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Page 6
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Back to the World

By John Lindquist

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May 25, 1969, was the date to start my trip "back to the World." I had orders for a 30-day humanitarian leave in London, England, where my first wife (an American) was in the hospital. My 11-month-old daughter Jessica was being cared for by her maternal grandparents, who lived and worked in London.

On day one I flew from Dong Ha to Da Nang to Okinawa. Then, on to Hawaii and El Toro, California. The next day, I flew from Los Angeles to New York City and ended up at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey.

After a night there, I flew to Frankfurt, Germany, and on to London. I took the subway to Finchley, North London. I walked a short distance to Hendon Lane and rang the doorbell. I flew 19,500 miles in four days, but seeing my beautiful baby daughter was worth it.

On day one in London, I was trained to change diapers. My first wife was still in the hospital, and my orders to the 2nd Marine Division were altered. I was given a humanitarian transfer to a Fast Company in London that was guarding NATO headquarters. NATO was not in Brussels back then. I could not do guard duty since I had only one short-sleeved tropical uniform, so I was put on Mess duty. There was no room for me in the barracks (a British base near Abbey Road), so I lived with my in-laws on Hendon Lane and took over the care of my daughter.

I had to be at work from 0500 to 1330. The buses did not run that early, so I rode a bicycle. Thirty days out of the Nam, I was on a bike in London and still in the USMC. What a mind-blower!

I want to thank "Mouse" who let me stay overnight in LA, and his dad, who drove me to the airport in the morning. I would also like to thank my daughter's grandfather, who was probably responsible for the work with the Red Cross regarding my transfer and hardship discharge on August 8, 1969. Finally, I must thank the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Leonard Chapman, who signed the order for me to be discharged in London. But that is another story!!

Semper Fidelis

John Lindquist is a long-time VVAW member from Milwaukee, now living in England.

John Lindquist at 1980s Agent Orange demo in Chicago.

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