Pass It On is a new, bi-weekly peek inside the heart and mind of Francis Pass…
September 13th, 1966. I believe it was a Tuesday.
That’s the day Wayne Corzine, Tim Reeves, and myself boarded a train to St. Louis.
Not for a Cardinals game or a trip to the zoo. We were heading to the big city to get our physicals.
The Three Amigos from Dongola had volunteered to join the Army.
We grew up together. We did life together. And we played baseball together, too. Tim was a shortstop and pitcher, I played third base, and Wayne was behind the plate.
And now we were on our way to Vietnam.
But not just yet.
First, we took a bus to Fort Leonard Wood for our induction.
Tim went on to OCS – Officer Candidate School. And he became an officer. An artillery officer. Lieutenant Reeves.
I had always fanaticized about being an Airborne Trooper. Wayne bought into the idea, too. So, he and I went to Airborne training.
Wayne got his wings. I did not.
But not for a lack of trying.
See, in Airborne training, you endure every climate. And they’ve got you running everywhere. Especially to the chow line. They call it the Airborne shuffle.
Well, I guess running in the rain caught up with me, because I spent ten days in the hospital with double lung pneumonia.
That put a damper on my training… and my fantasy of falling from the sky.
I got sick during Tower Week, which was right before Jump Week. I was *that* close to earning my wings.
Wayne became a paratrooper with the 173rd Airborne. And I was sent to out to the boonies of Vietnam.
Wayne and I spent three years in the Army. Tim stayed a little bit longer.
And every year… on or around the anniversary of our train ride to St. Louis, The Three Amigos from Dongola gather together for an annual reunion… which includes a round of what we call “Show & Tell.”
Each of us brings along a piece of personal military memorabilia to show to the other two. Like a helmet or dog tags.
We dine. We reminisce. We celebrate our friendship.
This year, our great gathering will take place on September 11th.
I love when the Three Amigos spend time together.
Who are your closest friends? Do you find time to do life together?
If not, today’s a good day to organize a reunion.
Be well. Stay well. Thanks for readin’…
P.S. – The Three Amigos from Dongola have identical service numbers… except for the last digit.