Odd

Ever since I built this little website I’ve been looking for a way to explain why I use the term “Odd,” for myself. “Odd TC.” This is something I have always gone through with self-assessment of my rather skimpy brain. It came to me about one hour ago: the reason. Pardon, while I dig a bit into my past.

In 1969 the training was all over and the schools I needed to get me up to speed for what I needed to know and how to perform well at my job were done. We set sail around noon from San Diego and began heading west to Vietnam. I was a radarman and would soon be given the much dicier task of electronic warfare, hence, all the schooling and an added bump from a “secret” clearance to a higher level for operational intel, i.e., what to look for as operations intensified in North Vietnam. I was headed, slowly, toward my first combat experience and now added was going to be a helicopter ride over enemy territory into Da Nang for intel briefings. It was after Hawaii and then Guam, and then Subic Bay that we steamed through the South China Sea en-route to the Gulf of Tonkin and whatever lay beyond the horizon.

Horizons are strange as you know from charts what is beyond but when heading into enemy fire the horizon goads you into a mindset totally foreign to you. It is an odd feeling and it is when you get to your station and start working your rear off to keep yourself and your ship from being torpedoed or guns and missiles shot at you that you understand what “odd” really means. It is the process of growing up in mere seconds and understanding that you may very well not come back to your home except in a body bag. Or, you just get eaten by fish and don’t ever go home. A missile pretty much makes collecting body parts impossible and the North Vietnamese had Chinese missiles which could easily do the job of providing sea snakes and fish with acceptable cuisine.

I never got over that odd feeling and for many years buffered it with drink. That and picking up bodies of pilots who were shot down added to the odd feelings that I still carry to this day. I am so cautious that I drive my wife nuts at times. Life is precious folks. Until you know yours will be forfeit any second of the day you don’t realize how wonderful it is to be alive. To just take a breath is amazing. Don’t ever take your life for granted because you to are precious. What others think matters not at all.

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Odd T.C.