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01/01/19 02:53 PM #4525    


David Mitchell

Actually, I think the real meaning of the phrase is -

"Holy crap, December is over and that means no more heath insurance robo-calls!"




Speaking of Scottland - for those of you not into football today, go see "Mary Queen of Scotts" - dark and sinister and brilliant!

01/01/19 04:04 PM #4526    


David Mitchell

Today would be one more of my string of 50th anniversary stories.

But I already told the story last year at this time. So if you get really bored (I mean like bored to tears), skip back to page 98 and read post #2440.

Where else could you find a heartwarming story that combines a great OSU Rose Bowl game while having the S - - - scared out of me by rats. 



01/02/19 02:32 PM #4527    


John Maxwell

Mark & Dave M. Great treatise on Auld Lang...sorry fell asleep.

01/02/19 09:27 PM #4528    


David Mitchell


me too.

01/02/19 10:15 PM #4529    


Mary Margaret Clark (Schultheis)

Mary Anne McMahon Herbst asked that I share the obituary for Patty Fagan Motil's mother who passed away on December 30th. 

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her.  May her soul and the souls of all of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  Amen. 


01/04/19 10:40 PM #4530    


David Mitchell

Okay, the silence is deafening.

       (and were these guys just about the best of our high school years?) 


released in October of 1964 - this recording was about 1982 from the Concert at Cental Park

01/04/19 11:45 PM #4531    


James Hamilton, M. D.

Silence is golden (who sang that one?).

Somehow I knew Dave would break it.

I would have done it but I can't - I have laryngitis. 😞


01/04/19 11:54 PM #4532    


David Mitchell


Dang it man, I waited for you!   (actually, I knew you knew I would do it)

Was't it the Tremellos? I love that song!  (Tremeloes)

01/06/19 12:08 PM #4533    


Michael McLeod

When I was home for Christmas somebody told me there is a high-end White Castle -- well, high end for a White Castle, I guess I should say -- in short north, where you can not only get those glorious guilty-pleasure delicacies but other things. Not sure what the "other things" are. Beer would work. I could see having a Manhattan with a bag of White Castles, which would pretty much put me in Nirvana mode. I did not have time to check the place out and at this point for all I know I dreamed it. Does such a place really exist? Could it be true?  And if so, have any of you Columbus-ites been there?

And if not -- WHY THE HELL NOT????? It's your BIRTHRIGHT!


01/06/19 02:12 PM #4534    


David Mitchell


I believe the "Casa Blanco" you are asking about is now incorporated into a condo project at the same location it had alwasy been in Short North. You will see the photo I posted back on page 168 (#4174).

I always visit the "Castle" when I am home - usually the one up on Kenny Rd. near Henderson, but my favorite (other than the old Acadia and High location) was that one down at West 3rd and High in the Short North. I had been there just a year or so ago in it's old format and went looking for it this past fall. I was shocked to find it inside a larger condo bulding with the drive through (pictured) on the 3rd Ave. side. I did not go inside to see if this "gourmet" atmosphere you speak of prevailed, but at least I can confirm that "the holes are still free".

After driving by several times, I was almost undone at the new appearance.  

Is nothing sacred anmore?

01/06/19 02:19 PM #4535    


Mark Schweickart

Mike – as with Lin-Manuel Miranda, your writing is "highly over-rated."

(For the rest of you,I am sure Mike wiii get my joke above. Read his excellent article to get the reference.)

01/06/19 10:44 PM #4536    


Michael McLeod

Speaking of Lin-Manuel Miranda, here is my latest labor of love. The show is coming to Orlando and to Columbus - it's here this month and I think you get it next. I was fascinated with its success, culturally and creatively, and the way it connects the past with the present, and I tried to lay out how that all came about. If you are going to see the show I think it's good to do a little background reading to "prep" for it - that way you'll enjoy the nuance and history and personalities all the more. Then again you can just sit back and enjoy the spectacle and the music and the dancing. I haven't seen the touring production but everything about this show has been handled so well that I can't help but think it's a great production.


And Dave I am just now putting two and two together - now I remember you posting that White Castle photo.

