November 2nd, 1970 arriving at Cam Ranh Bay airbase. Because of one decision (Volunteer for southeast Asia) in late 1968 at Lowry AFB. , forever change how I would view life and politics over the next 50 years!
Here is the letter from early 2000, I wrote from my initial impression and memory of that night. Also note the context is written with the use of adjectives and slang words, as used in South Vietnam. I will add new excerpts over the next few days.
Where Do I Start?
When I got out of my seat on the Flying Tigers flight to Cam Rahn Bay upon our arrival, all the soldiers, sailors and airmen got excited about our being in Vietnam. It was around 2AM and as I walked forward from the back of the Boeing 707 to the front exit. The humidity engulfed me and as I started walking down the stairway, I heard two F-4’s take off and it wouldn’t occur to me for years afterward who they were trying to save from being overwhelmed.
All of us climbed into buses for the short ride to the Aerial Port (that’s what the Air Force called the passenger terminal). All of the Air Force people were told to pick up their duffel bags and taken to a central processing facility. I can remember how all of us were pretty excited about a new experience. We were then taken to a transit facility to get some sleep.
When I woke up in the morning the air was warm, and heat would increase throughout the day. What became immediately apparent I was a fucking new guy (FNG) and everybody would give any other FNG grief or me until we had some time in-country. After processing into the 12th Security Police Squadron I was assigned to Tiger Flight (duty would be from 1PM to about 10PM) after 3 days of in-country training (weapons training, 1st Aid, and orientation about the local situation). I was assigned to the “screw-ups” hootch without all restrictions that the Air Force like to imposed. Actually these guys were responsible for setting claymore mines, concertina wire (razor wire), rebuilding bunkers and filling sandbags.
Eddie Poier was from Massachuatts.”Silva” was from the Southwest, Blauer was from Virginia, there was guy who’s name I think was Gill who was alsofrom the Southeast, these guys gave me more shit! And enjoyed giving it to me every day! They told me what to look out for and our hootch Mama San Bee who kept our clothes washed and ironed, swept the floor clean every day. Bee always kept the guys in line and was a pretty nice woman. I was taught to take care of her by giving things her family could use on a daily basis without RVN officials confiscating her gifts from us.
One day before I started duty, I saw a cop who I was stationed with (Lowry AFB) in Denver,Colorado. Steven Squires and I drove together in a squad car one day and we had to respond to a robbery in progress at the Officers Club. As I was walking to somewhere and I looked up and saw Steven driving a jeep, he looked at me and didn’t say a word. I didn’t see Steven again but I later found his name years later on a veteran web site.