"Several years before found me in a red-darkened strobe light lit bar sitting around with a handful of para-military types and close Army buddies in the Cholon district of Saigon gulping down a large amount of a seemingly never ending supply of of alcoholic beverages. From out of the smoky milieu of mostly horny and inebriated GIs, unsolicited, a tea girl attempted to sit on my lap and tried to put something around my neck. Pushing back I could see she held what appeared to be a gold necklace stretched between her hands. Hanging midway along the necklace was a small Chinese character. Basically grabbing the necklace from her hands I asked where it came from and how she got it. She turned pointing toward a group of barely discernible figures sitting and drinking toward the back of the barroom in the shadows along the darkened wall, telling me that one of the men, a burnt man, had paid her to put it on me. When I asked what she meant by a burnt man, using her hands in a swirling motion in front of her face combined with a snearing facial expression to indicate scars while gasping for air as if the man had a tough time breathing, said in broken english, "burnt man, burnt man." In just the few seconds it took me to work my way through the crowd to the back wall pulling the tea girl with me the burnt man, if there ever was a burnt man, was gone. Nor could anybody at any of the tables remember seeing or talking to a heavily scarred man, burnt or otherwise, sitting at any of the tables --- although some of the GIs were fully able to recall the girl.
"The necklace, which I still have and continue to wear to this day, from what I could remember, looked exactly like the one my Merchant Marine Friend showed me and said to be mysteriously wearing out of nowhere the day he was found floating in the sea after his ship was torpedoed. The only problem is, by the time the incident in the Saigon bar occurred my friend had already been dead some ten years, having passed away during the summer between my sophmore and junior years in high school. At his memorial service I was told by family members, following a death bed request on his part, that in an effort to rejoin his fellow seamen he wanted to be cremated and his ashes tossed at sea near where his ship was torpedoed and, along with the ashes, the necklace returned to the sea as well. As far as I know those wishes had been complied with."
UNDER THE PROTECTION OF
THE LORD BUDDHA
MOVING ON FROM SAIGON TEA TO THE USE OF OPIUM:
"If you have had the opportunity to go through my various online offerings you will find located in a variety of places that I have studied under, met and interacted with many highly respected teachers and members of the Enlightenment community --- including of course, my own spiritual guide and Mentor, as well as Sri Ramana Maharshi, Franklin Merrell-Wolff, Swami Ramdas, Yasutani Hakuun Roshi, Shunyata, Alfred Pulyan, and Wei Wu Wei. Most of it has not been of my own making but somehow came about on its own. For what reason or why I cannot say as I do not know. However, meeting the teacher of Pulyan was an extraordinary experience.
"A few years before my mentor sent me to Pulyan's compound I found myself in the court of a Laotian warlord. I was requested to participate in, without many options to opt out or do otherwise, a ceremony that circled around the heavy use of opium. Dressed in local garb I layed on the floor on my side with a thin, three-foot long pipe, attended to by an ancient man that assisted me through the various paces. A couple of times afterwards, on my own and with others, I partcipated in a much less formal ritual called "chasing the dragon," but instead of a pipe, using a matchbox. That was ages ago. Those days, as well as any other such youthful indiscretions, are long gone and long over. The thing is, when the effects of the opium took over, it was like I had disappeared or no longer existed, having melded into the larger whole. Yet my eyes still took in, in a very high super-clear intensity, all of my surroundings. Where or what my eyes were connected to or how they were able to work or record my environment --- and for me to still know about it I don't know --- as there did not seem to be a back of my head or even a head.
"Early on I can remember engulfed and removed from everything, but still looking down and seeing my toes barely sticking out of what seemed to be a wavering silver or mercury surface spreading out before me with a shimering reflection almost mirage-like with me somehow floating without weight or body. It was warm, embracing, enticing, and euphoric.
"When I first met the mysterious female that was Pulyan's Teacher that was the way it seemed to me. Warm, embracing, enticing, and euphoric --- with no back to my head and what there was of me, if there was a me, melded into the whole."
British author and playwright William Somerset Maugham, who authored the book titled The Razor's Edge that chronicled the life of the person that eventually became my Zen mentor, relates the following regarding his own experience using opium:
(Maugham) describes the experience after smoking opium by saying that the mystery of life, of creation, and of the transcendental was within his reach but that the pleasure of knowing that it was within his reach was so great that he could not be bothered to stretch out his hand to grasp it.
OPIUM AND MEETING SOUTHEAST ASIAN WARLORDS
MAJ. GENERAL VANG PAO
1960's LAOTIAN WARLORD
KHUN SA, THE SHAN-STATE
BURMESE DRUG WARLORD
Because of the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu at the hands of the Vietnamese based Viet Minh in the March of 1954, in order to ensure western interests would continue to be maintained in the general greater southeast Asian sphere, the U.S. and/or allies or closely allied mercenaries or surrogates continued to keep their hands in the pie at some level or the other.
