Private Gaskins at Las Pulgas – New Year’s Day 1968

Wednesday, January 1, 1969

New Year’s Eve was quiet.  I thought of Jenny celebrating with her friends in Las Vegas.  Two years earlier when we were newly engaged, we stayed up late to “Ring in the New Year” and then went to the Rose Parade in Pasadena.  The Marine Corps Band marched right in front of us, playing the Marine Corps Hymn.  We were so young and proud.

Last year we were together in Laguna Beach, starting a 96-hour pass before shipping out to Vietnam.  We really were naive and had no idea what lay ahead.  It is hard to relate to that part of our lives now.

Toward the end of dinner I looked at my watch.  The metal clip-on wrist calendar was still December . . . it was the last month I had.  I threw it in the trash.  With 37 days left in country,  there was no need for one.

Top Culverhouse came in to eat and said, “Our orders will be coming soon.”  We had both arrived in Vietnam only a few days apart.  Going back to MCAS El Toro was my first choice, but it was a long shot.  We all wanted to be close to home and family but were at the mercy of a billet roster somewhere at Headquarters Marine Corps.  As a cook, the possibilities covered the map . . . it would depend on where cooks were needed.  One way or another, Jenny and I would be together and make the best of it.

Next Edition:  Paymaster


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