|A story from Michael Betcher - 1970
Transferred from the 83rd to the 7th
|This was inspired by the Ralph Felice story on this page. I was also transferred from the 83rd to the 7th when the unit was moved up there. And -- although I thought I was the only EM who owned a car at the 83rd -- I also asked permission from Col. Rovegno to drive to Udorn rather than take official transportation. He, being a very nice guy, readily agreed and with that authorization I cheerfully set off on the appointed day in my Fiat 1000D sedan loaded with my household goods and.....er....a very close friend (if you get my drift).
With a local guide I had no trouble navigating to Udorn, and arrived in the afternoon of the specified day. Since nobody had told me about any restrictions on POVs, after dropping off my "companion" to find a hooch in Baan Non Soong (the ville across from the base) I innocently drove through the base gate and parked in front of the orderly room. I went in and presented myself to the NCOIC, asking if I had to sign in somewhere. This is an accurate description of events, although of course I have forgotten the exact dialogue:
"Are you the guy with the car?", he asked.
"Yup, that's me."
"Well, it's being impounded by order of the Colonel. You're not allowed a POV at this base. Take it over to the motor pool, leave it there, and bring the keys back here."
So I said "sure", walked out to the car, and started off. But instead of taking it to the motor pool I made a determined dash to the front gate, reasoning that by the time somebody in the orderly room realized what was happening and phoned the gate guard I would be safely off the base. Which, fortunately, is exactly what happened.
So I parked the car across the street in the ville and walked back onto the base and into the orderly room. Well, as you might imagine, the Sp5 (I think) at the desk was pretty pissed, but he smirked as he told me that the colonel wanted to see me immediately, and that my ass was grass. So I went in the see the lt. colonel (I can't remember the guy's name, only that he was a complete jerk) and found him with steam coming out his ears. After a few seconds of denouncing my character, loyalty and overall military bearing he demanded that I bring the car back on base immediately. I politely reminded him that the car was properly registered in Thailand, that I was properly licensed to drive in Thailand, and that since the car was now IN Thailand rather than on the base he had no jurisdiction over it and could not order it impounded.
He had a different opinion, of course, so I explained to him further that without a status of forces agreement with Thailand the US military writ did not extend to off-base activities, and that if he wanted to impound my car he would have to get Thai authorities to do it. He still didn't agree with my position, so I suggested that we refer the matter to the JAG office in Korat for adjudication. Well, the guy was an utter idiot, but by that time the thought was piercing his dim brain that he wasn't going to win this particular dispute because I had those bothersome regulations on my side.
At that point he backed down as "gracefully" as he could, spewing threats about how unhappy my stay at the 7th would be, ending with a very strange statement that I had better not put in for an extension there because it would never be approved. All I could think of was -- why would anyone want want an extension there? But I kept a straight face.
Well, a couple of days later Col. Rovegno visited from BKK and came through the operations compound. He stopped by my desk and with a little smile said, "Well, you won that one, but I don't think it's a good idea to piss him off any more." I enjoyed my little Fiat until I sold it to a Thai Army major the following year when I ETSd, and I never had another word with that dipshit OIC at the 7th. Nor did I spend another night on base, except for one CQ detail.
Sp5 Michael Betcher, 98C, 83rd RRSOU and 7th FS
|Another Soul on the Lost Highway
by Bill Bogart 1968 - 1971
| A long time ago in a land far away, there lived an 18 year old who just graduated from high school. The year was 1967. And we all know what was happening then. Well, not really to enthusiastic about doing another 4 years of school right then, he decided to join the Army. Mainly this choice was thrust upon him by a letter from Uncle Sam. So, being the smart, world-wise teenager that we all were at that age, he decided to beat the draft and join. (smart huh?). Well some fast talking old fart recruiter said, "son the army needs men like you". And of course being a teenager and being called a man by a dude in uniform must have light my candle. So took all the tests and was told I had a high aptitude. What was he going to tell me? I was a dumb-ass? So that may my head get even bigger. He said, "name your job son". I always wanted to be a cop. So I said I'd like to be an MP. No problem. Signed all the papers and took the physical in Chicago. A few weeks later, July 7, 1967 to be exact, I left for good old Ft. Leonard Wood. Spent a very unpleasant 8 weeks in that stink hole waiting for my clearance. Well, as luck would have it, The Army didn't need MP's right then, they needed Morse intercept operators. So........., You guessed it. Look out Ft. Devens.
Got there in Sept I believe. Lived in "G" company if I remember right. Right across the street from the cleanest wood shop I've ever seen in my life. We had to go over on weekends sometime to clean the place. You couldn't find any d--n dirt. The E-8 who ran the shop was waiting to retire and wouldn't let anyone use any of the equipment. 8 fun packed hours of trying to locate some dirt.
