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Thread: 1968, September....

  1. #71
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    John...I was a baby, actually one of the youngest guys there....about 29 at the time. I was born in 1940....
    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. #72
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    I was 19. I was thinking that the extra years may have given you a more savy point of view, but on reflection, I think you're just a lot smarter than me to begin with.

    Great adventure. I'm loving it.
    The best statement I've seen from this latest carnage came from a student who lived through it -

    "My generation will not allow this to continue!"

    Remember voting age is 18. Read it and weep reds.

  3. #73
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    John...I was still a kid, having the adventure of a lifetime, and totally invincible......I thought......and now maybe either older and wiser or just plain CHIKKIN"......
    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."

  4. #74
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    The thought occurs to me:

    When these things are going on in our lives, they seem more or less "normal"... for a given value of "normal." As a military brat, son of a career Army intel (Army Security Agency) officer who was a Middloe East Specialist and linguist (Persian, Arabic, Russian, some French, some Turkish, broken English whenever I stuffed up) I saw my share of things that the average Midwestern farm kid doesn't get to see... Like standing on the quay in Beirut, 1970, waiting for the Cromawful rustbucket to quit dickin' around so the family could get on board. Meanwhile, roving bands of PLO operatives are known to be in the area looking for potential kidnap targets, and the city's Palestinian strongholds--some right on the waterfront, the Corniche-- are getting the holy crap kicked out of them by artillery. The captain of the freighter clearly doesn't want to tie off, Dad negotiates for a fishing boat to lighter us and our belongings out to the vessel. I rode a cargo net up on deck, lying in a pile of bedding, giggling my head off the whole while. Four days later we were in Greece, none of us (except probably Mom) any the worse for wear but then Mom probably had a crippling hangover.

    Good times, good times. Seemed like something everybody did, at the time. Mind you, I was four years old then.

    Paladin, give us more!!

  5. #75
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Thanks for the thread Chuck.

  6. #76
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    It is not good for the Christian Health,
    to hustle the Asian Brown.
    The Christian riles and the Asian smiles
    and weareth the Christian down
    at the end of the fight is a tombstone white
    with the name of the late deceased,
    and an epitaph drear "a fool lies here
    who tried to hustle the east".
    Kipling
    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."

  7. #77
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    You're on a roll Chuck Keep going.

    Err, If ya hit the bulls eye every time , why did Benny feel you needed further instruction in archery ?

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  8. #78
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    I was sorta looking for guidance from a couple of people before I went too far. What you see here is the abridged version....no real violence to speak of, while still trying to give the flavor of the life and times. There are some subjects that I have tried to avoid, and have danced around, but maybe some of it could be tolerated. If anyone objects, tell me and I will remove or write around an incident.....

    By accepting the job as station chief I became a people person. The rules had been made and anyone bailed out of the drunk tank more than twice a week for two consecutive weeks got to go home on vacation. At the same time a letter would be sent to their local draft board that they had been released from their defense related employment, and on what day....and it was on that day that they became eligible for the draft.
    When working I wore the closest thing to a suit that is normally found in Asia. Matching slacks and bush jacket with very light shirt, no American ties were seen,a cravat and the weapon was out of sight. Everyone working that had contact with other military or civilian personnel should dress accordingly....My normal instructions was to wear your funeral best that we we wouldn't have to change your clothes.
    Some of the fellows had weapons and permits, others didn't. I made arrangements for those with weapons to show up at the range twice a month to fire a minimum of 50 rounds, and I got the score cards. If the student just wasted his time, his permit would be pulled, those that scored well would keep their weapons,...it was Unkle Sam's Ammunition....and it really caught on.
    The weapons were distributed by a chief warrant officer. The were captured Belgian Browning hi power pistols
    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."

  9. #79
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    As an aside I sold a Belgium hi power pistol about 4 years ago (legally of course. with all the permits and stuff up here ). Not sure I should have done that now that I think of it..

    Anyways I don't think you've gone anywhere near "too far" Chuck. And I'll leave it to more seasoned members to say something if they thought that you had. Carry on says me

    Dan
    Last edited by SaltyD from BC; 06-07-2008 at 12:32 AM.

  10. #80
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Chuck, this (your life) is the stuff legends are made of...

    You are quickly establishing yourself as one...
    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

  11. #81
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Quote Originally Posted by paladin View Post
    I was sorta looking for guidance from a couple of people before I went too far. What you see here is the abridged version....no real violence to speak of, while still trying to give the flavor of the life and times. There are some subjects that I have tried to avoid, and have danced around, but maybe some of it could be tolerated. If anyone objects, tell me and I will remove or write around an incident.....
    Chuckie, tell it like it was... no need to dance around it as it would leave out part of the experience... Though I'm a woman, I for one would like to read about your experience as it unfolded...violence and all...

    If someone can't take it they don't have to read this thread....

    Hell, there is graphic violence in the movies and I would think that the bulk of the people reading about your adventures would prefer it to be told as it unfolded... IMHO...
    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

  12. #82
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    JD....hitting the bullseye, and getting it precisely in the center everytime is a matter of technique. Like in kendo, there's no second place winner....you're either the winner or dead....
    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."

