Forty years ago this week, Jack Burton was totally oblivious to the threat Israel faced against a war against, Jordan, Egypt, and Syria. During the entire 96 hour war, Jack and his Marine mates were "in transit"-AKA- military jargon for "waiting for the plane to DaNang". Jack and company were held in temporary cold storage in a deserted Marine transit barracks bereft of all the ordinary amenities as bunks, mattresses, blankets or pillows, towels or hot water for the six day war.
The first day we learned the Arab/Israeli War had started and the lucky few Marines with transistor radios were glued to the tiny speakers. The war news seemed stunningly unbelievable. It was l all what the hell?!! type news that makes sense now only because we know the war lasted six days. Back then, nobody knew that the war could last Six days. Nobody. We just thought the war would go on for years. Like our war. The Vietnam war. On the second day, a rumor started that our orders were being changed. We were no longer going to Vietnam. We were going to help Israel. Israel needed us. Even at that point, the second day, the sitrep seemed to me that Israel didn't really sound like it needed help. More ammo. Maybe. More tanks. Sure. But Marines? The idea that Israel, a tiny country the size of New Jersey, could face off Egypt's 100,000 troops, 1,000 tanks with 45,000 men and 650 tanks and still have enough balls to carry the fight against two more countries-Jordan and Syria-- still seemed entirely plausible to me. Why. Don't ask for explanations. Just did. It's part of the air only twenty-somethings can breathe.
However, the rumor that our orders were being changed seemed to grow in strength and now the ink was somewhere slowly drying on our orders awaiting our receipt. I began to wonder if, in fact, the PFC who knew somebody, who worked with somebody who typed for the general's office had actually seen the manifest. After 96 hours the war ended. Just in time, our civilian plane was found and escorted to MCAS El Toro airfield. Qantas. As we boarded the flight and said hi to the smiling stewardess, I wondered if Israel couldn't come give us a hand. Shorten the War.