Went to Ditty-City everyday to try to learn code. Remember I said the recruiter said I had a high aptitude? You could probably teach monkeys Morse code. It took me 8 months. Almost got washed out and sent to the infantry for 4 years. Bullet to the head time. Anyway , I just couldn't get 18 wpm. One day I got a bad cold and went to the dispensary. They gave me GI-gin, also known as Turpin hydrate I believe. About 40% alcohol. I got half lit on the stuff and passed 18 wpm like a breeze. That was the trick. You just couldn't give a shit.
Well then did TTC and got captured. They tried to make me talk by zapping my calves with the wires from a field phone.. I talked alright. I screamed like hell. Got cramps in both legs and then some wise Officer decided I'd had enough. Got stuck in a hooch with some other "wounded" GI and "escaped" through the tunnel. Then got totally lost the rest of the nite. Finally wandered in and graduated. Being the good red-blooded America teenager I was, I volunteered for Vietnam. Guess again. Got Thailand.
That was about the middle of June 68. While home on 2 weeks leave before shipping to California, got pregnant and discharged. Nah, no such luck being as I had the wrong equipment to bear children. It was in the paper about this time or maybe earlier in the year. Might have been Tet. My mother picked up the local paper and there on the front page was "Udorn Thailand Air base hit by sappers". She shit. She said "I thought the war was in Vietnam?" I said "It is mom. That was probably nothing". Later I found out the weird truth.
Anyway on to Travis to await final boarding call. Oakland. What a dump. Some of us decided to see the sights and got busted for walking on the freeway. They actually sent me a fine in Thailand of 35 bucks. Can you believe that b--ls--t? Got to Bangkok and spent 5 days there getting "acclimated", no ,laid comes later. Forgot to mention I was still a 18 year old virgin male. Then went up country to Udorn. Copied dits, got drunk, smoked dope, copied more dits, got drunker, smoked more dope. If you combined the three made for some interesting sounds and sights. Finally got laid after about a couple of months. Drunk of course. Think I went off to quick, she said, " When you want pompom GI?" I was already done. Casanova I wasn't. Back to the story of the sapper attack.
I guess from what I heard that some drunk Thai Coms tried to blow up some planes up at the Air base. Most missed. But Ramasan went on ALERT. Weapons were locked in the orderly room and only one NCO on post. All the rest and officers were down town. Ammo was in the ammo dump. Now this is the way I heard it. Some of you guys that were there then can correct me. Whoever was in charge put everybody between the fences IN FRONT OF THE STROBE LIGHTS. How quaint. Anyway I guess nothing happened there. Typical cluster f--k.
Knew lots of guys but forgot most. Names like Gaylen Fox from Kansas had been a barber. Phil (filthy Phil) Carter. Kenny Hoyt from Arkansas I think. Skip Hancock from my home state of Indiana. He was in ARDF. A guy named Bakse or something who tried to use all the drugs in Southeast Asia. A guy named Terry Jackson from California. Ron Turner from Alabama. More, but the memory is going along with the libido.
Remember pulling guard duty one nite in one of the towers. Heard something down below. They or it wouldn't respond to my query. Called in and they came out and shot it. It was a d--n tiger. Glad he hadn't been taught how to climb stairs. Had to guard the site excavation for the new dish antenna. "Whatcha doing? " Just guarding this dirt!"
I Remember going downtown early on with a SP/5 named Dale Speakman. We went to some Thai girls Birthday party. Now they know how to throw birthday parties. We got wasted and I got sick in the back of the taxi coming back to post. Totally refinished the guys rear fender panels. Then passed out. Woke up at the gate with Speakman hauling me in minus my brand new Seiko watch. Guess the guy figured he sell it for a new paint job.
Ended up shacking up the last year over there on unofficial advise from the doc. I Had caught clap 3 times and he said I may got home minus a few body parts if I didn't be careful. I never have and never will use condoms. Once I got her shots of tetracycline and myself downtown.
We had a rather pleasant relationship. I worked, she cooked, I screwed, she pretended to enjoy it. What more can you ask. There might have been one or two times when I woke up after a Mekong whiskey niter with a big chubby that she actually did enjoy it. I always did. You see I was still just a young stud. Well as all good things do, my tour started drawing to a close in Jan 71. Had to get my sh--t together to ETS .
Got the whole months pay and the 60 days leave coming also. I was rich. $2500 bucks. Look out world, here I come. I've always worried about that seeing as how I have lived about 60 miles from the Ft. Ben Harrison ,the finance center in Indianapolis ,for the last 30 years.
I remember coming back to the "world" in uniform and being ridiculed. That left a bad taste in my mouth for years to come. Still ended up joining the reserves in 1980 after Carter almost ruined the military. The man had good intentions, but the rest of the world isn't as nice as we try to be. In a petroleum supply unit for about 8 years. Made platoon Sgt E-6.Was up for 1sgt but decided babysitting wasn't my forte.
Been married for 25 years now, to the same lady no less. Got 2 children. Daughter graduates from college in May with a degree in Psychology. Son is 19 and just as lost as his old man was at that age. Must be some deficiency in the mail hormone.
