Mr. grabbed his luggage, gear, and camera before stopping

Mr. R. D. Foster enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1966 at the age of 18.  He served for three years from June 1966 until June 1969 on the island of Okinawa, the Philippine Islands, and South Vietnam during the Vietnam war.  He was a trained rifleman and a truck driver.  He is a published author and wrote a book titled “One Day as a Lion,” telling the stories of the 21 men from Collin County who died in Vietnam.  He also has a website called “Collin County Freedom Fighters,” that has images that he took while stationed in Vietnam.  He currently lives in Collin County and enjoys playing music and writing.  It was the last day of Mr. Foster’s deployment.  He had been serving for three years during the Vietnam war.  He was thinking about his deployment in Okinawa, the Philippine Islands, and finally in South Vietnam.  He was getting ready to depart.  It had been a rather uneventful day.  Everyone had been going about their business as usual.  Suddenly, from outside, he heard a massive explosion.  He rushed outside of his bunker, and then the air around him suddenly filled itself with the aggressive sound of a siren. The scene around him, from the mob of men scurrying around to the drowning sensation of the siren, was in shambles. The men around him scrambled to leave the outdoors to evacuate to the safety of the bunkers. In haste, he rushed to retrieve his things. He grabbed his luggage, gear, and camera before stopping in his tracks. With the hustle around him, he hesitated. Did he need these things? He thought for a moment, with the world going about its chaotic way.  He dropped his luggage for, in the end, he figured that he would not be returning home that day.  He rushed to go see what had happened.  “What could possibly make that noise?” he questioned his companions.  He was about to find out.He shoved his way outside into the open and stood in awe at what was ahead. He looked out ahead, not more than one hundred yards away, where the weapon arsenal used to be, a thick plume of smoke and explosions had taken its place.  “Like a thousand tornadoes at once,” as Mr. Foster recalls, the smoke continued to rise as it formed a massive cloud.  It was as if a ball of smoke and fire had ignited.  He remained stuck in place, immobile by the massive explosion ahead.  Like a rock in a river, he stood against the stream of his brothers. He sat there for a moment, trapped in his own mind, put there by the intense and unforgiving scene around. After waking from the shock, he took out his camera, snapped a picture of the smoke, and hastily joined with the surge of soldiers towards the safety of the bunker.  To this day, Mr. Foster considered this explosion to be one of the scariest moments of his deployment.  The explosion was enough to scare anyone, but what he found really terrifying was the fact that he had no idea what had caused this explosion.  Were they being attacked?    When he made his way back to the bunker, there was nothing but the fog of hushed whispers to fill the room. The first thing he did was to check for an order of direction for what was going on.  They called out for anyone who knew what happened, and they got a reply. “There was a detonation in the weapon arsenal,” they said. “There are still explosives from the place going off, you guys better stay put until it dies out.” Staying was the best option, so they did.For twenty-four hours straight, he stayed in his bunker, waiting for the explosions to subside. After the bombs subsided, his ears still ringing from the continuous explosions, he was given the “all-clear.” The door was unlocked, and when he exited, he was greeted with painful rays of freedom, of the sun hitting his dark-adjusted eyes and for him, returning home. The ground was completely flat “like a pancake,” he recalled.  There was nothing left of the weapon arsenal.  “My last day,” he recalls, “My last day, and I almost died.”  To this day, he still has no idea what caused this massive explosion.  It could have been the result of a weapons misfire.  They may have been attacked.  Someone could have accidentally set something off.  Thankfully, no one had been hurt or died in this explosion.  After this horrifying end to his deployment, he finally made his journey home. Mr. Foster’s experiences in the United States Marine Corps changed him as a person.  His experiences allowed him to see the world and to get a great real-world education.  He met people and had life experiences that he would never have had if he was not part of the Marines.  He says that this experience has definitely shaped him as a person.  Without this, he would not have ever been able to write his books, which he says are very important to him.  Although he did have to go through negative and terrifying experiences, Mr. Foster thinks of his years in the United States Marine Corps in a positive manner.