The gift of Christmas is Love
The gift of Christmas is Love
By Janice Jones

In June 1966, a young man graduated from high school and immediately enlisted in the Air Force.  He came from a long line of Volunteers from Tennessee.  Our family has proudly lived up to that name since the Revolutionary War.   We have met the enemy in many forms - foreign and domestic.

As he came from a long line of family who were law and peacekeepers, he chose that field in the military.  He trained and became a military police officer and ultimately, a dog man.

In 1967 he volunteered to serve in Vietnam.  Being single, he said that it might keep a married man, possibly a father, from having to serve in Vietnam.  He was stationed at Tan Son Nhut.  He was there on the line at the front gate entrance when the 1968 TET Offensive broke out.  He and his fellow peacekeepers met the enemy and fought them valiantly.  He lost some of his buddies.  He lost his youth.

They Kept their post.

He was a dog man and REBEL was his four-legged brother.  They took care of each other and loved each other.  REBEL was destined to be his partner - after all, he was from the South.  They walked side by side until REBEL took the forward position and took a chunk of shrapnel that would have taken the young man's life.  He paid the ultimate price.  He was a valiant dog.

The young man had a leave of absence in November of 1968.  He came home to be with his family for a leave between duty assignments.  He had volunteered for a second tour of duty, and again asked for Vietnam.  During his leave, his father passed away and he stood with the rest of his family as they laid his father to rest.  After a while, he returned to Tan Son Nhut and continued to do his duty and to do his job well.   He was a dog man.  Doing your duty and your job well is what a dog man does.

When he came home, the only people to celebrate was his family and loved ones.   The numbnuts of the world chose to use verbal and visual assaults and insults to welcome him home.  Well, you know, that is what numbnuts do.  After all, they are self-made idiots who actively work at it all the time.  It is surprising how some people don't mind showing their ignorance.  It is a fact!  They are proud of it.  That's why they are numbnuts.

He served at home and in many foreign lands before he finished his last tour in Desert Storm.  He always volunteered and always served well.

His health got the best of him.  After all of his wounds, physically, spiritually and emotionally had taken their toll on him, he was Honorably Discharged and came home.  He had grown up and matured in the military.  He was a career man.   He was also a changed man.  Everyone!  Everyone who has served in his shoes was changed!!  There are many, many of you and you know-who-you-are and how you have been changed.

I honor you and everything you represent.

This young man, now a mature and middle-aged man, began to work on his computer.   He wanted to set events and information down so that he could share with others and they could do the same with him.  He created a wonderful Website and became a proud member of the official Tan Son Nhut Association.  He is a very proud man; proud of his country, his flag, his military family, and his military life.

I am deeply proud of him.  He is my brother.  He is also your communications man.  He is Charles Penley and he is still living up to the honor and the Volunteer name that he and our family wear with pride.  He carries his scars well.   Sometimes, they weigh him down, but he wears them well.

I honor him.  I honor all of you who saw your duty and did your best.   As my Momma used to tell us, "YOU DID GOOD."

Yours respectfully!

Janice Penley Jones
Kingsport, Tennessee