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the Wanderling

"For a vast number of young men growing up around the same time I did, after reaching a certain age, they were uprooted from whatever they were doing by the then in place friendly Selective Service System, otherwise known as the draft, and plunked down into the military. And so it was for me. Following a crowded ruckus-filled overnight 400 mile train ride from the induction center in Los Angeles to Fort Ord I, along with several hundred other potential GIs, at 4:00 AM in the morning, was herded into one of a whole line of cattle trucks and taken to what they called the Reception Company Area. Then, after being issued two pairs of too large boots along with several sets of too large olive drab shirts and pants, and having the good fortune of completing eight weeks of basic without incident I was sent to Fort Gordon, Georgia to attend the U.S. Army Signal Corps School for what they called Advanced Individual Training, or AIT."(source)


Hundreds if not thousands of those same kind of above viable young men, stemming from all walks of life and all ranks of society, but mostly poor or working class, almost all of them single and hardly any with an education much higher than high school --- were uprooted from wherever they came from all over the United States and sent half way around the world only to be plunked down again in large numbers in small geographical areas such as army bases, naval bases and air bases. No sooner had their numbers grown than services designed to provide for any number of their needs in any number of areas popped up all around the peripheral of those bases, some legal, some illegal. Along the streets, gutters, back alleys, bars and buildings there wasn't anything you couldn't find, buy, get, or have done to, by or from somebody if you had the money. So many providers, purveyors, and entrepreneur were there that there was even space to haggle prices between whatever you wanted or wanted done. A lot of those services, especially those crossing legal lines, although known to exist, were simply overlooked by those in authority, with those doing the overlooking often on a payroll or two.

So said, in Saigon, as well as in almost all of the in-country environments the ingredients were there for the perfect brew pot. Hundreds of young, for the most part, uneducated unworldly single G.I.s with pockets full of money, with no family, old time friends, or girls close by, and all on the prowl to find ways to redirect their thoughts on who, what, when, or how they got into the mess they were in and if not being able to get out of it, how to deflect. Enter the Saigon Tea Girl.

Saigon Tea Girls were just one facet in a long legacy of wartime female camp followers. Since time immemorial, whenever or wherever there was a war there were those who fit the mold of a Tea Girl. But first, before getting to far into defining a Saigon Tea Girl, we should define Saigon Tea, which in turn makes the Saigon Tea Girl a Saigon Tea Girl. Basically Saigon Tea is a fake alcoholic drink, concocted around three basic types. One was a much watered down alcoholic beverage, usually whiskey; another was a non-alcoholic "tea" with a hue or color mimicking whiskey or a given alcohol beverage; and the third, plain clear water with a slight mint taste or flavor. There were others of course, and as the patron became more and more inebriated, most of the concoctions became weaker and weaker, often in the end with the patron just being rolled for any remaining cash and left outside in some back alley for his boots to be stolen.

However, bars were businesses and if they expected to make money they had to stay in business. They could be shut down, boycotted, or trashed by a bunch of irate G.I.s, so most proprietors were fairly careful even though it was fairly easy to reopen a few hours later in the same location under a relative's name or down the street or in another building if necessary.

A Tea Girl was a working girl too, usually in the employ of or under contract to or on commission with the person who owns or runs a given bar. Her job was to entice, cajole, or otherwise convince, typically alluringly so, a bar patron to buy her a drink, usually with an underlying given of potentially receiving something in return, something usually construed to be more than simply conversation. The G.I. was usually reeled in by the Tea Girl gently rubbing her hands in the right spots, most usually creating a bump in his pants if it wasn't already there and/or keeping it that way after it was. It is at this point where many make the mistake of what a Tea Girl's role is. Many think that right off the bat they are prostitutes. However, even so many may well have been, how they made their money and for their boss was to get the bar patron to buy and continue to buy --- for her and himself --- as many drinks one after the other as possible. Those drinks were almost always at inflated prices and the patron, in buying a drink for the Tea Girl, was really paying for two drinks. However, this is where the Saigon Tea Girl comes in. Her drink, although costing full price, is if you remember, watered down or simply tea. Hence, the Saigon Tea Girl. As for being a prostitute, what the Tea Girl did on her own time was her business. For sure the boss or the owner of the bar didn't want her walking out to earn herself a few bucks on the side, or back as the case may be, when she was supposed to be working earning money for him. The following is how Jim Stewart, a former U.S. Army MP stationed in Saigon from October of 1966 to October of 1968, and who worked there as a civilian for two years until July, 1970 as well, describes his view on the subject in Military Police of Vietnam:

