Michael Rummel and Rick Appleton

Recorded June 17, 2013 Archived June 17, 2013 47:45 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mbx008314

Description

Subject Log / Time Code

Mike talks about how he chose to enlist in the Marines. He was at Michigan State University an burned out, as well as had doubts about himself, so he chose to enlist. He was sent to study with the army because there was no Marines for his job.
Mike remembers one of his first nights in Vietnam, when he was sent to a "transient hooch" that had no real bunker. Incoming sirens went off and he found himself naked because he had been sleeping nude due to the heat, with a flip flop in one hand and his glasses in the other thinking, :They don't know I'm a good person."
Mike talks about his choice to extend his tour of duty by 6 months twice while in Vietnam. He was offered 30 days "free leave" with a paid round trip ticket anywhere in the world and he talks about the places he traveled.
Mike talks about looking into an explosion in Vietnam years later and discovering that he had almost been killed because a second grenade had been thrown and was found right near where he had been, but never exploded.
Mike talks about the change in society's views on the military and the need to "separate the war from the warrior"
Mike talks about being ready to finish his degree to go into teaching yet not wanting to, but had yet to find a job after having left the military, and getting hired just in time by I.N.S.

Participants

  • Michael Rummel
  • Rick Appleton

Venue / Recording Kit

Partnership Type

Outreach

Transcript

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00:05 This is a conversation with Michael Paul rumel and I'm Rick Appleton to volunteer with Veterans Museum and Memorial center of San Diego. Today is Monday, June 17th, 2013. And this conversation is taking place in San Diego as part of the military voices initiative sponsored by storycorps a national nonprofit organization providing opportunities today for San Diego's veterans and their families to record preserve and share their military service stories.

00:37 For the records Mike serve both in the United States Marine Corps and in the United States Navy earning. The highest rank in the Marine. Corps is a sergeant E5 and then in later in the Navy as Lieutenant Commander working in the Judge Advocate General's Department.

01:02 Is Marine Corps Service included Duty in Vietnam and the Vietnam War until 1971?

01:09 Anand is Navy service spanned the years from 1981 to 1994. So

01:16 Mike has

01:20 If you'll introduce yourself will get started.

01:23 Good afternoon, Rick. Thank you for the introduction. My name is Mike Rummel. I'm 66 years of age today. This is June 17th 2013 in San Diego, California or right next to the USS Midway.

01:38 Why don't you start out before you talk about your military service a little bit about your family where you grew up and then how you got into the military after that? Okay?

01:50 My father's side of the family was always from South Central Pennsylvania. My mother's side of the family was always from Washington DC. My parents met in Washington DC. My sister and I were both born in Washington DC we grew up in Prince George's County, Maryland and Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. I spent half my growing up years in each of those locations, but I now consider San Diego my hometown.

02:22 Your education. Did it started the course be on high schools before you went in Vietnam. Yes, I graduated from high school and Suitland, Maryland Class of 65 went to Michigan State University saying Law Enforcement Administration.

02:44 I was always a distance Runner. So I was on the cross country team my first

02:49 Quarter there and I went to Michigan State for 2 years and sort of took too many classes and burn myself out. And by the time April of 67 came around I was burned out on College Vietnam was heating up for various reasons. I was questioning my manhood and I decided the answer to all these issues was to drop out of Michigan State and listen to Marine Corps, which is what I did in Lansing, Michigan. Why did you choose the Marine Corps is going to make a man out of me.

03:28 And it did you and your training then how did that prepare you for what you did when you finally went to Vietnam?

03:47 When you enlist in the military at different times where they put you and what type of work they use you for.

03:55 Sometimes is governed only by what time it is what day it is and if they need bodies in Vietnam the throw at the enemy then you're going to be in the Infantry at other times if they have a need to send bodies to school such as I did when I graduated from bootcamp. They wanted me to be a crypto technician tactical crypto technician Marine Corps at that time did not have that type of school. So they sent me to the Fort Monmouth, New Jersey and I spent 40 weeks with the Army going to school there.

04:34 And then I went through boot camp here MCRD San Diego from 20 April 67 through 21, June of 67, and then ITR entry training regiment off of Camp Pendleton home on bootcamp leave for 30 days August 67 report to Fort Monmouth, and I graduated from crypto to school there May 31st 68 when I were to Naval Ammunition Depot Earl in New Jersey waited around for 4 weeks until they sent me to staging Battalion again back here at Camp Pendleton in preparation for going to Vietnam, which is where I ended up and I arrived in Vietnam on July 39th. 1868.