  13. #83
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    It took about 2 months to get things back in place at NhaTrang. The Nungs that I had previously hired were still there and functioning well, no one messed with them. A couple of the fellows had managed to find quarters off base and turned them into psychodelic hash pits. I made it clear that anyone reporting for duty and I even suspected any drugs and they would get a one way ticket home.
    My one constant problem was the 19 year old. His dad was a general, and he let everyone know it. He managed to show up for work drunk one time too often, and i instructed him to pack his bags.....
    The next morning I was sitting in my office. The office was about 20 feet by 30 feet with my desk all the way to the back and facing the door. There were 4 desks in the room, and one that was near the door was used by the chief of security. He had been cleaning a weapon, reassembled it, and lay it on his desk. He left the room for the head......
    I was sitting facing the door, leaning over the desk reading some reports with my arms folded in front of me resting the forarms on the desk. The 19 year old entered the room, I looked up, he saw the weapon, reached over, picked it up and pointed it at me, and said that he thought he'd kill me.....
    With my arms folded he couldn't see that my hand was near my weapon. I carried the Browning with a round in the chamber, the hammer cocked, and the safety on. I drew the weapon from the holster knocking the safety off with my thumb, and fired hitting the wall just over his right shoulder, the second shot passed his left ear in the same manner, and the third ripped his pants between the legs. He wet his pants.
    A couple of the guys came in and saw the aftermath. We called the military police and had him charged with attempted murder and removed from the site. I made sure all the paperwork was recorded both with the U.S. and the local authorities.
    Later, the chief of security made the remark that it was a lucky thing he never reloaded the gun.....I said "yep! if you had the s.o.b. would have been dead because I wouldn't have missed..."
    There was some fallout. The general demanded that I retract all the paperwork and threatened me with being kicked out of Vietnam persona non grata...I called Bill......who called me a couple days later and said that the matter had been resolved. I never asked how.
    During this time I had taken up residence at Mai Loan's place. The second and third floors had been finished so I rented the entire second floor and made a suite out of it. I passed my time using an entire wall as a mural, had the bathroom all tiled in western style, and a small galley set up with refrigerator and air conditioner from the exchange. Her business was really going well and by now I had nearly 30 kilos of gold in the safety deposit box at the bank in Hong Kong. Periodically I would also buy old coins. A large collection of 1738/39/40 pillar dollars had come on the market for $8 each....about 5 times the price of silver at the time. All the coins were nearly in mint condition. Another dig in Israel had found a large collection of Widow's mites....I grabbed as many as I could before the price was prohibitive. Mai Loan concentrated on diamonds and colored stones. The market was a free market in Asia, but I knew it was a tightly controlled market In America, so I stayed away from them. I continued to contribute to the common cause.
    About four months into this tour there were problems at the site in Quinhon. I was asked to see what I could do. By this time I had managed to get friend Tom to come on as my second. Tom was older then me by 15 years and milder mannered by comaparison, but if a rule was in place, he would govern wisely. I was the young upstart.
    The problems in Quinhon were readily apparent. The site was a small signals operation in the port area, far from any military influence. The supervisor walked around all day in his shorts, posted work schedules, then retired to his quarters for a few cold ones. The day I arrived he did put on his trousers.....but the entire quarters area smelled like a brewery. I canned the s.o.b on the spot......the others perked up a bit, but not by much.....
    I started a work campaign to clean the place up.....I worked everyone's butt off, leaving no time for booze. I had the exterior walls buffered with sandbags, then every night for two weeks pulled every maintenance procedures on the books. The equipment started performing better.
    Three weeks into the program charlie decided to visit. There were perhaps a half dozen that came ashore in a small craft......but where there was once open beach, I had installed razor and concertina wire. I also kept a couple of "illegal weapons" in my bag...I had the M-79 grenade launcher with cs grenades, flares and HE. My other toy was a Swedish "K"/Gustave M-45 submachine gun......when charlie hit the wire the little flares tripped off, then we took some small arms fire...the new sandbags prevented any serious damage, although later we did find a bullet hole in a section of waveguide that we had to replace.
    Charlie was visiting about 50 feet of beach, concentina wire in front of him and the south china sea behind. I fired a couple of flares at high angles just over their heads, then loaded CS rounds into the launcher...I then fired them over the wire at the edge of the water, with a slight onshore breeze the gas took it's toll.....the "K" then went into a state of short burst.
    By the time the Army arrived it was all over. They had to wait for the gas to clear, then they found two bodies on the beach.
    Three of the 8 employees packed up and left....all for the better.
    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."

