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Interview with John Reay Abrami [4/13/2009]

Michelle Evonne Garza:

This is John Reay Abrami, uh, born March 16, 1946. John served in the Vietnam War as an Air force 1st Lieutenant. John's highest rank achieved was Major and Today is April 13, 2009. We are in San Antonio, Texas. My name is Michelle Evonne Garza and I will be conducting this interview. I asked John Abrami to be part of the Veterans History Project because I have known John for many years. John Abrami is my sister's father-in-law. This interview is conducted, pardon. This Interview is being conducted for the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress. So thank you for doing this with me today John. Uh, If you would tell me a little about your child hood. Where were you born?

John Reay Abrami:

Well I was spent almost my entire childhood in Catskill, New York. I was born there and really didn't leave there until after I was out of college.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Uh, o.k..

John Reay Abrami:

We did have one little interlude where we went across country to live in the state of Washington; but, that was very brief, uh, about half a year. We came back my mom couldn't stand the weather; but, my whole time was growing up in Catskill, New York, elementary school, high school, middle school, all that stuff. College I went away to Oswego and graduated from there with a mathematics degree in education. My initial stent after I graduated from college I taught high school for two years as long as I was teaching I really didn't have to worry about going into the service or any thing like that. It was when I was trying to switch jobs that uh, the military kind of caught up with me.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Uh, o.k., what did your parents do in New York?

John Reay Abrami:

Uh, my dad, uh, my folks were divorced when I was very young. Uh, my dad initially he was in the Army Reserves, Uh he had served during the World War Two. He was, uh, uh, a Navy gunner on the back of a P.B.Y Served in the Pacific...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Uh, wow.

John Reay Abrami:

...and when he was finished with the war. The war was over in the Pacific, he transferred into the Army reserve as a Warren officer, he was a warren 4, and he spent uh, 30 years from that point on; and one of his detachments was located right there in Catskill, New York. So, I can remember as a kid going up to visit him in the big armory, is what it was called. They had munitions there and they did all their training and also but uh, we used to go visit up there. I guess it's like a big aircraft hanger it was huge it had a domed roofing, I can remember that as a little kid. But uh, shortly after my folks divorced, he moved away and spent the rest of his time in Buffalo, New York. We did go to visit there, that's where he did his reserve work. And so when my folks remarried, my uh, step-dad was not in the military. He uh, never cold be because of his eyesight. And uh, it was just kind of a routine growing up, little kid. You know was uh, probably one of the military things I did as a kid, I was in boy scouts. It was really big. Spent a lot of time there, made eagle scout and thats a summation of my childhood, it's real brief.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Did you have uh, sis-siblings?

John Reay Abrami:

Yes, I did. Uh, I had an older brother and sister, I was the youngest of three kids. My brother was in the sen/ice also. He went in the early 60's, air force enlisted guy He went through training at , Mississippi and became like a code breaker. He served over seas, Europe, Africa. We were friends with Libya, at that time and I know he was stationed there for a little while. I didn't know too much about it...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Oh, wow.

John Reay Abrami:

Now he, when he came out of the service, I was just going into college and uh, he was making his own way My sister, uh, she went through college too, and married and had a couple of kids. We used to visit them when I was in college.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

So, did you know you were going to be part of the military, having your father and your brother...

John Reay Abrami:

Not really, uh...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

...follow in there foot steps?

John Reay Abrami:

...no, that was not in my future. Ever since I was in uh, middle school, seventh grade I wanted to be a math teacher and so that is what I had just prepared myself for. Now every, every dime I earned I put in the bank and savings. Cause my folks couldn't afford to put me through school. So, I paid my way through college and met my dream and became a teacher and my first teaching assignment was in Auburn, New York.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Uh, o.k..

John Reay Abrami:

And uh, I taught there for two years. And at the end of two years I was looking for another location and so I was interviewing several other schools. But, my own school in Auburn, had sent my draft board a notice and said he's no longer employed. And so, that meant my status changed back to one A. And so I very soon after that got a letter, from the draft board saying, come, come see us. And, while I was in Auburn I said well I really I really don't want to go into the Army So, I went down and saw my Air Force recruiter thinking I was going to become an enlisted person. When I walked in his door and he started talking to me and he let me know about a program with the uh. Air Force to become an officer. He says you have to take a test and uh, we'll see if you can qualify But he says with your college degree and your background in mathematics, he said uh, it's very likely you be able to be accepted in the officer program. And so, I did take the test and I did very well on it, and he was, uh, a little bit surprised at how well I did on it. But, you know a person coming out of college is not like uh, kid coming out of high school. And, that is mostly what the recruiters were dealing with, was those young kids.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Sure.

