Outside Hanger One at the Pima Aircraft Museum, in a dirt field, helicopters, prehistoric looking birds with rotating wings, are on display.

This Sikorski Utility helicopter was used at U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue stations in the seventies.

On night duty in U.S. Coast Guard Air Station radio rooms, I relayed messages from aircraft to the Officer of the Day, received and disseminated teletype communications, answered calls from fishing widows wondering why their hubby wasn’t back in his easy chair with a beer in one hand and the channel changer in the other looking for football games.

Weather is always a consideration, and, in the gulf, squalls come up unexpectedly.. Hurricanes shut down oil rigs and personnel are routinely evacuated. Around water, you can always become a grisly statistic.

 In those Vietnam years, us six foot sailors wore dress blues for ceremonies – dungarees, denim shirts, and white Dixie Cup hats for daily work.There were angry protests on the nightly news, signs in the streets, and burned American flags.

The Coast Guard was honorable duty.

Now, decades after the tragic war, Vietnam is a thriving country in Asia instead of a place Americans had to lose a war in order to win it.

Some obligations can’t be run from, no matter how odious.

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