Welcome to the WD7F Cam Rahn Bay, RVN66 site.

-WARNING-
This page is graphically intent, e.g., lots of pictures. A fast connection or patience is required. If you see something you can identify, please let me know.  I hope the guys at the www.12tfw.org don't mind that I snagged their background.

As an official member of the 12th TFW Association, I invite all past members of the 12th as well as tenant organizations to join the association in order to promote the memories and continue the camaraderie.

I also recommend that you take a look at



if you haven't already !

This page is most certainly a work in progress !

John P Slusser, SMSgt, USAF Ret
www.wd7f.com

jslusser@wd7f.com



In January 1966, the 391st Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 366th TacticalFighter Wing, Holloman AFB, New Mexico set off with a squadron of F-4CPhantoms along with the support personnel required and, of course, included me, a twenty-five year old know-it-all by the name of Airman First Class John P Slusser, AF16618253.  The original plan of the deployment was to deploy to  Phan Rang, RVN.  The 390th and 480th had already deployed in November 1965 and  eventually ended up at Da Nang in October 66.  The 389th was TDY to Alaska at the time and deployed later.  

Somewhere along the way, plans were changed. The 391st TFS arrived at Cam Rahn Bay, Republic of Viet Nam for an over night stay in-route to Phan Rang. Well, the RON turned into the rest of the war.  The 391st TFS was soon adopted by the 12 Tactical Fighter Wing out of McDill AFB, Florida.  Support personnel were divided up and I was one of the "left behind" individuals while the rest of the 366th went to Phan Rang and later on to Da Nang. 

We got off of the C-130 that day, arriving from Clark AFB, after a puddle jump across the Pacific.  I remember walking in to Central Processing & Billeting Office and they looked at our orders and said "You ain't suppose to be here."  Well hell, the destination and pertinent information was starred out on the orders.  I don't remember who actually said to the effect that after fourty-some hours in a C-130, we were draggin-ass tired and let them know in no uncertain terms that we ARE here. Now,  where do we go to eat and sleep?  You can sort it all out later.

We, the stubborn members of the 391st, managed to stay affiliated with the 391st for about eight months before the 12th were able to corral our motley crew.  The above sign was probably made by our hooch resident carpenter, Bud Meyers.  It's been too long ago for me to remember.   I think that we felt like bastard step-children since our main unit had left us in the lurch.  When all was said and done it turns out that Cam Rahn was the proverbial briar patch that we got "throwed" into after considering some of the war stories we heard.  Those guys were almost prisoners on their own base.  At least we could take a weekend trip to Na Trang once in a while.

Some of the guys in the 12th were from the 45th TFS out of Ubon and were integrated into the 12th as well.  There is a picture of  a group of WCS troops from that bunch provided by Ed Phillips.

I have tried to make contact with some of these guys over the years, among others, however, I can say that I have contacted only a few of these guys. Steve Arch, OK Spencer, Fred Frickman and Dale Lindeau.  Sadly, I have to tell you that among those four, two, Steve Arch and Dale Lindeau have died Both were in their 50's.  I knew Steve Arch since tech school at Lowry AFB, Colorado in 1959 and was in contact with him off & on until his passing.  Steve retired at George AFB, California in the mid seventies.  Dale Lindeau was a party animal and played anything with strings favoring the mandolin.   Would you believe that of the hundreds of slides that I took,  I don't have his picture?

NEWS FLASH: I finally made contact with CMSgt Jim Kenney who has sent me a CD of pictures from Cam Rahn and there was a picture of Dale Lindeau ! You can see the guitar in the background. 

A year or two ago, I had a conversation with Lamar Cruse who retired in Louisiana.  He's one of the original Naha bunch who came over with the 391st out of Holloman.  He told me that another WCS troop, Bobby Griffin,  had passed away.  Don't have pictures of either of them.

If you know the whereabouts of any of the guys you see in the pictures below, please let me know.  