"As in all wars there were the girls. For economic reasons many young girls went to work in the bars. Many of the girls were married, had Vietnamese boyfriends, or had American boyfriends that they lived with. Selling 'Saigon Tea' was quite profitable for them. The drink was nothing more than a kool-aid flavored drink (most of the girls did not drink or smoke), mostly no bigger than a shot glass. (Quicker to drink that way). The cost of the 'tea' usually ran about one to two dollars. The girl split the cost with the bar owner, so it could be a lucrative income for a young 17-20 year old girl. Typically a girl would sit with a G.I. and get him plastered, of course, only with the Saigon Tea coming to the table for her. An 'excuse me' would usually mean she was off to another table and another G.I. (out of sight) to tell him he was 'handsome' too and to order more tea."

Another Saigon MP, David S. Holland, writes the following in his book VIETNAM, A MEMOIR: Saigon Cop (2005) of which I especially like how he frames his comments around the so often found in books, movies, and novels, the good-hearted prostitute or the character in a war novel or movie and a lady of the night who develop a meaningful relationship. A good example of that same storyline shows up in the movie Battle Cry wherein the unbelievably naive Marine meets the girl for the first time followed by the unbelievable outcome by the end of the movie. No need for me to write the reality because of what Holland says so well:

"Sex was a big part of my year in Saigon. I won't idealize or romanticize the situations: I spent a year consorting with Saigon Bar Girls and whores. Given my lifestyle, there was little likelihood I would meet many decent, or 'good' Vietnamese girls, and I made little effort to try. And I can't say I came across many of those good-hearted whores who occupy the pages of fiction, or that I met up with a whore for whom I developed and overriding infatuation or who developed such an infatuation for me --- the kind of thing you read about in war novels where one of the characters and a lady of the night develop some sort of relationship. No, I basically went for the sex, and the whores went basically for my money."



Sitting around shooting the shit with the MP I told him that on the way up from Qui Nhon the driver pointed out one of the houses off the road that had all the outward appearances of a rundown average looking Vietnamese home that wasn't a home, but actually a whorehouse. The MP told me he had been there a few times and even gotten to know some of the girls. They didn't rip you off and had fair prices, especially if they knew you. Not long after that the two of us were in the house that was not a home wolfing down a few cold beers with a couple of girls on our laps and me thinking how glad I was to be in service of my country.

The MP wanted to know what was so important about me, the special treatment and all, why no name tags, unit markings, or rank. Not knowing for sure if he was a plant or not I was careful what I revealed telling him at the most I was what is known in military parlance as a dancer:

dancer [ dan-ser, dahn- ]


DANCER: In military jargon a Morse code sender/receiver, i.e., telegrapher, operator, who is extremely light or nimble in their Morse code sending abilities. From the phrase "trip the light fantastic" meaning a dancer whose abilities are graceful and light on their feet, that glides smoothly through a dance routine as though a prima ballerina assoluta. Typically applied to a telegrapher whose skills are almost savant in nature. More specifically, an operator with a rare ability to accurately duplicate or counterfeit almost any Morse code operator's "fist" to such a point that what is sent by the counterfeiter is totally indistinguishable for virtually anyone to differentiate between messages sent and the person being imitated.