John Reay Abrami:

So they accepted me and uh, I was going to be in the navigation program and went through all the physicals and stuff and I got my first air plane ride to go down to San Antonio from, from Syracuse, that was uh, kind of a thrill.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Was that when they, when you enlisted...

John Reay Abrami:

Yeah, when I enlisted...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

...they took you down?

John Reay Abrami:

...they took me down there they flew me down there and uh, I can remember arriving it was late at night and there was a bus that uh, came, picked us up and took us to the Air Force base. Lackland. And, uh, you know it was all very strange. It was a real different kind of life, you, even though I am a very disciplined person, it's still kind of scary the first time you do that. And, we got there and they drove us out to the base and put US in some temporary quarters and uh, the next day we all got organized and uh, into our uh, flights and then we got our hair cut uh, really really short. No hair left.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

And put you into your, your different units, is that what you were saying?

John Reay Abrami:

Yeah, we got put into flights...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Oh, o.k. Flights.

John Reay Abrami:

...that's what they were called, there were about twenty to twenty-five of us and uh, we were in like a dormitory, there was a first floor and second floor and there was two other sides to the dormitory and uh, next day was all the routine stuff, you get all your equipment, your shots uh, you know.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Your physical, you said?

John Reay Abrami:

Well, the physical was way before that...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Uh, o.k..

John Reay Abrami:

They have a physical just to get you into the service, that you have to pass to make sure your qualified. But, you go through more physicals there, they take very good care of you. And so that was uh, three months of training going through Air Force officer training and uh, you come out of that a second lieutenant and from there they shipped us off to our different areas and mine was navigation so we went to the Mayther Air Force Base...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Uh, O.k..

John Reay Abrami:

And uh, navigator training was about eleven months and we all got our rankings and stuff out of navigator training and uh, I wanted to go into electronic warfare. They only had seven slots, to get in there...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Oh, my goodness.

John Reay Abrami:

...I got slot number seven.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Wow. So, that was pretty specialized training even within that.

John Reay Abrami:

Yes. There were two specialized schools there one for the bombardier training and almost every one of those guys went into the B-52's, and then us we had quite a different variety of assignments uh, there was the, the F-111 's, which had a back seater it was just like becoming a fighter pilot accept you, you were the E.W.O. in the back, electronic warfare officer. And uh, several other aircraft, I remember one guy got a reconnoissance slot in the R-B-57, that was a high altitude reconnoissance plane. That was kind of special, uh. But, uh, there was two of us that went into the Electronic warfare slot, my friend. Randy Jones, and I we uh, we got the slots. And, so from there we joined up with some other people, uh, that I really didn't know and uh, we all, went from uh, I forgot what I was saying...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Oh, to a different area?

John Reay Abrami:

Yeah, uh...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Like you guys were taken to, get further trained in...

John Reay Abrami:

Yeah, uh...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

...in electronic warfare?

John Reay Abrami:

Yeah, after getting out of electronic warfare school and uh, by this time I had been in the service well over a year, year and a half and still not in any operational assignment. But, uh, from there we had to go through some more training uh, some survival schools in Washington and down in south Florida, Homestead. And then we went to Shaw Air Force Base, which was going to be our training for the electronic warfare plane EB-66. And, there's really two models of that plane, uh, but neither of them existed at the airbase because, all of the planes were overseas, flying, they were all operational.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Oh, o.k..

John Reay Abrami:

So, all our training consisted of was uh, simulator training. Learning the different aircraft systems for both of the airplanes. One was uh, reconnoissance plane, there were four members that sat in that plane up front and you would monitor different uh, wave lengths of the radio spectrum. And then the uh, second Airplane was, the, uh, the E model which was the jamming platform. You'd go out and all the one's we were monitoring we would make sure we were covering the signals uh, interrupting them, interfering with communications and with, the uh, radar systems.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

So, did you get to stay with the guy that you met?