Wouldn't trade any of that last 30 years since then even the beer consumption problem I've had under control for about 10 years now. Lucky to take a drink once a year now. Used to be once an hour.
Not bad for an ex-ditty bopper. Not really an ex either. As I hold a general class Amateur license. Call of KA9CWK. A friend said that's a neat call. KA9 CWKing. ARRRGHH. enjoy the hobbie though, especially building junk. Work in manufacturing and make pretty good money. Wife is going back to college to get her degree then maybe I can retire early and screw off.
Well, guess that's about the story for this ditty-bopper. Lifes been pretty good all things considered. Still pissed off about Nam. But guess I'll go to my grave with that one. Maybe old Janey Fonda will beat me there, Bitch.
Now for the disclaimers: If some of those named in here are offended because their name is mentioned, Tough S--t. If some are offended by the language Tough S--t. If the government thinks I've given away any trade secrets, They know where I live and can KMA. I gave 14 years and all my brown hair to this country. They don't like it they can eat Poontang. Here's to the 58000 plus who can't be here to say KMA.
|If anyone remembers Bruce, click on his name and send him an email.|
I am in search of my unit, I was in Udorn Thailand around 1967 living in tent city. After I was in Udorn for about 4 months I was in a taxi cab accident on the way back from Udorn when we struck a logging truck that was parked in the road without its lights on. I was in the front seat and my buddy Gary [a MP] was in the back seat. The taxi driver pulled me and Gary out of the cab said he was sorry and ran off leaving us alone. After about 4 hours a shuttle bus came by and reported the accident. I was air lifted to the Philippines, then Japan, then Valley Forge Army Hospital in PA. Total time about 6 months in different hosp.
I never had anymore contact with any of my unit members and in fact never got my personal belongings back. The only person I remember is Gary he was the MP.
Can you help or post this email so I can possibly get some contact with anybody that may remember me.
I also heard that Agent Orange may have been used in the area around tent city.
Thanks so much for the help
|Clyde Cook - February 1966 - November 1967 - 7th RRFS|
I was at first NCOIC and than later acting NCOIC of MPs (95B MOS) at 7th RRFS near Udorn, Thailand, from February 1966 until November 1967. I had been promoted to Sgt. while at the 51st SOC in Okinawa, shortly before that. And I do remember you from way back in those days.
On my second day at the 7th a humongous, wind-driven rain storm struck and blew my fairly new tent off the frame--which taught us to make SURE the damned things were tied down securely from then on! A day or two later, I got the runs so bad I lost a bunch of weight the HARD way. In those early days, potable water was still being trucked in while our own purification system was still being finalized and tweeked; there was no EM, Officer's or NCO club; it was hotter and dirtier than hell a lot of the time; there were snakes galore about; at one point the base commander had me riding around in a jeep (very reluctantly) shooting stray dogs with a shotgun following a rabies outbreak; once participated in the sighting of a very eery UFO (confirmed by other MP and Thai Army guard posts) east of the highway out in front of the main gate; and we were periodically trucked to Udorn AFB for much-welcomed showers, while our own latrine and showers were being finalized. Haven't cared much about camping since....
When I showed up at the 7th RRFS there were just a few MPs there, and a Sgt. Lyons had been NCOIC; but I had more time in grade and took over for a while. SSG Marvin Cutshall then replaced me briefly as NCOIC, before being shipped to Clark AFB for long-term medical problems, so I took over honchoing MPs again for a while, until my enlistment ended in November of 1967. By then we had an MP detachment about the size of a reinforced platoon, and were doing Provost Marshal Investigations, much better base security work, and Joint town patrols with the USAF in the area. Too, we had finally moved into the new, partially-completed permanent base facility--which included air-conditioned barracks!!!!!!!!!
I gratefully went back to the civilian world, where I served for 6 or 7 months as an undercover agent for NC's Alcohol Law Enforcement Division (ALE) before returning to UNC-Chapel Hill, NC, where I finally finished earning my BA Degree in Political Science. Since then I have more or less stayed within the law-enforcement and criminal justice realm--including stints as Special Investigative Supervisor for the NC ALE, Deputy Sgt. at Arms for the NC Senate, NC DMV Law Enforcement and related management positions, Sgt. at Arms and Reading Clerk for the NC House, and Marshal of the Supreme Court of NC. I retired from the latter position 2 1/2 years ago, and have dabbled some since in private investigative and process-service work--which I'd done off and on before, between various law enforcement stints, etc.
What have YOU been up to since the 7th RRFS? Did you know any of the other MPs back in those days, any idea what ever happened to any of them, and do you have any more photos of those days that you are willing to share with me?
Former MP Sgt.
|Story From Bill Cope 55th Signal Company - 1967
From an email from Dave to Bill Bogart
I served there TDY for about 7 months in 1967, as a member of the 55th Signal Co., Support (from Korat) with one other guy. We 31M's ran the radios and mux systems (between us and Udorn Air Base) for the 7th RRFS telephones and data. From there, you were on the "network" operated by the 55th with their TRC-24 radios and TCC-7 and TCC-50 mux systems and TCC-4 and TCC-20 teletype terminals.