  14. #84
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Our quarters were old left over Vietnamese Army barracks. Each individual had a room, and he could fix it as best as he wanted. Some guys panelled the walls, installed lights, carpets etc...other guys were there for the money and all that they could save. We had hired a half dozen local ladies as housegirls, and my rules were strictly hands off, and no "girlfriends" on the site......if they wanted to play, they played downtown.
    One of the first replacements that was sent to me was a gentleman about late 40's early 50's who had been a civilian Army inercept operator in the states....I picked him up at the local Army base on arrival and drove him to the site. He asked if everyone would get a new jeep for transportation...I told him "only if you buy it, otherwise you walk"......
    He was shown his quarters....the room was bare, but absolutely clean, a bunk bed, a hanging type chest, two chairs and a small table/desk.....He was not pleased
    We were walking past other rooms on the way to our day room and galley when he stopped at one of the rooms....complete with Carpet etc.....he asked why couldn't he have a room like that....I repsonded that he could...just order everything from Sear and it comes in the mail.
    At the galley I told him that some guys had community dinners...that they pooled their money and bought food at the exchange, and the girls would take care of it cooking whatever they wanted.The alternative was to buy your own food and prepare it as you desired....he was less happy. After three hours of running him around he so advised me that he didn't think that he cared for the situation, that he wanted better quarters or he would go home.....it was about3 p.m. I was driving so I left the compound, drove him straight to the Army post, walked into air ops, filled out the order forms and signed them and handed him a copy. He asked, what's this? I said your orders home, thanks for visiting.
    I then called Mackey and so advised him as to what had happened....silence for a moment, then "O.K.".....
    I think the fellow was probably shocked to learn that although he was on the payroll for about two weeks, that the trip to and from Vietnam would be deducted from his check.....better to find out now than have someone like that whining all the time.
    Quinhon was hit again about a week later/ I was on the maintenace line to Tom when the first rocket hit the courtyard of the compound. I had all the emergency breakers set to trip really tight just in case of a direct hit on the building......only one breaker tripped after about a dozen rockets had been fired...and it was a reverse power indicator on a main transmitter.....after the all clear we went outside to survey the damage....the windshield in my jeep was a casualty.....we couldn't see anything else as we inspected the waveguide....
    Then someone looked up........we had four antennas...each a part of a parabola...60 feet by 60 feet......we called them Russian flyswatters.....almost dead center of one of the antennas was a 3.5 inch rocket protruding half way through. The high reflected power had tripped the alarm.
    The rocket had to go......at the base of the antenna, behind it, I had sandbags layered up about 6-7 feet high and in a circle about 10 feet across......
    I still had a weak ankle from the previous injury but I wasn't about to ask anyone else to go up with me. I did everything myself first, then I expect someone else to follow and take the initiative.....
    I decide to attack it from the rear.
    The Russian rockets have an impact fuse...several things prevent them from going off....the antenna was aluminum...and the rocket was flying rather flat. They are designed to penetrate armor, or buildings, or sandbags with a delay, and then go off. The antenna didn't supply enough resistance for detonation before the velocity was lsowed by the body dragging through the screen material. I had to hope that it didn't go off when I jiggled it......remember I am invincible.....
    The metal was soft....but I cut the body just as it passed through the screen....even at that it took half an hour....and I pushed the aft end of the rocket out the front......I was tired, sweating like a pig, and weak from standing the in sweltering heat.....I had the guys to clear the area......I tossed the warhead into the center of the sandbags......and hung on to the antenna for dear life.......and......and...
    nothing happened..
    We called eod and they put a charge on it, covered it with a bout 3 dozen more sandbags, and popped that sucker.....we fixed the antenna......we never lost communication.....
    Another month goes by and all is well and working as it should...we had managed to can almost everyone there and replace them.....I called mackey and asked where Stan was assigned....he was in DaNang...I called him and asked if he wanted a supervisors job at Quinhon, with a raise in pay......he accepted......and a week later i was headed back to NhaTrang.....
    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."

