At 2:45 PM this afternoon Mike Dankert arrived at the Austin airport. When I pulled into the pickup lane, I saw Mike waiting. He looked fit and trimmer than the last time we were together, and I immediately thought of our younger days.
Once Mike was settled into the guest bedroom we sat at the kitchen table to review the itinerary and the locations we planned on visiting. I poured our first drink of Makers Mark and soda water, and we toasted to the 13 platoon brothers that didn’t come home. We talked of family and our expectations for the upcoming trip to Vietnam. During the discussion of our trip, we had several more drinks to ease our apprehension of returning to Vietnam.
We have moved past our younger days of drinking Jim Beam and Coke. If I remember correctly, I introduced Mike to what would become our favorite drink, Jim Beam and Coke, at our first stand-down, June 1969, in Chu Lai.
Mike and I have been talking and drinking for hours. We have almost finished our bottle of Makers Mark, and we are having a great time talking about life, our families and our time together in Vietnam. The stories never get old. Chuck and Dusty, you are in our thoughts.
When I Turned Nineteen: A Vietnam War Memoir and Soldiering After the Vietnam War.