Ah, life in the military is very rarely boring. You get to travel to some exotic — well, different — places and meet some of the most interesting types of people. But one time-honored tradition was celebrating the 4th of July, our Independence Day, while deployed outside of the United States. For me, there are several memorable ones that come to mind.
On one 4th of July, we were leaving Ft. Bragg at about 0230 on July 4th with the temperature already pushing 100 degrees at Pope Air Force Base, and then arriving in Asuncion, Paraguay with the temperature in the high thirties. Asuncion, farther from the equator than New York City, had one of their coldest winters on record that year.
On another, in Honduras, had us and our allies involved in much reveling and throwing pyrotechnics. Yet, having no actual fireworks, we instead used star clusters, parachute flares, artillery, and grenade simulators in abundance at the back of the cuartel. After that, we had a war film fest on a VHS system (yes, it was THAT long ago) on the back patio where our allies joined us in watching the Duke (John Wayne) win several of our conflicts and take a scalp in “The Searchers.”
“Juan Wayne is a baaad muthfuqa,” one Honduran soldier said with a mastery of English that only a Bostonian could love.