At first we operated from a van just outside the main gate. Later we moved inside the telephone building with the IWCS (Integrated Wideband Communications System) equipment, which was operated by Philco-Ford at the time.
The IWCS used General Electric TSC-600 carrier systems capable of 600 telephone channels although there were only 12 channels at the 7th RRFS. One of those 12 was used to carry the encrypted teletype from your area. We couldn't copy it, but it went through our equipment.
After the IWCS microwave shot to the air base came on line, we became a backup only. We had a trailer with two 5-KW generators behind the building in case of a power failure. They eventually go rid of the backup (and us). I also operated the MARS station in that building. I remember building a little box with HOLD switches and lights to make phone patches easier to accomplish.
I still have my Thanksgiving Day Menu from the mess hall. It has a letter signed by LTC Richard H. Smith stapled inside it.
Thanks for the memories!
|Story provided by Joe R. Drew|
| Ramasun Refugees
Clark AFB, Philippines
March – September 1976
| In 1975 when the USASA received instructions that the Kingdom of Thailand was not going to renew agreement permitting members of the ASA to remain in Thailand, Plans were immediately made to relocate a sufficient number of personnel of ASA Operational and S-1 fields to carry on the mission of the 7th RRFS until such time as the USAFSS at Clark could absorb the mission.
Prior to this time ground US Forces were prohibited from being stationed in the Philippines. A special and temporary agreement had to be arranged with the Republic of the Philippines.
On 21 March 1976 approximately one-hundred and twenty enlisted men and several officers were loaded into a C-141 cargo transport and transported non-stop to Clark AFB. Orders stated the TDY was supposed to be for a period of 79 days. Arriving at Clark at 0330 hours the men and women of the detachment had to lie around on the ground outside of Operations until Security Badges could be made and it was decided what area of the base they were going to assign us to. As a former Air Force man, I was extremely disappointed at the cooperation between the Detachment and the Air Force Components we had to work with. They acted as if they had no advance warning we were enroute. No barracks; no place to put the troops out of the elements (fortunately, it wasn’t raining), no office or barracks equipment, etc. When we arrived at 0330 hours, they had to located and wake up a Housing Officer, Supply and Transport personnel. It was a Chinese fire drill.
We were assigned to the 6922 Security Squadron/Army.
Enlisted men were billeted in a three-story barracks with a portico running the length of the rear overlooking a manicured lawn and a small hill covered with banana trees. There was no air conditioning. The windows had no glass but shutters that you could rise to get a breeze from the front to the rear. The Orderly Room was in a building, connected by a covered walkway to the barracks, with offices for the Sergeant Major, Colonel and the S-2 Sergeant (I don’t remember his name.) and myself. In front of the Sergeant Major and Colonel’s offices was a large office that housed the S-1.
Behind the S-1 and between the covered walkway, was a Company Bar, that served only beer and a Recreation Room with two pool tables, a ping-pong table and chairs and couches and tables and chairs for troops to enjoy their San Miguel beers. Beside the entrance to the bar a large wall was painted teal blue with a MACV shoulder insignia surrounded with lines running to the various shoulder patches of the various divisions and units the troops belonged to in Vietnam.
The ladies were billeted in a two-story air-conditioned building.
Officers and senior NCOs were billeted in the trailer park, two to a trailer.
A House-boy fund, administered by myself, cost eight-dollars a month. For this the troops received one chief houseboy and one houseboy for five rooms, who shined their boots, washed their clothes, made their beds cleaned their rooms and cut grass around the building when needed. The only duty the troops had was E-5 CQ, E-4 and below CQ Runner. The only time anyone had to cut grass was for disciplinary reasons.
As the mission was turned over to the Air Force, we begin sending home people piece meal, depending on when they arrived at the 7th RRFS in Udorn. First departures were in late August and September 1976. I was with the last group to leave on 14 September at 0620 hours.
Some items of interest: Apparently the Air Force thought they would have a “Whipping Boy” and permitted our softball team to join the Base League. Morale was extremely high in the Unit and just about everyone who was off duty was at the ball games. The Army cheering was led by volunteer women (and a couple of drunken men). The women, some extremely well-endowed, cheered sans bras and the motions of the unencumbered parts were received by extremely loud cheering from the fans (even the Air Force joined in this.) They had a favorite cheer repeated numerous times throughout the game. RAH RAH….WEASEL SPIT! IF YOU AIN’T ARMY….YOU AIN’T SHIT!
This combined with drunken behavior, loud profanity and rude gestures, directed at opposing players and fans alike naturally made us unpopular. The Air Force personnel complained to the Base Commander, he complained to Colonel Trahan, the colonel called in Sergeant Major Stegner and myself and read us the riot act and the three of us decided that high morale was more valuable than respect from the Air Farce and the rowdy behavior continued unabated until the softball season was over.
