In August of 1969, the letter salutation read, “Greetings”; a word that immediately conjured visions of Vietnam infantry service. An Army recruiter visit to discuss alternatives quickly followed. Here, my two year draftee status, was traded for three year volunteer status, in return for turbine engine training. Not discussed, was that Huey Helicopters used turbine engines. Consequently, turbine engine training equaled helicopter maintenance training, which was tantamount to becoming a Vietnam volunteer.
Volunteers inspire noble images. Well they should, since so much of life depends on them. To the burned, volunteering necessitates knowing the details, expectations, and implications of the task. This is not to say that I will not volunteer, even if the end is a difficult challenge. It does say that I want to know more on the front end, before transitioning from the role of a passive observer, to that of a volunteer.