THE CIVILIAN G.I, 1968 VIETNAM: Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols, the Highlands, and Cambodia

In the dark early morning hours, with no pre-warning or knock, the door to the room I was in suddenly burst open, the door ending up on an angle dangling only by the grace of the bottom hinge, a few screws, and a chair it hit. The instant the room was breached a 200 watt flashlight-like beam hit my eyes from the same direction. The light emanated from one of a group of three heavily armed men, all wearing helmets, their bodies darkly silhouetted beyond the handheld flashlight by the dim hallway back light behind them. All three instantly stopped their pushing-forward momentum, even to the point of bouncing into and off each other as well as tripping over the door when they realized one after the other that I held not a non-lethal reciprocal flashlight like their's in my hand, but a well aimed Colt .45 semi automatic. Before my eyes even narrowed from the wide open dilation of the previous darkness to the snapping narrowness from the flashlight's sudden glare I had the .45 off the stand and on them with the hammer back.

Then, almost just as quickly, a fourth man, also in a helmet but not carrying a weapon, squeezed between the other three asking to have a light turned on. The man, wearing the railroad tracks of a captain, wore freshly broken starch tailored fatigues looking all the same as a stateside STRAC trooper. He told me to put the hammer back and set the gun down saying I was pretty quick with a weapon for a dancer-ass brass pounder. I said, "Reflexes." He returned with, "That's reflexes, sir!" I dug down into my fatigue shirt pocket and pulled out some captain bars. He said, "You ain't no captain, private." I said, "We'll see what I am when you're in the stockade prickface." The captain said, "You asshole," then told one of the MP's to hold my arm down flat on top of the dresser next to the bed and said, "In a second your'e not going to be anybody." He took the rifle of the MP and with the butt down wavering several inches above the top of the back of my hand, using both arms, raised the rifle above his head as though he was going to bring it down and smash my hand. I yelled if he screwed up my hand even a little bit the Army would see to it he was a dead man. The MP, releasing my arm said, "You can bet your chrome plated captain's bar ass I ain't going to be part of holding no dancer's arm while his hand was being smashed." With that the captain smiled and lowered the rifle and I put the captain bars back in my pocket. I futzed around in the pocket a few seconds and pulled out a major's gold oak leaf and said, "Maybe your'e right, it could be I'm a major." The captain replied with, "Yeah, a major asshole."

The girl beside me, who had been laying on top of the bed totally nude face down and asleep, had rolled over into a sitting position putting her legs together pulling them up toward her chest under her chin while cover wrapping herself by pulling the sheet up around her neck leaving only her head, long dark hair, and feet, toes, and ankles showing. The captain, actually calling her by name, asked if I had been nice to her. The girl, uncovering her arm put it around my neck scooting closer telling the captain she was in love with me, wanted to marry me, go back to America and have my babies. The captain said that was good enough for him.

Then he said he hated to be a harbinger of such bad news, sadness and sorrow to such a remarkable couple, but he had no choice but to breakup our almost full night in depth steadfast romance and relationship because he had orders to take me with him. Looking at the captain with a slight tip-nodding of my head toward the girl while at the same time moving my eyes back and forth as if pointing he, without embarking even the slightest tendency toward leniency, told me, "Get your fuckin' clothes on soldier or I'll drag me out the fuckin' place just the way you are."



Although you might not realize it by talking to a G.I., not every Vietnamese woman in Saigon or in-country was a fall down on the ground with a mattress on their back spread-their-legs apart purveyor of sex for money. My own personal view of Saigon Tea Girls, prostitutes, hookers, street walkers, ladies of the night, and high-class high-cost escorts, on a broad scale (no pun intended) may not jibe individually 100 percent in all cases, but I did have a tendency to lean somewhat more towards a side quite a bit different than the average G.I., primarily because of my early upbringing.

During the period of time I was grinding my way through the eighth grade, my dad and stepmother, after six years of marriage and for reasons unknown to me, decided to divorce and go their separate ways. The last two years of those six years, because my dad and stepmother were out of the country, I had been living with a foster couple, of which as I saw it, relative to me, it wasn't working out so hot. So said, when the summer between my eighth and ninth grade came about and I heard my Stepmother had returned to the states, I ran away from home in search of her.

