Christmas, 1965

By Mark Vosel

Shout out to the Military spouses! 

This was Christmas, 1965, Columbus GA. Pop was in Vietnam, flying the Army’s Flying Crane Helicopter. Christmas was left to Mom. She was able to get both my brother and me the GI JOE Navy Panther Jet. These things were big because GI JOE was big back then (my brother is holding frogman Joe). My little sister is sitting in her Christmas rocker, newly painted with decals applied by my mom. 

It was a tough year. One of the Cranes crashed, killing all on board. We didn’t know who it was for 24 hours. There were only a handful of pilots and we all lived in the Columbus, GA area, the town surrounding Ft Benning. Mom had us kneel beside her bed and prayed that we would have the strength to deal with the news. The families affected by this tragic event were ones we shared meals with frequently. The Ia Drang Campaign was conducted during his tour. The number of casualties overwhelmed many Ft Benning families. When my dad returned from Vietnam, my mom burned her black funeral dress. She wore it too many times that year. 

Despite the fact that Pop was ‘overseas’, 1965 ended with a magic Christmas for us kids, thanks to Mom’s diligence and love. 

My parents are both 91 years old and are living on their cattle farm in rural Alabama near Ft. Rucker. We will all be gathering on Christmas Day once again! 

Merry Christmas to all my Brat friends.

Halloween in Homestead

I’ve written about my Mother before, here’s another one about her.

Mom loved Holidays, it was an excuse for her to let go of her creative side, and let me tell you, for better or worse, Mom WAS creative. She used to go all out for Halloween, I never had a store-bought costume, neither did my brother. Our house was decorated from the palm trees to the hibiscus bushes.

Those of you who have had the dubious pleasure of knowing me, understand my passion for dinosaurs, like most little kids I had a love affair with these extinct beasts, the difference is I became a real paleontologist.

So, it came as no surprise that one year I just HAD to go as a dinosaur. My mom sacrificed a old bed covering with a pebbly texture, dyed it green and went to work. She made a VERY workable T-rex, It’s very realistic head was stuffing, had a tail etc. it even saw use by adults in future parties.

Now Mom wasn’t satisfied with decorating and making costumes for us kids, she NEEDED to get involved. Drafting the wife from next door, the pair dressed up as witches, obtained a huge iron kettle they filled with Kool-Aide and dry ice. She borrowed my Creepy-crawly set and made bugs and stuff she froze into ice cubes.

Nights in Homestead could be hot, even at the of October so the koolaide was welcome. But, my mother wasn’t done. She and the neighbor took turns hiding behind the hibiscus and as the kids were drinking, they would jump out scaring the heck out of them, one poor child even swallowed his ice cube, creepy crawler and all, but that too would pass.

Dad and the dog, took refuge from all the goings on, though the pooch sure wanted to join in the fun!

John Paul Jones


We are looking for school stories for a new anthology

Schooling With Uncle Sam will focus on personal memories–what it was like to work or study in the school system, to live and work in a foreign country or military installation – the mundane, funny, or tragic events and interactions that made for a memorable experience. Stories should be about a certain time, event, or experience about school/work/life with DoDEA (or with its predecessor organizations such as DoDDS, USDESEA, DEG, etc.) Authors included in the anthology will receive a free copy of the book in lieu of payment.  All stories become the property of the Museum of the American Military Family Special Collections Library. Proceeds from the sale of the book will be used to help the Museum continue to bring exhibits and programming to the museum community free of charge.This is a chance to preserve a unique history and to be a part of it. It’s an opportunity to share a personal look at a world-wide school system serving America’s world-wide interests and assuring that your involvement with it will be recognized. You can submit up to three different pieces for the book.