I so remember swimming with my family at the osu "natatorium" on weeknights -- and getting White Castles on the way home. For us as kids that was, indeed, fine dining.




01/07/19 04:20 AM #4537    


Jeanine Eilers (Decker)

Dave—Lance and I are in Laos and took an afternoon cruise up the Mekong River.  Lance thought of his Army service the whole time and I thought of you.  Thank you for reminding us of military conflicts and for your willingness to serve.

01/07/19 10:07 AM #4538    


Sheila McCarthy (Gardner)

Mike -- Great piece on Hamilton. Very educational. Thank you!

01/07/19 10:35 AM #4539    


Michael McLeod

wow, Jeanine - fascinated with your trip. I'm sure it's mind-blowing and so feel free to share more about it as the spirit moves you. And thanks, Shiela and Mark.

01/07/19 02:07 PM #4540    


David Mitchell


Wow, you two DO get around. I'd be intersted to hear about Lance's service - on or off this Forum.


This brings up something I have wanted (needed) to say since last May (or April) when I brought up "Cambodia".

When I realized my serious error, I decided to wait for the "Holiday Season" to pass before diving back into a dark subject.

I need to walk back some comments I made that were written from my own narrow perspective and were extremely inaccurate and misleading - written with some passison, but without consideration for the broader set of historical facts.

I said there was hardly any "collateral" damage - read: "civilian deaths" in the Cambodian incursion. I said so because there was hardly any civilian population where we "worked" our mission. So let me apologize and clarify.

There were in fact somewhere between 40,000 and 140,000 civilain deaths as a result of our bombing in Cambodia. I personally suspect that larger range of these estimates includes many North Vietnamese Army (NVA) soldiers. I say that because the areas of southern Cambodia (*see map below), both where we entered, as well as some distance north of our "reach" during the incursion - (which you may recall, Nixon limited to 7 kilometers inside the border - see my faint dotted line inside the border) was largely NVA units - and I mean in great strength! I can testify to that becuse of the visual contact we had with several Divisional strength encampments just sitting across the border from us as we "worked" (flew) that border. 

But if I had stopped to review the entire record, there is far more bombing further into Cambodia than my little corner of the world at that time. In fact, we now know that the bombing had also begun much earlier than we were all once led to believe. Years before!  

But I still want you to understand that in most of the area I was familiar with, there was hardly any civilian population. (*see map below). And I will stand on the fact that there were hundreds of square miles of nothing but open, unihabited, elephant grass (not even rice paddy cultivation). I have added a simplified map (in case you are so bored that you are actually reading this) of my little corner of the planet as it existed for my unit. (note: we also often worked much further sout throughout the Delta, not just this Cambodian border) 

If one looks at this crude map (which I have altered for simplicity - I have painted out a number of (later created) bird sanctuaries, and a few town names I have no recollection of), you will see a few points of reference (beginnning with the small city of Vinh Long - site of my home base - along one of the northern splits of the Mekong. Going north from Vinh Long you see Moc Hoa (yes, where I often had lunch vistors). Moc Hoa ("muck wah") is where we staged the first few days of the "Incursion" into the "Parott's Beak" - the first day of which I was "down" (not scheduled to fly). And one of our sister companies ("Apache Troop", I beleive?) had a very regrettable day with some serious losses. I was told later that it was chaos, with all three - (plus one newly added) - Troops (13 ships at a time in each Troop), all operating out of the same tiny airstrip and limited refueling bladders, with a temporary Air Traffic Controller mounted on a truck along side the runway for better coordination of all the helicopters coming and going! 

In the area where you see the "Parrot's Beak" was one of the single largest concetrations of NVA troops - one which we were able to easily see from moderate altitude as we climbed out of the airstrip when the winds were out of the north. Then if you follow the border westerly (moving to your left) there wre a number of large units all the way to the the tiny vilage of Ha Tien (you may recall my previous story, "trading mail for lobsters" from the Green Berets at that little compound) on the Gulf of Thailand. In that eastern portion (nearest the "Parott's Beak", there is only only one substantial town Svey Rieng - capital of the province by same name - another story later), and a few tiny hamlets which were not bombed if I recal correctly. As you progress to your left (westerly) there is a slight increase of population especially near the Mekong and the sea. But I don't recall much more bombing in those areas either - some, but not much - whos existence was merely a temporary stopping point before infiltrating the border at several spots to work their way into the South. Again, a whole 'nother chapter in my experiences.

