Jon Johnson (Stone)

Rank:

Cpl

MOS:

Year(s) in Nam:

65/66

Unit:

Delta 1/5

Contact Info Available?:

No

Status:

Status Unknown

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Tell me about the time you found out you're going to Vietnam up to the time you left for Vietnam.

Out of ITR, late May 1965, we were given the choice of reporting to our unit
and then going home on twenty day leave, when they would let us go, or going
home for fifteen days and then reporting in. Since the 5th Marines were just
down the road I chose to report in first. When I did, I wasn't there fifteen
minutes and they told me to go on leave. Before leaving the Sgt. told me not
to go home and tell any big war stories. We were going to stay at Pendleton
for at least a year and then would go to Vietnam. Coming back off leave and
reporting in they told me - "Don't draw any linen - we were shipping out!"
We were being sent to Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii and would be there until March of
1966. We departed Pendleton in early July 1965.

Tell me something about your time in Vietnam.
My time in Vietnam?
What sticks in my mind the most is the night BEFORE we landed on Operation Jackstay. We, Delta & Bravo 1/5, were aboard the USS Princeton LPH. Both companies had rehearsed for an amphibious landing when we stopped at Subic Bay. We trained to go over the side into the landing craft off the USS Pickaway. True to Corps logic - they transferred us to the Princeton to go in by choppers!! Never been on one before! Go figure. Anyway, I was standing along a railing just looking inland and it was zero-dark-thirty. Another buddy joined me, Ron Krodel, (who would die in a car accident after returning) and he was all Gung Ho about the landing; saying how we were going to kick ass the next morning. I wasn't all that enthused and asked him if he was aware that they now were allowed to shoot back! We finally found a place to sleep, we weren't assigned any bunks so we ended up sleeping in the deck below - somewhere.
Reveille went at 0200 as we were told to go to the mess and get the traditional breakfast of steak & eggs. I found a seat and took one bite of the eggs before I threw-up. A sailor was passing at that moment and said: "No sweat Marine - I'll take care of it." I just got up and left. Never knew the guy and never saw him again.
Back in our area they were handing out the killing gear - ammunition, grenades etc. It got quit as a morgue until we were called topside. Then people went crazy! They had up pumped!! Going up the ladder well it was stop and go with all the heavy equipment, to the point I let loose with a string of swear words wondering what the hell was the hold up. When I reached daylight I saw that a Catholic Chaplain was blessing each Marine as he came up. I wasn't Catholic but thought I needed all the help I could get so I paused also.
As we ran toward the chopper and climbed aboard, I recognized the door gunner helping us in. I had graduated with him!!
Then the chopper took off....................

Tell me about your first few days back in the USA
I arrived back on my 20th birthday, November 24, 1966.
Mom & dad and of course my wife Peggy met me at the airport. I don't recall if that day was Thanksgiving, but it was at least close.
When we got home all of my relation were at the house! The food smelled so good!
As they started to pass the food around it finally hit me. I wondered what my friends were having for dinner? I did get up to leave for a few minutes - it was quiet emotional for a while.
I didn't experience any of the horror stories of coming home. Everywhere I went I was noticed. I could go into a bar without a penny and come out stoned!! I think that's what you get from living in a small town. If you don't respect the flag here, someone will let you know about it. It's still that way today. You should see all the military monuments in this county.

Tell me about you today, and how Vietnam has influenced what you do and how you live today..
Today I'm probably as easy going as it gets. Hardly anything upsets me, although when it does - people clear a path. I've lost my temper exactly four times in the past 34 years.
I always think how things could be a hell of a lot worse.
I also have a problem on the subject of illegal immigrants. I know it's a problem and we need to work it out but, I would have a very, very hard time looking someone in the eye and telling them they can't be free - can't seek a better way of life. That's all they want and we take it for granted. Does anyone want to walk in their shoes? If they have shoes at all.

Give me a 1 or 2 liner about anything you want to say.

"You want it when???"

 

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