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June 14, 2013 by Big Fat Daddy on STONEYEND
Me and Hazel's Buddies...16,000 acres burned and 94,000 acres in the evacuation zone?  Can that be true?  360 homes...so far...still no containment.  We don't know how it started, we don't know where it will go, we don't know when it will be contained...hot, dry, and windy out.  After the Waldo Canyon fire last year, we kinda thought we wouldn't have this to contend with so soon.   I don't know why;  conditions are ripe and smaller fires have...
June 14, 2013 by Big Fat Daddy on STONEYEND
Running Screaming Naked Through the Streets...Added: Friday, June 14th 2013 at 12:55pm by bigfatdaddyIn the middle 1970s we were stationed at Fort Ord, California (one of my favorite places on the whole earth) getting resettled into Army life after a three-year break in service.  After I spent  a couple of years as an instructor at the truck driving school there, they closed the school all the instructors were sent to support units in the 7th Infantry Division.  I ricocheted ...
June 13, 2013 by Big Fat Daddy on STONEYEND
In the fall of 1954, just about the time that Hurricane Hazel was making history on the eastern seaboard,  my dad, the Chief, decided he was tired of the old black '53 Chevy and wanted to trade it in on a brand new '55.   We went down to Colonial Chevrolet in Norfolk and proudly picked up our new Forest Green Chevy 210, with the brand new 265 cubic-inch V-8 engine and a three-speed stick.  It was a two-door with doorposts (who knew that ten years later it would be one of t...
June 7, 2013 by Big Fat Daddy on STONEYEND
 

There is a scene in the movie "The Great Santini" where Bull Meechum is sitting on the front porch reading the morning papers and getting upset at something Castro had said and Bull was yelling that he would fly his Phantom down the streets of Havana chasing that bearded...well, you get the idea.  So much about that movie reminded me of life with the Chief (my dad).  

The Chief used to watch the evening news and read the morning papers;  he would ask me if I understoo...
June 6, 2013 by Big Fat Daddy on STONEYEND
 

The Associated Grocers driver was killed in the wreck.  Speculation was that he had had a heart attack or passed out.  Whatever happened in the cab, what happened outside the cab is that his semi drifted to the right, broke through the guard rail, and then went off the road at high speed.  Unfortunately, the point at which he left the freeway  was the 19th Avenue overpass.  He flew off the overpass and landed on a United Metro dump truck that was sitting at the...
June 5, 2013 by Big Fat Daddy on STONEYEND
 

One evening in the middle sixties, (I was in high school at the time) my dad, The Chief, told me we were going to see a special movie about "The War".  The Chief had spent the last two years of WWII on a destroyer in the South Pacific.  DD 486, the USS Lansdowne, was a ship that saw a lot of action and was involved in many key battles at the end of the war.  Whenever  a new movie about the war was released , he would round me up, and we would go to the El Cajon Thea...
May 27, 2013 by Big Fat Daddy on STONEYEND
A Soldier's Story  Edit This PostHe was about five-feet-ten inches tall, and he weighed about one- hundred-eighty pounds.  He looked like an athlete;  had the smooth, graceful, gliding walk of a man who was confident and sure.  He was friendly and not the least threatening, which is often the case with serious students of the martial arts.  His skin was so dark it almost looked blue, a very African-looking kind of dark.  He was a soldier so he kept his hair...
April 22, 2013 by Big Fat Daddy on STONEYEND
Germany has a lot of forests.  Some parts of Germany have been under a forestation program for literally hundreds of years.  They are very fond of their trees.  There are some wild areas; not many, but I spent some time in a rain forest near Wurzburg...it had ferns and everything, it was very cool.  By far, though, most of Germany's forests look like parks.  They keep the ground clear of brush and limbs.  One way they do that is kinda cool:  they let the po...
April 20, 2013 by Big Fat Daddy on STONEYEND
More than half of Fort Ord in on the coastal side of the hills.  The weather is mild almost year round.  I have seen temperatures in the high thirties one winter, and sometimes the summer temps will climb into the low eighties.  But most of the time, it is a very comfortable place to live.  When we left on convoys or other missions, it almost always meant driving east to catch one of the major arteries to go north or south, or one of the state highways that went east.  F...
April 1, 2013 by Big Fat Daddy on STONEYEND
 

There was a split in our platoon:  the Support Platoon of the 2nd Squadron, 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment (or "Fuel and Lube", as everyone referred to it),  stationed in the little spa town of Bad Kissingen so far north in Bavaria it was almost in Franconia.  The split was one of age.  I got there early in December of 1964 when I was still 17.  At the time, the Selective Service was drafting young men at age 21 years, six months.  Plus any older men who ha...
March 30, 2013 by Big Fat Daddy on STONEYEND
We arrived on the scene just moments after the wreck.  Rookie and I were riding together because his jeep was in the shop.  Our convoy was running behind another instructor team's group on a stretch in the hills on the eastern edge of Fort Ord where two of the Drivers' Training Routes shared a few miles of the road.  The convoy ahead of us stopped.  We were already ahead of our group, doing our "outrider" chore, sort of being advance scouts looking for problems ahead....
March 26, 2013 by Big Fat Daddy on STONEYEND
I think this will be the last article on Vietnam for awhile.  They just seem to come in streams, you know?

I arrived at the 69th Signal compound (later to be named Camp Gaylor in honor of a Staff Sergeant who was killed) just a couple of days after Christmas.  When I was finally processed in I asked if I could be stationed in the same unit as my brother (I didn't know that he had been moved to Bien Hoa).  When they asked me who my brother was I responded with his proper nam...
March 24, 2013 by Big Fat Daddy on STONEYEND
 

It was a sunny, Sunday morning.  We were sitting on the rooftop patio at the Hoa Lu Hotel in downtown Saigon (I guess that's Ho Chi Minh City now).  The night before had been a busy one;  my brother, Skip, had come down from the SF (Special Forces) Camp at Xuan Loc (pronounced "soon lop"...go figure) and we had gone into Saigon together.  

When GIs went to Saigon, there were a number of ways they spent the evenings.  Some started with dinner.  There...
March 16, 2013 by Big Fat Daddy on STONEYEND
In October of 1969 MC and me and our less-than-a-month-old firstborn attended a family conference in Berchtesgaden, West Germany.  Some friends who had gone before went with us.  These conferences used to be called "Religious Retreats" by the Army.  A servicemember could get three days of non-chargeable leave to take his family to the retreat where there were seminars, classes, activities and what-not, designed to help young families learn to cope with the challenges of military l...
March 5, 2013 by Big Fat Daddy on STONEYEND
Listening to Kate Wolf singing about them golden, rollin' hills again.  I was talking with a young lady Sunday who was raised in the area around Santa Clara.  We agreed that the area can sneak up on you, nothing glaringly beautiful about it but it only takes a minimum of exposure to the area and you get hooked.My mind drifted from Sunday's conversation through the hills around Monterey down to one hill in particular, a hill in the training area called Hunter-Liggett, about 60 m...