Monday, October 26, 2020

Just Google It

 The group which is presenting me with a honor for my LGBTQ transgender military service so many years ago requested a picture if I could find one. It was so many years ago (1972-75) and was a time which I wasn't especially fond of having my picture taken anyhow, I doubted if I could find one. 

I was sure I didn't have any pictures "just laying around" the house. Finally, I remembered a few of the former guys who served where I did on the American Forces Radio and Television Service - Thailand Network actually put together a website years ago. I began to wonder if I was in any of their pictures.

I went out on a limb and googled my deadname and AFTN and amazingly, there I was. Listed in a group picture of the entire crew of the military Udorn, Thailand radio/television station in September of 1972. I would have been approximately six months removed from basic training and the station itself was still fairly new. A year before, a battle damaged fighter jet had crashed into the old station killing all nine of the workers inside. So the surprise picture brought back many memories, many not so good.

At any rate, I have decided to share the photo on Cyrsti's Condo. I am on the bottom row, first person on the left. I worked all nights then and lived off base, so somehow I escaped not having to wear a uniform for the group. Ironically the only other military person shown here not in uniform was my close friend Dave Mallett. 

With this group we operated and tried to maintain a 24/7 radio station and a 14 hour a day television station for the airbase and separate "secret" sites in Cambodia. Our job was to provide as well as we could a connection to home for the others we served.

I am humbled and honored to receive the award!


  

2 comments:

  1. Congrats, and thanks for your service!

    Considering military regulations, the hairstyle worn by most in the pic are quite civilian-like. I wore my hair much the same way back then (when I still had enough hair in the front with which I could make bangs). Your shirt is stylish, too. I imagine your pants were cut tight on the top and flared wide at the hems. It was a time when men's fashions were really bordering on the feminine side.

    I remember being so picky about having my shirts perfectly fitted and the hem of my pants being at just the right length. I had some wave in my hair, and I spent a lot of time with the hair dryer and a round brush to "tame" it into the proper style. I also had a pair of white wingtip shoes with 2 1/2 inch chunky heels that killed my feet after a couple of hours, but I still wore them all night long. I was living in a deep suppression of my gender dysphoria at the time but, looking back, I can see that I was taking a more-feminine approach to my masculine presentation. I used to spend as much, if not more time primping before going out than my wife did!

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    1. Since we lived off base and received extra pay to do it, we were able to afford having our clothes and khaki uniforms tailored to fit, which is probably where the shirt came from. Of course I was never allowed to have much hair or wear non military shoes. Which I resent to this day.

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