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A Snippet from Joe’s Life

Joe Novak (right) and Colonel Plummer Brigade Commander 1st & 2nd 509 Airborne unit Mainz Germany.

By Joe Novak

This is the first “Snippet” I have decided to write, however, I am not numbering them, should I need to put them into chronological order someday. I am simply writing what my mind generates: short glimpses into my past that I personally find amusing.

In 1968, I returned to Ft. Bragg North Carolina from “Jump School” having achieved “Airborne” status only to find “Orders” to go to Vietnam.  I walked into my Commanding Officer’s office and inquired if this was a jump status assignment. When he said “no” and I told him I was turning them down since the Army guarantees you one year on jump status after successful completion of jump school.

He looked over the orders and said; “You’re an idiot!” My assignment was to maintain the generators in the American Embassy in Saigon. This was a highly sought-after job and turning this down was considered ludicrous at best. 

What an adventure this could be, had it not been for the nauseous gut feeling I experienced as I read the orders. I knew instantly I needed to get out of this assignment. I was correct about the promised one year on jump status and was quickly assigned to an Airborne unit in Mainz, Germany.

My premonition about the consequences of accepting what was then considered as “gravy” assignment in Saigon soon turned to a realization that it was a decision that most likely saved my life. The NVA’s TET offensive commenced 6 months after this time and I would have been smack dab in the middle of their attack on the American Embassy. I am not bullet proof but feel I dodged a bullet – by the grace of God.

I have had just a few of these “Gut Feelings” in my life, always followed by a sense that they spared my life. Are they a divine intervention? I doubt that I am worthy of something this special. Possibly one of our senses kicking in to save one from doom; whatever they are, I don’t go against them…ever! 

Joe Joke; Rolling out of bed in the morning is the easy part, getting up off the floor, that’s a bit more difficult.

To find out what Joe would do, e-mail questions to editorial@middlefieldpost.com. Joe has 20-some years experience in manufacturing and says that as a small business owner, he found that you either learn how to solve a problem yourself or pay to have it done. Joe’s articles are his opinion and are only intended as a guide. Please consult an expert when in doubt.


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