Sometime prior to starting my search, a few months before the beginning of that summer, I learned she bought, or was in the process of buying, a ranch somewhere way out in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Even though it took awhile, following a series of adventures as a young boy runaway, I was eventually able to locate both her and the ranch. At the time the place was pretty much a run down former attempt at a dude ranch. When I returned one year later, during my first full summer there, what she called a 'ranch' --- even though as a ranch it was a little on the sparse side in what I would call standard ranch fare --- had been completely rebuilt and refurbished with a rather long fully stocked bar, food service facilities, swimming pool, dance hall, live entertainment, along with rodeos and boxing matches on the weekends. It also had at least two dozen one-armed-bandit slot machines in a secret hidden room, plus like I like to say, a flock of ever present hostesses --- several of whom took me under their wing and one or two that may have been slightly more friendly than they should have been considering my young age, the youngest at the time at the very least being six years older than me.

"My stepmother's 'ranch' had over two dozen illegal one-arm bandit slot machines in a secret hidden room that had rumors of being tied back to the mob. Boxing matches on weekends that always drew a number of gamblers betting on the outcome of those matches. Some of the gamblers were known to be pretty nefarious, often packing heat with nobody knowing for sure who they were going to use them on, for, when, or if. So too, Pancho's place was a club, that is, a real club, or at least a faux-real club, where an actual dues paying membership was required to access the facilities --- and that membership, as far as service men was concerned, was limited almost exclusively to officers. My stepmother's place had no such restrictions. She used to say, 'Officers, enlisted men, ranchers, farmers, truck drivers, Indians, even entertainers, they're all welcome,' making my stepmother's a much different mix of clientele, a clientele that wasn't always as sophisticated or as understanding as Pancho's. People were always suspiciously viewing the hostesses and/or casting aspersions toward them and acting toward them in a variety totally uncalled for ways. Misinterpreting roles, true or not, most of them didn't deserve it or earn it at least as far as I viewed as a kid."



"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.




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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 above. 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)

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"Virginia Hill bought a nightclub in Nuevo Laredo, and started smuggling heroin into Texas with a woman named Dr. Margaret Chung. Very important, Dr. Chung was a member of the drug smuggling Hip Sing Tong, which was pretty much the outlet for Chinese Nationalist heroin in the United States."

DAVID VALENTINE: CIA, Drug Trafficking, and the JFK Assassination


"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 sneering 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 sophomore 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."





Elsewhere in my works I state I was a regular reader of comic books throughout most of my early childhood. However, by the time I reached high school the only comic book I kept up on on a continuous basis was Mad comics. Of all the comics I had at one time all are gone except for Mad, in of which I still have the first 200 issues stashed away in boxes cared for somewhere by someone, each issue encased in a clear plastic wrapper with a heavy stock paper backing.

The above issue of Mad Comics, number 14 in the series, with a depiction of Leonardo Da Vinci's painting of the Mona Lisa on the cover, was published during the summer between my sophomore and junior years in high school, the same summer and year that my Merchant Marine friend involved in the previous necklace story died.

The knowing of Leonardo Da Vinci had been in and out of my life one way or the other since I was at least five years old. I know by the time I was eight I was building and attempting to fly a winged glider-like craft starting with a flying machines based initially on one of his designs. When I first became aware about his painting the Mona Lisa specifically I don't remember. However, I do know that True Comics, No. 58, March 1947, the same book I cite so often as being a major inspiration for building and flying a machine based on a Da Vinci design, also had a clear reference to the Mona Lisa.


