What is the Purpose of Journalism?

3-29-2020

 

What is the Purpose of Journalism?

 

I have been introspectively looking at the effect print media, bloggers, opinion editorialists, journalists and professional reporters have on forming and/or channeling public opinion. Just as print media has grown the audiences of traditional writers the internet has also broadened the range of its audience.

 

Just to be clear I’m not trained in journalism, but have a love of writing. Much of my work ends up in the trash bin of my home office or in the recycle bin of my computer. I began blogging over the past 4 years in an attempt to dispel the myths and disinformation I see daily being put out by some very big mainstream media outlets as they wage war on President Donald J. Trump.

 

At first I became somewhat confused, and then angry as I watched broadcasters, television anchors and reporters assault the President verbally and through the use of print media pushing outright lies and misinformation as their version of truth. I then got caught up in using the monikers and funny names or catch phrases used by the President to redirect this misspent energy on the part of the media.

 

During this recent period of self-isolation I have decided that reinforcing or in some cases reintroduction of basic journalist tenets would be a better way of dealing with the arrogance and nastiness coming out of the media.

 

Let me say that choosing journalism is a huge responsibility to the audience to report the news without bias or political slant and to the organization. Professional journalists must bring on their A game in a field crowded with attention getters and reporters of fake news. It should never be about just getting the story first, but about always getting the story right. A journalist who becomes the story has obviously failed.

 

Never in the series did Metropolis Reporters Louis Lane or Clark Kent draw attention to themselves. Well maybe Louis Lane did? But Clark always pulled back and let Superman swoop in to save the day. With the age of today’s cell phones and the dwindling number of phone booths it’s easy to see how much harder it is for Clark to find a suitable changing station.

 

In order for a journalist to produce great stories they have to be adaptive and creative, not with the articles they produce, but in ways to gather news worthy material, verify sources and present a fair and balanced report. Everyone knows there is always more than one side to a story so contacting sources is extremely important. Turnover in the mainstream media is evidence that everyone is expendable!

 

There are many levels of journalism, local, state, national and world events that often go misreported or in many cases unreported.

 

There are many kinds of journalists, Amateurs, Hobbyists, Bloggers and Professional. Writing a letter to the editor of a local newspaper has been a way for Amateurs to get articles published quickly. This can lead to becoming a Hobbyist, like writing articles and submitting photos as a bird watcher or nature lover. With the advent of the internet Blogging has opened up the world of self-publishing and social media enables the wide distribution of stories of interest and hopefully as you read this you can begin to understand.

 

Taking it to the Professional level usually comes after college or university level classes on effective writing and the application of the tenets of journalism. Successful journalists draw a following and often rise to the attention of a network executive or news outlet that always look out for outstanding writers and reporters.

 

Here are ways to rapidly kill your chances of becoming successful as a journalist: Deceptively altering quotes; Present info out of context; Fabricate material; Mislead; or Making false claims; Reckless disregard the truth; Publishing defamatory claims; Omitting important context; or Push false narratives.

 

Successful journalists always: Contact the subject of a story for comment and be fair by seeking both sides to a story and fact checking for accuracy.

 

I’m always surprised and disappointed by major news outlets who accept shoddy or sloppy material full of outright lies and misinformation or attempt to mislead the audience with a political bias. Equally disappointing are watching, listening or reading journalists who feel they are so self-important that the subject of their inquiry MUST submit to their line of questioning.

 

Take for instance the White House Press Corps. Their job is to cover the White House and the office of the President of the United States. There are those who are blatantly disrespectful of the President or his representative that in their questioning they bluster up like a huge puffer fish attempting to push their false narrative. Once they become disrespectful they have lost their advantage and in my opinion there is no longer room for them at the briefings.

 

The same holds true if a news reporter goes to the scene of a disaster and while a homeowner is surveying and assessing their loss they are asked “how it feels to lose everything”. I would venture to say that reporter would risk being knocked to the ground by someone who then asks “how does that feel”. The lack of common courtesy goes hand in hand with common sense and a great journalist must demonstrate both. The purpose of a journalist is to gather the facts and present the news in such a way that the audience gains insightful knowledge of what has transpired.