One of those closely allied mercenaries relative to American interest was an otherwise minor Laotian warlord that through his association with the U.S. grew much more powerful than otherwise would have been ordained. Through a series of events I found myself in the court of that same warlord, as so pictured below. The downstream outflow from that encounter, an encounter of which was put into place by others well beyond my control, later found me miles and miles away high in the mountains of the Himalayas outside the confines of any warlord, in one of those ancient monasteries truly beyond the reach of time.
The unfolding series of events that led to me being in the court of the warlord, actually the first of two warlords I had the good fortune, or bad fortune of meeting as the case may be, was described quite well by a somewhat defunct looking homeless man that I met across the street from the Union Station in Los Angeles many years after the fact. He came out of nowhere one day while I was waiting between trains saying he knew me, with me basically telling him I was sure the two of us had never met. Then he laid out the following that only a person who had been there could have known, as found at the source so cited:
"(W)hile other low-ranking members in the military contingent I was with were off trading cheap hand-mirrors and pocket combs for favors with the local tribeswomen, in that we were all sheep dipped and I was in civilian garb, I had gone off on my own volition easily passing myself off like some Peace Corps volunteer rather than a heavily armed GI, to lend a hand in repairing and building an irrigation ditch and fresh water conduit that supplied drinking water to one of the villages. An advisor to the warlord, a shaman, informed the general of my actions and the general invited me join him for dinner. Knowing only high-status people were included in such get togethers I asked the now apparently homeless man, who must have participated in the dinner, how it was he found himself in his current situation. Rolling up his sleeve he graphically showed me the scarred up chicken tracks all across the upper inside of his forearm. He told me it started with opium, then heroin."(source)
IN THE EARLY TO MID-1960's IT WAS U.S. ARMY AND SAIGON STREET VENDORS...
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14 YEARS LATER IT WAS KINGSTON JAMAICA HIGGLERS AND THE PEACE CORPS
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45 YEARS LATER AS A CIVILIAN AT CHIANG MAI'S TANGO SQUADRON AIR MUSEUM
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KHUN SA: THE SECOND WARLORD
THE PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER
AND THE ASIAN WARLORD
NAM YU: CIA LIMA SITE 118-A
MEETING WARLORDS, ET AL
THE GHOST P-40
"(We) hiked down to a rudimentary mountain road, following it to a river that doubled back on itself flowing south to the Mekong. From the river we headed northeast, all the while climbing in altitude along the side of the mountains. Eventually we crested the ridge following the top along the undefined border between Burma and China. In the mountains near the village of Wan Hsa was a second, but much smaller, CIA-KMT radio site called Mong He. We rested there two or three days, then crossed into Yunnan Province, China. We skirted a dirt road to a small river following it downstream several miles until it met the second of two streams joining it from the north. Going upstream we came across an all weather road that had a telegraph line stretched along it. At that point we were 15 to 20 miles into the People's Republic of China. From where we were we could watch five-truck Chinese Red Army convoys pass by a couple of times a day, otherwise the road was deserted. After we got a good handle on when a convoy might pass before the next one in either direction, we went down to the telegraph line and tapped into it, stretching a double loop back to our camp."
Then we got in trouble. Big trouble. Our timing regarding the convoy that day did not turn out to be as reliable as it could have been. A couple of us, me included, were caught in the open, with me actually being atop a pole when a convoy showed up in the distance headed down the road our way. I scrambled down the pole, and duplicating my buddy, crawled through the same creek culvert our wires ran through to our camp. All well and good except for one thing. We left one of our primary tool bags sitting in plain view along side the road. I figured I could scoot back through the culvert and grab the bag hoping not to be seen before the convoy was on top of us. That's when one of the most unusual things to ever happen, happened.
I crawled into the culvert hoping to reach the other side when low and overhead behind me, just above the road I heard the overwhelming roar of an aircraft engine. As I pulled myself up out of the culvert on the other side, the side the bag was on, I could see a wheels up World War II fighter plane, looking all the same as a P-40 skimming along just above the road at full speed heading face on toward the convoy. The next thing I knew the plane began unleashing a whole stream of machine gun fire from her wings, scattering the convoy all over off the road and tearing the shit out of the asphalt for well over a mile. The plane began swinging around in a big loop for a second pass when the convoy reformed, only headed in the other direction, speeding away as fast as it could. The fighter peeled off and disappeared beyond the distant treetops and hills. I grabbed the bag and in the open ran across the road toward our camp.
