Welcome to the Life and Times of SFC Michael G. Stahl, U.S. Army (Ret.) MORE FUN THAN FEAR

My “Welcome Home” parade in Goldsboro, NC.

11 November, 1970

After I was WIA on my last mission on 08 August, 1970, I was eventually medivaced to Walter Reed Army Medical Center near Washington D.C. (A story for another time.)

Along with excellent medical care, the hospital offered ‘field trips’ to convalescing soldiers. I was fortunate enough to get to go on several of these: A week-end trip to Atlantic City; A flight to Goldsboro, NC for a Veterans’ Day weekend parade and Pig Pickin’, invitation to a Congressional Christmas party and Thanksgiving Dinner at the White House among my adventures.

Like any military operation, there were ‘lists’ in the orderly room that one could sign up for. Usually this was on a first come first serve basis. If you got on the list and your Doc signed off, off you went.                                             

An After War Story

 The HOME COMING We Expected.


This was my first ‘field trip’ and, all in all, is was an awesome experience. This was the kind of home coming we both deserved and expected because “We thought it would Always be that Way.”

This adventure started with a bus trip for 15 of us from Walter Reed to Andrews Air Force Base, where we were might by one of my favorite aircraft, an old Gooney Bird, C-47. But this air force bird was tricked out like the old commercial Douglas DC-3. The C-47 had been sent from Seymour Johnson AFB, near Goldsboro, NC.

Again, pretty heavily drugged for pain, my memories of this event have foggy holes. But I also have some “snapshot” memory images. This anecdote is best presented pictorially from the GoldsBoro News-Argus.                                        

All but one of the Honored Guests are show in this photo. The only Green Beret, I am sixth from the left. None of us look very cheery.

The Story

The Photos

It had never dawned upon me, until building this page, that I actually did have a home coming parade, but it was not my home town, which ignored my return. The attitudes of the nation were changing rapidly and some of the comments in these articles reflect the coming storm for Nam vets. When I was presented decorations prior to those at Walter Reed, it was always a photo op with press releases going out to home of record and birth town. There were no photos taken when I received four decorations at one ceremony.

By the time I got back to Bradenton, FL, I soon found it would have been better to introduce myself as a paroled child molester than as a Nam vet. And then there was the geographic difference. A very patriotic town in North Carolina versus the more cosmopolitan Florida.

We were flown back to Andrews in the same aircraft in which we had arrived. Over the weekend there was no alcohol, but the mayor and editor of the newspaper who were our constant companions, were both fond of bragging about the local moonshine. As we climbed the ramp to the plane, these two stood at the foot and said a fine farewell to each of us, individually, and each of us was handed a pint of Wayne County’s finest. The air crew was polite enough not to notice.