 

Don’t simply accept what is being reported as fact, be specific and ask for verifiable sources so you can make an educated and informed decision. – I am the Real Truckmaster!

 

Realtruckmaster.blog

MeWe.Com/The_Real_Truckmaster_Series_2020

Reporting on Facts or Fake News?

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3-27-2020

 

Reporting on Facts or Fake News?

 

The internet and social media make it easy for us to express our opinion about everything. I’m just as guilty as the next person who reacts without verifying facts or searching for supporting documents. The reason for this article is a reminder to get it right, the first time. Let me be clear I’m not a journalist or someone who sat through Journalism 101. If I had maybe I would be more careful to insure what I write is accurate and true.

 

Journalists and reporters cover news as it happens and report back to their agency what they see or hear and how people are affected. They can’t do that sitting in an office or watching television while someone else gets the scoop. Nobody wants to be second at reporting news stories. The same should be true with us as we shouldn’t want to simply regurgitate what someone else has said because we haven’t verified the source or even if there is one.

 

What we don’t know causes anxiety and panic that leads to irrational actions and ultimately to death. Stoking the fire causes uncontrollable panic and possible rioting. It is in everybody’s interest to find out what is going on and reassure family and friends that everything will be all right. How do we do that? By gathering the facts and putting out positive reassuring information that helps everyone to remain calm.

 

I conducted a unscientific Facebook survey (still ongoing) asking those who didn’t like President Trump to state their reasons why and provide supporting evidence. Out of 3 dissenting opinions only one followed through with a You-Tube video of President Trump’s interaction with a reporter supporting her reasoning for not liking Trump. There were many stated reasons, based primarily on hearsay and or fake news reporting.

 

Take the Coronavirus outbreak of 2019 which is sweeping across the globe now in 2020.

 

  • What do we know about it?
  • How did it happen?
  • Who is responsible?
  • Where did it start?
  • When did it begin?
  • What is being done by the US to combat the virus?

 

What do we know about it?

  1. We know that the Corona family of Viruses have been around for a very long time and everyone may be exposed to it at one time or another.
  2. It is something that can wipe out those with compromised immune systems or certain pre-existing conditions.
  3. It is treatable and not always fatal.

 

How did it happen?

  1. It has not been established whether it was intentional or unintentionally released to the unsuspecting public.

 

Who is responsible?

  1. It is possible that it was used militarily by the host nation to quell civil disobedience?

 

Where did it start?

  1. The epicenter where it was first acknowledged was Wuhan, China.

 

When did it begin?

  1. It first became noticed in November 2019.
  2. It was reported to the world community on 31 December 2019.

 

What is being done by President Trump in the US to combat the Coronavirus?

  • 1-31-2020 Immigration ban from China & Direct flights from China – US were halted.
    1. 2-26-2020 Organized the Coronavirus Task Force
      1. Tasked Vice President Pence to be in charge.
      2. Surgeon General Jerome Adams,
  • CDC’s Dr. Anthony Fauci and
  1. Dr. Debra Birx
  • 2-29-2020 Immigration ban from Iran to US.
  • 3-11-2020 Immigration ban from Schengen area of Europe to US.
  • 3-13-2020 National Emergency Declared COVID-19.
  • 3-14-2020 Immigration ban from United Kingdom to US and Republic of Ireland.
  • Schools and businesses closed as a 15 day stay at home order, social distancing and self-isolation of sick and elderly to prevent virus spread.
  • 3-18-2020 Executive Order prioritizing and allocating health and medical resources to respond to the spread of COVID-19.
  • 3-20-2020 Memorandum on delegation of functions – Exchange Stabilization Fund
  • Memorandum on providing federal support for governors’ (California, New York, Washington) use of National Guard to respond to COVID-19
  • 3-18-2020 Invokes the Defense Production Act of 1950
    1. Mobilizing Mercy hospital ships to Los Angeles and New York City
    2. Mobilizing Army Corps of Engineers assets to convert hotels and conference centers into temporary hospitals – nationwide.
  • Authorizing corporations to convert to wartime production of Personal Protection Equipment (gloves, masks, ventilators)
  1. The fast tracking of already available and highly suitable medications to slow the spread of the virus.
  2. Encourage Congress to pass bill to help citizens, small businesses and corporations during pandemic.
  • 3-23-2020 Executive Order preventing hoarding of health and medical resources.
  • 3-24-2020 Travel ban on Northern and Southern Borders
  • There have been meetings with Governors, CEOs and medical professionals all lending input as to how best to deal with the Coronavirus and we’re making progress.

