Charles James Hall
This book is a work of fiction. Places, events, and
situations in this story are purely fictional. Any
resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is
© 2002 by Charles James Hall. All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a
retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without
written permission from the author.
ISBN: 1-4033-6873-2 (E-book)
ISBN: 1-4033-6874-0 (Paperback)
ISBN: 1-4033-7670-0 (Dustjacket)
1stBooks – rev. 04/25/03
Range Four Harry
Four-The Government’s Number
Is It For Nothing?
In Memory of Me
The Happy Charade
All That a Man Has
Rite of Passage
About the Author
I have enjoyed telling family, friends, and the wonderful people whom I have met at book signings the
story of how the Millennial Hospitality series came into being. I thought other readers might like to hear it
Over the last 18 years, from time to time when I entered the room where my husband sat at the
computer, I noticed that he would quickly shut the screen that he was working on. When I asked him what
he was doing, sometimes he would answer, “Nothing” or “Just relaxing”.
Other times, he would say that he was working on a book. In May of 2002, he became unemployed.
After he was a month into unemployment, this scenario repeated itself. He said he was working on his
book. I said, “Well, you know, if you die tomorrow, there is no way I am going to go hunting through the
many files you have, to look for any book. I suggest that you print some of that out right now; I would like
to see it.”
Charles said, “Which book did you want to see?”
“What do you mean, which book? How many books do you have in there,” I asked?
He said, “Oh, a couple, three.”
Naturally, when I saw some of the chapters, I was determined that we should publish it. I felt it was
excellent material and it should be picked up by one of the major houses, but I knew that would take time
and since no income was coming into our house, we decided to self publish.
The manuscript needed editing badly, partially because he had started the books on an old Tandy 2000
and there were technical difficulties in retrieving it. The major problem I had with the book was the
macho language he thought he needed to use. My daughter and I were up to the task of editing the material
and Charles was much in agreement when we told him that the story was so good, the swear words added
nothing and furthermore, deleting them would make the book appropriate for mid-schoolers.
Well, Charles worked hard implementing all of our corrections, but then, inadvertently used older
unedited files to compile the CD to send to the publisher. I will leave out some of the drama that
followed. It slowed things down considerably, and because we were so anxious to start marketing our
books, I had ordered 500 copies of Millennial Hospitality before I saw one bound copy. We decided to
re edit immediately and Charles sat for days and hand edited some of the worst mistakes from the 500
copies we already had in our house. If you have one of those copies, they have already become
That was then and this is today, the day it is that you are beginning to read Millennial Hospitality. We
both hope that you will enjoy reading it and if you have not already read Millennial Hospitality II The
World We Knew and Millennial Hospitality III The Road Home, we know that you will want to read
them as well.
14 February 2003
Marie Therese Hall
This book is dedicated to the greater honor and glory of
Who created us all, aliens included.
Millennial Hospitality is in print only because of my wife’s support and encouragement. She is also
responsible for the books title the design for the cover, and was my chief editor. I am also grateful to the
young men whom it was my privilege to serve with during the Vietnam War years.
As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
The wind blows over it and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.
. . . Psalm 103 15:16
The train station in downtown Las Vegas was beautiful beyond description that Friday morning when I
arrived. It was an early spring day in the mid 1960’s. I was 20, an enlisted man, just out of training
school, a weather observer in the United States Air Force. Homesick, I stood for a long time on the
platform in my dress blue uniform, out in the bright, hot, beautiful desert sunshine. I watched the train as it
pulled slowly away from the station and headed out into the brown desert to the southwest toward Los
Angeles. I stood there watching silently, alone. As the train disappeared far away into the heat waves and
into the distance, it seemed as if the world I had known disappeared with it. At last I turned around to
view my new world. It was a world full of flashing lights, ringing bells, money-filled slot machines,
blackjack tables, and scantily clad waitresses, for which the city was already famous. I could hardly have
been more eager to enter this world, by way of its doorway at Casino Center. It seemed as if I had nothing
to fear except, perhaps, getting my dress blue uniform muddy from the grass in front of me. The grass was
half covered with water from the nearby natural springs. It formed the beautiful well-watered set of
meadows for which Las Vegas had been named. “What a nice relaxing touch of Las Vegas hospitality,” I
thought to myself. “My life now has it all. It has beautiful, scantily clad women, grass green money, and
money green grass.” Little did I know at the time, my life would very soon have desert afternoons spent in
desperate life or death struggles and moonlit desert nights filled with white terror. For the next two and a
half years, my assigned place would alternate between the base at Desert Center, and the gunnery ranges
at Mojave Wells.
As I stood watching, an Air Force master sergeant in his early 30’s got out from a dark blue USAF van
parked nearby. He greeted me as he approached, “I’m Master Sergeant Walters. You’re Airman Charles
Baker, aren’t you?”
“Yes,” I responded. “I’m Airman 2nd Class Charles Baker, reporting for duty.”
“Place your duffel bag in the van, and we’ll get started,” he responded. “We have a mighty long drive
down to the southwest to get to the Desert Center Air Base. It’s several hundred miles. We’ll have to
make good time if we intend to arrive before the chow hall closes.”
“I got off at the right place, didn’t I?” I asked.
“Oh yes, yes. Of course yes,” he insisted. “Even though Los Angeles is closer, the drive into the train
station in downtown L.A. is such a headache, we’d all rather come the extra miles up here to Las Vegas.”
“If the Air Force had permitted it, I could have taken the bus from the train station here, down to Desert
Center,” I volunteered.
“Oh, no! Of course, not!” exclaimed the sergeant. “Those bus connections are confusing and the bus
ride takes forever. Only someone who really knows his way around the southwest should ever attempt
that. The long drive up here to Las Vegas in a government van is no trouble at all. We’re happy to do it.
It’s fun coming in to Las Vegas. We even get to play the slot machines as we wait.
“First of all, I have to make sure that you know your boundaries. I have to make sure that you know your
place. As soon as we arrive at Desert Center this evening, you’ll sign in and be issued a bunk in the
barracks. Then Monday, when you report for duty at the weather station, we’ll issue you an off-duty pass.
Your pass will permit you to travel as far as 450 miles away from the Desert Center base whenever you
are not on duty. So when you have the time and money and you are not on duty, you will be able to travel
in to L.A., San Diego, Yuma, Las Vegas, or to any town in-between. You can only travel outside of those
boundaries if you have been issued special leave papers.”
“I understand,” I responded.
“Tonight, our commander, the major, has invited everyone in the detachment to attend his birthday party
at the Desert Center officers’ club. Today he turned 42. Of course, enlisted men such as you and I are
normally not allowed in the officers club. Like all enlisted men, we have to learn our place. Tonight’s
party is special. It starts at 9:00 p.m. Put on your dress uniform, and be sure to attend.”
“I’ll be there, sergeant,” I answered.
The drive down to Desert Center was a long one. I was quite tired by the time we arrived. I signed in,
found my bunk, and just barely made it to the chow hall before it closed. Then I slept for 3 hours or so,
before getting dressed and heading over to the officers’ club for the party.
The weather detachment was typically small. It contained barely 18 officers and men. I paid no
attention when master sergeant Walters