05:26 Tell a little bit about what it was like to arrive in Vietnam what those first days were like

05:34 I don't remember a whole lot about them. I remember that when we were in Okinawa getting ready to go to Vietnam. There are always men in any organization who because of their own.

05:49 Utilities or whatever want to make up rumors. So they're all these rumors about how the plane before us at land and got blown up in there. All these pockmarks on the runway. And so the anxiety level is fairly high is is a plane night. They make a very steep descent and Ascent into Danang Vietnam because of his geographical location, and I'm not going to have to make an easy target for the enemy and as we approach that looked around and everything was normal there was nothing whatsoever out of the ordinary and that was my first lesson not to believe everything. I was hearing about what was going to happen to me in Vietnam having arrived on July 30th. They sent me down to force Logistics command, which was headquartered at Red Beach North of Danang.

06:46 And the headquarters and Service Company had to supply a body for guard Duty for the month of August since I arrived on July 30th. I got to spend my first month in Vietnam on cardi B. So I spent all night with two other guys in a bunker on the perimeter and I was off in the morning except every third day. I had to spend all day on another bunker a different part of the perimeter and then go back and spend all night in the first place. But what was that like being on guard duty at night? We took some rockets and mortars for different eye at different times during that month, but nothing landed at anywhere particular close to me.

07:34 It was just something to endure until they decided to send me to.

07:40 Electronics maintenance company, which is up when I say up. I actually means South on Route One there at a place called four corners or dog patch in Danang on the western side of the name your base and I was there for

07:59 Who went ill?

08:02 June of 69 when they decided they need me at some rainwing Comm Squadron one, which was about a half a mile up the road. So a bunch of us a crypto text was sent up there. We worked in the commcenter there for a while and then why?

08:20 January of 1970 they needed us to actually do the crypto repair work. In other words, they put the technicians in the field before they put the gear in the field and I had extended a couple of times I was stationed at a total of 28 months. So towards the end of my time there. I finally got sent back to electronics maintenance company which by that time had moved North to Red Beach where I first was in Vietnam, and I actually got to work on tactical crypto gear. So what does a crypto technician do then? What kind of equipment are you working with?

09:03 What we were trained to do on KW sevens kya-kya 2018 KY 38 in the old hl1 be that was an Old World War II things. We never even saw acceptance cool. The kid W7 was set up for teletype machines in an office somewhere KY eights or what they would put on with radios on a Jeep KY 28 was a compatible crypto machine that would be used on aircraft and KY 38 is what the radio operators in a field hump on their back attached to the radios. So this is all communication gear that was used by various Personnel, correct? And we actually though we were trained at What's called the depot level to repair anything in the machine itself. That was the beginning of the Modern Age where the machine itself was mostly

10:03 Cards cards with all the electronic gear I already stamps on to it or welded onto it or soldered onto it. We were in effect in Vietnam carpoolers. We would detect which car was bad with send it to the Navy in the Philippines and they would do the depot level work and then they would send it back to us. It was called DX direct exchange. So we only worked on the KY 38 skills like the Bronson apphia would bring in their bad ones, and we just give him a new one. They be on their way right away and then we'd have to determine which car was bad. We send it off to the Philippines. Did you refer to a rear Echelon and those people with North descriptive term, but

10:50 Did you feel a sense of danger all the time? Even though you were not on a line unit out in the front in the jungle somewhere? Well, yes and began my furry first night in Vietnam, which in effect change my life.

11:11 Being new to Vietnam you get sent to the transient Hooch Hooch is a term that we use for those plywood buildings that had the corrugated tin roofs and half the wall is

11:25 Wire screen like you have on Windows.

11:29 And because it was not a set organization with a set number of people always there. It was the only hoots in the entire compound that did not have a bunker. It was a hole to our bunker was a hole in the sand with one layer Beach matting over top Beach matting be the being a material that use the make this fence down here on the border with Mexico.

11:55 And my first night in Vietnam about 2 in the morning, which is when Charlie Victor Charlie VC like to send in rockets at the minimum. They would disrupt your sleep. So 2 in the morning is hot very hot. I'm very I'm sweating. I'm still not acclimated to the to the climate. So I'm on an Old World War II Army cot not wearing anything.

