At first dad wasn't too keen on being interviewed, and was adamant that he could not remember much about his Army days. However, when I got there he pulled out a binder filled with old Army records (a binder I didn't even know he had). In it were dates of his enlistment, discharge, and time spent on active duty both Hawaii and Guam. Of course, this binder is a real genealogy goldmine. He offered to let me borrow it so I can scan the documents into my computer.
Next we pulled out two photo albums filled with photos he took from his time in basic training at Fort Dix, NJ, AIT at Fort Polk, LA, and duty Hawaii and Guam. I have looked through the albums many times since I was a kid, but I had never had my father tell me the stories behind the photos. He told me about his friends, who they were, where they lived, fun times they had, etc. He had photos of a '67 Ford Galaxy he purchased in Hawaii that he later crashed while driving to Honolulu one night. There were photos of concerts he saw (including Merle Haggard, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dolly Parton), the Tent City he stayed in while helping Vietnamese refugees in Guam in 1975, and this photo of his entire platoon that he asked me to blow up into an 8x10 (my dad is in the back at the far left, holding his helmet under his arm).
|Army Platoon in Hawaii|
When we were done talking about his Army days, dad continued by telling me stories of his childhood. He told me about his pet raccoons (hie brothers also had a pet fox and skunk), childhood friends and trouble they got into together, and other random things as he remembered them.
It was a wonderful time with my dad, and I am so glad we did this! I highly recommend everyone does this with their relatives while they still can.