GHOST P-40: LORE, LEGENDS AND HER WHEREABOUTS
PEARL HARBOR P-40 GHOST SHIP
The link so sourced just beneath this paragraph cites how now-declassified but one-time Top Secret documents speaking specifically to events in the country of Laos during the time period we are talking about here. The documents make testimony to an "ill-defined group of U.S. Army personnel who happened to be on the ground with radio contact" and because of which, following a series of extenuating circumstances, all or most of which are fully articulated in Doing Hard Time In A Zen Monastery and of which most if not all circulate around the above "ill-defined group" and the aforementioned "several select members of those ground teams" and "appropriation for other duties" scenario, with me having met all of the criteria big time, found me first in the court of a major up-and-coming Laotian warlord, then the drug infested wide-open railhead city of Chiang Mai located in the far northern reaches of Thailand.
In the previous section refering to my stay at the warlord's compound, I explain how I was initially brought to his attention in the firstplace because of my volunteer efforts to assist some local tribespeople. From that I was invited to join in a rather large gathering for dinner which lead to the opium ritual:
"(W)hile other low-ranking members in the military contingent I was with were off trading cheap hand-mirrors and pocket combs for favors with the local tribeswomen, in that we were all Sheep Dipped I had gone off on my own volition passing myself off like some Peace Corps volunteer rather than a heavily armed GI, to lend a hand in repairing and building an irrigation ditch and fresh water conduit that supplied drinking water to one of the villages."
What is laughable about it all is my youthful naivete. Here I was, being said by others (and possibly thinking so myself) I was like some Peace Corps volunteer lending a hand building a fresh water conduit to supply drinking water for one of the villages --- when actually it came out later that the increased water supply offered by the conduit was just exactly what was needed for the successful operation of a newly established heroin refinery, including the ability to increase the output level of product.
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Not many days following my meager efforts to build the conduit, found me arriving in the then wide-open railhead city of Chiang Mai located in the far northern reaches of Thailand and, because of extenuating circumstances, having armed members of the aforementioned warlord's military contingent on my trail not far behind in full pursuit.
Somehow after arriving in Chiang Mai I ended up separated from my comrades and, unable to execute a viable escape because of the previously mentioned extenuating circumstances and not knowing the city, I inadvertently met a Buddhist monk from China who immediately grasped my predicament. Without words passing between us he, along with a few of his fellow travelers, secreted me out of the city just footsteps ahead of the warlord's contingent. Then the two of us, on foot and sure of not being followed, continued north high into the mountains through Laos, Burma, and on into the even higher mountainous regions beyond that nobody knows who they belong to.
After days and days of walking, we ended up going our separate ways, he turning toward wherever he was going, me being left outside the ruins of a somewhat ancient dilapidated monastery perched precariously high up on the side of some steep Chinese mountain situated somewhere along the southern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. And there I sat.
As touched on above but fully articulated in Doing Hard Time In A Zen Monastery, the monk I ended up traveling with along the Tea Horse Road found me in the then wide-open railhead city of Chiang Mai located in the far northern reaches of Thailand, albeit not mentioned in the main text, in the following condition:
"(T)he KMT searching the city came across me, finding me with bloodshot eyes, drooling at the mouth, unbathed, dirty, unshaven, no clothes, sitting in my own urine and defecation, rocking back and forth, and highly unusual for me, robotically repeating over-and-over a mantra from my childhood Om Mani Padme Hum and so mind-numb that I was worthless to their or anybody else's cause."
The KMT were searching for a white American, so when they heard there was a white man, possibly American, in one of the dens, upon entering they were led straight to me. The Buddhist amongst the KMT was attracted to my constant repetition of the mantra, then seeing the tiny medallion around my neck knew I was under the protection of the Lord Buddha and could not be left behind --- no matter if I was or wasn't the one they were looking for. See:
THE CODE MAKER, THE ZEN MAKER
SHANGRI-LA, SHAMBHALA, GYANGANJ, BUDDHISM AND ZEN
DOING HARD TIME IN A ZEN MONASTERY
RETURN TO THE MONASTERY
"I scooted as quickly as I could across what was left of the ashram grounds between me and the gate and out onto the street, melding into the small milieu of what counted as crowds in those days, disappearing.
"Years passed and one day a friend of mine helping me go through a few things ran across my rather loose knit so-called collection of decoders that were sort of doing not much more than just floating around in an unconnected fashion in a drawer."
The opening sentence in the above quote referring to scooting across the ashram grounds, has to do with me leaving the Ramana ashram in Tiruvannamalai, south India just prior to returning to the monastery. It is followed by a second sentence and paragraph implying a new location other than the ashram and completely bypassing the return to the monastery after many years having passed.