  15. #85
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Back in Nhatrang I had a vist from Bill, my old boss. He wanted to know how I was doing at the new job, and did I miss the flying...I said yes, somewhat.....we talked about the "old days"..and asked me not to leave Vietnam without checking in with him first...I agreed....Later I saw him and Mr. Mackey having a quite conversation.
    Although I was supervisor at NhaTrang, anytime they had a crisis, it seemed that I "volunteered"....We had heard stories of peace talks, but never anything conclusive.
    Lamson, Mai Loan's daughter number two and I had been having chaperoned meetings/dinners/local concerts....together on and off for four or five months. Protocol demanded that we were never seen alone without the chaperone...
    The owner of LaFrigate had quietly approached me and said it was proper to ask the parents for the daughters hand in marriage....I chose to break protocol and ask Lamson....who said yes, and seemed happy as a lark.......mama took over from there.....appropriate for her station in life, the engagement ring had to be nice.....I could have used it for an anchor to the trimaran...a bit over 3 carats and one of the finest stones to be found...in U.S. dollars a small appraisel was about 25K for the stone....it seemed everyone in NhaTrang was on the guest list, the governor was invited....since it was one of the wealthiest (guess where that came from) families in the province and was to be the show of the year, the governor invited the U.S. Ambassodor and his wife. I leased the entire LaFrigate complex, band and rooms etc for the wedding guests and dinner for out of towners....I never knew the final cost but I betcha it put a large dent in my proposed solid gold keel.
    Atkinson said my boat was ready......I almost went sailing........
    LaFRigate had closed down all operations 4 days prior to the wedding. The grounds were always pristine, and the dining hall was decorate accordingly. Mail Loan suggested I get lost, go check on the things at LaFrigate....I had brough a half dozen of my nungs/montaingiards to act as security. The were out of sight, on the roof, and in various places changing guard shift every four hours.
    All the entrances and exits were blocked save one, the main entrance, and the gate was left half open. A large sign was on the gate in Vietnamese and English that the business was closed for a week. I had just left the kitchen are checking on the pigs roasting on the charcoal when I heard the screeching of tires outside, and walked to the front just in time to see a jeep drive through the gates followed by an air force staff car and another jeep, all loaded with military police. In the back seat of the car was a man in civilian clothes and an air force colonel. As I approahed the vehicle one of the military police jumped from the jeep and blocked my path.....I just very quietly told the young man to not raise his weapon but look at the roof.......he lowered his weapon.
    The colonel rolled down his windo and asked who I was. I told him I had the place leased....the passenger looked straight ahead and never smiled. The colonel said they were there for lunch...I repeated that the kitchen was closed. The colonel was very insistent...stating this is the U.S. Secretary of defense.......and my response was "colonel, he could be the pope, but the fact is the kitchen is closed".
    The whiney colonel continued..."but I promised him a meal at LaFrigate's"....
    In a moment of weakness I asked them to come inside. The colonels aid, a 1st Lt was very polite and came inside with the others...i suggested that the armed men stayed outside and not to get anxious with their weapons, I had a dozen nungs/montainiards on the grounds....
    Once inside, the colonel and Mr. McNamara sat down, and the colonel asked for a menu. I again stated that there's no menu, the kitchen is closed......the colonel obviously had some sort of brain malfunction.
    The owner of LaFrigates came out and spoke to me, stating the obvious. I asked her if any of the food was close to finl preparation so that she could serve three meals, she said yes so I ordered the food, then a bottle of wine. The colonel piped up with "the lt. will not be having lunch" I had the food brought anyway.
    They ate in silence, fresh roast pig, baked sweet potatoes, whole lobster with the trimmimgs.....
    as the prepared to leave, the colonel reached in his pocket asking how much he owed...
    I said very strait faced that "You don't owe anything, this is part of my wedding dinner tonight"
    He didn't even say thanks, and Mr. McNamara never said a word...
    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. #86
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Chuck, this is the third time that I am aware of that you have posted this particular story. Each time I have read it through and thought that some people are just plain ignorant.

  17. #87
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    The wedding ceremony was a Buddhist ceremony with a few friends and relatives. After the formalities everyone retired to LaFrigates. In typical fashion, the ladies are seated opposite the men, alternating on both sides. I was seated across from Lamson and was seated with the ambassodors wife to my right. She had never been to a local wedding.
    Lamson was dressed in the tradional wedding AoYi with lotsa diamond earings, bracelets etc, and the engagement ring which stood out like a golf ball.
    The band was playing, the food was being served, a good time was being had by all. I had a proper tray of food sent to my nungs, with a bottle of wine each to be consumed when the went off duty. The nungs stayed in the same quarters as other guests, as they stayed where I stayed when we travelled together. There was always a couple of them around the shop, but out of sight. Mom in law did not think they were necessary, but they guarded Lamson like a hawk guards dinner...
    The ambassodors wife was a nosy sort....she started the conversation by asking about the i.d. bracelet and was it really solid gold...I politely replied yes....and then her eys landed on Lamson....
    she seemed to stare at her, Lamson smiled back...the ambassadors wife whispered to me, "see tha lady across from you?" "yes," I replied....
    "All those diamonds can't be real, can they...?"
    "Umm, yes, I think they probably are".....
    "and my god, look at the size of that ring......"
    "yes, I see That"
    "I wonder what all that's worth".......I replied "Probably about a half million bucks".....(we're talking 1971 dollars)
    "My God, I wonder who's she married to?"....I sipped my wine and said "Me!"......a bit of nervous silence....."Oh"....
    "I said that's Le Thi Lamson, it's our wedding party....""Her mother owns Mai Loan Bijouterie and her day is head of the dept.public works..
    Bill was sitting to her right and was having a hard time keeping a straight face..
    Finally, she politely asked where we were honeymooning, and I told her Chaing Mai......she was actually a nice lady, a little out of her league.
    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."

  18. #88
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Re. the colonel two posts back, amazing how such dense people can make it to the top eh? A normal person would have left. Or at least flipped you a hundred bucks for a wedding present or something... what a toad!

  19. #89
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Didn't need the hundred bucks...thanks would have been nice, perhaps that's why I continue to remember the incident...not because of who he was, but the circumstances...of course we could have fed them both ground glass with lunch...might have helped the gene pool....
    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."

  20. #90
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Ya, or track down some of the druggys that you fired and get a couple hits of acid for garnish..

