60. Grenada Post Script

Home For Christmas In the News

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Tommy Rowe and I returned from Grenada with the last of the US combat troops on the island.  We flew back to Pope Air Force Base on December 12th.  We left behind a warm and (mostly) sunny place and returned to a cold and rainy place.  For me it was sort of anticlimactic coming back.  I'm sure most of the Men were happy to get back home, especially the guys with families waiting for them.  When we got off the plane at Green Ramp at Pope Air Force Base I felt like I was walking into a Black & White picture because it was a cold, gloomy, dark, winter day.  Still, there was an amount of fanfare; an Army band played, and I think a couple of short speeches were made, but no one wanted to stand there in the drizzling rain for that.

Eleven days later I came home for Christmas leave on the 23rd of December.  I think I got a military discount on airfare, which required me to be in uniform for the flight home.  I flew home wearing my "Class A" uniform, which included my Red Berret and shiny Jump Boots.  When I got off the plane at the Albany Airport my sister Nancy, and my parents were waiting for me.  While waiting for the plane to arrive Nancy noticed a local news camera crew was waiting too.  They were waiting for a fellow paratrooper from the 82nd who had been down in Grenada in the Fighting.  This guy was on the same plane as me, but I didn't know it.  I was in Uniform.  This other guy wasn't.  I happened to get off the plane before him.  So when I got off the plane and stepped into the terminal, there was the news crew with the lights and the camera in my face.  They asked me a few questions about being in Grenada.  I felt like I'd just gotten back from vacation, so I told them, "It was Great!"

I was on the 11:00 news that evening.  There was a shot of me walking in and my sister Nancy giving me a hug.  They also had me briefly talking to the camera.  The report began with something like this: Two Local Soldiers Return Home for Christmas after being in Grenada with Two Very Different Reactions to Being There; The other guy -" It was pretty scary; I've never been shot at before.  " Howard -" It was Great! "

So that was my moment in the limelight, less than my full 5 Minuets of fame.  I really don't think the reporters asked enough questions to uncover the reason why our two reactions were so different; His being at War, mine being on what I like to think of as a Military Vacation.

It's been 30 years since we went to Grenada.  I was chatting with someone on-line recently about it;

Howard - "It seems like such a long time ago..."

Fyah - "To you it may seem like a long time, but I can gurantee you that it's still fresh in our (Grenadians') minds. One of my closest frind's never met her dad, cause he was one of the Men Executed on the Fort -that's the week everything went mad.  And he would have been celebrating his b'day yesterday."

I Pledge Aligance To the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for Which it Stands, One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.   Hooahh!