NEVER FORGET THE WAR IN VIETNAM
This website is about remembrance.
WEB MASTER: Dalton R. Phillips, HTCS(SW), U.S. Navy (ret)

I lost my first wife, Kathy, on March 20, 2015. She died unexpectedly by blood clots that formed
after a routine procedure was done. We were together for almost 30 years. I married again on
March 23, 2016 to an old flame I had back in the 1970's. My new wife, Linda, and I now reside in
New Haven, Indiana. My life has been quite a roller coaster ride over the last few years. The
most memorable period of my life was from 1964 to 1968, when I served on the USS HANCOCK
(CVA-19).

I do not use a Guest Book. If you have comments - be it opinions, criticism, suggestions or
compliments - you can reach me at
daltonphillips@namvetsonline.com

You can also communicate with me through
Facebook.

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THE RAMBLINGS OF AN OLD VETERAN PART ONE
I am a veteran of the Vietnam War. I sit here today as an old man. The years have gone by
quickly and those who served in Vietnam are old and will soon appear on a listing under
"DECEASED".  Many Vietnam War Veterans did not want to talk about their experiences for
many years.  Many of them still do not want to talk about it. I often think about the days of the
Vietnam War and the people I served with back then. I sometimes wonder why some of us have
lived to be old while so many others died as youths in Vietnam. The Vietnam experience was
sad but those who served have many memories (both good and bad) and we should be proud.  
I believe it is time to talk about it.
I am proud of the 23 years I served with the U.S. Navy, which included my tour aboard the USS
HANCOCK (CVA-19).
Our government made a big mistake by committing our military services to fight a war in
Vietnam.  Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines take an oath to protect  and defend the
constitution of the United States and carry out the orders of the President and the officers
appointed over them. We all did our duty.
The Vietnam War impacted the lives of many thousands of  young men and women - whether
they were in the military services or not.  I was one of them.  It was a tragedy for our country but
I think most of us who were alive during those times can look back on it now and smile, as we
think about old friends and some of the crazy things we did back then.
After serving 23 years in the Navy, things tend to get a little muddled and confused when I start
thinking back on it. Some of the most vivid memories I have about my years in the Navy come
from my service aboard the USS HANCOCK (CVA-19). It was a special ship with a special crew.

My reason for writing all of this is to show how the Vietnam War was for us sailors who stayed off
shore on the aircraft carriers and other ships of the U.S. Navy. I do not intend to glorify what we
did but I want to "tell it like it was". I do not want to take anything away from the combat veterans
of the Vietnam War - I give them all my heartfelt salute for doing what they did over there.  I did
not serve "in country" in Vietnam at any time, and I was never in combat. I was certainly not a
war hero.  But I served in the Vietnam Theater of Operations, in a hostile fire zone, and I did the
work that I was assigned  to do,  in supporting the war effort.

I quit school after I failed the seventh grade and started over a second time. I was probably
about half way through that second stint in the seventh grade when I quit. I know it is
unbelievable to think that a child could quit school so young but it was fairly common back then.
I can't blame it on any one thing - it was a combination of different things. As I have written, I felt
that some of the teachers showed partiality to the richer kids back then. I still believe that was
the case. But I was hard headed and a little rebellious. I was a troubled youngster - not easy to
deal with. I think I was 14 when I walked out of school for the last time. I did not stop learning
there - I kept reading about everything that interested me, so my education continued on. But
after that - my life lacked structure and discipline. I was starting to get in trouble before I joined
the Navy right after I turned 18. I think joining the Navy was the best thing I ever did. It put
structure and discipline back in my life. Anyway - I wish it was not that way. I wish I had stayed in
school to go on to college. The world started wobbling on its axis in 1965 - too much was
happening too fast. It was a bumpy ride for all of us for several years after that - Vietnam, the
Age of Aquarius, the hippie revolution, bouts with heavy drinking, Watergate, Nixon's disgrace,
the Fall of Vietnam, more bouts with heavy drinking, and on and on. It was about 1977 before
things finally settled down for me.

After I quit school, I didn't sit around the house and do nothing. I was always outdoors - if I
wasn't working I would be out exploring. I did some nasty jobs - cleaning out a chicken house
was probably the nastiest job I did. All of that dust and the stench of it. Andy Shipp and I
contracted that job for $10 ($5 each) - it took us about 10 hours of steady hard work to do the
job. I chopped cotton, pulled cotton, worked as "throw back hand" in a big trailer that was towed
behind the cotton strippers in those days, set up and mended barbed wire fences, rescued new
born calves in the middle of winter, worked in a cattle feed lot, worked on windmills, plowed with
a tractor, picked up bales of hay, shocked feed, loaded semi trailers, drove a delivery truck and
the list goes on. My hourly wage ranged from $0.65 to $1.25, depending on the job and the
generosity of the person that hired me. By the time I reached 18, I realized that I wasn't cut out
to stay on the farm and I needed to go out to see the world. I had the work ethic, but I lacked
education and had no special skills. I needed discipline and structure in my life. I joined the Navy
- partly because my older brother Stan pushed me to do it. I promptly went to Vietnam. Under
the best circumstances, it was still an unpleasant place to be. I often thought about home and I
longed to be back there. After a few years, the Navy got in my blood. I liked the Navy life -
especially the travel and adventures. I served 23 years. I could have done a lot worse - like
serving prison time. Life has some strange twists and turns.
I am not writing this as an intellectual or "subject matter expert". I am writing as a person who
lived through those times. I am not here to pass judgment on anyone but I will express my
opinions as honestly as I can. The opinions expressed here are my own and I do not expect
everyone to agree with me.
Thanks for your service!

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It all started for me on June 22, 1964, when I joined the U.S. Navy. After twelve weeks of basic
training I got my orders.

I was an ordinary sailor. I served on the old aircraft carrier USS HANCOCK (CVA-19) from
October of 1964 until June of 1968. During that span of time, the USS HANCOCK made three
cruises to the Western Pacific. When we were deployed, we spent most of our time operating off
the coast of Vietnam. All of us knew we were there to keep the ship running with all vital systems
operating and the war planes flying.  I  made a contribution to make that happen, as did every
other man on board the carrier.  In South Vietnam, we operated in the South China Sea on
"Dixie Station". Our mission was to protect friendly forces and disrupt enemy communications.
Our aircraft provided close air support for the friendly ground forces and conducted bombing
missions to destroy waterborne craft in the South China Sea and the inland waterways, destroy
roads and bridges and generally kill the enemy wherever we had that opportunity. In North
Vietnam, we operated in the Gulf of Tonkin on "Yankee Station". Our aircraft conducted
bombing missions against designated military targets in North Vietnam, usually in coordination
with the Air Force.

The Vietnam War happened because two vain and power hungry old men could not agree.
Those men were Lyndon Baines Johnson and Ho Chi Minh. The lives of many thousands of
people were sacrificed and the lives of even more people were ruined because two old men got
their ego's bruised and squabbled with each other. Sad but true.
REMEMBERING BOOT CAMP
The Chief Talked and We Listened
This website is in the process of being reconstructed after I
made a mistake and erased a good portion of it from the server.
Oooops!
I will be doing the reconstruction in small steps, a little at a
time. Please bear with me as I put everything back together
again.

In the meantime, you can visit me at:
Old Geezer Art
http://www.oldgeezerart.com
You can also visit me on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/ray.phillips.7169


You can also contact me by email at this address:
daltonphillips@namvetsonline.com
Lyndon Baines Johnson
Ho Chi MInh