The Army team won every game they played in and no doubt the behavior cited above probably had something to do with disqualifying us from the Championship Playoffs. The League Directors decided that we were ineligible because we were on Temporary Duty to the Base.
We had a SP5 in TA who was so skinny his nickname was “Bones.” Bones was a religious man and after one trip downtown to Angeles, he said that Angeles and Clark were so evil that God would not permit it to last much longer. He compared it to Sodom and Gomorrah in the bible.
I had a nurse from Manila tell me that the air in Angeles was so permeated with sex that it affected everyone in it and people did things in Angeles that he/she would not do in other places.
And it WAS depraved (God, it was great!) For example: For the price of a Coke (one Peso or eight cents) you could sit at the table with your buddies and have a woman underneath giving you a “practice blowjob.” Practice meaning that you couldn’t finish, if so, it cost you a dollar. For the same price, you could have a “practice screw.” Same rules applied. Or, you could have two girls get on the table between you and make love.
Baskets were lowered from ceilings with girls in them stripping. When they reached the floor, volunteers fought for the right to enter the basket with the nude woman and make love, to wild riotous cheers, as the basket slowly went back up to the ceiling.
The Air Farce told a story, believed by everybody; of a butchy, overbearing type WAF, who every time she approached and the guys were talking about the things going on down in Angeles, they stopped talking. She demanded that she be treated equal and told of what they were talking about. When the men did so, the WAF said she didn’t believe it. The Airmen arranged to take her downtown to the Fire Empire, the worst of the worst of the bars in the village.
When they arrived at the bar, it was dark inside; lighting provided by glassed candles on the table and lit advertisements for the various drinks. They ordered beers and as their eyes became accustomed to the dimness, they could see what was going on around them. Practice this and practice that was going on all over the bar. None of the women wore panties and all wore mini-skirts. Two men were dancing (screwing) on the dance floor with the girls legs wrapped around their waist. Bug-eyed, the WAF watched the goings on around her. As the night progressed and she became inebriated, she demanded to participate. She made love to the three airmen she was with and about five other guys at surrounding tables. Her buddies had to drag her out of the bar because the jealousy of the bar-girls at the amount of love she was giving away for free was cutting into their income and they began threaten the American. This spilled over when a night or two later, not only did the WAF return, she brought a girlfriend. Word of this reached first the Air Police, then the WAF’s commander. Since they couldn’t very well punish the woman for doing what the men were doing, they transferred her to Japan.
Since we couldn’t stop the men from participating in the above activity, I got grosses of condoms from the Dispensary and kept them beside the sign-out book in the Orderly Room. Of course, this didn’t stop our guys from contacting VD, we still had a lot of cases, but I like to think it cut it down a little bit.
About five miles or so from Angeles and Clark was an extinct volcano, Mount Pinatubo. One of the thing you HAD to do while at Clark was to “Get a piece of Pookie” (Pookie being Tagalog for a woman’s sexual organ.) in the crater of the extinct volcano. Well, Bones proved prophetic, in June 1991, almost fifteen years after the detachment left the Philippines, the volcano became active, erupted and covered Angeles and Clark with almost three feet of volcanic ash.
Some of the names I can piece together from orders I have kept over the years.
|Ackerman, Dale - MSG||05H (Operations NCOIC|
|Albright, Kenneth W. - PVT||72E|
|Arrington, Thomas W. - SP4||98C|
|Bailey, James D. - SFC||?|
|Baltimore, Talmage - SP4||?|
|Bannister, Donna F. - PFC||05H|
|Beaver, Gregory P. - PFC||33S|
|Belshay, Richard L. - SP5||98C|
|Betrand, Timothy J. - SSgt||71L|
|Bowen, John W. - SP4||76U|
|Bowers, R. J. - CW3||Asst. Adjutant|
|Bullock, Sammy J. - SP4||76U|
|Carnahan, David A - SP4||?|
|Carter, Donald R. - SP4||05H|
|Chilcote, Carey L. - SSgt||33S|
|Collis, Gary L - SP4||05H|
|Coons, Barry L - SP4||05H|
|Copeland, Dennis P. - CW2||Asst Adjutant|
|Douglas, Lamar H. - SP5||33J|
|Drew, Joe R - SFC (P)||05H (Field First Sergeant)|
|Eddleman, John W. - SFC||05H|
|Ford, Linda L. D. - SP5||75D|
|Forman, Douglas E. - SP4||?|
|Graner, Steven A. - SP5||05H|
|Glover, Jean P. - SP4||72E|
|Harris, James C., Jr - SP4||31J|
|Hendon, Janice L. P. - SP4||72E|
|Hepner, Terry L. - PFC||33S|
|Hillpot, Russell F. - PFC||05D|