  21. #91
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Some things jog memories, like the comment above and tracking down some acid for these weenies as dessert.....Folks that were hard drug users in Vietnam had problems when they came back. It was virtually impossible to rehabilitate them, and for that reason a lot of fellows stayed in Vietnam after the peace treaty...some have never returned home. Perhaps it's my Native American blood, but I have never like the smell or taste of beer or cigarettes...maybe peyote would have been alright.....
    Without going into specific events, a 9mm is not a very good weapon for combat use in a place like Vietnam. Imagine a man coming at you, he weighs maybe 120-130 pounds, and you fire a couple of shots rapid fire and he keeps coming...he's maby 5-6 feet from you with a rather pointy bayonet......your thumb pushes the safety/selective fire lever to burst mode and in a split second motion you pull the trigger and at point blank range three shots are fired dead center into the mans chest.....a total of five shots, you barely turn to the side as the bayonet pushes pat you, and the next three rounds are point blank in the guys face....only then does he fall down.
    Now imagine a drug.....part heroin, part barbiturate, with a touch of caffeine and a small percentage of strychnine....absolutely no downside......
    The heroin makes you totally insensitive to pain, but it makes you very tired....the barbiturate perks you up, but also makes you sleepy and dulls the senses, the caffeine keeps you awake and the strychnine heightens the senses......
    No bad comedown, always awake, the world is bright and rosey, and you never feel getting shot.....and whatever idea you have in your head is solidly there until your body stops functioning.
    Whenever I travelled around Nha Trang I wore the Browning, it was not visible......when I travelled in the countryside I also carried a Colt Single action Peacemaker, with 5 1/4 inch barrel, chambered for the .44 special cartridge. It was used about a dozen times in10 years. You didn't have to kill anyone, but the big lead bullet would slam into them like a mack truck and stop them dead in their tracks.
    The other problem.....the VC would take the flak jackets and body armor from our soldiers killed in combat, the jacket would not stop our bullets, but it slowed them down enough that the enemy could still function well enough to kill more of our guys...
    The .44 solved that problem also. Constantly carrying a Browning or other semi auto weapon means that you cannot constantly carry the magazines fully loaded. The pressure distorts the lips on the magazines....so you carry reduced loaded magazines, perhaps with half the normal capacity. A revolver can be carried loaded all the time because the springs aren't compressed until the weapon is used. Normal travel dictated 5 rounds in the cylinder, but when travelling I loaded six. The holster was an open buscadero belt/holster in the mexican style. The trigger pull on my Colt is about 3-3 1/2 pounds.
    Folks that didn't know me would sometimes address me as "Tex"....other by my old radio call "Bear"...
    My brother in law now has the weapon and belt/holster...it takes care of it, oils it, and when I visit we bust a few caps....and he never has learned to do a "road agent spin"....
    Last edited by paladin; 06-07-2008 at 03:00 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."

  22. #92
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Lamson had never travelled much except for school. She was basically french educated, but lived in a girls dorm.
    We stayed ten days in Chaing Mai and she loved the place. In the mornings she would sit on the steps of the house and talk to all the local kids....and started learning the language. They loved it. She looked like them but spoke English so the kids would learn English words and she learned Thai. I decided to take a look at the boat.
    We flew from Bangkok to Bali for a couple of days. Then to Auckland.
    The boat was damn nice. We went aboard...and I could tell she didn't like it...but she smiled....I had some conversation with Mr. Atkinson about the running rigging and adding a subforestay. I also paid him for the Baby Blake head, about $250 in 1971 dollars, with a spares kit, The Dickenson cooker and a few other things. We arranged sea trial in 60 days. Lamson and I returned to NhaTrang. She obviously had some conversations with her mother about the boat. Mai Loan very politely asked me how much it cost then why did I need it. She didn't seem to understand it was a toy. She just smiled.
    I went back to work.....then I realized that maybe Lamson needed to try to learn to sail. I had the old gentleman carpenter that constantly was working on the building to find me some plywood. He brought in U.S. made marine ply, about400 piasters a sheet, very expensive, about two dollars. I salvaged some fir framing from some crates at work and brought them home in the jeep. I also ordered some small power tools from Sears, and T-88 epoxy from Gerry Schindler. The entire family was watching. I laid out a pram dinghy in the courtyard and built a small strongback and started cutting wood.....MIL came into the yard and unplugged the sabre saw from the transformer and stood there with a nervous smile on her face, and sorta of a nervous little laugh. I asked what was wrong...she asked me to come inside.
    She had the old man sitting there, he was watching me.....she asked me what I was making....I told her a small boat....she said to explain it to the old man and he would build it....I said it was for fun, for recreation......she said no, no.....you must not do this. I asked why?....
    Because...I am an educated man. I make much money with my mind. There are those who are less fortunate who do not have work and cannot feed their families. So, as an educated man it was my responsibility to help educate the old man, and give him employment so that he might be able to feed his family. It is the proper way...
    I was being educated...I was embarrassing the family.
    That night Lamson snuggled up, put her arms around my neck, and sweetly asked if mother had spoken to me.......
    I never understood why there seemed to be several "servants" around the house. No one seemed to lift a finger to do anything except the father in Law. Lamson had a girl that brushed her hair every morning and took care of her clothes....a different girl took care of all the laundry, another did all the cooking.....and there was the beginning of some later problems.
    The old man was fantastic. I only would show him something once, and he could take it from there. When I mixed epoxy I would feel a dry cloth that I left hanging near the dink to feel the humidity....he did the same and knew what I was doing...what I did with power tools he did with a few hand tools. The dink was finished....all 8 1/2 feet of it. Rolly Tasker had sent the sails by APO mail.....we hauled the boat to the bay and rigged and launched he...named Rinky Dink.....Lamson showed up in a bikini and we went sailing. She seemed to like it...for an hour or so.....she was worried about her skin getting dark......
    The 60 days were up in short order. She wanted to go to Saigon for a few days while I was gone. I flew to Aukland and we went sailing. The boat handled very well. We had set the mast back about two feet with Bruce Roberts approval, and I had rigged it as a true cutter with a club footed jib. I also had added the inner forestay to which I could permanently bend on the storm trysail....the mast was rigged with running backs on a set of homemade hyfield release levers. Everything hummed and you could feel a slight increase in wind and she took off like a race horse.
    I had made some drawings for some additional wiring for radios, and they had already installed a couple of extra antenna cables in the mast. I knew it would be 4 months before I had the time to return, so Mr. Atkinson felt it would be better to haul the boat and put fresh paint on the bottom at relaunch. We also made arrangements for me to ship in some items to equip the boat when we left the country.
    Back to NhaTrang.....
    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. #93
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Ah, yes, working on a boat..."what for you do that?"

