Those Darn Hippies! (published in Happenings Magazine Smart Reader, 7/15/2021)

 

Make love, not war.
~ Hippie mantra

 

Most folks who were around during the sixties and seventies remember that colorful cast of characters known as “hippies”. Peace, love, grass, kumbaya, and all that other good stuff flowed through their ranks, like you know what through a goose.

 

Personally, I had no issues with the counter-culture, I thought for the most part they were harmless, and actually pretty humorous most of the time. During my time in the U.S. Air Force from 1968 to 1972, I did bump up against a few of their shenanigans, however. While stationed at Grand Forks Air Force base in North Dakota, a group of them snuck on the large SAC (Strategic Air Command) base and spray-painted graffiti on a couple of B-52 bombers parked on the runways. That created a major junk storm!

 

Before departing for duty in Vietnam, I was stationed near San Francisco, getting additional weaponry training. Off duty one day, a group of us ventured downtown where a folk festival of some sort was going on. A bunch of the hippies tried to talk us into going AWOL, instead of going to Vietnam. A few members of our group took them up on it, and that created another major junk storm!

 

Upon my return from Vietnam, there was a group of hippies protesting us at the airport, but I didn’t hold that against them, as there were many other “non-hippies” mixed in with the crowd. Later, while stationed at March Air Force Base in Riverside, California hippies would some times come and block the front gate, protesting the war and the military in general. I was put on one of the details, to augment the security police in an effort to contain or curtail their activities. They offered us marijuana and beer, (refused of course) so most of the airmen on duty harbored no ill will against the colorful crowd.

 

I actually hung out with a few hippies during my off-duty time while I was stationed at March Air Force Base. These hippies, had no interest in recruiting me or encouraging me to leave the military. As a matter of fact, they enjoyed many of the goodies I brought them from the commissary. And one of their favorite activities was going to the end of the runways by the large air base, standing as close to the security fence as possible and waiting for the propeller driven aircraft to take off and land. They called it “Doing the props”.

 

The reason they did this, was to feel the prop wash, which flowed down when the low flying aircraft flew over. It gave them a “rush” they said. I enjoyed watching them, as they would sway and sing and enjoyed themselves immensely, compliments of the same U.S. military which they so hardily protested, most any other time. Hippies were a hoot! 😊

 

 

About the Author

Joe Campolo Jr.

Joe Campolo, Jr. is an award winning author, poet and public speaker. A Vietnam War Veteran, Joe writes and speaks about the war, and is a Veteran's advocate. Some of Joe's stories are gripping, some humorous. Joe also writes about other experiences, many of which are also humorous. Joe enjoys fishing, traveling, writing and spending time with his family. Joe loves to hear from his readers, please send him a note on this page or the contact page! (and order one of Joe's popular books from the link on his author page)

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