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Richard Calmes | all galleries >> Galleries >> VIETNAM WAR 1968-1969 > Short Timer Calendar
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Short Timer Calendar

Unlike today's troop deployment in Iraq where the soldiers have no clue when they will come home, in Vietnam you knew! You had one year, 365 days, sometimes less, NEVER more. Hence, tracking how many days you have before you leave was a part of everyday life. As important as eating. Thus grew the concept of the "Short timer". As the number of days you had left got smaller, those with more days looked upon you with envy. And those that were truly "short" were proud of it. Everyone lived for the day they became a "single digit midgit".

Here is the calendar on which I personally marked off each day. I made it the first week in country. It was posted in our building. Soon others started using it to track their own days. They added the comments you read. It is a visual reminder of those days spent one day at a time. I was lucky, I came home 18 days "short" of 365.

So there you have it.

other sizes: small medium original auto
Paul Herman 10-Feb-2016 08:59
I was a 2 1/2 driver in Vung Tau for the 805th Transportation from mid May 1968 to mid May 1969.
I am retired and enjoying my life; there are times though that i relive that time of my youth and the other young, as we were, who served and did our best.
Guest 30-Jun-2015 22:45
A real short timer might say "iam so short iam sittin' on a dime and my feet can't touch the ground"
Gae Phinney 07-Feb-2014 21:48
My husband, Michael Phinney , was a clerk stationed in Germany 67-68. He went to QM school from there & then Vietnam for part of 1969. He has 2 similar photo albums. Can't find any of his old "friends".
Long Bach Nguyen03-Dec-2013 17:27
great historical image and wonderful to see the details of the deployment
Alexander02-Nov-2013 12:23
staggering gallery
J C Fischer 23-Aug-2013 02:16
I am the volunteer curator of the Hall of Heroes museum located in the William R. Courtney Texas Veterans home in Temple Texas. I am putting together a display of memorabilia from Vietnam for some of the residents. I am looking for a Short Timers calendar for the display. On in good taste for viewing by the public. Would one of you Nam Vets be willing to donate one to the museum? You will receive credit fo the donation.
Thank you.
JC Fischer Curator
Guest 27-Sep-2012 01:30
Deployment lengths are measured now.
william hubbard 19-May-2012 20:46
time does not count
george rosenbaum 24-Apr-2012 23:42
oh god! i had one. some even had a short timer stick. iwas there june 69 - june 70 long my depot
Rob 14-Apr-2011 18:02
I had one too brother.. alot like yours.. Thanks
Bill Hanzel 30-Mar-2011 04:44
I am looking for information of the USS Markab and its time in Viet Nam (Vung Tau). Several shipmates are looking for information to back up VA claims.
Bill Hanzel, President USS Markab Association
George 29-Jun-2010 20:43
Will never forget my short timer calander. Only wish I had kept it.
Paul A. McMullen 27-Aug-2009 13:25
Enjoyed the site. Guesw what I'm back in the 'Nam. The war is over and the traffic is still bad. Saigon alias TP Ho Chi Minh City is undergoing major street maintenance with sewage lines being installed. It is still hot year round. The local talk about the 'American War.' Yep. Paul McMullen, Still in Sai Gon - literally.
Guest 15-Aug-2009 06:05
I turned 21 on August 29, 1971 in Ca Mau...
Was with MCB5 Detail Mustang...your pictures sure stir up the stuff, seems like just yesterday...
Guest 15-Aug-2009 06:05
I turned 21 on August 29, 1971 in Ca Mau...
Was with MCB5 Detail Mustang...your pictures sure stir up the stuff, seems like just yesterday...
LOVEballet 20-May-2009 00:27
Richard, I didn't know you were a Vietnam Vet. Wow. This is really great history!
Thanks for sharing your personal American Soldier story. Thank you for your service.
poet/photographer 02-May-2009 14:15
You are a teacher, a minister-rabbi-priest-imam-native-healer...with your photographs, richard calmes you are doctor...thank you, ten gabazillion times, thank you
Larry Hill10-Feb-2009 19:14
Wow, I still have mine from 1970-75, printed out on yellow teletype paper. Yeah, it didn't get "short" for a very, very long time. Glad you made it through VN.
Don 28-Jan-2009 19:17
We used to say, "I'm so short, I have to look up to see down!"
Larry 15-Apr-2008 01:13
Here's another: I'm so short I could walk under a door jam on stilts and would have stand on my tip toes to reach the bottom of the jam, barely scraping it with my uncliped finger nails.
Ernie Burlile 17-Sep-2007 18:47
Looking for anyone who went to Vietnam on the Markab in 1967 - Voung Tau
silvia marmori29-Jun-2007 21:38
numbers with more than your story..
i imagine the eyes and feeling of those watching at it..
well, maybe i cant even imagine...
Robyco08-Jun-2007 10:14
This really underlines the feeling they had......
Shawn Patrick04-Jun-2007 01:47
Thanks for sharing. I love history so this is great.
Thanks again. God Bless.
DIANA 02-Jun-2007 21:29
Guest 02-Jun-2007 19:10
Great shot. If I had a band I would love to use this as an album cover.
Bob Kerrigan 10-Apr-2007 04:13
Richard, This is a great shot. Glad you saved it. It reminds me of the notebook I kept to record the most insignificant things that occurred aboard my ship, USS Markab. Those notes made hilarious reading 40 years later. It was inspired by Richard H. Dana's book
Two Years before the Mast.
Pierre Schneider23-Jan-2007 07:47
Excellent, thanks for sharing !
mike ray 20-Jan-2007 15:29
I had a short-timers calendar - but it was at least "R" rated. It was a picture of a nude woman divided into 365 boxes - sort of like a paint by numbers. You can guess where the block for "0" was.