One moment I'm leaving the ashram, the next it is suddenly many years later, apparently comfortably safe back at home in the United States as though nothing ever happened --- simply hanging with a friend sorting through a bunch of decades-old Captain Midnight Decoders.
The two sentences are found in the closing paragraphs of the main text of The Code Maker, The Zen Maker. If you were to measure that gap on the computer using a ruler, the physical measurable distance between the two quoted sentences, one from the other is quite small, maybe a quarter to a half of an inch. The jump or gap between the two as related to the passage of time, that is, the amount of time that elapsed between being at the ashram and having returned back to the U.S. as found within the context of the sentences is huge.
Most people who have read through all that I have presented, with the thousands of interlinking footnotes and all, have had enough. However, every once in awhile there are those who come forward interested in the jump between the two paragraph quote and how it was closed. That is to say, how did I, as an adult at the Ramana ashram return to the monastery. We know I ended up in Tiruvannamalai in some fashion with the help of the woman on the farm, yet no where does it show up how it was I ended up back at the monastery. It is clear that I did because in Doing Hard Time In A Zen Monastery I write that I was abducted by military irregulars outside the walls one morning and taken back to civilization.
Lets just say in more ways than one, it involved war torn Burma, the Japanese invasion of India, the crash of a C-47 high in the rarefied air in the Tibetan area of the Himalayas after being lost on a flight from Calcutta, and a U.S. Army captain who flew over the "hump" from China only to end up visiting the Ramana ashram at the same time I was there. That same captain, who had been called back into the Army to serve in the Korean War, during the throes of battlefield decimation going on all around him, as written in his tome A Soldier's Story, experienced a deep Spiritual Awakening not unlike those afforded the ancient classical masters.
RETURN TO THE MONASTERY
BEFORE LEAVING CALCUTTA-----------------------------------------------------AFTER LEAVING CALCUTTA
As far as the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum that I was said to be robotically repeating over-and-over when I was found by the monk, please note I also mention that me first learning of the mantra occurred sometime during my early childhood, coming in contact with it for the first time in reference to a little known 1940s comic book super hero called The Green Lama. The Green Lama, as the story line went, studied extensively the ancient and secrets ways of Tibet, and after becoming a master used the mantra to call forth super powers not unlike those of another comic book hero of the day, Captain Marvel. Because of the knowledge of the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra being Tibetan and all, a few years later, even before I reached age 10, I came into contact with it in connection with a Native American tribe called the Zuni. It has been reported from some quarters of their tribe that the Zuni have in their possession an ancient tablet-like artifact said to have Tibetan script on it, and of which some portion of that script has been translated to read Om Mani Padme Hum.(see)
G.I., FLATLINED AND LEFT FOR DEAD:
"Any army medic could have assisted hundreds of wounded, and in turn, most of those wounded would eventually become not much more than just a blur to him. The opposite would happen to the person wounded. I say so because of my own experience being found in a ditch unconscious with my stomach ripped open. The very second I saw the staff sergeant that found me for the first time after recovering from the incident, even though I knew I didn't 'know' him, I 'recognized' him instantly."(source)
During the period of time that transpired between ending up face down in the ditch only to be found by the sergeant and eventually coming out of the whole thing, for me, except for the flatline of the EEG (Electroencephalogram) signals which was duly noted by a number of outside observers and medical attendants and pronounced clinically dead, IF the less than gossamer-thin membrane between the still alive and the that which becomes the now-not-alive was actually crossed or breached, it is not known because no difference was remembered if detected.
In what would appear to be an almost diametric opposition to such a scenario, (that is, NOT breaching the gossamer-thin membrane between the still alive and that which is the not alive even though the EEG seemed to indicate otherwise) any previous or residual "fear of death" after being brought back or coming back as the case may be, seemingly dissipated along with the Death of the Ego. Loss of both ego and fear is surmised stemming from the experience in which "I" was in a totally unflawed flatlined state (or non-state) for close to thirty full minutes, and, except for maybe not being totally zipped up, put into a body bag in a near Nirodha like state even longer and stacked in a row along with other corpses.
A onetime bottom-of-the-line GI everybody called "the Cat," who went on eventually to receive a bronze star, was a former or to-be 1st Air Cav medic on TDY doing routine corpse duty when he came across my partially unzipped body bag. In the process of closing the bag we BOTH somehow discovered I most likely no longer fell into the specifically dead catagory.
