it had water damage and I had to get rid of it. Vietnamese food though, has never been a favorite of mine since. Ha!
A Soldier’s Remorse
The 911 Memorial Museum opening has triggered a troubling memory I have of a fallen soldier that I owe an apology to.
Excuse me a moment…. a little emotional right now… I lost 4 roomies, each one shared my 2-man cubicle that I built out of pallets and lumber I would scarf up. We would get to know each other well, and strike up great friendships.
The next thing I knew, I would be cleaning out their locker and taking it down to the Office to be shipped back to their loved ones at home.
The third roomy I lost was in a jeep, when a rocket hit in front of his jeep and he was killed. I was devastated. The next roomy was a dog handler, had just arrived from a base in Bien Hoa. The previous roomy and I had become very close friends, sharing pictures of family and wife, and friends. I was very shook up over not just his death, but of the deaths of the other roomies that were friends that I had lost….
The unknown individual entered my cubicle, duffle bag in hand, and started putting his things in the empty locker. I was sitting at a fold-down desk I had made, writing a letter to my wife. He was a thin guy of average height and very friendly, too. He introduced himself. Having lost too many friends already – I mean 3 roomies in 4 months – I was an emotional wreck.
My response to him, after he had introduced himself was, “I don’t want to know your name, I’m not your buddy and I want you to just leave me alone.” I wasn’t kidding at the time – I was tired of hurting for the friends I had lost. I made sure I wasn’t going to get to know him well enough to grieve again.
I was so rude to him – I didn’t even talk to him most of the day. That very night he was shot and killed while on patrol of the perimeter with his dog. I can’t even remember his name, just that he had been transferred from Bien Hoa…..Excuse me again, just got a little emotional again…
I wish I would have conducted myself better, he deserved better. So I offer my public apology to that fallen soldier and his family for my deplorable behavior. I am so sorry and so ashamed.
I tell this story to warn everyone that our behavior can have long lasting consequences, and that we need to respect and cherish those we have the good fortune of knowing or getting to know.
A Close Call
I felt a need to write about someone who saved my life back in 1969.
I was going through basic training and had put my request in for being a dentist apprentice. I felt that having this as my occupation in the military would be one of the safest occupations in the military. In order to make this happen, I made sure not to qualify with a weapon.
My first time to qualify with a weapon, I didn’t. Then my drill instructor informed me I would have to redo basic training if i didn’t qualify. To make sure I qualified, I did my very best and shot expertly.
What happened during this qualification was disturbing. We were told if we had any problems with our weapons, to keep them pointed down range and raise our hand to get the attention of the firing line officers.
We were in the sitting position and the man to my left had a “hang fire” (either caused by a delay or weapon malfunction). As he raised his hand, he turned to see if the firing line officers noticed. This left his weapon pointed directly at my back.
The TSgt acting as firing line officer dove at him just in time as the round went off. he didn’t get the weapon pointed down range completely and the round went whizzing off to the right of the firing range, but missing me. I thank the TSgt for his fast reaction that truly saved my life.
I fired expertly several more times, including the army and marine firing courses that I attended due to my ABZR training. I also had one of the highest scores the army has had in several years using a myriad of weapons. I think my score was 487 hits, but I’ll have to go through my military records to confirm that. I might add that it was all done in one day in one session on the course, and yes, my shoulder was black and blue from all the recoil.
We send our belated, sincere condolences on the loss of your wife. We also thank you for sharing your special journey with us, and encourage you to know that your “unknown soldier” is smiling down on you, fully forgiven.
As a citizen journalist and investigative reporter, I am committed to accurately reporting the news. Wide awake, never asleep, I grew up in a 1960’s patriotic household, aware of the truth behind the false narrative.