During the early part of the year 1963, after having been drafted in the latter part of 1962, I had moved from Basic Training at Fort Ord, California to being fully ensconced in training and the goings on of the Southeastern Signal Corps School in Fort Gordon, Georgia. However, even though I had only just earned my Private First Class stripes from the slick sleeve I was, because of my ability with Morse code, a near savant as my civilian instructors continued to tell my chain of command officers, before completion of Signal School I was sent on my second TDY military experience, the first having been while I was still a buck private in basic training at the same time as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

My TDY destination from Fort Gordon was the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. I was sent to be part of a several week observed study control group working with initially ten, dropped to five, specially selected cadets supposedly versed in the intricacies of Morse code. The idea was to find out what I had that they didn't and once found could it be learned or replicated.

The father of one of the cadets in the group owned a yacht that one weekend he sailed up the Hudson River from some affluent suburb of New York City, hoping to spend some time with his son. The son invited several cadet friends and me to hang out with him on the boat, which, being a few notches better than nothing, I did. As what would eventually become usual for me nothing identified me as to my rank or status, so nobody really knew if I was an officer, an enlisted man, or maybe even a civilian. Often, for people who own yachts sometimes things like that matter. For example, the cadet's sister. If she had known I was a lowly private and not one of the group at large she probably wouldn't have even talked to me. Same with the dad. It came out between the father and I that we both knew David J. Halliburton Sr. and both had been on his yacht the Twin Dolphin, both several times. I told the father I knew Halliburton because as a young man he had a serious crush on my stepmother's niece, which is true. Halliburton's family lived right across the street from my stepmother and during the summer her niece would babysit me. In reality though I knew Halliburton later in life because I was a crew member on his yacht, a mere sander of wood. Of course I didn't tell the dad that and he automatically put me higher up on the scale of things. Years later Halliburton did so as well after the connection with my stepmother's niece became clear.

In any case, as it turned out, from February 4, 1963 to March 4, 1963, after having been on exhibit in Washington D.C., but before returning to the Louvre in Paris, and for the only time ever, Leonardo Da Vinci's painting the Mona Lisa was in the U.S. and on exhibit at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, a period of time that overlapped the exact same time I was at West Point. More than that, it just so happened the father of the cadet had long time philanthropic ties in support the museum and had at his beckon call special VIP passes to see the exhibit. When we got to talking and he thought I was right up there with Halliburton in the scheme of things and I expressed an overwhelming desire to see the Mona Lisa, as soon as he could arrange it and his soon and his son and I could get time off he sent a car up to West Point to pick us. We were whisked into the museum ahead of the hours long crowds and as others were being ushered through after viewing the painting, our neck lanyard identification allowed to stay as long as we wanted.


"Thousands of visitors waited in line for the doors to open when on February 7, 1963, the Mona Lisa went on view to the public at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. More than one million New Yorkers went to see the painting during the month-long exhibition, enduring winter cold and rain, as 'Mona Mania' swept the nation."

Da Vinci's Masterpiece Captivated a Nation

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Although I had been to Europe before I was drafted I had never seen the Pieta. Before I had a chance something almost as unusual as seeing the Mona Lisa happened.

The very next year following my discharge from the Army, on the occasion of my birthday day that year, found me once again in New York City and again in pursuit of seeing a masterpiece in real life. Only this time however, I was a civilian and the masterpiece was not done by Leonardo, but by his chief rival in things artistic, Michelangelo.

It was opening day of the 1965 World's Fair in New York City. My destination at the fair that day was the Vatican Pavilion, which had on display Michelangelo's Pieta, shipped across the seas from St. Peter's Basilica exclusively for the World's Fair. This time, unlike my VIP treatment for the Mona Lisa, I was standing in line with thousands of others to race across the fair grounds to see Michelangelo's masterpiece. And see it I did. After waiting in line for hours then getting on a regulated-speed moving conveyor belt that went right in front of the sculpture all the while determining how long you can remain. Even squeezing back eventually you are forced off the conveyor belt, and in order to see the Pieta again you have to get back in line. Clever.



"(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.




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.


