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Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

A few minutes in time

Posted Thursday, May 1, 2008, at 4:27 PM

Has there ever a few minutes earlier in your life that you have recalled many times?

A few of those minutes I've recalled often took place the day I was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy.

About 30 minutes prior to receiving our discharge papers and returning to civilian life, the 40 or so of us being charged were called out to stand in ranks.

They had us do an about face while five guys being dishonorably discharged were walked, certainly not marched, by guards to the main gate. They cursed all of us as they went by us.

A few minutes later I walked out that gate and into civilian life. Two of those dishonorably discharged were standing outside the gate.

"What the h--- are we supposed to do now?," one of them asked me.

"I have no idea," I replied and went on my way.

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That's right, Bo. You had no idea, because you didn't choose to end your service in the same manner.

I don't know about in your day, but when I was in, you had to screw up in a major way to get an actual dishonorable discharge. The vast majority of the negative discharges were "bad-conduct" or "other then honorable". I was in the Navy twice ('88-'92 and '01-'05) and I've only known two people that were dishonorably discharged. One was a pedophile and the other was a cocaine dealer. In my opinion, both certainly deserved it. Both were allowed to walk into civilian life, but they were allowed to walk into a federal prison beforehand (actually, they may still be there as far as I know).

-- Posted by Thom on Thu, May 1, 2008, at 5:17 PM


When I was about 14.I was lying in bed that night.I kept hearing this moaning sound.Finally I got up to see what was going on,my neighbors house was on fire.He was about 60 he was hanging out the window.Another neighbor came over and we pulled him out,but it was too late for his sister.I just keep wondering if I had responded sooner, if it would have made difference.

-- Posted by sand-flea on Thu, May 1, 2008, at 7:13 PM

There was a night somewhere in Texas, perhaps about 100 miles from the Arkansas line, I've recalled many times.

After the South Pacific and California it was a great early October night. As I walked into a small restaurant for a real Texas barbecue sandwich and a cup of coffee, I could see the lights of a football field in the distance and even hear the crowd.

There was a smell in the breeze where someone has burned fallen leaves. A few leaves were still on the trees and what I call a light high wind (you can see it high in the trees but can't feel it near the ground) was blowing.

A very friendly guy who served my sandwich and coffee, noted the town practically closed up when the high school football team was playing and the people flooded the restaurants after the game.

Although I still had a way to go to before reaching Tennessee, it was practically a few welcome home moments.

-- Posted by bomelson on Sat, May 3, 2008, at 2:33 PM

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Bo Melson is a retired sports and police beat editor of the Times-Gazette. He passed away November 15, 2014, at age 81.
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