My family left China during the cultural revolution in the 1950s. We ended up coming to California in the 1960’s. Back then, the Chinese community was very tightly knit. We all lived in select areas within the communities. Sacramento and San Francisco were known for having a Chinatown where if felt like a little bit of home was with us. Having to learn a new language, the only jobs we were able to get were farm related jobs. I spent my days and nights picking tomatoes out by Stockton, CA.
In 1969, the Selective Service System of the United States conducted two lotteries to determine the order of call to military service in the Vietnam War for men born from January 1, 1944 to December 31, 1950. I was drafted to serve our Country. Although my English was still limited, I did my best while serving. During my service time, I was trained to work on military vehicles and acquired auto mechanic skills. When I completed my service, I started my civil service career working at the local Army depot over the next thirty years.
I am now a retired veteran. During my free time I enjoy yardwork, fishing, and coffee time with my buddies. I also enjoy spending time with the grandkids and sharing my stories and experiences with them. When I tell them about how my life was like back in the early days, they often look at me and think I’m making up stories, but I always tell them, don’t let my age fool you…grandpa was a real wartime veteran and believes if you work hard, it will pay all off.