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"My Sincerest Of Apology"


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Hey all,

With thanks to you all for allowing me to be part of this fine "Education Forum", this will be my last post. My research spanned well over two decades with most of my notes, 3x5 card stuff, discarded soon after words were converted onto an old Underwood typewriter. At least right up until the inclusion of Jarman's DPD affidavit. After that a computer came into play. And responding to each reply means spending much time surfing the net to find the source material of so many years ago which had supported my work and, frankly, I'm tired as hell of the whole Dealey Plaza "Thing"...

Anyway, I've begun to feel like Captain Ahab with his quest for the White Whale. Unlike Ahab, though, I'm not going to bring my whole "Crew" (Family) down with me. No doubt, my research led to failure of a good marriage, but with the recent addition of a grand-child, my ex-wife and I have begun, not only to re-relate, but to date again. The family is coming back together again... Something I do not want to again jeopardize... Hope, of course, that President Kennedy and his fine family one day soon receive their well deserved and long over-do justice, but time has arrived for this guy to hang up the 'ole spikes... I've got some major living to catch up on...

But not before posting the following story. That un-mentionable word, "Vietnam", somehow managed to creep it's way into my last thread and, for the most part, and with regard to those of us who served there, in not so favorable a light. So thougt I'd fill you in on just a bit of one Vietnam veteran's experience.

It should be noted that this is a simple part of my story as a Vietnam War veteran. Represented in an e-mail sent to a home town buddy who I hadn't seen since the sixties and who served in the Air Force... Their are thousands of stories like it from other vets. My hope is that others, someday... Will search out additional stories. To prove that we are not the monsters that the media, especially Hollywood, has spent decades trying' to prove otherwise. With a smear campaign that infected, not only the guys and gals (Lest we forget the nurses, Red Cross and USO ladies) who came home, but the entire Nation. And I hold no grudge. If I had spent those years on the home front I believe that I, too, may very well have jumped upon the media's band wagon of BS and ostracized those arriving home from a difficult war. In any case, my confidence is that those "Others" will one day find that the vast, vast, vast majority of us performed honorably.

That William Calley and the rest of those a-holes who were involved in what went down at My Lai represent, again, to that vast, vast, vast majority of those of us who fought honorably, some kind of surreal freak show that is almost impossible for us to comprehend. But that we do comprehend the tragedy, that our hearts, love and prayers go out to the spirits of the 500 plus victims, innocent men, women, children and the elderly and that our hopes and prayers are for the demise, hopefully violent, of those soldiers involved in the massacre. I know this because I know many Vietnam war veterans and because most of those who served together in a Platoon of the Marine Corps 3rd Division still keep in touch and we all share the same sentiment.

Anyway, hope you will all pardon the length of the enclosed and, hopefully, enjoy. Especially the humor and, yes, the mischief...

And hope you will remember those of us who fought with honor...

"Best Of Luck To Everyone"

Semper Fi'

&

"God Bless",

Mike Regan

____________________________________________________________________________

Hey John,

Guess I'll start it off... Despite a few marriage difficulties, Suzy and I have begun to form a positive relationship. Part of the difficulties (There were others) were that, somewhere along the line, we both became a reminder to each other of a painful era (Vietnam). She had lost a brother, Gregg. And I had also lost her brother, a friend, along with close to a dozen other friends. Funny, though, but the birth of Tim & Merry's (Tim's awesome wife) baby, Alexandra, has helped to mend fences a bit. The little girl is about the happiest kid you'd ever want to meet and has actually succeeded in filling a void left by the loss of family members. And Greg's recent marriage to another awesome lady, Stephanie, and the recent DVD of their wedding have only added to the good times Suzy and I are sharing.

Not sure if you've got any buddies who served in the infantry, but a rather extreme form of survivors guilt becomes a fact of life upon return from whatever the conflict (I came to truly understand & respect my dad's experience in the Pacific). Suzy's brother, Gregg, was a friend lost. In addition to others. pals that I had spent month upon month within those mountains along Vietnam's DMZ. Sharing pup-tents about half the size of the bathroom back on good 'ole Marvin Ave. and, of course, sharing in all the fighting. Among the really, really good friends lost from the platoon were Poncho, Jerry Baldwin, Jimmy Krysal, Gary Wilkins and Warren Bibbs,. And Mike LaCoste and others that I had trained with at Paris Island.

