My first "Space-A" Adventure

Posted to Facebook. 12 June 2021

Waijiji Moon postcard

Postcqard 19Jul68 back gray

In July 1968, I was stationed at Dover AFB, Delaware. I decided to take a "hop" to Hawaii to visit my sister Mary and her new husband, Wayne. I drove 100 miles or so to McGuire AFB and caught a ride on a C-141 to Travis AFB, then a chartered Pan Am DC-8 to Hickam AFB. Easy! After spending a week of so with the very surprised Mary and Wayne, I sent this postcard back to Mom and siblings in Madison on the 19th. The VERY optimistic message:
"Dear Family,
I'm only going to spend one more day here, and then I'll try to get home as soon as possible - after I visit Anchorage, Alaska. Wayne got some money in the mail today.
See you soon. Love, Phil"

I didn't make it to Alaska. In fact it took me about six days to make it back to pick up my car and drive to Madison. Two of the planes I was on 'broke' and had to turn back to their bases. Air Force: "not just a job, it's an adventure!" Interestingly, exactly a year after I sent this postcard, I arrived at my "overseas" assignment of CFB Comox, Vancouver Island, Canada.

Posted by Mary:

What a wonderful memory ... that remains one very special week in my "memory bank," Big Brother. We managed to cram a lot of fun into that time. I'm remembering visiting the International Marketplace in Waikiki ... didn't we show you our fave free entertainment ... listening to music outside Don Ho's nightclub? I know we showed you our technique for waiting til the box office closed @ the local theater, so we could get in free. Saw some good movies, too.
Thank U for being such a gr8 brother!!!

Reply by me:

I do remember listening to Don Ho from outside his place, and the free movie we saw was "Planet of the Apes" - not a bad memory for an old guy, right? I also remember Ala Moana Shopping Center and going to get you and I some fruit punch, and when I came back out, a girl I knew from my Geology 101 Lab at the U. of Wis. was sitting next to you and you were flabbergasted. We also witnessed a sporting goods store being cleared out by the Secret Service so that President Thieu (of South Vietnam) could shop for fishing gear. I also was pushed off Wayne's surf board by the Secret Service when I got too close to Thieu's outrigger canoe. that was sharing 'my' wave... May you live in interesting times!

The trip back to New Jersey (where my car was parked) took another five days, compared to one day from Delaware to N.J. to Hawaii. I was 'bumped' from serveral flights by guys coming back from Vietnam on emergency leaves, I was on two flights where the planes had in-flight emergencies and had to turn back, and ultimately I was on six planes on the return trip. Whee! I'm on vacation, and I'm having fun! And the price is right...

Modified 7 July 2021