Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Air Force Days {1968-72} part 12 Tan Son Nhut RVN

What a difference a day makes...yesterday morning when beginning the day, I walked out to feed the backyard birds and Squirrels we felt the back end of the overnight rain and it was still hovering near 60...24 hours later, we are looking at wind, a dusting of snow on the ground and 20 degrees with a single digit chill factor...a cold weekend with flurries is forecast and then next week a more moderating beginning of February is in store...I still am fighting my personal cold, albeit it's not a bad one...but still a pain to work through. 

Basketball officiating tonight, with a game at Crestview, then one more on Friday, and two, one in the morning and one Saturday evening....just over three weeks to go for me on the hardwoods...and frankly it can't come soon enough, I'm ready for a break before Baseball, and the four weeks off between season will be welcome.

More Tan Son Nhut.....

{Today January 31, 2003 is the 45th Anniversary of the TET Offensive and the Attack on Tan Son Nhut Airbase, defended by the 377th Combat Security Police Squadron}

After six sun baked months on the beach and base of Nha Trang, I arrived at the Saigon/Tan Son Nhut Airport for my next adventure in Vietnam....the 377th SPS would be different in many ways than the 14th at Nha Trang.  It was a bigger{much bigger} base and squadron, and instead of the small 9 man Day{A}Flight Law Enforcement group I was with at the northern base, I would be assigned to C Flight Security, working the overnight shift along the perimeter, with dozens of others.  The threat of actual combat was much more real working nights at TSN, but in reality, I never was one to worry about that...the job was just that.

First night on duty, and I believe it was New Year's Eve, just before the dawn of a new decade, the 70s, that I spent my first night with the 377th....Echo Sector and the restored infamous Bunker 051.  Bunker 51 and the large SP Tower, Tango 4, were the center of action when TET 1968 descended upon the base on January 31st of that year.  4 Sky Cops died that night, others were left with deep scars that would be with them for the remainder of their lives....as for me and the others that night, not much action at all...and that would be my only night on 51, I would spend the next 10 weeks on C Flight Security, working mostly in Echo Sector, in the towers and flightline.

In those weeks I would come down with a nasty case of insomnia...it became common for me to work all night, head to the base NCO Club, drink more than a handful of morning beers, and head back to the barracks in the 1300 area, in hopes of getting some sleep.  Thank God for being young and in pretty good shape, I survived the insomnia.  In the meantime I would get my 3rd stripe and become a low ranking NCO...that upgrade{of sorts} and my not getting along with the older, supposedly superior ranking NCOs{meaning I didn't take much crap from them} got me "promoted" in mid March of 1970...technically I was still with Charlie Flight, but Resource Protection Flight aka: "Blue Patrol" was more of a offshoot of Law Enforcement.  I would spend the next three months working with a handful of other trouble makers guarding the inner resources of the huge base at Saigon.

Being one of the few NCOs with the Blue Patrol, most nights I got to drive around in the Jeep, checking on the others, keeping them awake with coffee, BS, apples and other snacks...it was a sweet way to end my tour of Vietnam.  Shortly after being assigned to Blue Patrol, I got my orders for my R&R...I had chosen Hawaii.  Sure most of those going to the 50th state were married and heading back to meet their wives or in some cases, girlfriends...in my case I wanted a taste of stateside and figured I would never get to see Hawaii  except for the plane ride over and back...it was a wild five days, that story next.

back later>>>>

Photos-The damaged bunker 051 where four Air Force SPs of the 377th lost their lives on 31 Jan 68...Me getting my 3rd stripe and getting ready for duty in Echo Sector/Charlie Flight...Worked the towers at least 2 nights or more a week for my 10 week stay on C Flight Security...Resource Protection was next in my job description, and a good way to end my Vietnam tour....and in April of 1970 I was standing on Waikiki Beach on R & R....that story next:


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