Since posting this page, I've talked to Cary Stanley and Ted Quella, both living in Aurora, Colorado, and hadn't talked to each other until after I called Stanley !!  That was a kick in the butt !!

Also, I'm in contact with one of the 391st WCS troops and fellow Ham Radio Operator that went on to Da Nang:   John Reika, WA6OWU

UPDATE: (June 2012)  Time takes its toll.  Since the original posting, I know that Lewis Alexander,  Lamar Cruse, Bob Suiter, Ted Quella and Cary Stanley have all passed.

Click on the Small Ones to see the Big Ones!

 

 

When I scanned these slides, I found if difficult to keep them in chronological order because the slides had been sent off to be developed several rolls at a time and they had the same date on them.  So, the pictures are basically shown as I scanned them. As apparent, forty years has taken their toll on the slides...and me.

 


 Flying Proud

 RVN Flag

 Hq 12 TFW

 Still blue

Hurry up & Wait
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Yours truly
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What a lovely site.
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The beginning of a hooch.
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All in a row.
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Heidler & Spencer on the right ?
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Shelby Jeanice on the left ?
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Guess what these are. Careful, Ted
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Steve Arch
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Ted Quella & ??
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Bud Meyers
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Don't remember
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 Meyers, Kilgore & MSgt Brady ?

 Fred says"Red Cap ain't that bad !!"

Mortars? Is that Bermudez ?

Fred Frickman reads.
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8 Ball
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Nah, he wasn't mad.
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Suiter?  That's
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another story !
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House girls?
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Ted Quella & Steve Arch
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Orange juice. Yeah, right !
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Gau - our very pregnant house girl.

Sweeney on the left. Don't know
who's leg Ferguson is riding !
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The carpenter is also
a barber, huh, Teddy ?
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How much? 
Two bits?
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What's up
there?
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Do you like sand ?
I received an e-mail from Jack Johnstone about the "What's up there?" picture.

That was the RMK-BRJ civilian camp of the construction group that built the runway, roads, ammo dumps and deep water port, among other things.   I was one of the civilian workers in 1966.
Thanks for the info, Jack !

 

In pretty short order, we had converted those 8-man tents into hooches of plywood and canvass and later replaced the tent top with corrugated asphalt roofing sheets and the trappings of stability began to show up.  It's a good thing we were young then or we wouldn't have survived.  As you'll see, underwear was the normal uniform of the day.

And on top of getting our abode livable, it was necessary to work on occasion.  Someone took my picture when we were on a work order. 


Slusser's bendin' a wrench.

Of course I know what I'm doing!
Waitin' for the system to time in!


Going down to the shower on the end.

Wonderful bunker.
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Skinny  guyin his Tighty Whities ?
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After the storm over the tent.
 How romantic !
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After all.... wars
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do create garbage.
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Base Detail was not fun !
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Bill Ferguson
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Baht Bug attractor.
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Radar package.
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 Radar Van of some kind.
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Don't forget your mess kit
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C-46
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 C-47
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Dunno, but maybe Air America planes
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Old workhorse

Ticket to R&R

Chopper
66_05-1-20.jpg (136147 bytes).
Closer view.
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Funny hat
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 Bermudez & Arch
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Revetments
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The AGE was still yellow.
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 Peeling off.
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 Smoke from something.
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Air Rescue, I think.
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 64 models everywhere.
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 Fire Trucks way over there.
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 Guard Shack
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 Our business machine.
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Diggin' a hole at the chow hall ?
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 I'm not sure where.
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 Control
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 Needed a telephoto.
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 The last place I'm 
heading in an attack !!
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 Probably officers quarters.
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 The flightline
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 Old "97" !

 

Pictures provided by OK Spencer - SMSgt Ret

Link to Ken's Photo Page
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Washed out
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More of the mortars huh, Ken ?
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I recognize Stanley & Meyers
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I must have been sleeping !
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Baker Beach Bunch
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Hey !  There's my man Fred !
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SSgt Lewis Alexander !
Check this link
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Stanley, are you awake !
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Yeah, I am here !
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I know ! I was on mids when this
was taken.