  24. #94
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Great yarn thar Chuck! Ya got some photo's of this time to pepper the story with?
    Jarndyce and Jarndyce

    The Mighty Pippin
    Mirror 30141
    Looe
    Dragon KA93

  25. #95
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Gee, Andrew...I see you have been there.......do you spend money worthlessly also?...
    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."

  26. #96
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Duncan...I think I have posted some of the dink being built before, and of the 38...they were lost when the photosite went down... I will have to find the cd and add them to photobucket....I don't have many from those days left...later..when we split the sheets, she burned a lot of my photos and stuff out of pure spite.....hell hath no fury when it comes to wimmins....
    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. #97
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Quote Originally Posted by paladin View Post
    Gee, Andrew...I see you have been there.......do you spend money worthlessly also?...
    Certainly do!

    This is wonderful stuff, Chuck.

  28. #98
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Once settled back at NhaTrang, Clarence Mackey paid me a visit. I was asked to spend a day or two a week or every other week checking the operation at Dong Ba Thin, the Special Forces camp, and at the Navy transmitter and reciver sites at CamRanh Bay. The highway...o.k. two lane paved road...then ran from NhaTrang to Dong Ba Thin and Camrahm Bay was set inland about 1/4 to 1/2 mile from the beach, parallelling the beach for 20-40 miles....inland to the right as you drove south was an area of rubber trees, a rubber plantation. You can't cut down a tree because when a family member dies the spirit takes up residence in a tree. I had been driving the road for some time, always without a military escort. On a nice warm Sunday morning I got up and Lamson asked me where I was going. I told her to CanRahn Bay....she said emphatically No! not today!...I asked why, she says not a good day....the local grapevine had whispered to the local populace that it was not a good day for travel. She was not happy that I was going.
    I had been on the road about 30 minutes when I caught up with a convoy. I couldn't pass them on the narrow road...so I just cruised along at 25 miles an hour like them.....we had just passed the rest stop, a small stand that sold fresh lemonade, when I noticed that all the vietnamese were exiting the roadway and diving down under the pilings of the roadside building......I immediately tapped out sos on the horn...things speeded up a bit as we took a helluva lot of small arms fire from the tree area of the plantation. I dropped my jeep into 4 wheel drive and drove off the road into the ditch on the far side, pushed the windshield releases and folded it forward.
    The guys in the supply trucks were aremed with M-16's and M-79 grenade launchers, and M-60 machine guns. I could hear them calling for help on the radio. I kept watching the "civilians" at the drink stand to make sure everyone was out of the line of fire. One man seemed to be talking into a microphone, and I also noticed after a rocket was fired he would look to see where it impacted then start chattering away again....the second time that he did it, I took out my Browning, aimed a few inches over his head, and fired.....he jabbered again then ducked and turned away, a rocket went over my head about 5 feet.
    I then took the M-79 out of the jeep, loaded an HE round, and zeroed down on the s.o.b......he was hiding behind a support post like a telephone post...I hit the post about head level...he staggered out as I launched another round. Within a couple of minites charlie ceased firing.....I reported the incident to the Army Capt in charge of the convoy. I never received any feedback.
    A week/10 days later I was at CanRahn Bay. I usually used the opportunity to get a beard trimming and shave around the edges, hair trimmed (I really did have long curly hair) and a massage/steam bath. The barber was always friendly, chatting about things in general. He knew who I was, I was the husband of Mai Loans daughter, very wealthy people, Le Van Thong was well respected in the community. I left a substantial tip, he did a very good job......
    I was at the transmitter site when a VC cadre tried to leave a few satchel presents around the fuel/ammo dumps. Five were killed....# ! VC involved....our barber.......
    Similarly.....I needed to drive to Quinhon and stop at Thuy Hoa. I had replaced the station chief at ThuyHoa with a retired military NCO, and he liked to flash his sweet thing around, gold bracelt, gold dog tags, she always wore a lot of jewelry. He had also conned a brand new army pick-up truck from the army as a POV.
    First guy that I lost was a Japanese American kid named Ron Matsuno. Ron had a girlfriend in Thuy Hoa. I told him military transport only. He borrowed a vehicle and drove from NhaTrang thru the Thuy Hoa pass.....snipers used him for target practice, bulled went thru the door and through his ankle...he managed to get a ways down the road and get picked up by a vietnamese tourist bus......
    Number two was Carl Lavo. Carl was driving the new pickup truck when he passed a korean firebase. About 1/2 mile from the firebase, he stopped for some reason. The windo was rolled down on the drivers side. He was shot three times point blank range and had the powder burns on his shirt. His girlfriend was shot twice and her jewelry was taken also, but she lived. Carl's wrist watch, bracelet dog tags, wallet, everything was missing, as was her purse and all her effects. Later I asked Bill what she said, he looked at me and said she isn't talking....I repeated my question...he said we cannot stir up things like this with our allies.......I would have burned down the entire camp, Korean General or no Korean General......
    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."