As far as being Sheep-Dipped is concerned, as mentioned in the opening sentence at the top of this footnote and a couple of other places, sometimes you would travel without one single piece of identification that could tie you back to anything. You could have been issued a passport with your new civilian identification, but that passport was typically if not always held in abeyance somewhere beyond or outside the loop unless situations dictated otherwise. Personally, however, I did learn from an Air Fright Specialist, commonly called in the vernacular of the day a kicker, working out of the cargo hold of a C-123, who always wore an ostentatious gold Rolex along with several secreted away gold coins to bargain his life or freedom with if necessary, to always carry something of tradable value hidden someplace. After that, without anybody's knowledge I almost always had one or two one-ounce 999.9 pure Credit Suisse gold chips with me somewhere or the other, which in those days only cost about thirty-five U.S. dollars each --- but were worth way much more than that in the hinterlands.


Several decades later and long since a civilian found me in in a somewhat precarious position after having been rendered unconscious and ending up stuffed deep within the confines of a cave filled with bats on the tiny Caribbean island of Utila about 22 miles off the north coast of Honduras without ever having passed through customs from Belize. From lessons learned in the above, thanks to the kicker, the following transpired from the source so cited:

"I walked back, picked up my shoulder bag, and sat in the shade among the trees just off the beach to dry off. I unsealed a secret pocket along the bottom of my bag and slid out a carefully lead-foil wrapped item. Inside the foil wrap was a solid gold Presidential Rolex watch similar to the one Don Johnson used to wear in the old Miami Vice TV series. Accompanying the watch were two one-ounce gold South African Krugerrands and a secondarily wrapped up anodized titanium all metal American Express Black Centurion credit card, all items I sometimes carried with me or didn't, depending on what it was I was doing or where I was going. All pretty much explained later, the card and it's perks were floated on a no questions asked as needed basis, provided me through the generosity of an anonymous admirer. The watch had long been mine."




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Air Freight Specialists, commonly called "kickers," primary job was to load aircraft with various types of cargo that included rice for refugees and ammunition for troops fighting a war against the Pathet Lao and the North Vietnamese. The task involved ensuring the aircraft was loaded according to weight and balance specifications and to unload the plane at destinations throughout Laos. Often these loads were airdropped, and the kicker's job was to kick the cargo out the back or side of the aircraft depending on the aircraft type. Thus, the nickname 'kicker.' It was a demanding and strenuous task, and they were at the mercy of the pilots hoping they knew what they were doing, and the wartime conditions in Laos. Most hits from enemy gunfire occurred in the fuselage where the kickers were located making them more vulnerable than the pilots. All of them carried parachutes, and some survived a stricken aircraft by jumping, but most perished along with the pilots when a plane was shot down. (source)


In the story Secrets of the Aztecs, a group of explorers using a raft made up of balsa wood logs set out to prove that people from Africa could have crossed the Atlantic to South America long before the advent of modern sailing vessels by using existing ocean currents. Somehow the explorers, after crossing the time barrier into the past, end up in the civilization of ancient Aztecs. Just before they leave one of the explorers gives the Aztec chief a gold watch as a gift. The explorers head into the Atlantic returning to normal time. Nobody believes their story so the explorers put together an expedition into the jungle and discover the now lost city. One of the artifacts found by the diggers is the gold watch.

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Most people don't know it or put it together but a lot of the same players in Vietnam practiced their craft during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The 121st Signal Battalion that played a significant role in the Crisis was part of the 1st Infantry Division. Less than three years after being on the beaches of Florida waiting to go into Cuba the 121st and the 1st Infantry Division were coming onto the beaches of Vietnam. For the record, because of being off the record as the case may be, the government has never recognized that the 121st had been deployed to Florida.





"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.

From start to finish the events surrounding my return was like walking through a series of hooked together passenger cars on a high speed train being pulled by a locomotive driven by the hands of others that you were blocked from getting to. All the while it was racing out of control down a track that somebody else built with unknown others having selected the destination. From one car to the next each had its own set of passengers in their own passenger car environment, separate from the car behind or the one ahead. In the meantime as I went car to car the outside edges of the train sped by regardless of the time of day or night or where you were or which car you were in on the train or even where the train itself was.