|Hunt, Leon L - SSgt||31J|
|Jenkins, Anthony L. - SP4||31J|
|Kent, Debra A. - PFC||98C|
|Kuennen, Eileen E. - PFC||?|
|Lawson, Vernon P. - SP4||98C|
|Lewis, Clifton W., Jr. - 1LT/CPT||Adjutant|
|Linton, Edward J. - SSgt||05H (TC on TK-3)|
|Litke, Andrea L. - PFC||72E|
|Lodge, Ronald J. - SFC||05H|
|Love, Willie M. - SP4||72E|
|Mannon, Roger W. - SP4||05H|
|McNeal, Hiram B. - SP5||72E|
|Meirer, Gregory W. - PFC||72E|
|Milke, Raymond - SSgt||72E|
|Moore, Raymond N. - SP4||75D|
|Fanno, Charles R. - SSgt||72E|
|Pittman, R.C. - MAJ||Adjutant|
|Reeves, Charles B., Jr. - SP5||05H(?)|
|Remmes, Joseph L. - CW2||?|
|Roof, Raymond W. - SP4||72E|
|Rowe, Harwood S., Jr. - SP4||33S|
|Sanders, cheryl A. - PVY||05H|
|Sanders, Steven P. - SP4||05H|
|Schade, Joseph R. - Sp4||31J|
|Schroeder, Judity A. - SP4||72E|
|Sexton Mamie L. - SP4||S1|
|Shiflet, David R., Jr - 2LT||Operations Officer|
|Smith, Patrick J. - SP5||31J|
|Spry, Audrey J. - SP5||72E|
|Stegner, Johnnie L., Jr. - SGM||98Z|
|Taggart, Aaron J., Jr. - PFC||?|
|Thomas, Donald W. - SP4||05H|
|Trahan, Frank W. - LTC||Detachment Commander|
|Vann, Eley B. - PFC||33S|
|Wilkerson, Karen J. - SP4||05H|
|Williams Ben E. - SP5||33S|
|Williams, James W. - SP5||31J|
|Woods, Howard M. - SFC (P)||05H (Opns Sergeant)|
|Yocum, Michael A. - PFC||05H|
|Story From David Frazee
March 1998 - Trip to Udorn
From an email from Dave to Bill Bogart
| Just got back from my latest trip to Udorn this afternoon. We were up attending a Buddhist ceremony for our nephew who is abbot of the local wat. An interesting time overall. Again, I was amazed while driving up at the incredible changes that have taken place here in the last 20 years. It's definitely not limited access. However, you can move pretty quickly. From Khonm Khaen to Udorn the four lane divided highway is currently under construction. They're working 7 days a week and it looks like at least half of it will be complete within the next 90-120 days. The hard part is building bridges down in Nam Pong across the river coming east from the Ubol Ratana Dam.
While up in the village I was in Udorn several times, and also on a trip nortwest of Udorn to the Phra Puttabat National Park, and also up to Nong Khai on the Mekong. Everything has leapt ahead albeit unequally. the further you get off the main roads the further back you go in time.. On the positive side manyu villages now have running water, new schools, all electrified, and many with paved roads. On the negative side it appears that the fruits of government largesse have been dispensed based upon the political weight each tambon or village sector possesses. Unfortunately, my in-laws village is not one of the favored few that get concrete side streets, phone service, and running water. Ah well, time will fix it, I'm sure.
Nong Khai is a building boom town because of the "Friendship Bridge" into Laos. It's the only span across the Mekong, and the primary entry point for commerce into Laos. The Thais have completed a spur of the northern railway across the bridge. Now it's on the old communist farts in the Lao government to get it built up to Vientiane (1st railway of consequence in Laos) and on up to Luang Prabang. You can see from the many office and business buildings leading up to the bridge that speculator believe the area will catapult ahead as commerce increases with the Lao. A far far cry from the sleepy river town of 25 years ago. Now Nong Khai has a beautiful (sadly treeless) river promenade for several kilometers, and is a comfortable mix of new and old.
While up in the village I also got down to Ubon Ratana dam. I saw it last 23 years ago when it was fairly new. It was bare bones then, with a 25 kilometer dirt road leading up to it. Now is has a major paved road that passes a huge natural gas field/plant, and several large factories. The dam site itself is a incredibly clean and neat park site which also houses the dam and power authority offices and family housing (along with a 9 hole golf course). Upon driving into the area it feels uncannily like a carefully groomed military installation. The dam and lake have matured now, with tourism (Thais primarily). fishing and boating. Down the shore from the dam (about a 10 km drive) is Bang Saen II, a bare bones but very nice beach complex catering again almost exclusively to Thais. Boats, beach, umbrellas, beer stands, commercialized but laid back. The only down side to this side trip was that 23 years ago the 25 kilometer ride up from the Friendship Highway to the dam was through 80-100 foot forest/jungle. Almost all gone, what with clear cutting and over cultivation of the northeast.
Well, just thought I'd drop another update on the northeast. I didn't have the opportunity to hook up with John Oles for an arranged tour of Ramasun. It's on must list of to-do's for a future Isaan visit.....