Months later he told me that sometimes shift workers, when they find that a person has died on their shift, will put the body in the shower and let hot or warm water run on them --- sometimes for hours --- then, just before they go off shift, put the body back where it belonged for the next shift to find and deal with. The only thing is, in my case, this time the GIs who did it were caught. Even though my body had dropped quite a bit less than normal temperature, if not "warm" (because of the hot running water of the shower), my body was still at least supple. In the fact that I had absolutely no vital signs that anybody could tell --- and it had been previously noted that I flatlined --- I was hastily stuffed into the body bag without further checking. Hours later the Cat came across me no longer DOA and helped me out of the bag.(see)
TERRY AND THE PIRATES:
SCENE FROM THE ORIGINAL TERRY AND THE PIRATES AS DRAWN BY MILTON CANIFF DATED JANUARY 27, 1935.
At the end of the summer of 1953, just as I was about to start the 10th grade or so, the August - September #6 issue of the comic book Mad came out. Inside #6 was a story, drawn by my all time favorite non-animator cartoonist Wallace Wood, that spoofed or satired big-time the long running comic strip Terry and the Pirates, and that Wood, in his spoofing, called Teddy and the Pirates.
Although I had followed Terry and the Pirates a good portion of my life, and knew how Milton Caniff, the artist-cartoonist of the strip presented Terry and the world he and his so-called Pirates lived in, Wood's top-half opening drawing below, showing his version of an underbelly far east like milieu, real or not, that exemplified the Asian atmosphere along with the rest of the story hit me like a hammer, with me, the teenager that I was, sucking up his version as my version and as my version, the real version. Ten years later, thanks to Uncle Sam and his friendly Selective Service, found me Rangoon, Saigon, and Chiang Mai, as well as other such places, and in those ten year later years, especially in and where I traveled, having gone from a high school teenager to an almost mid-twenties GI, my vision not only didn't wane, but was bolstered and grew. Notice the tommy guns, stabbings, hand grenades and exotic women.
"Any mention by me of Terry and the Pirates is typically made to draw an analogy to whatever I am writing about and the exotic-like underbelly-type milieu, real or not, that exemplified the Asian atmosphere Terry and his companions, pirates or otherwise, operated in. I have always carried a certain fondness for that type of milieu and because of that fondness have been drawn to such odd-ball fictional characters and stories like Dan Duryea in China Smith and of course Terry and the Pirates as well as real life places such as Rangoon, Burma; Bangkok, Thailand; and Chiang Mai."
A lot of people who read the above paragraph in reference to Terry and the Pirates say I have not much more than a pretty romanticized view of the Asian atmosphere and the milieu that I imply exists. For people who feel that way I usually suggest they read the following:
WANDERLING AND THE PIRATES
AND NOW THIS:
THE ABOVE BRIEF EPISODE REGARDING SAIGON TEA CAN BE FOUND AT IT'S TWO PRIMARY SOURCES:
THE SHIPWRECKED SAILOR
CARLOS CASTANEDA: BEFORE DON JUAN
See as well: High Barbaree
THE ABOVE BRIEF EPISODE REGARDING THE USE OF OPIUM IS FROM
See as well: Enlightened Individuals I've Met.
THE ABOVE EPISODE BY THE WANDERLING REGARDING FLATLINING IS FOUND IN:
DEATH HAD A FACE
AWAKENING AND THE POWER OF
SIDDHIS THROUGH HERBS
PEACE CORPS ZEN
THE BEST OF
<<< PREV ---- LIST ---- NEXT >>>
As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.
Because the Cat pulled me out of the body bag I ended up back in the military hospital. Having done so put into motion what transpired in the quote below wherein I met a medic as so mentioned. He inturn, during our late night talks, clarified and revealed a number of unknown and interesting facts related to the Roswell UFO, most especially so regarding some controversial remarks made by U.S. Army Colonel Philip J. Corso in his book Day After Roswell (1997) --- of which, during the time period events in the book unfolded, the Dustoff medic had some personal involvement. So too, the following is a little redundant in that it relates back to the previously mentioned Ghost P-40. Although it involves the same cast of characters, it is seen or comes from a somewhat different perspective:
"(W)hen I was in a military Army hospital recovering from a stomach wound there was a fellow GI in the bed next to mine, a sergeant E-7 who had been on a mercy mission to retrieve some wounded GIs along with the pilot and crew of a helicopter that was bringing them in when it crashed. The retrieval helicopter he was on was pulled out of the sky as well as they approached the crash site of the downed Dustoff. He ended up in arm and leg tractions and covered head to toe in a plaster cast except for various openings to see, breath, put in food and drink and let it back out when the need occurred. The first few days I was hooked up to a bunch of IVs and unconscious, but after that I was able to get out of bed, walk to the john, feed myself, that sort of thing. I sat next to the bed of the sergeant and read to him and BS, sometimes late into the night. While I was there, General Wheeler, a two star general, came to see him.