 

What I notice still going on by main stream media outlets nationwide is the childish ways reporters, journalists and freelance editorialists continue to focus and pick apart the words or actions of President Trump while paying little attention to substance. I recently did a brief Google search of the Defense Production Act and almost every single “hit” was aimed at creating division by mocking and distorting President Trump. What that shows is how little impact the ethics or tenets of journalism have been given by those with a chosen profession of reporting the news.

 

Basic Tenets of Good Journalism

 

Do Not:

Deceptively alter quotes

Present info out of context

Fabricate material

Mislead

Make false claims

Recklessly disregard the truth

Publish defamatory claims

Omit important context

Push false narratives

 

Do:

Contact subject of story for comment

Be fair

Seek both sides

Check facts for accuracy

 

It is a choice to willfully ignore the tenets of journalism to score political points by the willful disrespect of another. Publishing false reports or fake news in an attempt to destroy the reputation of another is unacceptable and hurts the one doing it, much more than the intended subject. When you submit a written or visual report with your name on it don’t let it brand you as a wisecracking double-tongued nincompoop. Your reputation depends on it. So don’t be a FNN sissified slanderer. – I am the Real Truckmaster!

 

Realtruckmaster.blog

MeWe.Com/The_Real_Truckmaster_Series_2020

Has God Ever Made You Laugh?

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3-22-2020

 

Has God Every Made You Laugh?

 

How many times have you asked God for something? How many times has he answered? The bible tells us that we have not because we ask not. Sometimes we ask but really don’t believe God hears us. We know that God really does hear us and because we ask, we have the faith to believe that he will answer.

 

In my life alone I can’t count the times that God has answered my prayers. What I have learned is that when God does answer he may do it EXACTLY as we ask, not necessarily as we wanted either. Let me give an example. A few years ago I took it upon myself to go to my local church on Saturday morning to walk the premises and pick up trash. It’s easy enough see something – do something. Instead of saying somebody ought to do something I figured I’m somebody and I can do something, so I did.

 

One Saturday morning I arrived at the church and realized that I had nothing to put the trash in – big dilemma right? Not a problem. Talking more to myself I said something like this, “God I need a bag to put trash in because I forgot to bring one.” Now you might expect the hand of God to magically appear with a 30 gallon plastic trash bag or maybe a supermarket shopping bag, but you’d be wrong. As I stepped out of my vehicle I noticed it was a bit windy as something blew up against my shoe. It was a sandwich bag. I laughed and said to God, “Very funny!”

 

I took the bag and began putting cigarette butts, pencil stubs or anything that as an army sergeant I used to say during police call – if it ain’t nailed down pick it up. Man there was a lot of stuff that morning. I filled up the sandwich bag rather quickly and more. I must have made several trips back to the dumpster before I was satisfied that the ground around God’s house was ready for Sunday morning service. I’m often reminded of my encounter with God and the life lesson to be specific when asking God and in case you’re still wondering God does have a sense of humor – after all he created you, me and everything. God is great – All the Time! – I am the Real Truckmaster!

