“Post Conflict” – Wonderful Events
On 2 July 1959 I stood on the yellow footprints of MCRD San Diego.
In 1971, I was at Marine Air Control Squadron – 4, First Marine Air Wing (Fwd), Monkey Mountain, Danang, South Vietnam. “Back In The World” (Lancaster CA) the Antelope Valley GI Supporters was sending Care Packages to a bunch of us in ‘Nam. I got a lot of them…….maybe because my Big Sis’ was part of the AVGIS folks.
In one of my Care Packages was a homemade greeting card. This greeting card was made by 10 year old Avery as part of a Camp Fire Girls project. On green construction paper cut like a 4 leaf clover was Avery’s name and address. Yep, you guessed it……Avery became my pen-pal !! Upon return to “The Land Of the Big PX / The World / The U. S. of A.” I delivered a First Marine Air Wing plaque to the folks at the AVGIS’s. My wife, son, and daughter went with me and we had dinner with Avery and her family in Lancaster, CA.
After din-din I gave Avery a Vietnamese doll and a display case and thanked her for being “so special” during a very “trying time” in my life. It was a very wonderful “coming home” event. It was 1971…. and my orders took me to MCAS Cherry Point NC. Several duty stations later, I retired out of my Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton CA. It was 1979. Somewhere along the way, I lost all contact with Avery.
Almost all my Marine Corps time was in Aviation Electronics…MOS 6611, 6212, and finally 5979. I continued my Avionics career throughout my “civilian (?) career”. In 2006 I worked on a short term, 4 month consulting job at the airport in Mojave CA, about 25 miles north of Lancaster CA.
One Saturday after work, I tried to contact Avery “one more time” at her mother’s 35 year old phone number. I left a message on the recorder. About a hour later, I got a return call that went something like this:
Lady’s voice: ” Is this Jerry Miller ?”
Lady’s voice: ” Are you a retired Marine ?”
Lady’s voice: ” Were you in Vietnam about 1971 ?”
Lady’s voice: ( She started crying)
Me: ( I got tears in my eyes, too !!!!)
Yes it was Avery. We talked for about an hour…..a priceless time of “remembering”.
In addition to being an Avionics Liaison Engineer, I have been a licensed Evangelist for many years and I was scheduled to preach the next morning’s message at our new church in California City CA. My message was already prepared……”The Military Man, Then and Now”. (II Kings 5: 1-14) about Naaman, Captain of the Host (the Biblical name for Commanding Officer).
Avery, her husband Mike, and daughter, were in attendance that Sunday morning. In the middle of my sermon, I had the distinct honor of introducing Avery (Brodish) Toker and her family to the congregation. Yes….more tears of joy and yes……Avery brought the Vietnamese doll with her.
GySgt Gerald R. “Jerry” Miller 1864806
U S Marine Corps (1959-79) Retired
“Once A Marine, Always A Marine”