 

Pictures provided by Norm Dubuc

12th A&E Tent 9
3rd from left: Charlie Roy Far right: Bruce Falkenburg
Others ?
Norm Dubuc at Work !
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Here's comes LBJ & Westy


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Quite a moment since he was the first
president in a combat zone !

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And there they go !
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Work Hog !
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John Forsman doing the forms?
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Norm, who the heck is this?
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Can it be you ?
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How inviting.
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Young fella' here !
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Let's eat !
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15 two, 15 four & a pair for 6
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What am I doin' ?
Just hangin' around !
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Oh my god ! The smell !
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Just gettin' started !
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Tent City
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Washee clothes ?
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Pass the betel nut !
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I'm going HOME !!!

 

45th TFS WCS Group
provided by Ed Phillips

I received an e-mail (19 Nov 07) from Bill Robbins.  He says he has this picture
and he provided the following as he remembers:

Bill Robbins is in the front row, second from the right. Len Szafranic, front row, third from the right.
SSgt Robert Fries, back row, second from right. Dale DeBrito, back row, third from right,  Ace Guidry, back row, fourth from right, Gary Hesprich, bottoms right.

Note those "Go to Hell Hats" !


BACK TO MY PHOTOS
My very first helicopter ride !!!  It was great !
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 Fred Frickman
A gentleman of leisure.
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 More business.
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 On the avenue..
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 Hello Steve.
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 Suiter's happy now
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 April Showers bring May Flowers
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 The rats look for high ground.
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 Cliff Richards (Thanks Cary Stanley)
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 Hold this rope for me, will ya' ?
Following are a few pictures taken from
the rare high ground up by Air Rescue.
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"Baker Beach"
  I use to think "What a resort area this would make some day !"
Ken Spencer & Ted Quella waitin' on the burgers ! This place is sure better than hangin' around the hooches !
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Didn't take long to find Baker Beach !
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 A beautiful place
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More beach
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 Life is tough on Baker Beach
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 Miles & miles of beautiful beach !!
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 Hero pose.
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Whoops !  How'd
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this get here ?
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 Beach
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Is that Bud Meyers and OK Spencer?
No, maybe Kilgore ?
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Log chain ?
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Let's go to 
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the beach...
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and have a 
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Tug-O-War !
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Where else
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would you go
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to see all
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your friends such
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as Sweeney !
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Kilgore & Slusser
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Nothing hurts & I'm
gonna' live forever !
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Yeah, I saw that bikini !!
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 More Baker Beach
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Steaks, beer, bread & more beer.
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They are taking recon of the bikini !!!
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Nothin' but the best for
the boys  in blue !
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Gaggle of troops

 

MORE PICTURES AROUND THE BASE 
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A C-130 - No camouflage|
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 Be careful here !
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 Stop, I wanna' get on, no matter
where you're headed !
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  VC workers ?
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 Joe Heidler?
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 Air cops lived in the next row
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 Their duty was worse than ours.
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 Looking toward the chow hall
from the hooch.

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 Another greasy hog.
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 Don't remember what was going
on here.


NHA TRANG

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I made several trips to Nha Trang, once or twice on a pass and many other times as an Auxiliary Motor Pool Driver in convoys going to Nha Trang to pick up loads of corrugated roofing for all the hooches that we were building.  No doubt in my mind that cities such as Na Trang were beautiful places before the communist insurgence.

Shotgun position in the six-by that I drove was premium and coveted by many, and, I could pick the rider.  You can bet that I used it to my advantage for trade purposes.

We would roll past  the ROC Marine group, then "Check Point Charlie" and run full bore through the rubber plantation at a whopping 50 MPH. I know darned good & well that we passed VC and they waved.  Our 50 caliber equipped escorts just kept going as fast as those lumbering six-bys could go.  We go shot at a couple times and once someone had a hole in the door of his truck.  Wish I'd have taken a picture of that.

