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The following emails were chosen to appear this month by the editor of Pencil Stubs Online. First one is from a prayer circle partner, Jill, who commented, "

"This is from my cousin John, or Johnny Bob, as I grew-up knowing his name. Let me tell you! My family is SO proud of John, as it should be. Hope you enjoy this - I did! It's a hoot!

Love and prayers going up for you,

The Washington Times e-edition

From: bj.hocker@...

Here's an article from today's Washington Times' Veterans Day section. The article included a photo of me with Chamrocun.

What to do with a gift elephant?

From July 1971 until August 1972, I was a member of the Military Equipment Delivery Team Cambodia (MEDTC), committed to the re-formation and building of the Cambodian national armed forces (Forces Armees Nationales Khmeres, or FANK).

How I arrived in Cambodia is a story unto itself. In 1963, my wife and I were at the Army Language School in Monterey, Calif., to study German for an Olmsted Scholarship at the University of Freiburg. Because I spoke German from my earlier days in Bamberg, I finished early and was permitted to monitor the French class for about 1 1/2 months.

As I was about to leave, I asked to take the French test to see how I had done. Upon opening the test, I found the pictures and questions were identical to those on the German test I had taken earlier, only in French. The instructor who graded my test was amazed at how well I had done after just 1 1/2 months and gave me a "fully fluent" mark that was forwarded to my records in Washington.

In 1971, I was on my way back to Vietnam for the second time. My family went on ahead to Thailand, where my wife, Barbara, had obtained a teaching position with the Bangkok International School. When I reported to the clerk at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, Calif., for the flight to Vietnam, he said my orders had been changed. Because I spoke French, I was being reassigned to an embassy someplace else in the world. Although he didn't know where, he said I should report in the following day and there would be more information. With my family on the way to Bangkok, I had visions of ending up in a French-speaking country in Africa.

When I returned to Travis, I was told I should catch a flight to Saigon, report to the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) headquarters and find the office marked MEDTC. Thinking they had the wrong person, I said I was not a medical officer but an infantryman. Didn't make any difference, the clerk said, just go to Saigon.

Upon arrival at MACV headquarters in Saigon, I found the office marked MEDTC. Brig. Gen. Theodore C. Mataxis greeted and welcomed me as the "French speaker" of the team he was forming to raise, train and arm the new Cambodian armed forces. He immediately sent me to Phnom Penh to set up a team house for him, his chief of staff and me. Initially we were just authorized to have 16 military personnel in the country, but after I left, that grew to 62. The first months were spent getting organized, becoming acquainted with our Cambodian counterparts and finding out how to contact our support, e.g. Air America and others.

I had many, many "once in a lifetime" close encounters, combat skirmishes and narrow escapes during the year with the FANK, but the following stands out.

In September 1971, Adm. John S. McCain, commander in chief, Pacific Command, and father of then-POW Lt. Cmdr. John McCain, visited our team. Of course, being the boss of the entire theater, he paid a call on the leader of the country, Marshal Lon Nol, whom we had installed a few months earlier to replace Prince Norodom Sihanouk.

Lon Nol presented Adm. McCain a token of his appreciation - an elephant named Chamrocun, which means prosperity in the Khmer language. He was not fully grown, but he was quite large.

Now, what does an admiral do with such a gift in a far-off country with no means to take care of it and no way to refuse it? Naturally, he turned to the one-star general, who then turned to me and said, "John, handle it."

As I later learned from the admiral's staff, the zoo in Hawaii had no use for a bull elephant. However, the admiral was good friends with Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty, and I learned that the Los Angeles Zoo could use another bull elephant. I arranged for a zoo manager and a veterinarian to travel to Phnom Penh and for their visit to coincide with the arrival of a C-141, loaded with 105 mm howitzers destined for the FANK artillery.

I had two huge steel containers welded together and had the interior lined with plywood with bumper pads all around at the elephant's shoulder height. At the base of the container, I had holes drilled for the elimination of fluid wastes. I had notified the Air Force what the return cargo would be, so the crew was prepared with a large rubber tarpaulin to cover the aircraft floor.

The day of Chamrocun's journey arrived, and I led the zoo representatives to the field behind our team house, which backed up to a FANK compound where Chamrocun was being kept. The extra-large container had been delivered on a low-slung truck.

After introductions, the zoo veterinarian took out his pellet gun and prepared to tranquilize the elephant for the journey. The FANK guard raised his AK-47 and aimed it at the veterinarian - it was a terrible sin to kill an elephant.

I quickly managed, in French mixed with broken Khmer, to convince the guard that this would not kill Chamrocun but only make him tranquil for the trip to the United States. When the guard lowered the rifle, we all breathed a sigh of relief.

After that, things proceeded as planned, and we bade farewell to the zoo representatives and to Chamrocun as they left Ponchetong airport bound for California.

Years later, I visited the Los Angeles Zoo and called on Chamrocun, but he didn't recognize me. Who said elephants have great memories?



