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Thread: 1968, September....

  1. #1
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    Default 1968, September....

    In September, 1968 I was having some small complications from a couple of injuries received during the Tet Offensive and it was suggested that I take time off and rest, maybe return to the states for some R & R.....I flew home. After 2-3 weeks sitting around doing nothing except checking into the Baptist hospital to have some stitches removed...I was getting really bored. The first Neper needed cleaning and checked out, so dad helped me lift her onto a cradle for fresh bottom paint and some new paint on her topsides, then the following week we towed her to Port Aransas, Texas.
    I spent a week getting everything read, and the day before blasting off mom and dad and kid sister came to see me off. Mom had absolutely no faith in a 31 foot boat made of plywood. I took my time, and checked in with a neighbor that had a short wave radio set up, so I could leave messages for the folks or run a phone patch from the boat, I doodled around for nearly 4 weeks to the canal zone, sailed into Gatun lake, and then hired a small truck and trailer to pick up the boat and drive it to the pacific side, then relaunch.
    I loaded all the perishibles that I could use and then sailed out to Taboga Island. I spent 3 weeks there wasting my time in the company of a local lady, then eventually headed North to the bay of Tehuantepec, which is about half way between the border of Acapulco and Guatamala. There is a barrier island there covering the mouth of a river by the same name, and navigation of the river was generally left to small boats, shallow draft, small outboards for fishing. There was nothing there in the 60's except a small indian village and the remnants of a hippy colony. Most of the hippies had turned beggar and were wearing out their welcome. As I cruised to the docks, a couple were standing there ready to help with the lines and the first words "hey man! Do you have anything to drink?" I responded sadly, nothing but water........The locals were still very friendly with me. My boat was neat and clean, the others were deteriorating.
    The chief asked if I intended to stay a while, I politely asked his permission to do so. The next day we walked the shore line, then he started marking out a boundary, and told me I could build a house for as long as I wanted to stay.
    I had food aboard for a while, but the men in the village hunted 2-3 days a week, mostly for wild pig, although they were dangerous. They hunted with machetes and spears but the chief had a shotgun, but no shells. I opened a bag and took out 4 shells for his 12 ga, and took my bow and some arrows to chase the pigs. We went hunting.
    Some fellows left an hour or so ahead of us, then we heard a drum hit, then another...chief says time to go but be careful......about 20 minutes into the hunt there's something big and heavy coming through the underbrush so I get ready, and out comes mama......one fellw got a spear into her hind quarters, but one of my arrows entered behind the front shoulder and cleaned out the heart and lungs. Porker number two came at us straight ahead with 2 spears hanging onto him, and he went down with a straight ahead shot into the chest....the last one that we had was papa, one big mean ornery wild eyed pi$$ed of hawg that threatened to eat us all. I got one arrow into him before I had to emulate a squirrel, but the old chief stood his ground and shot him in the head at literally point blank with the 12 ga 00 buck. My body felt like it had been beat to death by the time we got the animals to camp...and the ladies took over. I remember a cup of rice and some fried fish with some tasty greens and coconut milk, a cold fresh bath, then crashing and burning on a mat.
    Woke up to the smell of roasting pork, noise and yelling, too much noise......It seems that the other couple that had arrived low on supplies and had been"borrowing" food and things around the camp. The chief had a young man placed on my boat to insure that it didn't "float away".....the couple had gone aboard during the night and removed much of my foodstuffs and apparently some other items included money.....and tribes like this have a very tight code of what's right and wrong. as a result, they were escorted to their boat, given water and baskets of fruit and ordered away from the village, if they returned there would be dire consequences.
    Somewhere in that Part of Mexico they had found stones, and the chief shoed me a box, about half a cigar box with uncut stones, there was jade and turquoise, some very fine pieces, and fire opal, and a couple others that I didn't recognize. They wanted me to sell it for them. Then purchase some items in Acapulco for them.
    I sailed to Acapulco to a precious stones shop, and got an appraisel, it seemed a bit low. I went to another who gave me a similar deal. It took a minute for me to realize that the first guy had called his friends, so the next shop I told the guy I was taking the stuff to the states and the price went up dramatically....and it was sold......
    My instructions was to purchase cloth and items for the ladies first, and a box of shotgun shells if there was anything left. I made it back with several bolts of cloth, scissors, needles, thread, buttons, a buck skinning knife for several male members of the tribe and 4 boxes of shotgun shells....and still had a couple hundred dollars left. Everybody was happy
    Talking on the radio one night mom said that there had been 2 phone calls about coming back to vietnam...so I prepared to head north with the boat.....
    Last edited by paladin; 10-06-2009 at 01:08 PM.
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
    ..a bad day sailing is a heckuva lot better than the best day at work.....
    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
    "If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Thanks Chuck, I'm sure many will be looking forward to each post.

