Thursday, July 2, 2009

July 2, 1969....The Flight to Nha Trang

Sam and I headed to Van Wert last night to umpire the elimination game of the Van Wert County ACME Tournament.....the host team scored on a hit batter in the bottom of the 7th to defeat Delphos St. Johns by a 6-5 count...thus moving on to the finals tonight where they will meet up with top seed Crestview, regardless of the outcome, both Van Wert and the Knights will move on to District play next week...St Johns closes out it summer run. This afternoon we are together again, this time at Lima Central Catholic for a ACME Sectional double header. I will have the first game behind the plate, featuring Elida and Lima Bath, the second contest, with Sam doing the dish, will have Lima Senior against the host team. The first game kicks off at 4PM, so another late night is in store. Over the weekend I will switch between the American Legion St Marys Tournament, and the District Junior ACME at Parkway...Sam will be off in Pittsburgh doing whatever....I could use some baseball free time off myself, and that will eventually come around.

Yesterday's high reached only 68, rare indeed for a July 1st in this neck of the woods...pretty nice stuff to umpire a little warmer, with a high of 73 and the humidity back . The next week after today looks dry and mild(around 80 for the highs 60s for the lows) for this time of year. I will finally get around to prepping the back side of the house for the painting...which of course I have been putting off as long as baseball is taking up so much time.

Tan Son Nhut to Nha Trang_____

I spent the night of July 2, 1969, in the Transit Barrack at Tan Son Nhut on the outskirts of I mentioned, the sounds and the anticipation left me with little sleep, and the events of early the next day are pretty cloudy 40 years hence. What I do rememberr is that I walked on to that concrete runway at TSN, and got on board a Military Plane for the first time...I had been a member of the Air Force for a year by this time, but had never flown in a Air Force aircraft...all my flights had been civilian to this point.

Once again, I was lone wolf...nobody else from that Transit Barracks was heading to Nha Trang, north 250 miles on the South China Sea. I would fly out in a Hercules C130 prop driven cargo plane...I remember it was loud, there were 5 or 6 crew members, and I and one old Mama son were the my memory I think I remember she had a couple of freaking goats with her...but then again, that flight was interesting enough, without the livestock, and maybe I just imagined those goats in my memory banks, all these years later.

We lumbered off in the noise, heat, and humidity....I suspect the flight to Nha Trang took something over an hour, but really, I can't say for sure. I do know I could see the vast jungles of Vietnam out the portals...and I remember thinking to myself..."I wish we were flying a little higher over these damn jungles".

Although I took quite a few photos, especially in Nha Trang{not so many while stationed at Tan Son Nhut later on}, I wish I had taken and saved more....It took me a few days to buy a camera at the Base BX, and start shooting.

The 130 finally landed safe and sound on Nha Trang's runway...a combination of open metal, and, the mama son{and the goats?}, safe and sound in the sunshine, heat, and humidity...noon or early afternoon on July 3, 1969 it was. Into the small terminal building at Nha Trang I went, dressed in my Khakis for the final time for the next would be fatigues, jungle camos, and green underwear from here on out....that and the ever present Blue Piss Pot Helmets that would be with me for my 6 month stay at Nha Trang, at least when on duty. It was July 3rd, I would be here until December 27th, when I would head back to Tan Son Nhut for the rest of my stay.

I headed on foot(that's how small the Air Base at Nha Trang was} to Base Police, to sign it, get my "room assignment" at the 14th SPS Barracks, and settle in before meeting those in charge and receiving my police assignment. I had no clue as to what shift I would be working, or whether it was to be in Security or Law Enforcement...I am sure as I walked into the Base Police office, I had that Deer-in-the-Headlight look....regardless, my favorite year in the Air Force was about to begin.

Next Up---Assignments, names, and faces____

I will continue my look at this year, 40 years ago, in Vietnam after the weekend____baseball and the 4th of July is coming up. Hal returns home for the day tomorrow, his Masters work at Wright State is finished next Wednesday, he will work at Celina Moving and begin his full press look for a High School teaching job within the next week or 10 days, he will need good luck, especially in today's economy, the older teachers are hanging on to their jobs, uncertain what awaits them or the rest of us, under this ObamaNation. Thank God I'm 60...not too much Barack and his minions can do to me....Fock Em'. Pay Back is Hell, I suspect they will find out not all the American people are as dumb as his wild eyed, slave like supporters.

Have a great 4th of July, celebrate the America that was, and can be again, not the America that we have turned into under this Administration.

back later>>>>
Photos-(1) The C130 Hercules, much like the one I flew in from Tan Son Nhut to Nha Trang in early July 1969(2) Map of Vietnam, with Nha Trang sitting some 250 miles north and east of Saigon{yes I know the freaking Reds call it something else today, but it will always be Saigon, they can stick Uncle Ho up their asses}.(3) Me, decked out in my Blue Helmet at the entry control point early in my assignment at Nha Trang(4) And finally, a view from above at the base at Nha Trang on the South China Sea{this photo from Wikpedia was taken in June of 1968}....without exception, my favorite duty station during my 4 year Air Force tour.


BRUNO said...


Yep, one of the FIRST things you notice in the C-130---the lack of those nice, cushy, CIVILIAN seats!

A shame you didn't get to make the trip with an entire squad---hell, you missed the best part of the trip! You know, with all the coughin', fartin', chokin', and, ultimately, the "much-anticipated" GAG and RETCH!

And it only took ONE to get the "chain" started...!!!

PRH....... said...

That was the nice thing about being a "loner" and that old toothless Mama Son and those freaking Goats...which I still don't remember if they were real or a figment of my 40 years ago imagination.

And I loved those "seats" in the 130, like being on a hamock sitting down.

Donald Douglas said...

Linked Pat.

Have a great 4th of July!

PRH....... said...

Thanks for stopping by Donald, and thanks for the link.....Have a great 4th.

BRUNO said...

Well, that's true about the "seating-nets"! And, Mama-san an' the goats certainly were better-natured than 30-plus sweaty, air-sick grunts!

But, hey! Like that ol' saying goes:

"When in Rome......!!!"

FHB said...

Mmmmm, paratrooper seating. I did that in a 141 from Fijaira to Giego Garcia, and then to Subic Bay. Fun.

I'm lovin' these memories.