John Reay Abrami:

Oh yeah, whoa. Randy and I, we both went to uh, Korat, uh, we were very good friends. And, I had another friend that was over there with us, too. Uh, he was in a class ahead of us, and uh, matter of fact uh, it was my other friend uh, Yavon Clements, he and I went to Ton Son Nhut together. Uh, but, once we got to Korat, we got our first actual plane ride the combat aircraft.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Oh, o.k..

John Reay Abrami:

Oh, and before that we got what they call the dollar ride, they took you up in a KC-135 and we got to them refueling all the different airplanes and things like that. That was just to kind of keep us, uh, current, you know...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Sure.

John Reay Abrami:

...it was not really current cause we were not really flying or doing any duties but they uh, they put us up there to help us maintain our combat pay more that anything. But, uh, once that was over uh, we started doing the training uh, in the uh, in the uh, reconnoissance version. Then the reason for that was you didn't really have uh, any responsibilities to the crew. You know you'd start out in position one...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Right, uh.

John Reay Abrami:

...which was monitoring communications basically, and you worked your way through the different positions, until you got to position four, and then you were crew leader. And, so once you made crew leader you were the one that would uh, receive the operation briefing. And, then you would brief all your crew members on what you were going to do and where you were going to fly

Michelle Evonne Garza:

O.k., and you said this was in Korat, Thailand.

John Reay Abrami:

Yes, this was in Korat. And, you spent a good portion of the time, uh, doing that and once you became the crew chief, you know the crew guy, briefing everybody else, then you graduated to the other aircraft. Which was the jamming platform, because now there was only three people on that, the pilot, the navigator and yourself. And, now your responsibilities went way, way up because your monitoring all the radar bands and uh, and your jamming, your putting your jammers on the different signals. And, your also, got duties, like a co-pilot, your monitoring what's going on out the window, your the eyes on the right side of the plane. Looking for San missiles and Triple A, and things like that when you start flying into to the combat areas.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Oh, wow, and how long before you went into the combat areas, after training?

John Reay Abrami:

Oh, well, you, uh, the C-mock, the C-model the one that was monitoring all the signals, we would kind of fly over Laos, fly up and down the boarder. Without actually uh, going into Vietnam where all the signals were, but, the later missions we flew into Northern Laos, were there was a lot of Triple A and stuff like that there were no San Missiles, it wasn't until we actually got into North Vietnam, where the missiles were, and uh...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

How long did uh, you get to train in Korat?

John Reay Abrami:

Well, it was pretty brief, you know it's a, your first training mission is your first real combat mission.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

I see.

John Reay Abrami:

Yah, but uh, it all wrapped up into one because again, you know we'd gone through all the ground training in Shaw Air Force Base and then when we got there your first mission, that was it.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

That's it.

John Reay Abrami:

Your going, your ready to go you know. They can't train you any more.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Sure.

John Reay Abrami:

But, your under the tutelage of the other three crew members in the back of the plane.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

That had already been there for a while.

John Reay Abrami:

Yeah, they'd all been there, they were all experienced men.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

O.k.

John Reay Abrami:

No women at that time flying those positions, so uh.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

That's right. Urn, was there any action that you saw, where you were at or was it when you went on your trips to uh, Vietnam?

John Reay Abrami:

No, uh, in December everything was ramping up you know, and they were getting ready for the Linebacker Two and uh, we started flying what we called the late night shift, the nine to six shift. Is what we were doing, huh hum, excuse me, backing up all of the B-52's and the other plane's that were coming in from Guam and we actually flew into North Vietnam. I can remember seeing the missiles in the night sky and see the exhaust plumes come up and actually saw a couple airplanes get shot down, see them explode in the sky. Very fearsome uh, to be sure see your crew mates and things like that you know had gotten killed.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Did you guys all leave together? Was it...

John Reay Abrami:

Well, I didn't know the guys per se, but some of the guys that were in my E.W.O. Class in Mayther, they went directly into B-52's. So we know that was some of the people, people that we were close to were getting shot down. You know it was very frightening. It was, I can remember it was one of the longest fifteen minutes periods that I ever spent though. We'd go in there fifteen minutes on station and come out and the next wave would come in and you'd go in another fifteen minutes. Cause, you didn't stay in harms way any longer than you had to. But, we were providing all the jamming support, besides what the B-52's were providing, they had there own on board systems.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

O.k..