Nestor Derkach20-Jan-2007 11:04
Things are different today when it comes to bieng a short timer, things were better when the draft was in place.
Replacements were fairly sure to come .
Thanks for sharing your past with us .
The Third Side17-Jan-2007 23:57
Some things never change. I had a short timer calendar counting down my days aboard ship, '76-'80.

I was so short once, I could sit on a dime and swing my legs.

Great gallery here,

Guest 15-Jan-2007 18:44
Great gallery. I love looking at 'old' photos (I guess they are no so old!), its amazing how quickly they become historical documents and a window on the past. By the way I made my own 'short timers' when I was stuck in a Jesuit boarding school, not quite as brutal an experience I know, but I can at least emphathise just a little.
william mahan14-Jan-2007 20:05

Hey I had one of these. It took a very prominent place in my locker at Fort Bragg, NC. I can't show mine because of the Playboy Calendar next to it.
Jim Stroup14-Jan-2007 20:03

We had short timer calendars in Germany during those days as well. My stay was for 2 years, 4 months and 16 days until I got to go "Back to the world". Not that I was counting.... It wasn't exactly smooth sailing in Germany. Every month a "levy" came down from H.Q. with names on it. If your name was on it you got 30 days leave and went to Nam. Several of my co-workers went but never completed their short timer calendars. Thanks for sharing your experience. It needs to be told.

Jim Mannheim, Germany 68-71
Guest 15-Sep-2006 02:56
when one has to count the days in such an ominous mood, the day to day quibbling and grievances of civilian life seem rather delightful. again, thank you.
Barbara Read and Fred Schaad26-Mar-2006 21:53
Again, thanks for sharing this. Your comments did make me think of those serving in Iraq, and not knowing when they get to go home. It must be grim for many of them; especially, those that are anxious to get home to their wifes, children, families and all those that love them.
Tom Lacombe 25-Mar-2006 23:40
Great picture! My calendar was a plastic card in my wallet. I didn't want the guys pointing out that I still had a lifetime to go.
Guest 15-Mar-2006 12:46
i wish someone sees it who had seen this chart in real those days,how wonderful it´ll be to read some comments on this shot by those people who left those small remarks around the chart.thanks for sharing this Richard
Guest 28-Jan-2006 22:37
This shot brought some memories from the time I served (not in Vietnam). I never tried marking the calledar because it made the time go so much slower.
And that feeling as the day (29th of August in this case) was getting closer and closer...
Guest 27-Jan-2006 18:18
Great shot! I still have mine (similar to yours) from 1968.
Guest 19-Jan-2006 23:50
oh my god this is SO amazing- so amazing to learn about it- small but very significant relic- love the statement, "On the 29th of August I will tell Vietnam to go to hell."
Guest 15-Dec-2005 08:46
a photo shrine pregnant with stories to tell. oh that it would tell all for i for one would surely listen. thank you for your service to our country. i figure it is never too late to be showered with appreciation. a very meaningful collection of photos from an all to soon forgotten defining moment in our history as a nation as well as others at the time.
scott clarke11-Dec-2005 16:22
I can only think of those who had such short calanders. Great keepsake, no amount of money can touch. Regards Richard. Glad to see this gallery still doing well for you.
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