On one trip, my six-by was stolen.  The local logistics NCO said that if we didn't find it soon, it would be painted yellow and be in Cambodia by the next day.  Man !  I was very concerned.  It was finally recovered at the local Air Base Motor Pool.  It had been towed a couple minutes after I parked it and it took about 6 hours to find it, thanks to an observant Army MP that had seen it being towed on Beach Road going to Vun Tau. I was both relieved and pissed about that.  I should write a book.

There are photos of a little girl who resided in the villa that I and others stayed in.  I would guess her daddy was an American.  Shirley and I were eating in a Mexican restaurant and I saw a little girl that was the spittin' image of this one.  The wife says that the girl in the picture might be her mother and I reminded her that it couldn't be.  A quick calculation and I told her it could be her grandmother !  Wow, where has the time gone?  

The first picture is of SSgt Don Baker, my mentor;  very talented,  and the biggest con-artist and scrounger I've ever known.   He would not take crap from anybody.  He taught me a lot of things that I put to good use in my Air Force career.  If you needed it done, no questions, ask Don. Are you still around, Don?

The guy with the hat & cigar is my favorite shot-gun, SMSgt JimKenney.  He took pretty good care of me.   Jim lives in Missouri now.

 

Don, ready to go ! Looks like it's gonna' rain !  The hogs
are carryin' sticks in their mouth !
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They said they ain't VC !
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I'll take two !
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Check out the side arm !
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Hell, I don't know why we stopped !
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MANY MORE PICTURES

Steve !  You're gonna' eat that ?
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This one hit the rice paddy
on a strafing run.
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Smelled like a lawn mower !
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66_06-9-12.jpg (58707 bytes)

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Ugh ! Greasy 6-Carts !
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Dave Eydmann onphone.
Curt Boyd
standing.  Sitting?
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BAKER BEACH & AROUND THE BASE
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Burgers
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Chief LeCroy
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Jim Kenney
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Base Chapel
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 A young artist painted this.
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 He must have been inspired..
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 ..more than I was at the time.
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TSgt Eydmann
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Sgt. Kenney just woke me up!
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All the comforts.
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Ominous looking

 

TRIPS TO NHA TRANG
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VARIOUS TOWARD THE END OF MY TOUR
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Arch & Parry  Guy on left ?
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Sign on locker: Cam Ranh Bay
 is Good & WETSU & IHTFP 
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Horse shoes
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Baker sun bathing
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Who's this guy ?
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I'm tired of this.
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I hated this sign
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One day somebody says, "You guys need to qualify just in case they over-run the base !"  Oh yeah, that's just great !
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Didn't shoot at it.
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Polluted the ocean with lead.
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They said I qualified.
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Didn't shoot either.
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The tour was just about over
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Keystone Kops
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Markin' theshort calendar
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Writing home to the wife !
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Pictures given to me
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by someone.
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Everyone looks tired
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Even the hooch girls look tired.
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Parry
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Sick of this !
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Me too.
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Big chow hall fire
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Excitement's over
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Looking one way
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Looking the other.
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Just in case

 

Finally !  When the wheels came up on that big bird, there was a great cheer from everyone on the aircraft.  Still, I had a feeling that a missile might come out of no-where and spoil the trip home.

How lucky for me that the Air Force drafted me into Field Training for athree year tour followed by orders to Bentwaters !  By the time we got back from there (December 74), Viet Nam was just about done.

I didn't miss it a bit !

With the exception of a couple of bumps along the way, it's been great since those wheels went up over forty years ago. 

 

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Ton Son Nhut
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Freedom Bird
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Good bye !
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Everybody's cheering !!
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A little pensive ! Pankau ?
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Finally!  Back in the world!
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I came home to this young girl.  Check out the hair !
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Taken at a little
park near
Oro Grande near
George AFB !!!