I volunteered for service during the Vietnam conflict. Like many in those days, I wanted to go to college but had no idea what I wanted to study so I took one semester off in 1967. Within a few months I got my draft notice and suddenly Vietnam loomed large in my windshield. I had a choice, get inducted into the Army or volunteer for a service of my choice. I elected to go into the Navy as my love for the sea was huge back then. I had no romantic considerations but knew that the Navy was ships and ships were much cooler than slogging through rice paddies.

I was assigned, after boot camp, to a guided missile frigate or light cruiser, as that type of ship is named today. We were nuclear armed. I had selected radar as my job in boot camp so radar school is what I was given but only after basic electricity and electronics. The ship I was on had some of the first computers in the Navy so I also needed schooling to use those advanced radars. All in all it was just short of one year of schooling before I went aboard.

We went twice to Vietnam. I won’t go into what we saw and did there but it was war and war means doing things one doesn’t really want to do. We traveled into enemy territory more than once which earned us the Armed Forces Expeditionary medal. Let’s just say we surreptitiously visited a couple of communist countries? Had we been found I would probably not be writing this. For the size of our vessel we were quite sneaky. It was almost like the captain had done this before.

I left the service with an experience that has never left me. Some so good I would do it again and some so difficult that the intervening years have put me on a downward spiral at times. It comes with the territory is all I think of it now. This is where the Martin guitar came in.

I long ago learned “Sounds of Silence,” and “April, Come She Will.” Both by Paul Simon and these allowed me to explore finger picking which is about all I do today. I learned a lot of Gordon Lightfoot also. I did buy a new set of drums, Sonor, but haven’t set that kit up in a couple of decades. I have still all my 1959 Zidjian Cymbals and am considering hanging them on the wall back here in my office. Mostly, I feel quite fortunate to be alive and that is what keeps me going. Life is a gift and if you handle your life correctly you to will realize this. We dig more holes for ourselves than we would care to let on but I have filled all of mine in, for the most part. Certain scenes still play out either in dreams or pop up in my day, unbidden. My wife is always there to help if needed.

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T.C.' s Loft