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    Smile Re: 1968, September....

    GREAT STUFF CHUCK!!!!!!! Thank You....
    I have a coupla coldies and some popcorn ready for the next chapter.
    So glad to see you digging about your treasure chest for memories to share with us.
    Absolutely all our best wishes Chuck.

    Ian

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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Thanks for sharing a good story, Chuck.
    I'm all ears for the next one.
    glenallen

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Fabulous stuff, the time, the places, the sounds.
    When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.

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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Chuck, wonderful story. Very, very interesting. Your life has been and is so full of adventure. Your descriptions are vivid and visul...

    Please write your memoir. It would be a nice legacy to your children and progenies down the line... It would also be a best seller book and make a great movie or TV series.

    I'd consider your memoir a contribution to the human kind.

    If it's too much writing, you could dictate it to me and I'd write it down, -word to word, just as you'd say it...
    Choose wisely -Treat kindly...

    A secret to a good marriage is to have a quick mind and a slow mouth...



    S/V ORCA 38' Herreshoff Ketch

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Such an adventurous and fascinating life you have lived. If you were making it all up it'd still be fascinating. The fact that you lived it all makes it something beyond that.

    Mickey Lake

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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Keep it coming!

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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Thanks Chuck! Keep'em coming. I'm on the edge of my seat.

    Doug

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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Quote Originally Posted by paladin View Post
    I sailed to Acapulco to a precious stones shop, and got an appraisel, it seemed a bit low. I went to another who gave me a similar deal. It took a minute for me to realize that the first guy had called his friends, so the next shop I told the guy I was taking the stuff to the states and the price went up dramatically....and it was sold......
    Great story Chuck .

    I've had the same experience selling sapphires ,all the buyers know each other and scratch each other's backs .You have to have a market outside the loop .

    That got me interested in gold ...it's hard to be talked down on the ounce price .Enter PNG and the mountains .
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  11. #11
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Thanks Chuck....love to hear more of you history.
    Regards
    Robbie

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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Oh, yeah! This is what we've been waiting for.
    Thanks, Chuck



    Steven

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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    He's SUCH a tease!! C'mon Chuckles.....Grease up those typing fingers!

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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    OK, knock this off, I gotta get some work done!
    Hey! It's MY Hughniverse!

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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    sorry folks...sometimes I feel like it...other times I feel like crap.....coupled with the fact that when My harddrive died it took my cookbook with it and have to reassemble everything from notes etc....
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
    ..a bad day sailing is a heckuva lot better than the best day at work.....
    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
    "If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."

  16. #16
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Quote Originally Posted by paladin View Post
    sorry folks...sometimes I feel like it...other times I feel like crap.....coupled with the fact that when My harddrive died it took my cookbook with it and have to reassemble everything from notes etc....
    Isn't there a way someone can get the old files from the crashed hard drive?

    Would you like me to contribute one of our favorite healthy, tasty, secret recipes to your new cook book?
    Choose wisely -Treat kindly...

    A secret to a good marriage is to have a quick mind and a slow mouth...



    S/V ORCA 38' Herreshoff Ketch

  17. #17
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    More on Vietnam please. BTW, I thought you were a civilian with CAS/Air America. Then I read elsewhere that you were special forces.. please xplain? Igloo White perhaps or some other electronics program?

