My tour began with our plane trying to land at Tan Son Nhut Airfield. The plane was about 200 feet above the runway when landing was aborted. The airfield was being shelled. Just then I thought this was hell. We flew to Hong Kong and waited 4 hours before flying back. When we de-planed the temp was so hot, I Knew I was in hell.
After a week in the holding pen, I was asigned to the 172nd Preventive Medicine Unit in Danang. I got on a C130 and was there in a few hours. Hell began at Camp Viking.
I have no pictures of Camp Viking, I had no camera. Picture in your mind a camp built by the French in 1950, over run, and then abandoned.
We were at Camp Viking for a couple of months, and then moved to Camp Baxter.
It's funny how a friendship happens. During A.I.T. at Fort Sam Houston, Wayne and I didn't like each other. We never even talked. He kept his space and I mine. As fate would have it, we both went to Nam and were stationed with the same unit. As time went on, we became the best of friends! He looked after me and I after him. He got an early out and left when I was TDY learning how to be a Military Quarantine Inspector. He wrote me a letter before he left, the words I will never forget. He and I really were the best of friends. I haven't seen or heard from him since. Maybe some of the memories are too painful.
This picture was taken at Camp Baxter but he left when we were at the 95th Evac Hospital.
Just got off of my 12 hour guard duty in the tower. I'm cold and wet and I missed the Bob Hope Show. Not in the Christmas spirit, but trying to smile anyway.
Pictured in the background is Guard Tower #1, a place where I spent many hours. When on base, you were put on a rotating schedule for guard duty. This tower provided me two unanswered question, "why not me?" and "what is it that I must do with my life?"
The day before I had guard duty, the guard in tower #1 was shot and killed. The next day I drew tower #1 for guard duty. Fear and anticipation filled me as I climbed the ladder and sat on a board used as a seat. For the next 12 hours I kept looking out into the fields for any kind of movement. Nothing happened! The next day the guard was shot and killed! Even today I ask, "why not me?"
I remember sitting on the retaining wall one day and looking at the barbed wired fence just 25 yards away and wondering how this fence could keep anyone out. Rumor had it that the camp was going to be over run that night. Sure enough, in the middle of the night the sirens went off. We jumped out of our cots and headed to our assigned bunkers while the camp was under mortar and sniper fire. The attack from the outside was just a diversion while 2 VC broke though the fence and started to set saccule charges around our hootches. Thank God they were seen and caught before the charges went off. A lot of guys would have been hurt or killed. Ever since that night I don't sleep very well.
Funny what war does to you
It got so hot, we were a little nuts, we shaved our heads
Camp Baxter was closing down. Time to move again!
95th Evac Hospital, Our 3rd Home in Danang
While at the 95th Evac Hospital, I was sent TTY to Military Quarantine Inspector School. When I got back most of the guys were gone. There was 3 enlisted and 1 officer left. My new job was at Deep Waters Pier. It was my responsibility to inspect sea crates before they were loaded onto a ship. After the ship was loaded, I inspected the ship before it left port.
This is a picture of one of the ship I inspected. Someone tried to pull a fast one and loaded crates that were not inspected. What I found were crates with their runners full of mud. I keep the ship in port 3 days longer than it was scheduled. I made them remove the crates and wash them down and they were to be inspected before being loaded back on the ship. I had everyone telling me to sign the release paper so it could get underway. I had my CO even try to order me to sign, but I refused. It was really cool the power a Spec 4 had, but it would have been my ass on the line when it got back to the World.
About a month later I recieved new orders... This boy was going HOME!!!! 13 Days later I
got new orders...
I'm NOT going home, I was being transfered to a place called Phouc Tuy.
The other guys went home.....