 

Realtruckmaster.blog

MeWe.Com/The_Real_Truckmaster_Series_2020

A Major Influence on My Life – Thailand

thailand map

3-21-2020

 

A Major Influence on My Life – Thailand

 

I was born in 1949, raised with my 3 brothers (Jess, John, Jerry) in Southern Idaho. Everyone who knew us thought of us as angels (heh, heh, heh). Mom remembered it differently, but then this is my story and I’m sticking to it. Most of my upbringing was in the farmlands of the Treasure Valley and in the capitol city of Boise. I went from riding my mini-bike to school in the first grade in Homedale to riding my bike as a teenager all over Boise and Meridian. I hadn’t traveled much outside of our local communities except to visit family in California, Oregon, Nevada, Utah or Washington. Wow I guess I sort of got around huh? I graduated class of 67 at Kuna High School. I was 18 when I went into the Army in September 1967.

 

As I look back I can see two major influences in my life. The first and most important was the hand of God directing my path and keeping me safe. The second was during the Vietnam War when my first overseas assignment to me to South East Asia with a stop in Vietnam, then on to Bangkok, Thailand. My journey didn’t end when I arrived in Bangkok it was began.

 

I’ll be honest when I received orders I had to ask someone where I was going. Everyone else had orders to Vietnam but mine were different. When they told me Thailand, I thought it was an island like Okinawa. I still had no idea where I was going as the plane lifted off from California.

 

I was still 18 when the plane touched down at Tan Son Nhut AB in Vietnam during the 1968 TET and continued on to Bangkok, Thailand. I was ultimately assigned to an army transportation unit based at Camp Khon Kaen in Northeastern Thailand. My job was driving a tractor-trailer hauling all types of cargo to various army and air force bases in Thailand. What I learned about the army and about transportation began here and has stuck with me ever since. During my tour I met and later married my wife Montian from a village in Khon Kaen. I ended up spending 2 ½ years in Thailand. The influence of the Thai people on my life continues today as we recently celebrated more than 50 years together.

 

Over the years I have been back to Thailand a number of times. I choose to visit, not live as many expats do because every trip opens still another adventure. I don’t want to change that feeling. Initially I would find ways to get out to the old Camp Khon Kaen, looking at the buildings and the ground we walked on so long ago. With each successive trip I saw changes as more buildings disappeared and the site was re-purposed into a local government compound. Today there are barely any tell-tail signs of our having been there.

 

For many years I would see locals who had worked with or supported guys at the base. We would share memories and laugh. Then there was no one left to share. I still have my wife’s family in Khon Kaen and we still visit them, but for me it’s not the same anymore. We still have a place to come back to although it’s many miles from Khon Kaen. We have new friends nearby and we now seem to be at a different stage of life. The sights and sounds and even the people are constantly bringing us laughter and joy.

 

At home in Colorado we share stories of Thailand with our kids and grandkids. They have been able to visit and talk of going back for the places, things and people they want to see again – the illusive carrot on the end of a stick or another check mark off our bucket lists. As for me I can see that God has been good to me for the experiences and people in my life – the good, the bad and the ugly (sorry if I stepped on any toes – not). Without God I wouldn’t be here. Without God I wouldn’t have the family I have. Without God I wouldn’t have had the opportunities that have made me who I am today and without God I wouldn’t be sharing this with you. – I am the Real Truckmaster!

 

Realtruckmaster.blog

MeWe.Com/The_Real_Truckmaster_Series_2020

 

 

 

The Mandate – Isaiah 45

3-20-2020

 

The Mandate – Isaiah 45

 

In 2015 the world as we know it was about to be turned upside-down and politics would be exposed by a most unlikely person, a man who has everything the world could offer. That man was Donald J. Trump traditionally supporting democrats he defied all logic by choosing to run for the office of President of the United States as a republican candidate.

 

I too was taken by surprise and feared this was simply a stunt to draw a larger audience to “The Apprentice” and I could not see this having anything to do with what God was about to do with the nation or throughout the world.

 

Christians throughout the nation and around the world have prayerfully and earnestly sought the Lord to change the course of the country. We have read and believed the stories of the bible that demonstrate the sinful nature of man and the faithfulness of Almighty God. The book of Revelations warns us that in the latter days there will be wars and petulance and earthquakes in diverse places, but there is no mention of America by name.