Perhaps the most painful experience of all was the loss of a rookie of which I, as squad leader, was responsible for. It was I who had assigned him a position to defend during a late afternoon fire-fight that developed outside a Village named Cam Lo. And defend it he did... But died in the process. His name is Jimmy Armstead, a black kid from Queens, New York. He was also a friend, and the incident pretty much bowled me over. I had made a kinda' silent vow to myself that, somehow, someway, I would get all my guys home safe & sound and, for the months to come, I pretty much walked around in a zombie state. It wasn't until last month, while talking to a friend from the platoon (Sgt. "Bro" Brambough), that I found out that another member of my squad, Poncho, died on a Re-Con mission he volunteered for a month after I had gone back to the states. Sounds a bit funny, but nobody ever knew his full name. He was just the Mexican kid with the incredible sense of humor that we all called "Poncho". He also spoke fluent Spanish and the platoon CO would use him at times to communicate troop movements to another Spanish fellow at Regimental HQ so as to confuse the NVA. Who we all knew were capable of listening in on our radio transmissions.

Anyway, I was once again back into that zombie state for a couple of weeks after the talk with Sgt. "Bro". But at this stage in my life, good 'ole "Faith" kicks in more often then not and I'm back to remembering the great times (Especially the humor) shared with all the guys.

Anyway, and now that I've dumped on you a bit (Thanks...), thought I'd fill in some of the gaps that exist since we parted company when you left for the Air Force. Was that one heckava party... !!! Or What...!

Guess I'll start my story during the infamous trip to, Disneyland, The Hickey's and the awesome 90 MPH car flip down the south-bound lane along California's Route 101. I think this all went down at about the same time you had sunk Tom Bowdry's car in Long Island Sound and Pat found herself stranded during a snow storm up no north somewhere.

Not sure if you know this, but Gregg Lavery and I rented an El Camino while stationed at Camp Pendleton, San Diego just prior to heading off to Okinawa and then, Vietnam. We headed north in mid-afternoon to Disneyland with hope of scoring with a couple of babes. Failed in the babe area but had a good time, though. I had earlier called ahead from the Camp, spoke with PJ, so we drove up to LA for a Hi-Dee-Ho with the Hickey's. We couldn't stay long because of the midnight curfew on the pass, so we headed south toward Pendleton. Gregg said he was bushed and asked that I drive. After about 25 miles, I got a bit paranoid that I might get pulled over without a license and Gregg took over the driving.

Somewhere around San Diego, while I was asleep on the passenger side, Gregg also went to sleep. Unfortunately, he was driving at the time. Two eye-witnesses, cruising in the north-bound lane of Rt. 101 and who would do a loop at the next exit and come to our aid, would tell the police that the El Camino was doing well over 90 MPH before it flipped more times then they could count. To date, I have no Idea how Gregg got out in one piece, but I must have been thrown out the passenger door after the second or third flip. Though the momentum threw me out faster then the flipping car, all I remember was waking up and counting the pebbles of the highway as I flew past. No kiddin'..! The whole thing was in slow motion. When I stopped, the car was doing its final flip pretty close by and I jumped down a steep embankment, which added to the injuries. When I crawled back up, I saw Gregg, with nary a scratch, wandering around in a kinda' shock. He seemed O.K., though, so I sat on the road, watched the flames from the over-turned car and wondered how the hell we had gotten out of that crash alive.

A few moments later, a couple (The eye-witnesses) in a brand new Cadillac stopped, guided me onto their backseat and I laid there feeling like crap because I was getting blood all over the white upholstery. Soon after, it looked like every police car in San Diego was at the scene. They questioned everyone and finally placed me into an ambulance. Before they left, Gregg stopped by. We stared at each other for a moment and then, spontaneously, started laughing our heads off, The cops, attendants and eye-witnesses thought we had flipped (Pardon the pun).

