Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Back to Tan Son Nhut 12/27/69....part 12 of my Air Force Days 1968-72

60 degree temperatures stayed with us overnight, and this morning, after more rain overnight, the temps remain well above normal for this end of January....but by this evening, 23 degrees is forecast, and then a couple of cold, very cold, days will be on hand...things will moderate back to the normal range by the beginning of next week, with temps in the 30s for highs.

I worked a double header Junior High Girls Basketball at Delphos St. Johns..things moved along swiftly until the 4th quarter of the second game, that 8th grade contest went into overtime...but we were still out of there by 7:15 and I was home by time to watch Ohio State knock off Wisconsin 58-49...a rare game indeed, the Badgers did not attempt a free throw the entire contest....rare indeed.

On to Tan Son Nhut.....

I left Nha Trang a day or two after Christmas 1969...frankly, I remember little of that day.  I was one of the last of the 14thSPS members to go, the 14th was disbanded and another smaller squadron replaced the 14th...the name and number escape me.  In fact, unlike the original flight from TSN to Nha Trang the previous July, I don't remember the flight at all....I believe it was another C-130.  The thing I do remember, just like the flight to Nha Trang, I was on my own heading back to Saigon...unlike the guys heading to Phan Rang as a group, this Sky Cop was on his own.

My six months in Saigon itself were an anomaly in total...I remember very few names from there, although I do recall the duty and the ups and downs of my time there.  My cube mate in the 1300 area barracks, where the 377th SPS lived, was a Hispanic, a good guy, whose name escapes fact the only names I really recall are Aceavedo, another Mexican who I spent a great deal of time with running the bars of Saigon on our day off, which was a Tuesday, Sarge Joe Prokop, my basic training T.I., who greeted me at the Airport Terminal on my return.  It was Joe who had told me in basic, when I received my assignment to Security Police School, that within the next year, I would be "Guarding the Perimeter at Tan Son Nhut".  He wasn't far off...and Joe had made it there himself even sooner than me...from Basic Training Instructor to B Flight for myself, I would be with "C" Flight, that would be the overnight shift.

Not many other names come to mind from Tan Son Nhut and the 377th...a couple of black guys, Brown, was one, he was or at least appeared to be the Squadron "Flamer" doubt queer as a $3 bill,  but supposedly with a wife back home....seemed like a nice enough guy, but needless to say I steered clear...then there was Ronald McDonald, the guy with the franchise clowns name was on C Flight as well....Saigon proved a bit more rough than his home of New York City....McDonald didn't last long, we found him dead on post one night, it appeared to be from a Drug overdose...although there was really nothing official on that matter.

The other guy who's name I remember was Chris Godfrey...everybody knew Chris...or as I called him "Surfer Joe".  Chris, who passed away last May, was a California guy who ended up in Tan Son Nhut in 1967 and stayed for over 3 years....leaving after me, in the late Summer of 1970.  Chris was the longest standing in-country SP that I knew of or ever heard of....he was a card to say the least.  Godfrey would blare rock and roll from his cubicle on the floor below mine, and tell us younger arrivals of the activity of the TET Offensive on January 31, 1968...the attack on Tan Son Nhut which gave  the 377th SPS the moniker "Proven in Combat".  Godfrey was one of those guys you will remember until the end of your days.

Those were the names I remember...rare as it seems, I spent a few more days at Tan Son Nhut than I did at Nha Trang, but I don't have anywhere the recollection of the former as I did the latter, as least as far as names, however duty-wise I remember much, those memories, and my R&R in Hawaii are up next.

back later>>>>

Photos from Tan Son Nhut-The entrance to what would be my new home for six months the 1300 Barracks home of the 377th SPS/Tan Son Nhut from Above/Richard Sheldon posted this photo of Tango-1 a Tower that I, and hundreds of other Sky Cops worked over the years/and finally my shot from my 2nd floor perch of my barracks home....this was during the Monsoon Season with a couple of knuckleheads playing roundball in the downpour.

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