This is me and Brian. He and I were shipmates on the USS Dennis J. Buckley (DD-808) in 1965. This ship was in the first squadron that was deployed to the Western Pacific specifically for the Viet Nam War. It was the first US ship to conduct NFGS (naval gun fire support) missions during this War. Our first NGFS mission required us to sail up the Saigon River, something we could only o at high tide. This means once in, we had to stay there until the next high tide. The entire time we were in this situation, the gunners shot their 5″ 38 caliber guns at targets provided by an army spotter plane. The Veterans Administration cannot confirm that we ever sailed up the river, making us part of the “Brown Water Navy”, and subject to Agent Orange exposure, because they report they cannot locate the deck logs for that ship during that time. Kinda odd, huh? This is significant because it means they will not allow any claims for agent orange exposure for anyone in that crew for the entire time we were there.
Okay … enough sad sacking.
Diane and I spent a wonderful day with Brian. We ate lunch at the old Naval Base CPO Club. The CPO stands for Chief Petty Officer, which Brian and both were. Now the CPO Club is a catering facility, but is open for a buffet lunch every week day. All you can eat for $11.95 a person. Sure beats the casinos. Today we had prime rib and it was really good. That’s what they have every Wednesday. We’re going back for Friday’s crab & shrimp buffet and I’ll take pictures.
The old Club is an elaborate venue which will serve us well for DD-808’s reunion this coming September. That’s one of the reasons Diane and are in the area, to set up lodging and food for the masses we expect to attend that gala affair. Now all we have to do is figure out a tour for them. I suggested to Diane that we should buy all these old guys trolly passes, get them on the train, and see how many of them can get back to the reunion. She said I probably wouldn’t make it back, and she wouldn’t go with me if I was leading. Now do you wonder why I have absolutely no confidence in my abilities to do pretty much anything? No respect at all … well earned, I might add,.
We stayed on the base, fiddling around in the exchange (that’s a big store) until we were sure everyone else in San Diego was on the freeway. We timed it just right and managed to make the 35 mile, 45 minute trip see like 35 mile, 55 minute trip. And Diane refused to use the car pool lane, staying in the 3rd fastest out there. That amazed me. She usually goes about a zillion miles an hour, or as close to it as she can. She’ll deny that, of course, and I don’t blame her. I would too.
We made it “home” without mishap and immediately put on our jammies, turned on all the TVs, and had a snack. I ate dead shrimp and Diane ate dead chicken pieces. Then we had Haagen Das ice cream bars (little ones), now we’re going to have apple fritter things from Costco. Then I’m going to take a bath. Diane said I smell funny. Plus, she thinks it will help my right leg which I think is atrophying … it’s getting harder to use it all the time. And it hurts. I know. I’m whining again, aren’t I?
I didn’t mention that we got home just in time for sunset. It was pretty ho hum, don’t you think?