By Joe Stasikonis
After being discharged from VA-164 and the U.S. Navy in 1969, it took me 20 years to figure out just how much my life had been changed by these four short years and Viet Nam.
I don't talk about Viet Nam much anymore, because I finally dealt with it
about 15 years ago.
At one point in a drunken stupor I thought to myself that Woynarsky was lucky at least he got his name on THE WALL and didn't have to go through the "internal war". Ask someone who was there to tell you the "STORY" about Woynarsky.
Can you relate to being 18 years old and watching 44 young men burn as you struggle to find one still alive and put out fires all around you (not knowing that you have also been badly burned)? Later you find out that you attended grade school with the guy that accidentally started the fire. Only someone who has been there can truly understand what that is like.
Some time back during Desert Storm a young girl came up to me at work on Veterans Day and said "Joe, I would like to say thank you for the job you did in Viet Nam". I told her it was a little to late for that. If she really wanted to thank me, do it by NOT treating the men coming home from Desert Storm like they did me. Don't call them baby killers and spit on them. Welcome Them Back Home.
I'll tell you why this web site is here....
Because it is my way of saying Thank You to the men, families, and anybody who had anything to do with Attack Squadron 164. Job Well Done! Welcome Home!
When someone sends me an email like this I smile from ear to ear:
Up jumps the devil.
Stas, you old son of a gun. How the hell are you?
I'm still wondering what O.C.King said to you all those years ago to get you off your ass. I also remember you had the prettiest round eye in Singapore. And you had the nerve to bring her aboard ship to show her off. You were true to your word. I won't ever forget that one. I apologize to your wife if she reads this.
Have you heard from the rest of the wrecking crew?
I hope life is treating you well.
Your friend and fellow wrecking crew member, Mac (Arthur McDowell)
Their is another around here someplace about me dragging 4 mops off the side of the ship on a ropes to clean them. When I brought the mops back in I had 2 empty ropes and 2 mop handles. I hope Davy Jones put them mops to good use.
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