 

2 Chronicles 7:14 “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

 

But would God do it again in modern day America? I have no doubt that when we ask, God will exercise his will not as we want, but according to his perfect will. What was true back in “biblical times” is still true today. God will deliver us and only he knows the plans he has for us or the manner/people he will use to accomplish his purpose.

 

We ask believing and because God is faithful he sometimes surprises us in ways we can’t imagine or didn’t expect. We see from biblical scriptures that we are unique and wonderfully made. God has a plan for each person and it is evidenced by our birth. Even the lives of the unborn terminated through abortion have a purpose. What the so called experts fail to realize is that the world does not revolve around them. They are not the one who causes the sun to rise or the moon to shine or even the rain to fall.

 

What we have seen since the 2015 announcement at Trump Tower can only be the forces of evil rising up against the hand of God. Whether or not you believe that is irrelevant because God will prevail. When God calls we can respond or simply ignore the call. We often tell ourselves somebody ought to do something. In the case of Donald J. Trump he did not shy away, but responded by seeking confirmation and support through Christian pastors and leaders.

 

Those who do not know him were quick to attack his character, his family and as they do today his supporters. They underestimated his resolve and determination. They thought they could drive him away with their non-stop attacks. They could not know, nor would they believe he was to be “the wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness” and his mandate is to stop evil.

 

Even today Christians and non-Christians ridicule, mock and continue to attack President Trump simply because of what they see on the news or on the internet and read in the print media. They attack his supporters and think that will drive them away from him. Some have said he is not Christian enough or Presidential enough or savvy in the ways of international negotiations. Trump has been blamed for everything in the world that goes wrong, yet failed to be credited when credit is justly due.

 

Running on campaign slogans of build the wall and drain the swamp few knew these were more than just slogans. American had been gripped in the political vice of correctness that suppressed the very spirit of God in our nation. Politicians have taken the verbiage of the Constitution, its meaning and purpose and used it for their own political gain and monetary enrichment at the expense of American citizens. Many who enter the halls of Congress become entwined in the “system” that the will of the people is totally lost to the lure and greed of politics.

 

During 2015 and well before the campaign season had begun a word from God declared that Donald J. Trump would be an Isaiah 45 President. He would not to be a preacher-president but a warrior-president in the likeness of King Cyrus.

 

Isaiah 45 English Standard Version (ESV)

 

Cyrus, God’s Instrument

45 Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,
whose right hand I have grasped,
to subdue nations before him
and to loose the belts of kings,
to open doors before him
that gates may not be closed:
“I will go before you
and level the exalted places,[a]
I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
and cut through the bars of iron,
I will give you the treasures of darkness
and the hoards in secret places,
that you may know that it is I, the Lord,
the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
For the sake of my servant Jacob,
and Israel my chosen,
I call you by your name,
I name you, though you do not know me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other,
besides me there is no God;
I equip you, though you do not know me,
that people may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides me;
I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I form light and create darkness;
I make well-being and create calamity;
I am the Lord, who does all these things.

“Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the Lord have created it.

“Woe to him who strives with him who formed him,
a pot among earthen pots!
Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
or ‘Your work has no handles’?
10 Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’
or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?’”

11 Thus says the Lord,
the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him:
“Ask me of things to come;
will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands?[b]
12 I made the earth
and created man on it;
it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
and I commanded all their host.
13 I have stirred him up in righteousness,
and I will make all his ways level;
he shall build my city
and set my exiles free,
not for price or reward,”
says the Lord of hosts.

 

The Lord, the Only Savior

14 Thus says the Lord:
“The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush,
and the Sabeans, men of stature,
shall come over to you and be yours;
they shall follow you;
they shall come over in chains and bow down to you.
They will plead with you, saying:
‘Surely God is in you, and there is no other,
no god besides him.’”