12:24 And my flip-flops are underneath my cot as well as my glasses and the siren went off because they had people out there spotting all night. If they saw The Telltale sign of a rocket being aimed toward us the siren would go off and

12:43 I woke up. I was a little disoriented next thing. I know I'm sitting there ass in this hole in the whites. And I had is only deepen. It was so shallow that the only way I could sit there with scrunched up on my haunches and I'm holding one flip-flop in one hand. I'm wearing my glasses and when my senses finally came to me, I heard the explosions around the compound.

13:12 And the thought occurred to me.

13:15 Charlie

13:17 Doesn't know that I'm a good person. He doesn't know that my father and my mother and my sister love me. All he knows is that I'm the enemy and he wants to kill me.

13:27 I never

13:33 I never felt so helpless or hopeless in my entire life.

13:38 Which feeds right in if I could skip to one for a moment anyway to when I came home from Vietnam.

13:47 My cousins and uncles are my father and I used to go deer hunting at Camp AP Hill, or maybe it's called Fort AP Hill down in Caroline County, Virginia, and we get up to 3 on Saturday morning we could and we did that deer hunting season. That was 6 weeks long in November December.

14:08 And we did that throughout the time. I was in high school.

14:12 Oh, you're only allowed to use shotguns are.

14:16 So when I came back to Vietnam, I was looking forward to getting back into my old way of life and it was still December 1970.

14:25 And we all went out as we always had before and I'm on stand in the morning just as the sun was coming up in the lights filtering through the trees and the leaves and two deer came up to about 15-20 yards from me.

14:44 They must have been off wind of me and they cuz they didn't see me they didn't act like they knew I was there and they stopped and they were grazing and I I put the shotgun into my shoulder and I

14:57 I took aim at them and tell.

15:03 First thought that went through my mind was being in that.

15:09 Bunker in the hole and sand in Vietnam

15:14 So I lowered my shotgun and shoot them away.

15:19 I didn't fire at them. I never went hunting again the rest of my life I was not going to do.

15:29 To another place and being what was done to me.

15:33 Sorry about that. I know nothing to apologize for.

15:39 Obviously those are very difficult circumstances that you were in and perfectly normal response. You did mention that they're there were a number of humorous things that went on in Vietnam. Maybe this a good time to talk about that. You're absolutely right that is thank you for bringing that up. I had mentioned earlier that we worked on crypto crypto gear. It was called ky38.

16:08 All the electronic gear there. We ain't we had 80's 90's some guys in our company that worked on all different types of electronic gear that was used throughout Vietnam and all those pieces of gear like anything in the military would have short descriptive tags of letters and numbers attached to them. So it was not unusual at all. Especially Electronics main is coming to see all these different letters and numbers being posted everywhere and that's and on the the equipment itself.

16:41 So there was a an inspection once I guys will be guys in the military got to let out your frustration somehow and you do it in a variety of ways and one of the ways is passive aggressive humor with the powers that be so there was an inspection that was being held where all the gear was being stored at the time in this large Warehouse. I wasn't there but I was told about it the day that it happened.

17:11 That couple of guys found an old box maybe about the metal box at bank may be about the size of a bread box that had a clip on it where you can clip. It. Shut they put a couple of stones Inside the Box they put it up on the shelf and they made this homemade tag that said s t - 1

17:37 So the general is coming through with the Colonel's and they're looking at all this gear. And of course they know what's what and they stopped in the general says, what is that ST1? What's an ST1? So the here they open it up and course inside is a stone stone. So I can you relieve the tension by doing things of that nature in that was one humorous thing that I'll never forget. Did the generals go along with the Uber I am I wasn't there but I'm told that the general wasn't all that excited about what he what he had just witnessed. You mentioned that you extended your your two are there. Why did you do that?

18:34 Actually, I extended it twice. They had to write they had this program called 30 days free leave anywhere in the Free World. And what they would do is if you would extend your tour Duty for six months, they would give you an airline ticket to anywhere in the Free World Around trip ticket and give you 30 days free leave. It did not count against your leave account. It was freely. That's why they called it that and of course, I would take a week to fly out of Vietnam and get process to get your ticket and it take a week to fly back in and on so whenever you extended you were gone for six weeks. Well, I did that for two reasons one.

