Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Part 8 My Air Force Days...1968-72 More Nha Trang...

4 degrees with a 13 below zero Chill Factor this morning when I strolled outside with the supply of peanut balls and seed for the backyard Squirrels and Marauding Birds...without a doubt this was the coldest morning in at least two years.  Last year much above "normal" and so far this winter season, despite a foot of snow post Christmas, the temperatures have been normal or above for the most part, until this week.  The remainder of the week looks below normal, then on Sunday, with conditions predicted to improve, Nick and I will head to the Chicago area to drop off Sam's "stuff"...speaking of Sam, lucky he now his gainfully employed, his first "emergency" came about with brake problems on his Nissan...$470 was the bottom line, "Ouch"!  O' well, he's making the Big Bucks now, so, welcome to reality, post college.  {insert smiley face}

Actually today, temperature wise, reminded me of our 2009 Vietnam Security Police Reunion at Dayton...that was January 31, 2009...the weather was brutally cold, much like today....when we snapped the attached photo, some of the guys as well as all the wives had already escaped to the cafe in the adjacent Air Force Museum.  Chill Factor was about like today, and was the factor that helped me decide to move the Mini Reunion from January to mid March...at least that gives us a shot at better weather, and we have been lucky the past couple of years.

Remembering Nha Trang....

As July 1969 came and went, I settled in and became comfortable with my duties and my off time at the base on the South China Sea.  Spent time downtown, spent some time at the beach, but my usual off time was either at Bailey's Speakeasy{our private Security Police Club}, the NCO Club on base, or the outdoor theater, located across the street from out barracks.  There was a mini mall there as well, located next to SP HQ and the outdoor movie house, it had a barber shop, camera shop, where you could get your photos developed, buy needed cameras and items, etc....a small BX{base exchange} to purchase things to make life a little more enjoyable and easy.  Let's be real....our lives, at least at Nha Trang and even the more dangerous Tan Son Nhut, was vastly preferable to the poor bastards in the infantry and related outfits that those draftees and others in the Army and Marines had.

We also had a small snack bar, for shakes, cokes, and sub sandwiches....Nha Trang, which I have gone into detail before on this blog, was pretty sweet duty, especially for a guy working day flight law enforcement.  We had one rocket attack in October, and two major Aircraft crashes...one in November and another in October.   The first killed a dozen or so on the aircraft and another 30 or so civilians, most children, at a school house at the end of the runway...the second involved a jet fighter hitting the wrong end of the runway, taking out a couple of Army guys and 2 or 3 civilians before sliding to a stop near the beach.

Such was life in a "war zone"....The days of Dover were gone...no I had not matured to adulthood yet, but I was growing, and gaining more confident as the weeks passed.  By this time I had grown from a 5' 9" 135 kid at Amarillo to 5' 11" and about 170...still a kid, but gaining confidence as the weeks passed.  Those days were the best of my time in the Air Force, at lease location and duty wise...probably one of the reasons I remember so many more names and faces from Nha Trang than the rest of my duty stations, Dover memories and people are next on that list....Tan Son Nhut, and even Griffiss, not nearly as much, although events from those two locations are clear in my mind today as well.

Shortly after the second Aircraft crash, I received orders...as did many others before me, I was heading for the Big Town...Saigon, and a base called Tan Son Nhut.  That story and more is next.

back later>>>>

Photos-top January 31, 2009 our frozen Vientnam Security Police mini-reunion at Dayton and Wright-Patterson AFB.  Me on Jeep Patrol at Nha Trang, and again on duty at the Civilian Worker Entry Control Gate.  And finally a look at Nha Trang Beach, overlooking the South China Seas, as it looks today.


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Anonymous said...

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