John Reay Abrami:

But, they were the one's that were taking the risks, but we were there.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Because they were lower?

John Reay Abrami:

Well, they, they had a certain flight path that they would come in on and the Vietnamese figured it out. Even though they couldn't see them they were timed and uh, they'd get that third bomber wave and shoot them down.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

O.k., and that was the only urn, time you experienced...any real...

John Reay Abrami:

Any real danger. And, that was only a few days that I did that only three or four days. At the beginning of the Linebacker we did that and then I got notice and my friend Devon, that I mentioned earlier, both he and I were notified that they needed people at 7th Air Force, to help with the planning. And, so the very next day I mean I, we had just come in from a flight at six in the morning and by eight o'clock in the morning they said to pack your bags you were leaving, your going to Vietnam, and um...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

And that was right after the Linebacker?

John Reay Abrami:

That was, the Linebacker...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

During it?

John Reay Abrami:

...wasn't complete, it was about the third or fourth day into it. And so, we headed out. They picked us up in a very, very nice lear jet, came in and flew us over to the Ton Sun Nhut Air Base in Saigon. And, we got in there and we started working. It was twelve fourteen hour days working all day long. And, primarily what we were doing there, we were there through Christmas holiday, you know there was no breaks, no breaks. But, we were planning electronic warfare missions, chaff missions. Uh, those guys that had to fly those, like the F-105's, F-4's doing the chaffing were the dangerous missions, cause they had to go in ahead of everybody before the B-52's would come in. They tried to create a cloud of chaff, uh, that would be in the sky, so when the aircraft would come in above it, they couldn't see though the chaff.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Was chaff kind of like a smoke?

John Reay Abrami:

It's aluminum foil.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Oh.

John Reay Abrami:

It would be cut to different wave length and so it reflects, it's like a little antenna. And, so all these different...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

What ever they were trying to uh...

John Reay Abrami:

...cuts blocked different radars and uh, cause they were at different frequencies.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Oh, uh o.k..

John Reay Abrami:

Certain neighborhoods.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

So the people you were working with in, in Korea, sorry in uh Vietnam...

John Reay Abrami:

Vietnam, 7th Air Force people...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

and you said that they, the people you worked with were flying these dangerous missions, uh laying down the chaff...

John Reay Abrami:

Well, it wasn't the people that I was working with there. We were a headquarters and we would putout operations orders to other units, that were in Thailand. Uh, these guys were stationed in places like Tak Lee, and uh, there was, trying to remember the, Uh Dorn,there was like five or six other bases that were the Royal Thai Air Force let the Americans come into. Korat was one of them, and then there were several others that had different kinds of airplanes, they had F-111 's and C-130 gun ships. So, they were all stationed at different places.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Oh, o.k..

John Reay Abrami:

And the F-4's were stationed at other bases. They would go out and lay these chaff corridors down. So But, uh that's what we were doing. We were there for three months uh, actually. They were still doing that even after the Linebacker Two, ended in early January, late December 29th, or something. And uh, but, we were still planning missions there, then it became almost superfluous for us to be there and they sent us back to Korat. And, once we got back to Korat, uh, we were still flying missions and they were very secretive about them, because we were flying them over Cambodia, which was supposed to be illegal at that time uh, and we were still continuing missions in a Northern Laos and places like that uh, doing the reconnoissance primarily and running jamming missions.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Was it still a really hectic uh, like over there in Korat?

John Reay Abrami:

Well, things calmed down quite a bit. But, there was still, I couldn't really see any difference in the number of missions that were being flown each day. And, one of the jobs that we had to do you know, when we weren't flying we pulled the duty desk, and it might be 24 hours you were on duty and you were monitoring all the aircraft. That uh, from your squadron that uh, would go in and out, you uh, would be hear because you had radios, and you had other aircraft that were coming in and out. But, it was still pretty busy, right up, until I left in uh, the following August, so.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

So, how long were you there, uh?

John Reay Abrami:

Just about one year exactly, uh got there in August of uh, '72 and left in August '73.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Uh, o.k..

John Reay Abrami:

A champagne party.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

So when did you, you said in August you found out you were going home?

John Reay Abrami:

Um, Hum.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

And um, what was that like, how did you find out?