15 Truly, you are a God who hides himself,
O God of Israel, the Savior.
16 All of them are put to shame and confounded;
the makers of idols go in confusion together.
17 But Israel is saved by the Lord
with everlasting salvation;
you shall not be put to shame or confounded
to all eternity.

18 For thus says the Lord,
who created the heavens
(he is God!),
who formed the earth and made it
(he established it;
he did not create it empty,
he formed it to be inhabited!):
“I am the Lord, and there is no other.
19 I did not speak in secret,
in a land of darkness;
I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,
‘Seek me in vain.’[c]
I the Lord speak the truth;
I declare what is right.

20 “Assemble yourselves and come;
draw near together,
you survivors of the nations!
They have no knowledge
who carry about their wooden idols,
and keep on praying to a god
that cannot save.
21 Declare and present your case;
let them take counsel together!
Who told this long ago?
Who declared it of old?
Was it not I, the Lord?
And there is no other god besides me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is none besides me.

22 “Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
23 By myself I have sworn;
from my mouth has gone out in righteousness
a word that shall not return:
‘To me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear allegiance.’[d]

24 “Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me,
are righteousness and strength;
to him shall come and be ashamed
all who were incensed against him.
25 In the Lord all the offspring of Israel
shall be justified and shall glory.”

 

God saw the potential deep within the heart of the man while men saw only the past to condemn the present. When someone is on a mission ordained by Almighty God there is nothing under heaven or on earth that can stop him until that mission is completed. I caution the people and/or media that create, initiate or spread false witness in order to gain the favor of men for you will reap what you sow. Have you anything to say, let it be kind and uplifting or exercise your right to remain silent. Words bring life or death. – I am the Real Truckmaster!

 

Realtruckmaster.blog

MeWe.Com/The_Real_Truckmaster_Series_2020

 

A Story from the Left Lane

00 US military in thailand map

3-20-2020

 

A Story from the Left Lane

 

The year was 1968 and I was a 19 year old army trucker with the 569th Transportation Company in Thailand during the Vietnam War things were happening all around us. Our convoys out of Camp Khon Kaen in northeastern Thailand ran 24/7/365 in order to get the necessary supplies where they were needed.

 

Typically were up at 0300 so we could depart Camp Khon Kaen (kick the gate) by 0500 and as we went deeper into the northeast we traveled north to Udorn RTAFB, then southeast to Sakon Nakhon (SKK) and on to Nakhon Phanom (NKP) RTNB in a convoy going roughly 25-30 mph while driving in the left side of the road getting in mid-late afternoon. We stopped about every hour to tighten up our loads and check for flats. Lunch on the road was usually a sack lunch from the mess hall, a c-ration and/or a coke and some fried rice at one of our rest stop areas. The locals (kids) usually showed up begging for candy, cigarettes and unwanted food items.

 

As we neared Sakon Nakhon the road turned into that red dusty, bumpy road surface that jarred our bones, vibrated our trucks apart and covered us with that red laterite dust by the time we arrived at NKP. Once there we dropped our trailers to be unloaded while we refueled the 2 diesel tanks and fixed flats or performed maintenance. Then we went to billeting for bedding, the mess hall for a meal and ended the day at the club or in the beer garden. Sometimes we were able to go to the Mekong River where we’d see the RTN gunboats that patrolled the river. It was not unusual for us to arrive before, during or after a rocket attack from across the border in Laos. That really gets your heart pounding.

 

After a restful night of sleep, we’d eat breakfast and grab something for the ride home usually just another c-ration. We were sent back pulling empty trailers in one or two truck convoys. On one such convoy I was alone and before I had made it back to Sakon Nakhon my truck broke down with not enough air pressure. So I sat there on that bumpy dirt roadway trying to figure what had caused the problem and what could I do to get to the nearest military camp?