Simply put - in my area of view, there was heavy bombing in vast open unpopulated areas - mostly targeting encampments of large NVA units.

But all of my observation is only in that initial 7 kilometer limit (plus what we coiuld see further in from teh air) that Dandy Dick ordered. And I should also add, we obsereved that 7 kilometer limit ABSOLUTELY - much to our own chagrin at times. We so badly wanted to be able to pursue furhter once we had spotted and "engaged" them, but we would invariably have to turn back. 

Note: although we reached only to 7 kilometers, when we approached at altitude (before we "Scouts" made our descent down onto the deck), we could see for miles further in, and what we could see in some areas was a great deal more of these NVA units in large groups. (more later - maybe)

Now back to my point - this is only 7 kilometers into the country (roughly equal to my faint dotted line inside the border), If one looks at a larger map of teh bombing, you can see what a small portion of the country it includes, and it is my understanding that the bombing went MUCH further inside that limit - in fact all the way to Laos and beyond.  

It was my own fault that I wrote such a misleading piece without reviewing it better - I was writing out of a bit of passionate overreaction pent up over 50 years.

(now I'm still fooling around with the map  - sorry -  Lordy, it's taken me 3 hours with help from Apple - I had to download Chrome to do this.)

p.s. looking two towns to the right of Vinh Long (down river towards My Tho ("mee tow"), you find Dong Tam, where I saw Bob Hope's show.

01/07/19 07:45 PM #4541    


David Mitchell

This is embarrassing. After spending hours on that last post, I mis-spelled Moc Hoa!

(it is NOT Moc Hua)

I can't go back now and re-do that map - it took forever on the phone with Apple just getting it to post.


Just to add a comment about Moc Hoa - the place we went to more often than any other of a dozen odd names on that map (always for just the day - then back home to Vinh Long).

For about my first 8 months in Vinh Long - from about January to October of '69, Moc Hoa was as boring a place as it could get. So many days of nothing but flying in our tight circles and "S" curves, searching the grassy, swampy terrain right up to (and sometimes over by mistake) the border, for any sign of VC or NVA. But so often - nuttin" honey. There were times when it was like taking a day off. And yes, boredom did occur. Then about October, as if some little man in a remote booth, hiding backstage, threw a switch and the place came alive with activity - at times even nightmarish.  


We would return home to Vinh Long every day before dark (usually), and go back out again each morning to one of those little places on the map where there would be a small airstrip, some refueling "bladders" (enormous flat rubber "hot water bottles", air-lifted in periodically - full of about 20,000+ gallons of JP-4 fuel). After a 20 to 60  minute flight, we would all (13 ships) shut down on teh runway strip while our AMC (Air Mission Commander) would stand along the runway and meet briefly with one or two locally based "Special Forces" (green berets), and get an "intelligence report" of the last 24 hours. Then the "fist team" (we alternated about every two hours - one fuel tank) would head out to begin our search in that area they deemed the "hottest". After several shifts back and forth, we usually headed home by dusk to Vinh Long.

I have wanted to point out this detail for some time because I find it noteworthy that we lived a sort of "nine-to-five" war. Vinh Long wasn't a huge base like some near Saigon, or Da Nang, etc.but was no forward outpost either - picture a property a little bigger than Graceland Shopping Center with a 3,000 foot fixed-wing runway and about 80 helicopters, plus dozens of small support buildings - and all the dust you could put up with. But it afforded us a much easier life than the grunts who lived in more modest camps and spent much of their time out on patrols*

I flew home every evening to a hooch with only 8 guys (mostly getting along well - well, mostly), slept on a mattress with sheets and a pillow, and had a short walk to a "luke-cool" shower, outdoor latrines, and a mediocre (at best) Squadron Mess Hall. We did have a rather crude Officer's Club (that had a flat roof and leaked like a sieve during Monsoon season), with a cash order menu (often out of that steak you had been dreaming of all day), an occasional movie, or traveling band (Thai, Korean, or Ausie) that always wanted to impersonate Elvis. And we had our own PX, about the size of a large commemorative postage stamp, that managed to carry little more than magazines, cigarettes, tooth paste, and razor blades. 