John Reay Abrami:

Well, we all knew we were going it was just a matter of...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Oh...

John Reay Abrami:

where you were going and everybody who was in there wanted to stay in the uh, tactical air command not go into strategic air command in the B-52's. But, I ended up going into the B-52's. But, I got a good assignment uh, I went to Shreveport, Louisiana at Barks dale, Air Force Base. Which was kind of, everybody else was going to uh, all these northern tier assignments where its the frozen north. But, uh. Barks dale was very warm all the time, even in the winter it was warm there.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Did you have a home coming there or was it...?

John Reay Abrami:

No, uh, nothing...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Just your next assignment.

John Reay Abrami:

...like that, just my next assignment. When I came back and was assigned there. That's when I got married uh...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

O.k..

John Reay Abrami:

...with my wife Linda. Came down uh, we weren't married at that point, she came down from her home in Indiana and we had a little private civil ceremony, uh...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

So, that was your home coming?

John Reay Abrami:

Yeah, that was my home coming.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

What was it like to be out of the war at that point?

John Reay Abrami:

Well, it was a great relief, in some aspects but in,in others we were in the Cold War, you know. And, going into the B-52 we were pulling alerts and a lot of people had been getting out of the service and so they were really tight on uh, crews. And it would be seven days you would pull what they called an alert and you would actually live on base for seven days in a dormitory style bunker and they'd have the uh, warning clack- son go off for practice drills and you'd run out to the air plane, start your engines, you know sometimes you'd taxi down the runway and other times not, uh. But uh, it's still pretty tense. You had a lot of studying to do all the time to keep up on current operation plans, you were tested, so it was a very different kind of environment.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

So you were ready to take off to...

John Reay Abrami:

Ready to take off at a moments notice, if we had a nuclear catastrophe, we could fly out. Really can't talk about that, the particulars.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Sure. So what was it like kind of getting back into civilized life and um...

John Reay Abrami:

Well, it was very very, nice...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

...you say that it was um...

John Reay Abrami:

...um, one of the things I had to readjust to was driving on the right side, because Thailand, you drove on the left side of the road. And, we did have opportunities to drive there and I can remember when I got back into California, that I was actually driving on the wrong side of the road. That was kind of a tricky little thing, but uh. I'm a just going

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Yeah.

John Reay Abrami:

I am going to go back to Korat, the day that I went to Vietnam, at eight o'clock in the morning, I was going to be rescheduled to fly and the plane that I was scheduled to fly on the crew died. Uh, they had uh, all I can remember my E.W.O.'s name was Jerry I can't remember his last name. But, they uh, that flight that night they came back in the morning and lost both engines as they were coming into air base and, the plane just kind of rolled over and crashed into the ground and lost all three crew members. Uh, and that was the plane I was supposed to fly on. I always remember that particular crew mate that took my place.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Oh, wow.

John Reay Abrami:

It's a strange, strange feeling uh, I will always remember that. And I feel like God was intervening in my life at that point.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Yeah.

John Reay Abrami:

I just wanted to mention that.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Yeah, wow. Were you late that day or...

John Reay Abrami:

No, that was the day that I took off for...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

...for different...

John Reay Abrami:

...Vietnam...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Oh, back in I see Korat. Wow, when you were sent back out. So, I suppose some of the friendships that you started over there, um you had strong probably through the whole thing. Did you keep up with anybody afterwards?

John Reay Abrami:

Not really, um, when I got back to Barks dale, um I had a friend from my class that was already there, we graduated from E.W. School together from Mayther and he kind of took me under his wing and helped me get acclimated to the place. One of the boys that was oversees with me at Korat also came with me there. He's been one of my best friends and I do keep up with him. But, uh, the other man who was at Barks dale, he uh, passed away in a car accident a few years ago. And, my wife and I we were really good friends with his family It's one of those things that just, we get older and accidents happen.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Sure.

John Reay Abrami:

Well, oh, after coming back to Barks dale uh, I was there for a couple of years and went back out to Mayther Air Force Base, as an instructor. Got to spend for more years in California.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

What was it like being an instructor?