    I've just finished reading Street Without Joy for the second time. Sure the american war was tragic but how about the french! What a waste and total disregard for human life. Including their own soldiers.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    I had managed to fly home for Christmas, but the doctor didn't think my leg was completely healed up. I needed a few more months or at least several weeks......I idn't tell the doctor what I had been doing.....
    The first week in January I went back to get the boat, and it had been well cared for. I stopped in Acapulco to pick up a couple hundred dollars of line, fishhooks, files and a few other niceties, including fuel for a dozen zippo lighters.
    I headed north to Monterey, then to Santa Cruz and called on Jim Brown. I picked up the plans for the Searunner 31. I was sailing a Piver AA31 and without a centerboard the directional control varied from none to zero.
    While in Santa Cruz I received a radio message to contact an outfit in Tempe Arizona. They had a pilot down in Guam and were shipping an engine in to swap out in an aircraft that needed to go to the Philippines. I had 4-5 weeks, so I loaded the boat and made an uneventful trip there. The aircraft was a Beech Baron used as a Continental air Services aircraft. I tied the boat up at the sailing club at Agana Bay and found a local taxi to Anderson AFB a bit North. I had a bit of a problem getting on the base, slightly long har, beard, T shirt, faded out old blue jeans and Huaraches. Finally someone called base ops and I was allowed on...with an escort. The Air Force Major that met me was giving me the once over and seemed ashamed to be seen with me, but he did invite me to the "O" club for lunch. We talked, the aircraft was ready, and when I told him I had to make arrangements for my sailboat his eyes seemed suddenly to open. He drove me back to the sailing club, and I invited him aboard.
    We talked for a couple of hours. When he left he was very polite and said he would talk to some folks.
    After a good nights sleep, plenty of water for a shower and a shave around the edges, haircut and beard trim I felt a lot better. Stowed all the stuff that Was non perishable, and gave away to the dockhands anything that would spoil. I dressed in clean jeans and sports shirt and a pair of light boots.
    The major picked me up around 9 a.m. and did a double take when he saw me. We drove to the hangar where 22Charlie was kept. It had not actually flown since the engine swap, having been run up on the ramp for a couple of hours. I received clearance for a couple of trips around the pattern, and asked the Major if he wanted to go for a ride. He accepted. The flight was uneventful and after 3 touch and goes I took it back to fill the ferry tanks. They removed the passenger seat and installed a 25 gallon oil tank with plastic tubes running to the engines, taped to the airframe. If the oil pressure went low, I had to manually pump oil to the low engine.
    The boat was in trust, so about 6 a.m. the next morning I had grabbed my emergency kit, food and had the relief tube installed and roared down the runway. I had calculated that the in air flight time to be about 8.5 hours to Manila so that I could make a daylight landing.
    My cruising airspeed was to be 160-165 m.p.h. to conserve fuel.
    The first 3 1/2 hours were uneventful, then I noticed the change in pitch from the right hand engine...the one that had been changed. I was losing RPM. It then started running rough, with nothing but water in sight...a quick check on the chart and I had circled a small ilsand about half way there, but the words "do not land" were also on the chart....I headed for Yap Island.....
    By the time I arrived over the Isalnd it was almost a one engine landing. The airstrip was grass and long, and well cared for. One the approach I noticed aircraft sitting in rows alongside the runway but didn't pay much attention....after landing and shutting the engines down, I looked over to see rows of Japanese Zeros in various stages of rot and rust.
    It was a full 20 minutes before anyone bothered to check on the strange aircraft sitting in the middle of the runway. By the time the old Japanese gentleman arrived on his motor scooter, I had the cowls open and was checking everything. It seems one of the mag wires had not been secured, allowing one plug to misfire, causing carbon to build up in the cylinder......After apologizing to the caretaker I ran the engine up, and bounced the throttle a few times and everything seemed to run properly. Within the hour I was airborne again.
    As I passed over Montalban Dam I radioed to Manila, Miguel Campos and the chief mechanic were expecting me, and although I was only about 30 minutes late everyone seemed genuinely worried.
    The papers were turned over, the customs agent was happy (he probably was paid a months pay to be at the hangar to sign everything off). Mr. Campos had a return trip ticked for me for the next afternoon to Guam, a paid room at the Hotel Pilipinas and dinner etc at the Swiss Inn.
    I always schedule a week away for those jobs, so it was a surprise to be back in Guam after three days....and a surprise. The Major asked if the boat was for sale. He and a Captain were planning on having one built. We agreed on the price and I headed home to start on the Searunner 31.
    My right leg was really Hurting.

    as an aside, the aircraft ferried that day was Baron B-95 and subsequent records show that it was destroyed
    N522C was the N registration number when brought from the U.S.

    95-B55 was the make and model number of the airframe/aircraft

    TC-415 was the incountry designation

    CASI, crashed 05/01/69 at Ponesa, Nong Khai province, Thailand. It didn't last long. ain't log books wunnerful!
    Last edited by paladin; 06-01-2008 at 09:47 PM.
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
    ..a bad day sailing is a heckuva lot better than the best day at work.....
    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
    "If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."

  19. #19
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    What an adventure the flight turned out to be.

