|ODNAC (Can Do spelled backwards) and the ODNAC observer, a scandalous rag that was printed on a mill, naming names and places. ODNAC the goat, presented to the commander at a baseball game as the unit mascot. The ODNAC stamp carved from a gum eraser that was used to bless (ODNAC APPROVED) or deride any command pronouncements placed on the unit bulletin boards (ODNAC DISAPPROVED). The ODNAC kite that was so big the Thai Airforce tried to beat it out of the sky with a helicopter because it was screwing up the radar approach path to Don Maung Airport. The formation outside the Klub Kemaou where the First Sergeant read the articles of mutiny and said there will be no more ODNAC. It all started when a high ranking officer from ASA PAC was coming to visit and the commander (not Lum) posted a missive instructing the unit to display a “Can Do” attitude during the visit. We displayed the living hell out of “Can Do”.|
THE STORY OF ODNAC
CW3 JAMES A. “CRUSTY” LUSTER (RET.)
As I remember, and it’s been many a long year ago, the ODNAC incident, started at Bhang Khen in the operations compound site. The 5th was to be inspected by the Commander of USASA PAC. A General Wolf, if I remember correctly. Our commanding officer whose name for the life of me (Col. Frank Miller?) I can’t remember (he replaced Col Lum) had a memo about this upcoming visit posted on the ops bulletin board. One of the lines of the memo contained a sentence that he desired everyone to “display a can do attitude”. At that time construction was going on in the compound and Thai construction workers were doing their thing. Before 15 or 20 minutes had passed from the memo being posted, Thai workers were wearing T shirts that had ODNAC printed on them and the small bulldozer was sporting ODNAC painted in white paint on the blade.
None of the management people knew what ODNAC meant, so it was ignored by them, for awhile. I was a SP5 at the time and was part of the crew that got things going, though not the prime mover, that was Subjack (sic) and a few others. Gary Subjack became known as the ODNAC man because of all the stuff he instigated in the name of ODNAC. At that time a movement had been underway to get a unit mascot. This was independent of any command sponsorship, so to speak. This was also independent of anything to do with ODNAC. The idea was to get the unit a water buffalo and keep it out at the operations compound. But we needed money and water buffalos cost about fifty dollars. The unit mascot merged with the ODNAC movement and things really took off. Someone had ODNAC BONDS printed and sold them for a dollar apiece. We couldn’t get fifty dollars but came up with somewhere around forty dollars. One of the guy’s (I wish I could remember names) girlfriend knew where we could get a stud goat for the sum we had raised. Thus came into being ODNAC the goat. Someplace close to Sapang Quai existed a sew shop and we contracted for a saddle blanked to be made for ODNAC. I went with the person who contracted for the blanket and picked it up. And it was a beautiful silk blanket with gold tassels and upside down stripes sewn onto the blanket, with the name ODNAC in bold letters. The goat was presented to the commander at a local sporting event. I had to work and wasn’t at the presentation. The commander was gracious about the whole thing and the goat was seen the next day at Seri Court. Our 1st SGT was named Medows, Ken I think. He had just planted some young banana trees around the court to beautify the compound. The goat got into the banana trees and the goat wound up transferred to the operations compound. The 1st shirt said he didn’t want the goat at Seri Court because it “Had a bigger pair of balls than he had”, and it did. What a goat.
I left the 5th in August of 1965. The goat was still in the operations compound when I PCS’d. It did have a rather bad start at Bhan Khen because the TA’s would bring the goat into the ops building on swings and the goat would sleep under or on top of the TA NCOIC’s desk. The NCOIC had a “Shit Fit” every time he found goat poop under or on top of his desk. He said he would cut the goat’s head off and place it on top of the compound gate if he ever found any more goat droppings in his area. One of the TA NCOIC’s analysts and a good friend of mine was Ken Villiger. Ken shacked and it so happened that Ken’s house was two houses away from the house his NCOIC was shacked up in. I don’t think the NCO ever knew that Ken was that close to him. Different work schedules and the like. Anyway, Ken managed to get a very good black and white photo of the NCO, standing on his balcony, with his arm around his TeLoc. Ken had a 8 X 10 glossy made and put it in a shotgun envelope and placed it on the NCO’s desk with and admonishment to cool out or a copy was going to the NCO’s wife and he gave the current address of the guy’s wife. Well, the message was received and understood. The NCO became a much more mild mannered person and even showed some liking for ODNAC the goat.
At this same time, several more ODNAC events were taking place. One of the Operation types took a gum eraser and carved out a rubber stamp. The stamp read ODNAC APPROVED on one side and DIS on one end. Every memo that was placed on the operations bulletin board was ODNAC APPROVED or ODNAC DIS APPROVED. The stamp caused a lot of concern among the officers and NCOs. Several searches were made with no success made in locating it. We kept moving it around among ourselves and as far as I know it was never found.
The ODNAC Observer surfaced at this same time. It was an unofficial unit newspaper, printed on 8 ply intercept mill paper. The paper contained gossip about who was shacking; who had been running around on his wife and comments about the way the command was being run. Col Lum was the best commanding officer I ever had and anyone that came after him was at a distinct disadvantage, regardless of how good and officer he was. The new commander was taking big time hits and while some of them were deserved, I’m sure most were exaggerated.
The Odnac Observer and the stamp are probably what led to a platoon formation outside the Club Kee Mau one afternoon before boarding the busses to go to work. The First SGT read us the Articles of Mutiny. He inferred that we were all guilty of insurrection and this ODNAC crap would cease immediately. I don’t think this had much effect. Next night someone sneaked up on the water tower in the compound and placed a big sign on the outside that said ODNAC but couldn’t be seen from inside the compound.
Odnac went on for a few more months but someone else will have to tell the rest of the story. I PCS’s and it was nine years latter before I got back to Thailand.
Jim “Crusty” Luster
Ron Kruger 1964 - 1965 ODNAC
Lance Corporal Odnac
or as many of us felt this probably was the "on duty crew".
With Bruce Callander, Odnac cheers Seri Court to victory
Here Tanaka shows the recovery team at work when the line snapped. At
Joel Kleiman at the helm, Joel Wheeler on line duty.
2006 ODNAC Reunion