John Reay Abrami:

Well you know it's the electronic warfare school so you know all that training that uh, I received. Now, we were picking up on one little piece of it, and its, its kind of different than uh, regular teaching because you have just one small piece of the program and you go in there and you teach for about two and a half to three weeks. Then you work in a simulator, so your on like about a month cycle where your teaching in a classroom then your teaching in a simulator. And, then you have about, like a week off to work on your lessons to go back over them to see where you can improve on that and so on.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

That had to be an interesting kind of cycle to get back to...

John Reay Abrami:

Well, it was, it was really nice and this time Linda was with me so that made a big difference. We had had one child, Sarah, was born uh, while we were at Barks dale. And, then we got out to Mayther and then Jacob was born there, and Josh was born there. So our boys were born in Mayther and then the funny thing is when I got out of Mayther, they sent me back to Barks dale and then Johanna was born there two. So, both the girls were born at uh. Barks dale and the boys were born at Mayther. So, it was kind of nice.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Yeah, it seams like a nice kind of readjustment.

John Reay Abrami:

And, then this time I spent four years at Barks dale, and thats usually the norm tour. But, uh, I had made my promotion to Captain and became a Major. And, uh, was in charge of the B-52 simulator since I had the instructor they sent me out to instructor school out in California again, spent a lot of time in California.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Back and forth.

John Reay Abrami:

Yeah. But uh, it was nice. And from there, really summarizing the career pretty quick here, but from Barks dale I came here to San Antonio and worked at the Electronic Warfare Center here, the big headquarters. And, uh, while that was in uh, late to mid-eighties' I was here. And they sent me to the Pentagon as a lia, liaison officer and I spent my late four years at the Pentagon. So,...

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Uh, o.k..

John Reay Abrami:

So we lived in Virginia, she uh, loves it out there.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

So, when you think about your service and uh, kind of reflect on your time. How would you say that the uh, wartime experiences affected your life?

John Reay Abrami:

Well, I guess probably the way it affects most of us is it really increases your patriotism for your country. And, also increases your appreciation for what life and death is. You just can't imagine, you know going up and flying, knowing that you might not come back. You know, uh, your life is, you go up anyway you've been trained to do that and you go up and do your job and you pray you come back. And, and uh, that doesn't mean that uh, you know your very nonchalant about it, your not. Uh, its always on your mind, even when your with your friends during the day and playing you know, there's another mission coming along here either tonight or the next day, so. It's a lot to think about. Then, it makes you hurt when you see people around the country that just kind of distain our freedom. They don't understand the price that people have paid for it. A lot of people protested the Vietnam War, and uh, yah in, in many ways it was an unjust war, but uh, I went and served my country and I never felt bad about it uh, I really thought we were doing the right thing and I'd have done it again if I had to.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Did you take away any life lessons per se?

John Reay Abrami:

Uh, I really can't think of anything in that regard, other than just you know, honing my patriotism. You know, I love my flag, I love my country. You know I don't always agree with everything that it does. But after seeing Thailand and the way the people were there, you know, the poverty. Its just lot of poverty, even when we went down to Bangkok, and you see the way the people live. Little pieces of tin put up against the building and that's there home. And, that was very true in the community that was next to Korat. You know and people huddled around a hibachi stove on the side walk, cooking breakfast. And, uh, they didn't have a place to live. And, that's not everybody but you could see it, it wasn't like that here in America at that time. Uh, most people we saw, you know were decent people, very nice people, but your heart goes out to a lot of the people in other countries, cause you know, they don't have what we have in America. f\/lichelle: Did you receive any medals or any awards while, while you were in the service?

John Reay Abrami:

Yeah, uh, most of the medals that we received we kind of look at them as you were there. You know, uh, I did receive some high accolades but uh, again, most of them I, I just kind of feel its because I participated you were going to get these, they had air medals and it was like for every ten to fifteen flights, combat flights that you had you got an air medal. And so I, I walked away with like seven air medals. That was because of the combat missions we flew and for the uh, missions that we flew in Linebacker I received the Air Force cross, which is, is a pretty high medal. But, 1 don't know how deserving they are, wright them up I got the medals, but uh, it's not anything I think I deserve any more that anybody else. Everybody put their like on the line, you know.

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Yeah, well, thank you so much for your time and for sharing this experience, I really appreciate it.

John Reay Abrami:

Well, your welcome, I hope it does some good for somebody

Michelle Evonne Garza:

Yeah, well, its nice to hear your story. Thank you very much, John.

 
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  October 26, 2011
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