Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Part 11 Moving on to Tan Son Nhut...my Air Force Days 1968-72

60 degrees today...60 on January 29th???  No wonder I have come down with a cold and sore throat...the crazy weather will continue and by the time the weekend arrives, lows will be in single digits with highs in the teens.

Nick and I hauled Sam's stuff to the western Chicago berg of Bensenville on Sunday, trying to beat the approaching ice storm on the way....we made it to the Tri-State Tollway southwest of Chicago before the sleet started, the ice followed in short order, and Sunday afternoon and evening were a wet, icy, windy, and cold mess....

Before we hit the bad weather however, we met with my old Dover AFB Buddy, Howard Pritchard....as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, "Howie" had found my blog, during a search for Vietnam and Dover Security Police...he typed in a comment, and I found it a few days later.  Sunday after a few calls, we met at a gas station "oasis" on the southwest corner of the tollway.  We swapped old stories and what has happened in our lives over the past 43+ years since we left Delaware for Vietnam.  I left in May of 69, Pritch left a couple of months later...both of us spending our time at two bases in Southeast Asia, me at Nha Trang and Tan Son Nhut, and Howie at Da Nang and Phu Cat, we had not seen each other since I left for AZR School in the late Spring of 1969...it was a good reunion, and Howie has decided to join our VSPA group...and to make an effort to get to Dayton in March.

After some scrambling, Nick and I found Sam's new place, we would have made it drier and quicker if I had listened to Sam originally...I thought we took 294 to the correct exit, but instead we were supposed to cut back on I-290 West towards Rockford...that mistake caused us to have to backtrack around O'Hare Airport and after a few phone calls, wrong turns, etc, we finally found Sam's place...and the wet, icy, unload began.....one trip in the ice and rain to where Sam was living, and back again, and we finally finished the unloads...soaked to the bone as the ice started to freeze on the wires, limbs, and streets.

They left Nick and I to our own devices, as was my suggestion, so they could get back the 10 miles to where they would stay...Nick and I headed out looking for some food and a liquor store...we found both.  I picked up 8 cans of Murphy's Stout, an English brand, Nick got a bottle of Drambuie....we ended up not touching much of either...I opened a can of Stout, Nick never touched a drop...The Reason?:  A place called "El Famous Burrito" just a stone's toss from Sam's apartment.


I had never heard of this small chain....but it sounded like something we would like to try...we walked in about 6pm Central Time...a Spanish TV Station blared in the dining area, Nick and I took a gander at the Menu...each deciding to get a Burrito with Double Steak...."One Burrito would be good" I reasoned...that way I could still enjoy a couple of beers and maybe a shot of Drambuie on the Rocks...That all changed when our order was put up.....

We looked at each other...those damn things were as big as a small loaf of bread...I added some hot sauce, Nick declined....it took us a half hour to get through them...and this was with NO sides....the "sides" were inside the Burrito...what a meal.  I will go back next time I visit Sam at his place...that was the good, the bad was, those things stuffed us so that drinking alcohol was pretty much out of the question.

So we hit the hay, got up early, walked next door to the 7-11 picked up a couple of large coffee's and dropped a shot of Drambuie into each...figured "What the Hell"?  After a quick shower, we moved some of Sam's belongings around in the apartment, packed our stuff and headed out...overnight the temps had risen to the mid 40s and the ice was a thing of the past...not much traffic heading south and east away from Chicago...and we made it to Van Wert in 4 hours...stopped at Frickers grabbed a bite to eat and I was in my house before 2pm.

On to Tan Son Nhut{Saigon}....

I see today's posting about the Chicago trip, has been pretty long winded...so, I will just say that on December 27, 1969, I departed my favorite base in Vietnam and anywhere else I was stationed for that matter, and headed back to Saigon...this flight was not as memorable, although I seem to remember it to was in a C-130...the next six months would be a bit different duty, well a lot different duty, than the first 6....that story in the next installment.
In Dartball...

We managed to sweep our first set of the year last night at Hopewell last night to move to 8 wins 7 loses on the season's 2nd half...I continued my downward slide, going just 3 for 14 with a triple and 2 RBIs...but we moved into second place in the south, with division leading Mt Carmel up at our church next week....my average slid to .288 to go with 17 RBIs.  My first full season I batted .286 and have not been below .300 in the past 17 seasons, finishing as league leader in Batting 3 times and RBIs twice...I will have to play well just to hit .300 this year, although it appears I will make the All-Star team again...but, I don't really deserve it.

back later{with more Tan Son Nhut and Air Force memories}>>>>

Photos-Howard Pritchard and me, more than 43 years since we last saw each other at Dover AFB, Delaware....The small Mexican Chain called El Famous Burrito has the biggest and some of the best Burrito Meals I have ever tasted....and me...March 1970 at Tan Son Nhut...one of the few photos from TSN I have in my hands....lost many, and working nights I just never took as many as I did at Nha Trang.

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