 

It turned out there was a pinhole in the airline near the air compressor. I had only a rag to wrap around it to slow the leak enough to build up sufficient air pressure and limped in to Camp Raum Chit Chai where the 809th Engineer Battalion was headquartered. While the mechanics worked on changing out the airline I went over to the club for a burger and coke. When I returned to the truck they were done and I was soon on the road again (sorry Willie) and the rest of the trip back was uneventful. Pulling into Camp Khon Kaen there was the trailer inspection, refueling at the POL trailer and to the tire shop to repair all the flats from the trip and to the maintenance shop for any needed repairs and then to the mail room, then the barracks for a shower to remove that red dust, clean clothes and to the mess hall for supper.

 

The routine seldom changed when you were on the road. Evenings or weekends were spent on base unless you got a pass to go off base with a curfew of 10pm. Bed check was midnight. – I am the Real Truckmaster!

 

Realtruckmaster.blog

MeWe.Com/The_Real_Truckmaster_Series_2020

Easy Rider Thai Style

3-19-2020

 

Easy Rider Thai Style

 

Let me set up the storyline it’s 1969 in Northeastern Thailand just a mere 20 kilos north of town at what I’ve learned was a dual purpose base.

 

In the early 1960s Camp Khon Kaen became home to the 201st Signal Detachment with huge 300’ 50 kilowatt Marconi Antenna the locals called it Hawsip Kilowatt (50 kilowatt). In 1967 the site was expanded to accommodate a new trailer transfer station for the 519th Transportation Battalion.

 

I arrived in Thailand in February 1968 as a truck driver hauling supplies to army and air force bases throughout northeastern Thailand. I met and later married my wife in Khon Kaen in 1969. Shortly after we married I purchased a Honda 125cc motorcycle and began riding with a small select group of GIs of which one earned the nickname of Easy Rider. Over a 6 month period I have many memorable incidents riding with Sergeant Don Way (Easy Rider) and SP4 Everett Cole.

 

Our rides were across rice paddies and paths that weren’t large enough to be called cart paths. We usually traveled in pairs and had no fear of insurgents or “bad guys” as we stopped in places that were so remote and many of the locals had never seen a fair skin, red headed falong (foreigner). As we stopped to assess where we were or where to go next the kids came literally out of nowhere. We had no trouble communicating as one universal word “Pepsi” always brought a smile and results. For 7 ½ cents (5 baht) we got a bottle of soda, poured into a sandwich bag of ice and a rubber band to hold onto.

 

One ride was with Sergeant Way and myself (don’t remember where Cole was) we were riding along a path between two rice paddies and crossing over a small irrigation ditch with me in the lead. I stopped to wait on Sergeant Way’s bigger Honda 250cc to clear the ditch when it suddenly got eerily quiet. I looked behind me as I heard the engine go “glug glug” and died completely submerged in water. I rushed back to help him push the bike out of the water and back onto the path. Soon Sergeant Way had his tool kit out and was unbolting the exhaust pipes to drain the water. He kicked on the kickstarter a time or two to turn over the engine and insure no water was inside. He then put everything back together fired it up and we were back on the move.

 

How Sergeant Way earned the nickname was when his wife Lek was in the Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base hospital for an appendectomy and he was on his way to see her. Udorn was about 60 kilometers north in the town of Udon Thani. It seems that someone had a water buffalo that turned abruptly across the road in front of the motorcycle. The impact killed the water buffalo and broke both Sergeant Ways collarbones sending him after surgery into the same room next to his wife.

 

My wife (Montian) and I went to see them at the hospital and on the way back while passing a gasoline truck at 80 kilometers per hour (50 mph) our rear tire simply went flat. As the bike left the roadway it laid down, depositing my wife on the shoulder while I continued down into the ditch. We were both bruised a bit and the Thai police officer riding guard in the gasoline truck came over to check on us and help me get the bike back up to the road. A visual inspection showed the valve stem had sheared off from the tube. We ended up loading the bike and ourselves in the back of a small pickup (bus) that took us to the tire shop along the road at Nong Khai. Getting the tube repaired by a resourceful mechanic had us back on the road in about an hour and we headed back to the village where her folks lived in Khon Kaen. I’ll write more about our rides later. – I am the Real Truckmaster!

 

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