21 Dec 1965, I had just finished my specialist training at Schools Bn, Camp Del Mar, Camp Pendleton, Calif., and was given 25 days leave before reporting to 2nd AmTracBn, Camp Lejeune, N.C. I caught a ride with a classmate up to the Los Angeles area where we stayed the night with his Grandmother, then we’re given a ride to LAX to get a flight home for Christmas.
Most military flew stand-by, so I signed up on as many flights that were going to Kansas City. Of course flying out of anywhere during Christmas was a challenge.
After being in the Airport for 2 days, I was able to get a paid ticket to Kansas City on the 24th, but leaving late that night. I couldn’t wait, I had a girlfriend waiting and was in a hurry to get home. A stand-by opening came up and I took it, only it was going to Denver, Co., I didn’t care it would get me closer to home than L.A.
During the flight, an attendant came around to take my ticket and saw that it was a paid ticket to K.C. and asked the stupid question why not wait for the direct flight, and how was I to get to K.C. from Denver? I told him I don’t know but would find a way. He said I would have a refund coming and would take care of it. (I did get the refund while home on leave).
Landed in Denver around noon, the 23rd, carrying my sea bag full of my earthly belongings, thanks to the Marine Corps. While wandering around the airport looking for flights to K.C., I heard my name being paged and hurried to the gate I was to go to and found a stewardess there waiting and told me to hurry that a plane was waiting for me to take me to K.C. The engines were running and the door was closed as soon as I was seated, down the runway and off I went. Sat in 1st class around a table telling people how great the Marine Corps has been.
I was from Topeka, Kansas, which was an hour drive from there to K.C., but my parents and girlfriend made it in an hour and half after I called them, telling them that I was in K.C. waiting for them. I flew United airlines and was very thankful for the airlines helping this new Marine PFC to get home for Christmas.
B Co., 2nd AmTracBn, Camp Lejeune, N.C. 01/66-09/66
A Co., 1/9 Vietnam 10/66-02/67
CAC-P, Cam Lo, VN 02/67-10/67
I&I, MARMTD, Pasadena, Calif., 11/67-08/69
MACS-23, MARTD, Buckley Air Base, Aurora, Co., 04/71-10/79
Semper Fi, Marines and Merry Christmas,
GySgt Larry Schafer