19:17 Being from my parents were living in Maryland at the time. I listed in Michigan and being from Marilyn. I knew that once I got off got back from Vietnam. They were going to send me to Camp, Lejeune, North Carolina.

19:33 And as I have told people forever if Newark New Jersey is considered to be the armpit of these cuz then you can use your imagination to determine what Camp Lejeune North Carolina is and there's no way I wanted to go there.

19:51 I also had the travel bong I wanted to travel so I extended twice the first time I went to Europe and I saw six or seven countries in Europe.

20:04 It's been two weeks are two weeks at home flu back second time. I extended I put Cape Town South Africa and I flew to I spent a week in Dakar Senegal on a spend a weekend.

20:19 Cape Town Johannesburg Pretoria South Africa and flew back home for another two weeks and then back to Vietnam was just military transport or do they give you commercial ticket how to be a flag carrier the flag carrier and what happened is that there's no flag carrier for the United States then from Johannesburg to Cape Town, which is about a thousand miles. I think so I had to use fly South African Airways and then I had to give them the ticket so they can reimburse me because I had to be for that most people that I talk to don't don't sign up for extended tours, but I can see what you did with that. What was your relationship with the Vietnamese people if any

21:08 When you were there.

21:10 Not very much. They would have young girls that regardless of age. We would call mamasans who would come in and clean the staff NCO and officer who just we had to clean our own images as Junior enlisted personnel. So we might see them walking around the compound.

21:32 And of course, if you ever saw them counting off steps, you know, that that was for a devious purpose of where to send the rocket so they would be gone in a heartbeat. But other than that, so

21:47 I was because the crypto gear was not there when I first got there. They had me doing a variety of all the odd jobs. I did mess Duty. I did the Italian police which is maintenance work for the Battalion level Company. Please maintenance work for the company level the Honey Wagon. Why was the Honey Wagon honcho for a 4 month. They had they took the bottom third of a 55 gallon drum cut it off put a bunch of fuel oil in it and stuck it underneath what you would call an outhouse and once a day in the morning we collected half of those.

22:29 Mix them all together and took him out in this humongous long white whites and slit trench dumped it in there pour gasoline on it set it on fire which result in a black smoke column going up about 500m in the air.

22:46 Then go back in the afternoon and do the other half of the Battalion compound hence the name and I was in charge so they called me a honcho. So hence the name Honey Wagon honcho one of the point being you at ask about meeting Vietnamese Vietnamese with hang around at the slit trench area and see if they could trade things with us or sell as things or buy things from us or whatever.

23:15 You you mentioned that you were probably one of the few guys.

23:21 Who had tears in your eyes when you left why why was that?

23:26 Having extended my Tour of Duty twice Marines went to Vietnam for 13 months extending might or twice for 6 months each. And again that's in there six weeks in between each of those is ended up being almost a total of 28 months that I was actually stationed in Vietnam 24 of which I was actually in country the other four months. I was out on leave or R&R, whatever.

23:59 I was I turned.

24:03 I was 21 when I got the Vietnam probably a little older than most guys.

24:09 After you stay in a war zone for 28 months, you become somebody simply because you've been there that long people know you they like you they respect you.

24:22 I was going back to

24:25 America where Vietnam was very unpopular all my friends were gone from my home area, except my best friend.

24:39 I was in effect. I was leaving home. I had become very

24:44 Attached to Danang Vietnam and I knew I may never get back to her again and I'm a sensitive person anyway, so I had tears in my eyes when I was on the 707 getting what we call the freedom Burr going back to the world. Now I should have asked this question earlier, but you were talking with me earlier about this fragging incident. Yes, and you were there. Yes, can you talk about that? Yes, there was an Australian floor show on the stage. Andy's Pub Service Supply Battalion and maintenance Battalion in the first Force service regiment red Beach are those two battalions had to come in and listen to Club Andy's Pub.

25:35 And you had to go in through the building itself. And then the back there was a concrete slab for patio. And then all the rest was white sand with a 7 foot wooden fence surrounding at the connected up to the stage itself.

25:49 So all the guys on my crypto.

25:54 I was in charge of the Five Guys in crypto there. We all went to this floorshow.

