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Power, Greed, War & Weed

Power, Greed, War & Weed

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After vowing not to send young men to Vietnam, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on 22 November 1963. Will Johnston hears the news sitting in a U.S. History class. During his summer vacation on August 4th, 1964 he reads about an “incident” in the Tonkin Gulf involving US destroyers and North Vietnamese PT boats. This “incident” announced by President Lyndon Johnson, later proves to be a half-truth, but Congress gives Johnson power to retaliate. No war is declared, yet it explodes into one anyway.

Will graduates in 1965, and scrambles to find a college for the fall term. Things go against him and he is excused in December of that year, losing his 2S student deferment from the military draft. In July 1966, Will enlists in the Navy three days before his 19th birthday, his draft notice arriving four days later. Trying for the Sea Bees, he finds the occupation full, and the Navy sends him to Catapult/Arresting Gear “A” school.

The next thing he knows he’s on a plane to Manila, PI, and then a long journey by bus through the jungles down to Subic Bay Naval Base to await his Attack Aircraft Carrier USS Dangerous. Will is on his way to the Tonkin Gulf to launch “angels of death” onto the North Vietnamese.

Bitter and resentful about the politics and realities of war, Will and his shipmates relax by smoking Cannabis after flight ops are over each day. Released from the Navy in the Spring of 1970, he takes a road trip to NY to see his girlfriend at her college.

He arrives May 4th and learns about the Kent State Massacre. This event polarizes the country, and he finds himself driving to Washington D.C. with his girlfriend and three other students protest the war and march on Nixon’s White House. From that day Will’s life takes a new path.

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