    Waiting for the next installment with bated breath...
    Choose wisely -Treat kindly...

    A secret to a good marriage is to have a quick mind and a slow mouth...



    S/V ORCA 38' Herreshoff Ketch

  20. #20
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Oh yeah, this is good stuff.

    Mickey Lake

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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Thanks again Chuck .

    I didn't do Vietnam ,my marble didn't come up but as I've said before I got up to the PNG highlands for nickel exploration .Lots of ex nam US flyers up there on choppers.All with nerves like barbed wire .Lots of rum and guitars .
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  22. #22
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Hi Norseman.....in 1958 I went into the Air Force....in 1960 I returned from my first overseas assignment to Shaw AFB South Carolina. When JFK gave the Green Beret to the Army, the Air Force decided to form their own elite unit, using the same standards as Special Forces. It was called CASF for Composite Air Strike Force, which eventually merged to become the Air Commandos and Ravens under General Heinie Aderholt.
    We were abruptly disbanded in 1963 by order of the Sec. AF with the statement that the Air Force was Technical types, not special forces. I spent my last 2 years of active reserves on active duty (1962-1964) by special invitation of the air force. In 1964 I went to work with Bird and Sons construction company (Continental air services). another story.
    Last edited by paladin; 06-01-2008 at 09:32 PM.
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
    ..a bad day sailing is a heckuva lot better than the best day at work.....
    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
    "If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."

  23. #23
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Rich, vivid images, great use of language. A real storyteller with a real life to share. You are an amazing man. If not for yourself, tell the story for those who cannot.
    Fly Fishing Washington's Olympic Peninsula
    http://olympicpeninsulaflyfishing.blogspot.com

  24. #24
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Most of 1969 was a drag. It was a hot summer. Folks had been trying to get work at the local Western Electric plant and not having any luck, Little brother was cramming all kinds of manuals trying to get a job....so I decided to try out, I drove to the plant. They had a project line down in the middle of the floor, a 25kw rf welder was functioning and the tech was trying to build a high impedance probe to make it work. After I watched it for a few minutes I asked if I could put it together. The forman asked my how many had I worked on and I said "none"...I started assembling the carriage the way it should be assembled, and connected several lines that had never been collect/connected. I placed all the high voltage caps on the monster power tubes and cranked the drive levels down, slowly started turning up the bias power.. Once that seemed to work, I kicked on the 15000 volts to the accellerator. Things started hummimg.....did the final tweeking and screwed the lids on tight and it was still working an hour later. The system manager sent me home and said that they would call if they needed me,
    Before I got home my mom got a call to come to work asap starting the next shift. And they had to create a job title to bring me on board so that they could raise the salary higher than an ordinary electrician. Little brother had a very funny look on his face,......and my salary was almost 3 times what my dad was bringing home.
    That weekend I rented a small house a short distance away from the folks, a small living room with which to study, a kitchen/dining room combo and a bedroom/bathroom and a nice side yard....nice place to work on a boat. I sat up the sawhorses the first weekend, started with frames the second. I built and finished the centerboard, then the centerboard case, next came the rudder, the stem, all the frames for the main hull and outriggers, like a giant model airplane kit Saturdays and part of Sunday was full time boat working time.....except I had to show up for brothers church services and mom's for Sunday dinner. From mom and dad...I could make better money building high end houses and cabinets and the such.......brothers and sisters thought that I get a job in a furniture store...I was happy making boat cartoons and mailing them off.....and the boat was going great guns, starting to look like a boat. I had purchased most of the hardware, new radios and such, and all the first class stuff to outfit the boat.
    and then I met a freckle faced lady named Mae Kincaid...single, with two young kids, strawberry blond hair, bumps in all the right places.
    I had met mae but kept my distance....she was getting closer.....she needed help with the son, he was with a scout troop and he had a project skateboard, would i help him with his skateboard? Oh Sure...for three weeks we worked on the skateboard, making it run true, holding together, cleaning it up, fancy paint etc, etc, and I was getting sandwiches delivered to the shop area, cold iced tea, snacks and back rubs, then there was a week or two or three or four where absolutely no work was accomplished....the boat was taped together to insure that everything fit, ready for the final epoxy.....the world ended approximateky4 p.m. on a friday afternoon........Mae came over, snuggled up, and in a very sweet quiet voice told me she was pregnant...my only remark was "I thought you were on the pill?" to which she responded "I stopped".
    There was a gazillion things going over and over in my mind.....so I stopped at the Hamburger Hangout on southwest 29th street, sat in the 66 T Bird ordered and Ice cold pepsi with a lotta ice and a burger with everything. The waitress, rolling around on roller skates, asked me how things were between Mae and I. I said fine I guess, what's up? and thats when the words came out of her mouth......"She's going to tell you she's pregnant to try to get you to marry her".....why so?.........Her mom and dad want her to go to grad school, she don't want to go.............
    I called Jim Brown in California and asked if he would like a half built 31, I would trade it and pay shipping for a 41 set of plansI started crating the boat. Also called Air Ops and told them I could report for work, if we could do a bit better on the wages that we previously had,,,,I got a substantial garauntee and a bonus so agreed to report in 30 days. Shipped the box, stopped in Santa Cruz for the new plans and some items from Boicelli and mercurio near the airport, and I was gone Spent Christmas in South San Francisco waiting on the Bird out....By the second week in January I had hit Saigon and moved to Dalat, with a brand new Pilatus Porter to play with.....and outta audio range of one highly Pi$$ed off lady!!
    Last edited by paladin; 06-01-2008 at 10:43 PM.
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
    ..a bad day sailing is a heckuva lot better than the best day at work.....
    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
    "If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."