Hope you will appreciate some humor that came out of the incident but, for starters, and this one might sound screwy, but I was still worried about the curfew and asked the driver to take me to the Navy's Hospital at Pendleton. Which they did... Along with a concussion, every thing that bends (Elbows, knees and, yes, part of my thick skull) was scraped to the bone but those wonderful Navy doctors & nurses stitched, patched and pretty much set me up for another life. Healing was the thing, though, so my orders were changed from going to the Nam to spending four to six weeks at the Navy Hospital at Pendleton.

Back to the humor... Buddies, most from the Paris Island crowd, stopped by once in awhile and, together, we hatched a scheme. The 13 month over-seas tour of duty basically started when you left the Continental USA, so with everyone (Except me) scheduled to leave on January 12Th, '68, a few of us thought it would be a gas if I was sneaked aboard the plane. Sneaked out of the hospital, packed all my gear, had it on the parade ground shortly before take-off, and soon we were all flying west toward Okinawa and laughing our heads off. When landing at Okinawa, there was a jeep waiting as we de-planed. Leaning on it was a pair of M.P.'s. No offense to them, but I guess the doctors & nurses got wise and radio transmissions are a lot faster then a plane. My cap hadn't succeeded in covering the head bandages, either, so the M.P.'s knew who to head for. It also took me about a week to get back down that darned plane ramp, which didn't help my case.

For the next few hours, I sat in an office with the M.P.'s while everyone there debated on whether to charge me AWOL right there on the spot and put me in a brig or to ship me back to San Diego & let them read me the riot act. Some guy, joking, asked me what my punishment should be... Everyone waited and, without a blink, I said, "Why not send me to the Nam...?". Humor (And I thank God that my parents instilled it into all of us) again won the day and they all cracked up. I was shipped off to another Navy Hospital on Okinawa, no charges filed, and spent the next three weeks there until heading off to that lovely Asian paradise we've all come to know as the Nam. But not before a Sergeant introduced me to the red-light district outside the gate. And introduce me to the most beautiful Japanese girl I'd ever seen. And the silkiest black hair that ever existed...? Well, anyway, she was absolutely stunning and I spent an entire blissful evening with her. In each and every picture of me taken while in the Nam, there's a big grin that goes from ear to ear. The whole Okinawa thing, by the way, took a whole month off my tour so I spent twelve months in the Nam, as opposed to the Marines mandatory 13 months.

And the humor doesn't end there... About 10 months later, a supply chopper flew into our position, dropped off all the bullets, beans, mail and stuff and the co-pilot said that he was to take "Some guy named Mike Regan back to Quang Tri...". I hopped on board, flew back with them, and reported to Hotel Company's Gunnie. He sent me off to talk with some legal officer who asked me if I had been involved in an automobile accident back in January. This is great because it turns out that, here we all were, perhaps in the most dangerous spot on planet earth at the time (The N/W sector of South Vietnam, near both the DMZ & Laos) and some some poor fellow who owns a private ambulance service in San Diego is threatening to garnish (No kiddin'...!) my salary. The Marines never paid the guy the $225 for the trip to the Navy Hospital. I confirmed the accident, signed some papers and headed back to the platoon on the next morning's supply chopper.

If you don't think that people in the most dire of situations can't enjoy a great belly laugh you should have heard us all after the guys got the gist of what the little chopper trip back to Quang Tri was all about. Even Poncho, our favorite Mexican of all, had trouble getting his breath back together. We laughed at the Marines, the Ambulance company and, of course, those in the rear (Went with the territory at the time but, in retrospect, they all did a hellava fine job)

Anyway, some of us decided to direct some wrath toward all those dips, from every side of that dufus oval table at the Paris Peace Talks. Including that head clown, Hank Kissinger... Who would later lie to the North Vietnamese about reparations he promised if the North would sign an accord and release our POW's. They signed, released the prisoners and the good 'ole U.S. of A. pulled out in January of '73. And, of course, the NVA never received Kissinger's reparations (Which didn't even amount to much), waited until April, '75 for their toys and, finally, over-ran what we all knew of as South Vietnam. And all the blood, sweat & tears went to waste.