"After establishing a rapport and a certain trust between us we began talking about everything under the sun. He had been in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Initially, since I had a strong interest personally, we started from the beginning, slowly walking our way through World War II --- although we jumped back and forth a lot between subjects and topics. Plus, they kept him on some fairly serious meds and when they kicked in he sort of went into a catatonic state. He must have dreamed during some of those periods because he would come out of it and be very lucid on some of the subjects we had been talking about or leading up to.
"One time in discussion I told him that I had been a member embedded within a special communication team on a covert mission that crossed over several miles deep into sovereign Chinese territory. Because it involved already in place strung wires and telephone poles, a couple of us, of which I was one, were just about on the edge of being caught out in the open during the daylight hours by a Chinese Red Army truck convoy when, out of nowhere, coming in behind us at about tree top level was a World War II vintage prop machine, it's engine screaming like crazy all the while strafing the shit out of the road in front of the convoy, scattering it all directions and making it turn around and retreat towards where it came from. He said it was a Ghost Ship, a Phantom P-40 that shows up out of nowhere, usually on 'our' side, and disappears just as quickly. Although he had never seen it as it usually never operated as far east as Vietnam, he and others had long heard of it. He also said I was the first, first-person witness he had talked to that had actually seen it."
GHOST P-40: LORE, LEGENDS AND HER WHEREABOUTS
"As time passed, in that I had a background that involved UFO type phenomenon as a boy, including observing the giant unknown airborne object that came to be known as the Battle of Los Angeles: 1942 UFO that overflew Los Angeles during the early stages of World War II --- an object that was able to withstand the direct hit from 1440 anti aircraft rounds only to escape unharmed --- sometimes our late night discussions circulated around the subject of UFOs."(source)
When the Cat and I crossed paths for the very the first time he was a fresh-faced GI just turned 19 or so with a medic MOS. I think he was OJT with no real assignment, hence the TDY corpse duty. I was several years older and been around for awhile, basically just returning in country after having been in Laos then on into China from Nam Yu with a secret team. It was right after I got back someone, apparently with a bone to pick, decided I should be sliced open.
Because of the unusual nature of our first meeting we kept in contact in the early days, enough so that he followed me to college, attending the same university. In those days we took several classes on and off together and hung out, but as time went on we diverged in interests and went our separate ways. I've only seen him once in maybe 40 years, catching up with him for a few days in some isolated old mining town in Arizona where he ended up living. I Google him every once in awhile. He still seems to be around, but that's about it.
- MOS: Military Occupation Specialty (job)
- OJT: On The Job Training
- TDY: Temporary Duty Assignment
THE BEST OF THE MAUGHAM BIOGRAPHIES:
- WILLIAM SOMERSET MAUGHAM
Good biography. Lots of Maugham graphics, from early childhood to late adult. Link to Maugham's private art collection.
- W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM: A BIOGRAPHY
- LITERARY AMBULANCE DRIVERS
Everybody knows Hemingway drove an ambulance during WWI, nobody knows Maugham did.
- THE ART COLLECTION OF W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM
SPIRITUAL GUIDES, GURUS, AND TEACHERS INFLUENTIAL IN THE RAZOR'S EDGE OTHER THAN THE MAHARSHI:
"After a short ride in a taxi I was hustled through the back door of a scummy little restaurant off a pig sty of an alley and pointed to a very narrow wooden set of steps that led upstairs to a surprisingly sunshiny and immaculately kept small room just above the kitchen. In the room were two extremely fine looking skimpily dressed, albeit notably high class mid-20s Asian women sitting on a couch and close by some obviously recently used drug paraphernalia spread out across the glass coffee table in front of them."
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The quote above was in 1973. The graphic below left was in 1964. The graphic below right was one year later.
The below right graphic carries with it absolutely no relation or connection to any of the previous except for me being out of the military and attending college on the G.I. Bill. Because of that G.I. Bill and college, the following, as seen on the right, is a fabulously beautiful student and oft-time professional model I met under those circumstances. Mostly coffee, walks, and many hours of talk, especially one morning early just the two of us along the net-laden fishermen docks in San Pedro with the fog just lifting and the tuna boats just getting ready to leave. The smell of diesel exhaust, the distant sound of seagulls, her still in a cocktail dress from the night before, barefoot on the wooden wharf, hand carrying her red spaghetti strap stiletto high heels. Then with our spring semester waning, the summer upon us and classes and the semester over she eventually moved on and I never saw her again. She going on to bigger and better things and in the process marrying some way-out-of-my-league Olympic gold medal winning dude. I heard she went on to have a couple of daughters, or so I've been told. I know that her father, Tomio, known as Tom, who she introduced me to many years ago, passed away late in the year 2013. Most importantly though, as far as I am concerned, is that her dad received a Congressional Medal of Honor in 2010 for his service to the United States during World War II.(see)
The photo below that showing a woman with a pistol strapped to her hip is of Madame Ky, the wife of the former Air Vice Marshal come vice president of Vietnam, Nguyen Cao Ky, circa 1964. The color head shot is of Madame Ky with those pistol toting days behind her.