All for now,
|Story from Larry E Gonzales 1971 - 1973|
|In 1971, I flew to Bangkok first and stayed there for two weeks and I felt I was in heaven. I was then informed that I would be stationed at the 7th RRFS and from there would set up my permanent duty station. I landed in Udorn AFB in the afternoon and then the driver said he would show us Udorn before going the opposite direction to Ramasun. It was all dirt roads with crators and at first it was sad coming from Bangkok first and getting stuck in a splinter village. We cruised three circles which was the old Udorn filled with Massage parlors and bars and a few hotels and theaters.
It was also raining when we arrived so sadness poured over our whole group. The bus then headed south and we drove about 30 kilometers past rice fields on both sides until we all saw the Flare 9 antennae which everyone called the Elephant cage. As we entered the 7th RRFS, we saw a whole different world. New barracks, NCO club, swimming pool, Radio station, PX, paved roads and we all sighed relief. We were greeted by Col. JJ Mcfadden and given a welcome brief of what was expected of us while we were there.
I was an 05KH2 which meant Teletype Intercept operator with non morse capabilities and I worked in the box as it was called back then. After a few weeks, I moved off post and got paid separate rations and housing allowance. I got my clothes from Will’s tailors across the street from the main gate in Non Soong. I picked up Thai pretty quick and was able to go anywhere without any problems.
My boss Takeda was leaving soon so he took all of us downtown to Udorn to celebrate at one on the clubs. While we were drinking some vendor came by and was selling balls of meat on a stick for 1 baht for 2 sticks so we all started eating them while drinking beer. I asked Takeda what they were and he said monkey balls and a couple of the guys spit them out quickly. He started laughing and said they called them that but in actuality, it was water buffalo meat made in balls. It was very tasty.
Udorn improved pretty quick from then on due to the Army Corps of Engineers. Streets were getting paved, Hotels were getting put up, businesses were coming in and a village turned into a city. I saw these changes take place within 18 months of being stationed there as a soldier and then returning there and working for the government.
I came to love Udorn and everyone who lived there. I loved my job at the 7th RRFS and saw how important it was to all the troops fighting in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. I also saw how the 05H mill monkeys went on strike over stupid things and a general had to come in and bargain with them to get them back to work. I saw mortars placed around the 7th from weapons stole by employees from the weapons depot down the way (the pepper grinder) and how they caught all of the perpetrators before they were able to use them.
It was a great tour and I was sad to see it go away. I continued with DOD and was in Laos when it fell, Cambodia when it fell. And Vietnam in 75 when I called it quits. I went back active and at that time, there was ASA being absorbed with MI and changed to INSCOM which was not the same. A toast to the 7th RRFS and all the ASA soldiers who served their country and also to the locals who tolerated us and became friends.
|The Following is a Story from Mark Haller 1972 - 1974|
|THE CAPTAIN AND DITTER|
Story by Kenneth "Skip" Leftwitch
I am Kenneth (Skip) Leftwich and have a brief story involving my self, Jim Furth and Steve Davis. The three of us had re-enlisted in '68 and, for our R&R, we planned on going to Japan. We got our hops out of Udorn and made it as far as Okinawa where we were bumped off temporarily, but we decided this is Japan, let's look. Suffice to say, we did the usual things and all went well and we made it back to Udorn on time in fairly good shape. We spent a few more day in a hotel we of the 7th pretty much rented all of and then one morning on our way to work, Jim and Steve took a taxi and I rode my motorcycle (a Kawasaki 650) some may remember me. Anyway, I left the hotel a little after they did and on our separate ways in the still dark early hours of the morning, we seperated and continued on our seperate ways I guessed. On the highway out of town, about two thirds of the way to the camp I was coming up on a taxi behind an ESSO truck, everyone remember those? well the taxi driver kept dodging out to the right looking to pass as I followed about 100m behind thinking the driver is crazy. The inevitable happened, on the next dodge out he got slammed by an oncoming ESSO truck and knocked back towards me totally destroyed and shedding parts, total destruction. I dodged all of the parts and continued on to work. After arriving, and Steve and Jim not showing up, I assured the chiefs that they were coming. WELLLLLLLLLL guess who was sleeping in the back seat of the taxi as it got hit!! YUP! Jim and Steve. They survived the crash with only a little bruising as I remember, but I also remember not thinking at all that my friends just spun past me in a totally destroyed taxi from which I knew there could be no survivors, the driver did not survive. Of course i didn't know they were in the taxi till later. Glad you guys made it in case I never told ya.
I went from Chaing Mai in the spring of 66.. I’ll look up the exact date in my records, but I think it was April or May of 66. We went straight into the tents of course, and started work on setting up the Det D DF site just north of the tent compound, towards the main Udorn road. In fact there was a path from the site to the back of the "HQ" tent/hut from the site.
We were in the tents for quite a while, I remember one ASA "Birthday" party there with the free beer in the "Club"/hut behind the mess hall. I recall the move into the permanent operations building and the first constructed permanent resident buildings the following year.