~ ~ ~ ~ ~

New Page 1

Sent: 11/26/2008 5:30:50 P.M. US Mountain Standard Time
Great Marine Humor...

Semper Fi

Top This One for A Speeding Ticket

Two California Highway Patrol Officers were conducting speeding enforcement on I-15, just north of the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar. One of the officers was using a hand held radar device to check speeding vehicles approaching the crest of a hill. The officers were suddenly surprised when the radar gun began reading 300 miles per hour. The officer attempted to reset the radar gun, but it would not reset and then turned off.

Just then a deafening roar over the treetops revealed that the radar had in fact locked on to a USMC F/A-18 Hornet which was engaged in a low flying exercise near the location.

Back at the CHP Headquarters the Patrol Captain fired off a complaint to the USMC Base Commander. The reply came back in true USMC style:

~ ~ ~

Thank you for your letter. We can now complete the file on this incident.

You may be interested to know that the tactical computer in the Hornet had detected the presence of, and subsequently locked on to your hostile radar equipment and automatically sent a jamming signal back to it, which is why it shut down.

Furthermore, an Air-to-Ground missile aboard the fully armed aircraft had also automatically locked on to your equipment location.

Fortunately, the Marine Pilot flying the Hornet recognized the situation for what it was, quickly responded to the missile system alert status and was able to override the automated defense system before the missile was launched to destroy the hostile radar position.

The pilot also suggests you cover your mouths when cussing at them, since the video systems on these jets are very high tech.

Sergeant Johnson, the officer holding the radar gun, should get his dentist to check his left rear molar. It appears the filling is loose. Also, the snap is broken on his holster.

Thank you for your concern.

Semper Fi

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This really needs no introduction, just pay attention: New Page 1

Subject: FW: Who's Your Daddy?

______________________________ __

You'll like this. It's quite a beautiful story!

    A seminary professor was vacationing with his wife in Gatlinburg ,
TN.      One morning, they were eating breakfast at a little restaurant,
hoping to  enjoy a quiet, family meal. While they were waiting for their
food, they noticed a distinguished looking, white-haired man moving from
table to  table, visiting with the guests. The professor leaned over and
whispered to his wife, 'I hope he doesn't come over here.'

But sure enough, the man
did come over to their table.

'Where are you folks from?' he asked in a friendly voice.

' Oklahoma ,' they answered.

'Great to have you here in Tennessee ,' the stranger said. 'What do you
for a living?'

'I teach at a seminary,' he replied.

'Oh, so you teach preachers how to preach, do you? Well, I've got a
great story for you.' And with that, the gentleman pulled up a chair and
sat down at the table with the couple.

The professor groaned and thought to himself, 'Great Just what I need
...another preacher story!'

The man started, 'See that mountain over there? ( pointing out the
re staurant window). Not far from the base of that mountain, there was a
boy born to an unwed mother. He had a hard time growing up , because
place he went, he was always asked the same question, 'Hey boy, Who's
daddy?' Whether he was at school, in the grocery store or drug store,
people would ask the same question, 'Who's yo ur daddy?'

He would hide at recess and lunchtime from other students. He would
going into stores because that question hurt him so bad. 'When he was
about 12 years old, a new preacher came to his church. He would always
in late and slip out early to avoid hearing the question,
'Who's your daddy?'

But one day, the new preacher said the benediction so fast that he got
caught and had to walk out with the crowd.

Just about the time he got to the back door, the new preacher, not
anything about him, put his hand on his shoulder and asked him, 'Son,
who's your daddy?'
The whole church go t deathly quiet. He could feel every eye in the
looking at him. Now everyone would finally know the answer to the
que stion, 'Who's your daddy?'

'This new preacher, though, sensed the situation around him and using
discernment that only the Holy Spirit c ould give, said the following to
that scared little boy.. 'Wait a minute! I know who you are! I see the
family resemblance now. You are a child of God.'

With that he patted the boy on his shoulder and said, 'Boy, you've got a
great inheritance. Go and claim it.'

'With that, the boy smiled for the first time in a long time and walked
out the door a changed person. He was never the same again. Whenever
anybody asked him, 'Who's your Daddy?' he'd just tell them, 'I'm a Child
of God.''

The distinguished gentleman got up from the table and said, 'Isn't that
great story?'

The professor responded that it really was a great story!

As t he man turned to leave, he said, 'You know, if that new preacher
hadn't told me that I was one of God's children, I probably never would
have amounte d to anything!' And he walked away.

The seminary professor and his wife were stunned. He called the waitress
over &asked her, 'Do you know who that man was -- the one who just left
that was sitting at our table?'

The waitress grinned and said, 'Of c ourse. Everybody here knows him.
That's Ben Hooper. He's the former governor of Tennessee !'

Someone in your life today needs a reminder that they're one of God's

'The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of God stands
forever.' ~~Isaiah


Keep this going, Gang. You have no idea which one of Your e-mail buddies
use a little hope today. I mailed it to you, didn't I?




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