  29. #99

    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Great stuff, Chuck, and just think of it as being a back-up copy of your material in case of another hard-drive crash. Please keep it comming!

    PS, the price of external firewire drives is really comming down.
    "I want a boat that drinks 6, eats 4, and sleeps 2." -Ernest K. Gann

  30. #100
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    When one of the station chiefs needed a break, I would take over their site for the week or two vacation, or send one of a couple other guys. We rotated around so that no one was always stuck on the armpit outposts.
    Stan wanted a break for a week or so, and we made transportation for him to take a break in Hong Kong. I went to babysit Quinhon.
    Periodically the green beenie guys would find a cave or other stash of weapons, and invariably destroy them. I was running short of 9mm ammo so I asked them to keep their eyes open as my nungs used it also....
    One morning I get a call that they are about 3 miles outside NhaTrang and found a cave with Swedish "K"'s and ammo.....nice, brand new ones and fresh ammo....I drove directly to the area and loaded 4 cases of ammo and a dozen weapons......I made sure that some excess "soda pop" was delivered to their operation.
    When opening the crates I noticed some markings on the box, and they seemed somehow familiar, but a couple of days later I knew why......
    The Swedes, our allies, our partners were double dealing. They were allowed into the port areas to offload humanitarian goods. They were delivering tons of "Instant rice" and prepared noodles for the ARVN soldiers and the local populace, then steaming to Hanoi and off loading weapons. I called Bill....there was silence for a minute, then "I know, but there's nothing we can do. They have a legal right to trade with whomsoever they wish"......It just stuck in my craw...it wasn't right.....I made some remark about burning their boat.....Bill got very upset. He was afraid I would do something rash.....me?......Rash?.....
    I called the guys in.....I asked if anyone would like a cold beer......we sat.......I offerred to baby sit the site myself, with one other guy for a couple of days, if they wanted some time off......Everyone looked at me like I was going to fire everyone...or something.
    I asked which were the biggest bars in town that everyone frequented...then I made the offer....no more than 2 beers at any one bar.....beer to be consumed with food......then to the next bar.....be loud, but not too loud or obnoxius, we didn't need the police.....I would pay for the beer and goodies.....just start talking about new and bigger rockets and smart bombs that had arrived on the Swedish freighter in the harbor....next we would bomb hanoi into the dark ages......
    The guys made it back before midnight and slept it off....I had the cook make food for them, I slept inside the operations building and handled the equipment....by 2 p.m. they were back in action.
    On the third day the ship left the docks and headed into the bay. It was too late to do anything else. By the time the ship hit deep water there was a "THUD" and she started listing. Everyone got off and the local fishermen rescued everyone......
    The stupid VC had just sunk their own equipment....


    Fallout.....Bill and Mackey believed that I did it to the day we left Vietnam...Bill asked me a few years later in Alaska to tell him the truth. I told him I didn't do it.....but just before he died of cancer, I told him how it happened. He did get a smile out of it.
    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."

  31. #101
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    ......................

  32. #102
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    Default Re: 1968, September....


    Thanks for writing all this.It's a great read.
    And I should know.......I read a lot.
    We don't know how lucky we are....