26:01 And as we were sitting there an explosion went off while the first thought goes through your mind as you think that it's a rocket or mortar, but

26:14 I didn't see any damage around me. Although the force of the blast knocked me over. It was like 10:10 12 feet away from me what the club was so crowded to see the floor show that even though I was at close to it, that one grenade killed one Marine who lives in in my Hooch

26:33 He was from Charleston South Carolina. Ron. Pate was his name great guy.

26:39 And it wound is 62 other Marines and corpsman.

26:42 And come to find out that day. We had had a regimental WYD stand down and they brought in drug dogs because unfortunately marijuana was very prevalent piano. I never saw a marijuana till I went to Vietnam and the drug dogs had found some drugs in Supply Battalion area and guys thought that they were being framed and they had a bunch of this group of guys had a bunch of grievances anyway, and they broke into one of these large Conex boxes Conex that they used to deliver stuff around the world and stole a bunch of fragmentation grenades in the

27:25 Went to the hooch. I went to the am clothing.

27:30 Turn up their courage as the cowards that they were and through one over the fence. And that's the one that went off. I did a Freedom of Information Act request. So years later and got a copy of the article 32 investigation. They narrowed it down. I found the guys who did it, but they were acquitted at a general court-martial because the standard of Beyond reasonable doubts pretty high standard meat. I couldn't meet it.

28:01 And being a lawyer myself, I read this transcript of the investigation and I don't dispute the results of the court-martial. I think the members did the right thing.

28:13 But

28:18 I'm sorry, I forgot where I was going with this about that about tracking Remembered at the club. Right? I just remembered I did that for you the Freedom of Information Act request. I looked at the investigation and they had some photographs and come to find out two grenades had been thrown and II grenade landed right behind where I was sitting because I was sitting right I was sitting in the sand right at the edge of the concrete and the weather was thrown there or not. I don't know but they found the second grenade there. And what had happened was there was black electrician's tape wrapped around the grenade and the spoon so you could pull the pin and that grenade would not explode until that electricians tape or away that would take years or decades.

29:14 So that's the closest I ever came to dying because if they had not been if you want to use the term stupid enough to leave the tape on the grenade then I wouldn't be here today.

29:29 Fortunate for you that you wrote a story about a friend of yours who was killed in Vietnam. Yes, you do. You want to talk about the Woody cronkhite? Yes, Woody.

29:45 What did Kronk right?

29:48 Unfortunately, he came from a dysfunctional family and he was probably the most functional member of that family.

29:55 I actually spend the night with his mom and Austin Texas when I was driving back east in August of 91, and I had met her when we when Woody and I were in junior high school.

30:08 We became friends then and I had just moved back from Pennsylvania, and he took me under his wing and befriended me and I never forgot that.

30:18 And he dropped out of college and just like I did but after one semester any enlisted in the Marine Corps, and he became an infantryman and he spent a lot of time at Kason before it became famous as Kason and he was getting near the end of his tour when he was transferred to

30:41 India Company 3rd Battalion 26th Marine regiment and they say there was a book written about the place and time that he died called Ambush Valley.

30:53 And they were out on patrol to seek out the enemy and Woody's fire team leader directed him to go over and guard the disabled tank and in the process of getting close to that tank and RPG a rocket propelled grenade Fire by the North Vietnamese explode right next to the tank and and and kill Woody because he had meant so much to me when I found out about this. I was I was kind of lost

31:25 He's been such a nice guy, even though it was such a small gesture taking me under his wing. It was something I never forgot.

31:33 I hear you and I were not best friends, but

31:38 He took me under his wing at a difficult time in my life and

31:44 So there are a couple of plaques that I've had installed in Virginia wanted Ennis Montana there a couple in San Francisco. There's one near Mount Soledad. You're in La Jolla.

32:07 Is Battalion 326 3rd Battalion 26th Marines started having reunions in summer of 94?

32:17 Excuse me, Summer of 92. I had known about it then but I found out about in January 94 and I got invited when I told him who I was and why I want to go.

32:26 I've made nine of the last 10 Battalion reunions have been held all across the United States and I go to honor Woody's memory and to honor those men who were the real Marines who are actually out there doing the real fighting and protected my backside while I was in Danang doing where I was doing.

32:50 So I think about Woody everyday talk to him in my mind everyday I talk to him about things that he never knew about explaining to him. And that's a

33:00 It's a source of comfort to me and also my way of honoring his memory.