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.


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)

For those of you who have read this far, have seen all the graphics, read all the footnotes, and have gone to all of the links, the black and white graphic below of the Signal Corps telegrapher and an operator of a hand crank generator as found on the top of my page titled IN AS A BOY, OUT AS A MAN: The Draft, Active Duty, and Active Reserve, referring to the Chinese Burma India theater, the jungles of Burma during World War II and the jungles of Southeast Asia in 1968, may now carry a more deeper meaning.

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"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)



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:






See as well: High Barbaree



See as well: Enlightened Individuals I've Met.





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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."


"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 quote below is found at the link below. It is actually the continuance of, or direct follow-up paragraph to the opening quote at the top of the page:

"Following completion of Basic Training and then Advanced Individual Training (AIT), except for a short detour to Fort Benning, Georgia, I was sent to Fort Riley, Kansas. From Riley, on TDY, I continued participating in an never ending series of so-called covert related training activities. During Christmas of 1963 I was enjoying my first two weeks of well earned leave, intended to last thru to New Years and beyond, staying mostly at my grandmother's in Redondo Beach, California. Not long into my time off than my First Sergeant called and told me to get my ass back to base. I told the Top that I had a roundtrip ticket and it would be days before I could use it. He said, 'Fuck the ticket, there will be a guy at the door any minute with a new one.' After my return to Riley and basically being kept in isolation for four to six weeks, sometime into the second month of 1964, traveling light and wearing my Class A uniform per verbal orders, I boarded a train to Needles, California, with the luxury of my own sleeping compartment and eating in the dining car before the hoi polloi got to. From Needles, in the dark of the early morning hours, after shedding my uniform, I was taken by civilians as a civilian to Norton AFB near San Bernardino and from there flew to Travis AFB. A short time later, after rout-stepping around Tan Son Nhut Air Base for awhile and visiting Saigon a few times, nearly always by myself and never having been officially assigned to a unit, found me in Long Tieng, Laos with nobody knowing I was there and having bypassed basically all military paperwork and protocol --- albeit at first in the early days at least, sometimes, depending on the situation, in fully sheep-dipped fatigues with no patches, names or identifying marks."


Graduation from the Signal Corps School with a RTT combat MOS like the one I received requires a student to fully master several prerequisites: 1) Be able to send and receive at the bare minimum 90 Morse code character words per minute. 2) Be able to fully operate independently a radio ensemble by sending and receiving three designated messages within five minutes, and 3) Complete and pass Phase Two of the training, Phase Two being the total learning and full operation of Top Secret cryptographic code machines undertaken in a specialized secure area. Both phases require an uninhibited ability in advanced Morse code, radio teletype operations, speed typing, calibration, antenna trim, network concatenation, map and coordinate reading, oscilloscope analysis, meteorology, emergency power utilization, jamming, and first echelon maintenance and repair.

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"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 graphic below 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 in the graphic below, 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. Her modeling career morphed into becoming an American Airlines flight attendant with a last name change to Dean. Then in the process marrying some way-out-of-my-league tennis champion medal winning dude who had a wife named Sally from their Northwestern University days. How all the changes came about or how they were straightened out I have no idea. 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 last time I saw her was April 3, 1968. Although she was no longer attending college, at least the one where she and I met but I still went to, she showed up to get transcripts or some such thing and while doing so, looked me up. There was a big freedom of speech protest going on that day and Allen Ginsburg was on campus to join in on the demonstrations. Before it was over 47 students had been arrested. Ginsberg read a poem titled "Open City #49" in three different locations that day and she went to one of them with me. She insisted we position ourselves in such a fashion that we, or more so she, didn't get caught up in any arrests, which we were able to do. As far as the poem Ginsberg read titled "Open City #49," it may have been a spur of the moment one not meant for posterity as I have never been able to find anything on it. In that the college logo was a 49er and the university was named after the city it was in there may have been a connection.

"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<

The first photo below, 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.


