Christmas 1969
Was one of the Best Days of my Life

by: John Murphy
© 2000
I enjoyed reading the stories of Vietnam.
I spent 19 months in country 9 1/2 months with the 25th Infantry in 1969
( 2/12th) & 9 1/2 months with the 58th Infantry outside of Qui Nhon in 1970.

After 3 months with the 25th I wanted to get out of the field so one day while the company was on "standdown" (party big time for 3 days) back in Cuchi my two friends & I went to the recruitment center in Cuchi to extend our tour & become door gunners (we all loved flying in those choppers) but we were told that there was a waiting list to be door gunners, so we opted to be security guards in a base camp, (give us anything we wanted out!) we all signed the papers, extending our tours in Vietnam 6 months.
We went back out to the field and didn't hear anything about our transfers. Six months went by I had just came back from Australia on RR it was Dec. 15th 1969 when the company clerk came to me & said that my transfer came through.. What transfer?
Then it hit me the papers I signed back in May. I had to decide to take the transfer & be home for Christmas or stay 60 days until the end of my tour (Mar. 70).
The Army gave me a choice I took the extension & left Vietnam on Christmas Day 1969 at 2 am. I was suppose to leave on the 15th of DEC but there were so many people leaving Vietnam that they couldn't process us fast enough & they had to fly empty planes over to fly us back to the states. I will never forget that flight, we went from Vietnam to Japan (where we all bought bottles of liquor), to Guam, to Hawaii,to Anchorage, Alaska to Fort Dix, New Jersey. What made this flight unique, it was an unscheduled flight meaning there wasn't a crew ready to take the plane over when we landed, we had to wait at each stop for new crew members some stops we waited for hours, some of the crew members volunteered to take the flight.
I remember drinking, singing Christmas carols over the PA system, kissing the stewardesses, sleeping waking up sober & drinking again all on the same plane. I spent 28hrs. of Christmas day in 1969 in a plane! And in 7 different places of the world.
I arrived in New York at 7:30 pm to a blizzard and 6"of snow on the ground. The City was at a stand still nobody was moving in any direction. I had to get to Yonkers NY (my home town) which is about 45 min. from downtown Manhattan under normal conditions. I hired a gypsy cab driver to drive me north to the City line (cabs were hard to find I was lucky) & for an extra 20 bucks he took me to my front door. I arrived home at 11:30 Christmas night.
I never told anyone I was coming home I wanted to surprise my family my mom was so happy and so was I.
Christmas 1969 was one of the best days of my life.

John Murphy
Submitted: Friday, April 21,2000 10:16AM


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