33:07 You've written a wonderful story about him and told it told it well also.

33:17 When you came home from Vietnam, what was homecoming like I was fortunate in that no one ever spit on me at any of the airports and we always wear uniform cuz we had to get the music at half fare if you wore your uniform, so, you know, if I was paying for it, I was going to wear wear my uniform. I was fortunate never to have anybody spit on me or

33:45 Say anything nasty to me all the one time I'ma group was singing what we called a flower power songs, and they move slowly behind me at the Washington National Airport, but nothing was said.

34:00 So I was looking forward to having extended my Tour of Duty twice in effect. I went to Vietnam three times and I came back three times. So the last time I was coming home, I was really looking forward to it and I was going to be flying into Dulles International Airport in Northern, Virginia.

34:19 And my parents who are living in PG County Maryland, we're coming over to pick me up.

34:25 Well, they were late getting there.

34:29 So I knowing all that have been going on at home because I've been home a couple of times on extended on freely and reading the paper and everything else knowing all that have been going on here.

34:44 I got off the plane are Dallas and they take the special buses to drive you over to the terminal itself and I get off the bus when I walk into the terminal and all the other passengers had all their family and friends, greet them and walk away.

35:00 I'm standing there by myself and I

35:08 It bother me because I mean it was in my parents fault that they were late. I never held it against them but

35:15 What came to mind was the realization that nobody wanted to talk about Vietnam? Nobody cared what I had done with.

35:25 At that time almost 4 years of my life.

35:29 Nobody cared about what I had seen when I heard and so forth and I just thank God that since then the American society has learned to separate the war from The Warrior.

35:45 And that in fact has become sort of a motto of the Vietnam Veterans of America is never again.

35:54 Will one generation forget another

36:00 That's an important lesson. Yes.

36:05 After you left

36:08 The Marine Corps, you took several years to get rid of Justin and then you join the Navy and I went back to the train to the lawyer and then went into the Judge Advocate General's Corps. Can you tell about that? I went back to Michigan State finished up graduated took a long time to get a job because the economy wasn't very good back then and 72-73.

36:37 I got a job working for IRS and Bailey's Crossroads, Virginia and then ultimately transferred up to Frederick Maryland. I was a revenue officer the guy who goes out when you don't pay your taxes either as an individual or business. I went out in the field and I I was always the last creditor on the seam that I carry the biggest stick and I did that for a five and a half years and I realized I wasn't getting anywhere and I was not about to transfer into the city of Baltimore to get a motion.

37:15 So I started going to the University of Baltimore School of Law at night and I did that for one year and after that first year at night my wife who was originally from Colonial Heights Virginia at my first wife south of Richmond. We've been in Maryland for five years. She want to go back home. So I transfer to the University of Richmond School is now called the school for was TC Williams school for all then and I graduated from there and I had exactly one job interview. And that was with the Navy. I knew once I was in law school was the only thing I ever want to do after law school was be a Jag I interview with a navy. I was fortunate enough to be accepted. I was one of the last groups of Virginia law students are allowed to take the bar exam during the last semester of Law School.

38:09 When I walked across the stage and got my diploma. I had already passed the Virginia bar and I had already been accepted in the Navy so I had a job and I was much better off than a lot of my fellow students.

38:27 Nang most of whom I didn't know that well anyway because they're very few people transfer law schools and I was one who did I miss out on that first your comradery because I wasn't there and I went into

38:41 Navy it was a it was an honor and a pleasure to serve with pilots and with great lawyers who are also very good people and

38:53 One of the highlights of my life, but so Vietnam was a little bit more of a of a memory.

39:04 Remain been with with a navy as a Jag officer and then until the 90s.

39:16 I was mr. Mom for I was mr. Mom for 2 years. I couldn't find a job my wife and I knew we wanted to come back San Diego. She's a social worker. She easily got a job Fallbrook Hospital. So we moved back to Fallbrook in November of 94 and we had a son who at that time was first grade and my daughter was just a toddler and I was mr. Mom for 2 years. That is the hardest job I ever had in my life. I made a point of telling my mother. Thank you Mom. I appreciate all that you did for Bonnie my sister three years younger than me all that you did for Bonnie and me as we were growing up.

