R & R - Lost Birthday

I don’t remember the exact date my R&R began. It was the second week of February, 1970. My destination was Hawaii. A lot of the married guys chose Hawaii. I don’t recall any of the single guys doing so. They chose exotic places like Bangkok, Manila, Tokyo, and Sydney. But, this was a chance to link up with my wife who I hadn’t seen since June, 1969. We were married May 24th, two weeks before I departed for Vietnam. This would be a second honeymoon.

The trip to Hawaii started with a jeep ride to Phu Bai, a small village in Thua Thien Province almost due South of Dong Ha in Quang Tri Province on Highway One. From there, I flew on a prop job to Tan Son Nhut airbase near Saigon. A chartered commercial jet would finish the journey to Hawaii.

My first vivid memory of arriving in Hawaii was knocking on a hotel door at 2:00 in the morning and having a sleepy version of my gorgeous wife open the door. Forty-one years later we are still married and we fondly remember our time in Hawaii, our second honeymoon.

The week passed quickly. I don’t even remember getting on the plane to return to Vietnam but it was very late in the evening, February 13, 1970. The next day, February 14th, would be my 21st birthday. But, it never happened! At almost 12:00 a.m. on the 14th, the plane crossed the International Date Line. It was now February 15th. I had lost my birthday, virtually flying forward in time!
So, I never had my 21st birthday. I like to say it became another casualty of war. One of these years I’ll celebrate it.