I sometimes think of those wonderful South Vietnamese people we left behind, especially those we ran into and, on many occasions, broke bread with... And do say an occasional prayer with hope that things turned out O.K. for them. Tops on the list was a fine lady, way aged before her time, that we nick-named "Mama Yokum". My squad was assigned to her & her husband's home & rice paddy in a little Village named Quat Sah during harvest time to protect it and them from both the NVA/Viet Cong. Who were quite known to enter a Village by the hundreds toward the end of harvesting, lop off the head of the Village Chief, the School Master, anyone else who got in their way and walk off with the entire rice crop. A brutality that nobody ever read or heard about from the main-stream media. Not from Cronkite, Rather, Brokaw, Newsday, The Times nor from any of those other media clowns who ran around during those days. Not heard or read about then, and not heard or read about now....

Anyway, before dusk would fall, "Mama Yokum" would come out to insist that we all come in and share dinner with her family. She and her husband had two children. She would get all worked up when we couldn't send everyone into her home at once. She could have brought food out to us, but simply wanted to share her home with us. After a day or two, we worked out a shift deal and great food was had by all. Not a word of English could be spoken with her and her family, but everyone understood everything. We stayed till the end of harvesting, about ten days, and said our good-bys. But those of us who pulled that particular assignment will never, ever forget "Mama Yokum". She was quite the lady. And if you think that everyone in the Nam were Buddhist, think again. Mama Yokum and her family were very much Christian.

Whooops...! Not sure if Kissinger or the rear guys got to me, but didn't mean to get a bit political and melancholy there. Hopefully, some of the humor will take the sting out of any dumping.

Well, that about covers it. Got home in February, '69 and, surprise, surprise, Nixon was offering an early out to anyone with less then six months to go and, like a lot of the guys, jumped all over that one like white on rice. My orders were to be an explosives instructor at the Officer Candidate School at Cherry Point. Hope they missed me, because I was out of the Marines like a rocket out of hell. The Marines even called a week later to say I had been awarded the Navy Achievement Medal and asked me to report to Fort Hamilton for a ceremony set up for about a dozen guys. I told the Sergeant thanks anyway and told him to mail it to me. Too many fellow Marines, better then I, had died without such an acknowledgment, and I felt all wrong about it. In retrospect, though, not only do I very much respect and miss the Marine Corps, but wish that I had gone to Fort Hamilton. I think my parents would have gotten a kick out of it. Many years later, I would finally come to appreciate both the gesture and the Secretary Of The Navy, John Chafee's signature. Still feel, though, that it was'nt deserved

To make a long story a bit longer, though I was still a bit of a zombie, got back into Hicksville Hess (With a brief stop-over (Thanks to Gene Clark) to work on Barbara Streisand's, "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever", as a grip for the Electrical Local 3. It filmed in Manhattan and director, Vincente Minelli, and Streisand argued day in and day out and it was no surprise when the film flopped. Actually shared a few words with Streisand (Who I had never heard of) and thought she was O.K. Has a great voice, too.

Actually, those months after returning from the "Nam" were awesome, despite many of the horror stories we've heard from other returnin Vets (Had a few run-ins with the clowns from the anti-war movement, but nothing worth writing about). Early on, I was sitting with a group of buddies at the local pub, 'Shady Maples', met some babes and within the hour this gorgeous Jewish brunette asked me to her senior prom (Bearing in mind that I was but a year older). And it was all up-hill from there... 'What a friggin' night...!'. And it was great to get back into a tuxedo again. Hope nobody ever accuses me of being an anti-Semite, because that wonderful girl, not only understood what I had been through in the "Nam", but showed me one heckava evening... A "Lady", in every true sense of the word...

Again, things continued up-hill... Four of us (One Marine, one Army and an Air Force veteran, along with good friend, Billy Healy) rented a bachelor pad (Split level) on Long Island's North Shore, worked our asses off all week and when the weekend arrived, 'Holy xxxxe...', booze, broads, music, you name it... What with all the booze and munchies, money was tight, so, with no phone, any forms of communication were organized in the apartment below the split.