I am believe that the Name change occurred about the time we moved into the new permanent operations building. I remember the "Mad-Nudist of Non Soong" getting caught by the MP’s while smuggling a trash can full of beer into the new barracks during the second ASA Birthday bash celebrated at Udorn. That was when we were already living in the new barracks but still working in the vans.
From the DF Side we were reporting bearing results using CW to Bangkok (while we were outstation Det "D" of the KR3B net control. The Det D callsign was HB27 at that time.
When we started flashing from Udorn, using the "D" channel marker (and one-time-pad series), was right near the end of operations at the operations truck grouping. I recall flashing "D" missions for a short while from the SIT truck but that effort did not last for long when both DF Flash and RFP Operations were move into the SIT room in the new building.
I have a couple of really funny tales about that transition and working in the permanent building, I’ll write when I get to them.
After all this, I believe that the move of operations into the new building during the spring of 67, and about that same time the name change happened. It really never meant much to us, since our SIT (DF/RFP) missions gradually evolved over a period of a few months, into the new ones from the new building. Never a "Name Change" on a specific date
Hope this helps,
|Ronnie Ransom 1965 - 1966|
5TH RRU DET D
It all started in April of 1965 with about 40 to 50 men. I don't even think there was that many. Most of us had come from Japan, Taiwan, Okinawa and the Philippines. The ones who came from the 12th USASAFS in Japan, including myself, had volunteered for duty in Thailand. After all, we had hear that you lived in a hotel with maid service and draw per-diem for meals. What a life this was going to be.
When we arrived at the airport in Bangkok, we were met by our new CO, Capt. Pavlin, and our first shirt, MSgt. Traweek, who looked to be about 7 feet tall. They informed us not to get too comfortable because we were not going to stay in Bangkok. We were headed to a place call Udorn. Where the devil is Udorn.
We stayed at Seri Court for about 30-45 days working out of their ops and getting some of that great OJT. We then loaded up and I think we drove to Udorn. We found that the great living quarters were to be no more. When we got to Udorn, old Thai, or some say, WWII Japanese army barracks were going to be our home for a while.
I don't remember how long we stayed there before moving to a small compound just out the road away. We used the airbase mess hall during the time we stayed at the old barracks. This new compound was, I think, part of a signal corp group. It consisted of about 3 or 4 buildings. One was a small barracks, one a latrine and shower, one an officers & HDQ, and I think one was a small mess hall. We did have a small EM Club. They cleaned one of the larger storerooms out in the rear of the EM club and that is where myself and about 3 or 4 other guys lived.
I think we only had 2 or maybe 3 vans set up at this compound, on for ditty boppers and one for T/A's. We just put bard wire around them and started chasing dits. Of course, I don't think the signal guys liked this too much since the vans were right in the middle of the compound. I don't remember if these first vans had working air-conditioning or not. It seems that I remember having to strip down to our skivvies sometimes because of the heat.
If you'll remember it get pretty hot in Thailand at times.
Our CO, Capt. Pavlin, and our XO, Lt. Hart, did not make it hard on us from a military stand point, even though I seem to remember maybe one inspection while we were at this compound. Capt. Pavlin's only demand was we do our work and stay out of trouble in town and with the Air Force. He gave us passes with no restrictions on them. The Air Force didn't like that much because they had a curfew. They somewhat resented this.
I don't remember how long we stayed at this compound, but we set up our own compound at a place called Non Soong, the new place was to be called Chang Station. I say we because all of us helped string constantina wire and any thing else that needed to be done. They set up six vans inside of this compound. We were bused back and forth until our deluxe living quarters were built, 10 men squad tents with wooden floors, even though they came with outstanding metal army cots and a maybe 4 inch mattresses and mosquito nets. The only air conditioning we had was in the vans. The air conditioning for the tents was when you let up the sides and ends of the tent. Our showers were even in a tent if a recall. Of course this was a lot of fun in the monsoon season.
By the time we moved into the new quarters, maybe a little before, we were getting a few nugs in. Even so, counting the Air Force's Det. 4, there were maybe 100-150 guys there by this time.
We worked hard and we really played hard. We were a pretty tight group, especially the original guys. I'm sorry I can't remember all of their names. For some reason 34 years does something to your mind. I will list a few of these guys at the end.
I left Udorn in Sept of 66. I had spent 18 months in Thailand. Detachment D was still working out of those six vans and living in tents with no air. We had built a mess hall and a small EM club by this time. I was sent back to the world to Vint Hill Farms Station for a short stay and then on to the 601st RRD in Chu Lai. I understate Udorn grew into quite a large field station call the 7th RRFS. I wonder if those guys that came to Udorn later knows how it came about.
I would really like to hear from any of the guys that were with me in those good and bad times in Udorn during those 18 months. I know I have forgotten plenty, but I hope this brings back some of the fond memories we have and shared.
Ronnie Ransom email@example.com
The following are a few names I do remember of the some of the very first
Ray Loftin, Garvin Smith, Joe Thorton, Louis E Jones, Allen Thomas, Paul Kruppa
As a side note, I don't think DF started until after I left, in Sept 66.