First in a series from the ruins and rivers of Southeast Asia
As luck would have it, I didn’t get to Da Nang, Vietnam, in 1968. I arrived 45 years later. In neither case did I have a say about the matter.
In 1968, Vietnam was the last place I wanted to land.
After four years of college at Miami University, I went to work in the summer of 1967 at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland as a newspaper reporter. Nine months later I was drafted -- these were the days before a national lottery called civilians to battle based on a number associated with their birthdays. On April 4, 1968, after my last night shift as a reporter on the city police beat, I left my newspaper job and joined the Army for what turned out to be two years of active duty.
Active was a bit of a misnomer. I spent most of my time at a cushy desk job, but people were dying all around me.