This is great... The apartment below was occupied by a senior member of the SDS. Remember them...? The radical 'Students For a Democratic Society'... What an a-hole...! We'd pick his lock with a butter knife, help ourselves to his fridge and start gettin' the calls out for our latest bash. One guy would stand by a window and give us the high-sign when his Volkswagen appeared and we'd all hightail it back up-stairs.

One afternoon we had a toilet back-up, checked the driveway to ensure that he (OR any of his pals) weren't around and broke in. We found the pipe, which was right above his bed, and opened it. Shoved a broom handle in and about three gallons of water & xxxxe poured out... Of course, we had a major Budweiser buzz going, and laughed our asses off... He asked, even accused, us about it later and we all played 'Dumb' while expressing our hope that all turned out O.K. What's really funny is that even with a raided fridge, phone bills that must have been through the roof and walking into a bedroom soaked in xxxxe, the dip-xxxxe never had a clue. To warn his SDS pals, who would at times show up, he had spray painted on the wall, 'BEWARE THE PIGS UPSTAIRS'... Is life cool, or what...!

Anyway, had a great time with a lot of the 'ole town crowd, including yourself, who were coming out of the service and, especially, enjoyed those two bachelor pads that John Nichols, good 'ole Billy Healey, George Schaeffer, Jimmy O'Connell and myself got involved with. And all those babes...!!! By the way, hope you weren't offended when that stereo gag was pulled on you when we were all singing to a Beatles tune. You had the ear-phones on and some drunk turned off the exterior speakers and you found yourself singing a solo for us all. Not a bad voice..! And hope you didn't mind the initiation. Fact is, we were always pulling stunts like that on each other. They got George Schaeffer one night at a crowded bash when he dozed off (In a drunken stupor) on a couch. After filling both his hands with shaving cream, one of his fellow drunks kept tickling his nose with a feather and I guess you know how that ended up. A good laugh was had by all and we waited for the next "victim"...

The real bummer is that you hadn't gotten home in time for the great week-end ski trips to Hunter Mountain. I think they were during the '70/'71 Winter Season. Suffice to say, what with all the girls, actual skiing was at a minimum (Though some of us did hit the slopes all day Saturday) and we ended it all on Sunday night by pouring the excess booze into a huge punch bowl, singing songs till the wee hours and closing with a rousing chorus of "Hey Jude". Cost for the weekend rental of this hugh house we used was well over $300 and I can't recall ever spending more then about $15 for my share, so you can imagine what one heckava great mad-house it became.

I guess, John, it's time for me to finally shut up. I know, because of your high security clearance and status at the time, you feel tied to the life-time non-disclosure document (And honorably so) you signed with the Air Force but I'm sure there are at least a few anecdotes or funny stories you might share. That wouldn't undermine the obvious loyalty, again quite honorable, you feel toward the Air Force...

Thanks for writing and hope to see ya' soon...

Mike

Edited by Mike Regan
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Lee,

No way could I leave this fine "Forum" without expressing a "Special Thanks" to you. Have enjoyed your posts and threads (especially, "Dillard Photographs Versus Re-Enactment") over these last few years and really appreciate your objectivity, sincerity and the obviously "Well Researched" material that you always presented to the "Forum"... It was of great help to me... Thanks, pal.

Hope nobody minds that I conclude any further involvement here at the "Forum" with a response to a fellow member over at my previous thread, "Gettin' A Kick Out Of Truth"... He had asked, "Are you saying that Jarman killing JFK amounts to a "coup d'etat" by African-Americans culminating in Obama's run for office?"... Seems appropriate to re-state my response (Below) because I believe the thread got a bit muddled up, what with all the "Hoopla" that erupted, for whatever the reason...

Again, Lee, Thanks for everything. And Thank you all..."Best Of Luck"

Semper Fi'

&

"God Bless",

Mike

_____________________________________________________________

Do I believe your quote, "Are you saying that Jarman killing JFK amounts to a "coup d'etat" by African-Americans culminating in Obama's run for office?"