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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    days and days, weeks even of pure boredom punctuated by a few moments of Stark Terror.
    Last edited by paladin; 06-02-2008 at 06:11 PM.
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
    ..a bad day sailing is a heckuva lot better than the best day at work.....
    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
    "If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."

  27. #27
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Christmas eve 1969 was spent waiting on a new passport. The folks in San Francisco noted that I had just a couple of months left so decided it was faster and easier to renew while in the states than once back overseas. I was travelling on the standard tourist passport with an isertion that stated that I was traveling abroad acting as a representative of the U.S. government.
    I was bored....I visited Boicelli and mercury, marine outfitters near the airport in South San Fran. I also noted that my baggage was very light, so I purchased the morse-teleflex steering cable assembly that I anticipated for the new tri.I also saw the price on the ships wheels. After my heart started working again I kept looking at the construction and decided that I could make one from scratch just as well. Nearby was a metal fabrication shop. I stopped in and purchased a 40 inch by 40 inch slab of 5/16ths aluminum plate. Then to the hardware store and obtained a heavy duty controlled speed sabre saw, some metal cutting blades and some lubricants, A cheap drill, couple yards of heavy canvas, and awl and some webbing.
    Back at the motel I laid out the wheel design, the hub, spokes and the rim. The metal plate was heavy, but relatively inexpensive compared to the wheel.
    I drilled some hole in strategic locations, then used the sabre saw to cut away the parts that didn't look like a ships wheel. Four days later the metal looked like a wheel and weighed less than half what I had started with. I folded the canvas over and made a carrying bag to take it aboard the airplane.
    During this time the passport arrived, so I bagged the metal scraps and tools and gave them to the maintenance man at the motel, then scheduled my flight out. This was the late 60's. They checked my passport, questioned the bottle of 100 year old brandy in my bag, opened and played with the ships wheel project, noted my destination, and never opened the two green boxes in the bottom of the awol bag that had 100 rounds of 9mm luger, never asked about the Browning in the shoulder holster or the Beretta Jetfire in the ankle holster.
    Those were some very interesting times.
    We made Hawaii....and spent the night at the "O" club at Hickam field waiting for a charter flight to Saigon.
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
    ..a bad day sailing is a heckuva lot better than the best day at work.....
    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
    "If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."

  28. #28
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Hanging on to your every word...

    Please continue... What happends next?
    Choose wisely -Treat kindly...

    A secret to a good marriage is to have a quick mind and a slow mouth...



    S/V ORCA 38' Herreshoff Ketch

  29. #29
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Keep goin Chuck . You're on a roll now and gettin started again is tough.

    A motel work shop ?????

    You should consider a ghost writer. This is movie stuff!!!

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  30. #30
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Keep it coming Chuck. What an adventure! I've been fascinated with Vietnam since flight school as one of my instructors there was a veteran, 3 tours. Later I met several vets ,ex machine gunner (Laos around 69 I think) ex B-52 pilots etc.
    Interesting story about the magneto , I had the same thing happen on an Islander (BN-2) only for a different reason. On the return flight from up north around Kasba Lake NWT one mag came loose and screwed up the timing . I noticed the engine running a little hot and flew the last half hour or so to Thompson with the engine at idle.
    Take care old eagle, going cruising for two months but will check in.

