Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Children of Nha Trang 1969

Held our first "Local" Football Rules Meeting last night in Van Wert....17 or 18 of the members showed up for the first of the season. The State and now 1 local meeting out of the way. Scrimmage start Saturday at 9AM...Sam, Jim S, and I have the Freshman scrimmage at Celina, Garry and his crew have the Varsity across the school campus, at the Stadium. Good that it's early, the heat is predicted to be back on at 90 degrees with humidity to match...always happens early in the season, then by the end of the season, we are freezing our butt's off.

Will get back at painting the trim this morning, and should have that done by nightfall....the house will be complete, and then just the east and front of the garage plus the doors...tomorrow heading over to Nick's to smoke some Salmon. The very Salmon we collected late last October when we headed for the Au Sable in northern lower Michigan.

Nha Trang, The Kids 40 years ago_____

Nha Trang Air Base was surrounded by the 5th Special Forces(Green Berets) at Camp McDermott and by outskirts of Nha Trang City. The villages were mostly of cardboard clap trap homes, made with wire, discarded junk from the was our reality in 1969 Vietnam.

The men of the 14th Security Police Squadron Law Enforcement worked a variety of posts...from mobile Jeep patrols to the SAT Alert teams to the V-100{as shown at the bottom photo with me on the header}...and the entry control points and gates. Many of the entry control posts sat next to the housing projects. The one constant was the kids of these projects. These kids, anywhere from 5 to 15 knew how to charm the Sky Cops at the post, usually begging for candy and snacks for our uneaten C-Ration Boxes....I seldom ate C-Rats, so I usually, when on a gate shack, would give the parts of the packages, crackers, beans, and whatever was inside, except the smokes, to the kids that hung around the rolled wire that separated us from them. The wire was a joke..these kids had pathways through those fences that they could crawl through in lightning speed in seconds.

During our day shift work, these kids were a constant...talking, yapping, begging...they were great kids and great entertainment. It was what kept us sane during those long boring 8 hour shifts...One kid in particular was named "George"...I'm not sure if George "Bruce" Thompson named him, but he was always with one of us...sometimes in the Jeeps, sometimes sitting in the shacks with us...Little George was our Mascot of sorts. The rest of the kids we knew their faces, but everybody knew George by name.

Problem with George was he became too close to us. I remember one morning near the end of my tour at Nha Trang, a forgotten guard let him "look" at the SP's M-16 and George put a round through the gate shack roof. That ended our days with the local kids hanging in the gate shacks and Jeeps. But they still hung around....just not so close.

The kids were comic relief, one wonders what happened to those Children of Nha Trang Air Base when the Communist henchman took over in 1975...brainwashed? Escaped to the USA? I often wonder, and sometimes really don't want to know the answer.

Back to the painting, smoking Salmon tomorrow, back later>>>>

Photos-From Phil Lange and other collections.

Top Left-"George" decked out in his combat gear/Kids in downtown Nha Trang/Walking and Playing on the wired Perimeter Fence at the Base/George and some of his buddies


Mushy said...

Can't help but wonder if those kids are standing on barrels of agent orange! They remind me of those that lined the area where the C-123s parked at DaNang.

Law and Order Teacher said...

I remember that we had those kids too. Americans are suckers for kids and I was too. I gave them the chocolate from my C-rats when I really wanted it. The smokes were off limits to them and to me. They were so hard they really were coffin nails.

I wish I hadn't went to Vietnam on a recall basis. We weren't allowed cameras in our alert, 12 hour bags. Damn, I wish I had pictures. These warm my heart.

Well done, Pat.

Deborah Wilson said...

(The smoked salmon looks delicious!)

Speaking of the children of Vietnam:

Back in my teen years I use to work for a plastic company (injection mold) and the whole second shift was Vietnamese. One of the men told me that he had escaped on a boat and the Vietnamese government punished his wife and kids - he didn't elaborate - I don't think he really knew himself what happened or how they were punished - but he had not heard from them for years.

He said some of the children (more than a few fathered by American Soldiers) were lucky enough to get to come to America. Others made it here (or another country) by other means. Some never made it home, within their own communities/country.

FHB said...

It reminds me of the plane load of orphans that went down in the last days in 75. Shot down? I can't remember. Very sad.