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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.'"


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A little over 10 years after the end of World War II a team of University of Pennsylvania archaeologists set into motion an expedition into the jungles of central Guatemala to explore and restore the ancient Maya ruins of Tikal, an expedition and exploration that turned into a 13 year project that didn't come to a conclusion on the University's part until 1969. Ironically, as I view it, almost the exact same years as the Vietnam war where lots of jeeps were left rotting in the jungle, along maybe with a few other things. Most if not all of the participating student workers and graduate student TA's in the Guatemala Tikal dig were of draft age and draft eligible, albeit a much different jungle and a much different mission.


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MADAME NGUYEN CAO KY (1941 - 2016)
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Madame Nguyen Cao Ky was, during the height of the Vietnam war, married to the onetime Air Vice Marshal come vice president of Vietnam, Nguyen Cao Ky. After the fall of Saigon and the South Vietnamese government the two of them settled in Orange County, California.

Sometime during the spring of 1982 I had gone to Silicon Valley intending to stay only a few days. While there I ran into a long lost friend, Adam Osborne, who I had not seen since our childhood, having first met at the ashram of the venerated Indian holy man the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi when Osborne and I were both kids. Osborne was at the time on his way to becoming a multi-quad-zillionaire with his personal computer, being a sort of a precursor to the eventually much more financially successful and arch enemy Steve Jobs of Apple Computer fame.

My initial stay of several days in 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 part, the people who requested my presence had regular day jobs 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 in Orange County. 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.


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!


At the same time as our visit to the Twin Dolphin 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.

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While it is true that during the time I was in Las Vegas per the request of Phyllis Davis as well as my own stay at the Twin Dolphin when she was there and traveling with Dean Martin I never saw Dean either time. I did however, cross paths with him a few months prior to my Twin Dolphin stay (I think it was prior to, but could have been between the two events) thanks to a friend of mine who also had the last name of Davis, albeit unrelated.

During the early-on months following my two year stint with the Peace Corps, but before showing up to help my friend in Northern California as mentioned above, the action-comedy film Cannonball Run starring Burt Reynolds and a host of others including Dean Martin was just in the end processes of wrapping up the final scenes prior to it's release date June 19, 1981. Those end of the story scenes were being done on location in Redondo Beach, California at the Portofino Inn owned and operated by a long time friend, businesswoman and sports car race driver Mary Davis. If you have seen any of the outtakes from Cannonball Run, and knowing how much I liked such things, through our mutual friend Bonnie J., Mary Davis extended an invitation to attend.

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In a little side note as well as a special tribute to a special lady, sports car racer Mary Davis. She was highly responsible for me getting hired to work on the sport-fisher marlin boat come yacht owned by the previously mentioned Halliburton, a job that for me led to more than a few adventures. Halliburton's skipper had seen my 1940's Ford Woody Wagon parked outside of a restaurant one morning and was so taken by the quality of the woodwork he came in and asked me if I would be willing to do the brightwork, i.e., the wood, on his boat.

Before he actually hired me he did a little background checking to see if I was "OK," re the following, in of which, thanks to Mary Davis and Joe Landaker, sports cars and sports car racing, I was hired:

"Always looking out for the best interest of his boss, in general small talk the skipper learned we had mutual acquaintances he had respect for and questioned them as to how they felt about me. At the top of his list, after jokingly bypassing the infamous south bay personality Fifie Malouf, was the owner-manager of the Portofino Inn, Mary Davis, located at King Harbor marina in Redondo Beach who he knew through consultation with her regarding construction and completion of the marina (started 1960, opened 1965). She was also a rabid sports car enthusiast and race driver. Davis maintained a close relationship with a couple of fellow race car drivers, Bob Drake, of whom she was married at one time and Eric Hauser who was often seen wheeling about the Max Balchowsky #70 Old Yeller' V-8 powered Buick special affectionately known as The Junkyard Dog, in local sports car races.

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For additional images of Madame Nguyen Cao Ky please click HERE