THE BELOW AS FOUND IN
FOR LARGER IMAGE CLICK, THEN CLICK AGAIN----------------------LELAND'S 2-D ART CLASS, CSULB SPRING OF 1965
"I settled in using Redondo as a central base of operations while commuting back and forth to college attempting to grab off an undergraduate degree on the G.I. Bill, and of which I was eventually able to do.
"After receiving a B.A. along with a California Secondary Teaching Credential, which required an additional fifth year beyond a bachelors as well as student teaching, I matriculated into graduate school."
TIKE KARAVAS: Of The Redondo Beach Historical Museum<
MEETING WARLORDS, ET AL
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WHEN A DRAGON LADY RETIRES
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The following comments regarding security clearances is found at the source so cited. I completed AIT (Advanced Individual Training) at the U.S. Army Signal Corps School in Fort Gordon, Georgia after going through basic at Fort Ord, California. The author writes he attended the Signal Corps School as well. Same place, same experience, seemingly the same MOS, albeit a year or two after I did. Even so, reading his piece, for me it seemed as though nothing had changed --- again same place, same experience. What the author says about security clearances, below, pretty much sums up the issue, at least as it was during the days I was dealing with it. However, again, in that I already had a confidential clearance, meaning a substantial portion of the investigative leg work was done, the Army did, in my case, rethink options:
"Of those who found the training a breeze only a few were able to go on for more complex training in other areas. A variety of reasons prevented those who didn't, or couldn't, continue.
"One reason was time. The Army required that a GI have at least 2 years service remaining after completing extensive and expensive training. Most draftees were adamantly opposed to adding more time to their '2-year sentences.'
"Another reason was security. Top Secret clearances were not as 'generally defined' as Secret clearances. Not being approved for one meant being restricted to your present level of training. Anyone holding a Secret clearance could view anything stamped 'Secret.' However, Top Secret clearances were amended with the sub-classification 'Need To Know.' Meaning, having a Top Secret clearance did not entitle the holder to view all Top Secret information. He was only allowed to view material he had a 'need to know' about. Even a General holding a Top Secret clearance was sometimes not allowed the privilege of knowing all matters under his own command, even though a lower ranking communications or intelligence officer was allowed to. The reason for limiting access was not to restrict individuals as much as it was to restrict numbers. The more people knowing about a secret, the greater the chances it might be leaked."(source)
Although not specifically applicable to security clearances per se' the following from the same source, shows how the training at Fort Gordon was applicable to the mission I was eventually assigned to. Most people have a tendency to place military communication training into Army Lite, when in reality being school trained is not necessarily a free ride:
"To graduate, a student had to fulfill several prerequisites. He had to be able to send and receive 90 Morse code characters words per minute. He had to be able to fire up a radio ensemble, send and receive 3 messages within 5 minutes, pass Phase 2, and be able to handle the control of a self-contained RTT rig, all on his own.
"We were told that some secret operations might require a rig be set up on top of a mountain, hidden in the middle of a village, or buried underground. Although 90 characters per minute was considered extremely fast, some veteran RTT jocks could handle 200 while drinking coffee.
"While the communications specialists of other MOS's were trained to work in large, fixed, multi-personnel stations well away from combat lines, the RTT graduate was trained to operate solely on his own as a primary or backup source of communications support for any level of command operations.
"Because of the occasional tactical necessity to 'bury a rig in the boonies,' far from technical support or spare parts, the single-most important factor emphasized in RTT training was that each student develop an instinctive ability to get his rig back up to full operation if anything went wrong. and being alone in a rig surrounded by fragile technology, anything and everything was expected to go wrong, most of the time.
"Personal resourcefulness and improvisation were stressed as the 2 qualities absolutely necessary to make it as a successful RTT man. The unofficial RTT motto was, 'Improvise, or Die.'"
I get emails all the time from people who say, "I was drafted and I got a security clearance, etc., etc." While some special circumstances draftees did indeed receive security clearances, like myself for example, most didn't --- especially Top Secret. Although not a set-in-stone steadfast rule, it almost always fell back onto what is found in the short paragraph above that reads:
"One reason was time. The Army required that a GI have at least 2 years service remaining after completing extensive and expensive training. Most draftees were adamantly opposed to adding more time to their '2-year sentences.'"