  33. #103
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Another of our responsibilities was the Navy transmitter site and receiver site at Cam Rhan Bay. It was Jack Thein's operation, but part of the complex was McNamara's electronic fence toys. Very highly classified at the time and no one knew anything about it.
    When I first came home before Christmas 1967 I sat around letting my leg heal, but I was bored. Oklahoma Aerotronics had the design contract for parts of the sensors and they were behind schedule, so the advertised for an elecronics type with experience in small transmitters. Wellllllll......I had been a ham since 17 and had a two year degree in electronics plus the military training...so I went for it....The pay was triple what I expected, and the test that they gave me was a laugh.....They dropped one of the telemetry transmitters on the table in front of me, I look at the schematic, turned on the spectrum analyzer, and had it tuned in about 2 minutes. Their previous guy was averaging one an hour. I got the job.....I worked for 4 months until my leg could be walked on, then I quit and signed up to Rose University....and started building the boat....
    I digress.....
    The Navy didn't want me near their cage with their toys...it was that much of a secret...and I was cleared TS at the time.....The Lt threatened to have me locked up...then I remembered....I had a small brown notebook back in my quarters. It had all my notes in it from Oklahoma Aerotronics. I retrieved it...I took it to the site, showed it to the lt.....he had me locked up and snatched my notebook.
    Bill bailed me out.....I filed a formal complaint with the Generals office for theft of personal property...LT was a bit embarassed.....he said it was illegal for me to have the info...
    Once the General found that I had actually made all the notes while so employed, and did so legally, my notebook was returned. The LT still didn't want my assistance.....they were mistuning the units, but you couldn't get him to listen. It seems he had a masters degree in electronics, and he couldn't even read the color code.
    But I really liked the Navy site...they had the hottest water and the mostest water for showers. We were quartered across the street from their officers club. I had snorkeling and scuba gear there, so Tom and I would paddle offshore and spear a couple of nice grouper...within the hour they would be over the charcoal.
    The French had stocked the Can Rhan Peninsula as a game preserve, for hunting. Many of the animals would show up late in the evening or very early in the morning for the fresh water puddling between the sand dunes. The rules were no unnecessary firearms dishrging in the area or the good guys came running by the stadium load. The vast majority of the food made at the clubs or mess halls were invariably frozen or canned.
    I had my bow....In the areas at the far reaches of the base, mama porker would wander to water with 3-4 baby porkers in tow. Baby porkers were dressed about 60-70 pounds....lotsa patience and a 31 inch heavy arrow from a 85 pound recurve and it was barbeque time...just don't let mama porker see you.
    LBJ visited....he had fresh roasted barbeque pig....I shot the s.o.b. and when Tom and I showed up for lunch, we weren't allowed in the club....military only......it was the last pig that I shot for the O club.
    LBJ arrived wearing an out of date bush jacket and pants.....I got a picture of him......for a long time it was posted on the bulletin board at O'tooles, in Langley a popular "company" hangout.
    Last edited by paladin; 10-08-2008 at 09:00 AM.
    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."

  34. #104
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    Default Re: 1968, September....

    Things seemed to settle down for a while...we went for 5-6 weeks without incident or accident.
    Lamson's older sister Hao was pregnant, she was in Saigon, so she wanted to be with her. I notice mom in law patting Lamsons tummy periodically as if asking if she was pregnant. I made arrangements to go to Auckland and get the boat. I called Ed and made arrangements for one of the Thai workers to go with me, as I didn't have much time. We loaded up everything we could think of and took off. I held it back as I didn't want to break something so far from friendly areas. We made it to Chomburi and cleaned out the extra food, I had Ed haul the boat until further notice. Flew into Saigon and checked with Lamson.....I never really liked her sister, but something was going on......
    Peace talks were being held, everyone was nervous.
    There was a forward base north of Hue. It had been manned by Special forces. They had pulled out and turned it over to the ARVN. They didn't remove some of the equipment, and the South Vietnamese were not going to turn it over. Bill invited me over for coffee.....Plans were being made to support the Canadian ICCS teams that would be coming aboard to supervise the withdrawel of allied forces if and when there was a treaty. They wanted to set up clandetsine and not so clandestine communications installations around South Vietnam. They wanted to insure that supplies were available if needed....and they wanted me to steal the stuff......
    I said gee fellows, I work for Mr. Mackey, you didn't have room for me....Bill looked at me and said "we're all working for the same boss, you're a good pilot, but a waste driving airplanes, you're actually good at what you do and what you're doing"......
    At that point I figured he was trying to butter me up, so I just shook my head and left the room.
    I decided that there might be some truth in what they were saying, and the U.S. would pull out. If they did that then the VC would start killing anyone that worked with the americans, They would kill any half american babies and their mothers, as they did when the french left.
    I went to Doc Lap street to talk to MIL.
    Business was booming.....everyone was pawning the family jewelry to start some business. She had two full time jewelers breaking old jewelry up and grading and sizing stones. She would then send the metal to the smelter where they would extract the gold and keep any base metals so alloyed for their fee, and return the gold in one oz. bars. I asked her about the house in Saigon, and the other house in NhaTrang that I had rented before. I suggested that she sell them....She said "Oh No! Property is difficult to get"... I asked her what about leaving Vietnam....she was convinced that the Americans would never leave....I told her I think they will. She didn't want to believe. When FIL came home that evening, she talked to him.....he did not want to believe. But, he came to me and asked if I honestly believed so. I told him yes, I do so believe.
    Oldest brother was a doctor, as was his wife. They had two children. She supported the family because he was losing his sight. Hao had married a professor at her university. When little tom was born, she brought him to her mother to raise, and she went back to Saigon. I saw more trouble. I asked MIL to start getting passports ready for all family members so they could leave at a moments notice. I was 2 years premature, but I would rather be safe than sorry.
    Last edited by paladin; 06-09-2008 at 05:41 AM.
    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. #105
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    Smile Re: 1968, September....

    Chuck , it isn't often that I find myself at a loss for words and this may be one of those few occasions. These stories are fascinating memoirs and hopefully will find a publisher. Keep them coming.
    Many moments of creative genius . The campaign leading up to the sinking of the Swedish boat was priceless.
    Please continue , I know that I speak for scores of readers who look forward every evening to reading about "The Paladin Chronicles".
    Be well, friend, and know that you have our rapt attention.
    Our very best wishes....... Ian

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