Jim Clancy talked about his sons, he beamed.
met him in the high school where he taught history. He started to boast about
his boy, who was serving in the United States Army and stationed in Hawaii. He
was a lutenient in an an artillary outfit, but had not yet made up his mind
whether or not to make the military a life-long career.
enough, father and son trained in the same place, both serving in artilerary
units. Only the elder Clancy had gone to his training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma,
31 years earlier, in the fall of 1966. Coincindentally, my uncle also trained
there about that time, before his unit was sent to Vietnam.
unit was reserve, so he remained states side for his whole six years.
it was time for my son to go, I decided to drive him out there," Clancy
said with that particular, nostagic note in his voice I had heard from other
men who had sought out the details of the past by revisiting the places where
something significant happened to them.
we got there, I drove him to his barracks," Clancy said. "The old
hospital had been turned into administrative offices and the new hospital was
so big it seemed to go on forever. Most of the wooden barracks had been knocked
down to make room for the new hospital. Oddly enough, the one I stayed in was
one of the few still standing."
Clancy talked about his time training there, how when after a couple of weeks,
the captain of his unit approached him and asked if he wanted to go to officers
told me he and others had been watching me and liked what they saw,"
Clancy said. "I told them I really didn't think I wanted to do it. The
captain told me that I'd be there for some weeks yet and I should think it
forgot the invitation, although was reminded about it a few weeks later, when
he sergeant came up and asked if he had thought over the offer.
told him I wasn't interested," Clancy said. "But it didn't end there.
Just before I was ready to leave, the Captain asked me again. I told him I
didn't want to do it."
Clancy visited his son in Hawaii and was priviledged to stay in one of the
military hotels just outside the base. He was sitting in his son's car as it
pulled up towards the hotel and noticed all the enlisted men saluting.
"It gave me chills," Clancy said. "To think all those men were saluting my son. I turned to him and asked if it was possible to go back and do it all again. My son shook his head, and said, `It's too late, Dad. You had your chance and you blew it.' I guess I did."