PICTURED AN ANGRY-26 RADIO RIG LIKE MY HOME AWAY FROM HOME DURING TRAINING
AT THE U.S. ARMY SOUTHEAST SIGNAL CORPS SCHOOL, FORT GORDON, GEORGIA, 1963
AN/GRC-26 MOBILE RADIO UNIT
ADONIS TSEC/KL-7 CIPHER MACHINE
ABANDONED JEEP AT MAYA TEMPLE SITE, GUATEMALA
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MADAME NGUYEN CAO KY (1941 - 2016)
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"Sometime in the spring of 1982 and a year or so after being gone two years in the Peace Corps, a very good friend of mine, a onetime philosophy major that I had known in college, but somehow now having morphed into a big time computer geek, contacted me.
"She told me the man she loved was on the waiting list for a heart transplant at Stanford University and that she had moved to a small studio apartment in Campbell, California to work in Silicon Valley and be within driving distance to see him. She wanted to know if there was some way I might be able to console him as he was wrought with anxiety almost to the point of a total breakdown --- in turn adversely impacting his health and preparedness for the transplant. Before a new heart with his match was available he died."
The above quote opens an article about Adam Osborne, who was not only a friend of mine and major foe and adversary to Steve Jobs of Apple Computer fame in their early years, he also grew up as a young boy in the ashram of the venerated Indian holy man the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, and where I met him. Osborne is, however not the person so mentioned on the waiting list. He came into the picture because of the person on the waiting list.
In the main text of the Osborne article I write that my initial stay of several days after going to Silicon Valley turned into several weeks, then several months, eventually extending into a period pushing nine months. However, I wasn't there totally from day one day-after-day around the clock through to my departure. During that period I was sort of using the area as a base of operations just like I would almost anywhere, coming and going as needed doing any number of things. Plus, for most of that period my friend had a regular day job and mostly unavailable during working hours and just as well, often not able to put together several days back-to-back over any extended span on a regular basis either.
It was under the above circumstances that during a trip to Southern California I ran into Madame Ky, the former Dang Tuyet Mai, at her boutique. The two of us knew each other through her husband, I just didn't know she had opened a boutique. As it was, typically I would have no call to be at the particular mall her business was located, but on the day we ran into each other I had gone there specifically looking for someone. The daughter of a couple I knew who lived on the east coast had only just graduated from college and moved to Southern California and started the very first year of her very first job as a special needs teacher. The school, Gill Special Education Center, an Orange County Department of Education school site, was located in a residential area in a former elementary school about three blocks south of the mall. I had told the parents, given a chance, that when I was in Orange County I would go by to see how she was doing. The day I went by the school she had taken her class on a community outing to have lunch at the mall. While at the mall I just happened to come across Madame Ky. We made arrangements to see each other again and after that I saw Madame Ky several times, usually for tea and chat.
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During one of those meetings I told her that on that particular afternoon, as soon as we were done with our tea, I would be heading out to Cabo San Lucas for a few days to stay at a hotel resort located basically right on the tip of Baja California called the Twin Dolphin owned by a friend of mine, David J. Halliburton, Sr. Embellishing the story a bit, although still true, I told her that one of Halliburton's first loves was a niece of my Stepmother who was babysitting me for the summer, a girl he always held in high regard. In turn Halliburton made it a point to ensure my stay at the Twin Dolphin was always special. With that Madame Ky said she wanted to go too. So she did, the two of us spending several days or more together at the Twin Dolphin. General Ky, thinking of me more as a monk and apparently slipping his mind that I was a onetime G.I., it presented no problem. Hah!
PANORAMIC VIEW OF HALLIBURTON'S HOTEL TWIN DOLPHIN AS IT LOOKED 1980s-1990s
During our visit a movie and TV actress of true natural talent, the fabulously beautiful Phyllis Davis was there as well. Although she and I didn't meet nor were we introduced, we were in the same general mix of people over a span of several days in and around the resort. One morning for Sunday Brunch, under invitation, like me, we sat at the same table together with several other people as a personal guest of Halliburton. Several years later, as Fate or Karma or luck would have it, following a formal meeting in Las Vegas between the two of us, she would not only make a major impact in my life but me on hers as well, eventually with the two of us heading into the jungles of Asia together so she become a becoming a frequenter of lonely places in an ever expanding attempt to enhance a deepening spiritual Awareness.
PHYLLIS DAVIS CIRCA 1980
If you haven't seen the additional images of Madame Nguyen Cao Ky and would like to do so please click HERE