40:04 2nd hardest job I ever had was while I was there and I couldn't get a job as a lawyer with those two years. I went back to school Cal State San Marcos to be an elementary school teacher and while I was student teaching in very schools out in the Fallbrook area. I realize there was nothing compared with being a teacher or maybe it is for somebody but not for me it was

40:34 So fortunately I've been applying I had applied for a job here with with what was then the Immigration and Naturalization Service ins and which later became Ice immigration Customs Enforcement with the former of Homeland Security.

40:52 As an attorney and I interview for that job in May of 94 and September of 96 over two years later. The boss finally called me in and I went to work and thank God he did that because I was about to graduate as a teacher and I thought I don't think I can do this. But you know, my wife is saying it is time for you to get a job. So I think what he was looking out for me. Yes, obviously your experience in Vietnam was very influential a memorable one of

41:31 As how is that experience?

41:35 Influenced your work now with Department of Homeland Security in New York. Does it does it have any connection? Yes, it wasn't all that obvious to me when I first went to work for i.n.s. Now Homeland Security because when you're doing a job you're concentrating only on trying to learn that job and

41:58 Make sure you know what your boss wants try to give it to him and then her excetera, but as time went by.

42:06 A variety of our realization. Come came to mine.

42:11 People in United States have never been in a war zone or never travel to a third world country just have no idea whatsoever. How good we have it here. How safe and secure. We are here a great life is here. I don't care what your problems are and I had been in Vietnam and travel to Thailand. And actually I went to Taipei once and I I got that. Okay now on Japan a couple of times each and I got to see what people who had less than I have much less than I have lived in when I was in Thailand. I actually took a three-hour tour North to the real Bridge on the River Kwai and I saw all the people which looks nothing like the movie by the way and I saw all the people living in poverty all along the way and made me very very appreciative for what I have and course in between that coming to

43:11 Work for a Homeland Security when I was a Jag. I was I was a Jag one of the USS Carl Vinson CVN 70 which is right across the bay from us right now and I went on Westpac 86-87. We work 12 14 hours a day six and a half days a week then Vietnam. We work 12 14 hours a day 7 days a week.

43:34 I came to work here and work as an attorney and an Immigration Court can be difficult.

43:42 The younger kids who are the nfb my kids or grandkids complain and at times not that I don't complain because I do but it most of the time I would just lean back in my chair and smile and I think to myself nobody's shooting at me with a rocket I get to go home tonight instead of sitting here on this boat at this.

44:05 Carrier in the middle of the Indian Ocean lights. Not that bad. Did I answer your question? I think I did it give you your your experience in Vietnam. Did it give you some empathy for the work that you're doing now for when you're dealing with immigration cases? I I guess that's what you do to use the word that's used in this day and age absolutely because

44:36 I ultimately came to realize that those people who are brave enough and have the fortitude enough and character enough to

44:48 Come here, illegally and put up with all they have to I have to admire them and if I was in their position, I would do the same thing that gives you a different outlook on illegal immigration then if you have not seen or done the things that I've seen it done.

45:07 Other fortunate to have somebody that senses the difficulty that the that you have faced have.

45:18 Is there is there anything in the Vietnam experience or your dragon experience that that we haven't talked about that you want to include before we finish?

45:31 Well, yes, unfortunately, we're in this milieu at present time where there's no bipartisanship back in DC and each party is at the other parties throat and they can't seem to agree on anything what the military and federal employees with which I've been both of which I will retire from are easy targets and I have been very very fortunate to have been and spent so much time with active duty in the military and working.

46:13 As a civilian for the federal government.

46:16 I cannot ask for a greater bunch of people who are more dedicated and

46:22 Work hours. They were not compensated for experienced things that you would not experience working for a civilian company, but kept it heads up put one foot in front of the other and it was asked though in an in effect without actually complaining.

46:39 That's good. Well, I think that this should draw our conversation to to a close. I want to thank you for participating in this important project of sharing your military experiences today and your civilian experiences that are intertwined so closely as you know, you'll receive your own personal copy copy will be in the

47:06 Archives the Veterans Museum as well as in the archives the Library of Congress and so your reminiscences and your observations will be reserved for you and your family and then for others as well. So thank you and thank you for your service. Is this into a remarkable and I really have enjoyed talking with you about it. You're welcome Rick. Thank you for the opportunity to do this. And thank you Woody for looking out for me. I'll see you again someday.