Oh, and we also had a concrete basketball court, which I spent a lot of my free time on, mostly with 5 other guys (3 on 3) - including a Captain, two Warrant Officers (me), and three enlisted men - one black and two white. Once we six grabbed a ball and took the court, there was no rank or color.

* Actually, I just wrote this last part because I have long wanted to make the distinction between my comforts and the guys who really stuck their faces into it - like the Al Judy's, the Kevin Cull's, and the Clarks and Hummers of our world. Imagine patrolling out in the boonies for weeks at a time, sleeping on the ground in temporary guarded perimeters, in the rain, with a rain poncho, and your M-16 in your hands. Not to mention live ground combat where you can't just swing your cyclic stick over and vere away quickly.


01/07/19 10:24 PM #4542    


David Mitchell


The piece on "Hamilton"



(next time were are in Columbus together, I should take you to the "Short North Castle")

01/08/19 03:43 PM #4543    


Mark Schweickart

Dave -- Very interesting stuff. So glad you took the time to create the map for us. That helped immensely in visualizing what you were talking about. Are you sure there isn't a book-length memoir lurking inside your head waiting to get out?

01/08/19 08:08 PM #4544    


David Mitchell


Yes, I think there is somewhere deep down inside me. But my current life situation makes it difficult to take the time to sit down and get it all organized. I promised myself that the "book" (if I ever write it) will tell all - something I don't feel is appropriate on this forum. There were a handfull of those intensely difficult, shocking, even regrettable days. And of course, days of endless boredom. But also a number of triumphant, exhilerating, and even hilarious moments.

And out of it all, I happen to be among a small group of the luckiest stiffs on the planet - several times over! I think this is partly to blame for my cock-eyed, sarcastic, candid view of life and it's ironies. Nothing is promised. Life is a gift - deal with it!

(and laugh - - at ourselves - - often)

When I gathered at the reunion that I organized about 4 years ago at a hotel out on Hilton Head, we were together for the first time in 45 years, (10 guys with 5 wives) and decided to bring in a weddding videographer for a three hour session. The hotel gave us a conference room for the day, and we gathered around a big round table and shared stories - something none of us had done for most of that 45 years - since we came home to all the inhospitable welcome of those days and decided to "can it". Those three hours (and the whole 4 days) was not only cathartic, but fascinating, even funny at times. Remembering incidences so wild and ridiculous that I doubt Hollywood script writers could have dreamt up some of the frightening situations we got ourselves into - and out of. And hardly any recorded history of us exists. 

I think I may have mentioned this before, but I have run into only about five guys in my whole life, who actually knew what a "Loach" pilot was, (there were so very few of us that most Vietnam Vets never even encountered us) and their reaction is allways the same. They twist their face and ask, "OMG! You mean you were one of THOSE guys?"  And we always laugh. Then follows a comment or two about how F - - - - - - crazy we were. And we laugh some more.

We laugh, but we also remember.


p.s. While I was in Columbus last fall, at the guys "secret lunch" (Kaps, Clem, Ryan, McNamara, Browning, etc.) I had an interesting conversation with Charie Kaps. Charlie has two friends who were Loach pilots. Tha's pretty unusual because of our small numbers. But Charlie at least had some clue as to what I was talking about. 

01/09/19 11:06 AM #4545    


Mark Schweickart

Dave -- My guess is that writing your memoir would come quicker and easier than you might imagine. As you know I have participated the last few years in this somewhat silly, totally arbitrary, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge to write a rough draft of a novel (or memoir) each November. Each year I think, "No way, I'll never make this happen." But each year, so far, I come up with something. The arbitrary deadline works wonders. Just the amount of detail you reveal in these Forum Posts, makes it clear that the stories come flooding back to you quickly, and you clearly have a writing style that makes them engaging and readable. So forget how busy you are, there's always time to squeeze in a couple of hours a day. Hell, just lay-off the Forum Posts, and you'd have plenty of time. No wait, don't do that. I won't have anything to read in the morning.

