This past Memorial Day, I was reminded of a story I’ve told many times, about how war impacts people.
As an Electronics Technician, assigned to Dà Nang, Vietnam, I often worked on the radio and radar unit of the boats that routinely ran supplies up and down the rivers of Vietnam.
That funny looking tower on the roof was used to test small craft radar units.
Of course, while working on the units, I talked to many of the crew members. One conversation stuck in my mind all these years.
A petty officer, who was involuntarily assigned to Vietnam, told me that he had just received a “Dear John” letter from his wife. They had not been married long when the Navy sent him overseas, and she wasn’t able to deal with being alone. So, she found a new boy friend and told him that she was divorcing him “because he left her”. Some how, she blamed him for his being overseas. Unfortunately, this is and was not that unusual.
Just after that conversation, his boat was destroyed in a rocket attack, on February 27, 1969 at a place called the Bridge Ramp in DaNang. Twenty two sailors died and thirty eight were wounded. Unfortunately, the man who received the “Dear John” letter was one of those who died. I don’t know that I even knew his name, but I have never forgotten his story.