  31. #31
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    86,646

    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Quote Originally Posted by Spin_Drift View Post
    Hanging on to your every word...
    Same here.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  32. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
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    Chesapeake Beach, Md 20732 U.S.A.
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    don't youse guys got anything better to do?
    Jack....as essentially a non-alcoholic, can you imagine sitting in a motel room (tiny motel room) in South San Fran with nothing to do?
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
    ..a bad day sailing is a heckuva lot better than the best day at work.....
    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
    "If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."

  33. #33
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
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    Ash, NC (not Asheville)
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    12,115

    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Quote Originally Posted by paladin View Post
    don't youse guys got anything better to do?
    Uh....nope... More please?

    Doug

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
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    Chesapeake Beach, Md 20732 U.S.A.
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    26,750

    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Crossing the world in the cheap seats on cheap airplane food isn't for the weak of heart. You could tell that most of the folks on board were military, and a few were not. The were not's were also divided into a couple of groups, those that were dressed as though they were going to church or a brand new job, and guys like me in t shirt and jeans....and there weren't many of those. The stewerdesses were cordial, not overly friendly, probably the third round trip that week, and the lone male steward was a little limp wristed. About mid flight I opened the bottle of brandy, and being a gracious host, made an offer to my two near seat mates...bad mistake.....in short order a $150 bottle of brandy went over the seat and disappeared....a good time was had by all.
    We landed at Ton Sohn Nhut and began clearing off. Those with military passports were waived thru, the rest of us had to endure the scrutiny of the local White Mice (the national police, so named for their all white uniforms, and their size). Most everyone went through without incident. The fellow in front of me had a gun in his bag. The police were a bit upset. They stopped and asked everyone with a weapon please declare it, I removed the Browning from the holster, and as the fellow reached for it, I removed the magazine and dropped it in my pocket. The stupid idiot then pointed it at me and pulled the trigger.......on a Browning the disconnector is on the magazine, the weapon won't fire with the magazine out. I then snatched the weapon from him and jacked back the slide, ejecting a live round. His supervisor, a Major confronted me and took the weapon and stuck it in his belt. I said "I need my weapon"....
    The Major said all illegal weapons would be confiscated and weapons permits issued only for special situations. I then reached in my passport folder and removed the firearms permit signed by the Vietnamese Secretary of Defense. He took a long time to examine it, then handed it back, then the weapon. The Dai We (The Captain) asked him what happened... I heard the Major whisper as we exited "Co quan tinh bao trung cua Hoa Ky.....C.I.A.)"..
    Once outside one of the fellows asked what just happened...I told him.....he said "Holy $hit, are we working for the C.I.A.?"......I said "no.....but don't tell them that".....
    The young man asked to see the permit...I showed him, written in Vietnamese....
    "What does it say"
    It says, "I'm an engineer and I'm here to help the Vietnamese people."
    Outside the Hangar used for processing we spotted a fellow with a sign over his head "CAS/Bird Air" and I said there's our ride.
    The fellow that met us had been in Asia for some time. I had seen him in the bars along Pat Pong Road in Bangkok.....always three sheets to the wind.....now he had a job babysitting new employees. He took us to the office off Hai Ba Troung in Saigon and proceeded to start to read the rules and regulations......It was late, I was tired, and I recognized a couple of other folks from past years. Tom, from Stotsenburg Station in the Philippines, a listening post, and Dave from the Philair operation in Manila....we headed for the door. The fellow wanted to know where in hell we thought we were going, we had to be indoctrinated, so that we knew all the rules, and then we would be given our assignments......
    I sorta looked at him and said, "post it on the bulletin board, I'm gonna run over to Pearls Hotel in Dakao and get a hot shower, massage and get laid......Stan and Tom smiled, and said "Us too"......
    "Oh! You guys have been here before......." "Yup"........
    "Four years, how long have you been here?".........."Uh! about a year".............."yeah....we know where everything is.....don't worry"
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
    ..a bad day sailing is a heckuva lot better than the best day at work.....
    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
    "If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
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    Posts
    15,229

    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Dear Paladin... what happened next????

    Please tell. Your life has been/is such a great adventure...

    .
    Choose wisely -Treat kindly...

    A secret to a good marriage is to have a quick mind and a slow mouth...



    S/V ORCA 38' Herreshoff Ketch

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