You can bet that I do believe just that. By a "Minority" of the African American community. The "Majority" of that community, I feel, simply want to fit in and go about raising families and enjoying the fruits of their labors. Though I remain confused as to why they put up with so many of these self-proclaimed black leaders, some of the names of which I posted earlier, with their Rolex watches, Limos, hugh expense accounts that they've bilked from their own people and other millions they've bilked out of intimidated Corporations who would rather anti-up on huge settlements then drag their Companies through long, drawn our trials to answer to "Trumped Up Discrimination Charges" by the likes of Jesse Jackson and other "Black Leaders"... For the life of me, I do not understand why this "Silent Majority" of the African American community does'nt stand up to these bullies. I've no doubt that if I were to drive over to Massachusetts, stand atop a soap box at "Boston Commons", and then rant and rave for an hour or two on whatever injustices befell the Irish during their history, I would last just that... About two hours before I'd be tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail. And those carrying that rail would bear such names as , O'Malley, McCourt, Plimpton and Reardon... And I'm sure most, if not all, other ethic groups in this awesome US of A would act in similar fashion if one of their member's also took to a soap box....

You live in Australia, and have little or no knowledge or experience as to what it has been like to live here in the good 'ole United States for over four decades. Do you want more "Residual" results of the assassination...? You've not seen two of America's most honorable and cherished Presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln stripped of their well deserved National Holidays and replaced by a less than honorable man, Martin King (Do a "Google" on, "Martin Luther King, Communist"). You've not raised children who have gone to both High Schools & Colleges that have included (And, in many cases, forced upon the kids) "African History Study" into their carriculums. You've not owned a business and had every nook & cranny of your records examind for six months by the IRS because you refused to hire a minority (And a felon) who could enjoy an early release from prison if you would just, "Hire the poor fella'...". And to satisfy the Feds and their "Early Release Program". You've not watched a son and his girl friend, now his wife, stuggle as they "Worked" (Grocery Markets, Furniture Stores, Starbucks, etc. ) their way into Associates Degrees, Bachelor Degrees and, finally, Masters Degrees. And another fine son's great wife, who also paid her own way through college.

And the myth that blacks are superior to whites when it comes to sports...? The truth is that white kids, who have honed their talents (Yes, very much including Basketball) through Grammar School, High School A College, only to find themselves ignored by the "System" in their Junior or Senior years of College... To satisfy the vicious underground "Black Agenda" that rules the this awesome Nation's sports arenas... Bugs me because I've enjoyed it when the "Hoop It Up" tournaments come to town.... Along with a son & his buddies (Who have competed in numerous States), guys come from all over and it's a pleasure to watch the "White" fellows run absolute rings around the best the blacks have to offer... "Whites" who could put Michael Jordon to shame... Something to think about when some clown tries to hand you a whole pile of that "Uppity Black Superior Crap"...

And about those college tuitions...? No "Affirmative Action" for those fine kids, and millions like them, who remain saddled in debt because their skin isn't quite dark enough. You've not witnessed the annual expendature of billions upon billions of your hard earned tax dollars guided into an abused and corrupt "Welfare System"... And you remain unaware, as do many, as to the fact that the media does'nt allow a glimpse into some of the true violence going on here. Do another "Google" on, "Black On White Crime". and be surprised...

Again, I've no doubt that the majority of African Americans simply want to fit in and, I've no further doubt, remain aware of sacrifices made by so many White Americans on their behalf. Lest we forget Abraham Lincoln. Lest we forget 364,511 Union Soldiers who sacrificed their lives in our Civil War. Lest we forget the 281,881 Union Soldiers who were wounded (Most severely). Lest we forget one of this Nation's finest President's, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who held out an olive branch in the form of a Civil Rights Bill and was rewarded for his efforts by having the back of his head blown out... In front of his wife.

The best,

Mike

PS Union Army casualty numbers quoted from "Wikipedia"...

Edited by Mike Regan
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