01/09/19 11:39 AM #4546    


Michael McLeod

I'll second what Mark just said. You've got the details of a great yarn and a natural ability to tell it that, frankly, pisses me off just a bit as somebody who has to work hard to tell a tale properly, Not just saying that to blow smoke up your skirt. No brag, just fact. Name the vintage pop-culture reference to prove how old you are. 

01/09/19 12:02 PM #4547    


David Mitchell


You mean like, Buffalo Bob?  

Or maybe Tiny Tim?


No, Cindy Lauper!

01/10/19 12:01 AM #4548    


Michael McLeod

Seriously: Who can tell me what character in a very well-known 50s tv series would often say "No brag, just fact." ? 

For some reason or other it has always stuck with me.

I'll give it a coupla days and then do the big reveal -- or provide a hint -  if no one gets it.


01/10/19 11:02 AM #4549    


Mark Schweickart

Mike -- No idea about your 50's culture pop-quiz. Let's have that hint.

But to change the subject. I know we are trying our best to keep politics out of the Forum discussions,  nonetheless, what I am about to say may cross that line slightly, but it is intended to be just  a movie review. Tim and I were discussing the new film, Vice, recently off-Forum, and I thought I would share my thoughts, since the Forum seems to have stalled lately. Here is what I wrote to Tim. 

I came ame away with mixed feelings. Obviously I was blown away by  the craftsmanship of Christian Bale's physical transformation and his studied rendering of the Cheney mumble. Likewise Sam Rockwell's GW was right on. I was quite impressed with, but at the same time left scrambled by, the director's weird genre-defying approach. Can you call something like this a comedy, when so much of it brings up such horrifying memories? But anything that sticks a set of faux end-credits into the middle of the film, or has Lynne and Dick suddenly speaking in the language of Mr. and Mrs. Macbeth, is clearly (sort-of) a comedy. Not that I am a stickler for genre rules, it's just that it does sort of jumble one's response mechanisms. I guess if anything I was left thinking that as absurdly horrible all of this was back then, as portrayed here, I think it only skimmed the surface. Well, no, that's not fair. I take that back, There was a lot of substance here. I guess what I mean is that there was so much evil-doing going on during those Bush-Cheney years, that maybe we could have had some sort of a recap at the end to really drive home the insidiousness of it all. Although I did think that having Cheney get the last word in was an interesting touch, where he tries to place himself on the moral high-ground as our lord and protector. You have to assume that people who do evil things, generally have this kind of rationalizing mechanism in place to feel self-justified. Sure 3000 Twin Towers casualties is deplorable, but to be answered cavalierly with the deaths of hundreds of thousands in Iraqi civilians, and pretend his map of how to divide up the oil fields had nothing to do with it – well, now?

The one thing I most liked learning about from the film was his back story. I had no idea he was such a drunken, drop-out of an oaf in his early days. Nor did I know much about his reaction to having a gay daughter, or the role his wife played. Hell, I didn't even know he had a heart transplant.

I guess the bottom line for me was that instead of coming away feeling more justified in my opinion of how horrible the Bush-Cheney years were, instead it just made me feel rather sad because of the piling on of even more insidiousness we are now experiencing here in the Trump years. I think I would have enjoyed this movie more if it had come out during Obama's tenure. But now, it just sort of adds to the over-all malaise. Nonetheless, it is great to see this kind of film being made, and getting wide circulation, instead of being poo-pooed, and shoved aside as just a piece of liberal propaganda. You've got to give the writer-director McKay a lot of credit for this. If this were a Michael Moore film about Cheney, far fewer would go see it. But by making it audaciously weird in form, and with such an extraordinary recreation by Bale of Cheney's physical presence, McKay will be drawing a lot more people into see a much-needed history lesson.

On a lighter note, the new Mary Poppins film is quite excellent. I mean that sincerely. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

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